Prompter: The Scripps National Spelling Bee
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): For disturbingly bad assemblages of words purporting to be poetry.
(Highlight to View) Prompt: Prompt yourself for fic!
Note: Thanks to my recording of the SNSB's preliminary rounds and some five-Galleon words, I was able to prompt myself into the fest in the 50 minutes before deadline. Caveat lector! Thank you, Mod, for allowing me a wee bit of post-deadline polishing time. Thank you, Husband, for your aural beta. Mwah!
Summary: Witches love poetry, but upon occasion, doggerel will do.
It had been a most convivial evening: George and Angelina had sat back and allowed Hermione and Severus, well, mostly Severus, to favour Fred and Roxanne with an impromptu lecture on magical runes most ancient and rude. That the children had actually understood and enjoyed Severus' efforts had made his evening complete, Hermione knew.
"That was a lovely evening. I'm so glad that you and George are working together since Ron returned to the DMLE."
"You're just happy to see other people," Severus replied, smoothly turning Hermione out of their Side-Along posture and into their Hogsmeade home.
She kept twirling. "And you kept the kids occupied, which was very good of you, considering."
Severus furrowed his brow, following her inside. "What do you mean by that?"
"Angelina's expecting—couldn't you tell? She eschewed that delicious wine in favour of nettle tea."
"I did wonder why Roxanne kept fussing over her. That is not her way."
"No, it's not," Hermione agreed, wrapping Severus' arms around her.
Through kisses, Severus murmured, "We're . . . out . . . of wine."
Hermione raised an eyebrow, certain she knew where he was going. "I see."
"Do you?" Severus asked. "Because I can think of something else geusioleptic I'd like to savour."
"I've no idea what that word means," Hermione told him, "but I think I might catch on if you offer me some context."
Severus licked his lips.
If I were octophthalmous, I would visually feast upon your body with each of my eight eyes.
My first eye would follow the curve of your neck to the hollow of your throat.
My second eye would waggle.
My third eye would trace a line from your hollow to the hill of your breast, and beyond, to your nipple's peak.
My fourth eye, so that your other nipple didn't grow jealous, would stare —yes, stare!— at its deep, straining flush.
My fifth eye would find an interesting path down to the button of your belly and rest there, fixed.
My sixth eye would never look away from your sex.
My seventh eye would watch both of yours in quivering delight.
My eighth eye would deny your toes nothing.
Oh, yes! All eight eyes that I'd possess would examine you, always at your best! (If I were, of course, octophthalmous.)
Hermione gaped, with only two eyes, it must be said, at the "poem" she held. What the hell?
Looking down at the table, she saw a box. It was small, and spilling out of it were two items: a card, and an empty phial.
"Drink the phial, and may your poem be not vile!" Hermione read to herself, cringing. Oh, Severus. Oh, Severus, why?
"Good morning, Her—give that to me!"
Hermione tried not to smile; smiling when Severus was embarrassed was never the right thing to do. "It's too late. I've read it, and it's . . . sweet that you went to the effort."
"It was Weasley!" Severus exclaimed, rubbing his eyes. "He forced that 'product' on me last night."
Hermione Summoned a headache potion and, with a bit of sleight of hand, managed to set alight a piece of paper entirely unrelated to the poem, which she slipped into her pocket.
"Thank you," Severus breathed more than said. "When this pounding stops, I'm going to kill that irksome sod."
Still very much not smiling, Hermione leant against the worktop next to Severus. "Have you written much poetry?"
With a snort, Severus replied, "I've never yet written any, as I believe you know."
"Well, with Valentine's coming up, you know, months from now, perhaps George—"
"Won't actually die this day, given his early preparation for the 'holiday'. Angelina would never forgive me."
"Neither would Fred or Roxanne," added Hermione. "So, you really weren't trying to be, er, romantic?"
Severus turned Hermione to face him. "When," he asked sternly, before kissing her nose, "have I ever been romantic?"
Hermione grinned. "Oh, never."
"No, never," agreed Severus.
And then, as one, they continued, "That wouldn't do at all!"
The next morning, Hermione awoke to find another open box and empty phial in the kitchen, but no poem—no, what she found instead was a freakish treatise on Severus' "malacological" skill.
He does know what he's doing with his tongue, Hermione thought, sending the evidence of George's further product testing to hide with Severus' first poem, but I've never liked the clam analogy.
She found her husband in his lab, groaning over a beaker. "Another headache?"
"You don't have to help George, you know."
"I do." Severus held out a hand to Hermione. "I gave him my word and signed . . . ."
"'Signed'?" Hermione prompted.
Severus flushed. "Signed a form."
Hermione couldn't help it; she giggled. "Why would you sign anything George Weasley put in front of you? You taught him! You teach his children! Severus."
He turned away, muttering, "Working."
"—and I'd never achieved such wonder, as when I found you, madid and wanting."
With clenched eyes, Hermione Vanished the latest box and its contents before secreting Severus' poem.
At least he didn't write wet and wanting, but it's still getting worse. I blame George. This has to stop.
That said, it wasn't until she read about Severus' popliteal desires that Hermione actually confronted her husband's tormentor.
"Ordinarily, I wouldn't mind Severus wanting to play with the back of my knee, but this," Hermione continued, shaking the latest assemblage of words at George, "indicates that my husband, my husband, wants to glue singing rhinestones back there!"
"Sex-y," drawled George.
"No, it's not at all sexy, you git! What did you make Severus sign that's compelling him to write this doggerel?"
George's face went blank, but only for a moment. Leering, he retorted, "Why're you so bothered? I thought witches loved poetry."
"I am a witch. I do love poetry. But George, this is not poetry that Severus is writing. I know he agreed to help you, but—"
"You think I'm taking advantage?"
Hermione glared at him.
"Truly, I didn't force him to sign anything other than a profit-sharing agreement for any products we bring to market."
"Severus told me that you," Hermione began to say, before thinking, Severus allowed me to think that he signed something compulsory, but he never . . . . Oh, dear. She looked at George.
"You couldn't force Severus to test your product. He'd never sign—he wants to be using the poetry potion."
George nodded. "He does. You should ask him why. Marital mystery's not all it's cracked up to be."
Hermione didn't immediately take George's advice. She was, frankly, entirely too confused about Severus' behaviour to know what to say. Instead, she thought about the poems.
They're the most appalling poems ever written, worse than any Ron ever wrote. Why is Severus leaving them for me to find?
Severus hated failure. And he was not romantic. She was missing something, of that, Hermione was certain.
"Wife," Severus said, the word rolling slowly off his tongue.
"Mmm, now that's a poetic sound."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Don't pretend, Husband." Hermione reached out to tangle her fingers in Severus' hair. "You know exactly how much I love—"
Hermione blinked as Severus rolled away from her.
"Severus. Are you opening a—"
"Box? Yes, and one that makes me wish that ever I'd been amphipneustic!"
"Amphip what now?"
"Damn it!" Severus threw himself out of bed and shoved a fist into his mouth to stop the flow of verbiage streaming from it.
Hermione bit her lip. He wants to be doing this, but he's not happy about the results. "Accio dictionary!"
Amphipneustic, it turned out, meant "having both gills and lungs throughout life."
In spite of Severus' obvious annoyance at not being able to find the right words to say whatever it was that he was attempting to, Hermione couldn't help but laugh. Just as abruptly, she stopped.
"Damn! There goes my opportunity to explore mermaid sex. I know the charms, too!"
"I . . . apologise."
Hermione raised her eyebrows at Severus' admission. "For what, precisely?" she asked, accepting the cup of tea he offered her while glancing at his cup.
Severus joined her at the kitchen table. "Don't worry, it's not more poetry potion, just coffee." He made a toasting gesture but didn't drink.
Hermione sighed. "All right. You know that I'm not one to pry, bu—"
Severus' snort interrupted her. "That is a lie, Wife."
"Go on," he prompted.
"Tell me why you're torturing us both with bad poetry. There, I said it. Truly terrible poetry!"
Severus crossed his arms but didn't say anything.
"You can't possibly be offended. No one uses molluscivorous the way you did the other day!"
"'Feeding on mollusks'," grumbled Severus. "It worked."
"Did it? Did it work? I don't remember having any sex after you essentially called my vagina a clam. I despise that. You know that!"
"I can't find the words, that's what I know!" Severus shouted, rising from the table and slamming crockery around. "I want to find the perfect words, Hermione!"
"Words for what?"
"To tell you that, to tell you—"
"Must it be so complicated?" demanded Hermione, standing up as well. She held out her arms to Severus. "Come here. . . . Please?"
Shoulders slumping, Severus moved to embrace her. "You deserve the perfect words."
"Just tell me what you want. Tell me as directly as you know how."
"I," Severus began, but Hermione shushed him.
"It doesn't have to be in verse—not that you've, er, been consistently rhyming, you know."
Severus huffed, but only slightly. "It does have to be in verse. The potion's still in my system. Give me a bit more time?"
Pulling away, but equally slightly, Hermione shook her head. "Later never comes, Severus. Potion or no, tell me now."
"Oh, very well, but remember: you asked for it."
"I will remember that and be happy to end all this marital mystery."
"Well go on, do," Hermione urged.
"No, it needs paper."
Heedless of Hermione's tone, Severus Summoned quill, ink, and paper, dashed off his "explanation," and pressed it into Hermione's hands before fleeing the room. Hermione thought that she heard the faint pop! of Apparation as she read:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I'd like to put
a baby in you.
It had always been difficult for Severus to ask for what he needed, and Hermione would never have imagined he'd ask for a family in such a ridiculous manner if he weren't frightened she'd deny him his wish. She felt heartbroken, and so she told Hogwarts' flying instructor.
"Don't," Angelina told Hermione, in her usual, blunt manner. "It's a waste of time when you've apparently got every reason to have a full heart. You've always wanted children, too, isn't that right?"
"It is, but I never thought . . . . Is he here?"
Angelina nodded. "He's quizzing the kids on ancient runes."
"Of course he is," said Hermione, "though it hardly seems fair."
"What's fair?" asked Angelina. "If you two had remained on the grounds after your marriage, they'd never have left you alone."
"Severus likes Fred and Roxanne," Hermione told her. "He thinks they're two of the sharpest students he's ever taught."
"Not to tread old ground, but I would never have believed that Professor Snape, I mean, Severus, liked children—but of course he likes mine."
"'Old ground', yes, let's not think about it. I still owe Ron ten Galleons because he knew before I did."
Angelina grinned. "Stop stalling. Once he was found and returned to help rebuild the school, everyone knew before you did, which is odd because you're supposed to have been the brightest witch of your age."
"Go away, please, George."
"Certainly, Mrs Snape."
"That's Granger-Snape," Severus and Hermione called after him.
"But I would," Severus continued, "very much like it if—"
"Our children just carried your name?" Hermione interrupted him.
Severus had the good sense to appear abashed.
"You know perfectly well, don't you," Hermione told him, "that that wouldn't do at all?"
"Does that mean you—"
Hermione held up a hand. "Violets are blue, roses are red," she began, taking a deep breath, "don't you think you should take me to bed?"