This story was originally written for the Valentine's Fic and Art Fest for the DramioneLove community on Livejournal dot com.

It was inspired by the 1864 painting, Meeting on the Turret Stairs, by Irish painter, Sir Frederick Burton. Please find it online; it's beautiful. The quotes introducing each part are rules from The Art of Courtly Love, Book Two: On the Rules of Love written by Andreas Cappellanus in approximately 1174-1186 A.D. I've taken liberty with Half Blood Prince Quidditch match dates for plot purposes. I've also made Gryffindor Tower the tallest in Hogwarts. Thank you to my wonderful beta and friend, UnseenLibrarian! Also, thank you, Dormiensa, for Patronus assistance.

Warnings: angst, sexual content, explicit language and some wildly romantic notions

Disclaimer: "Harry Potter" is the property of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. This work of fiction was created entirely for fun, not for profit, and no copyright infringement is intended.


A man in love is always apprehensive.

He stood on the topmost balcony of the tallest tower of an enchanted Scottish castle. The whipping strands of his white-blond hair illustrated the February wind. An eagle owl was perched on his shoulder.

If you were brave and foolish, as he now imagined he might be for the very first time in his life, you would move to the edge of this small balcony, defy the creaking danger of old wood and rusty iron and stand on the top of the world.

He took a step forward.

Before him were mountains, the gray winter sky and a lake crystallized with ice. His cheeks and ears were pink, and he shivered despite his winter robes and scarf.

He looked down at the charmed ribbon coiled around his gloved fingers. It changed colors, a lustrous gleam shifting from red to gold. He resisted the urge to smell it, knowing its scent had faded long ago. He whispered an incantation, and a thread of black ink twisted from the tip of his wand, scrawling three words on the silk.

He'd given up everything. Now he had to know if that decision, worthy as it was, would bring him some measure of happiness.

He spoke a woman's name as he held the ribbon out for the owl. It stared at his hand with brilliant yellow-orange eyes before grabbing the silk with its beak. He felt the brush of feathers against his face as it flew into the sky to deliver his valentine.

To be continued...

Reviews are welcomed.