AN: Hello again everyone! This is it, my new work! Basically, this is a series of one-shots based on Christmas carols, though not all of the stories will be Christmas themed. The songs will range from religious to secular, serious to funny, Gregorian chant to Wham! and anything else pertaining to Christmas. Though I've listed this story under SS/HG, not every story will be about them.

So, if you have any couple or song you'd like to request, don't be afraid to leave it in a review or a private message! I'm more than willing to take requests. I've already recieved several requests, and I'm already at work on them.

Thus without further adieu, I decided to start this off with the oldest Advent/Christmas song still around, Veni Veni Emmanuel. I don't own Harry Potter or any of the characters you'd recognize, nor do I own this song, which was made WELL before I was born.

The director tapped his baton against the podium, summoning the choir to attention. The thin wand lifted, then firmly descended, drawing from its subjects the first sounds of the ancient hymn.

Severus felt a shiver rush down his spine as the voices crescendoed into the phrase. Of all the songs they could possibly sing, they just had to pick the darkest, most depressing one in the book. Not that it didn't fit his mood or the growing despair in his soul. Still, you'd think that people preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ would be happier about it.

The refrain suddenly kicked in, dark powerful male voices urging the congregation to rejoice. Never had a call for celebration sounded so dark and menacing! The irony of it all was only somewhat tempered by the Latin language of the chant, which was undoubtedly lost on the younger generation in attendance since the current pope insisted upon all parts of the Mass being in the vernacular.

Severus felt a nudge of wicker on his arm as an offertory basket was thrust at him. He looked up at the usher and shook his head, wishing he had thought ahead to bring along some muggle money. The usher emotionlessly moved on, reaping a better harvest from the couple down the row.

Severus looked about the room. In his youth, the church had been full, vibrant, a place of comfort. Now, only occasional clusters of people dotted the rows, leaving some benches completely bare. Most of the parishioners were older…tired. Others appeared distracted, ticking off the minutes until they could move on to other activities. Even the aging priest who reclined in his chair appeared to have his mind on other things.

Severus thought back to his childhood, when his mother would take him to this very same church. Although his father often complained his way through the service, his mother reveled in the muggle traditions, especially those surrounding the Christmas season. She took comfort in the rituals and in the promise of salvation. At one time, Severus had believed in salvation as well. Now, he was no longer sure of anything.

To say he had come for comfort or forgiveness would be a lie. He had chosen his fate when he had relayed the fateful prophecy to Voldemort. Still, he had attempted to set things right when he understood the full implications of that act. Dumbledore was supposed to save Lily. God was supposed to save Lily! But both had failed. Lily was dead, her blood on his hands.

A shriek of unmitigated joy interrupted his thoughts. On the opposite end of the pew sat two parents, struggling to calm an increasingly rowdy toddler with Cheerios and soothing voices. She paid them no heed, opting instead to beat time on the seat of the pew with a plastic toy car as the melancholy voices of the choir sang on.

Severus shook his head. The emptiness had become too much for him. While he didn't expect the Church to fill it completely, he had hoped for at least a few moments of respite from his pain and guilt. Even a crumb of comfort or peace would suffice to get him through the next few hours.

The dark voices and the haunting a capella chant weren't helping.

Before he could meditate further, he felt something hard crash into his side. He turned to confront the offender who dared to touch him. His eyes fell on the rowdy toddler retrieving her plastic car from his person. Her hair was frizzy, wild, bushy… entirely suitable to her temperament. She looked up at him, her caramel eyes sparkling, full of innocence… full of life. "Hello," she said far too loudly for the setting.

"Hello," Severus whispered as his previous anger and pain dissolved in the unconditional acceptance she represented.

She picked up the toy and offered it to him. "Play?" she asked.

He accepted it and gently rolled it down the pew. She cackled as she chased after it, stopping in disappointment when her father confiscated it and shot him an apologetic look. Severus nodded as the man hissed at his daughter to stay in her seat.

At last the chant mercifully faded into the resonance of the stone walls. The priest motioned for the congregation to stand as he began to pray over the bread and wine.

Severus bowed his head and found the courage to pray for the redemption the others seemingly took so easily for granted, hopeful for the first time in a long while that his prayer would be heard.