Since the majority of the premise, here, is recorded music, we're going to pretend that it's Hogwarts more so than actual magic that affects electronics, k? Meaning that magic can be done around electronics that work off of a more mechanical base (such as record players, even if they are electric and not wind-up) or that they can work in a somewhat lesser magical environment than Hogwarts if you don't perform spells while listening to the radio (signal interference, and all that jazz). I know, it's not perfect, but, hey, this is fantasy ;) The rest should stick fairly well to canon, excluding epilogue, which we all pretty much disregard anyway :D

The music, in order, is thus:

(and the main reason I'm including it here instead of after is so you know what you're dealing with. I really tried to keep the pieces fairly popular and well known so you'd know at least some semblance of what I was doing)

Mozart – Requiem: Rex Tremendae (Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Universita Cattolica / Coro Sinfonico di Bie 1997)

Vivaldi - The Four Seasons, Op. 8/4, RV 297, "Winter" - 1. Allegro Non Molto (Alexander Pervomaisky; Alberto Lizzio: Baroque Festival Orchestra 1993)

Bach -Partita No 2, BWV 1004 – Itzhak Perlman recording at St. John's Smith Square London, Radio 3 Lunchtime Performances (I fudged on the length A LOT. It's over 30 minutes long and I think I used the first 11 minutes, then skipped to about 2/3 through for the effect I wanted. My apologies if that offends. I think this recording was from the mid 80's)

Puccini – La Rondine: Chi Il Belle Sogno di Doretta (Kiri Te Kanawa, London Philharmonic Orchestra & Sir John Pritchard 1990)

Vaughan-Williams – Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (or Tallis Fantasia) (André Previn & London Symphony Orchestra 2007 and the only anachronistic recording I used, though the piece was originally composed in 1910)

As per usual, this is not mine, no profit, I'm just playing around with Rowling's characters for fun.

/

Cufflinks and Mozart

One would think, rather easily, that sitting down to enjoy a rare piece of exceptional music on a Sunday evening would be a peaceful affair. Not so, said the interruptive knocking on the door to his barely known flat.

Severus glared sideways from his modern leather chair and his panoramic view from the dizzying heights of one of the tallest residential buildings in London. When he'd retreated here, six months ago and after a long and painful recovery in St. Mungo's, he'd asked for nothing from anyone except peace and quiet.

There were only three people that ignored his edict.

Poppy, bless her, just couldn't give him up after decades of caring for him, and he'd sooner jump off his very expensive balcony before hurting her anymore than he'd done already. She'd been by this Friday past, fussing maternally, so he knew she wouldn't be back until next week, at least.

He checked his watch and noted that, no, at seven o'clock on a Sunday evening, only either the bane of his existence, otherwise known as Harry Potter, or the absolute last person he wanted to see while listening to Mozart's Requiem, Hermione Granger, would be knocking on his door.

He wondered if he could wait them out, whichever one it was. Perhaps they'd go away if he just sat here long enough.

The knocking came again, followed by a plaintive and annoyed, "I know you're in there. I can practically hear you glaring at me through the door, Severus."

Of course it was Granger. Even Harry had the decency to leave him be on a Sunday. He scrubbed his hand over his face and groaned inwardly. Some perverse part of him would almost rather it have been Harry. Somehow, he could have sat through listening to the rest of this cathartic symphony while talking to Harry, but Granger?

Slanting another glare at the door, he made his decision. He couldn't very well have her knocking down the tower, now could he? True, there were protection and silencing spells surrounding the apparation foyer just outside the elevator leading up to his floor, but honestly, a very quiet part of his brain acknowledged his interest in whatever it was that would bring her here, now. He pushed that into the very same compartment that acknowledged she'd grown up in the year she'd been away from school chasing horcruxes and deserved to be called by her own first name as well. Clearing his throat as well as his mind, he advanced to the unprepossessing door that kept him sequestered from civilization.

He'd opened it just in time to catch her rearing back for another, more forceful knock, her mouth partway open. The resulting suction of air from his abrupt door-opening played with a few loose tendrils of hair about her face as she blinked at him in surprise.

This seemed like the best time to start with an attack, just to keep her off-balance. "When did I give you permission to call me 'Severus'?"

Her mouth shut with a snap as she tilted her head to the left, looking off and then back to him in confusion, "Harry does it."

"Oh, well, that's all the excuse anyone needs, isn't it?"

Her eyebrows flattened and pulled together in consternation. "You never said not to."

Severus closed his eyes in a hard, long-suffering blink and sighed, "Gryffindor." Why did he put up with this? Her? Why hadn't he shut her out like he'd done Minerva? He would have been able to listen to his music in peace.

As he took in her resulting expression from his comment, one of cheeky, proud acceptance, he realized that her calling him anything else right now would have been even more awkward. She actually might have calculated the only way he would have let her in the door, to confront him with an unforseen familiarity.

He rolled his eyes and backed away from the entrance, calling over his shoulder in a dejected sigh, "Call me as you will but close the door behind you."

His step paused for a moment as he realized he'd not even determined the reason for her visit before letting her in. Clenching his fists to keep from slapping himself, he pushed onwards to his very comfortable leather chair. He heard the click of the lock from across the flat and the light scuff and tap of her heeled shoes across the polished porcelain floor. He knew she was close, by the lack of sound as she stepped onto the plush carpet of the lounge area, delineated only by the flooring change and seating arrangement.

She'd been here before, she knew where to sit. He didn't have to play gracious host to her. Merlin save him from guilt-ridden and purpose-driven former students. He listened to a particularly beautiful choral cry, ignoring her and not ignoring her, as he knew exactly when she'd taken her usual seat in the supple leather sofa nearest him despite not looking directly at her. It was his own discomposure at her use of his name that had derailed him from discovering her purpose, so he'd be damned if he'd ask her now.

No, now, it was all about waiting and baiting her with silence until she broke and told him on her own.

It was perhaps a joyous two minutes until she spoke. "What are we listening to?"

Without turning his head, he replied in a very dry tone, "Music. Although I understand if you didn't take to Filius' discussion on the topic in his classes."

Amazingly, she'd not even shifted in her seat, much less responded to his tone. Instead she continued as if he'd not spoken at all, "Only, it's a bit familiar. I was wondering what piece it was."

A bit familiar? He turned to look at her in one part confusion and two parts disbelieving disgust. Mozart, as well as his most celebrated piece of work, was relegated to something that was 'a bit familiar'?

"What." She looked at him, all innocence and eagerness.

He narrowed his eyes at her, wondering if she really didn't know what this was or if she was playing with him. His sarcasm rolled in a baritone to match the building brass marching through his speakers, "It's only one of the most illustrious and renowned symphonies in human history."

She stretched her bare legs out from under her sundress – wholly inappropriate for the winter weather outside – and crossed her heeled feet at the ankles. Something of the Victorian wizard left in him appreciated the tight, small turn of her ankles as they rested so nonchalantly beneath his glass coffee table.

Amazingly enough, she quietened and let him listen to the recording. It was a fair amount of time before an odd interruption of applause broke his reverie with her feet.

"Oh, that was beautiful, but it's over? Will they say what it was or will you tell me?"

His eyes snapped back to hers from where he'd been reaching over to click off his stereo. "You really don't know?"

She shook her head ruefully and added, "I'm afraid I don't know much about classical music beyond the very rare concert performances my parents took me to as a child."

He stared her down and waited for some falter in her expression, but there was nothing. She'd truly not had any musical education? "Pity."

Blithely, she continued, "Oh, I know! That was really beautiful and I'm sure...what?" She broke off, obviously asking him why he was looking at her with the degree of consideration he was.

She fell silent, waiting for him to speak. He sighed in slight pleasure, wondering when she'd finally figured out how to do that. He rewarded her with the name of music she was looking for.

Her expression did not disappoint. All agog, she exclaimed, "So that's 'Requiem'?" He was silent, as the answer was obvious. "I'd always wondered why people talked about it." She smiled, closed-lipped and exultant. He was momentarily captivated. "Now I know why."

He didn't remember that look on her face before. How many countless new things had he taught her? Not once in the six years beneath his tutelage had she shown such an expression. What taught her that? Who taught her that?

A quick, quiet whisper in that closed compartment of his brain marked Hermione Granger slipped out into his consciousness: Could he make her do it again?

Mentally slamming the lid down on that box, he sat forward, elbows on knees, hands steepled. Time to get down to business. "Why are you here?"

"Um..." She fidgeted with something in her cardigan pocket. He raised an eyebrow at her nerves and stared. "Can't a friend come and visit?"

The relative speed with which she asked her rhetorical question in proportion to her hopeful smile told him this was not the reason for which she came. An exasperated twist of his lips joined the eyebrow in staring her down.

In his periphery, her feet twisted away from each other, still crossed. She fidgeted again, grimaced and took out the thing in her pocket, placing it on the sofa arm.

It was a small box wrapped in silver paper.

He stared at it with a blank face. Then, from it, to her. She was looking from him to it with an expectant expression and after perhaps almost a full minute of the same treatment, looked to the fireplace, groaned, then grabbed the box, thrusting it at him in her small, delicate hand.

When he just looked at her again, she prompted, "Happy birthday, you git. I'm sorry I'm late."

He turned his head to the right only an inch, but kept his wary gaze on her in surprise. Not even Harry had given him a birthday gift, well-wishes on Friday excluded. He'd truly thought that Poppy was the only one that had even bothered and had chalked it up to the way he wanted it.

Now, looking at the wavering, outstretched hand offering him this silver-wrapped gift, he felt an oddly racing energy riding his veins. Slowly, carefully, he reached out to take the box from her, feeling its slight weight shift in his fingers. Jewelry? What on earth could she be doing giving him jewelry?

His confusion wrote itself across his brow as he capitulated to curiosity, tearing open the paper with his thumbs. Yes. There on the top of the white box was a jeweler's stamp in embossed gold. What was he to make of this?

He looked at her in suspicion.

"Oh, go on." She was exasperated, though with him or herself, it was hard to say. "It took me forever to find the right thing and then – you can ask Harry – I had an absolute fit when they called an emergency session Friday and Saturday. I've only just got away this morning."

He raised another brow at that. This morning?

"Well, I didn't think you'd want to smell me after two days of heated deliberations, and I knew I wanted at least a shower, a nap, and some coffee, before I became human again." At his expression, she laughed, "You see? I was being considerate of your sensibilities."

"Hmm."

"Well, are you going to open it, or drive me crazy with anticipation?"

"Oh, the options before me."

"Shut it, you. Open up."

"Such a contrarion, you are."

At that, and with a buzz of unintelligible gibberish, she launched from her chair and snatched the box back from him.

"Now, wait a minute!" Was he actually going to try and wrestle it back from her? Her lips twisting in bemusement caught him off-guard and his hands drew away in confusion.

She opened the white box and pulled out a gray velvet hinged one from inside it. His focus snapped to her fingers in shock. Just what the hell was she giving him?

As she slipped down to her knees in front of him, he crawled back in his chair a few inches. She spared him a glance, a smile, and lifted the box top to show him what was inside.

Curiosity won over the insane fear that she was overstepping her bounds and he leaned forward to see the glinting...cufflinks? He reached out to look at the tiny shapes cloisonnéed into a quite lovely rendition of the Hogwarts shield.

Twisting it this way and that in the growing candlelight, he saw each of the houses represented in almost stained glass perfection. He looked up to her in question.

"I had such a hard time figuring out what would be a nice gift for you. It's not like you want for anything. Or if you do, you just go out and get it."

He stared at her, thinking about that interesting statement, as she continued, "And then one night, several of us were talking." She shrugged and sat back on her heels. "We talked about you and the school, and how you gave so much of yourself to it for so many years. And then you were the headmaster. I don't think anyone alive except me, Ron and Harry will ever really appreciate even half of what you did that year. Ginny and Neville are still coming to terms with it, but..."

He almost didn't want to know. Her little speech was both expected and shocking at the same time. He'd known about these sentiments. It was why he avoided the wizarding world as he did, secluded up in his glass tower in the heart of one of the busiest cities on Earth. The oddity was to hear it from her, or rather, from the perspective of one who 'knew'... That made him ask, almost too quietly, "But what?"

She bit her lips closed between her teeth, looking like she'd rather not say. She inhaled, opened her mouth, then closed it again. She thought about something, then leaned towards him a bit. "You don't even dress like 'him' anymore."

He cut his eyes to one side and then down to the cufflink in thought, then focused back to her, completely flummoxed. "Him?"

She nodded and looked from the cufflink in his hand to the box in hers. She placed it on the arm of his chair, "Professor Snape."

He returned the piece of jewelry to its container, closed the lid and leaned back in his seat, giving her a look that told her he really didn't follow what she was getting at.

"You dress lovely, now, don't get me wrong. In fact, I'm not sure which I like more, the buttoned up Victorian Potions Master or the much more approachable wool trousers and cashmere before me."

That racing feeling was back, along with an increased tempo of his heart. What was she saying? She liked the way he dressed...but...why was she saying it?

"As for the cufflinks," She leaned forward and rested her head on her hands on the armrest very near him, "I thought they might go nicely if you ever went to a formal event dressed in the modern attire you've taken to. You certainly didn't need them with all those buttons."

Her smile stayed only a moment. It faltered as they stared each other down, one struggling to understand, the other wanting desperately to be clear. She looked from his eyes to his arm, placed so gingerly next to her face on the padded leather arm of the chair. And then, as slowly as a caterpillar, her fingers stretched out to brush against the black cashmere sleeve. Her thumb delicately hooked under the hem at the wrist and pulled it back to reveal the pristine white cuff, beneath. Pinching the buttoned closure, she looked back up to him, "You see? I think they would look very debonair on you."

Thousands of thoughts flew apart across the span of his mind. This woman was...almost a nuisance before today. Yes, he'd noted her physical attributes, he'd have been blind not to, but somewhere between the unexpected familiarity of using his name and the odd feeling he'd had when she presented her gift to him...his view of her changed. She became more than a former student hell-bent on earning his good favor. She became more than a calculated last vestige of his past left wedged in the door between his life now and then.

As he looked at her, looking at him, he realized that seeing her as attractive and accepting the attraction had been two separate things.

They were separate, no more.

With that fiery realization, came an urge to find a way to connect with her. She was making her own attempt, right there on the floor at his feet. What would be his answer? His attempt?

It was then that the little box in his mind holding his reservations, feelings, and whispered dark thoughts about Hermione Granger flipped over on its side and poured out its answer: Remember that look. That look of divine exultation on her face upon connecting the name and the sound of that symphony.

He inhaled slowly, watching her as he spoke, "What other pieces of music have you not heard?"

He was taking a risk, leaving it slightly open to something that could be awkward and ridiculous, but somehow, he rather thought she'd figure out what he was doing.

She didn't disappoint. After a few moments of deliberation, she released his shirt sleeve and tucked her hand back under her chin, tilting her head coyly up at him. "I'm sure there's too much for me to understand what I should know. Why don't you guide me?"

His eyes shuttered with lids heavy and drunk on the aphrodisiac of her flirtatious innuendo. She had just determined the venue of her seduction and he would gladly deliver, as this was an unparalleled passion within him. To share it with someone else in this way was exciting. He sat up taller in his seat and gestured to her, "Stand."

In confusion, she did so. He followed her up and stood before her but one breathless moment before stepping towards the kitchen to retrieve a backless barstool. Positioning it in front of his stereo, he gestured again, "Come, sit."

"Woof." She snickered and stepped forward, tilting down her head and smiling, "Sorry, couldn't help it," at his warning gaze. Turning away from him and towards the stereo, she folded her skirt beneath her and lifted up on her toes to attempt her seat gracefully.

She had a bit of trouble sliding up onto the upholstered seat as the fabric of her dress abraded against it and caught, throwing her off-kilter. He darted forward to catch her from falling, his hands fitting neatly at her hips. They paused, acknowledging the heated and simple contact. He did not let go. Instead, he pulled her back into him, sitting her properly on the stool. He thought he caught a smile brushing across her face, but was too caught up in his own smirk of satisfaction to really be able to tell.

He let go of her to reach for his wand, kept holstered up his sleeve, and started enlarging and raising the speakers to her level. He worked with his arms around, but not touching her.

"Wow, you're really...passionate about your music, aren't you?"

He looked down the few inches to her as she had turned to face him. Out of his periphery, he could just barely see the shadow of decolletage sliding into the top of her dress, but he kept her eyes and answered, "Passionate?" He gave thought to how he could best express what music meant to him, now. "Yes, I am. Very." He sheathed his wand and watched her as he continued, "It is the one crossing endeavor between muggle and magic that transcends both, able to bring the listener to the highest peak or the darkest low and every instance in between, all without force or corruption. When we listen, we give of ourselves freely and receive back a gift of one of the highest human achievements."

She watched him, enraptured with his explanation. He turned the lecture to his advantage, "But..." She blinked, his voice dropped a shade to enhance the innuendo, "As with all things, appropriate... understanding and... preparation beforehand is crucial."

She wavered. Her eyelids dropped slightly and her mouth parted. He was centimeters away from kissing her.

He smirked and pulled away. Not quite yet, but soon. She straightened and folded her hands neatly in her lap.

Now, what to stir her senses with? Vivaldi was trite, but she would recognize it and it had a good opening feel to it...perhaps Winter. It was less florid. Tchaikovsky was overly done and a bit too strong for what he wanted. Perhaps Rachmaninoff? Holst? He mentally flipped through the music he had on record in the cabinet before them...Stravinsky? Hmm. Of course, he didn't have to stick with symphony, there was always opera and chamber music.

Yes, he needed something...personal. Something emotive and stirring. Perhaps some Bach... Puccini...

With at least a beginning list in mind, he slipped around her to set Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" on the record player. Paying attention to set the needle exactly at Winter: Allegro Non Molto, he let it begin.

Her smile was not long in coming, "I know this one. I've heard it before."

He nodded as the tripping fingers of violin stepped out of the speakers and into the room. "Most have." They both inhaled as the lead violinist broke the air with a peal of winter leaves and wind.

"Oh, that's beautiful." She listened as the music grew in sound and speed. "It sounds a little off, though."

"Off? And how would you know, Miss 'I don't know much about classical music'?"

"Um...It just sounds a little off-key..."

He exhaled through his nostrils and adjusted the dial on the record speed. "Leave it to you to be pitch-perfect."

"I'm sorry."

He ignored her apology and handed her the album sleeve. "It's also a live recording from about five years ago, so forgive the recording devices for not being up to your perfect ears."

They finished listening to it with her head bowed, reading about the violinist and the recording situation, the accompanying symphony...he couldn't get her eyes up to him and didn't want to risk interrupting the music.

He sighed. Vivaldi was entirely too trite. He remembered a particular Partita by Bach that would follow up to this nicely and started flipping through the sleeves to retrieve it.

Once it was sat on the table, he switched the sleeves in her hand and returned Vivaldi to the shelf.

The violin started like a wandering gypsy and he could watch it wrap around her senses. She had not heard this before and she liked it. It came to a peak and she breathed in, sitting up straighter, then swaying as the music wandered through the air like a lost bird looking for home.

They stilled and listened for quite some time, her with her eyes closed and he watching her. The music changed slightly and he very nearly smiled at her shiver, moving quietly around to behind her again. She was so lost in the trebling violin, she had no chance of noticing him lean forward to her ear and speak lowly, softly, "Does this meet with your approval?"

She faltered, her eyes coming open as if she'd been drugged and slowly focusing on him in small degrees. She swallowed thickly and he watched, tilting his head to follow the movement of her lips. She peeked down at the record sleeve's explanation as a particular part of the piece came to play and looked to him, questioningly, "This says it's only one person playing that."

He waited for her to continue, watching her small frame quake at the high notes as if she were the instrument.

"How do they get the instrument to sound like it's more than one?"

He smirked, thinking of all the ways one could apply innuendo to musical discussions... "It's all in the wrist, my dear."

Her eyes widened, "How do you mean?"

His eyebrow arched but she just sat there, breathing in the music. He leaned into her ear and whispered, "It's how he...uses his bow...guiding it to the proper...positions...to make the body of the violin sing with as much...or as little...tone as he wishes."

She shivered at his blatant verbal seduction.

He dared do more. His fingers came up to her shoulders and gently grasped the collar of her cardigan, pulling it slowly down. She kept her eyes on him, dropping the album sleeve to her lap as she let her arms fall to her sides, allowing him to remove the cardigan completely.

He flung it to the floor somewhere behind him and slid his fingers oh-so-lightly up her arms, feeling the fine hairs raise up to meet his touch. "He plays with the strings, making them bend and tremble to his will, with his fingers and with his...bow."

The in-and-out of the music was a delicious counterpoint to his seduction. They stared at each other, breathing in the music as it wrapped around them like heartstrings. The very air between them became charged and he knew almost nothing outside the sound of violin and Hermione, herself, but the piece was coming to a close, breaking into his awareness. He needed to pick something soon to follow up or he would lose the moment. Pulling out his wand again, he quickly decided on a selection, magically replacing it on the turntable with another and sending the last to the shelf.

Delicate piano picked its way through the air and Hermione relaxed, nearly touching her back to his chest. Should he...? Yes. Yes, he should. He took the placid moment and rested his hands on the incredibly smooth skin of her shoulders, letting his thumbs travel where they may. She tensed, then relaxed even further to lean back into him. His eyelids shuttered in the small acceptance and he waited for the diva singing Puccini to them to open her voice on the next, impossible note.

It was as astonishingly high as the tower in which he lived and Hermione's skin raised in goosebumps. He could feel her quiet groan of appreciation between their bodies, rather than hear it over the trilling soprano's perfect heights tickling his ears.

After a time of listening, Hermione turned her head and whispered up to him, "It's so beautiful. What's she singing about?"

She was looking at him with such...beauty...such want...the music was opening her to him in ways that his caustic demeanor would normally not.

He was nearly breathless.

He searched his memory and came up with a frightfully appropriate answer. Should he say it that way? What would she make of it? His fingers slipped along the artful sweep of her clavicle to her neck, lightly rubbing against the soft patch of velvet he found beneath her jawline. Her breathing sped up to lift and fall with the music as it started its build to the crescendo.

Oh, what the hell. It felt right. As he bent down towards her, he said lowly, deeply, just beneath the register of the music so she could hear his baritone, "Falling in love with a student."

At her gasp, the music rose and he dove in to take her mouth in a perfectly-timed kiss, riding out the peak and swell as the aria drove them into passion. He held one hand at her neck as the other pulled her waist tightly against him. She turned into him, leaned into him and fisted her hands in the fine cashmere, pressing into the kiss, opening her mouth to him with a blissful sigh.

He swallowed her sigh, still not quite believing he was doing this, but knowing it was what he wanted, what he needed. She was what he desired, with her trim ankles and long neck, her small hands and quiet sighs...the fact that she went crazy over missing his birthday.

He smiled into the kiss. Happy birthday to me.

The music came to a close with the needle tripping along, a felt-skip on the end of the recording that pulled them out of the spell to stare at each other in amazement. He reached over to switch off the turntable, and just as he did so, she pulled him back.

He looked back to her in question and she pulled again, crossing her legs at the knee. Obligingly, he stepped up to her. The insistent little witch tugged once more on his cashmere to pull him down to kiss her. A part of him was a tad bit annoyed that she would likely ruin his jumper this way, but another, more eager part of him was thrilled that she wanted to kiss him, again, so soon.

Her arms raised up to wrap around his neck, pressing her breasts against him in submission. He knew the moment those firm globes pressed up against his body and they felt simply fantastic against his chest through his shirt. What he didn't know was when his right hand had grown a mind of its own and slipped to her knee, traveling up her hot, smooth, perfectly curved thigh and under the skirt of her dress. Her small gasp against his mouth made him aware of its meandering ways and he pulled her tighter in for a hungry, devouring, relentless kiss full of tongues and teeth and lips. He was breathing hard and grasping at her shoulder, her thigh, wanting to feel more of her drugging skin, his fingertips massaging in a fight to get ever closer and more.

To his very-near-loss of control, her finely-boned hands had found their way under his cashmere and to his sides where the oxford shirt didn't quite tuck into the waistband of his trousers. Those naughty little fingers wrestled their way to his heated skin and spread the opening wider so she could reach them all the way to his abdomen.

He inhaled deeply and shook with the unusual contact. The muscles in his stomach contracted almost painfully at the sensation of being touched by someone other than himself and she just kept kissing him, swallowing his gasps. He broke off with a gulping moan and looked up to the pure white ceiling for sanity.

Her voice filtered up from his torso, smoky and daring, "You're right, we need this thing off of you."

Looking down in confusion, he was just in time to see her smirk at him before she pushed the soft wool up over his chest. He took it off the rest of the way, unsure if he was agreeing with her or simply too caught up in everything to disagree.

Her hands spread across his white oxford shirt and she smiled up at him. "Isn't that better?"

Well, there was the 'tit for tat', he supposed. He'd taken off her jumper, so she took off his. He then thought of the other meaning for his mental word choice and looked down to her breasts, peeking so sweetly up through the turn-tightened bodice of her sundress.

He must be losing his mind. He hooked two fingers into her cleavage and delved his other hand into her hair, pulling her forward for another devouring kiss. As his mouth skated over the downy skin of her cheeks, her fingers slid up to the collar of his shirt and played with his buttons.

She was muttering, "Buttons, buttons, always buttons with you."

He backed away from suckling her neck just below her ear and looked down to her hands. She was steadily undoing them, but then, amazingly, took the opportunity to use her mouth. His hands fell slack...

He -

She was -

A shuddering groan wracked his frame and his hands roamed her back while she unbuttoned his shirt with her mouth. Merlin Above, every time she used her tongue he could feel it. What else could this vixen do with that talented mouth?

Somehow, his hands decided they wanted more skin contact and unzipped the back of her dress. He was stunned to find himself sliding his fingers along the closure of her brassiere. She knew he was there, too, from the sound of her mewling growl at his navel. And Oh, how that sound reverberated into his cock.

Needing to slow this down before it ended entirely too quickly, he gripped her shoulders and pulled her upright. She looked to him in breathless confusion, but must have seen his own desperation. With a seductive smile, she simply slid off the barstool and stood up. When her dress got caught on parts of her body, she wriggled it free and let it drop to the floor, kicking it loose of her lovely, heeled feet.

He actually licked his lips when it had been caught at her hips and she shimmied, revealing lacy black undergarments that left very little to the imagination. His eyes drank her in as his fingers swept from her shoulders to her hands, "Expecting company?"

Had she planned to seduce him? Why else would she wear such a thing to visit him? She didn't really seem the sort that went around in black lace knickers all the time.

His answer came soon enough, with a smirk of her own, "Well, a girl can hope."

Both of his eyebrows reached for his hairline on that statement. So, she'd not actively planned on seducing him, but had rather hoped something like this would happen.

She tilted her head and pulled on his hand, bringing them both deeper into the apartment. He was absolutely captivated by the shift of her buttocks as she walked. She smiled over her shoulder, catching his line of sight with a smirk, and asked, "Which one's the bedroom?"

At that delicious little question, he rushed forward, scooped her up, and carried her into it. Her laughter rang out in his modern, aesthetic flat, but it sounded like the sweetest music to his ears.

She laughed even more when she saw his bed. "You can take the man out of the dungeon, but you can't take the dungeon out of the man."

He let her legs go and she slid, slowly, along his body like chocolate topping. Perhaps they could try that, later... "I rather like the chains. They say suspension beds promote better sleeping habits and I, for one, am all about my bed's performance."

She smiled and looked over to the simple box holding what he knew to be an absolutely sinful mattress, the finest sheets money or magic could buy, all suspended from the ceiling by four very thick chains.

He smiled back and walked her over to the bed. It was nearly waist-high on her, so he lifted her up and settled her down into the cloud of duvet and sheets. Her groan rang out amidst the light, watery syncopation of chain links.

"Oh, God, this is amazing. How did you do this?"

He smirked and crawled up onto the bed around her, flanking her with his knees and elbows, stealing a kiss before he replied, "Mm. You should know better than most that muggles are very inventive. Then again, some things are better the old way." He braced himself a bit until the bed stopped swinging, leaning down to nuzzle her neck.

Her hands slid into his shirt, pulling it completely loose from his trousers, then pushing it down off his shoulders. An absolutely delightful expression of lust crossed her face as she took in his shoulders. He shivered and was about to kiss her again when she asked, "Like what?"

He had to think to remember just what she was asking, but when he did, his smile was dark and devious and she smiled in return, "Like the ropes holding up the mattress."

Her eyes were sparkling. "Oh?"

He leaned in to purr into her ear, "They're hand-tied."

She trembled and growled, then smiled up at him and his teasing. He looked from her eyes to her mouth, around her face, and wondered just how the hell he got here. She was absolutely beautiful to him and...well...they were here, in his bed, half-naked. Her hot little hands tried to push his shirt off again and he obliged by taking it off completely. When he landed down over her again, bed swinging slightly, she even arched up to meet him, sliding her arms around his wiry body,

"Mm, that feels good."

"Mm-hmm." He was losing himself in the sensation of her wrapping herself around him. She even wriggled herself up more on the bed, maneuvering her legs around to...to...

"Oh, Merlin, f-u-ck." He called out in a plea, a prayer, a thanksgiving. She'd spread her legs for him and tangled them around his body like a vine, pulling his trouser-clad lower body into direct contact with her hot haven. All they were doing was touching, not even kissing, but every caress or movement was like a dark potion, drugging his senses.

He felt her pelvis tip up into him and he stilled, breathing intensely through his nose and trying fervently to maintain control.

His mind fought that and asked, Why? Why was he trying to control himself? She was here, writhing beneath him, and he wanted to be controlled? Idiocy! This was practically his birthday present. If she didn't like it, well, then that was that, but Circe! He could at least try to have her the way he wanted.

She said, after all, if he wanted something, he'd just go out and get it, so perhaps she even expected it of him.

All this went through his mind as he stared down at her, purring beautifully around him. He'd gotten her this far on him and his music, so how much farther could he take her? Well, that was a question he definitely wanted to answer. He dove in to kiss her, quickly, passionately, and backed off the bed.

She followed him up with a blinking confusion that was so completely adorable, it was nearly enough to make him climb back into bed with her.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. I'll be right back. I promise." He reached out and ran a hand from her neck to her lace-covered breast. She leaned into his hand, but he slipped it down around her warm stomach and pulled himself in for another kiss.

She smiled as he stepped away and into the other room.

With determination and speed, he yanked through three record sleeves before finally finding the one that had the seventeen minute recording of the Tallis Fantasia. After that, it would move into variations on a theme by Elgar. Yes, this was perfect! Setting it to play, he almost made it back to the bedroom when he stopped and wondered if he should take off his pants.

He then thought of his sock-braces and thought perhaps he should.

Undressing the rest of the way and stumbling a bit to get everything off as quickly as possible, he looked down at his cock and thought of the woman in his bed. Would she like...him? His cock rather thought so and waved in the general direction of the bedroom for him to get a move on.

He nodded in agreement and proceeded onwards, just as the stringed anticipation sang into the air around him.

She was waiting for him exactly as he'd left her, watching him with a growing smile upon her face. The violins swelled for just a moment, then dipped to the lower strings for the opening theme. He breathed in time with it, as did she. When he was standing between her legs against the bed, she asked, "What is thi...?" She broke off and closed her eyes as the symphony rose and cried around them, becoming their heartbeats.

She was so...he could just...Oh if only she knew what she was doing to him by responding so beautifully to something so private like this. He wrapped his arms around her and spoke just to her ear, softly, "Us."

Her chest heaved and he could hear a bit of a sob in time with the music. She cried out, just a little sound, but he knew he'd stirred something deep in her by saying what he did. Her hands clenched into the skin on his back and raked, pulsed as she buried her face in his chest.

Yes. Yes, this is what he wanted to feel. This is what he felt when he listened, when the music took him. She understood. Merlin Above, she understood! He held her tightly for a moment longer before shifting her more onto the bed, following her and staring in wonder at the tears in her eyes.

When they kissed, it was with a swell of music to fill their minds, their very souls. They arched in time with it, breathed with it, melted into each other in perfect counterpoint and beat. His hands skated across her body, slowly, beautifully, pulled and held her leg to him or pressed her down to the bed as the music demanded of them.

She went wild, kissing his face, neck and shoulders with her lips, tongue and teeth, grasping at him with every part of her that could reach him. He responded equally, untangling her brassiere from her body and sliding her panties down her legs. She was gorgeous and nude beneath him, writhing in the agony of passion, and he wanted nothing more than to devour her. He supped at her breasts, laving them with the flat of his tongue and sipping his way down to the heady valley between them both. The texture, the suppleness, the light delightful weight of them in his hands made him ache all the more for her.

He raked his fingers down her stomach to her hips, her thighs. She parted them eagerly, panting and groaning into the air in time with the music, gifting the art a deeper resonance than he'd ever heard before. It was quite literally the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen or heard and it brought tears to his eyes.

He dropped his head to her abdomen, nuzzling her there and wiping his eyes off on her heated, silken skin. Another rise in the music and he kissed her belly, right below the navel, sliding his hands in between her thighs and finding the core of her, so hot, so wet. The petals of her quim were full and distended, waiting for him. She cried out at his questing touch but instead of thrusting his fingers inside, he caressed the delicate opening, dropping down to find her clitoris with his tongue.

Her thighs clamped down on his shoulders and neck as she cried out, but he just laughed, lowly and darkly, pressing her thighs apart again.

The music was questing and meandering, searching for passion as much as they were. He slid his hands along her legs, caressing behind her knees, down to her ankles and traveling back up again to her stomach, her breasts.

Mm, those lovely breasts. He continued a staccato tapping of his tongue intermittent with a sweeping circular motion as he played the same theme on her nipples with both hands.

She sang into the room, vibrant and delicious, cresting with the wave of strings enveloping them. It made him want her madly. He wanted to feel her orgasm pulsating around him as he gave his own back to her.

Before she could complete her peak, he reared up and rode that wave with her, positioning himself and sliding into her wetness like it was home. She gasped and pulsed around him. He cried out in amazement. She was a crucible, a forge, transmuting and tempering him into something new.

He pistoned once, just because he had to, and her eyes rolled. Twice, because he really needed to do that again, and she was tossing her head. Three times and he was losing his mind with the heat and grip of her, pushing down to take her mouth as fully as he was filling her quim.

She shuddered and groaned loudly into his mouth, pushing her sex to meet his with every tremulous climb of violin, every crashing fall of violoncello. The violins were breaking his heart and Hermione filled it back up with her soul. He must have been doing something akin to it for her as she was openly crying in overwhelming passion and he knew the final crescendo was coming...as he was...Oh, Merlin, as he was!

"Hermione!"

He couldn't help himself, he barreled down into her like a thunderous bass note and was completely lost. He exploded in the highest, deepest, most mind-numbing orgasm of his life and was helpless in its wake. His eyes never left hers, and her voice was beyond screaming, but he knew she was right there with him.

She'd been right there with him the entire time and he thought he might love her for it.

Lost to the finale, they both collapsed into each others arms.

He woke some time later in mostly darkness to her amazingly soft body curled up next to his. He wasn't sure how long they'd been out, but the record had stopped playing. He gently swept a few curls away from his face and she inhaled, stretching beside him.

"Oh my God, that was, like, Omega Sex."

He blinked and tilted his head down to get a look at her face. "What?"

She grinned up at him, "The end all and be all of everything that could ever be sex. We could write a book on that and make millions."

He watched her, curious on one point, "Do you seriously think the average dunderhead would be able to connect like that? Or even random people just for the sake of having sex to music?"

She smiled, "Of course not, but it would improve the sex lives of all those married people."

He choked and thought back to his mistaken thoughts when she gave him his birthday gift. Oddly enough, it wasn't an entirely distasteful notion..."Married people?"

Her twinkling mirth keyed down a bit to fit the situation, "Well, and...people like us." Her eyes dropped from his in uncertainty.

"Ah. And what are we, then?" He mentally braced himself for her definition. If he'd been mistaken, if she'd not shared the same transcendent levels of bliss that he had, then it would be better to walk away now.

She blew out some air and buried her face in his chest. "I don't know. After that, I'd say we were pretty damned amazing."

He waited, knowing she wasn't done, hoping for her to interpolate.

She spoke into his chest, then lifted her head a bit, peeking up at him, "Can we be an exclusive couple?"

In answer, he pulled her head up to his and kissed her soundly. "Yes." She blinked and laughed at his abrupt answer, but he took the moment to continue, "How does Tuesday night sound? They're performing a Giulio Cesare at the Shaftesbury."

She melted into him with a loving smile, "Should I wear knickers, or call it done?"

"Travesty!" He reached down and smacked her bottom as it was protected by layers of downy duvet. "This is Handel we're talking about."

She crawled up a few inches closer to his face, "Yes, but I'll be there with you."

He looked at her, away, then back, wondering how much she actually meant or was playing at. "Surprise me."

Her smile had him wondering, and curious, for days.

/

A/N: Whew! (fans self) Everyone still standing? ;) Let me know what you think, my dears! This piece is just a brief respite from Lioness Loricatus, I just needed something hot and steamy with a different tone to wake me up a bit. And OMG I wrote something less than 10k words! I hope you like xoxo Dena