“I can’t believe that you told your Mum that you would make Christmas dinner, Gin,” Harry called into the kitchen, while stringing colored fairy lights onto the tree.
The living room floor was covered with small red boxes full of Christmas ornaments, there was an angel sitting on the coffee table, and gold garland was laying over the edge of the sofa. A plump tabby cat was lying on the sofa playing with the ends of the garland. The room was festively adorned with holly and Christmas cards on the mantle, mistletoe over the doorway, and on each window sill there was a candle glowing brightly. The chandelier that hung from the ceiling let off a soft glow. The entire room had a joyful, Christmassy feeling.
Ginny came into the living room, holding her wand and another red box full of ornaments. “I know, I know, but I couldn’t help it. Fleur just gets me so mad. Move over, Lola.” Ginny shushed the cat off the sofa, and put the box down.
“Fleur?” asked Harry. “What does she have to do with any of this?”
Ginny looked up from the sofa and stared at Harry in disbelief. “What? You mean you don’t remember what she said? Merlin, Potter, sometimes you are as oblivious as Ron.”
“Oy, Weasley, no one is as bad as Ron.”
“Weasley? I could have sworn I was a Potter now,” Ginny smiled, waving her left hand in the air, showing a solid gold wedding band, covered in diamonds.
“Yeah, yeah, just get on with your story,” Harry said, as he playfully pushed Ginny onto the sofa.
Ginny sat in the living room of the Burrow staring out of the window at Ron and Hermione having a snowball fight.
“How can they be in such a cheerful mood when we’re about to be tortured all night?” thought Ginny, grimacing at even the idea of this evening.
“Ginny! Come on!” shouted Molly, from the kitchen.
Ginny made a face and unwillingly trudged into the next room. “Yes, Mum?”
“What in Merlin’s name do you think you are doing? You’re not even dressed to leave. Go back upstairs and change!” stated Molly.
“Come on, come on, we’re going to be late!” Molly said, pushing Ginny towards the stairs.
Ginny turned around abruptly to face her mother. “Mum, is this entirely necessary?”
Molly stared at Ginny, “Ginevra Molly Weasley, if you ask me that one more time, I…I won’t come to your wedding.”
Ginny rolled her eyes, “Mum, You cannot use that threat for everything I complain about.”
“I can and I will. Now move!” Molly took out her wand and shot Ginny with a stream of pink light in the back.
“Ow! MUM! That’s going to leave a mark!” shouted Ginny, as she grudgingly made her way up the stairs.
Just as Ginny left the room, the front door opened, Arthur came inside bringing a gust of cold wind in along with him.
“Come along, family!” Arthur said cheerfully.
“Dear, is everyone here?” asked Molly.
“Yes, yes, Ron and Hermione are both outside, the gifts are all ready to go, and Fred, George, and Charlie said that they would meet us at Bill’s.” Arthur clapped his hands together, and looked around the room. “Where’s Ginny?”
“Upstairs, taking her time,” Molly said with a dismayed look on her face. “Ginny!”
Ginny apparated right behind Molly dressed in a chocolate colored jumper and beige skirt. She tapped her on the shoulder, making Molly jump.
“What are you shouting about? I’ve been here the whole time.”
Molly frowned. “Very funny, young lady.” Her mother turned toward her, “Dear, I know you’re upset that Harry had to work tonight, but Fleur really wants this evening to be perfect, so don’t you sulk all evening.”
Just as Ginny was about to retort, Ron called in the door, “Come on! I’m starved!”
The Weasley family began to walk down the pathway toward the road. The ground was covered in snow, and as they reached the road, more snow began falling gently. The sun had just begun to set, and everything was shimmering in a pleasant shade of orange.
Ginny suddenly looked up and shouted to Ron, “Oy! How come you don’t have to work tonight? You‘re an Auror too.”
“I asked for the night off,” Ron answered, smugly.
“Why didn’t Harry ask for the night off?” Ginny wondered aloud.
“I don’t know. Maybe you’re driving him mental with all the wedding preparations and he wanted some time alone.” Ron smirked, “I suppose he’d rather spend the night with Death Eaters than discuss which flowers he wants in the centerpieces.”
Ginny walked toward Ron, smiling. “Not funny,” she said, and with one quick movement, she Bat-Bogey hexed him.
“Ginny!” shouted Ron.
Hermione tried to hide her smile, “Come here, Ron. Ginny, I heard that they wanted their best Aurors on tonight since everyone is off-guard because of Christmas.” Hermione explained, as she performed the counter-curse to Ron.
“Hey, you don’t think I'm one of the best?” asked Ron, sounding hurt.
“Of course I do. They just knew that I wanted you home though.” Hermione kissed Ron on the cheek.
“Oh, all right then,” Ron answered, sounding satisfied.
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Pathetic.”
“Here we are, everyone!” called Arthur, holding up an old tire. “Grab on!”
“Here we go,” muttered Ginny.
Once everyone took hold of the tire, Ginny closed her eyes and felt a strong sensation near her navel pulling her upwards. When she opened her eyes again, she was lying in the snow in front of a large brick house. The front of the house was covered in white lights shimmering in the wind. It was at least four times the size of the Burrow.
“We’re here,” Molly was the first to speak. Everyone else was busy staring at the house. “Now everyone, please, be on your best behavior.”
Ron stepped forward to knock on the door, but Molly grabbed his arm.
“Ron, do not knock on that door!” Arthur said, making his way to the front.
“Then how do you expect us to get in?” inquired Ron.
“Bill has so many curses and spells on this house, you might end up at St. Mungo’s just by touching the door knocker.” Arthur turned towards the door and pulled out his wand. “But not to worry, not to worry, I know how to deactivate them.”
“Brilliant, and here I was thinking we might be able to go home,” Ginny said sarcastically.
Arthur swished his wand twice to the left, flicked it thrice to the right, muttered a few words, and the door creaked open. “There we are.”
The Weasleys walked though the doorway. As they entered, they looked around. The house had a white marble floor, large Greek statues in between each window, and portraits adorning the walls.
“How warm and cozy,” whispered Ginny to Hermione.
Hermione giggled slightly, as she took off her coat.
“I thought I heard something,” Bill called, coming around the corner. Bill was smiling, wearing a red shirt with black slacks. “Happy Christmas!”
“Bill, this house is wonderful!” gushed Molly.
“Thanks Mum. Come on in everyone, Charlie, Fred, and George, are in the living room already. I think they’re trying to open their presents,” Bill smiled mischievously.
“Ah, presents, the one light in this dark evening.” Ginny stated dreamily.
Bill led them through the hall towards the living room, passing room after room spectacularly decorated. Each room had its own little Christmas tree that was covered in red ribbons. There was mistletoe hung at every doorway, and evergreen branches were decked on the walls.
“Hey Ginny,” asked Bill, “where’s Harry?”
Ron hit Bill on the back and mumbled, “Don’t mention Harry, or you’ll start her up again.”
Ginny rolled her eyes as Ron tried pretending he said nothing.
“Oh,” Bill said, understanding, “don’t worry, Ginny. Fleur’s cooked up something delicious for dinner.”
“Oh, yeah, and did she make apple cinnamon pudding for dessert?” Ginny asked, clearly knowing the answer already.
“Err… no,” replied Bill.
Ginny sighed, “Right then, I’ll be going into the living room before-”
“Allo! Weasley family!”
“-that,” Ginny finished lamely.
“Hello Fleur. Happy Christmas. I brought a chocolate cake for dessert.” Molly smiled kindly.
“Oh, merci Molly, but I ‘ave enough food already. Zis was not necessary.” Fleur said as she took the cake.
“Oh. All right then, fine,” replied Molly curtly.
“Nice one, Fleur,” thought Ginny, as she tried to sneak away.
“Ginny! How are you? Where eez ‘Arry? Do not tell me you are no longer fiancés!” Fleur asked, with no concern in her voice.
Ginny turned around, trying to keep her temper. “No, he had to work.”
“Oh, c’est terrible.” Fleur’s eyes lit up, “But zis means you can ‘elp me in zee kitchen.”
Ginny grimaced, “Actually, I promised Fred and George I’d play chess with them. Christmas tradition.”
“Oh, of course.” Fleur began to walk back into the kitchen.
When Molly was sure Fleur was out of view, she went over and poked Ginny in the back. “Ow! Stop!” Ginny whispered.
Molly gave Ginny a stern look.
Ginny sighed, “All right fine, but you owe me.”
Molly smiled coyly as Ginny stormed into the kitchen.
“Fleur?” Ginny called.
“I’ll help you… cook.” Ginny replied with a pained expression.
“Oh! Merci, Ginny, but you will not be doing zee cooking,” Fleur giggled. “No, no, no, you can ‘elp to set zee table.”
Fleur walked over to the cabinet, and took out the china. Just as Fleur went to hand the plates to Ginny, an explosion was heard from the living room. Fleur screamed in fright and dropped all the dishes onto the floor, smashing them into a million pieces.
“What was that?” Ginny asked. She ran into the living room just in time to see three of her brothers covered in pus-filled boils from head to toe. The other two, Ron and Bill were laughing hysterically, while Molly, Arthur, and Hermione, looked up from behind the couch, where they were hiding.
“Prats!” Bill gasped through laughter, “I told you not to try and open your presents, I put a lovely little curse on them that I discovered in Saudi Arabia.”
“Just take it off,” cried Fred.
“Yeah, they’re starting to itch,” finished George.
Bill waved his wand over his brothers and the boils disappeared.
Ginny giggled. “Maybe this night won’t be that bad,” she thought.
“Bill! I dropped all of zee dishes because of zat explosion!” cried Fleur.
“I’m sorry, Fleur, I’ll come fix them.” Bill began to leave but turned around just in time to see Ron shaking a silver papered package. “Hey, Ron.”
Ron looked up. “Yeah?”
“I wouldn’t touch your gifts either.” Bill winked as he headed into the kitchen.
Ginny followed Bill and Fleur back into the kitchen. As Bill repaired the dishes and calmed Fleur down, Ginny opened one of the pots sitting on the stove. “Fleur?”
“Oui?” Fleur replied, while placing the now fixed dishes onto the table.
“What are you making?”
“Well, escargot for hors d’oeuvres, and a goose for dinner.”
Ginny frowned and stuck out her tongue.
“It eez a lot of work to prepare a perfect Christmas dinner,” Fleur said, as she placed the escargot on a plate.
“Yeah, that’s why my Mum makes dinner for Christmas.”
Fleur turned around and looked at Ginny, “You mean you are not going to prepare dinner next Christmas?”
“No,” answered Ginny, “Why?”
“Well, I just thought zat after you marry you will take zee responsibility. That is zee tradition in France.” Fleur handed the napkins to Ginny, “But I suppose zat you do not care about responsibility.”
Ginny glared at Fleur, resisting the urge to pick up the knife behind her and carve something other than the goose, “That’s…that’s not why I’m not going to make dinner.”
Fleur smirked. “Oh, zen eet's because you cannot cook. I see.”
Ginny was about to explode. She was not going to just stand there and listen to this, but unfortunately, Fleur had called her family in for dinner.
“’Ere we are, Meezter Weasley, you can sit at zee head of zee table.” Fleur pulled out the chair.
“Thank you, Fleur,” Arthur replied, kindly.
After everyone had settled into the table, Bill stood and held his glass in the air. “I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy and joyous Christmas and I hope that everyone enjoys this wonderful dinner my lovely wife has prepared for us all.”
As Bill began to sit back down, a loud clattering noise was heard from outside.
“What the bloody hell was that!?” shouted Ron.
“Maybe it’s Father Christmas on the roof,” Fred said jokingly.
“Let me go check,” Bill said, as he pulled out his wand and headed towards the hall.
“I’ll come with you Bill,” responded Charlie.
Ginny stood up. “I’ll come too.”
The three walked to the front of the house, wands at the ready.
“All right, on the count of three, we curse whatever it is outside the door, understand?” asked Bill.
“Yeah,” replied Ginny.
Bill lifted his other hand, “One,” he grabbed the door knob, “Two,” turned the handle, “THREE!”
Different curses went flying every which way out into the silent night. Streams of light of various colors were shot out of the three wands.
Once the dust had cleared, Ginny screamed.
“Harry!?” Bill and Charlie looked down to see Harry lying on the ground, covered in the many curses that were sent at him and the injuries that they caused.
“Oh Merlin! We have to get him to St. Mungo’s!” cried Ginny.
Harry rubbed his neck, “You three really hurt me that night.”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” Ginny giggled sheepishly.
Harry placed the box of ornaments on the arm of the couch and turned towards Ginny. “So, you’re doing all of this just to show up Fleur?”
Ginny huffed, “Not only for that, I… also like Christmas, and I… shut it Harry!”
Harry was laughing so hard, he knocked over the ornaments. He bent down to grab them before they rolled into the fireplace. “I’m sorry I just- Ahh!”
“Ginny!” Hermione’s head had appeared in the fireplace. “Oh, sorry Harry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“That’s all right Hermione,” Harry answered, still laughing slightly.
Ginny hit Harry on the arm. “What’s wrong, Hermione?”
“Well, I…I need your help with the baby.”
Ginny looked at Hermione skeptically, “My help?”
Hermione’s head shifted uncomfortably, “Yeah, Ron accidentally put a cheering charm in the baby’s milk and now he’s hiccupping bubbles. Ron said that this happened to you once when you were watching your cousin. Please come over!”
“All right,” Ginny answered.
“Thanks, and hurry!” Hermione disappeared into the embers.
Ginny shook her head, “Brightest witch of her age and she can’t figure out how to get rid of the hiccups. I’ll be right back Harry.”
“But what about dinner, Gin?”
“You can care for it, I’ll only be gone a minute.”
Harry shifted awkwardly, “Ginny, I don’t think that’s a good idea, I don’t know any cooking spells.”
Ginny smirked. “Then it’s a good thing you don’t need to use a spell. Harry, it’s really quite simple; just turn the flame up on the cinnamon, and stir the caramel and cranberry sauce once in a while. Bye!”
Ginny grabbed some Floo powder and disappeared into the fire.
“But-” Harry shook his head.
Harry walked into the kitchen with Lola, the cat following him. “All right I can do this,” He put his wand down on the table, and turned toward the stove. “All I have to do is stir the cinnamon and heat up the caramel and cranberry sauce.”
As Harry was busy caring for the food, Lola jumped up onto the table and began to play with his wand.
“I’m not half bad at this cooking thing,” Harry turned around to see Lola chewing on his wand.
Before Harry could get to his wand, a spell went off and lit the Christmas tree on fire. Harry grabbed his wand and quickly put the fire out with a stream of water.
“Merlin, Ginny’s gonna murder me.” Harry circled the tree, thinking, “I could go and get another tree, but that might take too long. Or I could-”
Before Harry could decide what to do, an explosion was heard from the kitchen.
Harry dove onto the ground to protect himself. When he opened his eyes, he found that the entire room was covered in caramel and cranberry sauce. The pots in the kitchen had exploded and the contents were now all over the living room. The decorations, furniture, and Harry, were now sticky and ruined. Harry looked up at the ceiling to see large globs of cranberry hanging down from the crystals on the chandelier.
Harry bit his lip, “Oops,” He got up and ran towards the fireplace. He grabbed some Floo powder and yelled, “Ron’s house!”
Harry skidded into Ron’s living room where Ron happened to be sitting.
“Harry! What are you doing here? Ginny said you were decorating. What is all over you?”
Harry looked down at himself and groaned.
“I, er, was but, I have to see Ginny.”
Ron grinned, “Yeah I was like that with Hermione right after we got married too.”
“Err, yeah, right.” Harry answered as he ran upstairs to Hermione and Ginny.
“Harry!” Ginny answered startled, “What are you doing here?”
“Gin, I need you to come home now!”
Ginny looked at Harry strangely. “What are you covered in? What happened?”
“Ginny, please come home,” Harry pleaded.
“All right, I’ll see you in two hours Hermione.”
“Bye!” Hermione called from the baby’s room.
Harry pulled Ginny into the fireplace and Flooed home.
When Ginny stepped out, she gasped. “Oh my- What did you- How?”
“I, er, had a little mishap in the kitchen.”
Ginny couldn‘t think straight. “I can’t, I mean I, What am I going to do?”
Harry chuckled nervously. “Look on the bright side.”
Ginny turned toward Harry. “What’s that? That the entire house isn’t covered in caramel?”
Harry smiled sheepishly. “Well yes, there’s that, and the fact that you probably won’t have to make Christmas dinner ever again.”