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❝ christmas ! ❞
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─── ALASKA MAINE AWOKE on Christmas morning of 1978 to sheets of snow falling down from the dove grey heavens outside of her drawn-curtain window. The first few days of the holidays had been some of the oddest days of her entire life-after witnessing on the second day Nolan baking pancakes with her mother, and then later on the day making a casserole with her father, her entire illusion of the boy had shattered. He was welcomed into the home with surprisingly open arms, and Alaska couldn't describe the gratitude she felt for her parents for actually putting an effort into making him feel jubilant, and ecstatic. They even allowed him into the family tradition of decoration the living room Christmas tree, and after Malcom offered the honour of placing the star at the top of the tree ( which usually was either Jaxon's or Alaska's duty, depending on the corresponding year ), they boy wept genuine tears. His parents, their neighbours, hadn't noticed their son's absence. It was as if he was never a member of the Nolan family, despite him taking up the alias of his surname, rather than ever referring to himself as 'Cameron', the given first name they initially chosen, the name they were going to use depending on whether they birthed a son, or a daughter. Nolan had threw his arms around Malcom, and practically sobbed hysterically into the crook of the man's neck. Later that night, Alaska discovered Nolan had never actually celebrated Christmas with his family, or even decorate a Christmas tree. She had never felt so closer to the boy with him sat on the foot of the bed, the sound of David Bowie faintly singing in the background from her record player, his voice cracking and breaking with vulnerability as he thanked her for welcoming him into her home. He had embraced her in a hug that she hadn't anticipated, but didn't complain about. He became so sweet and warm around her family, Alaska worried that he'd gain toothache simply from smiling from so much happiness. He played Quidditch with Jaxon, even when it poured down with snow so torrential that Helena warned then both they could get injured. Malcom attempted to explain how to play Wizards Chess to him, which was a difficult experience for the both of them, before they eventually opted to the simplicity of draughts when they realised Nolan was never going to understand the complexity of the game Malcom triumphed in. And Helena had even softened around the boy, her maternal instincts broadening out. On the hours she didn't spend chasing down Death Eaters, she watched Muggle Christmas films with Nolan and Alaska, always surprised when she suggested one and Nolan admitted to never hearing of it.
Alaska's room was her happy place. It always had been. The Maine Estate was grand, with beautiful gardens overflowing with marigolds, roses, lilies, all of her mother's favourite plants she tended to with great care during the fragility of summer. The great manor house of red bricks, caked and smothered with reigning ivy, was a place of comfort. It was built in the early 1500s, with hidden tapestries leading to secret libraries, or enigmatic passageways closeted by bookcases that required certain spells to reach, leading to potion-brewing rooms. It was an inherited home, one that Alaska adored growing up in. Whilst some of the rooms had been modernised, Alaska's bedroom still contained the original wooden beams that supported the ceiling, which she believed gave the room more character. Some cobwebs were intricately spindled by the articulacy of the few spiders that lived up in the high corners of the room, but she ever rid of them. The wallpapers of yellow were pealing in some places, fraying and worn out. She had a vanity table in the far left corner, lathered with an array of unused make-up and half-emptied perfume bottles she received from multiple birthdays and Christmases. Her double-bed fit for two was covered with an abundance of pillows, some sequined, some furred, some only there for decoration, or because she liked the quotes stitched across the front, but none alike. She had a plethora of photographs or posters stuck to her walls, an array of polaroids strung up on the wall above her bed, framed by many fairy lights. A faint golden hue from the spurts of sunshine shone through her room, streaming through the drew-back curtains.