A/N On my LJ I recently mentioned the possibility of F/F slash between pianos. One of them a rather fine grand piano, a Blüthner. Believe me, there were reasons other than my innate perversity. Spring was in the air, the flist went wild, cats lying on pianos were mentioned, and then someone wrote the word McBlüthner. I ended up holding the plotbunny. This story was co-written with one of my LJ flisties.
The Hogwarts music room. A harp, piles of music sheets and scores. Two wing chairs in front of a fire-place. A grand piano. On it, a cat, languorously stretched out. It contemplated the nature of pleasure.
There were Pleasures with a capital P, Minerva McGonagall thought, turning over to bask her other side in the pool of sunlight. And she was lucky to have experienced quite a lot of them in her life. Still experienced them. She smiled as the prospect of the Christmas Holiday flitted through her mind. So wonderful to see Wilhelmina again. Pleasures, indeed.
But the small pleasures were not to be despised, either. A good glass of wine, in congenial company. A Quidditch win for Gryffindor, and the delights of discussing it with Severus during the next dinner. And breakfast. And lunch.
An afternoon off with a good book. All the more delicious when it was unexpected, as it had been -- come to think of it, precisely one year ago. On her last birthday. Not celebrating birthdays was another small pleasure, but she had felt somewhat disgruntled at the thought of spending it answering parents' letters instead. And then she had found that all letters were already answered by Neville and Filius.
Neville had even been quite apologetic about it. "A misunderstanding," he had muttered. "Didn't know you usually … I mean, Filius said … That is, I got it wrong. I hope you don't mind."
She had been quick to reassure him. They had done an excellent job -- Neville really was shaping up wonderfully as a teacher -- and whoever had made the mistake, Filius (most unlikely) or Neville (probably), they had saved her a very dreary job. She had enjoyed her rare afternoon off all the more.
But the really interesting thing about pleasures, Minerva thought, is that they can change in intensity with your shape. Some things were wonderful in human form. A really hot shower, especially when you were very cold. As she often was, courtesy of Hogwarts draughty corridors. A hot bath had never worked for her. The first minutes were blissful, true, but then the water cooled, the foam went flat, and sitting in your own dirt suddenly became the most disgusting thing imaginable. Did others feel the same, or was it a due to her cat-shape fastidiousness in personal hygiene? A powerful shower, on the other hand, so hot that the water felt like little needles, just this side of painful …
And some pleasures were only within reach in cat-shape. Which was why she was still grateful that she had extended her Transfiguration research to the point of becoming an Animagus.
Take sitting in front of an open fire. A pleasure for humans, certainly. One she enjoyed. But oh, the delights of stretching out in front of a fire in cat-shape. Feeling the heat on your fur, on your whiskers, on the pads on your feet, so much more sensitive than a human's palms. Rolling over occasionally, or perhaps just toasting on one side. Purring.
Purring. That was another thing. Many people wished they could purr when they saw a cat doing it. But they had no idea, poor dears, how exquisitely pleasurable it was. It went far beyond letting the world know your contentment. If she had to compare it with anything human (a very imperfect comparison, but the best she could come up with), it would be clenching your muscles around your partner's fingers to increase your pleasure. But that hastened the end of it, too. Purring was a joy one could stretch for a very long time …
And pianos. The wonderful Hogwarts grand piano, with its opulent, shiny blackness, its shapely legs -- such a delight to rub against -- the soft ebony and ivory keys. Blüthner the little name-tag said. Fräulein Blüthner, Minerva secretly called her. The smooth surface was exquisite silkiness under her fur. To lie on the broad bosom of Fräulein Blüthner, in cat-shape, all limp-boned and spread out, in the easy and relaxed lovemaking of those familiar and comfortable with each other, was her own private little birthday treat today.
And there was a way of enhancing the pleasure. She looked around her. A silly thing to do: of course the music room was as empty as it had been when she had come in. Still, this was private.
She got up, claws in, so as not to scratch the immaculate surface. There were always Reparo spells, but that was no excuse for carelessness. Looking around one more time, she stepped softly onto the ivory keys. The piano began to sing. Quickly, lightly, Minerva walked from one end to the other, and then sprang back on the closed case.
Stretching out in a Sphinx-like position, she felt the vibrations of the Fräulein's voice. Felt them in her fur, in the soft pads under her feet, and finally, as the notes began to fade away, through her whiskers. It was a light and teasing touch, the almost-kisses that are more proximity and shared breathing than contact.
The last sound stopped, and eventually so did the last vibrations. Another pleasure humans couldn't share: the afterglow of a piano. Which was, of course, an utterly fanciful idea. But Minerva sometimes wondered whether Fräulein Blüthner was truly an inanimate object. During the few piano lessons she had endured as a child she'd had no doubts. Pianos were things, and annoying things, too. But feeling, really feeling the vibrations of a splendid instrument had made her reconsider.
Would Fräulein Blüthner enjoy the touch of a truly excellent player – like Aurora, or Filius? Would she be as irritated by sloppy, uninterested students as Minerva herself sometimes was? And would she, perhaps, enjoy the presence of a cat? The soft touch of a cat's pads on her keys, with the occasional bite of the tip of a claw? Whiskers on her shiny bosom? The softness of fur and the hardness of ribs caressing her legs?
And – most secret of fantasies – how would it feel to lie on the piano while someone, some really good musician, was playing? Not something that she could ever ask Aurora or Filius though. Not if just tripping over the keys had such an effect on her. Filius wouldn't be shocked – if anyone was unshakable, it was Filius. But still. This was private. She'd just have to settle for notes, that was all.
Quickly, Minerva tripped over the keys once more and lay down to enjoy herself. Again, the sounds, the vibrations, the last bit fading away, the new notes. New notes? Where did those … just how … she'd heard the music before, Albus had had a recording of it. But somehow this version was different, much better.
She had never heard the Fräulein sound quite like this.
Had never felt her quite like this, either.
The music was in her ears, in her paws, in her fur, in her entire body.
It rose, slowly at first, and then in a quickening crescendo that finished in a thunderous forte passage.
It felt like …
This was …
Oh, Merlin …
The Hogwarts music room. A harp, piles of music sheets, and scores. A grand piano. A witch, who carefully executed a Reparo spell. The deep, claw like scratches on the piano's shiny surface disappeared without leaving a trace. The witch checked her work, carefully closed the lid over the keys with a lingering caress, and then walked out, steadying herself briefly against the door.
In one of the two wing chairs in front of the fire-place, hidden from view to anyone who entered the room, a wizard. He contemplated the nature of pleasure.
Filius Flitwick had known many pleasures in his life, and he was grateful for all of them. The great ones and the small. Such as the discreet pleasure of giving, in a hidden, unacknowledged way, a small gift each year to a dear friend who refused to celebrate her birthday.
Music was another pleasure. Sometimes very small; the best thing about listening to the Hogwarts School Song was knowing that it would end. Even during the years of the Weasley Braying it had ended – eventually. Why did he think of that now?
Because Albus invariably said on those occasions that music was the greatest magic of all. And so it was. Today, he had cast a spell to make that piano play as well as he could play it. He had no false modesty: he was an above average amateur, and when his friends asked him to play, it wasn't politeness that made them clamour for more. But what he had heard in the past few minutes …
That wasn't him.
That wasn't human.
That wasn't wizardry, even.
As he left the room, he briefly turned around and nodded a friendly goodbye to the Blüthner. As he did with every living soul he met.
A/N Next week a more conventional story. But it was written for a rarepair exchange, so it features Irma Pince and Rosmerta.