SIYE Time:18:45 on 2nd December 2023

Flour, Butter, Sugar, Salt
By GreenhouseThree

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Category: Post-DH/AB
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Other, Ron Weasley, Teddy Lupin
Genres: Angst, Fluff, Humor, Tragedy
Warnings: Mild Language
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 2
Summary: During the first Weasley Christmas after the war, it takes tasteful creativity to carve out moments of joy.
Hitcount: Story Total: 1169
Awards: View Trophy Room

Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights ? J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.

Author's Notes:
Written for The Three Broomsticks Discord's Yule Bash 2022. Happy holidays, please enjoy! xo


“Biscuits, Potter. You heard me right.”

Harry frowned at her over his bottle of ale. “I don’t bake, Gin.”

Ginny’s lip quirked. Her eyes reflected the firelight from her corner of the sofa. “Oh, come on. You’re a great cook.”

“Baking’s different. And just because I can make eggs, doesn’t mean I can cook, either.”

She shrugged. “We’ll figure it out, then. Mum’s got plenty of recipe books. But I told her we’d make the Christmas biscuits, so that’s our job.”

Harry narrowed his eyes, ignoring Ron’s guffaws from the other side of the chessboard. “Surely your mum didn’t specifically think we’d be good for this.”

She smirked and shook her head. “I volunteered us.” Ron howled with laughter as his rook advanced to put Harry in check.

Harry sighed, blinking at the board for a moment before toppling his king in premature surrender. He’d had too much to drink to put up any real fight, anyway. When he glanced up again, Ginny had wandered into the kitchen. He stood to follow her.

“Oi. Why’d you volunteer us? Didn’t think we were both busy enough?” He leaned against the door frame, watching with a smirk as Ginny perched on the countertop with the leftover treacle tart she’d retrieved from the fridge. “And that’s mine, you know.”

She speared a bit of the crust with her fork before looking up at him. “Is this what it’s like living on your own? You get to claim food as yours, and when you open the fridge again it’s still there?”

He chuckled, pushing off the frame and crossing the flat’s tiny kitchen to stand in front of her. “That’s generally how it works, yeah. But Ron only follows that rule because he expects the same from George and me.”

“Course he does, the tosser.” She cocked her head, tucking the fork into her mouth with a mischievous smirk.

Harry braced his hands on the counter on either side of her, refusing to be derailed. “Gin. Biscuits?”

She swallowed and rolled her eyes like he’d missed something obvious, lowering her voice now that their faces were inches apart. “Look, Mum’s going to want everyone to be around as much as possible. The fuller the house is, the less she’ll have to think about…” her brown eyes widened for emphasis. “I’m lucky she even let me come over here tonight.”

He nodded solemnly, knowing he was still missing the connection but unwilling to be tactless.

Ginny popped another bite of tart with a self-satisfied look. “There won’t be room at home to bake while Mum’s preparing dinner, so we’ll have to do it here. Of course I know we both have swotting to do, but tomorrow’s Christmas Eve and we’d just be at the Burrow anyway, so it won’t get done. I’ve given us an excuse to come here, for a bit at least. It’ll be nice to get some quiet.”

Harry felt a rush of affection as her performative smugness melted into something warmer, fiercer. He recognized a glint of the same steely, protective look from the summer, when she’d taken him aside at the right moments, just as everyone seemed to need him at once. It was astonishing, sometimes, how well she knew him.

“That sounds brilliant,” he said, matching her grin, and he meant it. Between work and family, they’d barely had a moment alone since she’d disembarked the Hogwarts Express two days prior.

As expected, the holidays had approached this year with a somber undertone. Christmas plans had been made with heavy hearts, laden with the guilt of moving on without the ones they’d lost. Harry couldn’t blame Molly for spending as much time as possible with her children while they were all home; when he and Ron weren’t in the office or revising for their Auror exams, they’d been at the Burrow, too. But missing Ginny had felt like a gnawing ache since she’d left for school in September, and the Hogsmeade visits and Quidditch matches he’d been able to attend hadn’t been enough to quell it. He’d been pleasantly surprised tonight, when she'd been allowed to join him, Ron, and George at their shared flat for the evening after dinner.

“I still don’t know how to bake, though,” he reminded her, his nose bumping hers as he realized with a thrill that they might get the whole flat to themselves.

Her lips curved into a grin and brushed against his. “Me neither.”

He allowed her to pull him closer, abandoning her fork and drawing his mouth to hers, soft and still sweet from the treacle on her tongue. Harry’s hands fell to her knees on either side of him, skimming up her thighs as her legs wrapped around him and her fingers traced his chest. He deepened the kiss, and the small sound she made in her throat sent his stomach swooping as his thumbs slipped under the hem of her top to trace the soft, burning skin beneath.

Ginny moved her lips to his jaw, her teeth grazing along his skin as she pressed slow, soft kisses down the side of his neck. He nuzzled her into his chest, feeling pleasantly warm and mindlessly reckless, despite two of her brothers sitting in the next room.

“Gin,” he warned in a quick breath when her legs flexed tighter around him.

“Oh, stop it. We’re not doing anything,” she complained in a whisper before her smiling mouth returned to his. Her teeth grazed his lower lip, and Harry suppressed a groan.

“You two are awfully quiet in there!” Ron’s voice suddenly warned from the sitting room, just as the fridge magically opened behind Harry and a Summoned beer bottle zoomed down the hall.

He pulled back and sighed, dropping his forehead onto her shoulder. “When’s Hermione due back again?” he mumbled.

Ginny’s answering laugh was perfunctory, tinged with matching frustration. “Not until Boxing Day. I think they’re both at the Grangers’ for Christmas night, though.”

“Oh, perfect. Just in time for a quiet evening alone with your whole family,” he muttered.

She hopped off the countertop, her body sliding against his in a way that had him biting back a curse. “Well, you’re the one who said we couldn’t hang out in your room tonight,” she taunted.

Harry’s eyes fell closed. “They’d kill me, Gin,” he reminded her miserably.

She chuckled and shook her head, retrieving a butterbeer from the fridge and popping the cork. He thought he heard an accusation of cowardice under her breath as he followed her down the hall. They found Ron and George playing Exploding Snap in the den, and Harry and Ginny joined in for the second round once the curtains had been extinguished.

It was rare that they all had a night off, without having to worry about waking early or revising for exams. Harry stretched his legs out on the sofa when the game had finished, taking a swig from Ginny’s abandoned drink and feeling supremely content. For once, it was easy to pull his thoughts away from the case files he’d read that day, the lists of clauses to memorize from magical law books. He even allowed himself to succumb when Ginny coaxed his shoulders back until his head rested in her lap. George raised a wary brow but said nothing, plowing on about his experiments with joke cauldrons and the difficulties of embedding Undetectable Sieve Jinxes into pewter. Harry watched as Ginny smiled indulgently at her brother; it was the first new idea he’d pursued since May, and she listened with rapt attention to every word. Her fingers combed through Harry’s hair absently, and he let his eyes close, the murmuring voices and warmth from the fire ensconcing him in untroubled comfort.


“Hm?” His eyes flew open as he was startled awake. The room was darker than he remembered, and he blinked around in the light of the dying fire. “Shit, sorry,” he muttered, propping up on his elbows.

He felt her brush the fringe from his forehead. “It’s okay,” she whispered. “I have to go home though, alright?”

His stomach sank. “You don’t have to,” came his automatic reply. Glancing around, he realized Ron was snoring in his armchair, too. Ginny and George both wore amused looks. “How long was I asleep?”

Ginny kissed his forehead. “Maybe half an hour,” she murmured. “Not long.”

He sat up, elbows on his knees, and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Ginny handed him his glasses. “Damn. Gin, I… I’m sorry. Don't go, though. Puddlemere's playing a friendly in Brazil, we can listen-”

“Told you they’re working too much,” George sang from his armchair, smirking at Ginny and pointing his chin toward Harry and Ron.

Harry glowered at him. “I’m fine. Let’s put the match on.”

Ginny placed a hand on his knee, suppressing a laugh. “Harry, it’s alright, I know you’ve had a long week. But I have to go anyway… it’s a quarter past eleven and I'm sure Mum won’t go to bed until I’m home.”

Frustration flared in his chest as she stood up. “Okay,” he sighed in defeat. He was exhausted- he hadn't realized it before lying down- but he wanted to kick himself for wasting the last part of the evening with her.

She retrieved her coat from the entryway as Ron stirred and woke, glaring around the room blearily.

“S’Puddlemere on?" he mumbled.

"Switch it on now," George suggested, pointing his beer at the wireless.

Ginny bade them all goodnight as Ron launched himself onto the sofa and began fiddling with the wireless dials. She grabbed a handful of Floo powder from the mantle and tossed it into the flames before looking up at Harry, her eyes warm.

"You're cute when you wake up, by the way," she said with a small smile. "Much cuter than Ron."

Harry chuckled lowly and dropped his hand to her lower back. He didn’t miss the way she straightened against his touch.

“See you tomorrow, yeah?” he murmured.

“See you,” she replied with a grin, and, much to Harry’s surprise and her brothers’ disgust, she stretched up to kiss him soundly before slipping into the fire.

He did his best to glare at her through the flames, catching her wink as she spun out of sight and left him to face Ron and George’s bad-tempered grumblings on his own.


Christmas Eve dawned gray and cold, and after sharing a pot of coffee in sleepy silence, Harry, Ron, and George Flooed to the Burrow.

In the kitchen, they were met with chaos. Heavy pots of sauces, creams, and soups zoomed on and off of the stove as Molly and Fleur brandished their wands around the room, sending knives soaring to chop and peel vegetables and bickering about how each dish should be prepared, while the savory aromas of herbs wafted from the oven where Molly had started the roast. The rest of the Weasleys had been relegated to the sitting room, where the remains of breakfast were spread across the coffee table.

"Morning," Ginny greeted Harry brightly, kissing his cheek as he accepted some cold bacon from Percy.

"Morning. Want me to come fly with you?" Harry eyed the leather wrist guards she'd been strapping on.

"That's alright, Charlie's coming out with me," she said, pulling on her Quidditch gloves. "I would have asked you, but Andromeda's on her way over with Teddy. Just sit and relax, I'll see you later."

Charlie winked at Harry, bumping his shoulder as he headed toward the back door with a Quaffle tucked under his arm. "I'm giving my sister a real training session, Potter," he taunted from the kitchen. "She's not going to make the pros by snogging you in between goals."

Harry shook his head, his face warm, and wedged himself onto the sofa between Percy and George among snickers and catcalls, as a laughing Ginny followed Charlie outside.

The den served as a refuge from Christmas preparations for the rest of the morning. Mrs. Weasley was setting out a quick lunch of mince pies when Andromeda arrived with Teddy, his red and green onesie earning coos from Fleur and Audrey as they took turns cuddling him to their cheeks.

Harry brought Teddy outside after lunch. He bounced the fussy baby awkwardly, pacing around the snowy garden and casting cooling charms on plastic teething rings with his free hand. Andromeda promised that they soothed his gums, but Harry wasn’t convinced. He eventually allowed Teddy to suck on his finger instead, which quieted him much quicker.

The morning wind had died down, and a weak sun fought through the dense blanket of clouds above. He could hear Charlie and Ginny’s shouts piercing the winter air from the orchard through the bare trees. Otherwise, it was quiet, the snow providing a hush that gave Harry a sense of isolation and peace.

As he rocked Teddy, watching his eyes finally droop closed above his pink cheeks, he realized that Mrs. Weasley must be avoiding this stillness. Out here, it was too easy to reflect; to notice the way Teddy’s cowlick was starting to curl exactly like Remus’, and to remember that this time last year, Harry and Hermione had been in Godric’s Hollow. It was too easy to think about who wouldn’t be with them at the table for dinner, to revisit the what ifs that usually plagued him late at night. He cradled Teddy against his chest while his thoughts lingered on Remus, on the night he’d swept into Shell Cottage and announced the birth of his son with a boyish exuberance filling his normally fatigued face. With a sharp twinge, Harry was reminded of the list he’d made while writing Remus’ eulogy: such obvious questions about his parents that he couldn’t fathom how he’d failed to ask when he’d had the chance.

By the time he returned inside, he felt weary and disoriented, as though a lifetime had passed since the last time he’d been around mistletoe and Christmas roses.

Ginny greeted him in the kitchen, having showered and donned a pale blue Weasley jumper over her shorts. “Ready for biscuits?” she asked him as she packed baking ingredients into a basket.

Harry didn’t have to force his answering smile. “Of course.”

He passed Teddy into Arthur’s eager arms as Ginny nudged him. “George went home, by the way,” she muttered. “He tried not to make a big deal of it, but I think this is just… harder than he thought.”

Harry glanced at Molly, unusually still at the stove with her back turned to them. Fleur and Andromeda seemed to be giving her a wide berth, and he thought he heard her sniff quietly.

“I’m sorry. D’you think we should stay here?” Harry murmured, touching Ginny’s elbow. The heaviness in his chest had returned with full force.

She shook her head, setting her jaw. “Let’s just go. Maybe we can convince him to come back for dinner.”

They Flooed back to the flat, where Harry pulled out their only mixing bowl and spoon. “Okay, what’s first?”

Ginny shrugged, eyeing George’s closed bedroom door with a flicker of concern. “No idea.” She extracted a battered copy of Gilderoy Lockhart’s Magical Guide to Holiday Treats from the basket and began flicking through the pages. “I think Mum’s circled the recipes she usually makes… damn, I forgot she normally does all four of these…”

While she perused, Harry glanced down the hall toward the living room. It seemed cold and empty compared to the Burrow, without a fire in the hearth or a Christmas tree with twinkling lights. He pointed his wand at the wireless, and after a few moments of static a familiar melody drifted toward the kitchen.

Ginny looked up quizzically. “What are you doing?”

Harry shrugged. “This is the one your mum likes, right? Celestina Warbeck?”

She stared at him for a moment before a gentle smile played on her lips. “Yeah,” she said softly. “God, what a stupid old song.”

He chuckled, pulling her close. “I’ll be sure to tell Fleur you agree with her.”

“You’d better not,” she warned, the book between them digging into his chest. She stretched up to kiss him softly, and then they were still for a moment while the music surrounded them and drowned out the ringing silence behind George’s door.

“I think we need a drink,” she announced suddenly, pulling back and setting down the open recipe book.

Harry grinned and opened the refrigerator, but before he could pull anything out she had arched her brow and reached for the cabinet over his head. It was mostly empty save for a few bottles of liquor. She scrambled up onto the counter for a better look.

“Hm… do we want some knotgrass mead, elderflower wine, or single-malt Scotch… ooh, or Ogden’s Black Label? Damn, Potter, who knew you had such refined taste?”

He snorted. “Stuff it, you know those were gifts.” He appraised her position from below, realizing just how much of her legs were exposed. “Aren’t you cold?” he asked hoarsely, running a hand up her smooth calf.

Ginny shrugged, extracting the firewhisky and hopping back down. “Not in this jumper.” She Summoned two glasses and poured them each a healthy measure. “Are you saying I should have more clothes on?”

He tipped his glass toward hers. “I was just about to offer you my trousers, actually.”

“Always the gentleman, you are.” She took one long sip with a slight grimace. “Alright, now we can start. It says here to cream the butter and sugar for five minutes, or until smooth. What the hell does that mean?”

“Search me.”

By the time they’d created something resembling dough, Harry was halfway through a second glass of firewhisky, feeling warm and light. The downside was that Ginny’s freckled legs had only gotten more distracting; the Witching Hour with Celestina Warbeck had ended, and he noticed as she swayed her hips absently to her favorite Weird Sisters and Hobgoblins songs.

“These look good, right?” she mused, frowning uncertainly at the misshapen lumps they’d spaced out across the baking sheets.

“They’re perfect,” he assured her without looking. He waited until she’d closed the oven door before letting his hands find her hips, his chest against her back as he dipped his head to kiss behind her ear.

Ginny sighed softly, tilting her head to allow him better access before she turned to face him, slightly flushed as Harry cupped her jaw, his fingers tracing her cheekbone. She was close enough to count the freckles across her nose, and for a perfectly still moment he couldn’t think of anything else he could ever need or want more, the remainder of the guilt, anger, and sorrow from earlier melting away as she held his gaze. And then she was kissing him, her arms around his neck, the smoke of the firewhisky mingling with the salty-sweet butter and sugar on her tongue as he drowned in her. Her lips grew more urgent as she backed him against the counter, her fingers drifting along his waistband.

“Gin,” he mumbled when he felt her tease the fly of his jeans. “George is home.”

She kissed him slowly along his jaw. “Come here, then,” she whispered, tugging on his hand and glancing meaningfully toward his open bedroom door.

“We can’t.”

“Sure we can,” she murmured, pressing herself against him again. “That’s what charms are for, Harry.”

He groaned softly at her touch before taking a shuddering breath. His head was swimming, but he managed to find his senses. “Please, Gin… he and Ron gave me a very specific talk, you know.”

Ginny gave a frustrated sigh and pulled back, crossing her arms. “You’re joking, right? What sort of talk?”

Harry pressed his lips together, realizing too late that part of the agreement he’d been forced into had included not telling their sister about it. “They’re just… being protective.”

She rolled her eyes, and he felt a mingled sense of loss and relief as her ardor seemed to cool. “Don’t defend those hypocrites. We’re all adults here. Didn’t Hermione spend the night here before going to her parents’ house? What exactly did they tell you not to do?”

He sighed. “Well… it was less about what we could do and more about… when.”

Ginny seized the book and flipped angrily to their second recipe. “This is all such rubbish. Mum’s already cornered me and made me promise not to shack up with you right out of school.”

Harry gave a hollow chuckle as her words struck him with a surprisingly deep ache. For a moment it was all he could picture: waking up beside her each day; sharing life’s mundane, domestic moments.

Only a year ago, any thoughts of Ginny’s future, her happiness, had been a unique form of torture, finding him at his weakest in the lonely hours of cold, sleepless nights. He realized that, at some point in the past several months, it had stopped hurting to think about and become something he could allow himself to look forward to, even desire.

“That’s funny,” he said ironically, shaking off the longing. He knew he was blushing. “Because every time I hold Teddy around her I know she gives you a look.”

She scoffed. “She’ll lay off with that as soon as Bill knocks Fleur up. Charlie swears they’re trying.”

He grabbed a handful of raisins from a bowl. “Think that’s why Fleur’s been insisting on changing Ted’s nappy?” He popped them all in his mouth before she could stop him.

She shrugged distractedly, sifting flour into a bowl. “Maybe. I haven’t noticed,” she said coolly.

“Hey,” he murmured softly, gently prising the nutmeg from her hand and replacing it with her drink. “Please don’t be angry with me. I’m just trying not to get my bits cursed off. And you can’t be cross with George today, either.”

He was surprised when she gave him a crooked smile and seemed to melt, raising the glass to her lips and wrinkling her nose as the smoke swirled around her eyelashes. “Fine. I just think it’s a damn waste that my very sexy Auror boyfriend is off-limits.”

“Not completely off-limits,” he complained, drawing her close again and nuzzling her ear. “But I’ll take the sexy Auror part.”

She pulled away, laughing. “We still have three more recipes to make,” she reminded him sternly.

They didn’t seem to get any better at following the instructions as they went. After throwing out one batch of burnt biscuits, forgetting to add eggs in another, and mistakenly swapping sugar for salt, they’d both gotten quite giggly. Harry pretended not to notice her blatant intentions of wearing him down, and indeed by the time their fourth batch was baking and she was on the countertop with her legs around him, his resolve had grown quite thin.

He let one hand slide up the side of her thigh, the soft expanse of skin beneath his fingers driving him delirious with want. “I know what you’re doing, you know,” he rumbled against the side of her throat.

She arched her brow. “Do you?”

He withdrew his other hand from beneath her jumper. “Of course. You’re telling me you didn’t get me properly drunk in the hopes that we’d be in bed by now?”

Ginny giggled before cocking her head. “Oh Harry, if that had been my plan it’d have worked,” she said with mock sympathy. “I’m playing a much longer game, one where you have to sit through Christmas dinner after all this so that you’ll want to help me sneak back here later tonight.”

He groaned, throwing his head back and laughing in defeat. “That’s a much better idea.”

The egg timer dinged, and Ginny pushed him back smugly to hop lightly to her feet. She peered into the oven. “Hm, I forgot that Mum usually makes the gingerbreads into little men. Oh well.”

Harry took inventory of the dozens of biscuits on mismatched plates. “I doubt anyone will notice.” He checked his watch. “We should head back, though. Your mum said dinner’s at seven. How long do those need to cool?”

“Ten minutes, I think…” she made to consult the book again, but misjudged the distance to the counter, grabbing the open flour canister for support and flipping it over as she stumbled and caught herself in an explosion of white.

Harry was laughing before he could stop himself, doubling over as Ginny glared at him from beneath white eyebrows and lashes. She held her composure for a moment before she was giggling, too, and before long they were both clutching stitches in their sides until Harry gathered the wherewithal to pull out his wand to clean the mess.

“Mum has a specific spell for powders; Scourgify won’t get it all,” Ginny hiccupped once she’d stopped laughing.

“Well, let’s just try to get the biscuits and ourselves, then.” He managed to siphon most of the flour off the plates, and together they cleaned off their clothes and hair. “That’s good enough,” he declared. “We don’t want to be drunk and late.”

“Oh, god…” she moaned, sliding a hand down her face. She still hadn’t fixed her mussed hair, and despite her sudden panic he couldn’t help noticing how adorable she looked. “We’re about to go to Christmas Eve dinner drunk.”

Harry snorted, impervious to the worry that was sending her into a tailspin. “Yeah, Gin, we are. And we’ve got to get it together.”

Her eyes were wide. “Mum’s going to kill us.”

He lobbed her an easy smile. “Course she won’t. We’ve just made the world’s best biscuits. We’re about to save Christmas, if you ask me.”

Ginny sighed, smoothing out her hair in resigned defeat and glaring angrily around at the flour-covered kitchen. “Merlin, I’m going to be just like Uncle Bilius, aren’t I? Ron ever tell you about him? He was drunk at all the holidays. Said loads of things he shouldn’t have in front of us kids. I’m going to be Aunt Gin, the Drunk.”

Harry suppressed the instinct to laugh; he got the feeling that anything he could think to say might upset her. He settled for putting an arm around her shoulders, teasing a stray bit of dough from her hair.

She looked up at him, her eyes soft and roving slowly over his face as a wry grin quirked her lips. “Aunt Gin, the Drunk,” she repeated with a slight giggle. “Fred would have loved it.”

Her words had a sobering effect, and Harry felt a throbbing deep in his chest. Ginny’s eyes were brighter, wetter. She gave a small sniff and, without letting any tears fall, tucked her hair behind her ear and set her shoulders back. “We should get these packed up,” she said quietly.

Harry followed her lead in silence, letting the hurt they’d both avoided all day consume him, prickling through his limbs and pooling in his stomach like lead. He blinked hard as he thought of the gifts he still needed to wrap for Teddy, stashed in his closet in a pile larger than Andromeda would like. He wasn’t sure what had made him succumb each time he’d seen something cute in a shop; perhaps the hope that he could give his godson a chance to look forward to the holidays, that Teddy wouldn’t pine for his parents as painfully as Harry had. It was tempting to try, despite knowing full well that no gift had ever been enough.

Ginny knocked quietly on George’s door as they headed toward the fireplace. Harry could see that it was dark inside when she eased it open and peeked in. A moment later she withdrew her head and closed the door. “I don’t want to wake him up,” she said softly. “I think Mum will understand.”

A few moments later they were spilling out of the Burrow’s kitchen fireplace. Ron looked up from setting out cutlery on the dining table and snorted as he took in their powdery gray hair. Ginny raced up the stairs to change before Molly could comment on her appearance, and ten minutes later they were all sitting to eat. Harry and Ginny concentrated on their plates; each time one caught the other with a stern get-it-together look, they were both fighting fits of giggles.

Dinner was remarkably subdued for a crowd of thirteen. George’s absence echoed just as loudly as his twin’s. Molly’s eyes were still rimmed with red, and Andromeda kept swallowing thickly and staring solemnly into her lap. Both of their smiles were a bit too forced to be convincing. Fortunately, Teddy amused them all by squealing and smashing his fists into his cranberry jam, easing them all into laughter as Charlie passed around frosty glasses of eggnog. Christmas carols drifted softly from the wireless in the kitchen, and Audrey’s dad and Bill chortled as Arthur did his best to teach the lyrics to Fleur, who politely declined the eggnog and sipped on gillywater.

“Excellent roast, Mum,” Ron complimented through a mouthful of mashed parsnips. “Top-notch.” The rest of the table murmured their assent, praising the soup and sides as Molly turned pink and bowed her head with a small, but genuine, smile.

Audrey’s dad left after dinner, shortly followed by Andromeda, who promised to bring Teddy back around first thing in the morning. The dishes had been done and they’d all retired to the den when Molly brought out Harry and Ginny’s biscuits.

Bill pulled back the cloth and peered into the basket with a slight frown. “These look… er, great.”

Ron raised one skeptical brow and became the first to dig in, fishing out a gingerbread and biting it in half. He grimaced. “Only a bit burnt,” he mumbled as he chewed.

Charlie snorted, glancing over Bill’s shoulder. “Blimey, those rock cakes look harder than Hagrid’s…”

“…we can swap them for snowballs later, make it a real fight.”

Percy was sniffing an Aberffraw biscuit as Arthur selected a misshapen shortbread. He gave Harry an encouraging wink before sinking his teeth into it. When it immediately fell apart, he smiled serenely at the mess of crumbs in his hand. “I think Muggles have some sort of phrase for crumbling biscuits… where’s Hermione when we need her?”

Ginny gave a performative huff and crossed her arms. “Well, we did our best. How were we supposed to know when they were done without taking bites from all of them?”

“Well, it does help when you make them all the same size, dear…” Molly said gently, looking over their work and pursing her lips to keep from laughing.

The ribbing didn’t prevent them all from selecting a few biscuits each as Charlie came around with more eggnog. Ginny accepted another glass before snuggling closer to Harry in their shared armchair. He lowered his lips to her temple, feeling full and warm and content as she threaded her fingers through his.

Arthur was in the kitchen when Harry noticed the soft green glow reflect off the walls, followed by the sound of voices. Everyone fell quiet as Molly stood to investigate, but before she reached the kitchen Arthur emerged around the corner with his arm around George, who gave her a sheepish half-grin.

She rushed forward with a sob, pulling him into her arms and smoothing back his hair.

“I’m sorry I’m late, Mum,” George mumbled into her shoulder.

“That’s okay, Georgie, it’s okay,” she babbled, beaming through tears and pulling back to take his face in her hands. She led him back into the kitchen. “Come in here, I saved you a plate.”

The chatter in the room came easier with George among them, eating from the plate balanced on his knees. Mrs. Weasley had brought the wireless into the den, much to Fleur’s chagrin, and she kept sneaking glances at George before catching her husband’s eye with an indulgent look. Ginny rested her head on Harry’s shoulder, stroking his side softly in what he knew was a subtle reminder of her plans for later, and he allowed himself to lean into her touch. The acuteness of loss had finally dulled to a manageable ache, leaving him with enough room to feel extremely grateful for how different this Christmas was from the last.

“By the way,” George said loudly once he’d cleared his plate. He pointed his steak knife toward Harry and Ginny. “Never let these two morons bake again. My kitchen’s a fucking disaster. ‘Savior of the World’ my arse.”

Even Molly disregarded his rude language and joined in as the room burst into laughter. Harry chuckled too, feeling a pang of guilt that they’d messed up Christmas dessert so badly.

“I’m sorry they weren’t any good,” he leaned over and mumbled to Mrs. Weasley. “I know how hard you worked on dinner.”

“Not to worry, dear,” she chortled with a reassuring wink. “I’ve already made a yule log for tomorrow, just in case.”
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Featured Artwork © 2003-2006 by Yethro.
Design and code 2006 by SteveD3(AdminQ)
Additional coding 2008 by melkior and Bear