Hermione handed a small sheet of paper to the tattoo artist. He looked at it, expressing no recognition at the design -- a skull with a snake in its mouth.
The speakers quavered at the low and staticky electro-pulse of the bass.
Harry kicked his leg up to the top of the vanity table. He pulled tight the bootlaces, the taut leather gripping his calf. With a smile at himself in the mirror, he tied them off.
A vocal line droned above the beat, echoing against the glass of an upstairs window.
Ron stuffed his hands in his pockets and leaned back on the brick wall. He slid the sole of his foot against the pebbly mortar. A man walking by looked away from him.
The sound came from behind her as she relaxed into the chair. The man, much older than Hermione, examined his needles. She exhaled. Her sleeve was rolled up, exposing the soft white skin.
The girl groaned and rolled in the sheets as Harry turned the volume knob higher. He went to the bed and lifted her face to him by the chin. She was still out of it. With his thumb he smeared her lipstick.
The increase in tempo excited Ron's already fidgety nerves. He pushed himself off the wall by his shoulders. Slouching his way to the corner, he took up a position, spacing his feet a bit wider than needed. He stared into the face of every passerby, his eyes vacant beneath his hood.
A machine-made whip crack drowned out Hermione's gasp. She bit her lip but watched intently as the needle did its work. The pain was quite a different sensation than what she was used to and caused her to press her legs together.
Harry laughed mirthlessly at the lyrical wail as he rummaged through the girl's pocketbook. He didn't see anything of interest except a few notes which he crumpled into his pocket.
The muffled bass became painful to Ron's ears as the car window rolled down. He put his hand on the roof and lowered his head to the crack.
Hermione felt feverish and began to mistake the buzz of the electric needle for the distortion of the music.
The song was trailing off as Harry unsnapped a small leather wristguard from the girl's limp arm and let the limb drop to the bed with a thud. He traced a finger over the bite mark he had left on her breast, then headed for the door.
Ron hopped into the back seat and slammed the door behind him. The noise receded as the car sped off, leaving behind the silent, empty corner.
Severus Snape took off his earphones and let them hang around his neck. He searched the shelf for another record. He had heard this song before.