“Bella, what the fuck!”
Hermione had immediately bolted from their bed when she heard the loud thumps downstairs and found the other side of the bed empty. After she’d told her girlfriend about the muggle-folklore involving Santa Claus, it had taken her enormous effort to convince Bellatrix to just go to sleep instead of stay up and find out if the man in red was real.
The Gryffindor witch halted in her tracks, softly skidding on the hardwood floors in her winter socks as she noticed a few shadows in the darkness. What on earth was Bellatrix doing skulking around at night? Did she catch some burglars red-handed? She twirled her wand between her fingers.
Of all the things Hermione expected to see, Bellatrix poking her wand at an unconscious Santa Claus was not one of the possibilities. She blinked. What?
“So, apparently he’s real,” Bellatrix huffed, “but he’s no fun at all.”
“What in Merlin’s beard did you do to him?”
The dark witch shrugged, “I’d forgotten about him to be honest, but I got hungry and wanted a snack. That’s when I saw him messing with our stockings and I thought he was a thief.”
Hermione willed herself to stay calm, “that doesn’t answer my question, though.”
“I fired every hex at him that came to mind. It was only when I came closer that I realized he looked like the man from your stories,” Bella stopped poking the unconscious man and looked at Hermione, “he’s Santa, right?”
“He sure looks like him…”
Hermione came closer as well and cursed loudly when she cast a diagnostic spell on the man. He wouldn’t be waking up any time soon. Bella had made sure of that. She scratched her curly head when her girlfriend asked her again whether he was the real deal or just a regular thief with a funny outfit.
“Only one way to find out, I guess. Did he leave presents?”
Bellatrix looked in her stocking and squealed, “he did! I told you I wasn’t on the naughty list!”
The younger witch rolled her eyes. Sometimes Bella was far too gullible for her own good. But she had to admit those stockings had been empty when they went upstairs a few hours ago. Still, Hermione wasn’t convinced.
“He could still be an impersonator. I suppose we better check if there’s a sleigh somewhere pulled by flying reindeers.”
Bellatrix summoned their shoes and coats before they ventured outside. It was the coldest year yet and the whole of England was covered in a thick layer of snow. Hermione shivered when the first winter breeze hit her in the face. Why was it too much to ask to just have an early night in her comfortable warm bed?
“Salazar’s tits,” Bellatrix muttered as she looked up on their roof.
Hermione felt her jaw go slack as perched next to the chimney was indeed a big red sleigh pulled by nine reindeers that casually stood waiting as if it were the most normal thing in the world. Realization dawned upon the golden witch and she cursed.
“Shit, Bella! You almost killed the real Santa Claus!”
“It was an accident,” Bellatrix defended herself, “I’m sure he won’t put me on the naughty-list for it.”
“Maybe not for knocking him out thinking he was a burglar, but for ruining Christmas? Oh yes, he will!”
Bella frowned, “ruining Christmas? How?”
“There’s still thousands of other houses he needs to visits this night! Millions even,” Hermione hissed, desperately trying not to wake up any neighbours.”
“Indeed,” Hermione chewed her lip, a bad nervous habit she couldn’t unlearn, “let’s see if we can wake him up.”
“Kitten, I threw at least fifteen hexes at him in a span of five seconds,” the eldest Black sister raised her eyebrow, “he’s out for the rest of the night. Trust me.”
“That’s it then. No more Christmas for us,” Hermione’s voice hitched, “we’ll get coal for the rest of our lives.”
But Bellatrix wasn’t listening. She seemed lost in thought while tapping her wand against her chin rhythmically. Suddenly, she turned on her heels and marched back inside. She started rummaging through the unconscious man’s pockets and when Hermione entered their home as well and saw her, she scoffed.
“Really? First you give him a concussion and then you steal his belongings?”
“Retract those claws, kitten. I’m merely trying to find out his secrets.”
Hermione tilted her head, “secrets?”
“Have you looked at him? He’s fatter than a troll and yet he manages to slide through our chimney? He carries millions of presents on him and delivers them to millions of houses in one night? Kitten, Santa Claus is a wizard.”
Hermione simply gaped. The thought hadn’t even occurred to her. She’d always assumed it was folklore and made up by muggle-parents who bought the gifts fort heir children themselves. At least in the Wizarding World it wasn’t a secret. Everybody knew.
Bellatrix suddenly fished a wand from the man’s inner pocket, ‘aha! I knew it. Sliding through chimneys? Wanna bet he just apparates? Carrying so many gifts in a single bag? Ha, he has an enlargement and featherlight spell cast on it. Flying reindeers? My ass! Those are just regular reindeers that have been given a potion.”
“That’s all very nice, but how does that help us solve this problem?”
“Well, if Santa’s a wizard… then two witches surely can do his job for him?”
Gryffindor’s Golden Girl, Brightest-Witch-of-her-Age, frowned, “uh?”
“Kitten. We’ll deliver the presents! We save Christmas and Santa Claus will owe us forever,” Bellatrix grinned like a maniac at her own devilish idea.
“I mean, I’m not sure he’ll see it that way seeing as you endangered Christmas in the first place,” Hermione sighed, “but I guess we owe it to the children who will otherwise be devastated in the morning when they find their empty stockings.”
Bellatrix waved her girlfriend’s words away, “for the children. Yes, yes, whatever. Now put on an extra sweater and socks and find your gloves! We’re going sleighing!”
“Do you know how to fly that thing?” Hermione asked as she summoned the extra clothing for the both of them.
“Can’t be that hard? I once enchanted one of the coaches at Hogwarts and flew it over the Forbidden Forest. How different is a Thestral from a reindeer?”
“Very different, Bella. Very, very different.”
The dark witch merely shrugged and took one last look at the unconscious man. After a short reflection, she wrote a quick note and placed it next to his head before yanking his Christmas hat from his white hair and shoving it on top of her own curls.
“Santa’s coming to town bitches!”
Hermione couldn’t resist a giggle as she followed her girlfriend outside and locked the door behind them. They clambered into the sleigh after reassuring the reindeer they had no bad intentions and found a scroll that never seemed to end.
“Lyss, sassy but nice, Germany,” Hermione read out loud, “this must be his list because the names for the whole of America are already crossed out,” she eyed the scroll and sighed, “looks like he still had most of the world to cover.”
“Better get started then. What was it he says again before taking off?”
“Ho, ho, ho.”
The older witch grinned and slapped the reins to alert the reindeers, “hoe, hoe, hoe.”
“We’re off, boys! Put your hoofs into it!” Bellatrix shouted before squinting at all the buttons, levers, and arrows on the dashboard of the sleigh, “looks like we gotta set it for Germany now,” she twisted and twirled until the settings were right and nodded, “you press the button, kitten, I’ll steer the reindeer.”
Hermione chewed her lip again as she watched how Bellatrix struggled to hold the reins as the nine reindeer began to grow restless. The sleigh was hovering in the air and began to buzz as the magic came to life again. Eventually the Gryffindor witch pushed the button and they disappeared with a loud pop.
Only to reappear above Germany seconds later.
Bellatrix cackled, “the entire sleigh is a PortKey, that’s brilliant! Now, run boys! We’ve got presents to deliver. Kitten, you are responsible for the paperwork. Who’s first on the list?”
“Aaron, sweet and quiet,” Hermione stammered while trying to hold onto the parchment.
Bellatrix slapped the reins again willing the reindeer to go faster. She lost control a few times, causing the sleigh to bump and roll in the air, but the animals seemed undeterred and kept going. They went fast. Faster than the Nimbus 2021 and the biting cold tore through their clothes, but Bella was smiling nevertheless.
“Isn’t this fun?” she shouted at Hermione who was gripping at the edges of the sleigh for dear life.
Bellatrix steered the reindeers to the left in a sharp turn while clutching Santa’s wand between her teeth so she could summon the first batch of presents. She’d make sure Christmas would be perfect this year. All presents delivered correctly and in record time. She was nothing if not ambitious.
Hermione shrieked when the sleigh skidded past a chimney.
“No, I don’t like flyiiiiiiing!”