For AdelaideArcher. This is based on a beautiful artwork that she received during the gift fest this year. Have a look on the Livejournal site - it's a lovely piece by Sabrebabe of our favourite pair reading in their sitting room.
He looked at his wife from over his reading glasses, then removed them when she set down her book. "Yes?"
Hermione glanced at the paperback on her lap and smiled before asking cheekily, "What do I smell like?"
Like a deer caught in the headlights, his eyebrows rose as he pondered the question. The sheer ridiculousness of it might have caught his attention years ago, but he'd been married to Hermione for long enough to be comfortable with her sudden bouts of curiosity.
Choosing the safest words, he said carefully, "Are you wearing a new perfume?"
Her peal of laughter sent both his eyebrows shooting to his hairline. She gestured at her book and smiled, giggling with a hand over her mouth as if she were a young girl again instead of a woman close to forty.
"No!" she exclaimed. "It's just... Erm..." Hermione brandished the paperwork and he snorted when he caught sight of a bare chested black-haired man on the front. "This man can smell his love interest from across the room! Apparently every day it's something different."
"And your point is..."
"Well, what do I smell like?"
To be fair, Severus did make a solid effort. They were sitting at opposite ends of the couch, not too far away, so he sniffed and stuck his tongue out in an attempt to taste the air.
"Hmm..." he repeated, searching for a way to drag out the time. Merlin, those authors were going to drive him to madness. If his wife wasn't innocently asking if his Roman nose also served as some scientific testing device, then she was tying him up and dripping wax on his nipples, thanks to some other story she'd devoured. Not that he minded - far be it from Severus to complain when it benefitted him so.
"Erm..." He sniffed again. Christ. Bloody romance writers.
"I don't know," he finally admitted. "Surely it's a good thing that I can't smell you? Because then your perfume would be overpowering, or the opposite."
"Well, you'd be putrid, wouldn't you? If I could smell you from so far away? In sore need of a bath at the very least."
After a long, blank stare, Hermione chortled merrily and went back to her book.
"What?" Severus complained, now wondering how else he was failing to measure up to the fantasy man.
"Oh, nothing," she said breezily. And then she met his gaze and grinned, her wide brown eyes gleaming in a way that made his heart slam in his chest. Twenty years together, and still he reacted to her like a lovesick swain.
"I love you," she said simply. "You have made me the happiest woman on earth. Did you know that?"
Transfixed, Severus could only flush and nod. He attempted to come up with something flowery to say in response, but the words wouldn't come.
Instead he cleared his throat and stood up. "Shall I put the kettle on?"
Her answering chuckle had him leaving the room with a fond grin from ear to ear.