Chapter 1 : Christmas Wish
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A swirling sky of gray and white clouds hung overhead. Snowflakes fluttered softly to the ground, settling into large piles of thick, glittering snow banks. Evergreen trees, some of which were decked with strings of Muggle lights and hung with bulbous ornaments, were dusted softly with the powdery snow. The sun was faint in the sky, masked with a few layers of clouds, but it still managed to shine through and cast a faint light over London.
Outside, it was a picture-perfect Christmas.
A young Severus Snape sat on the windowsill in the living room of #7 Spinnerís End. His face was pressed up against the cold window, his long black hair providing a thin layer between the chilled glass and his pale cheek. He exhaled, watching his breath create a small steam imprint on the window. Promptly, he lifted a bony finger and drew in two small stick figures, holding hands. One represented him, and the other was a shorter figure with long hair and a dress. He faintly smiled at the picture of him and Lily, hoping that one day the small image might become a reality. He stared at his sketch for a moment, before the steam melted away and his drawing evaporated.
The young boy looked out at the snow again, watching it fall with mild interest. In the kitchen, he heard slightly muffled voices. His parents were in another screaming argument. Severus sighed and blinked back tears. Couldnít they resolve their differences, just for one day? Could they not even take a break from their fighting, just so they might all be able to enjoy one day of peace, even if it only lasted for Christmas day?
Apparently, the answer was no. The Snape family hadnít done anything to celebrate the holidays this year, nor had they done so the previous years. There wasnít an evergreen tree propped up in the corner of the living room. Colorful lights didnít decorate the outside of the house. The snow in the front yard lay untouched, whereas the other neighbors had used it to build snowmen or igloos.
The only two presents in sight were the ones that Snape had gotten for his parents, which lay in the corner, messily wrapped and forgotten. He supposed that they didnít matter, as his parents probably wouldnít bother to open them anyway. They were just cheap little knickknacks, wood carvings of Christmas trees and snowmen that the boy had spent a few of his lonely days whittling.
Severus saw the Muggle neighbors across the street through their window, laughing happily in their brightly lit front room. They passed around the presents from under their decorated Christmas tree, smiling and hugging each other as they opened them. It was a typical Christmas for them. They were an ideal family, where they all cared about each other and longed to see smiles on each otherís faces.
The young boy felt a blooming jealousy within him, and he scowled at the family across the street.
Why couldnít he have that? Why was he stuck with the parents who argued all day and night, not caring what he did? Severus had had enough. He stood up from his windowsill and walked to the front door. He swung it open, promptly walked out, and slammed the door shut. His parents wouldnít care where he was going. They probably wouldnít even hear the door slam over their shouting insults.
The air outside was frozen, and it nipped at Severusís exposed skin. He was only wearing an old smock that used to belong to his father, some baggy pants with holes in the knees, and sandals that were falling apart. He tried to avoid stepping in the snow, yet it was nearly impossible. It seeped into his shoes and turned his bony feet bright red.
Walking past the frozen river that ran by his house, minding the ice that blanketed the streets, Severus walked a long way all the way up to Shady Oak Avenue, a street in his run-down neighborhood which he had visited many times before. It was a near replica of Spinners End, with the identical one-story houses and long asphalt road. He walked down the sidewalk, making small footprints in the snow layers, until he came to a green house towards the end of the street.
Crouching down low and dashing up to the bushes under the front window, Severus burrowed in one of the shrubs and peered into the front room, making sure to stay hidden. The Evans family occupied the room, seated in a circle. A huge evergreen tree, decked with lights, ornaments, and candy, was propped in the back corner of the square room. A porcelain angel doll in a sparkling cloth dress topped the tree, looking down on the family.
Mr. and Mrs. Evans were sitting on a couch, holding mugs of steaming drinks, grinning down on their two daughters. They laughed as the girls opened their presents, cheeks rosy with delight whenever one of their daughters discovered one of their new toys and squealed with glee. Petunia Evans was sitting on an armchair, her presents neatly organized around her. Her blonde hair was curled into tight ringlets and she was wearing a velvet dress. Severus scowled at her before looking towards the one person he had really come to see.
Lily Evans was sitting on the floor; her legs crossed Indian-style. Her long red hair hung down around her shoulders, curled softly at the ends. She was wearing a cozy red Christmas sweater; her feet were covered in thick fuzzy socks, and her emerald eyes were sparkling with excitement. A present was sitting in her lap, and her quivering fingers showed that she was eager to find out what was inside. Torn wrapping paper already lay in a mess around her.
A smile appeared on Severusís face as he saw Lily. She was filled with an immense happiness that made her glow. Her cheeks were rosy and her green eyes laughed. He wished that she was this joyful when she was with him. Yet for now, the boy was perfectly content with seeing her so elated from afar. One day, maybe he could celebrate such a happy Christmas with Lily.
Severus watched the happy family celebrate their holiday. He was still jealous of them, yet he was also quite satisfied just to watch them, especially Lily, so happy together. They were exactly the kind of family he wanted to be in- perhaps without Petunia, though.
Soon, darkness fell. Severus was shivering, yet he wasnít thinking about the cold. He had spent all day long outside in the freezing temperatures, burrowed in a shrub, yet he was still full of Christmas spirit. Every time Lily had opened a present, he had smiled with her. For the first time in awhile, the boy was happy. Even if he couldnít participate in the Christmas cheer himself, he could watch and hope for something like that in the future.
Trekking back home, Severus was colder than ever. The falling sun made him even more freezing. He rushed back to Spinners End and slipped in the front door.
And in the kitchen, he could still hear his mother and father arguing. They had spent the whole day screaming at each other, not even knowing that their son had been absent from morning until dusk. The two presents he had made for his parents still lay in the living room, wrapped in newspaper, untouched.
The young boy shuffled up the stairs, slipping into his small bedroom and sliding under the thin covers of his narrow bed. He curled up under the sheets, staring out of his window at the snow that still fell from the sky, his heart feeling empty.
Maybe someday, he might get to celebrate a Christmas like the Evans family did. Maybe he would get to sit next to a Christmas tree and exchange presents. Maybe he would get to laugh and smile and feel gladder than ever that he was with his family during the holidays.
But for now, Severus would have to settle with hiding in shrubs, watching other families celebrate special holidays. He would have to hear his parents arguing nonstop while he sat alone, dreaming of a better holiday season next year.
He lay in his bed awake, hoping that one day, maybe things might get better. Reaching under his pillow, the young boy pulled out a candy cane with a red and green striped bow wrapped around it. It was a small piece of candy that Lily had given him as a small holiday gift. It was actually the one Christmas gift Severus had received this year. Holding it close to him, Severus closed his eyes, wishing with all of his heart for a happy Christmas in his future.
A/N: Hey everybody! What do you think?
First of all, I need to thank ToujoursPadfoot from the forums for fixing some grammar errors and giving me feedback on this. She makes a wonderful beta!
Also, thanks to SlytherinRavenclawChick for making the challenge, as this was quite fun to write.
And thanks to anybody that takes the time to review my story! You don't understand how much I appreciate reviews, even when they are harsh. So please, leave a review and rating below! Thanks!