A/N: I've always wanted to write something like this. Hehe, I know it's incredibly cheesy not to mention OOC, but I gave in. The Phantom is my guilty pleasure, and I just think this is fabulous. Haha, Enjoy!

Monday evening.

Professor Hermione Granger let out a sigh. She continued to look through the library shelves, hoping she'd find the book she was looking for.

After the War, Hermione had returned to Hogwarts to take make up her seventh year and take her N.E.W.T.s. She had passed with flying colors and was offered to take up the Defense against the Dark Arts position. Hermione had graciously accepted, knowing that the castle was where she truly belonged.

All the professors had welcomed her with open arms, all except for one. Severus Snape. One would have thought his near death experience would have caused him to lighten up a bit, but no; he was just as bastardy as ever.

Hermione barely ever saw him. He didn't exit his rooms often as he wasn't much for attention. She wondered if it was due to the War, or the embarrassment that everyone knew his whole life story, thanks to Harry.

Ron and Harry had gone off to Auror training and were both happily married now. She was glad for her two best friends.

She knew the object of her desire would never return her feelings. Hermione didn't dwell on the fact much before she knew it was pointless.

"Hermione dear," Madame Pince said, coming round the corner. "It's getting rather late, so I'm going to leave. Will you close up the library when you're done?"

Hermione nodded. "Sure thing Irma."

The librarian bid her goodnight, leaving Hermione alone in the darkness. Waving her wand, a small bright light appeared. Moving down the stacks, she started her search for the book once more.

It was quiet, Hermione thought, looking around. Too quiet. So, she decided she would remedy the problem, with a song. Hermione used to sing and play the piano when she was younger, but the task had fallen out a favor when she got older.

Taking a deep breath, she began to sing. "In sleep he sang to me, in dreams he came. The voice that calls to me, and speaks my name. And do I dream again, for now I find. The phantom of the opera is there, inside my mind!"

Hermione had always loved the Phantom of the Opera. She had seen it numerous times when she was younger and knew all the songs by heart.

She took a deep breath to start singing the next part, but froze when someone else started singing.

"Sing once again with me, our strange duet!" the silky voice sang out.

Looking around, Hermione tried to find the voice of the noise. Who else was in the library? Her heart beat erratically as she went down an aisle, her wand held high.

"My power over you, grows stronger yet. And though you turn from me, to glance behind, the phantom of the opera is there, inside your mind," the voice completed.

Hermione looked around. She couldn't find the person. Taking a deep breath, she continued the song. "Those who have seen your face, draw back in fear, I am the mask you wear…"

"It's me they hear," the voice continued somewhere to her left.

Turning, Hermione silently made her way in that direction. "Your spirit and your voice, in one combined," the second voice chimed in and together they sang. "The phantom of the opera is there, inside your mind!"

She began to hum softly as she moved throughout the library, determined to find that voice. "He's there, the phantom of the opera." She continued to hum to the beat.

"Sing, my angel of music!"

Hermione turned, looking for the voice.

"Sing, my angel!"

She continued to hum, trying to find him.

"Sing for me!"

Who was it? Where was he?

"Sing, my angel!"

Hermione felt her heart pound as she ran throughout the library. "Hello!" she called out.

There was silence.

"Sing for me," the voice said softly.

Hermione didn't move after that. She waited for a noise, a sound, something. But there was nothing. She was alone again.

With a sigh, Hermione knew she wouldn't be able to find her back. Not after breaking into song, only to have some mysterious man complete her duet. It was strange, but not completely unwelcome.

With a sigh, Hermione made her way back towards her chambers, warding the library shut. She crawled into the bed, thoughts plaguing her mind. Who was that? "His voice," she said rather dreamily, reminding herself of Luna. Whoever it was, they sang beautifully. The way it caressed her soul, she shuddered. She hoped he would return the next night.

Tuesday Evening

Hermione found herself in the library once more. She was secretly hoping he'd be there again tonight, whoever it was. Once Irma left, Hermione dimmed the lights.

Taking a deep breath, Hermione prepared to sing. "Think of me, think of me fondly, when we've said goodbye. Remember me once in a while- please promise me you'll try. When you find that, once again, you long to take your heart back and be free- if you ever find a moment, spare a thought for me."

She was quiet, wondering if he'd chime him.

But nothing greeted her but silence.

With a sigh, she decided she'd continue singing while looking for her book. "We never said our love was evergreen, or as unchanging as the sea- but if you can still remember, stop and think of me.."

She turned the aisle, closing her eyes. "Think of all the things we've shared and seen- don't think about the way things might have been… think of me, think of me waking, silent and resigned. Imagine me, trying too hard to put you from my mind. Recall those days, look back on all those times, think of things we'll never do- there will never be a day, when I won't think of you…"

She quieted, listening for a sound. Silence once more.

"Flowers fade, the fruits of summer fade, they have their seasons, so do we. But please, promise me, that sometimes you will think of me!" she finished, her voice echoing around the library.

Silence once more.

He never came, she thought to herself. Feeling dejected, she made her way towards the library exit. However, there, on Madame Pince's desk, was a red rose. A note was attached, that read "your voice is sweet, my angel."

Hermione grinned, her heart swelling. "He was here!" she whispered to herself, feeling rather giddy. A smile on her face, Hermione made her way to bed.

Wednesday morning.

"Hermione, dear, will you be attending the Halloween Ball this year?" Minerva asked across the Head Table.

She nodded. "I will, I'd be happy to chaperone."

"Wonderful, be sure to dress up!"

Hermione nodded. A Halloween Ball would be fun, and she knew exactly how she'd dress up as.

Wednesday Evening.

After working on her costume, Hermione decided she'd pay a visit to the library. No sooner had she stepped in the library, the doors closed softly behind her, the voice rang out.

"Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation. Darkness stirs and wakes imagination; silently the senses abandon the defenses."

The voice was more beautiful than she remembered. Closing her eyes, she allowed herself to be carried away.

"Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor; grasp it, sense it- tremulous and tender. Turn your face away, from the garish light of day, turn your thoughts away from cold unfeeling light, and listen to the music of the night."

It was beautiful. The voice of a god, she told herself. Who was this?

"Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams, purge all thoughts of the life you knew before! Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar! And you'll live as you've never lived before."

The voice got closer, but Hermione didn't dare move, didn't dare open her eyes in fear he'd disappear.

"Softly, deftly music shall caress you, hear it, feel it, secretly possess you. Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind, in this darkness which you know you cannot fight, the darkness of the music of the night."

Soft footsteps sounded out behind her.

"Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world, leave all thoughts of the life you knew before, let your soul take you where you long to be! Only then, can you belong to me…"

A sharp breath escaped her lips. She felt the presence directly behind her. But she didn't turn. She wanted to hear him sing, she wanted more…

"Floating, folding, sweet intoxication," he was standing so close; she could feel his warm breath on her neck. "Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation, let the dream begin, let your darker side give in, to the power of the music that I write, the power of the music of the night."

There was a pause, and neither one of them moved. He was so close to her.

He moved, placing his hands on her shoulder. Chills ran down her spine.

"You alone can make my song take flight; help me make the music of the night."

Hermione was frozen to the spot. Her heart swelled with emotion. How could this mystery person evoke so much emotion in her? No one else had ever made her feel this way.

Opening her eyes, she quickly turned around. But he was gone. With a dejected sigh, she left the library, playing the scene over and over again in her mind.

Thursday Evening

Hermione checked her appearance over once more. Her outfit was perfect. She wore a white ball gown, her curly hair pulled back into a ponytail. The dress was cinched at the waist, making her bosom appear much larger than it usually was. Red embroidery was on the skirt, giving the dress some flavor. No one would know she was dressed as Christine, unless they were looking for it. And she hoped her Phantom was looking for it.

Making her way to the Great Hall, she was pleased to see all the students dancing around and laughing. A few members from the Ministry were there as well.

"Hermione!" Minerva called out, waving the young girl over. "You look radiant!"

Hermione smiled shyly. "Thanks, I'm glad you think so."

"Do you have a date?" she asked, scrunching her eyebrows up.

"I'm not sure yet," she whispered.

Minerva smiled. "Well, I'm sure you'll get a few dance requests. Ah, here we go, they're lining up already my dear."

Turning, Hermione saw Kingsley approaching. "Care for a dance?" he asked.

Hermione nodded, allowing herself to be swept up in his arms and twirled around the room. The two of them were rather silent because there wasn't much to be said.

Kingsley was about to speak, but was cut off by someone tapping on his shoulder. "May I cut in?"

Kingsley nodded, handing Hermione over.

She felt her heart swell as she took in his appearance. It was her phantom. He pulled her in closely, her body flush against his. He began to move them around the room, causing her to feel like she was in a dream. It was perfection.

"I wasn't sure if you'd show," she admitted quietly, looking up at the masked figure. He was wearing blood red robes with the white mask covering his face.

"Well, I did," he injected smoothly.

Her heart fluttered. "I'm glad."

The figure didn't answer, simply twirled her around the room. His hand held hers, as he dipped her low. His hand… Her mystery man danced with her for another song, before handing her over to another. He kissed her hand gently, before disappearing.

Hermione was sad to see him go. Excusing herself from the seventh year who had tried to get a dance with her, she made her way towards the library. He had to be there! She just had a feeling it was where he went.

Unlocking the doors, she slipped inside. It was quiet. But he was here, she just knew it.

Taking a few more steps inside, his baritone voice rang out. "You have come here, in pursuit of your deepest urge, in pursuit of that wish, which til now has been silent, silent…"

Hermione's breath caught in her throat. Why had he chosen this song?

"I have brought you, that our passions may fuse and merge- in your mind you've already succumbed to me, dropped all defenses, completely succumbed to me- now you are here with me; no second thoughts, you've decided, decided…"

And she had decided. She wanted him, consequences be damned.

"Past the point of no return, no backward glances. Our games of make believe are at an end. Past all thought of if or when, no use resisting: abandon thoughts, and let the dream descend….."

She walked through the stalks silently. She would find him.

"What raging fire shall flood the soul? What rich desire unlocks it doors? What sweet seduction lies before us?"

She was getting closer. He was just around the corner.

"Past the point of no return, the final threshold- what warm, unspoken secrets will we learn? Beyond the point of no return…"

Hermione took a deep breath. "You have brought me, to that moment where words run dry, to that moment where speech disappears into silence, silence."

It was quiet for a moment. Looking up, Hermione saw him there. Her masked phantom, standing only feet away.

She continued. "I have come here, hardly knowing the reason why…" she locked eyes with him. "In my mind, I've already imagined our bodies entwining defenseless and silent- now I am here with you, no second thoughts. I've decided… decided."

The figure took a step back. Hermione took a step forward. "Past the point of no return, no going back now; our passion-play has now, at last, begun… past all thought of right or wrong- one final question: how long should we two wait, before we're one?"

She took another step forward. "When will the blood begin to race? The sleeping bud burst into bloom? When will the flames, at last, consume us?"

He took a step forward as well, and they were now almost touching.

Together, they sang. "Past the point of no return, the final threshold- the bridge is crossed, so stand and watch it burn… we've passed the point of no return…"

They stared at each other, each panting. Hermione reached out to touch him, but he stepped backwards, into the shadows.

Hermione sighed. "Severus, I know it's you."

With a sigh, he stepped forward. "How did you know?"

"Your hands," she said softly.

Severus was shocked. He definitely wasn't expecting that. He thought maybe it had been his voice or posture. Did she really pay that much attention to him? So much that she would recognize his fingers?

Hermione took a step forward. "Tell me, phantom, why are you still hiding your face? I know who you are."

"I'm not a handsome man Hermione. I'm trying to spare you."

"Spare me?" Hermione asked, stepping closer. They were almost touching now. "Severus, I don't think you're hideous. There's no need to hide your face from me."

He scoffed. "Not just my face, but me in general. I'm ugly, and not just my appearance, but my personality."

"Severus," she whispered, closing the distance between them. "I meant every word. I've cared for you long before this whole thing began."

"I find that hard to believe," he admitted.

"Well maybe if you left your chambers more often you would know."

"Perhaps," he responded.

"You're a wonderful singer."

He laughed dryly. "You can drop the act Hermione."

"It's not an act. Severus, I've passed the point of no return ages ago. I care for you, truly."

The two of them stared at each other.

Slowly, Hermione reached up and gently peeled the mask from Severus' face. He tried to turn his face away. "Don't hide from me," she whispered.

He turned, his black eyes piercing into hers. His face was unreadable, although she saw some sort of emotion flicker in his eyes momentarily.

"You're amazing Severus, even if you don't believe it."

He didn't respond. Instead, he lent down, capturing her lips in a kiss.

Written for:

HP Potions Competition: Elixir to Induce Euphoria option

The Latin Challenge: Animus, Credo

Broaden Your Horizons Challenge (Romance Stories): OTP option

The "Romantics at Heart (Or Are We?)" Challenge

The Greenhouse Competition: Aster