1271: Christmas Vigil – OneshotPosted: December 18, 2015
Hello, dear Patrons!
SC came up with the idea for having a week of holiday-themed oneshots, and since my fic just ended I thought it would be a great idea. I don’t personally celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, but it is a good time to get together with family, so I tried to find a fic that fit in with my secular version of the holiday. I did attempt to find a Yule-themed fic, but almost all of them centered on the Yule Ball in Harry Potter so I’m here with a short oneshot from the Harry Potter universe that I found while browsing. (I did find a Yule fic, but I’m saving that for next week.)
If you’ve never heard of Harry Potter – welcome to the Internet! Thank you for choosing the Library as your first destination. Don’t forget to tip your ninja, and never give the tyrannosaur dairy products.
A/N: Something I wrote for the adventdrabbles community on IJ. :)
I think I can figure out what “adventdrabbles” would be, probably a series of Christmas-themed oneshots, but I’m also positive that should be LJ for LiveJournal.
That’s a good sign.
Turning the page of his book, Severus glanced up at the clock for the tenth time in as many minutes. 7:32 p.m.
So he’s looking at the clock every minute? Why couldn’t you just say that? Was it really necessary to be so precise? Why is this even a thing in fanfics?
It had taken him half an hour to read three pages, and he could barely remember half of it.
That sounds really slow to me, but I’m a fairly fast reader. Severus could be a slow reader, or it could be a difficult text. When I’m reading in Japanese, it can take me an hour to get through a page since I have to look up a lot of the words in a dictionary.
He’d snatched up the Potions Journal when he’d been forced to abandon marking, unable to concentrate on the task at hand, but reading had proved just as fruitless.
Marking what? I’m assuming this is supposed to be Severus Snape, the Potions Master of Hogwarts. From what I remember, there wasn’t a lot of written work in Potions; there were punishment essays given on occasion, but the majority of the work was practical labs done in-class.
It was Christmas Eve, and Harry should have been home five hours ago.
Why would Severus be waiting for Harry? Is this a slashfic? Because there was nothing in the description labeling it as such.
Apparently this is a moderately popular pairing in HP fanfics, but I don’t really understand why. Snape’s love for Lily is so much a part of who his character is, I don’t think he would ever be able to get over losing her no matter who he was paired with.
Severus tossed the book aside and took to pacing the room. Harry had been on an Auror mission for the past two weeks; not unusual in itself, and it was no more dangerous than any other mission, but this time he had not returned when he was supposed to.
I am really confused now. Harry does become an Auror, but not until he graduates from Hogwarts. Snape is dead by that point. Without anything explaining how he’s still alive, I’m going to have to assume that this is a Zombie Snape. If he’s stopped aging then this would probably close some of the twenty-year age difference between the two characters, which is one of the more disturbing aspects of this pairing, but then you have to add in the squick factor of having a romantic relationship with an animated corpse.
Kingsley had been in contact, briefly, to inform him.
…Of what? That Harry’s still not back yet? He’s an Auror who chases down Dark Wizards, not a butterfly wrangler. Things happen.
He’d assured Severus that they had no reason to be concerned—Harry had made contact only the day before—but Severus thought rather differently.
So Zombie Snape thinks it is bad that Harry checked in? Wasn’t he worried about Harry? You would think it would relieve some of his worry, not make it worse.
If Harry knew that he was going to be late, which was fairly often in his profession, he always sent word. The fact that he hadn’t…
But he did! Kingsley told you he checked in the day before! Kind of odd that the Minister of Magic would feel the need to update someone personally on the status of a single Auror, but whatever. He’s only a little late at this point.
The fireplace burst to life and Kingsley’s head appeared in the flames. He shook it in answer before Severus had even formed a question.
“Still no word, I’m afraid. I’ve had to officially list his status as missing.”
Kind of jumping the gun a bit, don’t you think? Harry’s only been missing for a few hours, in most cases you have to wait a full day to declare someone missing. He checked in the day before, so clearly he’s been keeping you appraised of his location.
And has everyone just sitting around waiting for Harry to contact them for the past five hours? If Harry hasn’t checked back in, then the next logical step would be to send someone out to check his last known location. Be proactive, for goodness’ sakes!
“What about those he was with?” Severus demanded. “Weasley? Thomas? Henderson?”
“The rest of the team got back safely.”
So wouldn’t they be able to tell someone what happened? I could understand everyone being worried if Harry was by himself, but there are three eye-witnesses who are all highly trained Aurors; surely someone saw something useful.
“Then I shall just have to go out there myself.”
Wherever “there” might be, which I doubt Zombie Snape which “there” Harry might be located in. The Aurors don’t advertise their activities in advance because it is very dangerous work, and if Harry is still in danger then the Ministry isn’t about to let a civilian go traipsing off to help.
Kingsley shook his head again. “That really wouldn’t help matters. Look, Severus, I have people out there trying to ascertain what happened. I’ll let you know the moment I have news.”
So why are you even having this little fireside chat? You essentially called up Zombie Snape to tell him that you don’t know anything; the whole conversation is pointless and would only make Zombie Snape worry more, not less.
Severus scowled but jerked his head down in an irritable assent; he had little faith in the Ministry idiots finding anything useful. As the flames died, he sank back onto the couch and, ignoring his book, simply stared at the clock.
Which was basically what he was doing before Kingsley called, so we’ve returned back to the status quo.
A scene break? Really?
At a quarter past eight there was a knock at the door.
And there’s been a time-skip forward about a half an hour. That’s probably not going to be relevant in any way.
Knowing it wouldn’t, couldn’t be Harry, Severus didn’t rush to answer it.
That actually makes sense, if this is supposed to be Harry’s home then he wouldn’t knock before coming in. Of course, the fic never clearly states that Zombie Snape and Harry live together – but I think it’s safe to assume that they do.
He assumed it would be Professor McGonagall, so was more than a little surprised to find Ginny standing there instead.
Should he be surprised? Ginny and Harry were together in a serious relationship, they even marry and have children in the canon, so why wouldn’t they at least be close friends in this version?
Has Ginny developed a speech impediment?
Severus looked down as something attached itself to his leg.
… And tentacles?
Albus gave him a beaming smile in return, reminiscent of his namesake.
Namesake? That would mean that this … This is Albus Severus Potter, Ginny and Harry’s youngest son and middle child. But if he’s here, then Harry and Ginny married and started a family.
I am really confused now. I thought this was supposed to be a Snape/Harry slashfic, but if that’s the case then why is Ginny there with Harry’s son? And where are the other children?
Lately he had become unaccountably attached to Severus, something which Harry delighted in.
The kid likes Severus Snape. That’s the least believable thing I’ve read in a long time. Even before he was turned into a zombie, Snape was mildly repellent in nearly every way possible. He’s really not the kind of person that kids are drawn to.
Severus’ heart clenched as a memory of a laughing Harry swam across his vision.
That’s kind of sweet, but now I’m concerned that Zombie Snape might be suffering from some sort of mental disorder.
“I’m sorry to intrude, Severus,” Ginny said quietly. She was holding Lily in her arms, James standing solemnly by her side. “It’s just that I couldn’t stand waiting—”
So Ginny and Harry did have a relationship that included three kids, and yet Harry still ended up with his dead Potions Master? How do?
And she brought the kids with her – all of them? That is not a very good idea; better to leave them at home than to take them over to Daddy’s house where they will inevitably ask awkward questions regarding Daddy’s current whereabouts.
“Please,” Severus cut in, opening the door wider. “Come in.”
The ex and the current, together in one room. This is going to be awkward.
Once inside, Ginny put Lily down and she immediately ran to the tree. Albus gave Severus’ leg a final squeeze and then followed, but James stood resolutely by his mother. Aged seven, several years older than his siblings, he alone seemed to sense the gravity of the situation.
According to the most reliable source of information available, the Internet, James is at least one year (possibly more, but let’s err on the side of caution) older than Albus, who is two years older than Lily. Assuming that they are spaced the same in the fic, that makes Albus six and Lily four. Going by the dates given in the canon, Albus was born approximately eight years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Snape died shortly before the battle, so he’s been dead for fourteen years at this point.
That is one ripe zombie.
“I take it there’s no news?” Ginny asked softly.
That’s very perceptive of you; given Snape’s generally dour expression it would take someone extremely familiar with his facial expressions to tell if he was upset.
Severus watched Lily prod the shiny baubles and then laugh, her eyes shining. Harry had insisted on decorating the tree before he left.
Maybe it’s me, but Harry insisting on decorating the tree before he left kind of makes it sound like he wasn’t planning on coming back. I’d think it would be more dramatic to have an undecorated tree, due to the added tension the anticipation would create.
As if sensing the subject of conversation, Albus turned and asked, “When will daddy be home?”
And that right there is why it was a bad idea to bring the children with you when you came to console your ex-husband’s current partner after he’s gone missing.
Severus found that his throat was constricted. Ginny laid a hand on his arm.
“Soon, sweetheart,” she replied, managing a reassuring smile for the sake of her children.
It was going to be a long night.
A night made even longer by the presence of increasingly agitated children who will demand to know where Daddy is. Seriously, you couldn’t find a babysitter? Even if you don’t have some sort of magical widget that could do the job, there has to be around a dozen Weasleys hanging around The Burrow at any given time.
I guess that means we’re done with that scene.
More people arrived as the hours passed, seeking company and reassurance, and the room filled.
Really? How did anyone even know he was missing? The Ministry really does have terrible security, doesn’t it?
Mr and Mrs Weasley, Hermione (Ron had gone straight back out to assist in the search),
No parenthetical statements in the narration!
George, Percy, Bill…
Doesn’t Bill work with dragons somewhere in Romania?
Normally Severus would have abhorred the mere thought of such a gathering in his rooms, but he found that he couldn’t turn them away. Not when they were there for Harry.
Awww… That’s kind of sweet.
Instead he sat in an armchair watching the minutes ticking by, declining to take part in the muted discussions and theories, reassurances falling on deaf ears.
So he isn’t going to throw them out, but he isn’t going to interact with them in any meaningful way. That’s just going to make everything even more awkward.
Eventually Albus climbed up on his lap and went to sleep. Severus pretended not to notice the fond looks directed his way.
This baby must have that same sense that cats and dogs have and naturally gravitate towards the person that likes him the least.
When midnight came and went, ushering in Christmas Day, no one uttered a word.
Everyone was talking quietly a moment ago, so why did they all fall silent at midnight?
They sat in silent vigil, bathed in red and green from the Christmas tree lights;
Christmas tree lights run on electricity, which is only found in Muggle homes. There is no way Snape, even Zombie Snape, would live in a Muggle house.
James had fought sleep for as long as he could and was now dozing against his mother, and Lily was asleep in Mrs Weasley’s arms. Albus was still curled up against Severus’ chest, his pale face relaxed in untroubled sleep.
Kids managed to sleep all the way through Christmas Eve and not wake up early on Christmas Day. I don’t buy it.
Although he’d never admit it, Severus found his warm weight rather comforting; a little piece of Harry that he could hold close.
Given what’s been implied about Harry and Zombie Snape’s relationship, I find this mildly creepy.
And it stopped him from grabbing his wand and cloak and going to find Harry himself.
Please refrain from “grabbing your wand” while there are children present.
Finally, at a little past two in the morning, Kingsley’s silver lynx appeared and his deep voice filled the room.
I’m going to assume that Kingsley sent his Patronus to deliver a message, but it is equally likely that he Apparated a live wildcat into the room. Kind of odd that he would choose to deliver a message via Patronus when he was previously using the fireplace, though. It takes a lot of magic to create a Patronus.
“We have him. He’s safe.” The room erupted in exclamations of joy and relief as people got to their feet.
Meh. It’s not like Harry was ever in any real danger; fluffy oneshots like this hardly ever kill off a main protagonist. There might have been some light mauling, though.
Severus would not allow himself to join in, not until Harry was back with him.
It’s a good thing he’s a zombie, otherwise I’d be expecting him to experience some kind of emotional response to hearing that Harry isn’t dead.
Knowing that their first thought would be to see him, Kingsley added, “Stay where you are. I’ll have more soon.”
That seems like an unnecessary order; of course his family would like to see him now that they know he’s not dead, but none of them know where he is so they couldn’t go rushing off to visit him.
The fact that Kingsley had not described Harry’s condition made the following minutes almost as unbearable as the previous long hours.
I don’t think it is really possible to deliver a long message via Patronus, which is probably why it isn’t a very popular method of communication. The only time it’s used in the series is in a time of extreme emergency, which this doesn’t qualify as. There are numerous other ways of contacting Zombie Snape and the rest of Harry’s family that wouldn’t require the tremendous effort that summoning and sending a Patronus would entail and could allow for a more detailed message. And why hasn’t Ron checked in? He was supposed to be looking for Harry as well, but only Kingsley has made any attempt to contact Zombie Snape and the others. He’s the Minister of Magic, an office on the same level as the President or the Prime Minister; he has other matters to occupy his time.
“He’s alive, though,” Mrs Weasley kept repeating. “That’s the important thing.”
Nary a whisper about Ron, not even from his own mother.
Lily, woken up by the message and subsequent noise, was only asking if Santa had been yet.
If she plans on preserving Lily’s belief in Santa, I foresee an awkward ass-covering conversation in Ginnie’s future.
Then the Floo burst to life and, instead of Kingsley’s head, a familiar figure in red robes appeared in the flames.
“Floo” is not itself a noun; the Floo Network is the series of interconnected fireplaces that allows witches and wizards to travel swiftly from one fixed location to another, and Floo Powder is what allows them to access that network, but “Floo” is not a stand-alone thing. They are still called fireplaces.
“Santa?” Lily gasped.
Is it Zombie Dumbledore, here delivering gifts?
… I have to admit, that would be pretty awesome.
“Better than Santa, Lils,” James grinned, jumping up. “It’s Dad.”
“Daddy?” Albus said, sitting up, suddenly awake and alert.
He didn’t wake up when Santa was mentioned, but he woke up when Dad was? He didn’t even know Harry was missing! At that age I’d be far more excited to see Santa than I would be to see my same boring old father.
Harry had barely stepped out of the flames—exhausted, filthy, but miraculously uninjured—when three small figures were upon him, and everyone else soon followed.
They must have a very spacious fireplace.
The Floo could be heard again over the din and Ron stepped out, soon finding himself with his arms full of a beaming, teary Hermione.
Very, very spacious. I’m just glad someone remembered Ron, he often gets the short end of the stick.
It was difficult to imagine a more joyous Christmas morning.
Really? Because I can think of a half-dozen without straining myself too hard. Harry didn’t seem to be in any real danger, since the other three returned with no problems it appeared that they had just gotten separated. It is unusual that it took so long for him to return and that no one knew quite where he was, but I chalk that up to the general incompetence of the Ministry of Magic.
“I just ran into a little trouble with some nasty wizards,” Harry explained to Lily, who was clinging to his neck.
He’s an Auror, that’s his job. Has Lily never asked her father what he does all day when he’s not at home?
His other arm was wrapped around James and Albus in a three-way hug. “But I was determined to be home for Christmas.” He looked around until his eyes found Severus, standing patiently behind the crowd.
I probably would find this more heartwarming if I felt Harry was in any real danger, but there wasn’t any information given about his situation. Everything was so vague that there wasn’t anything to suggest that he wasn’t going to emerge unscathed. If someone, perhaps one of the three who returned before him, had gotten injured, or if there had been some more background given about just what sort of situation he was going to be in, there might be some dramatic tension. As it is, I feel nothing.
As Harry put Lily down and approached him, Severus allowed himself to breathe freely for the first time in many hours.
Again, I don’t have enough information to care. There was a bit more given with Zombie Snape, but the narration told the audience that he was worried and upset but the only thing he’s shown doing is flinging a book across the room and then sitting quietly for hours on end.
“Trouble follows you around, Mr Potter.”
Actually, this time he went out looking for trouble – which is also something that happens on a regular basis.
“True,” Harry said, smiling ruefully. “But I always find my way home.” He slid his arms around Severus’ waist, and Severus fought the urge to pull Harry tightly against him and never let go.
I’m sure his many implied wounds appreciate your restraint, Zombie Snape.
Instead he cradled Harry’s face, drinking him in.
Huh. Zombie Snape might be a vampire on top of everything else.
“Happy Christmas, Severus,” Harry whispered.
“Happy Christmas,” Severus replied, leaning in, “Harry.” At that moment, he didn’t care if the whole world was watching.
:Swenia, Glasses, and Syl run into the Riffing Chamber, knocking Ghostie over:
Chill, guys! It’s not like they’re going to do anything with their entire family, including several children, watching them.
Syl: Down in front! :tosses stapler at Ghostie:
Hey! :ducks: You’re supposed to throw popcorn!
Swenia: That sounds lovely; thanks for offering to make us some.
But … I didn’t… What?
No. Stop giving me the sad-kitty face. You need to go. Now.
WHERE DID HE COME FROM!?!
Swenia: Couldn’t find a babysitter.
:Ghostie sighs deeply and leaves the Riffing Chamber, returning with several large bowls of popcorn:
Nothing else mattered but the feel of Harry’s lips under his; the only present Severus ever needed.
:Everyone leans forward in anticipation:
:the Riffing Chamber explodes in a flurry of thrown popcorn and flipped-over furniture:
Well, that could have gone better.