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13 April 2012 @ 10:04 am
Al Fresco Dining  
So you think Severus Snape doesn't picnic? Guess again! For Hermione, he'll risk the ants and flies for a little outdoor dining of any kind. Whether it's a picnic, a streetside cafe, a backyard party, tea in the garden, or lunch in a gazebo you'll find Severus close at hand. So grab a beverage, spread out your blanket and join us for some al fresco dining!

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 EDT. On Monday, all quizzlings with the correct answers will receive a pretty banner to prove their quiz prowess. Ready? Set? Play!

"Enraptured" artwork by maaiker

Match the quotes to the story titles without falling for the red herring titles:

A Thousand Miles by Dahlia
Enraptured by sshg316
Matrimony by ladyofthemasque
Phoenix Feathers by camillo1978
Dances With Witches by pearle9240 WIP
To Make Much of Time by mundungus42
Forbidden Fruit by Leraiv Snape
Just A Small Wizarding Cafe by Aimee_Beloved
Love's Little Instruction Book by melisande88
Luncheon on the Grass by pigwidgeon37 (SS/HG/LM)
Of Fathers And Their Children by chivalric55
Seaside Delights by dreamy_dragon73

1. By the time Harry returned, Hermione had eaten two hotdogs and some tasty homemade coleslaw, and was beginning to fidget with the need to ask questions. She took a giant slug of Sauvignon and fixed Harry with a determined gaze.

Harry swallowed and cleared his throat. ‘So, why are you here then, Hermione?’ he asked.

‘I’ve decided to leave Ron, and I need a place to stay,’ said Hermione, surprising herself because until that moment, she hadn’t actually decided anything but had just… flounced from London to Wales in an almighty huff.

‘I’m really sorry, Ginny; I don’t want to upset you by slagging off your brother, but I’ve had enough.’

Just saying the words out loud made Hermione’s thoughts crystallise. She found the complete absence of panic disturbing; surely tears and soul-searching were de rigueur in this situation? Then it crossed her mind that the end of a six year relationship should probably be discussed with Ron before it was announced to his best friend, little sister, former teachers and childhood nemesis. Oops.

‘Feel free to slag,’ Ginny said. ‘I’m rude about him all the time, and to be honest we’ve been waiting for you two to crash and burn for a couple of years now.’

Murmurs of agreement from six comfy garden chairs startled Hermione into action. She glared at the group of supposed arch-enemies, who were sat around her munching barbeque food, and exploded. ‘How bloody long have you lot been friendly?’ she snapped. ‘What else has been going on that I don’t know about?’

2. When she shivered at her thoughts, he looked down at her. "Chilled? It will be warmer just a few steps back, away from the edge."

And it was. The sun beat down and there was no breeze. The tree closest to the edge was bent upslope like a bonsai by years of steady wind, but the two further back were more sheltered and only a little twisted. She transfigured a pocket hanky into a picnic blanket for the two of them, and they sat, each at a corner with the meal and the book between them.

Hermione did the honors of preparing the light meal. Severus watched her hands in the simple motions of slicing, peeling, paring. Muggles wasted such a lot of effort on these mundane tasks, but he had to admit it was soothing to watch, even as he wondered why she was not using her wand to do the food preparations. Severus opened the book to the first poem. His brows drew together. The very first haiku appeared to be aimed directly at him. He wasn't sure he quite dared to share the book with her; he could feel tremors of power through his fingers.

a whisper of hope
speaks softly, gathering strength
where darkness once walked

The accompanying potion was a recipe for honeyed chamomile tea with linden flowers and mint, conducive to sleep and rest. How very simple, how charming.

"Is it the book you thought?" she asked. He nodded. She passed him a plate transfigured from an oak leaf, filled with peeled and sliced apple, and grapes separated from their stems rolling merrily amongst the bits of cheddar and slices of bread.

"No mangoes?" he asked, looking down, smiling slightly.

"Dessert. They're so messy when they're this ripe, you almost need to eat them in the bathtub. I thought we'd let them wait until last. You don't want to get your new book sticky."


"Please don't say that, at least for today. Today I should be impractical."

3. ‘Poetic, meeting here,’ Hermione forayed into the difficulties of conversation, flipping a hand at the site of their first encounter.

‘Simply inconspicuous. No one would bat an eye if they came upon me forcing a student to serve detention procuring potions ingredients.’

Another silence. ‘I wonder at you, Granger,’ he said suddenly, voice perfectly neutral. ‘Your silence. It seems that in class you always have so much to say.’ She looked at him sharply, and his black eyes sparkled with humour for just a moment in his otherwise passive face.

He had broken the awkwardness.

‘What’s in the bundle?’ she asked, nodding to it. Cautiously, inanely worried lest it be incorrectly packed, Snape hesitantly unfolded a heavy navy-blue blanket from around a picnic basket. Hermione blinked at the basket, then lifted her face, and the years she had gained in the past term dropped away to expose the bright-eyed seventeen-year-old that still dwelt behind her suddenly-aged features.

Brilliant with excitement, her gaze sparkled as she asked eagerly, ‘A picnic? In November? Where?’

Snape smiled a slow, closed-lipped smile, and Hermione felt her heart pull at the rare gesture of affection. She could hear his relief at her evident surprise and pleasure. Without thinking, she stepped forward, reaching to touch his face.

He succumbed briefly, allowing himself to treasure the feeling of the cherished hand on his skin, and then stiffened, withdrawing. Not here, he warned regretfully.

She jerked her hand back, a rueful smile ghosting across her lips. Sorry. Hidden by the greenhouse from the school itself, they were still very much in sight of large sections of the grounds and there was no telling where any of her peers might be.

Come. He started into the forest, and without any hesitation, she followed, studiously maintaining the distance appropriate to student and teacher.

4. The homely, comfortable yard of the Burrow was lit by several colourful globes, magical lanterns that cast a rainbow effect on the party taking place in the warm twilight, when Severus and Hermione Apparated onto the garden path. Instantly, Severus was uncomfortable, seeing so many members of the Order laughing and chatting around the pair of tables covered in half-eaten platters of food, and the chairs scattered around in conversational groups. This wasn't just a graduation party for Ron Weasley and his two best friends, but an apparently impromptu celebration of the end of Voldemort's reign of terror. Well, maybe not so impromptu; just because he hadn't received an invitation didn't automatically mean others hadn't. The other members of the Order of the Phoenix had been his colleagues for a long time, and there was a certain level of respect for that, but aside from maybe the Headmaster, none of them had ever bothered to turn him into a friend.

They had, however, turned Hermione into their friend. Or maybe she had turned them into hers; god knew the young woman was engaging, charming, and naturally friendly. He envied the cheerful greeting called out to her by Minerva McGonagall, and the friendly hand lifted by Remus Lupin, the first two to notice their arrival. That hand faltered at the sight of him, but then he expected little else from the last of the four Gryffindors to plague his school-years. Mindful of how uncomfortable his presence would make the others at this gathering, he touched his wife discreetly at the small of her back.

A dip of his head and he murmured for her ears alone, "...I'll leave you here, to enjoy the party. I'll come back for you in a couple hours, or longer, if you'd like."

She frowned up over her shoulder at him. "Don't be ridiculous, Severus! You're staying for the party, too."

5. Meanwhile, in the next corridor above, the atmosphere in the Merry Men's camp was festive. Venison roasted on spits, ale flowed freely, and Ron, Harry, and several girls were using crusty white bread to demonstrate Quidditch to the denizens of the painting.

"Why is that one worth so many more points?" asked one man in scarlet, who was wrapping the hilt of his sword with a strap of leather.

"Because," said Ron, clumsily juggling the three loaves meant to represent the Quaffle and Bludgers, "it's small, fast, and very hard to catch."

"But why isn't anyone else allowed to catch it?" asked another man, devilishly handsome, who was adroitly tuning a stringed instrument.

"It's completely obvious," explained Melinda, who was nearing the bottom of her ale. "If anyone could catch it, nobody would try to score with the Quaffle."

The friar sitting nearest the fire belched loudly. "Then they should get rid of the quaffle altogether. Let the lads just go after the Snitch. I should think all that extraneous scoring gets tiresome. " His drooping eyelids flew open. "Oh, I say," he sputtered in amusement, "I shall have to confess that one to myself, ha ha!"

Their conversation was interrupted by a deafening yell from the trees.

A cheer went up from the company, and Robin of Loxley stepped into the firelight with a massive hart thrown over his shoulder. This he dropped by the fire and then accepted a wooden mug brimming with beer.

"Evenin', y'all!" he called out. "I surely hope y'all are good and ready for some hearty vic'tuals!"

"Aye!" came the response from his friends.

"What did he say?" whispered Melinda to Ron.

"I think he's offering us some more venison," he whispered back.

"Why can't he speak proper English like everyone else in the painting?" she grumbled.

6. On a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon in early spring, Severus Snape, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, sat in his garden at Spinner's End. He was drinking tea with his friend and colleague, Remus Lupin. Lazily, both men sat in their chairs. Between them a small table sat, laden with a tea pot, cream and sugar, cups, a bowl of biscuits, a plate with strawberry cake, and two enormous bars of chocolate. Ah, yes, and two glasses of milk. One was still nearly full, one half empty. Both glasses had visible fingerprints smeared all over them.

"How long before they start fighting, Severus?" the werewolf asked and stole another biscuit from the bowl. They were too delicious to be resisted. Hermione had turned out to be a fabulous baker if she found the time and could be persuaded to leave her books for a little while.

Snape stretched out his long legs, clearly enjoying the sun on his face. "Another few minutes, I would guess," he replied. "In my opinion, they are all too quiet already."

Wiping off a few crumbs from his shirt and taking a sip from his tea, Remus nodded in agreement. They certainly were too quiet. Never a good thing, if children were not to be heard and not to be seen – they usually were up to mischief. Especially those two. "I fear the worst," he said idly. "He might hex her."

Snape snorted dismissively. "As if he could. She's too quick to get herself hexed by your son. But she might find a way to harm him."

"She's five, Severus. No way she can she do more than a bit of toy-wand-waggling. Whereas my son…"

"Your son, wolf, has only a toy-wand for himself, is slow and lazy, gets easily distracted, and tires fast. He has no chance against her."

7. Saturday started out cloudy but warm, so Hermione insisted that they go anyway. After a bit of grumbling, Severus gave in. Truth be told, he had never been to a picnic before and wasn't sure what one did at these things.

They Apparated to the spot on the coast Hermione had chosen. Severus had to admit that it was nice. It wasn't teeming with Muggle families, their screaming children, stalls that were selling ice cream, chips and whatever else they could think of; nor were there flashing announcements for bingo tournaments and other amusements like the beach Lily had told him about — a long time ago, in another life.

This place was completely different. It was a small, secluded bay that offered a spectacular view of the sea. Hermione dashed ahead, dumped the basket onto the sand and unfolded the blanket she had brought. Getting rid of her trainers and socks, she plonked down on it and removed her blouse as well; now she was only wearing shorts and her bikini top.

Severus had followed her more slowly and remained standing at the edge of the blanket. Hermione smiled at him. 'What are you waiting for? Come.'

He stalked over to her and, after removing his shoes and socks as well, sat down next to her. Hermione was already busy, searching through the basket to see if the elves had packed everything she had asked them to. It turned out to be a whole meal, including a bottle of wine. At the bottom of the basket she found another small bottle that had a little giggle escaping her before she quickly put it back.

'What was that?'

8. The café was rather empty, but not to the point of being uncomfortable. The walls were painted a soft salmon colour, and covered in gentle, impressionistic paintings. When she looked up, she saw that the ceiling was painted as well, but it was a soft blue, that of a summer day, with white clouds that actually floated around. The large fireplace on the south wall, to her right, was unlit, and carved into the white marble were rose vines, complete with gray-veined blooms. Round, white marble-topped tables filled the space of the room, giving it a loose, smoothly cluttered look, through which waiters glided. Sunlight filled the small café, invading through large, picture windows which made up most of the back wall, broken only in the middle by an open door.

Through the windows she caught a glimpse of an outside patio surrounded by a high stone wall, in front of which small trees rose and flowers bloomed out of narrow garden beds. It looked idyllic, and almost entirely deserted.

She weaved through the sea of tables and headed through the door into the sunlight.

She was dazzled, and instinctively raised a hand to shield her eyes. As her vision cleared, she blinked a few more times before she could come to terms with what she was looking at. Her mouth fell open.

He was sitting at one of the many small tables, right in front of her. His eyes closed, head tilted back, neck exposed, looking for all the world as though he were just asking her to run her fingers (tongue) over the skin there. And the ghost of a smile on his lips made her want to do Very Naughty Things to him. To him, of all people.

'Where the hell did this come from,' she thought weakly, half panicked, half aroused, and completely aware that this epiphany had been put off for quite some time, and was eager to burst to fruition. A long-ignored and longer-denied infatuation blossomed before her very eyes.

She struggled to move, speak, anything, only to find she had been paralyzed.

9. “How have you been?”

“Fine,” Hermione answers but she is betrayed by the deep circles under her eyes and the frizzy, dry hair tied back in a rough ponytail. “Definitely ready for a peaceful read and a cup of coffee though.”

“Coming right up,” Susan says, moving to work behind the perculator. “You’ll be sitting outside? It’s such a lovely day.”

“It is, isn’t it?” Hermione says looking around at the simply decorated walls. “Through this door?” She goes outside, skin drinking in the warm sun. She is alone out there, free from her job and the stresses of her family. Artie is with Ron this week and Hermione is rather enjoying the freedom. It’s not that she doesn’t love the little bundle of brown curls and freckles, but sometimes it’s just too much and Ron is a perfect father to him.

It’s a pity he wasn’t such a perfect husband, she thinks irritably. She pushes that thought out of her mind and reaches into her case for her well-worn copy of A Handmaid’s Tale.

It’s the first time in ages that she hasn’t read something work-related and it pleases her. Susan brings out her coffee and she relishes in the warm milky taste.

She hears a snort behind her. “Miss Granger, immersed in a book as usual, I see.”

Hermione raises an eyebrow. “Mister Snape.” She inclines her head. It feels so odd to call him that, but she refuses to call him ‘Professor’. She is no longer inferior to him. “I wouldn’t have thought that a café such as this would be to your taste.”

“And what is my taste precisely?” he asks sharply. She ignores him, but uses this time to examine him. The years since Voldemort’s demise have been good to him. He looks less tired, the bags under his eyes have all but gone and his skin is healthier. However, he still has the same yellowed teeth and has not yet discovered shampoo.

10. “Here we are!”

“A picnic.” Severus sneered at the sight before him; a pale blue blanket was laid upon the ground, and a picnic basket was set off to one side, the dishes having already been removed. Cheese, fruit, bread, a variety of meats, a bottle of wine, and two glasses completed the picture.

“Yes, Severus. A picnic.” She beamed at him in her excitement, obviously delighted with her little scheme.

“I do not eat whilst sitting on the ground.”

“You will today.”

He pinched the bridge of his nose, his eyes closing in exasperation. “Hermione, I –”

“You said I could choose the outing, Severus, and I have chosen a picnic. Of course, I could always choose Madam Puddifoot’s for tea, if you’d rather,” she offered cheekily.

His dark eyes narrowed. “Resorting to blackmail, Miss Granger? How very Slytherin of you,” he murmured as he nodded his head toward her in mock approval.

She simply continued to smile at him as she seated herself on the blanket, demurely tucking her legs beneath her. “Come and eat with me. Please.”

With a sigh, Severus acquiesced, carefully lowering his tall frame onto the blanket. He stretched his long legs out in front of him, crossing them at the ankle. His black attire stood out in stark relief against the pale blue of the blanket. Arching an eyebrow at her, he folded his arms across his chest and asked, “Happy now?”

madeleonemadeleone on April 13th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
My answers to: Al Fresco Dining 4/13/12

1. Phoenix Feathers by camillo1978

2. Love's Little Instruction Book by melisande88

3. Forbidden Fruit by Leraiv Snape

4. Matrimony by ladyofthemasque

5. To Make Much of Time by mundungus42

6. Of Fathers And Their Children by chivalric55

7. Seaside Delights by dreamy_dragon73

8. A Thousand Miles by Dahlia

9. Just A Small Wizarding Cafe by Aimee_Beloved

10. Enraptured by sshg316
morethansirius: Unicorn in the forestmorethansirius on April 16th, 2012 03:11 pm (UTC)
Ooooooh, look who knows it all! Such perfection in quiz taking deserves a pretty Hermione picnic banner. You truly are a Quiz Know-it-all!

Leyna Nyxsexi_conejita on April 14th, 2012 04:55 am (UTC)
I've read 1 and 6 so many times just glancing at a line or 2 helps me identify them...Now the rest? *rubs hands gleefully* I see a challenge!
morethansirius: Unicorn in the forestmorethansirius on April 16th, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC)
We hope you had fun on your outdoor feasts with Severus and Hermione. There's nothing like a little fresh air and good food to brighten up a weekend!
puzzlegrrl: Hamster Kisspuzzlegrrl on April 15th, 2012 02:04 am (UTC)
1 Phoenix Feathers by camillo1978
2 Love's Little Instruction Book by melisande88
3 Forbidden Fruit by Leraiv Snape
4 Matrimony by ladyofthemasque
5 To Make Much of Time by mundungus42
6 Of Fathers And Their Children by chivalric55
7 Seaside Delights by dreamy_dragon73
8 A Thousand Miles by Dahlia
9 Just A Small Wizarding Cafe by Aimee_Beloved
10 Enraptured by sshg316

morethansirius: Unicorn in the forestmorethansirius on April 16th, 2012 03:14 pm (UTC)
You are perfect! Oh, yes you are! Knowing all the right answers earns you our pretty Hermione on a picnic banner. You are most definitely a Quiz Know-it-all.

perseveropersevero on April 15th, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
Phoenix Feathers by camillo1978 1
Love's Little Instruction Book by melisande88 2
Forbidden Fruit by Leraiv Snape 3
Matrimony by ladyofthemasque 4
To Make Much of Time by mundungus42 5
Of Fathers And Their Children by chivalric55 6
Seaside Delights by dreamy_dragon73 7
A Thousand Miles by Dahlia 8
Just A Small Wizarding Cafe by Aimee_Beloved 9
Enraptured by sshg316 10
morethansirius: Unicorn in the forestmorethansirius on April 16th, 2012 03:16 pm (UTC)
And it's another perfect score for our little Quiz Know-it-all! Outstanding work such as this deserves recognition with a pretty Hermione on a picnic banner!

perseveropersevero on April 16th, 2012 03:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! By the way, I presume that you are aware that that link for A Thousand Miles goes dead after the first chapter? The version on The Masque is okay.
morethansiriusmorethansirius on April 16th, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
Nope, I was blissfully unaware of the problem with the link. Thanks for letting me know. I've been working hard on getting alternate links for broken ones on past quizzes and here I am putting up new broken links! I've corrected it here and on the answer sheet for future quiz users, whom I'm sure will be grateful to you.
klschmidt1309klschmidt1309 on April 15th, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC)
8 A Thousand Miles by Dahlia
10 Enraptured by sshg316
4 Matrimony by ladyofthemasque
1 Phoenix Feathers by camillo1978
x Dances With Witches by pearle9240 WIP
5 To Make Much of Time by mundungus42
3 Forbidden Fruit by Leraiv Snape
9 Just A Small Wizarding Cafe by Aimee_Beloved
2 Love's Little Instruction Book by melisande88
x Luncheon on the Grass by pigwidgeon37 (SS/HG/LM)
6 Of Fathers And Their Children by chivalric55
7 Seaside Delights by dreamy_dragon73
morethansirius: Unicorn in the forestmorethansirius on April 16th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
You must really love your picnics! That's a perfect score for you, my little Quiz Know-it-all. Such quiz perfection deserves a pretty Hermione on a picnic banner to prove you do indeed know it all!