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The Best Gifts Move Slowly

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Sirius grunted and opened his eyes then looked over at the doorway of the bedroom. Remus was standing there, wearing the Christmas sweater that Molly Weasley had knitted for him Christmas, two years ago.

"You're not going to sleep all day, are you? It is Christmas, you know," Remus said.

"I'm awake," Sirius groaned and tossed the covers off himself.

Sirius grabbed his mobile phone and checked the time. It was only eight a.m.. What on Earth could Remus be so impatient for?

"Is Harry anxious to open his gifts?" Sirius asked.

"Probably. He was playing Zelda on his 3DS the last I checked," Remus said.

"Again?" Sirius asked.

"Mmmhmm. Now get up, you lazy arse. Christmas is waiting," Remus said.

"Very well," Sirius said, waving a dismissive hand in Remus's direction.

Remus smiled then left the room and Sirius pushed himself out of bed. He stood up and pulled on snowflake covered pyjama bottoms and his nearly identical Christmas sweater from Molly Weasley. After a trip to the loo he finally made his way into the living room, rubbing his still bleary eyes upon entering.

Sirius jumped as he pulled his hands away from his eyes. In addition to Remus and Harry there were two other entities in the room: a woman whom he did not recognise who was holding what at first appeared to be a brown and grey plushie muppet. Sirius stepped forward then yelped in realisation.

"Remus! Is… that's… that's a sloth*!" Sirius said, his eyes filling with tears.

"Happy Christmas, Sirius," Remus said, warmly.

Sirius squealed as the woman holding the sloth walked towards him. Sirius felt like he was on the verge of sobbing. He considered pinching himself in case it was a dream, but decided if it was he really didn't want to know yet.

"Would you like to hold her?" the woman asked.

Sirius covered his mouth for fear a sob would escape from his lips as hot tears fell upon his fingers. He nodded in response and she walked over to him. Sirius whimpered as he removed his hand from his mouth and opened his arms as she extended the sloth over to him, letting it wrap its arms around the back of his neck.

Sirius trembled, as he held the sloth in his arms, surprised by how heavy it felt. Surely, they were only filled with fluff. How could fluff be so heavy?

"Her name is Lea," her handler added, helpfully.

"That's beautiful," Sirius sobbed, unable to help himself.

Sirius looked down at Lea the sloth, who stared up at him with black eyes and a face that strangely seemed to be grinning. He wasn't sure if sloths genuinely smiled or not but he decided to believe that they did. He reached down to pet the top of her fuzzy head and she leaned into his hand, the way a cat might.

Harry walked over, smiling with obvious curiosity. Sirius looked over at Remus, who was simply beaming with pride. Sirius wasn't even sure how Remus had managed to pull this off. Remus must've read something from the look on Sirius's face and he shrugged and slipped his hands into the pockets of his pyjama bottoms.

"You can pet her if you like, Harry," the handler said.

Sirius was surprised that she already knew Harry's name and he looked over at Remus questioningly.

"Oh, Sirius, this is Mary MacDonald. She was a friend of Lily's from school," Remus explained.

"Does she bite?" Harry asked as he cautiously placed a dark hand on the sloth's back.

"She can a bit. Be careful around her mouth," Mary said then looked at Sirius and added, "Would you like to feed her?"

Sirius stared at her, wide-eyed and nodded insistently. She silently placed a leaf into his hand which he then moved towards the sloth's mouth. The sloth slowly moved her long, three toed limb to the leaf and pulled it to her mouth.

The sounds of her chewing on the leaf were nosier than Sirius expected and Harry made a displeased face. They weren't the most appealing sounds but Sirius really didn't care. She was beautiful, perfect and the best Christmas gift he had ever received.

Remus, had only been able to rent the sloth for an hour. Luckily, Mary owed him a favour for some reason or the other. Sirius was curious but Remus said it was a long and not terribly interesting story so decided not to pry for the time being.

After she left, sloth in tow, it was finally time for them to open presents. Sirius shook his head and laughed.

"What?" Remus asked, his mouth curled into a smile.

"You got me the perfect* gift. I only bothered to get you some old bookmarks I found in the rubbish bin at work," Sirius said then laughed.

"Very funny," Remus said, rolling his eyes.

In truth, Sirius had felt very proud of himself for getting an autographed first-edition copy of a book that Remus loved before the reveal of the sloth. Now, he was certain that nothing would live up to that. Next year, perhaps.