Scarlet Women Chapter 23

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Severus led Hermione into a corridor behind a painting of a hippogriff. They followed it for a while before emerging in a hall near a painting of a bowl of fruit. Severus tickled the pear.



As the painting swung open Hermione saw house elves scuttling around the kitchen balancing stacks of dirty dishes.



“Hello, Sir and Miss,” a house elf said, scuttling up to meet them. “How can we serve you?”



“Just here to raid the pantry,” Severus said holding up a hand. The elf scuttled away.



Severus made his way through the kitchen, coming to stop near a wooden door in the back. He picked up a green box shaped bag sitting on a pile of similar bags. Hermione caught up to him as he opened the door.



A gust of cold air hit her as Severus motioned her inside. Once inside the refrigerated chamber, Hermione stared in awe. Hundreds of sandwiches lined shelves organized my type. Bushels of fresh vegetables and fruit lay waiting to be prepared for meals. Large metal doors set into a wall probably led to a freezer. Severus began loading up his bag.



“Grab anything you want,” Severus said. “The heatables are in that chamber.” He pointed at one of the metal doors.



“Heatables?” Hermione asked blankly.



“Pies, already prepared meals, bread ready to be baked,” he went on, examining a nectarine.



“Ingenious,” said Hermione staring at the doors. “But I think I’ll stick to what’s in here. It’s too late for heavy food.”



Hermione packed some sandwiches and fruit away while Severus went into the heatable section. He came out with a pie and what looked like pork buns.



“Hogwarts has Chinese food?” Hermione asked raising her eyebrows.



“If you know where to look,” Severus said stuffing it all into the bag. “Back to my quarters?”



***



“Well what happens now?” Hermione asked Severus. He had started a fire in his chambers and he lay on the soft rug in front of it, his cloak discarded and his cuffs and collar undone. Hermione sat on the couch with the bag of food.



“What do you mean?” asked Snape warming a pork bun on the end of his wand.



“Well, Lucius Malfoy is bound to notice his prisoners are gone,” said Hermione biting into an apple.



“Well, as long as they’re here, they’re safe,” said Severus biting into his snack.



“That’s what we thought the last time,” said Hermione. “It could have been anything. He could make the toilets portkeys and have half the school by tomorrow morning.”



“Brings a whole new meaning to ‘catching one with their pants down’ doesn’t it,” Severus said smirking.



“You know what I mean!” said Hermione annoyed. “It was way too easy.”



“I agree,” said Severus. “That’s why the aurors are beginning a sweep of the castle tomorrow morning.”



“Really?” asked Hermione. “I didn’t know the Ministry wanted to involve itself.”



“When Deatheaters begin plucking children out of Hogwarts, it becomes the Ministry’s business,” Snape said examining a strawberry.



Hermione felt a little better.



“From now on, there will be aurors on duty at Hogwarts,” said Snape biting into his strawberry.



“What?” Hermione asked, shocked.



“Along with a new program open to sixth and seventh years,” he said, smiling. “It allows them to begin their internships while still going to school.”



“Almost makes me wish I was going into auror training,” said Hermione, opening a container of whipped topping and dipping a berry in it.



“You’re not?” asked Snape, shocked.



“No, I’m doing Muggle Relations,” said Hermione. “I think its very important in future years to take the muggle world into consideration when making large decisions.”



“They do take it into consideration,” Snape said sharply. “You’re too bright to sit behind a desk shuffling papers for a living.” He sat up and faced her.





“Not nearly as much as they should,” Hermione said stiffly. “Assumptions are made all the time.”



Snape sighed, relaxing his form. “Hermione, do you like magic?”



“Well, of course,” she said reaching into the bag and bringing out a bag of crisps. “Where did these come from?”



“They’re mine,” said Severus taking them from her and tearing open the bag. “Do you want to use magic in your career?”



“Yes,” Hermione said wondering what his point was.



“Have you ever been to the Muggle Relations office?” Snape sighed.



“No,” Hermione said, wondering what his point was.



“They’re paper pushers, Hermione,” said Severus. “The only time they ever get called out is when Muggles need to have memory charms put of them because of magical exposure. Most of the time they go through reports and write summaries of incidents.”



Hermiones face fell.



“I’m not saying it isn’t for you,” said Severus. “Just think about it. I think it’s a waste of tremendous talent. Take a tour of the Ministry next time you can. See everything first hand before you decide.”



“Where would you have me go?” Hermione asked.



“As your professor: Auror Training. You could be the best there ever was, Hermione,” said Severus seriously. “However, I like your face the shape it is. You’d also do very well in the Department of Mysteries. Although, there night not be any mysteries left after you’re done,” he smirked into his tea.



“Very funny,” Hermione said, inwardly pleased. “I will think about it. I promise.”



Severus rolled up his crisp bag and put it back in the bag. “It’s been a really stressful day,” he said. Hermione nodded without thought as the peered inside a sandwich. “We should go to bed.”



“I’m not tired,” said Hermione thinking of her Arithmancy essay, due in two weeks.



“Neither am I,” said Severus, placing a hand on her leg.