Author's Note: Goodness, it seems I've fallen off the
proverbial fanfiction planet, doesn't it? Well, I’m making my return
with this little (very little) Christmas offering for the Sugar Quill
First Task Fanfiction Tournament. For those of you unfamiliar with 'The
Quill', it is a fabulous site run by some wonderful and dedicated folks,
and is approaching it's first anniversary. And so, I dedicate this to
all you Sugar Quillers past, present, and future. Have a Merry Christmas
"Wingardium Levioooooooooooosa!" cried Ron, waving his
wand about flamboyantly, "D'you hear that 'oh', Harry?"
"Very impressive," his friend agreed, "But remember,"
he added, adopting a high falsetto, "You've got to swish and flick! Look,"
He waved his own wand at the sugar quill that sat before him on the common
room coffee table. "Wingardium Leviosa!" The quill rose a few feet in
"What on earth are the two of you up to?" asked Hermione,
who had just climbed in the portrait hole.
Ron turned around sheepishly and Harry jumped, causing
his quill to fall out of the air and shatter on the table.
"There goes another," he sighed, turning to face Hermione
"What are you two doing?" Hermione repeated her question,
arching an eyebrow.
"Reliving one of our favorite charms lessons of all time,"
Ron answered, with what he obviously thought was a winning grin. Hermione
apparently didn't agree.
"Honestly, you two. What are you really doing?
Certainly nothing productive, from the looks of it," She walked around
the front of the couch and plopped down between them.
"Hermione," Ron rolled his eyes, "It's the first day of
the holidays - we're not supposed to be being productive! We're
supposed to be enjoying ourselves."
Hermione opened her mouth, probably to tell Ron just what
he and Harry ought to be doing with their holidays, but Ron chose exactly
that moment to stick a quill in it. A sugar quill in Hermione's mouth,
"No," he held up a hand to keep her from taking the quill
out and launching into a tirade, "Hermione, I know it doesn't happen often.
In fact, it practically never happens, but you're wrong. It's nearly Christmas,
and we are going to spend the afternoon decorating the common room tree.
Not working ahead in Transfiguration, not looking up new, complex potions
in the library, just decorating the Christmas tree." He took a breath
and exhaled heavily, "There, you can yell now."
Hermione pulled the sugar quill out of her mouth, but
she didn't yell. To Ron and Harry's immense surprise, she laughed.
"Sounds good to me. We could all certainly use a break
from - everything. Have we got any decorations?"
Ron gaped at her, and Harry grinned. "Ginny's gone off
to find some," he said, "And she should be back any minute now."
Sure enough, the portrait hole swung open at that moment
to reveal Ginny Weasley and three house elves, all loaded down with stacks
"Let's put them over there," Ginny was saying, gesturing
over at the tall spruce that had taken root in the Gryffindor common room
floor. The elves all trooped in and neatly stacked their boxes next to
the end of the couch nearest the tree.
"Ooh! Let's see what you've come up with, Ginny," Hermione
said, jumping up and opening one of the top boxes. It was filled with
miniscule glass teardrops.
"Now, what do you do with those?" Harry asked. "They're
too small to hang on the branches."
"No, they're-" Ginny began, as Hermione squealed excitedly,
"Oh! I've read about these!"
"Why am I not surprised?" Ron asked, rolling his eyes
"They're called dew drops. They are made out of real morning
dew, and they're charmed to be permanent. Look." She reached into the
box and picked up a dew drop, which shivered between her fingers. She
held it up to the very tip of one of the tree branches, and sure enough,
a moment later, the dew drop was hanging from the tip of the branch.
"Cool," Harry said, marveling at the tiny drop on the
"We'd better get going if we're going to get all these
up," Ginny said, scooping up a handful of dew drops. The other's followed
suit, and soon they'd covered all the lower branches, as high as even
Ron could reach. Then Harry went upstairs and grabbed his Firebolt, and
Ginny climbed onto Ron's shoulders. Between the three of them, they polished
off the top branches nearly as quickly as the bottom ones. When both Harry
and Ginny had returned to the ground, they found Hermione rummaging through
another box, marked 'Gryff. Ornaments'.
"Look," she said, quietly pulling out a scarlet ball.
"Hey - that's brilliant! House colors!" Ron said, grinning.
"No, look closer," Hermione said, handing him the ball.
On it there was gold writing:
1922 - present
"There's one for every Gryffindor graduate here," She
gestured at all the other boxes. "I think the first date is their year
of graduation, and the next two are years of birth and death."
"Hey, Harry! Look!" Ginny giggled, holding up another
ball, this one gold with scarlet lettering.
1954 - present (though there have been
"These things must have a mind of their own!" Harry said,
laughing at his godfather's ornament.
"Oh - here's Percy's," Hermione said, holding one up.
"And look, it says Head Boy on it. He'd be so pleased!"
Ron was on the other side of the couch, doubled over with
He held up two balls for Harry to see.
2002 (but only just)
1984 - eternity
2002 (he went out with a BANG)
1984 - 1884
"How did they manage that?" Harry asked, wiping tears
of mirth from the corner of his eye.
"They're Fred and George - it's always better not to ask,"
Ginny advised through her giggles.
Hermione straightened up, holding a golden ball and looking
much more sober than the rest of them. She handed it to Harry.
Head Girl 1972
1955 - 1981
Harry took that ball and examined it closely, tears brimming
in his eyes. He blinked them hastily away, though, and carried it over
to the tree, placing it on the highest branch he could reach, right near
where he'd hung Sirius'.
They continued to decorate in a companionable silence
for a time, commenting every now and then, when they saw someone they
knew. Ball after ball was hung - Hagrid's, Dumbledore's, Mr. and Mrs.
Weasley's. Harry placed his father's ornament right next to his mother's
when the time came, and the two balls - scarlet and gold, glistened in
the firelight. Hours later all the balls had been hung, and for once every
graduate of Gryffindor was in the common room at the same time, while
four current residents of the tower sat in front of the fire.
"You know, this is really what Christmas is all about,
isn't it?" Ginny mused, watching the flames dance in the fireplace.
"Hmmm…?" Harry said, sipping a mug of hot cider.
"I mean, gathering and remembering all the people and
Christmases that have gone before us, and creating new memories for the
ones to come." She said, turning to look at them all.
"Yes, I see what you mean…yes, it really is." Hermione
"Well, there's one tradition we've forgotten," Ron said,
pointedly, from the couch.
"Really? What's that?" Harry asked, looking at his friend.
"The tree - it's got nothing on the top," he said, pointing
He was right.
"Oh! I could have sworn there was a star in one of these
-" Hermione rustled through some of the empty boxes, "Yes, ah ha!"
She produced a golden star, and held it up as though
Harry, Ginny, and Ron were the Magi, following it to the Christ child.
"We'll never reach the top, though," Ginny pointed out.
"Here," Ron said, taking the star from Hermione's hands.
He pulled his wand out of his pocket and waved it with a quick swish and
flick at the star.
The star rose quickly to the top of the tree and settled
on the highest branch.
"You know, I think he's got the hang of that," Harry grinned.
"You know, I believe he does." Hermione agreed.