A/N: Yes, I know this is incredibly cheesy and OC, but I've always wanted to write something like this. I hope everyone enjoys.
Many thanks to Krissy and Araeofsomething for being my two wonderful betas.
Disclaimer: I do not own the world nor characters of Harry Potter, JKR does. I also do not own Phantom of the Phantom Of The Opera novel belongs to Gaston Leroux and the musical belongs to Andrew Lloyd Webber. I'm not making any money from the posting of this.
Hiding In Plain Sight
Professor Hermione Granger let out a sigh and pushed away her bushy curls interfering with her search. Continuing to look through the library shelves, she fervently hoped she'd find the book she desired.
After the War, Hermione had returned to Hogwarts to make up her seventh year and take her N.E.W.T.s. She had passed with flying colors and was offered the Defense against the Dark Arts position. Hermione had graciously accepted, knowing that the castle was where she truly belonged. And lucky for her, the curse had been broken as this was her third year teaching.
All the professors had welcomed her with open arms, 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 big of a bastard as ever to everyone, but it seemed he was especially harsh with her.
Hermione barely ever saw him. He didn't leave 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.
She had tried time and time again to draw Snape into conversation, but her attempts never worked. Try as she might, he pushed her away every single time. It had grown frustrating for her because she was interested in getting to know the wizard. She wasn't a teenage girl any longer, and it hadn't taken very long for her to appreciate that Snape was indeed an ideal wizard. His voice had always made her weak in the knees, although she never dared tell Ron nor Harry, and his hands… There was something about his hands.
Hermione knew the object of her desire would never return her feelings. Hermione tried not to dwell on the fact very much because she knew it was pointless.
"Hermione, dear," Madame Pince called, coming round the corner. "It's getting rather late, so I'm going to leave. Would you mind if I shut the lights off? And could you just lock up once your finished?"
Hermione nodded, once again pushing her hair from her face. "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 practice had fallen out of favor with her as she got older.
Taking a deep breath, she began to softly sing.
"In sleep he sang to me, in dreams he came/ That voice that calls to me, and speaks my name..."
Hermione's voice grew in volume, a clear and sweet soprano, "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 deep and silky voice sang out.
Looking around, Hermione tried to find the location of the voice. 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.
Unnerved, Hermione quickly went up and down the stacks, looking through the bookcases for any sign of the other person or a source for the sound, to no avail. 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.
Hermione turned silently and made her way in that direction singing out, "Your spirit and my 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 that book. Not after breaking into song, only to have some mysterious man complete her duet. It was strange, but not completely unwelcome. She was far too distracted to continue her search, her mind now racing. She briefly wondered if it was one of the ghosts playing a joke on her, then tossed the thought away. This had sounded very much like a flesh and blood man.
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 made her shudder. She hoped he would return the next night. There was still that book to find.
Hermione found herself in the library once more. She was secretly hoping her phantom singer 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 in.
Sadly, 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 down another 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 greeted her still.
"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 remained long after the echoes of her song had ended.
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 her quarters, falling asleep with a beatific smile on her face, the book forgotten.
"Hermione, dear, will you be attending the Halloween Ball this year?" Minerva asked across the Head Table at breakfast.
Hermione nodded, swallowing her eggs hurriedly, "I will; and before you ask, I'd be happy to chaperon."
"Wonderful! Be sure to dress up. I'm sure you can whip up a costume quite satisfactorily with those under-used Transfiguration skills you possess, my dear." Minerva smirked and sipped her tea.
Hermione nodded thoughtfully while she continued to nibble toast. She would only have a short time to plan. Still, a Halloween Ball would be fun, and she knew exactly how she'd dress up.
After spending the early evening to work on her costume, Hermione decided she'd pay a visit to the library. Perhaps her phantom would be there to continue their game? No sooner had she stepped into the library, the doors closed softly behind her and 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 by the dark and sensuous tones.
"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. Her heartbeat accelerated, the blood thrumming through her body in excitement.
"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 shuffled 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, falling, sweet intoxication," he was standing so close; she could feel his warm breath on her neck as he sang softly into her ear. "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 shoulders. 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.
Lost in her feelings and thoughts, she finally remembered to open her eyes. She quickly turned around, but he was gone. With a dejected sigh, Hermione left the library, only to play the scene over and over again in her mind until sleep finally claimed her.
Hermione checked her appearance in the mirror 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 color. 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 conspiratorially.
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 aside from banal pleasantries.
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 with steady steps and gliding, 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, her heart beating fit to burst. 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 stacks 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 another step towards him, bringing them closer. "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." He looked down, to the side, anywhere but at her. He wouldn't meet her gaze.
"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, finally meeting her gaze. "Not just my face, but me in general. I'm ugly, and not just my appearance. I've heard my personality leaves something to be desired as well."
"Severus," she whispered and placed her gloved hand on his cheek, 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," Severus responded as he turned his face into the warmth of her hand. He placed his hand over hers and closed his eyes.
"You're a wonderful singer." Hermione's throat dried as he sought out her contact.
He laughed dryly and pulled away. "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." She grasped at his hands holding his within hers as the two of them stared at each other; each searching the others' eyes with sparks of hope arcing between them.
Slowly, Hermione reached up and gently peeled the mask from Severus's 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," Hermione whispered.
He didn't respond. Instead he bent down, capturing her lips in a heated kiss.
She eventually found her book. Many, many, many weeks later. In the dungeons.