The storm raged more and more ferociously as the night wore on. The small boy lay under the threadbare blankets and tried to sleep. He shivered and turned over, trying to get comfortable, his stomach rumbling with hunger.
The streetlight outside shone through the tattered curtain of the bedroom, lighting the clock on the wall, telling the boy he’d be eleven in ten minutes time. He lay and watched his birthday tick nearer.
Five minutes to go. The boy heard something creak in the storm outside, and hoped the roof wasn’t going to fall in, although he might be warmer if it did.
Four minutes to go… wrapping the blankets around himself, he gave up on trying to sleep and went to sit at the window.
Three minutes… he reached one cold hand out of the blanket’s miserly shelter and drew a round shape in the dust of the windowsill, a small cake. Shuddering with cold, he added eleven lines to the top for candles.
One minute to go and he’d be eleven... thirty seconds… ten – nine –
As the clock hit midnight, the boy blew on the dust and the cake disappeared.
“Happy birthday, Severus,” he whispered.