Happy Valentine's Day!

I had planned to write on a story I am working on that is in the Dragon Age universe but my little sister batted her eyes at me over a possible Sevione Love Day one shot. So because I adore her to the very depths of my black soul...this came about instead.

It was meant to be all happy fluff but I also read the conclusion to my girl Vine's story (Tinkervine Le Fey) and I admit that the reality of my own thoughts at that point may have bled over into this one. Love is salvation and warmth and for people who live in darkness...it can be the only hand hold they have.

So this is dedicated to all of you out there who have found that one person drowning in the darkness and held on tight as they climbed their way out. For me personally...its to my hubs who refused to let go even when I was cutting his hand with barbs and hate. Thank you for never letting me fall again. I will always love you and you will always be the one I chose.

Always

~Tempest


It was that time of year…again. Pink hearts and red hearts scattered across the castle. Pixies and fairies flew high on the ceiling, minions of Cupid sprinkling adoration and infatuation in shimmering sparkles across the student body. Laughter rang in the hallway as loudly and as often as those irritating sighs. The eyes of teenage girls followed after oblivious teenage boys. It was in a word…ostentatious…and he hated it all!

Sitting in his place as Headmaster at the high table, Severus watched with growing disgust as the student body mingled. Anticipation and excitement ran high as they all waited for the owl post this morning. Thanks to some of his younger teachers, such as Professor Longbottom, previously Lovegood, and Professor Patel-Wood, a new idea had been implemented. The students had been allowed to buy or make Valentine 's Day gifts that would be delivered this morning.

Both had explained to him that it was a good way to show the students a muggle tradition and give them a day of frivolity. Salazar knew he could not really stand frivolity but he also knew that he was the exception to the rule and a very cantankerous exception at that. It was not fair of him to withhold this kind of fun and idiocy from the children…no matter how much he believed it would only accomplish rotting their brains more.

As the tower clock struck eight in the morning, the beating of wings could be heard and the noise level rose as owls began to pour into the room. Chaos ensued as charmed parcels and letters and cards and gifts were dropped from the ceiling and zoomed to their recipient. The owls came and went multiple times, the display almost enough to give you vertigo and it certainly turned his stomach. Dropping his eyes to the students once more, Severus took in their grinning faces and excited body language and realized his final decision had brought them this joy.

An odd knot formed in his chest and he coughed to try to dislodge it. Putting on his custom sneer, he went back to eating his breakfast as the hall filled with holiday cheer and way too much pink for it to be legal. It reminded him of the toad and that thought alone almost succeeded in ruining his appetite. Though, he would never give her the satisfaction, so he continued to eat just to be stubborn. Of course that didn't last long either.

One moment he was looking up as he chewed to watch the spectacle and the next he was looking down to get another fork full of food when he noticed the black card lying carefully tucked under his plate. Setting his fork down, Severus gingerly extracted the thick paper from its place and sliding his chair back just a little he dropped his hands in his lap with a confused frown. He knew the wards placed around the castle and the new security measures would not allow any cursed or dangerous spells or items to enter the castle so he was pretty sure it wasn't a threat.

Speculation was a pointless endeavor as he could not fathom what it could be or how it got under his plate. With cautious movements, he opened the 'card' and as the silver writing appeared in front of him, as if it was being written right then, he sat back with a stunned look on his face.

Dearest Severus,

I am sure at this very moment you are both wary and confused as to what is going on. I know you hate this holiday and think the ideals of love and forever are contrite and beneath your intellect. I also know that you are wrong. Whether you chose to believe that and open your mind and possibly your heart to being proven wrong is still up to you however.

As you can see…this card is neither pink or red nor shaped in a heart or some other puerile shape or Valentine's Day cliché. I would never embarrass or annoy you in such a way. It is however filled with words that can only be describe as the pink of infatuation, the red of passion, and a heart of love…one I fear you will ignore. But one has to try in order to fail or succeed my mercurial potion's master and so…I try.

I have watched you this past year and I have yearned. Your brilliance only fuels my own and I long to have more time to sit and listen to that voice of yours…whiskey over ice, sex wrapped in darkness, carnal sins made real and tangible. Would you let me I wonder?

If I promised not to be insipid or simpering would you let me sit at your feet as you speak of history and tragedy?

If I promised to keep quiet and listen in rapture, would you let the words form on your lips of the great poets so that their words take flight inside my heart?

Would you read aloud your favorite novels as I lean against you, my mind drifting off to the world you are describing even as my heart beats to be touching you?

Is there anything I could do, give, promise, that would allow you to open up to me, trust me enough to try?

Eyes deceive us of many things. A person's eyes can take in a wilting rose and think it dead and useless and throw it away. If we close our eyes though, the flower still smells sweet and gentle. The petals are still silky between our fingers and can be used to create a special blend of tea or a tonic to bathe with. A lesson you taught me without even knowing that you did.

You look at yourself and I watch you see that wilted flower, that broken and useless thing to be thrown away. I look at you and I see…possibility. I see fierce protection with deadly consequences. I see strong passions locked away behind mistrust and buried pain. I see a vulnerable heart choked to barely beating by the cruelty of others. I see a man. A man, who could live, should live, if only the hand life dealt him had been…luckier.

I could offer you platitudes. I could offer you words of inspiration meant to help your scars heal, your wounds close, your past disappear. But you and I know…that is not how life works. Words, magic, other people…time. These things do not take away the wounds or the scars. They do not help you forgive or forget. If anything…it only highlights your misery and shows you things you wish you had been given.

So I will not offer you any of these things. I will not claim to heal you or 'fix' you or make you better. For I do not find there could be a better you than you already are. Your scars, your wounds, your past…has made you the man I see. And it is that man that I want above all others. If only you would let me near, let me in; allow me but a drop of your trust.

I will be brutally honest as I close this Valentine so that there is no misunderstanding between us. I love you…at least as much as I can with what I have. I love the way you look and the way you talk. I love the way you move and the way your hands so expertly mold your craft to your will. I love your mind and the maze of information that there is to traverse through. I love your wit and your snark. I love the way you tell a joke with such dry sarcasm that most others cannot see it for what it is. I love the way you billow away when something strikes you as important enough for your haste and I love that there is so much you find important that others rarely see.

I do not know your every thought. I cannot begin to guess all of your scars or open wounds. I have pieces of your pain, some you gave me over the years and some I have found on my own. I have only snippets of your past and it hints at such darkness, such loneliness, such undeserved wretchedness. I cannot make it go away. I cannot ever heal it completely. I cannot change it, rewrite it, or deal you a better hand.

But I do offer you the only thing that I can. I offer you my heart, my body, my soul…me. If you want to yell and throw your hateful words at someone…I am here. If you need to slice someone apart with your vitriol so the acid will leave your own soul…I am here. If you need to vent, talk, bemoan your life or celebrate it…I am here.

If you want a friend that will willingly take on your scars and your wounds, your pain and your past…I am here.

If you wish to be worshiped, to have someone at your feet hanging on your every word no matter how trivial…I am here.

And my dearest Severus…if you wish for a companion who will lighten the load, hold you when you break, lean on you when she needs your protection. Someone who will give themselves into your hand when your passion breaks free and tell you they love you every minute of every day until you can finally believe…

I am here.

I have left you a present; nestle between the wings of the gargoyle that guards your sanctuary. If you wish to try or wish to let me try…use my gift to find me. You will find instructions on how in the bottom of the box. I yearn for you every day Severus. I wish on every star and pray and beg and plead to any and all gods who may be listening that I be dealt a new hand…one in which the king of my heart, the man that encompasses my every thought, my every breath…who has become my whole world…is included. I ask for nothing in return but your trust. You may come to love me or you may never…it changes nothing for me. I am yours…will you be the savior that answers my prayers? This year…will you be my Valentine?

If you want me…I…am…here.

For a moment even his lungs stopped moving. The world seemed to stand still as he let the last of the words sink deep into that darkness his Valentine spoke of. It was impossible of course. It had to be some elaborate joke that yet another cruel bastard was pulling on him. But it didn't feel like it. He could almost swear he felt the yearning, the plea coming off the paper in waves.

He didn't want to trust it, didn't want to let those words in any deeper but he was afraid he may already have lost that fight. He could feel wonder bubbling under the surface of his rage. He could feel a small shred of hope trying to claw its way up from the very blackened depths of his heart and he knew if he was to be made a fool again…he was going to allow it for a chance to have what this mysterious angel was offering.

Not even bothering to look around or say his goodbyes, Severus pushed his chair back and stood as he expertly hid the card in the folds of his robe. Turning with a billow, his thoughts on her reasons for why he did so causing him to smirk, he took the floor in long strides until he was out the staff door and heading towards his office.

He kept the letter on repeat in his mind, his ability to recall anything he read a handy thing today and one he shared with only one other person he had ever met in his life…Miss Granger…his current school librarian. That thought caused his heart to ache but knowing the futility of those thoughts he shoved it ruthlessly into the back of his mind and locked it down behind his strongest Occlumency shields.

He couldn't have the girl he once worshiped with a very unhealthy infatuation and he could not have the young woman he had come to care for and admire. But he had a possible witch out there who truly seemed to want him just as he was. Knowing Miss Granger was going to eventually leave this place once her past stopped haunting her and find a nice, young, handsome man to marry and have children with, Severus had not allowed his feelings to blossom any further than affection and admiration and if he was truly this lucky, maybe he could learn to take those feelings and turn their attention to a more available and accepting female.

Reaching the gargoyle that guarded the entrance to his office and subsequently his private quarters, or as she put it his sanctuary, Severus reached behind the head and felt around at the juncture of the wings. His fingertips brushed a velvet box and he summoned it to his hands silently.

His patience a non-existent thing it seemed, he pushed the top up quickly and tilted his head to the side in contemplation at the small pearl shaped globe that lay nestled on a tiny black pillow inside the box. It was no bigger than a marble and seemed to have an eerie silver/black glow swirling inside it. Lifting it off the pillow he was momentarily stunned as he felt a distant feeling of longing and then a spark of surprised pleasure sing along his magic.

The sphere pulsed in an almost greeting and he couldn't help the smile that graced his normally stoic face. It seemed the witch in question was attached to the sphere and could tell he was holding it and had willingly given him an insight into her emotions that any man would kill to have.

Looking back into the box, he lifted the pillow to find words printed on the bottom in swirling script.

My proclamations made,

My intentions shown,

My light I offer,

Since darkness you've known,

Follow the sphere,

It will lead you to me,

Through feelings of longing,

And things that could be,

I know this is stupid,

The cliché of all time,

As I am not a poet,

But wish you were mine,

If not today,

Or even this year,

Just keep in mind,

I am here.

He read the horribly simple lines again and again before it became a blur. Realizes the blur were tears and the poem meant more to him than any published poet he had ever read, Severus held the sphere tightly in his hand and he slipped the box and his poem into his robe pocket. He got the feeling of floating up and with absolutely no hesitation, he set off for the nearest staircase.

Being Headmaster had its privileges. One of those coming in handy now as the moving staircases were always right where he needed them to be to ascend or descend to whatever level he was heading to. As he stepped onto the third floor landing and prepared to turn to continue up, he paused as the feeling of floating stopped. Realizing he was on the right floor, he turned and headed off down a random corridor.

He made a few turns and realized the feeling had gotten fainter. Spinning in place to the confusion of a few students who were headed to class, he strode in the other direction, his focus not on where he was going but the pulsing emotions of the globe. Lucky for him that his reputation meant everyone moved hurriedly out of his path.

So focused was he on the feelings rushing up from the glass sphere and along his magic that he did not even realize where he was until it pulsed with a strong layer of anxiety and nervousness and stopped his feet in his tracks. Looking around he realized the only door in the hallway he was standing in was the entrance to the library. His heart skipped a beat even as his practical side told him there was no way it was what he was hoping and someone else had to be in there with her. As his secret admirer had said…his dealt hand was not in any way lucky.

And yet…here he was, a magical sphere of emotions pulling at his own insecurities as he faced the entrance that led to the one person that had managed to get under his skin and inside his head since Lily's death.

His first instinct was to run fast and far but he took a firm hold on that cowardly thought. He may not be a Gryffindor but he was not a coward! Gulping in several deep breaths and steeling himself for whatever might be on the other side of those doors, Severus moved forward. The library, like every other part of the castle, greeted him like a friend as the doors swung gently open on their own with a whispered sigh.

He took those last few steps into the room only to stop once more as his dark eyes met honey brown. Though she wore her usual smile that she gifted him with, he could see the worry her expressive eyes held and every notion he had about the unfairness of life and how the cosmos laughed as they bled him dry faded into silence in his head.

He felt his mouth open and close several times before his brain caught up to the movement and demanded his voice work. What came out was more of a hushed croak then the whiskey over ice that his admirer had described but he couldn't be assed to care in that moment. Holding up his hand he unfurled his fingers one by one until the small sphere lay exposed in the palm of his hand.

"I was looking for the witch that sent this Valentine's gift to me."

He knew her so well now that he could see that Gryffindor bravery take hold of her and straighten her spine even as it lifted her head in pride. She kept her eyes on his as she folded her hands carefully in front of her.

"I am here."

Those words…said out loud in a voice filled with purpose, confidence…honesty. She was not ashamed or afraid…she owned her deed…claimed it…and in that moment she claimed him.

He did not consciously move and later would chuckle when trying to explain that he had no idea how he even managed to close the distance but she was suddenly in his arms and he was kissing her like a man starving. She tasted like strawberries and a hint of rose flavored tea and her words rolled over him again. The groan that rumbled up from his chest was so filled with need and hope that he would have been embarrassed at himself if he had the mental capacity to think beyond the woman in his arms.

For her part, she did not shrink from his assault of her person but leaned fully into him, her moans and whimpers of need only fueling him on and he took and took from her mouth. His skin so starved for touch that each time she ran her hands along some part of him the pain of it mingled with the pleasure, a riot of feelings meant to comfort him but also overwhelmed him.

Getting his control back was a painful thing and he only managed to grab enough to pull back an inch from her lips. He opened his eyes just as she did hers and the warmth and care he saw reflected there took on a whole new meaning from what he had been assuming the entire year. She didn't care like a colleague or acquaintance…platonic and untouchable. She cared…like a friend that you could hold for a lifetime…a lover that would chase the darkness and chill of the night away. She…cared.

"I love you Hermione…gods I think I have loved you for months now. Please tell me I'm not dreaming again."

Her soft hands traced the planes of his face, her touch light like she knew that very simple act was painful to his overly sensitive skin.

"You are not dreaming Severus. I love you too and I am really here."

Trusting the castle to keep out any wandering students, he took her lips once more, letting his walls crumble as he took all she was offering with every swipe of his tongue and nip of his teeth. Her body, her sighs only encouraged him to continue and for once he indulged in something good, sweet…something he used to think so beneath him…care of another…never ending love…forever.