Standard Fanfic Disclaimer that wouldn't last ten minutes in a court of law: this is an amateur work of fiction, based on characters and situations created by the inimitable J. K. Rowling. (And if she's so inimitable, why do we keep trying?) Tobias, Severus, and Eileen Snape are the literary creations of J. K. Rowling; other members of the Snape family are the figments of my own imagination. Severus Snape, as we all know, was born a half-blood (like Tom Riddle) and raised in a primarily Muggle environment (again, like Tom Riddle). This story is completely PWP {plot, what plot?}, merely a series of snapshots in a photo album, looking at some of Severus' Christmases with his Muggle relations. Needless to say, no financial profit has been made nor is likely to be made from this story.

Christmas at Aunt Agatha's

set in the Harry Potter universe

by Susan M. M.

1960, Cokeworth

"Why Christmas at your aunt's?" Eileen Prince Snape asked her husband as they drove to a far nicer neighborhood of Cokeworth than the one they lived in. "This is our first Christmas as a real family, just the three of us."

"Don't you want to get out of that rat-trap of a flat, even for a day?" Tobias Snape growled. He did not look at his wife as he drove; he kept his eyes on the road.

They arrived at Aunt Agatha's home and parked the car. Once inside, Tobias and Eileen greeted his relatives. Eileen gave her mother-in-law a half-hearted, insincere hug. She glanced at the rest of the extended Snape and Kemble families, trying to match names to faces. Most of these people she'd met once at the wedding last summer and hadn't seen since. She knew Micah and Lydia Snape, of course; they had dinner with Tobias' parents once a month. William and Dorothea Snape, Micah's older brother and his wife, she recognized, and their sons and their sons' wives. She politely thanked Tobias' aunt, Agatha Snape Kemble, and her husband Francis for having them. Of the Kemble cousins, she could tell Joanna from her brothers, but she could not remember which brother was which. Of her darling Severus' second cousins, she didn't even attempt to decipher which child was which. None of them were more than five, anyway. Eileen exchanged polite if unenthusiastic pleasantries with everyone. They had spent last Christmas with Tobias' aunt, but at the time Eileen's belly had been as big as a cauldron, and she had felt too miserable to care where she was or with whom she celebrated the holiday.

"So this is my little grandnephew," Agatha Snape Kemble cooed over the baby. Despite the fact they lived in the same city, she had not bothered to visit the baby any time since his birth almost a year ago. All she'd done was mail a card to Tobias and Eileen with a five pound note inside.

"Scrawny runt," Francis Kemble muttered.

"He was a seven month baby," Eileen said defensively.

"You just keep saying that." Tobias' cousin Josiah Snape lifted his hot toddy in mock salute. "In a few years no one will bother counting the months between the wedding invitation and the birth announcement."

Several of the assorted Snape cousins laughed at that.

"Pot and the kettle," Eileen's mother-in-law, Lydia Fagin Snape, pointed out. "Your William came eight months after the honeymoon."

"Severus. He'll get teased at school with a name like that," predicted Tobias' cousin Bruce. He was Josiah's older brother, and he, too, had a hot toddy.

Tobias harrumphed. He hadn't picked the name.

"He's named for my favorite uncle," Eileen explained. Severus Prince was one of her few relatives who hadn't disowned her when she married a Muggle. "And there were several St. Severuses in the early days of the church."

"You a Romish Cathylick, Eileen?" one of the Kemble cousins asked. She wasn't sure if he was Roger or Charles.

Before she could correct him, before she could decide whether or not to admit that yes, she was a Roman Catholic, or at least had been raised one, Josiah's wife came to her rescue.

"Ignore them, Eileen," Geraldine Robinson Snape urged. "The Snape men are never happy unless they're complaining. Come put him in the playpen with my Leona."

1968, Cokeworth

"Don't slam that door," Great-Uncle Francis called out.

"Severus, what are you doing in so soon?" Grandma Lydia asked. "I thought you were playing and making snow angels."

"Too cold to play," Severus grumbled.

"Are you a nancy boy?" Tobias asked. "Too delicate, boy. A bit of fresh air will toughen you up."

Severus complained, "Cousin William threw a snowball in my face."

"So? Snowball fights are what you're supposed to do in winter," Tobias retorted.

Leona, Geri and Josiah's daughter, invited, "Come to kitchen and get some hot chocolate, Sev. It'll warm you up." Without waiting for him to say yes or no, she headed back to the kitchen. After a second's hesitation, Severus followed her.

"You're lucky having the sniffles, Lee. You don't have to go out and 'play' with those brutes."

"Yes, lucky to have a red, runny nose and a cough. Besides, I live with Rupert and Nate, and William and Todd are my first cousins. I see them every week; I only see you once or twice a year." She poured two mugs of cocoa, then lowered her voice. "Come with me, but be quiet. I found something interesting."

She led him up to the attic, both of them going on tiptoe. If the grown-ups didn't know where they were, they couldn't tell complain about what they were doing.

"Dusty," Severus observed.

"Here." She picked up a book off the floor and handed it to him.

"Mary Poppins?" He opened the book and glanced through the first few pages. One dark eyebrow rose when he saw the publication date. 1934, and from the battered condition of the book, it certainly looked over thirty years old.

They sipped cocoa and took turns reading aloud of Mary Poppins and the Banks family. As they read, Severus wondered silently if P. L. Travers had ever attended Hogwarts.