And here it is! Susan's Christmas Drabble! (Er, not drabble, it's pretty long. ^^;) Merry Christmas!
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If there was one thing that Helga liked to watch, it was people glaring at each other. Not because she relished fights—oh no, quite the opposite, in fact. But they just...they just looked so silly. Plus, it looked extra silly when Rowena and Salazar were glaring at each other and poor Godric was looking back and forth between the two, trying to figure out which one he should glare at.
"Morons!" Rowena said. "I am surrounded! By! Incompetent! Morons!"
“I am not a moron!” Godric said indignantly. “You’re just—you just—you won’t even listen to anything we say!”
“Did you ever even bother to consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, I might have a reason for not using any of your suggestions?”
“No!” Godric shot back, with the triumphant air of one who is sure they have the perfect comeback. A second later, his face fell with the look of one who has realized that he’s just proved his opponent’s point.
“Well, my reason,” Rowena said, “Is that all of your ideas...are idiotic.”
“Well—...” Godric said. “Well, you do it then, if you’re so clever!” He threw his quill down on to the table, sat back in his chair and sulked.
“What an excellent idea,” said Rowena.
“Rowena School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” Godric said, sinking down in his chair.
“Isn’t it already?” Salazar slid in.
“Salazar, your sarcasm is not helping!” Rowena said.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll try to make my sarcasm contribute to the group as a whole next time.”
“This is wasting my time,” Godric said.
“You!” Rowena said, whirling on him. “You, you, you! It doesn’t always have to be about you, you know! Not everything revolves around you!”
“I—I know that!” Godric blustered.
Immediately: “He’s lying,” Salazar said.
“No, you really don’t, Godric,” Rowena said. “You..you are the most self-centered, utterly...utterly conceited person I have ever had the keen displeasure of meeting!”
“Like you’re not self-centered,” Godric said.
“Not nearly as self-centered as you,” Rowena said.
“Oh ho ho,” Salazar said under his breath, though not nearly quietly enough to prevent the rest of the table from hearing him. When they looked at him, he added for clarification: “She’s lying, too.”
“Salazar, all you ever do is sit back and criticize!” Rowena said. “You never actually do any work yourself—you can’t just point out the flaws in the work of others when you haven’t even done any of the work yourself! You can’t do that!”
“Yes I can, I do it all the time,” Salazar replied.
“Why won’t anyone liiiiiisten to meeeee—”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Godric, do stop being such a baby.”
“I’m not being a baby, I’m just—”
“Insufferable fool, silence!”
“You’re as bad as he is, Salazar, so why don’t you try that?”
“—trying to get everybody…hey, why isn’t anyone listening to me? This—”
“Don’t tell me what to—”
“Godric, I’m warning you—”
“—isn’t fair! For Christ’s sake, why doesn’t anybody—”
“—do, I’m perfectly capable of—”
“—CAN’T BELIEVE YOU HAVE THE NERVE TO—”
“—OH, SO I HAVE TO YELL IN ORDER—”
“—ONE OF THE MOST RIDICULOUS—”
“—BEHAVING LIKE CHILDREN, I—”
“Hey, look!” said Helga. Three sets of furious eyes immediately snapped onto
her. A bit taken aback by this, she nevertheless continued bravely onwards. “It’s a potato! Wiiiiiith, a stick! Tada!” She made it dance. “Da da da dada da dada da, doo doo doo—no?”
“No,” Helga affirmed, trying to smother her smile. I love how I’m the only one who ever laughs at my jokes, she thought.
“Helga,” Rowena said, “We don’t have potatoes in Scotland yet.”
“Goddammit,” Helga said.
Everyone else at the table tried not to show their exasperation. “Helga,” Rowena said wearily, “It would be nice if you would please stop conjuring things that have not been invented yet into existence. Thank you.”
“Right. Sorry,” Helga said. The potato vanished with a Poof of Historical Accuracy. Helga looked sadly at the lonely stick.
When she looked up again, the three had resumed their quarrel. Helga sighed.
“Maybe we should just...stop here for today?” she asked.
“Finally, a woman with some sense!” Godric said. Helga winced as she saw Rowena seething at the comment. Now it sounded like she had been picking sides, like she had been allying with Godric. Drat. She hadn’t meant that, not at all.
And he had mentioned the “woman” thing. Hoo boy. The last time this issue had
come up, Rowena hadn’t stopped ranting for hours. There was a good side and a bad side to the way that Godric treated women: he was always exceedingly kind and chivalrous and took care of their every need; but, on the other hand, he always treated them like they needed their every need taken care of—which angered Rowena, who liked to remind people that she could take care of her every need herself, thankyouverymuch.
But, to Helga’s relief, Rowena had decided to ignore The Women Issue.
“Sense?” Rowena shrieked. “Sense?! Oh, yes, stopping work is sensible? I’ll tell you what’s sensible!” She paused, opened her mouth, and then closed it again.
“What’s sensible is, is…is not not stopping work,” Rowena finished, somewhat lamely. She took a deep breath. “Well, I’ll tell you what’s not sensible!”
“Stopping work?” Salazar said smoothly, and then looked at Helga to see if she had laughed. She had.
“Yes, Salazar, as a matter of fact,” Rowena said. “And do you want me to tell you why, exactly, that is so insensible? Hmm?”
“Not really,” muttered Godric.
“Well, I’m going to,” said Rowena, “anyway.” She grabbed the scroll from Godric’s hand.
“Hey!” Godric yelped. “Hey, give that back!”
Rowena rolled her eyes. “Would it kill you to relinquish control for maybe one minute?”
In response, Godric snatched the scroll back.
Rowena must have sensed that now as not the time for a clash of wills, because she didn’t as much as bat an eyelash. “Fine,” she said. “You read it, then.”
“The scroll,” she said impatiently. “Read it. Read—alright, we’ve been working on designing the school for about four months, right? Let’s hear what we have so far. Read it.”
Godric unrolled the scroll and read:
Hogwartes Schoole of Witchcrafte and Wizardrie
He put the scroll down.
They waited for him to continue.
“That’s all?” Helga blurted out.
“That’s all,” Rowena said smugly.
“I still don’t like that name,” Helga muttered into the silence. “Sounds like a deformed subspecies of Acromantula.”
Everyone ignored her.
“Rowena,” Godric said at last, “It’s Christmas Eve. Don’t you think that that, at least, merits a break?”
“Oh heavens, no,” Salazar said. “What, a little thing like Christmas Eve spare us from three whole more hours of work?”
“Look,” Godric said to Rowena. “If I add something more to the parchment, can we just call it a day?”
Rowena sighed, then nodded.
“Great!” Godric said. He thought a bit, then added in smaller letters underneath the title:
Beinge a schoolle foundede by Godrick Griffindor, Helga Hufflepuffe, Rowenna Rayvennclaw, and Salazar Slitherin.
Three heads leaned in to take a look at it.
“It has to be you first, of course,” Rowena said. “It always has to be you first.”
“You forgot the two dots over the ‘a’ in my name,” Helga said. Godric obligingly put them in.
“You couldn’t,” Salazar had sneered. “You couldn’t write a song. I don’t think so, Helly.” (He knew she hated it when he called her Helly.) “It’s not your fault, it’s just that you simply haven’t the brains.”
That was it. Helga had taken the challenge.
And now here she was, sitting at this desk, staring at a painfully blank roll of parchment because her sheer stubbornness wouldn’t let her do otherwise.
Helga realized she didn’t have a quill. She swore under her breath and fumbled in the pockets of her robe until she found one, slammed it on the table, and scowled.
Alright, Helga thought, breathing deeply, alright. So I’m going to write this song. Meaning, this song is going to be written by me. Okay. What do I write it about?
She thought a moment, and then decided upon hippogriffs. She’d write about hippogriffs. She liked hippogriffs.
Smiling with satisfaction, she dipped her quill into the bottle of ink and began to write...
God reste ye merrye hyppogryfffes
Lette nothing you dismay
We love you, O, you hyppogryfffes
We love you Everye Day
O How I love my hyppogryffe
I hope thatte he will stay
O, tidings of comfort and joy
There, she thought, beaming. She reread her words a second time. It was loving and simple and sweet, and that was the way she liked things.
It’s a bit short, though, she thought. I think I’ll add a second verse.
And she did.
God rest ye Merrye hyppogryffes
Let nothing you dismay
O worry notte, you hyppogryffes,
And Worrie notte will they
And all you other hyppogryffes
Will neverr be afraied
O, tidings of Comforte and Joy
She winced. Hippogriffs were notorious for being paranoid—and that verse would
definitely not help. Ah well, she thought, They can’t read, anyway.
God rest ye merrye Hyppogryffes
Lette nothing you dismay
O feerse, yet kinde, are hyppogryffes
They never loose their way
Moste beautifull are hyppogryfffes
Most nobel are they
O, tidings of Comforte ande Joy
Helga smiled. There, that one was good. With a sense of accomplishment, she titled the song:
God Reste Ye Merrye Hyppogryfffes
Beinge a Cristmass Songe by Hellgä Hufflepufff
She added a fourth “f” to the end of “Hufflepuff,” just for good measure.
Salazar’s sides ached from laughing so hard. “Hippogriffs?” he said in incredulous delight. He wiped tears from his eyes. “Oh-h!” he said, chuckling. “We love you, O, you hippogriffs / We love you every day...you’ve such a childish mind, Helga, it never ceases to amuse me.” He threw his head back and began to laugh again. “Only you could have come up with something as truly idiotic as this.”
Blushing, Helga snatched the scroll away from Salazar. She felt humiliated and pathetic and furious all at one, and she didn’t like it.
“I’m sorry, Helga, but,” said Salazar, once he had calmed down a bit. “I really must ask: hippogriffs?”
“I—I like hippogriffs,” Helga said lamely. She studied her feet.
“Oh, leave her alone, Salazar,” Rowena said, from across the room. Rowena was standing on a table, doing some very complicated wandwork to put up decorations that made the room absolutely enchanting.
Godric, Salazar, and Helga had claimed various reasons for staying at Rowena’s overnight (“I wouldn’t want to leave a woman alone—something might happen to you!” “I live too far away.” “My house got attacked by, uh, magpies. Yeah.”), none of them admitting that the real reason was because none of them wanted to be alone for Christmas Eve.
“Fine,” Salazar said, and returned to the book he had been reading. Helga glared at the cover. It was a small book; black, and threadbare. Helga briefly toyed with the idea of grabbing the book from Salazar and tearing it in half, but the humiliation of Salazar laughing at her song was still to fresh—she couldn’t bear to be in his presence any longer, she was too embarrassed. And so when Godric returned, lugging in a huge pine tree, she took the excuse to go and talk to Godric instead.
The party. A feast, a tree, decorations, and wine. Helga was giggly and threw food at people; Rowena was charming and brilliant and flirtatious and, once, she had dared to let her hair down, quite wild; Salazar, ever the introvert, moved from person to person, talking to each one individually; Godric got roaringly, unbelievably drunk.
What more can be said?
Helga couldn’t sleep.
It was a funny thing, she reflected, because after Godric passed out, she had begun to feel really sleepy. She barely remembered how Rowena had gotten Godric to his chambers, and then she remembered Rowena coming back, and everything was just one warm, fuzzy blur, a daze of fragmented memories, and then Rowena passed out, too, so Salazar had to carry Rowena up to her room and then Helga pretended to pass out because she wanted Salazar to carry her but Salazar had seen right through it and laughed at her some more and Helga got angry again and tried to walk upstairs herself but ended up tripping on the staircase and Salazar had laughed and laughed so Helga had thrown her shoe at him.
But the funny thing was, she couldn’t sleep. She had felt so, so sleepy and dazed during the party, but she was Wide Awake Sober now.
Helga sighed and squeezed her eyes shut, willing sleep to come, but it didn’t. Finally, she gave up. She knew from experience that if she didn’t get to sleep in half-an-hour, she wasn’t going to get to sleep for a long time, so she might as well do something else, or else she’d just toss and turn for hours, getting more and more frustrated, until she did something stupid.
Well, more stupid than usual.
Helga slipped out from under her covers, and tried to tiptoe quietly across the room without waking Rowena, but ended up tripping over her own feet and thudding facedown on the floor. She stayed there a moment, hating the world. Then she picked herself up and exited the room, leaving the sleeping Rowena behind.
He seemed surprised to see her. “Why are you up, Helga?”
He was sitting in front of the fire, on the couch.
“Why are you?”
“I asked first.”
“So I asked second.”
Salazar chuckled. “Come on, out with it, Helga.”
She shrugged, walked to the couch, sat down next to him. “I couldn’t sleep.”
He nodded, looking at the fire.
“Well?” she asked, after a while.
“Why are you up?”
“Why not?” he replied.
She felt like strangling him.
He turned to face her. Blonde pigtails tumbling down over sleepy-eyes encircled by black rings from lack of sleep. Arms hugging her knees to her body. A white nightdress. She looked young.
“You couldn’t sleep?”
He leaned forward and gently traced the rings under her eyes with his light fingers. “It looks like you haven’t been able to sleep quite often lately. Has this been happening a lot?”
She nodded again, trying not to melt under his touch.
He stared at her a moment, and then began to laugh.
“What?” she asked, her face burning up, immediately hating herself for ever thinking the words melt, touch, and Salazar in the same sentence with such fierce passion she almost punched him. “What?”
“You look like a raccoon,” he said, now laughing helplessly.
She went an even darker shade of red and stood up. “I’m going to bed now.”
“No, no, Helga, stay,” he said, trying to calm himself down. “Stay, I’m sorry; stay.”
As though she was doing him a big favor, Helga conceded, though she made a big point of not looking at him.
“You made fun of my song,” she whined.
Because it was cute and adorable and I love you. “Did I?”
She glared at him, but he didn’t mind; he was too busy rejoicing over the fact that he had regained the privilege of eye contact.
“No, really, I liked your song,” Salazar said. “It was, er, it was…very nice.”
She looked at him, and then said doubtfully, “You did?”
“Yes,” said Salazar, “I did.”
“So then apologize.”
He looked at her sharply. “What?”
She was smiling now. “You made fun of it. You hurt my feelings. You have to apologize.”
He hoisted a lofty look onto his face. “My dear, a Slytherin never apologizes.”
She laughed, and realized that he was holding open the book that he
had been reading earlier. The black, threadbare one. “Is it good?”
“What?” he said.
“The book,” she said, “The one you’re reading. Is it good?”
“Wha—oh, yes,” he said, looking down at the book in his hand. “Yes, it’s the diary of some loony old witch I found in Rowena’s bookshelves. Some witch named Gertie Keddle.” He scornfully tossed the book onto the floor. “Every entry is labeled ‘Tuesday.’ Apparently, she only knew the name of one of the days in the week.”
“That’s not fair,” Helga defended, “Maybe she only wrote in her diary every Tuesday.”
There was something so cute and naïve and inexplicably adorable about this statement that Salazar almost laughed, but he quickly refrained himself, remembering how she usually reacted to his laughter.
So he gave her a quick kiss on the top of her head instead.
She looked at him in surprise.
“Er, mistletoe,” he said, by way of explanation, and immediately hated himself. What a stupid excuse, oh God, he’d screwed, up, how could he have done that—there wasn’t even any mistletoe!—what had he been thinking, she’d hate him forever…
“There isn’t any, you know,” she said, and when he looked at her, ready to climb into a hole and die, he saw that she was smiling.
And Salazar was ecstatic.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said, grinning, and ohGodhewassohappyhethought
hewasgoingtoexplode. “I hear they don’t even use it in Paris now-a-days anymore.”
“Well, what do they use?” she said, her chin on her knees, smiling like an angel at him.
She could really be quite charming, when she wanted to.
Salazar took a quick look upwards. They were sitting directly underneath a huge, ornate chandelier. “Er, chandeliers,” he said.
And still, she made no move.
“Oh, well, uh, you don’t have to,” he said quickly, and Goddammit of course she didn’t want to kiss you, you stupid fool, who would want to kiss you? “I mean, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, that’s perfectly all right, I mean, it’s a stupid tradition anyway—” He broke off, staring at the fire again, contemplating throwing himself in.
“No!” she said, and she sounded so desperate that he turned to look at her in surprise. She blushed. “I mean, um, no, it’s fine…”
Salazar smiled nervously, relieved. “Oh. Good.”
And still, she made no move.
“Scared?” he teased.
“You’ll laugh at me again because I’m a bad kisser.”
“No you’re not.”
“You’ll laugh at me anyway.”
“I think,” she said, “I think…I don’t think I mind so much when you
laugh at me anymore,” and she stopped. She couldn’t explain it, but something about his laughter made her feel scorned and adored and humiliated and flattered and embarrassed and pleased and childish and awfully grown-up all at once.
And she sort of liked it.
He was leaning in to her now, his eyelashes fluttering. And she was all ready to kiss him, she truly wanted this kiss so badly, she needed it, she knew she had been waiting for this her whole life, but still her stupid mouth couldn’t keep shut and at the most inopportune moment possible it babbled, “Merry Christmas!”
Salazar’s head froze and his eyes snapped open.
They stared at each other.
And then he began to laugh.
“You’re adorable, you know that?” he said.
“Yeah, it’s part of my charm,” she said, but she had a feeling that he hadn’t heard her because he was still laughing. Helga looked at the floor, blushing, and said, “Oh, shut up.”
Eventually, God Rest Ye Merrye Hippogriffs became so popular that Rowena Ravenclaw had to rewrite the words so that Muggles could sing it, and that version of the song has survived until today.
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