Heavenly Angel Chapter 6
Severus started as a large bundle thudded in front of him at breakfast. Caesar looked annoyed and exhausted. It looked as if Pigwidgeon was supposed to be helping him with his load, but Caesar had ended up carrying the tiny owl.
“What on earth is that?” Severus thundered at the bird, as if he could answer.
Caesar looked annoyed and hooted his mood at Severus.
Severus unsnarled Caesar and Pigwidgeon from their harnesses. Who taught the girl to tie knots, anyway? This was ridiculous. After a bit of leverage with his butter knife he released the owls and they flittered off to the small owlery.
Severus swept the owl accessories to the floor with a loud slap of leather on stone. The package took up most of the table. If she hadn’t enchanted it with a weight reduction charm the owls might not have ever made it out of her garden.
He tore the package open curiously, a piece of toast in his hand. When he saw what it was he nearly choked his toast out.
O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Minerals stared up at him. How dare she ship such a precious item about like a copy of the Quibbler? Had the woman lost her mind?
Severus flicked his wand at the book, cleaning it of all debris and repairing any signs of age. Filthy. Had she no shame?
He quickly finished his breakfast and floated the book to his laboratory.
With thin cotton gloves he reverently opened the book. An inscription read: To Hermione, A most promising student. Best wishes, Professor Minerva McGonagall.
It had been written it! Severus practically stamped in place in frustration. He balled up his hands tightly and suppressed the desire to bellow at people that weren’t present.
Minerva probably had no idea of its value. Her father’s library was quite extensive, rumored to take up an entire wing of the McGonagall estate; she probably just picked up an advanced thick tome and deemed it appropriate for the Head Girl when her time at Hogwarts had ended. Minerva had never been one for potions.
Hermione was talking with Ginny in their garden when she saw Caesar soar overhead and dip into the kitchen window.
“Ask him if he knows of a use for rosemary,” said Ginny as Hermione headed for the house. “Or if he wants any.”
“Will do,” said Hermione, her sandals making a slapping sound as they climbed red brick stairs leading to the back of the cottage she shared with Ginny. The screen door slammed behind her and Hermione left the interior door open.
Ginny shook her head and smirked. How long was Hermione going to think she hadn’t figured it out?
(‘Uh oh,’ thought Hermione. What happened to ‘dearest?’)
Your book has been most helpful in my research. If I had had it several months ago it would have saved us a lot of time.
You had no way of knowing this, but I would be interested in what other tomes you possess. They could prove useful.
(At least he wasn’t furious.)
However, I was disgusted to see the book in such an atrocious state. A valuable tome such as O’Brien’s should be handled with the greatest care. Dirt. Bits of dust. Cat hair. I can’t imagine Madame Pince allowing you to enter the library a second time if your school books had been returned in such a state. You should be ashamed of your disregard for a treasure.
(Ashamed? That was a bit harsh, but her cheeks grew hot anyway. What had McGonagall given her?)
Please send a list of other books you are abusing.
(For crying out loud…)
Hermione made a face at the letter and didn’t bother to hide it when Ginny walked in. A small basket of herbs swung in one of her hands. A small pair of scissors hung in a sheath by her side.
“What does Grouchy have to say?” Ginny asked. Caesar hooted at her and she scratched him behind his ear tufts.
Ginny set the herbs down and washed her hands. As she opened the ice box and grabbed a dressed chicken, Hermione stuffed the letter back into the envelope. Ginny placed the chicken in a clay dish on the kitchen table and motioned at the herbs.
“He was impressed with the book,” Hermione said.
Ginny coughed out a peculiar sound that sounded like a choked laugh. She was completely convinced the staggering owls were never going to make it.
“Although he seems to think my literary hygiene has something to be desired,” Hermione said, annoyed. She tucked the envelope into her robes.
“What?” Ginny asked, confused. She waved her wand and a small dish of peeled potatoes cubed themselves and floated into the dish with her chicken.
Hermione washed the herbs in the basket and began chopping then finely.
“He said the book was a treasure and I should be ashamed because it was filthy,” Hermione muttered.
“That’s not like you,” said Ginny, frowning. “Was it damaged on the way?”
“Doubt it,” said Hermione. “Apparently it’s really valuable. Really, really valuable.”
“How valuable?” Ginny asked, turning to face Hermione’s back at the basin.
“Like Sell-the-Soul-of-Your-Firstborn valuable,” Hermione winced. “I had no idea.”
“Where did you get it?” Ginny squealed.
“McGonagall gave it to me when I left Hogwarts,” Hermione said as she turned around, her eyes open in wide-eyed innocence. “She probably had no idea.”
“You going to tell her?” Ginny asked, an eyebrow cocked. She looked uncannily like Molly for an instant.
“Of course,” Hermione said. She hadn’t really thought about it, but it really was the right thing to do. Good. A second reason to justify her stationary set. “After I get it back so I can return it if she asks.”
Ginny watched Hermione tuck the herbs in and around the chicken. Hermione placed the lid on the dish and Ginny opened the oven for her.
“Just making sure,” said Ginny, smiling.