Other pairings/threesome: none
Word count: 1000
Content/Warning(s): Gen, Pre-Snarry, depressive thoughts, hopeful ending
Prompt: prompts taken from snarry100 #504: Christmas Eve, #505: New Year's Eve
Summary: Severus contemplates his past and gets an invitation for a new beginning
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
A/N: This is a present for dear pekeleke, who encouraged me to try my hand at writing. Here's what comes from that. Unfortunately it did not turn out warm and light as I had hoped. So, my friend, here's your present...
A/N 2: This is my first post here, ever (except for commenting). I hope everything is as it should be. If not, just leave me a hint, please.
Severus’s hand holding the razor stopped mid-stroke before dropping slowly to the sink, his eyes following the movement. He stayed like that for a few moments before shaking himself from the stupor. A sneer curled his mouth before he pressed his lips into a thin white line. After he finished shaving, he carelessly combed through his hair without eyeing the mirror again – he knew exactly what he looked like, speaking mirror or no.
Then he dressed as always in black slacks, white button-up shirt, charcoal grey waistcoat under an inky black robe that settled with a soft whisper along his lean body. He had always liked the feeling of his robes, their heavy weight pulled him down, anchored him. Sometimes, it reminded him of human touch – no! He was not that desperate, not that lonely. He was no animal that needed to be petted in order to feel content.
Once he had eaten his breakfast – two slices of toast, golden brown, just a touch of butter and jam, he reached for the latest edition of the Daily Prophet. The newspaper crumpled in his grip and the cup clattered as he put it harshly down on its saucer, tea sloshing over its brim. The headlines since Christmas Eve had been even inaner than usually, stroking his already bubbling temper. He exhaled slowly, carefully – what was the use? Some futile raging would not help in easing his mind.
Today would not be a day for brewing; the idea did not even occur to him. It was useless to try and distract himself when he had a day like this, was in a mood like this, as he had learned many years ago. He would accomplish nothing, only waste precious time, ingredients, and nerves. He sighed and let his eyes travel to the window.
He had always felt more uneasy on these days between the years. Christmas, Yule, Solstice – those had always been festivities for families. Even when his parents had been alive, Severus had known that he was not part of a family. So, these holidays had never bothered him much. They were too noisy and boisterous, too bright and fancy, too cozy and fuzzy; with the carolling, candles, fairy lights, cookies, meals and presents.
After Boxing Day, though, the world seemed to slow and quiet down once again. The parcels had been exchanged, the meals eaten; the singing ceased, the lights dimmed. For Severus it was as if the world was swathed once more in the darkness of the Solstice’s long night: The world held its breath as it turned from one year to another. The old ones had believed that during these days, same as on Halloween or the Winter Solstice, the Veil between the worlds thinned. They spoke of ghosts and demons, of the Wild Hunt, of visions and crossroads.
And while the world slowed down, Severus slipped into a nebulous state of consciousness, his senses and mind at once dulled and hyper aware. Since he had been a child, Severus had equally longed for and feared these days and nights. They offered him peace and rest – like the nature around him, Severus stilled and waited for the new. But this blessing was like a two-sided coin: These days showed him his surroundings and himself in much harsher and softer lights at once.
Never more than now did he feel self-aware, self-conscious, self-reproaching. Unhinged. It was easy for him to lose himself in old memories, regrets and shadows. Yes, Severus Snape knew what kind of man he was. Mirror or no. Headlines or no. Prosecutor and accused in one, he knew his flaws and deficiencies. Every single one of them. For him, the time between the years showed no thinned veil, but a starkly reflecting mirror.
For so many years he had been unable to change what he saw in himself, or even what he showed to others. Many years he had not been allowed to change due to circumstances, and later, sadly and moreover ironically, due to habit. But now, for the first time, the mirror’s picture had blurred and softened around sharp edges. For the first time, there was a light that still shone brightly, undimmed and undisturbed by the battering storms of the changing times and habits of old.
Severus’s eyes wandered from the dreary view outside the window – grey pavement, grey stones, grey sky – to the rickety table where beside the now folded newspaper and the chipped tea cup a single card lay. It was no cheery Muggle-Santa-Christmas card, nor a cheesy Twinkle-Yule-Magic greeting. It was a rather plain card, in fact, done in soft hues of blue and green. A backdrop of hills, some trees and bushes blanketed with snow. And there, standing both shy and proud, was a doe.
“Dear Professor Snape. I hope this card finds you well. I assume that the merrymaking of the Weasley Yule Feast is not after your fashion. Still, I cannot help but think about how much I wish you had been able to accept my invitation. As I sit here contemplating – yes, I knew this word all by myself, and no, Hermione did not help me with writing – I wonder if you would like to share a quiet turn of the year with me.”
“I do not feel like partying on New Year’s Eve, never really have. It always felt to me as if there was a hush that fell over everything, like the world for once almost stops spinning. Everything is sharper and more blurred, at once… This must sound ridiculous to you, I’ll stop this blathering now. Still, my invitation stands. Come visit me! Or perhaps, if you do not feel like leaving, I might come see you? Please, Professor. I look forward to hearing from you soon! Sincerely yours, Harry Potter”
For the first time he did not feel lost and alone in the Nexus of In-between. Experimentally, Severus let his lips twitch slightly until they stilled in the hint of a smile.