"For a Reindeer"

"What?"

Lily winced, but couldn't help smiling. "Severus, dear, you mustn't get upset. At least it wasn't a car she asked for."

"Merlin forbid."

"Just… ask your former art teacher for help," she said, waving her hands casually. "It's as easy at that. There are probably books as well…"

"I knew it," he said, running a hand through his hair. "I knew that they would want something other than a duck one day. But a reindeer?"

"Severus," she said, standing. "For once, you may have to ask for help."

"Who carves wooden reindeer?" He sighed as she placed her hands on his shoulders.

"Sev? Please? It's Christmas. That's why Violet wants one."

"Toby doesn't want a toy this year."

"Oh." She stroked his hair away from his face, and gave him a kiss. "Cheer up, love. They're just getting older. At least little Christopher wants a pond for his duck. You said yourself that it's easy. That will save time to carve the reindeer."

"I… I suppose that it will not be too much trouble," he mumbled.

"There. That's better. You're a wonderful father, Severus."

"Hmph."


Severus found many pictures, and many plastic toys. But he refused to base his own carving on one of those disproportionate monstrosities; and the pictures weren't enough. How would he find a real reindeer?

There were only two nights until Christmas Eve, and he was dissatisfied, even desperate. He had paint, and was much faster at carving than when he had made Lily's duck. Being able to use magic also helped the process, though that hadn't been mentioned in the class. It made the wood softer and the carving tools sharper. Calming Draughts made his hands steady when it came to the more detailed work.

But a reindeer! He needed to find one.

"I can't believe that I'm doing this," he muttered, pulling out parchment, quill, and ink.

Dear Father Christmas,

Ordinarily I would not do something like this. But if you exist, no doubt you already know that. As it is, I find myself asking for your assistance. My daughter, Violet, has requested that I carve her a reindeer for Christmas this year. This has been just as difficult as I thought it would be, which is a considerable annoyance. I was hoping that you might be able to help in some way.

Sincerely,

Severus Snape.

He lit a fire, trying to remember how one was supposed to send a letter to 'Santa Claus'.

"He had better bloody well exist," he said as the envelope was swept up the fireplace to Salazar knows where. Just as long as it was found by someone who wouldn't use it against him, it would be all right.


That night, while Lily was reading the children a bedtime story from Beadle the Bard, he heard a noise downstairs. Wand at the ready, he crept down to the living room, and saw a line of soot from the fireplace, leading to an armchair… occupied by a man in a red and white suit.

Severus blinked. "Are you… Santa?"

"Indeed I am, Severus!"

"I presume that you received my letter?"

"Yes," he said, waving it in the air. "I'm intrigued. You are a fellow toymaker, with a great passion for creating things for your children."

"I love them."

"Quite, quite. Well, you are in luck. I am not as busy as I used to be," he stood, "so I have the time to help you in any way that you need. We can help you make…"

"No! No, I want to make it. I just need to see a reindeer, up close, and I cannot do that in the wild, nor at a zoo. Well, I could try, but it would involve being unethical, and possibly breaking the law."

"So I am your last resort?"

"The last resort would be breaking the law." He looked at his hands, sighing. "But I would do anything for my family. Anything."

"You are truly devoted to them, Severus. I… I'm sorry that I couldn't help you when you were a child. You may not believe it, but there were children in worse situations, and my powers have grown limited over the years. And I couldn't have helped your mother if I helped you."

"I understand. It has taken a long time, but I can understand."

"Good." Santa paused, and then took a step forward. "Come with me. You can see your reindeer."

He held out a hand. Severus looked upstairs, but couldn't hear anything. "My family…"

"Time has frozen here. When you return, they will be none the wiser, and you can go back to protecting them."

"…All right, then." He took the old man's hand, and they disappeared in a flurry of dry snow.


Christmas Day, while Toby was studying his personalised cauldron with awe, and Christopher was playing with his old duck in its new pond, Violet was tearing into the wrapping paper around the present from her father. She squealed in delight when she saw the wooden reindeer, with a purple collar to match her name.

"Daddy, you're so clever!" she told him, leaping into his arms. He laughed, holding her close. Fortunately, he had taken Santa's suggestion of putting protective charms on the legs and antlers, so that no amount of rough-handling would break them, although that didn't stop them from digging into his side. But he didn't mind at all.

"Well done," Lily said, grinning at him from the floor by the tree.

"This is great," Toby whispered, tracing the gold-embossed initials on the rim of his cauldron. "Thanks."

"We trust you not to melt that," Severus said sternly, and Toby nodded, wide-eyed.

"O-of course not, Dad! I wouldn't… I would never…"

"We know," Lily said, stretching across to tousle his hair. "Your father's just teasing you."

A look at the smirk on his father's face confirmed it. "Oh." He smiled in relief. "I'll go and get ready for Grandma and Granddad's now. Is that okay?"

"Wait," she said, frowning as she bent over. Severus couldn't help but admire the view, particularly as she wriggled out from beneath the tree. "There's something else here. It's for you, Sev. Someone I should know about?" she asked, winking. He rolled his eyes.

"Accio present," he said, and the gift whizzed into his hand. He cast spells to check for Dark magic. When they came up negative, he pulled the paper away carefully, giving Violet the ribbon. She started to wind it around her reindeer's antlers, while Severus pulled out a photo album.

"What's that?" Lily asked.

"I… what?" His jaw dropped open as he turned the pages, picking up speed until the end, where a letter fell out. He read it as Lily Summoned back the album, gazing at the pictures of her husband with reindeer, elves, a toy workshop, and…

Dear Severus,

Tomorrow evening, you and your family are free to come and visit me between the hours of five and eight your time. Just wait in your living room, and call me by name.

By the way, nice job on the reindeer. Glad to have helped, as always.

Regards,

Father Christmas.

"Severus, is this…" Lily was astonished, pointing at the pictures as she shuffled to sit beside her husband.

"Yes." He smiled down at her. "Yes, it is." He shrugged. "Well, I did say that I would ask for help."

"Violet's quite right," she whispered, and she kissed his cheek. "You are a clever man."


So this is the unplanned sequel of "You're the One", and my response to the 'What would you do?' challenge, where my prompt was 'reindeer'. I thought that this would fit, idea-wise.

What do you think?