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12 December 2012 @ 07:12 am
Fic: Snowballing for lazy_neutrino  
Title: Snowballing
Author: ???
A gift for: lazy_neutrino
Rating: G
Length: 2,400 words (plus bonus)
Character(s): Ensemble; Gryffindor class of '96 plus Hogwarts staff.
Warnings: None
Author's Note 1: Thanks to my beta, n
Author's Note 2: Enjoy!

Two weeks left until Christmas, and all through the castle
Keeping students in reins was a terrible hassle.
The stockings were hung by the children themselves
For it wouldn't do to give socks to the elves.
Trelawney had visions in her crystal balls.
Quirrell in his turban and her in her shawls
Were both making plans for the upcoming feast,
To please every being and spirit and beast.
Then up on the roof there arose such a clatter--
Well, now we have come to the heart of the matter.
For what generation could pull off their tricks
Like the Gryffindor class of nineteen ninety-six?
It just marked another great step in their plan.
And now, you can learn how the business began.


Dear Charlie,

We decided to send this early so you'd get it in time for Christmas. Even if the owls give out along the way because it's cold. See how responsible we are? Definitely mention it to Mum and Dad when you get the chance.

It's boring without you, Percy is trying to get us in trouble. But he never docks us points at least, because he wants us to win the House Cup too.

Did you hear about Harry Potter? He's in Ron's class, a first year. And he's our Seeker already! Sort of not really fair. But you left us no choice, so nyah. Oliver is still pinching himself. You remember Alicia, she's the Chaser now, and there's a new second-year too. And Angelina still, you know, the one Lee's always teasing. And George thinks she's cute. I do not! Yes you do. Well, I do, and you trust me, don't you? Last time I trusted you we got detention for a week. Totally worth it.

Anyway, it's not the same without you to cover for us, but we're making do. Have a good one!

Fred and George

Confiscated from F. and G. Weasley by A. Filch, 10/12/91


Firsties/second years: 10
Third years: 15
Fourth/fifth years: 20
Sixth/seventh years: 25
Prefect: 30
Head boy/girl: 40
Percy: 50

You two know that you can just divide all of these by five, right? And that way, you don't have to count so high.

Smart-alecky best friend: 16

Cats: 10
Poltergeist: 20, and run for it
Ghosts: 25
Owls: 30
Toads: 40
Scabbers: 50
Mrs. Norris: 75

Gamekeeper: 20 (easy target, too big to miss)
Caretaker: 25 (small, but slow)
Quirrell: 40 (idiot)
Professors: 50
Snape: 60
McGonagall: 70
Dumbledore: 80
McGonagall as a cat: 90
Quirrell's turban: 100

Noticeboard in House Common Rooms, 11/12/91

For purposes of clarification, all scheduled extracurricular activities are suspended over Winter Break. This includes those with some or all members remaining at Hogwarts.

gatherings may of course be held on any occasion. The Quidditch pitch will remain open for individual flight practice. Balls may be checked out on a half-hour basis; they may not be checked out for team practices, no matter what team practices are masquerading as. Contrary to popular belief, the faculty is well aware of the sleep habits of adolescents and when they normally awaken when on breaks from school.

If you have any questions, please contact your head of house before assuming you know what you're doing.

From the file cabinet of Severus Snape, 12/12/91


I do understand the need for reasonable limitations, but you seem to have been worried about the right dormitory and the wrong student. I was asked when chess club could resume and whether we'd have the giant set available...!

I will be speaking to Albus about this. Security clearly is not up to standards.


From the scroll collection of Minerva McGonagall, 13/12/91


I hope Albus doesn't try to talk my ear off about whatever "standards" he finds reasonable. Mention the off-limits corridor like that... On the first night, while we still have the raptured first-years' attention, no less. It's a wonder the Weasleys haven't broken their identical necks. I suppose what with their weekly regimen of detentions they haven't had the time. Don't chide, I'm grateful for this blessing--if only because it's Christmas.


Curriculum recommendation, Sybill Trelawney, 14/12/91

In an effort to further the ties among our magical disciplines and foster interdisciplinary efforts, I recommend these lesson plans.

Divination: Borrowing from our Muggle Studies inquiries, data regarding the art of weather prediction (i.e. when, how much, how disruptively, and how merrily it will snow, without resorting to unnatural precipitation).
Herbology: Identifying holly and ivy (among other various wand woods), explaining differences thereof. Poinsettias, et al.
Care of Magical Creatures: Setting up fairy lights. I believe our Charms Professor has volunteered his expertise in this capacity.
Potions: Egg Nog.

Sybill, see me. Note capitalization. -Albus

From The Quibbler archives: 15/12/91

Christmas can be a time for celebration and merriment. It can also be a time for contemplation, as we direct our souls towards mysteries beyond even our most powerful spells. While we at the Quibbler take a more mundane approach, we must not neglect to be wary of the unseen. I refer, of course, to Nargles. These minute magical menaces are most mischievous in midwinter months, mostly making misdemeanors (so that it may look like you've misplaced minutiae) amid mistletoe. To prevent yourself from being the target of petty theft, be vigilant about removing any stray strands of mistletoe from your home or workplace.

Albus, have a read through this. I don't endorse it, obviously, but I've had three different students bother me about whether there's any magical mistletoe they can "borrow" for their classmates. As if having this many adolescents cooped up in one place with days left until the holidays wasn't enough! Maybe there's a firmer way I can crack down on them? -Pomona

Grade Book, Severus Snape, 16/12/91

Weasley, F. and Weasley, G. After two and a half years of detentions earned in my class, naive observers might assume I would have forbid them to work alongside each other. In fact this is unnecessary. So incessant is their communication that forcing them to work alongside other classmates will surely doom both prospective pairs. This way, since they only appear to share one brain between them, they will at least allow two more of their classmates the chance to pass the assignment.

The Pepper-Up Potion, like every other draught not inducing noticeable side effects on the female anatomy, was a predictable failure. To my pleasant surprise, they refrained from testing the efficacy of their slop by first infecting their classmates with the cold they have both been suffering from due to this miserable weather. As such they have avoided a T grade. Grade: D

Johnson, A. and Stimpson, P. Miss Johnson shows admirable foresight and patience in collaborating with the woeful Stimpson instead of her boyish colleagues. Further to her credit, she has refrained from letting Stimpson handle anything that might damage her (i.e. knives, cauldrons, wands). Of course, there was no way she could finish the assignment by herself in the allotted time.

Stimpson's reluctance to change these circumstances is disappointing, as this is the third different Gryffindor she has let do her work for her, presumably on the stereotype of their competence with potentially dangerous objects. I would recommend rotating double-House schedules (see attached reams of correspondence re: Gryffindor/Slytherin catastrophes). Grade: P

Diggory, C. and Towler, K. When he applies himself Diggory is a competent Potioneer for his age, and I was pleased to see steam issuing from Towler's ears with fifteen minutes remaining in the class. I approached their workbench to make sure there was enough potion remaining for me to sample, only to discover they had abandoned their efforts halfway through in favor of Diggory attempting to prescribe treatment for Towler's earwax buildup. Towler assured me that he would visit Madam Pomfrey and that the ailment in question had only developed over the last week, which was a disappointment, as that would otherwise have explained why he has barely heard any of my lectures all year. Grade: T.

Jordan, L. and Spinnet, A. In the absence of their usual accomplices these two appear to have, under my nose, actually completed the assignment. They sit at opposite ends of the desk and Spinnet flicks in her ingredients to the cauldron as if she were practicing Quidditch, but the resulting brew was sufficiently invigorating. At first I assumed they had simply borrowed potion from more competent classmates or outside supplies, but Jordan's fervent denials eventually convinced me that they'd done it themselves. Firstly, after losing seventy-five points a few months ago he is somewhat more reluctant to push his luck; secondly, there are no competent classmates; thirdly, he reverted to the emotional-but-sure-of-his-own-truth tone that all of us are forced to endure from his Quidditch commentary. Grade: A.

Hogwarts Library Catalog:
TITLE: If These Walls Could Talk: An Appraisal of Magical Architecture
AUTHOR: Shaw, Judd and successors
EDITION: Twelfth (1864)
CHECKED OUT: 17/12/91
BY: S. Trelawney
DUE: 17/1/92

Excerpted from page 153:

...as is well known*, the ceiling of the Great Hall of Hogwarts School is bewitched to model the weather outside. This includes astronomical reckoning by night. Many scholars have concluded that the roof is simply made of some transparent material that allows an accurate view of the outside. This is not, however, the case, as can be seen during periods of precipitation. A glass roof, for instance, would be spattered by rain or simply covered over by snow, allowing no view of the sky once a layer of snow had accumulated. In fact, the roof is solid to insulate the school, and the snow that arrives during the Scottish winter is channeled to feed the school's venerable gargoyles....

*See "Hogwarts, A History." This appears in Chapter Three of the Twenty-fourth Edition but may have altered somewhat since then.

From the mystic missives of Sybill Trelawney, 18/12/91

Dear Sybill,

Thanks. Also, thank you for checking that out under your own name. I have some esoteric star charts I checked out a few months ago and I've been meaning to double-check them. but with the cloud cover this miserable it's taken longer than I would have liked and Irma's beginning to give me some looks over the staff table.

As regards the roof? I think the spells are continually reinforced every generation or two as people come up with new things to charm it for. Stars and planets were always there, but it took my predecessor and some Muggle-born students to come up with a way for it to track the Space Station (don't ask). Unprecedented starbursts will have their own power to shine through, I suppose.


Confiscated from A. Johnson and A. Spinnet by Argus Filch, 19/12/91

Pass over the head of:
Firsties: 10
Other students: 20, + 10 for each additional person
Professors: 30
Gamekeeper: 50

-10 if snowball collapses upon catch
-20 if snowball dissolves in midair
-30 if you hit someone
Make a snowball strong enough to remain in one piece after being hit with tree branch transfigured into small club: 50

Concuss classmate by hitting them with small club: -50 and we'll turn you in ourselves

Transfigure tree branch into small club: 51, well, McGonagall will be so impressed she won't give out detention

From the file cabinet of Severus Snape, 20/12/91


Thank you, as ever, for your ceaseless vigilance. Despite your protestations, I find the refusal of Miss Spinnet and Miss Johnson to implicate their obvious comrades rather charming. However, I quite agree with your recommendation that detention is in order for this continual nuisance. Unlike our esteemed caretaker, however, I believe that the best detentions are those that allow wrongdoers to make a positive contribution to, in this case, the school community, and perhaps further the education that they have been neglecting in favor of an early holiday break. As term ends on Monday I think it most apt to have detention taken immediately so we don't forget it between terms, and so that they understand that misbehavior will cost them social time.


Receipts from Hogsmeade Village, 21/12/91

Gladrags: Ski masks--red and gold--on sale for "excessive luridness" (2)
Zonko's: Nose-Biting Teacup (1)
Honeydukes: Chocolate Frogs, Ice Mice, Peppermint Toads (one dozen each)
Three Broomsticks Inn: Cherry Syrup (4)

Katie--thanks again, we owe you one!
Nah, we're even since you snuck me out here. Next year you're on your own, good luck.

Retroactively committed to parchment by A. Spinnet, 22/12/91

Detention scoresheet

Accidentally burying anyone in snow: -5 (we didn't want to count too high, we were pretty much frozen as it was)
Burying Snape in snow: -4
Making a snowball that stayed intact after it hit the ground: 1
Making another snowball that stayed intact after it hit the first one: 2
Making a third snowball that stayed intact after it hit the second one: 3
Conjuring up a top hat that fit on top of the third: 4

Dropping snow so it looked like someone had made a snow angel: 5

Dropping a wreath of mistletoe that some git had left up there when he snuck up so he could claim that everyone was "literally under the mistletoe" around his sorry dreadlocks: 10

Special Holiday Edition: Challenges in Charming, December 1992

Snow Wonder: Meteorological Analysis at Hogwarts School
by Sinistra, A. and Trelawney, S.

ABSTRACT: Too often, the fuzzy nuances of Divination and the admirable advances of Muggle physics have been outside the realm of magical astronomy. While the latter has made an increasing contribution to the field (See "Europa is Made of Ice, Not Mice" by Kuiper, G., and Lupin, F.), the former has until recently had little to do with astronomy.

Using the unparalleled edifice of Hogwarts Castle as our laboratory, we investigate how the charmed ceiling of the Great Hall faithfully reflects the weather outside. Our data will show that this magic is instantaneous, regardless of the amount of snow between the roof and the wintry sky. As the roof ranges from "under several feet of snow" to "utterly shoveled," the speed of transition is unaffected. Importantly, Muggle concerns about speed of light delays appear to be overblown. While the exact mechanisms of the Founders' magic for enchanting the Great Hall are unclear, we speculate as to how this might benefit the astrological branches of Divination.

snowballing graph

Figure 1

The authors wish to thank Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet for their help in preparing this manuscript.
Tags: ,
lazy_neutrinolazy_neutrino on December 12th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
This is just one of the best things ever. You've combined real canon knowledge with lovely little references (Europa is made of ice, not mice!) and the voices absolutely ring true in every part, even the chatty (and characteristically bizarre) Quibbler article, which is just like some of the features that appear in newspapers here at this time of year. There's even a wonderful research paper! [Data below this line suggests Time-Turners are involved - I almost died of pleasure here].

This is so wonderful and so Christmassy and so me you wouldn't believe. I have been waiting for my gift to be posted and now I feel like Christmas has really begun. Thank you!

Just one more...
see attached reams of correspondence re: Gryffindor/Slytherin catastrophes

:) :) :)

Edited at 2012-12-12 08:28 pm (UTC)
primeideal.dreamwidth.orgprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on January 5th, 2013 03:40 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm really glad you liked it! :D I had written about wizard/Muggle astronomy collaborations before but never got to the point where I could tie the ice/mice line in, which I really wanted to do. So I was happy to get this chance!
some kind of snark faery: seasonal yule (ornament)shyfoxling on December 12th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
What a delight!

The stockings were hung by the children themselves
For it wouldn't do to give socks to the elves.


Sybill, see me. Note capitalization. -Albus

Or lack thereof... ;)

I love Severus's gradebook.

Dropping a wreath of mistletoe that some git had left up there when he snuck up so he could claim that everyone was "literally under the mistletoe" around his sorry dreadlocks: 10

primeideal.dreamwidth.orgprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on January 5th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Yes, the capitalization didn't exactly go Sybill's way...thankfully for the rest of us.
mollywheezy: Frog for Christmasmollywheezy on December 16th, 2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
This was hilarious! I especially like the letter to Charlie, Snape's gradebook (particularly the entry for Lee and Alicia), and the poem. Great job! :)
primeideal.dreamwidth.orgprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on January 5th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! I love writing poems and Lee's a character that has grown on me.
pitry: Microwavepitry on December 17th, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
This was hilarious and soooooooooo cute! And the scoreboards were sheer genius.
primeideal.dreamwidth.orgprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on January 5th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
DoraeAzure: Shinydoraeazure on December 27th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
Oh, I adore this! Very funny. Also, the chracterization was wonderful, particularly in regards to the twins, Angelina, and Lee. *loved*
primeideal.dreamwidth.orgprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on January 5th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! Lee's a character that has really grown on me and I like bouncing him off Angelina to see how they react.