Sirius Black, unlike most twelve-year-olds, hated Christmas. This was because on Christmas, the House of Black would be swarming with relatives, almost all of whom were nasty.
This Christmas, relatives had kept asking him which Hogwarts house he was in. When Sirius replied, “Gryffindor,” they’d all stared at him, then said politely but coldly, “Bummer, eh?”
To which Sirius would answer, “No— it was the best thing that could have happened to me,” and watch their faces twist in shock and disgust. He found it rather entertaining.
Unfortunately, his mother did not. Restraining her temper, she said to him, “Sirius, help us bake some more cookies— we’re almost out of them already.”
“Kreacher could do them,” Sirius responded.
His mother struggled to find an excuse that would make him stay in the kitchen and not embarrass his parents further. “It’s Christmas,” she said at last. “Kreacher should have a break.”
What a liar. She had never given Kreacher breaks. But Sirius agreed, because a most delightful idea had just occurred to him. He would bake cookies, all right— big, red cookies, for Gryffindor.
Once in the kitchen (and after chasing a sulky Kreacher out), Sirius got out his mother’s cookbook, flipping to the page on cookies. Then, after preparing the baking ingredients, he started to bake.
About an hour later, when all the cookies were in the oven, nine-year-old Regulus sidled into the kitchen, sniffing hard.
“I smell cookies,” he said.
“That’s because I’m baking them,” his older brother replied. Seeing that it was time, he removed the cookies from the oven and set them on the tabletop. Regulus wandered over.
“Sirius, why’re they red?” he asked, eyeing the cookies with a hungry expression.
“To show my support for Gryffindor,” Sirius said, with a look of undisguised glee on his face.
The hungry expression vanished.
“But Mummy will kill you!” Regulus said in horror, and used his magic to turn the cookies to the colour green.
“What d’you think you’re doing?” Sirius demanded, turning the cookies red again with his own magic.
Resolutely, Regulus turned them green.
And Sirius turned them back to red.
At the next change, the cookies became a mixture of green and red, and the colour wouldn’t be changed no matter how hard the two brothers tried.
“Look what you’ve done,” Sirius snapped.
“Sorry,” Regulus said in a small voice. A paused, then—
“I just didn’t want you to get punished.”
Sirius looked from his brother to the cookies, and then back again.
“I don’t mind getting punished for it.”
“But I do.”
And, in spite of himself, Sirius choked up, and hugged his brother. “Thank you, Regulus,” he said quietly, before pulling away. The two boys then looked at the cookies on the table.
“We can’t let Mummy see those,” Regulus said.
“So let’s eat them,” proposed Sirius.
The two brothers looked at the large amount of cookies, then grinned wickedly at each other.
“Merry Christmas, Sirius,” Regulus said.
“Merry Christmas, Regulus.”