The woman on the bed shifted slightly and rolled over, heaving a deep, sleepy sigh as she did so. The pale orange lamp light filtered through the gap in the curtains, spreading onto the bed like warm butter on toast. James Potter smiled, his eyes sparkling wickedly, then put his mouth right next to his wife's ear.
Much to his utter disbelief, his beloved wife of six months merely rolled over, dark red hair fanning like a bizarre halo around her head. For a moment James stood in something close to shock, gazing down at his wives sleeping body. His yelling-down-the-ear trick had never failed him before.
Desperate times called for desperate measures. Stomping flat-footed out of the bedroom, James went downstairs and opened the living room door, where his best friend of nine years lay on the floor with Harry and two presents on his chest.
"Now, Harry, which present should Padfoot open first?" James heard him say as he entered. Harry giggled delightedly, then put out a hand to squash Sirius's nose sideways.
"Ouch! No, Harry, that's not the right answer, my nose isn't a present...ow! No, my hair isn't one either…oh, hey, Prongs." Sirius beamed up at James standing in the doorway, though his grin quickly became a grimace as Harry, excited by the sight of his father, started wriggling eagerly forwards across his face.
"Lily up yet?" asked Sirius, his voice somewhat muffled under Harry's nappy. "Look, Harry, mate, me and you are going to fall out in a minute," he added to the baby, as Harry worked his knee into Sirius's mouth.
"No, she's not up," groaned James, though he was unable to prevent a smile at the sight of Harry now sucking eagerly on Sirius's hair. "I've tried shouting down her ear-hole and she still won't wake up."
"Uunnnng," was all that was heard of Sirius's reply, his face now being completely flattened. His hands came up, and, after pushing the presents off his chest, scooped Harry off his face. Sirius surfaced, cheerful though slightly breathless, the five-month old in his arms.
"She's not getting up? But…but it's Christmas!"
The two twenty one-year olds shared a look of despair. James nodded, feeling vaguely panicky. What if Lily didn't wake up until eleven o'clock, like she did yesterday? What if (here his insides gave a worried jolt) what if she didn't wake up at all? What if she slept in for the whole of Christmas? Sirius, judging by the anxious look on his face, was thinking along the same lines.
Desperate times called for desperate measures.
"Try telling her if she doesn't wake up, I'm taking Harry for a Christmas spin in my motor-bike," he said, raising his voice over Harry's excited squeals. "And if that doesn't get her up, I don't know what will."
James arched an eyebrow at his friend. "You already did take Harry for a spin in your bike two days ago."
"Well, yeah," Sirius shrugged. "But Lily doesn't need to know that."
Figuring he might as well give it a try, James turned on his heel and plodded back up the stairs. Turning right on the landing, he tip-toed softly back into the sleepy gloom of their bedroom, where Lily was just an indistinguishable lump under the blankets.
"Lily?" he whispered, poking her leg cautiously. "Lily! Wake up!"
No response. Alright then. James stepped back slightly, stood with his feet squarely apart, and filled his lungs with air.
"LILY! SIRIUS HAS TAKEN HARRY OUT FOR A FLY IN HIS MOTOR BIKE, IN THIS COLD, COLD WEATHER!"
"Say I forgot to put Harry's hat on!" hissed Sirius, sticking his head around the bedroom door.
"AND WHAT'S MORE, HE FORGOT TO PUT HARRY'S HAT ON – wait, why would you be wearing Harry's hat in the first place?" James turned to frown at Sirius, who smacked his palm to his forehead.
"Forget it. She still hasn't woken up."
Indeed, all Lily had done was ram her face under the pillow.
"Well, that's the most reaction I've got out of her yet," said James hopefully. "Maybe she's coming to!"
"If she is, she's doing it very slowly," said Sirius, stepping into the room with Harry in his arms. "Hey, I know, why don't we make Harry cry? She's bound to wake up then."
James turned his head very slowly, and fixed his eyes on Sirius.
"And how would we do that?"
"I don't know…pinch him, or something…"
"Are you suggesting that we pinch my son?"
"Well, we cou…" Sirius trailed off at the look on James's face. "No, Prongs. Of course not."
The two men sighed and simultaneously turned to look at Lily, who only gave a sleepy snore.
"Merlin, where's Remus when you need him?" sighed Sirius. "I bet he'd know what to do…"
Grey eyes met brown. Identical grins cracked their faces.
"Padfoot, you're a genius!"
"I know I am!"
"I know I am!"
"I want to kiss you!"
"I know I – wait, urugh, Prongs! Dude! Not even as a joke!"
James's face was totally straight. "Who's saying it's a joke?"
Sirius stared at him blankly, mouth hanging open.
Half an hour later, Remus stumbled into Number fifteen, Godric's Hollow, dishevelled from sleep and eyes squinting at any bright light. He stopped to look gloomily at himself in the Potter's kitchen mirror, poking at the bags under his eyes.
'I look like I was dragged forcefully out of bed five minutes ago, without so much as a morning coffee to wake myself up," he thought tiredly, smothering a yawn. 'Oh wait. That really did happen.'
"Come ON, Moony!" whined Sirius, yanking on his wrist, "No looking in the mirror!"
"Remind me why I'm here again?" mumbled Remus, allowing Sirius to haul him up the stairs by the wrist, James right behind him, carrying Harry.
"Because we need to wake Lily up!"
"Why? Why can't you just let her sleep, like I was happily doing ten minutes ago?"
"Because it's Christmas!"
Sirius froze. Behind him, James stopped dead. Both of them turned slowly to stare at Remus, horrified looks on their faces.
"You did not just say that!" whispered James, sounding appalled.
"He just…did he just say…?" said Sirius, looking aghast.
"Bla-wah!" completed Harry, nestling contentedly into James's chest.
"What?" asked Remus, now totally confused, "I only said…"
"Don't say it again! Let's just keep moving!" barked Sirius, and once again, all three (four including Harry) continued up the stairs.
The bedroom door was flung open once more, and all three men (and Harry) came marching nosily into the room. Remus stood, blinking in the gloom, squinting over at the bed.
"There," said Sirius dramatically, pointing a finger at Lily's happily snoozing face, "Sleeping in. On Christmas morning." He shook his head in disgust. "Not a pretty sight."
"Excuse me," snapped James, "My wife's sleeping face is a very pretty sight, thank you very much!"
"I'm sorry, James, but I get rather emotional about these things!"
James nodded sympathetically. "I know, buddy. I understand. Just don't ever say that Lily isn't pretty again."
"Okay." Sirius whipped his head around to look at Remus, who was trying very hard not to fall asleep where he stood. "Are you gonna help us, then, or carry on standing there like a drunk zombie?"
"Standing here seems good," muttered Remus, feeling his eyes fall closed. He snapped them open again. He was, after all, on a mission. He turned his head to look at the closed curtains. "Well, those can be opened for a start."
Sirius, happy that Remus had started co-operating, walked over immediately and yanked them open, then stood with his arms flung wide as though revelling in the bright daylight now pouring into the room.
There was silence for a moment.
"Oh," said Sirius, in a disappointed voice, "It's still dark outside."
"Well, it is six o'clock in the bloody morning, what did you expect? Afternoon sun?"
"Yes," replied Sirius defiantly.
There was another short pause. "Okaaaaay then," sighed Remus, re-focusing his attention on Lily. "Right. How to do this." He paused for a minute, in which James and Sirius both stared at him impatiently.
"Come on, then!" said James, when they had been standing in silence for a good three minutes. "Christmas time is ticking!"
Remus didn't say anything. He continued to stare at the floor.
"Come ON, Mr I've-Usually-Got-All-The-Answers," moaned Sirius, after another three minutes, "How can we wake Lily up?"
Remus shook his head sadly. "I don't know."
"WHAT!" James and Sirius cried in unison.
"But you're Remus! You MUST have an answer!"
"Well, I'm sorry, but if SOMEONE had woken me up at a decent time, I might be able to think straight!" Remus snapped at shocked looking Sirius, who was hanging onto the wall for support, clearly about to faint at the idea that, for once, Remus just didn't know the answer.
"It's not my fault you sleep in on Christmas morning!"
"Well, it's not my fault that Lily decided to sleep in on Christmas morning!"
"Well, well…It's not my fault that …that you're a loser!"
Amid the pandemonium, unnoticed, Harry's mouth pouted and trembled at almost all the voices he loved best in the world shouting at each other. He gave a whimper. No-one heard him. He gave a sob. No-one heard him. He threw his head back and gave an ear-splitting roar.
The room fell silent. Sirius and Remus looked around in shock.
"WAAAAAAAAHHHH!" screamed Harry.
"ARRRRRRAGGGH!" shrieked James, holding the baby at arms length.
"WAAAAAAAAHHHH!" Harry roared even louder.
"WHAT DO WE DO?" yelled James over the baby's lung exercising.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN: 'WHAT DO WE DO,' YOU'RE THE FATHER!" Sirius bellowed back.
"GOOD POINT!" James looked down at Harry's screaming face. Come on, now, he thought to himself, you're the father. This sort of thing should come naturally to you.
"ER…TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE HARRY…"
Harry's wails went up in volume.
"HOW I WONDER…ER… WHY YOUR NAME'S NOT BARRY…"
"Don't be so ridiculous, James," snapped Lily, arising so suddenly from the bed that James screamed in shock. "Of course his name isn't Barry."
She scooped Harry into her arms, and sat back down on the bed with him. Harry's crying desisted immediately.
On the other side of the room, Remus yawned widely. Sirius looked accusingly at James.
"I told you making Harry cry would wake her up! But nooooo, no-one listens to Sirius, he's just the one who comes up with the GOOD ideas all the time…"
"Actually, that would be me," interrupted Remus.
All the men in the room snorted. Including Harry. Sort of.
"Oooh, yes, this coming from Mr 'I-Don't-Know'," said James, rolling his eyes.
At this point, Lily whipped her head up and stared at Remus and Sirius.
"What are they doing here?" she asked, narrowing her eyes at James. Her eyes travelled over to Remus. "And why is Remus in his pyjamas?"
There was a short pause, in which Remus looked down at himself in mild surprise.
"Well, love…" began James, looking vaguely desperate as Lily turned flashing green eyes on him, "It's Harry's first Christmas, you know…they wanted to be here, and, er…"
Lily's foreboding expression snapped into one of sudden understanding. Carefully plonking Harry on the bed, she reached forward and seized the alarm clock, groaning loudly when she saw the time.
"Oh my God! Harry's first Christmas – I almost forgot!" She stared reproachfully up at James. "Of course I wanted to be up early for that! Really, love, you could have woken me."
Well, it's Christmas eve (at least, in my part of the world) and I'm SO childishly excited. Hope this got a little Christmas spirt into you! And happy holidays for those of you who don't!
Now, go on...'tis the season of good will...how about a review?