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 Christmas with the Kesslers

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Andrei Kessler
Hogwarts Staff
Hogwarts Staff
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Posts : 77
Birthday : 1976-12-22
Join date : 2017-07-31

PostSubject: Christmas with the Kesslers   Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:00 pm

-~-Christmas Eve-~-

Rain pitter-pattered on the window panes, a fire crackled happily in the hearth, and the muted sound of Christmas carols spilled from the living room of twelve and a half Kensington Park Road. Though, from this alone, you would never have guessed that it was Christmas Eve: the sweet-smelling evergreen stood bare, Andrei’s armchair sat empty, and Marie’s knitting remained untouched. In fact, the only clue as to the date could be found simmering on the kitchen stove.

Standing over a large stainless-steel pot, Andrei gazed down at his customary lamb stew with a critical eye. It smelled right, the kale had boiled down well, and all that remained was the oh so critical taste test. Taking a large spoon, he dipped it into the seasonal dish and then brought it to his mouth. Furrowing his brow, he swished the piping hot broth around his mouth, shrugged, and put the spoon down. It needed something more in it…

Pepper, that’s what it needs…it needs more pepper…

The runes professor, however, never found the pepper, because just as he began groping around the spice cabinet the distinctive creaking of the front door drew him away. With a quickness that even his twenty-year-old self would have been jealous of, Andrei found himself halfway down the stairs and nearly jumped down the last couple ones. Framed in the doorway stood a familiar feminine figure, Marie.

Even before his wife could close the door behind her, Andrei caught her in a close embrace and for a few moments, the couple stood there as if time itself had stopped for them alone. For the past three months, Marie had been abroad on and off caring for her sick mother, which, when compounded with Andrei’s position at Hogwarts, left the couple with very little time together. In fact, it had been two weeks since he had last seen her, though he could have sworn it had been at least four.

“Daaaaaaadddddddd, the soup is boiling over!!!” Helen’s shrill voice carried down the stairs.

Marie’s hands, which had been making their way down from Andrei’s shoulders, stopped and the couple exchanged a knowing glance.

“Go, go,” she laughed. “We have all night.”

“Daaaaaaaddddddd!!!!”

“Coming!!” Andrei finally hollered over his shoulder, kissed Marie on the cheek, and reluctantly bounded back upstairs with not nearly the same energy he’d come down them.

The scene that greeted him in the kitchen was a bit less than optimal, but a far cry from disaster. Teenagers, Andrei had learned, were special in that they excelled at pointing out problems, but never doing anything about them. Helen, while she had told him about the soup, had not bothered to turn it off, so the stove was now covered with what was supposed to be dinner. Perhaps had he not been in such a good mood he would have lectured his daughter, but he thought better of it and instead set to work salvaging the meal.

“Oh, your mom’s home,” Andrei mentioned offhandedly as he flourished his wand through the air above the stove.

As if on cue Marie walked into the kitchen and found herself nearly barreled over by Helen and Nikolai who’d slipped out of his room upon hearing the commotion. In mere moments, the trio had retreated next-door to the living room.

Sighing to himself, the older man completed his spell and watched as the soup that had boiled over onto the stove condensed into a cloud above the pot. The cloud then rained soup back down into the pot and just like that dinner went from ruined to ready. Normally, he disliked using magic in his cooking, but it did definitely have its uses.

A second wave of his wand siphoned the soup back up and put it into the four bowls floating behind him. Then, with bowls in tow, he followed his family into the living room. Though, through it all, he was certain he had forgotten something…what was it?

After distributing the bowls, he settled into his armchair and listened to Marie’s stories about her travels. Apparently, her mother was doing better, which, in all honesty, surprised Andrei as the last time he’d seen his mother-in-law she could barely speak. However, the most interesting tidbit of information came in the passing mention of some meeting meant to decide the fate of the statute of secrecy. Of course, he’d been reading the papers, but a more international perspective was a bit refreshing from the same canned politics The Daily Prophet had been dishing out as of late.

Pepper! He’d forgotten the pepper!

Oh well.

“Well, I’d say it’s bedtime…” Andrei concluded after having cleared the dishes and sunk back into his chair.

“But dad,” Nikolai interjected, taking his father’s bait. “We haven’t even decorated the tree yet!”

“We haven’t?” Andrei asked in poorly feigned surprise. “Then, by all means, lead the way.”

Accenting his words, he waved in the direction of the tree and all at once the entire family jumped into action. Over the next hour and a half, the once mundane tree transformed into something magnificent: Andrei saw to the string of multicolored lights, Marie to the ever-shining tinsel, and the kids bickered over which ornaments they got to hang. Thankfully, both Helen and Nikolai had inherited their father’s height and were able to reach even the tallest branches of the tree, which was a large improvement over previous years where that task had been left to Andrei himself—not that he ever minded it, of course.

Next came the Christmas stories. The family of four bunched up onto a couch made for three and passed the stories around as the sun fell from the sky and the rain picked up from a pitter patter to a respectable storm. When at last it came to Andrei he read the story he’d read since he’d had kids, The Night Before Christmas. His parents had done much the same thing with him and it was a tradition he thoroughly enjoyed sharing with Marie, Helen, and Nikolai.

“…and to all a good night.” He finished with some finality in his voice and closed the book.

Everyone sat silently for a while and watched the dying fire. A log collapsed in a shower of yellow and red sparks. Then, without a word, both Helen and Nikolai made their way to bed leaving husband and wife alone together.

Yet still, silence reigned. Andrei’s arm found its way around Marie’s shoulder and her head rested against his chest. For the longest time, they sat this way once more finding that timeless feeling they’d felt before in the hallway. However, now their world was no longer illuminated by incandescent bulbs, but rather the flickering light of the fire and the dancing lights on the tree. Nor was it interrupted by Helen. No, this moment felt like it would last forever.

“I missed you,” Andrei finally murmured softly as he kissed the top of Marie’s head.

A contented ‘Mmmm’ was all Marie answered with.

A few minutes more and Marie had fallen asleep. Smiling to himself, Andrei, with all the care in the world, scooped his wife up in his arms and carried her off to bed.

With his wife fast asleep, the older man returned to the living room, cast a nostalgic gaze on the Christmas tree, and with a flick of his wand put the finishing touches on the tree just as he did every year. The star at the top of the tree came to life and shone with a soft angelic light mingling in an otherworldly way with the rainbow of lights below it and as if by magic, carefully wrapped presents appeared with a pop beneath the tree. Nodding once at his own work Andrei returned to his room and settled in for a long winter’s nap.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night...
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