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Severus Snape gazed at his old, battered toy Hippogriff and reached out with both hands to grab it. He babbled softly to it and stroked its head gently as his parents and aunt sipped their cups of tea.

"He could really do with a hair cur," his aunt Millicent commented. "And you should certainly wash his hair more often."

"We can't afford it," Severus' father, Tobias, muttered.

Eileen, Severus' mother, sighed. Millicent glared at Tobias. "You can afford your bloody cigarettes and liquor!" She screeched. Eileen, having heard all of this before, left the table and sat on the floor with Severus.

"You love Chilly, don't you?" she whispered, smiling as she gently wiggled one of the Hippogriff's legs. Severus smiled a toothless grin and garbled at her. Eileen had bought the Hippogriff for him when he was an infant. Tobias had scolded her for it quite severely, but their young son loved 'Chilly' from the moment he set eyes on it, and when his father tried to take it away, he screamed so loudly that it had been given right back.

And that is what Tobias told Aunt Millicent when she asked about it. She crinkled her nose and announced, "It's awful! Buy him another! And none of that rubbish about being too poor – you must look after your little boy."

"He doesn't want another one, Aunt," Eileen said patiently. "He loves Chilly far too much to just give it up."

Aunt Millicent sighed in frustration, but Eileen simply gazed at her young son and murmured, "He's quite obsessive about it, really."