Tittle::Where Are You Christmas 5/?
Rating:: Mature (M)Eventually NC-17
Pairing:: Snape/Harry, Remus/Lucius, Draco/Ron, Sirius/Bill, Hermione/Charlie, Neville/Luna, Fred/George, mentions of Harry/Cedric
Contains:: angst, drama, romance, AU
Warnings:: Spoilers through book 4, with some changes... NO book 5 or 6
Summary:: Father Christmas needs Harry and friends help this year because he's laying in the infirmary as Albus Dumbledore after helping Harry defeat Voldemort in the final battle. Harry must get past his own insecurities and past demons to truly learn what the Christmas spirit is. Maybe this year, Santa will help him find love to last a lifetime as well.
A/N:: This fic is dedicated to anonymous for the gift of paid LJ time. Thank you... and to my best friend.. Morganlefay1958.
Harry and Angelo apparated to the gates of Hogwarts. From there they trudged through the snow, and up to the front doors. He stomped the snow off his boots and they headed towards the infirmary, where he found Poppy fussing over an awakening Albus Dumbledore.
"You should still be sleeping. What do you think you're doing?"
"I need to talk to my boy, that's what! Quit fussing woman!"
"Well. I never in all my years..."
"As Harry would say... there's a first time for everything!" Albus knew Harry would be heading back to the castle soon. He wanted to be awake to see him; to make sure he understood.
Harry stood just outside the doors and giggled. Angelo woofed quietly as he leaned against Harry's leg.
Albus' head whipped around, his eyes twinkling, and tears brimming at the corners. "My boy… I'm so sorry."
Harry was at his side, in moments, holding the warm frail hand in his own. He could feel the strength still in those fingers. He gave that hand a squeeze and smiled down at Albus. Angelo's tail could be heard as it thumped on the floor.
"I've made so many mistakes with you. I should have listened to Minerva, or just brought you to the castle. Because of them… and my faith in them, your chance at a normal childhood was denied." He wiped away a tear as it escaped the corner of his eye.
"Too many what ifs, and what could have beens, should haves, and would haves. I was blindsided by the fact that you are Father Christmas, and it was another thing kept from me. It brought forth all the bad memories of my past. The lost childhood, and watching Dudley have the love I wanted so badly." Harry petted Angelo's head as he spoke, the motion grounding him.
Harry wandlessly conjured a comfortable chair and sat down, while still holding Albus' hand. "We've been family far too long now for me to stay angry. I need to shed the anger of my childhood and live in the present."
"This is why you defeated Tom, Harry. Your capacity for love and forgiveness. Even when I feel I don't deserve your forgiveness."
"Well, Headmaster, it is my forgiveness, so it is up to me to decide that you deserve it." Harry replied with a warm smirk.
"I also assure you, my boy, that I will be around for a very long time. Dumbledore's are descended from Merlin himself, and we live very long lives."
"So you plan on driving Severus batty with lemon drops for a very long time then--yeah?"
"Well of course."
Both men broke out in giggles at Albus' innocent expression. "Does Angelo plan on going with you as you deliver presents?"
"I think he would look good with some antlers." Angelo woofed again, whined, and backed up. "You big baby. They would be fake and just tied to your head. Just like that movie we watched last year with Ron. The Grinch who stole Christmas."
Angelo shook his head and sneezed twice. Antlers indeed. What self-respecting dog wears antlers…? He whined and lay down on the floor, putting his paws over his muzzle. Harry laughed and turned back to Albus.
He sat down in the chair next to the bed. Albus was still weak and weariness won over and pulled him back into sleep. Needing to be close, Harry made himself comfortable by laying his head on Albus' beard. Just listening to the older man's heartbeat. It was a calming proof that he was still alive. His will to live, still strong. He sighed as Albus carded his fingers through his messy hair.
He loved this old man, no matter what. The smell of lemon drops always meant safety, if not home. Harry leaned up, kissed the old man on the cheek, and slipped off to use the loo. He hadn't taken that long but when he went to open the door; he heard voices and his name.
Through the crack of the door, he saw Albus' bed was surrounded, by Minerva, Sirius, Remus and Severus, and the Malfoy's, and several of the Weasley's. Ron was speaking, and his words stopped him cold. They had gone to the Dursley's…
Severus lagged behind his fellows as they made their way back into the castle from their late night journey. He had much to think about; even more now than when it all came to light that summer after the tournament. They had answers to questions that had been left hanging all this time. Some they had been afraid to ask. Others were insights into why the Dursley's did what they did. They had more questions now than answers. But if Severus was truthful to himself, he didn't need any more answers. Harry just needed support and honesty right now.
If he had been honest to himself, and not thinking like a Gryffindor last night, he would not have gone to the Muggle's home.
When they entered the infirmary to check on Albus' status, he was surprised to see him awake. The magical exhaustion alone should have kept him asleep for a month. It was Ron who spoke first, breaking the silence that surrounded them--giving into that look in Albus' eyes; the one that said he knew that they had done something without really thinking first.
"We paid the Dursley's a visit. "
"It was Fudge and his toad woman who paid them to get rid of Harry. To keep him quiet anyway they wished," Sirius whispered. He was still appalled at what they'd learned. Bill was standing behind him, rubbing his back in a soothing matter.
Albus closed his eyes, the pain of the revelation evident on his face. One of his children had been hurt, and he unknowingly contributed to it. Minerva laid her hand on his shoulder in a gentle silent gesture of support and comfort.
"We are all to blame in some way, Albus." Severus spoke, sadness evident in his voice.
The others bowed thier heads, all feeling guilt in thier own way, for not listening, when Harry had tried to tell them. Albus opened his eyes, and looked around at the faces, stopping on Severus'.
"What did you do to the Dursley's?" He asked quietly.
"Nothing that would put us in Azkaban," Charlie said, stepping closer to Severus. "Let's just say, they now have a healthy respect for magic."
"Well it's good we didn't bring the twins," Remus whispered to Lucius. The blond man snorted and nodded. Even some of the Death Eaters had been wary of the twin's reputation for wreaking havoc.
"Not that they hadn't wanted to come, but Mum cast Petrificus on them before they could get out the door." offered Ron, overhearing the exchange. There were several smiles and chuckles among the group. Albus' eyes twinkled at that.
"Well the plan was, to keep our visit quiet. It wouldn't do to alert the entire Muggle neighborhood to our presence." Minerva spoke, trying to look serious, though her eyes were twinkling as well.
"Why? Why did you have to go?" Harry asked, his voice just above a whisper, but enough to make them all jump at the unexpected interruption. He slipped quickly in between Remus and Sirius, and studied the faces around Albus' bed.
"Why couldn't we just forget about them? Forget they even exist?" Harry asked, frustrated. He knew they had meant well, but he didn't want these people he cared about to lower themselves to the subhuman level the Dursley's existed in.
"They hurt you Harry. We thought they needed..."
"Needed what, Ron?"
"You needed justice. You are my brother Harry, and you were hurt. They got away with it. Even now the mere mention of their name—it hurts you."
"Justice, Ron? Or revenge? Nothing will erase what they did to me. The scars, visible or not, will always be there." He looked around. "I don't want any of you---any of the people I love, sinking to their level of bigotry and violence."
"I trust they are unharmed?" Albus sat up a bit, with Poppy's assistance, placing extra pillows behind his back. He eyed Sirius, Remus, Lucius and Severus in particular.
"Physically, they are fine, Albus. But, their dreams, will be...troubled...for some time to come." Severus folded his arms, a frown creasing his brow. He would have liked to have done more to them, but the group had agreed on the punishment.
"It was a small empathy spell. One often used by Voldemort, though it isn't classified as dark magic. It was very effective." Lucius grinned evilly. It had been hard to just stand by and watch, but he knew his anger would have taken over. The Muggles would have just been smudges when he was done.
"Explain." Anger still shown in Harry's face.
"Isn't that the one pregnant witches and wizards use on their mates when they go into labor?" Poppy asked.
"One and the same." Sirius added with a grin. Angelo howled. Perfect, he thought.
Bill and Charlie winced, then Bill spoke. "I remember Mum casting that on dad when she was having the twins. Dad's screams were louder than hers."
Poppy snorted. Albus' and Harry's eyes were wide. "Oh my!" Albus exclaimed. Minerva laughed at the reactions. She had used that spell herself once or twice on her late husband.
Harry crossed his arms and glared. "Maybe I should tell Hermione about this spell?"
Charlie's face paled, making his freckles stand out even more. "Oi, Harry! No need for that!"
"How is a pregnancy spell going to punish the Dursley's?"
"Our Remus, the DADA expert, tweaked the spell to fit the situation." Lucius smiled as he wrapped his arm around his mate's waist. Remus blushed.
"It was quite easy actually. From now on, when they dream, they will relive their treatment of you, Harry, through your eyes, so to speak." Remus explained, slipping easily into his lecture voice. "They will see and feel everything you did, whenever they relive the experiences of mistreating you."
Harry winced, when he thought of what they would experience. He almost felt sorry for them, but no, they weren't worth that effort. It wouldn't be long and they would be begging for the relief of Dreamless Sleep Draught. "Maybe I should have just cast that on Tom Riddle and then walked away."
"That wouldn't have worked Harry. That demon lived off of misery---he thrived on it." Lucius added with a twisted sneer.
"How long are they to experience these dreams?" Albus was curious. He wasn't happy, but at least they had not done any physical harm. He was relieved he wouldn't be loosing almost half of his staff to Azkaban, though they technically violated the spirit of the law.
Harry still didn't look happy. His preference was to just wash his hands of the Dursley's and walk away. His feelings were apparent in his expression. Ron looked at him and sighed, feeling for his brother.
Harry glared at each of his friends, "Next time you feel the need to defend my virtue... ask me first?"
Ron sighed again. "Harry, please. After Sirius cast sticking and silencing charms, we told them what they missed out on. How much you would have loved them, if they had accepted you. That you would have willingly shared all you had with them, including your inheritance."
Harry snorted, "I bet Uncle Vernon almost burst a blood vessel."
Remus nodded. "We told them how much you care for people here who are your family now, and how many times you have risked your life for each of us. And we told them how you killed Voldemort to save the whole Wizarding World, and possibly the Muggle one as well."
"They will learn the hard way, that the path of acceptance and love would have been the better choice. They and you would have been so much happier." Severus' gaze softened as he watched Harry, more than familiar himself with an abusive childhood. "Now, they will have to live with regret instead."
Harry finally closed his eyes and nodded. Albus cleared his throat. "I'm still waiting for an answer."
Remus' face reddened. "Oh! They will experience the dreams until they each truly feel remorse for what they did, and feel a desire to apologize."
"Whether they actually apologize or not, to Harry, will be left up to them." Draco finally made his presence known. He was grinning, and spinning his wand between his fingers, as he thought of the harmless little prank spells he had left all over that Muggle house. They were his little 'secret gift' to the evil wankers.
"Harry," Sirius began, "You'll be happy to know that Dudley lives with his parents. He has no job."
"Somehow, Siri, that does not surprise me. Dudley always was allergic to work."
"He might end up cured, Remus hexed his computer," Bill added. "Every time he tries to use it, the mouse will bite him. And the screen will always show him his worst fears."
"And whatever he types will say some... other things." Ron giggled.
"That reminds me, Siri, what were you and Sev doing in that closet under the stairs?" Harry winced as Remus mentioned the closet. Severus' expression suddenly went blank, and Sirius feigned innocence. Remus, familiar with those expressions, wasn't fooled.
"Boys." warned Albus.
"Alright, alright." Sirius sighed. "It was just a little Boggart--not even full grown."
"As if that would matter... to a Muggle." Severus snorted.
Minerva gasped. "You didn't!" She put her hand up to muffle her giggles.
Harry closed his eyes--his godfather and Severus Snape working together. That, was just trouble, waiting to happen. What would happen next? The world would start revolving in reverse?
Angelo walked away from the humans. They should have taken him with them. He would have liked to have met Aunt Marge and her dog Ripper. Chasing his Harry up a tree and making him stay there like a cornered cat. He would have made sure, that lousy excuse for a dog, ended up in a tree.
Albus was chuckling and he wiped a tear. He couldn't help it. Who would have thought that there was anything that would have brought Sirius Black and Severus Snape together willingly? His blue eyes twinkled. Yes, they could have done much worse, but they had restrained themselves. He would look the other way, for now. But the Boggart would have to be retrieved at some point, since it's presence could become a larger problem. But they need not worry about that now. They had Christmas to plan.
Harry looked at all the faces around him, smiling, and he smiled back. Sighing, he spoke quietly. "Thank you all for what you meant to do. I understand it was because you care, but, can we now put them behind us? We do have more important things to do, after all."
"Yes, my boy! We have a Christmas to plan!" Albus smiled.
Everyone turned at the loud noise of the doors banging open. In ran the Weasley twins, Fred and George, dressed as Christmas elves; the bright red and green of their outfits clashing spectacularly with their hair and freckles, and wide grins plastered on their faces. Lucius winced noticeably when he saw them, and the atrocious outfits.
Poppy harrumphed as she reached over to plump Albus' pillows and pull up his blanket. "Yes, and you, old man, have resting and healing to do!" She waved everyone away. "Now, shoo! All of you. Albus needs his rest. You can visit him again tomorrow."
Draco crossed his arms, "I am not wearing anything like that. It would clash with my fair skin and hair!" Lucius snorted, along with Remus. Several of the others chuckled.
The twins flanked Draco, and leaned in close. "We could lose the green. You'd look spectacular in red velvet." Fred purred. "And white fur trimmed boots." Added George, causing Draco to blush.
"Oi! Get away from my husband!" Ron yelled. The twins stuck their lips out in a mock pout and moved to either side of Harry instead.
"Hmmm, I wouldn't mind seeing Severus dressed in red," Albus added. Severus glared at him. Too bad you can't hex a sick man.
Harry broke down into a fit of giggles and it warmed Severus' cold heart. Poppy made her shooing motions again, and everyone quickly vacated the room after saying hasty goodbyes to Albus.
A/N:: I know everyone wanted 'Torture the Dursleys" but I've read to many of those.. and like this way better...