All I Want For Christmas Is You
By Nymph of the Night
In the distant west, she sees the sun setting.
A soft sigh escapes her lips as she collapses, defeated into the comforts of a low-backed chintz chair before her ever-littered desk. She absently runs her fingers through the numerous scrawls and scribbles on the sheaves of paper which have become so typical an adornment of her writing table, her mind pursuing it's own independent train of thought. From the corner of her eyes, she vaguely glimpses the sun exhibiting it's last show of luminescent grandeur as a blood red streak across the horizon, before the melancholy of the night engulfs it's vibrant radiance in it's shadowed arms of darkness.
Darkness. Her life seems filled with it.
Her hand, still ruffling inattentively through the jumble of essays comes to an abrupt halt as her delicate fingers clasp around a small, familiar object. She withdraws it carefully from amidst the clutter and holds it in her hand, staring unseeingly at it. For the briefest moment, her eyes glaze over with tears, but with a sudden, stiff jerk with of her head, she regains the momentarily-lost control of her senses. She fingers it's brilliant golden body lovingly and her nails trace the intricate pattern that embellishes it's exterior, at the same time, she looses herself in the bittersweet memories of it's gifter and the man she has long held dear.
Her lips curl instinctively in an effort to stop her tears from rolling down her cheeks as she pushes aside the memento somewhat reluctantly. Part of her desperately desires to hold it in her hands once more, remember him and cry out in longing; yet, she is not one to let her emotions show on her countenance.
Besides, it was not what he would have wanted, she persuades herself. He would have wanted her to move on with her life. She closes her eyes and leans back onto the chair, in an attempt to envisage his face again … those merry, blue eyes that so often captivated and entranced her ….
The room around her bears no suggestion of the festive season; it lays austere and unembellished as if to mark the end of just another ordinary day. There is not the slightest indication of Christmas Eve, save for a lone, pine tree in a forgotten corner of the room, unwillingly set up by her for one and only one reason.
He would have wanted her to.
A bitter smile etches itself on her face as she ponders on peculiarity of their relationship. Relationship? She shakes her head in contemptuous derision at her absurd contemplations. They had never had a relationship - she berates herself harshly for even considering such wasteful thoughts.
Whatever close semblance of a amorous bond they had shared, had wilted last year as he had distanced himself from her to such an extent, she had begun to find herself a virtual stranger in his world.
Two people, once so close … torn apart by the laws of humanity and merciless and unyielding
rulings of life and death.
It had never been a relationship, she recalls, as leaning back into the arms of her settee, her eyes turn heavenward as she deliberates on the asymmetric pattern of the ceiling. No, it had merely been a blind and unconditional trust of two individuals in each other, an absolute faith that when one needed the other, they would be there.
Yet, there had been those occasional travesties of a relationship, she could not deny that. Innocent hugs, chaste kisses, affectionate glares, dances and secret smiles reserved only for each other – had they all not been past the borders of merely a platonic association?
She shakes her head again in firm disagreement – assuring herself that it was only her desperation and craving for his camaraderie and … love … that was making her even think of such ridiculous and highly improbable thoughts.
All those unfulfilled passions should have been resolved years ago – if resolved at all. Now, all her vestiges of desire were thwarted by their separate existence in two diverse worlds – one of corporeal beings and the other of spirits of the deceased – two worlds that depended on each other to an extent unknown and yet, never intertwined. How she wishes they would.
Those unforgettable occasions they had shared in the enchanting company of each other, stolen moments secluded from the grasp of time and the outer world, now seem surreal and fake – like haunting memories from an eternity ago, reminiscences of a life she has never lived, yet it is these very remembrances that she turns to for solace when her courage fails her and these very recollections that she clings to in her darkest hours, savouring the joy of those past moments.
Else is lost.
Only she truly knows and appreciates the extent to which she depends on him – and now his memories, she realizes, as her gaze turns to the tree lying in the darkest corner of her chambers. Orphaned at the tender age of four and raised by an abusive uncle who couldn't have cared less whether or not she made it through the night, Christmas has been a novelty for her when she had arrived at Hogwarts. It had been he who had gifted her the first Christmas present of her life – the golden locket that now lay on her desk – remembered every festive season, never to be forgotten. Even now, in her darkest Christmas yet, she invoked upon his memories to carry her through the shadows of grim defeat that surrounded and threatened to overwhelm her.
From that first gift, it had become a custom for them to trade presents every Yuletide, no matter where they were and what they were doing. Every Christmas, the two of them always had one promised present under the tree, and by some unspoken custom, it had always been the first gift either would open.
She winces suddenly as her hands find their way mechanically to a desk drawer and uncover a pair of deep purple socks, embroidered with golden and silver stars. A lone tears carves it's path down her cheek as she lifts it in her hand and buries herself in the whiff of freshness emanating from it, trying desperately to picture the thrilled grin she had been anticipating to see on his face when he would open his gift this Christmas.
Now, she knows she never will see that smile. Instead, his body lies entombed in pure marble, flawlessly merging with the thick blanket of bitter snow that has settled on the grounds of the ancient stronghold.
Her thin stature shudders in a paroxysm of long-suppressed grief and the terrible, crashing realization of what she has lost dawns on her, more profoundly and painfully than when she had stared unseeingly as his motionless body had been carried down the funeral aisle. The epitome of emotional control and sternness for all those who looked up to her, she breaks down, her sobs speaking of lost love and longing for him, only him and nothing but him.
And when her eyes grow red and bloodshot from crying for a man long lost, sleep casts it's soothing spell over her drained form and she sinks into a peaceful slumber of dreams where she dances in his warm embrace once more.
When her eyes finally open to the light of the world, she feels stiff and sore all over, having fallen asleep in an uncomfortably small settee. She stretches and blinks, her eyes adjusting to the dark of the room. Dawn was yet to spread it's light on the world, she apprehends as she makes her way across the chambers to don herself in a more professional attire, her veil of impenetrable sobriety settled on her expressions once more.
However, she senses something different … something wrong …
The Christmas tree shifts into sudden focus and horrified, she comprehends that it has been dragged by some inexplicable force, to the centre of the room. Yet, it is not this unexpected shift in it's position that has startled her so much as the small packet that lay harmlessly at it's foot.
She stops and stands motionless, shell-shocked, seeing nothing and everything but that.
With a sudden burst of instinct, she runs from where she stands and crouches at the tree, knowing not why she has come, nor what she is doing, her unsteady hands tearing through the thick purple wrapper.
Slowly, her puzzlement is replaced by an expression of mixed emotion - endearing, bitter and ridiculous at the same time, and she struggles to fight the bizarre urge surging within her to laugh and cry all at once.
And the smile comes as do the tears, and she forces out a laugh at the irony of the world.
Albus Dumbledore. Dead and he could still make her smile through her tears like no one else could.
Almost affectionately, she picks out a small lemon drop from the packet that is his posthumous gift to her and drops it into her mouth gently, her tongue wrapping around it as she relishes it's sour yet pleasant taste, feeling his ethereal presence all around her and her adoring smile as he looks upon her from afar.
She straightens the crumples on the small scrap of paper in the packet and once more reads the two words addressed to her through filmy eyes, her tears blurring the ink on the parchment.
In the east, so close that she could almost touch it, she watches in ecstasy as the sun rises.
Author's Notes – I know it's angsty, but I'm depressed at the current condition of my life. Angst isn't really the mood of Christmas, but there are some people celebrating the season without loved ones and this goes out to all of them … especially to my best friend who lost her granddad last week.
I've never written like this before and I'm not sure if it's good, I haven't really revised it since I wrote it at five today morning. Noticed the start and end of the fic? Oh well, tell me what you think.
Have a Merry Christmas!