Merry Christmas, Frayed Misfit!
"Pretty!" Luna struggled to hold her small daughter still in her lap as she reached across the table to reach whatever object had caught her attention for the moment. Luna grasped her chubby hands in her own larger ones, rubbing with her thumb the soft skin that only babies seemed to possess.
"What does she want?" Ginny asked from across the table as Al tried to crawl out of her arms.
"The glitter," Luna answered, nodding her chin towards the colorful, shimmering sparkles that lay in bowls on the smooth oak of the table. Ginny grinned as she gave Al a large plastic snowflake to placate him.
"It's enchanted to shine extra-vivid. I figured the kids would love it." Luna nodded and finally acquiesced to her small daughter's squirming, following Ginny's lead and handing her a distraction, a bright slip of paper that went straight into her mouth. "By the way, where's Hermione? I thought she was coming."
"She is," Luna told her, glancing out the window to the half full moon that hung suspended in the twilight sky. "She said she would be a tad late. She had a Healer appointment."
"Oh, that's right." Ginny dipped a long finger into the bowl of glitter, spreading it leisurely over she and Al's scrap of fabric. They were silent for several minutes but for their children's odd babblings, and Luna found that the designs on she and her daughter's own fabric progressed quickly.
"These are lovely stars, Ginny," she commented, and as if in agreement her daughter grasped a handful and flung them into the air, laughing as they shimmered magically before her, scattering in her hair. Ginny and Luna laughed too, and Al let out an indefinable screech as well.
"Well, Daisy likes them." Luna quirked a smile and ran her fingers through Daisy's fine blonde hair. She had no doubt that it would darken with time, as hers had, but for now it was a pale gold, like daffodils littering the hills near their home during the springtime. She bent down to kiss the top of Daisy's head, on the spot where a twinkling deep blue star had fallen. Her mouth encountered downy hair and the coolness of the star, and when she rose up it was stuck to her lips, just barely clinging there.
"Luna? Ginny?" Hermione's voice broke the silence, her words ringing out like a bell through the still air. She entered from the foyer, brushing snow out of her tangled locks and off of the tiny Rose's knitted hat. "Sorry I'm late," she apologized, sliding next to Luna and settling Rose down next to Daisy. The two girls exchanged several vague squeals of delight and began babbling to each other. Hermione spoke over them, unbuttoning her coat to reveal the slight swell of her stomach and saying, "The Healer was running late. Typical. How are you lot doing?"
"Oh, here," Ginny said exasperatedly, lifting Al, who had been squirming and whining to join his cousin and friend, and plunking down beside Luna and Hermione. Al immediately began jabbering along with Rose and Daisy—all three of them looked gleeful to be in each other's company.
"Come here, honey," Hermione cooed, tugging Rose into her lap. She pulled a piece of bright fabric towards her and allowed Rose to run her hands over the fuzzy, static filled cloth curiously, and Luna took Daisy into the crook of arm, letting her scrabble for the brilliantly colored plastic jewels scattered wildly across the table. Al, impatient at being left alone, seized a strand of his mother's long hair and whined. Ginny sighed and then settled him on her hip, holding out another plastic snowflake, which fascinated him. They all laughed as he licked it, and then decided that it wasn't as good as it looked and tossed it back down on the table.
"Ginny!" Luna suddenly exclaimed, running her fingers over the glue stained paper. Ginny looked up, her hair falling in waves that glinted half gold from the light cast by the fire in the corner. "I've been meaning to ask you—when are you due?"
Ginny's mouth formed a sharp O, and Hermione's eyebrows drew together. The children watched with hazy fascination, aware that some event was taking place. Daisy stuck her thumb in her mouth and stared, her brown eyes wide. Al jerked on a strand of Rose's short hair, and when she cried out Ginny snatched him up, murmuring a reprimand that made him sullen. It broke the stillness, and Hermione smiled abruptly. "You're pregnant, Gin?" she asked, clapping her hands together.
"Well—yeah, but—" Ginny still looked shocked, but her face slowly relaxed, and she grinned down at Al. "I just found out yesterday. I haven't told Harry yet. How did you know, Luna?"
"It's just there," she answered, truthfully. She couldn't think of how else to explain it. After all, wasn't it obvious the strange lilt Ginny walked with, the way her hands flitted like butterflies to her stomach without thinking, how much she cuddled Al and held him close? It was just the way things were, an absent addition to the universe, Ginny's pregnancy, something that nudged time forward a bit more, made not only James and Al grow, but Daisy and Rose as well.
But right now, they couldn't see that. Right now all that mattered was Ginny's recounting of how she had discovered the life inside of her, and Hermione's prodding and teasing about that Contraception Charm she'd taught her back in Hogwarts. "Oh, shut up," Ginny ordered finally, licking a finger and rubbing down a stubborn cowlick on Al's head. "Hey, I think we're done!" she announced proudly, looking down at the now lavishly decorated piece of fabric she and Al had been working on.
"I think we are too," Luna said, shifting Daisy on her hip and looking at Hermione, who smiled and kissed Rose.
"Let's hang them up," Ginny suggested, always ready to display her hard work.
"Yes, let's," Luna agreed, standing up and brushing bits of glitter off her robes. "Here, Hermione, give me Rose and we'll go into the sitting room," she offered. Al had already scrambled down from his mother's lap and was tugging on his Auntie Luna's hand, urging her to go on. She set Daisy down beside him and lifted Rose, the youngest, still unable to walk without falling, up into her arms.
In the sitting room, the little ones entertained themselves around the Christmas tree while Hermione and Ginny collected their carefully made artwork. Luna glanced toward the fireplace, warm and flickering, before tugging off her robes and laying them across the arm of the sofa. Hermione had bought her Muggle blue jeans for her birthday, and she wore them religiously until they were now so worn and frayed that Daisy often played with the frazzled edges when she crawled around the house at ankle level, not quite up to the challenge of walking at the moment.
Luna sat down and crossed her legs, watching the babies clutch at the dangling silver ornaments on the tree. Al's head of dark, messy hair contrasted sharply with Daisy's light blond locks pulled up with a pale ribbon, though Rose outdid them both with her auburn curls bouncing over her shoulders. They looked oddly normal together, three children with three very different faces and personas—Al quiet and serious, Rose chaotic and demanding, Daisy soft and observing. Nevertheless, they fit, like some odd puzzle, three families sewn together in a strange way that probably wouldn't have happened if not for a single set of chance meetings and small words exchanged. How eccentrically the world worked, sometimes!
"Here we are!" Ginny sang, entering the room holding a tray of sweet-smelling biscuits. "I hope you don't mind if I used your kitchen, Luna. I brought a box of Witches Instant—you know, that new stuff? It's actually pretty good. At least, James thought so. He was shoveling them in his mouth." She laughed, and it sounded throughout the room, seeming to draw the children from their examination of the Christmas tree. They toddled over, and the women let out a heartfelt coo as Al and Daisy pulled up Rose as she stumbled, nearly taking them both down with her.
"Aren't they precious?" Hermione said, helping herself to a biscuit and leaning back on the sofa, legs crossed. Ginny and Luna nodded in agreement as each child dutifully clambered into their mother's lap.
"So, who wants to put theirs up first?" Hermione asked. Luna stood up, leaving Daisy to attempt to maneuver a small piece of the biscuit into her mouth, and took their creation from Hermione's hands.
"I will." She walked over to the fireplace, feeling the flames warm the bottoms of her blue jeans and her bare toes. Carefully, she scanned the mantel for a hook, and with delicate precision slipped the design over it, standing back immediately to see how it looked, shielding it with her body so that no other would see them before she had got it perfect.
Satisfied with it, Luna smiled, brushing strands of filmy hair to the nape of her neck, and stepped to the side. "What do you think?"
"Oh, Luna," Ginny said, her lips forming a wide smile. "Oh, it's gorgeous."
"You got it just right," Hermione laughed, standing up and leaning over the stocking, tracing the nearly too gaudy jewels adorning it. "Especially the socks," she giggled. Ginny nodded vigorously, chewing on her biscuit.
"It looks just like Dobby." Yes, Luna thought privately, it did. She had helped Daisy to press shining stars and crisscross patterns onto the feet of the long-dead house elf, had twisted her fingers into her own to embellish the eyes with glittered that sparkled in the firelight. She thought it looked perfect.
She lifted Daisy up onto her hip and felt the warmness of her tiny body against hers, and saw her eyelashes, so inherently long and thick, flicker over the stocking. Observed her hand reach out to trace the dazzling letters that spelt out her name on the very top, and leant down to press a kiss to the very top of her head. She thought that she felt the paleness of the minute star against her lips, lifting out from her daughter, radiating throughout the room.
I hope the premise of that was understood— they've all gathered at Luna's house to make Christmas stockings, and Luna and Daisy have made one shaped as Dobby :) lol. Well, you did ask for House-elf shaped Christmas Stockings! Merry Christmas, Fray!