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I’ve always hated the snow.

It reminds me of winters when my father ‘forgot’ to pay the electric bill.  It reminds me of layers of clothing and every blanket I can find just to have some level of warmth.  It reminds me of my mother.

I’ve always hated my mother.

If you hate me just say it.  Stop looking at me like the pest I am and just tell me to kill myself.  It would all just be better if you told me you never wanted me instead of you pretending to actually be a mother.  It would be better than you looking at me with that cold detachment.  I’d rather you be like dad.

I’ve always hated my dad.

The way his hands easily curved into fists.  The way he would lift a bottle to his chapped lips and snarl at me as if I were some animal he had to intimate.  The way he always had money for his addiction but never enough for the electricity in winter.  He would bury the bottles in the snow ensuring that they were to his liking.  Mother and I would go hungry.  But the hunger was always better than the looks of pity from the neighbors.

I’ve always hated pity.

The way pure green eyes would look down on me as if I were some injured frightened animal.  I didn’t need it.  I didn’t need the help.  I didn’t need the charity.  Well, I might have needed it, but I sure didn’t want it.  I loved Lily for all the kindness she gave me.

I’ve always hated Lily.

I loved her as a sister and as a best friend.  I never wanted to leave her lukewarm presence, but being her friend was like a dehydrated man drowning.  I need it, but it was to much at the same time.  I needed her compassion.  I needed her sure hand holding my own back from jumping to the depths of depression.  But even her hand was a strangle hold.  And eventually I couldn’t handle her kind indifference.  I couldn’t handle her fake smiles.  I couldn’t handle her quiet judgement.  I never claimed to be a good person Lily!  The judgement in her sparklingly pure green eyes.

I’ve always hated her eyes.

The eyes of Lily.  The eyes of her son.  Her son.  The offspring of the only friend I have ever had, and the man that I once secretly lusted after.  Their son would look at me with the same eyes of his mother, but no pity in sight.

I’ve always tried to hate their son.

He would be so easy to hate.  Watching him grow from the shadows, I’ve always felt a love for him.  It started completely platonic.  He was just a stranger that I swore to protect.  He was just a stranger that looked so much like the two of them.  I wanted to hate him.  I tried to.  Watching him grow.  Watching his flaws and natural gifts, I found that hating him was something I simply couldn’t do.

I’ve always loved him.

I can admit that standing in the back at his wedding.

I can admit that while watching him and the Weasley girl moments before their kiss of unification.

I can admit that while the man asks if anyone has a reason they should not be wed.

I can admit that while I hold my tongue and list reasons why I have no reason to speak.

“I’m sorry Ginny.”  The wedding is halted.  “I really though I could do this.  I really thought I could love you, but I’m afraid I just don’t.  I love you as family, and that’s what I really wanted.  I wanted to really be part of your family, but standing here in front of all our friends and your family I realize that, I’m marrying you for the wrong reason.”  He kisses her hand and steps away from her.

I can admit that I love him while a sigh of relief cascades out of my body.

I step out after that.  I don’t care to see the fall out.  I simply find myself a secluded place and wait for my racing heart to calm.

“You said you weren’t going to come.”  I hear the boy… man beside me say.

“I changed my mind.  I thought you were sure about marrying her.”

“I changed my mind.”  He shoots back.  “I’m glad you did come though.  I think if you hadn’t, I would have gone through with it.  Ginny deserves better than that.”

“So do you.”  He laughs.

“I wonder about that.  I’ve never seen you dressed like this.  It looks good.”  It’s the best clothes I have.  I washed my hair.  Brushed it.  You can only shiny up a piece of coal so much, but it was to be a special day- I wanted to look the best I could.”

“If you didn’t want to marry her why did you let it get this far.”  He sits next to me on the steps I had been occupying.  His thigh is pressed against mine.  He leans back until his back is leaning against the step behind him.

“They were the closest thing to a family I have, but honestly, they aren’t my family.  No matter how much I was treated like one of them, I’m just not.  You know Snape, just between you and me, I never really found her all that attractive.  I mean, others did.  I’m not saying she’s ugly- far from it. I just don’t think I ever really fancied women.”

“Well, I suggest you not try to have a go with that friend of yours.  Ms. Granger is just intelligent enough to off you and hide all the evidence.”  He laughs and it’s light and easy.

“How about you, any weddings on the horizon?  You came to mine after all, I expect to be invited to yours.”

“Not likely Potter.  Any attempt at a relationship would go just as horrendous as your wedding today. 

The snow is falling around us.  I suppose it is that time of year.  The Weasley girl wanted a winter wedding.  I had heard that much at least.

“I’ve always loved the snow.”  The man beside me says.  The chill is already setting in.  “It reminds me of holiday jumpers, and fireplaces.  Hot cocoa.  Snow men.”  His arms wrap around his knees and he lays his head on top of them.  He’s facing me with a gentle curving smile.  “It reminds me of you.”  I always was so much like my mother.  Cold. Detached.  “The snow falls, thaws, and then it becomes spring.  You have a way of acting intimidating.  But after the war.  It’s like it’s spring.”  He chuckles to himself.  “I’m sorry, I probably don’t make much sense.”  My throat feels really dry.  “What about you Severus?”  He’s never used my first name before and I’m not sure how to react.  “Do you like snow?”

Snow.  I’ve only ever had foul memories of it.  He scooches over to me and places his arm around me.  The body heat aids in keeping us both warm. 

“I don’t mind it.”  I say.

“I really do expect to be invited to your wedding.”

“It’ll never happen.  The wedding that is.”

“It may.”

“I’ve never had much interest in anyone and no one’s ever had much interest in me.  A wedding isn’t going to happen.”  He leans his head against my arm and closes his eyes.

“Then we should get married.”  My throat is a desert and I can’t possibly breathe let alone talk.  “I want a winter wedding, and what you are wearing is fine.  You look very fetching with your hair pulled back like that.  You should do that for our wedding.  And our honeymoon.  I think we should go someplace warm, sunny, and secluded.”

“Heh, I think you are getting a little ahead of yourself.”

“Would you?”

“Would I what?”  His eyes open and my heart stops.  Green eyes focus just on me and I can’t breathe.

“Would you marry me.  Right here.  Right now.  I’m not as smart as you, but I’m not dense either.  I see the way you’ve looked at me.  I know that you want me.”

“You are completely bonkers!”

“I know that one isn’t suppose to pick out wedding cakes on the first date, and organizing an entire wedding is even crazier, but I’m afraid I don’t like being coy.  Severus, this is our wedding.  Ginny, the Weasley’s, they were in on it.  I’ve tried to talk to you.  I’ve tried to honestly tell you how I feel, but you’ve always shrugged me off.  I was hoping that you would come to this wedding, and I was hoping you would object, but when you didn’t, I did.  I’ve spun my web Severus, and you are trapped.  Will you marry me?”

The overwhelming need to run is screaming in my head but I don’t know if I should run away or run to him.  The door leading back into the wedding chapel opens and all I see is a wedding dress.

“Look bro, have you convinced the bride yet or not, I’ve been keeping everyone seated and ensuring them there will be a wedding, but the press is already going crazy.”  She looks at me and I want to hide from her.  Instead she just smiles.  “I can’t say I know what he sees in you, but if my brother is sure, then I’m excited to welcome you to the family.”  She lightly punches Harry’s arm.  “I’m sorry about all this after all, I tried to convince him that this was a little extreme, but you know how impulsive Harry is.”

“Come on Severus, do you want to marry me?”  

“I do.”