Disclaimer: Not my characters. Making no money. Thanks, Jo.
AN: Yes, I know Muggle devices don't work in the Wizarding World. Shut up.
Smart is in the Fingers of the Typist
It had been ten years since that fortuitously worded text. Of those ten years, they had been married five. It had been a Christmas wedding, commemorating the day of their first encounter, and yes, the main course served had been duck.
As hokey and downright ridiculous as it was, they always communicated solely via text message on their anniversary. Every year, she would meet him for dinner, giddy and excited. After dessert, they always Apparated to that same alley and snogged like sixth-years. While the next bit varied from year to year, they eventually ended up back in the dungeons.
He hated the iPhone. He had insisted that he was perfectly fine with his old phone, a perfectly normal phone that sported actual buttons, but his wife had insisted on upgrading to a smartphone. It was a nuisance; far too small for his own hands, it took him four times as long to do anything. And wasn't the entire point of a phone to, well, make phone calls? He had figured out how to check the weather, search the internet, and play an oddly cathartic game called "Angry Birds" before he'd even figured out how to make a phone call.
What was wrong with buttons? They had been texting all day as before, and each of his texts was more painful to type than the last. In spite of his wife's incessant mocking, he had had her install a T9 app on his phone. Predictive text was currently the only thing keeping him sane. He only had to get close to typing something properly and it would (usually) correct it for him. His wife had a different phone, black, with a keyboard, and something called Swype. He often wished he could swipe it. He hated his brain's propensity for puns.
"Did you remember to make our dinner reservation?" Sent 11:48 a.m.
"Do you think im a bloddy idiot?" Sent 11:55 p.m.
"Your spelling is atrocious." Sent 11:56 p.m.
"Well if you're app worked, it wouldn't." Sent 12:03 p.m.
"You're?" Sent 12:03 p.m.
"Sod. Off." Sent 12:06 p.m.
"Are we still meeting up later?" Sent 12:30 p.m.
"Dont we every year?" Sent 12:34 p.m.
"Did you purchase the duck for tomorrow yet?" Sent 1:00 p.m.
"Hermione!" Sent 1:02 p.m.
"Sorry…" Sent 1:03 p.m.
"Well…?" Sent 1:32 p.m.
"No." Sent 1:45 p.m.
"Severus!" Sent 1:46 p.m.
"Nagging again, wife…" Sent 1:57 p.m.
"You are aware that you two are the most unromantic couple on the planet?"
"An astute observation from a man who I believe purchases more presents for himself on his anniversary than for his wife…"
"Come now! Narcissa adores a man in stylish robes! I provide her the visual stimulus she needs, and in turn she provides me—"
"—I don't need to know what she provides you, Lucius."
"In any case, give me that device. You're going about this all wrong…"
"Wooing your wife!"
But Lucius managed to Summoned the phone, and his wand, from his hand.
"Oh, look. Your Hermione has already started in on the fun!"
"Leave her alone, Lucius!"
A flick of Lucius' wand, and Severus found himself bound to a chair. He couldn't help but think that Lucius never would have bested him in the old days. Poncy git.
"I swear, if you do anything that ends my marriage, that cavity search at the MLE offices after the war will seem gentle by comparison!
With a look that conveyed exactly what he thought of that option, Lucius magically gagged him, following it with a Silencing Charm.
Severus' entire marriage flashed through his mind.
"Purchased a dress for tonight. Don't look at the Gringotts account until tomorrow!" Sent 2:12 p.m.
"I'm sure your dress is most becoming, my darling. However, it would look better on our bedroom floor!" Sent 2:14 p.m.
"Severus!" Sent 2:15 p.m.
I do hope said dress is green. All the better to lose myself in your eyes…" Sent 2:17 p.m.
"Are you ok?" Sent 2:18 p.m.
"Absolutely. Just envisioning the look on your face when you see the gift I have chosen for you." Sent 2:23 p.m.
"Gifts? I thought we said no gifts this year… Book!" Sent 2:24 p.m.
Lucius gave him no indication as to the nature of his messages. However, if the man's evil chortles were any indication, it would be months before he was done apologizing to Hermione.
He was a bit alarmed when the glee morphed into a lung-emptying sigh. Severus quickly found himself freed of his constraints, his wand and phone zooming towards his head.
"That's it! I give up on you two!" And without explanation, Lucius Disapparated.
Severus scanned the conversation… He would have to hex Lucius for that horrid dress line later...
…Book? That was her idea of an anniversary present?
The restaurant was drafty, the food bland. His wife was rambling on and on about God knows what, looking irritatingly lovely in her new gown. He was annoyed—annoyed with Lucius (this was all his fault), annoyed with his wife… Book? Book was her response?
"—and I was so glad when you said we could buy each other presents. Diamonds are the appropriate present for the tenth anniversary, and I had seen these last week and was so disappointed that I couldn't buy them…"
She pushed a perfectly wrapped jewelry box towards him.
He instantaneously knew he had fucked up, somehow.
The cufflinks were lovely. Appropriate. Typical of his taste.
Definitely not a book.
He hated his phone. It had to be the phone's fault. Or Malfoy's…
The book he purchased in a fit of pique had seemed like a good idea at the time: Muggle, a topic she was at one time interested in. Drawing on a (at that time, unknown) shared point in their past…
Slightly mean because he was so very mad at her…
Knowing that to do so would mean he would never kiss his wife in a deserted alley again, he slid his present towards her.
She was fastidious in how she opened presents, going slowly so as to not rip the paper. It drove him mad on the best of days—who reuses paper? Today, it was torture.
The paper was off. She looked at the cover, the corners of her mouth twitching, from barely controlled laughter or tears, he couldn't tell…
"This is your fault! You said 'book!'" I was furious—I wanted to make you as angry as I was, so I bought it, thinking it would remind you of your seventh year. Also, it was a subtle attack on Weasley, so that didn't hurt…"
Her silence was fucking awful. He watched as she began digging in her beaded bag. She had used it faithfully for years, regardless of changing fashion. The bag was looking atrocious these days, beads missing, frays on all the edges.
He was convinced she was looking for her wand, so she could hex him to wherever Sirius Black had ended up.
Instead, she removed her phone and began flicking through the screens. Her eyebrows came together in a facial tick she must have picked up from him…
Canoodling couples at nearby tables looked annoyed at how loudly she began laughing.
He wished she would stop laughing. At this point, she was either amused or about to cast an Unforgivable.
"Book! No wonder you were so mad! I meant to type "Cool!" The giggles recommenced.
"'Cool?' Cool! Who do you think you are, a twelve-year-old American girl?"
"Oh, I know, it's horrid. Ronald's Rose says it all the time, and I keep slipping up and saying it…"
But then something shifted. His wife looked up at him, her eyes glittering so brightly that even Albus would have been impressed. And slightly scared.
"Sign the check, Severus. We need to leave."
She looked angry. He didn't know why. Maybe she'd finally realized exactly what he had been thinking when he purchased the book.
Abruptly, she stood, gathered her belongings (including the book), and stormed towards the exit.
He grabbed his wand and cast his signature at the tab as he ran behind her. He could just see the headlines in tomorrow's paper: Granger/Snape Make Scene at Restaurant Before Snape's Body Found Belly-Up in the Mersey.
Outside the restaurant, she spun to face him, grabbing his hand.
"Hermione… What is going—"
"Oh, hush your mouth." And with a spin, they were gone.
They landed next to a glassy pond. This was it—she was finally going to kill him.
She started digging through her purse again. Before long, a tent popped out.
He was dumbfounded. How… what… a tent? in her…
She must have sensed his confusion. "This is the bag we used to carry everything we needed Horcrux-hunting."
"And you have never emptied it since?"
"One never knows when one might need a tent!"
He wasn't sure he should trust the grin on her face. He began to notice other landmarks in the dark.
"Hermione… is this the Forest of Dean?"
"First place I thought of." With a flourish of her wand, the tent erected itself with a snap. She pushed him toward the tent flap.
Still the same opportunist he had been ten years before, he followed her into the tent, figuring he could ask questions later.
"You may begin reading the book aloud, Severus."
He grinned wolfishly, knowing exactly what his voice did to his wife.
"Sex in the woods is not as simple as it sounds. Sure, you know the basics, but what about all the little details that should be considered before embarking on an alfresco rendezvous…"
AN: I had never thought to continue this series. Then, morethansirius won my offering for the TPP Every Flavour Auction. Here you go, dear. More unpredictable drabbles, this time with a not-helpful Lucius Malfoy. I hope you enjoyed it.
Thanks to owlbait for the quick beta work and to clairvoyant for smacking me upside the head repeatedly. And to morethansirius for her everlasting (aka: six months worth of ) patience…
The book Snape purchases Hermione is "How to Have Sex in the Woods," by Luann Colombo. My roommate in college and I saw it at Barnes and Noble years ago. It seemed appropriate.
And to be fair, the never-ending-camping-trip-of-doom may have been more interesting had Hermione had said book…