(1940-12-20) Gift Exchange Feast
Details for Gift Exchange Feast
Summary: The final big feast of 1940 before students disperse for the holidays.
Date: 20 December 1940
Location: Hogwarts Great Hall

It's the last feast before the winter holidays start and the students of Hogwarts go their separate ways for two weeks. In celebration the halls of Hogwarts have been suitably decked, with garland and all manner of shiny baubles festooning the stone corridors and the Great Hall. Candles float above all the tables and there are centerpieces on all the tables bearing pine boughs and little red berries.

Students filter in bearing wrapped packages for friends, and the chatter of voices adds to the festive atmosphere. The meal proper has yet to be served, but each table bears trays of biscuits and puddings for the young witches and wizards to nibble on before the main feast begins.

A Hufflepuff student drifts in, her hair held back from wide brown eyes by clips fashioned from bits of sparkly ribbon. It looks like she may also have some glitter in her hair, as do some of the other Hufflepuffs that bustle in. Melody Abernathy makes her way over to the Hufflepuff table to find herself a seat among her housemates.

Wandering in sometime after Melody is Brody. He is wearing a nice set of robes, and his hair is neatly styled. A few wrapped packages are in hand and as he moves down the Ravenclaw table he passes them out to a few with a nod and smile. Finally he sits, a few packages that weren't passed out placed on the table in front of him.

Susan turns up among the general hubbub, a collection of brightly-colored packages in her arm as she moves toward the Ravenclaw table. She hands several to other students as she passes, exchanging holiday pleasantries with a warm smile, adjudicates a squabble between two first-years over a cracker at one point, then finds herself a seat somewhat close to the front of the hall.

Lissie wanders in, wearing her only set of pretty robes, and with her hair tamed into two long braids. She has somehow managed to fasten small pine cones to them, and she has a very small set of gifts with her. The wrapping is plain and made from scraps of paper, bits of felt, and an old patch of calico. She looks about, just staring, before making her way to the Hufflepuff table.

There's a little commotion by the entryway as a small pack of young Badgers all but tumble over each other in their eagerness to find seats together. Eoin Abernathy and his best friends, each wearing a Christmas jumper under his robes, getting away with the indescretion of unbuttoned robes so they can be seen but not with the disturbance as they're brought into line by a few words from a Hufflepuff prefect. Melody just rolls her eyes at their antics, although it's with her usual good humoured distraction. She spies Lissie approaching the table, ready to wave the girl over to an open seat should the glittery blonde be noticed.

Glancing around at the commotion at the door, Brody smirks as Eoin and pal make their entrance. His eyes then move to the red haired girl. Pushing himself up, Brody snatches up a few different packages from the table before him and then is on the move. Heading off young Eoin, Brody passes the younger boy a small package wrapped in gold and black paper and has a brief conversation with the boy before turning and following along behind Lissie toward the Hufflepuff table.

The Ravenclaw table is fairly subdued, gifts passing back and forth and much tearing of paper accompanying the quiet hubbub of conversation that fills the great hall as tardy students trickle in. "Are you looking forward to going home over the holidays?" Susan inquires of one girl with long blonde braids hanging over her shoulders, accepting a tiny tin of sweets from a younger student with a sudden smile and her thanks. "I can hardly wait, it's been so long since I saw Mum. She's written she's planning a little jaunt of it one day while I'm there, and that sounds delightful."

Lissie *does* see the glittery blonde, and she gives a little wave before making her way over to her. She sets her few presents down on the table, then begins to hand them out. It's done rather shyly, and only then does she sit down next to the older girl.

Eoin has a gift for Brody as well, a small package passed to the older boy with exuberant well wishes of the season. No sooner does the older boy turn away than Eoin is tearing at the wrapping, then giving a happy cheer as he displays the contents to his friends.

Melody's attention has returned to the table even before Lissie sits, sizing up a platter of biscuits as if really weighing the decision of what to begin with. She's just decided on a shortbread sprinkled with coloured sugar as Lissie sits, and at once the older girl is turning to offer the treat to the little redhead. "Alright Keir. Fancy a biscuit?" A light sprinkle of glitter falls around Melody's shoulders at her movement and a wide smile goes to Lissie.

Continuing to follow Lissie along to the Hufflepuff table, Brody doesn't slow in the least as Lissie sits next to Melody. He walks right up behind the red haired girl and lowers an oddly shaped package to the table in front of her. "Merry Christmas, Lissie!" Brody says kindly. Turning, Brody passes along a simple envelope to Melody and offers her a Merry Christmas as well and then begins to turn back for the Ravenclaw table if nothing is said to him.

The seventh year Ravenclaw has used bright green ribbon to weave into her dark red braid that is pulled over one shoulder, and, as usual, her few gifts are all very thin and rectangular, wrapped in paper that shimmers in different colors. Even though Christmas is not her holiday, Elspeth always makes sure that her friends have presents. She walks up to the Ravenclaw table, and sets her packages down at her usual end seat before walking up along the bench to hand out cards to the rest. "Alright, Carmody?" she asks, handing the younger prefect a card in a cheery red envelope with the girl's name written in green lettering that glitters and cycles through the shades of green. "Happy Christmas!"

Lissie flushes, then nods. "Aye, would fancy a bikkie," she chirrups as she accepts the package. She holds out one to Brody and one to Melody; they are about the same size. Then she ducks her head again, unwrapping her own gift. She looks at them a moment, then grins. "Snowshoes? Oh, lovely!"

"Thanks, Rosen," Susan gives a lopsided smile to the seventh-year prefect. "That's nice of you. Hope your holidays are grand as well, aye?" She tears open the envelope neatly with one finger, drawing out the elegant and rather glittery card with evident relish.

Melody's attention turns to the approach of the Ravenclaw boy, her head tipped back as she looks up at him. She hurriedly digs a hand into a pocket in her robes and produces a small package in red wrapping. As she accepts the envelope with one hand, she offers Brody the gift with the other. "Happy Christmas, Brody," Melody returns to him, her smile somewhat tentative, eyes only holding for a moment before flitting away to some new distraction at the next table as there's another cheer over a gift. She snaps back to accept the gift from Lissie, smile growing for the girl. "Ta. I've left yours in the dorm." Could be her absent mindedness, could be just to save having to carry it back and forth.

"Well, it will be a little different, for sure," Elspeth replies with a little smile. "Less dramatic, I dare say." Although she makes light, there's a little downturn at the corners of her eyes when she glances towards the Slytherin table. "Anyways, shall we mingle? It appears that all the excitement is over at the Hufflepuff table," she nods to where Melody, Lissie and Brody are talking.

Turning back toward the Hufflepuff table, Brody returns Melody's smile and says, "Merry Christmas, Melody." Opening both gifts, Brody's face lights warmly, and he says, "Thank you two very much, they are wonderful!" As if to prove his point, Brody places the scarf from Lissie around his neck and then finally turns back toward the Ravenclaw table, the wooden box from Melody in hand. Brody moves back to the table and veers toward Susan. He slips a small package from his pocket and extends it toward the girl before turning and heading back to his seat.

"Oh….. all right then," Susan gets to her feet, looking over toward the Hufflepuff table and the assortment of students gathered there with slight trepidation, which only grows more apparent when Brody descends on them before they have a chance to move and presses a package into her hand. "Oh - thanks, Iolar," she says automatically, looking down at the small package wrapped in red paper. "Happy Christmas."

Finally reigning her attention in, Melody looks down at the envelope she still holds. Deft fingers open it, withdrawing parchment from within. Brown eyes scan the words written there, linger for a moment at the signature, then flicker over the message again. As she refolds it she looks over toward the Ravenclaw table.

Up at the head table, some of the professors are taking their seats in preparation for an address from Headmaster Dumbledore. Professor Viridian pauses before sitting, frowns lightly, then waves his wand with a short utterance. Immediately snow begins drifting from the ceiling, and he smiles, pleased with this addition to the decorations.

"Heya, Brody," Elspeth says at the other seventh year nears, then watches him hand off a gift, and Susan's response. One eyebrow twitches but doesn't quite raise, and she continues on towards Melody, having retained one of her packages in her hands. "Alright, Melody?" she asks, just in time to feel the first snowflake fall on her nose, and she looks up. "Oh, I knew something was missing," she says with a grin, then looks to the head table. She slips the package towards the girl's hand, and gives her a little grin. "Maybe I am being a little late and should head back to my seat, but, Happy Christmas!"

Brody nods in greeting to Elspeth and says as she moves off, "Happy Christmas." Glancing back to Susan, he nods and says, "Happy Christmas, Carmody." With that he turns and heads back to his seat as the Headmaster moves into position to speak.

Susan is spared from having to come up with anything more articulate to say, as Dumbledore seems about to speak. Retreating to the safety of a seat, she ensconces herself with a biscuit and gives herself a moment before peeling away the corner of the paper on Brody's gift to see what lies beneath.

Headmaster Dumbledore steps up behind his chair at the head table, clearing his throat and waiting for the chatter to calm down. He keeps his words short and to the point, allowing as how the youngsters, and some of the staff, are eagerly awaiting the meal and not a long speech from him. When he's done and wished all happy and safe holidays, a wave of his hand has the feast appearing on the tables. Roasts and potatoes done a dozen different ways, breads and vegetables, ham and turkey. The company is invited at once to dig in.

Melody listens with as much interest as she seems to muster for anything, her eyes on the Headmaster most of the time, although she does take a moment to regard each of the professors seated with him. When the food appears she hesitates, not wanting to fall upon it with the crowd, but letting others get theirs before she helps herself to a little bit of everything in reach.

Elspeth slides into her seat at the end of the table just in time for the speech, then she carefully reaches for the food that comes up near her, placing it on the different plates at her setting. She pushes one of her presents to Evelyn, sitting next to her, and then glances down the table, giving Brody a smile as she tucks in.

Brody returns Elspeth's smile and nods in greeting before he scoops a few bits of food onto his plate. He eats fairly quickly, and doesn't go for seconds. Soon after he has finished, he stands begins heading for the exit.

Surveying her gift beneath the edge of the table for a moment, Susan seems perplexed, barely hearing Dumbledore's brief and pointed words before food appears on the table.

Melody chats her way through the meal with the others around her, mostly listening to her housemates, but speaking up every now and then, a bit more than she typically does. She's finished eating before most others at her table, but stays talking and admiring everyone's gifts. The girl's brown eyes find Brody as he's nearly to the door, linger for a moment, and then flick away to the girl next to her as she tells a story about a Christmas goat in a Muggle pantomime she'd seen once before coming to Hogwarts. After a few minutes she excuses herself, pauses to talk to Eoin, and then makes her way out.

Elspeth's eyes travel down the table, and rest for a curious moment on Susan. When Brody heads for the exit, she lifts a hand to wave him over, chewing quickly and swallowing, trying not to choke in the process. She holds up a hand as he nears, then finally, her mouth is clear and she smiles. "Happy Christmas, Brody," she tells him, lifting up one of the thin, rectangular, packages and handing it to him. "I am sorry it is being… a little rough." A little smile, and she folds her hands in her lap as she looks over the desserts.

Susan slips out not long after, her face pensive, eschewing dessert in favor of getting a few minutes of privacy in the girls' dorm tower before it's invaded by dozens of other young women. Privacy is hard to come by in the castle, but occasionally it can be had for moments at a time.

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