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Christmas and Hanukkah present drabbles - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Christmas and Hanukkah present drabbles
Okay. Want a drabble (or up) of any sort for whichever of the holidays (the one that's already going or the one that starts at sunset)?

I don't write above PG13 on sex or R on violence, but if you want to see two characters interact, or have a thought you'd like a fic on, or whatever... prezzie fic thread. Any of the fandoms you know I know, original, anything you like. (I'll do them all day, but I'll stop tomorrow, defined as "Whenever I decide I really must sleep.")

EDIT: Still working on them. It'll take me into tomorrow to catch up. Meanwhile, here's what I've got so far:

Anakin Skywalker meets Harry Potter, for murasaki99, who made art! Check the thread!

Sirius and Remus at GP (Christmas) and another POV on BtVS episode "Amends" for Rene

Oz and Willow meet up at Hanukkah for riah_chan

"Raymond and Dora Lewis" on Christmas Eve (Shifts outtake) for barbara_the_w

Andromeda's Christmas thoughts, involving past and present for lilacsigil (I'm not sure I got what she wanted here; I couldn't find a very good good short structure to cover the past and present)

McGonagall-Neville interaction for shoeless_girl

Fuzzy R/T gift-giving Christmas scene for kinderjedi and lexie_b

A Quantum Leap Christmas for izhilzha

Something with Luna and Lupin, for beceh

Non-shippy trio stuff for likeafox

Sirius falls through the veil onto my doorstep, for kelleypen

EDIT:12/26
Neville and Hermione for anatomiste

Ginny and Dumbledore for olympe_maxime

EDIT: 12/27
Something Weasleyish with Molly and Ginny, for marycontraria

Aberforth and Albus Dumbledore, when Albus becomes Headmaster for sophonax

EDIT: 12/28
Lily/James for rainingtulips

Han/Leia on the GFFA's winter holiday for thunderemerald. I feel compelled to warn that it includes reference to Leia singing on the Holiday Special, which could trigger traumatic childhood memories for some.

My first R/Hr, for shina_laris

Some Frank Longbottom, with Alice and his mum for tigermouse88

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murasaki99 From: murasaki99 Date: December 25th, 2005 07:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Do you mind cross-universes? It would be interesting to have Harry chat with Anakin Skywalker. (Hmm, 'interesting' might be too mild a word, but you can pick the tone. I just think they might have a few things in common.)

And a Merry Happy to you, too!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 25th, 2005 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I dig crossovers. Let's see...




"Do it, then," Bellatrix spat, even her clawed hands grasped at the splinters that remained of her wand. The curse Tonks had hit her with back in Hogsmeade had only slowed her down at first, but as Harry had chased her madly through the Forbidden Forest, her strength had left her, until a charging centaur had been able to knock her down, break her wand, and leave her gasping in the dirt. "Do it, boy. I think you know how to kill now."

Harry raised his wand, thinking of Neville, back on the steps of the Three Broomsticks, blood pouring from his eyes and ears, thinking of Sirius falling back through the veil two years ago, thinking of Lupin's scream as she'd gone after Tonks. The hate inside him was huge and demanding, and his hand was shaking with rage. "Ava--"

"Don't do it."

Harry ignored the ghost that was suddenly standing in front of him, except to lean around it to get a better view. For a ghost, he was rather difficult to see through--nearly opaque, and in full color, with ambient blue light around him--but he was a ghost. He wasn't solid. He couldn't do anything. "Ava--"

The ghost moved its hand slightly, and Harry's wand flew back into the Forest. Bellatrix made a grab for it, but the ghost waved an impatient hand at her. "Stay down," he said in an authoritative voice. As if under the Imperius Curse, Bellatrix folded her hands neatly and laid her head down on the ground. He turned back to Harry. "You don't want to do this."

"Do you know how many people she's killed? Tortured?"

The ghost shrugged. "I doubt she has much on me," he said. Bellatrix laughed feebly. "My name is Anakin. You wouldn't know it. You wouldn't know the other name, either. It's... far from here. Long before you." He looked between the trees. "There are others coming. They'll take her away. She'll spend the rest of her miserable life in your prison. I sense that life will be... somewhat abbreviated as it is, with her master gone. You won't gain anything by killing her in anger, but you could lose everything."

"I'll risk it," Harry muttered and raised his hand, concentrating all of his energy on his wand. It flew to him.

"Impressive," the ghost called Anakin said. "Not a common skill among your people." He raised pointed at the wand again, and Harry felt it slipping away. He fought it this time, but the struggle kept him from using it, and that was apparently all Anakin was going to worry about. "I'm promising you," he said. "You don't want to do this. Unless you have some great desire to be miserable for the rest of your natural life and spend the next few millennia chasing around stupid adolescents who are about to royally screw up their own lives. Are you listening?"

"Not really, no."

Anakin rolled his eyes. "They never do. Why do I bother? I could save time and just choke you before you do serious damage to your world. They'd lecture me, but that's pretty much a given no matter what I do, so really, I might as well." Harry's wand was suddenly free, and there was a tightness in his throat. Anakin narrowed his eyes, then shook his head and let go. "You're an idiot. And trust me, I know idiots."

Harry was too sputtering mad to bother answering him anymore. The wand was in his control again, and he pointed it at Bellatrix directly through Anakin's ghost.

Anakin reached out casually and touched his forehead, and the sensation wasn't cold like the Hogwarts ghosts, but a kind of painful electricity. And Harry's mind flew from the Forbidden Forest, into a chain of images.

He stood in Hogsmeade as his friends crawled to him, kissing his robe.

He stalked over a battlefield in the future, the young boys fighting him falling in bloody tatters that he barely noticed.

He saw Ginny turn her back on him and walk away, and he saw himself going after her with murder in his eyes.

He saw a river of blood and a mountain of bones.

The painful sense of electric shock left, and he blinked at Anakin stupidly. The ghost faded away as the Order poured into the clearing and gathered Bellatrix to take her away.

Harry put his hands to his head and knelt on the mossy ground.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 25th, 2005 07:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Woo hoo!

Excellent. You're a very generous author. Here's a drabble wishlist:

Sirius at the Potters', whatever holiday you like;

A very Lupin Christmas, with young Dora

Missing moment Sirius and Lupin, Christmas at #12 Grimmauld Place.

Not at all demanding,am I?

Or if HP is no fun for you at the moment, another Buffy character perspective on the cheesetastic Christmas in which it snowed in Sunnydale ("Amends").

I hope I don't seem too greedy- I love everything you write. Thank you so much for sharing, and a delightful Festivus to you and the messy cat. ;)

Rene
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 25th, 2005 07:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Woo hoo!

Well, I'm going to do a Sirius at the Potters later for someone else, and I think there's a Dora-Lupin Christmas moment down there, too. I'll get the GP and the cheesetastic "Amends," too. (Lord, cheesetastic doesn't even begin to cover that ep!)




"Ha!" Sirius said. "I knew I'd find you down here nicking leftovers."

Remus shrugged and pushed the platter with the remains of the second goose on it across the table. Sirius pried some meat from it. Remus pulled it back and worked a spare bit off the ribs. "It's hardly Christmas without food-nicking. I think it's in there somewhere between carols and presents."

Sirius grinned. "It was a good Christmas. It's the first time I ever had a good Christmas in this house."

"Surely, when you were small...?"

"I suppose when I was still too stupid to know better, I thought Mum put out a good spread, and toys weren't awful. Regulus and I had a miniature Quidditch stadium one year. That wasn't bad." He rolled his eyes. "Do you like the art things? Harry and I dug through catalogs for quite a long time before I saw anything. And I don't even know if you still do that."

"I do, and thanks. I like it."

"You know what was best this year?" Sirius asked.

"What?"

"I felt like I was home. Not this place," he added quickly, grimacing at the kitchen. "But Harry being here, all the Weasleys, seeing Dora. And of course, it's damned good to have you here, Moony." He looked up cautiously. "I mean, I'm not the easiest charge to look after, but if someone's going to do it, I reckon... Well..." He shook his head. "I'm glad Dumbledore talked you into moving in. Place would be plain hell without you here, and I'm not joking about that."

There was no answer to that, so Remus just reached back to the counter and brought out what was left of the mincemeat pie.




At least, Anya thought, I picked a rich face this time. Could have been worse. Could have been some poor girl needing vengeance.

The apartment she had wasn't luxurious--she hadn't planned to stay long enough for someone to see her alleged "father"'s home--but she'd supplied herself with a car and plenty of clothes, and enough money to be credible in Cordelia Chase's circle if she'd needed to socialize. It would do while she tried to find her power center. She spent most evenings wandering the streets of Sunnydale, using what little magic she had left to find trace elements of power. For the last several days, something had been building. She'd found dead trees in a Christmas tree lot, seen something blind and robed wandering in a demon-owned area, and dreamed repeatedly of wishes she'd granted--the bloodier the better. Something was in town, and Anya was determined to find it. Anything to just be Anyanka again.

It was absurdly hot here--couldn't Cordelia have lived somewhere civilized?--so she conducted her nightly prowls dressed in shorts and a halter top, with only flip-flops on her feet. She followed the traces of power to the outskirts of town, following the neatly formed sidewalks that still seemed almost surrealistic to her feet, which even after a thousand years still expected narrow dirt paths lined with smooth pine needles.

A vampire emerged from the shadows and bared his teeth. Anya rolled her eyes and waved a stake at him. He remembered pressing business elsewhere.

"Come on!" she called to whatever power was in town. "I'm looking for you here! Not trying to get away! All I want is a necklace!"

No answer.

She moved her foot and her flip-flop caught on something, yanking the upper out from the lower and twisting her ankle.

"Oh, perfect." Anya sat down on a low wall in front of an apartment building and blew hair out of her face. Her watch read four-thirty. Almost sunrise. And bloody Christmas. The last Christmas she'd been in the upper world for had ended with a cheating husband's entrails decorating a tree. She doubted this one would be nearly as entertaining. It certainly wasn't starting out well--her feet hurt, her back ached, and her ankle ached one foot was bare.

It just couldn't get any worse.

Then, it started snowing.
Re: Woo hoo! - (Anonymous) - Expand
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: December 25th, 2005 07:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Ummm... Oz and Willow and Hannukah.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 25th, 2005 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
No time like the present. I even checked the weather. :)




The drizzle all day hadn't kept people off the beach. Maybe some, but not many. The harder rain that came at night didn't do a much better job. It was a nice, cooling rain, anyway. Oz had to admit, he'd never really dreamed about sandy Christmases, even though they mostly were just like the ones he had at home (though the rain was a novel idea).

Well, he guessed the treetops were kind of glistening, at least when the resort lights hit them right. And given that his sneakers were falling apart and he hadn't been able to get many gigs lately--he'd made enough playing on the street to get a little room for a week; new footwear wasn't on the radar--he guessed he was glad that there was no snow for childen to listen for sleighbells in. Good reason to spend fall heading south. And he'd managed to miss Rio before. Maybe he'd stick around for Carnival before moving on. He hadn't really had a plan since the shaman in Belize had tried to kill him instead of coming up with yet another cure idea.

The sun was setting now, but he didn't feel like going back to his dingy room, which wasn't really in the festive column. Instead, he wandered aimlessly down the row of tourist cabins, enjoying the blurry looking colored lights that people had brought with them. Toward the end of the block, he saw a menorah sitting in the front window, one unlit candle in the middle, one at the end. A box of matches sat beside it, and a hand sat on top of it, its wrist bent to an arm leading down toward someone on the floor. The fingers felt around at the top and through the screen Oz heard someone--someone American, someone familiar--say, "There you are, little lost match! You can be right back with all your brothers and sisters. At least until I light your head on fire." Oz waited to feel surprised, but didn't.

And then Willow stood up. Oz waved.

She smiled hugely and scurried out of sight, then the door burst open and a moment later her arms were around him. She drew back and clapped in the rain. "Oz! I'd kiss you hello, but that would be really confusing for everyone. I mean, not kiss, but you know, kiss, and how are you? Why are you in Rio? Why didn't you call?"

"I'm good. Didn't know you were here. And you can confuse me any time you want to."

barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: December 25th, 2005 07:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Winter hols for "Dora" and "Raymond"...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 25th, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Guess that makes it a Shifts outtake! OotP year.




"Well," Remus said. "This is... nearly sedate."

"My really garish things are a bit too magical for this flat," Dora said, straightening the advent wreath on the table. Four candles were burning, only the center one still unlit. "Or over at Grimmauld Place. Sirius snagged most of them. All that's left are white lights and window candles. Shame, really. I'm sure Anna and Miriam are expecting something more creative from me."

"They'll just assume that dull old Raymond decided on the Christmas decorations."

She rolled her eyes. "Yes, you're dreadfully dull. I just hate spending Christmas Eve with you, really. It's a horrible twist of fate that we're here together." She mussed his hair with one hand as she passed him to check the holly garland around the door. "I decided to leave the mistletoe down. Alan doesn't need any encouragement."

Remus felt a rather larger relief than he should have. Mistletoe made more uncomfortable moments than any other sort of decoration. And he'd been worried that Dora might well wear a sprig of it in her hair, just to tweak him into kissing her while the Garveys and Levinsons were over. It was a great relief not to have to find an excuse not to kiss his "wife," and of course he couldn't very well kiss her because...

There was a reason he couldn't. He was quite certain of it.

Dora had let her real personality out with the cat, putting out all red and green chase toys for her and putting a tiny red hat on a catnip-stuffed mouse. Poor old Granny seemed disinterested in these colorful enticements; despite several attempts to engage her in play, she was simply resting curled up between the sofa and the coffee table, occasionally mewing in Dora's direction. Remus picked her up and sat down. She purred and combed the beard he wore as Raymond with her partially unsheathed claws. She did this frequently, and had never actually scratched his face. "What do you think, Gran?" he asked. "Will the guests be bored?"

Granny didn't express an opinion.

"You need your own pet," Dora said. "I've been telling you that for years." She stopped beside the desk and bent down, picking something up from the rug. "Your key, Remus. Third time I've found it on the floor this week. I'll start taking offense soon!" She put it on the desk's surface, then sat down on the couch beside him, slipping her hand under Granny's nose to scratch under her chin and rubbing the underside of Remus's in the process. Her hand was extremely warm, and the way she was sitting, he could feel the body heat baking off of her. Her breast was pressing lightly against his arm.

The doorbell rang and Granny jumped off of him like a shot to go and hide under the bed.

"I'll get that," Remus said, getting up and knocking the coffee table with his knees. He opened the door to find Alan and Anna Garvey, friends from work.

Anna looked from Remus to Dora and smirked. "Oh, dear. Temporary December sunburns going around," she said. "We're not early, are we?"
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: December 25th, 2005 08:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd love to see Andromeda's Christmas with the Blacks and with Ted & Dora - what traditions did she keep?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 26th, 2005 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
"Come on, Andi," Ted said. "For eight years, we've done all of my family's things. We go to our church, eat our favorite things, sing our favorite songs... Isn't there anything you want of yours?"

"Yes, my family is such a happy little tableau."

"There's something, though. I found the Prophet open to the society pages. What were you looking for?"

"Just a picture of my sister's baby. That's all. I thought Narcissa might have a Christmas party, be carrying him around. That's all, really."

Ted sat down across from her and picked up her bare foot, massaging it. "It's all right to be homesick. And I know Dora wants to hear stories about when you were a little girl. She's heard all my little boy stories."

"We should have waited longer, so we'd have more stories. Our childhood stories include our child."

He stroked her ankle. "That's not what Dora means, though. She wants to know about you when you wore you hair in pigtails and sent letters to Father Christmas... if you did."

"Mmm. I wasn't supposed to. Bellatrix loathed the whole business. So naturally, I wrote to him every year. But I wrote in July, as I thought he might not be quite as busy then. No one ever told me what I was supposed to write, so they were always just regular letters--how are you, how is life between Christmases, is it nice at the North Pole..."

Ted laughed. "God, I love you."

"I don't know where the owl really took them."

Ted moved his hand up and caressed her knee. "I think this may be Dora's last year. She's asking all sorts of questions about the limits of Floo powder, and how fast one person could travel and drop off gifts. She's had me Conjure things while she timed me twice, and she seems dissatisfied with her maths."

"Well, I'll get Sirius to put on a Father Christmas suit again. That should get us through one more year. Either that, or she'll recognize him and guess."

"If I know Dora, she'll decide that he was Father Christmas all along, and she's the only little girl in the world who knows where Father Christmas lives all year."

"That's not going to make her stop timing things."

"Ah, but Sirius can do anything. I'm just Dad."

A key rattled in the lock, and Mother Tonks came in, laden with packages. Dora ran around her, tripping spectacularly on the edge of the carpet and catching herself without pausing in her monologue: "--and then there was a battle and light and they flew, and there was a giant worm in a rock, and they were in its mouth and oh, there was a city in the sky and a little green house elf who lived in a swamp--"

She twirled to the kitchen, continuing her description as she bumped into a wall and got herself a cup of milk.

"Sounds like she had fun," Andromeda said, swinging her legs around and sitting forward. "Thank you, Mother Tonks."

"We did some shopping as well, and she stopped and sang with carolers."

"--and boom!! And he fell, and they caught him on a ship in the air, and there was a big black man made out of plastic, oh, Mummy! You put up my calendar! Can I have today?"

"It's up a bit late. Why don't you get us pieces from the last four days, too?"

Dora clapped and ran to her advent calendar, poking open the days and pulling out four bits of chocolate. She passed them out importantly, then ran about the house cooing at the decorations Ted and Andromeda had put up. She liked the way they always appeared in exactly the same place--Andromeda had once put the stuffed doll nativity scene Mother Tonks had bought her on the wrong table in her bedroom, and Dora had carefully cleared everything away and moved it back where it was "supposed" to be. It was as if some odd corner of Narcissa's childhood brain had been copied into Dora's.

"Mummy, it's perfect!" she said, dropping onto the sofa between Ted and Andromeda. "Everything is just exactly right!" She kissed Andromeda soundly on the cheek.

She wants to know about you when you wore you hair in pigtails and sent letters to Father Christmas...

Andromeda smiled. "You know," she said, "when I was a little girl like you, we always brought out our decorations on the eleventh of December. I'm not sure why. And my little sister was just like you about them..."
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 26th, 2005 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)
"Goodness, who could be at the door?" Gran checked her watch and looked down at her Christmas lunch. "I wasn't expecting anyone. Algie?"

Uncle Algie shook his head.

"Neville, would you be so kind as to answer the door?"

Neville pushed his chair back and went down the hall to the door. Beyond the lacy curtain, he could see the shape of a thin woman with...

He stopped, then started moving again and opened the door. "Pr... Professor McGonagall?"

"Happy Christmas, Neville," she said. "I hope I'm not disturbing you."

"We were having lunch. You... you're welcome to join us. I'm sure Gran won't mind. I mean, I'm sure it's Gran you're here to see. I--" Neville stopped talking and just blinked, knowing he was forgetting something. "Oh! Come in, please." He led her to the dining room. "Gran," he said, "Professor McGonagall has come. I've invited her for lunch."

"Oh, how lovely," Gran said, standing up and nodding sharply in McGonagall's direction. "Minerva. It's been years. We were good friends in school," she added for Neville's benefit. "Do sit down. I'll have the house elf bring you a plate."

"Thank you, Augusta."

Something seemed off to Neville, and suddenly he remembered--McGonagall had said something about reminding Gran that she'd failed Charms. His face went red, and he bit his lip as he sat down, watching McGonagall with horror, and trying to will her not to do it. She smiled slightly, but he didn't know what to make of it--he wasn't sure why, but he'd always had the feeling that when McGonagall got it in her head to do something, the thing tended to be done.

"Yes," she said, tucking in as the family's house elf, Yacko, put some food in front of her. "Augusta and I lived together for seven years in Gryffindor. Did all of our studying together."

"Minerva was always the clever one," Gran said.

"Oh, you did well." McGonagall tasted the soup Yacko had brought. "Oh, what a lovely broth!"

Neville was unable to eat through most of the meal, as McGonagall went on, talking about their shared school experiences. She never said anything about Gran failing Charms, though she did go on and on about the fun they'd had in the class, and it sometimes seemed to involve Gran gravely mishandling things. Gran was smiling thinly at the end of it. McGonagall pretended obliviousness.

After the meal, they spoke together for a long time, and the sun was down. Neville could believe they'd been friends. He couldn't quite imagine them as Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown, but perhaps as Hermione and Luna Lovegood...

kinderjedi From: kinderjedi Date: December 25th, 2005 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)
a warm and fuzzy Tonks/Remus exchanging Christmas presents, please?

Happy Hanukkah! :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 26th, 2005 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm. Well, I did OotP year and HBP year... probably not going to be fuzzy. So how about a future-fic?




"It's, er... fuzzy," Remus said, pulling the robe from the box. "I don't think I've ever worn anything this fuzzy that wasn't an actual pelt." He tossed it around his shoulders.

"Remus, the robe you've got barely has cloth left, let alone fuzz. I mean, I like it, but I decided that you needed a new one, or the baby's going to learn anatomy at a glance. And I like fuzzy. I can curl up beside you"--she did so--"and pet you." She ran her fingers through the fuzz on the robe

"Mmmmm..." Remus ran his fingers through her hair and kissed her, reaching over her shoulder to pick up a box from the table behind her. He put it in her hand. She ignored it and continued the kiss for a moment, then pulled away and tore off the wrapping paper.

"It's not much," Remus said. "Really."

"Well, given that I married you for the fine jewellry..." She opened the box and smiled. "Oh... Oh, Remus, it's lovely. You made the pendant yourself, didn't you?"

"Well, I... the gold came from that pocketwatch of my grandfather's. I think he'd approve. And I--"

"It's perfect. No one else has anything at all like it! I love this, thank you." She put the chain around her neck and clasped it, then leaned forward and kissed him again, her finger resting on the pendant. It was a butterfly, and Remus had set it with an aquamarine--the baby was due in March, and the aquamarine would be her birthstone. Dora hadn't noticed it (there was no reason to), but he'd made the tips of the wings into tiny swirls that could connect with pendants like it; he planned to make her a new charm with a new birthstone if they ever had another child, so they could link together in a chain. It was an act of faith in some ways; he had to believe that things would remain good between them, that they would both stay healthy, that they would love being a family... all the things she thought he was afraid of losing. He'd made the pendant in the face of fears he was finally giving up. And it didn't matter whether or not Dora knew that about it. He did.

"I feel like I should have made one of your presents," she said. "I mean, you needed the robe, and you will need the briefcase, I know you will. But, you know... now I want to give you something special."

He ran his hand over her belly. "I think you've got that covered."

"Well, I get to carry her around. I sort of think of her as something you gave me." She put the box down and leaned over him. "Of course, maybe you could think of something you'd like... some currently queen-sized present to unwrap..."

He kissed her. A moment later, the fuzzy robe slipped off of his shoulders and fell behind the sofa. Neither of them noticed.
From: lexie_b Date: December 25th, 2005 09:54 am (UTC) (Link)
A Remus/Dora fluffy holiday fic would rock on so many levels.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 26th, 2005 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Just did one above. :)
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: December 25th, 2005 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)
If it hasn't been too long since you wrote QL, I'd love to see some kind of unexpected Christmasy moment with Sam and Al...maybe it's Christmas at the Project but not when Sam is, or vice versa (though I think the first might lend itself to an actual moment better).

That's nice and vague, huh? :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 26th, 2005 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Let's see...




"Okay, let's see... it's March third, nineteen eighty... nine. You're in Medford--"

"Al?"

"Massachussetts and..."

"Al... why are you wearing a Santa hat?"

Al looked up at the red and white tufted hat. "Right--I forgot about that. Ziggy found you while we were in the middle of the Christmas party. I took the suit part off. Just when Tina was sitting on my lap, too, I'll have you know. My devotion knows no bounds."

"It's Christmas," Sam mused. "It's been awhile since I've been at a Christmas. You know, a real one."

Al looked at him sympathetically. "Yeah. Yeah, I know. That's why I took the suit off. Forgot about the damned hat."

"It's okay. You can have Christmas. What exactly am I having here?"

"Mid-terms. You're a college student, name of Julia Horowitz..."

Sam listened carefully, noting what he needed to know, checking his reflection in the mirror (pretty girl, dark hair pulled up into a high ponytail, closet full of fashionable clothes) and trying to forget that Al was going back to Christmas in New Mexico, with the luminarias lining the sidewalks and dried hot peppers hanging from the porch railings. Back in Indiana, Tom and his brood would be shoveling snow off of Mom's steps, probably, maybe having a snowball fight while the turkey roasted.

"...and if the roommate doesn't drop the complaint, she's going to end up getting dragged over the coals. She'll drop out of school over and end up nowhere. Should be an easy Leap."

"Yeah. Easy."

Al frowned. "I'm going go. I'll be back real soon." He opened the door.

"Yeah, right. Go to the party. Give Tina a kiss for me."

"The sacrifices I make." He went through the bright white light of the door, and it closed.

Sam wandered through the dorm room, looking at Julia's papers, picking at a salad in the mini-fridge, hoping he wouldn't be called upon to play the piccolo that was casually tossed onto the corner of a desk. She had a marching band uniform hanging from her closet door. A pile of campus publications was collecting on the roommate's bed, and he read them to catch up on whatever was happening--

The door opened again, and Al came through sans hat, but carrying a red bag that showed the edges of packages. "Merry Christmas!" Al said. "Ho, ho, ho."

Sam raised his eyebrows.

"Oh, come on, sit down. I have presents."

"I can't touch them."

"So I'll open 'em for you. It's not like they're new socks."

"All right." Sam sat down. "If it's what you really want to do..."

"Merry attitude."

"Ho, ho, ho," Sam said, sitting on the edge of Julia's bed.

Al reached into the bag and pulled out a package. He held it up to show the bow, and then ripped the paper off and tossed it toward Julia's wastebasket (it disappeared halfway there). It was a laptop computer, much slimmer and glitzier than Sam remembered them. He pushed a button, and to Sam's shock, he saw Tom, Katie, and Mom in the living room of the farmhouse, waving.

"The kids are in bed," Tom said quietly. "And Al cleared the rest of us a long time ago so we'd stop agitating to get the government to find you."

"Because we were doing that a lot," Katie added.

"Of course we were," Mom said.

"At any rate, Al e-mailed us and said he could get this through to you just once, as long as he didn't tell someone named 'Ziggy'..."

Sam sat back against the bed, watching the video play, listening to his brother's tales of his children and Katie's job hunt saga. Mom had been running the church's pageant this year, and she showed pictures. Altogether, they talked for nearly half an hour, as Al stood patiently holding the laptop.

When the picture ended, he closed it. "Don't tell Ziggy," he said. "You know how she is about you getting too much information."

Sam nodded, playing it again in his head. "Thanks, Al," he said.

"Whatever." He put the laptop back in the bag. "Merry Christmas."

Sam grinned. "Ho, ho, ho."
beceh From: beceh Date: December 25th, 2005 11:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Something with Luna and Lupin would be interesting to read. I was going to say Harry and Lupin, but thought Luna might be something different....

Happy holidays :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 26th, 2005 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
"A newspaper club?" Remus repeated, looking at the earnest second year girl across his desk. "What would you do, precisely?"

"Investigate," Luna Lovegood said. "Find things. Report them. We could put out a newspaper of our own, better than the Daily Prophet, about all the things that happen at Hogwarts. Perhaps some interviews with teachers." She smiled shyly. "I know quite a few people who'd like to read an interview with you."

"Oh, they' d be quite disappointed. I'm much more interesting as a mystery." Remus smiled. "Other than interviewing such august personages, what sorts of things would you investigate?"

Luna frowned. "Well, the Dementors, for one thing. Everyone is curious about them. I should like to find out how they came to be guards at Azkaban, and what their relationship is with Fudge. My father thinks he uses them to intimidate people."

"A good reporter shouldn't go in with an assumption like that."

She looked confused. "But what if it's true?"

"I think the point is to discover what's true when you investigate, not look for things that prove your point."

"Hmmm." She tapped her fingers on the list she'd brought of interested students. "Well, I suppose that makes sense..." She looked up. "That's the sort of thing that you could tell us, if you were to manage a club for us."

"Well, I really don't know anything about journalism, Luna. I've never even written an article. Professor Flitwick has published extensively. Have you asked him?"

She turned pink. "Er, well. No. Not exactly. But he already has clubs. You don't have any yet, so I thought you might like it. You like students. Everyone says so."

"Well, everyone's right. I'm fond of students. That's really not particularly material to the issue."

She looked down. "Most of the girls who signed my paper signed it when I said I was asking you."

"I see."

"Everyone likes you. They don't like me very well. They think I'm odd," she said in a matter-of-fact way. "If you were in charge, I know I could make it work."

Remus rubbed his forehead. "Luna, listen--they'll lose interest in me quickly, and if that's the only reason they've signed on, you'll end up doing all of the work yourself. You should find people who are really interested."

"I don't know anyone."

"I can think of a few. "Young Mr. Creevey in your year seems curious about things. Or you might speak to Miss Granger. Sally Ann Perks comes to mind..."

Luna shook her head. "They don't know me," she said, standing up. "Thank you, anyway, Professor Lupin."

"I'm sorry I wasn't more helpful."

"It's all right. It's my fault. I don't know anyone."

"Well, why don't you come to tea some time? Some of the others sometimes drop in, perhaps you could make some friends."

"I don't know." She headed for the door. "Maybe," she said. "Maybe I'll come after the full moon. You could use your rest until then."

She left.

Remus stared after her.

She didn't mention it when she came to tea the next week.
likeafox From: likeafox Date: December 25th, 2005 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, thanks Fern!

If it's no trouble, how about a (Harry Potter) trio friendship moment. You're the best at gen and I've been craving some non-shippy interaction lately. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 26th, 2005 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Ginny had gone inside to write a letter to Dean--something she seemed to do quite frequently--leaving Harry, Ron, and Hermione alone in the orchard at the top of the hill. Quidditch for three wasn't really possible, so they leaned their brooms against the shed and lay down in the long grass. Hermione picked at the clover, then rolled over and looked up at the bright summer sky. "I'm glad I came," she said. "It's good to feel safe."

"Right," Harry said. "No place safer than right beside the man with the big target on his forehead."

"Hey, we're all right so far," Ron said.

"Except for your little visits with Madam Pomfrey last month."

Hermione pulled herself up to a sitting position. "We were there because we went, not because you brought us."

"Right, mate. The way I see it, the only time we've got hurt was in the middle of a battle. It's people other places who are disappearing without doing anything. As long as we're with you, we know what's going on. Knowing what's going on is better than not knowing."

"Exactly. We know when we need to watch one another's backs."

"Plus we get watched by everyone watching you."

Harry sat up. "Right."

"Besides," Hermione said, "if I didn't have someone on my team who could actually play Quidditch, Ron and Ginny would flatten me every game."

Harry laughed. "As long as your priorities are straight."

"Where else am I going to be, anyway?" Ron asked. "I mean, you keep me busy and Hermione fixes my homework. If I weren't here, I'd probably be bored and failing my classes."

"Not to mention to mention that you live here."

"Well, there's that, too."

"And--the possible consequences of troll misadventures notwithstanding--I'd probably just be a manically studious know-it-all and still not have any friends," Hermione said. "Trust me, I prefer it this way."

Harry smiled and breathed deeply, the good smell of clover and apple trees. "Well, Quidditch is out." He pulled a deck of cards from his pocket. "Anyone for Exploding Snap?"
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: December 25th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sirius's fall through the veil, body intact, was really a step to a parallel universe--ours. A very confused Sirius just showed up at your front door.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 26th, 2005 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)
It was a leafy, hilly sort of place--far too pleasant to be hell but certainly not heaven. In fact, it was a bit more pedestrian than anything Sirius had heard about the afterlife, which made him wonder if Dora had been wrong about what the Veil was meant to do. Perhaps it was just a Portkey. He looked up the hill on one side, down on the other. Nothing looked at all familiar. The two-story houses didn't seem like anything he'd seen before, and the dingy snow didn't fit with the warm June evening he'd left.

Not able to think of anything else to do, he went up the short path to the door of the house he'd found himself in front of and knocked. No answer, but the door was ajar. It wasn't really the best practice, but a year on the run had made him less inhibited about breaking and entering than he once had been. No need to worry here, though--there were just more locked doors inside. He rang the bell on the right, and heard shuffling from far back in the house.

"Just a sec... Jelly, you're tripping me! Waddami gonna do withyoo?" The accent was flat and nasal, the words fast and a bit blurry.

The curtain moved aside, and the woman on the other side peered through curiously. She was a plain-faced, large girl in glasses, holding a very round cat with gray and tan splotches.

The door cracked open, but stayed on its chain, and the woman frowned. "Are you, er... looking for my roommate?"

"Actually, I was hoping you could tell me where I am."

"Excuse me?"

"You sound American."

"Yeah, that happens sometimes, curiously enough."

"Am I in America?"

"Yeah, Boston. Roundabouts, anyway."

"I see you have a fireplace. Perhaps I could..."

"It doesn't work... A fireplace?"

Sirius winced. "Right, yes, that wouldn't make sense, would it?"

She frowned. "Wait a minute. Those are wizards' robes you're wearing."

"Oh, good, not a Muggle, then. Do you have Floo powder?"

"Who are you?"

"Sirius Black."

"Right." She rolled her eyes. "Honestly, whoever you are, you should read the books before trying to use them to break into a fan's house. Sirius Black died in book five. I can lend it to you if you go to my workplace. Actually, you know what? I have two copies of that one. Do you want the American edition or the Canadian one?"

"Books?"

She frowned. "Books. With covers and pages and things. You know, they were books before they made movies. And you really don't look that much like Gary Oldman. Too young."

"I'm only thirty-eight. And who's Gary Oldman?"

"I've had enough of this."

"Wait, please--what are you talking about? Where am I?"

She bit her lip, struggling with some question. "Look, wait out on the porch steps, all right? I'll be right out."

She waited for him to go, then closed the door. He saw a flicker of motion past the front windows as she gathered something in her living room (and heard more talk to the formidable Jelly Roll), then the both doors opened and she came out, books under one arm. The other kept a firm grip on her keys, which were splayed out between her fingers. A black whistle was pinched between her forefinger and her thumb. She bent to set the books down and spilled them downthe concrete stairs. Sirius crouched and picked them up. One was a large yellow road atlas of greater Boston. The others were two paperback books and four hardcovers, all with Harry's name emblazoned at the top of them, the "P" in "Potter" shaped to look like a lightning bolt. Each had a different subtitle and a different picture. One, which was a bilious green, had the Dark Mark on it. He moved it aside to look at it, and found underneath it one titled Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It showed a boy and a girl on a hippogriff. He opened it and saw a table of contents, narrative, dialogue... "They're fiction!"

"Yeah," the woman said. "Top of the New York Times bestseller list so much that they made a new list just to give other authors some room."

"I slipped into a world where I'm a bloody character! That's worse than hell. Is there a handy veil around that I can jump back through?"

She shrugged. "Sorry. You're stuck. Jo says you're not coming back. You should go to the library and check her website."
From: anatomiste Date: December 25th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is so sweet of you. I don't normally bite on these but you know...since I saw Goblet of Fire I have been thinking about Neville...so how about one of Neville? With Hermione. Anything you like.

Happy Hanukkah!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 27th, 2005 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay. Hmm. Maybe sometime during the cat-rat fight?




If I could just do another hour in the same place, Hermione thought, looking at the lines of numbers on her Arithmancy homework, which were starting to blur together. Just once. I could finish this.

But it wasn't just against the rules. It was impossible. If she could re-do this hour, then there would be two people sitting in the chair right now. If she went to another chair, it would risk someone seeing two Hermiones sitting in the library at two different desks. Pity that she didn't have a twin. That would make it sort of possible.

And it would be company as well. Just someone to talk to. A twin wouldn't think she had deliberately murdered a pet, or look at her like she was a traitor just for being suspicious of a good racing broom that appeared out of nowhere. A twin wouldn't--

"Hermione?"

She looked up, not sure who was left to talk to her. "Neville!" She cleared away a space on the far side of the table, pointed at the chair, and smiled. "Hello. How are you?"

He sat down. "I'm all right. You haven't been around the Common Room."

"Ron and Harry don't want me there."

"Bit stupid," Neville said. "Ron almost died because I can't remember passwords--you'd think it would be me they don't talk to. I... I don't suppose you could help me. I'm a bit twisted up in Transfiguration."

"Well, I..." Hermione looked at her pile of homework. She'd finished Transfiguration hours ago, and there was still the rest of Arithmancy, a History of Magic essay, and a set of questions from Potions, not to mention a pile of books she still needed to go through for Hagrid and Buckbeak. She sighed. "Where are you turned around?"

Neville pulled out his book and went through the questions with utter bafflement. She did her best to explain the principle, but Neville had a mental block about it, and gave up after fifteen minutes. "I just don't understand it!" he said.

"You do, though. Just try it. Think about it like... well, like you're playing a game instead of getting marks for Professor McGonagall. It's like a crossword puzzle in the Daily Prophet, that's all. It doesn't matter if you don't know one. Just... you know, play with it. You'll get it."

"I suppose..."

"It's true."

Neville nodded uncertainly, then peeked at the books on dangerous creatures. "Are you doing extra credit it Care of Magical Creatures?"

"No. It's personal work. Just... a hobby."

"Oh. Well, I'm sorry I bothered you. I'm hopeless about this."

"You didn't bother me and you're not hopeless. Just try it like I said."

"Right. Well, thanks." He stood up, then looked at her uncertainly. "Hermione... you might do well to get a bit of sleep. You know... you look a bit... well, take care."

He left.

Hermione pulled her books back to her, and started working again.
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: December 25th, 2005 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ginny and Dumbledore, please, Fern. And happy Hannukah!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 27th, 2005 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)

"Ah, Miss Weasley. I'm glad you were able to come." Professor Dumbledore came around the desk and sat in a puffy chair, indicating the one beside it to Ginny. "It's been quite a long time since we've talked. I thought I'd get to you before your attention is diverted by your O.W.L. studies. Would you care for sherbet lemon?"

Ginny shook her head. "The note said you wanted to talk about... Tom. You didn't mean the fellow who runs the Leaky Cauldon by any chance, did you? I think I've heard a rumor or two..."

"I know all I need to know about the proprietor of the Leaky Cauldron from Aberforth. They have something of a rivalry. But I appreciate your eagerness to investigate." Dumbledore smiled. "Ginny, I know it's a difficult thing to discuss, and you've bounced back marvelously. But I need your help. I need it more than you know, to understand something about Lord Voldemort. To be certain of it. It's something I suspect at present. But I need you to tell me about that diary."

Ginny nodded. "I can do it. It's all right. That girl... I'm not really her anymore. I just keep her in a box somewhere. Take her out if she needs to answer questions."

"You must never suggest such a thing," Dumbledore said, suddenly grave. "Never, Miss Weasley."

"All right. It was just a manner of speaking."

"Yes, I suppose." He straightened his glasses. "What I need to know from you is what your Tom Riddle was like."

"I don't know. It was mostly lies, wasn't it?"

"I imagine a great deal of it was untrue, yes. But the nature of the lies he was telling interests me. Tell me, Miss Weasley... how did he seem to you? What did he say?"

Ginny cast her mind back, fighting the urge to just skip that part of her life, to seal it up in something and shut it away. "He... well, he was very nice to me at first. Telling me that I was smarter and prettier than anyone else thought. He helped me with my classes sometimes. Especially Charms. I got behind in Charms, and he explained things and told me I was only having trouble because of..." She blushed. "He said it was because Professor Flitwick is a bad teacher. And something about goblin blood. I should have known that was a bad thing. I mean, I do know better. But he taught me, and it worked, and--"

"And sometimes, it's easier to blame a teacher."

"Sometimes. I wish I hadn't."

"It's all right. You're not the first student to do so, and you won't be the last. I imagine he would encourage it."

"He did. It was always someone else's fault. At least until I was too far in. Then I was stupid and foolish and everyone would hate me."

"I'm quite sorry that happened to you." He stood and went to the window. "Is there anything I can do to make the rest of your evening more pleasant than I've begun it?"

"No. It's all right. I want to help you and the Order. Anything I can do, really."

"You've done quite enough. I need one more piece of information, but you don't have it. You can go back to your common room."

Ginny stood up and turned toward the door. She stopped. "Professor Dumbledore?"

"What is it, Miss Weasley?"

"What was he really like? Tom Riddle, I mean?"

"He was exactly as you've described him," Dumbledore said. "And that was precisely what I needed to know."
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: December 25th, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Happy Hanukkah, Fern! :D
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