?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Title: The Singleton Auction
Author: [info]iulia_linnea
Pairing: Severus/Hermione
Rating: PG-13
Warning (highlight to view): For None.
Word Count: 5740
Summary: Severus and Hermione are encouraged to look forward to Junior Minister Malfoy's Singleton Auction.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from (and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by) the posting of this fan work.
Author's Note: Written for [info]eoforyth, just because. *smooches* Thank you, [info]arynwy, for beta'ing.



Standing on the dais in a shockingly low-cut, tightly fitted set of shimmering scarlet robes, her hair piled artfully atop her head and wound with garnets on gold chain, Hermione felt like a fool.

I never should have agreed to this.

The Singleton Auction had been planned for the Ministry's annual holiday affair as a benefit for the War Orphans Fund, and given her involvement in the Fund's administration, Hermione hadn't felt as though she could refuse her supervisor's request that she take part in it. As Junior Minister Malfoy had so pointedly noted, she was "one of the most eligible singletons in the Department of Child Welfare."

Damn you, Astoria!

In fact, since she'd left Ron, and subsequently, Viktor had left her, she'd been the department's only singleton, and every Ministerial department had been expected to produce a participant for the auction. Still, Hermione was regretting her decision to allow Astoria to dress her; her robes were . . . entirely too red.

I should have worn a more sedate green.

She refused to think about the under things that Astoria had practically forced her to wear; however deliciously tight the corset was, it only made her feel sad to know that she, Astoria, and Bipsy, Astoria's house-elf, would be the only people to see it.

Especially given this lot, Hermione thought sourly, as she scanned the wizards queuing up before the stage. Married, married, corpulent, married, insufferably stupid, homosexual and closeted, married, Percy, married, unfortunate chin, goblin—goblin? Hermione paused to look at the goblin, remembering that he was called Grapplethorn, and he leered up at her. Favouring him with a tight smile, she continued to scan the crowd. Her eyes passed over Ron and Viktor—who were speaking to each other again, but then, the drinks were free and they were both friendly drunks—to take in several more married or otherwise unacceptable wizards. Her gaze at last reached the back of the ballroom, where a wizard wearing sleek, well-tailored ebony robes was leaning against a pillar . . . and staring at her.

Severus Snape. Hermione's eyes widened. What's he doing here?

She hadn't seen him since Hogwarts' annual Board of Governors meeting, which she'd attended in order to explain the status of the school's scholarship accounts with regard to the matching funds that the Ministry had provided every year since Hogwarts' reconstruction. He looked quite different in a social setting, not so very much like a vampire, and he wasn't scowling. In fact, she realised with a start, he appeared to be decidedly not frowning. It wasn't quite a smile, but it suited him.

Perhaps I should wave, she was thinking, when Minister Shacklebolt began to speak.

"Ladies and gentleman, the auction is about to begin."

The hum of conversation in the hall faded, and Hermione turned to regard Kingsley.

"This year, we'll be doing things a bit differently. Instead of beginning the bidding right away, I thought it would be more fun to allow our bachelors to get to know our bachelorettes a bit better first. With this in mind," he said, pausing to clap his hands, at which signal Hermione—and all the other bachelorettes—found themselves holding bouquets of flowers, "please look for your partners. You'll know them because their bouquets will match your buttonholes."

As the other witches moved off the dais and filtered into the crowd, Hermione looked down at her bouquet, a fragrant collection of feathery dill fronds, delicate white asparagus fern flowers, and several proud stalks of light purple viscaria. She raised the bouquet to her nose to cover her blush, and wondered about the floriographical meaning of the flowers as she looked for her partner and the strains of a waltz reached her ears.

"If I weren't married to the most beautiful witch in the room," Draco said, appearing before her, "I'd take you out on the floor, myself."

"Stop that. You know I don't flirt."

"Which mercifully won't matter in this context," he replied, smirking at her bouquet before meeting her eyes.

Hermione raised an eyebrow at Draco's words. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Just that the flowers will say everything for you," he told her, as he helped her off the dais to the dance floor. "Astoria saw to that."

As she navigated her way amongst the dancing couples, Hermione was so preoccupied by her concern over just how Astoria had spelled the flowers that she failed to notice the man approaching her and walked right into his chest.

"Oomph! Oh, I'm sor—"

She stoped apologising as she came face to face with a buttonhole of dill, asparagus fern flower, and viscaria.

"Deputy Junior Minister Granger," Snape said, inclining his head towards her. "Our dance, I think."

And before Hermione could respond, he whirled her onto the floor.

He's good, she thought, only to gasp as Snape smiled at her.

"From your expression of surprise, I gather that you didn't realise I could dance."

"It never occurred to me that you'd want to."

"The viscaria implies otherwise," he replied, tightening his hold upon her waist.

Hermione found that it wasn't solely the fault of the corset that made it difficult to breathe. "Why . . . why are you here, Pro—Headmaster Snape?"

"Call me Severus, please."

He said please.

"Tell me, do you know your floriography?"

"My what? Oh. Oh, well, no."

"I didn't think so."

Uncertain whether or not she detected a note of disappointment in Snape's, no, Severus', tone, Hermione laid her head against his chest and hoped that he'd stop talking because she was feeling entirely too discomfitted at the reality of dancing with him to speak—and then they were spinning off the dance floor and out onto a terrace. Confused, she cocked her head at Severus.

"It's not waltzing, you see, when you assume that particular posture."

Chagrined, Hermione made to break from Severus' embrace; his response was to hold her more closely and murmur, "I didn't say that I minded your . . . posture," as he continued to dance with her.

The dill fronds in Severus' buttonhole tickled Hermione's nose; she sneezed, and he stopped swaying to pull a handkerchief from somewhere upon his person and hand it to her.

"Perhaps you'd prefer to visit the gardens?"

"Well, we are supposed to be getting to know each other better." Hermione dabbed at her nose even though she didn't need to and then offered the handkerchief back to Severus.

"You may keep it if you like."

Hermione blushed. "My robes . . . ."

"Are fetching."

Her blush deepening, Hermione continued, "Don't have any pockets."

Her words earned her a slight smile from Severus, who held out his hand to receive the handkerchief before taking Hermione's arm and leading her into the gardens.

After a while, the silence became too much for her to bear, particularly as she couldn't stop thinking about how the side of her breast was pressing into Severus' body. Say something! she admonished herself. He'll think you're an idiot! "Do, er, do you know your floriography?"

"I'm a Potions master. Of course I do," he replied equably. He stopped on the path and reached for Hermione's bouquet, his hand meeting hers as he took it gently from her.

Hermione felt her heart leap.

"This," Severus said, "is viscaria."

"Yes, I know, but what does it mean?"

"That Astoria Malfoy likes purple, I should think," Severus replied, and Hermione smiled because she knew how true it was. "That, and it is also, as I said, an invitation to dance."

"Oh, so you did."

"Which is appropriate under the circumstances, don't you agree?"

"But we're not dancing."

"Aren't we?" asked Severus, in a near whisper.

"Oh." Even in the dim light, Hermione couldn't miss the flirtatious cast of Severus' eyes.

She shivered, and he dropped the flowers and pulled her against him.

"When coupled with the dill and flowering asparagus fern, the viscaria's meaning deepens."

"How so?" Hermione asked, pleased that her voice hadn't squeaked . . . much.

Severus leant down and whispered in her ear, "Dill's floriographical meaning is 'lust', and asparagus fern implies fascination."

"Fas—fascination, lust, and dancing, that's . . . that implies . . . ." Unable to continue her thought aloud, she pulled a little away from Severus to gaze up into his eyes. Oh.

"Yes, that's quite the bouquet, isn't it, Hermione?"

Hearing her name on Severus', no, Snape's, lips was like being drenched in cold water, and Hermione shook herself and stepped away from him. "Have you been drinking?" she demanded.

"Not a drop." Snape frowned, which made him look more like himself. "Why do you ask?"

"Ah, here you are," Astoria called lightly, moving smoothly but quickly towards them. "Forgive me, Severus, but I'm afraid I need to borrow your dance partner for a moment. Departmental business."

"How unfortunate," Snape said, sounding anything but disappointed. With a nod to Hermione, he turned on his heel and walked smartly back to the terrace.

"Hermione Granger, what is wrong with you? Have you been drinking? No, probably not, which is why you just ruined that perfectly lovely moment you were about to have—with a man." Astoria crossed her arms and glared at her.

And that was wrong, too, because Astoria never glared; her friend and supervisor's expressions were always—

Wait one moment, Hermione told herself, rubbing her eyes, Astoria's not my supervisor. "I'm hers," she said, only to correct herself almost at once. "No, I'm not. I don't even work in the Department of—"

"Isn't it great?"

Blinking, Hermione stopped rubbing her eyes and looked up at George, who was leaning over her as she reclined on the sofa in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes' back room. "George."

"Yes?" he asked, his grin fading into a regular smile before shaking his head. "Oh, Hermione, you were talking about some department or other. Only you would turn a perfectly good daydreaming opportunity into a fantasy about work."

Hermione sat up. "George, what just happened?"

"Crap," he replied, turning to the side table to grab a clipboard and quill. "Memory issues," he said, writing as he spoke. "So, what do you remember?"

"You product-tested on me?"

"You agreed!"

"I most certainly did—did," Hermione said, as her memories of the evening, her real evening, came flooding back. She blushed in mortification.

George chuckled and threw himself and the clipboard down on the sofa beside her. "Perhaps you didn't waste my perfectly good Daydream in a Bottle. What happened? Tell Georgie everything," he said, leering at her.

Hermione experienced an acute moment of déjà vu as she remembered the goblin in her daydream. "It was nothing like that, just dancing."

"'Dancing', was it? With whom?"

"Look, George, I think the new Wheeze needs some work. It didn't . . . last very long, did it? Tell Ron I'm sorry I missed him. I'll, er, see him soon. Bye!"

~*~

Standing on the dais in an uncomfortably cut, ridiculously fitted set of shimmering green robes, his ruthlessly washed hair drawn back from his face and bound with a silver ribbon, Severus felt like a fool.

I never should have agreed to this.

The Singleton Auction had been planned for the Ministry's annual holiday affair as a benefit for the War Orphans Fund, and given his involvement in the Fund's administration, Severus hadn't felt as though he could refuse his supervisor's request that he take part in it. As Junior Minister Malfoy had so pointedly noted, he was "one of the most eligible singletons in the Department of Child Welfare."

Damn you, Draco!

In fact, since he'd left off drinking, and his adolescent fantasies of Lily had subsequently ceased to sustain him, he'd accepted the fact that he was the department's only singleton, and every Ministerial department had been expected to produce a participant for the auction. Still, Severus was regretting his decision to allow Draco to dress him; his robes were utterly indecent.

I should have worn black.

He refused to think about the undergarment that Draco had insisted he wear; however deliciously silken the boxer-briefs were, it only frustrated him to know that he was the only person who would ever feel, no, see them.

Especially given this lot, Severus thought sourly, as he scanned the witches queuing up before the stage. Married, married, cadaverously thin, married, insufferably stupid, lesbian and closeted, married, Rita, married, unfortunate chin, vampire—vampire? Severus paused to look at the vampire, remembering that she was called Countess Something or Other, and she leered up at him. Favouring her with a slight nod, he continued to scan the crowd. His eyes passed over Sybill and Minerva—who were speaking to each other again, but then, the drinks were free and they were both friendly when in their cups—to take in several more married or otherwise unacceptable witches. His gaze at last reached the back of the ballroom, where a witch wearing delightfully low-cut, figure-hugging scarlet robes was standing before a pillar . . . and staring at him.

Hermione Granger. Severus' eyes widened. What's she doing here?

He hadn't seen her since Hogwarts' annual Board of Governors meeting, which he'd attended in order to explain the status of the school's scholarship accounts with regard to the matching funds that the Ministry had provided every year since Hogwarts' reconstruction. She looked quite different in a social setting, not so very much like a librarian, and she was smiling easily. In fact, he realised with a start, she appeared to be smiling rather easily, indeed. Her flirtatious gaze was no doubt directed at some useless sod standing behind him, he decided, but disappointment didn't prevent him from acknowledging that it suited her.

Perhaps I'm wrong. She might be looking at me, he was thinking, when Shacklebolt began to speak.

"Ladies and gentleman, the auction is about to begin."

The hum of conversation in the hall faded, and Severus turned to regard Kingsley.

"This year, we'll be doing things a bit differently. Instead of beginning the bidding right away, I thought it would be more fun to allow our bachelorettes to get to know our bachelors a bit better first. With this in mind," he said, pausing to clap his hands, at which signal Severus—and all the other bachelors—found themselves wearing buttonholes, "please look for your partners. You'll know them because their buttonholes will match your bouquets."

As the other wizards moved off the dais and filtered into the crowd, Severus looked down at his buttonhole, a heavily scented collection of dill fronds, drooping white asparagus fern flowers, and several poking bits of faded purple viscaria. He flushed to consider the lack of subtlety involved in the creation of such a trifle, and hoped that his dance partner wouldn't comprehend its floriographical meaning as he looked for her and the strains of a waltz irritated his already aching head.

"If I weren't married to the most handsome wizard in the room," Astoria said, appearing before him, "I'd allow you to sweep me onto the floor."

"Stop that. You know I don't flirt."

"Which mercifully won't matter in this context," she replied, smiling at his buttonhole before meeting her eyes.

Severus raised an eyebrow at Astoria's words. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Just that the flowers will say everything for you," she told him, as she followed him off the dais to the dance floor. "Draco saw to that."

As he navigated his way amongst the dancing couples, Severus was so disturbed by his concern over just how Draco had spelled the flowers that he failed to notice the woman approaching him and almost knocked her down when he collided with her.

"Do watch where you're go—"

He stoped snapping as he saw the bouquet of dill, asparagus fern flower, and viscaria that the woman was holding.

"Deputy Junior Minister Snape," Granger said, waving her bouquet at him. "Our dance, I think, if you promise not to trample me, that is."

And before Severus could respond, she whirled him onto the floor.

Pushy, he thought, only to gasp as Granger grinned wickedly at him.

"From your expression of surprise, I gather that you didn't realise I could dance."

"It never occurred to me that you'd want to."

"The viscaria implies otherwise," she replied, pressing more tightly against him.

Severus found it difficult to breathe and cursed the sensuous fabric that teased him under his robes. "Why . . . why are you here, Gra—Headmistress?"

"Call me Hermione."

She wants me to call her Hermione!

"I'm sure," she said, glancing at his buttonhole and then back into his eyes, "that you must know your floriography."

"I'm a Potions master, not a florist."

"How surprising."

Quite certain that he detected a note of disappointment in Granger's, no, Hermione's, tone, Severus shifted so that her head was laying against his chest and hoped that she'd stop talking because he was feeling entirely too discomfitted at the reality of dancing with her to speak—and then they were spinning off the dance floor and out onto a terrace. Confused, he inclined his head at Hermione.

"It's not waltzing, you see, when you assume that particular posture."

Chagrined, Severus made to break from Hermione's embrace; her response was to hold him more closely and murmur, "I didn't say that I minded your . . . posture," as she continued to dance with him.

The dill fronds in Hermione's bouquet tickled Severus' cheek; he sneezed, and she stopped leading and pulled a lacy handkerchief from between her breasts, handing it to him.

"Perhaps you'd prefer to visit the gardens?"

"Well, we are supposed to be getting to know each other better." Severus wiped his nose even though he didn't need to and then offered the handkerchief back to Hermione.

"Keep it. I insist."

Severus flushed. "My robes . . . ."

"Are fitted to perfection."

His flush deepening, Severus continued, "Don't have any pockets."

His words earned him a dazzling smile from Hermione, who held out her hand to receive the handkerchief before taking Severus' arm and leading him into the gardens.

After a while, the silence became too much for him to bear, particularly as he couldn't stop thinking about how her breast was pressing into his side. Say something! he admonished himself. She'll think you're an idiot! "So, you seem to know your floriography."

"I'm a witch. Of course I do," she replied throatily. She stopped on the path and reached up to touch Severus' buttonhole, and seemingly of its own volition, one of his hands flew up to clasp hers.

The spark he felt at the contact made his prick twitch.

"This," Hermione said, as she traced the petals of a flower, "is viscaria."

"Yes, I know, but what does it signify?"

"That Draco Malfoy knows his floriography, as well," Hermione replied.

Severus, having been plagued by the floral turn of Draco's conversation during his courtship of Astoria, found himself nodding.

"That, and as I said," continued Hermione, "it's an invitation to dance."

"Yes, so it is."

"Which is appropriate under the circumstances, don't you agree?"

"But we're not dancing."

"Aren't we?" asked Hermione, with a suggestive boldness.

Fuck, Severus thought. Even in the dim light, he couldn't ignore the flirtatious glint in her eyes.

He shuddered, and she let her hand drop from his buttonhole before seizing the front of his robes and pulling him against her.

"When coupled with the dill and flowering asparagus fern, the viscaria's meaning deepens."

"How so?" Severus asked, pleased that he'd managed to speak . . . just.

Hermione stood up on tiptoe and whispered in his ear, "Dill's floriographical meaning is 'lust', and asparagus fern implies fascination."

"Fas—fascination, lust, and dancing, that's . . . that implies . . . ." Unable to continue his thought aloud, he pulled a little away from Hermione to gaze down into her eyes. "Fuck."

"Yes, that's quite the buttonhole, isn't it, Severus?"

Hearing his name on Hermione's, no, Granger's, lips was like being drenched in cold water, and Severus shook himself and stepped away from her. "Have you been drinking?" he demanded.

"Not a drop." Granger frowned, which made her look more like herself. "Why do you ask?"

"Ah, here you are," Draco called lightly, moving smoothly but quickly towards them. "Forgive me, Hermione, but I'm afraid I need to borrow your dance partner for a moment. Departmental business."

"How unfortunate," Granger said, sounding anything but disappointed. With a nod to Severus, she turned on her heel and walked smartly back to the terrace.

"Severus Snape, what is wrong with you? Have you been drinking? No, probably not, which is why you just ruined that perfectly lovely moment you were about to have—with a woman." Draco crossed his arms and laughed at him.

And that was wrong, too, because Draco never laughed at him; his friend and supervisor was always careful never to—

Wait one moment, Severus told himself, rubbing his eyes, Draco's not my supervisor. "I'm his," he said, only to correct himself almost at once. "No, I'm not. I don't even work in the Department of—"

"Isn't it great? I told you it was harmless."

Blinking, Severus stopped rubbing his eyes and looked up at Weasley, who was leaning over him as he reclined on the sofa in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes' back room. "Mr Weasley."

"Yes?" George asked, his imbecilic grin fading. He shook his head. "Oh, lovely. You were talking about some department or other. Only you, Snape, would turn a perfectly good daydreaming opportunity into a fantasy about work."

Severus sat up. "Mr Weasley, what just happened?"

"Crap," George replied, turning to the side table to grab a clipboard and quill. "Memory issues," he said, writing as he spoke. "So, what do you remember?"

"You product-tested on me?"

"You agreed!"

"I most certainly did—did," Severus said, as his memories of the evening, his real evening, came flooding back. "Fuck."

George chuckled and threw himself and the clipboard down on the sofa beside him. "Perhaps you didn't waste my perfectly good Daydream in a Bottle. What happened? Tell Mr Weasley everything," he said, grinning again.

Severus experienced an acute moment of déjà vu as he remembered the vampire in his daydream. "It was nothing, just dancing."

"'Dancing', was it? With whom?"

"Listen to me, Mr Weasley, I don't want to see your newest Wheeze distracting my students again. It's . . . it was . . . not again, do you understand?"

~*~

"Yes, Mistress. Bipsy knows just what to do!" Bipsy said, Disapparating as Draco entered the room.

"What's she off to do?"

Astoria smiled. "I've just completed the list of participants for the Singleton Auction. Bipsy's off to order the flowers."

"Speaking of the auction," said Draco, "I'm seeing Severus tomorrow at Hogwarts. When will you . . . ?"

"Also tomorrow. I'm taking Hermione clothes shopping."

"Make her buy decent shoes, as well. Perhaps something in an open toe—she has no taste in that direction."

"Precisely when was it," Astoria replied, raising her hands to her hips, "that you found time to notice Hermione's toes?"

"About the same time that you were concerning yourself with the cut of Severus' robes, I imagine." Draco pulled Astoria into an embrace. "Don't be jealous. You've no cause to be."

With an arch look at her husband, Astoria clicked her heels together and stepped back to reveal her change of shoes.

Draco laughed.

~*~

"I'm happy to have amused you, but this is ridiculous. I'm not wearing those."

"Hermione, you need something proper to wear to—"

"'Proper'? These barely cover my breasts!"

"That's the idea. You're going to be up for auction, after all, and a gentleman likes to see what he's—"

Her face flaming as she gazed at herself in the salon's full-length mirror, which was cooing appreciatively, Hermione retorted, "No. I'm not doing it."

"Fine. Wear the dowdy green ones. I'm sure you'll attract the attention of some worthy goblin and spend your date night fighting off his attentions."

"What did you just say?"

Astoria sighed. "Hermione, you did promise to help me, and I'm just trying to help you look your best. The Singleton Auction is my biggest fund-raising event of the year, and Hogwarts' Potions mistress will bring in a high bid no matter what she wears—but she might also meet an eligible man if she looks as though she wants to. Don't you want to? I know you're lonely."

"I hate the idea of being auctioned off. It's demeaning," Hermione said, peering at Astoria closely for signs that she knew about George's latest Wheeze. But how would she? The Daydream was private. And that meant that it was she who'd brought her own fantasy of dancing with Severus Snape into it.

She almost blamed Astoria for that particular fantasy; after all, Astoria was always going on about how well she and the Headmaster would suit.

No," she said again. "That's ridiculous."

"I don't see why. You're one of the most eligible witches in wizarding Britain."

Hermione shook her head and stared at her reflection again, noticing how very much like a librarian she looked with her hair pulled back into a tight bun. I'm too young to look like Pince, she thought, asking, "Do you really think these robes suit me? It might be fun to, er, try something different."

Smiling, Astoria replied, "I do, and it would, and if you buy those robes, I'll loan you some jewelled chain for your hair."

Hermione remembered her Daydream self and sighed. She had looked rather fetching, hadn't she? "Oh, all right."

"Good! Now, let's move on to lingerie," said Astoria, holding up a hand as Hermione began to protest. "I don't mean to imply that anyone will see you in it, but this set of robes requires the proper foundational garments in order to fit well. Trust me."

~*~

"Don't be so suspicious, Severus, it's just clothing."

"I've been perfectly capable of dressing myself for some time. When I agreed to participate in this ridiculous—"

"Astoria's fundraiser isn't ridiculous, and it is important to her. As you did agree, I can't have you looking like a vampire."

"What did you say?"

"A vampire. Yes, that's what you look like—and no wealthy witch is going to bid on the 'pleasure' of your company if you insist upon looking like one."

Severus, thinking of several social occasions upon which he'd worn his customary black and the sort of female admirers it had attracted, snorted. "You're mistaken. There's an entire class of witch looking to be 'bitten'."

"And are you shagging any of them?"

Severus glared at Draco. "Governor of the Board you may be, but don't presume to—"

"Of course I'll presume, you git! I'm you friend. As your friend, I know that you're lonely. As your Governor, I insist that you present a decent appearance at the Singleton Auction." Draco leant back in his chair and sighed. "And as Astoria's husband, I beg you to. She'll murder me if you don't look good."

"Hence all that rot about how I'm 'one of wizarding Britain's most eligible wizards'?" Severus asked, trying to forget the sensation of silk sliding over his skin as he considered the packet of clothing with which Draco had provided him.

Draco smiled. "Exactly."

Severus considered. Professor Granger appeared to enjoy the company of the fashionably dressed. Every wizard with whom she'd been photographed had worn flashy robes. From staff room gossip, which he couldn't help but overhear, he knew that those wizards were blind dates that her friends had insisted upon arranging for her.

And they never become more than that to her because she's obviously looking for substance in addition to style in a partner.

He checked himself; it wasn't appropriate for him to be contemplating a colleague in a romantic light, but it was hard not to when he couldn't forget the sense memory, however false it might be, of this particular colleague's breast pressed against his body.

"What are you thinking?" Draco asked.

"That I mustn't disappoint Astoria."

~*~

Dear George,

Our evil plan is working. Seal the halves. Our friends should have something more to think about before the auction, wouldn't you agree?

Oh, and on the night in question, I expect you to present yourself in tailored robes.

Astoria

George grinned as he read Astoria's letter. Setting it aside, he went into his workroom and unlocked a cupboard, pulling from it a plain wooden box. Opening it, he blinked as two empty, interestingly curved bottles caught the light of the room in their facets and reflected it back.

"All right, my beauties, it's time for you to be reunited."

With that, he lifted the two halves, one shaped like a feminine torso, and one, a masculine one, and gently pressed them together before releasing them. Hovering before him, the crystal phials melted into each other, twisting together as if in an embrace of glass arms before becoming one with a clink! Plucking it from the air, George opened it, Summoned the hairs he'd collected from Hermione and Snape while they'd been preoccupied with his Daydream, and dropped them into the bottle before stoppering it again and laying it in the box.

He put the box away and sighed in satisfaction. "Best. Wheeze. Ever."

~*~

Standing on the dais in a shockingly low-cut, tightly fitted set of shimmering scarlet robes, her hair piled artfully atop her head and wound with garnets on gold chain, Hermione felt like a fool. This feeling was quickly followed by an acute sense of déjà vu as her eyes flew to the back of the hall, which looked like a near mirror image of her end of it because a wizard wearing sleek, well-tailored ebony robes was also standing on a dais . . . and staring at her.

Severus Snape.

Suddenly, Hermione knew exactly what he was doing there.

Clearly, George's Wheeze needed more work; his Daydream repeated itself long after its effects should have worn off.

Hermione ignored the events transpiring around her as she thought about how handsome Snape looked. She'd come to know Snape rather well as Hogwarts' Potions mistress; they shared several interests in addition to Potions, and they got on well together—so well, in fact, that more than once, Hermione had found herself longing in his direction.

It won't do, she thought, as Snape began walking towards her.

"Why not?" a squeaky voice asked, then. "You is only having a Daydream."

Hermione turned towards Bipsy, who was hovering next to her, in surprise; Astoria's house-elf was the last being she'd expected to see. It was her Daydream, wasn't it?

~*~

Standing on the dais in an uncomfortably cut, ridiculously fitted set of shimmering green robes, his ruthlessly washed hair drawn back from his face and bound with a silver ribbon, Severus felt like a fool. This feeling was quickly followed by an acute sense of déjà vu as his eyes flew to the back of the hall, which looked like a near mirror image of his end of it because a witch wearing delightfully low-cut, figure-hugging scarlet robes was also standing on a dais . . . and staring at him.

Hermione Granger.

Suddenly, Severus knew exactly what she was doing there.

Clearly, Weasley's Wheeze needed more work; his Daydream repeated itself long after its effects should have worn off.

Severus ignored the events transpiring around him as he thought about how lovely Granger looked. He'd come to know Granger rather well as Hogwarts' Headmaster; they shared several interests in addition to Potions, and they got on well together—so well, in fact, that more than once, Severus had found himself longing in her direction.

It won't do, he thought, as Granger began walking towards him.

"Why not?" a squeaky voice asked, then. "You is only having a Daydream."

Severus turned towards Bipsy, who was hovering next to him, in surprise; Draco's house-elf was the last being he'd expected to see. It was his Daydream, wasn't it?

~*~

Suddenly, the daises upon which they were standing disappeared and they found themselves together in the middle of the ballroom floor.

Bipsy clapped her hands in apparent glee. "It is being your dance, Professors!" she cried, before disappearing with a loud pop!

Neither one of them had any flowers, but they both automatically stepped forward to take up the appropriate dancing posture—and bumped into each other for moving too quickly.

"Oh, no," Hermione said, laughing. "Things aren't going any more smoothly this time than they did last time."

"'Last time'?" Severus asked. "You mean to say that you've experienced this," he said, pausing to wave an arm at the dancers, "Daydream before?"

"Well, yes, but it, er, wasn't quite the same."

"Ah, of course. You were with another wizard."

"What? No! I mean," Hermione said, blushing. "What I mean is that I went to see George about that stupid Daydream in a Bottle of his that all the students have been buying and—"

"I did the same," interrupted Severus.

"And did you 'product-test' it, too?" Hermione asked.

Pop!

"No, no, no, no!" admonished Bipsy, her ears wiggling. "You mustn't be ruining this moment with talk! You must be dancing!"

"And what else 'must' we do?" demanded Severus.

Bipsy's ears straightened and stilled as she regarded him. "You don't know?"

"I think we're meant to escape to the terrace," supplied Hermione.

Severus nodded. "And then walk in the gardens."

"And then . . . ."

Bipsy laughed. "That's right. 'And then'. Lots of and then-ing!"

Pop!

Mortified, Hermione exclaimed, "I'm going to kill George Weasley!"

Severus snorted. "Murderous ire suits you, Professor Granger."

She straightened. "Does it?"

"Yes, yes, it does," Severus replied, flushing.

"Does that mean you'll help me kill George?"

"I'd be delighted, but before we can affect Weasley's death, we'll have to extricate ourselves from the Daydream."

"And to do that, I suppose we'll just have to, er, follow the script, won't we?" Hermione replied.

Severus offered her his hand. "Our dance, I think."

"But . . . you don't want to dance," Hermione said, nevertheless accepting Severus' hand. "Do you, Headmaster?"

His heart beating hard, Severus replied, "The viscaria implies otherwise."

Hermione squeezed his hand, but nothing else happened.

"I said," Severus repeated, "that the. Viscaria. Implies. Otherwise."

Again, nothing happened.

"I think," Hermione said, "that we might try skipping to the, er, the 'and-then-ing' because . . . well, because it's our Daydream . . . isn't it, Severus?"

He swallowed, hard. "Our Daydream. . . . Yes. Yes, Hermione, it is," he said, his gaze dropping to her mouth, which parted slightly as she closed her eyes.

Severus shivered as he felt Hermione's warm breath against his mouth and he closed the distance between them.

Their lips met, and then . . . .

~*~

"Damn it!"

Hermione and Severus sat up in bed—each alone and frustrated and cursing the latest Wheeze—which without question required more work.

Both of them, however, found themselves quite looking forward to the Singleton Auction—and the and-then-ing.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
shiv5468
Dec. 4th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
There should always be more and=thening.
iulia_linnea
Dec. 4th, 2012 11:28 pm (UTC)
Agreed! :)
lyre_flowers
Dec. 5th, 2012 07:29 am (UTC)
Seconded!

(Also, this was lovely, a very nice read.)
iulia_linnea
Dec. 5th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad that you enjoyed it. :)
eoforyth
Dec. 4th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
Squeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Very well done, and I love the phrase 'the and-then-ing' :D

Thank you, that certainly took my mind off things.
iulia_linnea
Dec. 4th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed this. :D
dickgloucester
Dec. 5th, 2012 12:28 am (UTC)
LOL! This is clever and funny.
iulia_linnea
Dec. 5th, 2012 12:29 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
delphipsmith
Dec. 5th, 2012 12:52 am (UTC)
LOL! Oh, this was awesome: the different scenarios, different viewpoints, the repeated "gotcha" -- brilliant. Best Wheeze ever, by far :)

"Fas—fascination, lust, and dancing, that's . . . that implies . . . ." Unable to continue his thought aloud, he pulled a little away from Hermione to gaze down into her eyes. "Fuck."

"Yes, that's quite the buttonhole, isn't it, Severus?"
iulia_linnea
Dec. 5th, 2012 01:22 am (UTC)
*glee* I'm glad you enjoyed this! Thank you. :)
missingkeys
Dec. 5th, 2012 09:27 am (UTC)
*squee*! This is so freaking awesome. I love it!
iulia_linnea
Dec. 5th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
*dances*

Thank you so much! :D
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )