So, are you a fan of The Blue? Take the quiz and find out!
(Our thanks to sc010f for guest writing the introduction.)
This week's quiz was chosen by Bluey fangirl duniazade.
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Match the quote to the story title:
Just Desserts (SS/HG/LM)
What to Expect When Your Husband's Expecting
Let Nothing You Dismay
You Only Live Twice
The French Connection
A Girl's Got to Have a Hobby
Backwards and in High Heels
From Both Sides Now
Seat of Power
An Argument for Selfishness
1. Shakespeare and Company is unquestionably the most magical Muggle place she’s ever seen—in fact, she’s not entirely convinced that it isn’t magical. How else to explain a place so much larger than the outside would indicate, a place so lined with books on every conceivable subject that it appears to be entirely composed of them? The colourful volumes cover the walls from floor to ceiling, forming an organic structure with no rhyme or reason to it, only bulging shelves and all manner of unexpected nooks and crannies. Hermione looks down, just to reassure herself that the floor hasn’t been paved with books as well.
Looking at this embarrassment of riches, she feels a glimmer of real excitement. The possibilities are so endless that she hardly knows where to begin. It’s no wonder that the shop is crowded; Hermione would rather have this attraction over the Eiffel Tower any day.
Two hours and many volumes later, Hermione knows she hasn’t even scratched the surface of what the shop has to offer her. However, she has blissfully wallowed in the dusty, musty smell of pages and has an armful of new acquisitions to purchase. She’s just about to reach for another when she’s jostled from the side, nearly falling over a display-table buried under a mound of trade paperbacks.
“Ah, excuse me,” apologizes a familiar voice. “It’s quite crowded here.” Slender but strong hands reach out to grab her shoulders, steadying her and preventing an embarrassing tumble. Whoever the man is, she likes the way he smells… although this, too, is familiar.
Hermione turns to thank her rescuer but freezes at the realisation that she has seen him before—many times, in fact, and several of them less than pleasant.
2. And then she was there, a refined splash of scarlet silk in the gaudy casino: his contact. She was lithe and lovely, her curls spilling over her shoulders in an appealingly tousled cascade and her dress—what little there was of it—strategically draped for decency's sake.
Not, of course, that she was arousing any thoughts that could be called decent.
He had expected her brilliance, but not her beauty; it was a welcome bonus. Perhaps he could convince her to keep those shoes on whilst he… interrogated her. Slowly. Thoroughly.
He smirked at the thought of it.
3. A sad sprig of charmed mistletoe hovers mockingly over his head—Flitwick's idea of an amusing joke, no doubt—and as Hermione approaches the table, Snape spares a tired, bleary-eyed glare—first for the sprig, then for her. "Not a word," he says darkly, his speech impressively crisp given the amount he's already drunk.
"Wouldn't dream of it," Hermione murmurs. His eyes are no less fascinating up close, and Hermione watches his gaze cycle through despair, annoyance, interest and attraction before settling down to some breathtaking combination of melancholy and wistfulness—all of it focussed on her.
"I suppose," Snape says suddenly, "that you've come to have a laugh as well."
"Of course not! I'd never—"
"Of course you wouldn't," he mutters, a sharp spike of bitterness in his voice. "You've come to wish the pitiful old man Happy Christmas. How charitable. How very Dickensian of you. But on the whole, I think I'd rather have the mockery, Professor Granger. At least it's honest."
"So am I," Hermione says with great dignity, refusing to play this game. It's true that at one time in her life, the idea of Professor Snape at the mercy of mistletoe would have been greatly amusing to her, and at another time in her life, his plight would have aroused her pity and sense of fair play. But times have changed, and so has she.
Now… no, it isn't pity she feels at the sight of Severus Snape beneath the mistletoe, and it isn't amusement, either. It's something that warms her and chills her and terrifies and elates her, something that gives her the boldness to say, "I came to tell you that I can help you with that. If you'll let me. If you trust me."
In his eyes there is confusion, followed by the briefest flicker of fear—and is that interest? "You know of a counter-curse?"
4. ‘Keith F. Newly’ hadn’t written a one isolated book; he’d written an entire series of trashy novels featuring steamy romance between a bossy, curly-haired idealist and an antihero with a large nose and Tragic Past.
There were far too many similarities for it to be mere coincidence… and just how had the author known about the location of that birthmark?
Hermione brought the evidence to the dungeons, bursting into Severus’ office without knocking and dumping the novels over his desk.
He raised an eyebrow. “Your summer reading list?”
She glared. “We’ve been found out.”
Severus’ nose was buried in Her Death-Marked Love. “You believe our affair’s been discovered because…”
“These novels are about us! Somebody here knows our secret, and they’re writing pornography about it! If anyone recognises us…” Hermione bit her lip. “Minerva could sack us.”
“That seems as unlikely as this sexual position,” Severus remarked absently. “Although… perhaps a Flexibility Potion…”
Reluctantly, he set the book aside.
“They must be stopped. A combination of analysis and surveillance should catch the culprit,” Hermione decided.
Severus quickly volunteered to analyse the books. “I’ll keep them in my quarters,” he added, “for security reasons.”
5. Hermione dislikes Tchaikovsky.
She was certain she'd never appreciate it—it's too romantic—but when she hears it alongside Severus, she finds herself reconsidering.
The music sounds lush and lovely now. It conjures thoughts of crashing waves, beautiful and slightly frightening in their power to sweep her away, flooding her with emotions she couldn't begin to name.
Severus feels it, too. It's obvious in his warm, glittering gaze and the flush of pink on his cheek.
The pink deepens when she kisses that cheek.
He says nothing—but the hand he presses to his cheek in silent amazement speaks volumes.
6. "HOW COULD YOU?"
Severus recognised a no-win situation when he saw one and furthermore was acutely aware both of Hermione's vengeful streak and of the fact that it was the third week of the month, a time when said vengeful streak tended to be a bit fiercer than usual. Accordingly, he kept his eyes deferentially lowered and his mouth safely shut. Lucius, however, merely flipped his hair over his shoulder.
"It was simple, my dear," he purred. "I wanted it and I took it. And surely," Lucius added, with a disarming smile that would charm the knickers off a nun, "'tis easer to beg forgiveness than to ask permission."
"Not from me, it isn't," Hermione snapped, unmoved. "Not when it involves a crap day at work, followed by one sodding meeting after another, followed by the sodding heel breaking on my sodding new pair of sodding shoes and then you eating my cake that you knew I wanted and I was looking forward to all day, you selfish wanker!"
Lucius blinked, his smile curdling into a petulant sulk. "I'm sure amends can be made."
"Oh, they will be," Hermione promised with a dangerous glint in her eye, hand clenched tightly about her wand. "They will be."
7. Severus entered the near-empty staff room with an exhausted spirit and an overwhelming desire to curl up in His Chair with tea, biscuits and the latest issue of Draughts and Drams.
The problem with this glorious plan was that bloody Granger was occupying His Chair.
She was absorbed in a heavy tome, her forehead wrinkled adorably in thought as she thoughtfully nibbled on the end of her quill.
His first thought was that she looked delicious.
His second thought was that she had some bloody cheek, sitting in His Chair and making him like the view.
"Get out!" he growled.
8. "It's terrible," Hermione finally blurted, unable to stand another agonising second. "I know I botched it. I tried, I did, and the House-Elves said this is your favourite and that it would be easy, but the House-Elves can just bugger themselves with rusty eggbeaters because it isn't easy at all, and I burnt the chocolate and the bloody layers stuck to the bloody pans and Ron was right about my terrible cooking—"
She trailed off as Severus finally looked up from the lopsided cake, his eyes curiously bright and his expression free from disdain. He cleared his throat twice before speaking. "This is a Chocolate Guinness Cake."
"Yes." It was very unlike Severus to state the obvious, she thought.
"And you made this. By yourself. Without assistance."
"Yes," Hermione confirmed, frowning with mingled hurt and irritation. "I just told you so. You don't have to rub my face in my mistake like I'm still one of your students—"
"You made this for me," Severus emphasised. His gaze settled on her, dark and warm and wondering, and for a moment Hermione felt quite breathless.
"Yes," she whispered. "I'm sorry. I know it's ugly in comparison to the ones the House-Elves make."
There was a spark of humour in his eyes, and the corners of his mouth quirked upward, which from Severus Snape was the equivalent of a toothy grin. "I see no difference."
9. Hermione Granger had grown up.
Severus watched her sitting before the Headmaster, ignoring Severus as every other visitor did. Youthful eagerness had dimmed to a quiet, mature sense of confidence, obvious in the way she held herself. She radiated stern authority; it would serve her well in teaching.
She had the careworn, brittle look of the grieving, too—a look Severus recognised too well. In a flash, he thought he glimpsed a kindred spirit, deep in mourning and seeking sanctuary in Hogwarts. Who had she lost, he wondered.
For the first time in years, something in the outside world intrigued him.
Severus started looking forward to Granger's visits.
He observed each time she visited the Headmaster's office, noting the tension in her posture, the brightness of her eyes. He heard the occasional tremble in her voice and the way she covered her lapses smoothly, stronger than ever. He listened and learned that her husband had died.
Though Severus had always thought Ronald Weasley to be witless and unworthy of Miss Granger, he was stunned to feel sympathy for her loss. Whatever Weasley's faults, he'd been the love of her life; no loss could hurt more.
This much, Severus knew from experience.
10. Hermione slammed the door behind her, not because it was necessary but because it felt bloody good.
“Men,” she announced ominously, “are wankers.”
Her husband winced at her entrance, apparently (correctly) reading her mood as being more volatile than a tetchy volcano.
“Yes,” Severus agreed.
Hermione was not mollified. She kicked off her high-heeled boots and began massaging her aching feet. “They’re all swine.”
“Condescending, know-nothing bastards who couldn’t locate their arses with the benefit of both hands and a torch.”
“At times,” Severus allowed. “Do I take it that the meeting with the publishers didn’t go as planned?”
And when you're finished playing the quiz, don't forget to check out the Hissing Harpies Round Robin story, I F***ing Do!