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Go Back   SnitchSeeker.com > Forums > Floo Network (Extra Fun) > Honeydukes (FanFiction) > Bertie Bott's Challenge Area > The Bean Collection


The Bean Collection Tucked away safely in this special nook are the completed challenges of the SS100/SS50/SS25 & EEFD

 
 
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Old 12-05-2023, 04:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Christmas with the Cartons - 25 Holiday Ficlets
Rhibear ~ Madam Solo ~ Dark Brooding Girl ~ Accio Jedi ~ Gryffinclaw ~ Just a doll




Happy Holidays, SS! In honor of the season, I’ll be attempting the Holiday Ficlet Challenge for my current Transfiguration professor, Norman Carton, and his daughter, Normandie. Any other characters mentioned will be credited under a spoiler with the RPer’s name.

Happy holidays to all, and to all a big thanks for reading!


Disclaimer: All characters from the Harry Potter universe are owned by Ms. J.K. Rowling.



Color code
Ficlets featuring Norman
Ficlets featuring Normandie
Ficlets featuring both

SPOILER!!: Characters mentioned

Malachi Trent (played by DaniDiNardo)
Lucien Rosier


SPOILER!!: List of Prompts



13. Gingerbread
Setting: the home of Norman Carton; Edinburgh, Scotland; Christmas 2104
(188 words)



BEEEEEEEEEP!

The smoke alarm roused Norman early Christmas morning. Wand in hand, he ran to Normandie’s room. There was no sign of her, just an empty unmade bed. He followed the smoke downstairs to the kitchen. The only fire he saw was his daughter’s fiery red hair.

Normandie set a cookie sheet down with a clatter. Acrid smoke rose from the burnt gingerbread men. “Merry Christmas, Dad!” She giggled sheepishly. “I baked you some cookies, but they didn’t turn out.”

That hair, that laugh… just like Cherie’s! His eyes suddenly burning, he blinked repeatedly. He stood paralyzed by the memories of his late wife until Normandie’s concerned gaze and voice distracted him.

“Dad?”

“Stupid smoke!” he mumbled, pretending to swat at the smoke so she wouldn't see him wipe his eyes.

“Dad…” Her tone told him she wasn’t fooled.

“You look so much like your mother. She loved Christmas…”

“I miss her too.” Normandie hugged him. Only when he felt his daughter’s tears dampening his shirt did he stop fighting his own.

Moments later he released her, smiling. “Let’s try baking gingerbread together. I have your mother’s recipe.”
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Old voices I had thought long since dead whisper of another life I might have led

If I could take that second chance, If I could make my life anew, If only dreams came true...

Last edited by MadMadamMalfoy; 01-01-2024 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 12-12-2023, 01:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default
Rhibear ~ Madam Solo ~ Dark Brooding Girl ~ Accio Jedi ~ Gryffinclaw ~ Just a doll

5. Scrooge
Setting: a downtown shopping center; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2090
Inspired by the song “Tell Me” from Scrooge: A Christmas Carol

(199 words)



Norman shivered against the frosty air. He walked with his head down, so as not to lock eyes with the smiling faces in the crowd. Every caroller he passed, he wanted to put a silencing charm on them. Every Christmas tree he saw, he wanted to set it on fire. The symbols of holiday joy were nothing but bitter reminders of Christmases past.

His last encounter with a dark wizard left him hospitalized for months. He thought he’d come home to a loving wife. Instead he returned to a stranger in his house and the news that Cherie had died. His beautiful red-haired Cherie was gone. How could he be bright and merry without her?

People bombarded him as he wandered down the street, Have a cookie, they offered. Buy a handmade ornament, join our caroling group… Couldn’t they understand he wanted nothing to do with Christmas?!

He stopped to buy a coffee as the biting chill overwhelmed him. He paid the cashier, mumbling thanks. As he turned away, a woman carrying several red and green packages bumped into him, spilling his coffee. “WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING, YOU HOLLY JOLLY IDIOT!”

If he wasn’t happy, why should they be?
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Old voices I had thought long since dead whisper of another life I might have led

If I could take that second chance, If I could make my life anew, If only dreams came true...

Last edited by MadMadamMalfoy; 12-27-2023 at 08:23 PM. Reason: coding error
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Old 12-12-2023, 08:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Rhibear ~ Madam Solo ~ Dark Brooding Girl ~ Accio Jedi ~ Gryffinclaw ~ Just a doll

4. Chimney
Setting: The home of Alma Martinez; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2093
(198 words)


Four-year-old Normandie sat on the couch with her foster siblings, wrapped in a blanket. Her face lit up with a bright smile as her guardian appeared, carrying a tray full of Christmas treats. She watched as Mama Alma made her rounds, giving each child a piping hot mug of cocoa.

Finally she came to Normandie, handing her a white mug with a Santa Claus on it. “Here you go, mija. Lots of marshmallows, just the way you like it.”

“Thanks, Mama Alma!” Normandie gripped the mug with both hands, sipping the chocolatey marshmallow-y goodness.

Her eyes were glued to the Christmas cartoon playing on the television. She watched as Santa Claus went down the chimney and instantly appeared inside, covered in soot. Normandie giggled.

She glanced from the Santa on tv to the one on her mug, then to the stockings hanging on the wall. There were seven in all, one for each child . Seven stockings with no fireplace. No fireplace meant no chimney. No chimney meant -!

“Mama Alma, will Santa Claus come if we don’t have a chimney?”

Mama Alma nodded. “Santa Claus doesn’t need a chimney to visit all the good children. He has Christmas magic.”
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Old voices I had thought long since dead whisper of another life I might have led

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Last edited by MadMadamMalfoy; 12-27-2023 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 12-14-2023, 01:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Rhibear ~ Madam Solo ~ Dark Brooding Girl ~ Accio Jedi ~ Gryffinclaw ~ Just a doll

25. Ugly Sweater
Setting: the home of Norman Carton; Edinburgh, Scotland; Christmas 2105
(199 words)


Normandie held a lumpy package, imperfectly wrapped in Christmas paper with a lopsided red bow at the top. She’d barely hidden it behind her back before her dad appeared, wearing that.

The ratty MACUSA sweater he wore everywhere. The thing was old, probably older than her, faded and pilling with a few holes. Normandie secretly wanted to burn the thing when he wasn’t looking, but she had a better idea!

“Merry Christmas, Dad!” She snuck behind his chair and gave him a kiss on the cheek. With an excited wiggle, she handed him the package.

Norman smiled. “What’s this?”

“Open it and find out!” Normandie replied with a chuckle.

Norman tore open the paper to reveal a brand new sweater the same shade of blue as the one he was wearing. He eyed it with an unreadable expression. Normandie didn’t understand… He kept that old MACUSA sweater because it was one of the few things he had from his life with Cherie.

Her face fell; so did his heart. If wearing the new sweater would make her happy, it was worth it. He shrugged out of the old sweater and put on the new one. “How does it look?”
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Last edited by MadMadamMalfoy; 12-27-2023 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 12-27-2023, 07:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Rhibear ~ Madam Solo ~ Dark Brooding Girl ~ Accio Jedi ~ Gryffinclaw ~ Just a doll

16. Plum Pudding
Setting: Wainscott & Stiles’ Cabinetmakers; London, England; Christmas 2091
(200 words)


The street outside Wainscott and Stiles’ came alive in the sunset. People bustled about, talking, laughing, singing. Norman stood with his back to the window, ignoring the festivities. It was another lonely Christmas without Cherie…

He busied himself sanding a vanishing cabinet, as if that act could also sand the rough edges of his emotions. Hearing the back door open, he looked up. “Merlin’s beard, we closed an hour ago!” Mr. Stiles chuckled. “Go home, Norman. It’s Christmas Eve.”

What home? His dark, empty apartment? “It’s okay. I’ll finish this and lock up when I’m done.”

He kept his eyes on the task, lest they lock with his boss and betray his emotions. He still felt Stiles’s pitying gaze. “Oh, no you don’t! You’re coming home with me.”

Stiles grabbed Norman’s arm before he could protest and side-along apparated into a cozy living room. A delicious smell wafted through the air. Stiles sniffed. “You haven’t lived until you try my wife’s plum pudding!”

“Merry Christmas, dear!” Mrs. Stiles appeared, carrying the pudding in question. A purple dome slathered in sauce. “Oh, you’ve brought a friend. Does he like plum pudding?”

Norman shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve never had it before.”
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Old voices I had thought long since dead whisper of another life I might have led

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Last edited by MadMadamMalfoy; 12-27-2023 at 08:20 PM. Reason: coding
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Old 12-27-2023, 08:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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3. Candy Canes
Setting: Magnolia Elementary School; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2095
(194 words)


It was the last day before Christmas. Normandie sat, willing herself not to look out the window as the teacher talked. What was she going to give her family for Christmas? She didn’t have any money!

“...wrap the stem around the candy cane like this.” She looked at the half-finished ornament the teacher held up. “Glue on a pair of googly eyes and a pom pom nose, and you’ve got a nice little reindeer ornament.”

Normandie’s face brightened. She chose a gold stem for her reindeer’s antlers and a sparkly red nose like Rudolph’s. She twisted the stem around the top of the candy cane, carefully bending the ends. The eyes were harder to place! After several tires, she finally glued them on straight. She placed the nose, smiling at the reindeer she made. It was perfect for Mama Alma! Now what could she give her siblings?

Normandie raised her hand. “Can I have some more candy canes, please?”

“How many do you want?”

“Six.”

The teacher shook her head. “That’s too many. You’ll spoil your lunch.”

Normandie laughed. “They’re not for me. I want to make more ornaments for my brothers and sisters.”
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Old 12-28-2023, 12:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Rhibear ~ Madam Solo ~ Dark Brooding Girl ~ Accio Jedi ~ Gryffinclaw ~ Just a doll

23. Decorate
Setting: the home of Norman Carton; Edinburgh, Scotland; Christmas 2106
(199 words)


Norman was looking forward to a quiet holiday! He turned his key; the door wouldn’t budge. He jostled the door open wide enough to see inside. Normandie stood in front of a Christmas tree, wearing a Santa hat, and - Why were there boxes everywhere?

Aiming his wand through the door, Norman made the boxes stack themselves.

“Oh hi, Dad!” Normandie greeted, smiling. “You’re home early.”

“What’s with all the boxes?”

“You didn’t have many Christmas decorations, so I went out and bought some. It was supposed to be a surprise.”

Norman laughed. Classic Normandie, thinking she could rekindle his holiday spirit by going all out! His laughter turned to worry as the tree toppled. He stopped it with a nonverbal Arresto Momentum.

“Are you alright?” He stumbled to Normandie’s side. A battered box caught his eye. It was labeled in handwriting he hadn’t seen in years!

Inside was a blonde Christmas angel with white wings and a red and green dress, the same one from his childhood. “Where did you find this?”

“The attic. Why?”

“This was my mother’s. I thought I lost it years ago!”

Normandie smiled, touching the angel’s porcelain cheek. “Let’s put it on the tree!”
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Old 12-28-2023, 09:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Rhibear ~ Madam Solo ~ Dark Brooding Girl ~ Accio Jedi ~ Gryffinclaw ~ Just a doll

9. Mistletoe
Setting: The Maine family mansion; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2078
(200 words)


Norman ducked behind a Christmas tree - the only thing in the room taller than him. This party was a disaster! Cherie’s family hated him at first sight. Mrs. Maine pursed her lips, constantly correcting his mannerisms. Mr. Maine glared daggers at him, refusing to call him anything but “The Halfblood”. Cherie’s sisters were the worst, giggling and whispering behind his back.

He sighed, loosening his tie. From his hiding place he watched the idle people in their idle chatter until a familiar voice distracted him.

“I thought I’d find you here!” Cherie laughed, her eyes twinkling brighter than the Christmas lights.

Norman couldn’t resist laughing with her. “It’s official. Your family hates me, almost as much as I hate wearing this tie!”

Cherie was silent. Did he upset her? He stammered an apology, but she held a finger to his lips. “Well,” she said, straightening his tie. “It doesn’t matter what they think because I love you.”

Norman’s heart skipped. It was his turn to be speechless. In the awkward pause that followed, he noticed a sprig of mistletoe hanging above. Brushing Cherie’s red hair away from her face, he told her with a kiss what his words couldn’t say.
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Old 12-28-2023, 11:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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12. Reindeer
Setting: the home of Cherie and Norman Carton; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2089
(200 words)


Cherie stood before a half decorated Christmas tree, fighting tears. Christmas wasn’t the same without Norman. One year ago, he left to track down a notorious dark wizard. For months she held out hope for a letter, a message, any sign that he was alright. Now she knew. He didn’t contact her because he couldn’t.

She didn’t feel like celebrating, but he wouldn’t want her to miss Christmas because of him. Besides, she had to make the day special for Normandie.

The baby squirmed and fussed as if she sensed her mother’s sadness, raising her arms in a demand to be held. Cherie picked her up. “Come here, sweetie. We’ll decorate together.”

Balancing Normandie in one arm, she found a crystal reindeer. The inscription reduced her to tears. Baby’s First Christmas 2089. She bought it months ago when she learned she was pregnant, when she believed Norman would come home.

Normandie’s aquamarine eyes lit up as she made grabby hands at the reindeer. “Yes, that’s yours. Your daddy would’ve loved it - and you.”

She gently guided Normandie’s head to her shoulder so her daughter wouldn’t see her cry, and so she wouldn’t see those eyes that reminded her of him.
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Old 12-29-2023, 12:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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21. Snowman
Setting: the home of Eudora & Gordon Carton; Hartford, Connecticut; Christmas 2067 / the home of Norman Carton; Edinburgh, Scotland; Christmas 2107
(200 words)


“What happened to my hat?!”

Gordon Carton appeared dressed in a starched police uniform. He searched the living room in vain for his hat. Never mind, he was late for work!

Bundling up against the wind and snow, he stepped outside, and -

A snowman sat alongside the driveway, wearing Gordon’s hat. Norman peered around the side, his cheeks flushed with cold and embarrassment. “Sorry I took it without asking, Dad. He’s a policeman like you. Do you like him?”

Gordon chuckled. “Keep it, it looks better on him!” He saluted the snowman. “Hello, Officer!”



“What happened to my scarf?!”

Norman wasn’t one to lose things. He tried searching and summoning it with no luck. Never mind, he’d better remove the snow before the driveway became impassable!

Warming charms in place, he stepped outside. He saw Normandie’s bright red hair before he saw his scarf draped around the snowman’s neck. A strange sense of deja vu overwhelmed him. Hard to believe that forty years ago, he’d done the same thing!

Normandie’s cheeks flushed the same shade as her hair. “Sorry I borrowed your scarf, Dad! He looked a little drab without it.”

Norman laughed. “You’re right. It looks better on him!”
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Old 12-29-2023, 05:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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11. Sleigh
Setting: Hartford Police Department Christmas Party; Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Christmas 2065
(200 words)


Norman sat on the floor, playing with a remote controlled police car. Adult parties were so boring! All they did was dress in uncomfortable clothes and talk!

But Dad said tonight was important when he gave Norman the car. “We’re lucky, Norman. The kids at the party don’t have families. It’s our job to give them presents so they won’t feel left out.”

Norman couldn’t imagine Christmas without a family! Lost in thought, he sent the car speeding forward. It crashed into Dad’s feet. He laughed. “Hello, Officer Carton! On the chase, I see. I have a new assignment for you: help me hand out presents.”

Norman picked up his car, following Dad to a huge Santa sack overflowing with gifts. He handed the biggest box to the first child in line - a boy about his own age.

The boy’s face brightened as he unwrapped a remote controlled Santa’s sleigh “Wow, a sleigh! Thanks!”

Norman showed off his car. “I got a remote controlled toy too! Wanna play?”

The boy nodded.

“What if Santa ran over grandma, like in the song? And the cops are after him?” The sleigh took off with a ho-ho-ho. The police car followed, siren blaring.
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Old 12-29-2023, 06:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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7. Eggnog
Setting: The home of Alma Martinez; Charlotte, North Carolina; Christmas 2094
(199 words)


Normandie was lured away from playtime by a delicious smell. She followed it into the kitchen, where Mama Alma was hard at work on Christmas dinner. It came from a whitish substance in the blender. It kind of looked like eggnog, but it didn’t smell like it. It smelled like coconut sunscreen!

Coconuts didn’t go in eggnog, did they? She hoped not! She didn’t like eggnog. It looked like glue and tasted like spicy milk. Yuck!

She lifted the lid off the blender to get a closer look while Mama Alma’s back was turned. Nope, definitely not eggnog!

“Ay! Don’t touch that!”

Normandie replaced the lid as quickly as she’d lifted it. “Sorry, Mama Alma,” she said with a sheepish grin. “What’s in there? Is it eggnog?”

Mama Alma shook her head. “Not exactly. It’s called coquito. It’s a coconut drink from Puerto Rico, where my family is from. We used to have it every holiday season.”

“Co-qui-to?” Normandie stumbled over the word.

Mama Alma smiled.. “Some people call it Puerto Rican Eggnog. It looks like it, doesn’t it?”

Normandie nodded.

“Want a taste?” Another much more eager nod.

Normandie sipped the sweet white beverage. “Much better than eggnog!”
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Old 12-29-2023, 08:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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22. Coal
Setting: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry / Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; Christmas 2103
(200 words)


Norman stared at the fire. This should’ve been his first Christmas with his daughter. Now he was stuck in a castle thousands of miles away. Why? Because the man he thought was Malachi Trent turned out to be an impostor!

The worst part was Normandie had no idea! She probably thought he abandoned her. He couldn’t blame her. He’d already missed the first fourteen years of her life.

He jabbed the poker into a lump of coal as hard and black as Rosier’s heart, wishing it were the man himself. Nothing to do but put on a brave face for the students. If he couldn’t be with his child, he would help someone else’s.



Normandie sat in front of the fire. She never thought she’d spend Christmas at Ilvermorny, but she couldn’t face her foster family after the fuss she made over Christmas with her dad.

Why didn’t he write? Did he not want her? No, something was wrong. None of her friends had heard from relatives at Hogwarts either!

A lump of coal caught her eye. Mama Alma often joked about coal for Christmas, but this was worse! She’d gladly take coal if it meant seeing her dad again.


Characters mentioned:
Malachi Trent (played by DaniDiNardo)
Lucien Rosier
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Old 12-29-2023, 11:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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24. Ice Skating
Setting: Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; Christmas 2076
(199 words)


Sunlight gleamed off the frozen pond. Norman walked the path with his skates slung over one shoulder. As his aquamarine eyes scanned the pond, he noticed a familiar pop of red against the snowy white landscape. Cherie! What was she doing on the bench, instead of the ice? That wasn’t like his lively girlfriend!

He skated to her, stopping with a spray of ice. “Fancy meeting you here.”

Cherie laughed with a faraway look in her eye. Norman eyed her with concern. “You’re not skating?”

“I can’t.”

“Of course you can!”

“No, I don’t know how! I’m from The South, remember? Too hot for ice skating…”

“It’s okay, I can teach you.” As soon as he spoke, he noticed she didn’t have skates. An idea occurred to him, and he drew his wand. “May I?”

With Cherie’s consent, he transfigured her shoes into skates. He offered his hand, guiding her onto the ice. They hadn’t moved more than a few feet when she slipped, throwing her arms around his neck. He held her around her waist until she steadied herself.

How long had he held her? He lost track of time! Letting go, he apologized, “Sorry! We’ll go slower.”
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Old 12-30-2023, 12:49 AM   #15 (permalink)
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18. Tinsel
Setting: the home of Alma Martinez; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2101
(196 words)


The holiday season made Mama Alma’s house a hive of activity. Normandie emerged from her room, nearly colliding with her eldest foster brother in the hall.

“About time you got here! Mama Alma’s looking for you!”

Normandie found Mama Alma in the living room. “Normandie, is that you? Bring the box of tinsel up from the basement, mija.”

The basement light was already on, lighting her path down the stairs. She spotted a lone box in the middle of the room. As she approached, she noticed the box was quivering. Wait, did the box just-?

Please don’t be a rat! She thought.

She opened the box, and a pair of green eyes stared at her. It wasn’t a rat; it was a fat orange tabby cat, rolling around in the tinsel. “Oh! Hi, SpongeBob,” she giggled.

The cat meowed at the sound of its name. “Come on, Mama Alma needs this box!”

SpongeBob blinked, then resumed rolling. Normandie got an idea! She held the tinsel by its end, dangling it in front of SpongeBob. “Get the rat!”

She tossed the tinsel, watching SpongeBob pounce. While he was distracted, she picked up the box and headed upstairs.
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Old 12-30-2023, 07:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
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15. Nutcracker
Setting: the home of Norman Carton; Edinburgh, Scotland; Christmas 2104
(198 words)


Norman and Normandie stood in front of the Christmas tree, a large box of ornaments between them. Norman hung a nutcracker in a handsome red uniform. Normandie followed with a porcelain figure in a sparkly pink tutu.

Father and daughter looked at the tree, then at each other. “Where did you get that?” they said at the same time.

They talked over each other until their voices gave way to laughter. “You go first, Dad.”

“My mother gave it to me years ago when we read The Nutcracker. Norman’s thoughts wandered to that Christmas. He was five, listening intently as his mother read. That night he dreamed of fighting the Rat King, and woke to find the nutcracker ornament. “I wanted to be the Nutcracker so I could battle the Rat King.”

Normandie smiled. “Mama Alma gave me mine when she took us to the ballet.” She was seven, watching in breathless excitement as dancers in colorful costumes twirled. “I wanted to be Clara so I could wear the pretty dress and visit The Land of Sweets.”

They looked at the pair,.The Nutcracker and Clara finally reunited on the tree, as their owners had reunited in life.
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Old 12-31-2023, 02:36 AM   #17 (permalink)
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8. Chestnuts
Setting: the home of Eudora Carton; Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Christmas 2080
(198 words)


Norman placed a comforting arm around Cherie. She smiled, but her eyes were sad. This was the first Christmas since her family disowned her for marrying a halfblood.

It must be a disappointing Christmas for Cherie. His family Christmases were modest, and his mother’s brownstone house a far cry from the Maines’ sprawling mansion.

“There’s my boy!” Eudora opened the door before Norman had time to knock. She threw her arms around his waist - the highest she could reach - and he bent to let her kiss his cheek.

“And Cherie, dear!” She patted her cheek. “You’re always welcome here.”

“I’ve got the tree and stockings up…” Norman peered past Eudora. The glittering ornaments, roaring fire, garlands on the stairs… it looked just like the Maines’ decorations!

“You’re just in time for dinner. You’re not eating enough!” Eudora smiled, patting Norman’s middle.

“Must keep fit to get into the Auror-”

Eudora wasn’t listening. “We’re having your favorite, turkey with chestnut stuffing! Norman, start chopping the vegetables. Cherie, you can help me roast the chestnuts.”

Norman stole a glance at Cherie, worried to see tears in her eyes. “You don’t like our Christmas?”

She smiled, hugging him. “No, it’s perfect!”
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Old 12-31-2023, 03:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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2. Advent
Setting: the home of Alma Martinez; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2092
(199 words)


Normandie started transfixed at the little card. The scene was a wintery night with Santa Claus in his sleigh, flying over a neat row of houses. The card had several squares that looked like doors. Each had a number, some of which higher than Normandie could count.

She shook the card, and it made a funny sound. “Ooh! What’s inside?”

Mama Alma laughed. “That’s an advent calendar, mija. Every day, you open one of these little doors. When you open the big one at the bottom, it’ll be Christmas.”

Normandie’s face brightened. Mama Alma said the magic word. Christmas meant Santa, and Santa meant toys! “Can’t we open all the doors and have Christmas now?”

She looked at Mama Alma with big, pleading eyes. Mama Alma laughed even louder. “No, it doesn’t work like that. I think you’ll like opening the doors one at a time, though. There’s chocolate inside. You get a piece each day.”

Mama Alma opened the door marked “1” and gave Normandie the chocolate inside. Normandie eyes it skeptically. “Do I have to share it?”

“No, these chocolates are all yours.”

Normandie smiled as she popped the candy into her mouth, savoring the chocolatey sweetness.
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Old 12-31-2023, 05:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
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1. Carols
Setting: the home of Norman Carton; Edinburgh, Scotland; Christmas 2109
(199 words)


It was a quiet Christmas Eve. Father and daughter sat on the couch. The fire roared, and a Christmas comedy played in the background. Normandie wasn’t paying attention. She only had it on in case it cheered her dad up.

Christmas was hard for him. He never talked about it, but she knew. She saw it in his eyes. The wedding ring he still wore gleamed in the firelight as she squeezed his hand.

“Dad-” A knock at the door interrupted Normandie.

Father and daughter looked at each other, confused. “Who could that be?”

“We wish you a Merry Christmas…” The singing grew louder as they approached the door. Several people dressed in Victorian costumes stood outside.

Normandie giggled, applauding wildly as the song ended. “Lovely song - and I love your outfits! Don’t you, Dad?”

“Yes, very Dickensian.”

Normandie looked at Norman with a twinkle in her eye, the telltale sign she was up to something. “Mind if we join you?” she asked the lead caroler.

“What? No-” Norman protested, but Normandie already grabbed his hand. She looked at him with puppy dog eyes. He could never resist those eyes!

“Jingle bells…” Two more voices joined the next song.
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Old 12-31-2023, 07:26 PM   #20 (permalink)
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6. Jolly
Setting: the home of Eudora Carton; Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Christmas 2068
(199 words)


Norman sat in front of the television, watching a cartoon. The song was wrong. It wasn’t a holly jolly Christmas, not without his father. He tried to give his mother a happy holiday. He never cried, never complained. He did his chores without being asked and didn't even balk at having to wear a tie to Christmas dinner. Was it enough?

He looked back at the television as Santa appeared. That gave him an idea! Sneaking into the dining room, he grabbed some paper plates and napkins while he thought the adults weren’t looking.

“Looks like somebody’s ready for dinner!”

Norman turned, facing his grandfather with a sheepish smile. “It’s not for dinner, Grandpa. Can you help me transfigure this into a Santa suit?”

“Why do you need a Santa suit?”

“It’s a surprise for Mom.” Understanding dawned in Grandpa’s eyes; he nodded.

Eudora woke to banging. She rushed downstairs, wand in hand, to find a small dark-haired figure in a Santa suit. “Norman?!”

“Surprise! Merry Christmas, Mom!” He handed her a gift. She looked like she might cry; his heart sank. “Sorry, I know it’s not much…”

Eudora hugged him. “Thank you for being my jolly little elf.”
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Old 12-31-2023, 08:45 PM   #21 (permalink)
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19. Fruitcake
Setting: Magnolia Elementary School; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2099
(198 words)


Normandie’s eyes lit up as she looked around the gym. There were holiday decorations, holiday-themed games, and prizes everywhere. Her gaze wandered to the snack stand. All the holiday treats made her mouth water! Sugar cookies, gingerbread, peppermint bark, hot chocolate, and fruitcake. So many fruitcakes!

Mama Alma’s chocolate flan sat among the traditional holiday offerings. Normandie squirmed, suddenly self conscious. Chocolate flan was so different from the other treats! What if her classmates didn’t like it?

She joined the line for the nearest game, hoping to distract herself. The object of the game? Knock the icicles (bottles) down with a snowball (baseball) and win a prize. After several failed tries, she lined up for Pin the Nose on Rudolph instead. A teacher blindfolded her, spinned her, and pointed her in the direction of the board. She placed her sticker, and -

“We have a winner!”

Normandie’s prize was a cookie and hot chocolate. She stood at the back of a long line. “Is all this for snacks?”

The boy ahead of her nodded. “You gotta try the chocolate flan!”

Others chimed in. “It’s the best thing here!”

“I’m going back for seconds!”

“At least it’s not another fruitcake!”
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Old 12-31-2023, 10:17 PM   #22 (permalink)
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17. Wreath
Setting: the home of Norman Carton; Edinburgh, Scotland; Christmas 2108
(199 words)


Why can’t I do this?! Normandie thought, sighing in frustration. Failed attempts at wreath conjuration littered the table. Some misshapen, some with missing or discolored flowers..

She took a deep breath, aiming her wand. The spell produced an oblong wreath with sparse greenery and white poinsettias

"UGH!!!” Normandie exclaimed, throwing the wreath Transfiguration wasn’t her strong suit! Ironically the person who could help was the person she couldn’t ask. It was supposed to be a surprise!

Norman entered, drawn by his daughter’s cries and a trail of petals and pine needles. “What’s all this?”

Normandie startled. “Hi, Dad! I wanted to make a wreath for you, but I can’t get it right.”

Norman bent so his eyes met hers, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Try again. Visualize your design; don’t think about making it perfect.”

He turned away, When he looked again, he saw a perfectly round evergreen wreath with red poinsettias. That wreath transported his thoughts back to Ilvermorny, when he once conjured a wreath with that exact design for Cherie.

Normandie eyed him with concern, noticing his wistful expression. “Dad?”

Norman smiled. “I love it! It looks just like a wreath I made for your mom.”
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Old 01-01-2024, 12:26 AM   #23 (permalink)
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14. Candlelight
Setting: the home or Norman and Cherie Carton; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2088
(199 words)


Norman and Cherie sat, basking in the glow of candles left from their romantic dinner. Tomorrow Norman left to track down a dangerous dark wizard, so they were celebrating Christmas early.

After dinner and presents, Cherie went quiet. Norman saw tears on her face, shining in the candlelight. “I don’t want you to go…”

He held her, brushing away each tear. “I have to. It’s my job to protect-”

“Protect and serve, I know!” Norman blinked, taken aback by Cherie’s biting tone. Her expression softened. “Sorry, it’s just… every time you leave, I die a little. What if something happens to you? I’ll be all alone…”

Her tears turned into sobs. At a loss for words, he hugged her tighter. She shouldn’t have to be alone. Her family hadn’t died like his, They didn’t live far away. They were just across town, probably throwing a party.

Hiding his anger behind a reassuring smile, he said, “Nothing’s going to happen. It hasn’t yet, has it?”

“No, but this time feels different.” Cherie sniffled, tears ebbing.

“Look at me, Cherie.” He gently tilted her face upward. “I promise I’ll come home, no matter what happens.” A passionate kiss sealed the promise.
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Old 01-01-2024, 02:15 AM   #24 (permalink)
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10. Bells
Setting: the home of Alma Martinez; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2096
(198 words)


Normandie sat on the floor with her siblings, watching the end of an old movie. Although she didn’t understand it, she was glad the dad went back home. She was glad the town gave him money. She stared longingly at the little girl in her dad’s arms, wishing she had a dad like that.

Was it true? What happens when a bell rings?

She thought of her parents. She barely knew anything about them! All she knew was that her mother looked a lot like her; she died when Normandie was a baby. And her father was some kind of cop killed in the line of duty before she was born. Did her parents have wings yet? She hoped so!

“Time for bed!” Mama Alma called.

As Normandie joined her siblings, a gold bell on the tree caught her eye. An idea occurred to her, and she pocketed the bell on her way to bed.

Jingle, jingle! The light flickered on. Several children stumbled groggily into the hall, grumbling.

“Ay! You’ll wake the dead with that noise!” Mama Alma scolded.

Normandie blushed. “I didn’t mean to wake anyone. I just wanted to give my parents wings for Christmas.”
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Old 01-01-2024, 03:28 AM   #25 (permalink)
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20. Presents
Setting: the home of Norman and Cherie Carton; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Christmas 2082 / the home of Norman Carton; Edinburgh, Scotland; Christmas 2107
(199 words)


Norman stood, his arm around Cherie. It was so strange not to hear his mother’s voice or see her bustling about the kitchen! He couldn’t think of her, especially not tonight. Although he hid his grief for Cherie’s sake, she saw. It was written in her sympathetic eyes.

“Let’s open presents.” Cherie handed him an envelope.

Norman opened it to reveal a Christmas card in his mother’s handwriting. A small gold shield fell out. His father’s police badge. “How-?” His voice broke.

“She wanted you to have it when you got into the Auror program.” As Cherie hugged him, he hid his face in her hair, eyes closed against the unbidden tears.



Norman beamed with fatherly pride as Normandie unwrapped the package. She had just been accepted into the YATI program, making three generations of the Carton family in law enforcement.

The gold shield glinted in her hand. “It’s beautiful…”

“It was your grandfather’s. My mother gave it to me when I got into the Auror program. Now it’s yours.”

She looked up with an unreadable expression. “But doesn’t it mean a lot to you?”

Norman smiled. “I’ve held onto it long enough. He’d want you to have it.”
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