Christmas 2004: An Unprecedented Stillness

Severus laughed and shook his head in mock despair as Harry tripped on the leg of the coffee table and fell, giggling, in a pile on the floor. Hermione rolled onto her side on the settee, clutching her stomach as she leant towards Harry. Severus picked up his empty glass and walked to the kitchen, narrowly avoiding trampling Molly as she darted out in front of him.

Minerva passed him the bottle of whiskey with a roll of her eyes. Severus leaned against the bench beside her and followed her gaze to Harry and Hermione, who were dancing with Molly between them.

"He seems happy." Minerva nodded in their direction before stealing a cautious glance at Severus.

Severus bit his lip.

"I hope he is." He jumped slightly in surprise as he felt Minerva's hand on his arm.

"He's not going to leave you again."

Severus looked away from her, busying himself pouring another drink.

"We'll see."

"Tsk. What are we going to do with you? He loves you, and even if he does leave you, don't ruin the time you do have with him worrying about it." She kissed his cheek lightly and wished him a merry Christmas before walking to the living room.


Harry shivered and pulled his coat tighter around his body, his eyes darting blindly around the darkened squat. He knew that there were other people around him, but where exactly he could not tell. He flinched as something scuttled over his calf and clamped a hand over his mouth to prevent himself from shouting out in fright. He heard a shuffling near his shoulder and tensed, not daring to turn his head even a fraction. After a while the sound abated and he relaxed slightly. He strained his ears for any sounds which might tell him something about his surroundings, and heard nothing but the wind battering at the unstable walls and the uneven breathing of the faceless people in the cramped space with him.

Harry pressed his hands to his sightless eyes like a child trying to drive away the demons hiding in the dark, and stayed alert until the first rays of sunlight pierced the boarded-up windows, when he slowly drifted off to sleep.


Harry lay in bed with his hands crossed over his stomach, listening to Severus tidying downstairs. He'd said he needed just five minutes to straighten the living room up, but Harry had been waiting for him for half an hour and could hear dishes being washed. He smile fondly to himself and decided to let Severus have his fun. It was Christmas, after all.

Severus finally found his way upstairs and got changed half-hidden behind the wardrobe door. He slipped into bed beside Harry and turned the light off with a flick of his wand before reaching to switch the lamp on the bedside table on.

Harry brushed his hand against Severus outstretched arm.

"Just leave it off."

Severus looked at him, a crease forming on his brow.

"Are you sure?"

Harry laid his head on Severus' chest, letting his eyes fall shut.

"I don't need it anymore."

Harry could hear the wind outside and the ticking of the clock on the wall and a heartbeat against his cheek, and sighed as he allowed himself to become enveloped in Severus' arms, and the darkness.