|

The Christmas Gift by Georgia Weasley

[Reviews - 1]   Printer Table of Contents

- Text Size +
Slowly, he began to pack his things for the holidays. Being away from Hogwarts for Christmas always seemed strange to him, even after all these years. Before Hogwarts, the holidays had been nothing more than another opportunity for his family to study him like a toad under glass, and for him to disappoint them when he showed no signs of magical talent. Once he’d arrived at school, he’d found friends who loved him and the power hidden under all that uncertainty. He’d finally found the place where he could shine, so it hadn’t taken much thought at all when the opportunity to work there presented itself. He’d leaped at the chance to be the newest, and youngest, professor on staff at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He still hadn’t gotten used to being called “Professor Longbottom”, though.

Now, preparing to leave for the two week break, he found himself purposefully dragging his feet. Which was silly. His new wife waited for him at home in the cozy little flat above the bar at The Leaky Cauldron. They’d spent the last four Christmases flitting between his Gran’s and her Dad’s houses, but this would be their first holiday as a married couple in their own little place. It unnerved him. He didn’t know how to create holiday magic and he had no family traditions to carry on. One could hardly count being thrown out of a second story window and bouncing down the lane as tradition. What if he let Hannah down? The stories of her family Christmases rang in his ears, and he wondered, for the millionth time, what had attracted the woman to him of all people. He’d racked his brain for something, anything, to do as a special gesture for their first Christmas. He wanted something that could be their tradition, but he kept coming up empty.

Just then, a little owl tapped at his window. Opening it and shivering in the cold December wind, he let the bird in and quickly closed out the afternoon breezes. A sweet little creature, Polly held her leg out obediently for him to retrieve the parchment tied to it. With a stroke of her feathers, Neville began to read the letter from his wife.

Hurry home, my love. It’s Christmas Eve! I’ve a special gift for you!

Neville smiled, in spite of the nerves that slithered down his spine with the cold air he’d let in. A gift for him? He wondered briefly what it could be before a panicking realization hit him. In all the thought of creating a new tradition for her, he had neglected to buy a present for Hannah! Relieved that he had to walk into Hogsmeade to Floo home, he reassured himself that there would be plenty left to choose from in the shops and he’d find the perfect gift for her before leaving town.

Mentally berating himself as he grabbed his overnight bag, he made the familiar weekend walk to Hogsmeade. Being the only married professor, Neville had been excused from weekend duties and granted permission to go home each Friday afternoon. He always looked forward to arriving home that evening and spending the time ‘catching up’ with his lovely wife. Their routine worked perfectly, as Hannah enjoyed her work in the tavern and her alone time during the week. Not really a loner, she did get easily overwhelmed by crowds the same way Neville did. After a day of catering to her patrons’ every need, a quiet dinner and a book before bed was her idea of bliss. By the time she began to feel lonely, it was time for Neville to come home. Headmistress McGonagall had even arranged to have a Floo connection between the Three Broomsticks and The Cauldron just for that purpose. Good old Minerva. A chuckle escaped his lips as he thought of the audacity of calling her by her first name. As if he’d ever do it to her face!

As he approached the little hamlet of Hogsmeade, he passed the Weasley joke shop without stopping. They were busy, and there was nothing there for Hannah. He’d stop in Sunday after the holidays to visit with George before returning to school. Now, he headed to the small shop past Scrivenshaft’s and Gladrag’s, way down at the end of High Street. Upon spotting Tallulah’s Trinkets, he smiled broadly. The windows were still lit. There was hope!

The door tinkled softly as he pushed into the warm little shop. From the back, a sweet voice called out, “Be there in a moment, dearie. Look around!”

Neville loved Tallulah MacDougal. The tiny little witch stood about four feet tall, but her silver bouffant hairdo put her about five. Always wearing her jeweler’s specs, she looked like a little insect as she buzzed about her store. He’d come in when he’d been searching for the perfect ring for Hannah, and Tallulah created it for him. Flawlessly simple and beautiful, just what he’d imagined. She had a knack for that.

“It’s just me, Miss MacDougal! Neville Longbottom from Hogwarts! I need your expertise, madam!” he called back to her.

Instantly, the minute woman appeared. Neville never could guess her age, because as silver as her hair was, she moved with the spry agility of youth. Only the lines around her lavender eyes and wry little mouth hinted at how long she’d been laughing. Her jeweler’s glasses around her neck, she bustled over in a flurry of red and green robes and threw her tiny arms around him. Her head only came to mid-chest, but she squeezed with a strength disguised by her size.

“Happy Christmas, my boy! What can I do for you this evening? Something special for your missus, I presume?”

She winked at him knowingly, having listened to him wax poetic about his bride at length before the wedding last March. He’d also come in a few weeks back to discuss another gift. She was now resetting the stones in his mother’s bracelet. The jewelry had been slightly damaged, but he trusted Tallulah to repair it so he could present it to Hannah for their first wedding anniversary. It was the most valuable thing he owned, and he wanted nothing more than to give it to his wife.

“Yes, ma’am. I don’t know exactly what, though. She’s not a fancy jewelry kind of girl, actually. She’s got her mum’s locket and watch. I’m not about to try and replace those. She’s got her wedding band, and we’re fixing up my mother’s bracelet for her. I don’t know what’s left, but I figured if anyone’s got an idea, it’d be you.”


Tapping her temple in thought, the woman paced back and forth murmuring to herself. Every now and then she’d stop, but then shake her head and continue on the path she was making around the glass cases. Finally, she turned and cocked her head at the young husband.

“Neville, my love, what is it that you are trying to do here? What do you want this gift to mean?”

Taken by surprise, Neville sat down on the little stool by the counter.

“Well, I hadn’t really thought about it. I’ve been racking my brains all week for some sort of tradition to begin this Christmas, and forgot completely about a gift. I guess I’d like it to be something special to commemorate our first holiday. Do you think you can help me, Miss Tallulah?”

With a wink, Tallulah skipped behind the curtain leading to the workroom where she created her beautiful jewelry. Within moments, she returned carrying a deep blue velvet box that looked only large enough to hold a Golden Snitch. Placing it on the counter, she beamed up at him.

Curiously, he picked it up. “What’s this?”

Giggling and clapping her hands together like a little girl, she answered, “It may be the answer to both of your issues. A gift! A tradition! Something special for your lady to remember your first Christmas! Go on, open it!”

Her excitement felt contagious, and Neville carefully lifted the soft lid away from the box. Inside, on a bed of white satin, lay a beautiful orb created of goblin silver and encircled with red and green jewels. Lifting it by the delicate thread, Neville held the ornament to the light and watched it glimmer and glow.

“It’s gorgeous, Miss Tallulah. I’d not thought of an ornament for the tree.”

Shaking her head and taking the ornament gently from his hand, Tallulah MacDougal held the shimmering decoration.

“It is not just a bauble for your tree, my boy. It is that, and so much more. Each year on Christmas Eve, you make a wish. Just one. A Christmas wish made with this magical ornament is guaranteed to come true. So you have your special gift, and you have your special tradition. What do you think, dearest?”

Watching the lovely little trinket spin and sparkle, Neville knew it would be perfect. The problem, however, was the price. A teacher’s salary only went so far. He wasn’t poor, by any means, and had a bit put away from his parents’ vault, but he was certain the ornament cost way more than he’d be willing to part with. Raising an eyebrow at his little friend, he opened his mouth to inquire about the cost but was cut off.

“Oh, don’t you worry about that, Neville boy. Surely, there’s something we can work out.”

Suddenly, Neville remembered. “The bracelet! Tallulah, would you trade my mother’s bracelet for this gift?” It pained him to think of letting the bracelet go, but his mother would never remember the pretty golden circle she used to wear upon her wrist. Hannah would never forget this gift.

Tallulah frowned a bit. “I’m not sure about that, boy. Are you certain you want to part with the bracelet?”

Nodding with certainty now, Neville smiled. “Yes. Miss MacDougal, if you’re willing to make the trade, wrap that little box up for me. I’ve got to get home to my wife!”

With a soft smile, Tallulah tapped the box with her wand and a silver bow appeared. Tucking the precious gift into his coat, Neville hugged the woman.

“Happy Christmas, Miss Tallulah You’re a wonderful old bird, you know. I just love you.”

Wiping a tear from her eye, she patted his hand and wished him a Happy New Year as he very nearly skipped out the door toward the Three Broomsticks. With a brief nod and wave to Rosmerta, he stepped in to the fireplace and found himself home in the Leaky Cauldron within moments.

The tavern was empty, having been closed early for Christmas Eve. Hannah stood at the bar; her round cheeks rosy as she waved her wand at the glasses and watched them stack neatly on the counter. When she turned to see Neville standing there, she rushed into his arms.

“You’re here! Oh, Happy Christmas! I’m so glad you’re home!”

Showering him with kisses, Hannah glowed in the candlelight of the inn. Something was different, though Neville couldn’t quite place it. Perhaps it was just the emotion of the holiday. Hannah had always been quite sentimental about it.

Wrapping an arm around her waist, Neville walked with her up the stairs to their flat. When the door opened, he saw she’d been busy decorating. A great tree stood in front of the window, sparkling with fairy lights and magical icicles. Garland was strewn across the windows and candles sat on every surface of the room. Giving her a squeeze, Neville suddenly felt happier than he ever remembered.

“I have something for you,” he whispered, trying not to break the spell of the moment. Hannah turned her shining face to him and grinned. “I have something for you, too.”

They stood there for a moment, relishing the feel of holding each other in their own home with their own Christmas tree and their own special moment. Then Neville kissed her lips and pulled the little box from inside his coat.

When she opened it, a soft gasp escaped her lips. “Oh, Neville! It’s gorgeous. I love it!”

Carefully taking it from her, he held it up in the candlelight and explained what it was and how it worked.

“So you see, Hannah, we’ve our own little Christmas tradition now. The Christmas Eve wish. What will you wish for, love?”

Hannah admired the ornament and set it spinning with a gentle touch.

“I already have all I’ve ever wantedł Neville. Now, it’s your turn. Here’s your gift.”

She pulled a sheet of parchment from beneath the tree, all rolled up and tied with a red ribbon. With a questioning look, Neville tugged at the bow and unrolled the thick paper.

The St. Mungo’s letterhead decorated the top in scrawling purple ink, and Neville’s eyebrows drew together in confusion. He sat down on the sofa, and Hannah joined him.

“Keep reading. You’ll see,” she whispered with excitement.

As he came to the words, “the pregnancy potion has confirmed that you are with child”, he jumped from his perch and looked at his beaming wife.

“You’re what?!?!” he shouted, tears blurring his vision and his heart pounding with unexpected joy.

“Happy Christmas, Daddy. The baby will be here in May, right around your Mum’s birthday.”

Still standing with the paper in one hand and the ornament in the other, Neville was speechless. Looking down at the ornament, he walked over to the tree and hung in gently on a branch. Hannah slipped her arms around his waist as he swiped the tears from his face.

“Maybe we’ll start that new tradition next year, Hannah. There’s not a single thing more I could wish for this year.”

The next morning, a small package appeared under the tree with Hannah’s name on it. When she opened it, a beautiful circlet of gold and diamonds sat inside. She recognized it immediately as Alice Longbottom’s bracelet. With a gasp, she put in on her wrist and read the note included within the package.

Happy Christmas to you! Wear it well, and hand it down to your precious child when the time comes. It will be the start of a beautiful tradition.
TM


Looking up at Neville, Hannah smiled and handed him the letter.

“Good ol’ Tallulah. Hannah, have I taken you to meet my dear friend yet? She’d be a wonderful grandmother figure to have in our baby’s life, I think.”

Hannah stood and kissed her husband soundly. “I think you’re wonderful, Professor Longbottom. Happy Christmas.”

It was, without exception, the best Christmas Neville had ever had. However, that became the new tradition in the Longbottom home.
You must login (register) to review.