Severus Snape

Father Christmas, 1940

Father Christmas, 1940

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Title: Father Christmas, 1940
Author: janus
Rating: G
Word Count: 1322
Warnings: dark ideas
Prompt: Father Christmas is real, and an unlikely wizard is asked to help him out on Christmas Eve.
Notes: with thanks to my beta and dear friend, oosevvie

"Yes, Father." The silver-haired boy turned from the window-seat. He had been watching muggles light the sky with their mechanically thrown fire. He wore white robes worked in silver, and a silver-grey lambs-wool sweater. His eyes were clear silver as well, and he looked as if he had been bathed in moonlight.

At the door his father waited, an older version of his son, a younger version of his own father. "Someone is here to see you. He has a task for you, and a lesson."

"Yes, Father." The boy came readily, perfectly tidy, perfectly coifed, perfectly clean. Shining.

The countryside blazed behind him. It was Bristol, although the city was below the horizon. In ten days it would be Christmas Eve.

In the library, their guest waited. The boy approached him without diffidence, but without any attitude of condescension either. Because the man did not stand when he entered, the boy knew he was a personage of great importance. He was keenly aware of status, well-versed in varying degrees of respect. For instance, he knew he was to bow to no one, but that some were worthy of his respect, and he knew that there were many who would bow to him, and some who served him.

The man was dressed in rich dark green robes, trimmed with fur. His hair not just silver, but gold as well, thick and curly with a long fine beard. Old. He was old. Older than Grandfather. "May I present my son?" The boy's father had his hand at his back, urging him forward. "This is Gellert Grindelwald."

He had not added that the moment was significant, one to remember, for the boy was well aware. Moving to the great man's chair, obedient to his father's hand, he gravely stretched out his own. "It is an honour to meet you, sir."

"A pleasure, young Master Malfoy." He was grave in return, but then he smiled, and his eyes laughed blue, at both of them. "Sit, and we will talk." He patted his knee, and the boy sat upon it obediently, surprised at the informality but agreeable to any suggestion from this infinitely eminent yet warm, almost cheeky, stranger. He was drawn irresistibly.

"Christmas is coming."

"Yes, sir."

"Tell me, young man, do you believe in Father Christmas?"

"No, sir. That is for Muggles. My presents come from my father and mother."

"What if I were to tell you he is real?"

The boy was respectfully silent. He was not going to say that Mr. Grindelwald was far too old to believe in such a thing, and he was not going to point out that he was not a Muggle. He was fighting against Muggles so that they would all have a beautiful world where wizards ruled everything, where they were free to be proud and free to work magic. And he himself would be a prince.

"What if I were to tell you that I am Father Christmas?"

Solemnly, the boy considered. Of course Father Christmas must be a wizard. Of all the wizards of the world, this was the greatest, the only one who dared defy the edicts against performing magic before Muggles. "If there is a Father Christmas, it must be you." He had a question, however. " But please, sir: Why do you visit Muggles? They do not matter."

"Ah!" The old face with its bright eyes, rosy cheeks and laughing mouth beamed at him. "Ah, you have the very idea!"

"Sir?"

"What do Muggles think of Father Christmas? Do they know of him? Do they fear him?"

"They love him, sir. All year they try to be good boys and girls so that he will bring them presents. He is better than their parents or their churches."

"Exactly. And how do they explain him? How does he bring them their presents?"

"Through the chimney, sir. He can fly, and he visits every single home in the world in a single night. He gives Muggle children exactly what they wish."

"And how do you think your papa would do that?"

The boy thought for a little bit. Grindelwald put his arm around him and let him lean against his thick soft robes. It was very cosy. He gave him a Liquorice Wand. After a time he suggested, "Floo Powder! That is how to get to fireplaces! And... Father often knows what I am thinking by looking in my eyes. Father Christmas must be a very powerful wizard. The most powerful wizard in the world! Maybe he would just know what each child wanted by looking at him. And... he could use a Time-Turner so he had more time to travel! My Father has one."

Grindelwald patted his arm. The boy bit the wand and a shower of tiny candy canes erupted with a tinkle of bells and thin streams of shiny ribbon. "That's my boy! It is called Legilimency when you can tell what someone is thinking. You will learn it too, when you are older. I can tell what the children are thinking by looking into their open minds as they dream. But I don't use Floo Powder any longer. The chimneys are often dirty. They have no house-elves and they are not able to clean properly themselves. We have to remember how helpless they really are. I use apparition!"

"Apparition! But I got the other questions right, didn't I?"

"Yes, you did." This came with a hug. "And I simply turn the milk and cookies they leave for me into their gifts. But the important thing to remember is that I use magic. The very best thing in Muggles' lives, the thing for which they wait all year, the thing for which they are ready to make themselves 'good' is magic. And we know that for Muggles to be 'good' is to be obedient, to be quiet, to work hard, to help with small tasks and respect their elders, in short, to serve. Because I am Father Christmas, Muggles are not only willing, but eager to serve magic, and because I am magic, to serve me. And not only me, but to serve any wizard who can wield magic."

"Ooh!" The boy breathed, excited by the scope of this plan. "It is for our beautiful new world that is to come! That you will bring to us so we can be proud and wonderful in front of them all!"

"That is why wizards do not believe in Father Christmas. It is for Muggles to see the wonder and power of magic, for them to value it above all else, so that when the time comes, they will bend their knees to its emissaries, its bearers."

"I do not get my presents in an old stocking on my bed. I have them wrapped, under the tree. They are from my mother and father, from my grandfather, and all their friends."

"I would like you to help me, this Christmas, so you will see the lives of those you will rule."

"Yes, sir!" He was excited, and already he adored Grindlewald. He would have done anything for him, followed him anywhere.

After the last stocking had been filled, in the last house, in the last hour before midnight on Christmas Eve, Grindlewald tucked the boy into his bed with its canopies, its cool white silk sheets and its heavy warm white comforter. "Sleep well, young Abraxas. Some day you will be a prince over them all." He kissed the boy's forehead in blessing.

The sleepy eyes looked up at him, shining in the pure blue-white light from his wand. Grindlewald looked deep into them, seeing his father, his son, his grandson, even though these latter were simply confident expectation. "Your gift will be your family."

Before he turned and vanished, he touched his nose in the customary sign for a secret.
  • I just love how Gellert has explained Muggle Christmas and the importance of magic in Muggles lives. Fantastic work.
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