The open air Christmas market was aglow with fairy lights and holiday cheer, shoppers bustling amidst the displays and snowflakes twisting lazily through the crisp December air. Seamus took another sip of his mulled wine and gave his companion a crooked smile. Clutching her own warm mug, Parvati beamed back at him, clearly thrilled that he was enjoying the beverage she’d purchased for him. Her rosy cheeks and warm smile made suffering through the hot wine bearable, though Seamus still could not understand why someone would choose to heat wine in the first place; it was ghastly enough at its proper drinking temperature. The mulled wine seemed to be a holiday tradition for Parvati though, so his swallowed his distaste, despite a desperate longing for a good strong cup of coffee, preferably laced with a hearty splash of Irish whiskey.
Parvati pulled him towards yet another display of artsy baubles and trinkets. Today’s goal was to find a Christmas present for Lavender Brown, Seamus’ good friend and business partner. His previous attempts had been horrendous failures, which Lavender had not been shy about telling him, so he’d enlisted another good friend of theirs, Parvati, to aid him in his quest for a satisfactory gift. Because honestly, a happy Lavender made good business sense.
Overwhelmed by the smell of scented Christmas candles, Seamus nodded at Parvati’s enthusiastic gesturing and pointed at several of her suggestions—a candle, a sparkly jar of some kind, and a bracelet with swirling glass beads—hoping to pick out something and extricate himself from the noxious festive fumes. Once Parvati had given her nod of approval, there was a quick exchange of money and the presents were wrapped up in a whirlwind of tissue paper, glitter, and crinkling cellophane.
As they turned to leave, the woman working the booth clucked at them loudly before smirking and pointing upwards. As both Seamus and Parvati glanced up at the canvas canopy, the woman slipped away, busying herself with straightening merchandise on the opposite corner of the spacious display.
"Oh my," Parvati murmured, staring up at the tiny sprigs lining the entire edge of the canopy.
“Bloody hell,” muttered Seamus, wondering why they were standing around looking at decorative herbs while those thrice-damned candles were starting to give him a headache. His response earned him an affronted look from Parvati.
“That much of a hardship even to entertain the notion of kissing me, is it?”
“What?” Seamus looked at her incredulously, thinking that it really shouldn’t be legal to have these sorts of conversations in close proximity to those nauseating scented candles.
"I was only considering it, because it's tradition and all. Just a spot of Christmas cheer. Don't go getting any ideas that I've been pining over you or something."
"Pining? What in the everlasting hell are you on about?"
Parvati's only answer was a harrumph, as she tossed her long, intricately plaited hair behind her shoulder.
The pieces slowly assembled in his candle-fogged brain, and his eyes grew wide. "Oh! Is that mistletoe? The one with the kissing and the …"
His voice trailed off as Parvati gave him a baleful glare, and he couldn't help but notice that her face seemed more flushed than earlier. Perhaps it wasn't only the snowy hair, he mused, finding the idea more than a little appealing.
"Shall we then? Because it's Christmas and all." He offered his most charming smile and inwardly cheered at her exasperated sigh, because he knew that sigh.
"Fine, then. Let's have it."
Taking full advantage of what might the only opportunity in this lifetime he would get to kiss the prettiest girl in school, (six years out and he still thought of her that way) Seamus dropped his bag of presents to the ground, not even caring that there was a glass jar inside. Leaning in with a dramatic flourish, hoping to hide his flustered nerves, Seamus wrapped his arms around her slender waist and kissed her deeply.
The crackling energy between them seemed to take them both by surprise, because they faltered, pulling apart slightly, breathy exhales tickling each others cheeks. Then Parvati pushed forward, pressing her mouth firmly against his, her lips moving in a way that made Seamus feel like he was floating, and her tongue …
When she pulled away, her face rosy and her expression a mix of pleased and curious, Seamus could only stare at her stupidly.
"Come on then," she said. Her voice was as strong as ever, but Seamus detected a hint of a waver in her tone, which gave him a hot, satisfied feeling deep in his gut. He grabbed the gifts she was pointing at, not even bothering to make sure they were still in one piece, and took her outstretched, mittened hand, offering a bold wink and a crooked smile.