AN: Thank you all so much for the overwhelming support! It is very deeply appreciated!
"So Zach is divorcing Kendall then?"
Rose rolled her eyes. Why did her grandmother and sister insist on discussing that insipid soap opera?
"Yes," Muriel answered. "He has the papers drawn up and everything. Today's episode was dedicated to him serving them to Kendall."
"Oh my God," Violet gasped.
Rose's glanced at the Santa poking his head out of the chimney. She couldn't help but notice that Violet refused to look at it. If Rose was a crueler person she would press the Santa down and watch it pop up. Violet's expression would be priceless.
Then again, it was the season for peace on earth and good will towards sisters. Better to leave her be.
"I wouldn't worry about Zach and Kendall," there was a spark in Muriel's eyes. "Kendall went to their deserted beach house, and Zach followed her. Right now, his car is broken down, and is blocking Kendall's garage."
Violet's expression was a mirror image of her grandma's "I guess they'll just have to spend Christmas together."
"They will," Muriel answered.
Rose glanced at the holly dangling from the chandeliers. Could this soap opera be any more cliched?
"You look like you're enjoying yourself."
Rose turned to her right. The boredom evaporated from her eyes. "Oh you know Victor, I do enjoy catching up on Stanley's Corner."
Victor held out a crimson plate stacked full of sugar cookies. "Don't tell me Grandma got you addicted to that soap opera."
"Do not worry," Rose replied. "I cherish my brain cells too much to ever consider voluntarily watching ten-seconds of that show."
"I'm glad to hear it," he answered. "If you ever expressed a tolerance for the show I'd have you committed to St. Mungo's, or at least check to make sure you weren't a polyjuiced Death Eater."
She chuckled. "I assure you, I am Rose Severa Snape, and am quite in my right mind."
"I am glad to hear it." He pressed the plate into her chest. "Go ahead and take a cookie."
"I am not particularly hungry for cookies at the moment."
"That's thestral dung and you know it."
He raised the plate until it was under her chin. "Mum put cinnamon in the icing, just how you like it."
Rose gave him a half smile and took a wreath cookie from the top of the pile.
Victor lowered the plate and grabbed a Santa cookie. "Thank you again for finding the Santa cookie cutter. I was afraid we would go without those cookies this year."
"It was no problem," Rose replied.
"How did you even know where to look for it?" Victor asked.
"It was just a hunch."
"Just a hunch?"
"Yes. I had a hunch that it was in the top right hand drawer, so I shared it with Mum."
"It was quite the hunch."
"Really, it was nothing special."
"Well, thanks all the same. The Santa cookies have always been my favorite."
"They taste like all the other Christmas cookies," Rose noted before taking a bite of her wreath.
"I don't know," Victor answered. "There's always been something special about the Santas."
"Why would you think that?" Rose asked before taking another bite.
"I think they are made with extra love."
"You only believe that because they are your favorite design."
"That's true, but I don't think that's the main reason," Victor answered. "I think it has more to do with Harry Potter than anything."
"Harry Potter?" Rose asked.
Victor nodded. "He gave Mum the Santa Christmas cookie cutter the Christmas before he died. At least that's what she told me."
"Harry Potter," Rose drawled as she envisioned her ghostly visitor levitating Dad's potions textbook.
"Anyway, thank you for finding it." Victor stuck the rest of the cookie in his mouth.
"Indeed," Rose finished her cookie.
"Here, take another one," Victor offered.
Rose reached for the plate.
"Victor! There you are!"
He glanced up. Rose froze.
Antlia rushed towards them. "Come to the doorway with me."
"Why?" he asked.
"Because Carina is there," Antlia giggled.
"So she's waiting under the mistletoe for you."
Rose gave Victor a look. "Did Mum and Dad hang mistletoe this year?"
"I don't think they did," Victor drawled.
"No," Antlia's smirk was identical to that of Lucius. "But I may have hung some."
Before Victor could respond, Antlia grabbed his arm and began to drag him away. Rose leaned over and grabbed a Santa cookie. Then, she stared at it.
Were the Santa cookies all that different from the others and she had not noticed until now?
"No seriously, don't spoil me," Violet continued. "It's enough for me to know that there are rumors that Ryan may have switched the DNA results."
"I won't," Muriel replied. "But all the rumors are that the baby is Zach's after all."
Rose groaned before biting into her cookie. If she listened to any more of this drivel she would be driven to drink half of the remaining egg nog.
She sauntered towards the center of the room.
"Once I showed them your research, the German government believed everything."
"They will not be putting any of the squib cure into their water supply," Draco announced.
"That is a huge relief," Severus began.
Draco exhaled. "Indeed it is."
"You have almost single handedly saved Germany," Severus continued.
"I couldn't have done it alone," Draco replied. "You played an enormous role in helping me. If it wasn't for your research I would have been laughed right out of the Reichstag."
"True," Lucius answered. "But we needed a diplomat, and you were all that and more."
"Personally," Draco took a deep breath. "I could not be happier that the negotiations are over. It was stressful enough to keep everything under wraps, but knowing that they may not believe me and begin poisoning their own citizens was enough to keep me awake at night."
"I never had doubt that you could persuade them with the truth," Severus replied.
Draco took a sip of his egg nog.
"Indeed," Lucius answered. "I had every confidence that you could do it."
"Thank you," Draco had a slight blush.
"How soon will word get out about the German's decision?" Lucius asked.
Severus took a sip of Gluhwein from a blue boot shaped glass.
"They wanted to wait until after the New Year so that as many people know about it as possible. In their words, 'we can't allow the Ministry to sweep this under the rug by focusing everyone's attention on the holidays,'" Draco replied.
"No, they cannot," Lucius answered.
"I promised that I would not say anything until after they released their findings," Draco replied. "Still, I will have Victor working on the announcement over the break so we can release it as soon as possible."
"That is great to hear," Severus replied.
"Indeed it is," Lucius scanned the room. "Where is your speech writer anyway?"
Draco craned his neck and hummed. "I don't know. I saw him standing over there, but he must have run off somewhere."
"He is in the doorway," Rose interrupted
The men turned to her.
"Excuse me?" Draco asked.
Rose pointed in the direction of the doorway. All eyes then fell on the kissing couple in front of them.
Severus scowled. "I told you not to hang mistletoe anywhere near my house."
Lucius smirked. "I didn't hang that sprig of mistletoe."
"Then who did?" Severus asked.
From across the room, Antlia winked.
Lucius winked back.
Severus exhaled, "Of course she did."
"She's my little genius," Lucius bragged.
"Somebody better go over and make sure that isn't enchanted," Draco began. "The last thing we need is another incident."
"Oh come on," Lucius began. "Let the girl have her fun."
Draco frowned. "As I recall we allowed you to have some fun one year with the mistletoe. It took us an entire hour to get Rose out from under it, and she was bawling the entire time because Scorpius refused to kiss her."
Rose darted off. There was no need to dwell on her eight year old self screaming for her best friend to give her a peck on the cheek.
"Oh they can be fun this time of year."
Rose stopped and turned to her left. Speaking of the devil…
"So I told that student I was more than happy to give her an exceeds expectation, provided she could point out her in-text citations." Scorpius held a star cookie in one hand and a glass of egg nog in the other. "I didn't hear a word from her for the rest of the week."
Ginevra shook her head. "I swear you get the worst students."
"I don't know," Scorpius replied. "They haven't charmed my desk shut or performed a bat bogey hex on me. I've heard that under the right circumstances, that can happen to a professor"
Ginevra blushed. "I suppose it would be rather rude of someone to do that."
"It would be," Scorpius took a bite of his cookie.
"Are you looking for the egg nog table as well?"
Rose turned to her right and smiled. "Hello Grandpa."
He limped towards her.
Rose frowned. "You need to use your cane more. It would be easier for you to walk if you did so."
"I'm fine," he replied before finishing his Santa cookie. "My leg feels great right now."
"Still, if you feel any discomfort…"
"You'll brew me a potion to help ease my pain."
Rose's smile returned. "For you, I would."
Wilford took her hand. "I'm really glad you were able to make it. Your grandma and I were wondering if you planned on coming."
"Why would I not come?" Rose asked.
"I don't know," Wilford replied. "The way your parents were talking though, it sounded like you wanted to cancel Christmas."
"I suppose I was rather irate earlier in the month," Rose admitted.
"Nobody could blame you for being upset with everything that's happened."
Grandpa Wilford lowered his voice. "How are you feeling now?"
Rose swallowed. "I will not lie, it is still difficult to wrap my mind around what has happened this past month. Yet, I think I am coming to grips with everything."
"I cannot imagine what you're going through," Wilford replied.
"I will survive it," Rose answered.
He rubbed her hand. "Well, just always know that we love you. Regardless of what you're going through, everyone in this room will love and support you."
Rose choked. "Thank you Grandpa."
"Excuse me Rose." Hermione rushed past her daughter and called, "Severus?"
He turned his attention to her, "What is it Love?"
"The elves say that dinner will be ready in ten minutes and," her eyes widened. "Is that mistletoe?"
Severus furrowed his eyebrows. "Unfortunately yes."
"Who hung it?" Hermione asked.
"Antlia," Severus answered. "Fortunately, Draco is taking it down for us."
Draco motioned for Orion to come to him. The boy set down his toy truck and obeyed. Draco said a few words to him before grabbing him and raising him. Orion batted at the air until he had a firm grasp on the mistletoe. Then, he tugged at it until it was firmly in his grasp.
"You know, you've never kissed me under the mistletoe," Hermione noted.
"Why ever would I want to kiss you under the mistletoe?" Severus asked before taking a sip of his Gluhwein.
"I don't know," Hermione replied. "It just seems romantic."
"Love," Severus purred. "I do not need mistletoe to be romantic."
Before she could get another word in, Severus crashed his lips into hers.
Grandpa Wilford snickered while Rose released his hand.
"They really are sickening sweethearts," she muttered.
"True," he caught his breath. "But it warms my heart to know that my baby girl has someone who will treat her well. In the end, that's all I ever wanted for her, to have a loving family."
"Indeed," Rose's lips curled up. "We are indeed a loving family."
"No Orion," Draco called. "Don't run around with that."
"Why not?" Orion asked.
"Because you might get kissed if you hang it over your head," Antlia called.
"Yuck!" he threw it to the ground.
Rose's smile grew.
There really was no Christmas like a Snape Christmas.