Christmas morning dawned clear and bright, the sunshine reflecting off the white of the snow. Harry woke suddenly, having three bodies jump on him.
"Ugh..." he groaned, looking up into the happy faces of Ron and the twins. "Geroff..."
"Look who's a grumpy-drawers this morning!" Fred chortled, standing, only to jump on top of the pile once more.
"You're squashing me!" Harry groaned, glancing over as the door opened to admit Hermione and Ginny, their eyes glowing as they saw what was going on, and jumping on as well.
"Nooo!" Harry cried. "Geroff!"
Another red head stuck itself around the door. Charlie, smiling happily, said, "Come on, you lot, Mum's got breakfast nearly ready... and Father Christmas has been!"
Laughing, the twins and Ron made for the door at a dead run, Hermione pulling herself up from where she'd fallen off the side of the bed and following.
"Come on, Gin!" she called back.
But Ginny and Harry were still, staring into each other's eyes from where Ginny had come to rest next to him. Suddenly, she broke away and jumped up.
"Come on, then, Harry... or the twins will nick all your gifts..."
"I'll be right there," he said, not moving. That had been very, very strange...
By the time Harry managed to get downstairs, mayhem reigned. The twins sat beside the Christmas tree belting out a very off-key version of "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree", as Ron and Ginny groaned on the couch and Bill was telling them to shut it at the top of his lungs. Charlie was handing out mugs of tea from the tray that Molly had just deposited on the coffee table, and Arthur sat, smiling over his brood. Hermione stood in the doorway, looking over the scene and smiling.
"Happy Christmas, Hermione," Harry said softly.
Hermione looked up over her shoulder and smiled her megawatt smile at Harry. "Happy Christmas, Harry."
"Here you go, Harry," Charlie handed him a cup of tea, then turned to Hermione, giving her hers. "Merry Christmas, Hermione."
"Happy Christmas, Charlie," she smiled, then looked at him, surprised, as he leaned towards her.
"You should watch where you stand," he looked up, causing her to look up at the sprig of mistletoe hanging in the doorway above her head. Seeing it, Harry stepped back, flushing, and Charlie grinned, leaning in and kissing her quickly.
The room went silent, and Harry saw a glimmer of laughter in Charlie's eye as he turned to look at Ron.
"Cut it out!"
"Ron?" Hermione looked shocked, but Harry didn't know if it was from Charlie's kiss, or Ron's reaction to it.
"Settle down, little brother..." Charlie began.
"Back off, and leave Hermione alone, Charlie!" Ron was bright red.
"Ron..." Hermione looked around at the silent room, horrified. "Stop it!"
"She was standing under the mistletoe, Ron..." Charlie began, pointing up. Ron glanced up, and he flushed even harder.
Harry could tell he was flustered, and probably about to rush from the room in embarrassment, and sighed with relief when Ginny came to stand next to him. Ginny would calm the waters.
"And it would appear that Harry is, as well," she smiled up at him, and imp of mischief in her eyes.
What was she.... oh.
Harry realized what she was about to do as she did it, and for a moment didn't know where to put the hand that wasn't busy holding a very hot mug of tea. Ginny wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him in a manner he would never have considered decent in front of her parents, and when it became obvious that it wasn't going to end soon, he managed to put his free hand on her hip rather than flailing about like a beached fish.
When she pulled back, Harry took a deep breath and became aware of the twins cat-calls, and turned a deep, deep shade of red.
"Happy Christmas, Harry," Ginny smiled up at him, her arms still around his neck. Harry couldn't pull his eyes from hers.
"H-happy Christmas, Gin," he said softly.
"Mitts off the sister, Potter," Charlie growled after a moment, and Harry, startled, pulled away from her, to find the rest of the occupants looking on with varying degrees of surprise and mirth.
Ron and Hermione weren't paying any attention at all. Ron had, apparently, taken a cue from Ginny. Only they hadn't come up for air yet.
"Oi! Ronniekins! Either break the lip-lock and come open presents or go get a room!" George called out.
"George!" Molly swatted at her younger son. "Stop that... now, come on, you lot... let's get these presents opened."
Harry glanced at Ron as he passed, meeting eyes, and realized that Ron looked as floored as Harry. But Ron was, apparently, better at recovery, as he began to grin before Harry managed to get past him. Harry found a spot on the floor in front of the sofa, and was surprised when Ginny sat down next to him. Bill and Molly sat behind them on the sofa.
Fred, wearing a ridiculous Father Christmas hat with a huge, furry bobble on the end, began to hand out gifts... and Harry began to smile. He was in his favorite place in the world to be, with his favorite people, and Ginny Weasley had just kissed him under the mistletoe.
This was, by far, the best Christmas he'd ever had. Bar none.
Fred continued handing out gifts until he got fed up not being able to open any of his own, and tossed the Father Christmas hat at George. Once everyone had a little pile of gifts, they tore into their own.
Opening the matching hats and mittens from Hermione, they shouted "Brilliant!" and immediately donned them. Hermione flushed with pleasure.
Mr Weasley was had just opened his third package and was admiring a new sweater when George deposited the largish box that Harry's gift had come in in his lap. Harry froze. He wasn't sure how this was going to go over. His own gifts forgotten, he tried to not stare at Mr Weasley as he opened the box, commenting rather jovially on the fact that it was the largest of the packages he'd received.
When the last bit of paper was removed, there was a moment of silence before Mr Weasley gave a rather loud whoop of delight, and tore into the box.
"What was it?" Ginny's soft voice asked in Harry's ear.
"A video camera," Harry replied, glancing at her.
"A video camera?"
"It kind of...."
"I know what it is, Harry," she smiled. "Mum's going to kill you."
Harry glanced over his shoulder nervously at Molly, who smiled at him and patted his shoulder. "We'll talk later, love."
"She's kidding, Harry," Ginny laughed. "Relax!"
Relax? How could he relax when Ginny Weasley was sitting next to him, having just given him the best kiss in his short life, and...
And was now reaching for the large square package that she had received from Harry.
Harry was distracted by Molly's cry from behind them.
"Oh, Harry! It's lovely!" Molly held up the pendant, tears in the corners of her eyes, and Harry blushed.
"It's like your clock..."
"I know love, I know..." Molly leaned forward and hugged him tightly. Harry smiled sheepishly.
"Ginny, dear..." Molly noticed her daughter sitting, staring into the box she'd just opened with shocked eyes. "What is it?"
Ginny took a deep breath, then turned her eyes towards Harry. He was horrified to see tears in them.
What have I done? He thought, panicking.
"I... if you don't like it I can return..."
"Oh, Harry!" she said softly, then shocked him mute by throwing her arms around his neck and sobbing into his shoulder.
"Ginny?" he was still panicking. What was it with crying women?
"Oh... oh..." she pulled back, wiping her tears away. "I'm sorry... I..."
"If you don't like..."
"No, Harry! Oh, no! They're beautiful..."
"Ginny, love, what is it?" Molly looked at her, concerned.
"Look, Mum... oh, look!" Ginny lifted the dress robes out of the box, the deep forest green fabric glimmered, and Molly gasped.
"Ginny, they're lovely! Oh, do go and put them on, love!"
Ginny smiled at Harry, then hopped to her feet, the robes in her arms, and disappeared through the door and up the stairs.
Harry sat, silently, not really knowing what to say, or to whom..
"Harry, love," Molly put a hand on his shoulder. He turned to look up at her. "That was lovely, dear. Ginny... young girls like pretty things, Harry... and Ginny is no different."
"I... I thought they were... when I saw them in the shop, I thought of her."
Molly smiled, "Thank you, Harry. For putting a smile on her face."
"I made her cry..." he turned anguished eyes up. "Why?"
"Because you made her happy, love."
Harry didn't get that. He looked down at his pile of gifts and sighed. He doubted he'd ever get it. Looking up, he saw Hermione smiling at him. He shrugged, trying to communicate his confusion to her, and she winked at him, smiling again.
Ron was crowing over the Chudley Canons shirt when there was a step on the stairs and everyone quietened and turned to look. Harry's breath caught in his throat.
The robes had been a very good choice. Either that, or it was the witch in them.
Ginny had donned the robes, and twisted her hair up on top of her head. She looked... regal.
"Oh, Ginny..." Molly said softly, tears coming to her eyes. Ginny reached the bottom step and lifted her eyes to look at those in the room. Her eyes met Harry's and she smiled.
And Harry suddenly realized why Ginny Weasley had been having the effect on him she had been lately. She was, quite possibly, the prettiest girl he'd ever seen.
And she'd kissed him like she meant it.
Hermione watched as Harry and Ginny's eyes met. The robes had been a good choice. She'd known the moment Harry had pulled them from the rack in the shop that they were a good choice. The dark green was beautiful with Ginny's hair.
Harry obviously thought so, as well. His jaw had dropped at the sight of her standing at the bottom of the stairs.
Hermione held back a giggle as Bill leaned forward and placed a hand under Harry's chin, lifting slightly and closing his mouth for him.
"Easy, there, slick..." Bill said softly. "That's my sister you're ogling."
Harry gulped, and glanced back at Ginny, his cheeks burning. She smiled and looked around the room.
"Geez, Gin..." Fred looked at her closely. "You clean up good."
"Yeah," George nodded. "Are those real?"
Ginny's face darkened, and even Ron turned shocked eyes to George.
"What?" George said, looking around the room. "I was talking about her earrings!"
"You look lovely, Ginevra," Arthur smiled lovingly at his daughter. "Absolutely beautiful."
"Thank you, Daddy," she said softly, her eyes moving back to Harry and a slight blush staining her cheeks. "Thank you, Harry. The robes are beautiful... the prettiest I've ever had."
Five Weasley boys turned hard eyes on Harry.
"Harry bought those?" Ron asked.
"Potter, you and I are going to have a little talk later..." Charlie said softly.
"Damn, I didn't know he had the stones..." Fred mused.
"Rather rich, Fred... coming from someone who bought the same perfume for five different birds..." George grinned.
"Rather a lot of... um... they're rather low-cut, aren't they, Gin?" Bill's eyes darted between Harry and his sister.
"All of you, stop it," Molly said threateningly. "Your sister looks lovely, and it was a very thoughtful gift on Harry's part."
"Yes," Charlie looked at him through narrowed eyes. "Very thoughtful."
"Oh, be quiet and open your presents!" Molly huffed. "Harry, love... open the one from Ginny."
Harry, tearing his eyes from the vision standing at the bottom of the stairs, swallowed hard and reached out for a package wrapped in green paper, with lighter green ribbon. It was the fabric type, and Harry slipped it into his pocket after pulling on the bow to untie it. Unfolding the paper, he saw a sweater... reminiscent of Molly's efforts, but plain, ribbed, with no sign of an 'H' or a snitch... just a lovely plain green sweater.
Harry looked up at her, and smiled. Ginny's eyes glanced down at the sweater and she bit her lip.
Suddenly, he understood. She'd made it for him. She'd knit it herself.
"Thank you, Ginny," he said. "It's wonderful."
With a small smile, she glanced around at the others, all of whom had gone back to their own gifts, and then turned and darted up the stairs.
After a few moments, Harry stood, and quietly moved from the room, and towards the stairs. As he passed them, he noticed that Ron and Hermione's hands were clasped together between them, and he smiled.
It appeared that Ron had gotten what he wanted for Christmas, if with a little help from Charlie.
He moved up the stairs, hoping to not attract any attention, then stood in the hallway across from the door to Ginny's room, waiting for her to come out.
It was several minutes before the door opened, and Ginny stepped out, not noticing him at first. Harry was shocked to see her wiping tears from her eyes. She had changed from the dress robes into a skirt and blouse.
"I'm sorry," he said softly.
"Oh!" she jumped, looking up at him with surprise in her eyes. "You startled me."
"I'm sorry..." he started. "For startling you, and for the robes. If you don't like them, we can take them back on the next trip to Hogsmeade... you can pick out something you like better..."
"But I don't want to return them," she looked up at him. "They're the loveliest thing I've ever owned, Harry."
"Then why are you crying?"
"Because I'm happy... you made me very happy."
"But why are you crying if you're happy?" Harry asked.
"Because that's what I do," she smiled.
"All the time?" he asked, rather shocked.
"No, silly," she grinned. "Just when I'm really, really happy. When someone does something that really... touches me."
"Oh," Harry nodded.
"Like what you did..." she said, placing a hand on his arm, urging him to look at her. "Harry, you recognized that it's difficult... to not have money... what you've done..."
"I... I just wanted you to have them, Gin.." he flushed. "I mean, all the other girls have dress robes they seem pleased with, and none of them are nearly as pretty as you..."
At this, he stopped abruptly, panicked green eyes raising to look into her soft brown ones.
"I... I mean..."
"I think they're beautiful, Harry," she said, looking directly at him. "Because they're the color of your eyes."
"Gin?" Harry looked down into her wide eyes. "What's... going on? Is this...?"
Ginny looked shattered. She suddenly looked down and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Harry... I..."
"Ginny?" he took her arm before she could back up into her room, and then lifted her chin with a finger to force her to look into his eyes. "I'm sorry... I just... I don't understand what's happening... here."
"I want to kiss you again," he said, "But I don't know if you want that."
"I'd like that," she said boldly, then waited, looking deeply into his eyes and not moving a muscle as he lowered his head to hers.
Harry's lips had barely touched hers when they heard a step on the stair, and jumped apart just in time to see Arthur come into view.
"Ah," he smiled. "There you two are. Mum's got breakfast ready."
"We'll be right there, Dad..." Ginny said, her eyes not leaving her father's face.
Arthur hesitated, then nodded, turning to go back down, before pausing and looking back over his shoulder.
"Your brothers... Bill and Charlie in particular, are wondering where you are. I wouldn't be too long, if I were you."
Harry gulped, Ginny smiled, and Arthur turned again, leaving them alone.
"Yes," Ginny couldn't help but laugh. "Yes, he did."
Harry looked back down at her, and was surprised to find her very close indeed.
"Happy Christmas, Harry," she said, placing her hands on his shoulders and moving closer.
"Happy Christmas," he said, before kissing her soundly.
Yes, this was the best Christmas ever.
Merry Christmas to each of you. This is my small way of saying I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday season, full of the wonder and mystery we all hope for, no matter what it is we celebrate at this time of year.
Harry and Ginny got their wishes, as did Ron and Hermione... I hope your wishes come true, as well.