A Hogwarts Christmas Carol

Part 2

Christmas Day

Harry jumped out of bed and grabbed a piece of parchment to send a letter to Remus. His hands were shaking and he kept glancing towards the drum and stuffed reindeer still sitting at the top of his bed. 'How will I ever explain this,' he wondered. 'Could something have happened to Remus last night too?' His brain was racing with the possibilities while he hurriedly wrote asking Remus to come to Hogwarts. He explained that something wonderful and strange had happened during the night and that it was too much to tell him about in a letter. Tying the parchment up he was not surprised to see Hedwig fly into his dorm room. She landed with a hoot and Harry gently stroked her soft white feathers as she extended her leg to attach the missive. She always seemed to know when he needed her.

"Bring this to Remus, Hedwig. I really need to speak with him today. Be sure to wait for his answer." The owl gave him an affectionate nip on his fingers and flew off with a hoot.

Harry then grabbed some fresh clothes from his trunk and began dressing. All the while, he kept his brilliant green eyes locked on the toy drum and reindeer afraid that if he blinked they would disappear. After tying his trainers, he reached over to examine the toys more closely.

The drum appeared worn. Each drumstick had tiny teeth marks on the handles, evidence of a teething baby. Harry grinned in spite of himself. The instrument itself was decorated with tiny griffins and a faded set of initials was painted on the front: H. J. P. along with a date, December 25, 1980.

The stuffed reindeer had one ear sewn back on and the antlers no longer stood straight. The original stuffing inside had been weakened apparently from being carried around from the left antler. One eye was askew and the small black nose seemed to have been chewed on. It had been a well-loved toy.

Harry was not about to let them out of his sight. Grabbing his book sack, he reverently placed them inside. He couldn't wait to show Remus. He also still had the odd desire to speak with Professor Snape. Keeping the sack with his old toys next to him Harry quickly opened his presents from the Weasleys and Hermione. Once that was done, he picked up his book sack and left the tower to go down to breakfast. He would await Remus reply and approach Professor Snape on a full stomach. It was going to be an interesting day...

Remus Lupin dressed hurriedly all the while keeping his eyes on the mirror next to his bed. Sirius mischievous grin kept laughing back at him accented by an occasional wink.

"Hurry up Moony. I'll bet Harry is as anxious as you are this morning," Sirius image teased.

"Are you going to tell me what happened to Harry last night or not?"

"Now Moony, where would the fun be in that?" Sirius barking laugh admonished. "Harry should be the one to tell you himself."

"Humph...the poor kid is probably in a state of shock right now if his night was as fantastic as mine. He's got to be more than a little awed and confused," the werewolf commented.

"Not as much as Snivellus is!" Sirius told him gaily.

"Why, what happened to Snape?"

"Hah! What didn't happen to him?" Sirius eyes glowed with mirth. "I can guarantee this will be a Christmas he never forgets."

"Why do I get the feeling there is more going on here than just Harry having a happy Christmas?" Remus questioned shrewdly. Studying the image of his friend, he conjured a cup of tea and sat down on a chair by the fire.

"Ahh...Moony you're as intuitive as ever." Sirius pursed his lips, gray eyes resting on his old friend.

"But you're still not going to tell me anything are you Padfoot?"

"Nope," Sirius replied. "You'll understand it all soon enough. "Consider it the first and greatest adventure of the new Marauders."

"The new Marauders?" Remus head jerked up. "What are you up to? I'm getting too old for this sort of thing you know," Remus sighed anxiously.

"Nonsense Moony," Sirius chuckled, "between your sensibility, Snivellus Slytherin cunning, and Harry's bravery..." He was interrupted by a tapping on the window. "Good. Hedwig has arrived. The real fun has begun!"

Remus frowned as Sirius disappeared from the mirror. Quickly opening the window against the winter cold, he let Hedwig into the warm room. Untying the note from her leg, he gave her a piece of toast while he read Harry's brief letter requesting he come to Hogwarts...

Severus Snape placed the book on Occlumency he had selected for the Potter boy on his desk. Pausing briefly, he looked back at his bookcase and decided he would need to convince the boy of his intentions to resume his lessons. With a brief flick of his wand, he summoned the worn copy of Dickens, "A Christmas Carol, which had belonged to his parents. The inscription on the flyleaf should do the trick. Muttering a quiet incantation both books were neatly gift-wrapped in the traditional Slytherin green and silver. 'Quite appropriate for Christmas,' he sneered to himself. He then proceeded to his bathroom for a fast shower and dressed in his customary black robes.

It was still quite early. Pacing nervously he watched the clock on his mantle until he felt it was late enough to disturb the Headmaster. Grabbing a fistful of floo powder, he threw it into the hearth before he could change his mind.

"Headmaster Dumbledore," Severus called in his most civil tone.

"Ahh...Severus, Happy Christmas my boy. I was wondering how soon I would hear from you on this fine morning."

"Headmaster, you know I do not particularly celebrate Christmas. I find all this joyous frivolity hypocritical."

"Nonsense, Severus. Christmas is a time of joy and hope."

"So I have been led to believe. Any other time I would scoff at such idiocy. However, I have had a most unusual experience." He rubbed his hands down his robes absently, long fingers toying with his buttons.

"Really?" Dumbledore's blue eyes twinkled back merrily from the fire. "What sort of experience?"

Severus was still uncertain if the night's experience had actually occurred. By the light of day, the whole idea seemed absurd. His logical mind would ordinarily dismiss it as having drunk too much wine before falling asleep. He hesitated awkwardly unsure how to reply. Following a short silence, he nodded to himself before addressing the image in the fire.

"Headmaster I have had a singularly odd experience in the form of a most unsettling dream."

"Indeed. It would not have had anything to do with our young Mr. Potter perchance?"

Severus Snape started and blinked at the old man dumbfounded. 'Blast,' he thought, 'how the hell does he always know?' Recovering himself quickly, he nodded solemnly, dark eyes wide with amazement at Albus' uncanny ability to know what was happening within the castle. "Perhaps if I may have a private word with you before breakfast?" Snape asked aloud, refusing to give anything up over the floo connection.

"Of course, Severus, come to my quarters and we shall have some early morning tea before we go down to the Great Hall. I am most anxious to hear your tale."

"Very well, Headmaster, I shall be there shortly," Snape agreed.

Dumbledore nodded and his head disappeared from the fire. Snape turned back towards his desk and absently ran his long fingers over the two books. Nodding to himself, he picked up his packages and swept from his quarters. It would do no good to delay the inevitable questions...

Remus Lupin penned a brief reply to Harry telling him he would be at Hogwarts sometime that morning. He decided not to mention the mirror saving it for a surprise as Sirius had suggested. He simply told Harry that he had a special gift for him and that he would see him later. Sending Hedwig on her way he paced nervously for a moment aware that Sirius was observing his actions.

"Well...what did my godson say?" Sirius asked impatiently.

"Just what you probably expected; he asked me to come to Hogwarts as soon as possible. All he would tell me is that something wonderful has happened."

"And so it has Moony," Sirius remarked with a sly grin. "How soon do we leave?"

"As soon as I can wrap you up and have a word with Dumbledore," the werewolf answered grabbing a pinch of floo powder from the mantle and throwing it into the fire. "Albus Dumbledore," he called summoning the Hogwarts Headmaster.

"Don't be surprised if he already knows something is going on," Sirius chuckled mysteriously before disappearing once again.

Remus gaped at the empty mirror, hazel eyes wide with amazement. "Now how in the bloody hell would Albus know about any of this," he muttered to himself before being distracted by Dumbledore's familiar voice behind him.

"Remus, Happy Christmas! I had a suspicion you would be calling."

"A suspicion Albus?" Lupin questioned turning to face the head of the man in the flames.

"Yes dear boy. I have been having an early morning tea with Severus. It seems he has had a most extraordinary experience." Dumbledore's eyes twinkled mysteriously.

"Did he?" Remus asked neutrally. "Is he still with you?"

"Indeed. In fact, I suspected he was not the only one. Perhaps you would like to join us. I'm sure Harry will be happy to see you."

"I just sent him a note telling him to expect me," Remus told the elder wizard. "He wanted to talk to me about something important."

"I have no doubt." Dumbledore smiled mysteriously. "How soon can we expect you?"

"I will be leaving as soon as I can wrap up another gift for Harry. I think you will find it interesting to say the least. Not to mention Severus," Remus chuckled picturing the Potion Master's scowl.

"Come directly to the Great Hall and we shall all meet for breakfast. Then we can all have a nice chat in my office."

"Right," Remus affirmed as Dumbledore's image vanished...

Severus Snape shifted uncomfortably in his chair waiting for the Headmaster to finish his conversation with Lupin. He was not used to having these kinds of things happen to him. It defied logic. The dead were not supposed to interfere with the living. Let alone come back from wherever they went on to afterwards to do it. The house ghosts were always adamant about not speaking about the afterlife. Nor what occurred once you died.

"A Knut for your thoughts Severus?" Dumbledore asked turning back to look at him as he resumed his seat.

"Obviously Lupin and Potter have had a similar experience to mine," he answered sarcastically.

"I shall enjoy listening to what you all have to say." Dumbledore beamed merrily. "Christmas magic is among the most potent in the entire world and it has touched the three of you."

"Do you honestly believe that?"

"Yes Severus, I do, for I felt it too." The old wizard smiled back mysteriously.

"Headmaster," Snape looked up dark eyes startled, "did something happen to you as well?"

"In a manner of speaking," he replied secretively. "However, we shall discuss all of the circumstances following breakfast with Remus and Harry. Come now, Severus, we don't wish to be late. I'm sure the house elves have prepared a most sumptuous meal for this Christmas morning." The Headmaster rose indicating that Snape should follow him from the office and the two men descended from the tower...

Harry reached the Great Hall and was among the first to arrive. With so few students staying over for the holiday the tables had been moved over and one long table placed in the front of the hall for staff and students. Glancing about he noticed that Professors Flitwick and McGonagall has already arrived along with the two fourth year students who were staying over from Ravenclaw and the three second year Slytherins. The two fifth year Gryffindor girls were still upstairs and the four students from Hufflepuff had not yet arrived either.

"Good morning, Mr. Potter, Happy Christmas," Professor McGonagall greeted him. "You seem in better spirits than last evening," she said studying him with a shrewd smile. "Did you sleep well?"

"Yes, Ma'am. I had a rather nice dream for a change," Harry answered politely.

"Very good Mr. Potter. It's nice to hear you didn't have any nightmares again."

Harry nodded in agreement as McGonagall turned her attention back to the little Charms professor. He helped himself to some scrambled eggs and bacon all the while watching for Hedwig's return. He was hungry for the first time in weeks but his stomach was still tied in knots. He hoped Remus would be able to come soon since he wasn't sure about approaching Professor Snape alone and didn't want to see Dumbledore just yet. He was buttering a slice of toast as Hedwig flew in and landed on his shoulder extending her leg. Untying the note he gave her a piece of bacon and she flew back off to the owlery. He smiled happily as he read Remus' reply telling him he would be there.

"Good news Mr. Potter?" Flitwick's high voice queried politely.

"Umm...Yes Sir," Harry answered noncommittally. Reaching for his glass of pumpkin juice, he pretended to concentrate on his meal. He could sense the two Professors studying him curiously but they politely refrained from asking any questions...

"Time to go Padfoot." Remus Lupin grinned at the figure looking back at him from the mirror. "Time to wrap you up!"

"I hope you use red and gold Gryffindor colors," Padfoot smirked.

"I just happen to have a piece of paper that I saved from the gift you gave me last year. It should fit quite nicely."

"Ahh...that's my Moony. Always the frugal one."

"More like preferring to spend the money on his friends than wasting it on gift wrap. There is nothing wrong with recycling good wrapping paper Padfoot!" Remus snorted.

"I never said there was Moony. I was merely complimenting you on your ability to make use of things others would think are a waste."

"A handy trait I inherited from my mother," Remus laughed. "Now behave while I get you all wrapped up and we can get over to Hogwarts. I can't wait to see Harry's face when he sees you and hear his story which you have so eloquently refused to tell me about." Sirius merely gave him a cheeky grin before his face disappeared beneath the paper. Grabbing his cloak Remus headed downstairs and out the front door of Grimmauld Place apparating to Hogwarts. He appeared at the front gates and hurried up the path to the school...

Professors Dumbledore and Snape had just reached the main hall and were heading towards the Great Hall when the huge front doors opened to admit Remus.

"Remus your timing is excellent," Dumbledore greeted the young wizard. "We can all dine together."

"Good morning Lupin," Snape said inclining his head.

"Happy Christmas Severus. It seems we have quite a bit to discuss," Remus hinted. He carefully patted his pocket where he had concealed the mirror. He idly wondered if Sirius were listening. Smiling to himself he pictured the look on Severus face when he saw his old rival.

"It would seem so Lupin. If the Headmaster is to be believed there is some exceptional magic at work," Snape commented dryly as the three men headed into the Great Hall.

Harry looked up as the Headmaster, Remus and Snape all entered the room together. He grinned broadly at Remus even as his stomach did another flip at the site of the Potions Master walking beside him. Dumbledore was smiling broadly, blue eyes twinkling merrily as they headed towards the table. Remus slid in next to Harry while the other two took seats opposite them.

"Happy Christmas Harry," Remus greeted him with a brief hug. "Did you like your presents?"

"Yes Sir. They were brilliant." Harry could not conceal his joy as he thought about what was hidden in his book sack on the floor beside him.

"What did you receive Mr. Potter?" Dumbledore questioned.

"Mr. and Mrs. Weasley gave me the traditional Weasley jumper, Ron sent me some chocolate frogs and a Cannons poster and Hermione sent a book all about becoming an animagus. Remus' was one of the best though. It was a journal all about some of the adventures he had with my dad and Sirius while they were students here at Hogwarts." Harry couldn't help but notice Snape's frown at that bit of information. "I'd like to thank you too, Headmaster, for the nice book you sent on dueling."

"You are quite welcome Harry. Perhaps later we could work on some of your skills?"

"That would be great. Did you all like your gifts?"

"Indeed yes, Harry, I think the woolen socks will come in quite handy and the peppermints look delicious." Dumbledore beamed.

"I really liked the new gloves Harry. In fact, I am already using them. I'm saving the chocolate bars though for a special occasion," Remus laughed.

"What about you Professor?" Harry questioned cautiously. He had secretly sent the Potions Master a small gift. They had been getting along a little better this year and Harry honestly wondered if anyone ever gave the man anything. He was glad now since his experience of the night before and hoped that Snape wouldn't feel too uncomfortable.

"I shall put the set of wooden ladles to good use Mr. Potter. It was very thoughtful on your part," Snape replied nonchalantly taking a sip of coffee.

"Tell me Harry, how did you sleep last night?" Dumbledore asked studying the boy.

"I already told Professor McGonagall that I had a good night Sir," Harry responded unable to meet his intense gaze.

"Any unusual dreams or occurrences?"

"What?" Harry's head jerked up automatically and he touched the bag beside him without thinking.

"I was asking if you had any strange dreams or occurrences. It seems that both Professor Snape and I did. While Remus hasn't said as much I believe that he may also have had something happen." All three men looked at Harry expectantly.

"Well...Er...sort of Sir. I guess you could say I had both." Harry shifted uncomfortably looking from one to the other.

"Ah...that is what I thought. Since I see we have all finished eating suppose we go up to my office and try to sort out what has happened," Dumbledore suggested rising.

Harry looked at Remus who gave him an encouraging smile and rose to follow the Headmaster. Snape merely arched his brow sardonically, dark eyes studying Harry with interest.

"Remus," Harry whispered, "I have something to show you."

"I have something for you too, Harry, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Professor Snape may too," Remus answered softly, patting him on the shoulder.

"Lupin is quite correct Mr. Potter. I left a small package for you up in the Headmaster's office. I believe you will find it both useful and of some interest." Snape looked at him down his nose but his voice showed no malice.

Upon reaching the headmaster's office Dumbledore bade them to sit and they grouped around the fireplace. Remus and Harry sat down on the small sofa, Dumbledore and Snape facing them in identical chairs.

"Now I would like to begin by telling all of you that I had a singularly interesting dream last night. I dreamed that each of you had a unique visit from a different spirit. It ended with the three spirits sitting happily in my office. They seemed quite satisfied with their night's work."

"Who were they Sir?" Harry ventured cautiously.

"Your parents and godfather Harry," Dumbledore replied calmly. "Unless I am mistaken you were each given a sign that this was a truly miraculous happening along with some kind of advice." Dumbledore looked from one to the other. "Harry would you like to tell me what happened?"

"Well Sir," he licked his lips nervously, "I dreamed about my mother. She took me back in time to my first Christmas."

"Was there a reason she chose that Harry?" Remus asked gently.

"She wanted me to see that I was loved and still am. You were there Moony along with my parents and Sirius. Even Professor Snape came by and left a gift." Harry glanced uncomfortably over at the Potions Master. "It was a book of nursery rhymes and bedtime stories." Snape's dark eyes widened in amazement. He had all but forgotten about that long ago Christmas present. "When I woke up this morning I thought it was just a wishful dream. Until I bumped my head," Harry explained reaching down for his book sack. "I found these next to me." Opening the bag, he pulled out the old drum and reindeer. Remus gasped.

"Harry," he whispered, "let me see those." The werewolf gingerly reached over and examined the old toys. "James and Lily gave you this drum...the reindeer...it was from..."

"Sirius," Harry interrupted. "My mum showed me. She said I had to stop grieving and learn to trust again or everything would be lost." Harry looked at Remus, green eyes filled with unshed tears. The werewolf took Harry in his arms. "It just hurts so much Moony..."

"I know Harry. That's why I'm here. I love you very much. I know I can't replace Sirius in your heart but give me a chance. Sirius would want you too and if you don't believe me you can ask him for yourself!"

"What do you mean?"

"I also had a dream last night. Mine, like yours, turned out to be more than a dream." Remus shook his head in wonder.

"What happened Remus?" Dumbledore inquired blue eyes sparkling with interest.

"Sirius paid me a visit."

"Really?" Harry questioned excitedly.

"He's worried about you Harry. He only didn't come to you since it was felt Lily wanted to see you so badly."

"You were Christmas present," Harry gasped. "My mum said that it was like the Dickens' story. She said I was Christmas passed. But if you were Christmas present then who...? Harry looked sharply at Snape.

"That's right Mr. Potter. I was shown Christmas future. However, I think Lupin should finish his tale before we move on to mine."

"Thank you Severus." Remus nodded. "Anyway, Harry, Sirius knew how badly you felt without him and wanted to be able to help. You have to understand though that he is dead and that this will not be permanent."

"I understand but what did he say?"

"He knew you felt guilty about his dying and wanted you to feel you could still talk with him if you wanted. He didn't want me to feel badly either. We both need time to heal. He wants you to feel comfortable with your new family."

"New family?"

"Yes but maybe he should explain that to you himself."

"How? Will he visit me like he did you?" Harry couldn't keep from feeling excited and it showed in his voice.

"He's arranged for you to be able to call him when you feel the need to talk," Remus replied soberly. "This is a very special present, Harry. You must promise me that you won't abuse it," Remus said reaching into his pocket to remove a small package.

"I promise," Harry agreed seriously. "I would never do anything to hurt you Remus." Harry hugged his guardian as he took the small package. Opening it gingerly, his green eyes went wide when he saw what it was. "But Remus the mirror was broken and it didn't work."

"No Harry your half was broken. Sirius' half was stored away with his things."

"It won't work without the other one and Nearly Headless Nick said Sirius has gone on..." Harry's voice cracked.

"Now stop that whining right now Kiddo!" Sirius voice growled from the mirror. Harry jumped at the sound and almost dropped the mirror but Remus caught it in time. "Sure... now he's dropping me on the floor," Sirius grinned at Lupin as he handed the mirror back to Harry.

"Sirius," Harry choked, "is it really you?"

"Coming to you direct from the afterlife," he teased with his barking laugh. "I want you to understand though that I will only be here with you until the end of the war. You weren't responsible for my death."

"Sirius if I hadn't gone..."

"No Harry! It was my choice to go to the Ministry that night. You and Moony have no business feeling guilty! Now I want you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get on with your life. I will be here to help when you need to talk but you have to trust Moony, Albus, and much as I hate to admit it, Snape!"

"I will Sirius. I promise. But why will you only stay till the war is over?"

"Because by then you will be a grown man Harry. You certainly will not want me around interfering with your love life now would you?" Sirius joked. "Besides, I will still be with you. You just won't be able to see and hear me anymore. Do you understand?"

"Yes. What about my parents can I talk to them through the mirror too?"

"Afraid not, kiddo, but they will send messages through me from time to time. Lily is smiling right now. She's glad she spent last night with you. Your dad wants to let you know he's really proud of you. He also wants you to buckle down and get on with your life. You have a great destiny Harry. I know it's hard to face but everyone is counting on you."

"I'm scared, Sirius. How the hell am I supposed to stop Voldemort? I'm only sixteen years old!"

"You won't be alone Harry and you still have time before you have to face him. Rely on your family. You have Moony, Albus, the Weasleys and even Snivellus...er...Severus. They all care about you," Sirius reiterated. He noticed the slight frown on Harry's face as he glanced across the room. "Don't let the greasy git fool you Harry. He cares too."

"How did you know Professor Snape was here too?"

"It's my job to know Harry. I am in the afterlife you know," Sirius remarked with amusement. "I'll bet he has one hell of a scowl on his face too hearing my voice again." Sirius didn't try to hide the glee on his face as he looked up at Harry. "Now I want you to share the mirror with Moony and if need be there may be times I will have to talk with Severus if only to annoy him for a little fun."

"You won't get in trouble will you?" Harry demanded worriedly.

"I'm only kidding Harry. Nevertheless, there may be times when I will want to talk to Severus. He and I may not have liked one another but he did mean it when he told you that he didn't want to see me dead. It is going to take time but you and he will get past your issues with each other. He knows this and I want you to understand it too. In fact unless I'm mistaken he said he also has a gift for you."

"I do," Snape addressed the voice in the mirror.

"Then lets get on with it Severus. Time is of the essence you know. I think you should tell them what happened last night with James."

"You saw my dad?" Harry looked up curiously.

"James and I had a most interesting night," Snape answered acerbically. "He was able to remind me of the task at hand. He also let me know that I have treated you unfairly."

"Sir I added to that though. If I hadn't been so reckless..."

"No, Mr. Potter, there is no need to defend yourself. I foolishly let my dislike for your father and godfather interfere with my judgment where you were concerned. It will not happen again."

"Severus perhaps you should tell us what happened?" Dumbledore interceded.

"Unfortunately unlike Remus and Harry I did not have a pleasant night. I was shown what will happen if we fail to defeat the Dark Lord."

"What Professor? I need to know," Harry asked nervously. Snape studied him for a few minutes and then nodded.

"Very well, Harry, I believe you will be able to handle what your father was good enough to show me. It is imperative that you master Occlumency. Should you fail to do so all those you care for will die."

"He will kill them?"

"Yes and then he will see to it that everyone in this room suffers. We will be among the last to go."

"How?" Harry whispered.

"The Dark Lord will take over your mind Harry. He will have you order Wormtail to kill Lupin following a trial by his new administration. After that, he will have you put me under Imperius following my being tortured. I will be too weak to resist. The Headmaster will die by my hand on your command," Snape whispered unable to look at Dumbledore.

"It is all right Severus," Dumbledore remarked gently, "please continue."

"He will then use Avadra Kedavra on Harry after which he will give me to the Dementors," Snape shuddered.

"But if this is the future..."

"No, Harry, it is a possible future," Dumbledore stated forcefully, "that is why your father went to see Severus last night."

"Is this true Professor?"

"It is Mr. Potter. That is why he came and why I have brought you these small gifts." Snape reached over to where he had left the neatly wrapped books on the mantle and handed them to Harry. "I know this will sound absurd under the circumstances but Happy Christmas Mr. Potter. I would have preferred to spare you that story but it is imperative that you understand what may happen."

"Severus is right, Harry, the future is not set in stone. That is why we are being given this chance. It's up to all of us to make sure what James showed Severus doesn't happen," Remus explained patiently as Harry unwrapped the gifts.

"The Fine Art of Occlumency and Legilimens," Harry quoted the title of the book in his hand. "Thank you Professor. Will you teach me again?"

"As soon as the holiday recess is completed. In the meantime, I expect you to read all the chapters on Occlumency. Once you have mastered it, we will move on to Legilimens with the Headmaster's assistance. His skill in that area surpasses mine.

"Thank you Severus." Dumbledore smiled.

"What is the other book Harry?" Remus inquired curiously.

"It's a copy of Dickens' Christmas Carol," Harry responded.

"I found that this morning Harry." Snape arched his brow. "I have no idea how it came into my possession but I think it should go to you. It was on the table in my room this morning. Read the flyleaf."

"It was a gift from my mum to my dad on their first Christmas together," Harry gasped.

"That is why I felt you should have it. It will help to remind us both of what we need to do." Snape inclined his head.

"We will Professor. I refuse to be the cause of so much misery. Voldemort will not win this war!" Harry's green eyes blazed with determination. "I will stop him and every time I start to feel like I can't I expect all of you to show me this book!"

"And so we shall Harry," Dumbledore answered blue eyes twinkling.

"Well Snape, I think its time you all got to know one another a bit better. I think you'll find Harry may look like James but there is a lot of Lily in him too and I don't just mean his eyes," Sirius laughed from the mirror.

"I have been telling you that for the past few years Padfoot," Remus admonished with a grin.

"Hey, I still haven't told Snape what a great howler you are yet," Sirius joked fondly.

"As usual, Black, you always seem to want to have the last word. Don't you ever shut up?" Snape scoffed.

"Only when I'm asleep Snivellus."

"Humph...he talks in his sleep and I should know. We only shared a room together for most of our lives," Remus laughed and they all followed suit.

"I know when it's time to go." Sirius pretended to pout. "I will see you all later. Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!" Sirius disappeared from the side of the mirror.

"Uh...Sirius...wait!"

"What is it Harry?" Sirius asked reappearing.

"I just wanted to tell you that's the wrong story. It's a line from "Twas the Night before Christmas, not A Christmas Carol."

"Grrrrr..." Sirius growled unable to suppress a grin.

"I love you Sirius."

"I love you too Harry."

"Well...now that we have been the witness to a bit of holiday magic I think we could all do with a bit of a break. Peppermint anyone?" Dumbledore beamed merrily as they all accepted a piece of the candy Harry had given him as a tray of assorted goodies appeared on the coffee table.

While the adults began to make plans for the continued war effort Harry happily sat with his mirror and started to read the book on Occlumency. Every now and then Sirius would appear nodding in satisfaction. 'If Voldemort thinks Harry is bad I can't wait to see the look on his ugly face when he sees what the afterlife has in store for him,' Sirius grinned to himself. Harry had overcome the darkness that had threatened to overwhelm him. They had turned the tide back to the side of the light and would win the war.

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