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(Highlight to View) Prompt: The Granger-Snape family Christmas photo or portrait and/or accompanying letter. Please include at least Severus, Hermione and Crookshanks. Any others you want to add (wink) are entirely up to you!!
Note: Huge thanks to the wonderful Hikorichan, my beta. It's not an exaggeration to say that this story wouldn't exist without her — I'd still be trying to master google docs, let alone write anything! A huge thank you goes to crmediagal, who kindly let me borrow Severus and Hermione's home in the Cotswolds from her wonderful Unquestionable Love Series. Also to the incomparable Tyche Song — thanks for such a fun prompt!
Summary: Severus and Harry, with the help of a little firewhisky, decide to grant Arthur's Christmas request.
"Hermione, this is ridiculous! If you are so desperate for a 'family christmas letter'" — and oh, the scorn her husband poured into that phrase — "then I really cannot see why you do not write it yourself!"
Hermione Snape sighed. "Severus, you know that I'm not the one who is desperate to have the Snape Family Christmas Letter written."
"Well, this is one Muggle tradition Arthur can do without," declared Severus. "I'm simply not writing it. I won't write such drivel as the insipid letters in this book — and honestly, do Muggles really need written instructions to write a simple letter? For heavens' sake, this example is in some form of doggerel that the author fondly imagines is poetry!"
"Really?" Hermione chuckled, diverted. "Let me see."
"No need, I'll read it to you."
"It's Christmas time and so I must
Write the deeds, all good I trust,
And not too difficult or stubborn,
Of the family McCubbin!
"First Glenda, with her new career
Has brought about some Christmas Cheer
By answering the telephone
At the new old people's home!
She does more than have a chat
She also looks after their cat.
The old folk love to have her their
They even compliment her hair!"
"Stop! Severus, STOP! That's absolutely abysmal! I think you've made that up!"
"Hermione, I have many excellent qualities. Writing appalling poetry off the top of my head is, thankfully, not one of them."
"Be that as it may, you know why I can't write the letter. You're the one who drunkenly agreed to a wand oath, of all things, with Harry. And there it is. You're writing our letter, and he's writing theirs. And the reason I want you to write it, as you very well know, is that you'll be out of action, so to speak, for a month if you don't. And I'm twenty-five weeks pregnant and horny as hell. You, my friend, do not need to be out of action any time soon!"
Severus sneered and returned to the copy of You Remember, Dear, That Nice Couple We Met in Ibiza: Christmas letters from people you don't recall meeting that Arthur had excitedly lent him when he heard the result of Harry and Severus's firewhisky-fuelled wand oath. Hermione was sure she heard Severus muttering under his breath about "people who think anyone cares that their husband played 'Girls just Wanna Have Fun' on the ukulele at the local pub's talent night."
Dear People We Know,
Due to an unfortunate event, the fault of which lies squarely at the door of Mr Potter, it falls to me to write this account of the past year of our lives. As I am sure it is not difficult to imagine, this task does not fill me with joy. My only consolation is that my epistle is guaranteed to be better written than that of Mr Potter. It will certainly contain far more accurate spelling. My wife tells me this is unkind; I assure you — and her — that it is no more or less than the truth.
Our year began in January (just fancy! this letter is filled with surprises already!). I will not bore you with an account of our honeymoon following our New Year's Eve wedding. Suffice to say, it was very pleasant indeed. I believe we were in Florence; Hermione recalls the city fondly. My memories are rather more narrow — a beautiful bride who rather unaccountably seemed quite fond of me, a copious amount of champagne, and a magnificent view of the Arno.
Severus paused, recalling the view of the Arno, somewhat obscured by the capacious hair of his wife as he thrust into her, her hands splayed on the broad windowsill, crying out in rapture. "Do you like this," he had muttered, "standing at the window for anyone to see if they know where to look? Do you like being fucked by your husband in front of the whole city?" Hermione, safe in the knowledge that her husband's privacy charms were second to none, had shattered at his words, her walls tightening and clamping down on his cock, triggering his own long overdue release. Later, they made long, slow and blissful love in front of the log fire, and he had whispered tender words of adoration in her ear.
Upon our return to England in early February, we finalised the move into our new house in the Cotswolds. My wife likes the house because she says it has a warm, welcoming feel. I like the house because it took to my new and improved wards quite well, rendering a casual visit all but impossible. Mr George Weasley can attest to this; I believe his hair has almost completely grown back.
In March, Hermione's parents stayed with us for a fortnight. Hermione enjoyed spending time with them, and they with her. After all their years in Queensland, the novelty of living in such close proximity to their only child will take some time to wear off, so I am told. It was unfortunate that their visit coincided with an especially busy time at work for me.
In fact, Adam and Laura Granger's visit had not been the two weeks of hell that Severus had anticipated. Like Hermione, they were intelligent and well read. He was especially grateful that both of them were just as happy to read quietly in front of the fire as he and Hermione. His father-in-law had excellent taste in wine and brought with him the spoils of their recent cellar tour of Bordeaux. In fact, if not for Laura's rather bizarre obsession with Toby jugs[a][b], they were the perfect in-laws. Severus had not heard of the odd, ugly character jugs prior to Laura and Adam's visit. In hindsight, he did not feel that his life had been lacking for want of familiarity with them. Laura's enthusiasm for their house in the Cotswolds now made a lot more sense.
Hermione's mother, Laura, greatly enjoyed trekking around the various country fairs and antique shops in search of more Toby jugs for her ever-growing collection. Apparently she is the proud owner (or custodian, as she prefers to be called) of no less than fifty-four of the rather hideous dust collectors. Allegedly they are to come to Hermione one day; let us hope that day is a very long time away indeed.
In April, Hermione's treasured half kneazle, Crookshanks, gave us further proof of his pact with the devil. Not only is he the only being who is able to circumnavigate my wards, but his numerous offspring (five of them) are also immune to them. (It would be unsporting to point out that Mr George Weasley is less intelligent than a one-quarter kneazle kitten, so I shall refrain.) And so our family has expanded to include two of Crookshanks' daughters, Florence and Helena. Measures have been taken to ensure that there are no more happy announcements of a feline nature in our household. Lest you imagine that the other three kittens were drowned at birth, may I reassure you that Princess Twinkletoes has taken up residence with Miss Victoire Weasley — rumour has it her father chose the name — Mrs Norris the Second is keeping the mouse population under control and the students within bounds at Hogwarts under the watchful eye of Mr Filch, and Bob is doted on by Mrs Luna Longbottom.
Severus was, in fact, rather fond of Crookshanks. The aged (former) tomcat had, after a brief period of mutual distrust, come to some sort of understanding with Severus. Crookshanks tolerated being removed from Hermione's bed on certain occasions, and in return Severus provided him with tuna on a daily basis. Hermione had pretended ignorance of the negotiations. Neither of them ever knew how Crookshanks managed to bring his kittens to their kitchen door, or indeed, who and where the mother was, but Severus would never forget the proud, smug and vaguely terrified look on the half-kneazle's oddly expressive face when Hermione opened the door and found the six of them sitting on the doormat.
May was a busy and productive month. Hermione finally left the Ministry and came to work in my potions business. Which is now "our" potions business. I am still responsible for designing and brewing the potions, and Hermione does absolutely everything else. I honestly have no idea how Snape Potions turned a profit before she came aboard.
Severus had thought long and hard about his future while he recovered from Nagini's bite. Knowing he owed his life to the bushy-haired, big-hearted girl who had thought after the final battle to return to the shack where he had been hanging on to life by a gossamer thread, he had gone out of his way to treat her with respect and what counted as kindness for him. After a few months of near-daily visits from Hermione, he had come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that he was deeply and irrevocably in love with her, as he now admitted to himself he had never been with Lily Potter. He was flabbergasted and delighted when, after a glass of wine or two too many, Hermione had sat herself on his lap and kissed him thoroughly. Not being one to look a gift hippogryff in the mouth, he had eagerly returned her kisses. Slightly less than two weeks later they announced their engagement. Severus had never made such a monumental decision with so little soul-searching in his life. This relationship, this life with Hermione, felt right, from the very first day.
Sharing his business with Hermione was another thing altogether. When she had first suggested it, his initial reaction had been brutal. "You're terrible at potions! Oh, you can follow instructions, but you've no more idea of the subtleties and nuances of potions than Neville Longbottom!"
He'd only lasted half the night on the sofa before he was begging her forgiveness and the suffusion of joy that washed over him when she gave it unreservedly couldn't have felt sweeter. For her own part, Hermione acknowledged that her potions expertise was limited, but insisted that this time Severus listen to her proposal. And it was a good one. She would take over all of the administrative duties of the company, leaving Severus to brew. This new arrangement would give him time to experiment and create new potions, which he had been wanting to do for some time. It would also, as Hermione had said with a cheeky wink, make it much easier when they started a family.
The couple had agreed to start trying for a baby in June, assuming that it would take some time as Hermione's parents had wanted three or four children but had struggled to conceive their one. Therefore they had both been taken by surprise when Hermione started throwing up in early July and didn't stop, so she swore, until mid September.
Not much of note happened in June, and in early July we were astonished and thrilled to discover that Hermione was pregnant with our first child. Unfortunately she was initially very ill. I became acutely aware of the deficiencies of the currently available potions for treating morning sickness, and so this has become my first project. By the time we are expecting our second child, I hope to have perfected an anti-emetic safe for pregnant witches. By September, Hermione was thankfully feeling much better, and we chose this time to share our news. Apparently Mrs Molly Weasley "just knew it."
Severus felt a warm glow whenever he thought of Ronald Weasley's reaction to the news of Hermione's pregnancy. Severus knew that Ron was no longer in love with Hermione, if he ever had been, but he did still harbour a lot of resentment and dislike towards Severus. Ron mostly managed to hide this from everyone, including himself, but it seemed that having concrete evidence of Hermione and Severus's sex life was a little too much for him. Severus would never admit to anyone just how satisfying he found the crack of Ron's head on the edge of Molly's dining table when he fainted.
In October, Hermione's sickness had mostly passed and we began to plan for her maternity leave. This has necessitated the construction of a nursery within the potions shop. Hermione's mother and Mrs Molly Weasley have both offered their childminding services, and while I am sure we will accept their kind offer at some point, we intend to have the child at work with us as much as possible during its first year.
To the sheer and utter delight of her husband, Hermione's improved health coincided with the emphatic return of her libido. She was voracious and insatiable, not that Severus objected in the least. Many was the time he hastily warded the door of the shop and fucked her vigorously on the front counter, only to have her turn to him in bed that night and ride him to completion. Her taste had changed, too, and Severus took great delight in making her scream with his clever tongue and wicked fingers.
November arrived, and with it an invitation to Mr and Mrs Potter's house for a dinner party. The other guests were Mr and Mrs Arthur Weasley, Mr and Mrs Bill Weasley, Mr and Mrs Percy Weasley, Mr George Weasley and Miss Angelina Johnson, and Mr and Mrs Neville Longbottom. It was a shame that Mr Ronald Weasley was out of the country for work. The company was pleasant and the firewhisky a little too excellent.
At the Potters' dinner party, talk had turned to Christmas. Arthur had, yet again, grilled Hermione about Muggle Christmas traditions. "But what about the letter?" he asked. Hermione had been unsure what he meant until he produced a small book with a ridiculously long title. Hermione had taken one look at it and snorted. "Oh, we always used to laugh at the people who sent those letters," she said.
Arthur, too, had been imbibing firewhisky freely. "We must all write a Christmas letter!" he declared. None of his children had taken much notice. Harry and Severus, however, had thought it a fine plan.
"I'll write one, Snapey, but you've gotta write one too. No, you must! You have to! You're just nodding and you're not going to do it, and poor old Arthur — I do love you Arthur, you're like my Dad, so I'm going to write you a letter. Poor Arthur, Snapey, won't get any letters and he'll be sad at Christmas and that'll be sad 'cause he's like my Dad… hey, that rhymes, Snapey."
Apparently firewhisky turned the Boy-Who-Lived into the Man-Who-Blithered.
"I will write one, Mr Potter, because Arthur is a fine chap who thoroughly deserves a Christmas letter."
"Swear on it, Snapey. You must swear on it. And if you don't write one, your todger will be soft and useless for a month."
Wands were drawn. Oaths were sworn.
And the next day, regrets were had.
And so, here we are in December. This year has been quite extraordinary, and I am, as ever, fully cognisant of the fact that it is my beautiful wife who makes my world such a profoundly wonderful one. In a few weeks we will celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I will be eternally grateful for her; she turned an existence into a life full of joy, passion and laughter.
We wish you all a very happy Christmas. May the New Year bring all you have dreamed of. And may this be the first and last Christmas letter I ever write.
Severus, Hermione and Baby Snape.
My wife insists that this epistle is also from Crookshanks, Florence and Helena. I beg to differ but bow to her greater knowledge of the ways of cats.
"And that's how the Christmas letter tradition started, girls." Hermione was sitting on the sofa, a little girl of four with wild brown curls perched on her lap, and an older, black-curled seven-year-old cuddled in beside her. "Phoebe, you were the baby in Mummy's tummy, and Athena, your clever Daddy had indeed invented a potion that stopped me being sick by the time you were on the way. Uncle Harry and Daddy still write the letters every year. Now, you've both finished your supper so it's time for bed. Father Christmas comes tonight, don't forget!"
Later that night, with full stockings on the ends of the girls' beds and snow drifting gently down outside the house, Hermione and Severus sat in front of the fire, Hermione curled up in her usual spot at Severus's side. Three cats dozed contentedly at their feet.
Life was, always, wonderful.