Title: The Bright in Bleak Midwinter
Age-Range Category: One
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Severus, Eileen, & Tobias Snape, Petunia & Lily Evans
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
Summary: Severus gets his letter from Hogwarts.
Severus hasn't ever been all that impressed with Christmastime. It's never been very bright for him even though there are tons of decorations in the stores, both Muggle and magical. However, this year, his mam says there should be a surprise. He's uncertain about believing her as she carefully decorates the row house, the colours dark and heavy even though this is supposed to be a festive time of year.
His da enters and sneers, but for once only asks when dinner will be ready. Mam scurries into the kitchen and soon the clanks of pots and pans can be heard. She calls to him to set the table, and he rushes to do so. Severus freezes when Tobias grabs his arm and hisses, "Bring me a beer, boy, and mind the head."
Pinting up a perfect beer isn't one of the things Severus ever imagined being proud of, but he is, and there's only a little line of foam at the top of the pilsner when he takes it in to Tobias. He gives a slight smile to his da when the man nods at him. Nothing more is said, and he hurries away again to do as his mam bid.
Lily is waiting for him at the swings, and she is terribly excited about something. Her red hair bounces, and Severus decides that the brightness of her hair is what Christmas red should be. The ugly maroon decorations that festoon his home are Tobias's favourites, and he thinks that colour is the most awful one there is.
"Have you received it, yet?" She jumps up from the creaking swing seat.
Severus shakes his head and settles on a swing. He's awed by her energy again and it makes him happy as well as tired. His da was in a good mood last night and kept them all up. He actually helped finish the decorating, and once again, Severus was torn about his feelings about the situation.
"Should be any day now, right?"
Severus smirks at her. "Maybe. It usually arrives about a month before your birthday."
"Don't tease me so, Severus!" Lily shrieks, and then laughs. "I can't wait. You will show me yours, won't you?"
"I don't know..."
"Prat!" Lily rolls her eyes and throws herself back into the swing. She pushes off hard with her legs and rocks back and forth, gathering up momentum.
"Come on, Sev! Fly with me!"
Severus will show her his letter, as if he could do anything else but comply by her wishes. He shoves his boots into the dirt, his legs longer than hers and he catches up with her swings quickly. Reaching out, she grabs his hand and counts them off.
"On three, Sev!"
Severus glances around and closes his eyes, knowing that it takes pure, bright joy to defy the gravity that drags them to the earth below.
He feels himself lift off the seat as Lily shouts three and his heart soars with her.
They ride the wind to top of the jungle gym and land delicately on the other side. Lily's hair is wild and her eyes are bright. He gives a passing thought to his own messy appearance, but she is tugging on his arm again and laughing so he follows her back to the swings to do it once more.
It's almost dark when she finally releases him, and he's certain that no matter what kind of mood his da is in, he's not going to let him spoil this day's brightness that Lily has given him.
He stares at the bird tapping on the window. He was expecting it, the letter and the owl, but to actually see it surprises him. His mam gives him a tired grin and nods.
"Open the window and let him in Severus before he wakes your Da."
Severus swallows hard and eases the casement up. The big tawny bird seems brilliant inside the house as it hops close and offers its burden to Severus. His mam holds out a piece of bread while he gently undoes the post. He holds it in his hand, missing the magnificent owl fly away.
"Well, let's see it, Severus. I need to see what's changed."
Licking his lips, Severus breaks the wax seal and draws out two parchments. He passes over the supply list to her, scans the missive, then bolts.
Running hard and fast he passes the playground and jerks to a stop outside Lily's house. He's bent over and huffing, the parchment held tightly in his hand when the door opens and Petunia is glaring at him.
Petunia huffs and turns, screams out Lily's name, "That strange Snape boy is here for you."
She doesn't invite him in, but Severus doesn't care for soon Lily is there at the door and her eyes are as bright as his as she reaches for the parchment in his hand then she jerks her hand away. She looks at him with wide, shining eyes.
"Is that it?"
He nods and their fingers brush as he finally gives over the post. Her lips move as she reads the words and then she looks up at him and grins.
Severus feels a smile cross his lips as well and Lily squeals before throwing her arms around him. It's enough to take his breath away for several minutes as they stand there once she lets go.
She bounces on the stoop in her excitement and for once he lets her brilliance affect him and shows it. He gives in to one bounce with her.
"Oh, I can't, can't wait for mine!"
Severus nods. "Soon. Your birthday isn't too far from mine."
Lily squeals again, and her mum calls for her to come in or shut the door.
"Yeah, Lily!" echoes Petunia.
Severus bites his lip as he tries not to laugh when Lily rolls her eyes and slams the door. She grabs his arms and takes off, dragging him toward the playground. Somehow, even though he has been anticipating the journey to Hogwarts for a long time, he knows that his time there is going to be brightened by the girl standing by his side.