Happy Valentine's Day!

Letter of Declaration

Severus warily eyed the eagle owl settling on his nightstand, knocking aside the candlestick with a clearly intentional flick of wings. The owl imperiously raised its beak, surrendering its letter and small package to Severus' careful hands.

A cautious test as it settled itself, and it gave him another imperious gesture, allowing him to pet its breast. Severus gave it a half-smile and a few minutes of attention before turning to the letter.

It bore no seal, but Lucius' elegantly slanted hand greeted him as he unfolded the heavy parchment.

As expected.

Severus considered mentioning once more that the Malfoy eagle owls were only marginally less obvious than their masters.

The letter was akin to all those Severus had received from Lucius of late - alternately friendly and delicately flirtatious.

Severus had not the slightest inkling of what his friend could possibly be up to. He shook his head, continuing to read, and-

. . .a present for . . . Valentine's Day?

Severus eyed the small package as though it were a snake - in fact, a snake would probably have been preferable; at best this was likely the culmination of whatever game Lucius had been playing.

At least it would be over, and he would no longer be tormented by reading flirtations Lucius in no way meant.

Severus steeled himself to open the parcel, which showed itself to be an actual box of finely-carved apple wood beneath its wrappings. Severus smoothed a thumb over the pattern, gathering his resolve.

It held a heavy silver ring, centred by a circular emerald cabochon, sparkling with magic.

Severus brushed a fingertip to the stone and felt Lucius' hand cover his, heard Lucius' voice in his ear - complicated spells, and not the kind Lucius would have used for a trick.

This is my truth, Severus. I await your answer.


Two notes on the above: apple wood represents choice, and is often used in love and healing magics; emerald has traditionally been said to preserve love, and bring hope, reason, and wisdom.