Heavenly Angel Chapter 9
Ginny appeared in the fireplace of her parlor and made a run for it. She tripped over a small stool and swore, but tried not to let it slow her down.
She was barely out of the room before Hermione popped into the fireplace in a burst of green flame.
“I’m going to kill you!” Hermione roared and started off after the sound of Ginny’s pounding feet. She heard Ginny let out a wicked cackle and slam the door to her room.
There was no getting to her now, the door had surely been magically reinforced.
Hermione growled in frustration and headed for the kitchen.
She was trying to see how much noise she could possibly make while trying to make a cup of tea when the back door banged open and Ron walked in. She was so startled she dropped her teacup and it shattered on the floor.
“Repairo,” Ron said, pointing his wand at the shards of porcelain. They whisked back together and Hermione picked up her restored teacup. “Jumpy?”
“What did that letter say?” Hermione narrowed her eyes at Ron.
“I think I hear Luna calling me,” lied Ron as he tried to back out of the door. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as close as he thought it was.
“You hold it right there,” said Hermione whipping out her wand and hitting him with a leg-locker curse.
Ron yelped as he fell backwards to the floor and he fumbled with his own wand, trying to remove the curse.
“Hermione,” Ron pleaded as she held him at wand point, a scowl plastered across her face. “For crying out loud. He said his intentions to you were honorable and he thanked Ginny for not interfering.”
Hermione looked at him as if she expected him to continue.
“Besides the bit about rosemary, that was it,” Ron said, holding his hands above his head, from his position on the floor. She swished her wand and removed the curse.
“You couldn’t keep it from her forever,” said Ron. “I found out with a bit of prodding and I don’t even live here.”
“I guess you’re right,” Hermione said, turning back to her tea.
Momentarily she had a cup for both her and Ron, who had picked himself off the floor and had slid into a chair near the kitchen table. He took the cup from her with a nod and rubbed a bump on his head.
“Sorry,” Hermione said, grinning into her cup.
“Apologies don’t count if you don’t mean it,” said Ginny, grinning mischievously as she entered the kitchen. Hermione scowled at her, most of her frustration already taken out on Ron.
“Bugger off,” Hermione muttered as she sipped at her tea. Both Weasley’s burst out laughing.
“Have you at least figured out what’s expected of you under the Old Customs?” Ron laughed.
“Not a lot,” Hermione admitted. “Except for looking pretty, making conversation, and being polite.”
“That’s pretty much it,” Ron said. “At least on your end.”
“Is Snape really that well off?” Ginny asked, her face screwed up. “It can really get expensive, courting under the Old Ways.”
“He’s well off,” Hermione said. “I doubt a few presents will break him.”
“I don’t think you have any idea,” said Ron, looking a bit concerned.
“I think we’ll find out soon enough,” Ginny said, getting a cup of tea for herself. “You might want to prepare your parents.”
“I haven’t figured out how to tell them,” Hermione admitted. “It might be a bit of a shock.”
“Figure it out,” said Ron. “Trust me.”
Daniel Granger was enjoying the newspaper in the comfort of his living room when there was a knock at the door. Dark wood paneling covered the cozy room he was in and three soft, dark colored chairs sat near a small fireplace. A small window was letting in what was left of the sitting sun and Daniel would probably be closing the curtains within the hour. His leather slippers slid over the full green carpet covering the floor of the room as he rose. His reading glasses perched on his nose and his favorite was clenched in his teeth, the sweet small of pipe tobacco filling the den air.
“I’ll get it, Dear,” Jane Grangers voice called out. She would have let him get if her hands were full. That meant the chicken was in the oven and the countdown to dinner had begun.
She had approached middle age well. She had gotten a bit rounder; her face capable of more emotion, but her long tangle of curls had stayed. Most days, like today she had it braided to keep it from bothering her.
Mr. Granger settled back down in his chair and looked up to see his wife showing Severus Snape in. Mr. Granger and Snape had met during Hermione’s work in the Order.
Mr. Granger’s dark brown hair had yet to show any signs of graying. His dark brown eyes crinkled at the corners as Snape walked in.
As his student, Hermione didn’t like Snape, although she claimed he was very efficient. When they had worked in the Order together she had called him competent. Sometimes Mr. Granger wondered who was the professor and who was the student.
“Sir,” Snape began with a short bow. Mr. Granger wondered what on earth was with the formality. He wondered if something had happened to Hermione. He took off his glasses and folded his paper.
“Has something happened?” Mr. Granger blurted out. He probably should not have done it in the presence of his wife, from the stricken look on her face.
“No, Sir,” Snape said, looking a little taken aback. What on earth was wrong with the man? “Hermione is fine. I saw her this afternoon.”
“Oh,” said Mr. Granger, settling his nerves a little. “Well, good then.”
“How can we help you, Professor Snape?” Mrs. Granger asked politely. “Would you like something to drink?”
“No, thank you,” said Snape automatically, afterwards thinking a glass of water might be nice.
“I’d like some tea,” said Mr. Granger, hopefully. He was supposed to be cutting back on his caffeine intake, but hoped his wife would make an exception since they had company.
“That’s nice,” Mrs. Granger said as she walked out of the room. Well, that answered that. Daniel shot her an annoyed look.
“Well, have a seat,” Mr. Granger said to Snape, motioning to a chair near him.
“Thank you,” said Snape, perching on the very edge of the chair. He reached into his cloak and brought out a long thin box. “This is for you, Sir.”
“Really?” Mr. Granger asked, reaching for the box. He was quite fond of wizarding things.
He opened the box and he gaped at the contents. Shining in a rainbow of metallic colors was a complete dental set. In titanium.
“Good Lord,” Mr. Granger said as her reached for a pick and examined it, taking his glasses off and squinting at it. “These are incredible.”
Snape felt a little relieved. One present down, one to go. Perhaps her mother would be just as pleased and the whole thing would be done easily.
Mrs. Granger walked back into the den, wheeling a tea service, to Mr. Granger’s delight. He noticed the tea packets were non-caffeinated and there was no sugar. He suspected the milk was non-fat. He made a face at her, but she ignored him.
“What are those?” Mrs. Granger asked, peering at the new tools.
“Look at this,” Mr. Granger said, passing the box to her. “Ever seen anything like it?”
“They’re beautiful,” Mrs. Granger said and was surprised to see Snape pulling another box out of his robes and handing it to her.
She handed the tools back to Mr. Granger and let him serve tea as she opened her box.
Mr. Granger watched lights dance off her face as light was reflected out of the box. Her face showed surprise as she carefully reached in. She brought out a light colored metal necklace that jingled as she lifted it. By the sounds in the box, there were other pieces of jewelry to compliment it.
“Thank you,” Mrs. Granger breathed. “But I have to ask, what’s the occasion?”
Snape felt the blood drain out of his face. It was now or never.
He took a deep breath.
Then he fainted.
Snape began thinking something was wrong, even as he regained consciousness. He tried to force his fingers to his wand, but it didn’t seem to be on him. He froze and listened for any sound in the room. This could be very bad. What had hit him?
“I think he’s coming around,” he heard a familiar voice say.
“About time,” he heard another voice snigger. “I thought we might have to take him to St. Mungo’s.”
Snape relaxed. Whoever these people were, they seemed to be interested in keeping him well and alive. His eyelids fluttered open and he saw Ginny and Ron Weasley watching him.
“Where am I?” Snape asked, rubbing his head.
“Hermione’s old bedroom in her parent’s house,” Ron said. “Drink some water.”
Snape took a glass of water from Ginny and sipped at it. He winced a little and looked at his surroundings. A poster of Viktor Krum scowled at him. Someone had drawn daisies coming out of his ears and a peace sign on his forehead. He blinked to make sure his eyes were working properly. Apparently they were.
The room seemed to be decorated in white with pastel accents. He felt as if he were trapped inside an Easter egg.
“What hit me?” Snape asked. Perhaps it was all an illusion.
“The floor,” said Ginny. He wondered how long she had planned to say that and how long it had taken her to think of it. He hoped she didn’t think she was too terribly clever.
“The floor,” he said evenly. Not an illusion.
“Hermione’s mum asked you what the presents were for and you fainted,” Ron said, looking a little embarrassed.
Snape shot him a severe look.
“You did,” Hermione’s voice drifted in behind the Weasleys. She looked at Snape over Ron’s shoulder. “You’re lucky mum had an owl handy. She didn’t know if she should take you to a muggle hospital and had to get a hold of us.”
“How fortunate,” Snape said dryly. What an impression. For a moment he considered hitting them all with a memory charm.
“You’re lucky,” said Ron. “Hermione explained everything to her parents and you don’t even have to.”
“Did she now?” Snape noticed Hermione had disappeared as fast as she had appeared.
“Well, they were a bit confused,” Ginny said gently. “You showed up unannounced, with presents, and proceeded to faint at their feet when confronted with tea. We had to tell them something.”
“Jane really likes the jewelry, by the way,” said Ron. “I think you may have already won her over.”
Snape felt a bit better, although still uncomfortable. His jacket and cape had been removed; his cuffs and collar had been unbuttoned. He felt practically naked in just his shirt, vest, and trousers.
“I’m still alive so I suspect she restrained Hermione’s father,” Snape said, flinging the pink fluffy coverlet off him. He scowled at the delicate white lace edging, as if it were contagious.
“Don’t you dare move,” Mrs. Granger insisted as she pushed her way into the room, carrying a small tray of tea and water crackers. “You’ve had a nasty fall and aren’t going to have a repeat performance.”
Snape blinked. So that was where Hermione got her stubborn streak. He continued sitting on the edge of the bed, but had no intention of climbing back in.
“Thank you,” he said, displeased at how sheepish he sounded. She sat the tray on his lap and made a face at him.
“You look terribly pale,” she went on.
“How can you tell?” Ron muttered and was rewarded with a sharp elbow jab from his sister.
Snape sipped delicately from the ceramic mug and looked at Mrs. Granger. He had no idea what she had been told, but she didn’t look hostile, in his opinion.
Everyone else left the room and he began to feel nervous. He was alone with his perspective mother-in-law. This could be worse than Hermione’s father.
“Our daughter tells us you want to date her,” Mrs. Granger said, sitting in a white wicker chair near the bed.
Severus reached for a water cracker and chewed it thoughtfully.
“I think ‘courting’ would be a more appropriate word,” said Snape. “But yes, I am romantically interested in your daughter.”
“Ginny and Ron tell us the Wizarding Rules are very strict,” Mrs. Granger said, folding her hands.
“I don’t think so,” Snape said. “I may see her with a chaperone. Gifts are permissible, as long as she is comfortable. Presents for her family. If matrimony is desired, I will supply copies of my financial records to prove myself as a provider.”
“Doesn’t that seem a bit stoic to you?” Mrs. Granger asked. “You initiated this. You have said the desired outcome is marriage. Why have you chosen Hermione?”
Snape felt his cheeks flame. He hadn’t even voiced his feelings to Hermione while sober. He wasn’t sure he wanted to do it with her mother.
Snape looked into eyes much like Hermione’s. They bore into him, striking him with their penetrating gaze. She was a few years older than him, at the most. He shifted uncomfortably.
“She’s intelligent,” Snape began. “She knows how to apply her intelligence. Her conversation is never tedious. She doesn’t expect entertainment of anyone in her presence. She can amuse herself.”
Mrs. Granger reached out and took a cracker, but continued listening. What was he going to have to tell this woman?
“Her passion for learning is amazing,” Snape said wistfully. “She practically devours text.”
“None of her other suitors seemed to be able to treat her with the respect and dignity she deserved,” he said with a sniff. Mrs. Granger raised an eyebrow at him.
Severus Snape swallowed his pride and prayed he wasn’t too much of a fool.
“Your daughter is beautiful,” Snape said, relaxing his posture and looking Hermione’s mother in the eye. “I wanted it to be clear that I was not just interested in her physical being, but her entire person.”
“It is ultimately her decision and not ours,” Mrs. Granger said.
“I know,” Snape said. “I’m not asking for an endorsement. Just a chance.”
“Well,” Mrs. Granger said, giving him a small smile. “The whole thing seems rather sterile. I hope you understand my concern.”
“We are allowed written correspondence,” Snape said slowly. “Those letters are preferably private.” He felt heat creeping up his neck. He tried to force it down. “Although if they disturb her the whole thing is called off and I am forbidden to contact her.”
“You write dirty letters to each other?” Mrs. Granger looked taken a bit aback.
“Just because they’re private doesn’t mean they’re dirty,” Snape said, visibly startled. “They’re supposed to serve the purpose of getting to know one another, without the stress of answering questions immediately, or gauging the other person’s reaction. You find out things honestly.”
Mrs. Granger fixed him a look as if he expected to elaborate. He reached for his wand; it was sitting on the bedside table. He waved it and a cup of tea matching his appeared. He floated it to Mrs. Granger.
“Future plans. Goals. Anecdotes,” Snape listed. What did the woman want to know, exactly?
“Witches and Wizards live a great deal longer than normal people,” Mrs. Granger commented, taking the tea. Snape tried not to wince. There was nothing abnormal about him. Or Hermione, for that matter.
“Yes,” Snape said nervously.
He wondered where she was going with this. Perhaps she was going to point out that when their ages got to be three digits, the age gap wouldn’t be so pronounced.
“She could be married for over a hundred years,” Mrs. Granger said levelly.
Snape understood. Hermione was young. Her mother didn’t want her saddled to a man with a bad reputation for an eternity. She had so many chances, so many choices. To throw them all away was madness. He took a deep drink from his cup.
“A courtship isn’t binding,” Snape said, finally. “Hermione can break it off anytime she wishes.”
He inwardly winced at the idea. He had finally gotten Hermione interested. The idea of losing her so quickly was humiliating.
Mrs. Weasley shook her head and drank her tea. She lowered her cup
“Well, your presents certainly are impressive,” she said, leveling him with a look. “Let’s hope you are as well.”