Disclaimer: Harry Potter is owned by JK Rowling et al. Any characters or locations you recognise are the intellectual property of these individuals and corporations. I make no money from the writing of this story.

Thanks to LadyStiff for alpha reading and worrywart for the fabulous beta job.

This story was written for the SSHG Promptfest on LJ from the prompt: "Severus! Why is Lucius Malfoy tied up in our cellar?"

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There is Nothing Worse than a Wine Snob

Hermione Snape took an appreciative breath in through her nose as soon as she entered the kitchen.

"It smells wonderful," she complimented her husband. She crossed to where he was standing in front of the stove, precisely stirring a decadent looking sauce and glancing at a pot full of boiling pasta. She wound her arms around his waist and pressed her cheek into his back. "As always."

"Of course it smells wonderful, witch. I shudder to think what it would smell like if you were cooking it," he teased.

Hermione removed one arm to give him a small whack on his bicep. She giggled at his words; it was an acknowledged fact that Hermione's vast talents and skills stopped dead at the door to the kitchen

She moved to the side and observed the same meticulous attention to detail that he applied to everything being paid to their dinner. It was mesmerising to watch, and she never failed to appreciate it. Presently, Severus broke the comfortable silence between them. "Will you go down to the cellar and select a bottle?"

"Of course, what would you like?"

Severus wiped his hands on the tea towel that was slung over his shoulder and turned to face her. "A nice rosé, perhaps something from the Loire Valley?" he suggested.

"Mmm, I think we have just the thing." She reached up and placed a small peck on his lips.

Hermione hummed softly as she headed toward the door to their basement. When they first became colleagues at Hogwarts, they quickly discovered a mutual appreciation of wine. The pair infuriated their friends and relatives as they subscribed to the belief that while some wines definitely went well with some foods, at the end of the day, drinking wine was about enjoying the consumption of it. Hermione took great relish in dropping three ice cubes into a glass of Merlot, 'just to take the edge off', while Severus would happily spend fifty galleons on a fine bottle of Chablis only to drink it with a well-done steak.

Neither of them believed in collecting wine—it was made to be drunk, not stored. Ironically they had amassed a large collection over the years, but none of it was sacrosanct. Their one concession to the whole 'wine buff' craze was to convert half of the large basement of their Hogsmeade home into a properly outfitted wine cellar. The climate-controlled room was large enough to hold up to two thousand bottles and housed a country-style table and chairs where the pair would often sit on a summer's day, talking and drinking and just enjoying each other's company. After the library, it was their favourite room in the house.

Hermione continued her tune as she descended the wooden staircase and opened the heavy wooden door to the cellar. She headed straight for the section where the rosés were stored. By the time she reached them, her humming had turned into full, deep throated singing. She sang as she pulled bottles from the racks, looking for one of the rosés she had purchased on their recent trip to the beautiful Loire Valley in France. At a break in the song, when she went back to softly humming the musical refrain, a noise behind her had her spinning and drawing her wand.

She was quite shocked by what she saw. After giving the sight before her a long, considering look, she picked up a random bottle and left the room.

Severus was just finishing setting the table when she returned. He took the bottle from her hand and pulled out her chair for her. She watched him closely for a hint of a clue as to why she saw what she saw, but he acted as though nothing was out of the ordinary as he deftly removed the cork from the bottle and poured a glass for her. He sat and began to dish out the fresh pasta with pesto sauce he had made. He did not wait for her to begin before he wound a forkful of the long spaghetti around his fork and put it in his mouth. He chewed and swallowed with relish before announcing, "God, I'm good!"

His words shocked Hermione from her silence. "Severus! Why is Lucius Malfoy tied up in our cellar?" she asked incredulously.

"He annoys me," Severus said with a smirk.

Hermione scoffed as she prepared a forkful of pasta for herself. "Everyone annoys you," she pointed out before placing the fork in her mouth. She moaned as she chewed and swallowed. "God, you are good!" she complimented him. "But Lucius annoying you is not a sufficient reason for you to tie him to a chair and gag him like that. If he were anyone else, by now I would be taking you to task."

"Alright, even though he does annoy me, that is not the reason I have him tied up down there. I have a gift for you."

Hermione looked at him dubiously. "Severus, I'm as adventurous as the next girl, but even I have limits. I'm really not at all comfortable with the idea of a threesome and even if I was… Lucius?"

"Firstly, get your mind out of the gutter, witch. You are mine, and I will not be sharing you with anyone, ever, in that respect. Secondly, your present is something that Lucius prizes very highly and I want to see his reaction when you open it."

"And you had to tie him up in the cellar to do that?" Her face still sported the dubious look as she tried to puzzle out why Severus would have abducted his friend like that.

"It's where your gift is," he said cagily.

"In the cellar…" her eyes widened suddenly as she made a possible connection. "You didn't!"

"I did."

"Eeeeee…" Hermione jumped up from her chair as she squealed and wrapped her arms in a vice-like grip around her husband's neck. "You did? You really got one?"

"Your father helped; he was notified six months ago that a case would be going on sale at Sotheby's. I struck a deal with the Goblins regarding the exchange rate of galleons to pounds and it was secured at auction last night."

"I can't believe you bought me a bottle of Chateaux Margaux!" Hermione gushed.

"I did not buy you a bottle," Severus said, convincingly feigning puzzlement.

"Oh," Hermione said, quickly masking her disappointment. Chateaux Margaux was a fine wine she had been fortunate enough to try at one of the Malfoys' lavish dinner parties, and she had been anxious to get her hands on it again ever since. As it was one of the only wines she had ever gushed about, and was definitely one of the only fine vintages they would ever be able to afford, she just assumed that was what he was talking about.

"I bought you the case," Severus said with a smirk. Hermione squealed again.

"And we're up here drinking this swill?" she asked shrilly. She picked up her plate and cutlery and headed to the cellar door. Severus laughed as he copied her actions. He reached the door to the cellar in time to see her dump her plate of food on the table and head to the racks, looking for the new acquisition. She was completely oblivious to the blond wizard struggling against the magical bonds that were holding him.

"SHEBBUSH!" Lucius' muffled shout came through the gag.

Hermione squealed again as she located her prize. Almost reverently she extracted a bottle from the rack. When the tied up man recognised the shape and label of the bottle, he shouted again, "WHT 'Z 'AT?"

Hermione plunked the bottle down on the table triumphantly. Severus meanwhile had gathered glasses and a bottle opener. "That is a bottle of Chateaux Margeaux—1979—that my wonderful, brilliant husband purchased for me and that we are going to drink with our dinner right now!" she announced.

Lucius' eyes almost bulged out of his head, and he began shouting incomprehensibly through the gag. "Oh, this is ridiculous," Hermione said with a roll of her eyes. She drew her wand and waved it, removing the gag from Lucius' mouth.

"—WITH PESTO!" He abruptly cut off his tirade when he realised he was no longer gagged. He turned to his 'host' and smiled in an attempt to ingratiate himself. "Severus, if this is about that remark I made regarding the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor—no, do not open that bottle! I FORBID YOU!"

Severus smirked as he slowly tore the seal around the top of the bottle and positioned the corkscrew in the correct place. Lucius actually whimpered as Severus torturously twisted the bottle opener and pulled the cork out with a pop! He mockingly held the cork under Lucius' nose. The blond man could not help but to smell the stopper and appreciate the fine scent that wafted toward him. Again he whimpered as he whispered, "Perfect."

"Brilliant, Severus! It meets with Lucius Malfoy's exacting standards. Should we have him taste it as well?" Hermione asked brightly. She practically beamed at her husband's friend, completely enjoying his discomfort.

"I believe we may have done enough damage to his psyche for one day," Severus conceded. He waved his own wand and released Lucius from all his bonds. From the kitchen he summoned a plate of Filet Mignon he had prepared just for his oldest friend. The plate landed gently in front of the blond along with a set of cutlery and a napkin that Lucius shook out and placed decorously in his lap. Severus hesitated with handing the glass of wine to him. "What was it you said again?" he asked. "The current DADA professor is the best the school has ever had?"

"You understand it is the politically correct thing to say, the man did rid our world of the scourge of the Dark Lord after all, and his work as the youngest ever Head Auror demands… all right!" Lucius conceded as Severus began to draw the glass away. "You, Severus, are the best Defence Against the Dark Arts professor ever seen at Hogwarts!" he cried desperately.

"That's better," Severus said as he handed the glass to Lucius. The wizard took an appreciative sip of the wine and placed the glass down before picking up his cutlery to prepare a bite of the perfectly cooked steak. He grimaced when Hermione quaffed half the glass and held it out for a refill that her husband gladly supplied. Lucius' displeasure was heightened when she stuffed a forkful of pasta in her mouth.

"You appear to be channelling that redheaded imbecile you call a friend," he said disdainfully.

Hermione swallowed heavily. "Well I did eat lunch with him today, I guess some of his habits rubbed off, but when you're eating food as good as this and drinking wine that is just phenomenal…" Hermione trailed off and drained the glass again. The speed with which she was drinking the alcohol caused it to go straight to her head and she giggled. Severus smiled a true, happy smile at his wife's infectious laughter.

"At least once this bottle has been murdered I will be spared the ignominy of having to witness you drinking one of the finest vintages available with… pesto!" Lucius practically spat the last word.

Hermione smirked at the blond.

"There are another eleven bottles to go."

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Thanks for reading :)