Title: Intellectual Stimulation
Authour: Sing to Angels
Notes: This is for the Brownie Challenge. I wouldn't exactly call it NC-17, since I tried to concentrate more on the conversation during sex than the actual actions involved. I only just realised, looking through old posts, that the beginning of my story is similar to the one that Sara wrote. I didn't know! Terribly sorry about that! I'd only read Claire's story so far. *smacks self* I really should try to read some of the others though, shouldn't I? I just have a definite dislike for all things R/Hr. Makes me squick a bit, but not as bad as H/G does. *shivers* Anyroad, this is my first attempt at both a new pairing and a PWP, so be a bit gentle with it because as much as I tried, it wouldn't get plot-y. I think this story is utter crap, but Claire convinced me to post it, so I am. Cheers!

In a small, shabby house just outside the town of Hogsmeade, Remus Lupin was trying to sleep. He tossed and turned in his narrow bed, haunted by the smells wafting under his door. Eventually he gave up, pulled a pair of flannel pyjamas over his narrow hips, and followed his nose into the kitchen. That was where it really wanted to be anyway; his nose.

 Ever since his houseguests had arrived almost three days ago, there had been lovely smells emanating from the general direction of his wood stove. One of the guests had a particular fondness for baking when she couldn't sleep.

 He smelled chocolate tonight.

 Remus knew that Harry, Ron, and Sirius were all out scouring the countryside looking for Voldemort. Or they were at the Three Broomsticks getting sotted whilst bird-watching. Either way, tonight it was only Remus, the chocolate, and Her.

 Hermione had never struck him as the type to try her hand at baking until she and her friends had come to stay at his house after Voldemort and his Death Eaters blew up Harry's flat. But she explained one night, as they sat in front of the fire, that baking is formulas and science. The bicarbonate of soda reacts with the heat, the gluten in the flour develops from contact with moisture, the sugar feeds the yeast, and so on. Baking always produces a delightful result if done properly, where as cooking was an art and required more intuition than she possessed.

 Surely whatever she was making tonight would be more palatable than the Wolfsbane potion, which relied on the same sort of chemical reactions. Then again, Hagrid's rock cakes tasted better than the Wolfsbane potion.

 Remus padded on soft feet, not wanting to disturb Hermione while she worked. He folded his arms and leaned against the wall, watching from the shadowy corridor as she grated a large block of Honeyduke's chocolate and melted it with a wave of her wand. She dragged her finger through the liquid ambrosia and sucked it off of her skin, her warm cinnamon eyes closing in pleasure.

 "Professor Lupin, you can come in now if you'd like," she stated crisply while her eyes were still closed. Her lip twitched in amusement. "I assure you that I'm properly dressed tonight."

 He smiled wryly and stepped into the warm glow of the kitchen. At least she wasn't wearing that impossibly tiny nightdress again while she pranced around his kitchen, covered in flour. His hand still hadn't recovered from that night.

"I wasn't sure whether I should disturb you or not. You seemed… involved."

 Hermione lifted one corner of her lips in a half smile and discreetly wiped her mouth with one hand. "No more than I usually am. Remember I'm a woman, Professor. That means that I can multi-task."

 Remus had noticed she was a woman and couldn't resist a quick glance at her legs, the only part of her body less than half covered by her dressing gown. "How many times have I asked you not to call me Professor?" he enquired mildly. "You haven't been my student for over eight years now."

 She shrugged and melted some butter to add to the chocolate. "I forgot. Old habits die hard, I suppose."

 "Mmmn," he responded, paying more attention to how the butter gleamed on the back of her hand than what she was saying for once. Perhaps he'd been alone for too long when he couldn't concentrate on intelligent conversation without his hormones getting in the way. Hermione was prattling on about how there was no leavening in brownies and how they would come out dense and rich from the oven. Normally this would interest him, but he was a bit distracted tonight.

 "But," she continued. "It's difficult gauging temperature using a wood stove. I'm used to the Muggle ones. However, there's no gas mark four here, it's more of a choice between one log or two, so I'm trying a new spell tonight which may help."

 Remus smiled briefly. "We're in an old-fashioned world, Hermione. I don't think any of us are ready for things like electricity."

 "I know." She returned his smile with one of her own whilst carefully folding flour into the chocolate with a wooden spoon. "I don't think I'd like it if there was electricity in the wizarding world. The whole notion just seems wrong."

 "You're a modern girl, Hermione. I would think that you would champion the use of electricity in wizarding homes as much as you did freedom for the House Elves."

 She blushed and glanced up at him from under her long, sooty lashes. "I'm not as modern as one might think, Remus."

 "But you're independent and strong."

 Hermione stopped incorporating the flour and gazed at the counter for a moment. "Independence comes with a price." She scraped the batter into a greased pan that had been dusted with cocoa using quick, precise motions. "I would think you'd understand that, at least."

 Remus nodded. "I do. Of all people, I think I can understand best the price of independence."

 She smirked before placing the brownies in the oven and turning back to face him. "Some people call it fear of society."

 "Hermione, you're a very social person," he assured gently.

 "Perhaps," she conceded. "Why don't you ask Harry and Ron? They may not agree with you."

 Remus stepped forward and touched her arm. She slid away brown eyes that were just a trifle too bright. "Did they say something like that to you?"

 "Not in so many words. They just don't understand that I'm not the type to go out drinking until all hours and come home not remembering my own name. I've tried going with them to pubs, and I watch them sing bawdy songs and stumble off with girls they hardly know… it's just not for me. I'd rather stay home and read a good book, or go somewhere where I'll learn something other than how many colours Ron can turn his hair with his wand when he's pissed."

 He laughed then and she chuckled a little, wiping her eyes hastily with a tea towel. "It's all right if you'd rather stay at home, Hermione. It's an eminently more sensible thing to do than to go pub crawling and watch your friends make arses of themselves."

 Hermione snickered. "Who says I have to go to a pub to do that?"

 "I agree. You haven't seen Sirius when he's chatting up a girl. He suddenly turns into Black, Sirius Black: international man of mystery."

 "I think you're mixing up your Muggle films, Remus. Besides, I've seen the act he puts on for women first hand. It's a bit nauseating."

 Remus chuckled. "I thought you said you don't go to pubs with them?"

 "I don't. He tried to chat me up the other night. I told him I wasn't interested. In his defence though, I think he had just finished off your bottle of dragonwood brandy when he decided to use me for target practice."

 Remus sobered instantly. "Sirius chatted you up?"

 Apparently she saw the look in his eye and realised that she had said too much. "It wasn't anything, really. He didn't try to grope me. He just… spouted his lines and waited for me to swoon into his arms."

 "Why didn't you?" Remus asked bluntly. "Swoon into his arms I mean. I know Sirius is a handsome devil when he wants to be. He could probably charm the stars out of the sky if he set his mind to it."

 Hermione laughed. "Because he's Sirius."

 "That's all?" Remus suddenly found that he urgently needed to know exactly why Hermione had turned Sirius down. "Was it because he's older? Because he's Harry's godfather?"

 She shook her head and seemed to be slightly amused by his reaction. "That had little to do with it. Age is a number, Remus. But I think that I was more mature at thirteen than Sirius is now. Everything is a lark to him and I need someone a bit more sombre than that. Laughter is all well and fine, but I need intellectual stimulation and someone I can really talk to more than I need an occasional bawdy chuckle. I learned that from dating Ron."

 Remus unexpectedly had trouble breathing, but Hermione didn't seem to notice since she had turned back to the oven and was testing the brownies for doneness. It would be so easy to allow himself to love this girl. But maybe she was too serious, even for him. Remus knew that Hermione had a refined, dry sense of humour when she wanted to show it. Maybe her friends were right. She did need to lighten up a bit.

 He noticed the bowl of brownie batter on the counter. It had about an inch of chocolate that had dripped down the inside to puddle in the bottom. Remus dragged a finger through the bowl until his finger was thoroughly covered in brown goo.

 "Hermione."

 "Yes?" She turned around in time to have her nose smudged with chocolate. Hermione blinked at him owlishly for a moment, not quite understanding what had just happened. She flicked her eyes from the bowl, to his finger, and then to his face before her mouth started spasming uncontrollably from suppressed laughter.

 "I can't believe you just did that," she said between the very un-Hermione-like giggles that bubbled from her lips.

 "I can't believe I just did that either," Remus replied, still confused as to just why he'd done it. Then he remembered that he'd wanted to make her laugh. Mission accomplished.

 Hermione had stopped chuckling and set about for something to wipe her face. "Have you seen the tea towel? I set it on the counter just a moment ago."

 Remus shook his head and stepped closer to her, dropping the towel in his hands on the floor behind him. "No need, I'll get it."

 Don't do it, man! This is going to end badly and you know it. Things like these always end badly. Don't—

 Too late. Remus had closed the distance between them and gently lapped the chocolate from the end of Hermione's nose with his tongue. She inhaled sharply and closed her eyes. He could smell the heat that suddenly flooded her nether regions. Sometimes it was good to be a werewolf.

 He moved his lips down until they were less than an inch away from hers and breathed her breath. "Am I mature enough for you, Hermione?" he whispered against her mouth.

 She swallowed and nodded imperceptibly. Her eyes were still shut when he closed the distance and broke her mouth open, flooding it with his tongue and the euphoria of chocolate.

 Hermione moaned softly and raised her hands to rake through his hair. Remus edged her back until her bottom hit the countertop, his fingers fumbling with the knot on her dressing gown. When he finally managed to slip it off her shoulders, he was surprised to encounter nothing but bare skin underneath.

 "I thought you said you were properly clothed tonight," he mumbled whilst suckling her earlobe.

 "I lied," Hermione acknowledged with a sly grin, slipping her cold fingers into his waistband.

 Remus slid his hands down under her knees and set her on the counter, burying his hips in her warm, moist thighs. "Your fingers are like ice."

 "I have the hands of a true pastry chef," she said wickedly before grasping his erection and pumping it up and down.

 Remus shuddered and pushed her back against the boards to gain better access to her plump breasts. He'd waited so long to touch them. "You know what they say," he managed to get out around a dark brown nipple. "Cold hands, warm heart."

 "Mmmn," Hermione responded, pushing his pyjamas down roughly. "You're terribly warm. It must be the fur."

 "I'm only furry once a month," he said into her mouth.

"What a coincidence." Hermione groaned as Remus slid his erection past her damp curls and began working her body to his rhythm. "So am I."

 "I'm glad that you're not a social creature," he mused huskily, trailing his mouth down her neck and back to laving a lonely nipple.

 Hermione scraped her nails across his lower back before clawing his bottom. "Who needs a social life?"

 "Who indeed," Remus moaned, bucking his hips frantically.

 "I think they'll kill us if they find us having sex on the countertop." Hermione screwed up her eyes and bit her lower lip to hold back a particularly loud burst of sound. Her pelvis rocked against Remus', trying to match his speed.

 "Let it out," he whispered softly, reaching between them to run his fingers through her curls and between the slick folds, searching.

 Hermione yelped once and her breasts arched against his chest when his fingers brushed over a particularly sensitive area.

 "I suppose I'm encouraging your reclusive habits," Remus said before kissing her on the mouth and slipping his tongue inside.

 "No, I'm a party girl," Hermione gasped out after he released her mouth, swinging her hips faster and thrusting her breasts in his face as she threw her head back in pleasure. "I'm always… looking for… a good… uuuuuuuunnh."

 Remus collapsed on top of her and rested his head on her chest, out of breath. "I was just looking for a brownie."

"I think you found it," she replied, running her fingers through his sweaty hair absently.

 Remus nodded, continuing their dry, and probably highly inappropriate, verbal game of cat and mouse. "That's good. The ones in the oven are probably burnt now."

 Hermione gently pushed him up and hopped down from the counter. She grabbed the tea towel off of the floor and opened the oven. Remus took the opportunity to pull his pyjamas up from around his ankles and tied them securely around his waist.

 She set the hot brownies on the counter and smiled at him. "That was my new spell. The oven shuts itself off when what's inside is done baking."

 Remus glanced at the brownies, and then at Hermione again. She still hadn't put her dressing gown back on and her skin was golden and wet-looking in the light from the wood stove. Hermione was more appealing than the brownies. He shrugged and picked her up in his arms, her weight very slight.

 "What about the brownies?" she asked petulantly.

 "They can wait."

 "They'll get cold," she insisted.

 The bedroom door closing was her reply.

 *~*~*~*~*~*

 "Remus? Hermione? We're back!" Harry shouted into the darkened house.

 "Shut up, you twat, they're probably asleep. Use your loaf," Ron admonished with a good-natured slap to Harry's head. He missed and hit Harry on the shoulder instead, but the other man didn't seem to mind.

 Sirius stumbled in the door behind them, four legs not working as well as two when drunk.

 "I smell brownies! Hermione's been baking again," Harry said, smiling widely and heading for the kitchen.

"Mmmn," Ron sighed, following Harry to the kitchen. "Brownies."

 Sirius followed them as best he could. When he reached the kitchen though, he detected a smell in the air that had nothing to do with brownies. Narrowing his eyes, he sniffed the counter. Yep, someone had just had sex here not long ago. And then they baked something. Or was it the other way around? His ears pricked up at the sound of giggles and moans coming from Moony's bedroom. The randy old bastard had done it after all.

 He barked at Harry and Ron just as they were about to dig into the brownies. Then he remembered that they couldn't understand him so he melted back into human form.

 "Look, Sirius," Harry held up the pan. "Brownies."

 "Er, Harry," Sirius began, suddenly sobering up with his suspicions. "I wouldn't eat those if I were you."

 "Why not? Hermione won't mind. She can just bake some more tomorrow," Ron groused.

 Sirius blinked when he heard a particularly loud groan. He hoped she didn't plan on baking more brownies any time soon, at least not in the kitchen. The two boys didn't seem to have noticed the bedroom sounds and they were blinking at him expectantly. He sighed.

 "Trust me, boys. Don't eat the brownies."