Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling
The Blackest Christmas
It hadn't been a very good week for George Weasley. As usual, the week before Christmas was insanely busy at Weasley's Wizards Wheezes. As if that wasn't enough, an outbreak of flu had swept through Diagon Alley, taking down both his manager and his two assistants at the same time. Then, Luna got sick as well - leaving him with no help in the shop and worrying about a sick wife at home all alone. George didn't handle Luna being sick well, he never had.
Adding onto his misery was the fact that both Fred and George were working over the holidays to earn money for a summer trip they hoped to take. With Luna being sick, that had left no one free to pick up Callie that afternoon at platform 9 ¾. Fortunately, her boyfriend Michael had been coming in an hour before her, so it had been arranged for them to meet and come back together.
But when he arrived home, he found Callie getting out of a muggle cab instead. He rushed over; paid for her fare out of the small bit of muggle cash he kept on hand, and then collected her trunk from the back. She looked at him sheepishly the whole time they walked up the sidewalk, not volunteering information, but warily waiting for him to ask. He slid the key in the lock, twisted open the door and pushed her trunk inside, and then turned to her with a raised eyebrow.
"Not now dad." She said and tried to brush past him for the stairs. He reached out, taking her elbow to stop her.
She stopped and turned back, her arms crossed stubbornly over her chest. "We had a row, that's all. Not as if it is anything new."
George sighed and pulled off his heavy winter coat, hung it on the coat tree, and kicked his boots off before moving into the sitting room - signaling for Callie to follow him. It was the last thing she wanted to do, what she really wanted was to go to her room, to lie on her bed, and then to spend the rest of the night cussing out Michael under her breath. It wasn't going to happen, her father would never allow for such nonsense. Instead, she followed him in and sat down a far away as possible from him on the sofa.
"Now," he said steadily "Tell me what happened."
Callie turned to him, determined to be strong and stoic. She had tried that many times before, but looking at her father - facing him - made it seem as of the clock were turned backwards. She was no longer seventeen, she was five again, ready to cry to daddy about the great injustices of the world in which she was forced to live.
"Daddy, he's being so selfish!" She wailed, letting go despite herself and shoving up the sofa to throw herself into his arms. George sighed and put his arms around her, patting her softly on the back.
"Tell me what happened."
"He…" She began, hiccupping loudly through her sobs "He told me he can hardly see me while he is home over Christmas! Only Christmas eve and New Years eve!"
George sighed and tightened his arms around her. He'd had a feeling that this might be what was behind it. Michael was in his first year of university and he was struggling with his course work.
"He has to study?"
"That's what he says." Callie said sarcastically, as if she didn't believe it. "It's not fair dad! I hardly get to see him as it is, and I was so looking forward to having this time together!"
"I know you were sweetheart." George said patiently. He knew the past few months had been difficult for the two. For the first time since they had been together, they were at different schools, Michael away at University, Callie finishing her last year at Hogwarts. But Michael had been doing all he could to make it easier. He showed up in Hogsmeade once a month when they had Hogsmeade visits, even though it meant his giving up Quidditch and losing study time. He owled and sent gifts. It was far more than his own two boys did for their respective girlfriends, even Fred who was engaged.
"It's not fair!" Callie said angrily
"It's not as if he can help it sweetheart, he would be with you if he could."
"It's Christmas Dad! He's supposed to be with me…not off…"
George stopped her with a look. "He's studying Callie; you act as if he is out cheating on you."
"He may as well be!" She turned away and flopped angrily into a chair. "He is completely and totally ruining my Christmas!"
"Well, let's see how he likes it when he finds out I accepted a date with Adam Melkie this weekend."
George looked at her in shock, wondering how she could do such a thing.
"You did what?"
"Adam and I were both waiting for cabs and he asked me out, I said yes." She said smugly. "I'm not going to spend my whole holiday sitting around alone just because Michael is being selfish."
George couldn't believe his ears. Callie had overreacted to the bumps in her relationship with Michael at times, but she had been younger then - it was part of growing up. Callie was of age now, she was an adult. It was high time she start acting like it.
"Do you hear yourself?" He said, his voice just short of angry. "Do you hear how selfish you are being?"
"I'm being selfish?" Callie huffed "Because of Michael I am having the worst Christmas ever!"
He felt like someone had punched him in the stomach. It was partly his fault he supposed, he had always coddled her, spoiled her even. But this - this was over the line. A horrible line that no one had a right to cross. The worst Christmas ever? Just because her boyfriend had to spend the time studying instead of with her?
"No Callie," He shook his head, his mind flooding with memories that he rarely let in. "You have no idea what it is to have a bad Christmas. To have a Christmas that is so horrible it is filled with darkness where everything is black…"
Platform 9 ¾ had always been so loud years before, now it stood quiet and dismal. The witches and wizards who waited made no sound, not a single whisper. They felt unsafe out in public, away from the safety of their homes. Anything could happen here, Death Eaters could appear at any moment, and any of them could be taken off the street. The sooner the Hogwarts Express arrived the better.
In a corner, Fred and George Weasley waited with their mother. They had closed their shop weeks before; it was too unsafe to do business in Diagon Alley. The months since their brother Ron had disappeared with Harry Potter and Hermione Granger hadn't been easy on any of them. Soon after, Ginny had gone back to school under Severus Snape - the man who had murdered Albus Dumbledore. Having one of them back under their roof, even for just a couple weeks, would be a relief.
"There it is." Fred pushed away from the wall, nodding towards a faint bit of steam in the distance. The assembled around them gave a collective sigh of relief when the train pulled in and came to a stop. The three Weasley's pushed their way through the crowd to stand at the edge of the platform.
They knew the moment the doors slid open and kids started to disembark, that something was wrong. It was confirmed the moment they lay eyes on Ginny, because Ginny wasn't walking alone. She was with Neville Longbottom, and Neville had his arm around her shoulders, almost as if he were helping her walk.
"Ginny?" Molly reached out for her and Ginny fell against her, her arms tight around her mother's neck. "Ginny, what's happened?"
"They took her!" Ginny sobbed, "They took her mum, right off the train!"
Fred and George looked at one another, and then back at Ginny in their mother's arms.
"They took who Ginny?" Molly asked, afraid to know.
"Death Eaters" Neville said, his own voice shaking. "They took Luna, Luna Lovegood."
Fred felt his stomach clench, then he looked over at George, but George was no longer there. He turned and looked behind him to see George walking away. He followed him through the barrier, and then sat next to him on the bench.
He kept whispering the same thing repeatedly and Fred had to lean in close to hear.
"Not her, not her."
"My Christmas ended the moment I found out your mother had been taken. Everyday that week I watched while more names were added to the list of the dead - and the whole time, I was sure your mothers name would be one of them. I spent the next six months not knowing whether she was alive or dead, waiting for word, knowing that god knows what was being done to her. Do you have any idea how useless I felt, how badly I wanted to search for her but couldn't because I knew it would only get other people killed?
"Michael is doing what he is for his future, for the future he wants to give you. And you have the nerve to…
"The only one who is selfish here, is you young lady."
He turned away and picked up his coat again, then put it on and left the house. Callie stared at the closed door for a moment, and then her eyes drifted up the stairwell where she found her mother staring down at her.
"Mum…" Callie rushed up the stairs and threw her arms around Luna, pulling her in so tight that she could hardly breathe. "I didn't - I … I never really stopped to think about it."
"It's okay Callie." Luna said softly, slipping down to sit on the stair and pulling her daughter down with her. "It's not something we talk about is it?"
"Dad doesn't talk about it." She pulled away, looking at her mother sadly, trying to imagine what it must have been like. "Today was the first time that I can ever remember."
"You're right; he doesn't, not even with me." Luna smiled "But maybe we should."
"Mum…" Callie began nervously "What was it like, I mean, were you hurt?"
Luna looked at her for a long moment; it was something she didn't much like to think about. She didn't have much choice in the matter now that George had opened the door.
"I wasn't hurt physically, but my heart hurt, badly." She sighed - her mind filled with unpleasant images. "I missed your grandfather and my friends, but thinking about your father helped me, my memories of him. Dancing in the Hedgerows at the Yule Ball, his Valentines and the Mistletoe - remembering those things and moments spent with other friends, they made me smile."
"Daddy's right." Callie sniffed "I am selfish."
"Yes," Luna nodded "You are. But you also have a good heart and a sharp mind. You're smart enough to know you are, and clever enough to know how to change it."
Callie sniffled and wiped her face with her sleeve. "I need to cancel my date with Adam."
"That would be a good place to start." Luna kissed her on the forehead. "And you need to be honest with Michael, and accept that things won't always be easy, or that you will always get your way."
Callie nodded, and then stood. "You'll be okay if I go?"
"I'm a big girl sweetheart; I can take care of myself." Luna smiled "Now go fix this mess you've made for yourself."
"Okay," Callie bent and kissed her mothers cheek, and then she bounded down the stairs and was gone.
George's temper had burned down to annoyance by the time he had circled the block ten times. As he rounded to start round eleven he caught a flash of bright red hair enter their back yard, then disappear into the small shed that they used for apparating. Hopefully, that meant Callie had come to her senses.
He crossed through the back yard, and then went through the back entrance, tossing his coat over the back of a dining room chair before going up to the master bedroom where he found Luna stretched across the bed, a book on rare water creatures in her hands.
"Feeling better?" She asked, closing the book and letting it lay on her chest.
"Isn't that my line?" He asked, taking the book and tossing it on the table by the bed. He lay down next to her, and then pulled her tight against him, nuzzling his face against her neck.
"I don't think so." She brushed her fingers through his hair soothingly, he still seemed so upset. "Not this time."
"I'm very frustrated with your daughter."
"They're always my children when they displease you." Luna giggled, then reached under his chin and forced him to look into her eyes. It was horrible, seeing so much pain in his. He never talked about the war, not even with her. Mostly it was because of Fred, but part of it was because of her and after today, she couldn't help but wonder if maybe it was more than she had realized.
"No, it's my fault. I'm the one who spoiled her," He whispered "It's my fault she's going to hurt him."
"No," Luna kissed his forehead "It's because of you that she is going to break the date with Adam Melkie and go apologize to Michael."
"Only because I blew up on her." George smiled wryly; somehow, he couldn't feel guilty about it.
"She had it coming." She brushed a piece of hair away from his forehead, relieved to see that some of the pain had left his eyes. But they weren't finished, he had too much inside for her to leave it alone.
"You never told me that you were that upset, or that you wanted to go search for me."
George looked deep into her eyes, his chest throbbing in agony as he remembered how useless he had felt.
"I would have torn apart the world to find you..."
Christmas found him staring out the window, glaring at the snow. Snow had always fascinated him in the past, now it felt like a cage, a further barrier to what he wanted. He wanted to be out, tearing up the countryside looking for her. He was angry, galled by the fact that the Order was just going to leave her be, leaving her in Voldemorts hands.
They had even said that she was probably already dead, though he wasn't supposed to have heard them say it. Using the extendable ears wasn't always the best idea.
"George," Fred pushed their bedroom door open, standing just inside. "Mum said to come down for dinner before it gets cold."
"Tell her I'm not hungry."
He looked at him worriedly then glanced down at the bed. George hadn't even put on his Weasley sweater, and he had always loved them. This had something to do with Luna Lovegood, though Fred had no idea what. He knew the two were friends; he had goaded George into kissing the girl just the year before. But he'd had no idea it was this serious.
"George, I know you want to go looking for Luna, but the Order is right. You can't go off alone."
"And to risk a group of people for one person isn't fair, I got it." George finished irritably.
"I didn't say I agreed with the last bit, so don't be mad at me."
"I'm not; at least I don't mean to be." George sighed and turned back to the window.
"George, what is it with you and Luna? Is there something going on between you?"
"No, were just …"
George stopped, thinking back on the times he'd spent with Luna Lovegood. He remembered her pink quilted bathrobe, and dancing with her in the Hedgerows the night of the Yule Ball. How she had looked so sad the weeks leading up to Valentines Day that he had felt an overwhelming need to be her Valentine. Kissing her the Christmas before - how nice it had been, and how it had been so sweet and right somehow.
"I don't know what we are." He shook his head, his heart filled with happiness at the memories that clashed with the pain of missing her and the fear of knowing she was in danger. "But I know that this isn't right. She's just a sweet, innocent girl, and the thought that she is being held prisoner…of what could be happening right now…"
Fred looked at George and smiled to himself. Even if he didn't realize it yet, his brother was in love, it couldn't have been more obvious.
"I know," Fred said sadly. He sat down next to George, his eyes drifting out the window. "She'll be okay George, she has to be."
"You think so Fred?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"And you see?" Luna smiled "Fred was right."
"He usually was." George grinned
"We need to let this go George; it was a long time ago." She reached out, lifting his face to hers again. "We need to stop letting Voldemort hurt us once and for all."
George held her closer, and then nodded in agreement. There had been too much happiness in the years since the war to allow the sadness of that time ruin it. If he had to think of the war at all, he would remember seeing Luna again the night of the battle. He would remember pulling her into his arms and hugging her so tight she giggled. He would remember the sound of her laugh, and hearing her say that she had missed him too. He would remember that that was the night he realized that he was falling in love with her.
"You're right," He kissed her, and then pulled back and looked lovingly into her eyes. "I love you."
"I love you." Luna smiled back, her eyes just as loving. "And you're going to get sick if you keep kissing me like that."
"I'll risk it." He grinned and leaned in for another kiss, but the slamming of the door downstairs stopped them.
"You need to go talk to her." Luna smiled
"I know." He kissed her quickly, then slid out of bed
He opened the bedroom door, and then turned for the stairs, only to be slammed into by the redheaded ball of energy that was Callie Weasley.
"Daddy!" She put her arms around him, squeezing him tightly "Oh daddy, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."
He put his arms around her, giving her a tight hug that assured her that everything was okay between them, yet his voice was stern just the same.
"Thank you, but you're apologizing to the wrong person."
"I know, I already talked to Michael. He had to go to the library so we couldn't talk long, but everything is okay now." She looked at him sheepishly. "He's a little angry with me for making the date with Adam, but I reckon he has a right to be."
"I reckon you're right." George grinned a little and kissed her forehead. "And I assume you broke the date?"
"Well of course I did," Callie looked at him, her eyes wide with shocked indignation. "What do you think I am daddy?"
George looked at her, a small smirk on his lips. Callie rolled her eyes. "Okay, I'm spoiled and selfish, but Mum says I am smart and have a good heart too."
"Yes, you do." George kissed her forehead again, then went for the stairs "That's why you get to make dinner."
"Dad, wait." Callie reached out for his arm to stop him. "I just want to say … I'm sorry. For all you and mum went through during the war. And thank you, for being so brave. I'll never know what it was like to have such a horrible Christmas, and it's because you and mum, and…and Uncle Fred were brave enough to stand up and fight."
George's face beamed with pride as he looked at her. "There are no guarantees sweetheart, it's a bit foolish to think that another will never come to take Voldemorts place. But hopefully, it won't be for a long, long time."
"Not in my lifetime."
George shuddered at the idea of his daughter suffering as his wife had. He pulled her close then kissed the top of her head.
"I hope not sweetheart."
Epilogue - Valentines Day
"You took off work?" Luna looked at George while he shuffled through a stack of mail. "You never take off work."
"Is it really shocking that I would want to spend Valentine 's Day with my wife?"
Luna opened her mouth, but before she could, the door opened and slammed shut.
"Mum, Dad!" Callie ran into the room, still in her coat and boots, dragging Michael Forbrusher behind her.
"Callie," Luna smiled "Hello Michael."
"Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley." Michael said politely "Happy Valentine's day."
Callie grinned and pulled her coat off, tossing it into a chair, then yanked Michaels off, sending it to join hers.
"Mum, dad…" Callie grinned, "Michael gave me my Valentine's present, want to see?"
"Of course." Luna smiled, already fairly sure she knew what it was. It wasn't as if Callie was carrying a box.
"Look!" Callie exclaimed, raising her hand to show off the rather large diamond on her finger.
"So you're going steady now?" George grinned, even while a small bit of sadness filled him. He had known this was coming for a while now, Michael was a proper young man, he had asked for permission.
"Daddy really, don't be silly!" Callie said, bending down to kiss his cheek.
"It's wonderful news sweetheart." George kissed her forehead, then looked over to see that Luna had Michael tackled into a hug that left the boy looking shocked.
George watched Luna hug Callie, remembering how things had nearly come apart for them at Christmas, thinking about the first Christmas Luna was at University, when everything came together for them...
It was their second Christmas apart, he knew it was going to be bad, he had known it was going to hurt, but he had been foolish enough to think that it might have dimmed a bit. He'd been dreadfully wrong.
He sat by Fred's grave in the light of the full moon, the snow like a blanket of sparkling blue sapphires around him. He laid the wreath of Christmas roses at the headstone, then sat back on his knees, looking at the picture of Fred that had been fixed on the headstone with a permanent sticking charm.
Her voice came to him through the gloom and darkness of the night, a bright star shimming through the blackness.
"I thought I would find you here." She laid her hand on his shoulder and he reached up and covered it with his.
"I knew you would come." He smiled up at her, tugging her hand to pull her down to him. From his pocket, he pulled a bit of mistletoe and held it over his head. "Just in time, I need a mistletoe lesson."
She giggled and covered his lips with hers, kissing him long and lovingly. "The last thing you need are lessons in snogging George Weasley. As I've said before, you are quite learned on the use of Mistletoe."
She went to her knees next to him and he put his arm around her and pulled her close against his side, then buried his face in her hair. "I'm happy to have you home, I missed you so much."
"I missed you too." She turned her face to his "So much so that I am not sure I want to go back."
"I would love for you to stay, but your father would kill you." George grinned, "Besides, you love school."
"I do, but there are schools closer to home. Close enough that I could live at home while I attend."
"Or with a roommate?" George asked, his hand going to his pocket.
"Maybe with a roommate." Luna agreed.
"I think you should live with a roommate." George lifted Luna's hand and put a velvet box into it. "I think you should live with me."
Luna froze, staring at the red velvet box. It wasn't … it couldn't be. But it sure seemed like it. Her hands shaking, she pulled open the lid. Inside was an emerald cut diamond set on a flat platinum band.
"George!" Luna gasped "You don't mean this…you can't…"
"Luna," George gave her a look of deep admonition "You should know me well enough to know that I don't say things I don't mean. You should also know that I love you, and that my life is empty without you."
"But George, marriage…now?"
"You don't have to marry me now." George grinned "But, it just seems right that I ask you on Christmas don't you think? It was Christmas when we met in the Hedgerows, Christmas when we shared our first kiss and Christmas when Fred made me realize how much you had come to mean to me."
Luna sniffled and smiled "You were my funny Valentine."
"And I want to be your funny Valentine for the rest of our lives." George smiled and kissed her again. "All you have to do is say yes."
George looked down at his lap, wiping at his face with his sleeve. Luna had said yes, thankfully. She transferred to a school closer to home and they were married that summer.
"Daddy?" Callie put her hand on his shoulder "Daddy are you okay?"
"I'm fine." George looked up and smiled "I am just a very happy and very blessed man."
"Yes you are." Luna grinned, brushing her hand over her stomach. She sat down beside him, quietly patient while Callie and Michael put on their coats to go and share their news with his parents. When they were gone, she turned to him and smiled.
"George, remember what you said about being blessed?"
He leaned over and kissed her. "Of course I do."
"Well…you're about to be blessed again, in about seven months."
George looked at her blankly for a minute "Why do I have to wait…?"
And then it hit him.
"You're pregnant?" He looked at her as if she had just told him she had just been crowned queen of the world. "But I thought…after Callie, the healer said…"
"Apparently, the healer was wrong." Luna grinned
"Seven months." He thought deeply, doing the math in his head. "That means you got pregnant around…?"
"It means," Luna smirked "That you got an Outstanding on your mistletoe lesson last year Mr. Weasley."
George pulled her into his lap and grinned. A baby, a brand new baby to love and cherish. How could one man be so blessed?
"Mum will be so happy, she's always been pretty disappointed that I didn't get any O's on my O.W.L.S."
"I think were all going to be happy George." Luna hugged him close and kissed him.
"Happily ever after."
So, this is the end. I don't see myself adding anything else to this. Thank to everyone who has read, reviewed, and enjoyed this!