The Order of Things

Chapter 19

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Father Christmas

This being my second time around the block, I avoided the childish glee of waking up early on Christmas morning due to uncontrollable anticipation. When you grow up, Christmas never gets less exciting. Unless you are one of those individuals who don't care for holidays, or you don't celebrate Christmas. However, your priorities do change. By the time Jessie turned fourteen, the best highlights of Christmas were sleeping in and eating a lot of very good food. So, when all of my siblings would wake up early and rush downstairs, Dad included, to see what was waiting for them under the tree, I was content to stay toasty warm in bed. I am that annoying relative that everyone has to wait for before they can open presents. Unfortunately, when you have siblings like mine, they have ways of making you get up.

This Christmas I woke up to an off-key and unharmonious rendition of;

Have a Jolly Holly Christmas
She's the best sister of the year
I don't know if she'll tango
But have a dance or two

I turned over and groaned into my pillow. "Stop" I whined as Fred and George raised their volume.

Have a Jolly Holly Christmas
And when you walk down the street
Say hello to the Weasleys you know
There's plenty of us to meet

Someone, either Fred or George, starts to tug on my blankets. In response, I chuck my pillow in the general direction of the intruder. But it was a mistake on my part. Now, I have nothing to cover my ears with.

Oh, ho! the mistletoe
Hung where Holly can see
Pucey waits for you
Don't kiss her once for me

Whoever was tugging on my covers successfully yanks them off of me. Luckily, I'm not cold. The house-elves make sure everything stays ward. If only they could make sure everyone stayed quiet. Giving up, I roll back over and sit up, bleary-eyed. Both Fred and George stand at the foot of Lee's bed. A small pile of presents sits between them and the bed. They have their arms wrapped over each other's shoulders while holding their free arms away from their bodies. Their necks are bent back so they can sing the last verse to the ceiling at the top of their lungs.

Have a Jolly Holly Christmas
And in case you didn't hear
Oh by golly! have a Jolly Holly Christmas
This year!

Fred and George look at me expectation at the end of their song. Personally, I don't blame them. Waking up to a mockery of a Christmas carol is better than what they used to do when we were little. They used to wake me up at the crack of dawn by jumping on top of me until it was impossible to stay asleep. Honestly, I blame Dad. It's all his fault for that one Christmas where he insisted on singing muggle Christmas carols from a book he got from Bill… Actually, it's Bill's fault. Dad can't help himself. I'll have to write Bill and file a complaint. "Can I go back to bed, now?" I asked after a moment passed of just the three of us staring at each other.

However, it seems that my answer has offended them. "No", said George, as he lowered his raised arm in favor of a more akimbo style.

"It's Christmas, Holls," said Fred as he untwined his arm from over George's shoulder and walked over to one side of the bed.

"It's family time" George added as Fred grabbed my upper right arm and started tugging. I whimpered in complaint. "We waited for you" he goes on to say as I swung my legs over the right side of the bed and allowed Fred to pull me up all of the way. If I hadn't conceded he would have kept pulling until I fell out of bed and landed on my face. Persistent little gits, my brothers are.

"But we want to open presents", Fred said as he led us over to where George was standing near all of our Christmas hauls. At the foot of each of our beds were two parcels each. All wrapped in slightly stained brown paper. "Let's open these and then we'll drop in on Ronniekins and friend".

Fred moves away from me to sit down in front of his presents. "And then we'll track down Perce and get this Weasley party started". Said George as he too sat down on the floor in front of his pile.

I sigh but follow suit. "As long as that party can take place in the great hall".

The boys nod as we all reach for identically lumpy and soft packages. They've learned after spending thirteen years together, that the best way to keep me happy is to keep me feed. Five minutes later, we were the proud owners of three blue jumpers. One with a golden F, One with a golden G, and one with a golden H; all knitted big and bold into the middle of the jumper. The second gift we had contained Mum's famous fudge and some gingerbread biscuits. The biscuits, I could tell, had been decorated by Ginny. She's the only one who would have used that much pink frosting. I wonder how Ginny and Mum had time to bake all of this before leaving for Romania. With our usual sense of fashion, Fred, George, and I pulled our Christmas jumpers on over our pajamas and made our way to the first-year boys' dorm.

Bother Harry and Ron were already up, and by the sight of all the wrappings littering the floor they had already discovered their presents. Like us, Ron had already put on his maroon jumper with a great big R on the front. Around his lips, I could see signs of smeared melted fudge. He doesn't waste time, our little brother. "Merry Christmas" Fred and George exclaimed when we entered the room. The two first-years looked up at our unexpectant entry. Ron didn't seem that impressed, but he wasn't disappointed either. Harry, on the other hand, looked excited. Has he opened the invisibility cloak yet?

"Happy Christmas" Harry returned the greeting, blushing a little. Glad to see that the Weasley Christmas cheer is contagious. I smiled at everyone as I flopped stomach down on Ron's bed. Still feeling the edges of sleep as everyone went about the morning. I had had a murderer dream the night before, so I think my tiredness is justified.

"Oh, look," Fred said as he walked over to Harry's bed and pulled up another knitted jumper from the wrappings. "Harry's got a Weasley jumper too". Except Harry's was green. A color that Mum usually used sparingly since we are a proud family of Gryffindors.

George walked over to investigate. "Better quality though". He said, taking the jumper from Fred and tossing it to Harry. "Looks like Mum puts in more effort in if you aren't family". Harry's fingers the jumper and smiles at the soft yarn. It feels nice to see something Mum made be so appreciated.

Reaching over the bed, I ruffle Ron's hair. Who immediately tries to slap my hands away. "How's the fudge?" I asked.

Ron turns just enough to see me. "She gave me extra this year," He said, eyes wide with excitement.

I smile back at him. "Mum knows it's your favorite".

At that moment, Percy enters the room. He has a violet jumper resting across his arm. "Must you make such a racket this early in the morning?" Percy scolded. But he isn't fooling me. He sought us out, meaning he wants to see us.

Fred and George are on him at once. Fred plucks the jumper from Percy and holds it out for all to see. "A 'P'!". He exclaimed. "Is that for Percy or prefect?" he asked, holding it back out for Percy to reclaim. "Well, put it on. We are wearing ours. Even Harry's got one". Fred said, nodding at Harry to put his jumper on as well. Harry happily obliged. He pulled it on over his head, and once it was set right, he looked down and smiled, tracing the letter on his chest with his fingers. I should write to Mum and tell her how much her jumper meant to the boy.

"I don't want to" Percy stated as Fred and George wrestled the jumper over Percy's head. Knocking off his glasses from one ear in the process.

But Fred and George prevailed. Once Percy's jumper was on, George said to him," You're sitting with us at breakfast".

"Christmas is family time". Fred added as he grabbed one of Percy's arms the same time that George grabbed the other. Fred and George march Percy out of the first-years' dorm.

Still feeling drowsy, but a bit more motivated at the promise of food, I stood up from Ron's bed. "Come one, boys". I said, waiting for the two eleven-year-olds to get up. Once they are both standing, I tuck each boy under one of my arms and start to herd us in the direction of Fred and George.

However, we didn't all quite make it to the great hall. Halfway there our merry little group ran into McGonagall. After making the necessary holiday greetings, our head of house turned to Harry. "Potter," she said, making eye contact with him. "You are needed in the headmaster's office." And then to the rest of us, "you five can continue on to the great hall. Mr. Potter will join you when he can".

Harry's face had become complexed at the summons. While Ron asked, "What? Why?"

McGonagall fixed Ron with a stern gaze. "That is none of your business, Mr. Weasley". And then she turned back to Harry. "This way, Potter".

Giving us a hapless shoulder shrug Harry leaves with McGonagall, sending backward glances over his shoulder. "I wonder what that's about," Fred said as he and George looked at me, questioning if I knew anything. Subtly, I shook my head as we continued on our way. This had not happened in the book. The great hall had been reduced from five tables to one table. It was set up at in the center of the room, decorated is sprigs of holly, amongst the gold serving trays. The different houses and staff intermingled as they passed plates of cinnamon buns, and scrambled eggs. We split into two groups as we filled in the end of the table; Fred, George, and I on one side and Ron and Percy on the other. Noticeably, Dumbledore was absent. Curiouser and curiouser. We made small talk as we passed food between us. At one point during our discussion about what Mum, Dad, and Ginny could possibly be seeing in Romania, I had the whole plate of cinnamon buns in front of me. I had no intention of sharing them until Flitwick asked me to pass them down. I have no problems denying my brothers the sticky goodness that is cinnamon buns. But, regrettably, it is another thing to deny a teacher. Breakfast ends with Fred and George detaining Percy before he could slip away. Harry had never joined us. "Snowball fight?" George suggested as we exited the great hall.

"We'll have to put on warmer things before going out". I said. We had all gone down to the great hall in just our pajamas and jumpers. And while they are very comfy, they aren't very waterproof. However, when we make it to the tower, outdoor adventures slip our minds. Sitting across from each other in the two armchairs by the fire was Harry and a shaggy, thin man with dark bags under his eyes. My brothers and I all pause at the sight of the unfamiliar adult in the common room. None of us knew what to do. There really isn't any protocol in place about what to do if there is an intruder in one of the common rooms, because no one by staff and house members should be able to access them. Except, this man isn't too unfamiliar to me. At the sound of all of us entering, Harry and the man turn in their chairs to look at us. Harry had lost a significant amount of color to his face, and there was a bit of pinkness to his eyes. As if he felt the urge to cry but was refusing to do so. The man stood up at the sight of us

Despite how worn he looked; the man held his arms out in welcome with a big smile on his face. "You must be Harry's friends, the Weasleys," he said. Holy crap, it's Sirius Black. "And the… and the family that helped get me out of that awful place". My brothers exchanged looks; being confused about what this man was going on about. But I wouldn't be surprised if Fred and George were close to connecting the dot.

"I'm sorry, sir," Percy said when it became apparent that no one was going to explaining how our family supposedly helped him. "Who are you?"

The man threw his head back and laughed as he lowered his arms to his side. "I forgot," he said after a moment. "That I would have to introduce myself. I'm Harry's godfather, Sirius Black".

"What… you… how" Percy stuttered as he tried to perceive what to think and what to do. "You not in Azkaban!" He finally settled on.

"No" Sirius laughed. "They let me out right in time for Christmas", he said glancing around the common room to take in all of the decorations the house-elves had placed in the common room during the start of the season. "I imagine there're be an article about it in the Daily Prophet come tomorrow". When we all continued to stare at him without giving him any notion that comprehending what he was saying, Sirius goes on to say. "You'll have to forgive my appearance. I came straight here. Only stopping to pick up a few things. I couldn't put off seeing Harry for another minute".

We're spared from anymore awkwardness of the situation when Dumbledore walks down the stairs that lead to the boys' dorm. "A trip down memory lane is always nice". The headmaster said as he made his entrance. He seemed to be speaking only to Harry and Sirius. As if he hadn't noticed that us Weasleys had returned yet. I suspect differently. "The room looks the same as it did when I was a boy". Dumbledore stopped at the bottom of the stairs. "Even the curtains hanging around the beds. They're just as ugly as I remember. You know, I set them on fire my fourth year. Accidently, of course".

"Professor?" Percy broke in.

Dumbledore looked over at us with his signature twinkle in his eyes. "Ah," he said, although he didn't sound surprised in the slightest. "I see you five have finished with the morning meal. And now you are no doubt wondering about the stranger in your common room. I can assure you that everything is as it is meant to be". Heh, that statement had me laughing on the inside. "This indeed is Sirius Black. He was released early this morning from Azkaban, cleared of all charges".

"And he's here for Harry?" Ron asked, stepping out from his spot in Percy's shadow. Concern was evident in his young voice.

"Yes," Dumbledore answered. But he wasn't able to explain further.

"And you Weasleys as well" Sirius was quick to say. "If it wasn't for you two" he nodded at Percy and Ron. "keeping Peter for all of those years. And you three" he switched his attention to us triplets. "For uncovering him during your class, the Wonder Weasleys," He said with an amused twitch of his lips. Merlin, that bloody article. Damn Rita Skeeter. "I wanted to thank your parents too, but I heard that they are currently abroad. But Dumbledore… that is, Professor Dumbledore, assured me that they would be okay with me visiting with you guys, while Harry and I had our reunion". A look at Harry's face showed that he didn't see this as a reunion as Sirius did. To him, this was an introduction. An earth-shattering introduction. In Harry's third year in the books, Sirius turning out to be a good guy was a revelation that Harry embraced wholeheartedly. But maybe it was too much for an Eleven-year-old boy who believed he was alone in the world to accept. He seemed a bit shell-shocked, to be honest. Sirius reached into his pocket and pulled out a small red cloth bag. With a tap of his wand, also pulled from a pocket, the bag grew until it resembled a sack. Almost as if Sirius Black was father Christmas. "I have gifts for everyone", he said with a cheeriness that lit up his whole face. This was probably the first Christmas Sirius has been able to celebrate in ten years. "Both as Christmas and thank you gifts".

We all look towards Dumbledore. He gives us a nod before anyone moves. Surprisingly, it's Ron who takes the first brave step. He pushes past all of us, and walks right to Harry's side, taking the seat on the corner of the couch closest to Harry. "You alright, mate?" I heard him whisper.

As Harry nodded his answer, Fred, George and I moved next. Leaving Percy to follow. Fred and George take the last two seats on the couch, casting apprehensive looks at Sirius as they settled themselves. Fred sat on the opposite end from Ron and George sat in the middle. When we started this plan to reveal Pettigrew, I'm not sure if it ever occurred to them that we would one day meet Sirius Black in person. Even though I had told them about the Order of the Phoenix. With no more available seats, I sat down on George's lap, leaning against my brother as he wrapped his arms around my waist. Being as big of a family as we are, this isn't an unusual occurrence. We were always piling on top of each other as kids. And with us being triplets, we've just never grown out of it. Percy, too dignified to sit on the floor, takes his place standing next to the mantle of the fireplace. Sirius beams at us as he sits back down into his chair and starts to dig through the red sack, he had brought with him. Dumbledore moseys over to stand behind Sirius' shoulder. His hands are folded behind his back and he has a grandfatherly expression on his face. As if the prodigal son had returned. "Percy," Sirius said, looking around the room before his eyes landed on the oldest. He pulled out a dense-looking rectangular package wrapped in red paper with a gold bow. All very Gryffindor. "I heard you were quite the student," He said, holding out the book to our older brother. "I thought you might have use of this".

After adjusting his glasses, Percy takes the present with one hand. "Thank you," he said with an incline of his head. Based on the shape and size, I'm guessing it's a book. But we don't get to see what it is, because Sirius turns his attention to us. "Now, for the Wonder Weasleys". He said, digging deeper into his sack. I roll my eyes when he can't see me doing so.

Fred looks in my direction with a smirk. He mouths the word, 'T-shirts' at me. I give him a firm shake of my head. Over my dead body. The Sherlock Holmes hats are more than enough of a fashion statement for this year. "To use the reversal spell at your age, you three must be very clever". Sirius said as he pulled out a cubed box. One that is as tall as my torso. It's wrapped in purpled paper dotted with pink circles. "So, I thought that you might find many uses for this". Fred takes the box from Sirius and holds it in his lap. George and I lean in as Fred rips off the top layer of the gift. What lies on the inside has our eyes bulging.

"Blimey!" George exclaims as we examine the contents. He had bought us the greater contents of Zonko's Joke Shop. There was enough in there from frog spawn soap to dungbombs. There was enough there that we could engulf the whole school in absolute mayhem. Pucey would not be pleased when he made it back for the new term.

"I suggest" Dumbledore spoke up. "That you three us these items sparingly. We won't want Mr. Filch to be too distressed". Though, judging on Dumbledore's tone, I'm not sure if he would mind if Filch was stressed out.

"Yes, sir," Fred said with a little too much glee.

"Thank you," the three of us said together to the framed murderer.

Smiling and nodding, Sirius moves on to our younger brother. "Now Ron," He said, lacing his fingers together as he spoke. "I don't have a gift for you in my bag". Ron immediately deflated. Probably thinking that he wouldn't get one because that was just his luck. "Because it won't have survived the trip if I'd had stuffed it in there". Just as fast, Ron perked up. "I'm sorry that you lost your pet in all of this" Sirius said honestly. Then he gestured his head in the direction of the stairs that Dumbledore had come from. "Your gift is in your room. Go see". Ron didn't need to be told twice. Shooting out of his spot on the couch, Ron raced for the stair. Once he was out of view, Sirius focuses on Harry. "Now!" He said, clapping his hands once. "Christmas presents for my godson". And Sirius proceed to pull box after box from his bag. Harry unwrapped new shirts, cloaks and the like. He got a nose biting teacup from Zonkos. And a bunch of chocolate frogs from Honeydukes.

The gifts continue to be given. Even after Ron came running back down the stairs with a little scops owl. "He got me an owl! He got me an owl!" Ron exclaimed; his face bright as he rejoined us on the couch. I was shocked. But also glad. Despite the change in timeline. Ron still got Pigwidgeon. Of course, the chances of it being the same bird were slim. And who knew what Ron would end of calling it.

The last gift Harry got was a mirror. Throughout the gift-giving, Harry had gotten increasingly withdrawn. It was like he was waiting for someone to come take everything away and tell him that it was all a joke. But the mirror seemed to confuse him. "A mirror?" he asked, looking up at his unknown godfather.

"Not just any mirror". Sirius said, excited that Harry was interacting with him. "It's a two-way mirror". Percy gasped at that. I don't blame him. Two-way mirrors are incredibly rare. "I have another one just like it. With them, we will be able to talk whenever you want. Just look into it and say my name. I'll appear in your mirror, and you'll appear in mine. I thought we can plan your room this way."

Harry's eyes widen marginally at this. "Room?" He asked, taken back. To be fair, last summer he had still been sleeping in a cupboard before his Hogwarts letters arrived. This is a big leap.

"Yes," Sirius assured, his smile infectious. "For when you come to live with me. You'll need a room. I was thinking we'd use Gryffindor colors. Maybe a quidditch theme".

Dumbledore doesn't let the two get to carried away. "Sirius" he interrupts. "that's something we will have to talk about at a later time".

Sirius waves him off but drops the subject all the same. The rest of the afternoon passes with Sirius telling us stories about his time at Hogwarts. Percy interjected whenever the events of a story had a few too many broken rules for his taste. On the opposite end, Fred and George were digging for more information. No doubt, they were looking for some inspiration. Ron seemed to be listening as he uttered a "wow" or a "bloody hell" every once in a while. But his main focus was on petting the little owl perched on his shoulder. It looked like it was a match made in heaven. I didn't say anything. More interested in observing Harry than anyone else. Out of all of the people this change of events would have an effect on, Harry was probably the most vulnerable. It was a peculiar thing to watch as an orphaned boy realized that there was an adult who cared. But with each story, especially the ones involving his dad and mum, Harry came back to himself. His face regained his normal color, and soon he was leaning forward in his seat and hanging on Sirius' every word. I think we just witnessed a Christmas miracle.