A cold draft blew in through the shattered remains of the window. Rain had been pouring from the sky for hours now, and it showed no signs of letting up anytime soon. The wind howled like werewolves in the night, the thunder and lightning crashed like giants uprooting trees, and the pitter-patter of rain sounded like fists knocking a window. One might think of it as loud and annoying, but Severus Snape found the sounds soothing and peaceful. He was perfectly content. In fact, he preferred the droopy rain over stunning sunlight any day.
Severus was hidden under a mound of blankets atop his bed. He was trying to sleep his troubles away, and slumber found him once or twice throughout the night, but for the most part he stared up at ceiling, and sometimes a wall or the floor, not really seeing anything but the darkness that engulfed him. As much as he tried, he couldn't block out the sounds. Not the sounds from the storm, he enjoyed that, but the other sounds.
There had been another fight. It was silent now; though he was sure his mother had locked herself in her bedroom and was crying her eyes out as she so often did. His father had stormed from the house and jumped in the old, junk car that usually remained parked in the street. Severus heard the engine whine as it raced down the street.
Severus silently wished that he could leave this life behind. His family was too torn to fix, and it wouldn't make any difference anyway. The damage was already done. He was done. He needed a happy place; somewhere he could go without feeling completely lost and alone.
Lily was always his fist thought of a happy place when he was feeling down about his family. His only true friend, his refuge for when things turned bad. He thought of her infectious smile and her laughter that reminded him of chiming bells. He so desperately wished to see her again, but he knew he couldn't. She and her family left for vacation weeks ago. The selfish side of him wished he had asked her to stay behind. He wanted her here. Yet he couldn't do that. It wasn't his place to ask her to stay. If he had, he knew she would have. For him. But that was too selfish, even for him. Why should she be denied a good summer just because his parents were doing what they always did?
He was pleased to see, however, that Lily had evidently not forgotten about him. She sent him a long letter the day before last, most of it ranting about her sister's obvious hatred toward her. Apparently she received nothing but glares from and scoffs from her sister. Severus wrote back in his own untidy scrawl, telling her to ignore Petunia's evident jealousy. He tried to sound soothing and helpful, as he often tried to do when he was around Lily, but couldn't help adding in how he thought Petunia's attitude made her a prat. Lily didn't deserve to be treated badly by anyone. It was shocking to Severus that there was actual a person in this world who didn't completely adore her.
She had that personality that made her well-liked by pretty much everyone. Especially that Potter kid. But it didn't matter how much Potter claimed to be "in love" with Lily, for she was not interested. She wasn't interested in anything other than being an all-around, good person and getting good marks in her classes. She had no time for dating. Though Severus would be happy if she did take a bit of interest in him as more than a friend. He refused to get his hopes up, though.
Severus sat up in bed, still hugging his blankets, and looked to his left. The letter Lily had sent was still sitting on his nightstand, the last part of the letter facing up. Severus' thin lips twitched as he looked at the last line; Love, Lily. What an understatement it sounded to his ears.
The sound of a car door being slammed made Severus turn his head. He waited with bated breath, his ears perked for the sound of the front door being opened. He hoped that it was only the neighbor arriving home from a late night shift. A moment later, however, the unmistakable sound of the door being opened and keys being thrown aside met his ears.
Severus waited still, and sighed, finally, when he heard the bedroom door close sharply. He was more anxious than ever to go back to Hogwarts, and he was glad the calendar read August 25, for Lily would be arriving home in just a few short hours and they'd both be on the Hogwarts Express in a few days. Together.
Early the next morning Severus awoke to a quick and consistent "tapping" sound. It echoed in his head like a dream. "Tap. Tap-tap." Finally it dawned on him what it was. He jumped up and opened the window for a small, golden owl to hop in. It dropped a neatly folded note at his feet and flew to the opposite side of the room and perched itself atop his wardrobe, waiting.
With quick hands, Severus untied the string holding the note together and read the nicely written script with eager eyes.
Severus, we arrived home late last night. Would you meet me at Diagon Alley today? Perhaps around lunch time? We need to catch up and I have yet to shop for any school supplies. I fear the bookshops will be sold out if I don't do it soon!
Please reply as soon as you possibly can!
Severus took out an old pheasant quill, a piece of ripped and stained parchment, and what was left of his ink. He wrote a quick reply, Yes, I'll see you there, and handed it off to the patiently waiting owl. The owl took the note in its mouth and soared through the window soundlessly. Though he was trying not to show it, his heart felt like it had plummeted to the bottom of his stomach. There was no reason for him to be nervous, they had shopped for their school supplies together for years, but his feelings for the girl grew stronger and stronger with each passing day. And a part of him hated the feeling he got from her. The other part of him couldn't help but feel warm at just the mention of her name.
Severus pulled on a clean set of clothes, which hung loosely to his too-small body, and grabbed a sack of money he had been saving since summer began. Glancing in the broken mirror in the corner of his room, Severus was satisfied.
Quietly he crept from his bedroom. Nothing could be heard except the creaking of his footsteps and the wind rushing in through an open window in the dining room. Severus gingerly gathered up the last remaining specks of floo powder and stepped right into the fire place.
Severus was swept up by green smoke and vanished, leaving behind the tattered house that no longer felt like home.