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Advent 2010: December 6: Ghost of the Christmas Past

Advent 2010: December 6: Ghost of the Christmas Past

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sherlock.  not good?
Title: Ghost of the Christmas Past
Author: janus
Rating: G
Characters: Severus, Rabastan, Abraxas
Word Count: 700
Warnings: none
Summary: Severus is haunted at Yuletide
Prompt: ghost

Severus awoke from the beautiful dream that felt like a nightmare because it was not true. He laid his elbow across his eyes to pretend he was elsewhere, but his room was not warm enough for him to conjure the illusion. It was almost dawn on Christmas morning. He was back in the school he had meant to leave behind forever, rising above it like a shooting star.

A year ago they had been ascendant. He had been anticipating a beautiful Yule with his mentor and his friends. Now Abraxas was dead. Evan was dead. Rabastan had been taken just days before, along with Rodolphus and Bella. And of course there had been the indelible shocks of Halloween and his stay in Azkaban.

Severus himself had been saved. He was both grateful and horrified.

But now he struggled back to the dream. Warmth. Kindness. The sparkle of delicate decorations in candlelight. Smiles. Friendly hands and quiet drinks. These were the real things, all ideals aside. The real things were the turning of the seasons and one’s participation in its natural rituals. The real things were one’s surroundings, the very walls and floor, the objects within the room, food, and clothing. Whatever these things were for one — anyone — they were reality. The real things were one’s family and friends and one’s presence among them.

Rabastan leaning towards him, smiling. “Happy Christmas.”

“Happy Christmas.” Love exchanged.

Abraxas touching his glass to Severus’. “Your Health and Happiness.”

“And yours. L’Chaim.” Care confirmed.

His robes had been soft and his feet had been warm. Cheer had swirled around him. He had been home.

Now he woke in a much colder dungeon, and the regulation school blankets he had curled tightly around him had loosened in the night. But he had retained his trunks, his potions, and his books. There was still food, still his teaching robes, and there were no Dementors. He thought of Rabastan and made himself recall Azkaban’s wretched filthy cells exactly. Was it betrayal that he was not there with the others?

‘Head of Slytherin.’ He knew it was a geas — a promise to watch the young snakes who were the children, nephews, nieces, wards and protégés of his discredited schoolmates. Should he not obey the geas, he would lose this new shelter, the freedom to walk under the sky, and any hope for helping himself or anyone. At least in this he could aid those who deserved his loyalty, even though his influence must be hidden. He would watch over them as he watched them and he would strive to keep them and their guardians from conspiracy and harm. There was no one to whom he could now take what information he gleaned on their behalf, but he would do what he could in penance and grief. He had always worn black; now he would wear it as a sign of mourning.

The grey dawn was breaking. What was that? Had his curtains moved? Of course not. He had cleansed his room of all the small creatures such as feed on ephemera and hide in dark corners. Ah, it was the cloud of his breath. No, it was not cold enough.

The denser billowy air coalesced and seemed to blow into an amorphous human form. It neared the bed, but Severus simply watched quietly. There was no terror or loss such as that spread by Dementors. The form sank beside him; then it stretched out a tendril to him. There was a chill at his head, but Severus did not shiver.

And just for a second, an instant, a mere portion of the time it took for a single of his still-even breaths, the figure clarified, silver and bluish mist-grey. It was Abraxas, his hand on Severus’ forehead, comforting.

A whisper. “I know you will do your best. You always have.”

Then softer, fading. “Blessed.”

As the breath disappeared Severus threw off the covers and stood with his bare feet on the burning cold of the stone floor. “I love you!”

It was only a thought that answered, but it was clear. “I know.”

And Severus, as always, did his best.

first posted to my dreamwidth account.
  • Beautiful, and sad, and redemptive.
    • Redemptive! Thank you so much. It is a small boost of courage. He would carry on, of course, but this adds that extra positive encouragement and comfort too. 8^)
  • You made me cry AGAIN.

    Very beautiful.
    • Aw, I hope it is good crying? Thank you so very much! I am really delighted you are reading. <3
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