The Golden Thread::Book Two::Chamber of Secrets::

Christmas Sweaters and Mistletoe

Even with the reassurance from Ron and Hermione Harry was glad term was almost over. Most of the students would be leaving.

There was a mad rush to get seats on Hogwarts express to go home for the holidays. People were still whispering and hissing as he passed and most people avoided him. Fred and George however found all this funny, the idea that their foster brother, their 'Munchkin' could be the heir of slytherin was absolutely idiotic. They joked around by marching ahead of him in corridors and announcing loudly

"Make way for the heir of Slytheirn. Seriously evil wizard coming through."

Percy didn't find this funny at all

"It's not something to joke about." He said angrily

"Aww, out of the way Percy." Fred chuckled "Munchkin's in a hurry."

"Yeah." George added "He's on his way to the Chamber of Secrets for a spot of tea with his fanged servant."

Ginny didn't like it either. She went pale every time Fred would ask Harry who he was going to attack next or George pretended to ward him off with Garlic when they met in the corridors. Harry noticed that Fred and George's antics were also annoying Draco Malfoy. He glared at them every time he saw them at it.

He's dying to tell everyone it's actually him. Ron thought Doesn't want you taking credit for his dirty work.

Term ended and silence settled on the school. It was nice to have just Ron, Hermione and his foster siblings in the common room. They could spend time bonding over games of exploding snap. Ginny joined in even though she seemed distracted by something. Percy spent most of his time in his dormitory because he didn't approve of what he called their 'childish behavior'. Just as before when Ron had done it, the trio didn't talk about the moment they'd shared in the tree grove.

Christmas morning dawned and Harry woke up to find Hermione missing from her spot in bed. He sat bolt upright and shook Ron.

"Ron. Wake up, now!" He shouted

Ron groaned but Harry shook him again "Ron. 'Mione's missing." Ron sat up quickly at those words suddenly wide awake. Before the boys could panic too muchhowever Hermione made her way back into the Dormitory, fully dressed and holding two packages.

"Happy Christmas, boys." she said brightly, her smile fell when she saw that they were glaring at her "What?" she asked quietly

"Don't just vanish like that!" Harry said, jumping out of bed and pulling her into a nearly bone crushing hug. Ron got up as well and wrapped his arms around both of them

"Thank Merlin." He muttered quietly. Hermione was shocked at their reaction but then she realized what they must've thought when they woke up and she was gone.

"Oh." She whispered "I'm sorry.." she then smiled at them as they let her go "Here's your presents."

they all returned to Ron's bed and sat down together, exchanging gifts. Harry had gotten a his own copy of Quidditch through the Ages from Ron and a new art set from Hermione. Ron had gotten a Chuddley Cannons poster from Harry and new chess set from Hermione. Harry and Ron both got Hermione new charms for her bracelet, Harry's was a snitch and Ron's was a snowflake. Both Harry and Hermione grinned at the snowflake charm. They knew it was a subtle reminder of that first kiss in the snow. After they thanked each other they turned to their other gifts. Hermione got a big box of sugar free sweets from her parents which she promised to share, Harry got some fudge from Hagrid and they all had sweets from Mrs. Weasley along with the usual sweaters.

Harry's was a teal blue and had been embroidered with lightning bolts and snitches, just like his blanket back home. Ron got a bright orange one with broomsticks and cannon balls. Ron grinned. Finally something other than maroon. Hermione's was purple and had a heart with an H inside on it. They all pulled the sweaters on and Hermione grinned at the guys

"One more thing.." she said "The potion is ready..that's where I was earlier, putting the finishing touches on it."

"Really?" they asked together.

"Yep." She answered happily.

The three of them then decided that they would finalize their plans later and headed down to the common room where they found the other Weasleys all in their sweaters. Fred and George's were yellow with the word double on one and trouble on the other. Harry chuckled at Mrs. Weasley's sense of humor. Ginny's was pink with a gryffindor lion on it. Percy's was just a plain red.

Even dreading taking polyjuice potion later the trio couldn't help but enjoy the morning. Ginny was still looking pale and distracted but she smiled for the first time in awhile as she saw Hermione in her first ever Weasley sweater and gave her a quick hug and a 'Happy Christmas' they played a few games of exploding snap and Fred and George decided it would be funny to see what happened if they held mistletoe over Harry, Ron and Hermione's heads. The result was a very embarrassed trio scrambling away from each other and Fred, George and Ginny doubled over with laughter.

Christmas with Hermione and the Weasleys was never dull. Harry figured that from now on he'd always be able to look forward to his Christmases like a normal kid.