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Worthy Child

Chapter Text

Severus held Harry's hand firmly as they walked into the village, down the road from Prince's Keep. His long frock coat swirled around his legs as a Warming Charm kept he, and Harry, comfortable in the bitter cold. Their destination was the woodsman at the end of lane, who had a small plot of Christmas trees.

"Is that Scrooge?"

"Blimey! You think it is?"

Severus turned a formidable glare a group of boys playing in the snow. Their chatter stopped immediately, but Harry started giggling.

"He's not Scrooge!" Harry said, walking by. "He's my dad!"

Severus sneered at the children.

The boys burst into heated whispers as they strode by, Harry skipping along to keep up. He didn't like people who were mean, like Dudley had always been mean to him.

"Dad? Will those boys get Christmas stockings full of coal?" Harry remembered his aunt screeching at him that coal was all he would ever get – she'd put a stocking up last year to prove it to him.

His dad looked down at him, his eyes sharp. "Something tells me you've experience with coal, son, but no, they may be mean spirited but Father Christmas is very forgiving."

Harry relaxed.

Angus, the woodsman, greeted them warmly before leading them into the forest. Severus was glad he'd given Harry Christmas mittens as his Yule present that morning as they pushed snow-covered trees. Renewing the Warming Charm on them both, Severus followed behind, listening as Angus relayed the origins of the Christmas tree.

His mind returned to Harry's question about coal, knowing Petunia had used Christmas traditions to torment the child.

"Dad! Hurry! We found a perfect tree!"

Severus stepped into a clearing, seeing Harry patting the scrawny branch of a tall tree, which leaned decidedly to the left. "It's perfect, son."

Harry sighed and wrapped his hands around his mug of hot cocoa. Max had gotten their Christmas tree from the forest and even helped them decorate it. Mixie had a pair of Christmas stockings to hang on the fireplace; one even had Harry's name on it! Harry'd been amazed to watch his dad decorate the room with a flick of his wand.

After lunch, Dad had taken him outside to teach Harry how to sled and they had flown down the hill in the backyard. Sledding was almost as fun as flying, Harry decided as he took a careful sip.

Feeling Harry burrow into his side with a sigh, Severus set the story he was reading aside and wrapped a quilt around them. The fairy lights twinkled in the surprisingly pretty Christmas tree, their stockings hung on the mantle. The aroma of fresh holly and ivy was pleasant and Harry was happy.

Tightening the arm around his son's shoulder, Severus kissed his head. Harry was easy to please and grateful for everything he received, but still reserved, something that hurt Severus' heart. How could anyone have treated a child so abysmally?

Severus would make this a prefect Christmas for Harry.