Every year, Severus tried to tell himself that he was acting a fool, but a small part of him refused to abandon hope.
Author: Analia (also known as Analia the 1st)
Author's email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com (Pick an email, any email. Or you could do both and make me feel special!)
Beta: None. All mistakes are mine. I am looking for a beta though, so if you're interested, drop me a line through my LJ (http://analia-the-1st.livejournal.com/ just comment on the most recent post) or by one of the email addresses listed above.
Character(s): Severus Snape
Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine. I'm only doing this for fun and I'm not going to make an ounce of profit (unless you count the reviews). Everything belongs to JK Rowling, Warner Bros. and all those other lucky buggers.
Summary: Every year, Severus tried to tell himself that he was acting a fool, but a small part of him refused to abandon hope.
Author's Note: Before anyone says anything, yes, I KNOW Christmas was two months ago. I just don't care. I've recently gone on a Harry Potter kick, and in the very beginning, I had come across a fantastic photomanip done by trekkiegrrrl. You can find it here: http://trekkiegrrrl.livejournal.com/164392.html#cutid1 She said to feel free to use the pic as a plot bunny, and so I did, even though I didn't finish the story till now. Trekkiegrrrl also asked for a happy ending, but I don't know about that. I might write a second chapter to finish the whole thing off, even though I could probably leave it as it is. It's up to the reviewers to sway me. Oh, I also blatantly stole the paragraph Trekkiegrrrl put with her picture, and stuck it in my story, twice. I mean no disrespect, truly, but it just seemed to fit so well.
Reviews: Please, please, please? I love reviews. Good, bad, indifferent, critical. I'm not picky. I'd prefer critical reviews, but anything else is ok too.
The Empty Stocking
Every year, Severus tried to tell himself that he was acting a fool, but a small part of him refused to abandon hope. The only person who had ever made sure that there was something in his stocking was now dead, and it didn't make things better that he, Snape, had been the one to kill him. This was the time of the year where Snape most of all regretted being so good at following orders: on Christmas morning when his old stocking was as empty as it had been the night before.
Severus Snape had always hated Christmas. As a small child, Christmas meant that his father would start drinking early on Christmas Eve morning, and by the mid-afternoon, the smallest thing would send his father into a drunken rage that would only end once all of the presents meant to be opened the next morning had been destroyed.
When Severus was finally old enough to go to Hogwarts, he had always made sure to stay at the school over the Christmas holiday, in order to avoid having to deal with his parents. He didn't get any thing for Christmas at school either. Any presents that might have been sent to him by owl post were stolen before he ever saw them (Slytherin House being what it was) and he didn't have any friends who would have gotten him Christmas presents either. In fact, the only thing Severus looked forward to on Christmas holidays was that James Potter and his band of toadies would always go home on the train and for the next two weeks, he would be left alone in relative peace.
After graduating from Hogwarts and joining the Dark Lord, Severus had spend several Christmases attending Dark Revels that were celebrated in the deepest dungeons of Malfoy Manor, or at another place the Dark Lord had delegated. Of all the Yuletides he tried to forget, it was the memories of the things he had done during those vile few years that continued to haunt his dreams.
However, of all the Christmases that had come and gone, none of them hurt quite as badly as the first Christmas after Dumbledore's death.
Severus had hung his stocking on a nail over the fireplace on Christmas Eve, more out of habit than anything else. Dumbledore had always insisted that the Potion Master do this one act, and every year Snape had grudgingly complied. The next morning he had always found some sort of silly... something, waiting to be opened. It had invariably come attached with a note of Christmas cheer from his employer.
That Christmas morning, though, when Severus went to the fireplace, the stocking was empty.
It was only then that Albus's death really hit him. There was no gaily wrapped package waiting to be opened. No disgustingly merry card waiting to chirp "Happy Christmas!" at him when it was unfolded. The dirty, tattered old sock was completely empty. It was as empty as his life had become when he had obeyed the Headmaster's final command.
The next Christmas Eve, Severus had gone straight to bed without even glancing at the mantle. But the nagging sensation that he had forgotten to do something kept him awake long into the night. Finally, when he could not longer stand it, Severus had thrown back the covers, summoned the green stocking and then had ruthlessly impaled the poor thing on its nail over the fireplace. But the next morning the sock was as empty as it had been the year before.
The situation had repeated itself over and over again during the passing years. Every year, Snape would reluctantly, grudgingly, or even mournfully hang up the stocking on Christmas Eve night, then go to bed, telling himself that he didn't expect (or even want!) anything for Christmas in his stocking. But every Christmas morning, before he went to the Great Hall for breakfast, Snape would glance at the forlorn (and empty) scrap of fabric that dangled over the fire and something inside him would tighten painfully until he looked away again.
Every year, Severus tried to tell himself that he was acting a fool, but a small part of him refused to abandon hope. The only person who had ever made sure that there was something in his stocking was long dead, and it didn't make things better that he, Snape, had been the one to kill him. This was the time of the year where Snape most of all regretted being so good at following orders: on Christmas morning when his old stocking was as empty as it had been the night before.
This past year had been particularly bad. Severus had hung the stocking up as usual, and as was becoming the painfully disappointing habit, there was nothing in it come morning. That Christmas, Severus had been overcome with rage that he had received nothing, again, and he had torn the sock from its nail and thrown it into the fire. He had watched in spiteful satisfaction as the sock seemed to curl up on itself in pain while the flames consumed it. But after the last remaining thread of the sock had turned to ash under his gaze, the bitter, metallic taste of regret had poisoned his mouth and it soured every single morsel of food that touched his lips for the rest of the day.
Now it was Christmas again and though guilt had nearly persuaded him to purchase a new stocking to replace the one from the Christmas before, he had resisted the temptation and simply gone to bed. Severus had tossed and turned the whole night before finally falling into a fitful sleep in the wee hours of the morning, his entire mind consumed with the fact that he had not replaced the stocking he had destroyed.
When he woke Christmas morning, Severus firmly told himself that he wasn't even going to think about looking at the fireplace. He had burned the old stocking, and no miracle was going to bring Albus Dumbledore back from the dead, so he had no reason to expect anything. His resolve not to look at the fireplace lasted nearly the whole day, but as he entered his rooms after dinner, Snape's eyes wandered in the direction of the fireplace and the empty space where the stocking should have been. Except, the place that should have been empty, wasn't.
Shocked, Severus walked to the hearth and lifted the bright new stocking from the nail. He unconsciously closed his eyes and crushed the green fabric to his chest while tears pricked his eyelids. The Potion Master stood that way for several long moments until he was in control of his emotions again. When he uncurled his fingers from their death grip on the stocking, Severus heard the crinkle of paper as it shifted inside the material.
With trembling fingers, Severus reached inside the mouth of the stocking and withdrew a slightly crumpled envelope. His name was neatly printed on the outside in a plain script and the flap had been tucked inside the back of the envelope instead of being sealed. He slowly opened the envelope to reveal a square card. On one side, the name of a modest wizarding restaurant was printed in the same type as the words on the outside of the envelope. On the other side of the card was a short handwritten note.
"No one should be alone on Christmas", the note read. "I will wait for you until 9pm." It was signed simply, "-H."
A thrill of apprehension and anticipation shot through Severus as he glanced at the clock in the middle of the mantle. It was eight-thirty now. The Potion Master glanced back down at the card in his hand. If he hurried, he could just barely make it.
Author note part 2: So? Should I write another chapter or leave the story as is? Leave a review and let me know what you think.