'Yes, Severus?'

'That hat does not become you in the slightest. I suggest you exchange it for your usual attire.'

'Och, laddie, tis Christmas! I'll wear a Santa hat if it please me.'

'Merlin's beard. You've clearly been spending too much time with Dumbledore. It's not even a proper Santa hat, Minerva.'

'What's wrong with it?'

'…It's tartan.'

'And all the better for it, indeed.'

'Minerva, just how much have you imbibed this evening?'

'Hmm, well, I may have had a wee mite too much… shortbread.'


'Aye, shortbread.'

'I suspect another Scotch specialty to be the cause of this unseemly behaviour. Where do you think you're going?'

'Why, there's some mistletoe, just over there… where's it gone, now?'

'I Disillusioned it.'

'Finitumincanate fintitatum… fintote incanatatum! Gargoyles on a stick! Where is it?'

'I really don't think that's important right now, Minerva-'

'Och, it's around somewhere, it'll do-'

'Mmmmmpf! Have you lost your mind? There could still be children roaming these corridors – mmmppf!'

'Merry Christmas, Severus.'

'Cat got your tongue?'

'… Truly, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to say to that.'

'Hmm. Wise man. Let's sit down under the mistletoe; your legs seem a bit wobbly. Have you been getting into the Christmas spirits?'

'I think that the amount of Ogden's Old with which you must have filled yourself is enough to render me drunk by osmosis. '

'Hang on… Why are you looking at me like that?'

'I meant what I said earlier, you know. A surfeit of shortbread this evening, nothing more. Not even the least little whiff of the fiery stuff.'

'…Then why were you wearing that ghastly hat?'

'I'd lay off the tartan gibes, if I were you, my dear. Anyway, if I hadn't pretended to be under the influence how else would I ever have convinced you to take advantage of me under the mistletoe?'

'…I took advantage of you…?'

'It was rather unsporting of you to Disillusion it, Severus. Finite incantatum. That's better. No, save your breath – I think you're going to need it…'

Merry Christmas dear readers! See you in the New Year! xoxo