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The sun was finally touching the horizon, the day nearly over. If he were to appreciate the aesthetics of such a setting, he’d have noticed the brilliant plethora of colors that made the darkening sky seem to be on fire. Instead, he focused on the dark gray not even lit by moonlight. Heavy clouds were moving in and the fresh scent of rain was present in the air he breathed.

That was comforting to him, far more than silly colors that had no place in his life. This day was finally drawing to a close. He stood, his black robes a swirl around his thin form as he turned and walked towards the school. The weak warmth of the sun’s rays barely touched the back of his neck as step after step took him deeper into the shadows of the approaching night.

Severus had never understood people who celebrated the day of their birth. Why should one be rewarded with gifts for simply being born? The logic in such a practice was not present and, therefore, he had never celebrated the day in which he was brought into this world. Not since he was a child.

When he was an infant, hid mother had given him chocolate on this day. It was the only way he’d realized that it was not just another day. The chocolates had stopped when he was six. From then on, it had become nothing more than another day in the passing years of his life. He saw nothing special about this day and had no desire to treat it as he had seen others do with brightly wrapped gifts and loud chatter.

It was a day in which he reflected, though. What better day to analyze one’s life and catalogue one’s mistakes and successes than the day in which they were born? In many ways, he saw life as being comprised of positives and negatives. Some, such as Albus, had scales that were far tipped in the direction of good deeds and beneficial contributions to the world in which they lived. Others, such as Lucius, were tipped in the other direction regardless of public fašade and attempts to appear one way or another.

On this date, he examined his life, considered each day, and determined his own balance Whereas others he observed were far more positives or far more negatives and, thus, easily determined, his scale was constantly wavering in one direction than the other. It was a precarious balance, one that was unstable and could shift at any time.

He did not celebrate the day in which he was brought into the world. He did not appreciate the brilliant sunset with colors that did not belong in his world nor did he fully appreciate the night’s sky that drove away the warmth and brought it with cold and darkness. Severus idly dragged the pad of his thumb over the mark on his forearm that forever branded him before long fingers dipped into the pocket of his robe to find the single piece of chocolate he’d discovered on his plate at dinner. He tapped the lemon drop that had been pressed into the dark concoction, the only clue necessary to reveal who had acknowledged this day.

The sun’s warmth was fading as the night’s chill began to wrap around him. Dark eyes looked at the sky for a moment, stared at the heavy clouds, and he was tempted to continue walking into the comforting arms of darkness. The chocolate in his hand was beginning to melt as he gripped it tightly, a nerve in his cheek the only betrayal that he even considered temptation.

The mark on his arm throbbed as his palm grew sticky with melting chocolate. He did not see the point in gifts nor did he see any reason to celebrate the day in which he was born. It was just any other day for him; the chocolate simply a tangible reminder of what always lurked in the corners of his mind every time the mark throbbed and tempted him. He didn’t need brightly wrapped gifts and insincere words of appreciation to celebrate this silly day.

Severus turned from the approaching night, his fingers still firmly wrapped around the piece of chocolate as he ignored the pulsing in his arm. Another year gone, another set to begin when dawn drove away the cold dark in a few hours. His scale remained precariously balanced as he blended into the growing shadows caught between dark and light. Where he belonged.