The End of It
The bedpost was mine! All mine! I was in my room, the glorious room that was already lit with candles that floated in the air, a room and a bed that was all mine. And best of all, the time was my own! I was in the wonderful present, and though I hated to admit it, I had never been so happy in my life.
"Never has Voldy done so much good!" I said, leaping out my bed and stepping out of my nightclothes and into my robes. I opened my drawers and cupboards, and they were all full with ingredients and items, exactly the same as I had left them. They had not been taken, stolen, or sold.
I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and was greeted by a foreign site. I was smiling. "I swear I am drunk!" I said, lifting my hand to my forehead and swiping my hair away from my eyes, the grin never leaving my lips. It was such an uncharacteristic façade that I stumbled away from the mirror in surprise.
Quickly, I ran to the Great Hall and was greeted by many stares and surprised looks. I quickly downplayed my smile into a smug smirk, which was not uncharacteristic to my personality. I was happy, but not so that I needed to show everyone just how happy I was.
I was about to ask what day it was when I noticed the decorations in the Hall: the Christmas trees, the garland, the colored candles, the holly, the mistletoe, the enchanted snow falling softly from the ceiling. I had no doubt that it was Christmas Day.
Feeling slightly enchanted myself, I walked over to the one table that ran down the middle of the hall, and each student and staff member gazed up from their breakfasts to glance at me.
"Good morning Potter, Weasley, Granger," I said without my usual growl as I took a seat besides Ms. Granger. She scooted closer to Weasley, almost ending up in his lap; which I don't think he would object to.
"Weasley," I continued, and he looked at me with horror and interest, his red hair framing his confused face. "I want you to take your two cronies and…go home."
"WHAT?" Ron shot from the table, his ears a flaming red and his face enraged. "You can't expel me! I didn't do anything! And neither did Harry or Her-"
"I am not expelling you, Mr. Weasley, I am simply sending you home for the rest of the Christmas Holiday. I know it was your choice to stay here with your friends, but you need to be with them. And you'll still have you friends with you. "
"But…but why?" the entire table, including my own Slytherin students and Dumbledore himself, were now staring at us with unfailing interest.
My face was beginning to redden. "If you want to spend the holiday with your family and your friends, I suggest you grasp this opportunity, Weasley. I am simply being kind, for a change. Oh, and Mr. Potter, forget about the potion for class."
They were all looking at me, mouths gaping open like stunned codfish. The three of them stood up, preparing to grab their things so they could spend the rest of their holiday at the Burrow.
"Oh, and Weasley…"
He turned back to me; disappointment racking his face as he figured that there must be some catch to this that he hadn't figured out. "Don't forget this, your mother will want a bigger bird than the one she has." I threw him two Galleons and he caught them swiftly, running his hands along the surface.
"Th-thank you, Mr. Snape, I really don't know what to say." Ron's face was almost as bright as his hair.
"Just go," I waved a dismissive hand. "The carriage will be here to take you home in five minutes."
They nodded and disappeared into the entry hall. Stuffing a piece of sausage into my mouth, I promptly noticed that I still held the attention of the entire school that had remained for the holidays.
"Professor Snape, what has gotten into you?" My heart leapt as I heard Minerva McGonagall, my dear little Minny, speak to me from the gap where Granger and Weasley had formerly hid her from my view. I scooted over to her and whispered, "Much, my dear. Much."
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled as I left the hall and rushed up to my room. I had things to get ready for.
I arrived at the Burrow at three that afternoon. It was already darkening, being the middle of winter, and clouds covered the stars and moon. The air smelled heavily of ice and snow. Drawing my robes closer around my body, I knocked on the ramshackle door. Through the thin walls, I could hear the voices inside.
"Who could that be on this day? And at this hour?" I heard Arthur come to the door and it creaked open; where the horrified face of my assistant greeted me. "Professor?"
"Weasley," I growled, my voice lowering into its unhappiest growl. "I hear laughing. Why do I hear laughing?"
The hue of his face was becoming the color of the red hair that remained on his balding head.
His eyes were wide and his mouth slack in terror. It was always nice to know that I struck fear in people's hearts, even if I didn't exactly want to. "B-because it is Christmas, sir."
"Indeed…is that my turkey I smell cooking?" I sniffed the air, which was warm with the scent of the cooking bird.
"Yes, I believe I gave your son some money to buy a big bird for your holiday feast. And I'm here to take it back, if so desired."
Arthur's face turned from terrified to confused. "Excuse me?"
I laughed, and Weasley took a hurried step back, struck dumb by the unusual sounds that were coming from me. Even to myself, the noise was foreign. "I'm here for dinner! Let me in, and with taking a bit of your bird, I'll give you a raise! How does that sound?"
"A raise, Professor Snape?"
"Scratch that, you're going to be my assistant professor."
He was speechless, and his children, including Ginny, ran into the entry hall to see who had come to their door.
"Are you telling the truth?" Arthur looked at me in amazement.
I nodded, and the entire family, including Potter and Granger, broken into congratulatory smiles.
I was better than my word. In the time that came Arthur received better wages than he had when he was with the Ministry, and became a respected assistant teacher throughout Hogwarts. Ginny did not die, and I helped find the disease which plagued her; she returned to a well enough state where she got her powers back and was able to return to Hogwarts once again. The students no longer hated me, but respected me. Although in speaking to me you might not notice a change, as I was reluctant to change my gruff tone that everyone had become so accustomed to over the years, the Ghosts had left a mark in my eyes.
I never again did see the Ghosts, and the Bloody Baron, who had once been the House Ghost of Hogwarts, faded from all memory. Though I never saw Moaning Myrtle again, she was the first thing I thought of when I heard of a flood the girls' lavatories. Hagrid, however, never mentioned anything about it, and went about life in his most unknowing matter. Through one night, and one by one, the bitterness left by double service in my heart was erased from all knowledge, and as Ginny Weasley observed in a voice that was stronger than she had ever before possessed, "God bless us, everyone!"
Happy Christmas, everyone!