AN: Thanks so much for reviewing, favoriting, putting me on alert, and of course, for reading! It means a lot to me!
I don't own Harry Potter or this song, which is an old German carol.
"It's the truest test of love!" Neville exclaimed, his enthusiasm a little much for Severus. "If the receiver of the gift is your true love, it will grow and bloom. If not, then it with lie dormant until she comes."
"Fabulous," Severus answered as he looked at the flower pot filled with only dirt. "Are you positive that this gift will make Hermione happy?"
"If it blooms it will," Neville answered. "Its flower bears the deepest red and the sweetest fragrance of all the others, again if she's your true love."
"I'll look like a dunderhead if I'm not," Severus mumbled.
"Trust me Severus, this will work," Neville assured him.
Severus gave Neville a look. "I hope so," Severus answered. "How much do I owe you?"
"Nothing," Neville answered. "I'm doing this because we're colleagues, and because Hermione deserves better than that dunderhead Ron."
Severus nodded before departing, his eyes still focused on the rose. If this gift worked, maybe it would be easier to admit his feelings for Hermione. Maybe every time he felt them getting closer he'd actually admit how he felt instead of blathering on about some potion neither of them cared about. Merlin knew how he hated to be considered a coward, yet somehow he rationalized hiding his feelings from Hermione as brave even as his heart screamed at him that he was a coward.
He descended to the Dungeons and wondered if he should've asked Neville about a new pot. This pot was a brown clay-nothing unique or special about it. Neville had claimed that the plainness of the brown pot would accentuate the rose's beauty. Since Severus had no idea how to transplant a flower, he simply decided to accept it.
He opened the door and took a deep breath. The first thing he'd need to do was water it. After that, who knew?
Severus and Hermione sat beside each other, both afraid to speak. Christmas Eve had finally come, yet neither had even mentioned a present for the other. In fact, they'd barely spoken to each other at all.
Neville glanced over and shook his head. Of course he wouldn't do anything. Knowing Snape, he was probably talking himself out of giving her the rose. An idea then came to Neville.
Hermione looked up at Neville, who was grinning a little too widely for her taste. Severus looked over at them, and instantly wanted to wipe the smile off of his face. "Yes?" she asked.
Neville pulled something out of his pocket and enlarged it. "I'd like to give you a present."
"Oh," Hermione answered as she blushed.
She took the box and carefully unwrapped it. She gasped when she saw the plant. "Neville, it's…"
"A rose," Severus finished, his eyes filled with rage. "One of those roses that blooms upon being given to one's true love."
"Yes," Neville answered.
"It's not blooming," Hermione answered with no sense of surprise.
"No," Neville sighed. "I just thought I'd try."
"Dunderhead," Severus muttered as he smirked.
Hermione glared over at him. "It's not as though you've given me anything! All you've done is ignored me all night and…"
Severus stood up and replied, "Please come with me. I have something for you."
"About time," Hermione grumbled as she followed Severus.
Severus led her to the dungeons, all the way wondering if this was a good idea. He opened the door and decided to get everything done and over with. "Hermione, I," Severus began before swallowing. He could see a flicker of annoyance in her eyes, but there was also some curiosity. "Just give me a moment," Severus answered.
Hermione nodded as he retreated to his private quarters. When he came out, he was holding a clay pot filled with dirt, with what appeared to only be a stick poking out. "Severus?" she asked.
"Here, Happy Christmas," Severus answered before handing the pot over to her.
Hermione took the flower and nodded. Before she could say anything, a blossom appeared. She gasped as it slowly opened. Then, two new ones appeared and bloomed. Soon, the whole plant was covered in deep red flowers. Severus stared at the flower, almost too afraid to believe that it was true. "It's beautiful," Hermione whispered.
"Indeed," Severus answered.
Hermione rushed over and held him. "Thank you," she whispered. "I love you."
He returned the gesture and answered, "And I you."
Hermione released him and pulled out something from her pocket. "I know this isn't much, but I've always enjoyed painting. I wanted something personal, something no one else would give you."
"Okay," Severus replied as he took the parchment from his hand. He unfurled it and examined it and smiled as he recognized the drawing as one of him working on a potion. "It's beautiful, thank you."
"You're welcome. Happy Christmas."
"Indeed," Severus replied before capturing her lips.