Chapter 1: Day 01 - Cocoa
When he tickled the pear and stepped through the portrait into the Hogwarts kitchens the last person he expected to see was Snape.
A house elf or two? Absolutely.
A group of Hufflepuff out for a midnight snack? No question.
His most surly co-worker dressed in what looked to be cozy pajama bottoms, a soft sweater, and house shoes? Not so much.
Snape and his monochrome wardrobe belonged in the dungeons, but not in the warmly lit kitchen spooning whipped cream into a mug of hot cocoa. It didn’t matter to Harry that the kitchens were in the dungeons. All that mattered was that Snape was there, in the kitchen, and he was practically naked.
“Are you going to stand there gawking or do you plan to come in?”
Snape didn’t look up when he spoke but Harry recognized the tone. It was Snape’s “Potter, you’re a fucking idiot and you make me question the life choices that led me to this moment” tone. Harry was used to that tone. It was almost a comfort to hear it in that moment when things were outside his normal expectations.
“Well...erm. Is it alright if I come in? You look busy and - .”
Harry knew it shouldn’t possible for a face to sigh but still, somehow, Snape’s face did just that.
“These are communal kitchens. I know you’re not the most intelligent person to grace these hallowed halls but even you should be aware of what communal means.
Harry nodded, the rudeness putting him back on more even footing, “I just meant that I would hate to interrupt you and your hot cocoa.”
He didn’t smirk at the works ‘hot cocoa’ but it was close. There was, in all seriousness, nothing wrong with sipping cocoa. Especially not on a cold night in a drafty old castle. But when the person drinking said cocoa was a cozy looking Severus Snape...well. It was strange. Like apples and peppermint together. Sure, it could happen; but no one expected it to.
Harry’s reply had Snape turning to look at him, one brow arched as he lifted his mug and took a sip.
Something inside Harry- something that he’d ignored since coming back to Hogwarts - demanded that his kiss the whipped cream away. He ignored the urge and summoned a mug from a cupboard instead.
“Can I join you?”
“You did walk down here all on your own. Anyone capable of that must surely possess the ability to sit on a stool at a counter.”
It was Harry’s turn to sigh, “may I join you, Professor?”
Old habits die hard, that’s what Harry’d been telling himself since he came back to Hogwarts. It was odd to call his former teachers anything but ‘Professor’. Everyone but Snape insisted he use their first name. Snape had made it clear that Harry was more than welcome to not use his name at all.
Not that Harry had expected anything different.
“Contrary to popular belief, Potter, you are not the center of the universe. I do not actually care what you do with your time.”
Harry poured himself some hot cocoa and grinned at the fact that some things never changed.
Chapter 2: Day 02 - Caroling
Caroling in the Staff Lounge. Give you one guess who doesn't enjoy it...
”...among the leaves so green…”
From his chair beside the fire, Harry had an unobstructed view of Snape. With a book in one hand and a cup of tea left to float beside him, his presence in the Staff Lounge wasn’t all that different from the day before. He’d sat in that same spot, reading this book or that, every afternoon after classes since Harry had come back to teach. Probably before that as well.
It wasn’t his presence in the room that had Harry’s attention - though Harry was man enough to admit that he did an awful lot of Snape Watching in the Staff Lounge - it was his expression.
Snape was scowling, his jaw quite clearly clenched, as he stared down at the same page he’d been reading for the last three minutes.
Harry knew it was because of the carolers. A handful of ghosts, with Peeves as their inappropriate hype man, had glided through the wall near Snape and started singing Christmas carols just as Snape had turned his page. He hadn’t moved a muscle except to scowl since they’d started.
“...God bless you and send you a Happy New Year…”
The other staff had stopped what they were doing to watch as well, but all of them had turned to look at the ghosts as they sang and had laughed as Peeves pretended to be their choirmaster. Unlike Snape, who not only wasn’t laughing but also full on refused to look up from his book.
Harry had a view of both Snape and the ghosts from his chair and his let his eyes flick back and forth between them as the Fat Friar warbled his off-key solo.
”...your beer of the best barley...”
He’d spent years learning Snape’s expressions and Harry knew from the look on the other man’s face that he was about to snap. The ghosts’ singing was just too much. They were off key, half of them didn’t know all the words, and Peeves was...well...Peeves. He’d taken to floating around the room while singing an off-color version of the lyrics and tossing green and red glitter. His current position had him directly over Snape’s head; glitter twinkling merrily as it settled in Snape’s hair.
Harry wanted to laugh; the need so strong he could barely contain himself. The only thing keeping his laughter in check was the retribution Snape would surely rain down on him if he let it out.
He did, however, snort at Snape’s wince when the Grey Lady started her solo.
“We are not daily beggars that beg from door to door…”
Harry had spent many a night listening to WWN at the Weasley’s and the Grey Lady, try as she might, was no Celestina Warbeck. She wasn’t even good enough to be compared to Celestina’s cat when someone stepped on its tail.
Still, she sang on. The other ghosts joining her for the chorus.
Peeves, glitter still in hand, seemed to realize that Snape was the only person in the room unamused by his antics. As such, he’d taken it upon himself to float beside Snape’s cup with his head tucked between his legs. His beady little eyes focused on Snape as he blew raspberries and made fart sounds in time with the song. Harry had to admire Peeves. There weren’t many beings that he could think of that were willing to get in Snape’s face and make fart sounds with their mouths. Granted, Peeves had known Snape since he was a boy. That probably factored into the poltergeists willingness to mess with the man.
Even with glitter in his hair and Peeves floating beside him making rude sounds, Snape kept his composure. Probably Snape would have held it together for the entire song if Flitwick and Hagrid hadn’t joined in.
“And the better we shall sing! Love and joy come to you, and to you our wassail, t-.”
“For fuck's sake!” Snape roared as he leaped to his feet, his cup skittering out of the way as turned to face the caroling ghosts.
Peeves, ever in favor of self-preservation, flipped out of the way and settled near the ceiling behind the Bloody Baron.
“This is the Staff Lounge. People come here for peace and quiet, not to listen to your bloody racket!”
Harry couldn’t help it. Try as he might, he couldn’t keep his laughter in. The situation was just too much.
At the sound of his laughter, Snape turned to look at Harry. His eyes narrowed and his mouth set in a cruel line. Somehow, the look on his face combined with the sound of the ghosts and teachers still singing - Hagrid and Flitwick having been joined by Trelawney and two of the paintings - took the entire ridiculous situation up a notch. Soon Harry wasn’t the only one laughing. Around them, other teachers started to snort and giggle.
Snape’s nostrils flared and a tear ran down Harry’s cheek. The singing. The rage. The glitter. He couldn’t help himself. It was too much. No sane person could be faced with all that nonsense and maintain their composure.
Less than a moment later Snape made his exit.
The sound of one student’s confused “is that glitter” could be heard as the door shut, and Harry knew he’d never hear Here We Come A-Wassailing again without laughing.
Chapter 3: Day 03 - Naughty or Nice
Candy canes and flirting.
“They only asked because they knew we wanted the pitch in the morning!”
“I’m sorry, Miss Gladstone. They got to me first. Perhaps next time you should ask me first thing instead of waiting all day.”
Chelsi Clark - a Gryffindor third year who reminded Harry of Lavender Brown - stomped her foot, “That’s not fair, Mister Potter! They-.”
“Miss Clark,” Harry let his slight irritation bleed into his voice, “I don’t know who told you life was fair, but they lied to you. Life isn’t fair. Next time come to me first thing and maybe you’ll get the pitch when you want it. Now, if you’ll excuse me.”
Harry closed the door to the Staff Lounge before making his way to the chair he thought of as his own. Overstuffed and slightly threadbare, it sat across the fireplace from Severus’ preferred spot. Harry would have claimed the chair even if it wasn’t comfortable because it afforded him ample opportunity to Snape Watch, something that had become his favorite non-work activity in his time back at Hogwarts.
“You ought to be careful, Potter. People will start to think we’re spending time together.”
Harry knew that he wasn’t going to get a better chance than that to put himself out there. Gathering his courage he met Severus’ eyes and smiled softly.
“I’d like it if we spent more time together.”
Normally he was shit at that sort of thing. Flirting tended to be beyond him. But Severus was smart and Harry had faith that he’d be able to grasp what was going on.
“If I didn’t know better I might think you were flirting, Potter,” Severus said, his voice almost teasing as he looked at Harry over the top of the most recent edition of Potions Quarterly.
Emboldened by his flirting not being completely rebuffed, Harry adjusted his tone so it matched Severus.
“How do you know I’m not flirting, Severus?”
That was new too. First the flirting and now the use of Severus’ given name. Harry was on fire.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how Harry decided to look at it, Severus was well equipped to deal with fire. Setting his book down, Severus turned in his chair so that he was facing Harry head on.
“Because nice boys don’t flirt with dark wizards. They marry nice girls and settle down to have sweet little families out in the country. If ever there was a nice boy, Harry, you’re him.”
“I’m not always nice,” Harry said as he plucked a candy cane from the tree nearest his chair.
Harry peeled the wrapper off and brought the candy cane to his mouth. Slowly, so as not to be misunderstood; Harry met Severus’ eyes and licked up the side of the candy cane before wrapping his lips around the end. They both knew what he was imitating, and if the spark of...something in Severus' eyes was anything to go by, Harry had made a crack in his armor.
Pulling the candy from his mouth, Harry smiled slowly, “Indeed.”
Chapter 4: Day 04 - Mince Pies
Mince pies are totally better than flowers.
Madam Puddifoot’s is, in a word, excessive.
Too warm, overly stuffed with people and tchotchkes, and violently pink it left Harry feeling like he was trapped inside Victoire’s Enchanted Dream House. He’d promised himself after his one disastrous date with Cho Chang that he’d never set foot in Madam Puddifoot’s again. It wasn’t his first broken promise to himself and Harry knew it wouldn’t be his last.
Madam Puddifoot’s, ghastly as it was, was a necessary evil for Harry. According to Hagrid, it had the best mince pies in all the whole of the Wizarding world. According to Winky, Severus loved mince pies and had the kitchen make them for him throughout the year.
Harry hated Puddifoot’s, but he liked Severus and he wanted Severus to like him back. If there was anything Harry had learned from Molly Weasley it was that good food was the way to a man’s heart. And that, in a nutshell, was what he wanted from Severus.
He’d owled the night before with his order and had been reassured that he could pick it up during his trip to Hogsmeade with the students. Being a chaperone might not be the most glamorous gig but there were some perks.
The small cafe was full to the brim when he walked in. Teenagers filled the tables; younger students on group dates and older couples on their own holding hands. A few were brave enough to sneak a kiss or two while Harry stood at the counter waiting for his mince pies. If they’d been out on the street or even in The Three Broomsticks he’d have reminded them of Hogwarts’ rules for PDA. But they were in Madam Puddifoot’s. The place felt like Valentine’s Day all year long. Couples were almost required to get a bit fresh while there.
After a few minutes of waiting at the counter, Madam Puddifoot brought Harry his order.
“Baker’s dozen of mince pies for you, Harry dear. That’ll be two galleons.”
Hours later, Harry stood outside the door to Severus’ rooms. He wasn’t nervous. Of course, he wasn’t. He’d stood toe to toe Voldemort and lived to tell the tale. He’d ridden more than one angry dragon and faced down a werewolf and dementors. Knocking on a door was nothing compared to those things.
It still took him a full five minutes to muster up the courage to knock on the door though.
As soon as his knuckles rapped on the door it opened.
“Merlin’s sake, Potter. I thought you were going to grow old outside my door.”
Harry rolled his eyes, “it’s barely been five minutes.”
“Do you often skulk outside people’s doors for long periods of time?”
Harry sighed, of course, Severus had to make things difficult.
“No. I, erm. I got you something.”
Harry held up the powder pink box from Madam Puddifoot’s for Severus to see. Recognition lit Severus eyes as he looked from the box to Harry and back again.
“Mince pies? Yeah. I’d heard you like them and I wanted to, erm. Well. I wanted to do something nice for you.”
Harry held the box out to Severus and gave a hopeful smile.
“You wanted...Potter. Why?”
Severus’ face was a cool mask of nothingness and it made Harry nervous.
“Well. Because...” Harry smiled weakly and shrugged, “because I like you.”
Severus blinked, “You like me?”
Harry nodded, “Yeah. I was going to get you flowers but th-.”
“No. These...are better,” Severus touched the box as he spoke; his long fingers brushing along Harry’s.
“Yeah?” Harry asked, his voice hopeful.
Severus nodded once as his pinky stroked the back of Harry’s hand, “Yes.”
Chapter 5: Day 05 - Sweaters and Scarves
This was supposed to be about Harry 's scarf matching Severus' sweater because Molly Weasley - like the rest of us - ships these two idiots. But then I had a different idea.
Either way, a scarf is involved.
In his own defense, he’d shown up at The Three Broomsticks to have supper with Hermione. It wasn’t Harry’s fault that Severus was there with someone else while looking handsome in a sweater that just begged to be touched. It also wasn’t his fault that his scarf was a perfect match for the sweater - Molly Weasley had good taste in yarn - nor that Severus looked like he needed to be rescued.
If Hermione had been on time she might have stopped him. Lucky for Harry she wasn’t there yet and as such, no one was there to stop him from walking up to the table and interrupting whatever it was that Severus’ date was saying.
“Severus! There you are!” Harry pulled the scarf from around his neck and settled it around Severus’ as he spoke, “you left this in my rooms the other night.”
To his credit, Severus didn’t look surprised. He just nodded; the barest hint of a smile on his lips, and adjusted the scarf so it wasn’t resting on his hair.
“Severus?” The date looked at Harry with hungry recognition, “who is your friend?”
Severus lifted a brow and Harry grinned.
“William, this is Harry Potter. You may recognize the name. He was in papers quite a bit a few years back.”
“Defeated a Dark Lord. Nasty business, that.” Harry said, his voice light as he held out his hand.
William had the good grace to look slightly sheepish as he accepted Harry’s hand, “Of course. I’d heard you don’t like fanfare is all.”
“It’s alright,” Harry said with an easy smile as he pulled out a chair and sat down. “Tell me, how do you know our Severus?”
Harry’s hand covered Severus’ where it rested on the table, causing Severus’ eyes to narrow slightly and William to look uncomfortable.
“A mutual acquaintance connected us.”
“Are you a Potions Master as well?”
Before William could answer, the door opened and Hermione walked in.
“Oh! That’s my friend! William, it was lovely meeting you. Severus,” Harry leaned in and left a quick kiss on Severus’ cheek, “I’ll see you later.”
Getting to his feet, Harry made his way towards the door of The Three Broomsticks. He could feel Severus’ eyes on him as he grabbed Hermione by the arm and dragged her back out into the cold. Better to find somewhere else to eat, than to stick around and risk Severus killing them both for that little uninvited public display of affection. He’d have ample time to get even with Harry the next day anyway, as they’d both been “randomly selected” to be chaperones for the students’ Hogsmeade trip.
As he and Hermione made their way back to Hogwarts for supper Harry made a mental note to stop in Honeydukes to pick up some shortbread for Minerva as a Thank You for her help with the chaperone selection. It was always nice being the favorite former student of the Headmistress.
Chapter 6: Day 06 - Shiver
It's cold so Severus gives Harry back his scarf.
I forgot to post this yesterday! Sorry, y'all!
According to Hagrid’s commentary that morning at breakfast, it was the coldest day of the year. Harry didn’t doubt that for one second. The grass on the pitch was solid to the point where it wasn’t crunching under his feet. It was the kind of cold that stole your breath and made every bone in your body - including your teeth - ache.
Harry pulled his thick winter cloak tighter around himself and looked up at the Slytherin Quidditch team. Cold as it was on the ground he knew it was worse in the air. The wind had to be worse for them without anything acting as a buffer.
I don’t miss thatat all, Harry thought as a gust of wind hit him from behind.
The wind was the last straw. Steeling himself for the biting cold of the metal, Harry pulled his whistle out of his pocket and blew on it three times.
The students, to their credit, didn’t linger in the air. The cold so brutal that even the pull of Quidditch wasn’t enough to keep them on their brooms.
“Don’t worry about the balls, I’ll put them away. You lot get inside and get warm. Good hustle up there.”
Their hustle to get off the pitch and out of the cold was somehow more impressive than their hustle in the air.
Not long after the students had all but disappeared from sight, a shadow fell over Harry where he was crouched strapping the bludgers into their trunk.
“You left before I could say thank you.”
Harry didn’t look up to see who it was, he’d recognize that voice anywhere.
“You looked bored,” he said as he closed the trunk and got to his feet.
Turning around, he took Severus in. His cloak, though thicker than usual, was the same black as always. The only thing out of place with his appearance was the scarf around his neck. Black and charcoal, it was as soft as it was thick and Harry knew for a fact that it had a warming charm woven into it.
“I was, but that isn’t what I’m talking about.” Severus’ eyes were serious as he took the scarf from around his neck and looped it around Harry’s.
“You don’t have to thank me for the scarf.”
Severus stepped into Harry’s space, his hands still on the ends of the scarf, “I’m not.”
Before Harry could respond Severus’ lips pressed against his cheek.
Over in the blink of an eye, the kiss caused heat to pool in the pit of Harry’s stomach even as he shivered from the surprise of it. He’d walked away from The Three Broomsticks the day before thinking he’d crossed a line. If current situation was anything to go by - and he was certain that it was-, he’d been wrong.
Chapter 7: Day 07 - Santa
Severus isn't a fan of Santa hats.
“This is ridiculous. I won’t do it, Minerva.” Severus glared from his favorite chair, his arms crossed over his chest as he looked at the pile of Santa hats on the Staff Lounge coffee table.
Minerva continued talking as if Severus hadn’t spoken, “and each pair will man a booth in the Hogsmeade Christmas market.”
A few of the other teachers started to grumble; their mumbled irritation making it clear that they shared Severus’ opinion. Minerva kept right on speaking as if they hadn’t made any noise at all.
“The Market counsel recommends that each pairing sell something that reflects who they are or what they teach. The proceeds from the sales will all go to the Student Scholarship Fund. The pairings are as follows...”
Harry only listened long enough to hear who his partner would be. As soon as their names were out of Minera’s mouth, Harry was dragging his chair over to sit beside Severus’.
“So,” Harry said as he flopped down into his chair, “what do you think we should make?”
“Nothing,” Severus responded, agitation lacing his words, “because I won’t be participating.”
“Yes, you will, Severus,” Minerva dropped a Santa hat in Severus’ lap, “and you’ll wear that while doing so.”
It was her “listen to me or regret everything you have ever done with your life” tone. Harry was well versed in that tone.
As she moved to the next pairing Harry grabbed the hat out of Severus’ lap and tapped his wand against it.
“C’mon, Severus. It’ll be fun.” Holding up the Santa hat, Harry smiled, “now it’ll match everything else you own.”
Severus rolled his eyes but accepted the hat when Harry handed it to him. The newly black fabric shining in the light from the Christmas tree behind them.
Chapter 8: Day 08 - Eggnog
Harry and Severus are selling eggnog and cookies for the tuition fund.
“That’ll be eight Sickles and eleven Knuts,” Harry said with a cheerful smile, his bright red Santa hat perched on his head. “Here you go, Happy Christmas!”
“You’re too cheerful,” Severus murmured as he sprinkled freshly ground cinnamon into one of the cauldrons of eggnog in front of him.
“Oh, c’mon. It’s for the kids!” Harry punctuated his statement by finishing his third helping of nog, his stomach sloshing a bit as he turned his attention from Severus back to the queue in front of the booth, “Hagrid! Happy Christmas!”
It only took a few minutes to make it through the queue of people in front of the booth, half of whom were on queue to see the war heroes. As soon as everyone was gone Harry grabbed his mug and turned back to Severus and the cauldrons. Before he could ladle more into his cup, Severus grabbed his wrist.
“You’re cut off until the alcohol is out of your system. Eat a biscuit, it will soak some of that rum up.”
Harry frowned at more than his lack of more eggnog.
“You put rum in the batch for the kids?”
Severus lifted an eyebrow at Harry and gestured to the cauldrons in front of him, “what batch would that be?”
Harry pointed to the cauldron he’d just attempted to serve himself from. He’d assumed that because there were two cauldrons that one of them was non-alcoholic and said as much to Severus.
Severus sighed and shook his head, “The cauldron you’ve been drinking from has rum in it. This cauldron here has fire whiskey.”
Harry blinked at Severus, his mind wrapping itself around the fact that he’d just sold alcohol laced eggnog to a group of first years. If he had pearls he’d have clutched them.
“You let me sell fire whiskey eggnog to children?”
Severus picked up a seed of nutmeg and a microplane, “Don’t get your knickers in a twist, Potter. The booth's been charmed. If they try to come back for more they get distracted and forget what they were doing.”
Harry wasn’t appeased, “Does Minerva know about this?”
Severus looked up from the cauldron he’d been grating nutmeg into, “Of course. It was her idea.”
Chapter 9: Day 09 - Gingerbread
Flying gingerbread and G rated touching.
“I still can’t believe you. Who gives alcohol to kids?”
It had been two hours since Harry had learned about the rum and fire whiskey in the eggnog, but he couldn’t wrap his mind around it.
“Rosemerta. The Hogwarts house elves,” Severus plucked a gingerbread Quidditch player out of the air and broke off the head. “Molly Weasley.”
“Moll Weas-.” Harry’s voice was just this side of irate as he watched Severus pop the gingerbread head into his mouth, “she would never.”
Severus lifted a brow as he chewed, his expression making it clear that he thought Harry was an idiot. Harry was saved from Severus’ retort by a group of Hufflepuff and Slytherin Third years.
“Mr. Potter! Do you have Quidditch players with house colors?”
Harry nodded, “You bet I do! Do you want a full team or just a few players? I have ball sets too.”
After the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs, came a mother with two children. When the older child - a girl of about eight - informed Harry that she’d be playing for the Harpies one day just like Ginny Weasley, Harry told her that Ginny would be proud to know that and gave her and her sister each a free gingerbread Weasley sweater.
As soon as their mother had shepherded them off to another booth, Harry turned his attention back to Severus.
“Say what you want about Rosemerta; Molly would never give a kid booze.”
“Harry,” Severus sighed, his eyes tracking a chocolate snitch, “butterbeer is alcoholic.”
Harry snatched the snitch out of the air just as Severus was about to grab it, “oh, that's just...you know that’s not the same! Only house elves get drunk on butterbeer!”
Severus narrowed his eyes as Harry unwrapped the chocolate snitch and popped it into his mouth. That had been his treat. Unwilling to open another package of chocolates meant to be sold for charity, Severus picked up a gingerbread Gryffindor that looked suspiciously like Harry and bit it’s head off.
“I never said she got them drunk,” he said after he swallowed. “You came to that conclusion all on your own.”
“I did n-.”
“Imagine thinking so little of such a wonderful woman.” Severus’ eyes were bright with laughter as he bit the legs off the gingerbread Gryffindor, “and after she taught you to bake. Am I correct in assuming that this is her recipe?”
Harry let Severus change the subject, his ire over the rum and fire whiskey in the nog becoming a bit too much for him as well.
“Yes,” he didn’t bother to mention that the chocolates and charms were from her repertoire as well.
“You did a good job.” Severus’ words were soft and spoken from only a few inches behind Harry. He’d been doing that more - getting into Harry’s personal space - since the kiss out on the Quidditch pitch a few days prior. Harry wasn’t sure if he should make another move or wait on Severus. Either way, he liked wherever it was that their teasing conversations and increasing physical contact was headed.
Taking a chance, Harry leaned back until he was resting against Severus’ chest. Quickly, so as not to be thwarted, Harry plucked the remaining bit of the gingerbread Gryffindor from Severus’ fingers and took a bite.
As he chewed he tilted his head back so that it was resting on Severus' shoulder, “I know.”
Chapter 10: Day 10- Snow Day
I feel like we could call this a date but idk...
If someone had asked Harry to describe what he thought Severus’ rooms looked like he would have used words like “understated” and “masculine”. Which was why, upon entering said rooms, Harry was drawn up short.
He’d expected leather, wood, books, and a hint of cigar smoke. He’d expected any number of Victorian ‘studies’ that he’d seen in muggle films with Hermione and Luna. He certainly hadn’t expected the two plush couches snuggled close to a large stone fireplace or the Christmas tree done up in white fairy lights, popcorn, and cranberries.
“Do you plan to stand there staring all night or would you like to remove your shoes and have a seat?”
Severus didn’t look at Harry as he spoke. Instead, he busied himself making two cups of tea.
Harry, steadfastly ignoring how much he loved the sight of Severus Snape in stockinged feet and sweater with leather elbow patches, slipped his shoes off by the door before moving to settle on a couch. It wasn’t until he sat down that he noticed the window behind Severus’ tree. It looked out on the snow-covered hill that led down to Hagrid’s. Harry could just make out the dark shapes of the hut and the Forbidden Forest beyond it through the snow storm.
Harry was used to Hogwarts’ enchanted windows. His own rooms had a view of both the Quidditch pitch and a large oak down by the lake.
“The Forest tends to provide impressive seasonal views. Just last month I was treated to a lovely display of autumnal color.”
Harry didn’t ask who the man in front of him was and what he’d done with Severus Snape but it was a near thing. Instead, he accepted his tea and rested his feet on the coffee table between the couches. A few seconds later Severus settled beside him. They sat there, side by side, for a handful of minutes. Nothing but the sound of the fire, the sight of the falling snow outside, and the twinkling of Severus’ Christmas lights between them.
“Thank you for inviting me ‘round,” Harry’s voice was quiet as he leaned over and laid his head on Severus’ shoulder.
It was a small gesture, but it was also another step. They’d been touching one another more and more as they spent time together, but Harry’s head on Severus’ shoulder spoke to a level of intimacy that Severus might not be ready for. A moment went by, and then another, and Severus sat there without reacting. Each second that ticked by left Harry feeling more and more like he’d crossed a line.
Just as Harry moved to sit up, Severus’ arm settled around his shoulders. Harry couldn’t be completely sure, but he thought he felt a soft kiss press against the top of his head.
“You’re welcome, Harry. I’m glad to have you.”
Chapter 11: Day 11 - Ice Skating
There is zero dialog in this chapter.
On the list of things that Harry had imagined Severus doing, ice skating didn’t crack the top ten. Hell, it didn’t even make the list. And yet, there he was. Clear as day; skating on the rink that Flitwick had created in the third-floor Charms corridor. Harry still wasn’t sure what had possessed Flitwick to create the rink but whatever the reason, he was grateful.
Severus wasn’t classically handsome but on the ice, with the golden glow from the wall sconces shining in his hair, he made a striking picture. The well-fitting sweater Molly Weasley made for him only added to his appeal and Harry couldn’t help but want to join him. Instead of transfiguring his trainers into skates and stepping out onto the ice, Harry moved into the shadows cast by one of the Christmas trees surrounding the rink.
Watching Severus in the Staff Lounge was different from watching him skate. In the lounge he was surrounded by his colleagues; stiff even as he “relaxed”. On the ice, with only the moon shining through the window and a half dozen Christmas trees for company, he looked calm. Relaxed even.
Harry liked seeing him like that.
He liked seeing him gliding along the ice to some unknown song. He reminded Harry of the ice skaters that his Aunt Petunia liked to watch in the winter; her eyes shining with glee when they missed a landing or fumbled a jump. Harry’d loved it the few times she’d let him watch. The costumes, music, and tricks had drawn him in; the beauty of it all had taken his breath away.
Severus didn’t move to music. He wasn’t pulling off tricks or wearing something flashy, but as he glided across the ice he took Harry’s breath away too.
There was something there. Something in that dour man that drew Harry in and held his attention. Harry didn’t know what it was but he didn’t care. He liked liking Severus. He liked the feelings that he was developing for the other man. And he had no plans to give the feelings or the man up.
Chapter 12: Day 12 - Snowball Fight
One shouldn't throw snowballs at staff members. Unless said staff member is carrying the Dark Lord around under a turban. Then it's totally allowed.
“...don’t care that the snow was inside Miss Fleetwood. This is a hallway, not a muggle gymnasium. We do not throw snowballs indoors, and we most certainly do not throw them at staff...”
As Severus lectured a mixed group of second and third years, Harry bit back a grin. He couldn’t help but remember a time, over a decade prior, when two students had done just that. It had taken him a few years to realize the enormity of their prank, but as soon as he had he’d floo’d Fred and George and told them what he’d realized.
Despite his attempt to keep his grin in check, the corner of his mouth turned up and a small snicker escaped him. Severus, ever vigilant to shenanigating, stopped his tirade and turned his attention to Harry.
“What, exactly, do you find so amusing about this situation, Mr. Potter?”
It was two days before the winter break, Severus was looking particularly fetching in Harry’s black and grey scarf again, and the bit of red in Mary Fleetwood’s hair reminded him a bit of the twins. On their own, each thing would have caused Harry to go a bit easy on the students, but the three things combined had Harry feeling charitable.
“Do you remember Professor Quirrell?”
It was a question meant to distract and Harry didn’t even try to hide it. Of course, Severus remembered Professor Quirrell. Who wouldn’t, given the circumstances of the man’s...death?
When Severus lifted an eyebrow Harry turned his attention to the students.
“Professor Quirrell was my First Year Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He was very twitchy. That was probably a by-product of sharing his body with Voldemort.”
The students’ eyes seemed to bug out in unison, one girl - a third year Hufflepuff - mumbled ‘Merlin’s balls’ and Harry couldn’t help but grin.
“Exactly, Miss Mack,” Harry said before turning his attention back to Severus. “Do you remember all the snow we got that year?”
“Potter, is this going somewhere?”
Harry ignored Severus and turned back to the students, “We got a helluva lot of snow that year. Do you lot know Fred and George Weasley?”
The students nodded. Every child at the school had heard of Fred and George Weasley. Most of their products were on Filch’s banned list. Harry couldn’t be sure but he had a feeling that his friendship with Fred and George was cooler to the kids than his Savior status was. He was alright with that, all things considered.
“Well, back in my First Year they were still at Hogwarts. Professor Quirrell was their teacher too and they decided that the best way for him to get over his general case of nerves was to surprise attack him with snowballs.”
The students looked from Harry to Severus and back again. Severus had just been taking them to task for snowballs thrown at Staff members and here was Harry interrupting him to tell them a story about that very thing.
“They obviously didn’t want to get into trouble, so they spelled the balls to hit him on their own.”
Two Ravenclaws grinned at each other and Harry couldn’t help but make a mental note to tell Fred and George that their hijinks were still appreciated by Hogwarts students.
“Thing of it is,” Harry looked at Severus out of the corner of his eye, not wanting to miss his reaction. “They didn’t spell the snowballs to hit him in his face. They spelled them so they hit him in that back of that manky old turban he wore.”
Severus’ reaction was everything Harry needed to give his story the last bit of flair it needed.
“Can any of you guess which part of his body Professor Quirrell shared with Voldemort?”
“That’s right, Miss Mack. The back of his h-.”
“How were they not killed in their beds?” Severus asked with a frown.
Harry made a “shoo” gesture with at the students as he turned back to Severus. Self-preservation being what it was, they scurried off without argument; all of them talking at once about how cool the Weasley’s were.
“He couldn’t see them and Quirrell didn’t know who cast the spell.”
Severus’ frown deepened, “Do they have any idea how lucky they were? How lucky they are?”
Harry nodded, “Yes. I’ve told them.”
“Good.” Severus said, a small smile forming at the corner of his mouth, “I’d have loved to have seen that.”
Harry smiled back and tapped his temple, “Maybe I’ll show you sometime.”
Chapter 13: Day 13 - Snowman
Severus? Do you wanna build a snowman?
Go away, Harry!
...that's not what happens. There is a snowman tho.
When Severus had cornered him outside his quarters asking to borrow a scarf, Harry had assumed it was because he wanted to wear it himself. Not that he’d loan it out to a First Year Slytherin who’d opted to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas.
“But, Professor. That’s a Gryffindor scarf!”
Harry shook his head with a smile. The students tended to be loyal to their houses. Charlotte Saylor was no different. A Gryffindor scarf on a Slytherin snowman? Yeah, no.
Instead of yelling ”beggars can’t be choosers” across the snow-filled courtyard, Harry made his way over to where Severus was helping Charlotte place buttons and a carrot on what Harry assumed was the snowman’s head.
“Perhaps we can borrow Mr. Potter’s scarf.”
Harry didn’t wait for Charlotte to ask for his scarf. He just pulled it from his neck and held it out for her, his eyes warm as he looked at Severus.
“I thought you already had?”
Neither Severus nor Charlotte responded to Harry. Instead, they turned their attention to the snowman they’d been working on. Charlotte didn’t waste much time getting the scarf around its neck. As soon as it was in place she stepped back to look at her and Severus’ handy work.
The snowman was lopsided and its nose had clearly been rescued from the previous night’s supper. But all in all, it wasn’t so bad. It brought memories of a few stress-free Christmas’ Harry’d had at the Burrow.
Charlotte, unencumbered by memories of her own, nodded once at the snowman before turning her attention to Severus.
Arms open wide, she flung herself at him. Small, even for a First Year, she barely came up to his chest. But Severus was slim and that made it so that her arms could wrap around him.
Severus, to Harry’s surprise, didn’t push her away. Instead, he patted her back before gently unwinding her arms.
“Now that you’ve completed your snowperson I think it best that you run along. I believe the house elves will have a snack ready for you in the common room. Go warm up, Ms. Saylor.”
“Yes, Sir!” Charlotte said with a smile before adopting a more neutral expression and turning to Harry, “Thank you for the scarf, Mr. Potter.”
“You old softy!” Harry was able to contain his teasing until Charlotte was out of earshot but only just barely.
Severus fiddled with the snowman’s scarf, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Harry rolled his eyes as he leaned in and pressed a kiss to Severus’ cheek.
“Of course not.”
Chapter 14: Day 14 - Fireplace
If one wants to do 'it' one must be mature enough to say the word and not call it 'it'.
I forgot to post this yestday. I suck.
Unlike Severus’ rooms, Harry’s suite didn’t reflect the festive nature of the season. He didn’t have a tree and there weren’t any sprigs of holly or evergreen boughs on the mantle above his fireplace. There was, however, a plate of cookies. A cast iron kettle hung in the fireplace, the water inside simmering away as Harry got out everything he needed to make himself and Severus some tea.
“It’s a funny thing, don’t you think?” Severus asked as he settled back on the sofa across from the fireplace.
Harry looked up from the ceramic teapot he was spooning leaves into, “What’s that?”
“Us.” Severus gestured around the cozy, though sparsely decorated room, “Your room is what I suspect people expect from me this time of year.”
“Would you believe I’ve never decorated before?”
Severus looked around the sitting room. With the exception of the plate of cookies and a few pictures on the mantle, there weren’t any personal touches in the room.
With a flick of his wand, Harry moved the steaming kettle from the fire to the sideboard where he’d been preparing the teapot. Pouring the water over the tea leaves, he shrugged.
“I haven’t really had to. I’ve spent the last few Christmas’ with the Weasleys. Before that, I was on the run. And before that -.”
“Before that, you were here.”
“Exactly,” Harry said as he settled beside Severus on the couch; the teapot, cups, and plate of cookies floating in the air in front of them. “We could do it, you know.”
Severus plucked his cup out of the air and pursed his lips, “if you’re too immature to use the word for it, then you are certainly too immature to do whatever it is.”
Harry took two cookies off the plate and handed one to Severus, “I mean we could decorate my sitting room together.”
“Oh, well. Yes. I suppose we could.”
Harry grabbed his own cup out of the air and brought it to his mouth before responding.
“We could do the other as well. Y’know, if you want to.”
Chapter 15: Day 15 - Christmas Tree
They decorate Harry's tree. That is not a euphemism.
“I thought you said you hadn’t decorated before.”
Harry didn’t need to look up from where he was squatting in front of his tree - a watering can in one hand and a vial of Ever-Green potion in the other - to know that Severus was scowling at him. “I haven’t.”
“Then what, pray tell, are these.”
Harry looked up from his task to find Severus holding up a clear box of muggle glass baubles.
“Hermione sent those ‘round after I floo’d her. She...oh! You brought decorations too!”
Harry hadn’t expected that. Perhaps he should have, knowing Severus as he did. The man was a fixer. Climbing to his feet Harry smiled softly, “There’ll be room for it all, I think. The tree is rather large.”
The tree, picked out by Hagrid with immense enthusiasm, stood over six feet tall and was so full Harry’d had to rearrange his furniture just to make room.
“Well, let’s not dither. My time is precious.”
In lieu of pointing out that there was very little to do over the holidays Harry picked up a glass ball from Severus’ box, “I’ll follow your lead. You’re practically a professional.”
Two hours later they stepped back from the tree.
“Can you do the charm for the lights you have on your tree? I know that white lights are more traditional but I like the way yours look like aurora borealis.”
A moment later soft green and purple lights began rippling along the tree’s branches.
To Harry’s delight, the charm wasn’t contained to his tree. The evergreen boughs they’d affixed to his mantle were soon awash with the slow-moving colors as well. The holly and ivy wrapped lantern Hermione had sent cast a festive golden hue over the whole affair and Harry was delighted by the sight.
Only one thing was missing.
“I forgot to get a stocking.” Harry said, fiddling with a sprig holly, “I’ll have to pick one up tomorrow.”
Severus picked up the box of muggle baubles Hermione had sent; only two remained. Both misshapen from Merlin knew how much time at the bottom of the pile, “Are you a wizard or not?”
Chapter 16: Day 16 - Stocking
With a flick of his wrist, Harry transfigured the first bauble into a stocking. It was a simple spell and somewhere in the back of his mind Harry was embarrassed that he’d forgotten that he could make stockings. Muggle habits die hard, after all.
“Here,” Harry handed he stocking to Severus. It still retained the dark blue of the bauble it had once been, but instead of plastic, it was now made out of a lush yarn. The stitching reminded Harry of the Fisherman’s Sweater Fleur had given Bill for Christmas the previous year. “Whadda you think?”
Severus ran his fingers over the stocking’s cable, “Not bad. Minerva would be proud.”
Taking that to mean he liked the stocking, Harry turned his attention back to the remaining bauble. In the blink of an eye, it turned from a misshapen green bauble to a stocking made of green, brown, and black tartan. A braided cord of green and gold wrapped itself around the top hem as Harry held it up for Severus to see.
“Now she’ll definitely be proud,” Harry said as he moved his fingers along the cord. It was, after all, her family’s tartan he’d chosen.
Severus looked at the stocking in Harry’s hand and frowned. Seeing his expression, Harry looked back down at the stocking, “damn, did I get colors wrong?”
“Why do you need two?” Severus said by way of an answer.
“Erm...well...one is yours?”
Severus just looked at Harry for a moment, his expression unreadable, before flicking his wand towards the mantle. Seconds later both stockings were affixed to it just below the lantern and Severus was holding out his hand.
“Come, let’s look at our work together.”
Harry didn’t need to be told twice. Moving quickly, he stepped in front of Severus and leaned back so they were cuddled close, back to chest. Severus’ arms wrapped around Harry’s waist just as the lights flickered off, leaving the two of them in the combined glow of the fire, the lantern on the mantle, and the tree’s aurora borealis lights.
They stayed like that, resting against one another in silence for a few minutes. Happy to be in one another’s company. It was as Harry was about to lift his wand to turn the lights back on that he felt Severus’ lips touch his neck.
Harry half heard and half felt the words thank you pressed into his flesh there and he couldn’t stop his happy sigh.
Even if nothing came of...whatever it was they were, Harry knew in his heart that the memory of that night would be one he cherished forever.
Chapter 17: Day 17 - GIft Wrapping
Harry has no idea what he is doing.
Severus looked at the gift sitting on Harry’s coffee table like it had rolled in dog mess.
“What is that?”
“It’s...erm. My Secret Santa gift?”
Severus lifted an eyebrow, “are you certain? You don’t sound certain.”
Harry sighed, he knew his gift looked terrible, but he’d tried his best, “Yes, Severus, I’m certain. I just not great with wrapping paper.”
Severus closed his eyes as if the sight of the poorly wrapped gift was painful to him.
“There are spells for this sort of thing.” Eyes narrowed, Severus crossed his arms over his chest, “I must admit, I am starting to find it unsettling that I have to keep reminding you that you’re a wizard.”
“I know there are spells for this, Severus! I’m shit at those too! Hermione usually helps me.”
“Ah. Miss Granger. Saving your narrow hide. Again.” Severus looked at the gift with a smirk before trailing his eyes over Harry’s body, “At least some things have changed since your days as a student.”
Harry was torn between being offended at Severus’ words and enjoying his lingering gaze.
The truth wasn’t all that far from what he’d said. Hermione had always stepped in to help him with Christmas. She usually helped him pick out gifts and always, always always wrapped them for him. Except her own, that was left to Ginny.
But she’d refused to help him wrap that year, claiming that he was “an adult” and as such “could do it himself”. Which was, in a word, rude. Because no, he couldn’t. And she knew it. He’d asked Ginny but she’s just laughed at him.
Clearly, Hermione had gotten to her first.
The only gift that was wrapped aside from his Secret Santa gift was the one he’d purchased for Arthur. And only then because the muggle store where he’d purchased the ballpoint pens had had free gift wrapping. The girl behind the counter had looked at him like was crazy when he asked her to wrap the box of pens, but he hadn’t cared. A nice wrap job was a nice wrap job. Period.
He was an accomplished wizard. He could do a lot of things other witches and wizards couldn’t. So what if he was shit at wrapping spells?
“You know that gift wrapping wasn’t exactly high on the list of spell priorities for most of my life, right? I had a Dark Lord to defeat and it wasn’t going to happen with gift paper and a bow.”
His tone wasn’t hurt, but it was close, and Severus picked up on it.
“Come now, Harry. I was teasing you. Here, give me the gift.” Severus held out his hand and waited.
Harry almost refused but his pride wasn’t strong enough when faced with potentially handing that poorly wrapped gift to Minerva. The mere idea of the look on her face when she saw it had him handing the gift over.
“Pay attention. It’s all in the wrist.” Severus wiggled his wrist, his wand moving in a perfect square, “Convelo.”
The wrapping paper unwrapped itself, flattened out on the table, and then re-wrapped the gift. It was all over in less than 5 seconds but the end result was perfection.
“There, now you tr-. Where are you going?”
Harry stopped inside his bedroom doorway, “To get the rest of my gifts so you can help me with them.”
“Potter,” Severus hadn’t called him that in weeks, “No.”
“Aww, C'mon, Sev.” Harry said as he walked back into the room carrying a large cardboard box full of gifts, “You’re so much better at it than I am!”
“I’m not wrapping your gifts,” Severus plucked a stuffed dragon out of the box, “and don’t call me Sev.”
Harry waved a tube of Father Christmas wrapping paper at Severus, “Please? Just this once?”
Severus snatched the paper from Harry’s hand and sat it on the table, “If I do it for you, you’ll never learn.”
Harry smiled slowly, his eyes alight with mischief and the promise of...something, “I’ll just have to keep you forever then, won’t I?”
Chapter 18: Day 18 - Winter Wonderland
I'm sory this is a day late. I had it written but I forgot. The holiday season is really good for that. Meh.
“I didn’t know you were a Celestina Warbeck fan, Severus.”
Harry rolled his eyes at Flitwick’s comment. The song coming over the WWN was Winter Wonderland. Even muggles knew that song. And that was exactly what Severus told Flitwick, his scowl somehow deeping with each word.
Despite his sour expression, Harry was certain Severus was enjoying himself. He’d made small talk with a few of his fellow teachers already and had even given Hagrid a small smile upon opening his Secret Santa gift.
All in all, it had been a pleasant evening and Harry wasn’t willing to let a teasing comment from a colleague ruin it.
“Severus,” Harry sat his Christmas punch down and grabbed Severus’ hand, “come dance with me.”
He thought Severus might resist, and for a moment he did. But then the song ended and smoky tones of Myron Wagtail came over the air.
“We’re the Weird Sisters and this is Magic Works.”
Maybe it was the song. Maybe it was because Professor Sprout was tugging Filch up to dance with her as well.
Either way, Severus let himself be pulled away from the wall and out into the section of the Staff Lounge that had been cleared for dancing.
As Myron sang to them, pleading for them not to let the magic of love die, Harry wrapped his arms around Severus' neck and smiled.
He didn’t want to jinx it by saying anything just yet but he had a feeling that he and Severus would never have to worry about losing that magic.
Chapter 19: Day 19 - Family
Severus meets the family
I'm behind...still truckin tho.
If Severus was nervous he didn’t let on. That, more than anything else Harry had ever witnessed from the man, proved how good of a spy he was. Harry knew that he’d have been nervous as a Third year touching a boob for the first time if he was spending Christmas Eve with his...boyfriend’s...family.
Granted, Severus knew the Weasleys. He'd known them as a teacher. He'd known them as a spy and a fellow Order member. He didn’t know them as Harry’s ...significant other.
Even if he wasn’t nervous, Harry was.
And that was why he knocked on the kitchen door for the first time in the entirety of his relationship with the Weasleys.
Molly looked slightly puzzled when she opened the door and saw Harry on the other side. Then her eyes touched Severus and she gave them both a soft, knowing smile before stepping aside.
“Harry, Severus, dears. Come inside before you catch your deaths!”
Harry knew what that smile meant. He’d seen it before a few times. Never aimed at him but then again, he’d never invited a ...partner home to meet the family before.
Shrugging off his coat, Harry listened to the voices coming from the sitting room. Squeals of high pitched laughter told him that Teddy and Victoire were already there. That means Charlie, Draco, Bill, and Fleur had already arrived as well. Before he could say anything to Severus about who was there, Draco walked into the kitchen.
“Molly, do you know where- oh, hello, Potter. Professor.”
Draco kept walking past them.
He took one.
Three steps before coming to a full stop and turning back to look at them.
“Mr. Malfoy,” Severus said over his shoulder as he hung his jacket on a peg beside the door.
“What...are you doing here?” Draco looked from Harry to Severus to Molly, his eyebrows raised in confused surprise.
Severus, having turned around, stood behind Harry and placed a hand on his shoulder, “I do believe I am standing in Molly and Arthur Weasley’s kitchen.”
Draco blinked, confusion written on his face, “Why?”
“Because he was invited,” Molly moved to stand between Draco and Harry and Severus. “What did you need, Draco-dear?
Whatever Draco said was drowned out by a high pitch war cry.
Seconds later two balls of energy disguised as humans - one blue, the other silvery-white - slammed into Harry’s knees.
“Uncle Harry,” the silver-white ball of energy that turned out to be a little girl shouted, “What did you bring me?”
“No!” The blue-haired boy that looked remarkably like Remus Lupin yelled as he elbowed the girl, “What did you bring me?”
Harry squatted down so that he was at eye level with the children, “Hello, Victoire. Hello, Teddy. Happy Christmas to you as well.”
“Uncle Harry!” The children whined together, causing Molly to frown and Draco and Harry to grin and share a look.
“Alright, alright. Close your eyes.” Harry waited for them to do as he bid before gesturing for Severus to kneel down beside him. When Severus did, his face making it clear that he was not thrilled with the turn of events, Harry told them to open their eyes.
“Who are you?”
“Where’s our present?”
Teddy and Victoire asked at the same time.
“This is Severus. He’s a Potions Master and a Professor at Hogwarts.”
“Just like you!” Victoire said with a giggle.
“A bit like me, yeah.” Harry smiled.
“But, Uncle Harry, you said you had our present.” Teddy’s voice was calm but it was clear that he was close to done with the lack of gifts, “Where’s it at?”
“Well, I thought you'd like a Potions Master for Christmas. Whadda you think?”
Victoire put her hands on her hips, her lips pursed as she contemplated the uses a five-year-old girl could have for a Potions Master. Teddy, on the other hand, was completely aware that he had no real use for a Potions Master and he said so.
“Professor Se...Serv...what is your name again?” Teddy’s hair went pink at the tips as a soft blush colored his cheeks.
Victoire reached out and grabbed Teddy’s hand, “Don’t be ‘barrassed, Teddy. I forgot too.”
Maybe it was their innocence. Perhaps it was his fond memories of another metamorphmagus he’d known. Probably it was because he was tired of kneeling down. Whatever the reason, Severus held out his hand to Teddy.
When Teddy grasped it Severus gave a firm shake, “I’m Severus.”
“H’lo, Sev’rus.” Teddy said, his voice shy before he turned his attention back to Harry, “Uncle Harry! Professors aren’t good presents for kids!”
Harry pursed his lips, “Are you sure?”
Victoire nodded, “yeah.”
“Well then, “ Harry pushed to his feet, “what will become of you now?”
Severus’ eyes were bright with humor as he stood up, but before he could respond Teddy clapped his hands.
“Oh! I know!”
“Do you now?” Severus asked, the barest hint of a smile touching his mouth.
“Mmhmm,” Teddy nodded, “Uncle Harry can keep you! He could probably use you in lots of ways.”
Behind Teddy and Victoire, Draco choked on whatever it was he’d pilfered while Harry and the kids had been talking.
“Is that true, Harry?” Severus asked, his eyes now alight with something other than humor, “can you use me in lots of ways?”
Before Harry could answer, Molly held out two gingerbread snowflakes, “Alright, my wee darlings. Come have a biscuit.”
Her tone was jolly but the look on her face made it clear to both Harry and Severus that their conversation was over. Neither of them was stupid enough to ignore her silent warning.
That didn’t mean that Harry couldn’t pick the conversation up when they were alone again. Though, as Teddy and Victoire brought their gingerbread snowflakes over for Severus to see, Harry had a feeling that conversation wouldn’t happen for a few more hours...at least.
Chapter 20: Day 20 - Ribbons and Bows
All children like to put gift bows in people's hair.
such a failboat...
“No! More yellow!”
“That’s not yellow, Teddy! It’s gold!” Victoire stamped her foot, her little hand pointed at one of the bows that were affixed to Severus’ hair with Spell-O-Tape.
“Itsa same thing!” Teddy yelled back, his hands balled into fists as his hair turned red with anger.
“If you two would be so kind as to hush.” Severus cut Victoire off, his voice soft but stern, “I believe I have a compromise.”
Teddy and Victoire turned their attention from each other - and the bows in their hands - to Severus. Sat on the floor between them with a pile of ribbon bows in his lap, he looked more relaxed than Harry had ever seen him.
“What’s compromise?” Teddy asked, his hand still clutching a rather large golden bow.
“A compromise is when you take a little something from both sides so everyone is happy.” Charlie supplied from his place by the fire.
“Like how I have tea with Aunt Cissy but don’t have to wear the fancy robes ‘cept for special days?”
“Exactly like that, Teddy.” Draco said with a smile as he settled on Charlie’s lap, “You’re very brig-.”
“As I was saying,” Severus interrupted. “You may each pick one more bow for me to wear, yes, Victoire, any color you want. I will wear them until it is time to go home. But if I do this the two of you have to cease your bickering. Do we have a deal?”
Teddy and Victoire looked at one another, their faces awash with emotion as they communicated through expressions only. A few seconds later they both turned to Severus and, just as he had upon meeting them, stuck out their hands.
Later, while Severus read a muggle story about Father Christmas and reindeer to the children, Harry spotted Molly sneaking a picture. When she noticed him watching her, she mouthed “memories” and winked.
Harry couldn’t help but smile into his forkful of pie at the concept. He liked the idea of his family building memories with Severus almost as much as he liked the idea of Severus becoming family.
Chapter 21: Day 21 - Silent Night
Relationship talk on a moonlit walk. Cause it rhymes.
I'm behind because I'm a fail boat.
Snow crunched under their feet as they walked the road from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts. It was cold, but the sky was clear and the waxing moon cast a silver light over everything. If the world around them couldn’t be described as a perfect Winter Wonderland, Harry wasn’t sure that anything could.
“Thank you for coming tonight.”
Harry wasn’t sure that Severus would come when he’d invited him. It was, after all, Christmas Eve with the Weasleys. Severus had never seemed overly fond of any of them, his sweater from Molly notwithstanding.
“Thank you for inviting me,” Severus’ voice held what might be a touch of nervousness as he turned his head to look at Harry. “I know that we’ve not discussed...us. But. Well…”
Severus’ voice trailed off and as they walked along the road it seemed like the very night around them held its breath alongside Harry as they waited for Severus to finish.
“Harry. You know I enjoy your company?”
Harry gave a small smile, “Yes.”
“Good then,” Severus said with a nod; his fingers lacing with Harry’s as they walked along the road to the castle. Nothing but the moon and snow to keep them company.
Chapter 22: Day 22 - Mistletoe
Also, frisky Hufflepuffs.
so close you guys.
The hall that led to Severus’ rooms - and the kitchen - was dimly lit and silent.
For a few seconds, Harry was almost convinced he was imagining things. But then the wet sucking sound happened again and he had to admit that it really was there and that it was growing louder with each step they took.
It wasn’t until they were nearly upon an alcove in the kitchen corridor that they saw the source of the sound.
Two legs, clad in a pair mary janes and yellow and black striped knee socks, stuck out into the corridor. The backend of a uniform issue grey skirt was visible as well and Harry was horrified to realize that student - his students - were doing that, in the corridor.
“One hundred points from Hufflepuff for each of you, Miss Lefferts and Mister Clark. Get back to your dorms. Separately.”
Watching the students scurry off - Clark doing up his zip as he “scurried” - Harry realized something.
“How did you know who it was?”
Severus frowned, “I’ve caught Miss Lefferts and Mister Clark in flagrante delicto on several occasions this past week; though they’ve not been so bold. They’re also the only Hufflepuffs currently here who have reached that level of...maturity.”
“But they’re Hufflepuffs!”
Severus smirked, “It’s always the quiet ones, Harry.”
Harry was about to reply when something caught his eye. Floating in the archway to the alcove was a sprig of mistletoe. A silver and red bow twinkled in the low light cast by a torch a bit down the corridor. It occurred to him, as he stood there with his...whatever Severus was, that they’d held hands, cuddled, and left kisses on each other’s cheeks but that was it. A couple of Sixth year Hufflepuffs were more intimate with one another in a hallway then he’d been with Severus in private. Harry knew there were a time and place for such things but right that moment he didn’t care.
“Looks like they were just trying to embrace the season,” Harry nodded at the mistletoe, his eyes locked with Severus. “How ‘bout it, Sev? Whaddaya say?”
Severus lifted an eyebrow at Harry and crossed his arms over his chest.
It wasn’t a no.
Harry stepped forward until he was in Severus’ space, his chest pressed against Severus’ arm. He had to go up on his toes, his height still no match for the other man’s, but that didn’t matter. Not when Severus was letting him cup his face and pull him in.
It was just a simple touch of lips. Skin on skin for a brief second, and then nothing. But still, Harry’s eyes had closed and his breath came a bit faster because he’d done it. He’d kissed Severus.
“You can do better than that,” Severus mumbled, his lips so close to Harry’s that they almost touched as he spoke.
A second later he was there again. His lips pressed against Harry’s. His hands threaded in Harry’s already messy hair. It lasted longer this time around. Was more than just a press of lips. There was tongue and gentle nips from crooked teeth along Harry’s bottom lip.
It was unexpected.
It was perfect.
It was happening in a corridor of the school where they both worked.
They seemed to remember their surroundings at the same time; the kiss ending abruptly.
“Come back to my rooms,” Severus commanded in a gentle voice as he flicked his wand at the mistletoe.
A second later it was bobbing along behind Severus as he made his way to his rooms. Knowing what was good for him, Harry followed suit.
Chapter 23: Day 23 - Boxing Day
Wizard crackers have dope hats.
They’d pulled all the crackers the night before at dinner yet, somehow, there were more waiting for them on the table for Boxing Day lunch. Harry’d already gotten a bowler hat and a pygmy puff - bright green and named The Right & Honorable Basil Theodosius Hootertooter III, Esquire. Toots for short - so when he pulled his cracked and a plastic Hen Night tiara fell out he knew exactly what to do with it.
“Here, put this on.”
Severus didn’t look up from his creamed turkey soup, “I will not.”
“Awe, c’mon. The kids’ll love it!”
Professor Sprout grinned at Severus’ glare, “Where’s your Christmas spirit?”
“I left it in my ro-.”
Harry didn’t waste any time waiting for Severus to finish talking. Quick as a flash he turned to the side and dropped the plastic tiara onto Severus’ head. As soon as it was on his hair the plastic combs at each end wove themselves into his hair in a very non-muggle fashion.
“I, for one, think you make a lovely Princess, Severus,” Minerva said primly, her eyes daring Severus to argue with her.
“Not a Princess, Minerva,” Harry said, his smile soft and his eyes warm as he looked at Severus. “A Prince.”
In full view of both the students and Staff at the table, Harry slipped his hand under Severus’ and laced their fingers together before bringing their joined hands to his mouth. Everyone, Severus included, seemed to hold their breath as Harry pressed his lips to the back of Severus’ hand.
He could hear the countdown on the wireless through Severus’ door. It was boisterous and loud and Harry hated that he wasn’t inside right that minute; counting down the seconds to the New Year with the man he cared for deeply.
He had a plan though. And it was important that he stick to the plan. Important for both of them in the coming year.
As the crowd in Hogsmeade - dutifully broadcast live for the whole of the wizarding world to hear - cheered in the New Year, Harry took a deep breath and lifted his hand. He knew Severus and knew that there was no way the man was going to listen to the broadcast after the clock struck midnight.
Sure enough, as soon as the cheers ended and Lee Jordan’s voice was back on air the radio was clicked off.
The time to hesitate was through.
With a half-breathed, half mumbled ”you can do this”, Harry knocked.
A moment later Severus opened the door. It was clear from his scowl that he was less than pleased to be receiving visitors so late.
“I thought you had plans,” Severus said by way of greeting.
“I do!” Harry held up the bag he’d brought with him, “First footing!”
Harry didn’t wait for Severus to respond, he just pushed his way through the door with an exaggerated step over the threshold.
As soon as he was in the center of the room Harry turned around and held out the bag, “This is for you.”
Severus gave Harry a skeptical look but took the bag. Once he was settled on the couch, Harry practically vibrating with excitement at his side, he reached into the bag and pulled out two coins. One golden galleon and one silver muggle coin.
“For prosperity in the coming year,” Harry supplied as he gestured for Severus to reach into the bag again. “There are five more things.”
“Alright,” Severus replied, his hand already back inside the bag. Seconds later he pulled out a small loaf of bread.
“To ensure that you have a full cupboard all year long.”
Severus nodded and reached back into the bag, this time withdrawing a muggle salt grinder.
“For a flavorful year.”
Severus lifted an eyebrow at that but reached into the bag again, this time coming back with a lump of coal.
“To promote physical and emotional warmth.”
Next came an evergreen bough.
“Ensures a long life.”
The last thing to come out of the bag was a bottle of whisky.
“For good cheer,” Harry said as he pressed his thigh against Severus'. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here to countdown the year with you. I just...it was important for me to be your first footer.”
Severus rolled his eyes, “Harry. You are the only person who visits me in my rooms regularly.”
Harry smiled at that, “Still. A dark man being your first footer ensures you’ll have luck all year long. It important to me that the coming year is good to you.”
Severus leaned in until his mouth nearly touching Harry's, “Why’s that, Harry?”
Harry pressed a soft but quick kiss to Severus’ mouth, “Because I plan to be with you all year. I’m hoping we’ll both get lucky this year.”
Severus smiled slowly against Harry’s mouth, “I can guarantee you that we’ll both be getting lucky.”
Chapter 25: Day 25 - Baby, It's Cold Outside
It's 234 words. That's all you get.
One Year Later
It was three in the morning. The tree glowed softly; ripples of purple and green light in the branches. A small sprig of mistletoe floated slowly around the room. On the mantle, a lump of coal, a half-full bottle of whisky, two coins - one silver and one gold -, and two stockings were lit by the same lantern that had decorated Harry’s rooms the year before.
Harry couldn’t help but smile softly at the room around him. It reflected the last year perfectly. From the half drunk bottle of scotch - sips shared with family and friends in happy times and sad - to the broom resting beside the door, it was a perfect reflection of their life together. Severus and Harry. No longer two separate people in the great wide world. They were together now. Making it work as they road a rock through space together.
“Potter, get your ass back in here. It’s cold out there.”
Harry couldn't help but grin at Severus’ sleep heavy words as he touched the small box he’d just dropped in the man’s stocking.
Another step. One more new thing for them. He wasn’t worried about Severus’ answer. He knew it was a yes. It was the whole long life they had to look forward to that stopped him short. They were free, whole, healthy, and loved. Anything was possible for them.
Harry couldn’t wait.