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30 December 2011 @ 10:08 am
A Little Bit of Culture  
What would you expect a Muggleborn swot to do in her free time? Well, if she's not reading a book, it makes perfect sense for her to head off to a museum, theatre, or concert hall. It's even more fun if she can share the experience with Severus! Come and play as Severus and Hermione get a little bit of culture.

Want to give Hermione a run for her money in the know-it-all field? Simply play the quiz by commenting on this post with your answers at any time over the weekend. All comments with answers will be screened until the answer sheet is posted on Monday morning EST. On Monday, all quizzlings with the correct answers will receive a pretty banner to prove their quiz prowess. Ready? Set? Play!

Match the quotes to the story titles without picking the red herring titles:

To Kill a Canary by anonymous_plume
Luncheon on the Grass by pigwidgeon37 (SS/HG/LM)
The Flower of Cities by leni_jess
Phantom of Hogwarts by Good_Witch aka pern_dragon
Mission Impossible: Returning Acceptance to the Malfoy Name by karelia
Tempo by bluestocking79
The Gift of Memory by melantha
Enraptured by sshg316
London's Burning by teddyradiator
The Witches of Gilford by pyjamapants
Some Places Speak Distinctly, or Have Snape, Will Travel by wonderfulwrites
That Singular Anomaly by sc010f

1. Severus appeared to be enthralled with the portrait of a pretty young woman whose thick brown hair was piled upon her head. Her flawless skin glowed, and her cheeks appeared slightly flushed. Her full mouth was lush and red with her lips parted slightly, and a vast expanse of unblemished flesh was exposed by the low décolletage of her filmy cream-coloured gown. Her wide, dark eyes seemed to Hermione to be full of hidden knowledge. Lady Hamilton as Circe. How fitting, given that Circe was known for her knowledge of herbs. Thankfully, Hermione knew a bit about the painting, or at least the model, and so in an attempt to push aside all inappropriate thoughts concerning her friend and employer, she immediately launched herself into full lecture mode.

“Here you are,” she said as she approached him, inwardly cringing at her overly cheerful tone. From the corner of one eye, Hermione noticed him glance at her for a moment, but she kept her own eyes firmly focussed on the portrait. Once Severus returned to studying Lady Hamilton as Circe, she began to speak. Unfortunately, Hermione’s words spewed forth in a torrent of trivial information as she dredged up everything she could remember concerning Lady Hamilton, her life, her husband, and Lord Nelson, although she stumbled a bit after uttering the phrase ménage à trois. She could feel the heat of her blush on her cheeks, and she quickly fell silent, biting her lower lip in order to forcibly put an end to her inane babbling.

Severus turned his head to look at her – Hermione could feel his eyes boring into the top of her head. In her peripheral vision, she saw him nod solemnly before turning back to the portrait, studying it a few moments longer before he bodily turned to face her, murmuring, “Yes, she is lovely.” Slowly, he moved to walk past her in the direction of the next room, his warm masculine scent enveloping her once again. His body brushed hers, and then he halted, lowering his head to whisper in her ear, “She reminds me of you.”

2. A separate door just before the stairs catches Hermione's eye and she stops, jaw slightly hanging open.

"We really should be thorough, don't you think?" she asks breathlessly.

Carefully, she enters the side room, still Disillusioned, and holds her breath. Inside is a small, but tastefully outfitted room with sprays of roses adorning counter tops and side tables. A formal jacket with tails hangs on a coat rack, but there appears to be no further sign of any occupants.

She lets out a small sigh of disappointment, and whirls at the sound of the creaking door behind her.

She can't see him, but she can practically feel his disappointment.

"What are you doing?" his voice asks from near the doorway.

She raises her chin. "I told you. Being thorough."

"And the sign that says, 'Maestro Dudamel' on the door has nothing to do with that?"

She feels her cheeks warm. "He's a world class conductor, Severus. World class! He needs to be protected in the name of the arts!"

"Can we get on with it already?" he snaps. His footsteps echo in the hall, and she follows, feeling only slightly childish. Dudamel really is quite dishy, but that isn't important. The man is very talented and, well, maybe Orran would want to somehow exploit that in his favour... Okay, she just really wants to meet the famous, young, gorgeous, visiting conductor.

Ascending the next set of stairs, she sees Severus, no long Disillusioned, waiting impatiently ahead. He ends her charm, and directs the full fury of his glare at her.

"May we proceed?" he asks, sarcasm dripping in his voice.

3. It was outside Tate Modern that he bumped into Hermione Granger.

"Oh, fuck, Granger, what are you doing here?"

Granger gaped at him and he repented of his previous bad temper.

"I apologize," he said stiffly, "you startled me.

"It's quite all right, Professor," Granger said with dignity as she swept past him. "Some of us enjoy the culture of Muggle London."

"Apparently," he said to her back as she strode down the slope to the ticket booth, "you are not the only one. I'm sorry if I offended you."

She turned.

"Is that so, Professor?" she asked with some asperity.

"It is." He spread his hands. "I apologize," he said for the third time. "I was taken aback. You didn't strike me as the type who would be interested in … art." I thought you'd be swotting at St Mungo's.

Granger sniffed, apparently only slightly mollified.

"Well, it's my day off," she said as if she'd heard his last thought. "And Ronald has to work, so I thought I would enjoy some time alone. The Surrealism exhibition seemed a good place to do that."

Above their heads, the giant banner that adorned the massive edifice flapped in the breeze. The silence stretched between them. Granger's hair whipped into her mouth, and she batted at it with a moue of annoyance.

Snape bowed slightly and gestured to the door.

"After you," he said. "I shall try not to intrude upon your solitude."

The look she gave him was startled.

"Thank you, sir."

Snape smirked at the banner. Surrealism, Desire Unbound was an intriguing exhibition for Miss Follow-the-Rules Granger to be attending.

4. She held up a parchment, and he took it and instantly flung it on his desk.

"It can wait for now. What's more pressing this instant is a spare ticket for the Royal Opera tonight." He cast a questioning glance at her, an eyebrow raised.

"Interesting. I have a spare one for the London Symphony for Tuesday."

They exchanged tickets and read the details.

"You like Wagner. I should've guessed." Hermione grinned.

"Well. You like Shostakovich. I should've guessed." Snape smirked. "The question is: Do you like Wagner enough to sit through an entire opera?"

"I guess it's worth finding out," she answered.

She learned she did like Wagner, and after that, she discovered Khachaturian as well as any other composer Snape introduced her to. He soon shared her enthusiasm for Rachmaninoff and Schönberg.

Neither cared for Prokofiev.

Late spring with its many sunny days gave way to a summer that demanded a sizeable number of rain-repelling charms, and Hermione found she enjoyed the almost weekly visits to cultural events. No pressure, no pretence, and no relationship to constantly trip over – just colleagues with a mutual interest, sharpening each other's minds in the process, and a shared appreciation for good music.

5. Hermione wasn’t quite sure whether to laugh or cry.

She didn’t like scenes, and she’d just made a very public scene – the subdued snickering from the surrounding crowd told her clearly that many of the visitors understood English. Having done things in a less than perfect way always made her feel a bit insecure and dissatisfied with herself.

On the plus side, Ron had stormed out, so she was now free to enjoy a few hours on her own. She would’ve liked to laugh out aloud with relief, if only… She sighed and decided that shedding a few tears wouldn’t do any harm. Because there was a small but highly unpleasant voice that kept muttering things to her mind. Things like, Ron just left, and that’s all right, because you just needed a handy pretext for breaking up with him. But Ron isn’t so unlike all those other boys, so what if every relationship goes exactly the same way? One day at the museum, and whoosh, off they run as if pursued by Fiendfyre.

Hermione shuddered. Was it really going to be like that? Did boys really stay away from girls who… Her eyes strayed to the painting. Look at that stupid, stupid female, she thought. There she is, sitting naked on the grass with two fully clothed men, who don’t even pretend to have any interest in her. She’s nothing more than decoration. Is that really what boys want?

When a strong hand gripped her upper arm, she was so shocked that she couldn’t even scream.

‘Stay quiet, Miss Granger,’ a voice whispered into her ear, ‘and don’t move.’

6. "What exactly are we listening to this evening?" he asked as he seated himself close at her side.

Hermione replied, "It's the Film Music Prom, so we'll be listening to music from all sorts of movies." She resisted the urge to nuzzle against him. "This is always my favourite prom of the season, because I usually recognise so many of the songs." She looked at him out of the corner of her eye and smiled shyly. "Then again, sometimes the tunes that aren't necessarily the most popular or the easiest to sing are the ones that you fall in love with, and can't get out of your head."

Severus looked at her intently, praying to Nimue that she was applying the metaphor of the century and not merely waxing poetic about her love for Half a Sixpence. "Then I feel doubly flattered that you invited me to share the evening with you." He squeezed her hand gratefully."Would you excuse me for a moment, Hermione?"

Without further ado, Severus rose from his seat and swiftly disappeared through the curtain at the back of the box. Hermione sat back in her seat with a little puzzled frown. Just before the house lights darkened, Severus returned, seemingly Apparating to his seat. "Come with me," he said, pulling her to her feet. Grabbing their chairs, he nodded toward the curtain again.

"Where are we going?" Hermione asked, but Severus ignored her question and opened the back curtain. Hermione stepped through and gasped. In reality, they should have been standing in the corridor that ran the circumference of the building, just outside the interior Hall itself.

The corridor was gone.

They were standing on what appeared to be a balcony, overlooking Kensington. The sky was red from all of the lights of the city. In the waning summer sun, The Albert Memorial's gold statues gleamed in the reflected light. The sky over London glowed fire-red in every direction, and the city twinkled beneath their feet as far as the eye could see. Sunset replaced city lights replaced sunset in a never-ending stream of light.

7. Come, where are we Apparating to today?"

She was glad to leave the subject. "The Goldsmiths' garden, I thought, behind the big tree in the corner. It's just a short walk."

When they were inside the main foyer of Goldsmiths' Hall, a few steps up from the street and through the swinging doors, Severus stopped abruptly, blinking up at the elaborate chandeliers blazing in broad daylight, illuminating the moulding of the coffered ceiling and the marble pillars and the high gilt arches.

Hermione said affectionately, "The Victorians liked you to notice what they built."

He snorted. "With all that going on, how can anyone pay attention to something the size of a serving dish at most, no matter how finely wrought?"

"The exhibition galleries will be plainer, I expect. I haven't been here before."

Once up the broad staircase and into the first of the galleries, Hermione saw that the curator had indeed ensured that visitors should focus on the artworks. The lighting focussed on the objects inside the glass cases, while carpets and walls disappeared beyond the reach of the lights.

This first room was all items from the beginning of the twentieth century.

In a hushed voice, while they were looking at a silver punchbowl and its ladle, the bowl of each shimmering with waves as if it had been tempered over and over in a swordsmith's fire, Hermione said, "The Arts and Crafts movement was still very much alive, then."

"Be silent, sweet know-it-all, and enjoy."

She took a deep breath and murmured, "You’re right."

They moved slowly through the century, dazzled by the hundreds of creations of impossible beauty.

8. The lights began to dim and the buzz of conversation in the theatre turned into a susurrus of whispers. Snape sat back in his seat and firmly turned his attention to the stage. Hermione glanced at him one last time before following suit.

The lights went down and the play began. It was fairly easy to focus on it for a while, since it was rather overwhelming, especially with being so close to the stage. Snape had to consciously think about blinking every time his eyes began to water. It was unlike anything he had ever experienced before. He felt like he was caught up with the swell of music and the current of emotions, and his chest felt like it would burst with enjoyment. Hermione chanced a glance at him, on pretence of leaning over to comment on a costume, and saw the rapt light in his dark eyes. Snape barely registered her whisper, almost mesmerized by the performance.

Hermione saw how much Snape was enjoying the play and sat back again, inordinately pleased. She gazed about with a huge grin on her face, trying to keep herself from mouthing along with the songs. Eventually, it came to the scene with the magic mirror, and Snape leant forward in his seat, staring hard at the stage. As soon as he heard the Phantom start his song, he jerked, sitting rigidly, his expression one of intense concentration. Hermione couldn’t help but glance at him as he reacted so physically, and the fleeting thought that if he could “burn with the heat of his eyes,” the whole stage would be aflame, so intently was he eyeing the performance.

As the play progressed through to “Music of the Night,” Snape completely forgot about everyone else in the theatre, including Hermione.

9. This was a memory she’d made for him, so he thought, not some evening out with a beau that she’d deigned to share with him. But before his dark mood could descend, she whispered, “I rather thought you’d not want to stand, even in a memory.”

So it was his seat. It spoke of foresight on her part, and the twinge of jealousy turned into something he didn’t wish to examine as yet. She had indeed created this for him. What could she possibly want in return? She took one of the two designated spots, and he sank reluctantly into the other, watching her. What had possessed her to gift this memory? To not just gift it but make it apurpose? Potionmaking did not elicit this level of bribery, or so he had thought before. Did she even know if he liked opera? The idea that she’d interrogated Minerva for just that information made him fidget in his chair.

Once the opera started, he made himself let go of the speculations so he could at least enjoy it. It was a political epic, rife with betrayals and scheming, and it was just the sort of thing he did enjoy, the subtleties of it. But when intermission came, he could only watch Hermione. She didn’t leave her seat, but merely made small comments about the opera, glancing through the programme. He barely heard what she said. Her hair had started to rebel against its pins; several pieces now curled against her neck. He let his eyes follow the curve of it, her shoulders, the way she crossed her legs under the black silk. Could he keep this memory? The idea that she might want it back intruded; that it was meant as a one time gift.

Almost bereft, Severus watched her for the remainder of the opera; how her eyes widened at the scenes of battle or glistened at the romance. Her lips parted, as if she were unable to completely catch her breath, and he marveled at how she immersed herself in the story. He’d never be able to enjoy it that deeply. There was always something of himself to hide, to guard. He was never able to completely suspend his disbelief in tales.

All too soon, he found himself on the street again, the memory fading to its conclusion.

10. Hermione could feel the melody winding its way through the orchestra and up towards the balcony. It was entirely bewitching and seemed to cast a spell that heightened all of her senses. Despite the fact that Severus was barely in her peripheral vision, she had never been so aware of anyone's presence. Each repeat of the melody, each chord, each note, each rest, and each beat all served to remind her that Severus Snape was sitting not six inches from her. She could smell the man, and it was so incredibly alluring.

Severus watched Hermione, wondering if she realized she was swaying ever so slightly to the music. As annoying as he had found Bolero in the past, this evening had Obliviated any notion he may have previously held. He wondered if that undulating melody were perhaps cursed, bespelled to taunt him. All he could imagine was Hermione writhing sinuously on a bed, beckoning him to join her. He shifted in his seat and discreetly adjusted both his boxers and the programme covering his lap. Torture. This piece was absolute bloody torture. Was there anyway he would be able to leave the theatre with his dignity intact?

Over and over again, the melody assaulted Hermione and Severus until, at last, the torturous piece ended and the symphony members took their bows. Hermione released a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, wondering briefly if her legs would be able to support her when she stood up. She stretched again and, to Severus's relief, she leaned forward and watched the orchestra packing up, hoping to prolong the spell cast by the music and vainly trying to collect her wits before facing Severus. Finally, she sat back in her seat and turned to look at him.

He was smiling – actually smiling – for the first time the entire evening.

klschmidt1309klschmidt1309 on December 31st, 2011 05:24 am (UTC)
2 To Kill a Canary by anonymous_plume
5 Luncheon on the Grass by pigwidgeon37 (SS/HG/LM)
7 The Flower of Cities by leni_jess

8 Phantom of Hogwarts by Good_Witch aka pern_dragon (my favorite - I'm reading it AGAIN!! - started around Christmas... - and glad it's not one of the red herrings this time!!!)

4 Mission Impossible: Returning Acceptance to the Malfoy Name by lady_karelia
x Tempo by bluestocking79
9 The Gift of Memory by melantha
1 Enraptured by sshg316
6 London's Burning by teddyradiator
10 The Witches of Gilford by pyjamapants
x Some Places Speak Distinctly, or Have Snape, Will Travel by wonderfulwrites
3 That Singular Anomaly by sc010f
morethansirius: Snape -Loreal icon by Rowenamorethansirius on January 2nd, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
Congrats! You have all the right answers. Here's your banner to prove you are a lover of the Arts.

Jinxie!jinxie4 on December 31st, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC)
1 Enraptured by sshg316
2 To Kill a Canary by anonymous_plume
3 That Singular Anomaly by sc010f
4 Mission Impossible: Returning Acceptance to the Malfoy Name by lady_karelia
5 Luncheon on the Grass by pigwidgeon37
6 London's Burning by teddyradiator
7 The Flower of Cities by leni_jess
8 Phantom of Hogwarts by Good_Witch aka pern_dragon
9 The Gift of Memory by melantha
10 The Witches of Gilford by pyjamapants
morethansirius: Snape -Loreal icon by Rowenamorethansirius on January 2nd, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
Outstanding job, my little quizzling! Here's your banner to prove your know-it-allness.

linlawless: ganzanialinlawless on January 2nd, 2012 01:59 am (UTC)
Yay for culture! (And yay for having time to play the quiz this week!)

1. Enraptured
2. To Kill a Canary
3. That Singular Anomaly
4. Mission Impossible: Returning Acceptance to the Malfoy Name
5. Luncheon on the Grass
6. London Burning
7. The Flower of Cities
8. Phantom of Hogwarts
9. The Gift of Memory
10. The Witches of Gilford
morethansirius: Snape -Loreal icon by Rowenamorethansirius on January 2nd, 2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
Impressive showing, my little quizzling! You have all the right answers. Here's a banner to prove your quiz prowess.

premierludwig: rickman liasons kisspremierludwig on January 2nd, 2012 02:52 am (UTC)
1 - Enraptured
2 - To Kill A Canary
3 - That Singular Anomaly
4 - Mission Impossible: Returning Acceptance to the Malfoy Name
5 - Luncheon On The Grass
6 - London's Burning
7 - The Flower Of Cities
8 - Phantom Of Hogwarts
9 - The Gift Of Memory
10 - The Witches of Gilford

I *love* The Witches of Gilford, it always makes me laugh. :)
morethansirius: Snape -Loreal icon by Rowenamorethansirius on January 2nd, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
Fabulous icon! You really know the Arts, my little quizzling. Here's a banner to prove your know-it-allness.

madeleonemadeleone on January 2nd, 2012 04:12 am (UTC)

Answers to: The Little Bit of Culture Quiz

1. Enraptured by sshg316

2. To Kill a Canary by anonymous_plume

3. That Singular Anomaly by sc010f

4. Mission Impossible: Returning Acceptance to the Malfoy Name by lady_karelia

5. Luncheon on the Grass by pigwidgeon37 (SS/HG/LM)

6. London's Burning by teddyradiator

7. The Flower of Cities by leni_jess

8. Phantom of Hogwarts by Good_Witch aka pern_dragon

9. The Gift of Memory by melantha

10. The Witches of Gilford by pyjamapants
morethansirius: Snape -Loreal icon by Rowenamorethansirius on January 2nd, 2012 06:24 pm (UTC)
That's an Outstanding for you, my little quizzling! You have all the right answers. Here's your banner to prove your quiz prowess.