Once Upon a Fish

 

 

Wherein our hero experiences the inadvisability of home decoration - A fish with a hat - The singing of carols – A Christmas present is unwrapped - Advisability of a handshake - A whale with a tuba - The magic word - Silenced with a kiss.

 

 

 

 In the darkness of the dungeons, hovering just above the nightstand, the silent green numbers of Snape’s alarm glowed five fifty-six am. Harry turned in his sleep, taking half the duvet with him. Snape grumbled and grudgingly opened one sleep-heavy eye, shivering in the castle’s subterranean chill. Damn you, Potter.

 

His hand sneaked over to the other side of the bed, closing around the covers, yanking hard. Harry rolled over, attaching himself like a limpet to Snape’s side. Snape let out a longsuffering sigh and, having re-appropriated his half - and not being able to resist the temptation – slid one icy cold hand over Harry’s flannel covered waist till the tips of his fingers passed the waistband onto the tender skin of Harry’s stomach, warming them. Harry stirred and snuggled closer. Snape pressed a tender kiss to Harry’s neck and closed his eyes, already snoring softly.

 

The alarm-spell clicked six fifteen.

 

*Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la…*

 

Gratingly bright music echoed off the dungeon walls in a cacophony of Christmas morning cheer.

 

“Severus? What the hell?” Harry sat up in bed, untangling himself from Severus’ sleeping form, leaving him duvetless in the middle of the bed, Harry’s wandlessly cast lumos too bright at this time of the day.

 

“Goddamn you!” Snape tried to hide his head under the pillow, his fist hitting the mattress repeatedly, his words a muffled stream of curses.

 

“Me? What did I do?” Harry snatched the pillow from him looking hurt.

 

“Not you. Albus! Give the duvet back before I hex you.” 

 

Harry lay back down on the bed, sharing covers and warmth with a shaking Severus who had curled up on himself, facing away from Harry.

 

“But Albus is… “

 

Snape turned sharply to glare at him. “I KNOW. I know. Hell if I know how he does it…hell if I know.”

 

Strong arms wound around his waist and a tender kiss was placed on his back. Snape let him.

 

*… tis the season to be jolly…*

 

After a couple of minutes Harry got out of the bed, wincing as his feet touched the cold stone floor. Searching the dark dungeon floor for his slippers, he reached for his terry-cloth robe, wrapping it around him. “Come on, let’s check it out. How bad can it be?”

 

Snape threw the pillow at him.

 

 

***

 

 

“Yep. Albus.” Snape rubbed the bridge of his nose, feeling a headache forming. Harry tilted his head, looking at the monstrosity hanging over their living-room fireplace.

 

*… don we now our gay apparel…*

 

“A singing fish?”

 

“Bass.”

 

Uhuh.”

 

Harry glanced at the grandfather clock and yawned. “Do you think you can make it shut up?”

 

Finite incantatem!” The bass stopped, smirked at Snape and burst into song again.

 

*Rudolph the red nosed reindeer had a very shiny nooooooooose*

 

“Did it just wiggle its eyebrows at you?”

 

“Shut up, Potter!”

 

“I think it did.” Harry’s voice was way too smug for his liking.

 

Snape shot him a dirty look. “Silencio!”

 

The bass started to glow red and blink in tune.

 

* … Rudolph with your noooooooose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?…*

 

Evis- …”

 

“Severus!” Harry made a grab for Snape’s wand but missed and found himself flush against Snape’s chest. “Don’t eviscerate it. It was a present.”

 

“Fine! Your present now, you deal with it.” Snape glowered down at him, flicking his wand one last time at the singing bass and sighed. “It is entirely too early for this kind of nonsense.”

 

“Let’s go back to bed. Besides,” Harry leered at him, sliding his hand over Snape’s arse, pressing close, “you need to unwrap your Christmas present.”

 

 

***

 

 

* … come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum …*

 

“My Christmas present, you say?” Back in the bedroom Snape pulled Harry close, running a possessive hand over his back, fingers pressing down between Harry’s bath-robe covered cheeks.  Harry moaned, arching into the touch.

 

*… our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum …*

 

Harry giggled and wiggled his eyebrows at him. “Are you going to ‘rum pum pum pum’ me? I see you brought your drumstick.”

 

Snape huffed and flicked his wand at the door. It slammed shut. “For that alone, Potter, I will, as you so insipidly put it, ‘rum pum pum pum’ you.”

 

* … shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum …*

 

Harry found himself thrown onto the bed with a smirking Snape leaning over him. Harry did not complain.

 

“Why, hallo there, Professor.” Harry gave him a saucy grin and wrapped his legs around Snape, pulling him down onto him, kissing him passionately. “So, you coming to the Weasleys' with me?”

 

“Do not mention the Weasleys again in any shape or form if you want any ‘rum pum pum pum’ to happen here.”

 

“Fine.” Harry said, but his tone of voice clearly stated ‘for now’.

 

Snape leaned into the touch of Harry’s fingers carding through his hair, Harry’s thumb running over his chapped lips. He captured it, biting down none too gently, revelling in Harry’s suppressed gasp, kissing the hurt better afterwards. Harry squirmed, reaching to pull Snape on top of him but Snape would have none of that. The exploring hands were gently captured and placed on the stark white pillow beside Harry’s head.

 

“My present,” Snape kissed him, “my rules. Do not move!” Harry’s pyjamas were peeled off and unceremoniously dumped on the floor.

 

Snape planted bruising kisses, just shy of breaking skin, all over Harry’s torso, gently kissing them better, teasing them with his tongue only to rake his sharp, yellow-stained nails over them a second later. Harry arched in wanton pleasure. Snape leaned close to whisper in Harry’s ear. His breath hot on Harry’s skin. “Do you want me to fuck you, Potter?”

 

Harry moaned and Snape spread Harry’s legs wide, exposing the puckered ring of muscle. “Answer me, Potter. Or I will stop.”

 

Snape’s index and middle finger ran teasingly round and round the tight muscle, their uneven nails snagging on the folded flesh, adding a sharp edge to the flood of pleasure.

 

Harry gasped at each teasing dip into the dark centre. “Yes. Please, Severus!”

 

Snape’s index finger pressed down in the middle, entering just the tiniest bit.

 

“Please what, Harry? Please fuck you? Fuck you hard so that every time you sit down at the Weasleys’ you will remember that you are mine?” 

 

His finger thrust in, down to the second knuckle, making Harry writhe under his attention.

 

“That is it my come still in your arse, slowly, maddeningly reminding you who fucked you just a few hours ago while you sit and eat Mrs. Weasley’s Christmas pudding? None of them suspecting?”

 

His fingers thrust in again. And out, and in again.

 

“Or do you want them to know? Tell me, Harry, do you?” Snape licked the big purple love bite just below Harry’s ear.

 

“I am yours, fuck me, already. Damn it, Severus, now.” Harry’s head thrashed from side to side, his hands still spellbound where Snape had placed them.

 

“Good boys get their Christmas wishes!” Harry’s legs were hoisted over Snape’s shoulders and he revelled in the weight of them; it anchored him, made this real. With a quick spell he saw Harry squirm under the maddening, itching, glorious sensation of being magically lubricated. Snape gathered him in one desperate, clumsy kiss, making them both groan with pleasure, the blunt head of his cock pressing against Harry’s arse, just shy of entering.

 

Snape locked eyes with him and slowly, tenderly pushed inside and stilled. Harry lay there panting, vulnerable, and oh so beautifully his. He leaned down to run his hand over Harry’s sweaty face, brushing the wild hair from his beautiful eyes - Lily’s eyes - and started to thrust, to claim him once more for however long Harry would let him.

 

“You are mine, Potter!” He thrust again, the blunt tip of his cock brushing Harry’s prostate just right, making him incoherent with want and pleasure.

 

“Yours.”

 

Snape fucked him hard, claiming him with every deep, hungry, thrust, marking him with bruising kisses and gentle touches.

 

Afterwards they lay on the wrinkled sheets, too spend to move. Harry securely wrapped in his arms, soaking up the glorious warmth of the afterglow of sex.

 

 

 

***

 

*… Feliz Navidad! Feliz Navidad! Feliz Navidad! …*

 

Harry tried to sit down at the breakfast table like someone who had not just been fucked through the mattress. Snape smirked at him, buttering a scone. “Tea?”

 

“Yes, please.” Harry shifted in his seat, reaching for the sugar. “Severus?”

 

“No.”

 

“But you don’t even know what I was going to ask.” Harry gave him an innocent look. Well, at least what he thought was one.

 

“The answer is no, Harry.” Snape took another bite of his scone washing it down with a mouthful of coffee, noting with displeasure that the love bite he had placed so possessively under Harry’s ear had been healed, his mark gone. “And that innocent look you are trying to pull off makes you look brain-dead. Sorry, more brain-dead.”

 

“Hah bloody hah. And if I had wanted to ask if you want me to top tonight?”

 

*…Prospero ano y Felicedad …* The bass merrily blinked a green and red.

 

“The answer would still be no.” Snape cut his toast into soldiers and beheaded his soft-boiled egg.

 

“Not even for me?”

 

“I am allergic to Weasleys.”

 

“Now, really…”

 

“Yes, they give me the hives.”

 

*… I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, from the bottom of my heart …*

 

Harry snorted. “You know you could just say if you didn’t want to go.”

 

“I think I just did. Several times.”

 

“I might not have been listening.”

 

Snape did not dignify that with a response but stole the last rasher from Harry’s plate, evading Harry’s protectively wielded fork.

 

“So, when are we going?”

 

“You can go whenever you like…”

 

“And leave you here defenceless with that … fish…”

 

Snape snorted again. “I think I can handle one bass.”

 

“Ron and Hermione will be there, and Rose. Did I show you the pictures? She’s such a darling.” Harry’s eyes took on that far away look he always got when talking about children. Especially babies. It made Snape’s stomach clench.

 

“Great, another Weasley to teach in ten years. Hurrah!”

 

“Do you really hate children that much?”

 

“Yes.” He put his spoon down with a clang.

 

Silence loomed for what seemed ages. Snape stirred milk into his coffee. Three times anti-clockwise, once clockwise.

 

“You know, you might end up enjoying it. Why don’t you come along?” The fake cheerfulness in Harry’s voice grated on his nerves. As did Albus’ idiotic carolling present.

 

“Trying to cajole me into coming? I’d rather not spend a day in the company of,” he sneered, “Longbottom. I am assuming he and Miss Weasley are in the process of spawning red-haired, cauldron abusing prodigy as well? Do tell me when, so I can resign before the next generation infests Hogwarts.”  He took one of the Christmas biscuits and dunked it viciously into coffee.

 

“Ginny and Neville? No, they broke up ages ago. I doubt Neville will be there. And honestly, he is not that bad. And you don’t even teach Potions anymore, you melodramatic git. So, you coming?”

 

“How many times do I have to say no?”

 

“Till I have badgered you into coming?”

 

“Harry, drop it…”

 

“Molly said she would love to have you!”

 

“Potter!”

 

“Fine, fine.” Harry put his cup down and reached over to peck a kiss onto Snape’s cheek. “I will be back for dinner.”

 

“Half six sharp, or I will start without you.”

 

Feliz Navidad!” Harry was out the door before the toast hit it.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

Severus Snape, clad in trousers and shirtsleeves, sat in his armchair gazing into the depth of his coffee mug, pointedly trying to ignore the festive music inflicted on his dungeons. Even if he agreed that Grandma getting run over by a reindeer was not the worst thing to ever happen. Damn that tune was catchy.

 

Damn you, Albus.

 

That vein on his forehead started to twitch dangerously. Even from beyond the grave, Dumbledore managed to inflict seasonal cheer on the Hogwarts' staff. Every sodding year at sodding six am on Christmas Morning presents tended to turn up. Usually with noise.

Snape glared at the bass. The bass kept smirking and wiggled its bushy eyebrows suggestively whenever the word nose came up.

STUPEFY!”

* …You can say there's no such thing as Santa, but as for me and Grandpa, we believe…*

The fish started to dance, moving its fins and tail in tune to the melody. It still blinked, too.

Snape tried to control his temper as he inwardly counted to ten. Make that thirty. He failed. The mug became airborne and hit the cheerfully singing bass over the fireplace.

 

Frothy brown droplets dripped off the unfazed fish, to continue their way onto the numerous dark artefacts – his -  and family pictures –Harry’s - on the mantel. Snape cursed.

 

 

*… Grandma got runned over by a reindeer, walking home from our house

Christmas Eve.…*

 

The whiskey bottle hovered for a second but was gently placed back onto the table. Snape reached out and poured himself a glass. To the rim.

 

 

***

 

 

Minerva McGonagall opened the door to the teachers’ lounge and despaired.

* …Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…*

On a wooden plaque, right over the doorway, a swordfish happily sang out of tune Christmas songs, a chain of fairy-lights wrapped around its head. It had a magical post-it hovering nearby:

I thought this might make a better addition to the teachers’ lounge,
than my quarters.
Have a nice holiday, Happy Christmas and good luck!

Filius Flitwick,
Charms Professor

 

The room glowed green.  Professor McGonagall put her wand away.

****

 

“Headmaster, I need to talk to you. Urgently! We have a tuba-playing whale in the Great Hall, and I am sure I can hear a brass band all the way from Hagrid’s hut. There is even one those infernal gifts in …”

 

Minerva McGonagall poked her head out of the fireplace.

 

*Grandma got runned over by a reindeer, walking home from our house Christmas Eve…*

 

“Severus, don’t!”

 

Stepping through, she pushed his arm away as he muttered the killing curse. A fly fell down dead in a brilliant ray of green.

 

”Why did you do that, Minerva? Don’t tell me you enjoy that… that abomination. The atrocious grammar alone warrants a Crucio.”

 

She frowned at the bass merrily singing and dancing on his plaque. The wall around it was a smouldering mess of potions stains and scorch marks. “It will only make it sing louder!”

 

Snape raised an eyebrow at her.

 

“What?!” she snapped.

 

“Nothing, Professor. Nothing at all!” He smirked.

 

“Why are you even here?” She huffed, brushing nonexistent lint of her robes. “I thought you would be at the Burrow with Harry…”

 

“The Burrow is under quarantine. Chronic Weasleys.”

 

“It certainly cannot be worse than this. There is a whale playing tuba in the Great Hall. My  quarters are infested with three lobsters in top-hats singing a capella. And Filius moved his sodding swordfish to the staff room. The bastard.”

“You should leave a hairball on his shoes.”

 

“Ha bloody ha. Now, Headmaster, do you have any constructive ideas on how we can get our peace and quiet back?”

 

“Of course, since, as you can see, I have been so utterly successful.” He poured himself another drink and held the bottle up in a questioning gesture.

 

McGonagall shook her head. “Scotch at this time? Really, it is not even twelve. I will have a port, if you’ll please.” She sat down primly on the overstuffed brown armchair next to the occasional table.

 

***

An inch of his rare - now exceedingly rarer - port later, Minerva McGonagall swayed back to the Floo, gave the bass a dirty look and disappeared in a flash of green and tartan. Leaving him to his peace and quiet. Minus the quiet.

* I'm dreaming of a White Christmas, Just like the ones I used to know…*

Snape went over to the kitchen, fixing himself a mug of coffee, gleefully adding an extra spoon of sugar since there was no one here for whom he had to keep up pretences. He took a careful sip to prevent his mug from spilling and nearly reached over to fill a second mug for Harry. Taking his coffee to the couch, he sat down with a thump, propping his feet up on the table.

 

The bass was merrily singing ‘I am dreaming of a wild white Christmas’ for the sixth time when Snape downed the dregs of his coffee. He was no coward, was he? Even if it involved a gaggle of Weasleys. Snape grabbed his cloak and cast a warming charm on his boots. He did not like people and the idea of spending a whole day fending off more or less well-meaning attempts at social interaction made his palms sweaty and his head throb. Harry had better make it up to him tonight.

 

Snape made his way down to Hogwarts’ boundaries, leaving solitary footprints in the new snow. The December air was cold and clear as crystal, making his skin burn and his nose run. It carried with it the scent of more snow to come. The bleak mid-winter sun, pale as poached egg, hung low in the sky as it, at barely past noon, was ready to set again.  He Apparated  directly to the rickety house the Weasleys called home. Scotland’s windswept silence was replaced with the merry sound of off-key carols, obviously sung with more enthusiasm than skill.

 

Snape wrapped his cloak tighter around himself. So this was it. He took a deep breath. Pine and wood-smoke, beeswax candles and the sweet smell of a pudding simmering in its water bath on the stove. A world alien to him. It did not remind him of his childhood, which had held few of these things and none of them so – he shuddered at the word – merry.

 

Heavy, wet snow bent the ancient pine tree under its weight, obscuring the Burrow’s east wall. Gnarly branches thick before round-paned frost coated windows, yellow candle light spilling out into the garden, dusting the snow with gold.

 

Snape stepped closer, telling himself that he would just have a look, a precaution that had served him well so many times in his past as spy. He cast an eavesdropping charm, which, to his great surprise, failed. Who would have thought the Weasleys kept their wards up to snuff.

 

The old-fashioned way it was then. Long, white fingers gently touched the icy glass, knuckles raw and red in the cold, thawing a tiny spot, no bigger than a galleon, for him to see through. A trickle of snow sliding down his collar as he pressed close to peep through the tiny hole made him shiver.

 

Several tables had been aligned to form one big one and Molly was setting out plates on a garishly red tablecloth, spelled by what Snape assumed must have been a three year old, with dancing Christmas trees and shooting stars. Not one plate matched the other. Snape snorted; that at least reminded him of home. Maybe he could do this after all.

 

Molly levitated the last of the plates onto the table, ticking off the task on a grubby list. Pencil securely back in her apron pocket she went over to the cabinet and filled a mug labelled ‘tO thE wOrld’s greaTesT MuM’ with eggnog from the steaming bowl. Leaning against the sideboard, she admired her handiwork with a satisfied smile. Snape noticed, with chagrin, the giant pike merrily dancing on its wooden plaque over the door. After a peaceful minute or two, illuminated festively by the alternating red and green blinking of the pike, Molly put the mug down, spelled it clean and rummaged in her pocket for the to-do list. The French doors opened slightly and a podgy toddler, in a blue Weasley-sweater with a pink V on the front, clung to the sliding door with sticky hands. Seeing Molly, she reached out with grubby hands and a bright smile. Molly took the half eaten candy cane from the little girl’s hands and spelled them clean. The toddler on her hip, she left the room.

 

Snape was starting to feel more confident about the whole situation. He had faced down the Dark Lord, surely this could not compare? So far the scene had been remarkably… festive, if a bit garish. He was about to abandon his over-frosting spy-hole when the sliding doors once again opened and a cheerful Ginevra dragged a flushed Harry in by the hand, closing the doors neatly behind them.

 

Snape stood rooted to the spot, the chill of the winter day creeping into his bones, nausea settling in his stomach. This had to be harmless, had to have a sensible explanation. But he knew deep down that, once again, he was too late.

 

Ginny looked conspiratorially around the room and then pulled Harry close, whispering in his ear. Harry grabbed her by the shoulders, a questioning look on his face. She nodded and the look of utter joy on Harry’s face pierced Snape’s heart. Millions of tiny pieces fell bleeding into the white snow as Harry’s hand slid into her red hair, kissing her exuberantly on the mouth, peppering her face with kisses. A mad smile on his face, he spun her around the room in a wild dance.

 

Snape’s knees gave, and he sat down heavily in the soggy snow, mind as numb as his fingers on the glass. The wind carried festive music, turning it into a mournful wail. Snape did not know how long he knelt in the cold under the ancient pine tree. Not that it mattered. Nothing did anymore. He swayed a little as he staggered back down the path to the Apparition point.

 

Scotland’s icy breeze welcomed him with its familiar sting. Face and hands red from the cold, he stumbled on. Home. Alone.

 

***

 

Back down in his dungeon, he sat down on his couch in front of the dying fire.

 

So this was it then. Sludge was dripping from his boots onto the basset by his couch, forming a muddy puddle around his feet. He could not bring himself to care. How long would he have? How long before Harry would leave him?

 

The bass, still merrily singing, switched its tune.

* …I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus… *

Snape threw the ashtray at it. And the vase. And that tacky Quidditch Trophy he had never liked anyway. And Harry’s chair. And the remains of the breakfast tray. He tried to throw the couch but it resisted his non-magical advances for the most time - but for the left leg that he managed to break with the fireplace poker - and magic did not seem as satisfying at the moment. So he threw the occasional table instead. And the potted fern. And Harry’s broom.

* …rocking around the Christmas tree … *

The living room satisfyingly in shreds and out of breath, Snape sat down on the still recalcitrant couch and took a swig from the brandy carafe. He was feeling much calmer now. If Potter thought he could get away with being a double-dipping bastard, then he had it coming.  He would not beg. Not this time.

Half a carafe of brandy later he was reclining on the wobbling couch mouthing along to *Six White Boomers.* 

He threw the carafe at the house-elf that foolishly had popped in to clean up the mess. It gave a very satisfying squeak when the bottle hit the wall behind it, dousing it and the room in the remaining brandy. That would show Harry! Snape assured himself that the foolish creature would not come back anytime soon. He passed out on the couch not long after he had Summoned a bottle of red wine from the kitchen.

The bass danced merrily in the dark. Oblivious.

 

***

 

There was the familiar creak of the ancient wooden door and then the soft huffing of Harry untangling himself from his scarf and hat. Snape cracked open one heavy eye-lid. Now Harry would be hanging his cloak next to the door and toeing his winter boot off, no doubt leaving them in the middle of the hallway again.

 

*… Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away … *

 

Snape opened his other eye to close it again in pain when he heard Harry’s panicked shrieking. Oh, right, he had kind of … redecorated.

 

Harry rushed over to the couch, kneeling at his side, giving him a concerned once-over.

 

“Severus? SEVERUS, oh my god, are you all right?”

 

And with that all his anger came flooding back.

 

*… This year, to save me from tears I'll give it to someone special… *

 

Snape snatched his hand from Harry’s grasp. “What do you care?” He might have slurred the words a bit.

 

“Are you drunk? Did you do this?” Harry looked seriously annoyed now. Good. Snape took another swig of his wine, ignoring Harry. Which was quite a task since Harry was yelling at the top of his lungs.

 

“Is that my broom? And my trophy? Are you fucking insane?”

 

“I have never been saner.” No slur this time, he noted proudly.

 

“What is this about? Because I went to the Weasleys? Are you really that fucking selfish?”

 

Snape hurled the bottle at him. The spilled red wine matched Harry’s face.

 

“What is wrong with you?”

 

“What is WRONG with me? You have the nerve to ask what is wrong with me?” Snape looked around for something to throw at Harry. He swayed a bit. Sadly most of the available missiles where out of reach.

 

Accio teapot.”

 

Furious sparks flew from Harry’s wand. The teapot exploded in mid-air, showering them in sodden tealeaves.

 

“I fucking mean it, Severus, stop throwing shit.”

 

“I don’t care what you want! Accio terrine.”

 

Petrificus Totalus.”

 

Snape tried to raise a shield and it flickered blue for a moment before the spell overcame it and he fell backwards onto the sofa. He noted, in satisfaction, that his impact broke another wooden leg. Damn it, he should have thought of that spell first. Stupid alcohol. On the other hand, it made the raging Potter three inches from his face easier to bear.

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you? I leave for all of one day and you go off your rockers! I can’t believe you trashed the flat because I went to the Weasleys for Christmas Day. You broke my broom. YOU BROKE MY BROOM!”

 

Snape lay there, unmoving, still spell bound. Harry kicked the couch. It made him bounce and hit his head against the back. It hurt. He cursed himself for being so stupid, for drinking too much and yet he had – once again – no other option but to wait the things that came.

 

* … Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away…*

 

Any second now the blows would fall, if he were lucky. Harry was no Muggle. He would have closed his eyes, if he could. His world reduced to the pattern of the couch as he waited. And then he felt the magic wash over him. Releasing him from his bonds.

 

He got off the couch, rubbing his head where it had hit the frame. Harry was standing at the fireplace, his back to him, his hand caressing a picture frame marred by the spider web of broken glass. It was the one of them Harry had cut out of the newspaper. That infernal headache Skeeter had taken it at the last Ministry brouhaha. Harry turned when he heard Snape approach. He looked as if he were holding back tears. Looking at him with those big, guilt-inducing green eyes. Lily’s eyes. So this was Lily all over again then.

 

“Severus?”

 

He cringed at the tentative tone. No, he would not be blamed again. How dare he!

 

“Severus, please talk to me.”

 

“I don’t know what there is left to say, Potter.” The frame dropped to the floor. The bass sang on, oblivious.

 

“You are leaving me because I went to the Weasleys? You utterly selfish, controlling fuck. Is that all we were to you?”

 

“I am selfish, Potter? I am throwing it away? You fucking hypocritical liar. You KISSED HER. YOU threw it away. You...”

 

“I did not kiss HER. Who is her? What the fuck are you talking about?”

 

“LIAR! I saw you kiss Ginevra Weasley. I saw you…” His voice broke. He wanted to say ‘happy’. He wanted to forget the utter joy on Harry’s face. So bright and glowing. He wanted Harry to look at him like that. Snape turned away, there was no way in living hell that he would let Potter see him cry. He would not be Snivellus again to another Potter.

 

He walked into the bedroom, sitting down on the bed, burying his face in his hands. Severus did not notice the soft footsteps approaching. The hand on his shoulder came as a shock. He stiffened and jerked away, trying to put distance between them.

 

“Why are you still here? Isn’t Ginevra waiting for you?”

 

The bed dipped a bit when Harry sat down next to him. “Severus, look at me.”

 

He tried to glare, to cut him to shreds with the venom in his stare but his heart was not in it.

“I take it back, you are nothing like your father. It seems you have a lot more of Lily in you than I ever thought.” Only Lily had ever been able to hurt him this much.

 

“Severus? Oh whatever.” Harry stood up, ready to leave. “Just one thing, I did not kiss Ginny.”

 

Snape just glared at him.

 

“Okay, I did kiss her, but not that way.”

 

“Pray tell, Potter, how many sodding ways are there to kiss a person?”

 

“Like a sister, you prat.”

 

Snape snorted. “Sister, my arse. That is not how you kiss a sister.”

 

“She had just asked me to be the godfather to her and Dean’s child.” Harry slammed the door behind him.

 

Snape still sat on the bed, his thoughts reeling. So this was it then? His head hurt. There had been too many ‘that is its’ in one day.

 

***

 

 

When he had gathered himself enough to face Harry again - not that he thought Harry would still be around - Snape tentatively opened the bedroom door. He had fucked that one up beautifully, hadn’t he? Just like Lily. It seemed to be a talent of his.

 

He stepped into the parlour and blinked. The couch had been repaired and most of the wreckage cleaned. Harry was currently trying Reparo on his broom. He turned around and gave Severus a watery smile.

 

“I see you haven’t left yet.” Snape turned and retreated back into the bedroom. He would have liked to swoop but being drunk and, more importantly, only wearing shirt and trousers, made that feat hard to accomplish. He went into the bathroom to change into his nightshirt and drink a couple of glasses of water. A potion would have been better, but the potion cabinet was in the kitchen and he would be damned if he faced Harry again before he had to.

 

Lying in the dark, listening to the muffled sounds of the bass’s obnoxious Christmas songs and the occasional Reparo, he fell asleep to dream fitful dreams only to wake again when the bed dipped and Harry sat down next to him.

 

 “Severus, are you awake? I think we should talk.” Harry looked a bit sheepish, twisting the blanket nervously.  “You know, like adults.” Snape, sleep befuddled, nodded and leaned back against the headboard to stop the world from spinning. Harry handed him a vial with hangover potion. He downed it.

 

“You are an idiot.” Harry took his hand.

 

Snape tried to pull his hand free, but Harry held on fast, intertwining their fingers.

 

“If that is all, Potter? I was trying to sleep.” He glared down at their joined fingers, hating himself for allowing the contact, for being unable to forcibly pull away.

 

“Severus, let me finish, please.” Harry ran his free hand through his hair, messing it up in that adorab- no horrible way he tended to when nervous.

 

Snape stopped struggling but still wanted to bolt at the earliest convenience.

 

“Why did you go to the Weasleys?”

 

“Does it matter?”

 

“It matters to me. Please?”

 

“I wanted to… I had decided to accept their invitation.” 

 

Harry ran his finger over the back of Snape’s hand. “You know, I honestly did not kiss her that way.”

 

“And why wouldn’t a fecking handshake do, Potter?” Snape did feel a bit mollified, though.

 

Harry smiled at him. “Why did you not come in?”

 

“Because I didn’t want to.”

 

Harry rolled his eyes and climbed over Severus to get under the covers. “Kiss and make up?”

 

Snape harrumphed but let Harry snuggle close. Maybe tonight he would hog the blankets instead. It would just be fair.

 

 

He woke with Harry clinging to him like a barnacle, drooling onto his chest. Snape smiled. He must have stirred because Harry opened one sleep heavy eye and smiled back.

 

“Happy Christmas!”

 

***

 

Harry cradled his mug of hot cocoa in his hands, leaning back against Severus who had curled his legs up under him, slippers abandoned on the floor.

*… deck the halls with boughs of holly …*

Harry groaned.

“It seems that infernal gift has reached the end of its repertoire. Lucky us, we are in for a repeat.”

“You know, I am sure you think I would never say that, but I could do with a moment of peace and quiet.” Harry put his mug down forcefully on the table, reaching for his wand.  “If that sodding fish would please shut the sodding fuck up, for one sodding minute.”

The bass blinked one last time and closed its eyes.

Snape opened his mouth to say something snarky about Harry’s infantile stream of profanity and close it again.

The bass was silent.

“Please, huh?”

“Apparently.”

“Well, it is the magic word.”

“Is it, now?”

“Oh yes, it is.” The pink tip of Harry tongue darted out between his lips, wetting them. He tilted his head up, giving Snape a saucy smile. “Kiss me, please.”

And, since an opportunity should never be missed, Snape leaned down and captured Harry’s lips with a kiss.

 

***  Happy Holidays ***