Here is a short little fic that I could not help but create. While I usually do not care whether I receive them or not, please remember that it is the Christmas season and that I have enough flames from my own mind to roast chestnuts until the New Year. Thank you for your consideration.
Oh, and please don't tell my readers from other fandoms I was here...they might lynch me, Christmas season be damned.
Summary: Harry and Severus spend their first Night Before Christmas together as family. Non-SLASH. Does not take HBP or DH into account.
Disclaimer: Sadly, I own nothing but this idea, and an insane love for this striking duo. Neither Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, nor The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore are mine, and I make no money from this story.
Harry Potter and the Night Before Christmas
He couldn't believe it.
He had been living with the man for roughly a year now, and he still couldn't believe it. Even with the adoption papers always ready to be read, for just such an occasion as this.
Creeping down the stairs so as to not wake his adopted father Severus Snape, Harry Potter silently tiptoed to the man's study. Walking stealthily around the massive desk he pulled open the drawer with the papers within, and slid them out glancing at the ajar door cautiously.
Still in the slightly bent position he stared down at the front page, a soft smile forming on his lips.
Harry had fallen into a well of depression after his fifth year at Hogwarts…after Sirius. His life with the Dursleys went decidedly downhill from the valley it used to be in, and Harry didn't think he would have survived another year with them. He still winced to this day whenever he thought about it, or flinched whenever his self-esteem plummeted, or somebody made too sudden a movement towards him.
Somehow Harry and Severus had been forced to endure each other's company for extended periods of time, and had survived. In fact, they prospered. They each got past the outer shields of the other, and saw the small boys curled up in the deepest, darkest reaches of their hearts. Harry realised Snape wasn't just a greasy git, and Severus found out that Potter wasn't the cocky spoiled prince he had always thought he was.
It was practically a daily job for Severus to teach and show Harry that he wasn't the worthless burden his muggle relatives had always instilled in him that he was, and surprisingly this took even more effort after Harry had defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort at the end of his sixth year.
Usually at these times Severus had to resort to showing Harry the adoption papers, to prove to him that he was special. That he had a value of worth after all, and that value was priceless. That he was wanted, cared for, loved, and had a family now. Severus never begrudged Harry this, even seeming to almost jump at the chance to show the boy. He had once even joked to getting the papers laminated and attached to a cord for Harry to wear around his neck.
It had been almost two months since Harry had last needed to look at the papers, but it had been a rough night, rough couple of days if one wanted to get technical. The truth was that today was the day before Christmas…the first Christmas spent with Severus as family.
It was still early in the morning, and Harry didn't want Severus to know that he had been having nightmares about his time with the Dursleys, or that he needed reassurance yet again that Snape wouldn't just chuck him out on the sidewalk and be done with him. That was why he was trying to be as quiet as possible, hoping to get the reassurance and put the papers away and leave the study before Severus woke up.
A small smile crept onto Harry's lips as he stared down at the familiar signatures on one of the pages. The names made it final. The deft movements of a quill sealed the deal, as it were.
And that memory, the memory of love and acceptance, was what powered his Patronus charm against the horde of Dementors that Voldemort had enlisted into his ranks during the Final Battle. The feelings he experienced when he knew he was cared for by his new father held the power to fight off the hundreds of Dementors Voldemort sent.
But what really made him smile after that was when Severus told him he had used that same memory and exact same feelings to power his own.
Grinning slightly at the paper he didn't notice Severus at the door until he cleared his throat.
Startling, Harry dropped the papers as he straightened, causing them to sprawl out on the desk.
"I-I'm sorry," Harry stuttered with wide eyes.
Glidingly softly over, Severus glanced down at the papers on the desk before sliding his dark gaze to Harry's worried green ones. "Whatever for Harry?" When Harry found he couldn't answer, Severus's lips twitched in what could have been called a smile if one were so inclined. "You know you have every right to come down here and look at these," he replied, picking up the adoption papers and smoothing them almost affectionately.
"I'm sorry I can't seem to get it through my thick skull that you won't abandon me."
"Harry," Severus cajoled, walking around to place a hand softly on his shoulder.
Harry tensed a moment, before relaxing into the unusual touch. Severus was not one to normally offer comfort, verbal or physical, but had loosened up substantially when he adopted Harry. However, he was still hesitant when it came to physical contact, not used to giving or receiving it during his life. He might not be up to offering hugs all the time, or even the simple gesture he did now, but whatever he offered, Harry hungrily accepted.
"Thank you sir," Harry said softly, blushing in embarrassment as he looked up through his fringe.
Severus gave Harry's shoulder a brief squeeze before stepping back. "I need to go into Muggle London for some harebrained scheme Minerva has for Albus. Something about socks, I believe," he added, brow furrowed in confusion.
Smirking Harry bit back on his chuckle. Dumbledore did love his socks. Picking up the adoption papers he slid them back in the drawer and followed his adopted father out.
"Urgh," Severus groaned as another giggling group of children brushed past them. "How someone could ever enjoy their time in a muggle mall is beyond my imagination."
"Ah, come on Severus, it's can't be that bad," Harry grinned. "I like it."
"You would," Severus sniffed.
"Hey, can you blame me? I've never been to a muggle mall before."
Instantly Severus's eyes darkened, and a young girl who was walking by let out a wail at his glare and clung to her mother's legs.
"Severus," Harry chided, though it sounded strained at best. He wouldn't let his past come back to haunt him in the middle of a muggle London mall. All the same, he subconsciously stepped closer to the Potions Master, who in turn brushed a hand over his arm reassuringly.
They walked in slightly awkward silence, neither wanting to address the topic at hand, though Harry had no doubt that they would the minute they went home.
Home, Harry thought happily. My first real home.
They were just passing the toy shop when something caught his eye. A wide grin crossed his face.
"Severus!" he exclaimed in a whisper, rushing over to the enclosed table where a toy was currently rolling around on its own. It was a bright pink and green ball, with what looked like some sort of tail or undistinguishable creature (Harry actually thought that it looked slightly like a ferret, and grinned evilly as he imagined a certain white ferret instead) attached to the mechanical ball. It rolled around, the 'tail' twitching around in the random path.
"What is it now Potter?" Severus sighed, rolling his eyes heavenward, and wincing at the bright fluorescent lights that lit up the store when they assaulted him.
"I want to get this for Mr Weasley!"
"Potter…" Severus began, but at the pleading look (alright, it was the bloody puppy-dog look he couldn't say 'no' to) instantly gave in. "Oh, alright," he huffed, crossing his arms. It wasn't as intimidating without his wizarding robes, but the glare he sent Harry would have to suffice.
Harry wavered a little, body subconsciously leaning away from the intimidating man, before grinning and snatching up the ball. He flipped the switch off before holding it in both hands, examining it.
"Do you think there is a way to run it off of magic?" he asked.
"Possibly. But first, let's purchase the muggle menace, and then you can fiddle with it," Severus sighed, plucking the thing from the boy's hands and striding to the check-out register. He spotted a clear plastic wand that held sweets within it, and tossed it on the counter as well. Thinking further he tossed on another.
Grinning like the Cheshire Cat, Harry munched away the sweets from his wand candy dispenser as he walked next to Severus who held the bag full of a multitude of colourful socks, ranging from ankle-socks to knee-highs.
"I think Albus will really like the wand-candy," he spoke in reference to the other toy wand. "As well as the 'Magically Delicious' socks." He laughed as Severus's eye gave a twitch.
"This is the last time I shop for socks."
"I don't know," Harry grinned. "The salesclerk kept smiling slyly at you when you put them on the counter. You shouldn't have asked her if there was some sort of bacteria in her eye."
"She kept winking at me!"
Snorting Harry dumped a few more sweets in his mouth. The smile, however, faltered when he saw a cluster of muggle children crowded around the mall's Santa Claus in his throne-like chair, as he read to them.
It was Severus's turn to snort, when he realised his charge was no longer walking with him, but standing in the middle of the aisle staring wistfully at the actor who looked like he was trying to impersonate Albus Dumbledore. Striding back over, he sneered.
"What, wanting to sit on Santa's lap and ask for something for Christmas?"
"N-no," Harry replied, stumbling. "I just…" Blushing he glanced up from his fringe. "I was just remembering back to the Dursleys. Before I started Hogwarts." He turned to look back at the little boys and girls, who were staring attentively up at the older man. "Aunt Petunia…every year, would read that story to Dudley at his bedtime. Every night before Christmas. If it was quiet enough around the house, I used to be able to hear her from my cupboard. I…I wondered if my mum ever read me that story." He tried to keep the wistfulness out of his voice, but didn't know if he quite managed. Shrugging he turned back to Severus with a wan smile. "We should be heading back."
Severus eyed the younger man, deep in thought. "Yes…quite right." He looked up at the faux-Santa, before frowning. "Go on ahead, I'll catch right up."
"A-alright," Harry replied, frowning in confusion. Shrugging he headed outside to wait for Severus to Apparate them home, casting one last glance at the ensnared children, at the man who stood for the symbol of hope and dreams in children's imaginations. A look that did not go unnoticed by Harry's guardian.
Arriving home, Harry promptly set to wrapping Mr Weasley's present, pushing the children at the 'North Pole' out of his mind. Severus, meanwhile, took his bags to his room, leaving it up to Minerva to wrap Albus's socks, or whatever she intended to do with them.
Sending the gift with Hedwig, who just returned with a gift from Luna, Harry glanced at the doors of the study, seeing the adoption papers in his mind. He had a family now, and he wouldn't be treated like rubbish by it. Severus would take care of him. Severus would love him. Severus would never hurt him.
Severus was his father now.
With a slight grin, Harry wandered down to the kitchen to bake some cookies for St Nick.
"Isn't there a house-elf for such labour?" Severus drawled from his position in the doorway to the kitchen a little while later, leaning against the entry with his arms crossed.
Harry spun around to grin at his adopted father, flour and bits of dough smudged on his face. "That's not the point Severus," he laughed patronising. "It's Christmas. And tradition. You're supposed to make cookies to leave out for Santa Claus," he explained returning to the mixing of dough. "It was really the only time the Dursleys ever really cooked. All three of them would help bake the cookies to leave out. I always wished to join them but they said it was only for family."
Severus paused for a moment, before stepping down the few steps into the kitchen and over to his son. "Let me see those chocolate chips."
Confused Harry handed over the package, brow furrowed.
"How chocolaty do we want these?" Severus asked next.
"Um…well…" Harry grinned sheepishly. "I was going to make more than just for Santa. I like cookies."
Severus looked at the rather large mixing bowl, and the two other ones nearby. Reaching across he set the chocolate bits down, before drawing a bowl towards him and lifting up a spoon to begin stirring, working beside the younger boy, occasionally brushing elbows with him.
"What are you doing?"
With a quirked brow, Snape mocked. "You said it was a tradition for family didn't you?"
Grinning, Harry's eyes lit up. "Yeah!"
They spent the next few hours making the cookies, mixing their own bowls before working together to mix the third and last bowl. They made clumps of the dough, which naturally got over their clothes and skin, along with flour and icing, which they put on some of the cookies. Harry was just shaking some sprinkles out of his hair, when the first batch of cookies finished.
"They smell good," he smiled, watching Severus pull out the pan wearing cooking mittens in a bright blue and flowery design.
"Of course they do! Why wouldn't they?" Severus asked in mock-offence.
"Well…considering how the potions you usually make smell…" Harry smirked.
"Why you impertinent little…"
"I must say, those gloves do make you look smashing."
"Hmf! Maybe I'll just have to eat all these cookies myself."
Smirking, Severus set them aside. "Let then cool a bit, and then we can try them. Make sure you don't accidentally poison Santa Claus."
"If I do, I'm blaming you."
"But you know you love me."
Severus watched the slightly guarded look in Harry's eyes, as if tempting fate with those words. An almost painful hopeful look, looking for reassurance.
"Undoubtedly. How could I not?"
The smile he got in return was one of the best gifts he had ever received.
"I doubt 'Santa' will care if they are not equally spaced," sneered Severus, watching with arms crossed as Harry carefully and meticulously set each cookie at an equal distance from each other on the large plate.
"I just want everything to be perfect," Harry grinned over his shoulder, before lightly twitching one of the cookies. "There," he proclaimed triumphantly.
Pouring out the milk into a large, cool glass, Severus's lips quirked as he stared at the back of the unruly head of hair that was his ward. "I want everything to be perfect for you as well," he uttered softly.
He carried the glass of milk to the large hearth in the lounge, following behind Harry who carried the cookies. Setting them up on a drawn up end table, they stepped back to view it like a work of art. Harry grinned up at Severus, who put his arms around the younger man's shoulders. Harry leaned into Severus's side, a soft sigh of contentment exiting his lips.
"Come young one, it is time for bed," Severus murmured, lips brushing against his charges head which might be mistaken as a kiss from any other.
"Already?" he asked, his words belied by a yawn.
"Yes, already," Severus chuckled, grabbing Harry by both shoulders and steering him up the stairs.
He left his charge to change and get ready for bed, heading back to his own room momentarily.
Harry took a quick shower, towel drying his hair before slipping into his night clothes and sidling into his bed. He was just about to turn off the light near his bed when Severus entered the room, carrying a thin, flat object that looked suspiciously like a book.
"Severus?" Harry queried softly in confusion.
Pulling the chair by his ward's desk near the side of Harry's bed Severus sat down, arranging his robes before opening what was clearly a book with colourful illustrations on the cover. Both brows rose as he stared at the younger wizard through his curtain of hair.
"What are you—?"
"As you can clearly see Potter, I'm trying to read a book." He surveyed the boy for a moment, frowning. "This will not do."
Whatever Harry was going to erroneously apologise for was cut off by Severus rising out of his chair and pushing Harry more firmly down onto his pillows. He then carefully tucked the boy in, leaning in once he was done to press a chaste kiss to his brow.
"I love you son," he whispered quietly, before turning back to the discarded book on his chair and picking it up as he sat in its spot.
He ignored the sparkling tears in his adopted son's eyes, though his lips twitched as they fought to form into a pleased smile when he whispered softly back.
"I love you too dad."
Clearing his throat and blinking his eyes (to clear dust away, or so he told himself) Severus reopened the book and started reading.
"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..."
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!