Heavenly Angel Chapter 7
Severus sat enjoying an afternoon cup of tea on his veranda when Caesar fluttered to his outdoor perch and hooted triumphantly.
“Is everything a great accomplishment for you?” Severus asked as he sipped at his cup.
The owl cocked his head to one side and hooted firmly.
Severus shrugged and retrieved the letter and small parcel from him. This time the stationary was neatly labeled and sealed.
Enclosed is a list of books from my library. I’m afraid you’ll find most of the titles are fairly common.
I apologize for the condition of the mineral book. Once again, I had no idea of its value.
Perhaps you could tell me the proper way to care for a book of such value.
P.S. Would you have a use for a large amount of rosemary? A growth charm of Ginny’s went a bit awry.
Severus was unsure if the last line was meant to have a sarcastic tone or not. He suspected it did.
He tore open the small parcel to find a compacted bundle of rosemary. Severus smiled and rubbed a black orb in a ring weighing down a stack of parchments on his glass table. It glowed slightly and he stopped and sat down, smiling slightly at the list of books she had enclosed.
Not a bad selection. He nodded at a few titles and quirked the corner of his mouth at a few. There were a few he had never heard of before. Odd.
“Is Master needing assistance?” Tinky squeaked from somewhere near his feet. She certainly was quiet.
“Miss has sent a gift,” said Severus handing Tinky the bundle of rosemary. “Please take it to the kitchens.”
“This is high quality,” said the little elf happily as she sniffed the contents of the bundle. “Dinner will be delicious.”
“Good,” said Severus, making a mental note to tell Hermione about the quality of the herbs. “Thank you. Would the estate benefit from a bulk amount?”
“Master?” Tinky asked, looking at him quizzically.
“It seems Miss Weasley had a growth charm go a bit out of control,” said Severus trying to look as if he was studying Hermione’s inventory list. “We have access to a great deal of it.”
“Whatever Miss is willing to give will be used,” promised Tinky. “Rosemary has many uses even when dried.”
“Splendid,” said Severus. “I will owl her shortly.”
“Tinky would suggest sending Aristotle instead of Caesar,” Tinky said as she bowed slightly. “Caesar has been working very hard lately.”
Severus looked at Caesar. He did look a bit lethargic, but would never be one to turn down an assignment. Severus felt a little guilty about not noticing.
“Of course,” said Severus, walking to the perch and scratching the owl. “His performance has been commendable.”
Caesar hooted softly and nipped at Severus’ fingers. He was rarely affectionate, but Severus didn’t complement him much. If he could have swaggered with pride, Severus suspected he might.
“Hello, Aristotle,” Ginny said conversationally to a small black owl the size of Pigwidgeon. “Here for Hermione?”
Ginny wiped her hands on her apron, her hands covered with scented oil. She had gotten a few ideas from a muggle book of Hermiones and decided to experiment with some bath luxuries.
“Hello, Ron!” Hermione’s muffled voice called out from a few rooms away.
“I’m talking to an owl,” Ginny called to Hermione. “He’s not here yet.”
Hermione walked to the kitchen as Ginny unfastened the scroll from around Aristotle’s neck.
“False alarm,” said Ginny. “It’s for me.”
Hermione felt apprehensive. It was probably about the herbs, but it might mention her. Then Ginny would know and Hermione wasn’t really sure what there was to know. She straightened her spine and steeled herself for the worst.
She jumped at a knock at the back door. Ginny set the scroll down and answered it. Hermione relaxed slightly but her eyes stayed on the scroll, now sitting on the kitchen table.
“Luna!” Ginny exclaimed happily.
Hermione perked up as Luna climbed up the step into the cottage, Ginny holding her hand and Ron placing a hand on the small of her back.
“You’d think I was the first witch to conceive,” Luna said, looking slightly annoyed. Hermione stifled a laugh. “Wow, it smells nice in here.”
“Experimenting,” said Ginny gesturing to the table. She and Luna walked over to the small bottles and bowls and Ginny began explaining what she was trying to do.
“How’s Cranky?” Ron asked Hermione under his breath as he hugged her hello.
“He’s a bastard,” Hermione scowled, thinking of his last letter and how he had replied to Ginny and not her.
“Already?” Ron asked chuckling and breaking their embrace.
Hermione shrugged and turned to Luna and Ginny. Ginny’s back was to Hermione and Luna was facing her, sniffing the contents of a small bottle Ginny was holding. She smiled slightly at Hermione over Ginny’s shoulder.
“Doesn’t seem to think much of my book handling,” said Hermione, still annoyed.
Ron shook his head grinning.
“What is so funny?” Hermione asked, as quietly as she could.
“Freaks,” he stated simply as his smile widened. She smacked him on the arm.
“What are you two doing?” Ginny asked, turning around.
“Beating each other up,” said Ron as if this were a perfectly acceptable answer. He walked over to his sister and kissed her cheek. “Now it’s your turn.”
“Oh goody,” said Ginny smacking him lightly on the arm.
“I can’t believe your mother decided to have seven of you,” Luna said, shaking her head.
“Neither can we,” said Ron.
“But we’re mighty glad she did,” said Ginny reaching out to touch Luna’s stomach. She was rewarded with a tiny kick. Luna winced slightly.
“Is it really that bad?” Ginny grimaced.
“It gets tiring,” said Luna.
“You should go sit in the parlor,” said Ron. “Hermione and I will bring tea.”
“It takes two to make tea?” Hermione asked and was rewarded with Ron’s foot on hers. She was wearing sandals and bit the inside of her bottom lip so she didn’t cry out. She pinched him on the lower back and he quickly moved.
“Excellent idea,” said Ginny, completely oblivious. Luna smiled slightly.
Ginny shuffled her sister-in-law into the parlor talking about babies and the adorable clothing she had seen on her last trip to Diagon Alley.
“You told Luna!” Hermione accused Ron once Ginny and Luna were out of earshot.
“She’s my wife,” Ron said holding both hands up. “Can’t keep a secret from my wife!”
Hermione thought for a moment and nodded reluctantly.
“Fair enough,” she said and reached for a wooden box full of tea bags.
Ron filled a black angular tea pot with water. Hermione placed a few tea bags in it and flicked at it with her wand. Steam began trickling out of the spout. He placed it on a black mirror polished tray and went to the cupboard with biscuits in it.
“You tell her everything?” Hermione asked, a bit unbelieving.
“She’s my wife,” said Ron.
“Astronomy tower Seventh Year?” Hermione challenged.
“Did it herself with Marcus O’Grady her Sixth Year,” Ron shot back with a firm nod.
Hermione found herself laughing. She leaned back, halfway sitting on the counter and looked at Ron. Ron placed the biscuits on the tray and folded his arms.
“What?” Ron asked.
“We thought we were so clever,” said Hermione.
“Apparently we were taking part in a long Hogwarts tradition,” Ron said, shaking his head. His eyes fell on the scroll to Ginny and he turned his head slightly. “Isn’t that Snape’s writing?”
“Yes,” said Hermione.
“Why is it to Ginny?”
“I assume it’s about the rosemary.”
“Is it about anything else?”
“How would I know? Does it look opened to you?”
“Well then,” said Ron as he reached for it.
“What are you doing?” Hermione hissed.
“Snooping,” said Ron as he broke the seal.
“You can’t do that!” Hermione said, her eyebrows raised.
“Of course I can,” Ron said as he read the letter. He rolled it back up, pointed his wand at it and said: “Repairo.”
Hermione tried not to laugh out loud and gave him a shocked look.
“Have you no shame?” Hermione choked out.
“Nope,” said Ron, a satisfied look on his face.
“Well?” Hermione asked.
“Well what?” Ron asked innocently, selecting teacups and placing them on the tray.
“You know perfectly well what,” Hermione said, lowering her eyebrows and fingering her wand meaningfully.
“He thanked her for the rosemary and says the house elves will take all they can get,” Ron said shaking his head. “He also gave her the name of an apothecary in Hogsmede that might want to take some off her hands. You are paranoid, you know.”
Hermione felt her shoulders relax. He was right. She let out a tired laugh.
“You’re right,” Hermione said. “Don’t know why I’m being so silly. Come on, they’re waiting.”
Ron shook his head and smiled at her back as she left the kitchen. He picked the tray up and followed her to the parlor. She was better off not knowing the rest of it.
He didn’t have to tell her anything. He wasn’t married to her.
Thank you for the rosemary. The house elves were delighted with the gift and assure me it has many household uses. It made an excellent addition to my kitchens.
(Ginny was stunned. Not only was he polite, he praised her. He must be feeling ill. Perhaps properties of the rosemary had been altered in some way.)
Mr. Darrien Oswold, a dear friend of mine and owner of Oswold’s Herbs in Hogsmede may be interested in some as well, if you’re interested in making some extra money. I assure you he is fair in his prices.
(Ginny raised her eyebrows. She had never thought of just selling it as it was. The effects of the spell had finally worn off, but she had ended up with seven good size bails of rosemary. Thank God she could unload it.)
I know you are Hermione’s dearest friend and your opinion matters to her. She has not written of any disapproval on your part, so I thank you for not attempting to end our courtship.
(Ginny choked on the tea she was drinking. She was sitting up in bed, reading her mail and newspapers before she went to sleep. She was glad she hadn’t been reading it in front of Hermione. Her eyes began devouring the rest of Snape’s correspondence.)
I know our age difference is considerable, but in our later wizarding years I don’t believe it will be seen as so strange.
My feeling towards Hermione are honorable. I have been hesitant in meeting with her physically because I don’t want to pressure her into what I have been told passes for muggle courting. I intend to treat her as a lady, always, and will observe the Wizarding traditions of courtship.
(Ginny rose and walked to her desk. Hermione’s parents would never understand. Ginny hoped she could convince him to tone it down a bit before he did anything rash. Good Lord, what a piece of gossip. Well, she certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone.)
I will owl Oswold if you’re interested in selling him any herbs. I don’t know how much rosemary, or anything else you have at your disposal.
~ Severus Snape
Ginny pulled out a quill and began scribbling on a piece of blank parchment.
What a mess.