I got into the Christmas spirit, as I always do, by killing all the Heating Spells in the dungeons. It’s a failsafe way to discourage any Christmas companions, who might be thinking the season will turn me into a sort of chummy person. Madam Pomfrey’s mistletoe assault from the previous year was still heavy on my mind.
Unfortunately, this meant I had to pull out the long underwear, the long woolen cap, and the even longer warm fuzzy slippers. My students blessedly never notice the change, however, because their body heat becomes too low to do anything more than shiver and occasionally say “Brr!” I actually put this phenomenon to music once during my 6th year class, and the effect was quite nice. Shiver, brr, shiver shiver, brr!...Very soothing, actually.
Holiday could not come fast enough, however. It began to seem that I could not shut the door on the back of Harry Potter, before he galloped back in again, eagerly awaiting another one-hour period of pretending to concoct potions while secretly gazing pervertedly at my feet. To some extent I actually hoped he was distracted by my feet, to give him some excuse to make potions that atrociously.
The first day of holiday finally came, and so I assumed Dumbledore and I would go through our annual, traditional First-Day-of-Holiday Duel.
It always started the same way, in the same hallway, right before breakfast.
“Severus,” he would say. He would do it all slyly too, with his head sort of waving about and his eyes pointed in different directions, in an alarming attempt to be nonchalant and disinterested, “Are you heading anywhere this Christmas? A relative’s, perhaps, or someone more…intimately connected?” His eyes would then refocus and spit out revolting blue sparkles at me, in that way that he has.
You see, most years I reply “No” until his insinuations grow too much for my delicate nerves to bear and we begin to throw Christmastime spells at each other. Then every year I mercifully let him win, aged and weak as he is.
(One of my better moments was collapsing histrionically upon the floor, with my arms flung out, calling out in a broken, tragic, yet never over-done voice, “Twill serve”—ala Mercutio—before lying down with one hand over my heart, trying not to breathe visibly. To my dismay, Dumbledore trundled over and eventually said with mild interest, “Hmm, he seems to be dead,” and wandered away. I was naturally forced to get up, put the old codger in a full body-bind, and explain to him in a loud, clear voice that perhaps he did not love me enough.)
That day, however, I decided to mix up our dreary routine, so I said, as brightly as I could muster without slitting my own throat, “Yes, I am going away, actually, Headmaster! I’m visiting my boyfriend Arty in Mould-on-the-Would!”
I turned and was just thinking how best to billow my robes down the hall when I heard a terrible thump from behind me. I jumped around, thinking that perhaps the senile old Headmaster had decided to stick with tradition anyway and throw a few jinxes at me, but what I saw was something entirely different: Dumbledore, flat on the floor, glasses askew, fainted dead away.
I briefly considered reviving him. Briefly.
Upon turning the corner, I tripped straight over a student and landed on my face. Some sick being watching down on Dumbledore and I seemed to think that, if we refused to duel with each other, well then just knocking us down a couple of times would suffice. I righted myself (which took two tries and some hollering because somehow the hem of my robe had got stuck inexplicably in my collar).
The student who had been the cause of my suffering said quietly, “I wish it didn’t hurt this bad,” which I took to be some form of apology, so I turned to her, willing to be understanding and let her get off with one or two detentions, when I realized that she had not been talking to me at all. She sat there, selfishly crying to herself over some topic that had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I had nearly broken my neck over her unnaturally large knees.
I was about to shout and yell and make snide comments to my heart’s content when I made a second realization: Sitting before me was Genesis Evan, the third (and apparently weakest) link in the revolting love triangle that I had somehow been wormed into knowing all too much about. She was crying and that meant she probably wanted to…talk…
I fled. Well, really, I made a valiant attempt at fleeing, but was regrettably hindered by Evan’s simple act of grabbing a fistful of my robes and blowing her nose on them, which, yet again, caused me to crash to the floor.
I was livid.
“Professor, I can’t take this anymore.”
But apparently not livid enough to bother her one way or the other.
“It hurts so bad. My best friend, and the love of my life—together!…How can I possibly feel this much? Professor, will you help me?”
I was about to refuse her with impressive language and dramatic hand gestures when she exclaimed:
“Carlin Emery and Adrian Pucey! The Most Perfect Couple in the Universe! Who cares what happens to tiny, insignificant Genesis Evan?”
Then it struck me, as she again began to sob, that she had a lovely surname. A little short, by a letter or two, but lovely just the same. I thought a moment.
“Perhaps I cannn help you,” I said, elongating the “n” just in case I wanted to change it to “can’t” at the last second.
She stared up at me, amazed. “Would you really, Professor? Would you help me ruin their lives? And make Adrian love me?”
“I suppose,” I said, trying to be nonchalant, doubting if I had ever talked this long with a student before and wondering what on earth sort of hitting-the-fan spit in Merlin’s old white tangly beard I had gotten myself into.
“Oh, thank you! Thank you!” she said, throwing her…arms…around…me. I staid very still and quiet, hoping I could just sort of blend into the scenery until she forgot I was there. This strategy didn’t work very well, surprisingly. Yet it eventually must have ended because I remember very clearly sprinting back to my dungeons with my hands over my face (not advisable), muttering about everyone being out to get me.
With a whole train-full of students gone, however, my mood could not be kept down for long. I admit I caved into the Christmas spirit a bit (meaning that on Christmas I indulged in a good amount of spirits, of course). I even watched Fred and George Weasley charm two snowballs to bounce off Quirrel’s turban without punishing them. They were very surprised to see a third snowball materialize mysteriously out of thin air and bounce along happily with the other two.
“Severus,” said a voice from behind me. I hastily, guiltily shoved my wand into a bush (and just as hastily retrieved it when I regained my senses).
“Yes?” I said, as smoothly as one could do when one had just leapt into a bush. I turned around.
It was Dumbledore.
“I would like to talk to you about the Mirror of Erised.”
“I always thought it was pronounced the Mirror of Erised.”
“No, no, it’s always been the Mirror of Erised.”
“Well, I’d prefer if in my presence you’d call it the Mirror of Erised.”
“Very well,” he said with an unnecessary amount of huffiness, “I’d like to talk with you about the Mirror of Erised.”
“Well you’re taking an awfully long time about it, aren’t you?”
“Severus,” he continued, “I was hoping you would help me move it down to the you-know-where in order to protect the you-know-what.” Of course he said it in such a manner that allowed me no choice in the matter, in that infuriating way that bosses have.
I stared at him for a moment.
“Excuse me if I’m wrong, Headmaster, but doesn’t that mean we have to traipse down past a million fortified, virtually impenetrable enchantments, all with a one-ton mirror—what? Strapped to our backs?”
“Well, yes, that’s why I’m asking for your help.” He blinked at me innocently.
“You had to think of this now?!” I asked.
“No, no, I’ve had it planned since last June, when we agreed to take on the you-know-what.”
“On a side note, Professor, for all this roaming about shouting You-Know-Who’s real name any old place, you think you could call a bloody rock by its proper name.”
“Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself,” he said wisely, apparently oblivious that this didn’t help his case very much.
I decided not to let myself get distracted, however, “Right. So then—it’s been planned since June, but what? The Mirror’s just arrived?”
“No, no, it’s been delivered since May! A present, you know, from a very old friend. She left a note to the effect that she believed that when I looked into the mirror I would in all likelihood realize that she had been my deepest desire all my life.”
“And was she?”
“On the contrary. She didn’t appear at all.”
“And what, may I ask, did appear in the Mirror?”
“Oh, a rather large theme-park where I walked arm in arm with a doting husband—er, companion—and was wearing this marvelously tailored plum, velvet suit. We were eating ice creams and gazing at a fading sunset—you know, the kind where the clouds go all fuzzy and all the brilliant, beautiful colours blend together in a sort of—“
“Professor!” I gasped, grasping desperately for a change of subject, “The weather has been lovely lately, hasn’t it?!”
He looked mildly down at his boots, one-foot deep in snow, and said, “Well, yes, I suppose, if blizzards are your kind of thing. But I much prefer breezy summer sunsets, you know, the sort of ones where the light dances away as the sky melts lovingly—“
I quickly remembered why we had been talking in the first place.
“Headmaster!” I interrupted just in the knickers of time, “You were saying—the Mirror in May, the plan in June, and the Stone came in July, so…”
My fists suddenly clenched, and I found that one eyebrow had arched menacingly up and would not go back down again, “What, pray tell, was the reason you decided to insert the mirror once it became virtually impossible to do so?”
“Well,” waffled the old man, “I thought it best to, you know, leave it around, say, in an unlocked, empty classroom near the library. You know.”
I did not know, however. I did not know one bit. In fact, I was in such an utter state of not-knowing that I turned around and unknowingly punched a stone column.
Dumbledore chose that moment to wander rather quickly away, calling over his exceedingly vexing shoulder, “I could use your help sometime in January! The Mirror could use a little more time to sit in the unlocked classroom…you know…”
A/N--I just want to take this moment to thank all my scrumptious reviewers who have been so supportive and more often than not completely hilarious throughout the chapters. You guys seriously keep me going! I love to hear what you're enjoying and what makes you laugh. It brightens my day a hundred times over!
So, yeah...Sample review that perhaps I'd like:
"Wow, JuicyJuice, I just peed myself laughing, and I love you. Will you marry me? I'm off right now to recommend this fabulous story in the Recommended Stories forum--under Humor AND Severus Snape!"
You know you want to...
But seriously thanks. You guys are THE BEST. More on the way soon, I promise.
Write a Review The Puzzling Prattlings of a Pulchritudinous Potions Professor: Holiday Havoc and Christmas Cavorting