The Sugar Quill
Author: Pelirroja  Story: The Gift of the Magical Magi  Chapter: Default
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The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones…O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.
~~~O. Henry~~

 

The Gift of the Magical Magi



It was the day before the Christmas Holidays were to begin.  Harry thought the snow gave the grounds a more magical feeling than usual, or perhaps it was the holiday spirit in that abounded everywhere. The air was crisp, and a light dusting of snow was falling to the already well-covered ground. He, Ron, and Hermione were making their way back up the great lawn to the castle. Harry smiled to himself wryly; with all that was going on, he sincerely hopped that this Christmas would be better than last. Last year, Christmas was almost spoilt by the attack on Mr. Weasley. If they were lucky, this Christmas would be uneventful. Ron and Hermione, however, soon interrupted his thoughts.

“So, what colour sweater do you suppose my Mum will be knitting you this year, Harry?” inquired Ron jovially, “She’s used just about everything I can think of so far. Seems to me you’re due for sunshiny yellow, mate!”

Wham! A well-lobbed snowball hit Ron square in the chest. Both Harry and Hermoine broke into laughter. Ron was blinking in disbelief and jumping in an odd dance. Apparently, the snow was both on his clothes and under it.

“Maybe,” snorted Harry, “She’ll make me a white sweater to match your new look.”

“Which of you?” Ron sputtered indignantly, as he continued jumping up and down. In addition, he was now pulling at his shirttails, “Do you have any idea how cold this is? That was below the belt using a Penetrus charm to make the snow go all the way through!”

 

“Oh Ron, don’t be a baby!” laughed Hermione, “It’s not like you’ve never had a snowball thrown at you before.”

 

“What would you know about it, Hermione? It’s now dripping down to my…,”Ron coloured, “never mind!”

 

Harry rolled his eyes. He knew from experience that this could go on all the way back to Gryffindor Tower. For a fleeting second he thought they had stopped. He was wrong. Hermione had merely paused momentarily to come up for air.


“Serves you right for poking fun at your Mum. Really Ron, you know she means well. You could show a bit more appreciation.” said Hermione, sounding a bit like Professor McGonagal as she continued, “There are plenty of people who get nothing for Christmas!”

“Well then they can have my sweater!” retorted Ron, shaking the last vestiges of snow from under his shirt, “Besides, at Christmas people who are not well off have the St. Mungo’s Christmas Relief supply truck to help them out. It’s not like people have to go without things for the Holidays-”

“How insensitive can you be Ron? You, of all people! That hardly makes up for not being able to provide for your own family. Can you imagine how it would feel as a parent if your children knew their presents came from a charity? It’s humiliating not to be able to give the simplest of things to those you care about.” Hermione was on a roll now and there was no stopping her. She was wagging her finger an inch from Ron’s nose, as she continued to scold him, “And there are people have it far worse than that, you know!”

“Actually, I don’t know Hermione, but I have a feeling you are about to tell me,” interrupted Ron sarcastically.

So much for this evening being peaceful, thought Harry. He wondered if the two of them would continue to snap at each other through dinner, or if they would settle for merely glaring at each other across the table. Walking slightly ahead of them, dreading the moment one or both of them tried to get him to take sides, Harry ran his hand through his hair. Sooner or later they’d remember he was there too, and he better have a plan of action.

 

Hermione was droning on, “People who are alone at Christmas, people who have no one to share their time with, people who everyone just seems to forget about…It’s a lot worse to be alone than to not have the money--”

“Well, I wouldn’t know about anyone like that Hermione,” interrupted Ron, who was obviously growing impatient under today’s tirade, “If I did, I’d do something about it.”

Harry abruptly stopped in his tracks, nearly causing Ron to trip over him. How had he never considered this before?  How had none of them ever thought about this before?  Finally he spoke, “Actually, I know someone just like what you’re describing, Hermione. In fact, we all do.”

Hermione and Ron, who had stopped arguing when Ron almost collided into Harry, looked at him quizzically. Suddenly, Hermione turned beet red and began to apologise, “Oh Harry, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to imply that we don’t like spending Christmas here with you!”

“No, mate," Ron said a bit too enthusiastically, “I mean, we like being here with you, honest. We don’t think of it as a burden…” Hermione smacked the back of Ron’s head and glared at him.

Harry just grinned at their embarrassment, “It’s not that I don’t appreciate the apologies you two, but I never thought you were referring to me.” Ron and Hermione looked blankly at Harry until he continued, “Until now, I never gave it much thought myself. It’s what Hermione said about ‘people who have no one to share their time with’ being worse off than the people who lack money. I thought that it would be really horrible if someone was poor and had no one to spend the Holidays with.”

“So, who are you talking about then?” asked Ron.

“Think back to last Christmas at headquarters. Who doesn’t have anything-”

A glimmer of recognition came into Hermione’s eyes as she cut Harry off, “How did we not see it? Why of course you’re right, Harry. He fits both categories.”

“All right, I’ve had enough of the guessing games,” stated a slightly exasperated Ron, “Would one of you please explain exactly what and who you’re discussing?”

“Professor Lupin.” Harry and Hermione replied in unison.

“Right then,” said Ron, understanding at last, “So what do you propose we do about it? You said it yourself, Hermione, ‘It is humiliating not to be able to give the simplest of things to those you care about.’ How do we do anything for him without embarrassing him?”

I have an idea,” said Harry, “We need to work fast. Come on, we have to see Professor Dumbledore and a few other people if this is going to work.”


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On Christmas Day, Remus Lupin arrived at Hogwarts as requested by Professor Dumbledore. This worried him, more than just a little. What could be so pressing that it required discussion on Christmas Day at Hogwarts? He had been told to come alone. The other members of the Order had not received owls with letters requiring their presence. 

 

As he entered in the Great Hall, Professor Dumbledore, Ron, Harry, and Hermione were there to meet him. “Good evening to you all, I didn’t realise there would be more people than Professor Dumbledore and I present.”

“Good evening, Remus,” said Dumbledore, warmly, “Please join us and take a seat. I trust you had a pleasant walk up to the castle after you Apparated into Hogsmeade?”

“Thank you, the walk was most picturesque,” replied Remus, “If I may ask Headmaster, I was under the impression that there was business that you needed to discuss with me?”

“There is indeed a matter of importance, Remus. I, however, am not the one who is chiefly responsible for this meeting.” Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled as he spoke, “I am merely here as the host, and as such I need to check on our meal. I always make it a point to visit the House Elves on Christmas and thank them for the fine job they have done throughout the year. They are a bit put out at the moment since they don’t have more people for whom to prepare food. For the present, I’ll leave you in the quite capable hands of Harry, Ron and Hermione.” With that final comment, Dumbledore departed for the kitchens.

“I guess we had best explain, Professor.” said Harry taking the lead, “This all started a with a conversation we had yesterday and…well…to make a long story short…”

“Well for starters,” continued Ron, since Harry was fumbling for words, “We couldn’t think of anyone all of us wanted to have Christmas supper with more than you. It’s because…well, it’s like this…er…”

“We realise that we should have done it long ago, but better late than never.” said Hermione, seemingly trying to be helpful as she shot meaningful looks at Harry.

There was a long pause as Remus looked at each of them before saying, “I am truly sorry, but I don’t believe that I’m following you.”


Regaining the power of articulate speech, Harry held out a small box that was tied with a ribbon, “Maybe this will explain it better.”

Remus, looking quite puzzled, took the box from Harry and opened it. Inside were letters from several of the students he had taught four years ago. Many of the names Remus recognized had formed the original members of the D.A. As he opened each letter in turn, he realised that they had all written to thank him for what they had learned from him when he was their teacher.

From Ginny: I never thought I’d be able to defend myself after against anyone larger after what happened in the Chamber of Secrets. You told me to stand up and to have courage and my spells would work, and that, “Size is no indication of strength.” My brothers have learned that first hand. I’ve become quite good at a powerful Bat-Bogey…


From Dean: You never made us Muggleborns feel inferior, sir. You never made us feel like our questions were stupid or that we were second class. I learned more from you than anyone…

From Hermione: From you I learned that there is more to life than just reading books, and that I have to stop taking myself so seriously all the time. You made me realize that I need time just to have fun with my friends and appreciate them too…

From Ron: You made me see that I have a lot to learn about prejudice. There were plenty of things that I just took for granted like all werewolves being evil and all giants being bloodthirsty. I guess you taught me to think about what I’ve heard, and to match it up against what I actually see…

From Neville: I don’t know where to start. Unless I was in Herbology, I’ve never felt I could do anything right. That changed when I was in your class, Professor. You didn’t make me afraid to try…

From Harry:
If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here. Many of us wouldn’t be here. Sirius, Hermione, and I would have fallen to the Dementors. I wouldn’t have had two years with Sirius. I wouldn’t have discovered anything about my parents. I wouldn’t have my life, as I know it.

You gave me the skills to help people defend themselves. I guess I realised what it meant to me when I saw Neville actually succeeding because of me. His success meant even more when he said, “ thank you”. I know it’s not a gift money can buy, but I just felt that we all needed to actually say it. Thank you, even if it is a little late.


Remus looked up from the letters not knowing where to begin. The treasures in his hands were worth more to him than all the gold in Gringotts. He could think of no Christmas of his past that he would value more than this one. He knew the gifts he received this Christmas would be remain with him for the rest of his life. The man who was never without words, found himself capable of uttering only two.

“Thank you.” Remus responded at last, sincerely moved.

Those two little words were enough. The Magi smiled; they understood.

 

 

AN: This holiday season find a teacher who helped you, inspired you, gave you that boost when you were down. All the bath soaps, candles, and Boarders gift certificates don’t mean as much as a sincere thank you from a student. So go out and drop a teacher, maybe one you haven’t even seen in years a line, you’ll make their day!

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