The snow seemed almost to float through the air, landing in utter silence. The grounds of the castle were perfectly still, with the dark trunks of the trees standing out starkly against the white landscape.
“Oh Sev, isn’t it beautiful?” I asked, pressing my nose to the library window.
“Yeah,” he said unenthusiastically. He was sitting a little hunched over the essay he was writing. Then, as if realising how enthusiastic I was about it, he looked up and forced a smile, looking out the window. “Yeah, it is.”
I realised what was bothering him: the coming Christmas holidays. Severus hated Christmas and he was always one of the few left behind at school over the holidays. I was one of the only ones- actually probably the only one- to know why. “Oh Sev,” I said, moving around the table to give him a hug.
He looked pleased but embarrassed, and pulled away as though expecting one of his Slytherin friends to see us. As if they would- they were all in lessons, but the habit remained. I felt a stab of annoyance but quickly forgot it: it was the last week of term, after all, and I couldn’t stay annoyed at anyone for long. Unlike Sev, I love Christmas.
I smiled and began to pack my stuff away. “C’mon, let’s go outside. We can have our own Christmas, just the two of us.”
“What, now?” he asked.
“Yeah, this is the last free period we’ll have together before Christmas.”
“What about our essays?”
“They’ll wait,” I said, even though mine was due in the next day and I had a feeling his was too. “Come on, or someone else will make footprints in the snow before us!” I smiled again. “Get your cloak and meet me in the Entrance Hall, ok?” I rushed off, almost running past the floating streamers, stars and tiny golden birds which decorated the castle every year. Every time I passed a window I saw the snow, unspoilt and utterly perfect. I pulled on my winter cloak, Gryffindor scarf, woolly hat and the thickest mittens I could find, grinning at my bulky reflection for rushing downstairs. As you may have noticed, I love snow.
Severus was already waiting for me, and his face lit up on seeing me. I was a little worried around that time that he might be starting to have- well, romantic feelings towards me, which I didn’t return. I hoped it wasn’t going to spoil our friendship, already strained by the differences between the houses.
I smiled back. “Ready?” I asked, and we walked outside into the pristine whiteness of fresh snow.
When I think back to that morning, I mostly see it as a series of snapshots, like something out of a muggle movie: Severus and I making snow angels, the two of us building a snowman and laughing as we realised we had nothing to make a face with, the time I attempted to walk on the ice (because it looked strong enough) and almost fell in the lake. Severus grabbed my hand just in time and pulled me back, with nothing more than a wet boot. He kept holding my hand and for a brief, awkward second we looked at each other. Then I laughed and thanked him before throwing myself backwards onto the snow. I lay there and watched the snow falling lazily towards me. “Hey, have you ever wondered why the snow looks so white when it’s on the ground, but against the sky it’s more like grey?”
Severus lay down next to me and was silent for a few minutes. “You’re right, it is.”
“And when it first falls and it’s like it is today, it’s the purest white you can imagine, but when it’s been trampled on and driven through there’s nothing dirtier,” I added.
“And how people expect snow to be so cold, but you can lie down in it and feel the warmest you’ve ever been,” he said.
I was surprised by that: it was the closest to sentimental I had ever heard Severus get. “And how it’s just frozen water, but it’s so much more beautiful than you’d ever know water could be...”
We fell into silence, but an entirely comfortable silence. That was one thing I liked about Severus: he didn’t have to fill every moment with pointless chatter. The air was full of that special kind of snowy silence: a silence so thick that we might have been the only two people in the world. Snowflakes fell on my cheeks softly and melted. We lay there for ages, staring at the sky. I think that was the last time we were truly comfortable together. If I’d known that I might have lain there longer. But the snow was beginning to soak through my clothes and I was beginning to feel cold. I shivered and sat up suddenly.
“I’m freezing. C’mon, shall we go and see if we can go and scrounge some hot chocolate from the kitchens?”
Snape sat up more reluctantly. He never seemed to feel the cold, or anything much at all really. “Yeah, if you want.”
We headed to the kitchens, but Potter & Co were there and managed to spoil everything, as they always did back then. Severus and I split up in the Entrance Hall and went back to our common rooms, but I knew it was a day I would remember. Always.
A/N: I wrote this really, really quickly but I wanted it posted in time for Christmas, so I’m sorry if it’s terrible! I don’t own any of the characters, Hogwarts or Christmas, and I stole the line about snow looking so pure when it’s fresh but when it’s been trampled there’s nothing dirtier from Jacqueline Wilson’s “Double Act”. (I’m actually quite surprised I remember anything from that book, since it’s about ten years since I’ve read it!) Thanks for reading and please leave a review!
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