30 Minute Fics Challenge 63
“Blast,” Severus Snape muttered to himself as the portal behind the Leaky Cauldron opened and he faced the crowd of bustling people doing their shopping in Diagon Alley. It was a cold winter day and the fog seemed to be enveloping people and making them disappear.
A few people close enough to see him and gave a wide berth as he attempted to storm into the throng of shoppers.
He made his way through the crowded street until he saw what he was looking for. A small wooden sign saying: Knockturn Alley. He almost sneered at the sign, but stopped himself when he felt his lip curling.
He stepped into the darkened place between buildings and felt himself cloaked in darkness. He took a moment to breathe away from all the people, although the way things had been going, there seemed to be more people in Knockturn Alley these days. It was a bit disconcerting.
He walked further into the side street, signs beginning to appear through the thick fog that always seemed to settle here when there was moisture in the air.
Snape fished around for a scrap of paper in the pocket of his thick black robes and scanned over it.
“Beetle eyes, cockatrice claws, sparrow shell,” he muttered to himself. “Then perhaps lunch.”
He froze as he caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye. Well, perhaps not a glimpse, Hagrid was hard to miss even if he was trying not to call attention to himself.
Hagrid was in a small shop that specialized in hard to find potions ingredients. Severus had no need to go there much because most of the things they carried were well beyond the capabilities of Hogwart’s students.
He watched Hagrid suspiciously. The dark greasy man behind the counter was suspicious at best, but finally turned around a little sign that read ‘closed’ and led Hagrid into the back of his shop.
Snape’s eyes narrowed. He had his suspicions.
Hagrid happily left Knockturn alley, cradling a small bundle in his jacket. He entered the small alleyway leading him back to the much safer Diagon Alley, but froze in the darkness at the sound of a low cough.
“What do you think you’re doing, Hagrid?” Snapes voice seeped out of the darkness.
“I- I don’t know what you mean,” Hagrid stammered.
“Kelly has quite a few interesting things in his back room, if I remember correctly,” Snape said, taking the giants arm and steering him back into Knockturn Alley. “None of them would be suitable for you.”
In the misty light that filtered through the dark and the fog once they were out in the open alley, Hagrid saw Snape glaring at him.
“I was just checking out some prices,” Hagrid lied. “For Professor Dumbledore.”
Snape quirked an eyebrow at him. Hagrid reddened considerably. Snape was going to say something, but was stopped by a shifting that seemed to come from the inside of Hagrid’s jacket.
“What is that?” Snape demanded.
“Nothing,” Hagrid said quickly as something audibly slithered under his coat.
“Take it back, Hagrid,” Snape sighed, as if he were speaking to a small child. A small area between his eyes began to ache.
“But there’s no one to take care of him,” Hagrid protested. “You don’t know what that maniac was going to use him for!”
Snape could imagine. He was a potions master, after all.
“Be that as it may,” Snape said. “Kelly deals with dangerous things and whatever is in your coat would certainly not be in the best interest of Hogwarts.”
A small gold and pink serpentine head popped out of Hagrid’s jacket and flicked its forked tongue at Severus.
“It most certainly isn’t in the best interest of the school!” Snape thundered as quietly as he could without catching the attention of the other shoppers. “Occamy’s can get up to 15 feet! They’re dangerous!”
“They’re not dangerous,” Hagrid protested as he gently convinced the small animal to go back into his coat.
“Just misunderstood,” Snape said dryly.
Hagrid reddened further.
“You can’t use Knockturn Alley as your personal pet emporium,” Snape said as he steered Hagrid back into the shop where the small occamy had been procured.
Hagrid had relinquished the small animal with more than a few fat tears. Kelly had a discussion with Snape about what would happen if he ever sold any creatures again.
“Perhaps an air turtle?” Kelly suggested. Snape lifted his eyebrows as a small turtle with shell like wings hovered out of a box. “Completely legal and if you get tired of them you can harvest them when they get bigger.”
Hagrid’s eyes got huge and he started to look upset.
“Perfect,” Snape said quickly before Hagrid did in the small shopkeeper. “I’m guessing you will give us a pair, considering the price of the occamy.”
“Absolutely,” said Kelly, his greasy dark hair swinging as he nodded. “I’ll throw in four.”
“Good,” Snape snapped, trying to make the exchange as quick as possible. How could Hagrid have grown so attatched to the occamy in less than 10 minutes?
Kelly wrapped up the turtles as quickly as possible and Hagrid seemed soothed by the low sound of humming that came from the box. He kept peeping through the air holes in the box and whispered soothing words to the small turtles.
“No potions pot for you,” the giant murmured. “You’ll grow big and strong and loved.”
Snape felt a twinge in his chest.
“Go on,” Snape said, bustling Hagrid out of the shop. “And no more creative pets.”
Hagrid seemed happy as he left Knockturn Alley, but Snape still hadn’t done his shopping yet.
He went to the shop he had intended to and got the ingredients for his students. On his way back he found himself drawn, inexplicably to Kelly’s shop.
“Something I can help you with?” Kelly asked nervously as Snape reentered the store.
“I want to see the occamy again,” Snape said sharply.
Kelly practically ran to the back of his shop and came back with a brown sack that slithered. He opened it on the counter and a small occamy slithered out. It’s legs were small and couldn’t support it’s weight yet. It’s wings were small and still were flexable. A tiny tuft of plume was beginning to grow.
“I’ll take him,” Snape said stiffly.
“Yes, sir,” said Kelly, an understanding gleam in his eye. “Would you like me to disassemble it for you?”
“That won’t be nessisary,” Snape said. “I like things fresh.”
The shopkeeper wrapped the creature up and groveled acceptably as Snape paid him and left the store.
There was plenty of room at Hogwarts. The dungeons were bigger than anyone thought. No one went down there besides him and Dumbledore.
Snape felt a thick slither under his robes and he patted it.
“We’ll be home soon,” Snape muttered as he stormed back through the crowd of people in Diagon Alley. “You’ll be alright.”