The Sugar Quill
Author: mioneatheart (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Very Best Present  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

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A/N: This particular Plot Bunny came to me in the middle of the night, so here I am writing. ;o) I hope that I make sense! This is in fact my second entry in the Quill Fan Fiction Tournament. This piece is a sequel/companion to another Fic I have written and is posted here on the Quill, "Harry's Birthday Present." I am thinking that this one would be before because Harry has a very low feeling of what "family" he has, it develops more in HBP. Well, I hope you like this and thanks for reading! Reviews and Comments are cherished and read over and over again in times of self-depreciation! So please review! ;o) Also many many thanks to Doctor Aicha for being my beta for this Fic!

 

Christmas time had come again to Hogwarts. The castle was decorated in all its holiday splendor, everlasting icicles adorning all the staircases and mistletoe strategically placed throughout the halls. Peeves was at his holiday best, continuing the tradition of inhabiting suits of armor and singing Peeves' style Christmas Carols (I wish you a rotten Christmas, I wish you a rotten Christmas and a Stinkin' New Year…). Everyone was 'Merry and Bright', classes had ended and students were heading home to spend the holiday with their families. Even the loathsome Professor Snape seemed to partake in the holiday cheerfulness this year (perhaps this was because he had succeeded in granting all Gryffindors very low marks in their Potions finals…) but nevertheless Hogwarts was filled with much Christmas cheer.

There was one student, however, who didn't seem to be feeling the holiday. Harry Potter sat alone in his dormitory, gazing out his window at the freshly fallen snow. His normally brilliant green eyes were vacant and sorrowful and his glasses rested crookedly the end of his nose. Usually Harry had his friends, the only real family he had, to give him company. This year, however, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger had both returned home for the holidays. Neither went willingly, but that wasn't much comfort to Harry. Hermione was summoned home by her parents because, "It just sounds so dangerous, what with this 'You-Know-Who' character back…we just want you to be with us…" and Ron, Ron was home on much more reasonable terms (not that the Grangers' wanting their daughter home was unreasonable). He had been owled by his mother just the day before. Bill, the eldest Weasley child, had gone missing while on special assignment for the Order of the Phoenix, and Molly had requested that all her other children come home immediately ("So I can watch over all my babies…"). But that left Harry feeling very much alone in the holiday season--there he was, in 'The Season of Friends and Family' without either.

His spirits lifted slightly as he saw Hedwig drifting gracefully through the snow. He noticed that she seemed to be carrying a small parcel, and wondered who it could be from--he had already received gifts from Ron, Hermione, Hagrid…Who else could there be? He had no other family. His insides squirmed as he thought of all the Weasleys, warm and cozy at the Burrow, sharing the holiday with family-everyone in their freshly knitted 'Weasley Sweaters' laughing, joking, and enjoying each other's company. He had never had that. His memories of Christmases were cold and bitter ones - Dudley unwrapping an endless array of gifts, while he, Harry, sat alone in the corner, knowing that he would never be loved that way--knowing that he was unwanted.

Hedwig sailed through the window and landed gently on the sill. Dropping the parcel she pecked him on the arm, big brown eyes full of affection and …was that sympathy?

"Hullo, Hedwig. What have you got there?"

He glanced down at the neatly wrapped brown package. It had no address. It was only curiosity that brought Harry to open the parcel--he tore off the wrapping and a piece of parchment fluttered to the floor. Picking it up he read:

Dear Harry,

I am sorry we can't spend the Christmas holiday together like a normal family. One day we will-I promise. I know how you must feel, being separated from your friends over the holiday, I did everything I could to talk Dumbledore into it, but in many ways I agree with him, we really do need to be extra careful about your safety these days, Harry. With Voldemort back we can never be too careful.

"Constant Vigilance." Harry muttered feeling a fresh surge of hatred in the pit of his stomach. Voldemort. It was his fault that Harry had no family-- that he had to spend Christmas alone. He had shattered so many lives…torn apart so many families…

I found something the other day, Harry that may make you feel better. I can't tell you how I got it and I can't tell you where but it's for you…it's always been meant for you. The note in the package will explain. Merry Christmas, Harry.

Love,

Sirius

Harry immediately turned on the package, ripping it open. Inside was another brown box that held a…Sugar Quill (was this some kind of joke?)-along with a small piece of parchment. It was neatly folded and laying delicately on the Quill.

He read:

Dear Harry or Rose,

Harry felt himself freeze, the bottom of his stomach dropping out. But he read on-

We're not sure if you're Harry or Rose yet, as it is that you are not due to be born for another 7 months, but we do know that we already love you very much. This may be hard to believe, dear son or daughter, but there is a terrible war going on --and most are left not knowing what is going to happen. We are planning to save this package and pass it on to your Godfather (annoying prat that he is…), so that if one day we cannot be there for you--you may have this present and the power to have us with you always. So take this as a Christmas present from your parents. It is a Sugar Quill. Don't ask why your father chose a Sugar Quill of all things to give you (I really have no idea myself…he merely claims that 'Sugar Quills rule.') but I have done something to make this present slightly more memorable. Merely place the Quill on an empty piece of parchment and say 'Message?' There will be a special surprise for you. We love you! Merry Christmas!

Mum and Dad

Harry let out a shaky breath and lowered the parchment with trembling hands. Sitting there he stared at it for minutes on end, not quite sure that it wouldn't disappear.

He looked over at the Sugar Quill, resting gently in its box, not knowing that it was special, or how much meaning it held. Reaching out he lifted the Quill delicately, holding it in the palm of his hand. It rested there as he fumbled in his trunk, looking for a clean roll of parchment. He found one, slightly bent and squashed, and pulled it from underneath 'Flying With The Cannons.' Spreading the parchment over his desk Harry placed the Quill onto it, eyeing it with disbelief. Instantly the Quill stood up on end, quivering, awaiting its command. Harry tried to speak, but his voice shook violently. He cleared his throat--

"Message?"

Harry watched as the Quill began scratching across the page. Its script began to form two very distinct words, "Say Steriox."

"Steriox?"

Noise began to come from the parchment, sounding like some sort of recording. He could hear a slight static, the kind you heard on a Muggle tape-recorder. Then he heard a voice.

"Is it working?" It was woman's voice, light and cheery. Harry had the vague feeling that he had heard that voice before.

"I think so." This time it was a man's voice, it too sounded familiar.

"How can you tell?" Harry knew this voice; it had a sarcastic humor to it--who else could it be--Sirius.

"Shut up Padfoot."

"Just go on, it's working." There was no mistaking it--that was Professor Lupin. He sounded different--his voice much younger, less strained. It was youthful and Harry could hear the mischief hidden beneath its surface.

Then two voices began to sing. Harry finally recognized them-- the woman was his mother. He had heard her voice before, but never like this. He had heard her screaming, pleading for him - for his life. He knew the man's voice as well--his father's. He had only heard him once before--when a Dementor had come near- he could recall the exact words, "Run, Lily! Take Harry…Go!" But both voices were happy now. They sang together and Harry could almost see them smiling. To Harry it was the most wonderful sound in the world.

"We wish you a Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas…

And a Happy New Year!"

"Merry Christmas, Harry!" He heard his mother say. "Or Rose!" And that was it, the room was silent again.

But the Quill hadn't finished--it was writing again. The script was neat and loopy, "We hope you have a very Merry Christmas!"

Then it was over taken by an untidy scrawl-- "Enjoy the Quill! Mummy has made it so you can listen to us any time you want."

"Don't know why you would want to do that. Horrible voice your father has…"

"Ignore that--just your very annoying and ungrateful Godfather. Stupid prat."

"That's enough you two."

"You're right Lily."

"As always."

"Enough Sirius."

"Ah, you're right…Merry Christmas, Harry!"

"How do you know it's going to be 'Harry'?"

"I'm the Godfather…I just know…"

"Right."

"Well-Merry Christmas Sweetie!"

"Merry Christmas!"

The Quill stopped. Harry just stared at it-and very slowly he reached up and set the Quill on its point again. It immediately came to attention. Harry felt his insides warm as he watched it vibrate steadily on the spot--the best Christmas present ever--the present from his parents.

And Harry found, in the end, that this Christmas might not be such a bad one after all.

 

 

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