Disclaimer: I am not J K Rowling. I do not own Harry Potter. I am not Leslie Charteris. I do not own The Saint.
Note/Further Disclaimer: Whilst Blue Peter is an authentic television show (which I don't own either) since Simon Templar is fictitious, it is unlikely that he ever made a personal appearance on it outside the bounds of fiction.
Further Note: Technically this story is back-story for the Severus Snape who appears in 'Saint Potter'. This material is alternate universe.
…Where the snow lay dinted…
-line from a traditional English carol.
Severus Snape first became aware of the existence of the natural phenomenon that was Simon Templar (also known as 'The Saint') at the age of eight, via the medium of television and the children's television show Blue Peter. Simon Templar appeared on it, as a special guest, ostensibly to talk about a recent trip he'd been on to Africa. Whilst he was about it, he made the female presenter blush outrageously, and gave an impromptu demonstration of knife throwing at a melon balanced on the head of one of the male presenters.
It was all over the newspapers the next day, with half of the writers outraged at the appearance, and the other half delighted.
Severus Snape didn't care about current opinion. He had a new hero, with mischievous eyes and a devil-may-care smile, who surely couldn't actually be as old as was suggested?
He commenced a series of visits to the local library to research back-issues of newspapers there. He discovered that, unless there had been a lot of newspaper faking going on, Simon Templar must be at least sixty years old, though judging by his performance on Blue Peter he was remarkably fit and active for his age. And if the stories and scandals and outrages in the newspapers going back twenty or thirty years were anything to go by, Simon Templar had fitted a remarkable amount into one life. Beautiful women (which for some reason Severus couldn't figure out the papers seemed to think important), fast cars, clashes with policemen and criminals – even periods on the run from the law in one or more countries. It seemed impossible that such a man could have existed and not been a wizard in disguise, and yet there he was, in black and white print on faded pages, and Severus' mother, Eileen, vehemently denied that the man was anything other than a muggle.
"He'd have never been permitted to make such a spectacle of himself if he'd been a wizard – or even a squib." she had said, although in a manner which was not altogether unapproving.
Severus' father, Tobias, made disparaging remarks about 'Mr. Simon Templar', but apparently considered Severus' time better spent going to the library looking up old newspaper cuttings, than hanging around at home reading those books or aimlessly wandering the streets.
Severus ended up writing to his idol. At least a couple of Simon Templar's addresses were public knowledge, and it wasn't hard for Severus to discover one of them. It was a short letter he wrote, professing his admiration, and saying that whilst he, Severus, wanted to be an adventurer like Mr. Templar when he grew up, his mother wanted him to go into what was the traditional family 'line of work'.
He hadn't really been expecting a reply but – three months after he had written – a brief note came back:
Adventure is something which is always there, no matter what else may occupy your time, if only you stop and look for it.
It was signed with a doodle stick figure, with a halo on at a rakish angle.
Severus' mother took up child-minding for some reason which eluded Severus, and very determinedly made the acquaintance of a family from a better-off part of town: the Evans family. Severus' father grumbled only moderately about it, since there was an exchange of money to the financial benefit of the Snapes involved.
Severus' mother expected Severus to socialise with the girls if he was about and they were in the house, and in fact insisted on his not sneaking off to the library every time they were due to be present.
The older girl, Petunia, wasn't too bad, but the younger girl, Lily, was a nightmare. She was always going on about wanting to be a witch, and whispering away at some sort of secret which her elder sister said that they mustn't bother anyone else with.
It took Severus some time to realise that his mother actually expected him to be friends with these two.
It took months and ultimately the arrival of Lily's Hogwarts letter for him to discover that apparently Lily was actually a muggle-born witch. Even then he probably wouldn't have known anything about it if his mother hadn't insisted on taking Lily shopping for school supplies.
It belatedly occurred to him that his mother might want him to associate with these two because Lily was a witch his own age, and she wanted Severus thinking about other people with magic, instead of always going off to the library and reading old newspapers.
Severus hadn't heard about one way in which magic had ever improved anything for anyone other than to save a privileged few who were actually witches and wizards time and work. On the other hand, he'd read an astonishing amount about what Simon Templar had done to improve the world in general and he guessed that there was a lot more which hadn't ever made it into the papers simply because it was extra-legal.
The only reason Severus decided that he was going to put up with Hogwarts was because a school of magic, upon reflection, ought to at least count for something on the adventure front.
I really couldn't envision a Saint obsessed Severus Snape who spent all his spare time in the library looking up old newspaper cuttings from the age of eight or nine encountering Lily and Petunia in the canon manner. His mother, concerned with Severus' fixation on a muggle, researching other magical families in the area and trying to introduce Severus to Lily's company by child-minding for the Evans family was the only convincing way I was able to come up with for Severus to have met Lily before Hogwarts. Of course from the point of view of Severus Snape at this age, being a witch or wizard is over-rated, as they don't seem to do anything, whereas Simon Templar was preventing the spread of a weapon of horrific potential, saving heads of state from being assassinated by anarchists and war-mongers, and thwarting bullion robberies on the high seas or in the skies for several decades... (And those are just the stories the newspapers would have got hold of, as they were acts which were publicly known.)