All canon characters belong to JKR.
Thanks as always to June for all of her wonderful suggestions.
Chapter 9 â€“ Severus freezes and Lucius makes his move.
Lucius stood behind the base of the suit of armor, thinking. Ginny was in the other room, and much as he wanted to go to her, he needed to think on what he had heard earlier.
She told Hermione that she was in love with the blond wizard. It was a revelation that changed everything for him. He first saw her when she was an eleven-year-old red-haired freckled girl. What he saw when he stepped out of the fireplace several days ago was a beautiful woman, whose flame-colored hair hinted of a fiery passion he found himself wanting to experience.
When Hermione had Flooed him to invite him to Bavaria, heâ€™d been sitting in his favorite leather chair, drinking and feeling sorry for himself. He wanted to be happy again, to live, to experience life with the same gusto he once did. Ginny was the woman who would bring him out of his self-imposed exile from the world.
As Lucius began to step away from the suit of armor, he heard Neville and Ron coming through the door. He would have to wait yet again to approach Ginny. As he retreated to his room, he hoped the boys would do something stupid in front of her. He had a feeling they would.
Ron and Neville walked to the living room with several bags of candies, cream-filled pastries, and cakes. Ron immediately noticed his sisterâ€™s hand.
â€śWhatâ€™s happened to your hand?â€ť he asked.
â€śIâ€™ve had an accident. Iâ€™ll be fine. Hermioneâ€™s going to have a look at it,â€ť Ginny said simply, not wanting to go into the details, especially to her brother.
Ron merely shrugged and turned to walk to the kitchens with his prized sweets. Neville approached Ginny and sat next to her on the couch.
â€śAre you in much pain?â€ť Neville asked, as he reached out and took her hand in his.
â€śOw!â€ť Ginny drew her hand back quickly. â€śYes, quite a bit, Neville,â€ť she snarled.
As the afternoon turned into evening, dinner was left by the wayside. Everyone had spent most of the day munching on snacks provided by the house-elves. Severus and Hermione decided to see the area on a sleigh ride with Albus and Minerva, as the sun was setting.
â€śAlbus, since we are going to go beyond the Countâ€™s property, we should cast a warming spell around us,â€ť Severus said as he drew his wand. He was about to cast a warming spell, when Albus raised his hand to stop him.
â€śNow, Severus. The fun of taking a sleigh ride is covering ourselves with these lovely blankets,â€ť said the older wizard as he moved a thick blanket over his and Minervaâ€™s legs.
Hermione smiled and pulled Severus back, knowing he was seriously close to telling Albus heâ€™d lost his mind.
â€śSeverus, this is romantic. We can cuddle up,â€ť Hermione said as she took a blanket from their feet and wrapped them both with it. â€śThere, see? Isnâ€™t this nice?â€ť she said as she placed her hand on his crotch.
Severus smiled and looked at her.
â€śI suppose cuddling up wouldnâ€™t be a bad thing,â€ť he said.
Ron had eaten too much candy and cake; he was now in his room, nursing the stomachache to end all stomachaches.
Lucius, in the meantime, paced in his room. He knew that Ginny was in the library with Harry and Neville. Somehow, Lucius needed to get the two suitors away from what he decided earlier would be his future wife. Thinking the best thing to do was make his presence known in the library, Lucius gave himself one last look in the mirror. He wore a pair of black trousers and an olive green silk shirt. His hair was held back with a tie the same color of the shirt. He hoped Ginny would like the relaxed-looking Lucius.
As he walked out of his room, he noticed Odin and Sage walking down the hall. Suddenly, an idea struck him.
â€śChildren, might I have a word?â€ť He smiled as the two Snape children happily ran towards him.
Severus and Hermione returned from the sleigh ride, desperately in need of some hot chocolate. Albus had insisted on them not using any warming spells. He had wanted them all to get the full effect of the beautiful winter night air after theyâ€™d gone past the borders of the Countâ€™s property. Severus suspected that Minerva had cast a warming spell on herself without Albusâ€™ knowledge. She was the only one who ever seemed to pull anything over on the old wizard. The pair dropped Hermione and Severus off at the castle and went off to continue the ride on their own.
â€śCan you believe how cold it was out there?â€ť asked Hermione as she walked quickly to the kitchen.
Severus followed her closely and began to undo his cloak.
â€śThat weather could turn the sun into a Popsicle.â€ť Severus went to the cupboard and found two large mugs, as Hermione opened the icebox and looked for the milk.
â€śAlbus had to have had some sort of warming spell on his robes,â€ť argued Hermione as she poured milk into the mugs with the melted chocolate, then heated up the mugs with her wand.
â€śWell, Minerva did,â€ť answered Severus as he stared into his steaming cup of chocolate.
â€śYouâ€™re kidding?â€ť Hermione put her hands on her waist and narrowed her eyes. â€śNo wonder she was all smiles.â€ť She noticed Severus looking at his mug as though it were a pensieve.
â€śWhatâ€™s wrong, love?â€ť
â€śYou forgot the marshmallows.â€ť
Back in the library, Ginny had chosen to sit at the window seat. She looked out into the night sky. The moon was full and bright. There were a few clouds moving slowly across the mountains. Behind her, Harry and Neville sat playing Muggle Scrabble. Every once in a while, Harry would look over Nevilleâ€™s shoulder at Ginny. He hadnâ€™t spoken to her since early morning, and wondered if he should attempt conversation.
As Harry was contemplating his next move with his would-be girlfriend, Neville stood and walked to the tray on the table with tea.
â€śGinny, would you like some tea?â€ť asked Neville.
She smiled and nodded. Hermione had bound her broken hand, and Ginny was in need of some painkillers. Hermione had also given her some tablets the Count had in his lab, which were natural.
â€śTea would be lovely. Thank you, Neville.â€ť
Neville poured Ginny a cup of tea and walked towards her. As he approached, he failed to notice one of the childrenâ€™s toy centaurs lying on the floor, and he tripped. The teacup flew up in the air and landed on Ginnyâ€™s lap.
â€śBloody hell, thatâ€™s scorching hot!â€ť yelled Ginny as she threw the cup off her lap. She stood and reached for the wool throw laying on the chair next to her and started wiping the tea from her skirt.
â€śOh, no! Ginny, Iâ€™m sorry.â€ť Neville was beside himself. The last thing he wanted to do was add to her misery. â€śI tripped; I should have been more careful.â€ť
â€śHere, Ginny. Iâ€™ll clean that up for you,â€ť Harry pointed his wand towards Ginny, only to have her stop him.
â€śNO! No, Harry. I really donâ€™t want any accidental spells hitting me,â€ť Ginny said, as she remembered the Stupefying Charm that Harry had hit Severus with.
â€śThat was an accident; I was drunk,â€ť Harry said in his own defense. Before he could say any more, Odin and Sage came running into the room.
â€śHarry, Harry, come quick, we found a Quidditch room in the dungeon.â€ť The children ran to Harry and began pulling at his arms. Harry, at hearing the word Quidditch, immediately perked up his ears.
â€śQuidditch room? What do you mean?â€ť he asked.
â€śThereâ€™s an entire room in the dungeons with a bunch of stuff,â€ť said Odin excitedly.
â€śCome on, Harry, youâ€™ve got to see!â€ť Sage pulled on Harryâ€™s sleeve until he began to follow them.
Lucius was looking on from behind the tapestry in the hallway. He had spent the last hour in the dungeons creating a room, which any Quidditch fan would have loved to spend eternity in. It had everything. Team and player statistics, trophies, brooms belonging to famous players, and balls used in the first Quidditch games thousands of years ago. Thanks to his laptop, which was also connected to the Wizardnet, Lucius had been able to make a copy of the worldâ€™s largest collection of Quidditch memorabilia, that was housed in the International Museum in Dublin. Harry would be gone for hours.
The Snape children were eager to help Lucius as well; they made sure the items were in the right place, making it look like the room had been there for years. With a few promises on his part about taking them to the British Museum, he made sure that Odin and Sage would keep Harry away from Ginny.
Lucius could now turn his attention to Neville, whom he would see to himself. All he needed to do was look at him, and the young wizard would run screaming like a banshee. As Lucius came out of his hiding spot, Hermione and Severus came walking from the kitchens.
â€śGood evening, Lucius,â€ť said Severus. â€śAre you on your way to the library also?â€ť
â€śYes, I thought I would do a bit of reading. Iâ€™ve heard Count Heinrich has a very old collection of dark arts manuscripts.â€ť
â€śYou two and your dark arts,â€ť Hermione said as she rolled her eyes. She knew, once a dark wizard always a dark wizard. The two Slytherins couldnâ€™t help it. It was a subject that fascinated the both of them. Luckily, they had no inclination to practice any of the spells they read about. She joined them in walking towards the library, hoping Ginny was also there.
As they walked into the library, Severus immediately set to the task of taking down the Christmas tree they had put up in there. There were three decorated trees in the castle. The largest one, which was over fifteen feet high, was in the living room. The smallest one was in the study; that one was five feet high. And the last one was the seven-foot tall pine in the library. Hermione had originally wanted every room to have a tree, much like her own home, but the castle had far too many rooms.
Hermione only briefly stood next to Ginny and asked her how her hand was. Once Ginny answered her, she smiled and walked toward the fireplace, where she picked up a book she had set on the table next to the leather chair the night before.
Severus, upon Hermioneâ€™s subtle suggestion, asked Neville to help him with removing the treeâ€™s decorations. This gave Lucius the opportunity to make conversation with Ginny.
â€śIâ€™m very sorry about your hand, Ginny,â€ť Lucius said. â€śIs there anything I can do to help you?â€ť
Ginny smiled and stared into his eyes. There was newfound warmth in them now that she had not noticed before. She wanted ever so much to kiss him senseless, as sheâ€™d been thinking about their last meeting all day. But much to her dismay, they were not alone in the room.
â€śThere isnâ€™t much that can be done,â€ť Ginny said. â€śI just have to wait for the bones to heal. Iâ€™m all right though, thank you. The only problem is Iâ€™ve hurt my wand hand, so Iâ€™ll not be hexing anyone for a while.â€ť They both laughed, and Lucius sat down across from her on the window seat.
â€śI am going to have a difficult time with my hair,â€ť she admitted. â€śIâ€™ll have to ask Hermione to braid it for me before she goes to bed.â€ť
â€śI can do that if you like.â€ť Lucius smiled, and she felt her stomach take a flying leap off of a non-existent cliff inside of her.
â€śI wouldnâ€™t want to be any trouble.â€ť Ginny didnâ€™t want to sound too anxious, and hoped her shaking voice didnâ€™t give away her nervousness.
â€śNo trouble at all. Here,â€ť he said as he stood and moved to her side. Lucius took hold of her shoulder and moved her so that she would have her back to him. Ginny lifted her legs and sat facing the window.
â€śHow is it that you know how to braid hair?â€ť she asked.
â€śI used to do this for Narcissa before she went to bed.â€ť He wondered if knowing he used to do this for his late wife would bother her.
â€śOf course. I sometimes forget you were once married. Iâ€™m sorry.â€ť She bit her tongue, thinking sheâ€™d somehow made him remember having lost the love of his life.
â€śItâ€™s all right, Ginny. I have moved on.â€ť He smiled as his hands went from her shoulders to her head. His fingers lightly massaged her scalp. Slowly, he gathered her long red hair into his hands. He moved the silken strands through his fingers, and when he looked up their eyes met in the reflection of the window.
â€śI loved my wife, Ginny. I took care of her in every way. It was my pleasure to make her happy. But that was a very long time ago,â€ť he said as his eyes bore into hers. â€śIt would be my pleasure now, to make you happy.â€ť
As Lucius and Ginny spoke quietly in their little corner of the room, Severus and Neville were nearly done taking down the decorations. To Severusâ€™ great joy and surprise, their task had gone with no incident whatsoever. He thought, as he placed an ornament on the table, that perhaps Neville had learned to control his clumsiness.
At that very moment, Neville â€” who was behind the tree â€” got his foot caught in a string of popcorn garland. He fell forward slightly before he caught his balance. Unfortunately, the tree was already on its way down.
Severus turned back towards the tree and stopped. He saw a tree coming at him. His face looked stunned, as the seven-foot tall pine tree came down full-force on top of him.
â€śOh no, Severus,â€ť Hermione jumped off the chair and ran towards her husband.
Neville stood paralyzed in his spot. Lucius and Ginny turned quickly to see the huge tree on the floor, and Severusâ€™ robes spread beneath it.
â€śGET THIS DAMNED TREE OFF OF ME!â€ť yelled Severus, as the tree shook on top of him. He was desperately trying to reach for his wand. Seeing this, Hermione ran and grabbed the wand, knowing her husband wanted nothing more than to cast a Killing Curse on Neville where he stood at that moment
Sensing it was time to make a hasty retreat, Neville decided to cut his holiday short.
â€śUmâ€¦Hermione, I think I should probably be going home. Iâ€¦Iâ€¦uhâ€¦should go look in on my Gran.â€ť He then took a handful of Floo powder and walked into the fireplace. â€śIâ€™ll send for my things.â€ť
Lucius, who had his wand at the ready, levitated the tree and moved it to a standing position.
â€śWhere is he! I swear, Hermione, Iâ€™ll do it this time, Azkaban be damned.â€ť
â€śSeverus, it was an accident. Please calm down.â€ť
â€śCalm down? Oh, right, easy for you to say. You donâ€™t have pine needles in every crevice of your body and tree sap all over you.â€ť
â€śCome on, then.â€ť Hermione took her very angry husband by the hand and began leading him out of the room. â€śLet me help you clean up. Maybe a nice hot soak in the tub will relax you, hmm?â€ť
As they left, Lucius cast a concerned look at his friend, then turned to Ginny.
â€śWhere were we, my dear?â€ť
Ginny wrapped her arms around his neck and raised herself on her toes.
â€śHere,â€ť she said, and she kissed him.
As the Snapes relaxed together in their tub, Hermione asked Severus where he hurt the most.
â€śHere,â€ť he said, pointing to the corner of his lip, and she kissed him. Heâ€™d had a very good day. He managed to get rid of Neville and finagled some time for his old friend with Ginny. It was almost too enjoyable, tripping Neville with the garland.
I\'m winding this story down. Ginny has already made up her mind and so has Lucius. And I think Severus has had enough torment. I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. Thanks for reading.
The Snapes go on holiday by ancientgir