Severus mumbled to himself. He hated Valentines Day, absolutely despised the stupid practice people kept up. It only made him realize just how alone he truly was. He sighed inwardly, knowing he must uphold his position as Potions Master and Slytherin Head of house. Earlier that week, Dumbledore had announced, much to the student's approval, that Hogwarts would have its first Valentine's Day dance.
"Everyone needs love at some point in their lives."
That's what Dumbledore had said, even if Severus had not noticed the twinkle Albus had gotten as he glanced over at the more than usual slumped form. Severus grumbled to himself, heading down the torch lit hallway he would so much more prefer to be in rather then some hormone driven love fest. The Great Hall was not opened yet, to the students at least. Severus walked through the tiny crowd as it parted for the Potions Master. Severus stopped in front of the door and looked down to a Slytherin.
"Parkinson, is anyone else in here yet?"
Severus cocked a brow and Pansy nodded.
"Only Professor McGonagall Snap-er… Professor."
Severus nodded, glad that Pansy had been smart enough to cover up that little slip. He allowed his students to call him by his surname but only when there were no other students around. It then clicked what she had said.
"Yes… Professor. She's setting things up I think."
With that Pansy dismissed herself and went over to what was presumably her date. Severus sighed deeply, realizing that his hand was on the handle of the Great Hall door already. What would the students think if he suddenly backed off from it? Severus shuddered at the thought, he was a disciplinary and he was not going to let tonight ruin it. Slowly but surely the door unlatched beneath his lanky fingers and he slipped in. If Severus had not hated this Holiday so much, the site in front of him just might have awed him. The enchanted ceiling had dissipated, small tables for two were set up around a huge dance floor which had enchanted music playing above it, trees lingered around which had been magicked to flicker with the light of red and white fairies, and the lighting was very subdued. Then Severus noticed Minerva flitting about one of the trees, initiating the lights inside of it. They quickly turned on and the light flickered over Minerva's features as she stood back for a moment of relaxation, enjoying her handiwork. She had obviously not noticed the unexpected visitor. Severus stepped forward, Minerva starting but then regained her rigidity.
"Oh. Severus. I didn't know you were here."
Severus nodded and strolled across the dance floor.
"Yes. I decided to help out but it looks like everything is taken care of is it not?"
Minerva looked around.
"Yes. Everything is taken care of. However there is one thing that still needs to be done."
"What might that be?"
Minerva strolled past him, her lilac dress robes billowing out behind her. She stopped at the door, turning back to Severus.
"The students need to be let in of course."
The door unlatched and students began to stroll in, obviously unlike Severus as they gaped at the Great Hall that had changed so much in the past few hours since dinner. Several secret glasses of sherry later, Severus patrolled the dance floor, watching with envy as some of the students danced together delicately while others sat at tables talking to each other. Severus sighed, tonight had been absolutely wretched. How was one supposed to do a bloody thing like leave when all eyes were upon everyone else to catch the latest gossip! He uncomfortably shrugged in his black dress robes knowing that his dungeons were waiting for him several minutes away. He leaned back up against the wall glaring through the layer of hair in his face.
"Don't you love this Holiday?"
Severus jumped, looking to his right at Minerva as she gazed through her spectacles admiring the students. Severus grumbled and looked back out to the crowd.
"No I hate this Holiday. I despise it."
Minerva's lips thinned, her eyes looking shocked in some sense.
Severus smirked, nodding his head to particular couples as he spoke.
"That clumsy oaf over there keeps stepping on his date's feet, that one over there dropped his date he snogged for half an hour for the one he's dancing with now, there was a couple that skipped dancing after five minutes once the boy started slipping his hand down her knickers, and that girl over there doesn't even realize how pigeon-toed she truly is."
A smile tugged at the corner of Minerva's lips but quickly faded.
"Yes. They are quite pathetic. What do you say we give them a teaching of how to dance properly?"
Severus whipped around so quickly his neck cricked. He ignored the throbbing in it looking down at the softly smiling Minerva who kept her gaze forward.
Severus sluggishly faced back to the dance floor. He was surprised at how quickly his views on Valentines Day could change but he brushed it away. He still despised it.
"Merlin knows they need it…"
With that Minerva grabbed Severus' hand and led him out to the dance floor as the music began to fade and start onto another song. Severus kept his gaze down, tint creeping into his cheeks as he felt gazes upon the two Professors.
"Minerva… maybe this is the wrong…"
Minerva shushed him and strolled to the middle of the dance floor. She stopped, turning to Severus, placing her hand in his and his other hand on her hip. Severus blanched. He dared a glance to the outskirts of the dance floor and his stomach knotted up. The students had branched out; some getting up from their tables to watch while the ones who were already there began to whisper. As the music stopped, Severus heard a glimpse of an ongoing conversation in rather loud whispers as if daring their Professors to punish them.
"… what in the name of Merlin's beard is Snape doing! And with her no less…"
Severus eased the anger rising up in him as the music began to start and Minerva lead the way across the dance floor to a mild waltz. Severus glanced down, watching where she was going for he had been taught to be the one to lead. Minerva squeezed her right hand around Severus' grabbing his attention.
"Don't watch. It makes you mess up almost as much as that poor child who was attempting to dance earlier."
Severus narrowed his gaze.
"The male is supposed to lead."
Minerva chuckled to herself.
"Oh Severus, you never have been a leader."
Severus stopped, gracefully changing the motion into a dip, sliding his hand down and into to the small on Minerva's back. Minerva's eyes widened as Severus smirked.
"Is that so?"
He gently pulled her back up and began to lead, a bit more steady now. He smirked as several Slytherins chuckled under their breath.
Slytherin 1, Gryffindor 0
"My word Severus, I think that sherry is affecting you quite well."
Severus turned to her, a brow raised.
"I'm only giving the children an affable lesson for the first time. Try to enjoy it will you?"
Minerva gulped slightly and Severus' smirk widened.
"Do I really make you that nervous Minerva McGonagall?"
"No… it's just that you're so… tall."
Severus couldn't help but to chuckle at her loss of words and Minerva glowered at him.
"Oh I know I am, Professor."
Minerva shuddered. The two normally never called each other by their titles, at least not when they were alone. He was looking extremely tall from her perspective and like he was about to… bite her. She shuddered at the thought and looked up into the dark eyes.
"Severus, I really believe we are going overboard here. I'm very, very old and the rules…"
"Only state about students. I am no longer a student of yours Minerva. You know this. Besides, you've never looked old to me and now is not the time to try and change it."
He dipped her down again, smirking. Minerva blinked, the crowd watching with baited breath. Would the two Head of Houses demure their former teacher student status and unify their long line of feudalism? Several people moaned as Severus swept her up again, the music stopping. Minerva placed her hand to her chest, overcome with light-headedness and shortness of breath. Severus smirked at her and nodded slowly, making his way through the crowd and back to his table with the stealth of a snake. The students began to separate, disappointed with the outcome of the two Heads. While the night began to dwindle down, Severus sighed, sipping his sherry some more and watching the squandering students as they began to depart for their houses or some place… a bit more private. Students and colleagues alike had stared at him since the waltz incident many with angered or very disappointed glimpses. Severus didn't mind, perhaps this Holiday wasn't so bad after all. Severus smirked at the thought, grabbing a magic paper rose which when all the petals were removed one would find a message with a little sweet nothing. He gradually began to pick off petals as they fell to the floor in a pile of scarlet.
She loves me…
Some of these students simply could not dance…She loves me not…
Maybe he could convince Dumbledore to start up a dancing class…She loves me…
It would be quite a laugh if Severus and Minerva were to teach it…She loves me not…
A lot of students were leaving…She loves me…
Tonight was quite a number…She loves me not…
Maybe he had had a bit too much to drink after all…She loves me…
He was becoming rather drowsy and the music was luring him to sleep…She loves me not…
Valentine's Day wasn't so bad after all…
She loves me.
The last petal dropped to the ground and Severus pulled the message out of the stem. He read it, and then re-red it making sure he wasn't seeing things. The script was smooth and flowing, not the bold type in the rose he had before and the writing seemed outlandishly familiar.
Go to her.
Severus looked up, waking up from his dozing stupor to make sure no one was tricking him. The only people left in the Great Hall were a couple of teachers and some lingering students lost to the night and love. He looked back down; starting as he realized the script had changed.
Ask her for another dance.
Severus looked up. There was certainly no one tricking at him, let alone even looking at him. He was blending in with the shadows fairly well. He had a glimmering idea of who might be doing this but it was impossible. Severus looked back down.
Go to her.
That was it. Severus crumpled up the message and stood, looking around. Some nearby students stopped snogging when they realized he was actually still there. The boy shrugged and went back to business as Severus strolled across the dance floor, looking for Minerva and disturbing the remaining couple that was dancing. He sighed deeply when he realized she was no longer in the Great Hall and went back to watching over the students by the wall.
"Now those students just might've learned something from us…"
Severus turned around as Minerva walked in from the open doors towards him, her dress robes swirling around her feet, her hair now released of its confinement of its bun. Severus looked back to the pair of students. Now there were some good dancers. Minerva sighed and leaned up against the wall next to Severus.
"I was looking for you…"
Severus admitted sheepishly. He really shouldn't have drunk that other glass of sherry.
"I was rounding up stragglers but my heart wasn't really in it. I let many students off for the night. Guess I'm going to have to give out a lot more homework this week otherwise my reputation will be ruined."
Severus chuckled, watching the students and not really being engrossed in their movements. The music stopped as did the couple and they kissed passionately for a few brief seconds before tearing themselves apart, linking hands, and exiting the Great Hall the girl's head resting on the boy's shoulder. Minerva smiled melodiously.
"I love Valentines Day."
Severus hadn't noticed earlier but the Great Hall faintly chirped with the symphony of crickets. He looked around and Minerva laughed delicately noticing what Severus had noticed too.
"We're alone. Are we really that frightening?"
Severus chortled to himself.
"I guess so…"
He trailed off, looking down to Minerva. Her eyes were drooping to some extent and Severus smiled. He pressed off the wall and stepped in front of Minerva. He bowed to her and held out a hand.
"Minerva McGonagall, shall we dance?"
Minerva smiled up at him, looking past her spectacles, her eyes twinkling.
"Why Severus Snape, I'd be honored."
She took his arm as he swept her off to the dance floor, the music magically starting up again upon their presence. Unbeknownst to them, they were watched over by a man with half-moon spectacles who smiled and disappeared into the night. Time stood still as the Heads of Slytherin and Gryffindor danced late into the hours of darkness on Valentine's Day.