Chapter Twenty-Six: Christmas
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Harry woke up to the sound of his curtain being drawn open and then his door slamming shut. He didn't want to but he still blearily forced his eyes open to see what was going on. Very little light was streaming through his windows, certainly not enough to wake him. What time was it? There was a watch on the beside table but he was too tired to check.
He closed his eyes again and put his head under the covers.
It seemed like it was only minutes later that his door flung open again and a bright light filled the room.
"Ah! The hell?" Harry demanded groggily.
"Sorry, Harry," Sirius said, not sounding very sorry at all. "But I woke you up fifteen minutes ago and you're making less progress than Lockhart and he locked himself in the bathroom twenty minutes ago."
"What time is it?" Harry asked, burying his face in his pillow.
"I didn't catch that, sorry," Sirius informed him.
Harry lifted his head and repeated the question.
"Six-fifteen," Sirius answered promptly.
"I hate you," Harry growled.
Sirius just laughed. "God, you sound like your father. Your real one, that is."
Harry decided that Sirius was just trying to clarify and it was too early besides and so he let it go. "Why am I awake at this evil hour? The sun's really not up yet."
"The sun's clearly not a Christmas fan," Sirius said dismissively. "That's alright, though, because I'm enough of a fan for the both of us."
"Sirius, we may be magic but we do not have an anapomorphic sun," Harry told him.
Sirius frowned. "Sorry, what?"
"You know," Harry said, waving his hand vaguely. "A sun that has human traits."
"Ah, you mean 'anthropomorphic'," Sirius realized. "Well that's all the more reason that someone needs to celebrate Christmas on its behalf."
Harry sighed. "So it's Christmas. Why does that mean that I have to be awake now?" Harry asked again.
Against his will, he could feel that – though his tiredness remained – he was becoming more alert. He was quickly losing his chance to slip easily back into dreamland and Sirius had probably planned it that way. His godfather seemed like he had a lot of experience waking people up at ungodly hours.
"I've been up since four," Sirius announced. "But Remus wouldn't let me wake you up until now."
Harry was suddenly profoundly grateful to Remus for keeping Sirius at bay. "He's been up with you since then?"
"Remus and I always open presents at four in the morning," Sirius said, appearing to miss the point.
"Poor Remus," Harry said sympathetically.
"Poor Remus?" Sirius repeated incredulously. "Poor me. Let's go!"
Sirius bounded out of the room and Harry slowly climbed out of bed. Gilderoy wasn't downstairs yet so Harry lay down on the couch and ignored Sirius's attempts to get him to help with his and Remus's gingerbread house.
Finally, at seven on the dot, Gilderoy emerged at the top of the stairs and slowly began descending it, as impeccably put together as always despite the fact that they were just opening presents.
"Finally!" Sirius exclaimed, appearing like a blood hound in the living room the moment Gilderoy came into view.
Remus stayed behind for a few minutes, probably cleaning up, before joining them in front of the tree.
"You took so long that I was beginning to think that you had up and died on me," Sirius complained.
Gilderoy raised his eyebrows. "Did you? And yet somehow you didn't think to check on me? And on Christmas, too. How very humanitarian."
Sirius merely shook his head. "Nothing and I do mean nothing is going to stand between me and opening presents this morning. I've already been up for three hours."
"And frankly I'm rather skeptical that we can even call this 'morning' yet," Gilderoy replied.
"Why on Earth did you have to get all dressed up?" Sirius demanded, irritated at what was clearly the cause for the delay in his getting to unwrap presents.
"I prefer to make myself presentable before I do anything else," Gilderoy answered simply. "Just as you evidently prefer to be awake when anyone sensible would be sleeping on Christmas."
"It's true," Harry confirmed. "I don't think I've ever seen him in just regular pyjamas."
"I guarantee it that half of Britain started on their presents ages ago," Sirius said, a hint of a challenge in his voice.
"Would this be the half with small children?" Remus asked mildly. "Because I can easily see that."
Sirius sighed. "I'm cursed to be surrounded by grinches, it would seem."
"Well we're all awake now so why not open the presents?" Harry suggested. He moved over closer to the tree and glanced at one of the presents. He frowned and looked at another one and then another.
"Harry, what are you doing?" Gilderoy asked him.
"None of these presents have our names on them," Harry said, bewildered.
"What do you mean?" Gilderoy asked, surprised. He went over to the presents as well. "Frodo, Pippin, Legolas, and Elrond? We're a little far from Middle Earth, wouldn't you say?"
"Who are those people?" Harry asked, feeling even more confused now that Gilderoy was shown to have gotten whatever reference this was.
"They're characters from a series of Muggle books called The Lord of the Rings," Gilderoy explained. "But this does not explain our presents have these names on them."
"I cast the spell, I hope you don't mind," Remus said, a little apologetically in case they did mind. "It's just that we always used to do this back before James and Lily died and since there are more than two of us this year I thought it might be nice to revive the tradition."
Now how was Harry supposed to mind when Remus invoked Harry's own dead parents? That was not being fair.
"It's fine," Harry assured him. "But, well, which one am I?"
"You have to guess," Sirius said, his eyes dancing. "That's the best part."
"Why do I have to guess?" Harry asked.
"All three of you are going to guess and whoever gets the most right goes first followed by the person with the second-most right, the person with the least right, and then me," Remus explained.
"But I don't know anything about these people. I don't even know if they're male or female," Harry protested.
"They're all male," Sirius assured him. "Except possibly for Legolas. I have my doubts about Legolas."
"That really doesn't help me figure out which one I am. I mean, was this done at random or because we reminded you of them or what?" Harry inquired.
"There is a reason you were assigned those characters, yes," Remus told him. "I'm not guessing, of course, because I already know the answers and that just wouldn't be fair."
"I'm at a huge disadvantage since my father and Sirius have at least heard of these books," Harry pointed out. "Can't I just not guess? I'll go last and everything. It's really not a big deal."
"No, Harry, you have to guess," Remus told him. "That's the whole point."
He passed out small pieces of paper and pens (Harry had been so relieved to see this small bit of modernity when he'd first arrived given how ancient everything else was) and the three of them got to work.
Frodo, Pippin, Legolas, and Elrond. What did those names mean to him? Nothing, that's what. Well, he supposed that he might as well have a system even if it would be completely wrong. His last name was 'Potter' and his father's was 'Lockhart.' P and L like Pippin and Legolas. That left Frodo and Elrond which didn't match up with Black and Lupin. Remus was five letters, though, like Frodo and Sirius was six like Elrond. Well, at least he had an answer.
"Okay, I'm done," Sirius said excitedly.
"Give the paper to me then, Sirius," Remus said patiently.
Sirius did so and Harry also stood to deliver his paper.
Gilderoy took a few more minutes before he, too, handed his sheet in.
"Okay," Remus said slowly after reviewing the sheets. "For Frodo Harry has me, Gilderoy has himself, and Sirius has Harry."
"That's stupid," Sirius said, snorting. He quickly glanced at Harry. "Not your guess because I know that you don't know anything about The Lord of the Rings. Frodo is the chosen one and the savior. Sort of like Harry."
"Harry is eleven," Gilderoy argued. "Frodo is also the hero of the story."
"And that's you?" Sirius asked, laughing.
"There is a very popular series of books that depict me as the hero and I certainly try to live my life like a hero would," Gilderoy said modestly.
"You say that like the book series just popped up somehow and not like you've spent years writing it!" Sirius exclaimed, shaking his head.
"Well if Frodo had any talent at writing and wasn't plagued by a nasty case of depression then I'm sure he would have recorded his story as well," Gilderoy sniffed.
"So what was the answer?" Harry asked loudly.
Remus looked startled. "What? Oh, Frodo was you, Harry."
"See?" Sirius said smugly.
Gilderoy, in a rare display of maturity (possibly brought on by the fact that Sirius had been right), ignored him. "Next?"
"For Pippen, Harry has himself, Gilderoy has Harry, and Sirius has Gilderoy," Remus announced. "Unfortunately, none of you were right. Pippen was actually Sirius."
Sirius pulled a face. "Pippen is the lamest character on this list!"
"And you put me for him," Gilderoy noted.
Sirius shrugged. "Well, I had to pick someone and out of the four of us, well…"
"Harry's only eleven!" Gilderoy protested.
"And my godson," Sirius replied.
"In case the pattern isn't becoming clear, Frodo was the savior and Pippen the prankster," Remus revealed. "Next up we have Legolas. Harry put Gilderoy, Gilderoy put Sirius, and Sirius put himself. The correct answer was Gilderoy because Legolas was a fierce warrior."
"And fashion-obsessed," Sirius added. He paused. "That's actually not related to my earlier theory that Legolas is female, by the way. It is an interesting coincidence, though."
"I'll just bet," Gilderoy muttered. "I don't remember Legolas being fashion-obsessed in the books and I'm not, either. I just have a healthy appreciation for looking nice."
"As, I'm sure, did Legolas," Sirius said mockingly. "Legolas is an elf; it didn't need to be outright stated that he was obsessed with fashion."
Gilderoy rolled his eyes. "So that leaves Harry putting Sirius for Elrond and me and Sirius putting Remus?"
Remus nodded. "I am the studious one. That means that Sirius has two points and Harry and Gilderoy have one point each."
"You can go first, Harry," Gilderoy offered. "You're the child here; Christmas is really for you."
"No, I'm going first," Sirius insisted.
Gilderoy sighed. "I meant that Harry could go before me meaning he would be going second," he clarified.
"Oh. That's okay then," Sirius decided. He pulled a present towards him and the unwrapping began.
Harry kind of hated gift-shopping. He never knew what to get people and he always worried that they would already have what he was getting them. Still, he'd had weeks to find everything. He just hoped that he had remembered to get something for everyone he needed to and that he wouldn't have a present from somebody he had not bought anything for. He was also hoping, though this was a lesser concern, that he didn't not receive anything from someone he had bought a gift for.
He had gotten candy from Ron, a mirror from Blaise, and a large book about muggle conspiracy theories from Theodore. Daphne got him a five-subject muggle notebook (with a note saying she got Draco the same thing and suggested asking him about it once the term started up again). Draco got him a large box of extremely expensive chocolate. Remus got him a few reasonably interesting looking books. Gilderoy got him tickets to see a show he'd been looking forward to in Paris which was a nice thing that they could do together and get out of the house before Gilderoy and Sirius managed to kill each other. And Sirius…
"A Nimbus 2000?" Harry gasped, unable to believe it. He had wanted one ever since it had come out earlier that year but despite how wealthy his father was he hadn't been able to justify it to himself to ask for the broom since he wouldn't even be able to take it to school until he was a second year. He wouldn't get much use out of this broom, either, until summer hit but that hardly mattered. He had a Nimbus 2000! "I…thank you so much!"
"You're welcome, Harry," Sirius said warmly, pleased at the awed reception his gift had gotten. He then immediately turned to Gilderoy. "It looks like we have a clear winner."
Gilderoy rolled his eyes. "There are no winners or losers when it comes to gift-giving."
"That sounds like the kind of thing that someone who did not win might say," Sirius said thoughtfully, tapping his chin. "I wonder why that might be…"
"If you really need the sort of validation that 'winning' this gets you then by all means, take it," Gilderoy invited.
"You're surprisingly gracious in your defeat," Sirius said, sounding a little disappointed that Gilderoy wasn't making a big fuss. Gilderoy rarely did given the clear image problems that could cause.
Harry turned back to his gifts. Hermione had gotten him a copy of Hogwarts: A History. How…thoughtful. He wondered if she had gotten anyone else that or if it was just lucky him. Reading about the history of his school just didn't sound all that interesting. Sure, Hogwarts had some very interesting history (it was haunted kind of a lot) but history authors often had this remarkable talent for taking even the most interesting of subject matters and turning them into something painfully boring.
He wondered whether he should read it or not. If he didn't then that would be rude but if he did then he'd have to suffer through the book. If he didn't then Hermione would keep pestering him to read it unless he lied and said that he did in which case when Hermione inevitably wanted to talk about it she'd quickly realize that he was lying. The pros of reading it probably outweighed the cons. He couldn't exactly talk to Gilderoy about it since he loved that kind of thing.
Neville had gotten him a rare plant that looked like way too much effort to bother with (well…it didn't contain care instructions and looking it up was sure to be a pain). And then there was…
"Success!" Harry cheered happily.
Everyone looked much more closely at his present.
"What?" Sirius asked eagerly if a bit jealously. He clearly wanted to be the one to have given the best gift to Harry overall even though the main thing for him seemed to be just beating Gilderoy out.
"I finally have my very own Weasley jumper," Harry said brightly, holding up the green hand-knitted jumper proudly.
"I…don't get it," Sirius admitted.
"But it's very nice," Remus quickly added.
"I can explain," Gilderoy told them. "For the last several years, I have been getting the most fetching blue jumper from Molly Weasley. I don't believe we've met other than in passing but she's a huge fan of my work. Harry has always wanted a Weasley jumper of his very own since he sees me getting them every year and now, because he's friends with Ron and she now knows how to find Harry, he has one."
"Green is Slytherin colors," Harry said, pleased.
Sirius started choking.
Remus laughed lightly as his friend's dramatics. "I'm reasonably certain that that is not what she intended but either way it matches your eyes and I'm sure that it will look wonderful on you."
Sirius stopped pretending his life was in danger due to the presence of a Slytherin color and was now staring at the jumper in Harry's lap speculatively. "So how famous would you say that the 'Weasley jumpers' are among your peer group?"
"At Hogwarts?" Harry asked, considering. "Pretty famous, I guess."
"So if you wore it then everyone would know where you got it," Sirius continued.
Harry frowned, trying to follow him. "When I wear it, yes…"
Sirius grinned. "Imagine how everyone back in Slytherin will react! They'll all have a heart attack! And who knows, if you play your cards right, you might just get a room to yourself."