Alyx slammed the file down on Bob's desk and glared at him. "What the hell is this?" she said with a screech, then just to make sure she had his attention she ran her nails over the blackboard.
Bob shuddered and placed fingers in his ears. He wisely refrained from plugging any other orifices, he didn't want to give Alyx any ideas.
"It's a new crack fic," he explained trying and totally failing to look serious. It's hard to look serious when one has one's ears plugged up.
Alyx pointed to the large crack in the file. "I know it's a crack fic," she hissed.
Bob took a step back. "Look I can't help it, I'm in a mood to do something different."
"Different is mud wrestling with three male Chinese gymnasts and a Llama, or playing demolition derby with motorized hospital beds!"
Bob held up his hands in surrender. "You weren't supposed to mention that derby. Now they might find us!"
Alyx paused and looked out at the audience. "They wouldn't dare we didn't hurt too many patients. Besides, if they did, we wouldn't be here to give them stories and tell them we still don't own Harry Potter."
A knock came from the door and a shout of "Police!" caused Bob to bolt. "Get that will ya? I'll ummm go see what's happening in the next state. In the meantime, Merry Christmas folks! Enjoy the tale!"
A Hogwarts Christmas Story...
Once upon a time...
Severus Snape belted down his shot glass and scowled fiercely. The castle was in an uproar all because of one lone brat who had suddenly reappeared after being missing for nearly 11 years.
Harry Potter is coming to Hogwarts, he thought sourly. Blasted brat has been missing since end of 1981 and now he's coming to Hogwarts. Just what I need! A famous Potter spawn. I'll teach him that fame isn't everything.
He grinned to himself and pondered the joy of humiliating the son of his old school enemy.
With a flick of his wand he summoned a book from a shelf, it was a master's work and contained recipes to some of the hardest and rarest potions to brew. Grabbing a parchment and a quill he flipped through the pages hoping to find some questions to ask their newest celebrity.
I've had 10 years of peace and it's been fun watching that old fool trying to track down the Potter spawn, but now it's over. All I need is the dark lord to return to make my life miserable, he bemoaned to himself.
"Here's to you Harry," piped a squeaky voice. The diminutive professor lifted his cup in salute. Poppy Pomphrey and Minerva followed suit.
"He's truly coming then?" asked Poppy.
Minerva nodded with a benign smile. She knew exactly what kind of life Harry would have lived had he remained with his relatives and had been openly happy that he had escaped that danger nearly unscathed.
"I got his letter yesterday announcing that he'd arrive at the school with the students but he might not make the train," she replied smugly.
"He's not taking the express?" exclaimed Poppy.
Flitwick chortled mirthfully. "No, but I daresay his arrival will be unusual like so much of his short life." Flitwick wasn't entirely positive what Harry endured, but he was certain it was far better than the fate Dumbledore had planned for him.
Minerva turned a suspicious eye on her fellow professor. Of all of the professors that had been employed at the school at the time of Harry's disappearance, he seemed to be the one least upset about it. It never occurred to her that her own comments about his relatives made to Flitwick started the whole chain of events that led to Harry vanishing from his relatives.
"Just what do you know Filius?" she demanded.
Flitwick shrugged. "Not as much as I'd like Minerva. Let's just say that when I learned what was in store for little Harry I could not allow the son of my best apprentice go through that. I asked someone I knew who had connections to look in on him. I don't know what happened, but I have been informed that he was rescued and taken to someplace where he'd be safe and loved. That's all that matters, isn't it?"
"Indeed," muttered Poppy. She still harbored resentment against the Headmaster who had refused to let her examine little Harry after Hagrid had brought him to the castle following the attack on his parents.
Minerva nodded thoughtfully and repressed a shiver. The Dursleys had been interrogated extensively by the DMLE and the Muggle Police concerning Harry Potter. The Aurors discovered they had been abusing the boy but had no knowledge of his whereabouts. The muggles also discovered the abuse and charged the adults for the crime. The loss of the boy led the Dursley's to be charged with selling the child despite their protests to the contrary.
The muggles had zeroed in on the fact that the Dursley's were being paid monthly through a non traceable account, supposedly for taking care of the child.
The Dursleys weren't the only people to get in trouble following the disappearance. Albus Dumbledore lost his position on the Wizengamot and barely managed to maintain his position as Headmaster of the school. The Headmaster had been caught red handed, trying to influence the muggles to release the Dursleys and his explanation that he was doing it so Harry could be returned to them pleased no one.
Dumbledore had been charged with five counts of using magic on muggles and interfering in an official Ministry investigation. He was fined and lost most of his influence over the affair, just narrowly avoiding a prison sentence.
The Wizarding world had not been pleased to discover that their savior had been abused, even if it had only been for a few brief months. The Wizengamot had forced the unsealing of the Potter will, over Dumbledore's protests and the real legal guardians led the fight that ultimately saw Dumbledore retiring from the Wizengamot in disgrace.
The search for Harry had lasted for nearly three years before people gave up hope. There were no clues to follow, no magical signatures to trace. He was just gone. He had been locked in his cupboard after being beaten for getting sick one night, then next morning, it was empty. An anonymous call to the Muggle authorities alerted them to the missing child, which blew the entire affair wide open.
"Well that's what really matters, that he would be loved and cared for," Poppy said. "You did good Filius, I know Lily is thanking you. It shames me to think that the rest of us just blindly followed that old fool. I still say the Board should have replaced him."
"Hear hear!" Minerva said lifting her cup in acknowledgment.
Minerva prayed that tomorrow she'd see a happy and healthy child. Tomorrow would tell!
September 1st, Dumbledore's office...
Dumbledore looked out his window pensively. Harry Potter was coming to Hogwarts today after being missing for 10 years. The boy had been pivotal to his plans, and now most of his plans had been laid to waste by an extremely powerful player that still remained anonymous!
Harry Potter had a guardian that was taking a personal interest in the lad and from what few indications Dumbledore could see, the guardian was powerful, very powerful.
He sighed. "I can only hope that young Harry will be impressed enough to allow me to guide him," he said to Fawkes.
Fawkes looked at his companion and honked loudly. Albus glanced up at the bird and then turned back to the window. Even after having a phoenix companion for 80 years he still hadn't learned to recognize the sound of Phoenix laughter.
Contrary to popular belief, Fawkes was not Dumbledore's familiar, in fact the bird underwent a transformation every time a new headmaster was appointed. It was merely assumed to be a coincidence that every headmaster for the last 800 years had a phoenix companion. The magical bird was really Hogwart's familiar.
Dumbledore had no political pull, he discovered that for certain when he called the Ministry yesterday to inform them that Harry Potter would be arriving with the other students and that he would assume the role of the lad's guardian or barring that, at least influence who the boy would be placed with.
He had been told to mind his own business and leave Potter alone. Then Amelia Bones told him that if he stepped out of line just once, he would be up on charges. Amelia had been one of the alternate guardians listed by James and Lily in their will. All five individuals dropped their bids to obtain custody nearly six months after Harry had vanished. The only comment they were willing to make was that they had been informed of Harry's situation and were content with those arrangements.
At the time Dumbledore had been secretly glad they were no longer actively seeking custody. He always assumed that when the boy was found he'd be the one to determine where he would go. Even as his political power base waned he felt he still had enough clout to insure the lad would be placed with the "proper sort of family".
Dumbledore had spent the next several years following Harry's disappearance neglecting his duties while he searched for the lad. He had little else to do since he had been forcefully removed from the Wizengamot.
Despite earning the ire of the Ministry, his co-workers and the general population, he continued appealing to the public for any clues to the whereabouts of Harry Potter until one day, someone sent him a very succinct statement.
He awoke one morning to discover that the wards of Hogwarts had been breached for the first time in recorded memory. His priceless antique desk, originally owned by Queen Victoria until he and Abe stole it, had been totally destroyed by a five ton boulder of coal. And carved into the huge boulder were the words "Leave Potter alone!"
Fawkes honked a lot that day.
It was enough to make any leader of the light give up their search. Even Voldemort hadn't been able to breach the Hogwarts wards, but here was someone or something that could do it with ease, and they apparently had Harry Potter.
Dumbledore shook his head. That was all in the past and while he missed that wonderful desk, he had other matters to deal with. Harry Potter was coming to Hogwarts! Soon, very soon he would have his plans back on track.
Hogwarts Entrance Hall...
Minerva was bemused by the students that had passed her by while she waited for Hagrid to deliver the first years to her. The upperclassmen had been exceedingly upbeat and happy, many, even Slytherins, had paused to greet her. She idly wondered if it could be due to the fact that all of them, without a single exception, seemed to be enjoying a sweet.
She made a mental note to send a message to the Express company to complain about their using sweets with built in cheering potions. It wasn't that she minded being greeted by so many happy students, but it wasn't right to drug the students!
She turned and started to walk down the stairs that would take her to the dock entrance when she nearly tripped over a house elf.
The little elf looked at Minerva, his eyes seemingly bugging out in panic. "I can'ts stay Professor, he's coming now! We must make ready for him!"
And with that the elf popped away. She stood there in total shock and then peered around worriedly. She eyed the corridor she had just left with concern, then castle suddenly hushed as all noise ceased. Everything seemed to pause, even the portraits in their paintings stopped as if they were listening to something.
Slowly the corridor filled with a sparkle of lights and she could see elves popping in and out of the corridor, dashing about, cleaning and polishing everything. Even the portraits had taken to straightening out their areas.
"Goodness gracious, what is going on here?" she muttered to herself.
A elf appeared next to her and gently pushed her to one side. "He is coming professor," the elf said in a hushed whisper, then he knelt and quickly scrubbed the floor where she had been standing. Another elf appeared and ran a quick lint brush over her robes, much to her outrage and dismay. Then both elves popped away.
She blinked and looked up, the corridor sparkled! Every suit of armor gleamed in the torch light, every picture frame sparkled and the stone floor looked like it had been freshly cut from the quarry instead of having been in place for 10 centuries. A fresh wreath hung from every wall sconce, filling the castle with a fresh pine and holly scent.
"Some days I think I should have gone into that convent just like my grandmother wanted," she muttered to herself, then she went down the stairs towards the grotto entrance where the first years would emerge.
She waited down at the door to the dock for a few more minutes, then she started to rub her arms against the growing chill. "Where are they?"
Opening the door she went down the dozen stone steps to the dock in the grotto. Her jaw dropped to the floor, the lake had frozen over! And she could see the first years in the distance, laughing and pushing a large object. There was no sign of Hagrid or the boats.
Lighting her wand she waved it and several first years pointed in her direction. The group got behind the object they were pushing and shoved it towards the light on the shore.
Minerva frowned. The children were singing? "Christmas carols in September? It must be some muggle thing," she muttered.
As they got closer she suddenly got a bad feeling, the object they were pushing was looking more and more like Hagrid!
Several children dashed forward, then dropped to their knees skidding on the ice and laughing crazily. Finally one reached the dock and he climbed up on the dock. Minerva walked onto the dock while the boy leaned down and helped another boy onto the dock, then they turned and started pulling their fellow students up.
She stared at the prone form of their grounds keeper.
"He slipped and fell when the lake froze over," said a voice, answering McGonagall's unasked question.
She was relieved to see the rest of the students were unharmed but clearly Hagrid was unconscious so she levitated him onto the dock as well.
"Whoa," said several students at once.
"Excellent control," added another, "but her grip is all wrong. If she's not careful she's going to..."
Hagrid fell to the dock with a loud crash.
"Now that's gotta hurt," said a red haired girl.
"He's knocked out so he probably didn't feel it," replied a red headed boy.
Minerva frowned and looked at the students who were now moving closer to her. Some even stood on Hagrid so they could see better. She took a step backwards and a small figure appeared in front of her as if by magic. "Candy cane?" he said, offering her a sweet.
She blinked, then she blinked again. Numbly she reached out for the sweet.
"Harry Potter?" she whispered. He was dressed in a red felt suit with white trim and a broad black leather belt. Apparently Mr. Potter hadn't gotten the notice about the uniforms, she thought to herself.
"Harry Potter-Klaus," he said proudly.
The first years cheered!
Minerva wanted to scowl, but she couldn't. The candy cane in her hand beckoned to her and she unwrapped one end and took a dainty taste. It was unlike any candy cane she had ever had! The sweet flooded her with a rush of magic and a pleasant tingle spread from her mouth to all parts of her body. She smiled broadly at her students, her wonderful new students, "Welcome to Hogwarts one and all!"
"If you will all follow me, we'll get you sorted into your houses," Minerva said to them.
"Do we have to be sorted?" asked a blond boy that reminded her of Lucius Malfoy.
"Yes, it's tradition," Minerva replied.
Harry Potter Klaus nodded sagely. "Tradition is important. Come on, let's get sorted!"
"I want to be in Harry's house!" shouted Draco Malfoy. Several others added their own comments. In fact it seemed like every student wanted to be in Harry's house.
"You will be placed in the house of Ravenclaw," said a female voice in Harry's mind. "Welcome Prince of the Fey to these halls, we are honored to have you."
"Ummm Hi! I'm Harry," Harry thought back. "Who are you?"
"I am Hogwarts young Prince, I am home to many of our kind and we welcome you."
A crystal clear tone sounded through the castle like the sound of many bells pealing in joy.
"Cool," murmured the first years.
"Thank you my lady Hogwarts," he replied, then he turned to the others. "Hogwarts says I'm going into Ravenclaw!"
Looks were exchanged among the students and they all nodded back at Harry. They were going with Harry.
He smiled and nodded to Minerva, who blushed and turned, then skipped up the steps. The smiling first years happily skipped up them after her.
In the Great Hall the students chatter slowly fell away as the room filled with a sparkling mist. The skylight charm shimmered as the sky above the castle darkened with clouds and it began to snow. Bells rang throughout the large hall and the candles floating above their heads flared like miniature stars, twinkling down on the students.
"What the devil?" exclaimed Dumbledore from his seat. He was about to stand when the doors opened and his Deputy Headmistress, and the entire group of new first year students skipped their way into hall.
Up in Dumbledore's office Fawkes started honking so loudly he slipped and fell to the floor. So much for Albus' plans thought the bird mirthfully.
Minerva came to a stop and a house elf appeared, handing her a much changed sorting hat. It was red felt now with a white trim and a white pom pom at the tip.
Oh! You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I'm telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town!
He's making a list,
He's checking it twice,
He's gonna find out
who's naughty or nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town!
He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake.
He knows when you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!
So...You better watch out,
You better not cry
You better not pout,
I'm telling you why.
Santa Claus is coming to town.
The first years cheered while even the happy older students stared at the hat in shock. The hat chortled merrily and tipped it's pom pom to Harry. "Welcome to Hogwarts young Prince."
"It's snowing," Ron Weasley said with a touch of awe.
Several heads turned towards the ceiling. "It's his magic, I read about it in a book once," Hermione Granger said confidently.
Harry grinned and laid a finger against his nose in salute which caused a hushed whisper among the students.
"What is the meaning of this!" exclaimed Severus Snape. He stood from his chair and glared at first years and McGonagall. He tried to ignore the fact that McGonagall giggled and blushed at his glare. He couldn't ignore her muttering, "Damn he's hot when he does that!"
"While I don't disagree with Professor McGonagall, I too would like an explanation for this... this spectacle," exclaimed Dumbledore.
Dumbledore took a step backwards when Harry suddenly appeared in front of him. "Candy Cane?"
Frowning his hand automatically reached out for the sweet. Harry backed up a few steps and then hopped up on the Ravenclaw table. He sat there swinging his feet under him. "Kris says you've been naughty for as long as he can remember, but I say you're a product of the great conspiracy."
Dumbledore blinked owlishly at him and failed to note the first years arranging themselves on the floor between Harry and the head table. Without thinking his hands unwrapped the sweet and he brought it up to take a taste.
"You see," Harry explained. "Belief is probably the most important ingredient in magic. Sadly most muggles don't believe in magic, if they did, why the possibilities would be endless. And you Mister Headmaster don't believe either. It's all part of the conspiracy. Oh you're willing to believe in your own power and your personal quest for more, but beyond that? You refuse to acknowledge that there are powers beyond your understanding. You sit smugly in your office and think you're the pinnacle of magic when there's a whole world full of magic you barely know about."
Dumbledore forcefully placed the sweet on the table and brought his occlumency shield up to full power. He was struck by the fact that most of the students were looking at him with expressions of mild curiosity instead of the usual awe they normally held.
"As pleasant as this conversation might be, I think its best if we get you all sorted into your houses," Dumbledore said.
"Oh that's easy Headmaster, they all go into Ravenclaw!" said the sorting hat easily.
The only sound that could be heard in the Great Hall was Professor Flitwick hitting the floor in a faint. Then the first years started to cheer.
McGonagall smiled and summoned an elf to take the hat back up to Dumbledore's office.
"Wait!" Dumbledore shouted. "We haven't sorted the students!"
"Oh yes we have," contradicted the Hat. "They go into Ravenclaw, and you would do well to remember that I am the one who does the sorting, not you."
"B-b-but, Harry Potter doesn't belong in Ravenclaw, his parents were Gryffindors!" Dumbledore protested.
"The young Prince is sorted where he belongs. And I will tell you now, you would do well to mind yourself and show proper respect for the Heir."
Dumbledore stared at the hat. "Heir?"
He turned and looked at Harry. "Heir of what?" he asked.
Harry jumped up and stood on the bench. "Harry Potter-Klaus at your service. Kris says I'm his heir, but I'm not so sure... I mean Ho ho ho."
Harry frowned at his squeaky voice. "That sounds terrible. His laugh is much deeper and his belly shakes when he laughs. I sound like one of our elves!"
"He's the next Santa!" shouted Susan Bones, then she blushed and tried to hide her face.
Harry smiled softly at the girl and nodded. "That's right, when it's time for Kris to retire I'll take his place. Then it will be my turn to know who's naughty and who's nice. Kris also says that sometimes its ok for a girl to be both naughty and nice, but then he told me he'd explain that when I'm older."
He smiled and lifted his arms. The sound of jingling bells filled the room again and the first years cheered loudly. In one corner of the room a huge Christmas tree appeared.
At the end of the Teacher's table Professor Quirrel grabbed his turban and screamed loudly. Smoke started to pour from the sides of his turban. The love based magic of the Santas filled the room and it was like poison to the shade of Voldemort. Holding the now smoldering turban Quirrel ran from the room bellowing in agony.
Harry watched Quirrel's retreating back with a sad expression then he turned back to the head table where he noted Snape was slumped over in his chair, shuddering and moaning.
He shook his head and turned his attention to the Headmaster who was trying to recover from Harry's burst of Santa magic. He was still growing into the power and would subject his surrounding to these periodic discharges for a number of years to come.
Dumbledore shook himself several times before he was able to re-erect his shields. That burst of magic had torn through them and filled him with an energy unlike any he had felt before. Finally he managed to regain enough control and he turned his attention back to the first years and one in particular.
"Mister Potter, I can assure you you are not the next Santa Claus, there is no such person as Santa Claus," Dumbledore said firmly.
"What a moron!" exclaimed Hermione Granger in a loud voice. "He's ignoring all the evidence. Next he'll say the world is flat."
Harry nodded. "Sadly it's true Hermione, many adults have been stunted by the conspiracy. Kris says the Headmaster lost his belief very early and still suffers from that to this day. That's one of the reasons why Kris wanted me to come here, every Santa since the first one has been sent out into the world while they were still Heirs to fight the conspiracy.
"Kris went to the Hashimoto institute in Japan, it took his wife a full year to convince him he couldn't be a Samurai Santa. Me? I get to come to Hogwarts, we always go to where we're needed the most."
"So what happens to him?" Draco said, pointing at the Headmaster.
Harry shrugged. "Those that can't be saved whither and die on their own. You guys know better and when its your turn to be parents you'll be able to pass what you know to your children. You'll know that Santa is real."
Several first year girls blushed heavily and started to giggle at the thought of children.
The castle rumbled slightly as the former Defense Professor exploded before he could apparate away. Around Britain a number of highly dangerous magical objects exploded violently as the pulse of Santa magic traveled the length of the land. Voldemort had been conquered by Santa's heir.
Harry sighed and shook his head sadly. It was a shame about Quirrel, but the spirit that possessed him couldn't stand to be around all the Santa magic Harry was putting out.
Snape moaned piteously and Madam Pomfrey rushed to his side.
Harry looked at the dour Professor sadly. It pained him to see someone who reacted so badly to the love based magic of the Santas. Snape would recover, but he would suffer every time Harry had a burst of Santa magic. Snape was merely an unpleasant person that tried very hard to deny himself any joy. Harry's magic was making him suffer, but there was little he could do about it unless asked.
Hopping off the table he looked at it for a moment, then smiled when several elves appeared. Each elf rushed over to him and genuflected before turning and working together to expand the table.
Flitwick climbed back in his seat just in time to see all of the first years sit down at his house table. His eyes rolled up in his head and he fell to the floor again.
"He's going to hurt himself if he keeps doing that," muttered Draco Malfoy.
Harry shot him a grin. "Nah, Filius is tough, besides, dwarves bounce."
Dumbledore stood and looked sternly down at the table with all the first years. Several grinned unashamedly at him and waved.
He cleared his throat loudly and most of the students turned to look at him expectantly. The first years glanced in his direction, then went back to their whispers and much giggling.
"May I have everyone's attention?" Dumbledore said loudly.
The first years settled down somewhat. Dumbledore shuffled uneasily as nearly 40 first years turned to watch him. Every single one of them had a candy cane in their hands.
"Thank you," Dumbledore said. "I want to tell everyone that the third floor corridor is off limits to all who don't want to die a horrible death."
"So that's where you hid it!"
Dumbledore blinked and looked at Harry in consternation. "Excuse me?"
"Nicholas was telling us about his Philosophers stone that you took. Kris got quite a laugh when Nickolas told him you stole a fake stone," Harry said. "Like Nicholas Flammel is going to let you have a stone he's successfully protected for 600 years. No he let you steal a fake, he thought was amusing."
"Does that mean the third floor isn't dangerous?" asked Ron Weasley.
"Nah, my earlier burst of magic removed all the dangerous objects from the school," Harry proclaimed.
The first years cheered and one stood. "Who wants to explore the third floor?" shouted Terry Boot.
"Me me!" chorused several first years.
"Right then," Harry said. "After dinner we'll go exploring."
Dumbledore's expression grew pinched and he frowned deeply at Harry. "Mr. Potter..."
"Mr. Potter-Claus," Harry corrected. "You really need to relax and be more open minded Headmaster, wasn't the first lump of coal enough of a warning?"
"Maybe he works for the Grinch," Hermione said softly.
Harry shook his head. "No, the Grinch is an invention of Hollywood. Everyone knows that Santa's real enemy is the Easter Bunny."
As one every first year turned to Harry with wide eyes. "Really?" asked Susan Bones.
Harry nodded. "It's terrible, but that Rabbit is truly evil. Why do you think Santa moved to the North Pole? There are no rabbits there that's why! Two Christmases ago that Bunny nearly derailed Kris' entire trip. He had several ninja bunnies sneak into the barn and feed the reindeer chocolated exlax."
"If it weren't for Mama Klaus Christmas that year would have never gotten off the ground. And the mess? Eight reindeer with the runs is nothing to laugh at let me tell you!" he said with a shiver.
Harry paused and looked around at his friends. "It took Kris years to unseat that dratted Bunny's hold on Warner Brothers. We Klaus' couldn't allow that kind of propaganda to go unchecked," he said in a conspiratorial tone.
"Enough!" bellowed Dumbledore. A vein in his forehead throbbed noticeably.
"I had an uncle who got that angry," Pansy Parkinson said. "He keeled over and died just like that," she said snapping her fingers. There came a flash of light and everyone ducked and covered their eyes. When the light faded they turned and gaped at the Headmaster who now sported an impressive 12 point rack of antlers.
"Whoa," said a few first year boys who then turned to look at Pansy in awe. She blushed prettily and stared down at the table unused to such scrutiny.
"Impressive," Harry said, "Even Rudolph doesn't have a rack like that."
Weighed down by the sudden excessive weight, Dumbledore made a squeaking sound before tipping over. He landed face first with a great crash and the first years cheered.
Minerva looked at Dumbledore, then winked at Harry. "Let the feast commence!"
The tables filled with food and everyone dug in while Dumbledore lay groaning on the floor.
Harry smiled and reached for a platter of food, he could happily class his first day at school to be a resounding success, he had met a bunch of kids that seemed like they'd make great friends, he had accidentally cleaned the castle of evil objects and he was certain that eventually he'd make this castle a place that the Easter Bunny would come to fear.
Taking a small mouthful of food he chewed silently and considered the second reason why he had been sent to Hogwarts, to find the future Mrs. Klaus.
The Santas always married and often had large families. But never had a Santa's heir been chosen from a current Santa's family, Harry hoped he'd change that. He eyed Pansy with some interest. He wasn't really interested in girls yet, but she had used some of the massive ambient Santa magic to give the Headmaster his antlers. She had potential.
Madam Pomfrey looked up from tending Snape. "Mr. Potter-Klaus, can't you do something?" she pleaded. None of her potions or spells seemed to be making much difference, the man was in terrible pain and she couldn't prevent it.
Harry looked up from his dinner and frowned. "I can, but I don't think he'd appreciate it."
"Please, my patient is in terrible pain," pleaded Poppy.
Harry sighed and looked at the expectant faces of his new friends. "Very well, but if he doesn't like the change I'm going to tell him it's your fault!"
Harry stood and walked over to the head table, as he did, all eyes turned to follow his every move. He rummaged in the pouch tied to his belt and pulled out a large gingerbread man cookie.
"I'm sorry," Harry said to the Gingerbread man, then he placed the cookie on the table near Snape.
The cookie stood up and looked at Snape before turning to glare at Harry. "He's going to have to eat me!"
"I know, I said I'm sorry," Harry mumbled again. He hated dealing with food that argued with you. "Besides, you knew that sooner or later you were going to be eaten."
"Maybe, but by an elf, or even a child, not by that!" snarled cookie, he turned and pointed at Snape with loathing. "Look at his hair! I bet it hasn't been washed since he was a student here!"
Harry sighed and rolled his eyes. "You know, we've had this conversation dozens of times now. You get eaten and you always come back when we bake more cookies."
"HE'S GONNA EAT MY GUMDROPS!" shouted cookie. The cookie then jumped up on Harry's chest pulling at his coat. "Please not the gumdrops," cookie whimpered. "My beautiful gumdrops!"
Behind him he could hear several girls sniffle at the ongoing tragedy.
"SAVE HIS GUMDROPS!" shouted Hermione Granger from her seat. Harry turned and eyed her for a moment, she was clearly upset for the cookie.
"Fine," Harry said, then he reached down and pulled off the three gumdrops from the cookie and dropped them into his bottomless pouch. "Happy now?" he asked the cookie.
The cookie climbed back down to the table and dusted himself off. "Yes thank you," he replied with dignity, then he shook his shoulders and stood tall. "Once more into the mouth!" he yelled and charged the nearly comatose Professor.
Getting close enough he kicked Snape in the head with a meaty thunk! Snape snapped upright in his chair and cookie jumped on him. With a scramble he climbed up the man's chest and pried open his mouth.
Cookie turned and looked longingly at the students that were watching the scene with fascination. "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!" he shouted, then he plunged headfirst into Snape's open mouth.
Instinctively Snape started to chew and as he did, the cookie slowly disappeared from sight with some muffled screams to mark his passage.
Snape's eyes opened and he sprang to his feet. His robes turned white like freshly fallen snow, and then his hair changed to match the color. He blinked and looked down at his robes, his face twitched as if he tried to frown but couldn't remember how.
Harry smiled to himself and returned to his table. As he walked he absentmindedly pulled a gumdrop from his pouch and prepared to pop it in his mouth.
He paused and looked over at his table. Hermione eyed him with watery eyes and her lower lip trembled slightly. With a sigh he placed the gumdrop back into the pouch and took his seat. He smiled at Hermione and she nodded, then blushed heavily before looking down at the tabletop.
"Professor? Are you well?" asked Poppy up at the staff table.
Snape looked up at her. "Fine," he said curtly, then his expression softened and he smiled softly at her. "And might I say that you look faaaabulous tonight?"
Poppy blushed from her toes to the tips of her ears and suddenly she felt like she was a shy teenager again.
Dumbledore, unable to dispel the antlers, managed to regain his footing after using a cutting curse to trim his horns down to a manageable size. He looked at Snape in surprise, this was so out of character for the man.
Frowning he turned on Harry. "What have you done to Professor Snape?" he demanded.
Harry looked up from his forkful of mashed potatoes. "I solved his pain problem," he replied. "And now I intend to eat my potatoes. You should eat something too Headmaster, and after dinner maybe the school nurse can see to your horny problem?"
A complete silence fell in the Great Hall for a half a minute, then the hall shook with laughter and Dumbledore's frown deepened. "Mr. Potter!" he roared.
Harry sighed and put his fork down. "My name is Harry Potter-Klaus and I would suggest you don't forget that."
Dumbledore shook and visibly fought the desire to throttle this arrogant pipsqueak. "Mr Potter," he said in a milder, grandfatherly tone. "What have you done to Professor Snape?"
Harry turned away and picked up his fork, ignoring the Headmaster.
Dumbledore turned purple with anger and he fingered his wand ominously.
Deciding to jump in before it turned to bloodshed, McGonagall stood up. "Mr. Potter-Klaus?"
Harry looked up and smiled at the Deputy Headmistress. "Yes Ma'am?"
"Why aren't you answering the headmaster?"
Harry frowned slightly. "He knows what my name is and refuses to use it. Then he gets angry at me like it's my fault for his inability to remember something so simple. But what can you expect? He's six thousand years old and probably forgot to take his nap today."
Minerva arched an eyebrow and turned towards Dumbledore. "Albus, did you forget to take your nap today?"
Dumbledore blinked and stared at her in astonishment.
"You did forget your nap!" exclaimed Poppy. "I just knew it from the way you were acting! What have I told you about skipping your nap?"
Dumbledore looked chagrined. "That I needed the extra sleep," he replied, not meeting her eyes.
"That's it! Off to bed now!" snapped Poppy.
"But but the Feast! The sorting!" he protested.
"They will happen without your help, now off you go or I'll put you on medical leave!" Poppy said irately, her hands on her hips for emphasis.
Silence fell on the Hall as Dumbledore shuffled from the room.
"I hope he has a teddy, I find it a lot easier to sleep with my Teddy Benny," Draco Malfoy announced in the silence of the Hall.
Dumbledore, who had paused at the entrance to the Hall, turned to look at Draco. "Oscar, his name is Oscar," he said with quiet dignity.
With that he turned and shuffled out of the room.
"Draco? Aren't you a little old for a Teddy Bear?" asked Pansy.
The blond boy smirked. "Oh I don't really have one, but the old geezer struck me as one who would. I was just curious if he'd admit it."
Hermione Granger blushed. "I don't think there's anything wrong with having a teddy. I have a stuffed cat named Crankshaft."
Harry smiled. "I helped pack that cat into Kris' bag four years ago. There's nothing wrong with having a teddy, or a kitty. Why I know one girl that has a Snorkack, she'll start here next year."
"Yes Susan?" he replied, looking at the timid girl.
"Could your friend get me another bear? I lost mine in a fire two years ago."
Harry smiled and made a quick note which then rolled itself up and vanished. "I'm sure Kris will take care of it. You didn't tell him about the fire in your letters, so he didn't know."
"So he doesn't know everything?" asked Ronald Weasley. The red head had been following the crowd and he was very worried about telling his parents he hadn't made it into Gryffindor like his brothers.
"He knows who's good and who isn't. Kris says that's all he needs," Harry said, then his eyes narrowed and he turned to Ron. "And he said you need to be nicer to your sister."
Ron blushed and looked down, ashamed of himself and promised he'd write her a letter as soon as possible.
After dinner, Harry and the first years grabbed Professor Flitwick, who was still comatose from shock and took him up to the Ravenclaw Tower.
Dumbledore never returned to finish the meal and his planned announcements went unannounced. Instead he took his bed, settling down for a nap. He didn't want Poppy angry at him, last time she got angry she introduced him to a muggle medical procedure called an enema. He really didn't want another of those.
As Dumbledore settled down for an early winter's night of sleep, Fawkes was still honking on the floor of his office.
Snape's Quarters, Evening of September 1st...
"Finite Incantantum damn you!" Snape snarled.
The dour professor was standing in front of a full sized mirror, glaring sourly at his snowy whiteness. Behind him, the room was strewn with clothing, all snowy white and several dressers had their drawers flung open. Snape had discovered his alteration extended to his wardrobe much to his annoyance.
He raised his wand and awkwardly pointed it at himself. "Finite Incantantum!" he bellowed.
"That's not going to help you old bean, but go right ahead and continue if you want, it certainly is amusing."
Snape whirled around to find a small elfin like creature standing in his room. Unlike a house elf, this creature had normal skin color and features, well mostly normal. He had pointy ears and his eyes were pure white. He also had a small cloud of snowflakes whirling around him.
"Who or what are you and how did you get into my quarters?"
The small creature stepped forward and sniffed deeply. Snape took a step backwards in surprise.
"You might say Harry sent me, I can smell his magic on you. He must of known that all of his magical charges would kill you sooner or later, so he entered you into my service. He knew you wouldn't be acceptable to Kris and my service was the only thing that could protect you from his magical outbursts. Haven't you noticed your new mark?"
Snape blinked in surprise. "Mark?" he whispered cautiously. This would make the third time in his life he had been marked by someone.
The small elfin creature nodded happily. "Go ahead, roll up your sleeve."
With trepidation Snape reluctantly rolled up his sleeve. He was shocked to see his dark mark completely gone! In it's place was a large... well... a snowflake. He sincerely hoped the large 'D' in a heart that was engraved on his left buttocks was also missing.
"What have you done?" cried Snape.
The elfin creature hopped up on a table and smiled at him. The table instantly frosted over. "You're now bound in my service Mr. Snape. I admit I don't normally accept such dour individuals, but as a favor to Harry I'll overlook your attitude for now. But I do expect you to start showing proper respect in the future. Now then about your duties..."
"I already have a job!" snapped Snape.
"Correction," said the elfin creature. "You had a job, now you work for me." The creature paused, then muttered. "He's really grumpy, maybe the best place for him is storm design, we haven't had any really good blizzards in a while."
"Who are you?" Snape said in a tone bordering on a whine.
The creature looked up and smiled at him. "Ah yes, introductions. The muggles have this strange idea that I should be an old man, but I'm just me, Jack Frost and you work for me now."
Jack hopped off the table and stood before Snape, he was at least a full foot shorter than the dour potions professor. "I realize that you need some time to adjust, so I'm giving you a few weeks off. I'll pick you up Midnight, December 21st and take you to our plant. Yes yes, you'll need to meet the whole crew, we have a lot of work to do to make sure Santa has a snowy trip this year, then we'll talk about the rest of the winter. Oh the storms we'll make! They'll be talking about this winter for years to come! This will even beat the time we laid 12 inches of snow in Miami! We'll show them... Global Warming ha!"
Jack laughed and leapt into the air, vanishing in a puff of snowflakes.
Snape blinked at the empty spot where the strange creature had been. Shaking his head he lifted his wand. " Finite Incantantum," he said in a whimper, pointing his wand at the snowflake branded on his arm.
He jumped in fright when he heard Jack's voice. "Now now Severus, silly wand waving won't have any affect. See you in December! Ta!"
His wand slid from his limp fingers. He wanted to curse Potter for doing this to him, but he couldn't. As angry as he was, he found he couldn't be angry at people. With a strangled cry he realized that the good life of terrorizing the innocent children had come to an abrupt end.
The Great Hall, Hogwarts...
The first years, led by Harry Potter-Claus, trooped into the hall in a very happy mood. Today would be the first day of classes and they had started their day by decorating Professor Flitwick. The poor professor had been unconscious when the first years gently deposited him in the Ravenclaw common room the previous night. When they woke up they found him gently snoring, still in the same place they left him.
So Harry pulled some garland and Christmas ornaments from his bottomless bag and the first years decorated their head of house with much giggling before trooping down for breakfast.
Slowly the other tables filled up and a smiling Flitwick entered the hall with a fistful of parchments containing the schedules for his house members. For some reason he decided to keep the blinking star on his head.
Flitwick was loosely associated with the clan of Dwarves that served the Klaus mages. He knew that Harry would have a very positive effect on the school and humor would play a major role since every Klaus right back to the original Santa who started it all, loved to laugh.
"Your schedule Mr. Potter-Klaus," Flitwick said, offering the parchment.
Harry looked up from his breakfast and smiled at his head of house. "Thank you sir," he replied, taking the parchment from him. "Sir, I have been instructed by your Clan master to tell you that he'd like to see you over the coming Yule holiday. They were most impressed when you sent word about me to Kris, and even more impressed when I was named heir."
Flitwick smiled, he had not returned to his clan in many years. They weren't pleased when he had left and it seems that all had been forgiven. "Will you be going home for Yule as well Mr. Potter-Klaus?"
Harry beamed a wide smile at him. "Yes sir, Kris said it would be good exercise for the team to pick me up. The sleigh can easily carry us both."
A hush fell on the table and spread throughout the hall. "Santa's sleigh is going to pick you up for the Christmas Holiday?" Hermione asked in a wide eyed awed tone.
Harry turned back to his friends while the diminutive professor made his way up to the head table.
While Harry dealt with dozens of questions from his friends, including several who begged for the chance to pet Rudolph, another conversation was about to begin at the head table.
"Filius, I note you seem to be aware of Mr. Potter's background circumstances," offered Dumbledore.
Flitwick shrugged and reached for a roll. "Headmaster, when I learned where you placed Lily's boy, I couldn't stand back and do nothing. I merely asked some friends to look in on him. I was surprised to discover he had been removed from that home, conditions there had to be truly bad if he was removed from Lily's sister."
"But it was the best place for him!" protested Dumbledore.
"No it wasn't Headmaster. You are the only person that believes that. Why do you think you lost your Wizengamot position? Albus, you left him with people that hurt him and weren't taking proper care of him. That was unacceptable," Flitwick stated firmly, then he glanced down at his enormously enlarged house table.
"He is special in so many ways Headmaster, and you would have ruined that with your plans."
Minerva placed a comforting hand on Flitwick's arm. He glanced over at her and nodded before taking a few calming breaths.
He buttered a breakfast roll and took a small bite, then spoke again. "Now he's the declared heir to a magical legacy that would make Merlin look like a back alley stage magician."
Flitwick turned back to Dumbledore. "Let him be a regular student. Don't try to involve him in your petty schemes. You and I both know how close you came to losing your job, and who they would have picked as your replacement. Leave him be, or I'll take this to the board!"
Dumbledore scowled at Flitwick. He knew too well how close he came to losing his job to Flitwick and the board still considered him a prime candidate for the position once Dumbledore retired.
Flitwick nodded to himself in satisfaction, then turned back to his breakfast. At the Ravenclaw table Harry watched the exchange between the two men and knew he needed to do something nice for his head of house.
Harry's biggest fear was that he'd go to school and there would be no one there he could rely on. Santa's lived very long lives, so there weren't many of them in recorded history attending schools. And there were a few that had attended schools where they weren't welcomed by the adults.
Minerva sat next to Flitwick and she looked out over the students and hid a small smile. It was only the first day of classes, but she was cautiously optimistic about them. The students appeared to be very happy. Granted the first years seemed to be overly happy, but still, a happy student was a learning student.
Suddenly the hall fell silent as Snape appeared, still dressed in blindingly white robes. He stopped and blinked at all the heads turned in his direction. He straightened up and his face contorted into a series of expressions, finally he collapsed to the floor weeping.
"I can't glare anymore!" he moaned, "I lost my glare! How can I be expected to teach if I can't frighten the students? Will I never be able to coax a first year into pissing their pants again?"
As if by magic Harry appeared next to the weeping Professor.
"Candy Cane?" Harry said, helpfully offering him a sweet.
Snape couldn't resist the urge to take the sweet. He unwrapped it and took a taste and immediately felt better.
"I know it's going to be difficult for you Professor, but Jack will take care of you."
Snape looked up into Harry's face and saw Lily's eyes, and her compassion. "Really?"
Harry patted him on the shoulder and nodded. "I imagine he's going to send you to storm design. Imagine Professor, instead of terrifying the odd first year here and there, you'll be able to inconvenience thousands at one time. All those people forced to sleep in airports, and the missed flights. Why you'll be able to make entire cities grind to a halt, think about that!"
Snape gave him a small smile and slowly stood. "Thank you Harry, you've given me back my perspective. I can learn storm design and continue potions as a hobby."
Harry nodded and straightened up, then turned to walk back to his table.
"Mr Potter-Klaus," called Professor McGonagall. "Am I to understand that Professor Snape is leaving us?" she asked in a voice tinged with disbelief and hope. She fought down the urge to prove she could do handstands even at her age.
Harry was about to reply when Snape placed a hand on his shoulder. "You are correct Minerva, I already left my notice in your in-box. I will be leaving during the Yule Break and not returning."
Harry smiled and nodded. "He's going to go work for Jack Frost! Next time you have a bad snow storm look up and think 'Professor Snape made this!'."
"This is outrageous!" thundered Dumbledore.
"Why?" asked Snape. "The students don't like or respect me, and I hate the little buggers even more than they hate me. I'm leaving and that will make them and me happy. Plus I won't have to listen to you moan about all your plans going down the drain."
Harry chuckled and shook his head, then he returned to his seat confident that Professor Snape would enjoy his new job much more than his last one.
Dumbledore stared at Snape in astonishment. "You can't leave! I won't allow it! You're not allowed to leave until I say so!"
"It's out of your hands Headmaster," Snape replied with dignity.
Dumbledore's expression grew pinched and he turned red in the face.
"He's awfully angry," commented Hermione.
"Maybe he's constipated. My Gran looks like that sometimes, then she has to eat prunes and take a really nasty potion," offered Neville Longbottom.
An elf popped into sight in front of Dumbledore and placed a large bowl of prunes in front of him, then vanished again.
Dumbledore exploded. "I do not need prunes! And Professor Snape isn't allowed to leave! I am the leader of the light and you will listen to me!" He thundered, then in an act of astonishing maturity he stamped his foot.
"My parents make me take a time out when I get that mad," muttered Terry Boot. Several first years nodded and shuddered, time outs were almost as bad as being sent to bed with no dessert!
Harry shook his head and reached into his bottomless bag. He absentmindedly pulled out some parchment and a gum drop which he popped into his mouth.
Hermione emitted a pained squeak and he glanced up to see her staring at him in horror. He blushed. "Sorry, I forgot," he muttered, then he scribbled something on the parchment. The parchment folded itself and vanished as soon as he was finished with it.
"What was that?" asked Draco.
Harry grinned. "Kris might know who's naughty and who's nice, but sometimes he likes an independent witness. And that guy," he said, jerking his thumb towards the headmaster, "doesn't deserve anything this year."
"Albus, eat your prunes!" snapped Madam Pomphrey. "And when you're done, come see me, I think it's time for your annual physical again."
Dumbledore glared at her.
She shrugged and conjured a rubber water bottle and long hose.
Dumbledore blanched and sat down unhappily. He picked up a spoon and started in on the prunes, making a sour face.
Up in Dumbledore's office, Fawkes started honking so loudly he fell off his perch. Again.
"So what's our first class?" asked Draco.
"Charms," replied Hermione. "With Professor Flitwick." She peered down at her schedule and nodded to herself. "We don't share any classes with any of the other houses."
"Granger," Pansy Parkinson said nastily, "There are no other first year groups."
Parkinson didn't like muggle born, her parents had told her they were bad and she didn't like the fact that she had to share a room with the bushy haired witch.
Hermione flinched slightly and hunched her shoulders. She was used to this sort of behavior at muggle school and had hoped that this school would be different.
Harry frowned at Pansy. That was a mark against her.
"I do hope you really aren't about to start on the topic of blood purism Pansy, that tired idea has been around for centuries and it still doesn't work. Hermione here is a powerful witch and she could be a great friend if you'd just forget about blood and open your eyes."
Hermione gave Harry a small smile. It was the first time anyone stuck up for her.
"I know we were all raised to love and respect our parents," Harry said seriously. All around him the hall hushed to listen to his words. "Love and respect does not mean to blindly accept everything your parents teach you. Listen to your parents and follow their rules, but don't be afraid to ask the reasons behind their rules, don't be afraid to question. Old Prune face up there wants us to obey him without question. It's one of the first things I learned from Kris, to question the world around me."
"Questions are the first step to understanding," murmured Hermione with a small smile. She glanced towards Pansy who blushed and looked down at the table.
"I'm sorry Hermione," she muttered softly.
Hermione's grin broadened into a wide smile and she stretched out her hand to touch Pansy on the shoulder. The pure blood looked up at her, startled.
"It's all right," Hermione replied. "Can we start over?"
Pansy smiled timidly and nodded.
Harry grinned and reached into his bottomless pouch. He pulled two extra large candy canes from the pouch and handed one to each girl. Both girls looked at him curiously and he felt a slow blush creep up his cheeks. "I know this is a big step for you both. I thought you might enjoy one of Santa's specials for taking that step."
"Excellently done Harry," piped Professor Flitwick. "Now I do believe it's time for you to get ready for your first class."
Harry nodded and the first years cheered as they left the Great Hall. Only Harry and a few of the teachers noticed Hermione and Pansy talking softly to each other.
He grinned, a nudge here, a nudge there. It all added up.
The Great Hall, September 25th...
Hermione frowned and started thumbing through her book vigorously. "I don't get it," she mumbled to herself.
Growing slightly more agitated she opened another book and started paging through it.
"Hermione!" Harry shouted from across the table.
She looked up at him with an expression of irritation.
"What's got you all riled up?" he asked.
She sighed and closed her book. "I'm trying to understand what happened to you Harry."
He blinked at her in shock and she blushed slightly. There was no hiding the fact that she and most of the rest of the first year girls had a crush on him.
"No not that," she stammered, "I mean what happened that night. Every book I've checked said something different about the night your family was attacked."
Harry nodded at her. "Doesn't the fact that every book suggests something different say something to you?"
Hermione leaned back slightly and frowned in thought.
"That the books are wrong?" offered Pansy. "And no one really knows what happened?"
Hermione glanced at Pansy who smiled back. The pair had developed a surprising friendship which alarmed Pansy's parents. Pansy's reply to her parents was that unless they could prove Purebloods were superior, she'd continue being Hermione's friend.
Harry nodded emphatically. "Exactly. No one was there that night besides my parents and Voldemort. Everything that's said about that night is pure speculation. You've asked me why I reject the whole boy who lived business, it's because no one knows what happened that night. I don't, I was 15 months old. My parents aren't here to say and Voldemort's gone.
"My own personal belief is my mum or dad did something to protect me. I mean come on, what can a toddler do against a fully trained evil git? My parents are the heroes, not me and I refuse to be."
All around him the first years nodded. They were more impressed by the fact that he knew Santa than the fact that he was the Boy-Who-Lived.
Harry looked up. One of the older students, a Slytherin, was standing in the aisle across the table from him and glaring at Harry. "Potter-Klaus," Harry said with a grin.
"Potter," sneered the fifth year. "I don't like you taking the name of the Dark Lord in vain. You're not worthy of uttering his name."
"Voldemort?" asked Harry. He glanced at Draco who had admitted his father was one of the Dark Lord's biggest supporters. Much to his father's displeasure, Draco had written him several letters trying to convince him that Muggles were really alright. It wasn't until Hermione supplied Draco with a history book that had concentrated on the last 25 years that the Elder Malfoy started to see the error of his ways.
In fact he was scared senseless by the book which described in great detail Nuclear Weapons, the Cold War, Chemical Warfare, rampant pollution and Global Warming.
Draco would be spending the holiday with his mother and his Aunt Andromeda. His father was now a permanent resident of St. Mungo's, long term care ward.
"Voldemort," Draco agreed with a smirk.
"What did we say about the name?" quipped Susan Bones.
"That it was a stupid made up name," answered both of the Patil girls.
"Voldemort!" Harry shouted.
Around him the first years started to snicker while the other students cringed and shivered in fear.
At the head table Snape started to smirk. He knew that look, he had seen it before on Harry's father before he launched a major prank.
Harry frowned. "Oh come on now. It's only a name of a silly person that thought he could trick people into believing his lies! Voldemort Voldemort Voldemort!"
Around the room many shivered and several cried out in fear.
Harry jumped up onto the table. "Voldemort!" he proclaimed in a loud voice. "Look! No dark moron!"
Again people shivered and Harry snapped his fingers. The room dimmed and a single spotlight fell upon him. He knew what he needed to do, and it was time for him to really apply the power of Santa's Magic.
The doors to the Great Hall banged open. "Introducing Voldemort Cola just in time for Christmas! Be the first on your block to enjoy the silliest named soft drink in the magical world!"
As he spoke hundreds of cans of soda marched into the great hall to the sound of Darth Vader's March. That each can marched in each wearing a miniature black cape, set the muggle born to tittering.
Up at the head table Dumbledore scowled. He had often preached that people should not fear the Dark Lord's name, but in truth he knew people wouldn't change their mind. It was, in his opinion, a way for him to appear braver than the common wizard without incurring any extra risk on his part. He would lose that edge if Harry could convince people not to fear the name.
He stood and pulled his wand, clearly intent on stopping Mr. Potter. He raised his wand and then crashed back in his chair, stunned from the impact of a can of Voldemort Cola to his forehead.
Severus Snape slipped his wand back into his pocket and grinned to himself. Professor Flitwick arched an eyebrow and lifted his cup in salute.
"Voldemort Cola!" Shouted Harry. He lifted up a can and took a heavy swig. "It fizzes and bubbles! It's fun and about as scary as a kneazle kitten!"
He paused and let loose with a massive belch. That was it as far as most of the boys were concerned, they reached for a can. The girls took a slightly more sedate approach, but they also grabbed a can.
Meanwhile, up in the space between the head table and the house tables, a line of cans started up a dance. Appropriately enough, a Can-Can.
Harry climbed back into his seat and sat smugly. It would be another day before they learned that every magical household in Britain had received a refilling six pack of Voldemort Cola. Voldemort would soon be a household name and nothing his followers could do would stop it from happening.
Headmaster's Office, Hogwarts, Oct 31st...
Dumbledore glared at the brown lump on his desk. It had taken him two whole months to remove the stone from the Mirror of Erised. Two Months! All because he thought it would be smart to place the stone into a mirror and only allow people that didn't want the stone to remove it.
Since he wanted to see if it was truly the stone, the spell prevented him from getting at it. And if that wasn't bad enough, he had been forced to play with Fluffy every time he tried to enter the third floor corridor to make another attempt at getting the stone. He was allergic to dogs for Merlin's sake!
The past two months had not gone according to his wishes. Madam Pomfrey was watching him like a hawk and Filius was keeping him well away from Harry Potter. The few times had had tried to summon Potter to his office, both Filius and Minerva escorted the lad to him, and refused to leave him alone.
He had tried to implant some suggestions into the boy's mind using Legilimency, but the lad seemed to be totally immune to his legilimency. All he had for his efforts was a terrible headache and a craving for Egg Nog that the elves were having trouble keeping up with.
He reached for his glass and frowned. He hated Egg Nog, but he couldn't shake the craving. Taking a big gulp he grimaced and glanced up when a knock came from his door.
"Come!" he said, pushing the offensive drink away from him. He knew he'd be taking another drink soon, but he still held hope that the craving would fade.
Severus Snape stepped into the room still dressed in pearly white. The only color he had added to his clothing came from a deep red gem he now wore around his neck.
"You sent for me Headmaster?"
"Yes Severus, I'm in a bit of a bind and was wondering if you could help me here," replied Dumbledore, then he gestured to the small brown lump sitting on his desk. "Can you help me identify this substance?"
"Isn't that Professor Flammel's stone?"
Dumbledore grimaced. "I believed it to be, but now I'm not so sure."
Snape reached out and picked up the lump. He brought it up to his nose and sniffed it, then arched an eyebrow at Dumbledore. He sniffed it again and bit off a small piece and started to chew.
"Headmaster, what we have here is an old style confection based on Molasses. Quite tasty and all the rage when it was first invented about 400 years ago," Snape said with a smirk. Someone had pulled a fast one on the old man, much to his amusement.
Dumbledore stared at Snape in astonishment for a long moment.
Snape shrugged and placed the remaining candy on the desk. "It's better than your lemon drops Headmaster, and with just a hint of nutmeg, it's quite delicious, I must write Professor Flammel and see if he's willing to share the recipe."
Dumbledore stared at the lump on his desk. "Voldemort would not have risked exposing himself for this!" he muttered in dismay.
"Well no, not unless he had a sweet tooth," replied Snape, his smirk growing wider.
"That will be all Professor," snapped Dumbledore unhappily. I might as well dismantle the traps, he thought sourly to himself.
To his annoyance, Fawkes started honking loudly on his perch.
Ravenclaw Common Room, Hogwarts, Oct 31st...
Harry sat at a table reading one of his texts. Today he had been a little quieter than usual and his friends rallied around him, understanding the reason for his mood.
"It looks fine Harry," Hermione said, placing some parchment in front of him. He really didn't need her to check his homework, but Hermione liked to feel needed and it didn't hurt for her to read through his essays. Occasionally he'd even make a spelling error just so she had something to correct.
He glanced up at her and smiled softly. "Thank you Hermione," he replied. He took the essay and placed it in his bag.
"Are you all right Harry?" asked Susan Bones. Like so many of the first years, she had eventually dropped her shyness around him.
He nodded in reply, then he frowned. He didn't like feeling down like this. It was a totally alien feeling to what he was used to. Up in Santa's workshop he'd spend the day with the toy designers, or just let Mama Claus try to fatten him up, but here in Britain he was constantly reminded that today was the anniversary of his parent's murder.
He bounced to his feet. "This will not stand!" he shouted, then he whirled and faced his friends who were looking at him with shocked expressions.
"What?" asked Draco.
"Snowball fight!" Harry exclaimed. "Us against the school. Let them remember this is the day the first years conquered Hogwarts."
He then pulled out his red and green striped wand and made a short stabbing motion. "Snowball!" he commanded. A modest snowball appeared to hover in front of him, waiting patiently. He looked up at his friends expectantly. He grinned when they reached for their wands and copied his movements. He could feel their pull on his Santa magic. It was weak, but it was definitely there.
"Now whisper a name to your snowball and give your wand a flick," he said, then he whispered something and the snowball vanished. There was a moment of shocked silence, then suddenly two snowballs arrived to hit Harry in the head.
"I should have known Professor Flitwick would know those spells," he said with a bit of a laugh. "Pick your targets! We shall free Hogwarts from the cruel oppressors!"
A second later fifty snowballs had vanished and the first years were already summoning another.
Up in the Headmaster's office Fawkes began honking again as the old man scrambled to climb under his desk. Evidently many first years seemed to think he would be a good target.
Hogwarts Staff Meeting, November 30th...
Dumbledore sat at the head of the table in the staff lounge and scowled at the tall glass of Egg Nog in front of him. Everyone else had their tea or coffee, but every time he served himself a cup of tea, it would change to Egg Nog.
Looking up from his glass of Egg Nog he noted that all of his staff were present.
"Since we're all seated, we'll begin," he said, then he glanced down at at sheet of parchment. "On Dec 10, sign up sheets for those staying over the holidays will be in put in each common room. Heads, you are to remind your 7th years that they may elect to return earlier than Jan 5th only if they have obtained their apparation license. Otherwise they must take the express with the rest of the school.
"Also inform your 7th year prefects that they are expected to be on the train. If they want to return to school earlier, they'll still have to travel down to King's Cross to be on the train when it leaves."
He looked up from his parchment to see the staff nodding at him. "Next I want to know which of you will be here during the Holidays."
Dumbledore looked down and consulted a list. "Filius you're staying as usual?"
"No Albus, I am returning home with Harry Klaus. I'll also be accompanying him when he returns to school in January although I doubt we'll use the Express."
Dumbledore scowled. "Harry Potter is staying at school over the holidays. And if I can't make arrangements for his care, I will personally take him when school ends in June."
Dumbledore waited for his staff to accept his proclamation, but what he got instead was unexpected. Laughter.
He scowled. Flitwick was roaring with laughter, Minerva and Severus were tittering like a bunch of school kids and Sprout had slid off her seat onto the floor. The rest of the staff were suffering from similar laughter.
"I fail to see the humor, young Mister Potter needs our guidance if he's to be an important part of our world," exclaimed Dumbledore.
Flitwick joined Sprout on the floor.
"Headmaster," Snape said, "just what planet are you living on because you clearly aren't in our reality."
Dumbledore stood and glared angrily at Snape. "You are still a Professor of this school and I will not be spoken too in such a manner!"
That was it, Snape broke down in laughter which set Minerva howling as if she were in her cat form. Snape waved a hand in Dumbledore's direction trying to get the man to stop and instead he accidentally released some magic.
Dumbledore blew back against the corner of the room and a howling wind surrounded him. Snow started falling, just on Dumbledore who stood for a moment in total shock, then his teeth chattered violently. Within a foot of the headmaster the temperature was rapidly dropping and snow was falling as if from a major blizzard.
Filius peeked above the tabletop and gaped at the old man, then he sent a messenger patronus off to find Harry. "Oh dear this won't do," he said softly, then he turned to Snape. "I do want his job, but let's try not to kill him please? Explaining it to the board might be awkward."
Snape nodded numbly, barely hearing the little professor. He was still staring at Dumbledore in shock. He was an excellent potions master and potions developer, but he never had any ability in wandless magic before.
A few minutes passed with the Professors casting increasingly powerful warming charms on the Headmaster and despite their efforts, icicles were forming on the old man who stood shivering violently in a corner.
The door opened. "You sent for me Professor?" asked Harry. He paused and blinked at the powerful snowstorm occurring in the corner. "Oh wow, that's really good. I can't make storms that strong," he said to Snape.
Snape had the grace to blush. Accidental magic at his age was embarrassing.
"So it's Jack's influence then?" asked Filius.
Harry nodded. "I don't see any other answer. This is beyond me, I'll have to call Jack to fix this."
Harry reached into his bottomless pouch and pulled out a small piece of parchment. He scribbled a quick note, then nodded at the parchment. It rolled up and vanished from sight.
A moment later Jack appeared in a burst of snowflakes. He looked around in confusion for a moment then he spotted Harry who smiled broadly at him. "Harry! Come here little man."
Harry rushed forward and hugged Jack. There was a flash of light and the entire room was suddenly covered in a small layer of frost and snow.
"Christmas snow," whispered Flitwick in awe. "It's a result of Harry's magic mixing with Jack Frost's magic." He glanced at Severus with a sly grin. "The snow is so magical it could be used in potions but is so very rare."
Snape arched an eyebrow and then conjured a small container to store some of the snow in.
Jack stepped back from holding Harry and looked him over. "You're looking well Harry, but I think Mama is going to complain that you need fattening up. So tell me how goes your search?"
"Jack I'm only eleven!" whined Harry, blushing heavily.
"Excuse me, but who are you?" asked Minerva.
Jack looked to Minerva and bowed grandly before her despite her being more than a foot taller than himself. "Jack Frost my dear lady, lord of winter, the great renewer, old father winter..."
"Braggart," muttered Harry.
Jack shot him a grin, then he turned back to Minerva. "Just so, although I personally think my reputation is deserved. I'm here because Harry summoned..." he turned back to Harry. "Just why did you summon me? You know this is the start of my busy season."
Harry jerked a thumb at the teeth chattering headmaster in the corner and Jack turned to look at the man. He moved closer, the grinned at Snape who was still gathering Christmas snow into containers.
"Oh I say, excellently done Severus!" he exclaimed, "We don't normally do such small scale work, but this is without a doubt one of the finest personal blizzards I have ever seen!"
Dumbledore shivered and his teeth rattled. He tried to speak but the tremors were too violent for him to be coherent.
"Can you stop it?" asked Madam Pomfrey. "As much fun as this is, I'm going to have to spend hours trying to warm him up while listening to his complaints about being a misunderstood lord of the light."
Jack blinked. "Lord of the light? He's too weak to be a lord of anything, let alone a Light Lord. Now Kris is a lord of the light. Harry will be someday too when he's done here."
Jack waved a hand negligently and the blizzard around Dumbledore subsided. The old man peered at the room full of people, his teeth still chattering, from his ears hung icicles and his beard was frozen solid.
"Come on Headmaster," Poppy said, levitating him. "I'll get you warmed up. I read about a warm water enema I've been itching to try out."
Poppy walked from the room with Dumbledore floating behind him. Except for the snickering, everyone ignored his pleas for help. No one in their right mind tangled with Poppy who used muggle medicine as a means of torturing her patients.
Thankfully she hadn't discovered surgery... yet.
Jack turned back to Snape and shot him a wide grin. "You're going to do very well in Storm design my boy. Yes very well. And I've decided that since it interests you, you may use our rather extensive potions lab in your free time. We even have a very nice bonus package if you invent any potions we can use in the course of our work."
Snape looked up and suddenly smiled as if he had discovered Father Christmas, which considering the events of this year, was probably correct.
Jack took another look around, then he paused, looking stunned. He approached Professor Sprout with a look of awe. With another flourish he bowed and presented her with a translucent rose made from ice. "Jack Frost at your service my dear," he said.
"Jack, stop hitting on my Professor," complained Harry.
Jack shot him a grin, then he straightened up. "Alas, winter is coming on and I must depart me." He turned and winked at Sprout before vanishing in another burst of snowflakes.
"Mister Potter-Klaus, just what did that person mean by 'your search'?" asked Minerva in an unsurprisingly frosty tone considering the chill in the room.
Harry blushed and looked down at his feet.
"Harry?" Filius prodded in a gentler tone.
He looked up and tried to ignore his blush. "Kris sent me here to learn about your magic. He wanted me to be the best I could be. All heirs are sent out into the world to learn before returning to begin the process of taking over from Santa. Our task while out in the world is to try to make our mark on the people around us. We try to remind people that Christmas isn't just one day in the year, but if you allow it, it's a feeling, a way of living that can be all year round."
He paused and took a breath. "We are also tasked with finding the girl that will be the next Mrs. Santa. Her role is almost as important as Santa's. It's really a shame that she doesn't get the same publicity, but a long time ago it was decided to let Santa be the figurehead for the entire operation."
"Your looking for a wife?" exclaimed Minerva.
Harry looked pained. "Professor please, I'm only 11, ask me when I'm 15 and maybe I'll be able to explain it better. Right now all the girls I know are just nice people. But yes that is basically the story, one of these girls will probably become Mrs. Klaus. She'll become every bit as powerful as I am because she'll be able to tap into my magic without my granting it like I do now with my friends. Who she is, I have no clue and doubt I will for a number of years. There are a lot of nice girls in our class."
He trailed off with a shrug and looked at her.
Minerva's gaze softened, Harry was one of the best students in their first year and he was the rallying point around which the entire first year had come together. He was also pivotal for changing attitudes throughout the school.
"Very well Mr. Klaus, you may return to your common room," she said.
Harry nodded and left the room. One by one the other teachers filed out, leaving only Snape, still trying to save as much Christmas snow as possible.
When the screams coming from the infirmary started, everyone tried their best to ignore them. The teachers all chuckled and said to themselves that it was for the greater good.
Hogwarts, December 22nd ...
Harry and Filius stood on the front steps of the school and waited. Hagrid passed by and waved at the pair.
Harry felt a little sad for Hagrid, it had been snowing since September and he had been the one responsible for keeping the pathways and driveway clear. It wasn't until mid September when Harry found out that Hagrid had been shoveling snow nonstop, so he sent to Santa for a shovel similar to the one they use at the workshop.
The half giant was in tears when Harry presented it to him along with a giant sized candy cane. While the large man had made friends with many students over the years, none had gone out of their way to make his job easier like Harry had.
Harry turned and grinned at his friends who were standing just inside the entrance hall, they were waiting to see Santa's sleigh which was due any moment. They weren't due to leave the school until shortly after the time when sleigh was scheduled to arrive.
Suddenly from another exit Dumbledore came tearing out of the building. "Mister Potter! I order you to return to your common room this instant!"
In the distance the sound of Sleigh Bells could be heard growing steadily louder.
"I am the headmaster of this school and you will do as I say or I will see you fail all your classes, then I'll force the ministry to ack!"
At that instant the sleigh appeared and Dumbledore was trampled under the hooves of the reindeer before finally getting hit by the runners on the sleigh.
The first years cheered and boiled out of the entrance armed with small fruits and grains to offer the reindeer. Behind the first years the house elves of Hogwarts started popping into view. They too wanted to watch. One held the sorting hat so that even Hogwarts could witness their departure.
Hermione held a large ink pad and several sheets of parchment. She hopped she could get an autograph from Rudolph and perhaps some of the other reindeer.
"I think you just might make Headmaster sooner than you expected Professor," Harry said softly to Flitwick. Dumbledore saddened him, no matter what Harry said, or others told him, he kept trying to control his life.
Flitwick eyed Dumbledore moaning piteously under the sleigh and nodded. "He's been warned time and time again, I'll owl the board and explain the situation to them. Perhaps it's time to force his retirement."
Harry nodded, then grinned at his friends who were clustered around the reindeer. Rudolf was glowing brightly to the intense delight of everyone. Hermione was jumping around joyfully waving a parchment and several others were lining up to get the legendary animal to make an imprint for them.
He helped Flitwick into the sleigh then he moved to take the reins. "Stand back everyone!" he shouted. Before he could do anything several first year girls rushed up to give him a kiss on the cheek goodbye. Blushing heavily he grinned and snapped the reins.
The first years moved back, cheering and applauding. The sleigh lifted off and started moving upwards.
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!" shouted Harry.
As the sleigh sped away it shrank to a tiny dot, just before it vanished they could hear a very squeaky "Ho ho ho!"
Down in front of the entrance hall the first of the thestral pulled carriages pulled up, running over Dumbledore again.