AN: I am posting this for it's wonderful creator, Yengirl. She was the one who first mentioned Christmas presents and Death knitting. Then her muse gifted her with this little piece. She sent it to me and when I demanded that she post it, she gave me permission to post it instead. Please enjoy, and I'll let her know what you think.
From Death's Point of View
A Snowball's Chance Epilogue
Story Start -
The unoccupied room was very dark and cold.
When the door opened, flames automatically burst into life in the grate. The flickering light filled the room and showed off a display of polished wood and metal on the opposite wall.
A hooded figure came inside the room, skeletal fingers wrapped around the long handle of a scythe. He closed the door and glided towards said wall, surveying its contents - an impressive collection of scythes, hung on hooks, braced against brackets or sideways on shelves. There were scythes with long handles, short handles or no handles, but suspended on ropes. There were scythes with single or twin blades, the blades themselves straight or curved, fashioned from iron, steel or copper.
A blade to suit every occasion... the tools of his trade.
The hooded figure placed the unused weapon on its bracket on the wall - the accident victim was tenacious, to say the least, making him visit the hospital three times already - and turned around. He surveyed the rest of his room, giving a bemused shake of the head.
For many, many years, his chamber had housed only a worn armchair and a rickety table, both pulled close to the fireplace. He only had one weapon then, its resting place the nine inches behind the door; easy to be caught up on the way out, easy to be thrown behind when he returned after the deed was done. He polished off the rust and sharpened the edge only when it hindered his work, replaced the handle only when it splintered in his bony grasp.
He had never thought to do any different until he met two very stubborn, very determined wizards and found himself making a most unusual bargain. He wasn't even sure why he had bothered. Perhaps he was in a somewhat benevolent mood that morning, having received a good number of souls - both evil and good - from the battle that had taken place in that school in the wee hours of the morning.
In any case, he was sure it was a moot cause for those two. No one ever escaped Death, not even that pretender with his grand plans and his horcruxes. Why, even the youngest Peverell brother had joined him in the end, Death discounting the many years in between.
But then he started receiving gifts...
The first year, it was a large jar of metal polish labelled 'Scythe Polisher' that made him gnash his teeth in fury. He kicked it into a corner of his room and suffered a hairline fracture in his big toe, devoid as his foot was of muscle, fat, skin or indeed, any form of footwear.
The second year, it was a book that - hell, even now after so many decades, he still couldn't speak the title of that book out loud... not even in the privacy of his own abode. He was beyond fury when he unwrapped the gift, reducing the book to a pile of ashes with just a look.
Despite his heavy workload that last week of Christmas, thanks to the annual bout of heavy drinking, addle pated wits and general reckless disregard for one's life all over the world, he found himself on the second day of the new year, sitting in his armchair without a single thing to do.
On the fifth day, his latest acquisition happened to be the contented soul of a great grandmother who had passed on peacefully, surrounded by three generations of bravely smiling descendants. He had helped himself to her knitting needles and basket of assorted wool and yarn and, with a scowl and some measure of trepidation, turned to the first page of the reconstructed knitting book.
His first three mangled attempts ended up in the fireplace until the smell of burning wool drove him from his home and made him acquire a proper rubbish bin from his next client His sixth attempt, after much needed meditation and a series of calming and breathing exercise, was a simple belt in black wool, knitted entirely in the basic garter stitch. It was perfect for his robes on cold and windy days when his modesty was in danger of being exposed. On a rare whim of fancy, he even affixed little tinkling bells to the belt ends, but after his next client choked to death on laughter before the expected fatal stroke happened, he removed the bells.
By the time Christmas came, he had several home made pieces displayed around his room and brought two knitted grey and white doilies with him when he visited Snowball to pick up his gift. He swore he would incinerate it if it turned out to be another handicraft book - what did those two wizards expect him to do next, bake apple pies and cheesecake for them? - but to his surprise, it was a stand. A sturdy and well made stand made from polished wood that fitted perfectly into the space behind his door. It was tall enough to house his scythe without either stand or scythe toppling over, but not too tall that it made scythe retrieval bothersome.
The taller wizard had a good eye, Death conceded, and of course, it was the shorter one who had carved the stand.
Three months later, he went into that small village near Snowball to pick up two scheduled clients. Although he had given up following the Potions Master around St. Mungo's, glued to his shoulder and blowing frigid air down his neck - he wasn't sure how much got down his back anyway, thanks to the long hair and tight collar - he indulged his curiosity and peeped into their home. The doilies were in the kitchen, one placed under the mug tree and the other under the teapot.
The following Christmas that year, he left them larger doilies for the backs of the two comfortable armchairs around the fireplace and took back a double pack of scythe polish. Good because his first jar was finishing and he had acquired a scythe with twin blades - a rather flashy affair that made for horrified screams and messy outcomes until he got the hang of the 'swish and flick' movement it apparently required.
After that, his collection of wood brackets and shelves started, complete with under shelves to store polishing rags, circular grooves to hold the jars of polish, and Sticking Charms that made DIY a breeze.
The years flew past.
That one wall was now full and he was thinking of starting on the adjacent wall. His one armchair was now a plush, black leather affair with a back that could be reclined, padded arms and a leg rest. The table next to it was a medium sized design in polished walnut. It held a large basket of neatly twined yarn in black, dark grey, light grey and white. Beside the basket was a box - also in the same wood - that held his prized collection of one and twenty pairs of knitting needles, all of them acquired over the years, and one crochet hook.
That last one was perfect for a wool bedspread that was his next project as soon as he finished the black and white wool dressing gown he was halfway through. He was determined to have a black and white checkered tie for it and the bells, he quite liked the tinkling sound they made.
The bedspread would be complete in time for this year's Christmas present. It would be knitted in his usual colours, of course - none of those garish, obscenely bright 'Hogwarts colours', thank you. They gave him a headache.
He supposed those two wizards shared a chuckle now and again at how adamant they were at not sharing a room or bed when the bargain was first struck all those years ago. Look at them now, having shagged like rabbits throughout the years... and still happily at it if he wasn't mistaken. He shook his head at the thought, having no eyes to roll.
Settling down in his armchair, he pulled the basket closer. They were determined to make him wait and he was just as determined to show them that he wasn't pining or moping around the place. No, he had better things to do with his free time, and it was better to keep reminding them of his existence, thanks to his many knitted gifts that now decorated their home.
Yes. Their home.
The rhythmic clicking of the needles paused and the hooded head turned towards the crackling fire. When he finally acquired those two souls one day, would he miss getting his yearly presents? After all, no one else had even thought of...
A soft sigh ensued. Then the bony shoulders shrugged and the needles started clicking again.
They were mistaken. Despite the melting snowball design on the jumpers he had given them last year, Death was actually in no hurry at all.
Good things always came to those who waited.
- Story End -