The door creaked open slowly, and he stepped in...hoping not to wake her. He stood for a moment at the door watching her as she slept. The dawn brought just a hint of golden light into the room, and her features were suddenly awash in the early morning brightness.
His breath caught as he looked at her face, just a hint of freckles across her nose and cheeks, her rosy lips, and pert nose suddenly wrinkled as the sunlight touched her face, and she pulled the cover higher as she settled back into slumber. He stood mesmerized as he watched her smile suddenly, then turn away from the brightness. Was she dreaming of him, he wondered, as he approached the bed.
Shedding his outer cloak and frockcoat, he sat down on the edge carefully. As he removed his shoes and set them aside, he reached into his waistcoat, and removed a tiny box. Opening it, he looked at the item nestled there in the black velvet. Smiling to himself, he remembered the way her eyes lit up when she’d noticed it. They’d been shopping in Diagon Alley, and had passed the shop several times that day. Each time she’d looked wistfully at the object and sighed. Noticing her interest, and the way she looked at it each time, had convinced him that it was indeed a fitting present for their first Christmas together.
When they’d returned to the castle, he’d excused himself to his office, feigning work, and had written a note to the owner to arrange the purchase. The owl had returned with the reply, saying it would be taken care of, and that it could be modified and picked up early Christmas morning. Thus Severus Snape had made his way to town to pick up the pendant. Closing the top, he quickly used a wrapping spell, and then placed the package underneath the tree. Smiling to himself, he removed his clothes and settled back into bed beside his sleeping wife.
His hand reached up to rub his face, as he snuggled deeper into the covers, and let out a sigh. Then he felt the sensation once again against his cheek, and reached once again to rub the spot. A giggle issued forth then, and as he opened his eyes, he was greeted with a kiss, and a smile.
“Merry Christmas!” she said excitedly, as she smoothed his hair away from his eyes, and kissed him again.
“Merry Christmas to you, too!” he replied as he sat up and gathered his wife into his arms. As she snuggled close, she wrapped her arms around his waist and sighed contentedly. He smiled as he reveled in the feelings she invoked in him. He’d thought them long dead, and had dismissed them early on in his life, until she came to Hogwarts, and fought to stay in his life. And fight she did, daily, until she’d won, not only a place in his lab as his assistant, but in his heart as well.
He remembered when she first came back to Hogwarts after a three year absence. She had approached him, wanting to become his apprentice. “I do not take on apprentices, Miss Roberts.” He'd scowled at her, then walked away, thinking it would be dropped.
The next day she was back at his door with her request, again, he told her no. And so it went, everyday, for four months. When all was said and done, she reasoned she’d worn him down, His reply was, “Not bloody likely.” Yet, there she was, his apprentice. They had married in May, following the graduation ceremony.
She was bold, and brave, and his beautiful Gryffindor lioness. He kissed the top of her head and held her close, until she sat up and tugged at his hand.
“C’mon let’s see what Santa brought.”
Her eyes were bright as she pulled him to the living room. The tree was bright with white, green, and red lights. They sparkled and reflected off the streamers of silver and gold tinsel.
Natalie surveyed the presents beneath the tree, then turned a delighted smile in his direction, “There is an extra present there!” she stated gleefully, as she clapped her hands together.
Severus gave her one of his patented smirks and deposited himself on the couch. “How ever can you tell?” he questioned.
“Oh don’t be such a scrooge,” she admonished playfully, as she began to hand him the presents she’d bought him. He rose then and took her gifts from under the tree and handed them to her. As she opened the first one, the largest of the four, she squealed in delight when she pulled back the paper and found a green and silver robe, much like his own. He noticed she’d taken to wearing his when the nights grew colder. The next present brought another happy exclamation when she pulled several new quills and a packet of parchments from the second box. The third box contained a bottle of perfume she’d admired in Scents and Such in Diagon Alley, and the smile she gave him told him he’d chosen correctly.
He shifted in his seat as she began to tear the paper from the last gift. Her eyes widened suddenly as she read the name across the top of the box, and as she lifted the lid and looked at him, tears sprang to her eyes, “Oh Severus.” she whispered as she moved closer to his side.
She carefully lifted the ruby, diamond, and emerald pendant from its resting place, and looked at it carefully It was a circle of diamonds, that held a ruby lion inside. She looked carefully, then, at what had been added to the circle, it was an emerald snake that was entwined into the lion’s mane, and then in small diamonds were the initials S N intertwined, and sparkling beneath the lion’s chin. She looked at him then, held out the pendant, and pulled her hair aside for him to put it on her.
After he’d placed it around her neck, he kissed her, and whispered, “Merry Christmas, Wife!”
She gave him a wistful sigh, and turned bright eyes in his direction as she handed him his final gift, which had been nestled in the pocket of her robes. It was a small envelope. He looked at her then, and smiled. She sat very still, as he pulled open the flap, and reached inside.
There was an object that resembled a photograph, but when he looked closely at it, he noticed it didn‘t move like the wizard photographs. A puzzled look flitted across his features as he looked back at his wife. She smiled and then took it from his hand, and pointed out the shadow inside, “Merry Christmas, Daddy!”
His eyes widened, as he gaped at the picture she held in her hand, “What, how, where?” he asked suddenly as he shook his head. He noted he was rambling, as a smile broke out on his face, and he gathered her in his arms in a protective, loving gesture. His whispered, “When is it due?” was barely audible, as he didn’t trust his voice at that moment, so overcome with emotion, he feared it would break.
“Poppy figured late August,” she replied as she held him closer, and placed her head on his chest.
His voice broke the silence after several long moments, and he whispered, as a tear rolled down his cheek, and landed on her arm. “This is the best Christmas I’ve ever had.”
She pulled away and kissed away his tears… “I hope this is the first of many Happy Christmases for you, Severus, I love you.”
“And I you, wife, and I you.”