Here is another chapter! As per usual, I do not own anything. Thanks to MisTY_VoLPe for being such an amazing reader :) Enjoy!
Horace Slughorn despised the holidays. He, in fact, detested it. So naturally, the only reasonable thing for him to do was embrace the holidays full-force: by throwing an exclusive, Slug-Club holiday party. For it was then that he was able to forget the horrors of Christmases past. Throughout the ages, he had surrounded himself with witty, vivacious students eager to chat with him. But even those students didn’t know him all that well. There were only a privileged few that got to know the real Horace Slughorn. Who would be his chosen one this year? Why, really there was only one person he’d ever consider: Lily Evans. The child was bright, well loved, and respectful…if he’d ever had a daughter, he’d want her to be like Lily.
Horace set off to work. He decorated his large living area into a winter wonderland. Really, he’d outdone himself this year. He’d enchanted the ceiling to snow, but the snow would only stay a foot tall around the edges of the room. Too, it was not cold or wet. Mistletoe sprigs shot up all around the classroom, and several evergreens were sacrificed to create giant Christmas trees. He even coaxed a few fairies to light up the trees. Just as he thought he was sufficiently distracted, Horace had the misfortune of opening a box of decorations. In that box was a very special ornament, made of crystal. It was a pineapple, made by goblins. And that pineapple caused Horace to loose his consciousness…
Horace had, for many years, been a cocky young man. He’d graduated with distinction and continued on at St. Mungo’s as a superior Potions crafter. He’d try seducing all the ladies who worked there, and most succumbed to his charms. Save one. Miriam Michaels. How that woman seemed to detest him! She was not exceptionally beautiful. She was pretty, in her own way. She had wavy, caramel brown hair and eyes as blue as the sea. Her eyes were quite large for her face, and her nose had an aristocratic air. But Miriam shot down every man with a stony glare she must have practiced to perfection. Horace was determined to woo her.
“Miriam, love…” he started.
“Don’t you ‘love’ me, Slughorn. Now would you kindly move your abnormally large head out of the way and let me pass? Or will I have to deflate it?”
“I like a girl with her own mind,” he winked.
“Really? Then you won’t mind that I say I want you to stop harassing me and step aside?”
“Please, Miri, anymore hostile words and the staff will think you hate me!”
“Hate you? Oh, I don’t just hate you, Horace Slughorn. I detest you.”
With those words, Miriam Michaels walked away briskly, not even looking back at Horace. He was in shock. Was he really so obnoxious? Certainly he’d been a bit…proud…but did he really merit detestation? From that moment, Horace vowed to be the epitome of a gentleman to Miriam. His first chance came a month later. Miriam’s parents- Muggles- had died in some aquatic disaster. A huge ship called the Titanic had sunk in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Many innocent people perished that night, among them Mr. and Mrs. Michaels. They had been particularly affluent Muggles, from what Horace could gather, and their deaths were reported in many London papers. A week after the incident, Horace made his move.
“What could you possibly want from me? Come to torment me more?” her face curled in disgust.
“I…I’m sorry. About everything. About how I’ve behaved towards you. About your parents’ accident.”
“Look, Slughorn. Not to be rude, but why are you here? We’re not even friends as far as I’m concerned. You’re a Pureblood Slytherin and I’m a Mudblood. I’m a Gryffindor. We have nothing in common.”
“You’re not a Mudblood.”
“That’s not what Abraxas said. And you didn’t bother to contradict him.”
“I was young and stupid, ok Miriam? I’ve learned now. Your blood’s just as red and watery as mine. And pardon me for being concerned. I just came to bring you some lunch. You haven’t really been eating much.”
As Horace turned to go, Miriam looked at the bag he set on her desk. She didn’t look at him. She didn’t say ‘Thank you.’ She didn’t even move. Thirty minutes later she sent him an owl:
To many, it wouldn’t seem like much. But Horace knew she’d changed. She never called him by his first name. That Christmas, Miriam sent Horace a present. It was a box of crystallized pineapple. He quickly grew enamored of the sweet, just as he’d grown enamored of the girl. He didn’t stare at other girls or sweet-talk them any longer. He only had eyes for Miriam. She was gorgeous, not merely pretty. He must have been blind to think she was adequate in looks! The very next day, Boxing Day, Horace sent Miriam an invitation to dine with him. She accepted. Quickly, she succumbed to his charm, and that very next Christmas, Horace Slughorn married Miriam Michaels. The couple was enthused as they vacationed in Brighton- a town that Horace had previously detested but that Miriam adored. Everyone agreed that Horace and Miriam were completely and totally in love. For many months, Horace thought they were invincible and that nothing could tear them apart. That was before…
A rare strain of dragon pox had been released upon the citizens of the Wizarding UK. While it was harmless to Purebloods and half-bloods, it was lethal to Muggleborns. As fate would have it, Miriam contracted the deadly disease in September. By November, she was a shadow of her former self. Weak, pale, and thin, Miriam was a walking corpse. Horace knew it was no accident that this strain had been unleashed. He knew it was meant to target ‘Mudbloods’. A fury filled him that he’d never known. On December 25, on their one-year anniversary, Miriam Slughorn, nee Michaels, died. And on December 25, part of Horace died as well.
And so, December had approached Hogwarts once more. The invitations had long been sent out, and the party approached. Guests lined up outside Horace’s quarters. He greeted each pleasantly, until the last person. Lily Evans.
“Happy holidays, Professor. I brought you your favorite,” she smiled.
“Crystallized pineapple…you shouldn’t have, my dear…”
“Oh, but I wanted to, sir.”
“Miss Evans, did I ever tell you about my wife, Miriam …”
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