Disclaimer: I am not JKR, I am not profiting from the work, and much to my own lingering sense of despair, I do not own Severus Snape :(
Note: There could be an argument that it's too early for a christmas one-shot just yet; But I'm posting this up now and I'll have it done by christmas! And to all the readers of Utterly Barbaric, please forgive the diversion! ALSO, this won't be as fluffy as it seems ;) Please leave any comments or reviews, it always makes my day :)
You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch
You really are a heel
You're as cuddly as a cactus, you're as charming as an eel
You're a bad banana with a... greasy black peel.
Jenkins had all but forced her to take the two weeks off. While her boss had claimed to be acting in the spirit of the holidays and genially looking out for her best interests, Hermione knew on some level the older witch was simply after some peace and quiet over the holiday season. The legal rights of the Mediterranean mere-people could wait apparently.
Hermione didn't know who was happier about the arrangement, her boss, or the slightly over-enthusiastic Molly, who had issued an invitation to stay for the holidays and seemed intent on bullying her into acceptance. With Hermione's own family, or rather, the childless Wendell and Monica Wilkins, still residing in Australia, Molly had begun treating her as her very own daughter and couldn't bear the thought of her spending Christmas alone.
Which was all very altruistic and had nothing to do with the intermittently single Ronald who would be staying at the Burrow after his latest spit with Lavender. A small part of her knew that Molly had probably swathed the house in mistletoe already.
In the end, she'd let begged off attending the celebrations, claiming there was some pressing personal research she needed to complete. Molly, the rest of the Weasleys and Harry had all been disappointed but not particularly surprised at her refusal. Apparently the notion of Hermione curled up in bed, alone with a book, was all to predictable.
Which is why she'd made no effort to correct their faulty assumption.
True, Hermione had spent most of the last week in bed. But Severus had proved far better company than any book she owned. Plus there were those few alternating hours they both curled up together with their own books.
Severus Snape had very nearly refused her own request to stop in together for the next two weeks; He had denied the charm of his own company, especially over Christmas. He was not what one would term, the most festive of spirits. But in the end, when Hermione pointed out that she could hardly continue their secret affair while under the roof of the Weasley matriarch, he had relented.
Hermione had made it worth his while of course.
Holed up in her London flat, Hermione and Severus had formed the perfect festive arrangement: No decorations, no tree, no work, no extraneous holiday baking and most happily of all, no visitors.
It wasn't until the 23rd that Hermione's incessant need to be busy spoiled everything, much to Severus' own amusement. He had taken great delight in sitting silently across the table while she attempted to work; devoid of his usually restricting robs of course. Wearing only a smirk as he studiously ignored her frequent irritated glances in favour of the book he was pretending to read, Hermione was forced to concede defeat. She was sure the Mediterranean mere-people would understand.
Hours later, after she had successfully wiped the smirk of Severus' face, she'd attempted to busy herself in the kitchen. Of course, he again tut-ed from the sitting room that she was breaking their rules once more, but his reprisal had no edge. Hermione could only presume he was either too tired to distract her, or hungry enough to suffer the breach.
She laid out the small coffee table that served as her work desk, bookcase and dining table, with two placemat, plates and her best silver. She debated from the kitchen as to whether or not spaghetti even counted as holiday cooking. Severus had stubbornly argued that it would in Italy.
The dispute had lasted all through dinner, Hermione reasoning that dishes like rice and Asian cuisines were also eaten at Christmas by some cultures, but weren't considered festive foods, and as such it all came down to context. Severus continued baiting her nonetheless, until in the end the discussion was left out, along with the washing up, as they retired to the bedroom.
It was almost noon before Hermione got the dishes to the sink, washing them by hand as Severus put on a pot of coffee. Later as he sat reading the paper on the sofa, cursing sporadically at the stupidity of the ministry and the hacks at the prophet, Hermione curled by his side and let her eyes roam the apartment. It was Christmas Eve, but there were no signs in the room that marked the occasion. Even warm and comfortable, with a content Severus at her side, Hermione couldn't fight back a wave of melancholy. Christmas with her parents had been such an occasion; Christmas Eve had been a hum of activity and preparations. Cleaning, cooking, last minute Christmas calls, then when the day was finally done they'd all settled down to suffer through whatever tacky Christmas film was playing. Most of the time, even as a child, Hermione had only paid partial attention, choosing to read while the film played out. But even so, she found herself missing the tradition of it all. Burrowing further into Severus' side, Hermione scanned the small pile of videotapes stacked in her TV unit.
Even as she fell further and further into the magical world after school, following a career in the ministry and renouncing the bulk of her familial ties, Hermione had made a point of keeping a firm grip of muggle culture. Equipping her flat with a VCR and stocking up periodically on whatever films took her fancy were just one way of achieving that end. Most of them were either thrillers or comedies. She had a hard time staying tuned to anything within the romantic comedy genre and after the event of the Wizarding war, she didn't much fancy terror flicks either. Looking through the bulk of her collection Hermione's smile lit up, when she remembered one of her more recent purchases, it'd only come out a month or so ago and she'd bought it purely on the assumption it would be a laugh.
Slipping of the sofa without comment, Hermione kneeled at the base of the TV unit and began setting up the VCR. She could palpably feel Severus' curiosity as she turned the television on and set about getting the right AV channel. Sparing him a glance over her shoulder, he quickly took up his paper once more, feigning complete nonchalance to her activities.
Honestly, for all the man disparaged Gryffindor house, he had the pride of a wounded lion. Hermione spared him the trial of asking what she was doing.
"You don't mind if I watch a film do you?" she asked, attempting to match his own indifference.
"Not at all. What are we watching?"
Hermione turned back to the TV unit, not letting him catch her appreciative smirk. She had to give him credit for his dedication.
Pressing play she made her way back to the sofa and lay out with her head resting upon his lap.
"The Grinch." She answered casually, hoping beyond hope he wouldn't recognize the title of the old cartoon or the Dr Suess work it
His groan put such foolish hopes to rest.
"This is breaking the rules Hermione." He grumbled, all the while flinging his paper aside and stretching his long legs onto the low coffee table, careful not to disturb her head. For all his complaints, it was clear he'd picked up on her slightly somber mood and was happy to let her have her way.
"This is not for work, it doesn't count as a decoration, it didn't require extensive baking or cooking, and while it means we will be focusing on the images of people it doesn't technically counts as a visitor, so I think you'll find I'm completely within the rules… Professor."
Severus only grunted at that.
"Just remember what happened the last time you called me that, witch."
Hermione smile up at him before turning her attention to the screen, as the narrator's voice dubbed over the films intro.
"I thought this was a cartoon." Severus sounded from above her, the confusion clear in his voice despite the drawling tone.
"It's a modern remake. It's meant to be quite funny."
Once again a disgruntled groan was her only answer.
"If you're going to moan the entire way through you can clear off and I'll watch it by myself." Hermione warned, sitting up to better glare at him. Severus raised both hands in a sign of peace, before shifting his position and lying fully against the back of the lounge, leaving space for her to recline in front. When Hermione initially bought such a deep sofa, this particular image hadn't been at the forefront of her mind, but it had all worked out quite nicely.
Note: So there we are! This fic will work best if you've seen the Grinch obviously, but I hope you all still enjoy it!