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Severus Snape led Hermione Granger into the concert hall. They were running late, so they quickly found their seats. Hermione turned to Severus.
"I never knew you were interested in twentieth-century music, Severus," she remarked quietly.
Severus nodded. "The program includes some of my favorites."
Hermione nodded as she eyed the program. "I like the Schoenberg Serenade. The randomness is intriguing."
"If you like random, then you'll love the Cage."
Hermione looked at him questioningly. "Four minutes, thirty-three seconds? I've never heard of it."
Severus arched an eyebrow. "Then I won't spoil it by telling you about it."
She nodded. "Which one of these is your favorite?"
"I am particularly fond of Debussy's Le Cathedrale Engloutie."
"The sunken cathedral..." Hermione translated.
Severus nodded. "Its murkiness truly makes one think of a sunken cathedral." He smirked at her. "But I must admit, I like the Cage piece almost as well."
"Why is that?" Hermione asked.
"I will tell you after the concert."
Just then the lights dimmed, and the concert began.
Severus led Hermione away from the concert hall. He knew she was eyeing him curiously, but he was taking pleasure in keeping her in the dark on his reasoning for liking the Cage piece. He knew she was dying to ask, but he was enjoying watching her fidget.
After a few minutes, he couldn't hold himself in. "I believe that was the best performance of Four minutes, thirty-three seconds I've ever heard."
Her mouth dropped open, and she literally gaped at Severus. "What on earth do you mean by that?" she asked.
"I enjoyed the subtle nuances of the bassoonist."
Hermione snorted. "Are you implying that the only time a bassoonist can make subtle nuances is when he's not playing?"
Severus gave her a shocked look. "Certainly not! However, I especially liked what he did in the third movement."
Hermione shook her head. "He didn't do anything! How could you even tell there were three movements? It was complete silence!"
"Ah, there's where you're wrong, my dear. I've finally found something you don't know everything about. There was not complete silence. Granted the bassoonist didn't play a note, but the beauty of the piece is what happens with the audience."
Hermione snorted again. Two coughs and a sneeze are beautiful now?"
Severus rolled his eyes. "Really, Hermione, I would expect you to recognize art when you hear it."
"Art includes beautiful melodic lines, not some musician sitting in a chair, turning pages at random intervals."
"Actually, everything is measured down to the second, and the beautiful part of the piece is that it's always different. The subtle reactions in the audience combined with the silence make for a tension that is seldom found in a concert hall. That combined with the surprise from some audience members is why I like the piece so much."
Hermione eyed him for a while. Severus smirked within himself. He'd gotten the best of her and had proved his point. Snape one, Hermione zero. He was surprised to see that Hermione wasn't looking at him jealously, but in contemplation. She stopped him and threw her arms around him, kissing him soundly on the lips. He drew back in surprised, then pulled her close and returned her kiss with gusto. After they had exhausted themselves and gotten quite a few glances by passersby, he pulled away again.
"What was that for?" he asked curiously.
She smiled at him. "You never cease to amaze me, Severus Snape. Once I think I have you figured out, you go and surprise me again."
He smirked devilishly, hoping to make her melt in his arms. He could tell he was succeeding. "I don't want to be boring, my dear. If I were, you might find someone more... stimulating."
She drew in a quick breath. "I don't think anyone could be more stimulating than you, Severus."
His arm circled her waist as he led her along the sidewalk, looking at her lovingly. "I'm glad you think so, Hermione." He pulled her as close as possible while still moving along.
"Oh, I do," she whispered as she placed a kiss on his cheek. "I definitely do."
A/N: Prompt by Pennfanna: Snape's favorite music. What is it, and why?
This is dedicated to Lyn and Daniel, who are probably the only ones who will understand my great geekiness in writing this. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the piece quoted, I think you might enjoy this recording of 4'33" by John Cage:
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The Patronus skin was created especially for The Petulant Poetess by TarahFae.