Arielle Potter: Book One

Arielle Potter is an unusual girl. Not only is she a witch, she is also the only one to thaw the heart of Severus Snape. Read how Arielle starts a family with the dour Potions Master in this, first, book of the series.

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14. Christmas Holidays

Christmas Holidays

November flew by quickly and Arielle still couldn't believe that she was a witch, though she was getting used to it day by day. While she was a bit scared and depressed for a few weeks after the dream, she quickly went back to her usual cheerful self, after professor Snape reassured her that professor Dumbledore knew about it and kept an especially sharp eye on professor Quirrell. Her scar still hurt every time she looked professor Quirrell in the back of his head, but now that she knew why it hurt, she tried to ignore him as much as she could.

The Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin was a tense one. It seemed that Gryffindor and Slytherin house were the biggest rivals. She felt lucky that she was a Ravenclaw. At first she didn't plan to go – intending to go to library to read a bit – but she was persuaded by Cedric who was a Quidditch player for his house – Hufflepuff. Therefore, she and Neville were found, bound in their warm cloaks, sitting on the benches in the Quidditch stadium watching the match unfold. While Arielle hadn't any interest in Quidditch, she did like flying. And she read the book that Cedric recommended – Quidditch Through the Ages – so she knew the basic rules of the game and let me tell you something – she wasn't interested in the least. Who would want to be in danger of getting a Bludger to your head anyway?

December came and with it snow. Professor Flitwick also came to the Ravenclaw Common Room to ask who would stay at Hogwarts for Christmas and who would be going home. Arielle was one of the first ones to sign up as she didn't have anywhere else to go… literally. She couldn't and wouldn't go back to the Dursleys – ever. She was so happy when professor Snape asked her if she wanted to spend the Christmas holidays in 'their' quarters that she ran in his arms and hugged him. He had stiffened at first, but then a few moments later his arms came around her as well.

She felt grateful to Neville and Cedric too. They had helped her with getting Christmas presents. It was the first time she had ever bought Christmas presents for someone and as she couldn't go to Hogsmeade yet (it was only allowed for third years and up) she couldn't buy the gifts. That's where Cedric and Neville came in. They had explained to her about Owl Orders and gave her some catalogues to choose presents from. She had been very happy with that and spent the whole night thinking about what presents to get for all her friends. She had gathered quite a small group already. While Cedric and Neville were her best friends, she also acquired friends from other houses and years as well. There were Fred and George Weasley (she considered them her older brothers), Terry Boot from her own house, Susan Bones from Hufflepuff and even Blaise Zabini from Slytherin. However, she wasn't very popular in that particular house. Therefore, they met each other in secret so that he wouldn't be shunned from his own house and she wouldn't be attacked or something similarly bad. There were also staff members who would get presents from Arielle, so she had to think really hard as to what to get them.

A week after she Owl Ordered the presents, she smiled as she saw Coco soaring through the window of her dormitory with several packages tied to her legs. They were charmed to be feather-light and didn't cause any problems to Coco. She untied them and grinned at the assorted presents. She had also ordered some wrapping paper of different colours and happily wrapped the presents. She giggled as she wrapped the present for Grandpa Albus. Since he loved crazy colours, she had bought a special wrapping paper just for him. It was a vivid purple with golden stars and moons on it. It reminded her of the dress robe her Grandpa wore sometimes.

Finally, the last lesson of the term ended and the students prepared to go home. Arielle had hugged both Neville and Cedric goodbye as she waved at them from the front doors. She sighed after the carriages left her sight and with a smile on her face skipped down to the dungeons where she was to go after she said her goodbyes to her friends. She knocked on the door and waited until professor Snape opened them. With a big grin she skipped inside and only just caught professor Snape rolling his eyes at her. She showed him her tongue and giggled happily as she saw him raise his eyebrow. Nothing could dampen her spirits that day, even though she worked on her homework all day long, so that she would be free to have fun in the holidays.

After finishing the last essay, she stretched her arms above her and looked around her room. It was still the pink and white colour as when she first entered it, but there were lots of personal things that she put in it. She didn't have many of them, but what she had meant a lot to her. She stood up from her chair and went to her bed where Caeryn lay. Picking the small kitten up she moved to the living room and sat down next to professor Snape who was reading some Potions book again. She leaned on his side and smiled when she felt him put his hand on her shoulders and draw her closer to him. She played with Caeryn until the small kitten fell asleep and Arielle just sat there, happy and content. She looked up to see professor Snape still reading the book, but there was an almost non-existent spark in his eyes that told her that he enjoyed the time they spent together as well.

Finally, the clock chimed ten and Arielle stood up, stretching herself, before picking up her sleeping kitten and then with a shy look on her face, she stepped up to professor Snape and pecked him on the cheek with a mumbled Good Night. Quickly she scampered to her room and changed her clothes to her sleeping gown. Putting Caeryn on her pillow, she went over to Coco and petted her for a bit, before yawning and making her own way to bed. Pulling her covers over her, she made herself comfortable as her eyes closed. Just as she was about to fall asleep, there was a small creak of her door and a bit of light seeped in. Soft footsteps were heard and Arielle held her breath. Hands tucked the blanket she was covered with snugly to her and a hand brushed through her hair as she heard a whispered, "Good Night, Child," and something soft touched her forehead briefly. She felt her eyes sting as she realized that professor Snape kissed her forehead. She buried her head deeper into her pillow and fell asleep with a small smile on her face.

Next morning, she woke up to a fantastic smell of pancakes and quickly hurried through her morning routine. After putting on her clothes, she walked out of her room and to the kitchens. Sitting down at her usual place she watched professor Snape as he prepared their breakfast. There was a cup of hot cocoa on the table already and she sipped happily from it. He remembered. There wasn't the familiar taste of the Nutritional Potions though and she happily realized that she finally gained the required weight. She was still slim, but there was a healthy look on her face now, and not the gaunt one she had when she first arrived at Hogwarts. A plate of still steaming pancakes was set in front of her and with a thankful smile to professor Snape, whom had sat himself opposite her, she attacked her breakfast with gusto. Even if she didn't learn any manners at the table, she had learned them while living with her Guardian over the summer and she was grateful for that, because watching Ronald Weasley eating made her sick. The plate was quickly cleared and she pushed it away from her with a satisfied smile on her face.

After breakfast she asked to be allowed to go out for a while and permission was granted. She put on warm clothes and skipped out on the grounds. She was surprised to see the Weasley twins making a snowman and joined them happily when they saw her and called out to her. She had never made a snowman in her life and the twins were happy to show her how. They even taught her how to make snow angels. It was quite funny really – all you had to do was fall back in the soft snow and move your legs and arms up and down. And when you stood back up again, there was a cute figure resembling an angel in the snow.

They were just in the heat of a snowball fight when they heard the bell for lunch. With glowing cheeks, red noses and giant grins they entered the Great Hall and sat down at the Gryffindor table. Ignoring the glare Ronald Weasley was giving her, she started an interesting discussion with the twins. She almost snorted in her pudding when she heard them talk how they got a detention for charming snowballs to pelt professor Quirrell. The rest of the day was spent playing in the snow with the twins some more and the evening reading on the couch. She went to sleep that night with a happy feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Finally, Christmas morning arose and she quickly put on one of her prettier dresses. She wanted to look good today. She cleaned up her bedroom a bit, stepped out in the living room and stopped in her tracks. There, in front of her was a big Christmas tree, decorated with different coloured balls and other decorations. There was a big silver star on top of it and a mountain of presents under it. She looked confused for a second, but then she saw that there were already some people present in the room. Grandpa, Uncle Filius, Auntie Minerva and Severus. All of them were smiling at her (well, Severus's smile was very small, but there nonetheless) and she couldn't help but smile back at them as she made her way to her usual seat next to Severus. She felt him put his arms around her and suddenly she was picked up and set on his lap. She looked at him in surprise. He never did that! But then he gave her another small smile and she relaxed and leaned back in his chest. Suddenly she was aware of the looks they were receiving from the others and raised her eyebrow. A laugh was heard from Grandpa and Uncle Filius and even Auntie Minerva was chuckling silently. She didn't know what they were laughing about until Grandpa said between gasps for breath, "You looked so much like Severus now, child. Both of you raising your eyebrows like that…"

And he was off laughing again. Arielle blushed and started giggling herself. There was even a small rumble behind her and she realized that Severus was quietly laughing himself. His hand pulled out his wand and a cup of hot cocoa floated to her and she grabbed it from the air as she took a sip. All of her family took their own cups of cocoa, tea or coffee and settled down for a bit, until it was time to unwrap the presents.

Suddenly, a burst of flame appeared next to Grandpa and Fawkes appeared as well. He flew to Arielle and settled on her lap, butting his head in her hand. She smiled down at him and started to pet him. A trill was heard throughout the room and everyone felt lighter somehow. Then, Grandpa cleared his throat and waved his wand at the presents. A few brightly coloured packages flew to their new owners. With a wink from him, Arielle watched as they opened their presents and opened hers as well. She smiled as she saw a dark green cloak after she unwrapped the neon orange wrapped present. She pulled it to herself and smiled at the softness of it. She stood up from professor Snape's lap and put it on as she twirled a bit in it, looking at it from all sides. She ran to Grandpa Albus and threw her arms around his neck, thanking him all over. A pet on her shoulder and a kiss on her head later, and she was back on her Guardian's lap. Next was Auntie Minerva's turn as red and gold packages flew around the room. After she unwrapped that one, she grinned happily and repeated the hug and thanking bit. It was a book on Wizarding Rituals that she loved to read about. Uncle Filius's present was a big box of Chocolate Frogs and a small book on some very useful every day Charms. Then it was professor Snape's turn. She felt really shy when she opened his present. It was a book on Potions that she saw in the Flourish and Blott's all those months ago and they didn't have it in the library. How he knew she wanted to read that particular book, she had no idea. She hugged him nonetheless and kissed him on the cheek again. Both of them were blushing after she pulled away. She turned herself around again and leaned back on his chest. The only difference now was that his hands encircled her waist and drew her closer to him as he rested his head on top of her own. She smiled at the gesture and shyly waved her wand and said the incantations for each of the presents she had gotten for her family. All of them chuckled when they saw what Grandpa's package looked like. Grandpa's eyes twinkled as he opened the small box and he laughed in delight as he pulled out a tin of sherbet lemons and two pairs of socks. He smiled at her and she blushed. He knew that she made them herself, apparently. Auntie Minerva's present was wrapped in an emerald green wrapping paper, since that was her favourite colour. She was rewarded with a warm smile as Auntie Minerva opened her box and saw a tartan tin full of her favourite biscuits. Arielle had baked them herself with the help from Severus. Uncle Filius on the other hand squealed in glee as he opened his present and revealed a bunch of his favourite sweets. He was the biggest sweet tooth apart from Albus Dumbledore. She felt very shy when she handed her present to Severus and moved from his lap so that he could open it as she had done with his other presents. She fumbled with her hands as she watched him with a baited breath. He opened the present painstakingly slow. How anyone could open a present so slow was a mystery to Arielle, and she only just stopped herself from biting her nails. Finally the box was opened and he pulled out the black jumper she had made for him in the late nights in the Ravenclaw Tower with the wool she bought. There was another small box inside of the bigger box and as he opened it, it contained a single herb. It was one of the rare herbs that were used in potions and she was delighted to hear that Neville had it in their greenhouses at home. Her gifts were put aside and she was picked up again and sat on his lap, this time facing him. His fingers lifted her face gently and she looked up to his eyes tentatively. What she saw made her eyes open widely. There was such gentleness in his eyes that Arielle felt her throat tighten. His finger was now touching her nose and he whispered to her so quietly that she was the only one who actually heard him, "Thank you very much. They are the most wonderful gifts I ever received."

He pulled her in a hug then and she put her hands around his neck as she buried her head in his neck. There was soft sniffling heard from Auntie Minerva's direction, but she didn't care. She was happy where she was now. A soft clearing of someone's throat brought her back to reality and she turned around to look at Grandpa. He motioned for her to look at the Christmas tree. She followed his look and noticed that there were still a few packages under the tree.

"Go on, child," she heard Severus say. "Open them."

She smiled at him and stood up from his lap. She sat down on her knees as she pulled a silver and green present to her. It was a charm bracelet from Blaise and she put it on immediately after reading the letter that accompanied it. It said that the five charms that were on the bracelet would protect her from some low-powered spells like Expelliarmus, some of the poisons, and a few more things. She smiled as she opened the package from the twins. There was a blue woollen jumper with a silver letter A at the front and a letter explaining that it was from their Mum, Mrs Weasley. Their gift was an old piece of parchment with an explanation on how to use it. It said that the incantation 'I solemnly swear I am up to no good' was the starting one and that 'Mischief managed' was the ending one. She smiled at their story as to how they nicked it from Filch's office once when they were still in their first year. Neville's present was a book on Muggle flowers and herbs and she grinned at the thought of her sending the exact same book to him. He sure must have had a laugh. From Cedric she received a small white gold necklace with a small emerald pendant on it. She put it on right away and felt warmth when the emerald touched her skin. There were some protection spells on it as well. She could tell. There was still one present though. She didn't know who sent it though. It was a medium sized chest that looked like it lived through better days. Pulling it to herself, she suddenly felt that it contained something very important. Touching the lock, she felt her finger tingle and the lock clicked open. She pulled the lid up and looked inside. There was a bundle wrapped in brown paper, a letter, a few photo albums, two small boxes that looked like they were ring boxes and a plush wolf toy that reminded her of something that happened long ago.

She took out the brown papered bundle first and unwrapped it. She heard gasps from her family and looked at them quizzically before turning her attention to the cloak in front of her. It was old and looked really worn out, but what caught her attention were the initials on it. J. H. P. She knew immediately whom the cloak belonged to. Her father. Hugging the cloak to her she felt tears prick at her eyes and set it aside to think about it later. She pulled out the small boxes next. One of them revealed a small gold ring with a diamond encrusted with emeralds in it. The other one had two golden bands. They were clearly her mother's engagement ring and her parent's wedding bands. She set them both on the cloak next to her and pulled out the photo albums next. She knew what she would find in them and she wasn't mistaken. There on the first page were her mother and father holding a small bundle with black hair and green eyes in their hands, smiling happily at the girl who was watching the picture. With tears flowing down her face, she turned the page and watched a group of people smiling and waving at her. There were her parents; a man with black hair and grey eyes, next to him was a man with sandy-brown hair and amber eyes who looked tired, but still happy. She noticed that there was another man, hiding behind the group. He was a small, fat man with watery blue eyes and mousy brown hair. She closed the photo album. She had all the time in the world to look at it. She turned her attention on the letter. Picking it up gingerly, she opened it and read it.

Dear Elle,

I wish you a very happy Christmas. It has come to my attention that you're not residing with the Dursleys anymore, but that your Guardian is now Severus Snape. It eases my heart to hear that he treats you well. I hope you enjoy your Christmas gifts. Most of them belonged to your parents, but I though that you deserved to know a bit about them. I knew them since I started at Hogwarts. You knew them only for a short time. I think it's time I returned them to you. 

Love Always,

R. J. L.

There were a few tear smudges on the paper and she suddenly realized that the man or whoever it was had a real hard time to part from those things. She looked at the last item in the box and pulled it to her chest. It was Mr Wolfy, her stuffed wolf, she suddenly remembered. It was her favourite toy when she was a baby. She closed her eyes as more tears slipped past her eyelids. She felt a soft hand on her shoulder and looked up to see professor Snape looking at her with concern. She leaned forward and let him hug her to himself as she cried softly in his arms. She heard the others come near and after a quiet question from Albus; they looked at the contents of the box as she cried in Severus's shoulders. There was a small sob heard from Auntie Minerva as she apparently opened the boxes. She heard another hand on her back, rubbing it softly. She turned around to see Grandpa kneeling on the floor next to them with his arms opened in invitation. She turned and let herself be buried within Grandpa's beard as he shushed her and explained in a quiet voice, "I know you probably won't remember him, but this letter that you received was from Remus Lupin, one of your father's best friends."

She heard a soft inhale of breath behind her and looked up to see Grandpa sending a warning look to Severus, and then he continued in as soft voice, "You knew him as Uncle Moony, I remember."

She suddenly recalled a tired looking man with a happy glint in his eyes as he threw her in the air and she squealed in glee. She buried her head in her Grandpa's shoulder as she said, "I remember him." She looked up pleadingly as he asked, "Can I see him? Please! I'll be good!"

Her back was rubbed softly again as she heard professor Snape say, "Of course you can see him, child. We wouldn't take him from you, nor would we prevent him from seeing you."

She looked at professor Snape with a grateful expression as he picked her up and they settled on the couch again.

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