DISCLAIMER: "Calendar Girl" originally written and performed by Neil Sedaka. "Magic" originally written and performed by Gypsy. "You're My Best Friend" originally written and performed by Queen. WAM does exist (but not as a group), and these people had worked together before, but not in this type of situation (at least publicly).

The SnS universe is NOT ending. Be on the lookout for the SnS viewpoints in my take of 'Prisoner of Azkaban', entitled 'Rectifying the Past'.

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Snips and Spirals Fanfic:

"The Yule Ball"

Text by Lady Tesser

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CHAPTER ONE - "Preparation"

Friday, December 20th, 1974 saw the Hogwarts Express taking home the smallest amount of students in all the years in which it had been operational.

Most all of the Fourth-Year and older students were staying for the Yule Ball, leaving just over half of the student population staying over winter holidays. A few of the younger students were staying, either by tradition or by having dates to the Yule Ball, but the school did feel slightly empty after the youngest students had left.

Britomartis Vox - age fourteen, Third-Year, Slytherin House, Quidditch team Beater, and the latter half of the duo of Snips and Spirals - was none too pleased with visiting Hogsmeade for so long, especially without Sev.

The rest of her roommates (Fallon O'Shanahan not present due to going back home for the holidays and being a First-Year) had dragged her to Gladrags yet AGAIN to get her a gown and robe for the Yule Ball since she was the last of her roommates to get a date to the Ball.

Current Wizard fashions were not her forte, and she knew this. Especially after Oriana Crescent and Peony Danderfluff attempted to stuff her into several types of dresses with thousands of layers of petticoats like their own, or else putting her into velvet or satin monstrosities that either clashed with her coloring or did not work with her overendowed assets. Akiko at least offered items in the proper color range.

Finally fed up with the overabundance of British-tainted estrogen, Martis located a light blue gown in one of the corners, slapped it on the clerk's counter, and said, "I'll work with this one - wrap it up."

The clerk lifted up the old-fashioned gown and raised an eyebrow. "This gown is dreadfully out of style, Miss. We were selling it as a vintage costume, 1930's era."

Oriana and Peony made faces. "You need something better than that."

Akiko, slightly more creative than the other two, nodded slowly. "I can see where you want to go with this, Spirals. Want me to help?"

Martis smirked. "You read me so well."

"I've also seen those pictures from your home; I think I know what you have in mind."

"Good," Martis stated. She turned to the clerk. "I'm buying it, now quit balking or I'll pay it all in knuts."

"Hopeless!" Oriana exclaimed as the clerk rang up the sale.

"Well, think of it this way," Peony assured her. "She'll still look better than Snape."

Oriana rolled her eyes. "He may have nice fingers, but he's still a scruffy bugger."

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Said person - Severus Snape (turning sixteen-years-old the very next day, Fifth-Year, Slytherin House, most talented potions student in the entire school, the former half of Snips and Spirals) - had received a package in the owl-delivered mail during the time Martis was in Hogsmeade. The return address was given as 'Lady Tenebria Snape, Snape Estate, Wiltshire, England' - and after reading the return address, he tucked the package inside his robe and ran up to his dorm room.

The dorm room empty, he entered and locked the door, then placed the package on his small desk and opened it carefully.

Inside was clothing and a note.

'My darling Sevi,

I had read in the 'Daily Prophet' about the Yule Ball at your school for the Triwizard Tournament, and I wanted to make sure you had a nice set of dress robes for the Ball. It was your father's wedding suit which he had not worn since then. I assure you, I cleansed and purified it quite thoroughly, so it should not have any of his Residue on it. You will probably have to ask your House Mother to help alter it a bit, though.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to send you a new set of dress robes, my darling. Consider this a birthday present, and please enjoy yourself at the ball with your strong-minded friend.

Love,

Mother'

Sev gently touched the black velvet and satin, feeling the completely neutral energies of the garments. He could hardly tell they had belonged to his father at all, save for the snake and raven embellished cuffs that were emblems of the Snape family crest.

He was not sure what to think of the offer from his mother. Getting rid of the dress robes his father wore when he raped his bride their wedding night ... offering them to the son who was looking more and more like him every day ... at least she bothered to clean the residue from them.

Sev closed the paper over the garments and shoved the package under his bed.

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The next day, Saturday, was Sev's sixteenth birthday.

No longer able to have Slytherin to themselves, Martis and Sev spent it in the Conversation Room with Cornish Pixi Stix, Divinity, Chocoballs, Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizbees, Gummi Skrewts, Sugar Quills, Ice Mice, a sample of every type of chocolate block, coffee, hot chocolate, and a few little gifts.

"The second book in the Larry Pothead series!" Sev chuckled as he finished unwrapping the book. "Year Two: 'Larry Pothead and the Bong of Secrets'. Thanks, Spirals!"

Martis giggled. "We'll be adults by the time Ms. Almloving is finished writing them, she's planned on seven."

"One novel a year is pretty good," Sev concluded. "Considering this one is twice as thick as the first."

"We'll continue to collect them as long as she writes them," Martis stated, hugging his waist. "Come on, your other present."

She handed him another package and Sev opened it to find a silver-colored metal snake belt with glossy green eyes. "Martis?"

"It's for the Yule Ball, to fancy up your tunic," she explained. She uncoiled it and inserted the tail into the mouth's clasp. "See? Like an ouroboros. Very easy to use. It's actually your Christmas present, but I wanted to give it to you early. I'll find something else for your Christmas present."

"Martis - !"

"Hm?" she released the belt and looked up at him.

"Thank you."

"Most welcome." She pulled her sunglasses off and tossed them away, then snuggled against him. "My Darling Sweet Sixteen Snips."

"I feel my testosterone draining," he remarked in a deadpan manner.

She snickered. "All right - My Manly and Macho Master Severus the Stud."

Sev broke into laughter and Martis hugged him tightly until the laughing finally tapered off.

"Want to read the Larry Pothead book to me?"

Sev nodded, picking it up. "Promise not to go to sleep?"

"If I do, just remember to draw the daisies on my cheeks and not my forehead, my bangs would cover it up."

Sev opened the book and read: "'Chapter One: The Worst Birthday ... Not for the first, an argument had broken out at the Blafoy Manor' ... "

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As the week wore on, the entire school was tense with excitement over the Yule Ball for Christmas evening.

But Professor Sejanus Sartoris, Potions Master of Hogwarts and Death Eater trainer and recruiter for his master Lord Voldemort, had other things on his mind.

The Durmstrang students were still keeping up with their Dark Arts studies as he and Professor Auttenbaum had discussed several weeks ago. He did not mind the midnight classes on the Durmstrang ship, nor did he mind having private tutoring sessions with the two members of the Beauxbatons student council on the trip (especially with that lovely girl Harrietta Bujold; reminded him how much he missed his granddaughter back home, although this child probably could not make a decent steak and kidney pudding to save her life).

The Slytherin and the few Ravenclaw students in his structure were also getting along quite well in their DA studies, especially Bellatrix Black, whose own innate sense of cruelty gave even him the creeps. He fully expected the Dark Lord to take this one as his Mistress since both had similar tastes of humor.

The one student that had been giving him trouble was his own potions protege, Severus Snape. Master Snape seemed to have abandoned his studies around the time of the Dark Lord's visit, to which Sartoris had to bully him back into, which seemed to have done little in the way of progress.

Sartoris' patience was getting thin. He was not one for politics or diplomacy like the rest of his colleagues, he was merely a teacher and first contact to send the young ones on their way. And yet, if he could not keep one of his own young ones - especially his pet student - from continuing his studies, then the Dark Lord would be very irate, indeed.

The Dark Lord specifically wanted the Snape boy for potion work - the Snape family produced the finest potion masters in Wizarding history, and that boy's raw talents exceeded even Sartoris'.

Sartoris could not afford to lose him.

However, he had found quite by accident a chink in the boy's rebellious armor, and he had to use it, despite how silly and preposterous the chink was.

Pulling out parchment and quill, Sartoris began a letter:

'My Lord,

It has come to my attention that young Master Snape - the potions protege - is neglecting his studies and has instead focused his attentions on ... '

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Tom Riddle - known to his followers as the Dark Lord and to the Wizarding world who knew of him as 'You-Know-Who' - read Sartoris' concern with mild interest.

Perhaps it would be best to look after this particular protege for a little while. The boy's slip in his studies was distressing, but might be nothing to worry about. After all, Voldemort had also kept tabs on this Vox girl, and he vaguely remembered his own fully human youth and how he fell under the charms of long hair and attractive figures of the opposite sex.

Nagini, his young python, slithered up his chair and rested his head on Voldemort's armrest. The Dark Lord stroked Nagini's head. "Yes, my little one," he hissed in Parseltongue. "I know how you miss that young lady python at Hogwarts, but know that your offspring will grow strong and powerful."

Nagini hissed softly.

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Christmas Eve dinner went by quickly and students returned to their common rooms.

"What do you and Snape usually do when you're here over vacation?" Oriana asked.

Martis glanced up at the ceiling. "Make snow goons, whip up pranks, freak out Peeves, sleep in the common room on Christmas Eve ... nothing much."

Peony leaned over the couch between them. "Is it really true that you two set off the Protection Spells TWICE last Christmas?"

"Not intentionally - one was an accident, the other was because Filch got Snips tanked."

"Wouldn't trust anything given to me by Filch," Oriana shivered.

"It was in good faith, actually." Martis got up. "I need to work on my gown."

As she ascended the stairs to the girls' dorm, a feeling of dread came over her. And it felt like it had everything to do with Sev.

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Sev pulled his pajama bottoms on, then stood in front of the mirror of his dorm room and combed his wet hair, making sure to part it evenly and all was stick straight before he was satisfied.

After putting his comb away, he collapsed on his bed and stared up at the green canopy over it.

It felt ... good ... not having to study Dark Arts the past month. Almost like he felt a weight lifted from his chest. Sartoris had done his usual windbag threats yet again earlier that evening, but there was no way he was going back to studying all that - not for his father, not for their Dark Master. This was HIS life, and what he chose to do with it was ultimately up to him.

At least until his father came round and beat him half senseless again.

But Sev already had plans. He was not going to go back home this summer. He was going to stay on the Hogwarts Express all the way to London, then go to Crete with Martis.

She knew about his Darkness, and she still refused to leave him. This meant he sure as hell was not going to let her go, either.

Once they both were old enough and had learned all they could, they were going to fight against the Darkness and the Dark Wizard that had claimed her children. Once that was done ...

Perhaps it was wishful thinking or being too optimistic or allowing himself to actually have a shred of hope, but he held onto that shred ever so tightly within his bitter, twisted heart.

Sev's eyes focused on a fly buzzing around the dorm room. "Too late in the year for you, you know," he commented darkly, picking his wand up and zapping the fly out of the air.

He sighed and closed his eyes. He needed to try on the suit and see if it fit, then try to find a way to alter it if it did not.

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