Fanfic: merry and bright by poisonrationalitie (Free to read, 564,411Clicks)

Description:

A collection of twenty-five interconnected Christmas-themed one shots. Rated for sporadic bad language. Day 1: Tree. After last year’s Christmas Tree disaster, Ron hunts down another, and tops it off with a bargain buy.

Characters:

No Archive Warnings ApplyHermione Granger/Ron Weasley Harry Potter/Ginny Weasley Harry Potter & Ron Weasley Lily Luna Potter & Hugo WeasleyRon Weasley Harry Potter Lily Luna Potter Hugo Weasleyrated for language One Big Happy Weasley Family (Harry Potter) Other Additional Tags to Be Added One Shot Collection Fluff Domestic Fluff Christmas Tree Family Not Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Compliant Harry Potter Next Generation Minor Injuries (like very very minor and not at all graphic) Fort-Making Christmas Christmas Fluff

Summary:

Summary:

A collection of twenty-five interconnected Christmas-themed one shots. Rated for sporadic bad language. Day 1: Tree. After last year’s Christmas Tree disaster, Ron hunts down another, and tops it off with a bargain buy.

Chapter 1: Ron & Harry, Romione – Tree Time

Chapter Text
Ron’s mouth fell agape. He stared at his wife.“What?” he said, after taking a moment to recover. “Are you serious?” Hermione looked up from her copy of the Daily Prophet. The two of them sat opposite each other at their dining table. The clock on the wall showed that it was six-thirty in the morning; the darkness outside further confirmed the time. A modest spread was laid out for breakfast, mainly courtesy of Ron, who had toast, bacon, and three eggs, as well as a cup of tea. Hermione had simply her newspaper and her morning coffee.“I am serious,” Hermione said evenly. “I mean, if we still had one, of course we could put it up, but it seems like unnecessary clutter at this point.”“Unnecessary clutter?” Ron echoed. “You’ve gone mental.” Hermione rolled her eyes.“Honestly, Ron. The kids aren’t around to enjoy it, it’ll be a pain to put up and pull down, we really don’t need it.“I wasn’t aware our kids were emancipated.”“You’re not going to persuade me by using big words.”“Is that what you think, that I wouldn’t use big words if I weren’t talking to you?” She didn’t respond. Ron shook his head. “Bloody hell, Hermione, we need a Christmas tree. Rose and Hugo will be devastated if they come home and it looks like we forgot about them. What about the baubles with their faces on them?” Ron framed his face with his hands. “I want to see their smiling faces each morning, damn it.”“I didn’t say you couldn’t have one,” Hermione said, picking up her coffee. “Just that I didn’t think we needed one.”“So I can get one?” he asked.“It’s your pub money,” she said. “And you have to put it up. And if it catches on fire again, you’re putting it out. And paying the insurance premium.” Ron gave her a disbelieving smile.“I really doubt the Christmas tree would catch on fire two years in a row. I mean, what are the odds?” he laughed.“Mm,” Hermione said, flipping a page. Ron leaned back in his chair.“There’ll be a tree when you get home,” he told her.“Right.”“You’ll see.”Ron locked himself in the back room of the shop. Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes was overrun. How, he had no bloody idea. It was only the first day of December, and no Hogwarts students would be home for another few weeks. Nevertheless, every witch in Britain decided to get their Christmas shopping over and done with early, and so stormed into the shop to buy one of everything with no less than eighteen kids under eleven in tow. It was only a slight exaggeration. Two kids had shat their pants on the shop floor after eating something from the laxative range that they hadn’t even paid for yet. It was a nightmare. The door opened. Ron flinched, and whipped out his wand. It was George. He raised his eyebrows.“Didn’t realise you were having lunch early,” he said, shutting the door behind him. He waved his wand and the lights in the room came on. Ron blinked as his eyes adjusted.“Yeah,” Ron said. “Helping people…makes me hungry.”“You should try vanishing shit,” George told him helpfully. “It makes me not want to eat for a week.”“I reckon you’re better at it,” Ron said.“Bugger you. I’m your boss.”“I’m your baby brother.”“Yeah, and you’re whinging like it.”“Was not!” Ron turned his wand on a box of new Christmas stock and muttered a charm to make it unpack itself. George summoned a bottle of water and began to drink. Once the box was unpacked, Ron vanished the cardboard and started to cast a spell on each object, checking for any damage. “George,” he said, after a bit.“Yeah?”“Are you and Angelina putting your Christmas tree up?” he asked, trying to sound casual. One of the elves had a missing ear. He moved it into a pile to fix.“Yeah, ‘course. It’s Christmas,” George said.“Yeah,” Ron said. “Yeah, it is.”“Something on your mind?”“Nah,” Ron said, tapping his wand against the next toy elf. “It’s fine.”“Good, because I’m ‘checking out the back’ for a Mrs Parkinson. And you, my wonderful brother who I pay and talk about Christmas trees to, are going to go out there and tell her that it won’t be in for another week.”“Oh, fuck’s sake.”Courtesy of it being a Wednesday, the shop closed at five, and Ron bolted into the floo five minutes past. For once, Hermione’s long hours were a good thing. Still, the hold-up in the floo made him rather disgruntled, and it took him fifteen minutes to get to where he needed to be. He stumbled out covered in soot and smelling terribly.“Ron!” Harry exclaimed, looking up from his desk. “What the hell’s happened to you?”Harry’s office, as the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, was rather expansive. He had a large desk with a big leather chair, a few seats for guests, two large bookshelves, several filing cabinets, a shelf of awards, a training dummy (that really just copped a jinx after a particularly bad meeting), and an adjoining kitchenette and bathroom. Ron once joked that if Harry and Ginny divorced, Harry wouldn’t need to find a new place – he could just set up in his office. Harry hadn’t laughed.“It’s five,” he grumbled.“Is it?” Harry checked his watch. “Nice. Technically, I can leave now.”“Not just technically,” Ron said. “Have you got any biscuits?” Harry nodded towards a tin. Ron took one and sat down in one of the free seats. “How’s it going?”“Good,” Harry said. “Well, for the wizarding world. Not for the blokes selling mandrakes illegally, or for me and my hand,” he indicated the quill in his hand, “but still, good.”“I can make it better,” Ron promised, around a mouthful of biscuit.“Yeah?” Ron finished chewing.“I told Hermione I’d have a Christmas tree up by the time she got home,” he explained. Harry frowned.“You don’t have a Christmas tree. It burned down. James burned it down,” Harry said. Ron nodded.“Yeah. Well, I need to get one, and it needs to be up by this afternoon. So I want you to come,” Ron said.“And I have to do this because my son burned it down?”“Well, when you put it like that, yeah. Also because I’m your best mate.”“Yeah. Figured. If Lucy burned it down, you wouldn’t get Percy to come with you.”“Are you mental? Of course I wouldn’t.” Harry waved his wand, and the papers on his desk stacked themselves. “Alright,” he said. “I just have to let them know I’m leaving.”“Right-o,” said Ron. Harry ducked through one of the doors into his secretary’s office. Ron munched on another biscuit. Harry returned, and grabbed his cloak.“Where are we going?” Harry asked, tying his cloak on. Ron shrugged.“Pilliwinkle’s?” he suggested. “They have them there, don’t they? I don’t see us getting to a farm in time.”“Pilliwinkle’s should have some,” Harry agreed. “I think it’s open until six in December? It’s been a while.” The two men took a pinch of floo powder each. Ron stepped into the fireplace first.“The Leaky Cauldron,” Ron said clearly. The flames whirled around him and he spun through the network. The traffic flowed quicker now, and he reached his destination in barely two minutes. Ron stepped into the pub, and Harry was hot on his heels. The dinner rush had begun, and about a dozen wizards sat at the bar, while families and couples claimed tables. Ron glimpsed Hannah Longbottom at the counter, chatting merrily to the patrons while supervising no less than three complicated drinks mixing themselves and pouring a pint of Firewhisky.“Has Diagon been this busy all day?” Harry asked, as they wove through the gathering crowd.“Like you wouldn’t believe,” Ron said. They passed through the gateway into Diagon Alley and turned left to go through Carkitt Market. The shops in the arcade stayed open later, and as a result, the place was packed. Ron stepped in front of Harry, who kept his eyes trained on the ground and threw his hood over his head. The last thing they needed was some deluded witch trying to get an autograph. They came out the other end and walked to the end of the street. The pub across the road, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, had a trickle of patrons, made to seem even smaller compared to the institution that was Pilliwinkle’s. The dowdy (but too expensive) shop Ron remembered from his childhood was gone. It had expanded to two storeys, and the entire exterior was painted a new, vibrant blue, though that was hardly the main attraction. A giant Father Christmas sat on the roof of the store, waving merrily, his big mouth opening and closing. Each time his mouth fell open, a stream of bubbles emerged. Tinsel lined the storefront, and a giant doll-house sat in the front window. It was in the shape of a giant castle, with three large towers, and a few dolls zipped back and forth on little broomsticks. Ron’s eyes fell to the price tag, and his eyes bulged.“Thirty galleons?” he cried. “Mum would’ve wrung my neck if I ever put anything like that on my Christmas list!”“Galleons don’t go as far as they used to,” Harry said. “James’ apparition lessons were more than that.”“You’re joking,” Ron said. Harry shook his head. “Bloody hell.” The bell on the door jingled as they stepped inside. The line at the counter was seven people deep, and about a million children sprinted across the shop floor, clutching dolls and miniature quaffles and trainsets and colouring books and music boxes. Ron vividly remembered the long afternoons spent here when his kids had been younger. At the time, it had been a real mixed bag. He loved seeing Rose and Hugo’s tiny faces light up with joy, but he did not appreciate trying to count out the right number of galleons and sickles at counter while eight people stood behind him, tapping their feet, and his kids pulled on his cloak. His heart twinged. They’d never do that again – those days were over. Rose and Hugo were far too old to jump up and down over a new Quidditch figurine and to be consoled with ice cream when they fell over. One thing they weren’t too old for was to appreciate a good Christmas tree. Even if they wouldn’t be there to help him put it up. He and Harry expertly dodged the hordes of children and made it to the back of the store, where the decorations were kept. Not that there were many left – the shelves were almost bare!“Did Christmas start in November this year?” Ron asked, shaking his head. Harry picked up the last of the tinsel. Ron gave it a mournful look. “It’s green.”Harry raised his eyebrows. “Al is in Slytherin, thanks.”“Not that,” Ron said, though it was a bit of that. “We can’t put green tinsel on a green tree. It’s like me in maroon.”“I didn’t know you were such a fashion plate, Ron,” Harry grinned.“Bugger off.”“It’s all the tinsel they’ve got,” Harry pointed out. Ron frowned.“Alright,” he said. “At least we’ve got some of the old ornaments left.” Ron and Hermione had managed to summon a handful of things out of the fire, and mend them fairly well, which he was thankful for. He’d been bloody annoyed about the loss of the tree, but if all the baubles with Rose and Hugo’s names or faces on them had been turned to ashes, he might’ve cried. He grabbed a pack of cheap baubles (red, much better), and then the two men trudged over to the section that sold fake trees. To Ron’s relief, a tall, fat green tree stood proudly in the middle of the displays. He could’ve hugged it.“Thank Merlin,” he said. “I couldn’t have done with a white tree. I’m not a ponce.” Harry crouched down to examine the price tag.“How many galleons did you bring with you?” he asked. Ron winced.“I’ve got a chequebook,” he said. “Do I want to know?”“I’ll write it, you sign it,” Harry offered.“Brilliant,” said Ron, handing over his chequebook. Harry pulled a quill and a travel pot of ink out of his pocket and started to write, while Ron cast the Levitation Charm on one of the boxes with a tree inside. They made it to the line with a little difficulty – Ron very nearly knocked a row of toy trains onto the ground when a small child hurtled towards his legs. His shins ached, but he’d saved about a thousand galleons by not breaking the trainsets. He suspected a great deal of those galleons would be needed for the tree. He did his best not to look at the price Harry wrote on the cheque as he signed it. They left Pilliwinkle’s and headed in the direction of Carkitt Market. The night grew darker, and Ron and Harry paused to cast warming charms on themselves. It was winter, alright, Ron thought. Not for the first time, he was glad they didn’t live up north. Bright, rainbow lights decorated the outside of Carkitt Market, and cheerfully criss-crossed the high ceiling. A vendor sold hot pies, and Ron’s stomach grumbled. The air hummed with activity as families hurried from shop to shop, carrying bulging paper bags half their size. Ron concentrated hard on the tree, keeping it a foot or two above the general height of the crowd. Harry threw the hood of his cloak over his head once more. They wove through the arcade, aiming for Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron – the tree was too big to apparate with, and honestly, would be a mission to get through the Floo. As they passed the last shops in the Market, Ron’s eyes lit up. “Hang on, Harry,” he said. Harry glanced up from under the hood of his cloak. Ron  waved his hand in the direction of a small, run-down shop plastered in neon signs. “The Sickle Shop!” Ron said.“The Sickle Shop?” Harry repeated, following Ron’s line-of-sight. “Oh! Ginny loves that place.”“It was the best, as a kid,” Ron enthused. “Mum let us pick out one thing each every time we went. They have all sorts in there, I bet they’ll have Christmas decorations. They’ve never let me down before.” They entered the shop, and the fuzzy-haired old witch at the counter gave them a wave. Ron waved back.  A dinghy chandelier hung down, bathing the store in orange light. Floral wallpaper peeled at the edges. It smelt of dust and cheap perfume and his childhood. The shelves overflowed, and every spare inch of surface held stock. There were about a thousand candles in various colours and sizes, and two-thousand candle holders to accompany them. Mirrors shouted at them, some motivational and others rude.“Don’t mind him,” said the clerk, patting a long, rectangular mirror. “He has a bit of a mouth.”“I’ll say,” Ron grumbled. They headed down an aisle of enchanted cleaning products and took a left. The ‘Christmas Collection’ wasn’t difficult to miss. A loud, talking chalkboard sign flew circles around their heads.“EVERYTHING THIRTY PERCENT OFF!” it proclaimed. “BUY NOW! PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS! DISCOUNTS NOWHERE ELSE CAN BEAT!” It swooped Harry, who barely ducked in time.“Blimey,” Harry said. “Hagrid would love it.”“Nah,” Ron said, “it didn’t actually bite you, did it?”Despite the sign, the solution to Ron’s decorating problem lay in this section. Baubles galore hung on the racks, decent tinsel lined the shelves, nutcrackers opened and shut their mouths, garlands and wreaths hung from the walls, even little reindeer models trotted back and forth in front of Christmas village displays. Ron gaped at the price of the garlands.“Pilliwinkle’s robbed us blind!” he cried. “I should’ve known better.”“Well, stock up while we’re here,” Harry said. “Actually, I wouldn’t mind some of these.” Ron gently lowered the Pilliwinkle’s tree to the ground, and he and Harry rummaged through the Christmas supplies. Ten minutes later, the two of them had a basket full of decorations each. They returned to the front of the shop, passing by a sign that shouted ‘SUPER DISCOUNT, THREE DAYS ONLY, BUY NOW!’. Four rows of tacky home décor, plastered with various prominent figures’ faces, stared out at them. Ron recognised most of them.“Bloody hell, Harry,” he laughed, pointing to a clock. “It counts down the days until Christmas!”“Jesus,” Harry said, eyes goggling.“No, not Jesus, it’s Dumbledore.” A black-and-white photograph of their former Headmaster stuck to the middle of the clock, with the hands of the clock sprouting from his nostrils. Twenty-five metal numbers rounded the clock, with a little hand indicating the date and the big hand very slowly ticking over the tiny, painted hours.“That’s…” Harry stared. “Unbelievable.”“And look, there’s Wood.” For some reason, someone had created a range of blue and yellow bowls, with Oliver Wood’s face on the bottom.“You can take that for a sickle!” the clerk exclaimed. “The whole collection! They’ve been sitting there ten years!”“No wonder,” Ron said.“He’s been retired nearly ten years,” Harry said, picking one up. “Should I send one to him?”“Twenty knuts, for the lot of them!” the clerk said. Ron’s eyes focused on a different item.“Merlin’s balls,” he said. Harry looked over, and began to laugh.“You have to buy it,” Harry said. “If you don’t, I will.”“I’ll buy it,” Ron said, grabbing the teatowel and adding it to his basket. They bought their decorations and the clerk smiled broadly at them.“Remember, all sales are final,” she said cheerily. “Merry Christmas!”  Harry helped Ron with the tree and drank a cup of tea while Ron worked on the decorating part. It was more eclectic than he’d planned, but he still thought it looked pretty good; way better than no tree at all. He found a way to include the teatowel, and it completed the look of the tree. Ron stepped back to admire his handiwork. Harry choked on his tea.“I think it might burn down again,” Harry said. “But this time it won’t be James’ fault.”“Rubbish,” said Ron. “It looks brilliant.” Green, red, gold, and blue tinsel covered the tree, looping around the same branches, and dangling in places. Cheap baubles clacked together when his shoulder brushed the branches, while Rose and Hugo’s ornaments surrounded the top of the tree. Some of the ornaments simply contained a picture of their faces, held by a gingerbread man or reindeer frame. Rose and Hugo had made some of the others themselves, including multicoloured ice lolly sticks stuck together in incomprehensible shapes and pom-poms stuck to scraps of parchment. Ron remembered making them like it had only been last week. He smiled at the ice-lolly stick disaster fondly. Rose and Hugo had been so proud.“You put a lot of effort in,” Harry said, sipping his tea.“Bugger off, Harry, go home.”“You abducted me from my office.”“Did not!”“I should go anyway,” Harry said, setting down his cup. “Ginny and I are having takeout tonight, she’ll be wondering where I am. I’ll see you on Saturday?”“Yeah. Thanks for your help.”“No problems. Say ‘hello’ to Hermione for me.”“And say ‘hi’ to Ginny.”“Will do.” Harry took a pinch of floo powder from the mantle and tossed it into the flames. “The Potters’, Griffin Drive, Godric’s Hollow,” he said clearly. The flames burned green and swept Harry away. Ron waved his wand and sent the cup and saucer to the kitchen sink. He poured himself a glass of Firewhisky and turned on the radio, tuning it to the sports’ station. He settled in an armchair and listened to discussion on the Cannons’ chances of a win. The tinsel on the tree reflected the light of the fire. He missed Rose and Hugo. Rose ought to be on the couch, loudly refuting the commentator’s disparaging comments about each of Chudley’s players, and Hugo should’ve been curled up in the other armchair with a book, shaking his head on occasion at the radio. Ron thought about his mum, and how she must’ve felt when all seven of them were out of the house, off at school or working overseas, after years of having them underfoot. As a kid, he’d never considered how much she must’ve missed them.
 
Forty-five minutes later, the fireplace lit up green. Ron jumped to his feet, setting his tea down. A moment later, Hermione stepped out. Her hair sprung out at wild angles as a result of the floo, and it made her look like a nutty alchemist. Ron thought she looked beautiful.“You’re home,” he said, and greeted her with a kiss. She smiled against his lips, hugging him close. Then, abruptly, she pulled away.“Ron!” she said, gaping over his shoulder. Ron spun around.“Isn’t it brilliant?” he grinned. “Harry helped me.” Hermione stormed towards the tree, mouth open.“What is that? At the top of the tree?” she demanded.“It was on sale.”“Ron.” She stood beside the tree, and turned to face him, glowering. Both Hermiones glowered – his real, live wife, and the one on the cream teatowel. The teatowel depicted Hermione with her trademark bushy hair as well as house-elf ears, and below, in curly green script, it read, ‘HERMIONE FIGHTS FOR HOUSE-ELF RIGHTS’. Ron had charmed the teatowel to hover just above the tallest part of the tree, acting as a topper. He thought it matched the patchwork of baubles with Rose and Hugo’s faces that hung just below. “I think it looks much nicer than a star,” he said. “I’d rather look at you.”“With house-elf ears?”“I didn’t notice.”“I can’t believe you,” she said, putting her bag down. Ron moved towards her, beaming, and wrapped an arm around her waist.“Yeah, you can,” he said. She rolled her eyes and looked up at him.“Yes, I can,” she sighed, leaning against him. “Well, you got your tree.”“I told you I would,” said Ron.“I should know better than to doubt you,” she replied. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to her lips.“Do you like the rest of it?” he asked, gesturing to the assortment of decorations. She put her hands on her hips. Her lips curled into a smile.“You’ve been very creative.”“I thought so,” Ron said seriously. They looked at each other, and then laughed. Ron pulled her into another hug, and she kissed his cheek, smiling.“Oh, Lord, who was selling a teatowel with my face on it? That photo’s at least five years old,” Hermione said.“The same people that sold a countdown clock with Dumbledore’s face on it.” Hermione looked at him aghast.“No. Really?”“Swear on my life,” he said. She covered her face with her hands, giggling. Ron laughed too.“That’s absurd,” she said, into her hands.“I think he’d like it,” Ron said.“He probably would,” Hermione admitted. Ron put his arm around her shoulders, and pulled her closer. She leaned her head against his arm. The two of them stood admiring – or, taking in – the Christmas tree.“I love you,” Hermione murmured.“I love you more.” Ron kissed the top of her head.“I’m glad you got a stupid tree,” Hermione said. Ron chuckled in surprise.“So I’m right?” he asked eagerly. She shook her head, burrowing into his arm.“Don’t make me say it.”

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