"Baby it's cold outside," he sang to her, taking her hand and pulling her along the road. "Come on, Lils, you have to admit, it might be cold, but look at it all! Everything is lit up!"
"Just a bunch of lights," Lily said. "Honestly Sirius, it's not that –"
"Wait till you get on the river!"
Lily sighed, her breath creating a fog in front of her. She frowned.
"I don't think I want to skate."
"Of course you don't," Sirius said exasperatedly, rolling his eyes. "You just want to stay in and be a totally Scrooge."
Lily looked at him in surprise. "How do you know about Scrooge?"
"Who doesn't know about Scrooge?" Sirius commented dramatically. "Siriously, Lily. And the Grinch. Maybe that's who you are. The Grinch. Grinchy Lily. Grinchy, grinchy –"
"Okay, shut up, I get it," Lily said, smacking his arm lightly with a small smile. Sirius grinned dopily at her. "So I'm not in the spirit, but is skating really –"
"Wait. Until. You. See. It."
Lily rolled her eyes. "Well, are we almost there?"
"We should go on a sleigh ride," Sirius said, his eyes shining. "That would be great! And romantic. And great!"
Lily laughed. "Sirius, get a hold of yourself!"
"There," he said, stopping in his tracks and grabbing Lily's arm. "Did you hear it?" he asked seriously.
"Hear what?" Lily asked.
"That sound. Listen."
They both stood there in silence, but there were not bells, no carols, only the sounds of the traffic. Lily laughed again.
"What?" she laughed. "You're crazy!"
"You're laughing," Sirius said. "that's the first step."
The continued on their way, and Lily really couldn't wipe the smile from her face. Maybe it was the cold, the snowflakes landing on her nose, or Sirius humming three different carols at once and trying to catch the snowflakes on his nose. She was happy. But was it because of the season?
"Okay, stop," Sirius said, and Lily stopped in her tracks. "Look ahead of you," he said, the excitement evident in his voice.
Lily looked, and gasped. It was true – there were people skating on the river. But the amazing thing was, the people on the river skating did not look Christmassy, but they were all smiling and laughing. And there were lights everywhere. Not enough to light everything up as bright as day, but just enough that the air around them all seemed to sparkle, and maybe not with just light. It really was a sight to see. And Lily was seeing it.
And then she saw James and Remus, engaged in a snowball fight born out of boredom, and both of them were laughing and rolling around, covered in snow. Lily could not help the smile that came to her lips, and Sirius smiled broadly as he looked at her.
"Great, isn't it?"
"It's awesome," she sighed, and did not notice the fog of her breath or the cold that had chilled her earlier. "Are we going to skate, or what?"
So they skated. Lily and James held hands, both unsteady, and both laughing as they went along. Sirius and Remus followed them, and Remus was finally smiling. Sirius could finally have fun with his friends again, and they laughed all night long. The time raced by, and Sirius had to tell them to turn around or they would not get back until morning. The talked, laughed, and Sirius finally got them all to sing carols with him. Lily and James began to sing louder and with more energy than Sirius.
They all crowded Sirius and Remus' flat and drank hot cider. James kept humming under his breath. Lily straightened the star on top of the tree and threw tinsel everywhere.
"It's like snow!" she laughed, getting some in Remus' hair as well as her own.
Lily and James left singing. Remus collapsed on the couch, still nursing his cider.
"Did you have fun?" Sirius asked, and Remus nodded, but did not smile.
"Honestly, did you have fun?" Sirius asked again.
"Yes," Remus sighed. "I'm just tired."
"Do I have to tie you up in tinsel to get a smile out of you?" Sirius asked silkily.
Remus grinned. "You could have spiked my drink."
Sirius only looked at him silently, a smile on his face. "What are you thinking?" he asked after a moment.
"Oh, nothing," Remus lied.
"Tell me," Sirius pressed, poking him in the side, and Remus squirmed.
"You really want to know?"
Sirius nodded, and Remus smiled.
"Well you see, I really can't stay," he said, trying to hide his smile, and Sirius cocked his head.
"What do you mean?"
"I've to go away," Remus spoke, looking to his cider for support.
"I don't –"
"This evening has been," Remus said with rhythm, "so very nice."
"What are you –?"
"My mother will start to worry," Remus continued, a lilt in his voice, and Sirius laughed lightly. "My father will be pacing the floor –"
"Listen to the fireplace roar –"
"I really can't stay," Remus breathed as Sirius lent towards him.
"Baby it's cold –" Sirius sang lowly, kissing him lightly, "out –" he kissed him again, "side."
"Happy Christmas, Sirius," Remus breathed against his lips as Sirius wrapped his arms around him.
"About time you lot came around."
Author Note: I have no idea if there really is a river in London or wherever they are living, but there is one in my city, and it is awesome. And I wish everyone could skate it, because it really is an amazing experience. And it really does inspire you. Seriously. If you are ever in Manitoba, Canada…
So, there it is. Happy Holidays, everyone! This could be the end, there could be another chapter, there could be a sequal! Keep your eyes open. You never know what this season can bring!