Jolly Holly

Chapter 1

Okay so the original 1964 Rudolph T.V. Christmas special was never shown in Britain as far as I've read, but I had this idea in my head before I knew that. It's been shown every year since that in the U.S.A. I also just learned that my favorite song (There's Always Tomorrow) is cut in the Canadian version!

It was December. Snow had come early to the north of England in the late fall of 1969. It was close to Christmas, so what little child couldn't help but be excited? One resident of Spinner's End was even more excited because it was only a few weeks until he turned ten. This time of year always revved up Severus Snape. It wasn't just the holidays; there was something about snow that just resonated with the young wizard. In spite of the fact that he hadn't gotten, nor would he get, new boots or jacket the boy loved to tromp through the snow.

Sev didn't mind that went he got to the sledding hill all he had to ride down it was an old cardboard box found in an ally while his best friend Lily Evans and her snooty sister Petunia had the most beautiful bladed sleds strait from Canada. Even when the older of the two girls said, "Figures all you've got is a piece of cardboard for a sled."

"Tuney," Lily whined. "Don't be mean." She turned to Severus and offered, "You can try mine."

Snape knew he better not. "No, I wouldn't want to break it." Those were his words, but inside Severus longed to grab the sled, take a running jump down the hill and fly head down all the way across the street and through the parking lot of the grocery store. All this he could see in his mind's eye. Then he saw what would 'really' happen; he'd get to the bottom of the hill and smack into a parked car crushing Lily's sled in the process, no thank you.

"That's right!" Petunia stuck her opinion in. "Daddy would be very angry if one of our sleds got broke."

"No he wouldn't," Lily put forth. "He'd be more worried if one of us got hurt than some old sled."

Petunia stuck her tongue out then pushed off down the hill. Even with her fancy flyer she sat cautiously and went slowly. Lily on the other hand did as Sev would have if his cardboard sled didn't stop at the bottom. Lily's sled was going so fast that she crossed the road and got at least halfway into the parking lot.

"Lily Evans! I'm telling Mum!" Petunia shouted. "You're not supposed to cross the road. You could get hurt, or worse wreck your sled."

"Oh shut up," Snape barked at her. "That was brilliant." Apparently Severus wasn't the only one who thought so as many of the other sliders had cheered for Lily then tried to out do her. Their fun came to an end when the storeowner followed by a police officer showed up.

"I've told you kids, if you can't stay on that side of the road, I'll put an end to it." So he did.

In honor of being kicked off the slide hill, Petunia asked, "Who wants to go back to our house for cocoa?" Of course her friends and kids from their neighborhood all said yes. The Evans' were known for their mom's hot chocolate and cookies. The kids from dodgier parts knew better. Severus however followed the group headed for Lily's house. His pathetic cardboard sled abandoned he put his hands in the pockets of his oversized coat. They had walked a few blocks when Lily took notice of something. "Oooh Sev, you re ankles. Don't you have any sox?" Her question garnered a shrug from Severus. "Aren't you cold?"

"What if I am?" Snape said a bit defensively. "Nothing I can do about it."

Petunia's antennas went up. She hadn't noticed 'that Snape boy' was following them until Lily had spoken to him. The blond sister marched right up to him poking him with her finger. "Who said you could come? I didn't invite - - you."

Severus shrank back before scowling. He was about to say something like 'who wants your crappy cocoa anyway?'

Before the boy could put his foot in his mouth, Lily made it clear. "Well I AM inviting him, so you keep your mouth shut." She had a waggling finger of her own.

"We'll see what Mum has to say about that." Petunia turned on her heals to march back to the head of the line. On arriving at the Evans house, the children were greeted by Mrs. Evans warm-heartedly. "Oh, here are my Tuney and Lily's little friends." She smiled and told them there was a fresh batch of cookies and, "In a jiffy I can whip up some cocoa. Now take your outside gear off out here." So the children left their boots, coats, mittens, and scarves on the enclosed porch. Severus only had his worn shoes to take off. His coat was not leaving him.

Mrs. Evans took note of each child as they came in, so as to know how many mugs of hot chocolate to make. "Janey, Billy, Sarah, Jane, Dexter and - - " She hadn't seen this ragamuffin before.

"This is Severus Mum," Lily informed as she took her friend by the arm. "The boy I told you about."

"Oh yes, Severus." At first she wasn't sure what to think, but her heart was soon feeling a bit sorry for the boy who's face, hands, and now bare feet were positively red from the cold. "Come on in Severus and get warmed up."

Petunia's face sank. It was clear Mum was not going to deny entry to the boy she considered nothing more than a vagabond.

"Your coat's all wet lad," Mrs. Evans pointed out. "You won't get warm with that on." The boy stared up blankly. He wasn't going to take it off unless asked to. "Well, off with it." Severus reluctantly obeyed. Mrs. Evans didn't notice, but some of the other children giggled at the feminine style shirt the Snape boy was wearing.

Janey whispered to Lily, "He's wearing a girl's shirt."

"Hush," Lily scolded in a hushed tone. "His family is really poor and - - " She stopped explaining when Sev got into earshot.

Mrs. Evans was putting plates of different kinds of cookies on the table. "Now help yourselves," She offered. Most of the children took one of each type and carefully placed them on the paper napkins Mrs. Evans had given them. Some nibbled on one while waiting for the cocoa to go with them. Severus had wolfed down five and was reaching for another when Dexter asked, "How many can you eat?" Sev was finished with cookie number six when he became aware everyone was looking at him licking his fingers for the sweet crumbs. Instantly he put his hands in his lap and tried to look act if he had been taught some manners.

"There are other people who'd like some of the cookies," Petunia scolded.

"Your mum said to help ourselves."

After glairing at Severus for a while, the children's attention went to Mrs. Evans who was humming as she stirred the warming milk. She hadn't heard any of this conversation. They watched in anticipation as she added the chocolate powder to the mix. Severus however was looking around the kitchen amazed at how clean everything was. Soon Mrs. Evans was calling out, "All right children bring your mugs. The cocoa is ready."

The children lined up at its end stood the scruffy boy. It had been years since he had had a proper mug of hot chocolate so he wasn't sure what to expect. Just the smell of it made him dizzy. When the sweet warm drink was finally going down his throat, it warmed him all the way through. In spite of the admonition he'd been given earlier, he continued to eat quite a few of the cookies. Seeing this and thinking it might not be such a good idea for the boy to be ingesting that much sugar, the girls' mother asked, "Perhaps I should make you a sandwich Severus?"

Not quite believing his ears Snape did not answer. Petunia was giving her mother a cross look while thinking, 'If you feed it, we'll never get it to leave.'

Mrs. Evans had not waited for the boy to answer. She went ahead and began to get the ingredients for a leftover chicken sandwich. That and a glass of milk were put down in front of the skinny boy who gulped that down just as fast as the cookies. As the cookies and cocoa disappeared so did the other children. As predicted by Petunia, Severus was in no rush to go back to his house. She went off to do her own thing leaving Lily to entertain the unwanted, at least by her, guest. "Hey Sev," Lily asked, "You like records right?"

"Yeah," was the boy's short answer.

"We just got a new Christmas record from our cousins in America." She ran off to get said record. When she returned Lily showed the cover to the boy. "Look Sev, there's Santa, a snowman, and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. That's the name of this record."

Severus looked at the cover illustrated with puppets. He thought this 'Santa' character was dubious. The man in the red suit had missed his house the last four years. He had a feeling Father Christmas would be scarred off by his own father again this year.

"Come on Sev." Lily was pulling the boy to the living room where the Evans' had not just a little record player, but a stereo system. Lily put the record on. "This is my favorite song of the whole thing." The girl put the neddle down on the record and the song began:

Holly Jolly Christmas

Johnny Marks (c) 1962

Have a holly, jolly Christmas;

It's the best time of the year

I don't know if there'll be snow,

but have a cup of cheer.

Have a holly, jolly Christmas;

And when you walk down the street

Say Hello to friends you know

and everyone you meet.

Oh, ho, the mistletoe

hung where you can see;

Somebody waits for you;

Kiss her once for me.

Have a holly jolly Christmas,

and in case you didn't hear,

Oh by golly, have a holly,

jolly Christmas this year.

Lily played the rest of the record, but kept going back to this song. Hours later the two of them were belting the song out along with the record. That was the sound that greeted Mr. Evans when he came home from work. "Well I see someone has the Christmas spirit."

"Hi Daddy!" Lily ran to her father for a gigantic hug.

"Hi Lily flower." He looked at the strange boy who was in his living room with his youngest daughter. "Who's this?"

"This is my friend Severus."

"Hello Severus."

"Hello Mr. Evans," Sev responded bashfully. "I guess I should be leaving."

"Yes," Mr. Evans said. "It will be getting dark soon. Wouldn't want your parents to worry."

"No - - "

Lily followed Severus as he went to put his shoes and coat back on. "Wait she told him." She rummaged in some grocery bags that were lined up on the porch. She pulled out a pair of adult sized sox and a sweater. "Put these on. They're a bit big, but they'll be warm." Never sure how to react to kindness, Severus hesitated. "Here." Lily shoved the sox into his hands and Sev pulled them over his cold feet. As he was pulling on the way too big sweater, Petunia showed up.

"Hey, that stuff was for the poor box at church. Not - - "

"So what!" Lily huffed. "Mum and Dad are giving them away, why can't Sev have something?"

Petunia made a snort. "At least it's not Mum's sweater you're giving him."

The boy looked dejected as the unkind girl walked away. "Don't listen to Tuney, Sev. She doesn't like to share with anyone, not even me." She gave him a little hug as he was going out the door.

"Thanks for the stuff," Sev said.

"Don't forget."

"Forget what?"

"To have a holly jolly Christmas this year."

The boy left with a smile on his face and a warm feeling in his heart. This was shaping up to be the best Christmas ever.

tbc