Severus can't help thinking that's an all too frequent occurrence at their altitude and latitude, certainly at this time of year, but the witch sounds utterly delighted, and finding her mood catching, he forgets to ridicule.
Just the once.
In fact, his mood is sufficiently buoyed by her reaction to tear a chuckle from him.
'What? What's so funny?'
I was just thinking about last winter. She looks at him so expectantly, it soon draws a story from him that he hadn't intended to tell. The Weasley twins (just the mention of the young troublemakers elicits a weary sigh from the woman, echoing his own feelings on the subjects well enough to make him appreciate his audience all the more) were up to a spot of mischief.
'When are they not?' His sentiments precisely. The DADA apprentice grows more appealing by the moment. Without warning, she drops to her knees in the snow, taking him by surprise, and begins to form a snowman. He watches bemused.
'Go on,' she prompts when he doesn't continue his recital.
How much do you know about Lockhart's predecessor?
'Professor Quirrell? Officially, not much, but of course there were rumours. Is it true? About You-Know-Who?'
Severus' left arm twinges at the thought. He manages not to reach for it, only just. It wouldn't do to remind the young woman of his past and ruin their evening once and for all. It does make him momentarily question if he should be enjoying a snowy stroll - with her or anyone else. With the possible exception of Albus, however, no one is likely to recognise that hesitation on his part in either his expression or actions.
The details remain largely unknown, but apparently we spent an entire school year with... You-Know-Who in our midsts. On the back of Quirrell's head. Hidden under his turban.
'Under his turban? And no one suspected?' He nods; the movement is a little stiff. 'Because that's such a common sight.
'Talk about keeping things under your hat!' She laughs. She's probably too young to remember the horrors of the last Wizarding War. The ease of that laugh speaks for that assumption.
'No, nothing the least bit odd about a dyed in the wool Brit in a bit of ethnic dress...'
So now I'd like you to picture the twins, playing in the snow, bewitching snowballs, until they have a small flock that follow Quirrell about, much like a swarm of angry bees, repeatedly hitting him in that absurd bit of headgear as he went.
'In the back of his head?' She begins to giggle until finally she breaks out laughing. 'They pelted You-Know-Who with snowballs?' Severus nods. 'Oh, if he ever returns, they're for it.'
Let us hope not.
'That he doesn't return, or that they're not toast?' She asks mischievously, her eyes bright. She seems impossibly young in that moment, but Severus allows her to tug him along into a reality where this could be a laughing matter. Also just the once. A possibility is not a certainty, after all, and presently the Dark Lord does not walk amongst them.
If he does return, he's welcome to them.
'It would certainly simplify my work in the classroom no end,' she readily agrees with a wink, pulling herself together, barely, but only until the next thought hits, 'Oh! They wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell against him.' And now she doubles over, her laughter getting the better of her, her sides splitting just at the thought. It's infectious, and Severus finds himself smiling as he begins to assist her with her creation of snow.
There are spells for this, you know. Not that that seems to stop him from getting hands on himself.
'Where's the fun in that?' She enquires with a smile. He's inclined to agree. They work in companionable silence for a while until it's time for the final touches.
She hunts for sticks, something suitable for the arms. Severus... arranges the acquisition of scarf and hat.
'I say... Wait. That scarf looks awfully familiar...'
It boasts the same colour as your hair. Severus helps her along towards the inevitable realisation.
'Wait, what? No. I... Wait... It does!
'Oh, that's so wrong!
'You'd think there were a limited colour palette or something.
'Oh that's so not on...'
Severus sighs. Given anything like a chance, it's virtually inevitable he put his foot in it. I take it from your reaction that wasn't at all what you meant.
'No, I was thinking it looks a lot like Gilderoy's scarf.'
Ah. He wasn't using it at present.
'And you know this how?'
Had he been, the Accio would doubtless have Summoned him as well.
'Oh for goodness' sake. And you don't imagine he might have minded?' For a fraction of a second, her concern for 'Gilderoy' nearly makes him cross - irrationally, surely - but then she goes on. 'Or *I* might have.' And there's the twinkle in her eyes again. 'Haven't you ever heard that three's a crowd?'
And here you were, building a snowman. I thought you were eager for more companionship.
'No, I believe my needs along those lines are currently being met, ta.' When he doesn't respond with anything more than a faint blush, she navigates them onto safer ground.
'Isn't that Professor McGonagall's hat?'
May well be... he allows.
'I suppose she wasn't using it either.' She smirks.
He shrugs, but is patently enjoying himself all too much. And as far as he's concerned, it's only what his colleagues deserve for not having properly secured their possessions against theft. He's fortunate a certain ginger sees things much the same way, although that fact might help explain what the two of them are doing alone together in the dead of night on the otherwise deserted path from Hogsmeade back to the castle.
'You're positively asking for it, aren't you?'
For a moment he has to consider just what he's asking for, but she prods his thoughts along when she scoops up a handful of snow and begins packing it into a ball.
Hang about! She only laughs and moves on him. His wand, still in hand from Summoning the snowman's garments, raises now to hold her at bay. You haven't properly thought this through. You're bringing snow to a wand fight. She dives behind the snowman for cover and he chuckles darkly. And I doubt your little friend will protect you.
'It's like you take me for a Moggie,' she laughs in reply, her words to Professor McGonagall ringing in her ears. 'Next year I'll be a certified Mistress in Defence, and you believe I'm without recourse?
'Homo Glaciis Oppugno!' And with that, the snowman begins to move, positioning itself first between them before it begins to advance on Severus.
In moments he's flat on his back, and the ginger witch pounces, taking advantage of the opportunity to drop a handful of snow down his shirt and rub it into his chest. Her cries of glee are drowned out by his shriek and finally silenced once and for all when his Levicorpus! dumps her unceremoniously arse over tip into the nearest snowbank.
He applies a Warming Charm as he helps the sputtering woman from the snow. Told you you hadn't thought this through to its logical conclusion, he chides.
She in turn applies a Warming Charm to Severus before sneaking in under his cloak for more warmth. 'Not at all. I was thinking there's something nice about getting warm again after a bit of fun in the snow.'
And as she cuddles in closer, he's inclined to admit she's right.