A little ficlet written for Violet Quill's "Make The Yuletide Gay" challenge, for which I received the prompt: "Ornaments!"

Not Just Ornamental
by Beth H.
(c) December 24, 2005

That day

Severus dresses in robes of unrelieved black, completely unadorned by any decorative features (1). His classroom, which he has occupied now for twenty years (2), has never had a single personal object on its shelves. The family house (3) in which Severus stays whenever it is not term time, is similarly stark and bare.

Remus Lupin stands outside that house, and shakes his head. England has yet to catch up to the excesses of Christmas decorating that their American cousins have achieved (4), but even here in this relatively depressed section of northern England, most of the homes have at least a single strand of lights dangling from the eaves or a still-serviceable wreath left over from last year hanging from a hook on the door.

Number 32, Spinner's End, has no such decorations.

When Severus opens the front door of his house to admit Remus (5), it is clear that there are no decorations within either. Remus has won the battle to have a small pine tree brought in and placed in one corner of the cramped library (6), but no matter how many times he suggests the tree might look more festive (7) with one or two ornaments on it, Severus remains adamant that the tree will stay bare.

No stockings hang on the mantle.

No cards are on display.(8)

No yule log, holly, or mistletoe are in evidence

The absence of mistletoe, however, doesn't keep Remus from kissing Severus as soon as the door is shut behind them, nor does it keep Severus from kissing Remus moments later. (9)

They go up the narrow stairs.


Later that day

The shops are festooned with garlands, shiny globes, and families of fairies clustered around shop entrances giving light to the last-minute shoppers in the darkening late December afternoon.

Ignoring the stares of the passers by, Severus walks down Diagon Alley, Remus on his arm.

An odd sort of ornament, perhaps, but the only one Severus will ever want.



(1) About the relatively brief period of time during which Snape was known to sport a rather flashy white/silver mask - the less said, the better.

(2) Minus the one year during which he was forced into taking a sabbatical due to the unfortunate demise of his employer

(3) You really wouldn't call it a home. Until now, perhaps.

(4) One could, perhaps, if under the influence of a rather large amount of liquor, understand why someone might have a single eight-foot tall blow-up Santa Claus gracing their lawn, but six eight-foot tall blow-up Santa Clauses, three on either side of the front walk seems a bit much

(5) Yes, and he's not under Imperius either.

(6) And oh my lord, was there a lot of screaming from certain people*during that discussion.

-(6)* i.e., Severus.

(7) Because, yeah...saying a tree would look more 'festive' is so likely to sway Severus. Not.

(8) Not even the kind that don't sing endless renditions of "Santa Got Run Over by a Thestral."

(9) After all, it wouldn't do to allow Remus to get ahead in the kissing sweepstakes; Severus has always been very competitive.

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

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