A/N: This was written for the Mrs Bella Riddle's Ultimate Death Eater Competition, where I was given the character of Rodolphus Lestrange and the prompt "It was the moment that changed everything". This was also written for Ladyoftheknightley's School Subjects Competition, category Charms (have a character do something they have never done before) and for Fire The Canon Fanfiction Tournament, edition November 2012 (write a fic with the theme Christmas), round one.
It was the moment that changed everything. A silence fell over the table after Rodolphus' words. He had asked his parents if they could celebrate Christmas this year, like they did at Hogwarts. He had only started Hogwarts last September and the grand Christmas trees in the Great Hall, decorated with fairy lights and ribbons, were just one of the many wonders of the magical school. He thought that it would be wonderful to have something like that at home as well. He was positive that his younger brother Rabastan would love it.
"We don't celebrate Christmas," his father said sternly. "We never have."
"Couldn't we make an exception? Just once?"
"It's not befitting for a Pureblood," his mother added.
Rodolphus had been expecting this and he had his reply already ready. "Tobias Avery has been bragging all week about how his parents would put up this enormous Christmas tree in their living room and about all the presents he would be getting."
There was another silence in which his parents exchanged glances. Rodolphus knew that they were debating this silently and hold his breath. Across from him, Rabastan opened his mouth to speak, but Rodolphus kicked him and the tears sprang in his little brother's eyes. He shook his head. Don't say anything, you'll ruin it, that look said.
Their parents seemed to have finished their silent debate.
"If the Avery's are celebrating Christmas, then it wouldn't do for us not to. There needs to be a tree you say?"
Rodolphus nodded. "And presents."
"We'll see about that."
He couldn't believe it. They would actually have a Christmas celebration!
Rabastan was as excited as he was, though he had learned from the previous occasion to keep his mouth shut until they were at their room.
"Tell me all about Christmas!" Rabastan demanded.
"Well, I don't really know all about it, but at Hogwarts they have these trees that are thirty feet high, all decorated with fairy lights and shiny things and it smells wonderful. There's supposed to be plenty of food and the best part: you get presents!"
"I like presents," Rabastan smiled.
"Of course you do. Who doesn't."
The Lestranges bought a relatively small Christmas tree, compared to the ones he had seen at Hogwarts, and they bought no decoration, but Rodolphus didn't mind. At least they had a Christmas tree. He wasn't going to be picky about its size or about the lack of decoration. His parents might just take it down just as easily and this was probably the only chance he and Rabastan would get at ever celebrating Christmas.
Christmas came with a thick pack of snow and both Rabastan and Rodolphus had barely slept from excitement.
"Look Rodolphus, it's snowing!"
Their parents were still asleep and Rodolphus knew better than to wake them this early.
"Get dressed," he whispered to Rabastan.
"We're going outside, in the snow."
His eyes glistened with a hint of mischievousness. Today, he dared take on the world if necessary. Today was Christmas, after all. They put on a pair of pants and a sweater and some warm shoes. They added a thick coat and a woollen scarf and a couple of minutes later, Rodolphus opened the front door as silently as possible. He beckoned Rabastan. "Come," he whispered. They let the door slightly ajar so that they could go back in later and took in the crisp winter air.
Rodolphus bent down and picked up some of the freshly fallen snow. Rabastan wasn't paying attention, so he rolled it in his hands and threw the ball at Rabastan.
Rodolphus laughed. Then he yelled out when cold snow hit his face.
"Serves you right," Rabastan said, already ready for the next blow.
"I'll get you for that," Rodolphus said and bent down to pick up some new snow, at the same time ducking for the snowball that came his way.
Both brothers were laughing and snowballs were flying everywhere. Rodolphus knew that once his parents found out that the Avery's didn't celebrate Christmas at all, he'd be in trouble for lying to them. But he just so much wanted to celebrate Christmas, experience that feeling everyone at Hogwarts seemed to be talking about. And get a present. That, to him, was the most important part. If he'd only got one present, it would already be worth it. And he'd worry about the consequences later, today, it was Christmas and was the happiest eleven-year-old in the world.