'Minerva, what do you want for Christmas?'
It was Christmas' Eve and the Castle of Hogwarts was deserted. All the students had gone home to spend their holidays with their families. The teachers had broken an age-old tradition and had left the Castle. Even the ghosts had left.
The only person at Hogwarts was a woman sit in an office guarded by two gargoyles , who was writing something on a sheet of paper. Everything was silent, except for the low noise of the quill moving on the sheet.
Suddendly a voice broke the silence.
'Minerva, what do you want for Christmas?' an old man with a long white beard asked from his portrait.
'Albus, don't be silly' the woman answered, without lifting her eyes from her paper.
'No, really, what do you want for Christmas?' he asked again.
'Come on! Everyone wants something for Christmas.'
'I don't. And, anyway, you can't give me anything. You're dead' the woman remarked without looking at him.
'That was very impolite to say, Minerva. But I've thought about it. I'll ask Aberforth to bring you my present. What do you want?'
'Nothing, I said'
'Do you want a lemon drop?'
'You know I hate lemon drops'
'What do you want then?'
'Peace' the woman answered lowly.
'What? What do you want?' the man asked.
'It's so difficult' the woman sighted.
'To live. To go on. After all that we lost. All all... after all that happened last year. How... how can we keep living? After all the students who died there, in the Great Hall, in the place where we are supposed to eat three times a day? How can we teach in those classrooms where so many innocent lives were broken? How can we look at Ginny Weasley or at Dennis Creevey or at Hannah Abbot, knowing what they have lost? How can we pretend to teach something to these boys and girls who have experienced more grief and sadness than us? How?'
'Hogwarts is not a cheerful place as it used to be when you were here, Albus. We're sad and full of grief. Everybody here has lost a friend, a parent, a relative, a loved one. Everybody. I haven't heard anyone laughing for ages. The students cry. The teachers cry. I even found Peeves sobbing in a broom closet, mourning Fred Weasley'
'Peeves sobbing?' Dumbledore asked surprised.
'Yes. And Sybill Trewlaney didn't predict anyone's death this year, because, she said, too many have died. Flitwick cries every time he sees Dennis Creevey. When I took my first speech as the Headmistress I began sobbing and crying and everybody did the same'
'This year everybody went home for Christmas because they're scared to stay here. Here, the place that used to be the home of all our students now is full of terrible memories for everybody. Even for me. Every place of Hogwarts hides a sad memory. The corner where Remus Lupin protected me from Dolohov. The stairs from which I saw Fred Weasley falling. The spot where I was when I saw Nymphadora Tonks being hit by Bellatrix Lestrange. Th-th...' she began crying silenty.
'I can't move on. We can't move on. It was too much. Too much blood, too much grief, too much death. I want peace. I want peace for my students. It's Christmas' Eve and I feel... I feel so much weak. And daunted. I'm really not in mood for celebrating. Nobody was, this year. We barely put the decorations on' she wiped a tear away from her cheek.
'I'm sorry, Albus. You've nothing to do with this. If you had been here you would have known what to do. You would have comforted us all. But I'm not you. I can't do it. And, anyway, to end the discussion, I don't want anything for Christmas. Now let me work, please'
Minerva started writing again and the two stood quiet.
'Anyway, it will come' the voice from the portrait said after some minutes.
'What, the lemon drop?' Minerva asked dryly.
'No, the peace. Not this Christmas, maybe. Not next Christmas. Some of you will never totally fully recover. But you will all find your peace again eventually. I promise you'
For the first time Minerva turned her head to look at Albus straight into his eyes.
'Really?' she asked.
'Really' he confirmed.
In that very same moment they heard some bells ringing in the distance.
'Merry Christmas, Minerva'
'Merry Christmas, Albus'
'Anyway, I'll ask Aberforth to bring you a whole stock of lemon drops'
'I- don't-like-lemon-drops' Minerva said snorting, but almost smiling.
A/N: Well, I guess this is my Christmas story... I hope you'll like it! Please, REVIEW!!!