Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Harry Potter.
Note: This is another Christmas story, let's begin. This takes place before the Christmas break during Harry's sixth year.
Title: A Christmas Lament.
Summary: Christmas has always been a time to celebrate with family but now that even his godfather is dead, can Harry find comfort from an unexpected source or might this just be the best Christmas ever?
Pairing: Harry Potter/Severus Snape.
"Mr. Potter, the last time you failed to obey instructions I believe that the effects were so devastating that I had thought you had learned your lesson, apparently not." The deep voice accompanied by the harsh words was enough to make Harry Potter bite back tears.
Normally he would bit back anger or even retaliating in kind but at the moment he knew that his teacher was right. It had been Snape himself who last year, had told Harry repeatingly to practice and to focus and Harry had failed in that task, with indeed devastating results.
"Yes, sir, I'll try to do better." He whispered instead.
"Somehow, Mr. Potter, after six years in which I taught you and watched you fail, I do not think that you will. I do not care that you don't like the subject I teach but you can respect me enough to do the work and come to class prepared. Your status as a hero will not guarantee you a pass in Potions."
No, it won't even guarantee me a break. I have to bear the guilt in knowing that I'm responsible for killing my only remaining family member. If I only get average results in all of my classes why do they place the fate on the world on my shoulders? Why couldn't they pick somebody who is smarter than me and older and more experienced?
Yet Harry knew better then to whine about his lot in life so instead he swallowed past the sizable lump in his throat and tried to focus upon his work. He didn't even rise to the bait when Ron whispered in his ear.
"He's a right git to pick upon you. Goyle managed to melt another cauldron." But even the support of his best friend couldn't rouse Harry from his thoughts.
He thought he had managed to overcome his grief for his godfather Sirius Black but it seemed that it snuck up upon him when he least expected it. The period before Christmas was the worst. Christmas had always been a favorite time for Harry but right now it was pure hell.
He had hoped to spend the holidays with Remus Lupin but the older man hadn't responded to his letter yet. It was nothing short of a plea, Harry knew but after the disastrous Christmas last year he had actually been looking forward to this one that was until Sirius died.
"Mr. Potter, I thought I told you to pay attention barely five minutes ago." Harry flinched when a hand suddenly slammed down on the desk in front of him. He turned frightened green eyes up at Snape's dark ones. The Potions Master raised a stern eyebrow and then leaned in to snarl.
"I know that paying attention to these inferior tasks are beneath you, Mr. Potter but I strongly urge you to stop feeling superior and pay attention because if you fail this class, I will be forced to tell everybody what a disappointment you are, not that I expected anything less from you after the last five years in my class but as a NEWT student you are expected to do better or I will cut you from my class."
Harry felt a shiver running through him. He would give anything to make Snape think he was making an effort here. All term he had thrown himself into impressing his teacher, trying to do better to quell the constant ache inside him that told him he wasn't good enough.
But in the last few days his attention had slipped, especially after the lesson with Professor Dumbledore where he had failed to get the memory from Professor Slughorn. When the Headmaster told him he was disappointed in Harry, it had opened up all those old hurts and thoughts about the Dursleys that he thought he had buried.
All his life he had heard the same thing from his family, that he was a freak and could do nothing right and even now, it came back to haunt him. Combined with the guilt and grief Sirius' dead had brought upon and Harry was far from emotionally stable.
The fact that he had wanted to impress Snape of all people because somehow, he had fallen hard for the older wizard, had also fueled his insecurity. He knew that deep down it would take a lot to impress Snape. Harry had hoped that his recent success in Defense might soften his Professor's approach but so far he had been unsuccessful.
Especially when Snape had started to substitute for Slughorn because the other Professor was ill. Still not entirely confident with his Potions skill, despite the Half Blood Prince's book, which he had given to Ron, Harry had quickly dropped back to his old level, of barely passing in Potions.
He took a deep breath, forcing down the tears that seemed too close to the surface these days and said. "I'm sorry, sir. I'll do better, I promise."
Snape merely raised an eyebrow and straightened. The dark eyes contemplated Harry for a moment before Snape smirked and said, loud enough for the entire class to hear. "Sadly Potter, your promises are as worthless as you are at Potions, as I'm sure that your godfather will agree with me. Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't you promise to do better in Remedial Potions? Which you broke, bringing about the death of your beloved godfather?"
The Gryffindor part of the class gasped and Ron rose to Harry's defense, mouth opening but before he could as much as drawn in a breath to say whatever was on his mind, Harry did something completely unexpected. He burst into tears.
Snape was as startled as Ron was as he turned back towards his best friend. Harry's shoulders shook with suppressed sobs. He laid a careful hand on Harry's shoulder, trying to tell his friend to suck it in but the next moment Snape snapped at the rest of the class.
"Continue your work! There is no need to stand here gawking."
Ron could hear the snapping of robes and whispers as everybody hurried to comply with their teacher's command. Ron knew that things must be really bad if Harry cried, his best friend never did, not even when things were bad.
"Come on, mate, this isn't the time or the place…." He tried to urge Harry to stop but Harry just shook his head, it seemed to be beyond his control.
"Mr. Weasley, unless you can offer constructive support, then leave the matter to me." Snape's voice was as sharp as ever but much to Ron's surprise, Snape rounded the table as he laid a hand on Harry's shoulder and said, gentling his tone.
"I'm merely trying to help Harry! I know that he wouldn't like it to be the joke of the class simply because he is overwhelmed…." Ron was always quick to rise to the defense of a friend or family member. He did the same now and Snape's eyes narrowed in a glare.
"Telling him to suck it up won't help Mr. Potter. Grief is best expressed, especially the grief that losing a loved one can cause."
Ron turned back to Harry. His best friend was sitting on the stool, the very picture of misery. Green eyes were washed with pain and guilt, pain that Ron couldn't even begin to imagine and Harry was shaking with the futile effort of holding the sobs inside.
"Do you think you can finish the lesson, Mr. Potter?" Harry shook his head as he muttered.
"Why should I try? I'm going to be hopeless at it either way." Harry released a bitter laugh and Snape frowned before he crouched down and said, turning Harry around to face him.
"Is this about Black?" Harry chewed on his lip but the fresh pain that rose in the expressive green eyes seemed to confirm Snape's words and then teacher said.
"Class dismissed!" The Professor kept a tight hand on Harry's arm and continued, eyes rising up to meet Ron's blue ones.
"You may remain here, Mr. Weasley but Potter and myself are going to have a little chat."
"Do you want me to stay here, Harry?"
Harry shook his head and Ron packed up his bag. He gave his friend's shoulder a squeeze and said. "I'm going to go to the Common Room. See you later, mate."
And as he left the classroom, he hoped that for once Snape would be kind to Harry because at the moment, his best friend deserved and needed that above everything else.
Harry tried to calm down. He didn't fancy being alone in the room, crying with Snape next to him making hurtful comments. He didn't know what had come over him but once it had started, it didn't seem to stop.
He had tried to close his eyes and imagine anything that would calm him but much to his shame he couldn't think of a thing. The Dursley had always stuffed him in his cupboard or he had even received a slap when he was young. He had no memories to draw upon.
A soft hand came to rest upon Harry's shoulder and Snape said. "Come, we shall retreat to my office. It is a more comfortable place to talk then the classroom."
Harry quickly gathered up his book bag before following Snape. The older wizard closed the door behind Harry and pointed towards two chairs in front of the fireplace. Uncertain what to do, Harry sat down and placed his book bag beside his chair.
He was still sniffling but for the moment he seemed to have control over himself. He tried not to think of Sirius, not to think of Christmas, not to think of anything really. He would need all of his attention on the next conversation with Snape.
He could do two things now, he could both play it cool and pretend that what happened was a onetime thing or he could blurt out his feelings to Snape. Both were things he wasn't fond of.
He eyed Snape wearily as the older wizard sat down in the chair opposed him. Snape crossed his legs at the ankles and regarded Harry for a long moment before he said, catching Harry of guard again. "Would you care for some tea, Mr. Potter?"
Not sure if he could trust his voice to answer or blurt out something entire inappropriate he merely contented himself with a nod and while Snape waved his wand to Summon a house elf, Harry studied his teacher.
The black eyes were as sharp as ever but Harry wasn't sure when he had fallen in love with the brilliant man behind the mask. He knew Snape wasn't who he pretended to be. The older wizard was ruthless and intelligent but something drew Harry in. He was even fantasizing about Snape that left him flustered and he wasn't sure what he was supposed to think about that.
Snape was a passionate man, one who had a past similar to Harry's. After the episode with the pensive Harry had wanted to talk to his Professor, confide in him what had happened but he had been unable to. And when Sirius had died and Uncle Vernon repeatingly punished Harry for telling the Order during the summer it seemed like no use. He deserved it.
When a mug was placed on the table between them, Harry glanced up again. Snape was watching him, dark eyes unreadable before the older wizard asked. "What are your plans for this Christmas, Harry?"
The use of his given name managed to once again throw Harry off balance completely but he took a sip of his tea and shrugged, placing the hot mug back in the saucer. "I don't know, staying here I guess….Professor Dumbledore said it was safer if I remained here instead of going to the Weasleys or Remus."
"Those don't sound like your plans, Harry. What did you planned for Christmas?"
Harry flushed and glanced away before he said in a small voice. "I send a letter to Remus to ask him if he wanted to meet up for Christmas but he hasn't answered yet. Professor Dumbledore told me that it was safer for me to remain here instead of going to the Weasleys. I…"
His breathing caught in his throat and Harry sighed. He wanted to be anywhere else but Hogwarts or Grimmauld Place. But Dumbledore had told him it would be safer to remain here.
"And do you want to stay at Hogwarts?"
Harry glanced up before he said, dropping his gaze back down to the safety of the table. "Well, I suppose that it is better than going to Grimmauld Place. Professor Dumbledore said that it would either be Hogwarts or…."
He couldn't even say Sirius' name without tearing up. He sniffled and then told himself sternly to keep it together. A handkerchief was pressed into his hand and Snape asked.
"And Professor Dumbledore explicitly told you that you either had to stay at Hogwarts or return to the safety of the Order's Headquarters?"
"I think he did but I am not entirely sure…I don't feel very comfortable to go to the Order's Headquarters…."
"No, I can imagine. Perhaps it can be arranged that Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger can spend the holidays here with you in the castle."
Harry suddenly knew the reason why he had fallen in love with Snape. It was because of this. Snape could be gentle and caring when he wanted to be and while Harry glanced at his teacher's face through his fringe he could tell the words cost Snape a lot to say.
The Head of Slytherin house grimaced but Harry merely shook his head and said. "Hermione is going to go skiing with her parents and the Weasleys are going to Romania to visit Charlie."
"So there was never any chance of your staying at the Weasley household?"
"Actually they asked if I wanted to go with them…" It was the first time anybody had ever taken him anywhere and while Harry knew that it wasn't safe for him to go, for a couple of days it had felt nice to imagine going to Romania and just having fun.
He wouldn't have to worry about anything for two weeks and could just learn about dragons. He could play around with Ron and his brothers in the snow. But the next time Harry had a meeting with the Headmaster, the old wizard had immediately said that he couldn't go.
It had hurt Harry because he was sure that Professor Dumbledore would understand why Harry wanted to get away and for once have a fun Christmas. It would almost be like being among family but of course it wasn't to be. Professor Dumbledore had even said that Harry could go back to the Dursleys if Remus couldn't be called back from his mission to spend the holidays with him.
"There is something you are not telling me, Potter." Snape was as perceptive as ever and after hesitating for a moment Harry said.
"Professor Dumbledore said that instead of staying here at Hogwarts, I would have to return to the Dursleys."
A dark eyebrow rose and then Snape asked, disbelieve dropping from every syllable. "The Headmaster said that you could not go with the Weasleys to Romania because of safety issues but he does suggest that you return to an abusive household for a two week vacation?"
Harry gave a timid nod and then the normally controlled Professor exploded. "Has he finally taken leave of his senses? He is going to send you back there, especially after I have told him what I saw in your memories of what those people did to you. It would be like signing your dead warrant. You would have been better off with Black! He would be a better guardian then those muggles!"
"So it was you who alerted the Order?"
Snape sneered at him and snapped. "Of course it was me. Who else did you think it was? Did you really think me such an incompetent teacher to let abuse like this slide?"
"No, no, of course not. I just wanted to thank you. It didn't do much good in the end but it was the thought that counted…"
Snape leaned forward and then said. "I still am at a loss why the Headmaster would even think of sending you back there in the state you are in. You can barely focus in your class so how could you possible stand to be there? No, the best option, unless Lupin can be called back, which I highly doubt, is for you to celebrate Christmas with somebody else while you remain here at Hogwarts. If you would be so inclined?"
"But how many people are staying at Hogwarts this year and who would want to spend Christmas with me?"
Harry was confused now. Yet no matter how many times he told himself not to hope, there was a small flame starting in his chest, warming him for what seemed like the first time in weeks.
"Most of the teachers will be absent this year since only ten students will be staying here. Only Professor McGonagall and myself shall remain at the castle. The Headmaster shall be abroad to…settle some affairs. You may celebrate Christmas with me if you would like that."
"Do you mean that?"
"Of course I do, else I would not ask for you to inflect yourself upon me during the holidays now would I?"
And as Harry sat there grinning, he suddenly realized that perhaps this Christmas wouldn't be totally wasted.
"Are you sure, mate? You can still sneak into the train…" Ron's face was anxious but Harry merely smiled.
"No, Ron thanks but it is fine. I think that this holiday may actually be a good one."
Hermione smiled at Harry. It made her happy to see him smiling again. It had been far too long since she had seen the light in his eyes return. Now, whenever Harry spoke about the upcoming holidays the light was always there.
"So who are you going to spend the holidays with?"
Harry smiled sheepishly at Hermione and asked. "Promise you won't laugh or become angry?"
Ron opened his mouth but Hermione shot him a look and said. "We promise."
"With Professor Snape actually."
Harry tensed up despite his friends' promise not to be angry. Ron blinked and then said. "So Dumbledore doesn't recon that you're safe with my parents but he does so when you're with Snape? Mate, I think that he finally went round the bent. He must have never been in the same room with you and Snape. If there is one explosion waiting to happen it is that one. Though it will make for a good holiday then, I suppose."
"Yeah, I think that it will make for a brilliant one. Dumbledore can't complain about me not being safe and well…it's always nice to spend some time with somebody who has taken your fancy…"
Harry dropped his voice but it wasn't only Ron who sputtered, Hermione seemed to have a hard time to take it all in but Ron was the first one who reacted.
"You like Snape?"
Harry nodded timidly. He chewed on his lip. He had figured out a while ago that he liked boys better than girls but so far he hadn't said anything to either of his friends.
"Shout it a bit harder, why don't you? I don't think that the Slytherins heard you yet." Harry grumbled.
Ron and Hermione exchanged a look and then Ron asked. "Can I say it? You have more of these moments then I do so please…?"
Hermione giggled and nodded. Harry watched his friend with a puzzled expression. What were they talking about?
"We knew about since like forever, mate!"
"Yeah, I mean all you ever talk about is that Half Blood Prince of yours."
"I don't….not all the time." Harry frowned and the green eyes rose up to meet the eyes of his friends. "Do I?"
"No, you don't but come we have to hurry, Ron, else we're going to miss the train." Hermione picked up her backpack.
Ron laughed and Hermione finally joined in. "Oh well, who cares? You go and be happy with Snape. Perhaps he may even like to unwrap you underneath the tree…" Ron winked at him and as Harry blushed, his friend gave him a quick hug before leave for the train, leaving a flustered Harry Potter behind who just had the tiniest problem focusing but found himself looking forward to the holidays even more.
The knock on the portrait made Harry glance up from his Quidditch book. He wondered who it could be. It was Christmas Eve and he was just sitting in front of the fireplace, reading a book. He hadn't heard anything from Snape, except that the Professor had told him to eat lunch with him and they would make plans for the rest of the day then.
Harry had used the time before Christmas to catch up on his homework. At the moment he had even worked ahead to make sure that he wouldn't need to do anything else for the remainder of the holiday.
He rose from his spot by the fire and went towards the portrait. He pushed it open and had to do a double take because Snape was standing there. The older wizard was watching him with amusement before he said. "Are you going to invite me in or shall I remain outside?"
Immediately Harry stepped back and said. "Of course, sir. But I thought that you only wanted to celebrate Christmas day with me?"
"I thought it would be nice to spend the evening together as well, unless you have other plans."
It was strange but Snape didn't look so out of place in the Gryffindor Common Room as Harry had expected. The Head of Slytherin House was dressed in a black jumper and black slacks that Harry found himself wanting to remove so to buy himself time he looked away.
"I was just reading actually but some company would be nice."
He gestured towards the empty chairs in front of the fireplace. He was the only Gryffindor here at the moment so he had the best seats available.
Snape looked around the common room with a detached sort of interest. The older wizard winced when he saw the main colors and decorations of the room. Harry sat down in the chair he had vacated earlier and soon Snape joined him.
"I must say that this room is very…bright…"
"Yeah, I know, gold and red don't mix but well it's the house colors so I can't really help it. I don't even see it anymore. Guess one gets used to it after seeing it for years."
"Indeed. You even managed to get Mistletoe somewhere. I thought they were discouraged in common rooms."
"In dormitories you mean. The Heads of House apparently don't want to encourage in nefarious behavior in the dormitories. You are most welcome to check my dormitory for any signs of Mistletoe."
He blushed lightly when he realized what he had said but Snape merely look at him with a slight smirk and said. "Are you implying something, Mr. Potter? If I know your mischievous streak and I do, you will have planted mistletoe everywhere, inviting me to kiss you and do other things usually reserved for a bed."
Was Snape flirting with him? The amused glint in the dark eyes certainly seemed to imply so. Instead of replying in kind he looked away and said. "And those are allowed? I thought that there were spells to prevent such things from happening. I know that we can't access the girls' dormitory…."
"There are no spells that can prevent people from having sex. It is impossible in a boarding school with hormones riddled teens to discourage them from sex. We expect common sense instead. And there may be reason for the female dormitory to be blocked from males but females these days are as forward as males. And then there are other kinds of relationships as well."
"Such as between two males?" Harry held his breath.
"Yes, such as same sex couples." Snape was looking at him intently. "Are you asking this for a reason?"
Feeling caught, Harry immediately shook his head and said. "No, no reason."
He opened his book hastily, not noticing that as he raised it in front of his face that he had it upside down. He could feel the blush rising from his neck but he refused to lower the book. A snort was all he received and then it was quiet.
Harry lowered his book just enough so he could peer over the top of it, or the bottom, it just depends on how you looked at it. Snape was staring into the fire, a strange half smile on his lips but something about the older wizard looked so content to Harry that Harry felt a lump in his throat.
Here was somebody who had offered to stay with him during the holidays. He knew that Snape disliked them, or well maybe not disliked but he never seemed inclined to celebrate and always relished a chance to get away from the students yet here he was.
He merely smiled to himself and went back to his book, never once reading a letter or noticing when the dark eyes glanced over at him.
Harry hasn't read a single letter in over an hour. It may have to do with the fact that his book is still upside down and thus a bit harder to read or the fact that he keeps watching Snape over the top of his book.
He doesn't stare, no, because that would make Snape notice and Harry is fairly sure that so far the other man hasn't noticed it yet. Snape was reading a thin book but one that held his interest so deeply that the normally perceptive spy hasn't noticed Harry's staring but also hasn't noticed the mistletoe floating merrily above his head.
Harry first noticed when a tiny plop sounded in the otherwise silent room. He glanced up at his own head first, but not seeing anything floating there he had dismissed it. Then he had glanced over again at Snape and there it was, floating innocently above the dark head.
He sighed when the spell he had tried failed, one of the many. It seemed inevitable that Harry must take action. Not that he minded taking this particular action all that much, he had dreamed about that for quite some time but to act upon it and face the consequences that were another thing.
Finally Harry can't take it anymore and shuts his book. Snape doesn't even glance up as Harry got out of the chair and came to stand in front of him. Harry had to suppress a smile, it wasn't often one got to see Snape like this, so absorbed in whatever he was reading.
Harry almost regretted having to take the book away but when he thought about what he had to do, it send such a delightful shiver down his spine that he knew he would go through with it, consequences be damned.
Snape glanced up when the book was taken away, a confused look on his face before Harry dropped himself in his lap. The dark eyes narrowed for a moment as Harry fastened his arms around Snape's neck. "What are you doing, Mr. Potter?"
"Saving you from a case of bad luck for a year. Really, Professor, I thought that you knew all about those superstitious resolving Christmas." Harry grinned, relishing the fact that he could look Snape in the eye.
One dark eyebrow rose before Snape glanced up. The dark eyes widen but before Snape could say anything; Harry decided to throw caution to the wind and leaned in to press his lips against Snape's.
It was better then he imagined or even dreamed about. Snape's lips tasted like heaven but Harry was aware that Snape wasn't responding. He kept himself stiffly, knowing that at one moment he could be pushed away but then Snape relaxed and pulled away.
"You are aware that kisses are supposed to be enjoyed, don't you?" The older man purred, his face inches from Harry's face.
"I wasn't sure if I was welcome." Harry confessed shyly.
"That depends if you only did it to prevent me from having bad luck next year…"
"I did it because I wanted to."
"Then I suppose you would not mind doing it again?" A dark eyebrow rose again in an obvious leer and Harry leaned in again as he breathed.
"Of course not…" Harry didn't notice the mistletoe disappear, to be truthful, he didn't notice much for a long time except for Snape's lips, hands and eyes that told Harry that kissing him again and again was certainly acceptable.
"Merry Christmas." It never ceased to amaze Harry how that deep voice still managed to induce shivers even after all these years. He turned in the firm arm around his waist and smiled up at his lover.
"Merry Christmas and good morning." He said, pressing a kiss against the thin lips. Who could ever expect that back in sixth year when he had also woken up with his Slytherin, it had become a tradition between them to wake up each Christmas together for the next two years before Harry graduated. But now, when Harry finally had and Severus had been promoted to Headmaster and three years after the war, Harry had vowed never to wake up without his lover ever again.
After having come to close to losing the spy, Harry had realized that he loved Severus and had spend the entire summer when Severus was recovering from Nagini's bite by Severus' bedside. It seemed only right to them both to have Harry moved from the bedside to in the bed.
Harry had chosen to go back to Hogwarts after Severus was released from St. Mungo's. His relationship with Severus seemed to be the only steady thing during the first term after the Final Battle.
And now the first Voldemort free Christmas was upon them. And their first Christmas together, instead of sneaking about and dodging Death Eaters and their leader. The first time Harry could wake up with Severus without having to rush back to his friends that he left out in a tent in the cold.
"And what a good morning it is." Severus gave him another kiss and sure fingers divested Harry of his shirt.
"Hey, hey, no unwrapping this gift before all the other gifts have been unwrapped. You know that Ron will Owl to know if we like his gift."
Severus' smile was indulging but the Headmaster rolled his eyes as he released his young lover.
"Very well, but open the small package at the front first."
Frowning at his lover, Harry did as Severus asked. It wasn't that often that Severus asked things of him. He unwrapped the small package to find a velvet box. He raised green eyes up towards Severus only to find his lover beside him and taking the box from Harry.
Severus opened the box gently and held it out to Harry as he said. "The first time that I asked you to spend Christmas with me was because I couldn't bear to watch you spend a Christmas alone when you just lost somebody you love. The second Christmas we spend together was because I could not bear the knowledge of knowing that you had to spend Christmas in a cold tent with two people who loved each other even when they were too blind to see. This Christmas, I ask this because I cannot bear the thought of spending any Christmas, nay, any day without you. So, Harry, will you do me the honor of become my bond mate?"
Staring at the silver bond ring and then back up at the dark eyes, Harry didn't even need to think. He threw himself at his lover, landing on top of him and kissing him deeply as he murmured. "Yes, yes, yes, of course, I will."
And as he watched the thin lips relax into a smiled and saw the dark eyes glow with happiness, he knew that for as long as they both lived, he would never have to lament another Christmas because he would always spend it with family and in truth that was all he ever wanted.
Merry early Christmas. I hope that you liked it. I had to do this fic for myself because I do need some happiness this year because as it turns out that the cancer my grandfather had has spread all throughout his body so this will most likely be the last Christmas I spend with him. Now review of course.