DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter is not mine, nor are any of the characters in this story, and no copyright infringement is intended. etc etc.

Warnings: Very very mild femslash (gets less mild in ensuing chapters!) and a little moderately strong language.

A/N: This one is a bit AU I guess, only because I don't think they had ipods in nineties when Harry Potter takes place. It just didn't seem the same with a CD player...yeah, I have no excuses.

Earphones

It was the second day of the new term, and all the Gryffindors were gathered in the common room, playing games and catching up with friends. Hermione, however, sat at the end of a couch, textbooks and scrolls of parchment covering the whole table in front of her. On her lap was a strange white box connected by a string to an equally strange white headband with fat circular things on each end covering most of her ears. Ginny sat curled up at the opposite end of the couch, ostensibly reading her History of Magic book.

In fact, she was watching Hermione surreptitiously, and had been for the past one and a half hours. Occasionally Hermione would look down at the box in her lap and stroke and prod at it, and then return to her work as though she were satisfied with the results of her prodding. The only thing was, Ginny couldn't see the box doing anything at all, no matter how hard she looked. The strange headband with the ear circles didn't seem to do anything either.

"Hermione, what is that thing?" she asked when her curiosity finally overwhelmed her. Hermione made no response except to turn the page in the book in front of her and begin underlining a passage in orange ink.

"Hermione!" Ginny stretched out her leg and prodded her friend in the side with her stocking foot.

At this Hermione looked up and flipped one of the circles off her ear. "Yeah, what?" She seemed to have not noticed that this was the second time Ginny had called her name.

"I said, what is that thing? It doesn't do anything, but you keep touching it, and you've had that band-thing on your head since I came down here!"

Hermione laughed. "It's called an ipod; it plays music. Want to listen?" she asked, taking off the headband with its attached ear-things and handing it to Ginny. Ginny gingerly took it and put it on her head the way Hermione had had it on. To her surprise, she found that the pads that covered her ears were still warm from Hermione's body heat, and she smiled. Then Hermione stroked the box again, and all of a sudden a cascading drum beat filled Ginny's head. She snatched the headband off in shock and eyed it suspiciously.

"That was cool, but really weird….how does the music get into the eye-pod? And how does it get into my head?" She handed the headband back to Hermione and eyed her questioningly.

"It would take too long to explain how the music gets into it to a non-muggle…" Hermione started apologetically. "My mom doesn't even understand it, and she's about as muggle as they come. It's kind of like the radio, except not really."

Ginny nodded. They had a wizarding radio at the Burrow, and though it was much bigger, Ginny knew from her father that muggles were ingenious at making devices to do everything for them.

Hermione continued to explain, tilting the box to let Ginny see it better. "Here's the screen, it shows you a list of all the songs you can hear, and these are the earphones. The sound comes form them, not from inside your head." She pointed at the headband with the ear-circles.

"But if it's a muggle machine, then how does it work in Hogwarts?" asked Ginny.

"Well, that part took a bit work," admitted Hermione, blushing. By "a bit of work" she probably meant weeks of research and who knows what else.

"Basically, I just had to make it run off magic instead of electricity, and then it works fine. I've had since Christmas to work it out, so once I got here where we're able to do magic again, it was pretty easy to do." She explained matter-of-factly.

"That's really cool, Hermione," said Ginny. "Now that they see yours, all the muggle-born students will want you to do one for them!"

"Yeah, tell me about it. Dean says he has one he uses at home; now he wants his mother to owl it to him so I can fix it up." Hermione rolled her eyes and slipped the earphones back onto her head, and both girls returned to their reading.

Ginny read one immensely dry paragraph of the text, and then returned to her previous activity—scrutinizing Hermione.

The ear-circles – no, earphones – didn't cover Hermione's whole ear. There was a small corner of earlobe that remained exposed, right where her ear joined her head. Ginny found herself unable to ignore it. It looked so soft and vulnerable, compared to the rest of the ear which was hidden under the hard earphone, and just begged to be kissed. What? No it didn't, Ginny told herself. It begged no such thing. And it was not cute. Right…not cute at all, and certainly not sexy. No, not in any way.

Ginny looked back down at her book, but felt her gaze inextricably pulled back toward Hermione. She had stroked the front of the box again, and now she was bobbing her head rhythmically and mouthing words to herself. Ginny gave up on History of Magic and settled back into her corner of the couch to watch Hermione. Why did she have to be so pretty? And why did she have to study in such an overtly sexy way? The soft earlobe-corner was calling out to Ginny again. It wanted to be kissed, and nibbled, and licked….Ginny looked around the common room to see if anyone else had was being affected by the extreme sexiness that was emanating from the other side of the couch. The rest of the students, however, were totally oblivious, carrying on with their conversations as if nothing at all were happening.

Ginny marveled at them, and then turned back to her book. She watched Hermione over the cover, enthralled. Suddenly, she couldn't contain herself any longer. She launched herself across the couch to Hermione's side, and attached her lips to the exposed bit of ear, sucking it gently. Just as fast, reality hit her, and she realized what she was doing. Almost before Hermione had had a chance to react, Ginny had shot across to the other end of the couch, pressing her hand against her mouth.

"Hermione, I'm so sorry, I don't know what came over me!" she babbled incoherently. Oh shit oh shit oh shit that was soooooo not ok. What was I thinking?

Hermione had stopped bobbing her head, and look slightly flushed. She turned toward Ginny and arched one brow. "You were saying?"

Ginny was even more flustered. "Your ear, it was just sticking out like that, distracting me, and I couldn't help it…I'm really sorry, Hermione, that was way out of line!"

Hermione pushed the earphones off her head and abandoned the ipod, moving over to Ginny's end of the couch. "So you're saying that you just accidentally kissed my ear, without meaning to, just because it was there?"

"Yeah, basically, and with the earphones it was just impossible not to…" Ginny trailed off, embarrassed.

"Well, then, I'll just have to wear earphones around you more often, then." Hermione proclaimed decisively, with a satisfied smirk, and she slid back to her side of the couch and deliberately placed them again over her ears.

-fin-

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