You say I Forever Do

Murmurs ceased as Albus cleared his throat. His blue eyes twinkled merrily as he surveyed his staff. Snow was gracefully falling to the ground outside and the Christmas spirit was beginning to envelope the castle.

"Thank you all for coming on such short notice," the Headmaster began.

"Now this year I thought we'd do something different for the Christmas party," he exclaimed and pulled the Sorting Hat from behind his back.

"I've placed everyone's name in the hat. I'm going to pass it around and everyone please take just one piece of parchment," the white-bearded wizard explained as he passed it to his right into Hagrid's waiting hands.

The hat circled the room until it was back to Albus. He stuck his hand in and pulled out the remaining slip of parchment. He set the hat down and turned back to his waiting staff.

"Now you may read what is written on your slip of parchment but do not tell anyone," he then instructed.

"Headmaster what is the point of this?" Severus queried from the far corner.

"This year we are going to hold a Secret Santa," Albus exclaimed with joy.

"A secret what?" Minerva questioned.

"Go out and buy a gift for the name on your parchment and then we will exchange them at the party," Albus concluded and waved his hands to dismiss them all.

They exited the room and began to head back to their offices. Severus caught up with Minerva, shoving the bit of parchment into his pants pocket.

"This is ludicrous. I swear he's losing his mind….the delusional old hippie," Severus muttered.

"Oh Severus stop it. Just go along with it and he'll be happy," Minerva retorted.

"Who'd you get," she asked with a smirk.

"I'm afraid I cannot divulge that information," he replied and turned the corner to return to his office.

Severus closed the door to his office and continued into his private quarters. Once there he pulled the parchment from his pocket and stared at it again; Minerva McGonagall. He paced back and forth in front of a mirror, wondering what to do.

"How the hell am I supposed to know what to get her," he grumbled to himself.

"May I make a suggestion?" his mirror queried.

"Not now, I'm thinking," he spat back.

"But…" it began again.

"Silencio!" he snarled as he pointed his wand at the mirror only to have the spell reflect back and hit him.

"Well you deserved it," the mirror hissed.

"Now. How about you get her an engagement ring you dolt! You've only wanted to propose to the woman for the last half decade," it shrieked.

Severus glared at the object as he silently removed the spell from himself. He shook his head. That was the most foolish idea he'd ever heard. An engagement ring, absolutely absurd.

"Why would I go and do a thing like that? In front of all of them!" he railed.

"If you wait any longer she's going to say no," the mirror answered with a huff.

"Just because I'm a mirror doesn't mean I don't hear things," it continued.

"Why just yesterday I heard straight from Minerva's mirror that she was getting tired of waiting around for you to propose," it added.

"Alright already! Stop blabbering," he snarled.

"I'll get her a ring," he stated.

"Good," the mirror affirmed with what seemed to be a smile in its tone.

The following day Severus headed out to Hogsmeade's sole jewelry store. A bell rang as he pushed open the door and stepped inside. He was nearly blinded by all of the glittering merchandise that bedecked the walls and glass cases.

"May I help you Sir?" a portly gentleman asked as Severus stepped further into the shop.

"I'm looking for a ring," the Potions Master drawled.

"Well our rings are over this way, unless you were thinking a custom build," the salesman answered.

Severus followed the man and looked at all of the displays but did not find anything that caught his eye.

"What is this custom build you spoke of earlier?" the sallow-skinned man questioned.

"You give me the parameters of how you want the ring to look and I'll just whip it right up," the man answered.

"Something with rubies and gold," he stated, leaning on the glass case as the man set to work.

The rotund salesman waved his wand and gold began to form around a gorgeous ruby inlay. They spiraled through the top of the ring. It was absolutely astonishing. There was a delicate ruby in the center. Severus picked it up and examined it. He liked it…but the center ruby was just too much red.

"A diamond here instead of a ruby," he instructed and it was done.

He admired the product of his imagination with pride. It would look lovely and he felt it would sport Gryffindor well. None of the students would be the wiser. Setting it back down, Severus stood up.

"I'll take it," he announced.

"Alright. Let's see here….twenty rubies, twenty-four karat gold, one to forty thousand galleons," the clerk stated.

"Excuse me. I must have heard you wrong…I thought you said forty thousand galleons," Severus retorted.

"No you heard me right," the man answered.

"Do you think I'm made of money?" Severus roared.

"No Sir. It's just that rubies are rare and extremely expensive. If you like I could take a few out or substitute them," the salesman answered shakily.

"No," the surly Potions Master grumbled as he reached into his wallet, pulling out two hundred galleons.

"How about this. Since it's the holiday season and all, I'll sell it to you for half price and I'll take whatever you've got now as a down payment," he countered.

"Fine," Severus answered, shoving the two hundred galleons across the counter.

The clerk wrapped the ring in a box and handed it to his new client.

"Payment wise how about 825 galleons a month until it's paid. No interest," he proposed.

"That's acceptable," Severus answered before shaking the man's hand and exiting the shop. He checked his watch and saw that his trip had taken much longer than expected. Severus hurried back to the castle and stowed his gift in the top drawer in his sleeping quarters.

Two weeks passed and finally the day of the staff party had arrived. Everyone had been very secretive about their gifts. Severus sat in his study finishing the small note that he would magically slip into the box so that she would know it was from him. The clock on his wall chimed seven and he slid the note into the box before rushing, albeit elegantly, to the staff room. Upon entering he was greeted by Albus who took his gift and placed it under a large tree. Severus made his way over to the table and procured a goblet of Firewhiskey. He always did enjoy the alcoholic portion of the party. It generally meant people would leave him alone.

Around 8:15 and Severus's eighth goblet of Firewhiskey, the Headmaster called for everyone attention.

"We're going to begin giving out the gifts," he announced and began reaching under the three and pulling out gifts.

Professor Flitwick received a new set of pillows to stand on as his old set had begun to wear out. Flich received a cat brush which he nearly started crying over. Albus received a pair of xylophones that played holiday carols in harmony, charmed by Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood. Severus was handed a bottle shaped package. He charmed the paper off and gazed down at a 1923 bottle of scotch. She saw Madam Hooch sigh with relief and placed the bottle by his feet. The final present to be distributed was his to Minerva. He held his breath.

"And here is your gift my dear," Albus said as he handed Minerva the small wrapped box.

She carefully opened it, pulling the box out. She undid the latch and the top popped up, revealing the ring. Severus' note fell to her lap, unnoticed for the moment.

"Oh my," she breathed.

At the questioning voices of her colleagues, she turned the box around so all could see the astonishingly beautiful piece of jewelry. She took it out and placed it on her left ring finger, it form fit to her hand. It was then that she noticed the note. She picked it up and read it.


Minerva,


I apologize for the tardiness of this gift. It should have been to you years ago but my stubbornness got in the way. So I'm asking you now, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?


Severus

She let the note fall to her lap once more as she gazed at the Potions Master across the room. Tears sprung to her eyes as she stood and walked over to him. She looked at the ring, back to him and to the ring once more.

"Yes," she murmured as she grabbed him, pulling him up.

She pulled him into a hug before he could say anything. He made a noncommittal noise in her ear, signaling that it was an awkward moment and that everyone was staring at them.

"What just happened?" Professor Sinistra questioned.

"Severus has proposed, finally, and I have accepted," Minerva announced as Severus paled and nearly fainted.

"Oh stop it," she chided.

"Congratulations to the both of you!" Albus exclaimed jovially.

Minerva sat down next to him as they shared a drink. Everyone came over to congratulate them, most of the female teachers fawning over the ring.

"Now I hope you didn't spend too much on it," Minerva remarked.

"Well…" Severus trailed off.

"How much Severus?" she asked, locking her gaze with his.

"Twenty thousand," he muttered into his goblet.

"What was that?" she asked, taking the goblet from his hand.

"Twenty thousand," he stated again.

"Severus! You spent twenty thousand galleons!" she shrieked.

"Yes and would you keep it to a dull roar," he retorted.

"Well I haven't actually finished paying for it yet," he admitted.

"It won't be paid for until two years from now," he muttered.

"You're unbelievable!" she exploded.

"Oh stop overreacting and just enjoy it. It's beautiful and you're absolutely ravishing with it," he murmured in her ear.

"I'm sorry. It's lovely I'm just well...never mind," she answered as she handed his goblet back.

"Let's get you back before you pass out in here," she chuckled as she helped him up.

"I'm not that drunk," he grumbled.

"Drunk enough," she quipped.

She led him out of the staff room and down to his quarters. She turned to leave once he was inside but he stayed her arm. They shared a glance before he pulled her to him and gently kissed her.

"Merry Christmas darling," he murmured in her ear as he held her tight.

"I love you so much Severus," she breathed as she gazed at the ring that adorned her finger.

Without a word they changed into their night clothes and climbed into bed, curling up to share the warmth of each other.