“Hermione, I think you’d better come down to St. Mungo’s.”
Hermione Granger-Snape peered at the disembodied head in her kitchen fire. It blinked.
Neville looked much older than his 37 years. His hair had started going white while he was still at Hogwarts and now it was completely white, though it had never thinned out. He wore gold rimmed spectacles now. Partially from hours reading healing texts and partially from retinal damaged he had received during the Battle of Hogsmede, when Voldemort fell.
“Is something wrong Neville?” Hermione asked. Piles of parchments were piled over her kitchen table. She was wearing her work robes, but she was still wearing pink bunny slippers. “They’re expecting me at the Ministry in half an hour.”
“Say it was Ministry business,” Neville said, adjusting his glasses nervously. He had started doing that when he got them. “Technically, it is. We can owl Madame Bones and tell her you’re already on your way.”
Hermione gestured at the piles of parchments.
“And this will finish itself, will it?” Hermione asked testily. “I do work there, you know.”
“We’ve had a breakthrough with the DNA research,” Neville said crossly. “I wouldn’t have floo’d if it wasn’t important.”
Hermione stared at him for a moment.
“Have you found a magical gene?” she asked.
“No,” Neville said, shaking his head. “Something completely different. Quite on accident.”
Hermione raised an eyebrow that reminded Neville of his old Professor, Snape. That would make sense since Severus Snape and Hermione were married seven years ago. It was a strange look on Hermione. Kind of attractive, really.
“Give me a half hour,” Hermione sighed.
Neville beamed and disappeared with a small wooshing sound.
Hermione looked at the parchments piled on the table and shook her head. She waved her wand at the piles and they shrunk down and tucked themselves into a small scroll case. Lord only knew how long this was going to take her.
Hermione jotted a quick note to Severus about Neville’s discovery and her whereabouts, tucked it between her lips, and fished under her reading chair in the den for her shoes. She looked at the scuffed leather and absentmindedly thought about giving them a quick polish later.
Hermione looked at her hair in a mirror above the fireplace and frowned. It was a wonder Neville hadn’t lost his composure. It must actually be something important.
Hermione pointed her wand at her head and muttered a charm that would bind it back and secure it.
The heels of her shoes made a solid clicking noise as she walked through the kitchen. She rinsed out her juice glass on her way to the downstairs pantry. As she placed a hand firmly on a panel marked with a red ‘X’ she heard a click. The door then slid easily open.
She walked down the wooden covered steel stairs, small candles lighting themselves as she descended so that she might find her way safely. They were so dim, however it was mostly pointless.
“Bloody, morose, git,” Hermione muttered as she waved a hand and the light rose to a reasonable level.
The walls were lined with jarred and canned goods. Christmas decorations were boxed and labeled on tall shelves. A foldaway table and chairs leaned against one wall. Hermione’s destination was in the center of the room.
“Going to be late again,” Hermione said to no one, since no one could hear her. “Not like you care.”
Then she slapped the note down on a small table near Severus’ coffin and started back to the kitchen. The lights dimmed behind her as she ascended the stairs.
From the quiet of the pantry one could hear a steel door slide into place and bars slide through the walls, holding it when the door closed behind her.