I’ve haven’t officially celebrated Christmas for as long as I can remember but I love the holiday season. For the majority of the Advent, people are focused on love and giving. That is something I can truly appreciate. And what represents unconditional and selfless love more than James and Lily Potter? Here is what the Marauders and Co’s last Christmas at Hogwarts looked like, right before they graduated, began their fight against evil, and gave their lives for what they believed and loved…
Snow was falling outside, drifting lazily onto the almost silent Hogwarts grounds. It was the weekend and most of the students were inside the castle, busy getting ready to go to Hogsmead before they went home for the Christmas holidays. The silence outside was almost perfect…
Making his way hastily to the giant oak doors of Hogwarts and swinging his head wildly back and forth to dislodge the amounts of snow that rested on it, James Potter ran into the school. Rushing through the halls, still chill from the freezing temperatures, he made his way to Gryffindor tower, and shouted the password (Humbug) in a voice that was higher than per usual.
Climbing through the portrait hole and dashing into the room filled with student in black robes and crimson and gold ties, he called out for all to hear,
“I NEED HELP!”
Most of his fellow Hogwarts students ignored him. Odd behavior had become something to expect from the seventeen year old Potter boy. James’ friends, however, spared him a half glance.
“Nice to hear you finally admit it,” Remus Lupin commented with a bemused smile, returning his full attention to the large castle he was making from Muggle cards.
James walked over to where his friends were sitting, “I’m not kidding! Moony, Marlene, I really need your help!”
Marlene McKinnon raised an eyebrow. Having been previously transfixed on Remus’ card castle progress, James needing her help was something she hadn’t been expecting.
“Woah there, Prongs!” Sirius Black called in an mock offended tone. He too was building a (much sloppier) card castle, but out of Exploding Snap cards to rival Remus’. “Just Moony and Marlene? How come I’m excluded in your hour of need?”
“Yeah, and me!” Peter Pettigrew piped in.
“You couldn’t help a flobberworm cross a street, Wormy,” Sirius chuckled.
“Sirius…” Remus chastised in a cautionary voice.
“Just kidding, sorry!” Though he didn’t sound sorry at all.
James acknowledged his best friend. “Mate, you’re dead useful for a lot of things…but this isn’t gonna be one of them.”
“What’s your problem, James?” Marlene asked, getting up from where she sat next to Remus and plopping onto a plush bean chair nearby.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Asked Remus. “It’s Lily.”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “Of course.”
James’ face soured. “Hey, hey, now, you can’t just…stereotype me like that. My life does not revolve around that gorgeous red-headed angel of beauty and grace!”
A moment of silence passed. Remus, Marlene, Sirius, and Peter all nodded in agreement. “It’s Lily.”
“Okay, so what? It is Lily!”
“What did you do this time?” Sirius asked.
“That is highly unlikely.”
“No, really, I did nothing!” James whined. “Don’t you see? That’s the problem!”
“No, we don’t see,” Remus said with long suffering, “But if you explain, then we will.”
James opened his mouth to tell them all of the Terrible Horrible No Good Absolutely Troll thing he had done, but before he could say a word, Sirius’ tower of cards exploded in both his, Remus, and Peter’s faces.
Once the had smoke cleared, once James and Marleen had stifled their laughter, and once the three soot covered boys had coughed up the ash that had made its way inside their mouths and noses, Remus cast a disgruntled look at his own card tower, knocked over from the explosion.
“I still win,” he said, glaring at Sirius.
Remus, Sirius, Peter, Marlene, joined by Mary Macdonald and Frank Longbottom, had their mouths hanging open, starring with wide eyes at James. The boy himself, was looking away from their gazes.
“Oh, come on, you know me! Does it really surprise you?”
“Yeah, actually it does!” Sirius said, his left eye twitching. “How in Merlin’s name could you do something like that?! After all these years?”
Mary nodded, “Even I wouldn’t dream you’d be that thoughtless…and I’m not exactly your biggest fan.”
“Don’t beat him up,” Remus said, looking around at his classmates, “I’m sure he feels the pains of what he’s done…I mean what he hasn’t done.”
“I do! But you guys-“ He was interrupted by a loud and forced cough from Marlene, “-and girls, have gotta help me fix it!”
“Can it be fixed though?” Peter asked. “It’s a little late for it now…and if it’s for Lily…”
“Of course it can be fixed!” Frank said, but the fake optimism was obvious. “We still have…twenty four hours before the train leaves?”
“Nineteen, actually,” Remus corrected.
James buried his face in a maroon pillow. “Lily is going to kill me!”
“And why is that?”
All seven teenagers froze; Sirius in a sort of half grimace-half smirk, Frank in a too-wide smile, Marlene in a strange startled stance, Peter looked like he was about to run from the scene of the crime, Remus had his mouth half open and his eyes wide, and James…James’ face was still half buried in the pillow but what could be seen of his eyes were filled with pure terror.
Frank was the first one to brave moving. “Heeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy, Lily………”
Lily Evans, her lips pursed together in a thin line and a hand on her hip, looked down at the guilty party. “Okay, fess up, what are you all doing?”
“NOTHING!” They all said in unison, save for James who was still in his statuesque state.
“James? Explanation, please,” she moved her head down and to the side so as to see her boyfriend better. “Why did you say I’m going to kill you? What have you done?”
James looked at Sirius in fear for a brief second and then turned to face Lily. “Haha, the usual, you know?”
She smiled sternly (how can you smile sternly? Only Lily Evans and Minerva McGonagall shall ever know.) “Hmm…” she eyed him suspiciously. “I would be worried but Mary and Frank are here so…” she looked at the two in question.
Mary waved a dismissive hand, “Oh, James was just telling us a prank he was planning to do on Lockhart. Sirius here,” she thrust her thumb in Sirius’ direction, “thought that we should get you involved without your knowledge. But James shot it down…like the good boyfriend he is.”
Everyone looked at Mary with surprise. The lie had flowed so easily from her mouth…it sounded like it might actually be true.
Lily cast her eyes on Sirius, “You know how I feel about your mindless pranks.”
Sirius grinned sheepishly. “It was worth a shot-hey! Our pranks are anything but mindless! Do you know the effort we put in those things! It takes a lot of brain work to still be original after seven years of mischief making! And with all the-“
The words were cut off by Remus slapping his hand across Sirius’ mouth. “He means he’s sorry.”
“Nawideeont!” Sirius’ muffled voice said from behind Remus’ hand.
That made Lily laugh. “Thanks, James,” she said as she pressed a kiss on the top of his forehead. “Hey, you want to get on Slughorn’s homework now? I know you aren’t going to do it if I’m not watching you like a hawk.”
James, jumping at the change of subject, smiled back at her. “Yeah…yeah! Totally! To the library then, milady?” He stood up and bowed to Lily, who rolled her eyes.
“After you, sir,” she giggled and waved back at the others. “See you guys!”
The Gryffindors watched Lily and James leave. Before they were out of sight, James mouthed HELP ME. Once they had left the common room, Remus removed his hand from Sirius’ mouth and asked, “To Hogsmead then?”
“To Hogsmead,” they all agreed.
“I can’t believe James didn’t get her a Christmas present,” Peter said a little too loudly.
“It’s freezing out here!” Mary said, rubbing her arms for warmth. “I say we let James face the consequences of his actions and go back to the castle and warm up.”
The Marauders & Co. had arrived in Hogsmead which was a fair bit colder than Hogwarts. The snow was thinner however, having been trod on by countless of holiday shoppers. There were hundreds of Hogwarts students that could be seen through the shop windows, buying last minute Christmas presents before the trip home the next day.
Frank was at the head of the group, leading them down the cobblestone path. “We can’t just ditch James…he’d be really disappointed if he wasn’t able to give Lily a present this year. I mean, now that she’s agreed to finally go out with him.” He took off his outer coat and offered it to Mary. “If your cold, you can take this. I don’t really need it.”
Mary placed a hand on her heart and said in a girlie pitch, “Aww, Frank, that is so sweet!” She cast a glance at Marlene.
Marlene shivered and look expectedly at Sirius. When he took no notice of her she bumped into him and said, “Hey, I’m cold too!”
He glanced at her in confusion, “Marlene, I can’t control the weather.”
Remus rolled his eyes, took off his own coat and gave it to Marlene. “Let’s start at Honeyduke’s. I don’t think we’ll find the ‘perfect’ gift that James specified but maybe a few filler gifts would go well?”
They all agreed enthusiastically…what kid wouldn’t take any excuse to go into candy heaven?
Honeydukes was full of students, as always.
“We should have waited till tonight,” Peter shouted over the loud chatter of students and constant ringing the entry bell. “The we could have gotten Lily something without all the crowds!”
“Honeydukes isn’t open at night, Wormy!” Sirius pointed out.
They became inevitably separated in the large store.
Marlene found herself in the dangerous sweets isle, and she bought several acid pops to give to her younger brother…just for fun. Frank and Mary had rather wisely gone back outside to sit and wait for the rest of the group. Sirius was trying his best to find any kind of prank-like sweet…but he decided he’d have to wait until Zonko’s. Peter got lost. And Remus…You know the expression “like a kid in a candy store”? Well try this one, “like Remus Lupin in Honeydukes.”
Remus made his way to the front counter with a great amount of difficulty. The shop boy took one look at him and called over his shoulder, “Hey! It’s Crazy Chocolate Guy!”
“I do have a name,” Remus mumbled.
A large woman walked over to the counter and the shop boy left to help other customers. “Well, what can I do for you…again?”
“Do you have any new shipments?” Remus asked with a polite smile.
“You cleared us out of the Caramel Dark Chocolate Brownie Fudge Toffee Bars. I can put you on the waiting list though.”
“Oh, no thank you, ma’am, I’m stocked up for the holidays. But I would like to know if there are any candies that haven’t been released into the main shop yet.”
The woman smiled. “And why would I let you purchase what I haven’t made public to my own shop?”
“Because…I’m your best customer?” He said hopefully.
She considered him in amusement for a second and then she told him to wait a moment. Remus decided that if she was getting what he thought she was getting, he would buy himself a victory slab of Pumpkin Spice Caramel Marbled Creme Chocolate…or maybe a victory crate…
“So, what’ve we got?” Mary asked, rubbing her gloved hands together at the sight of their shopping bags.
“Acid pops!” Shouted Marlene, waving her bag high in the air.
Mary exchanged glances with Frank. “Er…” Frank winced, “you bought acid pops…for Lily Evans?”
“Pfft, no, stupid! For my annoying little brother. Why would I get them for Lily?”
“Well, seeing as you were supposed to buy Lily some stocking stuffers…” Frank trailed off.
Marlene slapped her forehead. “Oh, Merlin, I forgot!”
Sirius looked down at his bags. “Me too.”
“I got her a candy cane…” Peter said.
“So you guys didn’t get her anything?” Mary said, shaking her head.
Everyone turned to Remus who had spoken. He carried two large crates in his hands. “You think this is all for me?”
“Yes,” Sirius said looking at the bulging boxes.
“Very funny. Not even I could eat this much chocolate by myself.”
Peter scratched his head, “I’m pretty sure you could.”
Remus did a mental face palm (seeing as his physical palms were full of chocolate). “Anyways, we are covered on sweets. I got her the new Strawberry Bourbon Mousse White Chocolate bars…they aren’t supposed to be released until February. And James now owes me five galleons.”
“Impressive!” Mary gave him a small round of applause.
“Where to now?” Peter asked.
“Zonko’s!” Sirius said.
“The bookstore!” Remus said.
“What?” They both asked each other.
“Bookstores are so BORING!”
“Lily hates Zonko’s, Padfoot.”
“She doesn’t hate it, she said so herself!”
“Right, I think the word she used was ‘deplore.’”
“Which isn’t the same as hate!”
“Your grasp on vocabulary is obviously lacking.”
“Girls, girls, you’re both pretty!” Marlene interceded. “We aren’t going to Zonko’s or the bookstore. I think Lily definitely doesn’t want dungbombs or books from her boyfriend.”
“But Lily loves to read,” Frank commented.
“Yeah, because she’s weird like that, but if we got her books it’d be obvious that James didn’t buy them. He would rather be caught in a Slytherin uniform than in a bookstore.”
Remus nodded, “True enough.”
Sirius kicked a pile of snow. “But I wanna go to Zonko’s.”
“You can go later, okay?” Mary offered. “What’s in those bags anyway?” She leaned over to try and peak inside Sirius’ Honeydukes bags.
Sirius snatched them away from her. “Hey! I need to shop for Christmas presents too!”
Several hours later, the Gryffindors were dropping off. After they had bought Lily a year long self-refillable Butterbeer glass from the Three Broomsticks (James now owed them eight galleons and three sickles), Mary gave Frank his coat back and said she needed to finish some homework back at the castle. A fourth of the way down an especially long detour they had taken so Remus didn’t have to pass the Shrieking Shack, Peter complained that his legs were getting tired and he headed back. Finally, after they had bought Lily an advanced potions kit (complete with unicorn hair and a golden cauldron…James now owed them sixteen galleons, seven sickles, and three knuts) Marlene said that she had to meet up with Dorcas Meadows.
“You think we got enough?” Frank asked, sitting down in the snow and resting his present laden arms.
“Duh! The only thing we didn’t buy her was the Beatles!” Sirius said.
“I don’t know…” Remus cast his eyes over the presents they had gotten for James to give to Lily. “Why do I feel we’re missing something?”
“Same,” Frank frowned.
“Missing something? You’re joshing me! We bought her more than Prince Charles gets on Christmas!”
“I think you’re overestimating how many presents Prince Charles gets. Shush now, I need to think,” Remus put down his crates of chocolate and rested his head in his hands.
“Fine,” Sirius growled, crossing his arms the best that he could, seeing as they were covered in shopping bags.
A few seconds passed and Remus turned on Sirius, “Really? Can you stop whining? We are trying to help our best friend!”
“I didn’t say anything!”
“You kept making that noise-“
“Both of you, shh!” Frank raised his hands. “I don’t think that was Sirius you heard, Remus.”
All three boys became quiet.
“I don’t hear anything,” Sirius whispered.
“I do,” Remus muttered leaning his head to the left, straining to hear…whatever he heard.
Another moment passed and then Frank and Sirius heard it too, a soft mewing from a distance.
Remus, forgetting the chocolate on the ground, jogged down the path. Frank too left behind his bags and closely followed him.
Sirius stood alone and yelled after them, “Oh, come on, your gonna make me…oh, fine!” After that he promptly dropped his bags and ran.
Once he caught up with them, he saw Frank crouching on the ground near a tree, Remus standing over him and leaning over to see…
“Merlin,” Sirius muttered. “It’s a cat!”
“Yeah, we can see that, Padfoot,” Remus chuckled, still looking at the small animal. “So stay over there and don’t scare it away.”
“I’m not going to scare it.”
“Yeah, you would, Padfoot.” He put emphasis on the last word.
Oh, right, I’m a dog. Sirius remembered. He almost reminded Remus that he was a werewolf and could scare the kitten too, but he thought it best to let it slide.
“It doesn’t have a collar,” Frank said. “And it’s really skinny,” he looked up at them, “Guys, I think it’s abandoned.”
“Aww,” Remus and Sirius fawned in unison.
Frank picked up the kitten and brushed some snow off of it. He smirked knowingly at Remus who nodded back in agreement.
“Well, great we got a free kitten.” Sirius said. “But we still got to find Lily another present, according to you two overachievers!”
Frank and Remus blinked at Sirius.
“Merry Christmas, idiots!”
“Sirius Orion Black, if you drop that dungbomb-“
And that is how they ended up spending Christmas in the Transfiguration classroom.
The majority of the seventh year students had stayed at Hogwarts for the holidays. For the most part, sentiment had gotten the better of them…it would be their last Christmas at Hogwarts.
Lily had planned to invite James over to her family’s house for Christmas, which is why he had panicked last minute, but received a letter from her mother saying that Lily’s sister, Petunia, was having her boyfriend over as well.
Needless to say, Lily changed her mind.
Since James was staying, Sirius was staying too. Remus had to stay (the full moon was the day after Christmas) but would have chosen to celebrate with his friends anyway. And Peter was staying because everyone else was.
Minerva McGonagall had decorated her classroom spectacularly for the occasion. Taking into consideration that this particular body of students could get into all kinds of trouble, she thought it best to supervise them. And since Sirius had dropped a nasty dungbomb in the common room, she had moved the festivities to her classroom.
Under the magnificent Christmas tree, cut and hauled by Rubeus Hagrid and decorated by McGonagall and Phineas Flitwick, was a multitude of brightly colored Christmas presents. Usually the Christmas presents were delivered to the student’s dorm room but this year McGonagall had made special arrangements. Even she had to (very silently) admit that she would miss this band of misfits after they graduated.
“She’d never admit she’d miss us,” Dorcas told Lily and Mary, “But she will.”
“Ah, good ol’ Minnie!” Sirius said, startling the girls by hanging upside down in midair, “I got her something real special for Christmas.”
“You got Professor McGonagall a present?” Lily asked. “Really? You?”
“That’s really nice of you, Sirius.” Mary encouraged. “What’d you get her?”
“A basket full of dungbombs-ow!” He rubbed his head. Lily had smacked it with the new pair of shoes Mary had bought her.
“Mr. Black, get down!” McGonagall called from across the room.
“Can’t, Minnie! It’s James that’s charmed me!”
“Here you go!” James flicked his wand and Sirius fell head first in the ground which made the Mary and Dorcas burst into laughter. Lily bit back a smile and yelled “James!” in disapproval. “Come on, over here, Padfoot!”
Sirius got up quickly, shook his mane of hair, put on his best “charming smile”, winked, and headed to where James stood.
“Hey, where’s the cat?” He asked his friends.
“Under there of course,” James pointed to the floor under the tree.
Peter panicked. “You didn’t put it in a box, did you! It needs air!”
“Don’t worry, Wormy,” Remus reassured him. “I cast a Bubble Head Charm on it and put holes in the box just in case.”
“You didn’t think we’d torture the poor thing, did you? Really, who do think we are?” James laughed. “By the way, if you just got the cat, what took you all so long when you were shopping?”
“Oh…that…well…” Sirius looked at Remus.
“We did buy Lily a few things before we got the cat but…” Remus trailed off.
“But,” Sirius finished, “But you owe us eleven galleons and seven sickles for the stuff that got stolen.”
“We dropped our stuff to find the cat and when we came back it was gone, okay?”
“Eleven gallons…” James shook his head. He looked at each of the Marauders in turn. “You guys had better gotten me something good for Christmas!”
“We all know Wormy got us socks,” Sirius said.
“That was supposed to be a secret!” Peter said. “How’d you find out?”
“Wormtail, you’ve give us socks every year. But that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate them.” Remus smiled.
“What about you two, then?” James inquired. “It better be something good.”
“I think Sirius beat me this year, actually. Mine’s over there.”
James followed where Remus directed him and picked up a gift with snitches flying around the wrapping paper. “A book? Really? Haven’t you given up trying to get me to read yet?”
“Just open it, okay?”
James ripped open the paper. “Okay, this is actually cool.” It was a a collector’s copy of Quidditch Through the Ages.
Remus shrugged. “You’ve practically destroyed the copy in the library, you’ve checked it out so many times. I thought you should have your own.”
Sirius glanced over at Lily. “Looks like your girlfriend’s opening her friend’s present first. We got time. Open mine, James!”
James obeyed, readily. “The heck is this, mate?” He held up a box containing a quill set and ink bottle.
“Now wait a sec, that isn’t just a quill set.” Sirius said, smirking. “I nicked those from Dumbledore’s office.”
James’ mouth dropped open. “THESE ARE DUMBLEDORE’S QUILLS?!?!” He hugged the box to his chest. “I feel closer to greatness already!”
The gift giving continued. Remus had given Sirius a collection of David Bowie albums and a book on motorcycles. Sirius had been right, Peter gave them all socks but had also thrown in a few chocolate frogs.
“Remus, open ours now!” James said with excitement.
“Ours?” Remus asked looking between James and Sirius.
“We both chipped in,” Sirius said.
“Let me guess, is is chocolate?”
“Just open it.”
Remus reached under the tree to where his friends had pointed and literally had to heave the package out. “If this is chocolate, it’s a world breaking record.” He carefully opened the wrappings and was speechless.
“We bought it ages ago,” James grinned. “Got it at Dervish and Banges.”
It was a briefcase with PROFESSOR R.J. LUPIN embossed on the side.
Sirius and James watched their friend’s reaction. “You know,” James said, “because you want to be a teacher here, right?”
“You know I’ll never be able to.” Remus said quietly.
“Never say never, Remus.” The boys turned to see Lily standing behind them. “I’m assuming the briefcase is filled with chocolate?”
“But of course,” James leaned over Remus and opened it to reveal extensive Honeydukes sweets. When he sat up he said “Lily, it’s your turn.”
“You got me something?” She sounded surprised. “Dorcas said you would forget…in fact, everyone said you would forget.”
“Me? Forget getting you a gift for Christmas? Never!” James looked sheepishly at her and shifted his glance from his friends to Lily and back again.
She raised an eyebrow at him. “…you did forget didn’t you?”
James’ smile faltered. “Why would you think that?”
“Mary is rubbish at keeping secrets.”
“Busted…” Sirius muttered.
“But I remembered that I forgot!” James looked around, waiting to be complimented on his thoughtfulness. “Doesn’t that count for something? Here!”
He reached under the tree and pulled out a large box wrapped in Gryffindor colors. She eyed the box. “It isn’t from Zonko’s, is it?”
“No!” James affirmed.
She inspected the box closer. “Are those…air holes?” She gasped and then opened the wrapping and box. “Oh, James!”
She pulled out the kitten that Remus, Frank, and Sirius had found in Hogsmead. It mewed softly at Lily, licking at her fingers. All the girls nearby huddled around Lily and squealed with pleasure at the small creature.
“Ooh! Lily! What are you going to name it!” Mary asked, scratching the kitten’s ears.
“I don’t know. Is it a boy or girl, James?” She looked up at him.
“Er…no idea,” he looked at Remus. “Moony?”
He smiled, “It’s a girl, Lily.”
“Hm…what do you guys think? What should her name be?”
Names began pouring in from all directions.
“That’s a boy’s name, Sirius.”
“It’s an epic name.”
“How about Agape?” Lily asked James.
He shrugged. “It’s your cat, name her whatever you want.”
“What is agape?” Sirius asked, his brow knitting together.
“It’s Greek, if I’m not mistaken.” Remus informed them. “It means love. More specifically unconditional, selfless love. Usually used in terms of God’s love or the love between a parent and child.”
“That’s deep,” Marlene said.
Lily cuddled with the kitten. James watched and nodded with approval.“Agape. I think it’s a good name. I mean, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Unconditional love?”
Lily looked up at him and smiled lovingly. “Unconditional love isn’t just a Christmas thing. It should be a life long thing.”
And she was right. Agape would be life long for all of them.
NOTE: This story is NOT a licensed work. The author does not own any copywrite, trademarks and/or license. Absolutely all trademarks, licenses and copyrights are the sole property of the authors and/or publishers. All of this writers works and stories are “fan made”, and are NOT to be assumed as being licensed and/or official work. The production of this story is not intended to mislead or to confuse consumers. No infringement on the publisher/author’s name and trademark are intended. This product is purposed for Fan Fiction only.