The book seemed to crack as each picture-filled page was turned. She smiled down at the yellowing, musty images that moved before her eyes. One in particular caught her attention—probably because it was the only photo that wasn't animated. She bent to look closer and realized with a leap of her stomach that it was a picture of Severus Snape.
She had snuck this picture of him in her sixth year at Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The woman blushed, fondly remembering St. Valentine's Day that year….
She didn't quite understand it, but then again…nobody really seemed to. The fact that she wore the yellow and black of Hufflepuff didn't help with any kind of explanation either. Perhaps it would have made more sense if she were a Slytherin girl?
But she was nothing like the Slytherin girls; at least not the ones in her year. They had dark hair while hers was a light color. She kept it short, so that the ends curled in softly at her jaw. Her eyes were as brown as the chocolate she ate at Halloween. She wasn't very tall and she was petite, but she had to be or else her haircut wouldn't be very cute, eh? She didn't act like them either. She wasn't capable of being rude to anyone; she just didn't have the guts.
It wasn't a wonder that her friends were surprised to hear about her crush on Severus Snape. He used to be a friend of the Gryffindor girl, Lily Evans, and it had been quite the exciting news for awhile when they stopped speaking. Their relationship had been a mystery that everyone loved to ponder and discuss.
Honestly, she could understand why people wouldn't like him. He was quiet and his hair could use a few more washings a week. But he had never been very rude, at least…not until his friendship with Lily was over. Now he barely talked to anyone.
Much less she. Only twice had she dared to speak to him. She was from a pure-blood family, so that explained some of the reason for him to respond to her. But each time she'd only been asking about the potions homework; he really understood potions better than everyone else in the class after all.
One day she sat next to her best friend, Gabrielle, and boldly stated, "I'm going to buy Severus a St. Valentine's Day gift."
She choked on her saliva and then began to laugh. Once over her fit she turned to long time friend, a smile on her face. "What? You still fancy him?"
"Well, yes. It's not just going to go away that quick." She frowned at her.
"I guess not, but what are she going to get a git like that?"
"Gabrielle!" she scolded, "He's not a git!" She then smiled sheepishly at her, looking down at her knees. "And I was hoping you could tell me what to get him…."
She tapped her index finger on her chin, thinking thoughtfully. "Just buy him some chocolates."
Absolutely great advice, of course, for a St. Valentine's Day gift, but probably not for Severus.
She wandered down the street in Hogsmeade, without her small band of buddies this time, searching the windows of shops for something, anything. The hype of the upcoming "Love Day" was definitely showing. The color red burned the eyes of the students. She did enjoy the singing cupids in front of one of the trinket shops though.
Sighing in defeat, she wandered into Honeydukes to buy chocolates.
They couldn't be just any chocolates though! No.
They would be chocolate with mint inside! Since, well, the mint would be green. Green is one of Slytherin's colors.
Blushing from the lame thoughts in her mind, she began to look at the different chocolates. How many should she give him? Too many would be bad…but she didn't want to give him too little. She picked up a box that almost fit in the palm of her hand; she were able to close the tips of her fingers over it. In her mind, it was the perfect size!
She bought the box and had it wrapped in simple red paper with a blank tag.
She returned from shopping early that day.
She sat on her bed the night before St. Valentine's Day, holding the small box of chocolates in her hand. She was debating with herself on how to give Severus his gift. Should she just walk up to him and hand him the box?
She shook her head rapidly at the thought. That would be mortifying! He could reject her right there in front of anyone!
Okay, a solution: get him alone and give it to him. Well, that could work. He didn't have many friends and he seemed to prefer being alone anyway…
Oh…she didn't want that. That meant that he liked being alone and she would be intruding.
She sighed and ran a hand through her hair. What to do?
"Hey, girl." Gabrielle said as she walked into the dorm, smiling. She sat down on her bed, which was next to hers, and lay on her side. She had her head propped up in her hand. "Is that for Snape?"
Her cheeks turned pink and she turned to look at her. "Yeah, I'm trying to figure out how to give it to him."
She raised an eyebrow at her. "Just walk up and give it to him."
She frowned, turning a little green. "That would be horrifying, you know."
"Well, wait until he's alone then."
She sighed. "I thought of both but…Oh, I dunno. This is probably a stupid idea."
"No it's not!" Gabrielle exclaimed, sitting up straight. "Don't say that!"
She blinked at her for a few moments in disbelief. "But…you don't even like him!"
"So? You do!" Gabrielle said when she continued to just stare blankly at her. She got up and walked over to her bed. She took the box and studied it. She wasn't really that interested in the chocolate though, it was evident on her face. She was thinking.
"Perhaps…perhaps we can get the kitchen elves to send it up to him at breakfast tomorrow?" she asked after a few moment of silence.
"How will they know where he's sitting?"
"Well, they have all kinds of strange magic." Gabrielle said, trying to reinforce her plan. "They could probably do it."
She frowned and shook her head. "I don't want to risk the chocolates getting lost…"
"Okay then, how about I just give it to him?"
She brightened up some. "Would you really?"
"Of course! But, you have to put your name on it!" She smiled brightly at her.
She drooped. "Why?"
Gabrielle gaped at her.
"That's not attractive," she muttered, looking away.
"He needs to know where they came from!"
"He doesn't need to know!"
"Okay then, you need him to know!"
"I don't need anything either."
Gabrielle sighed. "You are so impossible sometimes." She smiled sympathetically. "If you don't sign your name he won't know who to thank. You'll never get anywhere with him…this would have been a waste of your money and time."
She sighed. She knew she was right. Gabrielle had a knack for always being right; except for that time that she bought herself some really strange flavored muffins at a vendor in Diagon Alley…"Okay, I will. But you still have to give it to him."
"Deal." She smiled happily. Once that matter was out of the way she was free to tell her buddy all about her gifts from a couple of boys that she fancied—including Sirius Black! That one she would never understand.
She wiggled nervously in her seat as Gabrielle walked over to the Slytherin table. She was getting many different looks. Some were indifferent, some looked disgusted, and others were (arrogantly) curious. However, Severus was not looking. Not until she set the wrapped box down in front of him and walked back to her table. Severus looked up to see who it was, but she was already lost in the crowd of people exchanging gifts before breakfast began.
She watched as he read the tag on the box which held her name. He looked up, obviously searching for her. Immediately, she lowered her head to the table. After a few moments she looked back at him. He had opened the box and pulled out one of the candies.
Her heart stopped. Her eyes widened and she could feel herself paling. The chocolates were heart shaped! Oh how lame was that? He was sure to hate them! Her gaze once again pierced into the wood of the table.
She couldn't look up. She face grew so hot she was sure she could keep her friends warm with the heat it was radiating!
Finally, she just couldn't stand how uncomfortable she felt. She got up and left the Great hall quickly, trying to blend in with the crowd of students. Once out in the hall she leaned against the wall and sighed, glad to see that there was no one else around.
Well, that didn't last very long. She froze up, her stomach clenching and unclenching anxiously as she watched Severus exit the Great Hall. He looked down the hall in the opposite direction and then her way. She looked at the ground.
She bit her lip, aware now that he was standing in front of her. Swallowing hard she slowly looked up at him, her hands shaking violently.
He was holding the box and looking down at her. But it wasn't with his usual, uninterested expression. He looked curious…and not angry!
"These are from you?" he asked quietly.
She blushed more, if that was possible.
"Why me?" he asked.
She had to hold back the urge to awe. He wanted to know why! But she couldn't just tell him. He looked…confused, she could say. Hopefully he was flattered!
"Well…." She couldn't seem to form the right sentence.
"Well?" he urged.
She swallowed so hard she was sure that her tonsils were on their way to her stomach. Gathering all of her courage up she stood on her toes and kissed him on the cheek. He stepped back in surprise and she turned to run away.
That would have been a great plan. But she had forgotten the wall behind she and she was only able to run half a step before smacking into it.
What a day. At least she made him laugh!
She closed the photo album, putting her hands to her warm cheeks. The memory really made she blush. That was a day she would never forget. She hoped that he never forgot it too.