The Sugar Quill
Author: shellebelle (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Bits and Pieces  Chapter: Bit Two: Home for the Holidays
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Bits and Pieces

Disclaimer:  I’m just playing in Ms. Rowling’s world.  I make no money from this.

 

Many thanks go to my beta-reader, Elanor Gamgee, who completely ROX! Also, many thanks go to all the wonderful people who read my stories and like them! Thanks for all the encouragement!

 

 

 

 

 

   Bits and Pieces

Bit Two:  Home for the Holidays

 

 

Oh there's no place like home
For the holidays, ‘cause no matter
How far away you roam
If you want
To be happy in a million ways
For the holidays, you can't beat
Home, sweet home.

 

--Al Stillman and Robert Allen

“Home for the Holidays”

 

 

 

Arthur liked to Apparate just down the road from his house to see all the lights on inside, welcoming him home.  Now that it was Christmas Eve, it was especially nice to see the lights on the Christmas tree in the front room window.  He was glad every day that he had been able to move them into this house, and especially glad that they were able to spend their first Christmas as husband and wife in it.  The Dixons were coming tomorrow, and his family would have come too, but his oldest brother had just had a child and his family wanted to visit with them this Christmas.

 

He opened the door to the warmth of their kitchen.  “I’m home, Molly,” he announced.  She came out of the pantry to hug him.  Molly was four months pregnant and beginning to show, though she insisted she’d been getting filled out since her second month.

 

“I’m so glad you’re home, and off for the holiday.  I did a lot more baking today…” here she kissed him, “and I’m not sure I’ve made enough, what with all my family coming tomorrow…”                                  

 

Arthur looked around the kitchen.  “You are joking, aren’t you?  Our table looks like it’s going to collapse!”  It was true; Molly’s excellent cooking and baking had taken up just about every spare bit of flat surface in the kitchen and even part of the living room.  He dusted flour off her nose playfully.  “Everyone is going to have an excellent meal, even if we don’t have room to seat them all, and everything is going to be wonderful.  Now, let me help you with something, love, you’ve been working your fingers to the bone with all this.”

 

She sighed and made a great show of reluctance as she said, “Well, since you asked…” and she set him to work.

 

It was late that night before Molly decided that the preparations were enough, and the next morning, she was still up at dawn.  Arthur, coming down a couple of hours later, said reproachfully, “You should have woken me. I would have helped.”

 

“Think of it as an early Christmas present, dear.  You’ll be up tonight helping me clean up.  The families will be here any minute, and there’s still the stoop to be swept of mud and snow…”

 

“Molly…”

 

“…the eggs to be gathered…”

 

“Molly…”

 

“…the cow to be milked, she doesn’t care that it’s Christmas…”

 

Molly!  Arthur grabbed her shoulders gently and stopped her.  “I can do that stuff…didn’t you teach me to milk a cow yourself?”

 

Molly smiled ruefully.  “Yes, I did.  I’m sorry.  I’m just used to doing all of those things.”

 

“Well, I’m home and I can help, so let me.  All right?”

 

 

After Arthur had done those chores for Molly, he went upstairs and changed his clothes, then went back to see about getting Molly to go upstairs and change her dress, for he knew she would fuss about preparations until the very last minute if he didn’t remind her…

 

“Molly, everything looks great.  Why don’t you go upstairs and clean up?  I’ll greet the first guests if you are not ready when they come.”

 

“All right, Arthur.  Thank you.”  Molly made her way upstairs and Arthur went out to the front room.

 

The Christmas tree really did look wonderful.  Molly had enchanted the popcorn strings to change colors, from red to blue to green to purple, and they both had a bit of fun creating non-edible cookies to hang on the tree.  Arthur’s mother had given them magical lights to light up the tree, and they glowed, white and soft, catching the glittery colored sugar on the ornaments.

 

Molly was coming downstairs.  She was wearing a green and blue tartan skirt, and a white blouse.  Her outer robe was Kelly green.

 

“You look lovely,” he said, giving her a hug.

 

“Do I really look all right?  I feel a bit like an overstuffed turkey.”

 

Arthur laughed at her analogy.  “You look beautiful,” he insisted, kissing her.

 

As the guests began to arrive, the house almost seemed to expand to hold them all.  This is a very hospitable house, Arthur thought fondly.

 

“Aye, so this is our Molly-girl’s new home, is it?” Cian Dixon, Molly’s uncle, said jovially.  He looked rather distinguished, with his white hair and straight bearing, but one look into his eyes told you that he was merely having fun.  “A fine house it is!  And how is the lord of the manor this fine evening?” He made an exaggerated bow to Arthur.

 

Arthur laughed.  “Well, the lord of the manor has found that if the lady of the manor is pleased, life is a happy prospect, indeed!”

 

Molly punched Arthur lightly in the arm and shook her head affectionately.  “You men,” she said, and took her uncle’s coat.  “Will you play today, Uncle?”

 

“Would it be Christmas if I didn’t, lass?”

 

Elisabeth and Aiden Dixon, Molly’s mother and father, came then, bringing Molly’s five younger sisters, thirteen-year-old Martha, the eleven-year-old twins, Charity and Constance, eight-year-old Anne, and tiny Betsy, who was only two.  “Molly!  You got married!” Betsy exclaimed in delight.  She looked as if she had wanted to tell Molly that all day.  Molly scooped the girl up. 

 

“Yes, I did, Betsy.  You know Arthur…he’s your brother in law now.”

 

Betsy smiled at Arthur and reached out to him and put her arms around his neck.  “Hi, brother!”

 

Arthur laughed and hugged her back.  “Hi, sister!  Want a biscuit? Molly made lots of these!” 

 

Betsy laughed, and Molly scolded Arthur laughingly, “You’ll spoil her dinner.”

 

But her mother said, “Oh, Molly, it’s Christmas.  There are no spoiled dinners at Christmas.”

 

Molly grinned and gave her youngest sister a biscuit.

 

It was the merriest Christmas the Dixon family had seen in many years.  Cian Dixon played his fiddle, and Arthur and Molly played with the smaller Dixon girls.  Molly’s fears about the amount of food she had prepared were unfounded, and everyone ate and was well satisfied.  After dinner, they opened their gifts, which were not extravagant, but they were chosen with love.  “Ah, what would Christmas be without a Molly Dixon jumper,” her father said, and then laughed.  “I suppose we’ll have to call them Molly Weasley jumpers from now on.”

 

Molly blushed a bit and leaned happily against Arthur. 

 

Later, Aiden Dixon, Molly’s father began to tell stories.  He was a grand storyteller, and in both better times and worse, his stories had entertained them through many a long winter’s night.  Molly asked for her childhood favorite, “Cap o’ Rushes”, and her sisters asked for other stories, and her mother asked for “The Battle of the Trees.”  Arthur rather liked that story himself, especially the line, I have plundered the fern, through all secrets I spy, Old Math ap Mathonwy knew no more than I.”

 

Finally, when the last story had been told and the last song sung, the guests, a bit sleepy with merrymaking, began to make their ways home.  Elisabeth Dixon took her daughter aside and told her, “Molly, that was the happiest celebration I’ve had in a very long time, and I thank you.”

 

“Oh, Mum…”  Molly’s eyes were shining, and Arthur knew that meant a lot to her.

 

“I knew this would be good for you.  I think you were born to be married.  Arthur has been good for you.  Be happy.”

 

Molly held her mother close.  Even after nearly six months of marriage, Arthur knew she was sometimes still torn between being at Dixon’s Den to take care of her mother, and being here at her Burrow to take care of him.  “I will, Mum.  Travel safely.”

 

When all the guests were gone, Molly and Arthur collapsed on the sofa in front of the fireplace in the front room.  “That was wonderful!” Arthur exclaimed happily.  “Should we do it again next year?”

 

“Next year, we will have a little one to look after, Arthur,” she reminded him gently.

 

“We’ll have to do the visiting, then.”  Arthur kissed her cheek tenderly.  A little one to look after, he thought.  How wonderful.  His hand drifted down to her belly, a little rounder now and very warm.

 

Molly pulled her feet up on the sofa and leaned into Arthur.  Sleepily, she nodded against him.  “Happy Christmas, Arthur.”

 

“Happy Christmas, darling.”

 

 

A/N: Aiden and Cian Dixon are from Scotland, but Aiden’s stories are from all over.  Hey, when you have to entertain a family of five on long winter’s nights, you take the stories where you can get them!

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