August 29, 1998
"You okay, Hermy?"
Hermione Granger looked up from arranging her clothes and gave her father a faint smile.
"I'n fine, dad. No need to worry about me."
Mr. Granger looks at his daughter for a moment, gauging her, before he nods his understanding.
"I have to go, your mum is waiting in the car."
"Okay. Okay. Bye, dad. Have a safe trip," she closes the space between them and gives him a tight hug. He laughs, surprised, but returns the hug with equal vigor.
"You're going to be okay, Hermy. I know it."
Hermione sniffled softly. "I know. I just- I just have to get used to not being with you and mum all the time."
Her dad chortles. "Hermione. You know you can just send us a text message or call us anytime, right? We'll always be there for you."
Hermione beams and steps away from his embrace. "Thank you, dad. Tell mum I love her, alright?"
Mr. Granger pats her head affectionately. "Consider it done."
A few hours later found Hermione alone in her room. Her roommate had not arrived yet, and the other half of the room looked eerily empty.
Fiddling with the buttons on the radio she found in an empty cabinet, she tried to recall the frequency of the school's radio station written on a flyer that she had spotted in the hallway as she walked by earlier.
Deciding that a walk in the hallway wasn't really worth it, she gave up and twisted the dial around randomly, hoping for some kind of signal. Static filled the room.
And then there it was - the faint sound of music overlapped by static. Another turn and - yes!
Hermione sat back and looked at the radio happily, listening to the soft crooning coming out of it. Two songs had ended and the third began before she stopped swaying and roused herself to change into sleepwear and prepare for bed.
Humming along, Hermione picked up the radio and set it on the bedside table, ready to lie down when the music faded out.
"Ladies and gentlemen, that was the The Corrs with their new single What Can I Do and the last song with me tonight." Hermione shivered. It was a man speaking. And he had the most deliciously sexy voice she had ever heard in her whole life. Rich, silky and smooth, the tone lilting ever so lightly and his words spoken at a casual drawl that definitely did not have an arrogance in them, she was drawn to the voice like a moth to the flame. She drew the radio closer to her.
"The time is 9:26 in the evening. This is DJ Toby, wishing you well on the second night of the official campus opening. Good luck and good night."
The music resumed but Hermione found herself entranced, wanting to hear more of that rich silky voice that had her so enraptured.
She wanted to find him, but the moment passed and she fell back on the bed with a sigh. That night, she dreamed of the silky voice whispering in her ear.
September 19, 1998
And so while other people celebrated their birthday with lots of shebang, Hermione found herself sitting on her bed, her legs covered in the soft comforter, the radio sat beside her on the bed, a book open in her lap. She was holding a plate with a huge slice of chocolate cake, immersed in studying the upcoming lessons.
Her parents had visited earlier that day and had taken her out for lunch in a casual restaurant to celebrate her nineteenth birthday. It was nice, but Hermione had expressed her wish for a quiet night and while her parents looked worried, she laughed it off and told them she just wanted a day off.
When DJ Toby's voice came on the speakers at exactly half past six, she raised her head from her reading, plopped the plate of cake down on the bedside table and sat the radio on top of the open book.
Days had passed of her waiting on bated breath for when DJ Toby came on the radio. After the first week on campus, she had finally discerned his schedule. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 6:30 to 9:30 in the evening, his voice was always there, talking in her ear. Her roommate, a girl named Lavender Brown, was now used to the strange bookworm hogging the radio in the evenings and had taken to blocking the music out by watching TV shows in her laptop.
Hermione turned the volume up and listened to his voice intently, the book and cake forgotten.
Hermione paced in the middle of the room, the radio sitting on the bed. Lavender had been giving her annoyed looks ever since she started pacing approximately four minutes ago, wringing out her hands and muttering underneath her breath. But now, Lavender couldn't take it any longer.
"Hermione, I know it's your birthday and everything but you're really disturbing me now. What's the problem?" She desperately tried to keep the annoyance out of her voice, but when it did come out, she found that she didn't care at all.
Hermione stopped pacing and turned to face the girl. "I am debating on whether to do something or not."
"Well? What about?" Lavender prompted when Hermione didn't say anything else.
Hermione sucked in a deep breath. "Well, I've been listening to this DJ from the school campus for a couple of weeks now and well, I really, really want to meet him."
Lavender looked at Hermione in surprise. "Huh."
"What?" Hermione asked, conscious of the way Lavender was looking at her.
Lavender blinked and then shook her head, letting out a laugh. "Nothing. It's just, the way you're constantly snuggling on your bed with a book, I never thought you'd actually like someone."
When Hermione just stared, Lavender shook her head and placed her laptop down, standing up so they were face-to-face.
"Okay. If you really like this guy, then what's stopping you from going out there right now, stop him from walking away, holding out your hand to introduce yourself and actually meet the guy you've been virtually snuggling with for two weeks?" She asked, eyeing the radio sat at Hermione's bed.
Hermione continued to stare. Lavender sighed and snapped her fingers in front of the girl's face. "Decide now, Hermione."
Drawing in a quick breath, she made a brash, split-second decision and nodded her head vigorously, yelling out a "Yes!" even as she grabbed her sweater. She pulled on jeans as fast as she could and grabbed her dorm keys. After hurriedly putting on shoes and giving a wave to Lavender's yelled "Good luck!", she sprinted out of the dormitory, heading to where she knew the direction of the school's radio station was located.
She jogged as fast as her legs would carry her, the name Toby running in circles around her mind, his voice in her ear whispering softly.
She didn't know what came over her, and Hermione didn't want to really know, but she was sure that something life changing was definitely about to happen.
There it was, the radio station. She slowed to a stop and bent down, panting breathlessly. God, it felt like her lungs were coming out of her ribs, she thought. It was idiotic and reckless and she didn't know if this was a good idea, but she'd never felt more alive standing there, her breath coming in short pants and a huge stitch on her side, waiting, waiting and hoping that she hadn't missed him out yet.
She ran the last few steps, bumping into a person in her haste. She looked up briefly, taking in the hooked nose and the limp black hair and the black clothes and god - those eyes are captivating.
She mumbled an apology moved on. She opened the door and there it was. The space where the disc jockeys did their job and played music for the audience. She knocked frantically on the door and it opened immediately.
"Did you forget anyth-" the person stopped, confused. "You're not Professor Snape."
Hermione shook her head, both to the boy's question and her dismay. "No. No, I'm not. But I need your help."
The boy's hair was a white blond, it was almost blinding. "Help?"
"I want to know who the last DJ was," she said in a rush. "I think his name was Toby."
The boy's confusion morphed to suspiscion. "Why?"
"Look, I'm not going to hurt him or anything alright. I just-" she took in a deep breath. "I want him."
"What?!" The boy's expression now morphed to incredelousness.
Oh god, what?! Did she really just say that? Hermione floundered around. "No, no. I want him... to... to teach me, yes! On how to be a great DJ just like him!"
"Huh." The boy leaned against the doorway. "You know, I've been here longer than Prof-"
"Look." Hermione cut in impatiently. "I just want to meet the man, alright? So if you could kindly point me in the right direction that would be very helpful...?" She gestured wildly.
"Malfoy. Draco Malfoy." The boy sighed. Hermione took a moment to reflect on the ridiculousness of the name before he continued. "And DJ Toby is right behind you, miss."
Oh god, how mortifying, she thought before spinning on her heel. There he was, the man she had bumped earlier, his arms crossed, his feet shoulder-width apart, his eyebrows cocked good humouredly.
"Thank you, Draco. I'll take it from here, Miss...?" And there it was, oh god, oh there it was. His voice was now huskier and the lilting tone more defined without the disruption from the radio waves.
"Hermione. Hermione Jean Granger," she supplied shakily. She groaned internally. Who the hell includes their middle name during social introductions?
Toby must have been thinking the same thing and now the corner of his lips tilted upwards. And oh god - Hermione could barely stifle the groan that tried to escape. His lips were made of little bows and dips and all she wanted to do was cross the space between them and touch and explore all of him; with his velvet voice and his raised eyebrow, his supple mouth and his intense eyes.
Hermione closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, trying to understand this unhealthy attraction with a stranger she'd met five seconds ago. He was by no means conventionally handsome, but considering that she fell in love with his voice first...
Where had that come from?
She was screwed. Definitely.
"Well, Miss Granger-"
"Hermione," she blurted out. "Please, call me Hermione."
A raised eyebrow and a quirk of the lips came from the man in front of her. "Hermione, then."
She took a step closer. "What about you? Who are you?"
He uncrossed his arms and placed his hands in his front pockets. "If you must know, I'm Pro-" An unsure expression crossed his face but it was almost gone immediately, she wondered if she had thought it up. "I'm Severus Snape."
"Severus. Hi." She held out her hand. Severus accepted the handshake, the amused expression never wavering.
"I heard you wanted me... to teach you how to be a DJ?"
Hermione flushed. Well, he obviously heard her slip up earlier.
The boy from the doorway spoke up. "I tried to tell her I've been doing this longer than you, Snape. Obviously, I'm more experienced than you are, but she won't listen to reason." The boy shook his head, his expression mockingly sad.
Severus gave him a glare. "Then do your job properly and go in there," he growled.
Draco gave a mock salute and closed the door behind him. They watched him slump down on the seat through the window.
"I'm sorry about him." Severus rumbled.
Hermione chuckled. "He's fine."
"So, would you fancy a midnight snack with me?" Severus asked, holding out an arm.
Hermione beamed. "Absolutely."