Snape's Christmas Gift

Loosely based on the song "A snowflake fell (and it felt like a kiss)" by Glasvegas.

Just a late-night drabble, hope you'll enjoy.

****

The breeze, from the graveyard keeps murmuring death

Too much time harbours thoughts in heads

Now I´m compelled to care

About my future going nowhere

As I stand here all alone in the cold wondering where I´m going today

Then a snowflake fell and it felt like a kiss now I´m ok.

****

It was Christmas.

Severus Snape wasn't exactly sure what had compelled him to leave his home to visit Lily's grave on that specific night, when thousands of families had cuddled up to their warm and cozy beds, dreaming about opening up their presents tomorrow.

He had returned home from Hogwarts a few nights before for the Christmas, as usual. This morning he had woken up in his tidy, lonely bedroom in the early hours of the morning and it was as if a disturbing dream had stayed in the back of his mind and, without an invitation, stuck there and made his heart ache. I'll receive no gifts today, he had thought. He had grasped the gray and worn-out blankets tight around him, as if to find some peace or warmth from them, curled up into a ball and closed his eyes again, trying to sleep the bad feeling away.

A memory lingered behind his eyes, a picture of a gift wrapped in gold and white paper. A memory he wanted to push out of his mind, a memory of a hand, a hand he wanted to kiss and hold against his face, a delicate and feminine hand holding the gift. For a moment he let himself pity himself. Then he pushed the blankets away, got up, dressed himself and left.

The air was chilly and his breath turned into fog as he quietly entered the abandoned and peaceful graveyard hundreds of miles from his home. The church behind the graveyard looked ghostly and abandoned, but when Severus looked at it more closely he saw faint candlelight from the windows. The light created golden stripes on the snow, and for a moment he stayed at his place, just looking at it. How long had it been since the last time he was here? At least five years. The graveyard looked pretty much the same as it had always looked, maybe a bit scruffier here and there, as if someone had stopped taking care of it properly.

He knew his way to the Potters' graves without seaching his way in the dark, but was shocked to find someone had already been there. Fresh flowers tied together with a ribbon were laid down beside the gravestone, and clear footprints were still visible around the graves. The footprints continued into the darkness on both ways, as if someone had been walking around the stones, looking for the right one. But who would go lay down flowers in the middle of the night on Christmas night on no other grave than that of the Potters' , in these dangerous times? Remus Lupin maybe, he thought and snarled. Undoubtably the werewolf wasn't one to receive many Christmas gifts either. But even he had gotten married, he remembered suddenly.

A wave of total and despairing self-pity washed over him. Why was he still this alone after all these years? Why was it James Potter in this grave instead of him? How much he would've given to be in his place, to have spent those few unbearably happy years with Lily, to have had a child with her and be now blissfully moulding underneath the snow, grass and earth, without knowing how the years had changed the world and their friends.

Severus looked up to the sky. A few thin clouds were stretching over some of the stars, and they seemed to sparkle from behind them, bright and cold. He thought about Lily, who was lying somewhere beneath his feet. He wondered how much of her body was still left after all these years. He hadn't been to her funeral. How could he have been? How would it have looked if he, a known Death Eater, had appeared to the funeral of the parents of the Boy Who Lives? What was he even doing here now? It was all in the past, all his memories; just ghosts of people who no longer existed, memories of shared moments no-one else would ever remember. He remembered the gift in white and gold wrapping again.

Severus sat on his bed in Hogwarts, smiling widely and looking at the girl in front of him. Lily was holding a small, neatly wrapped package that was wrapped in white and gold, and his name was written on it with stylish, big letters. Minutes before he had sneaked out of the boy's empty dormitory to open up the door to the Slytherin dungeons to Lily. They were thirteen, and wearing their pajamas.

"Merry Christmas, Sev!"

He took the present from her hands and slowly opened the gift pledge around it. At first he tried to open it up as neatly as possible, without tearing the tapes, but she laughed and tore the paper apart on his behalf.

It was a music tape. A regular muggle music tape. He looked very surprised seeing it. She smiled slyly to him.

"So that you don't forget where you came from," she said.

"Oh, ha ha..." he didn't show his enthusiasm over a muggle artifact, since that would've been highly unslytherin-like, but was secretly very pleased. He couldn't afford to buy music for himself at the Muggle world.

He handed his present to Lily, who tore the wrapping up very undelicately. Then she raised the gift into light. It was a small chrystal bottle, full of yellow, sticky-looking liquid. She looked at it closely for a moment and then laughed cheerfully. "Intuition Liquid, isn't it!" she exclaimed. He nodded, not surprised at her knowledge.

"I thought it could come in handy on those boring history classes," he grinned. "I have my own bottle here as well. We can just both drink some at the same time and know what the other one is thinking (and also what the others are, how fun is that!)."

"Brilliant!" she high-fived him. Then they both pulled their hand back fast. Sometime before it had been all right for them to even sleep in the same bed, but now it felt a bit uneasy to be in such close proximity to each other, while they were sitting on his bed in their pajamas. He had noticed her having started to avoid touching him since last spring. He felt a bit sad about it for some reason, like he had lost a part of his past, or innocence. He couldn't really put his finger on what he was feeling. Lily looked slightly thoughtful as well, and was staring at his hand pensievely. Suddenly she grasped his arm and brought his hand on her cheek, pressing her eyes shut.

"Next Christmas I have to go home, my parents didn't like me staying here this year at all, no matter how many times I told them you had to be alone unless I stayed. Right now it's just you and me and the Slytherin Dormitory, and the fire in the fireplace, and the sound of the river when the water is moving, and the beautiful snow outside, and everything's all right in the world. I want to keep this moment to myself forever."

And he didn't know why, but he leaned forwards and kissed her lips softly, just barely touching. She looked shocked, and got up amazingly quickly. Her lips parted and for a second it looked as if she was about to say something, but instead she turned on her heels and left, leaving Severus alone in the dark gloomy room, his heart pounding like a wild animal in a cage.

And even when the next morning arrived, and Filch started to plough the snow on the yard, and the fire had turned the woods into ash and died, and the sound of the river had drowned underneath the sounds of students running around the yard and armors singing Christmas songs, there were still two people who remembered that moment. The next days Lily acted a bit over-cheerfully and also stiffened every time he came near her, but at least she was still speaking to him and neither one of them mentioned the moment they had shared. But she never came to the Slythering dormitory again.

Severus woke up from his thoughts when the church bells suddenly started to ring. They were the type of bells that rang every hour, and sure enough, when he looked up at it he saw that it was already six o'clock in the morning.

"Merry Christmas morning, Lily," he said, and felt his eyes moist up. His words sounded hollow and he realised suddenly just how alone he was. No memories could ever bring back Lily, the real laughing, breathing, and clever Lily. His Lily.

Something wet fell on his cheek. It had started snowing. Big, wet flakes fell from the sky and he closed his eyes, letting them wet his face and his hair. It almost felt as if someone was pressing cold, gentle kisses on his face and lips. Cold kisses from a girl long dead, he thought and shivered.

He stood there eyes closed until his nose and his usually white cheekbones were cold and red from the snowy kisses, and when he opened his eyes it seemed as if it was getting a bit lighter. Maybe it was just his imagination. He looked at the grave again, and suddenly wanted to leave. It wasn't Lily in this place anymore. The only existing Lily was in his head, in his memories. His duty was to take care of those memories since that was the only thing left of her. Except for her son, that he was to protect as well.

Yes, he still had a reason to live. And after that - yes. He would be laid down to the ground, and he too would become the earth, and the only thing left of him would be the memories people had of him. And what sad, despisable memories they were. But at least there had been one person who knew where he had come from. And as long as he had his memories he wouldn't be alone.

***

The ringing from the bells keeps screaming out love

As snow fell from heavens above

Directionless no more

Emptiness no more

Now I don´t feel so all alone in the cold wondering where I´m going today

Then a snowflake fell and it felt like a kiss now I´m ok

***