Disclaimer: Not Mine.
"Okay Ron, lets go." Hermione stood by the door with a wool hat pulled down over her ears and a scarf tied high on her neck nearly covering her mouth. He looked down at her too large boots seeing they were his and grinned to see her hands disappear in the sleeves of his too large coat.
"Did you remember the gloves?"
She lifted her right arm and wiggled her mitten-covered fingers at him, which he could barely see in the darkness of the sleeve.
"You sure you can breathe in there?" He stood and pulled last years Christmas jumper over his head, and then yanked on his cap. "Ok, let's go."
"Ar ou ure engh?"
He pulled down her scarf and tilted his head as he grinned at her. "I said, are you sure you are warm enough?"
"Oh, I thought you were asking me if I wanted to stay here." He smirked and stepped around her to open the door. He laughed as she tried to stomp past him only succeeding in making funny slapping sound on the tiles.
They trudged down the pavement toward the tree lot, Hermione humming Christmas carols and Ron blowing on his cupped hands, which he would then shove back into his pockets. His cheeks were soon as red as his hair as the wind caught him full in the face.
"You know, I could transfigure a tree form that potted thing in the corner. Dad always just uses something else. He says it's less messy that way."
He did not understand what she said but could tell by her eyes that shown over the scarf that it was not a good idea. He looked back up and saw the tree lot and stopped, turning around and looking at the distance they had come.
"A little tree. A tree we can put on the coffee table. Right? Like you said?"
Again, her words were garbled but he felt reassured when he saw her head bob up and down and the sounds that came out from the scarf did not sound harsh. He figured he could carry a small tree the distance. He draped his arm around her shoulder and felt her lean into him as they made their way to the last crossing before the lot.
Ronald was sure that the smaller trees hid behind the half-full lorry parked at the back of the lot. Twice he started to walk over to it when Hermione's hand would start flaying in the direction of yet another too tall tree and strange sounds would spew from the scarf. He calmly picked up one after another, stood the tree on end and thumped it to the ground to loosen the branches.
He knew better to sigh when she shook her head, and found another for him to display. Patiently he found one that seemed right and was about to give it a thump when the sales man took it from him and turned smiling at the coat.
Ron looked at his hands, now sticky from the pine tar and showing small red marks and shoved them back in his pocket to avoid her chiding him. He knew he should have worn gloves and looked down at Hermione wondering how many pairs she wore under the mittens. He allowed him self a small shiver as the wind came up behind him and pushed at his back reminding him that it was getting colder and darker and the walk back longer. Looking up he saw grey clouds gathering and knew if they did not hurry, they would be carrying the tree through fresh snow.
"This one's a fine tree Missus." The sales man grabbed the branches and ruffled them down, pulling on the ends as he thumped the stump on the ground. "Yup, not to big and full all around. No holes in this one."
Hermione nodded her head and raised a sleeve to her mouth trying to pull down the scarf. Ronald grinned at her attempts and took the tree from the man.
"I think she wants this one, right, Hon?" He looked at her head bobbing and saw the happiness in her eyes. He reached over with his free hand and pulled down her scarf.
"It is perfect, Ronald, just what I wanted." She smiled again and kept nodding at him. Pulling the scarf back up to keep her warm, he turned back to the salesman.
"Okay, so I guess she wants this one."
"Bloody hell you say." Ron looked back at the tree and saw her head bobbing again.
"Bloody hell, eighty pounds. I could have used that bush you call a plant in the corner and saved eighty pound." He scowled at her and saw her eyes narrow and her brow wrinkle.
"Fine, here goes Christmas dinner." He reached in his pocket and pulled out seventy, then dug for his coin until he had the total. "You deliver right?"
"I have a boy with a sled, he only charges…"
"Never mind." Ron put the tree on his shoulder the best he could, letting the top drag the ground behind him as he felt Hermione's hand slide around his waist. He looked down, saw her eyes, and knew inside the scarf she had a smile for him and suddenly the tree was not so heavy.
He made it back to the apartment only needing to set the tree down twice. He glanced up the pavement the second time he had hefted it up and knew the lightness was from the lack of water and the dryness of the needles. He looked at Hermione, noticed her eyes were still on his, occasionally looking at the tree, and hoped she had not noticed the trail of green growing behind them.
Two hours later even a blind woodpecker would have noticed. Hermione stood with her hands on her hips walking in a circle around the tree tapping her wand to the palm of her hand.
"Ronald, maybe it needs water."
"It needed water Hermione. Too late now, dead things don't drink."
"Well, just put the bare side to the wall."
Hermione looked around the small apartment then walked to the far wall, pushing a chair out of the way. "This one will do, put it here."
"I meant which bare side."
They stared at each other then back to the tree as tiny snips of sound told them more needles had just hit the floor.
"Eighty Bloody pounds." Ron pouted. "I paid eighty…"
"I know Ronald. I heard." Her bottom lip trembled as she looked at the tree.
"Ah, Hermione, it's okay. I am sorry. I really don't care about the money."
"It was a tree or a good meal, now we won't have either," she said with a sniff.
"Come on." He cupped her face in his hands and bent down to kiss her lips. "You can't cook anyway so what difference does it make?"
He saw her face, and felt her stiffen at the same time the words fell out of his mouth. Swallowing hard he tried to grin knowing he could not stuff the words back in. He had tried before when caught like this and had learned just to take the 'look' .
"I am going to take a shower Ronald." She turned and stomped down the hallway as he watched her backside with a smirk. "Alone."
He looked at the tree, took out his wand, and levitated the tree to the wall for fear his touch would break more branches. He managed to use his wand to put the silver bulbs on what was left of the branches, to afraid of fire to use the lights. He found three packages of tinsel and figured it would have to be enough would hide the sight.
As Hermione was stepping out of the shower and slipping her robe on he was just finishing up and stepping back to admire his handiwork.
"That is the ugliest thing I have ever seen." She said stepping into the room. "I love it."
She ran to him and put her arms around his neck, pulling him down and kissing both cheeks before finding his mouth. "Thank you Ronald, thank you so much."
Ron peeked over her head and looked at the tree frowning. "Umm, Hermione, it's starting to lean."
"My Dad always put a nail in the wall and tied it up so it wouldn't fall." She looked at the tree wistfully as Ronald found a hammer and transfigured a nail from the last coin left in his pocket.
While he ran twine from the nail to the tree and back to the nail Hermione took two sheets from the closet, spread them out under the tree, then took a bucket from under the sink, filled it with water and sat it next to the tree.
"Fire." She said nodding as she sat on the sofa and pulled up her feet. "Now it's perfect."
"Perfect?" Ron sat down next to her heavily and put his arm around her shoulders.
"Hermione, I hate to say his, but that is the ugliest thing I have ever seen sitting in a living room. It does not even smell like a tree"
"Don't be silly." She smiled at him. "It's Christmas."
"No really, don't you smell something?"
"It is just the tree warming. By morning the whole apartment will smell like Christmas."
"It will smell like something but I am not sure it will be Christmas."
Ronald pulled his arm from around her shoulders and looked at the tree, then standing he began to peek between the crisp limbs until he found the crushed nest that still held the remains of two slightly turning eggs. Pulling out his wand he did away with them then looked back to Hermione who now had her head lifted up sniffing the air.
"My, Gods, Ronald! Is that you?" She pinched her nose and looked at him in horror. "Meel's ike otten gg"
He grinned and sat next to her pulling her hand down from her nose. "We could go to the Burrow you know. That or Ginny invited us for dinner."
"No Ronald. This will be out first Christmas together. I want to spend it with you."
He looked back at the tree that now had a decided list to the left, and smiled as he pulled her closer.
"Ronald?" She turned her head and looked up at him. "Have I ever told you about the history of the Christmas Tree? You see, there was this man named Luther, Martin Luther…"
Ronald leaned back and pulled her over his chest and into his lap as she continued to tell the story that would become part of their Christmas Tradition. He sighed, looking at the tree and smiled knowing that tomorrow they would eat soup from a tin and half a box of crackers and find it a feast.