"Oh, bloody hell," Snape said as he looked upon the scene before him.
In the light smattering of snow that covered the grounds of Hogwarts, eight reindeer pawed anxiously, attached to an overturned sleigh. On the ground was a semi-conscious Father Christmas and his elf helper. They had dodged a small aircraft and crashed. The huge bag of presents was overturned, and brightly colored packages littered the ground.
Snape and his apprentice, Hermione Granger, had been walking toward the Forbidden Forest to collect a Christmas Flower, a plant that only bloomed at midnight on December 25th. It was important to brewing potions that opened the heart and mind. They witnessed the crash and ran to it. Hermione immediately fired a red flare from her wand, a signal for help.
Father Christmas saw Snape and Hermione staring down at him.
"You must do it," he wheezed, then thrust his palm at Snape and Hermione. What appeared to be sparkling snowflakes settled on them. Then, Father Christmas passed out.
Snape was immediately adorned in a red and white Father Christmas suit. He cut a poor figure, he was so slender. He scowled down at himself, then looked at Hermione, who was dressed in a green elf suit. It was the female version of the garment, which included a very short skirt. She had to be cold.
"We have to deliver the presents for him, Severus," Hermione said, walking over to the overturned sleigh and using her wand to set it right.
"No, we don't. How the hell are we supposed to do that?" he asked her as she stuffed the presents back into the bag. Hermione looked up at the stars. They weren't twinkling, but still. Also, no one was coming from the castle. Usually, the response was immediate. There was no wind and no sound coming from the forest.
"I think Time has stopped. There's no way he could deliver presents in real time," Hermione said.
"Couldn't he stop Time long enough to get better?" Snape grumbled.
"There are probably constraints. We can't let the children of the world down," Hermione said to him. "Obviously he gave us his Christmas magic. Come on, Severus. This is important."
The Potions master stalled. He couldn't care less.
"So, some children are disappointed. They can't have everything they want in life," he snarked.
Hermione looked at him witheringly.
"Are you really that selfish that you would let children be disappointed on Christmas? I know you're a snarky bastard most of the time, but I always believed that when the chips were down, there was a heart someplace in there. I guess I was wrong," Hermione said, disappointment evident in her voice.
Snape blinked at her and wondered why how she thought about him even mattered. But then again, he knew why. He was attracted to Hermione and had been for some time. He just never acted on it because he believed she couldn't possibly find him attractive. He didn't want her to think any less of him than she already did.
"Fine. We'll deliver the blasted presents, although I have no idea how that works. The idea of descending through chimneys isn't the least bit attractive, and what about the homes that have no chimneys?"
"I don't know," Hermione replied, "but there has to be a way to do it. Let's go."
Hermione climbed into the sleigh, followed by Snape, who gingerly took the reins and shook them. He didn't remember all the reindeers' names.
"Let's go," he said to the animals. That worked. They ran and leapt into the air, drawing the sleigh after them.
Snape didn't have to climb down any chimneys. The presents all flew out of the bag and descended themselves, passing through the roofs of the houses. They didn't go to every house either.
"I think they only go to houses where the parents didn't buy presents," Hermione mused as they flew at an amazing speed. She hung on to her elf hat.
The reindeer knew the route and although it took hours to traverse the planet, neither Snape nor Hermione were tired. Finally. the reindeer headed back to Hogwarts, to find Father Christmas, the elf, Albus Dumbledore, Hagrid and Poppy waiting for them.
"Thank you, Severus," Father Christmas said jovially, patting Snape on the back as he exited the sleigh. "And you too, Hermione."
Hermione smiled as their clothing returned to normal.
"It was our pleasure, Father Christmas," she replied as Snape snorted.
"Next time, be more careful," he snarked at the old elf. Father Christmas grinned at him.
"You'll both find your presents in the Potions master's quarters," Father Christmas said with a wink as he climbed into his sleigh. "A Happy Christmas to all!"
He took off quickly.
"Excellent job, Severus," Albus said with a smile.
"I just want to retire," Snape replied. "I've missed the blooming of the Christmas Flower."
"There's always next Christmas," Albus said consolingly. Snape snorted and started walking toward Hogwarts, followed closely by Hermione.
"That was really selfless, Severus," she said softly.
"That was really intrusive. Not the way I wanted to spend Christmas morning," he responded.
"I thought it was wonderful, and so were you," Hermione said shyly.
Snape gave her a half glance.
"Indeed," he said shortly.
They entered the castle and went straight to his quarters. Hermione had her own room right off his study. The fireplace was lit and Snape immediately saw the Christmas Flower bloom bagged and resting on his nightstand.
"The flower!" he exclaimed. It seemed Father Christmas knew what he wanted. But he didn't see any other presents.
"Oh my gods," Hermione exclaimed behind him.
Snape spun and his eyes widened as he looked at Hermione. She was no longer wearing the elf suit. In fact, she was wearing very little at all. She was strategically wrapped in a wide Slytherin green ribbon that criss-crossed her body, hiding her nipples, covering her pubic area and the cleft of her buttocks. In the middle of her belly was a silver bow. She looked down at herself, then up at Snape, her eyes rather hot.
Snape swallowed. Father Christmas said he'd left a present for both of them. And what a present it was.
"Happy Christmas, Severus," Hermione said throatily.
She had a thing for her master, but never knew how to articulate it. This certainly took the guesswork out of it.
"A Happy Christmas indeed, Hermione," the wizard replied softly, starting on his robe buttons as he approached her.
A/N: A very Happy Christmas to you all! ***