"Good tidings to you, wherever you are..."
I love you all more than I can explain. Your little notes bring joy to my day and a smile to my face. Have a safe, happy, and wonderful holiday season.
25 December 1999
Christmas at the Burrow was winding down at last, at nearly a quarter past midnight. Teddy had long since fallen asleep on Arthur's chest, and they were both snoring contentedly in an armchair in the corner. Andromeda and Molly chatted quietly on the sofa, as Ginny lay with her head in Molly's lap. Ron and Hermione were entwined on the spiral staircase, a few steps above George and Angelina. Percy and Audrey were playing chess beside the fire. Harry and Charlie were still nursing a plate of treacle tart each and talking lazily about Quidditch.
"Mum," Ginny murmured, as Molly stroked her hair. "Mum, d'you hear that?" she opened her eyes and looked around, toward the kitchen. "It sounds like people."
The room fell silent. Sure enough, from outside, a man's muffled voice could be heard, though what he was saying was unintelligible. There was a sudden thud, very close to the back door, and Ron, George, and Harry all rose, their hands going automatically to their pockets.
Then there was a deafening bang, as the kitchen door slammed open. Hermione leapt to her feet, springing down the stairs after Angelina, Ron, and George—they made a line in front of the kitchen doorway, their wands out.
"Ouch—where the bloody hell did all this snow come from?"
"Bill, are you all right?"
"Bill!" Ginny swore, and Molly made a disapproving noise. "For Merlin's sake—Fleur, you're supposed to be in France!"
"We had to come back early," Bill said, staggering into the sitting room, as Fleur tried to support him, though she, like him, was laughing hysterically. "We—we had to tell you!"
"We 'ave a Christmas surprise!" Fleur laughed breathlessly.
"Arthur!" Molly snapped. "Arthur, for heaven's sake!"
Arthur gave a snort and put a hand on Teddy's back—the baby hadn't stirred once in all the commotion. "Bill?" he asked blearily, smiling, "Fleur, when did you get here?"
"We came home to give you your Christmas present—d'you want to?" Bill asked Fleur suddenly, grabbing her hand. "You can say it—"
"I already did," she reminded him, bright pink and still giggling.
Bill stared at her. "You're fantastically beautiful," he informed her, and she went pinker still.
"Somebody say something before I jinx you apart," Ginny said, looking revolted.
"We're—that's to say, Fleur—she's going to have a baby," Bill said at last. "And it's mine, too," he added hastily.
The room fell completely silent once again.
"Wait, really?" George asked.
Suddenly, there was a high-pitched squeak, and everyone looked around; Molly had burst into tears, and was plainly trying very hard not to sob; she had clapped both hands over her mouth, rooted to the spot.
"Mum," Bill laughed. "Come here."
And Molly gave another high-pitched, overjoyed sob-squeal and flung herself around both Bill and Fleur, sobbing hysterically, as the family all chimed in happily with their congratulations. In the armchair in the corner, Arthur raised an invisible glass, as though he were toasting something, and promptly dozed off again. Teddy snored on, not waking up once.