A/N: Quick little one-shot to celebrate Hermione's birthday.
He was at a complete loss. Today was his... Hermione's birthday and he'd been wracking his brains since dawn as to what to give her. They had been... involved for nearly nine months now – nine highly enjoyable, surprising, infuriating, intoxicating, regular-sex-having months – and he was about to destroy it all because he couldn't come up with a single, suitable gift idea. This is why he hated birthdays – hated, despised, loathed birthdays.
He threw an owl-order catalog into the fire. It hadn't contained one usable idea in all its glossy pages. There simply had to be a solution. But what?
A book? Yes, she loved books. She owned hundreds of them. But did a book really promote the "I'd like to continue shagging you for the next foreseeable future" sentiment he was wishing to convey? More than likely not. A pity, really, because he could shop for books for days, but the aforementioned sentiment was a decidedly important one.
Lingerie. Lingerie would qualify under such parameters. But then he'd be forced to go into one of those places, would have to speak to those sort of women, would have to make embarrassing and very likely inaccurate assumptions about the witch's measurements, and would have to endure the looks that he knew he'd receive – looks of pity, of mockery. He unequivocally refused to suffer through that sort of ordeal.
So what else? What else was there? Jewelry? Did "nearly nine months" require such a complicated offering? Surely not. She never wore jewelry, anyway, outside of that delicate little chain around her equally delicate ankle, which taunted him whenever he was lucky enough to visually feast upon her bare legs. Bare legs... bare knees... bare thighs...
He growled and threw another useless catalog in the crackling flames. He had to stay on track. There was very little time in which to make a decision, act upon said decision, and hopefully prevent the untimely end of his recent, highly improbable happiness.
It really shouldn't be this bloody difficult. He was an educated, mature man. Why the hell couldn't he figure this out? Better yet, why couldn't the blasted woman just tell him what it was that she wanted and where, exactly, he could find it? Didn't that make far more sense than this utter stupidity?
He had been a good sport when she had asked him what he wanted for Christmas. His answer had been short and simple. Easy, really. "You, naked." And he had been deliriously excited when she had given him just what he had asked for. Nothing complicated. No games, no tricks, no tests, and no self-induced insanity.
What had she given him for his birthday, the one she had insisted they celebrate despite his wish to ignore its existence? Ah, yes, that ingenious coupon book of hers, promising all manners of dirty little deeds. How he had enjoyed that. He was quite sure that she hadn't expected him to redeem all twenty-four "love tickets" in one weekend, but redeem them he did.
Could he reinvent that idea? Write out a few dozen acts he wished to perform on her? Probably not. She'd surely consider it far less endearing than he had.
Damn it all to hell! This time it was his tumbler of whiskey that got thrown against the soot-laden bricks.
Just as the alcohol-induced flare-up had resumed its previous, softly flickering state, the door to his study was flown open and the object of his mental tirade stormed into the room, her hair wild and her eyes tired. Without a word, she crossed the room to the sofa he was perched upon and prostrated herself across his lap.
He couldn't help but grin. "Bad day?"
"The absolute worst," she replied with a grimace. "Started at six o'clock this morning when Mum thought it'd be a good idea to call and wake me up with a birthday serenade."
"Your mother has a lovely singing voice."
She ignored this downright outlandish lie. "Then Louise charmed all my quills to shoot off confetti every time I tried to get any work done, which wasn't often seeing how every bloody person in the entire department had to stop in and tell me happy birthday and the other hundreds of people at the Ministry felt the need to send me a memo."
He laughed and she scowled at him. "Have you ever been bombarded by an entire flock of paper airplanes? It was a nightmare!"
"But an easily incinerated one."
"And last, but certainly not least," she continued, as if he hadn't said a thing, "Harry and Ron took me out for a celebratory lunch."
"They are your friends," he reminded her in the tone he reserved especially for pointing out such spectacular lapses in judgement on her part.
"Right, friends. Is that what you'd call people who give you not one, but two exploding presents? Or invite the entire pub to join in on a rousing chorus of 'For She's A Jolly Good Witch'?" She shook her head irritably. "You were right, Severus. Birthdays are horrible, horrible things."
He smirked. "So you came all the way out here, during the middle of a work day, to tell me what I already knew?"
She playfully punched his chest. "No, you arse. I came here because I don't want to hear the word birthday for the rest of the day. No cards, no gifts, no parties, no singing, no fancy dinners, nothing. I just want to pretend that today is just another day. Can we do that?"
He nodded slowly, so as not to give away how excited this prospect made him. "If that's what you want, pet. Not much of a celebration though."
"This—" She kissed him soundly on the lips. "—is the only celebration I have any interest in."
A much relieved smile furled across his normally sour features as the witch tucked her head under his chin and sighed in contentment. He decided to leave worrying about her present, which she'd most certainly want eventually, for another day.