It was Christmas.

It was Christmas, eight or nine in the evening, and all the windows are lit up with firelight.

It was Christmas, and Remus Lupin knelt in the snow, teeth clenched to stop them from chattering and a grim expression on his face. A slight moan escaped his lips as his body desperately shook in the snow, eyes closed, listening to the wind and waiting for her.

She came, quietly but for the slight jingling of bells around her wrists. A muggle thing. "Darling"

He ignored the endearment, but allowed her to slip his cold hands into the pockets of her cardigan. Their eyes met and she stared calmly into his rage, refusing to give in to his anger. "I'm not going to apologise, Rem."

Remus gave a snort of contempt. "I don't want you to apologise to me, Lily."

"You told me to do it."

"Excuse me?"

"You told me to kiss James Potter, and I did it, even though I knew you and I would both hate it, and anyway it's over now, and I don't fancy feeling guilty about it on Christmas."

Remus was far away.

"You can kiss me too, if you'd like."

He shook his head, but a tiny smile stained his lips. "Lily Evans, you are possibly the strangest girl in the world."

It was her turn to look distressed.

"Remus Lupin, I admit I am a lot of things. I am sweet sixteen, and I can't whistle or cook. I love the snow and can't stand Quidditch, and I'm wonderful and overwhelming and sometimes frightening. But never strange."

This cheered Remus up enough to gruffly slide a hand along her shoulders and press his lips awkwardly to her temple. Lily pulled from her pocket a tiny silver bell on brown string, and tied it to his dangling wrist, an unhappy frown on her face.

Wordlessly, Remus pulled her up and they walked back to the castle hand-in-hand, the silence resigned on his part, and guilty on hers.

It was Christmas and the quiet sprinkling of bells rang out only to the two of them, like a secret that punctured the cold night and held them together, despite James Potter, despite the whispers of an oncoming war. It was Christmas and they were all that mattered.