A little seasonal Snape/Hagrid story, prompted by a comment in Rexluscus's LJ. She was talking here about how seeing all the secret santa requests saying things like "no necro and no scat" cracked her up, as if that's all anybody would write for holiday stories if they weren't instructed not to specifically.

She wrote: "I've been extra good this year, Santa. But just so you know? I'd prefer that you not send me shit in a box this year. Thanks!"

So. Comment-fic (that got out of control)

No Exchanges, No Returns
by Beth H.
(c) December 6, 2005

Harry Potter (five years in the no-longer-cursed position of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and counting) looked across the staff room and frowned at the more-sour-than-usual expression on Severus Snape's face as he opened his Secret Santa gift.

"What did you get, Snape?"

Snape looked up sharply and scowled. "Exactly what I would have expected to receive when the Headmistress announced her ill-considered gift exchange."

"And that is?"

"None of your business, Potter."

Snape gave the foul-smelling box on his lap one last look of disgust, and drew his wand, but before the word Evanesco could leave his lips, the door to the staff room flew open, and a wind-blown Hagrid rushed in, a rather bedraggled sack clutched in one hand.

Hagrid looked frantic (or as frantic as the normally placid caretaker ever got) as he searched the room, then calmed visibly when he spied Snape.

"Oh good! Yeh still got it. I was tha' worried tha' you'd have...well, anyway, it was just a mistake an' if yeh just...."

"What in the name of all the gods are you blithering on about, Hagrid?" asked Snape with a frown.

"Yer present, o'course. The one tha's in yer lap."

"This is from you?"

Harry wasn't sure precisely how he would have expected Snape to react to discovering the identity of the person who'd given him the unwelcome offering that sat before him, but he was certain that screaming would have been the least of it. Instead, Snape's words had been quiet, almost subdued, and instead of glaring at Hagrid, Snape was looking down at the floor.

"Yeah, tha's from me, but...."

'I see. Well, I must admit you were the last person I would have suspected of giving me something like this, but I really shouldn't have been surprised, should I?"

Hagrid frowned at Snape's uncharacteristically resigned tone, then raised his eyebrows in alarm. "Severus, you didn't think I meant to...tha's not yer present!"

Snape looked up and stared at Hagrid disbelievingly for a moment, then cleared his throat.

"It's not?"

"O' course not!" Hagrid said indignantly. "Oh, it's valuable enough to be a gift, all righ! Hardest thing in the world to collect, thestral shit, seeing how it's invisible when it's on the ground and all. But the pumpkin patch...well, you don't need to know about tha', do yeh?"

"This is your...special fertilizer?"

Hagrid nodded. "Sort of mixed up the packages when I was wrapping yer gift. It was after...well, we'd had tha' long nigh' at the pub."

Harry turned from the now-blushing Hagrid to his other colleague, but Snape's expression was unreadable.

"Anyway, I'll jus' be takin' tha' back, if yeh don' mind." He crossed the room and resealed the excrement-filled box, then handed the bag he had in his other hand to Snape. "Sorry this isn't wrapped...and that it isn't much of a surprise now."

"I hate surprises," Snape muttered, holding the sack gingerly by the rope tied around the top.

"What are you waiting for, Snape? Harry asked. "Open your gift...let's see what you got."

Snape looked as if he'd rather be doing anything but opening the bag, but when Hagrid sighed and started to turn away, Snape gave in. He untied the bow, then frowned as he began removing small vials - one after another - from the bottom of the sack and placing them carefully on the table.

"All the vials are spelled to be unbreakable. Herm...a friend helped me with tha'. But yeh just go' me to blame for wha's in them.'

"You selected all these potions ingredients yourself, Hagrid?" Snape asked, a note of hesitation in his voice.

"Well, it was more a case of collectin', where most of these ingredients were concerned, but yeah."

Snape looked at the twelve vials that sat before him. "But some of these are so rare that they would have taken months to collect in such quantities."

Hagrid blushed and shuffled his feet. "Yeah, well...it was just luck that I drew yer name in the Secret Santa. I'd been plannin' ta give these to yeh for Christmas for ages."

Now it was Snape's turn to blush, and Harry had to fight to keep from laughing. This was better than the Christmas pantomime the Dursleys had been forced to bring him along to when he was a boy.

"I see," Snape said. "I suppose you'll be wanting something in exchange?"

Hagrid frowned. "It's not the getting part that matters, yeh know, it's the..."

"Yes, yes...it's better to give than to receive," Snape said with a sneer.

"Tha's wha' my dad always told me," Hagrid said, his head tilted to one side as if daring Snape to say something about his late father.

Snape snorted, then he returned the vials to the sack and stood up, summoning his cloak as he did.

"As it happens, I do have an item here which...."

"Yeh bought me a present?" Hagrid asked, wiping a tear from his eye.

Snape shot a quelling look at Hagrid. "I certainly hope you don't expect me to have wrapped it."

"No, o' course not!" Hagrid said, between sniffs.

"Well, come along then," Snape said. "I'd rather not have this item gawked at by all and sundry.

Harry was the only person in the room apart from Snape and Hagrid, so he probably didn't fall into the category of 'all,' but he couldn't argue with being categorized as 'sundry." He grinned at Hagrid, who blushed again and shrugged his shoulders.

"Happy Christmas, Harry!"

"Happy Christmas, Hagrid. And Happy Christmas, Snape."


Harry shook his head as the two men walked out the door, then summoned a quill and parchment. Something this good had to be shared with Ron.

Comments, critiques, chit chat: beth-h @ mrks.org

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