Jacob and Hermione walked into the bookshop, and his bushy-haired friend was at home. She immediately went around, searching every shelf one by one. He just chuckled and looked at her as she searched. “Ooh, Terry might like this one,” she said, grabbing one book off the shelf. It was a dark book, with gold lettering on it though Jacob couldn’t see what it said from the angle he was standing at the moment.
He smiled over at her. “So, how are things going?” he asked.
She smiled back at him. “I decided to take your advice,” she said. “I do like him, and things are good. Maybe not magical or anything like that, but… we get along so well, and we have fun together. I’m enjoying it, and I decided that I should just stop thinking so much and just enjoy the fun for now. And I’m happy with that decision; things have been better on my side since I realized that.”
“I’m glad that things are going well,” he said. “You two looked very cozy after Draco and I parted.”
A light blush crossed Hermione’s cheeks, but she didn’t miss a beat as they continued looking through the shelves, heading over to the back of the shop, where some of the more expensive books were held. “And how about you and Draco?” she asked.
A blush crossed his cheeks. “Very well,” he said. He looked up and saw a brown book with silver writing on it, an Ancient Runes book. He grabbed the book, immediately thinking of it for Severus. He had seen books on various subjects in both his rooms and at the house. There were more Potions and Defense books than anything else, but he had seen a few Ancient Runes books. Not this one, so he figured it was something that he might like. “I really like him. I mean, I know we’ve only been dating a few weeks, but… yeah. Besides, Draco has been pretty good to me.”
Hermione smiled at him, grabbing another book off the shelf. “I’m glad to hear it.”
Suddenly, a voice came from behind them, an angry but familiar voice. “Slimy Slytherin git!” Jacob and Hermione turned around. Ron was standing right behind them, glaring at Jacob specifically. It was as if Hermione wasn’t even there. “It’s all your fault!”
“What?” Jacob said, and he felt Hermione’s soft hand on his arm, trying to hold him back but he shrugged her off. “And what, exactly, is my fault? Cause from where I'm standing, it seems like everything is your fault. You’re the one who started a fight with me and got yourself banned from Quidditch for life . I didn’t do a fucking thing! That was all you!”
“The fuck it was!” Ron yelled. “You fucking cheated!” Jacob was furious because Ron of all people knew that wasn’t bloody true. He was a damn good flier! It wasn’t his fault that all of this had happened, forcing him to switch houses with a new identity. “I know you did! And you took Hermione from me!”
“That makes no sense at all!” Jacob yelled back, his hands in fists at his sides to stop him from pummelling or hexing the redhead.
“Ron, Jacob, please…” Hermione pleaded. “Stop it, both of you. This is ridiculous…” Neither one of them really seemed to hear her, though. Jacob was too angry at Ron, and it seemed that Ron felt the same way.
The redhead barrelled on as if Hermione hadn’t spoken at all. “We were friends until you came along!” Ron said, and Jacob noticed that his hands were in fists, too. “I would be on the Quidditch team now if it wasn’t for you!”
Jacob hoped that the redhead tried something. He wanted an excuse, and he would not back down. “It’s not my fault that she wised up! That’s yours! It’s also not my fault that you got angry and pissed off Umbridge. That’s yours. Own up to your fucking mistakes!”
Ron opened his mouth to respond, but at the moment, the shop worker came over. “What is going on here?” he said, hands crossed over his chest. “I won’t have any of this. Out! Both of you! You can leave that book here.” He took the book that Jacob had picked out for his father and kicked both of them out of the store without another word.
“Look what you did! That was my dad’s! Now I don’t know what I’ll do,” Jacob said. “Thanks a fucking lot.” He had also missed out on an opportunity to look for something for Draco. Fuck, Ron was such an idiot. “Go back and snog your girlfriend, and get the bloody hell away from me!” Ron opened up his mouth to say something, but at the near murderous glare on Jacob’s face, he just settled for glaring and walked off.
Jacob fumed outside until Hermione came out a few minutes later. “I bought that book for you,” she said. She grabbed the brown Ancient Runes book that he had picked out for Severus.
He let out a sigh of relief as he took the book from her. “Thank you so much,” he said. “I really appreciate it.” He immediately got out the bag of money he had brought with him and paid her back for the book as it hadn’t been cheap.
“It wouldn’t be necessary if you hadn’t let Ron egg you into an argument,” she said, giving him that “you know I’m right” look.
Jacob nodded, immediately feeling rather stupid for letting Ron bait him, but… Damn it, what else was he supposed to do? “He’s just so infuriating,” he decided on saying, clutching the book close to his chest. “He blames us for him being an idiot when it’s really all his fault. I have nothing to do with it.” It was Ron’s fault that they weren’t friends anymore, and it had all started last year when Ron had abandoned him due to his jealousy. Jacob should have taken that as a clue, yet he had given the redhead a second chance. He had blown it.
“He actually seemed to have changed,” Hermione said with a shrug. “He seemed… regretful when we talked during our Prefect rounds. I guess not, though. I never know what to think about him anymore. I mean, he and I have to communicate since we’re Prefects, and all of our duties are done together. Sometimes he seems fine, and it’s almost like old times. I mention you or Draco and he gets all angry, and then things go off the deep end, so to speak.”
Jacob didn’t know what to think either. “By the way, when did he start dating Lavender Brown?”
Hermione shrugged her shoulders again. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “One day he acted like she didn’t exist, the next day, they’re horizontal on the couch. I think that he thinks it’ll make me jealous, as he asked what I thought after I first saw them snogging. The joke’s on him, though, because I like Terry and I couldn’t care less what Ron does.” She rolled her eyes. “Anyway, let’s stop talking about him.” They changed the subject, talking about… well, everything but Ron. It ended up being a decent afternoon before they met up with Draco and Terry and headed back to Hogwarts.
“I still don’t know what to get Draco,” Jacob said to his father the next afternoon as they were playing chess. They had had lunch together again before playing a game of chess and switching to Occlumency. He didn’t think he was getting any better at it, but Severus said that he was making progress. After that, they had gone back to chess. “I was going to see if I could find a Potions book or something at Tomes and Scrolls, but Ron got us kicked out.” He hadn’t mentioned to Severus that he’d found something for him there because that would spoil the surprise.
“I’m sure you’ll think of something,” Severus said. “If you’re interested in getting him a Potions book, perhaps I could help you out with that.” Jacob raised a questioning eyebrow at his father, wondering how his father could help short of giving him one of his potions books. “If you see something on my shelves that you think he might like, just let me know and I can get it. I have some… rather rare Potions books and I know the best places to get them.”
Jacob hadn’t thought about that at all. He reminded himself to look through them before he left so that he could pick one out and so it would have time to get here before Christmas. He hoped his father liked the book he had gotten him. It was a bit nerve-wracking because he’d never worried about it before. Hermione was always relatively easy to shop for, though he would need help getting her something now since he had been kicked out of Tomes and Scrolls before he had been able to buy her something. He wasn’t worried about her, and honestly… that was it for him this year. No need to buy Ron or Fred and George anything. This year, that was it, just his father, his best friend, and his boyfriend.
Now, it would be even better if they could go home for their first Christmas together. However, as Severus was the Head of Slytherin House, Jacob knew without asking that wasn't going to happen. That was okay. Maybe it was better if this wasn’t a big deal. They were both still learning how all of this was supposed to go. Yeah, it was better this way.
The weeks were always never-ending as far as Severus was concerned. It was always one class after another, followed by grading essays and potions, most of which looked like they were done by imbeciles. Aside from the few gifted students in each year, most were done with very little intelligence. For instance, Draco was by far the best student among the fifth years. Granger’s potions skills were very good, though the tangents in her essays grated on his nerves with all of the unnecessary information that she felt were pertinent. Marcus Truchet, who was a year below, was also quite gifted. His NEWT’s classes were, of course, the less agonizing of his classes, though even there he had issues occasionally.
By Saturday, Severus was ready for a drink. Aurora was coming over again. This had been the third time so far this year, and while that was more than they usually saw each other in the first half of the year, the Potions Master found that he was not complaining. Her company was enjoyable, and it broke up the monotony of his month when he got to share a drink with a friend without the feeling that said friend or colleague wanted something from him. All she ever seemed to want was his occasional company, as strange as a notion as this was to him.
Severus sat down heavily in his chair. He’d had two detentions today, in addition to all of the grading that he had to do. It had been a long day. He poured himself a glass of brandy, but knowing that Aurora wasn’t a fan, he poured her a glass of wine he had kept around just in case. Right on cue, there was a knock on the door. He called for her to enter, before waving a hand to open the door.
“Evening, Severus,” she said before taking her seat in the next armchair and taking a sip of her wine. “Felt like something a bit stronger tonight?” She gave a smirk over the lip of her glass.
Severus rolled his eyes at her. “Let’s just say that I had a long day,” he said.
“Students getting on your nerves again?”
“Always,” he said. “Teenagers are morons, to put it mildly.”
Aurora just laughed. “Most are at that age,” she said as she sipped on her wine. “And we were all teenagers at one point or another.”
Severus did not dignify that with a response. At least when it came to his subject, most people did not understand. He knew Aurora agreed. Her NEWT’s classes were not much larger than his, and that wasn’t necessarily because people didn’t make the grade, but because they didn’t care enough about her subject to continue. At least that was not his problem. If people managed to make an O in Potions, they usually wanted to continue. Those who didn’t usually didn’t deserve it anyway. He knew that sometimes, people who wanted to go on didn’t make the grade, but to him, that meant only one thing - they were not up to par, and thus, undeserving.
“So, what are you and your boy doing for Christmas this year?” she asked after a slight pause.
“Here, obviously,” Severus said with a groan. Why ask such a foolish question?
“You don’t sound too thrilled about that,” Aurora replied.
“Well, it is… less than ideal for our first Christmas together,” he said. “I am sure that he would prefer something a bit more special, but as I cannot leave due to my Head of House duties, we will have to make due.” He had no idea what Jacob would want. It seemed a bit ridiculous to ask when there was nothing he could do about it. Jacob had nowhere else to go, and he was forced to stay here during the Christmas and Easter holidays.
Aurora gave a chuckle before taking a sip of her wine. “Severus, if you wanted to go home for the holidays, all you had to do was ask,” he said. He looked over at her, and while his face was impassive, he was anything but. Why would she suggest such a thing? “We are friends, yes? You want to spend your first Christmas with your son away from Hogwarts. I am the only other Slytherin teacher on staff. I am more than willing to take over your Head of House duties for a short while, if you are willing.”
“It is not necessary,” Severus said quickly. He immediately felt a bit uncomfortable at the gesture she was making, albeit a simple one. “You do not have to-”
“I offered,” she said, matter-of-factly. “Take it or leave it.”
“I will speak to him, but I do believe that he will enjoy that,” he said. He paused for a moment before forcing out the words, “Thank you.” She simply nodded as she took another sip of her wine. It was not that he wasn’t actually thankful. He was, and while the holiday was not a big deal to him, he was sure that it would be to Jacob. Nonetheless, he was not used to such gestures from anyone.
Due to the holidays getting closer, Severus put off more memory and Occlumency lessons for the time being, though Jacob was warned to keep up his mental exercises. His father had also put off their Saturday morning lessons with Hermione. Hermione was grateful because she wanted to study more, and they had their last DA meeting of the year, too. After everyone had left, she had told him that she wanted to try some sparring when the year started up again after they went through a few more spells. Jacob praised her idea, and she beamed at him before they left the Room of Requirement.
Sometime that week, Severus came around to get the names of those who were going to be staying over for Christmas this year. Jacob wasn’t worried about it. He stayed at Hogwarts every year, and could do so once more. Most of the year was choosing to go home, aside from Crabbe, Goyle, Tracey and Elizabeth. Even Marcus and Salenia were returning home. Draco was going home to his parents. Jacob was disappointed. He would be sending his gift, then. The blond typically always stuck around for the holidays, and they had spent every day together since school started, and he would be away from him for two weeks.
You’ll live , he thought to himself as he felt Draco’s arm tighten around his shoulders a bit. The very gesture was comforting. “I’ll write to you every day,” he said. On the upside, he had his father, and Hermione was staying behind the last time he checked. He would miss Draco, though.
Jacob smiled up at him, almost subconsciously leaning into him a bit. “I’ll be fine. My dad’s Head of House. I expected this,” he said. “I guess I just expected you to stay.” He loved the feeling of the blond’s arm around him, though. It didn’t take away the fact that they would spend their first Christmas together apart.
“I would, but I told you, my parents insisted.” Draco looked disappointed, too, and Jacob knew that his boyfriend wouldn’t be staying with him here at Hogwarts. He knew better than to ask Draco to tell his parents that he was insisting on staying because the blond would never go for it. “I’ll make it up to you before we leave and after I get back,” he said, lowering his voice so their friends sitting around them couldn’t hear.
“Mmm, good, you better,” he said, his eyes going straight for Draco’s lips. God, he wanted to kiss him, and he almost didn’t give a damn that there was a common room full of people around them - people that included his father, who was still going around and asking about being staying for the holidays or not.
“Get a room, you two,” Blaise said with a roll of his eyes from a nearby chair.
Draco levelled his friend with a glare before Tracey spoke up, saying that she thought the two of them were sweet and that it was romantic. That sent blushes to both Jacob and Draco’s cheeks. All further comments from anyone were cut off when his father appeared around the couches and chairs that they had all been sitting in. “Come here, I wish to speak to you.”
“Er, okay,” Jacob said, reluctantly removing himself from Draco’s embrace. He wasn’t sure what his father wanted to talk about because he hadn’t done anything wrong so far as he knew. It wasn’t as if he and Draco had been doing anything either, just snuggling a bit that’s all. As they walked a bit away from the other students so that they couldn’t be overheard, Jacob noticed that they were getting some stares. “Is everything okay, Dad?”
“Yes, I was actually meaning to ask you something,” he said. “I neglected to mention it this Sunday.” They had spent the afternoon together on Sunday as usual, having lunch and then playing chess for the rest of the afternoon. “If you wish, we can go home for Christmas.”
“We can?” Jacob couldn’t help it, but he had gotten excited at that. Secretly, though he hadn’t mentioned it to Severus, he had wanted to go home for Christmas - a proper Christmas. He had never had one before. The Weasleys always would have included him, of course, but he had stayed at Hogwarts with Ron and Hermione. Besides, that was hardly the same thing as spending Christmas at home with your family . Of course, then reality came crashing down around him. “Wait, how? You’re Head of House.”
“Professor Sinistra has kindly volunteered to take over my duties as Head of Slytherin House during the Holidays, if you wish,” Severus said, and he seemed as if he was expecting Jacob to say no, that he wanted to stay behind like always. “If not, that is perfectly acceptable.”
Jacob knew he was grinning, he couldn’t help it. “No, I want to,” he said. “I just didn’t think it was possible. Thank her for me, please.” He was grateful, but he felt it would be awkward to thank her for this after class, so he figured it would be acceptable to ask his father to do it for him instead.
“I will do that next time I see her,” Severus said, and he seemed to have relaxed a bit. Jacob wondered if he had been a bit worried about his answer. At first, it seemed a bit odd, but upon second thought, it wasn’t odd at all. They were both rather new to this whole thing. After that, Jacob went back to his friends as Severus left.
Jacob went back to his spot next to Draco, who immediately snuggled into his side, wrapping an arm around him and drawing him closer. “So, what did the Professor want?” All their friends seemed to lean in a bit closer, hoping to catch a bit of gossip. “Are you in trouble again?”
“Of course not,” he said, rolling his eyes. Just because he had gotten in trouble once . All things considered, that was a pretty good year so far. “He just wanted to ask me if I wanted to go home for Christmas.” That earned some shocked look from… well, pretty much everyone, actually. “Professor Sinistra is going to be taking over as Head of House, just for the holidays though until my father gets back to school. You didn’t hear that from me, though.”
“That’s awfully nice of her,” Pansy said. “I wonder why she agreed to do that.”
“Some people enjoy doing nice things for people, Pans,” Draco said, earning him a roll of her eyes from Pansy. Draco just ignored her and turned back to Jacob. “Maybe you can come over to the manor for Christmas, at the very least I can give you your present in person now. I do plan on seeing you during the break. Don’t think you’re going to get out of that.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Jacob said. This was much better. Perhaps this would turn out to be a good Christmas, after all. He went from spending Christmas without his boyfriend at Hogwarts, to spending Christmas at home with his father with the promise of seeing his boyfriend. Of course, Hermione was staying behind as far as he knew, but he would take what he could get. Christmas was certainly looking up.