"Oh, the weather outside is frightful…"
"I would hardly classify a bit of cold as frightful."
"But the fire is so delightful…"
"It would be even more delightful if you were on fire right now."
"And since we've no place to go…"
"You really will have no place to go if you do not desist with your caterwauling, Finnigan."
"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"
Pansy groaned and rubbed gently at her temples, soothing the subtle ache that nagged at her. Under normal circumstances, Seamus was very charming—albeit often infuriatingly Gryffindor—man. He was caring, considerate, and took great pride in treating her like the queen she was. She had never noticed the Irishman whilst in school, save for the times he signed off his eyebrows in potions, but time had done him well.
But it was times like this, specifically during the holidays, that made Pansy want to kick him in the arse with her Louboutins. Her boyfriend, for some inexplicable reason, behaved like an overexcited first year whenever a festive occasion took place. He'd decked Parkinson Manor out in hundreds of glowing jack o'lanterns for Halloween, had taken her to Dublin and made her drink ghastly green beer for St. Patrick's Day, and he'd even wrangled a chorus of cherubs to recite love sonnets to her on Valentine's Day.
That last one hadn't been so bad, though.
However, his incessant energy since the first of December was starting to drive her mad. His every waking minute was devoted to "holiday cheer. He'd insisted on decorating the manor himself, even as she'd protested that her elves were perfectly capable of decorating the way she liked it.
Although she had to admit, he did have a certain flare when it came to stringing garland over the staircases…
"Man, it doesn't show signs of stopping…"
"How can it show signs of stopping? It hasn't even started snowing yet."
"And I've brought me some corn for popping…"
"How do you 'pop' corn? Is that some sort of… Muggle thing?"
"The lights are turned way down low…"
"Why don't you make yourself useful and fetch me a hot toddy? Extra scotch."
"Let it snow, let it snow!"
The singing halted, and the cherry—albeit confused—face of her boyfriend popped into view from behind the massive Christmas tree. "Wha' tis is, love?"
"You sound like one of those trolls Lockhart hired to deliver valentines in our second year," she replied peevishly. "Didn't your mother ever tell you you can't sing?"
Seamus grinned unabashedly at her. "Yeah, but she's me mum, and I figured she was just being mean."
"No, she was being truthful." Sending him a weak glare, she tucked her feet up underneath herself and snuggled further into the plush sofa. Her gaze slid over from her lover to the fire, blue eyes seemingly mesmerized by its flickering depths. She'd used to love Christmas. As a child, she'd often wake up before the sun rose to jump in bed with her parents. They'd spent the day together, just the three of them. No parties, no family friends, just them. It had been quiet and small and perfect.
But since her mother's murder and her father's death, she hadn't felt any joy during the holidays. Astoria and Romilda tried to coax her into spending the holidays with them, but Astoria had her own family, and Romilda had Oliver and little Duff. They didn't need another hanger-on imposing on their family time.
A hand in front of her face jerked her out of her reverie, and she glanced up, irritated, at the person it belonged to. "What, Seamus?"
His tone was patient, even, and his hand unwavering as he said, "Come 'ere. I want to show ye something."
"Seamus…" she replied in a petulant tone, "not now."
"Yes, now," he countered with a little grin. "Won't take but a minute, and then ye can get back to yer staring."
With great reluctance, Pansy allowed him to help her off the sofa and lead her around the tree. She had to admit, it was stunning with its twinkling fairy lights and shining, colorful ornaments. It was the first time she'd allowed a tree in this room since she was eighteen.
It was the first time it felt right to have a family tree again.
"Alright, what are we doing?" she asked when he stopped in front of the large windows that lined the west wall.
Pansy did as he bade, and her breath caught at the sight. Sometime during the evening, it had started to snow. Already, the ground was white with a light dusting, and even as they watched, the white flakes started to fall even harder. There would be a thick blanket of it in the morning; a white Christmas.
Seamus wrapped his arms around her middle, drawing her back against him. "I love you," he murmured in her ear, pressing a kiss to the soft skin just below. "Happy Christmas."
For the first time all night, Pansy's lips curled upwards in a small, content smile.
"I love you, too," she replied softly. "Happy Christmas, darling."