the_water_clock: abstract painting (Untitled (Seagram Mural) 1959)
[personal profile] the_water_clock
Author: Clio
Title: Above All This Bustle
Pairing: Parvati Patil/Pansy Parkinson
Rating: PG
Summary: Pansy and Parvati have an annual tradition: the Christmas Shopping Sleepover for the children of their friends. It worked very well for them—so well, in fact, that they didn't quite notice that it was coming to an end.
Length: 1200 words
Notes: Thank you to [personal profile] sistermagpie and [profile] gadgetorious for the awesome beta! All errors are mine.
Title from the song "Silver Bells" written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.




The first Christmas Annie Weasley-Wood was at Hogwarts, she wrote requesting that her Auntie Parvati take her shopping in London for Christmas presents for her family as her fathers Percy and Oliver were, in her words, "hopeless." Parvati pointed out that it was possible that Annie's fathers might know what to get for her three brothers, being men and all.

Annie replied, with a tone in her owl that could easily be translated to the sort of disappointed expression particular to tween girls, that that was the whole point.

When Annie's older brother Gilbert found out he asked to come along. So Parvati agreed to let Annie and Gilbert stay with her that very first night of their holiday, and take them shopping.

Pansy always says that if Parvati had only known what she was starting, she never would have said yes, but Parvati reckons the whole thing is at least half Pansy's fault, anyway, because things usually are.




"The cousins" were just that—the assorted grandchildren of Molly and Arthur Weasley. Of course Harry and Hermione's children were considered part of the clan, and by the time Seamus and Dean got around to procreating they'd spent so much time at Boxing Day Buffets that their girls were swept into the group, which now numbered nearly thirty. All of the cousins, including those who couldn’t claim them as godmother or aunt, considered Pansy and Parvati their very sophisticated, stylish "aunties."

Gilbert Weasley-Wood took his position as the oldest cousin very seriously, in a head-of-the-household kind of way, and lectured his younger cousins on the dangers of clannishness, particularly at Hogwarts. At least there were enough of them that they were sorted into every house, so there wasn't a chance for the single-house domination of their parents. Friends from school would be invited to birthday parties and summer bonfires on a regular basis, and even the Boxing Day Buffet if they were at loose ends.

But the Christmas Shopping Sleepover belonged to the cousins, and the cousins alone.




Pansy and Parvati talked about children exactly once, just before they moved in together:

"So, do you want them?" Pansy asked.

"The curtains?" Parvati asked, being preoccupied with swatches at the moment.

"No," Pansy said. "Children."

"Oh," Parvati said. "Not particularly. Do you?"

"Not particularly," Pansy replied.

"Then there you go," Parvati said. "I think the rust, don't you?" she asked, handing Pansy a swatch.

"I prefer the ochre," Pansy had replied, and that was that.




Happily for Pansy and Parvati, the Weasley/Malfoy/Potter/Thomas children were spaced out so by the time the younger ones were ready to stay over, a few older ones had moved on. One year they did find themselves with ten adolescents at once, but by then they'd bought a larger two-level penthouse flat with more bedrooms—with precisely this spontaneously created holiday in mind. It was just the thing for them, having the school-aged children all to themselves for 36 hours. They were glad to welcome them, glad to host them, and glad to bid them adieu.

Parvati was just hoping that her own mother would continue to give to the annual Patil New Year's Eve party until the Thomas twins had left Hogwarts, as she was very sure that her nerves wouldn't be able to take the strain of planning and hosting both events. Luckily she had some control over this, as her mother didn't want to give her the party until she and Pansy married. And as neither she nor Pansy were overly fussed about having a ceremony just to confirm what they already felt, it was an easy postponement.

It worked very well for them—so well, in fact, that they didn't quite notice that it was coming to an end.




To be fair, they'd been distracted by the large number of fiftieth-birthday-parties that year, including the very large official Ministry party for Harry. But when it came time to go to Platform 9 ¾ and they were met only by two seventeen-year-old girls, they were confused.

"We thought," said Katie Finnigan, once they got back to the flat, "that since it's just us two that we'd go out to dinner tomorrow night."

"Perhaps that French bistro you like so much," added her twin sister, Jules. "At least, that's what Da suggested."

"So we went ahead and made a reservation," Katie said.

"We can always cancel," Jules said.

Parvati blinked. "No, that's fine," she said. "That would be lovely, thank you."

And so they planned the stores to be visited that evening, as always, and they shopped the next day, as always, though it wasn't too terribly taxing with only two nearly-grown girls in tow. It was rather strange, almost anti-climactic, and Parvati had more respect for the restlessness of her empty-nest friends.

As they arrived at the restaurant for dinner, having gone home to change first, Pansy said, "Are you sure they're open? They look empty."

It was at that point that Parvati should have realized what was about to happen, but the day had been so odd, the realization that this was the last Cousins Shopping Sleepover so sudden, that not all of her synapses were firing. So when the four of them walked into the back room of the bistro and found it filled with family and friends—with all of the cousins, their parents and grandparents, cheering for them—she was honestly surprised.

Ginny stepped forward. "We just wanted to say thank you," she said. "For everything."

Parvati couldn't find her voice, but Pansy, as usual, was calmer. "Well," she said, "you're very welcome."

After that it was drinks and food and chatter, seeing all the children grown and a few of the next generation here and there—not quite ready for Hogwarts, but present. They'd been socializing for around an hour when Pansy circled back to Parvati.

"So what do you think?" she asked. "Want to take over the New Year's ball from your mother next year?"

"But that would mean—"

"I know," she replied, smiling. "I also know that certain Ministry officials have the power to marry."

Parvati cocked her head. "You're sure?" she asked.

"Of course," Pansy replied. "Wouldn't have mentioned it if I weren't. Are you?"

Parvati looked around the room, and then back at Pansy. "No time like the present," she said.

"Good," Pansy said, nodding. "Hermione!" she called out.

"Yes?"

"Fancy marrying us tonight?"

The room quieted rather quickly. Hermione raised her eyebrows. "I hope you mean to each other," she said.

Pansy laughed. "Indeed."

"Very well, then," Hermione said.

Parvati's mother ran to them immediately, of course. "My girls, my girls," she said. "Oh I'm so happy."

"Thank you, Nandana," Pansy said.

"We'll present you at New Year's," she went on. "A triumph! You'll have to work hard to top that for your first ball."

"We'll see what we can do," Pansy said.

"And then when will the children come?" she asked. "You haven't much time."

A younger Parvati would have rolled her eyes, perhaps even snapped at her mother for such a predictable reaction to their getting married, but instead she said, "Look around the room, Mommy. I think we have all the children we could ever need."


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