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Chapter 19: A Potter Christmas
Luckily for the Potters, the Christmas season was brighter and merrier than the sad trip to St. Mungos. It took Lily several days to get her head straight after seeing what happened to Frank and Alice. More than once she wondered why James and herself had been brought back more and more. The more she questioned it the less of a conclusion she seemed to be able to come up with. Eventually James convinced her to let the matter go and enjoy the holidays.
"Let it go Lils," James commanded her the third afternoon he had found her brooding over tea after seeing Frank and Alice. "We don't know why and we'll probably never know. What we do know is that we are here, alive, and our son needs us. It's Christmas Lils, please let it go." Lily sighed as she lowered her tea to the table before she stood to hug her husband tightly.
Despite seeing Neville's parents and learning of their sad fate on top of the other terrifying experiences the house was alive with energy, as the holidays loomed closer. It made Lily smile with joy to see her son back to being his happy self. Harry and his friends helped Sirius, who bounced around the house happy to be having friends and those he considered his true family home for Christmas.
Sirius with the help of his godson and his friends turned the dull house in a merry home filled with joy and cheer. Sirius danced around the house merrily as he sung Christmas carols and decorated the gloomy looking house with tinsel, Christmas balls and put Santa hats on the mounted heads of former Black house elves. The dull, dark house was brightened significantly as fairy lights and glowing Christmas lanterns lit up the house. Sirius, with Remus's help he bought a large Christmas tree that was nearly over decorated with ornaments and lights.
During the decorating process, Lily came face-to-face with a portrait of Sirius's long dead mother. The portrait screamed curses and foul words at the stunned redhead until the last Black yelled at the portrait,
"SHUT UP, YOU OLD HAG!" Before slamming the curtains in her still screaming face before jabbing his wand to place several spells to keep her quiet. Afterwards, Sirius sheepishly turned to face Lily,
"Sorry about that Lily. Though she's been dead for years, that bitch is still here ruining my life."
It wasn't long before presents began to pile up under the tree. The Weasleys all went out with Harry, Hermione, Remus and several other Order members to Diagon Alley to do a little Christmas shopping. The 'extra' Order members were Lily and James of course using the remains of the Polyjuice Potion from the hospital visit to number one: Christmas shop along side their son and two: get out of the house.
"Poor Sir—" muttered James as Lily shot him a look before he coughed into his hand and amended, "Snuffles, still all cramped up in that bloody house. It's a pity Dumbledore won't—" Lily squeezed James's gloved hand tightly to shut him up.
"Yes Jimmy, but if he is to remain safe, he must…" James rolled his eyes at his wife as he thought back to the near two years Lily and himself had spent locked up in Godric's Hollow. A frown passed over his face as he remembered that in March 1980 Dumbledore called Lily, Frank, Alice, and himself to Hogwarts for an urgent meeting. The memories from that night still left a bitter taste in his mouth. It was only fair he felt sorry for his best mate being in almost the same situation…
As they reached Gringotts bank, Lily pulled Harry aside and handed him a piece of paper with a vault number and a description of something. Lily then looked up towards Remus who was to accompany Harry into the deep underground vaults with a soft nod. As they watched the former professor and student disappear in a swirl of snow and people James pulled Lily away so they could complete their shopping for Harry before he returned.
"I hope they are able to find it," mumbled Lily as she shot one last glance over her shoulder at the imposing façade of the bank.
"They will." James chuckled as he could almost see the look of shock and awe on his son's face upon finding the second Potter family vault. When James and Lily married, they moved most of their money over to the vault Lily had gotten in her seventh year to hold the money and items she had inherited after her mother died. That was the primary vault James and Lily used for money and in turn, Harry, when it came time for him to go to Hogwarts.
"I'm just glad Petunia never found out about either of the vaults," scoffed Lily as they stepped into the Quidditch Supply Store, dusting the snow off with her glove as James cleaned them up with a brief wave of his wand.
They had placed their Gringotts vault keys in Dumbledore's hands and trust as part of the contingency plan if something happened to them. He was not to give or infer to Lily's sister that Lily and her husband had such large sums of money and valuable family heirlooms. Both Lily and James were sure that if Petunia and her greedy husband found out about the vast wealth that their disposal; they would have sold it all off as soon as they could and not a single penny would be left or go to Harry.
"Likewise." James, not long after his parents' deaths sold all the Potter family estates preferring a London flat and eventually a simple home with Lily than a large mansion (two to be exact and a summer home in Brighton) and cumbersome, useless heirlooms that James did not want or need.
The money they received for the historic houses and property alone gave James and Lily a quite a small fortune. Of course he did keep quite a number of things he had been planning to use in their family home and as gifts to his wife and children. However when the threat against their unborn child was exposed James and Lily settled down at the modest cottage at Godric's Hollow with modest furnishings and a modest lifestyle. Now Harry was on a mission from Lily to retrieve something from that vault which was in James's name but now Harry's by law as James was 'dead'.
Together Lily and James selected a number of Christmas presents for their son without being too expensive or too much. Since Lily and James had already put in the time and effort into Harry's main present. So that by the time Remus and Harry had returned with the item in question in a velvet box wrapped in a scarf of Lily's, James had left to return to Sirius's house with his son's presents. (With his son's help, James used Hedwig and slipped Harry a short list of presents to buy Lily)
"Thank you sweetie," whispered Lily to Harry as she slipped the item into her pocket. Harry then made his way back to the Weasleys and Hermione to continue with his own Christmas shopping.
"So…" asked Lily as she leafed through a transfiguration book James had been eyeing, "What did he think of the other vault?" Remus chuckled as he described the gob smacked look on Harry's face upon entering the modest sized vault to find it nearly stuffed to the gills with paintings, furniture, heirlooms and a large case full of jewelry. Lily smiled as Remus told her of how Harry had stared open mouthed in amazement at the Potter family heirlooms and how he opened up each box of jewelry his bottle green eyes wide with wonder.
"I was the same way," chuckled Lily as she forced herself to swallow down two mouthfuls of Polyjuice Potion with a shiver before shoving the flask into her pocket, "James took me to the vault before we married."
Lily's eyes glinted warmly as she remembered the surprise trip to Gringotts that James had insisted that his soon-to-be bride take with him. He made her close her eyes as a goblin opened the heavily guarded vault. Lily was all giggles and nerves as she stepped into the vault as James used his wand to light the chamber's torches in a warm glow before making her open her eyes. The amount of treasured items made Lily's breath freeze in her lungs.
"All yours, Mrs.-soon-to-be Potter," James whispered in her ear as he wrapped his arm around her waist. He then lead her to the jewelry case, asking Lily to choose something to wear for their wedding day as a wedding present. As her son had done, Lily opened each case her eyes glittering with the reflection of jewels. She eventually chose a simple yet elegant silver and diamond necklace that she wore on her wedding day. Only after the wedding she returned it to the vault knowing it was too precious to keep with her always. She learned that it was made in the 1700 as a wedding present from James's ancestor, Robert de Haliey as a gift for his daughter on her wedding day to William Potter.
"Oooh the irony." Remus agreed as he and Lily left the bookstore for a jewelry shop several shops down. Lily asked to have the necklace appraised for its current value. When the witch behind the counter opened the velvet box, the poor old lady nearly fainted. She assured Lily it would be properly appraised before Christmas; Lily smiled in thanks leaving the jewel under the name of her alias. Out of the corner of her eye, Lily saw Remus leaning over a case looking at necklaces, particularly one with violet and pink stones.
"Need help, Remus?" asked Lily, sidling up to him with a sneaky grin on her face. Sirius, James, nor herself were blind, they had seen the way Remus and Tonks had looked each other. Tonks openly admired and talked to him while Remus was quietly shocked the young woman took such an interest in him, yet his brown-amber eyes showed affection and reverence to the violet haired witch that meant only one thing…
Remus spluttered and shook his head, blushing like a schoolboy as he jumped back away from the case. Lily chuckled as she leaned over to examine the necklace, it was beautiful, made of violet stones and pink diamonds decorated the silver metal in the form of key. Lily reached into her pocket and pulled out three Galleons and slipped then into Remus's hand.
"Do it." She then winked as she whirled around and left the store before Remus could object to the money or the thought.
Christmas morning was abuzz with excitement as one by one the sleepy occupants of the now decked out Number 12 awoke. The Weasleys all shuffled silently downstairs for a quick breakfast before scooting off to visit Arthur in the hospital before everyone else awoke. James had been awoken by the twins' attempt of not making too much noise as they tried to move 'quietly' down the stairs. Yet, they still made quite a ruckus anyway. James moaned as he rolled over to grab his glasses and look at the small gold clock on his bedside table. It was 7:01 in the morning; with a sigh James rubbed his eyes, put his glasses back on the table, rolled over, and fell asleep.
An hour later the elder Potter awoke again to feel someone playing with his hair, James blinked and stared blurry eyed from sleep and poor eyesight at a blurred face. He could make out a pale face, two spots of green and flaming red hair. It made him chuckle as he reached up, managing to cup Lily's face and pull her down for a kiss.
"Happy Christmas, Jimmy," Lily whispered against his lips, James merely smiled as Lily put his glasses on his face, "Shall be go wake your son?" James nodded, as he stood up, stretched, putting on his slippers and dressing gown before helping Lily with hers. Together the two crept to Harry's room, the door slightly ajar from when Ron left earlier that morning.
The room was quiet since Ron had left; Lily chuckled as she spotted her son's bed to the left side of the room near the shrouded window. Harry was curled up tightly under the covers; his back turned to them as they only thing they could see was tuffs of his black messy hair.
"Just like when he was a baby…" James whispered to her as they tiptoed into the room.
It brought back to both parents a rush of memories of their first and only Christmas as a family before death and time had separated them. Harry was nearly five months old a mix of bundle of energy and a sweet baby who liked to sleep. Just as they were doing now, James and Lily had went in to awake their little boy that Christmas morning.
Once Harry had been awakened and given a bottle, the Potters set to work opening presents. Lily remembered that Harry loved to tear off the wrapping paper off the presents. (With a little help from either mummy or daddy to get him started) Later in the evening Sirius, Remus, Peter and other friends came over for Christmas dinner. Sirius proudly handed Harry his Christmas present, which the baby was all too happy to open then play with: stuffed black dog.
Lily squeezed James's hand as they moved around the bed. James sitting next to Harry, his son's back turned to him while Lily managed to squeeze in close to her son's sleeping form. James gently began to rub circles into Harry's back just as he did when Harry was a baby. Instantly the teenager's brow furrowed and a soft moan came from between his lips. Lily stroked his messy hair as she leaned in to her kiss her son's now smooth brow. Harry then moaned and rolled over to face his father.
"Harry, sweetheart, wake up…" Lily continued to stroke his hair until Harry made a few more motions and a noise to suggest that he was finally waking up. James handed his son his glasses as his son's hand reached out for them.
"Morning…" yawned Harry as he stretched as his eyes flickered between his parents. Lily leaned again and kissed her son's cheek as James ruffled his hair.
"Happy Christmas, Harry," murmured Lily to her son. James smiled widely at him as Harry returned the statement before hugging his mum then his dad tightly. James leapt up from the bed after his son released him, grabbing Harry's dressing gown and slippers from the desk next to Harry's bed.
"Come, Harry! Up, up! Present time!" James chirped happily as he tossed his son his dressing gown and Lily the slippers so that she could put them on the floor as Harry swung his legs over the bed to settle his feet into the slippers. Harry was bouncing around with a large grin on his face as he pulled on his dressing gown. Lily and James followed smiling as they held hands, watching as Harry turned around to grin at them saying,
"Our first Christmas together!" James chuckled as he shook his head at his son as they trudged down the hallway.
"It's our second Christmas together silly. We had one when you were nearly six months old!" Harry blinked as he quickly did the math in his head and his mouth formed a small 'O' shape as his green eyes widened. He had forgotten, well, didn't remember that he had at least one Christmas with his parents before…
James rested a hand on top of his son's head ruffling his hair. He was sure that Harry was thinking about the other Christmases he had spent with his aunt and uncle. The melancholy look upon the boy's face was so identical to his it was staggering. James's eyes flickered to Lily as she could see the knot in her son's brow. From what Lily had seen of her son's memories Christmases and birthdays for Harry were none existent in her sister's home.
Bile filled Lily's mouth as she remembered her son's eleventh birthday compared to what they had seen in a previous memory a month before with her nephew's birthday. Forty presents! Forty for one boy while Harry received nothing from his aunt and uncle! Even at Christmas they sent random items like a coat hanger or a sock! For fourteen years her son was given the bare minimum while her nephew, Dudley, was given everything his greedy heart desired to the point of over spoiling the child. Petunia had made it a point to Harry that he was not truly part of the family.
"Lils," hissed James softly, "Let it go. He's with us." Lily looked down to see that she gripped her husband's hand so tightly she was cutting off the blood to his fingers. Murmuring an apology to James, she silently promised herself that Harry was never going back her sister's ever again. Harry from now on was going to have the real family life he deserved!
"Both of you stop it," James requested sharply, but kindly as his eyes flickered to his wife's then his son's shocked gazes. "I know you both are thinking of Petunia and what she has inflicted upon this family. However, the past is in the past and nothing can be done about it. But what can be done now is that we can have a wonderful Christmas together as a family!" James squeezed Lily's hand pressing a kiss against her knuckles and pulled Harry in for a tight side hug.
"You're right Jimmy," Lily smiled softly as she reached out her spare hand for her son, "We are here together and that is what matters." James grinned at his wife, his hazel eyes sparkling with joy. Harry took his mother's without hesitation as most teenage boys would.
"Right son?" James winked at Harry whose emerald eyes shinned up at his beaming father as the young gave a mere nod.
As the Potters reached the top of the stairs they heard the door open, a gush of wind and snow as multiple voices filled the air. The loudest were Molly's and they couldn't tell which of the twins it was.
"Mornin'," mumbled a soft voice behind them. Harry turned and smiled warmly as Hermione came out of her room, her already bushy hair a flyaway mess as Crookshanks poked his scrunched head and narrowed eyes around the door before going back into the girls' room.
"Happy Christmas Hermione!" Hermione smiled warmly at Harry as she finished tying her dressing gown, before greeting Lily and James. The Potters smiled warmly at Hermione as the four went down the stairs as the remaining Weasleys were pulling off their coats, hats, gloves and boots before dashing into the kitchen to eat warm oatmeal that Mrs. Weasley had made for everyone and a cup of hot tea.
James shooed Hermione and Harry into the kitchen as Molly sighed fluffing her hair as she greeted the Potters. Sirius then appeared, leaning on the doorframe to the sitting room asking,
"How was Arthur?"
"He's doing well, the Healers said the potion to reverse the poison is almost done, although—" Molly glowered, her brown eyes flashing, "Arthur was experimenting with a Muggle treatment called 'stitches'." Sirius's eyebrows shot up as James choked on a giggle as his eyes flickered towards his wife who merely smiled and shook her head.
"Stitches won't help with a wound that keeps on bleeding to due venom. It's to be used to help knit together deep wounds." Molly rolled her eyes at Lily's explanation of the Muggle medical procedure as she entered the kitchen mumbling something to the effect of,
"I love that man but one day he's doing to drive me mad with these Muggle—" Sirius chuckled as he winked at Lily before following his best friends into the kitchen to enjoy Christmas breakfast. The warmth and chatter alight the room as everyone filled their bellies with sweet cinnamon, brown sugar, and a rich Earl Grey tea.
The Weasley children sounded ten times better now that their father was on the mend. Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat together as they pondered what gifts they would receive. Almost near the end of breakfast Remus arrived with Tonks in tow.
"Happy Christmas Lily," murmured Remus with a smile as he kissed both of her cheeks. He then pulled something from his pocket, a silver package that was neatly wrapped with a violet colored ribbon tied around the box. A wink from Remus made Lily giggle softly as she patted his arm. Lily felt so at home, truly at home, in this moment. Once breakfast was finished, Molly and Lily with a few waves of wand work cleaned up the dishes and the leftovers of the meal.
Everyone then tumbled into the large sitting room with Sirius's huge Christmas tree twinkling and winking at them as the kids sorted out the large stacks of presents. Everyone settled down with Molly and Lily setting down trays of tea, hot chocolate and biscuits for everyone.
James patted the spot next to him on the sofa as Harry stacked three piles in front of his parents then himself. Each person opened one present at a time in a clockwise position starting with Ginny and ending with Tonks. The Weasley children received their traditional sweaters and candies, Harry receiving the same as Molly's own children.
"She's done this every year since I started at Hogwarts," explained Harry to a wide-eyed Lily and James. Molly flushed when Lily turned her watery eyes towards her.
"Molly…" The elder woman merely smiled and patted Lily's hand as she watched Fred and George swap presents from each other. She could see the twin's gave each other some odd joke objects that perked up both James and Sirius's interest. Lily rolled her eyes and shot Remus a look, which he merely returned with a smile.
Hermione received numerous books including a very advanced Numerology book from Harry. Pleased with it, she hugged Harry tightly that she nearly pulled him to the floor with happiness. Harry hugged her back in return then wiggled out of the way as Ron nervously gave her his present. It was a bottle of perfume; Hermione blushed deeply, a deep lilac color with a gold top. Hermione sprayed it; it was an odd perfume that smelled very flowery.
"Ron picked it himself." Harry said smugly as Ron blushed a deep red from his neck to the tips of his ears. He gaped at Harry like a fish before Hermione moved into to give Ron a shy hug.
"Thank you Ron…" Harry gave a smug look as Hermione continued to hug Ron before collecting herself shifting away from the still red redhead. James chuckled at his grinning smug son. It was clear from Hermione's glittering eyes and Ron's flushed face that there was something between these two, Harry was just…helping his friends along.
"Smart kid," muttered James to Sirius who was grinning his wolf's smile at his godson's face.
Ron gave Harry a large box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and while the redhead got a Broom Compass. Hermione gave both boys homework planners, which made both boys frown as Hermione began to lecture about the value of organization. Lily smiled over tea, Hermione reminded her of herself when she was younger.
Harry's gift from Lily and James a large photo album that included pictures of Harry's great grandparents, grandparents and his parents' as newborns until their wedding. Luckily, their former home was not destroyed totally. In the old, dusty, weather beaten home both inside and out, luckily the old family photo albums were in the sitting room in a far corner thus saving them from any weather damage and from the roof falling in. Carefully Lily and James transferred all the photos over into a new album with some help from Molly who gave them a photo restoration potion.
"Mum…dad…" whispered Harry softly as he flipped through the numerous moving black and white photos and the non-moving Technicolor photos. Lily reached out to cup her son's face in her hands and press a kiss against his forehead. James grinned as he pulled his son into a fierce hug.
"Happy Christmas, darling…" murmured Lily softly as she snuggled into James while they smiled down at their teary eyed son. James and Lily had provided Harry with new clothes (a lot of new clothes since Lily took one look at Harry's normal, non-school clothes as nearly threw a fit at her sister as Christmas gifts along with a book or two of DADA. However this was the present James and Lily knew would be treasured by their son since it would give them something to talk about: his family. Before Harry could give in to the numerous emotions he quickly handed his parents similar looking presents.
"Here!" James and Lily looked at each other oddly as they tore open the colorful wrapping paper to reveal, Gryffindor scarves.
"Remus…um, mentioned that all your clothes and stuff were destroyed so I thought…I'd get you something to…remind you of your school days." James and Lily handled the scarves softly, the maroon and gold colors bright against their pale fingertips. The Gryffindor crest gleamed up at them, the lion standing proud.
"Ooh…Harry…" breathed Lily as she held the scarf close, James resting the scarf around her shoulders as he tied his around neck.
"Gryffindors unite!" Sirius crowed proudly raising his butterbeer in a toast. Everyone in the room grinned as Tonks made a funny face before adding,
"And Hufflepuffs too!" Everyone laughed loudly at Tonks's outburst. Sirius snorted into his butterbeer, choking on the sweet liquid. Tonks blushed deeply, so much so the roots of her hair turned pink to magenta to scarlet at the top. Remus merely shook his laughter as he wrapped around her as Sirius ruffled her still scarlet hair.
Presents were passed back and forth until the floor was littered with ribbons, gifts and colored wrapping paper. Lily kept playing her fingers across her final un-opened Christmas present; James has asked her to wait until things settled down. James was flipping through several new Transfiguration books Lily gave him to replace the books lost in their ruined home.
"So what is it?" Lily asked, raising an eyebrow at her husband as she played her fingers along the small square box, "It's clearly jewelry…"
Her husband merely grinned as he nodded his head over to the corner loveseat where Remus and Tonks sat. With a deep blush Tonks thrust a badly wrapped present into Remus's hands. Blinking, Remus unwrapped the present to find a new, thick winter cloak. Stuttering he thanked Tonks as she helped him remove his old, patched one that looked like he had it for years. Sirius promptly took it and tossed the old tattered piece of cloth into the fireplace, which the flames quickly consumed.
"Good riddance!" With a wolfish smile Sirius winked at his blushing cousin saying, "Looks good Remus, you kids be good now!" Whistling and swing his pocket watch Sirius left the room. With trembling, clumsy fingers Tonks buttoned up the three middle buttons before smoothing out the shoulders. Remus, blushing to the tips of his ears, then handed Tonks his present.
James and Lily held their breath, freezing as they watched the two interacting. With trembling fingers, Tonks undid the ribbon and tore open the wrapping paper to reveal a long jewelry case.
"Yes…" hissed Lily, knowing what was in the case. James leaned in, his hot breath ticking her ear as he whispered,
"You knew about this, didn't you?" Lily merely tilted her head away from her husband her eyes glittering with mirth. The elder Potter gave his wife a toothy grin as he gave her a peck on the lips murmuring, "Minx."
"Oh, Remus!" gasped Tonks as she held the necklace up to the light the silver key flashing as the violet and pink gems glittered brightly. Tonks threw herself into Remus's arms, holding him tight. Remus looked up over the multicolored haired witch, his amber brown eyes giving James and Lily an odd look.
"You're on your own mate…" mouthed James, as Lily gave him a small smile. Remus never had a girlfriend in school, though friends—Sirius—mainly tried to set him up on dates, but they rarely worked. As Tonks pulled away, gazing into Remus eyes, James gently turned Lily back to face him.
"Now, now Lils…" he admonished softly, Lily blushed as she gave her husband a small shove. Thus she turned back to her husband's final present, tearing open the paper to reveal a small jewelry box.
"Ah-ha!" Lily murmured softly, "Knew it! Jewelry!" Her green eyes flashed as James gestured for her to open it. Lily did like jewelry, but in these times she honestly did not want jewelry since she could not wear very often. Yet…it was not what she expected…
Inside the box were three rings; one was a plain gold band meant for a man and a smaller band for woman and what looked like an engagement ring. Pulling the 'engagement ring' out of the velvet bed, she fingered the ring, the light flashing at something on the inside of the ring.
"'14 May 1979'" read Lily her green eyes widening as she pulled out the remaining two rings, both engraved with the date, '25 September 1979'. Lily saw the man's ring had her name engraved next to the date and James's in the female ring.
These were replacements for their wedding rings and her engagement ring.
Strangely though Lily and James were found dressed in the clothes they died in, their wedding rings were missing. Dumbledore explained that they been melted together in a traditional funeral ritual. Whenever a married witch or wizard died, their wedding ring was melted down and kept with the surviving spouse until he or she died. Then their wedding ring is melted down and added to the container with the other already melted ring.
The container is then buried with the last spouse to survive. Though both Lily and James died, it was Lily who died last thus the melted rings were buried with her. James had overheard Lily asking the question about their wedding rings to Dumbledore, before she exploded with anger and sadness. Thus James knew what to get his wife, and in a way himself, for Christmas.
"Oooh Jimmy…" breathed Lily as James took her wedding band from her, gently taking her left hand into his and slid the plain band onto her finger whispering softly,
"I take thee, Lily Marie, as my lawfully wedded wife…" He then lifted her hand to his lips, pressing a kiss against her ring finger. He then took out the engagement ring, an almost exact copy of her original engagement ring. A medium sized opal with three small diamonds on either side of the gem. He then slipped the ring on her finger, following her wedding band. Gently holding her hand in his, the pad of his pointer finger swirling around the opal ring.
"Remember what I told you about wizards and opals?" he asked softly, his hazel eyes gleaming as he took in the surprise and shock on Lily's face as she kept staring at her rings. With a watery smile Lily lifted her bright green eyes to his as she reached into the ring box, fiddling with James's ring.
"That wizards consider the opal as a magic stone, because it changes colors. The stone is like fire, like the sheen of a Love Potion…" James smiled softly as Lily took his left hand into hers and slipped the ring onto James's left ring finger.
"I take thee, James Harold Charles, as my lawfully wedded husband…" Linking their hands together as she leaned in to brush her lips against James's sending a shiver down his spine as she whispered against his lips, "Forever, mine own, my Jimmy… " Before pulling him in for soft kiss that slowly grew passionate as James ran his tongue along Lily's bottom lip.
The two Potters barely noticed Remus and Tonks send each other knowing looks before quietly leaving the room hand in hand.
"Mum…dad…I—oh!" Lily pulled away to see Harry standing in the doorway, fully dressed, his scarf in his gloved hands, his messy hair covered by a large green knit hat. James turned around to see Harry averting his eyes; a deep flush filling his cheeks as he fiddled with scarf, wrapping it around his neck and chin. James smiled warmly as he saw his wife blush in the same way.
"Where are you going, son?" asked the elder, standing up, shoving his hands in his pockets strolling towards him.
"We—we we're gonna go out back to play in the snow…" Lily stood up, walking over to a nearby window. It had snowed heavily during the night, mounds of the thick white stuff was everywhere. James was softly telling Harry how to use certain spells how to surprise attack his friends with snowballs, the almost twin like father and son stood side by side, wands out.
"James!" scoffed Sirius as he appeared by his godson, "Don't tell him everything!"
"Where are they going?" asked James, Sirius nodded towards the back of the house, "Backyard, it's enchanted to hide it. Pretty large too, my…mother thought gardening was an art…" As Lily approached the trio, she could see James's shoulders relax. He was worried about Harry's safety, thinking he'd be out in the open where Death Eaters could harm him.
While James and Sirius bickered over the finer points of certain freezing spells, Lily took the scarf still in her son's hand. With a warm smile, she began to tie the scarf around his neck so that it covered his neck, tucking it just under his chin. She then started to tuck his gloves into the sleeves of his jacket and fixed his hat to cover his ears. Seeing that he was avoiding her eyes, his cheeks still tinted pink.
"Don't worry I walked in on my parents more than once in my life and, horribly enough…" she whispered, "I've caught your aunt and that oaf of a man she married making out disgustingly the Christmas of my sixth year." Harry's eyes widened as he blushed an even deeper red than when he saw his parents' kiss.
"I know," chuckled Lily, as she grinned at her son as she checked over the zip on his jacket. Harry mumbled something about fiddling with his jacket. Adjusting his collar around the scarf she pressed a kiss against his forehead.
"Lils…" scolded James softly seeing his son wiggle uncomfortably under his wife's menstruations, "He's not a baby anymore who needs mummy to do his buttons." Gesturing for Harry to go ahead as his friends clattered down the wooden steps, the twins whooping and jumping about causing Mrs. Black's portrait to awaken, screeching curses.
"Oh for the love of—" Pulling out his wand, rolling his eyes, the last Black dashed down the hallway to silence the portrait. James looped his arms around his wife's waist as she did the same around his neck. Tilting her head to one side, she held out her left hand to admire her rings once again.
"Jimmy," she whined, moving closer, "I had only one winter to dress up our boy in winter gear, so…" Her green eyes glinted as she grinned widely making her eyes crinkle with humor, "I'll take all the chances I'll get."
"Mothers…" chuckled the elder Potter, as he gave his wife a kiss on each cheek then on her lips. Sirius returned scowling and going on about his mother's portrait. Pressing a kiss against Lily's forehead he moved around his petite wife to haul his best friend down the hallway by the arm saying they need to find Remus.
"Let's look at this massive wine cellar of yours, you promised!" As they left the red head saw the scowling Black's wolfish grin return in a flash.
The house fell quiet with the teenagers outside playing and the three Marauders down in the wine cellar under the house. Lily went up the steps to her room to retrieve a special gift for someone who had helped her little boy. Gathering the gift up, she went in search of the person whom she was to give it too.
In the kitchen Molly was making a large pot of tea and hot chocolate for when the teenagers came in from playing in the snow. The matronly woman turned to see Lily enter the room, smiling.
"You seem happy, Lily dear," The younger woman smiled, as she began to fiddle with her new rings. After near two months of not having anything on her wedding finger, the rings felt heavy and strange. "Oooh, beautiful!" breathed Molly as she took Lily's hand into hers examining the rings.
"Thanks, Jimmy bought us new wedding rings and he got me an exact copy of my engagement ring…" Molly rubbed her thumb over Lily's rings, she knew Lily lost her rings when she died, it was quite a gift for James to get Lily and himself new wedding bands. After a moment of silence, Lily gestured for Molly to follow her to the living room.
"Come with me, please." Molly, blinking with surprise followed Lily out into the hallway and down the corridor to the sitting room where Lily had placed her present under the Christmas tree.
"Uh. I thought we opened everything…" Molly wondered as Lily bent over and picked up the present. Lily pushed her long red out of her face as she smiled softly over at Molly.
"That's because I put it there. Here, Molly." Lily handed Molly a small box neatly wrapped in red paper and a gold ribbon. Molly looked at Lily, her warm brown eyes twinkling in confusion as she took the present from the nervous, younger woman. Lily merely stood there with a soft smile on her face as Molly ripped open the paper to reveal a dark blue velvet box.
The same velvet box Harry had retrieved for Lily nearly a week before. Molly arched an eyebrow at Lily who merely nodded for her to continue on and open the box. When Molly opened the box, she gasped, clapping a hand over her mouth then looked wide eyed at the grinning Lily.
"Oh…oh my…this…goodness, Merlin….Lily dear…" With a shaking hand, Molly pulled out a glittering diamond necklace. Four large diamonds dominated the necklace surrounded by smaller diamonds and rubies. More gems dropped down from each large diamond creating a waterfall of diamonds and rubies.
"Happy Christmas," Lily replied softly as she guided the stunned Molly over to a nearby armchair. Settling down next to her Lily quietly explained the origins behind the necklace.
The necklace was part of the Potter fortune, a treasured heirloom that had been in James's family for generations. According to the family records the necklace was goblin made during the 1760's for James's ancestors to wear to parties and to court. (Yes, wizards went to court since there was a constant need to influence the monarchy)
"I had it appraised," said Lily softly as she tilted her head in such a way so that Molly could see her and not the glittering necklace, "It is at least ten hundred thousand Gallons, maybe even more if you sell it to the right person. In the box is the original ticket of sale and the appraisal sheet." Molly's mouth opened and closed numerous times before she whispered.
"I cannot accept this, Lily dear, it is too much…" Lily smiled softly as she shook her head as she took the hand Molly held the necklace in, folding her fingers over the necklace, then clasped her two hands over Molly's one.
"You and your family have done so much for mine." Molly blinked as she flushed before waving Lily off with a slight wave of her free hand.
"What I've—we've—done is nothing, it's just—" Lily captured the older woman's free hand in hers as she squeezed her hands tighter over Molly's as she interrupted the older woman.
"It's everything to James and I! Harry was—is—our world! We have not been there for him! Not even my own blood, my own sister, has cared for Harry as you and your family has!" Blinking the stinging tears out of her eyes, Lily looked down at Molly's large, older hands, worn from years of working and caring for her family, including her baby boy. Molly squeezed Lily's hand in encouragement. With a breathy sigh, green met brown.
"Your son, Ron, was my Harry's first friend his own age—ever! You helped my son when he needed it. Gave him Christmas presents at your own expense, took him in during the summer holiday when you could. You were there for him last year to be the mother he needed when he was dealing with the events of Voldemort's return! Your children treat Harry as if he's an extra sibling. Your husband helped Harry at the Ministry this summer," Molly's eyes widened with shock as she opened her mouth to ask how she knew that when Lily spoke again:
"—Sirius told me. James and I are beyond grateful for…for everything you've done. So please…"
Tears streamed down her face without Lily noticing, but Molly did. Removing her hand from Lily's Molly reached into her pocket to pull out a handkerchief.
"Here dearie…" Lily gave a watery chuckle as she took the white cloth to dab her eyes. Knowing about Harry's early life made her stomach turn. Once upon a time, her sister who had once been her best friend before magic, confusion, jealously and Severus tore them apart. Knowing her sister mistreated her own an innocent child was…sickening. To know that Harry had a mother figure to turn to, even when it was ten years into his life. Molly, Arthur, and their children were Harry's surrogate family.
"Sorry," sobbed Lily softly, "So…take this necklace and the money it can give you, as our thanks for what you did for Harry—for us. James more than agreed with this, actually it was his idea. So please…"
Molly carefully placed the necklace back into its case before pulling Lily into her arms. Another sob of pain and happiness came from her lips as she clung tightly to the older woman, the woman who was there for her son when she could not. Pulling away from Lily, Molly cupping her face her brown eyes alive with happiness, joy, and tears.
"Thank you Lily dear. I promise I will use this gift wisely and I will ensure Arthur excepts it as well."
With a shared smile, with sniffles and the wiping away from tears the two mothers rose to get a warm cup of tea to help soothe their tears. About an hour later the cold, tired kids returned happy for the hot chocolate.
Christmas dinner was a feast; Molly and Lily worked on for two hours. Hermione, always interested in magic helped Molly and Lily with the cooking while Harry helped to set the table. Sirius raided the wine cellar for several good vintages of wine and butterbeer (though the Marauders had been drinking and telling stories about an hour before dinner). As the laughter and chatter grew as the clack of silverware on plates filled the once dull and depressed house with warmth and love.
Lily looked at James, flushed face from whiskey and good food then at her son beside her. Harry was talking with Ron and the twins about last year's Quidditch World Cup.
Yes, this was the best Christmas Lily had had…ever.