Disclaimer: Severus Snape and Molly Weasley are both definitely the property of JK Rowling and various publishers/film companies. Not mine.
He would, of course, never admit it to anyone, but Severus Snape had a soft spot for Molly Weasley.
Not the Molly Weasley the children knew. Well… not exactly, anyway.
The Molly Weasley who sneaked her way into the shrunken heart of Hogwart's potions master was the Molly who had a wicked and dirty sense of humour she kept well under wraps when anyone under the age of 18 was around.
She was the Molly Weasley who was neither cowed nor offended by a sneer or a harsh word from a tired spy who had played a part so long that it had become who he was.
The Molly Weasley who ticked him off for treading muddy boots across the expensive carpets of the Black family home, as though it was the worst thing he could possibly have done.
The Molly Weasley who, when he stumbled into the kitchen at 12 Grimmauld Place, would wordlessly hand him a mug of hot chocolate that was charmed to look like a glass of firewhisky. A trick that allowed him to sup its warm sweetness while he reported to the Order without tarnishing his well-honed image – and Molly never said a word about it to anyone, not even him.
He recognised this sneaking affection for what it was, for he had grown up with a weak mother who could not even protect herself, let alone offer her studious son the unconditional warmth and support that was a mother's love.
In his happiest dreams he dreamt he was a skinny boy reading at a table in a warm, cluttered kitchen, the hairs tumbling around his eyes a definite red. He would wake trying to hold on to the scent of fresh baking and the feeling of being completely and utterly safe.
It was an illusion of course, nowhere was safe and nobody loved him in the way that Molly loved her children. But in the worst and darkest days, when he doubted everything; when he doubted Dumbledore and doubted that they had any chance at all – even then he never doubted Molly. So she became what he was fighting for.
Not for the light, nor the right, nor for revenge, nor principle, nor survival. At the very last, he fought for Molly Weasley and warm kitchens that could never be his.