Hello all! In light of the festive season, here is my 2011 go at a Christmas fic. This is starting to become a bit of a personal tradition... :-)
Merry Christmas, Severus
Hermione Weasley stood in front of the grave of her old Potions professor and watched in silence as Ron laid a wreath of black roses on Professor Snape's grave. It had started off as an impromptu visit from her family years ago and ended up as a Christmas tradition. She didn't know why, but it was something that she insisted that they did, and it was something that Ron was only too happy to oblige with.
"It was an honour to know you," she heard him mutter.
They were words that she would never have thought possible hearing from her husband's mouth. Ron's hatred of Snape almost outweighed Harry's, and yet both of them turned around completely in their opinions of him as the years passed and they matured. In Harry's case, it had changed to the point of naming one of his children after their old professor.
The grave in front of them took on a minimalist tone, certain of which described their professor accordingly in life. Snape might have cut a dramatic figure in person, but Hermione was sure that he was one that did not live in overbearing prosperity. From everything that Harry had told her since the war, Snape had started off as a poor child, growing up in a loveless family with an abusive father and a depressed mother, wishing so long to run away to Hogwarts where he knew that his true home was. It was such a sad story, but unfortunately, one that a few others that she had known shared. It was quite interesting, however, how each of those lives had turned out.
Everything that Snape had done, she knew that he had done it out of protection of Harry, simply because he was Lily's son. It must have been awful to have loved someone so much to see her marry and bear a child to the one person who carried on the bullying tradition from his father.
Hermione nudged her small children forward to lay a flower for a teacher that they would never know in person but who they knew through all the bedtime stories told to them. Little Hugo was only five, but his favourite stories were those not of his parents but of the professor who gave his life to protect those like him, Half-Bloods in a world where Pureblood supremacy was only now becoming less important.
Hugo sat promptly down in front of the grave and bowed his head.
"Merry Christmas, Mr Snape," he said solemnly.
Hermione bowed her head and wept at this touching gesture. Ron had never known the effect that Professor Snape had had on her, and it was something that she knew he never would know.
She had always hated Snape's cutting words, those directed at her and about her, yet she had still strived to please him. She had seen him as the epitome of what she had hoped to achieve. She had known that he was not wealthy like her parents were, but he had been the brightest student of his generation, like she was the brightest of hers. Despite all of the distractions in his life, he had still achieved NEWT's in all of his classes. He had lived a double life for years afterwards, never being able to be himself, all because of a decision he had made when he was barely sixteen. Who didn't make silly decisions at that age?
But he was more than that to her. If anything, he was her first love.
She knew that he would have been repulsed by her feelings towards him; everyone thought that Snape was a mere person, not someone with feelings of anything apart from hate. But she knew better. There was a very fine line between love and hate, and after everything that Harry had told her in recent years, she now understood why he had hated so much.
However, as a child of merely thirteen, she could not fathom why he detested the sight of her. Why would someone like that become a teacher? And yet, she had never turned away from him as he explained the numerous usages of dragon hide gloves, gnat's eggs, or beetle eyes. She had kept watch on his face, seeing the slight inclination of his head as he thought ever-so-briefly of a better way to explain a reason behind something, watching those beetle-black eyes as they glowed with passion, however stunted in a room full of ignorant students, and the fluid movements as he made his way around the classroom inspecting cauldrons.
His stature had been so impressive. He had stood quite tall, perhaps six foot four, and his shoulders were quite broad, as if they had developed from a young age and became more enhanced the older he aged. As for that voice of his, the low timbre had almost resonated on a frequency lower than the human ear could withstand, causing every head in the room to lean forward in anticipation of what he would say next.
In Hermione's mind, he had been the perfect man. For years afterwards, she had wished that all men were as loyal and as thoughtful as he had been, but she was left disappointed every time. It was in her second year with Ron that she realised that there would never be another Severus Snape. There would never be another man who would sacrifice as much as he had for the sake of others. And she had wept for so long after that.
Standing before his grave now, she wept again. It had been so sad to know that he had never had close family like she had with her now, and it was because of this that she found her family coming back at six o'clock each evening on Christmas Day to spend a few minutes with one of the most underestimated war heroes.
As they all stood in silence one last time before leaving, Hermione gestured to the others to leave ahead of her. Ron looked at her curiously but nodded before leading their children away in order to give their mother some time to herself.
Once she knew that she was alone, she stepped forward to the grave and knelt down.
"I never stopped loving you," she whispered. "Thank you so much for everything that you did for us."
She blew a kiss toward him, stood up and left.
From afar, Severus Snape stood at the viewing platform and watched the scene in front of his grave. He had never known that anyone had felt that way about him and her words had taken him by overwhelming surprise. Could he possibly have made such an impression on her? He had seen her family stop by his grave for a number of years now, on that day that he had always dreaded, Christmas Day, and yet he had only ever thought that it was out of respect.
"Thank you, Mrs Weasley," he finally whispered back.
He knew that she would not be able to hear him, but it made him feel better for having said it.
Severus watched as she blew a kiss towards his grave (another surprise!) and left the scene. He watched the spot where she had stood for a long time before resigning himself to turn away. As he left the viewing platform, a funny little smile played at his lips as he replayed the scene over and over in his head. Christmas Day had finally taken on a new meaning as he looked forward to seeing her at the same time the following year.
I enjoyed writing this, I hope you enjoyed reading! ;-)