Here is the latest part of my Heartlines AU story. I hope you all enjoy it.
The rest of the chapters (and my other work) can be found here
As always I’d love to know what you think.
She opened the door and Jamie was speechless. Claire was always beautiful, more than beautiful, but looking at her right now he simply could not formulate thoughts into speech. She wore a tight fitted black sequinned gown with a high neck and capped sleeves. A slit ran up one side revealing an expanse of creamy leg and strappy silver sandals. But her head was the biggest shock. Normally Claire favoured natural looking makeup, muted tones in browns and greys, her hair either haphazardly restrained or a riot of curls which grazed her shoulders. But today she looked entirely different, her whiskey coloured eyes looked even more tigerish with an application of flicked up eyeliner and her lips were an enticing cranberry red. Her hair, normally such a riot, fell in sleek, smooth waves down to her breasts. She looked at him shyly. “What do you think?” She gave him a little swirl revealing a low back. His mouth opened and closed soundlessly and she laughed. “Oh good, you like it!” He watched her sashay down the path towards the waiting car, swallowing audibly.
The event was a combination of wealthy donors, local businessmen and hospital staff. As it happened, because of this Jamie knew at least as many people as Claire and he was kept more than busy shaking hands, answering queries about Lallybroch and talking shop. Claire moved round the room, chatting, smiling and generally trying to encourage the great and good in attendance to cough up some money to help refurb the ailing pediatrics wing. Prior to choosing General Surgery Claire had rotated through the department and had been sorely tempted by a career in that speciality. As it was she had gone another way, but she was often called upon by the department when a general surgeon was needed and she had campaigned passionately for the wing in its bid to upgrade its facilities. Jamie watched her work the room. Her smile was simply radiant. He was struck again by his sheer fortune that such a wonderful woman was his. His pride in her and her achievements was endless and to see her here, tonight, amongst her peers, he thought his heart would burst with it. He lost sight of her for a moment and he scanned the room, his height giving his an advantage. She popped up beside him holding two glasses of champagne. “I managed to charm these out the waiter. He didn’t want to give me any as they are having terrible trouble rounding everyone up to go into dinner” Her face was flushed slightly from the champagne and it gave her a glow that made her look even more lovely. She hooked an arm through his. “I forgot to ask. What happened to the kilt I was promised?” Instead of the aforementioned kilt, Jamie was wearing a bright blue three piece suit. Single breasted with a sharp white shirt and blue tie he looked magnificent amongst the sea of black tuxedos, his red hair and towering height making him stand out even further. “Well, the last time I wore a kilt to an event like this I spent half the night bein’ asked what I wore underneath it an’ the other half fending off women tryna find out for themselves. I figured I’d save myself the bother this time” he laughed. “Are ye disappointed?”
“Well, a little bit,” she answered tilting her head to one side to look at him. “But on the other hand you look sexy as hell in that suit, so I can’t complain too much can I?” She gave him a lewd wink which made them both laugh and he drew her to him and kissed her on her forehead.
“And you, Mo Nighean Donn,” He said, “I canna begin to say how wonderful you look. Ye’re always the most beautiful woman in the room, but tonight, well, I keep having to pinch myself to make sure I’m awake.” Her colour heightened a little more, but her response was cut off by the the boom of the ever jocular chief of surgery.
“Claire, Claire. I hardly recognised you without your scrubs and cap! Isn’t it fun trying to spot everyone in their civvies?”
He kissed her lightly on the cheek and she turned to introduce Jamie. He shook Jamie’s hand warmly.
“This is Dr Grant, our chief, this is Jamie, my…” she paused slightly as she cast around for the right title. They’d only know each other three weeks and whilst what they had was clearly serious, they’d not yet gotten round to defining it in any way. “…my partner” she settled for, looking at Jamie meaningfully.
“Partner,” he thought “Aye, that’ll do for now, but one day…”
This thought was abruptly cut short, by Dr Grant turing behind him and pulling forward a couple about Jamie and Claire’s age. “This is my nephew, David.” He said smiling broadly, “He’s a property developer. And this is his fiancee, Geneva.”
Jamie felt the heat rise in his face and Claire coughed slightly as she took a too big gulp of champagne. Geneva’s chestnut hair was swept back from her face and she wore a flowing tulle gown with a slight princess skirt in a soft blush pink. She also wore a very large, if conventional, diamond which she had not been wearing the last time the three of them had come face to face. She looked ethereal and stunning. She also looked uncomfortable and embarrassed, clearly not enjoying this impromptu reunion any more than Claire and Jamie. David, a handsome man, with dark hair a soft brown eyes, also appeared somewhat discomfited by this meeting. He may or may not have been aware of the show down in Jamie’s living room, but it was obvious he knew who Jamie was. He moved slightly closer to Geneva, placing a hand around her waist. Claire recovered herself first.
“Oh how lovely. And what a beautiful ring. Have you set a date?” The corner of Geneva’s mouth lifted slightly as she answered. “Oh, not yet, but we’re hoping for next summer. We only got engaged last week, didn’t we darling?’ She turned to David. “Oh, yes, just last week” he replied. Dr Grant laughed loudly digging poor David in the side. “But how many times did ye have to ask the lass? What was it four times before she finally said yes to you?” David smiled blandly, Jamie developed an acute interest in the pattern on the carpet. Thankfully the waiting staff took that moment to get assertive and they were promptly rounded up and herded into the ballroom.
Fortunately, Dr Grant’s table was over near the front of the room, whilst Jamie and Claire, along with a host of other hospital staff were tucked away near the back.
“Keeping us hidden” said Geillis, archly, flipping red hair over her shoulder. “But still, least we’re much nearer the bar here” She waved a red nailed hand in the direction of a waiter beckoning him over. Next to her, her new boyfriend, Josh sat looking slightly bemused and very much under her spell. Jamie was thrilled to at last have a chance to meet all the friends that Claire had regaled him with stories of. Her friend Joe Abernathy, who had transferred here from Boston, the indomitable Mrs Fitz, who despite clearly having a first name, no one called anything else, including her husband a jocular highlander with a big laugh who had clearly not suffered the same concerns as Jamie as he wore a kilt in eye catching MacKenzie tartan. Timid little Mary who spoke quietly but after a few drinks it turned out had a fondness for rude jokes and a huge dirty laugh. These were the people who he knew were important to Claire. As someone with no blood ties, this was the closest she had to real family and he was acutely aware of what it meant that she had wanted him here, with her and them tonight. The night was a lot more fun than he had expected. He found that he had an easy rapport with Claire’s friends who made him welcome, and with the exception of Geillis, who Claire had warned him about, none of them felt the need to grill him too intently. They danced until Claire begged for mercy, her high heels finally getting the better of her. Moving off to the side he drew her close and kissed her deeply. “Shall we go home now, Mo Nighean Donn?” he murmured into her ear.
“Oh yes” she replied. “I might not be getting the chance to find out what a Scotsman wears under his kilt, but I’m still pretty interested in what might be going on under that suit” She tugged his earlobe gently with her teeth and he gave a shudder. “I’ll just pop to the bathroom and then we’ll leave”
He waited across the hall for Claire, fiddling with his phone. A blur of pink caught the corner of his eye as the statuesque figure of his ex wife strode purposefully into the bathroom in which Claire had just entered.
Claire had been in there for a while. So had Geneva. He’d seen David go by looking for her, but offered no information. He stared at the door willing it to open and for Claire to come out. He couldn’t hear any shouting. Or screaming. That was something he supposed. Surely if something terrible was happening he’d hear it. But still what were they both doing in there. The door opened and Geneva exited, catching Jamie’s eyes briefly. He tried to make out the expression behind them, but she was gone too quickly. Another minute later, the door opened again this time bringing Claire with it.
Jamie’s eyebrows were almost under his hairline. “And what was that about? Should I be worried? She’s no been telling you what a terrible man I am has she?”
Claire laughed at Jamie was surprised to feel his heart and stomach both unclench a little. She stood on tiptoes and kissed him lightly. “Let’s go home and I’ll tell you everything”
She sat facing him on the sofa in her living room. She’d kicked off her heels in the hall and her hair was starting to kink slightly.
“Well, I don’t think you need to be too concerned with Geneva from now on Jamie. We had a good chat and I think things are going to be ok on that front.”
“Oh yeah? How can you be so sure? We’ve been seperated for over 4 years and she turned up at my house because she’d heard I’d been kissing someone. She’s no exactly rational.”
“No really, Jamie. Just listen”
As Claire had stepped out of the cubicle she had walked straight into Geneva. Dodging round her to wash her hands, she had become aware of the fact that Geneva was clearly there to speak with her. She waited for a beat.
“C..Claire?” Geneva began unsteadily, clearly searching for the words. “I just wanted to say… I’m sorry. For the other day. It was, it was… unacceptable.” Claire opened her mouth to respond but Geneva raised her hand imploring to be allowed to continue. Claire nodded.
“Jamie was right. It was pride. I was so angry with him. For so long. I felt cheated by him. When we got married I wanted it to be a certain way. But it wasn’t. So I tried to change him. To make him into what I wanted him to be, rather than simply accepting that he wasn’t what I wanted any more than I was what he wanted. And he, being the honourable man he is left. He couldn’t live a lie, he couldn’t be less than his true self. And I was so angry. For almost 5 years it’s eaten away at me. He’s the only thing I’ve ever failed at. That I haven’t been able to bend to my will as it were. And so I couldn’t let go. Even after I met David, who is everything I was looking for in my marriage to Jamie and couldn’t find, I still didn’t let go. I didn’t let Jamie go. I knew, deep down that he would feel the weight of the failure of our marriage whether it was his fault or not and I used that to hurt him. Whilst I was living my life and being happy elsewhere, and Jamie was right about that, David does make me happy, I kept on punishing him. And all because I couldn’t admit failure. When my friend called me and told me she’d seen the two of you. I don’t know what came over me. It was like all the anger and bitterness of the last four years were just poured over my head. I wanted to rip my skin off with it. But I saw then , the way he looked at you. The way he never, ever looked at me. But I do have someone who looks at me like that. David has been asking me to marry him for years and I’ve always said no. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t bear for Jamie to feel like he had permission to move on. And I’m sorry. I’m so very fucking sorry.” The profanity seemed out of place coming out of the mouth of one so perfectly coiffed and softly spoken. She seemed a different person to the wild eyed, object flinging woman of only a few weeks earlier. She looked at her hands and adjusted her ring.
“Tell Jamie.” She looked Claire in the eye. “Tell him I’m sorry. For all of it. And that I wish him… I wish him joy.” Claire nodded slowly and Geneva smiled, tears in her eyes. Claire unthinkingly reached out a hand and Geneva took it squeezing her fingers slightly. She nodded stiffly and in turned and was gone in a swish of pink tulle and chanel No 5. Claire stood there for a moment, wondering if that had really happened. She took a deep breath and went back to join Jamie.
“So she really said all that?’ Jamie asked incredulous. He had known Geneva a long time and whilst he knew she did have her virtues he wasn’t sure magnanimity had ever been one of them.
“She did” Claire replied nodding. “Whether she meant it, I guess only time will tell, but she seemed genuine” She shrugged. “I’m glad we can put it behind us though. I’m glad that *you* can move on with your life now.
“Aye, aye I can” he met her eyes and held her gaze, reaching for her hand as he did so. “And I so what you to be part of that life, Claire. Next weekend, I ken ye’re off work until Wednesday, will ye come to the Highlands wi me? To Lallybroch?” Nerves were making his accent thicker.
“Jamie, I honestly cannot think of a nicer way to spend my time off.” He smiled a smile of such joy that he looked, for a moment like a small boy. She leaned forward and kissed the tip of his nose. “But right now I want to find out what a scotsman wears under his suit.”
i was thinking about ravenclaw jungkook and slytherin yoongi but per usual my brain took it in a weird direction where when they’re grown-up in the happy ending version jungkook is flight instructor and yoongi, unconventional as it seems, is the charms professor. ah. it’s just a drabble….there’s a sad ending alternative too but i didn’t post that one. yet.
[ version ii ]
“you need to stop making flowers grow in my classroom windows. they make me look approachable.”
“you are approachable.”
“but they don’t need to know that right away!”
jungkook sighs and laughs but the two don’t really mix so he ends up coughing a little. yoongi rubs wide circles along his back while he adjusts his glasses with his other hand, three books floating in front of him as he flips through the pages inscrutably. once jungkook has recovered enough to talk again, he wheezes a little, pink in his cheeks as he says, “you were never scary. not even when we were students.”
“i never said i wanted to be scary.”
“mmhm,” jungkook hums and leans in close to thread his arms around yoongi’s middle, drawing him close enough to perch his chin on yoongi’s shoulder, breathing in deep the smell of him – a replete mixture of sun, forest, fire, and something like roses. this last comes from some of the charms that yoongi has been teaching, charms for helping things grow – not silly sweetheart tricks like a bloom from a quill, but the lasting everlong northern star kind of growth…the kind that stays. yoongi has for years complained that this particular spell should smell like lavender and not roses but jungkook said to him the last time they had this conversation: but of course it’s roses. yoongi mumbled muttered and moaned a little more to himself about it but jungkook could tell it was more bluster than actual discontent, and yoongi has long since gone on teaching said charm anyway. so there’s that.
besides, jungkook, for all that he likes scents such as vanilla, the first day of winter, and the summer ocean most of all, he also has a soft spot for the iconically romantic flower. among other things, he likes that the different colors can stand for different kinds of love. he thinks of the bouquet of yellow roses that taehyung once brought him and all the other colors yoongi turned until taehyung laughed and drew one from the bundle, offered it to yoongi himself and said: come on, i’ll bring you yours next time.
“at least stop interrupting my classes…” yoongi sighs in a way that would be long-suffering except that it’s quite the opposite, a hundred thousand times the opposite, belied by how his hand slips to rest at jungkook’s waist and hooks him that much closer, close enough for jungkook to tilt his head and press a whisper of a kiss to the line of yoongi’s jaw.
“sure,” he says.
“lying isn’t a cardinal point of a ravenclaw.”
“and being charming isn’t a slytherin’s either.”
“i guess that makes us even.”
when jungkook doesn’t reply, yoongi leans back just enough to look down at him properly. somehow the slight pout to jungkook’s mouth is unsettlingly becoming, and by now yoongi knows better what it means, knows jungkook is saying without saying exactly what would make them ‘even’.
not able to deny him anything in quite some time, he angles down quick and sharp – a kiss with acute magic made of moments rather than witchcraft, a kiss that says here is my heart, here is my heart, here is my heart and hold onto it for me, hold onto me and here. yoongi kisses jungkook and he remembers the first time this happened – how jungkook was asleep in the infirmary, how yoongi wasn’t supposed to be there at all, how the hour was late and the moon was full and yoongi knelt beside his bed and whispered: next time, i’m going to save you.
it was the kind of thing a teenager says because he’s scared, the kind of thing any person says because they’re scared…because they’re scared and in love.
that kind of thing.
jungkook remembers too: the events preceding, the dark dark dark of the forest despite that full moon which could not quite touch where they had fallen, the nauseating pain in his side that sent his body alight with unhealthy shivers, the cold hard grip of yoongi’s hands on his shoulders and the low desperate rasp of his voice begging jungkook to stay with him. that night yoongi’s words were fighting some kind of current trying to pull jungkook under, and it’s curious to him that while almost everything else from that near disaster is a blur, yoongi is not. if he closes his eyes, he can hear him plain as if it was yesterday, as if it was seconds ago: please – i swore on my family name i’d never beg for anything again but i’m breaking that now and i don’t give a fuck just…hey…hey don’t… – and on it had gone. jungkook remembers how what scared him most was not the danger he himself was in but how deathly still yoongi went amidst his hysteria. he had to ask later what yoongi saw, but in the moment, against his own fear, against a bigger nightmare, he remembers conjuring his own patronus, remembers thinking that it looked ridiculous – a rabbit the breadth of the moon it seemed, banishing the cold.
in the here and now, it’s spring. when yoongi breaks away everything is warm and jungkook can’t help himself. he reaches toward yoongi’s ear and just behind it to draw out a rose.
yoongi’s nose wrinkles.
“what kind of magic trick–”
“just take it.”
they stare at each other and some unofficial contest starts. neither of them wins and neither loses, the stampede of yoongi’s impending class echoing through the school corridors as jungkook flips backwards out of the window onto his waiting broom because why do anything the easy way? the smile he sends yoongi is warm and smart and if yoongi died right then and there he supposes he’d be alright with that except for the bit about leaving jungkook behind.
he watches his husband do three unnecessarily risky climbs and dives on that ridiculously expensive broom before he flies out of sight, presumably to teach his next batch of first years. sometimes when yoongi doesn’t have his own classes, he’ll wander to where jungkook is teaching and watch from what he deems to be a reasonable distance. once or twice headmaster namjoon has caught him and joked whether or not yoongi needed more to do, after which yoongi promptly left. later, loitering in the astronomy tower, namjoon admitted with heartbreaking softness: it makes me happy…it makes me happy, to see you happy.
yoongi charmed a star out of the dark, had it hover near namjoon’s right eye and said: i want to see you happy too.
blinking, yoongi is caught off guard (this happens, when you disappear into reverie, it would seem) as a paper plane soars in through the window and narrowly misses his head, gliding to a perfect landing on his desk. when he unfolds it, he shakes his head at the writing there: you dropped your flower!
crouching, yoongi retrieves it, and despite his initial scoffing, yoongi wears said flower behind his ear for the rest of the day.
it’s not lost on his students that the rose? is blue.
Study Sessions (E2-Harrison Wells x Reader) - Bittersweet
Imagine: Barry, Cait and Cisco had gone out for a night of drinking to celebrate the holidays, while Harry and you stayed behind in the lab. You noticed he was a bit jumpy and tongue-tied around you; but, you don’t know why…
“Why don’t we take a break?” you suggested.
The deep tone of concern rooted in your voice made Harry look up. It was the most responsive the S.T.A.R. Labs executive had been for the past half hour. While you had made several attempts to start a conversation, the most that you could coax out of the man was a simple ‘mmhmm’ or ‘okay.’
Which, admittedly, worried you.
“Okay,” Harry nodded in agreement. “I think we both need it…”
Just as Harry stood from his seat and was about to leave the room, you reached out and grabbed his arm - an action that made him instantaneously freeze.
Part of you was nervous of your sudden behavior, felt as if you had just stepped into unwelcome territory; yet, another part of you knew you had to stop him from going.
Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to resolve this awkward tension between you two.
A/N: For @happy-snape-week 2017
I realize this is a little late for Christmas, and ALMOST late for Sev’s birthday (it’s not quite midnight where I live). I meant to get this done sooner, but I’ve been in the middle of traveling halfway across my country and haven’t had much time for writing. Also, I stand by this story as being happy, technically, although it’s the kind of happy that makes you cry, for parts of it. At any rate, it’s done, so enjoy!
Christmas Eve had once again arrived at the Burrow, and it smelled like cinnamon and ginger and rosemary and sage. Snow, which had begun to fall gently in the outside night, was already sticking in a soft, clean layer, but inside, a fire was blazing cheerily, and familiar faces buzzed about, talking, laughing, embracing each other, hands and hearts thawing in the warmth of it all. Dinner had been prepared and enthusiastically devoured, and even the grownups had indulged in far too many of Molly Weasley’s sweets. When even the latest arriving guests had been served a plate, everyone had settled in for the lovely holiday evening. The children had sat in front of the hearth, playing boisterous games of Gobstones and Exploding Snap, until they were sent upstairs when they got too loud, while the adults had gathered in armchairs and sofas and at the kitchen table with steaming mugs in hand, smiling, remembering, and enjoying each other’s company.
Molly was in an old, patchy brown recliner, cooing at her newest grandson. Arther stood behind her shoulder, his elbows on the chair back, chatting with a smiling Hermione Granger, whose happy brown eyes kept darting between him and the baby. She and Ronald Weasley sat comfortably together on a settee, a navy blue knitted blanket across their laps. The longest sofa had been claimed by the Potters, and a small boy was slumped between Harry Potter and a very pregnant Ginny. She had her legs in her husband’s lap, and his hands rested on the tops of her feet. Other Weasley boys, extended family, and friends were scattered around the house. Conversation was carried about in the typical, noisy, Weasley fashion, and continued to be so until a very unexpected guest walked through the front door.
In an instant, the whole house became silent. Judging by everyone’s faces, Molly and Arthur were the only ones who knew of his possible arrival, and, Severus would assume, Molly was the only one who expected him to show up. The others wore looks of shock and horror so vast that Severus immediately regretted his decision to come. For what seemed an infinitely long time, he stood there, fingers still terribly cold, blood rushing in his ears, stray snowflakes melting in his hair, feeling the appalled stares burn into him while completely unable to meet anyone’s eyes.
Then Molly was rising from her seat, and then the baby was in Arthur’s arms, and Molly was right in front of Severus, who was still frozen, and then… and then…
Before Severus had time to process what was happening, Molly had pulled him into a tight, warm hug.
“I had hoped you’d show up,” she said loudly, still with a hand on Severus’ shoulder. “You go sit yourself down and I’ll fix you up a plate.” Giving his shoulder a last affectionate squeeze, she turned to do exactly that.
After one brief, uncomfortable second, the silence ended, and hushed but urgent conversation broke out.
Arthur, who had deposited the infant, who had a rather thick mop of brown curls, on Hermione’s lap, hurriedly stepped forward and guided Severus to the recently vacated brown chair.
“I didn’t think you’d actually come,” Arthur admitted, and Severus resisted the urge to snort. Obviously. And then, as if realizing how that statement could be interpreted, Arther hastened to add, “But I’m glad you’re here.”
It wasn’t the words, so much, that caused such a foreign, and almost uncomfortable pang of something in Severus’ chest, but the sincerity with which they were said. Arther had really meant that, and so had Molly.
Severus inclined his head.
“I thank you, and your wife, for the invitation,” he said, his voice stiff with formality.
“Nonsense,” said Arthur. “You know you’re welcome here, any time. You’re family now.” Strangely, he darted a glance at his daughter and son-in-law before giving Severus a half smile that was equal parts nervous and honest. “Well, I’ll go see if Molly needs a hand, now,” he said awkwardly, and almost fled to the kitchen to ‘help’ Molly, leaving Severus to wonder what that bit about family had meant, as he hardly felt welcome at the moment.
It took only a moment for the realization to set in that he was now in the dubious company of four former students and their progeny, all of whom were still mutely starting at him. Severus then became acutely aware that he had not seen any of them for over a decade, and as his dark eyes roamed over all of them in turn, seeing their faces - so much older, more mature- it occurred to him just how much time that really was, and how much had changed without him being a part of it. It wasn’t as if he’d missed it, exactly, but, to be fair, he had never imagined that he would willingly attend a Weasley Christmas.
Surprisingly enough, it was Weasley who seemed to come to his senses first. He leaned forward in his seat, blanket shifting from his lap, to extend his hand to Severus.
“Professor,” he greeted in a voice that was not the least bit hostile, and if it was strained, it was only from surprise.
Severus accepted the handshake, halfway wondering what alternate dimension he’d managed to step into. And then he saw Granger surreptitiously wipe her eyes, and the look of utter devastation on Potter’s face. It hit him, suddenly, that the silence and tension of earlier wasn’t because of disappointment at seeing a hated face, but because at least some of them -Granger, Potter, and the two youngest Weasleys included - hadn’t known he was alive.
Still, apart from the shock, their actions confused him. Why the tears? Why the sadness? He’d understand it if it had been Potter’s beloved Godfather, or even Lupin that had walked back from the dead, but him? All four faces were looking at him, eyes shiny with wonder and… something. And he didn’t understand. They hadn’t… mourned him, had they? It was impossible. If anything, they should have been glad that he was gone. Or indifferent. But this? And yet, the grief on their faces was undeniable. They truly had missed him while he was gone.
The pang in his heart was so strong that time that he reached his hand up to rub at his chest. Why? Why would they miss him? Why would they care?
Silence fell once more, all of them stunned, until a soft, gentle voice began to speak.
“Mum told us that someone would be here tonight. A special guest, she said. None of us imagined it would be you.”
It was Ginevra who had spoken, and she smiled, despite the tears running down her cheeks. She gave a shaky, overwhelmed sort of laugh, and then she was sobbing. Potter had his arm around her in an instant, his hand running soothingly across her back, but he had yet to take his eyes off of Severus.
Granger seemed to have recovered by then, and she tenderly placed her son in Ronald’s arms before standing and gently pulling Severus to stand as well. And then she hugged him, tightly, her head against his shoulder as if they were the best of friends, as if she were truly glad to see him. And then Severus, despite trying desperately not to, began to believe that she - that all of them - really were.
It was a long moment before Hermione pulled away, both of them blinking fiercely.
“Don’t you dare leave again, don’t you dare,” she said vehemently, but quietly. She sat back down, and Ronald took her hand. There was a respectful kind of silence as everyone waited for Severus to pull himself together.
“Mummy? Who’s that?” a small voice whispered loudly.
Everyone’s attention was then drawn to the little boy who was rubbing his eyes with one hand and tugging on Ginny’s sleeve with the other. It was Potter’s boy, it had to be, with the same messy black hair that seemed doomed to run in the family. And then the little brat turned to point at Severus, and Severus drew in a sharp breath as he was once again looking into achingly familiar bright green eyes, which also must have been genetic. He looked at Potter for a fraction of a second, but he could not keep himself from staring at the boy, who couldn’t have been more than two, maybe three years old.
“Alby,” said Potter slowly, and Severus realized that his voice was different than he’d last heard, deeper, and rough with emotion, “Why don’t you go and introduce yourself.”
Severus once again looked at Potter, but was confused to see that he was looking at Ginevra with an intensity that didn’t seem to make sense.
Slowly, and a bit shyly, the little boy walked to Severus and stopped by his knees, raising his arms as if asking to be picked up. Severus darted a glance to Ginny for reassurance before setting the child gently on his lap and giving him his full attention.
The boy, who Potter had called Alby, surprised Severus by giving him a blinding smile, all shyness forgotten, and once again, he was looking into those eyes.
“I’m Albus. Albus Sev'us Potter,” the boy said with a slight lisp, but evident pride in his voice. “What’s you’re name?”
But Severus didn’t respond immediately. He couldn’t. He looked up in shock, eyes flicking between Ginevra and Potter, mouth open and unable to fully take in the entirety of it. And then Arther’s words were ringing in his ears: “You’re family now.”
It was like a dam had broken inside. He was horrified to find tears came to his eyes, but there was nothing he could do. He was completely helpless against the emotion that overwhelmed him. Maybe they hadn’t been as happy as he’d have imagined by his death, but this was simply too much. It had to be too much.
“Severus,” he told the child distractedly. “Severus Snape.”
Alby, of course, was too young to realize the significance of what had just occurred, and contented himself by leaning against Severus and closing his eyes, seeming happy enough to just be held by a perfect stranger, albeit one with the same name as him. Severus’ hand, without conscience decision on his part, came to rest against the child’s dark hair, as he pulled the boy just a bit closer to himself. And finally, he looked at Potter and spoke.
“He looks just like his father,” he said softly, his voice coming out altered and thick. “But he has-”
“My mother’s eyes,” Potter finished for him with a grin.
Severus nodded helplessly. It wasn’t the first time he had seen the boy - man, now, he realized - smile, but it was the first time he had smiled at him, and, at some point, due to his face maturing into that of an adult, his grin had stopped looking like a carbon copy of James Potter’s. And with that came the realization that Potter was now older than his father had ever been.
This time, the silence that followed wasn’t weird, but comfortable, and even pleasant. Severus wasn’t used to being around this many people, especially not this many people who seemed to like him, and he certainly wasn’t used to having children on his lap, but as it was, the child’s warm weight was rather soothing, and his hair was very, very soft.
Eventually, Molly came in and set a plate of food on the table beside him, and Severus realized vaguely that her waiting for the tension to ease before interrupting was thoughtful, but then, Molly usually was.
Knowing from experience that he’d get a thoroughly embarrassing scolding, even at his age, if he were to not eat, he picked up his plate, careful not to disturb the sleeping boy in his lap. The plate was piled high with turkey, served with stuffing, gravy, and current jelly, roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and Yorkshire pudding. There was even a smaller dessert saucer of sherry trifle, and Severus wondered if it was a coincidence that it was one of the few puddings he was fond of. He made a valiant effort to eat as much as he could, but still didn’t even manage half of it before he had to set it aside.
There were a few quiet minutes where the only sound was the deep, steady breathing of the - currently - youngest Potter. Then Ginevra stood and walked, or rather waddled, over to take Alby to bed.
Severus looked at the young, obviously pregnant woman, and then at the stairs, and hesitated. To Severus’ amazement, she rolled her eyes at him and huffed.
“This is the third one,” she said dryly, hand over her belly to indicate the child within. “I assure you, I know my limits.”
Severus spent the next second patently horrified at how very much Ginevra resembled her mother, and the openly fond smile she gave him as she picked up her son didn’t help at all.
“You should see the way she scolds James when he misbehaves. It’s like Molly all over again,” said Potter, rightly interpreting the look on Severus’ face. He was clearly amused, by the way the sides of his lips had curled up, and the way his eyes sparkled, just a bit.
It then clicked that James must be the third child Ginevra mentioned, and the oldest by the sound of it.
“It’s a redhead thing, I assure you,” said Severus after a moment. “Your mother could be the same way. She could be downright lethal with a wooden spoon.”
Talking about Lily was less painful than he had imagined it would be, and Potter’s face immediately brightened, making him look younger, so much so that couldn’t help but remember the years he had spent as the boy’s teacher.
Harry smiled at him, a genuine, happy smile that was apparently contagious, because, after a second of hesitation, Severus felt himself smiling back.
At that moment, George Weasley walked into the room and promptly froze at the scene before him.
“Woah,” he exclaimed, eyebrows shooting up in pure surprise. “We must be on a different planet, right?” He looked between Harry and Snape in amazement.
“Never imagined you’d see Professor Snape smile, eh?” Ronald joked lightly. “And at Harry, no less.”
“No indeed,” replied George mildly.
“Oh, but it is Christmas,” said Hermione, joining in on the teasing.
“Yeah,“ said George with a grin. “Christmas on Mars.”
Summary: When Emma Swan’s car breaks down outside of a small town in Maine, she finds herself stuck at the local garage, but as the repairs take longer and longer to complete, she has to decide if, in the end, she wants to leave the town at all.
(Note: You can see my other one shots on my Tumblr masterpost or on my Ao3 account. This is a companion story to The Prodigy on Tumblr or on Ao3. It is inspired by Dean playing the piano as a demon this time and takes place after 10x09.)
Dean counted it as a miracle that his piano survived the destruction and evil of being a demon. A vague, darkened memory threaded between his thoughts, however, that recalled touching a piano as that monster. A few notes emerged from his fingertips grazing the keys as if his soul being suffocated by the blackness had clawed for any sense of humanity and brought out those notes so intrinsically linked to his mother.
The rare moment of privacy afforded by Sam taking Claire Novak a Christmas care package let Dean descend low into the bowels of the bunker where he kept his treasure. Sam had developed a soft spot for the Novak girl or maybe he just liked the idea of a younger sibling that didn’t want to see him dead like Adam had. It wasn’t that Dean disliked Claire or anything, but he knew he wasn’t fit to be around people. He was dangerous. He was a risk. So he sent Sam out alone with snacks and odds and ends bought from a Gas ‘n Sip, which was a bit of a Winchester tradition at Christmas. Locking himself in the bunker was safer for everyone.
Security monitors near the utility room showed a good, steady bout of Kansas snow falling outside, making the hillside and woods look like a white glitter bomb exploded. He used to like snow. Even as a grown man on the trail of some monster or ghost, he stopped and beaned his brother on the head with a snowball, which escalated into a fight that allowed them to forget the dark turns their lives took. The raised red scar on Dean’s inner forearm wouldn’t let him forget anymore, not even for a good snowball fight. Knights of Hell didn’t deserve to play. They didn’t deserve to forget.
Keeping the piano deep in the bunker’s basement was for the best. He couldn’t see the snow and the walls weren’t draped in Castiel’s obnoxious silver metallic garland. It was the only home they each had, he’d said, and living in humanity meant enjoying holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
He pulled the bench out enough to sit on it, but he didn’t open the lid over the piano keys right away. With his arm leaning on the piano, he caught a glimpse of the scar peeking through his rolled shirt sleeve. It looked menacing to him. He tugged his sleeve up more and dragged his fingertips over the scar’s raised edges. It controlled his thoughts and impulses, bleeding blackness into his brain and heart no matter how he fought it. Drinking usually numbed whatever he felt, but booze only gave the Mark of Cain more power to make him do disgusting things. He watched himself do much of it even before it happened too. At first the visions felt like nothing more than nightmares, the same sort of nightmares he’d endured for his whole life, but then nightmares became reality. He was having precognitive visions. Once upon a time, Sam had visions like that as well, except he wasn’t the one spilling blood.
“ … Bellwether … arrested … .mastermind … plagued Zootopia … of late …”
Judy’s acute ears picked up the vague messages that droned from the television. The words from the news anchor blended in her mind for a couple of moments as she carefully dragged herself back into the realm of consciousness.
Her eyes fluttered open, revealing dim lights and a cream colored ceiling. She shifted once, and every muscle in her screamed in protest. She groaned.
The shout nearly made her wince, her ears not yet accustomed to the noise. As she looked up, Judy found herself facing the bright yellow fur and spots of a certain cheetah. “Clawhauser?” she grumbled. He must have been keeping an eye for her at the hospital.
The cheetah was halfway through a donut when she spoke. He quickly licked his fingers clean. “Judy, you’re up! I gotta go tell the Chief. The media is buzzing about Bellwether’s whole scheme, and everyone news agency in Zootopia is out to get an exclusive story with the cop that cracked the case.”
“Media? What? Huh?” Judy hoisted herself up on the bed. The pain was constant, but at least it was light. But there was still quite the ache in her leg. She lifted up the blankets, and found that her wounded leg wrapped in bandages.
There was a flash in her mind. That time when Gideon Grey attacked her, the shock of fear that filled her senses. The similar ram of panic once she realized Nick was trying to kill her.
Judy blinked those images away, instead focusing on her leg. She tried to move it, but it was terribly sore. “How bad is it?” she asked.
“Pretty bad. The doctor said it would take at least a few weeks for it to heal.”
But as Judy’s violet eyes stared at her injury, her mind had already wandered elsewhere. “Nick,” she demanded. “Where’s Nick? How is he?”
“The fox?” Clawhauser hesitated in his response. “He’s … been better.”
Dialogue prompt from the lovely whitebuddah0524. Enchanted Forest! Missing Year!
He tries not to protest,
but it hurts like the dickens, what she’s doing to his arm.
“Well,” Regina says
scathingly, cutting off both his gasp and his blood circulation as her hand tightens
around the bandage, gives the ends a vicious tug. “What did you expect to
“I don’t know,” he
responds, because honestly he hadn’t thought it through at all, hadn’t the
faintest idea what would be in store the moment he did what he’s just done.
She gives him a single
look—pointed, without words, that tells him exactly what she thinks of his most
recent display of untimely chivalry. The injuries he’d sustained, the lengths
she’d just gone to repair what her magic couldn’t.
Not to mention the way he’d just
thanked her for it.
But he’s not sorry, he
thinks defiantly as she reexamines his wound, silent and seeming quite
ill-tempered. Not if his actions have amounted to a bloody slash at his limbs rather
than a fatal blow to her heart. A few simple nicks he can manage, and these hadn’t
even cut through to bone; but the thought of the Queen, lifeless in his arms as
he carries her back to the castle, had been unbearable. Had filled him with
such insensible panic that pure instinct had flung him forward and into harm’s
way, so he could shove her out of it.
“Dad, shit” were the first words that left Beca’s mouth when her dad’s voice finally broke through the slow-motion humiliation that spread over her skin like a thick syrup. Then, the world was spinning entirely too quickly, like her words jolted the entire scene into fast forward. “Oh my god. Get off, Chlo,” she mumbled, when she became acutely aware of the compromising position they were both in. Chloe, lost in that panicked place where boundaries and social etiquette were erased completely (that place Beca saw first when she stood in the shower with the redhead, shaking under the gaze of Chloe’s at-the-time casual “boy with benefits”…like Chloe was considering every possible course of action with equal weight). She nudged Chloe harshly, shoving her out of the already open door so that Chloe, took-twelve-years-of-ballet-Chloe, skinned her knee on the edge of the car.
“Fuck,” Beca spat again, fumbling with shaking hands at the seatbelt that was still holding her to the seat.
“Lemme,” Chloe reached over easily, pressing one turquoise nail over the red button, “Lemme help with that.”
Beca slapped the hand away, feeling Chloe’s breath on her shoulder and the pressure of her hand on her knee. “Dude, no.”