Title: Warm Hugs
Rating: M (language)
Disclaimer: Not Mine
A/N: Every year, around October, Rickmanlover24601 and I give each other an HGSS prompt, then write each other a story for Christmas. This year, she decided that her prompt would be Snape meeting Olaf (from Disney's Frozen). Yeah, so I made it happen. If you have managed to get through 2014 WITHOUT seeing Frozen, this story will not make much sense. I also threw in a Starkid reference, but it's subtle enough that you'd probably only catch it if you go and watch Act 1, Scene 3 of A Very Potter Sequel right before reading this. And if you enjoy reading, please leave a review in my stocking!
It was days like this that made Severus Snape wonder what the hell he was doing with his life. Here it was, 18 years after the defeat of the Dark Lord, and where was he? Was he off traveling the world? Was he running his own Potions company, a job befitting the Mastery he'd worked so hard to earn?
He was at Hogwarts, dealing with yet another group of miscreants, trying to convince them that the world wouldn't come to an absolute end if they actually followed the instructions up on the board.
His head dropped forward as he massaged his temples. And why?
A patronus bounded into his room, interrupting his musing.
"Hello Severus… I just wanted to make sure you were still up for tea and a game of chess this evening? I know things get a bit hectic towards the end of term, so I'd understand if you wanted to postpone. If I don't hear anything, I'll assume we're still on. See you at dinner, and try not to hex the First-Year Gryffindors next period… they were a bit feisty in Transfiguration this morning!"
The silvery otter seemed almost to smirk at him before dissolving.
Why was he still at Hogwarts? Because he was a bloody moron.
'Feisty' wasn't exactly the term he would have chosen to describe the First Year Gryffindors that were sharing the current class with the First Year Slytherins.
More like 'bloody blundering fuckwits intent on their own demise'.
And the biggest dunderhead of them all?
Because his life wasn't miserable enough, there was once more a Potter in his life. Gryffindor, as if that had been a surprise at the Sorting Ceremony. What had been a surprise, though, was how completely atrocious the boy was at Potions. Actually, at just about everything, if the Staff Room discussions were to be believed. As much as he'd despised the James Potter he grew up with, as much as he'd despised Harry, neither of them were complete idiots, and had received passable marks during their Hogwarts tenure.
James Sirius Potter, however, was another story.
It wasn't that he was overly egotistical, which Severus had half-feared when he'd first arrived at school. He was the son of Harry Potter, the Chosen One and Savior of the Wizarding World, after all… it was almost expected that the lad be a bit full of himself. To the contrary, however… he was a rather quiet and shy lad, and while he was popular enough amongst the other Gryffindors, he kept mostly to himself. And it wasn't that he skivved off, either… several of the other professors admitted that he'd approached them for help outside of class.
Frankly, he was just… stupid.
And 'stupid', in a Potions classroom, was disastrous.
Today's disaster (for it was rare for Potter to make it through a class without one) resulted in an explosion that shook the castle a bit followed by the appearance of a rather impressive indoor blizzard, which stubbornly refused to be banished.
Fortunately no one was hurt, and he dismissed the class early with a sigh, instructing them to place stasis charms on their cauldrons before leaving so that they might resume brewing next class.
By the time they'd all filed out, the entire classroom was covered in a fine dusting of snow. Unacceptable. And since banishing the damn thing wasn't working, he'd just have to try to contain it. Theoretically, it would only last a few hours.
As he drew his wand, however, the classroom doors opened and Minerva swept into the room.
"Honestly, Severus, I thought the castle was going to come down around my ears," she exclaimed, surveying the room. "What in Merlin's name happened?!"
"Potter," he replied with a sigh, and the Headmistress shot him a sympathetic look. "Aside from rattling the castle walls, I've got an indoor snowstorm that refuses to be banished. Might I enlist your aid in containing it to the far corner there? I suspect it will blow itself out no later than suppertime, this evening's curfew at the latest."
"Of course, m'boy… let's get this it out of the way. It's chilly enough down in your dungeons without bringing snow into the equation."
Between the two of them, they were able to box the blizzard into a corner of the classroom. With the smaller area, the snow piled up faster than before, and the classroom was still bloody cold, but at least he could sit at his desk and grade papers without snow landing on the parchment and smudging the ink.
To his dismay, it had not stopped by the time he left the room for dinner, nor had it even seemed to slow down all that much. In a fit of pique, he vanished the snow pile before stalking out of the room and up to the Great Hall.
The snowstorm was all anyone was talking about, since he'd had two classes after Potter's who had seen it.
The boy, at least, had the good grace to look miserable about it.
He finished his dinner quickly and returned to the dungeons; he wanted to get as much of his marking out of the way as possible before his appointment this evening.
The blizzard was still present, but he was pleased to note that it didn't seem to be quite as severe. The snowfall had slowed significantly (though there was still a lovely heap of it in the corner), and unless he was mistaken, the clouds themselves were a lighter shade of gray. Convinced that it was a good omen, he sat down to address the scrolls of twaddle the Second-Year Hufflepuffs had submitted in almost good spirits.
He'd been wading through one student's essay for nearly ten minutes when movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. Looking towards the blizzard, he first thought it was the swirling snow that drew his eye. Then the pile of snow on the floor shuddered.
It started shifting as he stood and drew his wand, approaching it warily.
Then it erupted.
And there, in the middle of the mound, stood a small snowman, perhaps waist-high. Blinking at him. And smiling.
"Hi, I'm Olaf!"
Before he could open his mouth, none other than Hermione Granger came storming into his room.
"Severus, honestly, I'd thought Minerva said you'd contained it! It's now snowing in four hallways and the Transfiguration classr…" She trailed off, taking in the strange scene before her… Severus Snape, scowling and holding an apparently sentient little snowman at wand-point.
"Oh look! A rock-troll!" the snowman exclaimed, pointing at her and bouncing excitedly. "Do you know Grand Pabbie?! Or Kristoff?! OOOHH…do you know Anna?!"
Hermione sighed. Why did she always end up involved in weirdness like this?
"I'm not a rock-troll, I'm a human girl," she patiently explained, ignoring the poorly stifled sniggering behind her. "My name is Hermione... who are you?"
The snowman grinned. "My name is Olaf, and I like warm hugs!" He looked over to Severus, who was now leaning against his desk watching the interaction with Crookshanks (who had trailed into the room after Hermione) at his elbow. Both the wizard and the half-Kneazle were eyeing Olaf suspiciously. "Who's the hairy one that looks like he's going to claw my face off?"
Hermione grinned. "That's Crookshanks."
"Uh-huh, and who's the cat?"
She blinked. "…Crookshanks."
Olaf looked confused. "Oh they're bo - oh! Okay. Makes things easier for me!"
Hermione looked at Snape. "Severus?"
He shrugged. "It emerged from a pile of snow the blizzard was dumping literally seconds before you entered. I frankly haven't the slightest idea what to tell you."
"Well, maybe he can help us." She turned back to the snowman. "Olaf, do you know what caused the storm?"
"And do you know why it keeps spreading?"
"Well… do you know how to make it stop?"
Severus, meanwhile, couldn't resist poking at the snowman with his wand… it really was a fascinating enchantment…
He was taken aback when Olaf reached over and snatched his wand. "Stop it Crookshanks. Try and focus here." He turned his attention back to Hermione. "Yeah… why?"
It took all of Hermione's self-control not to giggle at the expression on Severus's face. "Severus, Olaf… like I started to say when I came in… the storm is spreading through the castle at an increasing rate. If it continues, we'll have an indoor winter throughout the whole castle within an hour or two. And it's December, so it's not like it's warm outside. It won't be long before the students and staff will be at risk from exposure. Olaf, if you know what caused the storm, or how to make it stop, we need to act quickly."
Olaf nodded gravely. "The storm was born from magic mixed with feelings of fear and self-hatred. Negative, unhappy feelings that we all have, feelings that get even worse when we're scared. As more people feel that way, the storm gains power, and it just gets worse and worse."
"But then how do we make it stop? We can't just tell the students not to be afraid anymore."
"That's true," Olaf conceded. "Huh… you don't have any Rock Trolls nearby, do you? They're really good with this sort of thing."
"I'm afraid not," Hermione said.
"Well then… if this spell was anything like the last one we dealt with, you just need one act that's made up of the opposite feelings."
"Opposite… so that's what? Confidence and love?"
"True love," Olaf corrected with a happy sigh. "The most powerful force on Earth!"
Severus snorted. "We live in a castle of hormonal teenagers. Surely that won't be difficult to find."
Hermione, however, was frowning. "I wouldn't be so sure of that… love would be simple enough, I agree, but true love? There aren't many people who can claim that at such a young age."
"We've at least got to try," he countered. "Let's find Minerva and the rest of the staff and explain what's happening. I'd recommend we move the students to the Great Hall… we should be able to build up the fires there to provide some warmth for the students, and potentially stave off the snow for a period of time."
"Hooray!" Olaf exclaimed. "I love fires, and warmth!"
Hermione and Severus just blinked and looked at one another.
"Olaf, you need to come with us… you can help us explain things to everyone. I don't think they'd believe us if we were the only ones telling the story."
Hermione had been right; the Headmistress and the other professors had thought she and Severus had gone barking mad when they tried to explain what was happening within the castle, and what their best plan to break the spell was. Then Olaf stepped into view, and suddenly they seemed slightly less barking mad.
The Heads of each House had responded with alacrity, working with the Head Boy and Girl and Prefects to not only get all of the students moved safely to the Great Hall through the ever-spreading blizzard, but also to make sure any couples were informed of the situation. Of the 647 students currently enrolled, 46 couples had come forward and offered to attempt to end the blizzard.
The cynical portion of Severus's brain found it amusing that 42 of the couples had now tried and failed. It was even more amusing to note that there were now only 33 couples at the school… apparently finding out that your 'true love' wasn't true enough was sufficient impetus to end 13 relationships.
Then the final four couples had tried (two more of which were now no longer couples), and the blizzard raged on.
"I don't understand," Olaf said sadly. "Somebody has to be truly in love with somebody else here… they just have to be."
Severus overheard those words and froze. Oh, surely not… no. No, it wasn't possible. It simply couldn't… He looked over to where Hermione stood at the doorway to the Great Hall with Filius and Septima, trying every spell in her arsenal to keep the blizzard out of the Hall. The doorway to which some festive-feeling idiot had pinned mistletoe as part of the holiday décor. Bugger.
Bugger, shite, and absolute damnation.
This was not what he wanted, not how he'd wanted her to find out. Frankly, he would have been quite content with her not finding out at all. Ever.
But no, thanks to fucking Potter, not only would she know, but so would the rest of the entire fucking school.
It was simple as that.
He'd break the spell, go to his rooms, pack, and leave.
He felt a bit sorry for leaving Minerva without a Potions professor mid-way through the school year, but surely she'd understand.
While he'd been having his mini-crisis, however, the three professors lost their battle. And the blizzard, seeming quite offended with being held back so long, came swirling into the Great Hall with a vengeance. The winds were bitter, and strong enough to nearly knock some of the students off their feet. The snow was aggressive, and began piling up quickly. He squinted, just barely able to make out Hermione's form.
He took one resolute step towards her.
The storm seemed almost to fight him, as though it knew he would be the instrument of its demise, but he persevered. Though it was slow going, he was soon in front of Hermione.
"Severus!" she shouted to be heard above the storm, shivering slightly. "I'm sorry I couldn't hold it off longer! Was that everyone?!"
He looked at her hopeful countenance, somewhat saddened by the fact that this would be the last time she looked at him without disgust coloring her expression. "One left," he said softly.
"What?" she shouted. "I couldn't hear you."
Reaching out, he placed his hands on her shoulders. Her eyes widened, but she didn't move as he leaned in until his mouth was beside her ear. "I said, 'one left'," he repeated.
And then, with no further warning, Severus Snape kissed Hermione Granger.
The first thing he noticed was the lack of wind, followed by that strange calm that always follows a storm.
The next thing he noticed were the low murmurs of everyone in the hall who were quickly noticing what was going on.
The third thing… well, he stopped noticing things at that point, because Hermione was kissing him back.
After what could have been minutes or hours, an amused Headmistress clearing her throat pointedly finally broke them apart. A little bit. Not much. Just enough to catch their breath.
"It is about bloody time you did that, you ridiculous man," Hermione breathed, grinning. "I've been waiting on you for years."
"I… what?" Severus was completely confused, but also couldn't seem to stop himself from grinning back at the witch in his arms.
It was then that they heard some disgruntled muttering and the distinctive 'clinking' of Galleons changing hands. They looked over and noted that Minerva was pocketing something and looking particularly smug.
"Well now," the Headmistress said with a smile, clapping her hands together, "it appears that you two have succeeded in stopping our indoor winter. We've got a bit of clean-up to get through, but…" she eyed the two of them archly, "…I suppose we can handle it without you."
"I… what?" Severus repeated. Honestly, his brains were completely addled as he tried to process the fact that he didn't have to leave the castle in disgrace, because HERMIONE GRANGER KISSED HIM BACK. Hermione just smiled.
"Guys! Guys! You did it!" Olaf exclaimed, trotting over to them as fast as his little legs could carry him. "Way to go, Crookshanks! I knew you had it in you all along!"
Hermione rolled her eyes, but continued to smile. "What about you, Olaf? Now that the storm is over, what will happen to you?"
Olaf smiled. "The same thing that always happens to snowmen when the snow is over… I'll melt, and then evaporate up into the sky until I become part of a cloud. Then I'll travel all over the world until the next magical blizzard brings me to life again."
"But…" Hermione protested, her smile slipping, "that hardly seems fair!"
"That's part of life," Olaf said pragmatically, already starting to look a bit droopy as the temperature in the Great Hall began to climb. "Besides, I've had so much fun here with you! I got to meet you, and Crookshanks, and the other Crookshanks, and a bunch of other people, and we battled a crazy indoor blizzard, and best of all, I got to see True Love's Kiss happen! It's been the greatest day ever!"
Hermione smiled, thought it was somewhat sad this time, and let her head rest against Severus's chest. Though the thought of losing the cheerful little snowman saddened her, another part of her brain was processing the fact that her cheek was pressing into the row of buttons down the front of Severus' frock coat, and was thinking about how very much she was going to enjoy undoing each and every one. Soon.
As everyone in the hall watched, Olaf continued to drip as the puddle beneath him got larger and larger.
He was still smiling as he said his last words to them.
"Remember… some people are worth melting for."
And then he was gone, only a carrot, a few dark stones, and some twigs remaining in a pool of water. Before any of them could move, though, a swirl of magic surrounded the water, lifting the other parts into the air where they spun merrily before being carried out an open window near the ceiling.
Everyone stood there silently for a moment, seeming to process what had just happened, before Hermione remembered something very important.
He looked down at the witch in his arms. "Hmm?"
"I do believe we've been given permission to adjourn."
He blinked. "So we have." He turned slightly, offering his arm. "Shall we?"
Hermione's smile once more lit up the room. "Indeed."
The two of them turned to leave, oblivious to the smirks of the other staff members and the expressions of horrified curiosity on the faces of the students.
Severus stopped abruptly right before they exited the hall.
"One last thing," he assured her, turning back towards the body of students. "Potter!" he shouted.
The crowd parted to reveal the cringing Gryffindor, obviously bracing himself for some kind of punishment. Severus smirked.
"Ten points to Gryffindor," he said, and with those parting words left a room full of stunned faculty and staff as he escorted Hermione from the Hall.
Best. Potions Accident. Ever.