This was originally given to a small group of friends as a little book for Christmas 2013. I hope they will forgive me giving this to a larger group of friends.
I would like it duly noted that the following missive is, to my knowledge, a true and accurate account. ~SS (except for the parts that I made up)
He’s just winding you up, you know. It’s all true, I solemnly swear- HS (I’m up to no good)
The Twelve Years of Christmas After The War
As told by Severus and Hermione Snape, Recorded by Teddy Raye, December 2013
On the first Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
An owl intercepted by the Whomping Willow.
It was delivering a Howler, screaming what a terrible person I was and because of my irresponsible actions during the war, how unfit I was to supervise impressionable young students.
I had decided to return to school and finish my N.E.W.T.s. The Headmistress graciously allowed me to assist in some of the classes.
Professor Snape had a quiet word with me away from still-ringing ears. “Miss Granger, I should not have to tell you that this letter is blatant nonsense. I’m sure you are a perfect role model for students. My general impression is that you are swotty, irritating to your elders, and a general pain in the arse. In short, everything I’ve come to expect from Gryffindors.”
He frowned, and crumpled the Howler’s accompanying parchment. “Ignore this rubbish,” he added quietly. “They don’t know you. If they did, they’d be thanking you instead of insulting you.”
Okay, it wasn’t a compliment in the classic sense, but it was one of the nicest things Professor Snape had ever said to me. Even after all I’d learned about him, I confess I was still intimidated by him. From that day, though, we somehow formed a two-person alliance against Wizarding Britain.
On the second Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
Two tortoise-shell stirring rods.
Christmas was hard. Mum and Dad lived in Australia, and had no memory of me that I could recover. Harry and Ginny were living in nuptial bliss, Ron was playing the field, and determined that if I wouldn’t marry him, then I was perfect for either Charlie or George.
I wasn’t perfect for anyone, but I went to the Burrow to smile and toast and exclaim over babies and swoon over Mrs. Weasley’s Treacle Tart and Ginny’s latest baby bump and…well, you get the picture.
When Minerva asked me to stay at Hogwarts and help with the unusually large group of students staying over, I was actually glad. That is, until Christmas Eve, facing the lonely evening in the Faculty Lounge with a glass of lukewarm champagne and a very sad little tree valiantly trying to keep its spirits up.
As we all prepared to leave for the evening, Professor Snape stopped me and pressed a package into my hands. Tortoise-shell stirring rods are as rare as hen’s teeth (ooh, good reminder for a gift next year!). When I thanked him, he looked so shyly pleased that I totally forgot myself and threw my arms around him.
I remember how warm he was.
He was so warm.
On the third Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
Three pairs of dragon-hide gloves from the Dordogne.
I received two gifts that year; one from Miss Granger and the other from Minerva – oh, what a surprise – Scotch. I added it to the other eighteen bottles she had given me during the previous years of our working relationship. The first one, a 1979 single malt, was almost potable. The others I used to clean and sterilise my potions utensils.
When I opened my second gift, I closed my eyes and inhaled the sharp/sweet whiff of good quality dragon-hide. All three pairs were black, of course, and buttery soft, like fine leather. The first pair slid onto my hands almost of their own accord, and instantly my fingers were warm, like the soft breath of a slumbering baby dragon. I pressed my palms against my chest and felt the heat permeate my entire body.
I might have taken a moment to imagine that it was the embrace of a certain indomitable Gryffindor that heated me so, but if I had, I certainly won’t confess it here. And I certainly wouldn’t have mentioned them to her the next week when classes resumed.
I did, however, wear each pair until they fell apart many years later.
On the fourth Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
“Destination, Determination, Deliberation and Dedication: Learning To Fly Is As Easy As Apparition,” by G.K. Bottomsdon.
I was insulted; hell, I’d given the git very expensive dragon-hide gloves the previous year! And here he was, giving me a book on brooms! It was all I could do to graciously thank him. Once I was back in my quarters I tossed it in the corner and there it stayed until Crookshanks threw a hairball up on it.
While I was cleaning it, I flipped it open, and on the inside page was a note. I could recognise that spiky handwriting anywhere:
“When you are ready, Miss Granger, I will be waiting. And no, you dunderhead, this isn’t a book on how to use a broom. It’s about learning to fly. Full stop. SS”
Okay, so I read it. And read it over and over until I was convinced I could do it.
I will never forget that day; he was monitoring a group of third-years heading for Hogsmeade. I caught his attention and said, “I’m ready, sir.”
He turned and looked at me with those dark eyes, and said, “I am waiting.”
I didn’t know exactly what he meant by that, but that night, I flew with Severus for the first time.
It was like dancing.
On the fifth Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
A subscription to Alchemist’s Daily.
Well, I really should have refused it. When I found out how much it cost, I wrote to the publishers: “Do you print your periodicals using golden ink? Is that the reason for this exorbitant cost?”
Imagine my irritation when they replied that, yes, they did, and yes, that was why it was so expensive. Add to that the fact that they have some of the most innovative theories currently in application, and factor in a very generous new professor with Galleons burning a hole in her robes, and I couldn’t bring myself to cancel the subscription.
As the magazines arrived via owl every Monday through Friday, Professor Granger’s gift both pleased and puzzled me. It was the professorial version of giving someone flowers every day, and expensive ones at that. What was she trying to tell me with this expensive and fine gift?
Yes, it’s true we saw one another almost daily and had done so for the past five years. She had an annoying habit of hugging me, especially when we went flying together. She always gave my gloves a pat when I wore them, and she always saluted me with her stirring rod when I entered her lab. But this – this was a very impressive and, to my mind, important gift.
I thought she was…up to something.
On the sixth Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
A sextet of Augurey eggs.
I spotted the most adorable little basket sitting under the tree. It was made of silver filigree, trimmed in green (of course), and I knew immediately it was for me, and it was from him.
What could it be? Some lovely pieces of jewelry from his trip to India the previous summer? A delicious sweet treat from Honeydukes – perhaps the one he teased me about the last time we went to Hogsmeade? Or perhaps the silk turquoise scarf I had spied in Madam Malkin’s window, the one he said complimented my eyes?
I gleefully opened the package, and everyone in the room recoiled in horror. “Merlin in a mudbath, whassat gawdsawful stink?” demanded Mr Filch, as the entire Faculty backed away, holding their noses and retching.
The smell of Augurey eggs is the most revolting, disgusting, nausea-inducing stench known to the Wizarding world, and Severus looked both queasy and righteous. “They were mentioned in Alchemist Daily,” he answered defensively. “I thought they might benefit your research on anti-depression potions.”
I threw my arms around him and kissed him right on the lips. “They’re exactly what I wanted! This is the best Christmas ever!” I exclaimed, and I meant every word of it.
On the seventh Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
A week’s holiday floating on a barge down the Thames.
I thought she was mad.
I had expected it to be a lot more trouble than it was worth, but Hermione had it all planned down to the nth degree. “When you’ve spent four months in a ten with two boys, you learn to appreciate luxury,” she quipped.
Far from a Spartan week roughing it on frigid water, getting on one another’s nerves – it was seven days of serenity the likes of which I don’t ever recall experiencing. Neither one of us really knew anything about barges or locks or gates, but as we passed Teddington Lock, she asked, “Have you ever heard of Monty Python?”
“Of course,” I replied, puzzled. I did, after all, come from a Muggle home. “Why?”
Hermione pointed to a large platform above the water. “That’s where they filmed the fish slapping dance!”
I stared at her, marveling. After all these years, she still had the capacity to surprise me.
“You are the strangest witch I have ever known,” I declared, pulling her into my arms. Her smile was glorious, and we held one another in comfortable silence as we floated serenely down the river.
That week, I slept like a baby, ate like a pig and made love like a matador.
On the eighth Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
I love Severus’ gifts. He’s surprisingly romantic on birthdays and High Holy days like Samhain and Beltane and Mabat. He even remembers our anniversary, which I will admit I am prone to forget.
But this was the first Christmas we celebrated with our own family, and this one beat them all. So far.
We married in the spring, and shortly after, to my surprise and his bemusement, I became pregnant. Regina Jane Snape was two week’s late; she was born on the 8th of January (Severus still swears she was aiming for his birthday but was too impatient to wait any longer), and she is absolutely the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes upon. Severus says she looks like me, but she is him made over.
I was in the middle of a false labour when Santa arrived, which should have been enough shock to send me into full-fledged labour. Aside from the fact that I had stopped believing in Santa around the time I started attending Hogwarts, imagine my surprise to find that he did indeed visit magical homes once they started their own families. Boy, the Weasley’s had kept that one quiet.
Anyway, when Santa asked, I, in my delirious state, got rather sentimental and loopy and said that, more than anything, I wanted for my parents to be there for the birth. According to Severus, exactly six hours later, he was standing in the biggest field he’d ever seen, surrounded by more cows than he had ever known to exist. Walking out to greet him, shotguns in hand, were my mummy and daddy, masters of all they surveyed. They had only gone and cultivated the largest cattle station in Western Queensland.
It took another week to fully restore their memories and to explain who I was (their only child), who Severus was (their only daughter’s husband), and why he was there (the birth of their only granddaughter to date).
Suffice to say they returned to England, first to give me a bollocking for everything, second to forgive me for everything, third, to help Severus set up the nursery, and fourth to hold our hands during labour.
They are ridiculously doting grandparents, and are extremely generous to all of us. To commemorate Regina’s birth, they have bequeathed to her every female calf born on the station with socked feet. There are eight so far this year alone – Regina will be able to build her own cattle station at this rate. Either that, or, as Severus says, we’ll always have a steady supply of premium filet mignon.
On the ninth Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
“Next year will be the tenth anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts,” Hermione explained.
“I am well aware of that,” I replied. “What in the name of Merlin’s pickled petunias does that have to do with me learning how to dance?”
Before the words left my mouth, I knew. The blasted witch expected the occasion would be marked by some ghastly ball or some other equally appalling celebratory happening. And she expected me to dance with her.
“I do not dance,” I said firmly.
She gave me that look I’ve come to know so well. It has just the right combination of pleading, bossiness and steadfast determination in it. It is a look that used to infuriate me during our early days of courtship. Mainly because I know I would, in all likelihood, cave in and do exactly as she wished. However, this time I was not going to be swayed so easily.
I started lessons on my birthday. She has always rewarded me handsomely for letting her have her way.
It can never be said of Severus Snape that he is a slow learner. At the Hogwarts Valentine’s Day dance, I waltzed my beautiful wife around the floor, and when we had finished, the entire school knew about it. I barely had the chance to give Regina a spin when Minerva asked me to dance. I felt obligated to comply, her being my employer and all that.
Then Pomona Sprout begged for a turn; then Sybil Trelawney practically tore me from Pommy’s arms when the next song began. Every female present, and not a few males, lined up to dance with me.
I never got another dance with Hermione that evening. Septima, Poppy, Aurora, Rolanda – they all had a go. By the time I was done, the band was packing up, and my feet were killing me.
All in all, it wasn’t an unpleasant experience. And at the very least, I didn’t have to take any more of those poxy dance lessons.
On the tenth Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
First and foremost, I want it known here and now that Severus Snape, my brilliant, maddening, sexy, indulgent husband, loves me very much and is very doting and affectionate. You may not believe it at first glance, but you don’t know him like his daughter and I do. You don’t hear him sing her to sleep; you don’t know how it feels to wake in his arms after a nightmare.
I had been having them a lot lately. Severus surmised it was because of this ridiculous tenth anniversary do we were obligated to attend. Everyone in Wizarding Britain would be there. It was going to be very chi-chi, extremely posh. I was dreading it.
Severus was not looking forward to it either, but remained quite philosophical about it. “Fatherhood,” he explained, “has a way of putting things into perspective. It’s not so big anymore, Hermione. We’re stronger than the memories.”
Did I mention how much I love that man?
When we arrived, it seemed every witch or wizard I’d ever met since I was eleven was milling around, lapping up the free drinks and being terribly cordial to one another. I spied the Malfoys, who gave Severus and me a polite greeting, but looked about as happy to be there as I felt. Harry, Ron and the entire Weasley clan descended on us, and surrounded by these kind, accepting souls, my heart rate eased back toward normal.
It was only later than Ginny and I realised our menfolk had been absent for a good half hour. After a brief search, I found not only Ron, Harry and George giggling in a corner, but Severus and Lucius and Draco Malfoy were stuck in with them! The six of them, laughing and snorting through their noses like second-years!
Severus spotted me, excused himself, and joined me. His eyes were still flashing with mirth. “And what exactly was that all about, husband?” I asked, warily. “Are you…drunk?”
He replied in an affronted, whatever-are-you-talking-about tone. “No, my dear wife. Just rekindling old friendships, and making new ones. Putting the past behind us, and all that pish.”
I didn’t believe him for one moment, but since he was obviously enjoying himself much more than usual during these public affairs, I was happy to let him have a surreptitious laugh on the Ministry’s Galleon.
The night was surprisingly enjoyable; Severus danced with me and politely refused all other partners except his duty dances with Minerva and Ginny. He had obviously learned his lesson from the previous Valentine’s Day.
Just as the last song was beginning, Severus kissed my hand and said, “Merry Christmas, Hermione.” He turned to where Harry and the Weasleys were standing; soon the Malfoy men joined them. Together the six of them cast a spell I’d never heard in my life, and suddenly a magical spotlight lit up the dais at the front of the hall.
The band, on cue, started playing a jaunty tune that sounded strangely familiar. “Um, is that…the can-can?” I whispered to Severus.
“It certainly is,” he replied smugly.
That’s when it happened. On the dais, in front of hundreds of dignitaries, arse-kissers and Ministry stuffed shirts, came a chorus line of conjured Lord Voldemorts, bouncing across the stage like a team of high-kicking Inferi Rockettes. They were dressed in hot-pink robes with feather boas, and blew kisses to the crowd while their white knobbly knees flashed in the bright lights with every high kick.
People were either laughing so hard they were doubled over, or too stunned for reaction. All my classmates were in the former category.
I turned to Severus; we were both crying with laughter. I hugged him to tightly I think his ribs squeaked.
On the eleventh Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
Some much needed peace and quiet.
During the first year of my return as Headmaster of Hogwarts, I experienced problems from one sector of castle life I would never have expected in a million years.
Moaning Myrtle developed a crush on me.
It would have been amusing, had she not been such a pain in the arse. Myrtle’s main problem was that she died too young and had been a ghost too long. She was a thirteen year-old child with a fifty-nine-year-old streak of boredom. I spent thirty-odd of those years avoiding her like Dragon Pox.
As Headmaster, however, I was required to communicate with all of Hogwarts’ ghosts and cultivate a working association with them. I had a bit of catching up to do; I’d been a little too pre-occupied the first time around.
To my dismay, Moaning Myrtle took my well-meaning comments about her living conditions and polite enquiries of her ‘health’ as something more than employer/employee badinage, and consequently she became a real pest.
She took to glowering at Hermione at every available opportunity, and frequently doused her in jealousy-driven fits of pique. She followed me into every toilet; she popped up the drain during showers and baths. We even caught her kibitzing during one passion-fueled afternoon Hermione and I spent in the opulent Headmaster’s bath (which makes the legendary Prefect’s bath look like a public loo at King’s Cross Station).
I delivered a stern lecture to Myrtle on the value of privacy and decorum. She sniveled and pouted and left us alone for a few days, but soon we were back to warding the toilets and the baths. It got to the point where I dreaded having to go to the loo.
The final straw came shortly before the Christmas holidays, when Regina came running up to me, crying in fright, “Papa, Moaning Myrtle tried to flush me down the toilet!”
I almost felt sorry for her. She was, after all, nothing more than a lonesome, bored child who knew too much and didn’t understand enough. We could live with the occasional voyeurism and the need for constant vigilance, but no one threatens or harms our child. Myrtle had never seen Regina’s mum that angry.
Hermione enlisted the help of every ghost we knew except for Peeves, whom we agreed probably gave Myrtle most of her ideas. The four House ghosts, Professor Binns, Dobby the House Elf, and four visiting ghosts Hermione befriended on Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th death day assembled in the Second Floor lav. I don’t know what Hermione told them, but Regina is a favourite, and our Hogwarts ghosts are nothing if not tenacious.
We should have known it would not be easy. Myrtle had plenty of practice evading the living. She was also intimately familiar with every pipe and U-bend at Hogwarts. The others gave chase throughout the castle, down to the bowels of the school, where they magically banished Myrtle until she could be properly exorcised.
“No doubt, a new legend will be borne of this,” the Bloody Baron intoned in his sepulchral voice. “They will speak of the weeping ghost of the dungeons, grieving for her lost lover, or some such dreck.”
I really didn’t care if they said she was pining for the Fjords, as long as she left us alone.
On the twelfth Christmas after the war, my true love gave to me:
A very expensive, table-top marble Pensieve. It was of the very finest quality to be sure, but I was a bit nonplussed. “Don’t you already have a perfectly good working Pensieve in your study?” I asked.
Severus smirked. “Not like this one.” With a look of focused concentration, he touched his wand to his temple and delicately pulled a wispy, silver strand away, then stirred it into the contents of the bowl. With a look I recognised as one-part mischief, two parts sexual, he held out his hand. “If you please, dear wife.”
I took his hand and together we plunged face first into the bowl.
The memory was breathtakingly familiar to me – it was our first, proper, full-on snog, not that peck I’d stolen when he gave me those Auguery eggs, but a real toe-curling kiss of epic proportions.
I watched affectionately as the memory-Severus gently tipped my chin up toward his face, and our lips touched. His eyes were closed, and mine fluttered shut. I could actually feel his lips against mine; I was flooded with the same warmth as our memory selves pressed together. I could feel the sweet, gentle touch of our mouths fusing together, as years of association, then friendship, allowed our feelings for one another to bloom into love.
The same swelling rush of desire and arousal flooded my mind and my body, and once again I was overwhelmed with that same wild, giddy knowledge of that precious moment, because in that instant I knew my life had changed forever.
“Holy hell!” I exclaimed, and stared at him in shock. “What was that?”
“Interactive Pensieve. It’s a new product from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. George asked me to test the prototype, and I agreed on the stipulation that I could have the first one off the assembly line, as it were.”
I would like to be very proper and say we revisited important moments in our lives together, but I’d be lying. We used it in the exact way George had intended – to have interactive sex with one another. We spent twelve hours that night. Twelve hours of heart-pounding, non-stop debauchery overlaid with sensations from one another. It was the most erotic experience I’ve had in my entire life!
By the time we fell into bed, we had made a few new memories to re-create. As Severus remarked, “Who needs porn when you can do this?”
We eventually learned to pace ourselves, but even now, when Severus gets that look in his eye and places his wand to his temple, my heart starts pounding like a drum corps in a parade. Then again, the wizard I married manages to do that to me pretty much any time, any place.
Oh, I do love that man.
So, twelve years after the war, after twelve years of friendship, love and passion, what have we learned?
1. There are always going to be people who don’t want you to succeed. The trick is to find the people who don’t want you to fail.
2. If you have something in common, you can always find a common love of something.
3. A dragon isn’t a chicken, but it’s close. And hen’s teeth aren’t nearly as precious as a true friend.
4. Having a best friend is like flying with angels; you know you’ll never have to worry about them letting you fall.
5. A person who loves you believes you always deserve the very best.
6. The best gifts aren’t always the prettiest or the ones you think you want.
7. If your love can survive a trip away from home, it can survive anything.
8. Family is the greatest responsibility, and the greatest reward.
9. Always make the best of the gifts that don’t fit; in the end, they might be just what you wanted all along.
10. The ability to make one another laugh is the greatest magic we can perform.
11. Sometimes you have to protect your loved ones using every dirty trick in the book.
12. What happens under the mistletoe stays under the mistletoe.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
From Severus, Hermione, Teddy & Dahlra