to love another person

R&D short: Valentine's Day

Take my hand and lead me to salvationTake my love for love is everlasting

And remember

The truth that once was spoken

To love another person

Is to see the face of God.

(Les Mis)

Severus blamed Shacklebolt. Valentine's Day had never meant more to Severus than a chance to issue detentions, but Shacklebolt had told them his plans. Breakfast in bed with a red rose in a vase, fancy dinner out, children staying at his sister's, lingerie, jewellery, and a box of chocolates done up in gold foil. The man had even written a poem, full of dreadful ornithological metaphors.

"Lovebirds," Severus had scoffed after the man left, expecting Remus to defend him. But Remus had merely shrugged.

"Romantic nonsense. Good for some, I suppose."

Well. Nothing made Severus contrary than being agreed with when he wanted to argue. He began to wonder what Remus would appreciate on Valentine's Day. The man had no use for lingerie, and chocolates made him sick as a dog. He never wore jewellery–said it made him claustrophobic–and disliked dining in public, particularly if it involved special clothing. Severus had massive rambles of roses that always seemed to grow where Remus would fall into them, to emerge looking as if he'd been tied in a sack with cats. No, there was nothing romantic about roses. Remus liked poetry, but. No. Severus paused, cocked his head, and smiled.

Severus picked Remus up at the Ministry and took him directly to international Floo. Remus was ominously quiet as Severus handed over their passports, but Severus was not cowed by glowers and stares: glaring was his first language, after all.

"What the hell are we doing?" Remus asked, after an interminable amount of spinning deposited them in a sooty art deco terminal that echoed discordantly.

"Patience," Severus said. It was a short walk to their destination. Remus' fingers were tight on his arm as Severus steered their way around snow and ice and anoraked natives. They reached the queue, and Severus took out the tickets and put them into Remus' hand. "Happy Valentine's Day." He watched as Remus traced the words with a finger, watched the look of pleasure and surprise bloom slowly across his face.

Remus leant in closer. "This is so, so gay," he said, smiling.

"Pot, kettle," Severus replied.

Their seats did not have the best view, but that didn't matter. Severus had put up a one-way silencing spell so that he could talk to Remus without being overheard, and it had been simple enough to set an enchantment so that observer's eyes would slide past them. This allowed Severus to keep his arm around Remus' back and Remus to rest his head on Severus' shoulder, eyes shut as the music washed over him. Severus found the story more compelling than he'd expected; Remus was practically reduced to tears. When the final curtain fell and the lights went up, Remus pulled Severus down into a passionate kiss.

"That was wonderful. Thank you. I'm sorry, I've nothing for you."

"You could phone in sick," Severus suggested. "We could stay in a hotel. Maybe go sightseeing."

"I know some sights you ought to see," Remus said, and smiled wickedly.

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