Disclaimer: The canon characters used in this fiction (Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore) are the property of J.K. Rowling and all other entities who lay legal claim to the Harry Potter universe. The OC mentioned in this fiction is the property of this author. No money has been, is being, or will be made with this fiction, and no disrespect is intended to the author of the Harry Potter books.

Author's notes: This ficlet is written in response to the Momentary Muse Relief challenge issued on the yahoo group The Potion Master's Muse.

Blackbird is written as a stand-alone piece; however it does tie in directly with my novel-length Snape/OC fiction titled Tea with the Black Dragon. For those who read this story, I wrote the wedding day from Grace's POV in Epilogue I. I had notes and pieces of this written from Snape's POV but couldn't use it as there was no place for it in the formatting of the story. The challenge gave me the opportunity to give a brief glimpse into Snape's POV regarding that particular day. Hope you like it.

This ficlet is 997 words long, excluding author's notes and disclaimer.

Blackbird

The high, narrow window that cut a scar across the eastern wall of his room glowed with the warmth of a summer's afternoon. Spears of sunlight pierced the lingering shadows that huddled in corners and revealed the funereal black of the frock coat and robe spread carefully across the bed.

Severus Snape lounged on his couch, his long legs stretched toward the cold hearth and crossed at the ankles. His boots gleamed with a high shine, courtesy of an industrious house elf and a special polish he had made a day earlier. The stark whiteness of his linen shirt clung to his wide shoulders, hid the concavity of his chest and contrasted with the dark trousers encasing his legs.

It was his wedding day and in less than an hour he would take a bride, give her his name and promise her his faith and fidelity before witnesses. The words were meaningless to him, phrases kept alive from a medieval ceremony and as easily recited by a parrot. It was what they heralded that counted. Someone was enthusiastically and wholeheartedly agreeing to bind herself to him. It was, for him, a breathtaking sentiment, one he never imagined would occur in the span of a lifetime warped by bitterness, violence and loneliness.

What his mistress, with her laughing gray eyes, saw in him beyond the emotional cripple remained a mystery. But he would not question his good fortune. For once, Fate in all of her vicious good humor, had chosen to smile upon him instead of laugh at him.

He rose from the couch and walked to the bed, reaching into the lining of the coat and withdrawing a fob watch. It wasn't the one he usually carried on his person. This one was new, gleaming a dull gold in the half-light pouring through the window. The chain was of the finest workmanship, and Snape guessed it came from London, not Hogsmeade. It was a Victorian double rope with an enamel slide and spiral twist T-bar. The chain alone had cost a small fortune and Snape frowned.

The pocket watch itself was restrained in its decoration, the only thing relieving its plaininess a simple S engraved across its cover. The latch holding it closed sprang open beneath his fingertips, revealing a locket design. The face of the time piece marked the time accurately, and he admired the craftsmanship that went into its creation. It was an exquisite gift, as beautiful as its giver. But what had made the air rush from his lungs in a single stunned breath was what came with the watch. On the other side of the locket, a small curl of hair had been tucked into the compartment reserved for such a thing.

For the tenth time in the past hour Snape pulled the curl free and recited the spell that would reverse the shrinking charm laid upon it. The tiny curl grew, lengthening into a silky skein of hair as black and straight as his own. It wrapped around his hand, sliding through his pale fingers in a serpentine caress. He brought it to his nose, inhaling the faint scent of gardenia. A shudder rippled through his frame and he grew aroused. The slide of that lock of hair across his palm brought back heated memories of pale limbs and more of the long, black hair wrapped around him as he made love to his bride-to-be in the predawn hours of his wedding day.

He reached into the interior pocket of the coat again, this time withdrawing a small folded square of cream colored parchment. The message written on it was in regards to the watch. It revealed the personality of the giver as nothing else could, and made his mouth curl faintly at the corner with amusement.

Severus,

You have got to be the most difficult man on the planet to buy a wedding present for. I searched high and low for just the right watch. Most were either too ornate or just not you. Then I found this one. I hope you like it. And if you don't, lie and say you do. And no snotty remarks about the hair and overly sentimental women. Think of it this way. There's enough there that you can always strangle me with it when I annoy you in the coming years. That is, if I don't choke you first.

Loving you—always,

Grace

Snape shook his head and refolded the note with his free hand, carefully placing it back into the coat pocket. He then shrank the lock of hair and put it into the locket, closing the watch after a quick glance at the hour. It was time to go. He lifted the watch, gazing at it as it swung lazily on its chain, catching drifting beams of sunlight that winked off its gold face.

Not overly sentimental, as she feared. Only sensitive, with an astounding ability to understand him at the most basic level. Something within her knew he would find moments in his life, some bleak, others happy, to take that lock of hair from its compartment and caress it. It was an unspoken promise that she would remain with him. A fine gift. A loving gift. And far better than the hollow words spoken at a handfasting.

He put the watch in the same pocket as the note and was just closing the last of the coat's buttons when a polite knock sounded at his door. A brief flick of his wand and the door opened, revealing a smiling Dumbledore standing at the entrance in stunning robes spun of twilight and blue ocean. The headmaster's eyes shone behind the half-moon spectacles and he held out a hand, gesturing to the dark corridor beyond Snape's room.

His words were simple, but sent an odd shiver down the Potion master's arms, one of quiet excitement and a strange sense of events to unfold in a far future.

"Severus, it's time."