Title: Letter to Santa
Word Count: 1400+
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Harry was told by the Dursleys he was unworthy of Christmas. After he is rescued from them when he is seven, how does Severus cope with his insecurities?
Author's Notes: This story actually spawned from the prompts: fireplace, Dressing the Christmas Tree, and first time. Thanks to aigooism for betaing for me!
Letter to Santa
"Harry can you come in here," Severus called from the living room. He watched as Harry walked sedately into the room, looking at him warily.
"Yes, Sev'rus," he mumbled as he sat on the couch. "Did I do something wrong?"
"No, Harry. I just wanted to tell you about the visitors we are having tomorrow. Albus and Minerva are coming over to help us decorate for Christmas." Severus grimaced at the thought. He did not enjoy Christmas. The decorations, the cheer, the false platitudes for gifts people would return the second they were alone – it was all too much for Severus.
"Oh," Harry replied as he looked at his lap. "I'm supposed to stay in my room then?"
"No, Harry. They are coming over to decorate with you."
"With me?" Harry asked bewildered. "Why? I'm not good enough for Santa."
Severus looked at him sharply. "Who told you that?"
"Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. They said that Christmas was a time for people who are wanted and loved by their families, and Santa doesn't give freaky orphan boys like me gifts," Harry recited dejectedly.
Severus gritted his teeth in anger. How dare they, he seethed. The Dursleys better be thankful that Albus got a hold of them first. They would have witnessed firsthand what being a Death Eater entailed.
He broke out of his anger induced thoughts at the sound of a whimper.
"I'm sorry for being a bother," Harry cried as he curled up into himself, lifting a hand over his head in protection for the swing that was never going to come. Severus' heart broke at seeing Harry scared of him.
Reign in your temper. There is plenty of time to contemplate the Dursley's demise when Harry's in bed. Severus calmed himself and reigned in his temper, hiding it behind one of his many masks. He reached for Harry and gathered him in his arms, slowly rocking him while muttering nonessential words. When Harry finally stopped crying he murmured, "You're not a bother, Harry. Never think that."
Harry glanced up at Severus. "Promise?"
"I promise. Albus, Minerva, you and I are going to decorate the whole house tomorrow to get ready for Christmas. Santa's not going to know where to drop off your presents if there is not a tree or stockings in place."
Severus shushed Harry as he opened his mouth to reply. "I don't want to hear it Harry. Whatever those people told you about Christmas and your worthiness of it is wrong. You are going to get presents." And if I have it my way, you'll get enough presents to make up for the last few years.
Harry still looked unconvinced but he nodded anyway as he climbed off Severus' lap.
"Have you made your Christmas list yet?" Severus asked suddenly.
Harry stared at Severus. "What Christmas list?"
"The one you write to Santa about what gifts you want him to bring you for Christmas. Surely your relatives allowed you to do that."
Harry shook his head. "Santa doesn't give freaky orphan boys like me gifts," he said again. "He wouldn't take a letter from me anyway."
Severus forced himself to breathe deeply and stop his immediate perusal of all the Dark Arts spells he could use on the Dursleys. "I have it on good authority that Santa will take your letter and do everything in his power to grant it. Don't believe me?" Severus asked at Harry's skeptical look. He glanced at the clock before deciding there was enough time for Harry to write a letter before bed. He pulled out his wand and summoned a piece of paper and a pen to him. When they came zooming in from the study, he grabbed them and gave them to Harry. "Write him a letter. I will personally make sure it is delivered."
Harry glanced between Severus and the paper before hesitantly reaching out and taking it. "You'll really make sure he gets it?"
"I give you my word, Harry, that not only will he get your letter but he will read it. Now go and write your letter." Harry gave a small, shy smile as he hopped off the couch and walked over to the fireplace. He flopped down on his stomach right in front of it and stared at the paper before beginning to write.
Severus sighed as he leaned back in his chair, staring blankly into the fire. He rubbed his temples as he thought about Harry's life before he came to live with him. Those filthy Muggles, he thought in a rage. Who tells a child they are unworthy of Christmas. What seven year old has never written a letter to Santa Claus. He continued to mutter curses in his thoughts while thinking up creative ways to get revenge on the Muggles without getting him thrown in Azkaban.
He was dragged out of his thoughts by Harry's whispered, "I'm done, Sev'rus." Harry stood before him, holding out his letter for Severus to take. Severus took it and set it down on the coffee table before glancing at the clock.
"Time for bed, Harry," Severus said as he scooped him up and walked out of the living room towards Harry's bedroom. He pushed open the door with his foot and crossed the room to the bed. Severus set Harry down before pulling back the sheets and motioning for Harry to climb in.
"Sev'rus," Harry murmured as he scrambled onto the bed. "Will Santa really read my letter?"
Severus glanced down at Harry as he pulled the comforter over him and tucked him in. He sat on the edge of the bed and ran a hand through Harry's hair. "He will read it in my presence, rest assured."
"Do you really think he will give me gifts?"
"I don't think, Harry, I know he will. It's time to go to sleep." Severus pulled out his wand and tapped the light on the nightstand. "Here's your nightlight, Harry. Good night," he whispered as he got up to leave the room.
He stopped at the door and turned around to glance at the bed when he heard Harry's sleepy, "Good night, Sev'rus. Thank you."
"Thank you for what?"
"For being nice to me and letting me write a letter to Santa and making sure he reads it," he said with a yawn. "No one's ever done that for me before."
"You're welcome, Harry. Now, go to sleep." Severus closed Harry's door, leaving it open a crack so he could hear if Harry had a nightmare. He walked back to the living room and picked up Harry's letter. He summoned his whiskey, poured a shot and downed it before opening the letter to read it.
Sevrus said I should write to you bout my wish but I know Ive been to bad to make it on your Nice List. I really tried to be good this year honest but I know I wasnt good enough. I know your not going to grant it cause Im a freak and you dont give gifts to freaks but he said I should write it.
What I really want for Christmas is for you to make me good so Sevrus can love me. Hes been so nice to me. He gives me food and clothes and even a room to sleep in thats all for me. I would have been happy with a cubord but he sisted. It even has a really big bed in it that I get to sleep on. He doesnt call me freak or boy or orphan and he's never hit me. Not never.
Ive never had a Daddy before. At least not one I remember and Id like Severus to be mine but I have to be good for him. So can you pretty please make me good this year? I'll do my bestest to get on your Nice List and be a good boy.
Severus reread the letter, not noticing the tears running down his face until one splashed on the paper. He could not understand how Harry could have gone through that and not become embittered like he had been by that age. He wiped the tears off as he contemplated how to make Harry's wish come true.
He summoned a stack of papers from his study and stared at them, rereading the requirements for adoption even though he already knew them by heart. Albus told me it was too soon to ask him but I will make his wish come true. I want him to be my son. Severus folded the stack of papers and laid Harry's letter on top. He glanced around, placing Christmas decoration in his mind's eye. This will be the best, damn Christmas he has ever seen. The thought that Severus absolutely hated Christmas never crossed his mind. For one small, little boy who had never gotten a Christmas wish, he would do whatever it took to make Harry happy.