“I’ve got it here.”
?” Sirius asked, looking up from his list to grin cheekily at James and Lily.
“A whole sprig,” Lily replied, mock-smugly.
“The strong stuff?”
“Just making sure! All right…a tree?”
There was a short pause. “F***,” James muttered. “I knew we forgot something.”
Lily frowned and raised her eyebrows. “We
didn’t forget anything. I thought Sirius was getting the tree.”
Sirius bit his lip. “Er…no.”
“So we’re supposed to help you decorate your flat and you don’t have a bloody evergreen tree?” Lily asked, her voice rising in exasperation.
“That would be correct.”
“And it’s Christmas Eve.”
“Oh, really Lily? I hadn’t realized.”
“Sirius…” James snapped warningly.
Sirius looked away, uncomfortable with his friend’s scolding. “Who really needs a tree?”
Lily snorted. “Yes, who really needs a tree
? It’s only the most obvious symbol of the holiday season.”
want to leave to go get that pine tree, then?”
” Lily corrected automatically, though she looked a bit chagrined when she saw the glare on Sirius’s face. “And no, I don’t.” There was a tense silence before she spoke again. “I brought Christmas music. Muggle
Christmas music.” A grin broke across Sirius’s face.
“I did,” Lily said, pulling a cassette player out of her bag. “I’ll play some while we decorate.” James took one look at the buttons on the player and blanched.
“Uh…Sirius and I will start putting up the tinsel while you…” He motioned his hands wildly in the air.
“Don’t hurt yourself, mate.” Sirius handed James a string of tinsel. “Put that over the fireplace or something.”
“Right.” Using his wand, James carefully draped the tinsel across the wall in a violently pointy shape.
“Beautifully done, love,” Lily said sardonically, raising her voice to be heard over the music. James reddened.
place the tinsel, then. I’ll set those statues of fat men all over the room.”
“It’s Santa Clause,
Prongs!” Sirius sighed in mock-exasperation. “Muggle Studies,” he added, answering Lily’s silent question.
“I’m impressed,” she said, laughing.
The three set to work, hooking tree ornaments to the hideous curtains that hung from the windows, placing Santa Clause figurines on whatever shelf space was available, and covering the walls with tinsel.
When they were done, they sat on the bare floor and gazed at the work around them.
“Not bad,” Lily conceded. “I actually quite like it without …”
“…That Green Thing,” Sirius interrupted, tired of the word ‘evergreen.’ “I agree.”
“Too bad Peter and Remus couldn’t make it,” James said ruefully, wrapping an arm around Lily’s waist.
Sirius raised his bourbon glass. “To us,” he said.
“To Christmas,” Lily said softly as she too held up her glass. “Which is actually quite enjoyable without That Green Thing.”
“To luck,” James murmured. “That we’re actually together for Christmas.”
The three sat around the fireplace, laughing and talking. The room seemed aglow with Christmas spirit, and the absence of green soon became unnoticeable.