This story is the second in my 'Aesthetic of Magic' series. If you haven't read 'The Scent of Magic', I highly encourage you to do so as it sets up this installment.

Christmas Eve

There was drool drying on the material of her shirt but, somehow, she couldn't bring herself to care. Teddy Lupin's head lolled on her shoulder, his hair currently the same shade of brown as her own, with the curls to match, and he was trying quite hard to keep his eyes open. Truthfully, she couldn't blame the toddler for wanting to stay awake, not when the Christmas tree was so brightly lit in the sitting room and the house smelled like freshly baked cookies (Courtesy of Molly, as Hermione couldn't bake her way out of a wet paper sack.). But, everyone had a bedtime and this was his, so she kept rocking him as she hummed. Soon he'd be too big to hold like this, but she pushed that thought from her mind.

When she glanced down a few minutes later he was out like a light, his small mouth hanging open as yet more drool rolled down his chin and pooled on her shirt. At least he maintained his happy temperament, she thought, even while teething. Slowly she got to her feet and tiptoed over to the crib to lay him down. Little brooms and snitches zoomed across the material of his pyjamas as she laid his favorite stuffed dragon within reach and she pulled the blanket up over him. For a moment she just stood there staring down at him. This was what they'd all fought for, she realized, this sleeping innocence waiting to see what presents had been left for him on Christmas morning.

Hermione let herself quietly out of his room, carefully closing the door behind her once she was sure the nightlight was on. Letting out a sigh, she scrubbed her face with her hands and trudged down the stairs. Now she could really get some work done. It was difficult to wrap presents with a pint sized Metamorphagus running around.

The sound of a needle hitting a record met her as she rounded the corner into the sitting room. A moment later Muggle Christmas music floated out of the gramophone and she found herself smiling as she leaned against the doorjamb. It was funny, she thought, how something as simple as watching Remus Lupin put on a bit of music was enough to send a shiver down her spine.

Gods help her, she had it bad.

"Did he go down alright?" Remus asked as he turned to face her, his shaggy blond hair falling in his eyes.

Hermione nodded. "I think he crashed from all of the chocolate someone let him have," she said as she gave him a pointed look. Remus had the good grace to look at least a tiny bit sheepish, though he didn't seem guilty in the slightest. She couldn't help but wonder if he knew just how charming he was.

Moving around the sofa, she plucked up a headband with red velvet antlers and jingle bells and popped it on her head. She knew she looked ridiculous, but she reckoned that Christmas warrented a bit of foolishness. Besides, when she'd put them on in the shop Teddy had roared with laughter and thus they had to come home with them. Who was she to argue with an eighteen month old?

"You look ridiculous," he said with a laugh. "Why don't you take it off?"

"No, I shan't. It's Christmas," Hermione replied with a cheeky grin. Wand poised in her hand, she gave it a quick flick and several boxes came flying into the sitting room only to arrange themselves in a neat pile on the floor. "Besides, your son happens to think I look marvelous in them."

Remus let out a hum as he mirrored her motion and rolls of wrapping paper and sellotape joined their little cache. "Well, if you're going to be basing all of your fashion choices on the opinions of a toddler," he began, only to be cut off by a bright red bow smacking him in the forehead.

"Shut it you. I'd liked to get these wrapped quickly so that I can have a hot chocolate before bed."


A little while later, scraps of paper and ribbon were scattered around them like a great holiday shop explosion, but Hermione couldn't even bring herself to truly mind. Leaning back against the front of the couch, she stretched her legs out in front of her with a groan. Her foot was in danger of falling asleep and she gave it a tentative wiggle; all while admiring her rather festive and brightly colored socks.

"Do you really think the broom was a good idea, Remus?" she asked as she reached over and took his hand in hers. It occurred to her then just how much this position, side by side on the floor, mirrored one they'd found themselves in on Samhain.

"It won't go any higher than a foot, love. And we'll use sticking charms," he replied as his long fingers laced with hers. "It's perfectly safe. Sirius and I bought one for Harry when he was Teddy's age, you know? And he's turned out just fine."

She could hear the smile in his voice and she let out a snort. "Alright. But it will be a strong sticking charm and there will be cushions on the floor."

Remus laughed as he leaned over to press a kiss to her temple. "Yes, dear."

The music faded to a rhythmic hum as the needle reached the end of the record. Somehow the sound seemed to encapsulate the feeling of winter. Maybe it was just the warmth of the fire seeping into him as snow fell outside, the juxtaposition of static quiet with the crackling of the logs and the sound of her heartbeat from across the room.

As he lifted the needle away from the vinyl he watched her. She'd pulled off the ridiculous antlers, saying that she'd save them for Teddy, and now it seemed as though her hair had become wilder. Remus wanted to bury his fingers in those curls, pull her head back so that he could press his mouth to her neck, lap at her pulse point, taste the lavender he knew always clung to her skin. A flush crept over his cheeks and he made himself look away as he put the record away and moved to pick out a new one.

Even if he couldn't see her he could hear her. He could picture her small hands picking up boxes and setting them down again, arranging them just so before she fiddled with the ornaments on the tree that had been jostled. He could hear the soft whisper of her jeans as she moved, the material brushing up against itself as she walked and crouched and stood up on her tiptoes. The thought of ripping the material off of those legs of hers came over him suddenly and he lowered the needle with more force than he'd intended.

Gods, did she know the effect she had on him, he wondered. Did she know that just the smell of her made Moony rear up in his mind and howl for her? Even still, it was more than that. It was the way she smiled and kissed his jaw when she woke up in the mornings; the way she handed him his coffee mug and stole his dressing gown to wear around the house. He paused in his thoughts and scrubbed his hand over her face. It was the way she pushed his hair out of his eyes but never told him he needed a haircut. And it was the way she picked up Teddy and told him stories and dried his tears and rocked him to sleep. Did she know how much all of that meant? How could he even begin to explain it to her?


Her voice pulled him from his thoughts and he turned towards her. "Yeah?"

"I asked if you'd like a hot chocolate," she said, her head cocked to the side and brow furrowed.

A small smile spread over his lips as he nodded, his hands shoved in the pockets of his trousers as he rocked back on his heels. "That'd be nice."

Hermione stood there looking as if she was unsure of moving. Her teeth pressed into her bottom lip, worrying it, and he found his gaze drawn immediately drawn to the action. It was as if all other thought had suddenly fled his mind and all he could think about was her mouth and the need to feel it against his own. Remus was in front of her in two strides, the tips of his long fingers gently pulling her lip from the confines she'd put it in. He watched in fascination as blood returned to it, making it fuller than it was, and he could have sworn that he'd heard himself let out a groan.

He didn't miss the way her pupils dilated as he bent down to kiss her, if anything it had made the need to taste her grow. Her body pressed against his, almost melting as her hands gripped the material of his cardigan and pulled him closer. Remus found himself smiling against her mouth as she kissed him, her movements increasing in their apparent need.

Behind them the music played and his hands tangled in her hair. Even just the feel of her curls around his fingers was enough to go straight to his head, the action seemingly amplifying the scent of her. The wolf inside of him growled and one possessive thought came to his mind: Mine. Even if he'd said it out loud he knew she wouldn't contradict him, maybe that was just confidence on his part. But the truth was that he just knew it, he knew it in his bones and in every cell of his body, and he knew that he was hers as well.

A soft moan bubbled up in her chest and Remus swore that he could feel it vibrate over his skin. He sucked in a breath and Hermione took advantage of the parting of his mouth. Her tongue slid over his and he could taste the peppermint that clung to her from the candy she'd eaten earlier; he suddenly found a new appreciation for the treat. He could have devoured her right then and there, and he had half a mind to do so, to lick and bite at her until she broke beneath him.

Hands falling from her hair, he guided her down to the floor. He loved the way his hips fit in between her thighs and he couldn't help but rust against her ever so slightly. That was when her scent changed and lavender became swallowed by musk and he knew that if he touched her she'd be soaking.

"Fuck, Remus," she whimpered as her hips bucked up against him.

A feral smile curled over his lips as he began to slowly move down her body. "I'm getting there, love," he murmured as his teeth lightly scraped over the column of her neck.

Her leg was warm against his touch as he slid his hand further up, inching closer and closer to where they both knew she needed to be touched. Those jeans needed to come off, he thought, though it was a shame as they looks so lovely on her frame. His fingers made quick work of the button and zipper and soon he was tugging the denim down her legs. Her knickers weren't going to make it, that was something he'd already decided, the fate of her bra was still undetermined. He could feel the heat coming off of her as his hand just hovered over her mound, her hips already trying to push up against him. For a moment he wondered how long they'd both last like this, just barely touching each other, slowly driving each other mad with want. Somehow he couldn't bring himself to test those limits.

It was the feeling of her hand slipping down in between them that pulled him from his stupor. A growl rumbled in his throat and he smacked her hand away. "No," he rasped as his fingers curled around the cotton of her knickers and ripped them away. "Your cunt is mine, love. Mine to touch, mine to lick, and mine to fuck. Do you understand?"

His eyes were dark as he gazed up at her and he felt a stab of satisfaction as she let out a soft mewl. Hermione had barely managed to nod before his fingers slid inside of her. She was as wet as he'd imagined she'd be and he groaned. Thumb pressed up against her clit he began to stroke her, his movements slow and deliberate. Watching her while he pleasured her had quickly become a favorite pastime of his. It was her face, her beautiful expressive face, eyes closed and mouth open as she panted and moaned. And it was all because of him.

Teeth pressing into his bottom lip, Remus shifted where he lay on the floor, his trousers now incredibly tight. He slid further down her, wrenching his gaze from her face and focusing it on her hips. For a moment he just watched as she rocked up against him, timing her motions with that of his fingers. He found that he just couldn't help himself then and he pulled his hand away. The cry of protest she gave was quickly silenced as he pressed his mouth against her and groaned.

Hermione knew the rules. As much as she wanted to just close her eyes and get lost in the feeling of his mouth and tongue pushing her quickly towards the precipice, it simply was not allowed. Lifting her head up, she watched him from beneath hooded eyes. Gold eyes stared back at her as the flat of his tongue moved up the line of her slit, stopping only to lap briefly at her clit. He enjoyed this, and had even told her as much, he loved the satisfaction of being the one that reduced her to this state and she loved letting him.

His fingers pressed against her hips, holding her down as he continued his assault. She could feel that familiar coil tightening up inside of her and she bit down on her lips. Reaching down, she threaded her fingers through his hair only to grip the dark blond strands tight. He growled against her and she gave his hair a sharp tug, in return his lips wrapped around her clit and sucked. That was all she had needed and she fought to keep her eyes open as she came undone beneath him, her body shaking as she rode out the waves.

Time was a funny thing, especially in moments like this. She could have been laying there an hour before his mouth moved away from her cunt, or it could have been just a few second. Either way she didn't care, not when he was kissing her again with his lips slick with her own cum. It made her brazen, being like this with him, and she loved it. Gods, she loved the way he made her feel.

Her hands began pulling at his cardigan and she found herself desperate to get the printed wool off of him. Immediately. He laughed at her impatience, but it didn't deter her in the slightest. For a moment he pulled away only to settle back down against her, their clothes gone and his skin hot against hers. Why didn't she think of simply vanishing the offending articles, she wondered briefly, but all coherent thought drifted from her mind as he slid inside of her.

There were a plethora of words that she wanted to say, to articulate just how good he felt, but they simply wouldn't arrange themselves into the proper order. In the end Hermione simply said 'fuck it' and leaned up to attach her mouth to his shoulder. The action was appreciated, if the groan he'd given was any indication, and his hips snapped forward causing her to let out a soft cry.

"Quiet, love," he muttered and she could hear the smile in his voice. Amused Remus was one of her favorite things in the world. Before she could even reply his mouth was against hers again, muffling her cries as he continued at his hard and quick pace. He was going to push her over again soon, she just knew it, and she was more than ready to take that particular plunge only because she knew he'd follow her down.

Her hands slid down over his back, her nails lightly scratching at his skin to spur him on as her legs wrapped around his hips. Pressing her feet against the backs of his thighs, she bucked up against him, meeting him thrust for thrust. The pace he'd set was tiring and she could feel her muscles becoming fatigued, but he slid his arm beneath her and held her tight as they kept going.

Sweat beaded on her skin as her eyes screwed shut, his name falling from her lips in broken whispers. When she found her release again he kissed her, his mouth pressed hard against her as the movement of his hips became erratic and he pulsed inside of her. The sound of her own heartbeat resounded in her ears as she struggled to catch her breath, her mind still in a fog and her body quivering.

Muscles relaxing, Hermione let her shoulders fall to the floor, her head lolling to the side as she licked her swollen lips. His breath came in heavy pants as he rested his head against the crook of her shoulder and she lifted her hand to gently push his damp hair back from his face. She was perfectly content to just stay there, naked beneath him as he softened between her legs, but she knew they'd have to move eventually and crawl into their bed upstairs.

"I love you," he whispered and her body went still.

She knew she hadn't misheard, that she hadn't been hallucinating in their post coital haze. He'd said it and she believed him and she was sure that her heart was going to burst in her chest. "I love you, too," she replied, her voice cracking as she turned press a kiss to his forehead.

"We never did get that hot chocolate."


Christmas Morning

Sleeping in had not been an option for either of them, though Remus had been hopeful. Teddy woke bright and early and the Christmas decorations Hermione had placed in his room seemed to be reminder enough that there was a large and colorful tree in the sitting room. For a moment he just laid there, Hermione curled up against his side as the sound of his son's voice drifted down the hall singing the names 'Dadda' and 'Mi' in some semblance of a tune. A smile curled over the man's face; it was a sound he could certainly get used to.

Pressing a kiss to his girlfriend's brow, he nudged her awake. "Happy Christmas, love," he said as she cracked her eyes open.

"Happy Christmas," she replied, her voice still thick with sleep. Sitting up, he watched as she pushed her wild mane of curls away from her face and listened to Teddy's song. She laughed. "How long has that been going on?"

"Just a few minutes. I'll go and change his nappie, no doubt he's ripe."

She let out a delicate snort before leaning over to give him a kiss. "You do that and I'll go put the kettle on. I think we're both going to need a strong cuppa this morning."

For a moment he just sat on the edge of the mattress, watching as she shuffled into the bathroom to quickly go through her morning routine. She didn't change out of her sleep clothes and he found himself sitting there with a stupid smile on his face as she finally made her way downstairs wearing one of his long sleeved tees shirts and a pair of knee high socks. Gods, how he wanted to drag her back to bed and ravish her. Socks still on, of course.

Teddy, as predicted, was very much ripe and Remus tried to hold his breath as he changed his son, who seemed to be rather pleased with himself as he kept singing his little song. A few minutes, and some minor fussing over having his face cleaned, later and Teddy was perched on his father's hip as they made their way downstairs. Remus stifled a yawn as they rounded the corner and Teddy let out a squeal.

Hermione sat on the floor beside the tree, the fire roaring behind her, and smiled up at the pair of them. His son squirmed and wiggled in his arms in an effort to get down. "Alright, alright," Remus laughed and as soon as Teddy's onesie covered feet were on the ground he took off running.

The little metamorphagus didn't seem to know where to start and he went from present to present, picking them up and setting them down again.

Hermione shook her head and pulled the toddler onto her lap. "Alright you, let's open this one, hmm?" she said as she summoned one of the packages and put it in his hands. It took a moment to get him started ripping the paper, but he soon had the hang of it and the wrapping went flying.

Everything delighted him and at one point he began wandering about with all of his toys clutched in his arms, his broom dragging on the floor behind him and completely unaware that Hermione had stuck a bright green ribbon on top of his head.

Remus had watched it all silently as he sipped his tea. There were times that it struck him just how much Teddy favored his mother and it made it difficult to swallow. Then he'd see the way the toddler's face would light up when Hermione helped him with something and he'd find himself trying not to cry. Life wasn't supposed to be like this, so full of warmth and love, yet there he was in the middle of it all. He let out a breath then and discreetly wiped at the corners of his eyes.

With Teddy distracted with his loot, Remus took the opportunity to slip a small rectangular box onto Hermione's lap. Her lips curled up into a half smile as she looked up at him and she carefully pulled the paper away and folded it neatly at her side. Inside the velvet lined box was a singular key and for a moment she just stared at it.

"Remus?" she began as she looked up at him, her brows furrowed. "I think I may be missing something."

In that moment he felt like an awkward teenager as he let out a nervous laugh and rubbed at the back of his neck. Merlin, asking a bird to walk to Hogsmeade hadn't been this difficult- and that was coming from someone who'd only done that once in his life. "It's a key to the house," he said, gesturing to the sitting room around them.

Teddy had begun to sing to himself again as he lined his toys up in a row: "Dadda 'n Mi. Mi, Mi, Mi 'n Dadda."

"But I have Floo access," Hermione pointed out. Her lips pursed slightly as she picked the key up from its velvet bed and held it in her palm.

"Yes," he agreed slowly. Tucking his hair back behind his ear, Remus regarded her for a moment before letting out a breath. "But now you have access to the wards. You can change them now, just the same as me. Because, well. Shit. I had this all sorted out in my head, a big romantic speech and everything."

Advanced Runes was easier than this. Remus groaned and scrubbed his face with his hands. He could feel her eyes on him, could her her breath as it became heavier and her heart rate increased. She was just as nervous as him and probably just as terrified. A small body settling in his lap pulled him from his thoughts and he stared down at his son, he little aqua haired menace who continued to sing his song as he turned the pages in the book Hermione had given him, not even caring that it was upside down.

"Move in with me?" he asked as he looked over at her again. "Move in with us?"

Her small hand curled around the key as she looked down at the little boy in his lap. For a brief moment he feared that he'd overstepped and pushed this on her too soon. That was when she leaned against his shoulder, her arms wrapping around his as she kissed the top of Teddy's head.

"We're going to need a bigger library," she said and Remus smiled.

Happy Holidays you guys! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season no matter what your beliefs are. You guys are amazing and never fail to make my day when I see your comments and follows. If I could give you all hugs and cookies, I would.

So, it seems I've started a series. Go figure. The 'Aesthetic of Magic' series is going to encompass the five senses, as evidenced by the titles. The Scent of Magic is what kicked all of this off, and now we're on to Taste. As to which of the senses if up next, I still haven't decided, so be on the lookout for updates and sneak peeks on my Tumblr ( .com)