Oh, hello, Minister, I thought you had left already. Your wife has forgotten her reticule, you say? Very well, allow me escort you back to the hall. It's quite alright, Minister, no trouble at all. I was just on my way there. No, the decorations will be removed in the morning. We like to leave them up for the ghosts. You've never heard of the Yule ghosts, Minister? Never? Well, then, allow me to tell you the tale.
You remember Harry Potter's final year, do you not? It was about thirty years ago now, the year Voldemort was defeated. That year, Albus decided that we should have another Yule ball. They weren't annual events then, you see. I was still the Transfigurations professor at the time, so of course I was called on to chaperone. The ball that year was a wonderful affair. Do you remember Filius Flitwick, the old Charms professor? Well, he charmed everything in the hall to look like it was made of crystal. Oh, it was marvelous, simply marvelous.
Here's the Great Hall. The Yule ghosts should be appearing any time now. Where was I? Oh, yes, the ball. That was one of the last times I danced with Albus, you know. He was killed later that year. Look at me, getting all watery eyed… my apologies. Well, the ball went as smoothly as can be expected. We sent the students back to their houses at twelve as usual. The staff went to make sure all the students arrived back to their dormitories on time and returned to take down the decorations. That year, I was the first to return somehow. Yes, my Gryffindors were very well behaved indeed, Minister. Not like the lot poor Professor Weasley has now. As I said, I was the first one back to the hall, rather I should say, I was one of the first. Either way, I was the only one to see them. They were dancing, Severus Snape, the most feared professor in the school, and Hermione Granger, my star Gryffindor, right there in the middle of the floor, just the two of them. Oh, I know I should have done something, but they weren't doing anything inappropriate, just waltzing. I couldn't bring myself to interrupt. They looked so perfect together. Severus was having such a hard time of it by then, trying to cure Albus by day and spying by night, all of that on top of teaching, too. If his only peace was dancing with Miss Granger… well, I wasn't going to be the one to stop it. At the end of the dance, they separated, and Severus kissed her hand as they parted. I always knew he could be a gentleman. And just in time, too, the rest of the faculty had returned.
Of course, I watched them very carefully after that. One whiff of anything inappropriate, and I'd have gone straight to Albus. But there wasn't a whisper between the two, not even a glance. Then, as you know, Severus was forced to flee Hogwarts after he killed Albus. I never saw him again until that last battle in Godric's Hollow even though Miss Granger was able to convince the Order to trust him, or rather, the information he sent her. How did that happen? Well, that's another story, Minister, much too long to tell now. So with Miss Granger's help, when Severus told Voldemort that Potter would be there, alone, the entire Order was lying in wait. We lost so many good witches and wizards that day. Severus was revealed as a spy and was killed by the Dark Lord himself for his betrayal, seconds before Potter made the final blow. I remember watching Miss Granger running to him. Oh, I could hear her screaming his name all the way across the field. It was the most heartrending sound I've ever heard. She was struck from behind by a particularly vicious type of slicing hex from Lucius Malfoy. She died right here in the Hogwarts infirmary three days later.
And though I never saw evidence of it, I know they loved each other. How? Well, you remember the next year, don't you, Minister? We decided to make the Yule ball a tradition after that, and once again, I was one of the first to return after the students had been sent to bed. I looked inside and saw two ghosts, Severus and Miss Granger, dancing in the middle of the floor. The music wasn't playing, but there was a song in the air, just like… now! There it is! Do you hear it, Minister? It's ghostly music. They're coming. Oh, there! Do you see them? I am so glad they found each other. I only wish that they had had more time together…
Well, Minister, you have your wife's reticule. I suggest we leave the Yule ghosts to their dancing. Let me walk you to the gate. I insist…
Author's Notes: Special thanks to Southern Witch 69 for her mad polishing skillz:-P
Southern's Notes: This is quite beautiful and was a pleasure to read.