Did Severus Snape like snow?

Severus Snape, potions master and head of Slytherin house at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, walked along the narrow path from the castle to the lakeside. For an outside observer the black clad man looked oblivious of the laughter and merriment around him, but Snape wasn´t. He took his proctoring duties very serious. He saw everything. The snowball fights, the children rolling in the white, the youths sliding down the hill in cauldrons, the skaters on the lake, if only from afar, the snow man builders, everything.

Proctoring the students of Hogwarts on a lazy winter Sunday was one of the better duties of a teacher, Snape thought. Snow made the children soft. Even the most vicious ones prefered a snowball over a spell any day. True, sometimes they used spells to aim better or to throw farther, but basically playing in the snow was so magical in itself, that wands were rarely used.

A tiny smile played around the potions masters lips as he watched Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter throw snowballs at each other between giggles and laughter. Both boys´ cheeks were flushed with excitement. Their fringes were wet with sweat and stuck to their foreheads. How very much like their fathers they looked. The difference was that Malfoy was probably aware of the fact while Potter had no idea.

Fondly he remembered the day, some twenty years ago, when Lily had united him and Potter in a team to cover Black in snow. The arrogant pure-blood had given Lily a hard time for being muggle born. He had mocked her lack of knowledge of wizarding ways. The day they were allowed to play in the snow Lily had realised that this was something that worked the same for wizards and muggles. This was a game she could play and she had gone to get help.

Severus, having been her friend for years, had joined her without hesitation. He never knew why Potter, a pure-blood himself and Black´s friend, had joined Lily´s little cruisade, but he had. Severus and Potter covered Black in snow, defending their lady´s honour, and for a brief moment Severus even thought that he and Potter could be friends. This had, of course, only lasted until Potter had helped Black up with a lopsided grin after the other boy had admitted defeat and apologised to Lily.

Snape reached the lakeside and stood for a while to watch the skaters, although they needed no supervision. The students had a habit of bringing scraps of their breakfast to the lake and feeding them to the squid. And the squid in return floated at the edge of the ice and stopped the children from falling in. With a last look at the skaters, the teacher turned around and walked back up to the castle.

Several Gryffindors were sliding down the slope in their cauldrons. Funny, how transfiguration and engorgement charms came easy to the children when they were working for their entertainment. Tomorrow those makeshift sledges were going to be small pewter cauldrons again, hated tools in a hated branch of magic. But today they were toys, beloved providers of fun.

He watched them from the corner of his eyes in order not to scare them. In all his years at Hogwarts he had never told a student off for using his cauldron for winter sports, but nevertheless the young witches and wizards seemed to think he would when he noticed them. So he had developed a habit of overlooking the sledgers on his rounds. How could he begrudge them the fun they were having, when he himself had done the same in the not so distant past. He and Lily had raced each other down this very slope up to their fifth year. Lily had, of course, won every single race, for why would he overtake her when he couldn´t watch her long red hair fly from the front.

He strolled past the snowman army that was being built by a group of Hufflepuffs. Somebody had nicked a sack of carots from the kitchens and Dumbledore himself had ordered Hagrid to carry a big basket of coals to the grounds to give the snowmen eyes. Snape wasn´t sure it hadn´t been the old codger himself who had taken the carots. A redhaired girl stretched to fix a carot nose in her snowman´s face, but she was too small. Snape wondered how she had managed to get the head up there. Must have been magic.

"Here, let me help you." He took the carot from the girl. She uttered a small shriek and looked up at him fearfully. He placed the carot in the middle of the snowman´s face. "What," he growled, "have you never seen a man finish a snowman?" She shook her head.

Snape decided he had scared her enough for one day and continued his way to the castle. Lily had loved snowmen. They never missed to build one before going back inside and theirs had always been the biggest and most impressive.

"Severus."

He was startled out of his thoughts. "Minerva."

"Thank you so much for taking over my round. My rheumatics are killing me. I have cocoa and biscuits for you." The old witch motioned to the stairs to her rooms invitingly.

"Thank you, Minerva. A cup of hot cocoa would be the right thing now." He followed her upstairs with a fond smile. He and Lily had always nicked some from the kitchens when they came inside after a day in the snow.

The potions master glanced outside the door over his shoulder. He was too far up the stairs to see the students, but he could still hear their laughter.

Yes, Severus Snape loved snow.

The End.