Written for |
All I Want For Christmas
He blamed the scotch.
If Severus hadn't been drinking steadily for two hours from the bottle of Glenmorangie he'd brought into the staff room after finishing his grading on the 8th of January, he would probably never have shared the fact that he'd never received a proper gift-wrapped present in his life.
He most certainly would not have done so in front of Potter.
The following morning, he could remember having tried to explain to the room at large that this didn't mean that he'd never received any presents. Of course he had. His mother had given him things, and Albus had always given him something and so had...well, other people, he was sure, even if he couldn't come up with their names just at the moment.
His recollection of Potter's reaction to his inebriated trip down memory lane was rather more hazy; Severus wasn't quite sure whether his new colleague's expression was a look of pity or one of amusement. Either way, he was sure he would have hexed Potter if only he could have remembered what he'd done with his wand.
Ordinarily, Severus would have taken advantage of the fact that the 9th of January was his birthday to avoid attending breakfast in the Great Hall, but despite the various potions he'd taken the night before and that morning, he thought it be a good idea to eat at least enough breakfast to soak up the remaining alcohol in his system before he had to teach his first class.
This decision proved to be less than wise.
Surrounding his chair at the head table were two dozen Muggle balloons, each emblazoned with the words "Happy Birthday." Where his plate should have been there was a present.
A very large present.
A very large gift-wrapped present...
For a moment, Severus stared in disbelief at the gift, only to be jolted out of his trance when one of the men (second from the left on the bottom row, to be precise) winked at him. Severus looked to the left and then to the right, glaring at each of his colleagues in turn and trying to establish which of them had been the guilty party. Unfortunately, none of them stood out in any particular way (which is to say that all of them refused to meet his glare and were, instead, chuckling into their bowls of porridge).
Potter, however, was conspicuous by his absence, which left no doubt in Severus' mind that he was the one who had orchestrated this ridiculous display. Severus would have seen to it that he paid dearly for it, were it not for the fact that the gift itself turned out to be an entire case of Glenmorangie.
Perhaps Potter's punishment could wait until after Severus finished the scotch.
If Severus thought that Potter would only display his puerile sense of humour on Severus' birthday, he was sadly mistaken. In little more than a month's time - the 14th of February, in fact - Severus sat down to supper, only to have one of the school owls drop a wrapped package in front of him.
The wrapping itself was unobjectionable, but the gift inside the wrapping...well, Severus was just relieved he had seen the note suggesting he wait until returning to his rooms before opening it...
He asked himself numerous times in the weeks that followed why he didn't just throw the three pair of ridiculous underpants away. Surely the fact that they felt incredibly soft to the touch (and even more so once he actually tried them on) wasn't sufficient reason to ignore the potential embarrassment if he had opened something like that in front of the students.
The trouble was, of course, that the first time he encountered Potter after receiving that unasked for gift, Severus was not only working his way through one of the bottles of scotch that Potter had given him for his birthday, but he also - against all reason - was actually wearing a pair of the blasted pants, a fact which somehow that damned troublemaker seemed to know, if his repeated glances at Severus' groin were any indication.
The flush which Severus felt in his face must have been a result of the alcohol.
When neither March nor April brought any gift-wrapped packages, Severus started to relax, even going so far as to exchange a pleasantry or two with Potter when he saw him in the corridors.
And occasionally in the staff room.
And once or twice at meals.
In fact, Severus grew so complacent that the arrival of a package during lunch on the 1st of May (a day when Potter was off somewhere, visiting one some Weasley or another) took him quite by surprise.
At first glance, the pattern on the gift wrap appeared to be little more than typical May Day images. There was a May Queen; young people dancing around a maypole; bluebells, forget-me-nots, cowslips, and sycamore twigs; even a troop of Morris Dancers (who were actually quite good, Severus had to admit after watching them for a few minutes).
However, when Severus cast a Magnification Charm, dotted about the little village scene were tiny little Beltane fires, besides which were even tiny pairs and threesomes made up of unclothed men and women (mostly men, Severus noted), preparing to worship the Goddess in ways of their own...
What in the world was Potter playing at? Severus spent the afternoon and most of the evening attempting to puzzle that out, growing even more confused when he finally opened the gift and discovered a collection of potions ingredients so rare that even one so expert in the field as Severus had started to think that some of them no longer existed anywhere in the world.
Ground Minotaur tusk, for heaven's sake. Where had Potter come up with that?
For the next four months, Severus saw to it that he sent a gift before Potter could send anything to him.
Severus was damned if he was going to owe anything to yet another Potter.
He refused to admit, even to himself, that he had chosen the gifts with any particular care, even the one which just happened to be delivered on Potter's birthday.
And he did not wrap any of them.
On the 31st of October, Severus returned to his rooms only to find a small package wrapped in orange paper and tied with black ribbon sitting on the table in his study. Taking far less interest in how Potter had been able to get through his wards than in discovering what he'd sent this time, Severus untied the ribbon and looked inside...
'Boo' to you too, he thought, laughing to himself.
By the time Severus went to bed, he'd eaten all twelve of the ghosts.
On Guy Fawkes Day, just five days later...well, Potter appeared to have underestimated the power of Phoenixes, even those found on wrapping paper, for before Severus could even consider opening his gift, the damned bird had burst into flames and reduced whatever Severus had been given to ashes...
Potter looked so disappointed that Severus invited him back to his rooms for a drink.
When Christmas Day dawned, things had come to such a state that Severus was expecting a gift-wrapped package of some kind. In fact, he was actually looking forward to seeing what it might be.
However, there was no gift waiting at the table when he entered the Great Hall for breakfast, nor was there one awaiting him at lunchtime.
He found no gifts in the Potions classroom.
No gifts in the staff room.
No gifts waiting for him in his sitting room when he finally - a little disappointedly - returned alone at the end of the day.
Severus sighed. It had been almost amusing while it lasted, but clearly Potter had lost interest in whatever game he had been playing, and if Severus were honest with himself, he thought as he walked toward his bedroom, this was really what he'd suspected would happen all along, i.e., nothing at all.
And then Severus opened his bedroom door.
There, in the very center of his bed, was an incredibly large package, easily six foot in length. The wrapping paper, when Severus got close enough to see it, was a bit horrifying (a little too close to a nightmare he'd had when he was sixteen involving a shower, a rubber duck, and his old Head of House), but at least the green background was acceptable....
When he removed the wrapping paper, what he found waiting for him was Potter, naked as the day he was born, with a green and red and silver and gold bow tied around his prick.
It would be churlish, Severus thought as he climbed into bed, to refuse such a present.