"You know you are in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." - Dr. Seuss
The next morning, bright, white sunlight pours in the through the window above her bed as sleeps like an angel. We're both still dressed in our everyday clothes because it wouldn't have been right to have changed in front of each other. The strings from her black hoodie are criss-crossed over her nose as she sleeps. Her mix-matched socks poke out from the end of her fuzzy blanket.
What did I do? What did I do?
Did I just spend the night with her? No, I didn't actually sleep with her. I slept on the floor! This can't be as bad as I think it is…
I run my fingers through my hair the way I do when I'm stressed out. I notice her hand is still dangled over the edge of the bed just the way it was before we fell asleep. I reach up and grab it. It's warm and soft under my rough, scarred hand.
I suddenly realize it's not like I haven't slept with her before. That one night last year when I was recovering from a particularly hard full moon she stayed up half the night with an unconscious me. That takes away some of the guilt I feel.
I decide it's time to get my lazy ass moving. I stand up and pick up my shoes. I decide that I can still pretend I had spent the night in my own room. Right before I reach the door, I remember the blankets on the floor. I turn around and quietly sneak back to the jumbled pile on the floor. I glance over at Tonks and realize her lips are blue. I lean down to confirm that weird observation and that she is actually shivering in her sleep.
Why did I take all the blankets? This poor girl must've been shivering the whole night. Now that I have been out of the blankets for some time, I realize how cold it is in the Potter's house. You' d think with all the money they have that they would be able to afford a proper heating system.
One by one, I take a blanket and place over it her shivering body, making sure each one is tucked tightly around her. I count that I had 12 blankets and she had one. I feel like a fool. I glance down at my watch and guess that James and Sirius will be up soon. I lean down and tuck the blankets in around her one more time and plant a gentle kiss on her cheek. Then, I quietly sneak out her room and down the hall to my own.
I cross to my bed and lay down under the covers. I suddenly think of the possibility that she might get mad. I mean, I guess it was kind of jerk-ish to leave her like that… But, I stand by my decision that it was the best thing for all of us. All of a sudden, I hear loud footsteps echoing down the walkway of the loft.
James and Sirius are up. I think. I try to position myself so it looks like I have been sleeping soundly for hours. I think to myself: I'm a terrible actor.
All of a sudden, the door to my bedroom bursts open and I hear Sirius shout:
"Merry Christmas Moony! Time to get up!"
I try to pretend like their sudden presence is what wakes me up. I groan and sit up, rubbing my eyes.
"Morning," I say sleepily.
"Moony, why are you wearing your day clothes?" James asks, walking over to me.
"Oh," I say, looking down at my grey t shirt, trying to look mildly surprised. "I dunno. I guess I was too tired last night."
"Yeah well," Sirius says, grabbing one of my arms and pulling me to my feet. "It's time to get up."
"Okay, okay," I say, grabbing a hoodie from the end of my bed.
"Let's go wake up Tonks!" Sirius says, and marches out of the room with James at his heels. At this time, I notice what they are wearing. Sirius dons a light up Christmas tree hat complete with ornaments and James is wearing reindeer antlers that slowly move forward and backward. One of these ridiculous headdresses is singing Holly Jolly Christmas. We walk down the walkway and right in front of Tonks's bedroom door, Sirius turns to me and says:
"Oh! We almost forgot Remus's hat!" and plops something on my head. Then, he turns and bursts Tonks's door open. "Merry Christmas Tonksie!"
We all walk in and find that she is already up and sporting a green shirt that has Merry Christmas written in red on it.
"G'morning guys!" she exclaims and runs over to hug Sirius, then James, and finally me. Her arms wrap tentatively around my waist and her big brown eyes look up into mine as they dance with happiness. "Merry Christmas," she says to me.
"Merry Christmas," I respond. Her joyfulness fuels me to become more excited about this holiday. She releases me and turns back to the group of us.
"What are you guys wearing?" she asks, stifling a laugh.
"Christmas hats!" Sirius explains. I turn my head to the side and catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror. Sirius has put a two-foot tall snowman on top of my head complete with a scarf and arms. The snow man waves one arm in a friendly hello and chuckles. I feel my cheeks burn red.
"Well, you look ridiculous, you do," Tonks says, laughing.
"Tonks, where is your Christmas spirit?" James asks.
"I guess I'm not as cheerful as you lot," she says, smiling. "Common, I'm sure there's presents downstairs."
So, following the two leaders of the idiotic Christmas parade, we march downstairs and right to the Christmas tree. There are dozens of presents to be found there, all glistening gaily in the morning sun.
"Who are all of these for?" I hear Tonks ask in amazement.
"Us, I guess," James says, walking over to a particularly large one and reading the tag. "This one is for Remus actually."
"Me?" I question.
"Yeah," James says. "Remus Lupin, that's your name isn't it"
"From who?" I ask, walking over to the large box.
"Oliver," James answers.
"Oliver?" I say, as I kneel down to unwrap it. When I pull away the wrapping paper, I find a brown cardboard box. And inside that I find just books. Dozens and dozens of books. Every single one I pull out of the box brings me joy. Classic, fantasy, mystery, informative. Any genre you can think of is in there. And they are all my favorites.
You see, back home we don't own any books; I guess we are just too poor to afford them. We have to use the library or ask to borrow one from a neighbor. I never get the satisfaction of owning my own book. And at Hogwarts, I have to use the library to get books for enjoyment. Now Oliver has given me this gift. I won't ever have to borrow a book from anyone else again. I wont have to worry about whether or not I'll get it back in time. These books are all mine.
"Wooow," I mutter as I pull the last book out. It's titled Oliver Twist, my absolute favorite. I open the front cover and inside there's a note. I open it, and it reads:
Finally got some books of your own, huh? Well, I hope you will enjoy these as much as you did when you first read them. I know how much you love to read. Mum and Dad say hi. Libby says hi and that she misses you. Kevin is being a prat and when I asked him if he wanted to say anything to you, he said no. Elizabeth is being the same way. Don't worry about it, little brother. One day they'll come around. Have a fantastic Christmas at James's and don't get in too much trouble. Keep me posted about that girl you fancy, alright?
Love, your brother Oliver.
I smile down at the page. Oliver is my best friend. The only one I can tell all of my secrets to. Kevin is my oldest brother who is 17. Elizabeth is my younger sister who is 11. Both of them are probably the biggest prats ever. They resent me for my lycanthropy. They refuse to eat meals with me at home. They don't let me in their rooms. Every time Kevin says something against me, I want to tear the house down around him. Elizabeth never says anything to my face, but I know she says things to Kevin and my parents.
Elizabeth had actually been there when I was bitten. We had been playing in the backyard of our old home in a suburban Muggle neighborhood. It was just getting dark and the moment the full moon rose, Greyback jumped out of the bushes and attacked me. His teeth got me right in my left side; the scar is still there today. She had been traumatized by this incident. She had to watch as my father and Kevin carried me into the house, bleeding and convulsing. Olivia, who we call Libby, was too young to remember this. Kevin was never the same after almost watching his brother die. Oliver was the only one who stayed calm the entire time. He stayed by me in St. Mungo's and supported my hysterical mother and father each time I took a turn for the worst.
I am pulled from my thoughts as Tonks lays a hand on my shoulder.
"I've never seen so many books for one person before," she says, settling down next to me. She had a piece of ribbon stuck in her hair.
"Well," I say as I pull the ribbon out. "My brother knows me well."
"I'm glad," she says, smiling. "The others are almost done unwrapping."
"Already?" I ask, turning my neck around to see James and Sirius ripping open even more boxes as we speak.
"Yeah," Tonks says, looking down into my lap where I have the note laid. "What's that?"
"Oh," I say, picking it up. "A note from my brother Oliver."
"Can I read it?" she asks.
"Sure," I say, handing it over to her. "Go ahead."
She scans the paper hastily. When she's done, the corners of her lips turn down. She turns around to make sure no one is listening.
"That girl you fancy?" she quotes, looking at me. Shit. I had forgotten about that part. "Does that, uhm, happen to be me?"
"Uh, yeah it does happen to be you," I say, smiling over at her.
"Really?" she asks, beaming.
"Yeah…" I say, blushing.
"I didn't know that you had told Oliver about me," she says, uncrossing her legs from the Indian style she has been sitting.
"Well," I say. "I tell Oliver everything. He's the only family I've got."
"I'm not mad," she says reassuringly. "I just didn't know."
"No one really does…" I say, taking the letter back and folding it up. "So what all did you get?"
"Nothing spectacular really," she says, watching her feet. "Just a few presents from my family."
"What did they get?" I ask, indicating James and Sirius.
"Ah, a lot of Quidditch stuff, books, clothes, junk no one but them would want," she says. "You know I have a present for you?"
"What?" I say, befuddled. "I thought we said we wouldn't get each other-"
"I know what we said," she says, taking a present from under the tree that no one had touched. "But I wanted to get you it anyway. It's not much." She hands me a small rectangular package.
"But I didn't get you anything," I argue.
"Yes you did," she says.
"No… I don't think I did," I say, chuckling a little.
"You stayed with me last night, didn't you?" she whispers.
"Yeah…" I say quietly. "But that's not exactly a present, is it?"
"To me it is," she whispers back. "It meant a lot to me."
"Your welcome," I say, then rip open the package. It's a little wooden picture frame that has a picture of the five of us in it. We're all laughing and smiling on the banks of the lake at Hogwarts. It vaguely reminds me of the picture we had gotten her for her 12th birthday. I realize it's the same picture, just smaller.
"I figured you would want a copy too," she says.
"Thanks so much," I say, looking up from the picture and over at her.
"Your welcome," she says, smiling down into her lap.
"Oi!" I hear Sirius call. "You two done? It's time for breakfast!"
"Yeah, yeah Sirius," Tonks says, standing up.
"Good! Common then!" he calls and he and James march into the kitchen.
"You still have that ridiculous hat on," Tonks says.
"Oh yeah," I say, and take it off.
"No, keep it on," she says, grabs it, and puts it back on my head. "You look cute."
"I look cute?" I say, chuckling. I think it's humanly impossible for anybody look cute in that hat.
"Yeah," she says as she straightens it. "I like it."
"You're about the only one," I smile down at her.
"No," she says, smiling back. And in one swift movement, she gets up on her tip toes and kisses my cheek lightly. "I think Sirius likes it too." And she's gone.
I think I like this one…!
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