Heavenly Angel Chapter 8
Snape woke to a sharp tapping at his window. He groggily rubbed his eyes and stretched. Aristotle was perched on the outside of his window ledge, pecking at the glass. It was barely light outside.
“I’m coming,” he slurred sleepily.
His feet hit the cold floor and he winced slightly. He hated to admit his years were catching up with him, especially as he started what could be known as the most foolish courtship in the history of the Snape line.
Snape walked stiffly to the window and opened it, letting both the small owl and a cold gust of wind in. He shivered and slammed the window shut.
The owl settled on a perch with a letter tied around his neck. Severus frowned slightly. That was a fast reply. Was the Weasley girl badly in need of money?
I assure you I have all the Rosemary your estate and your friend could want. If you would owl him on my behalf it would be wonderful. Thank you.
In regards to Hermione,
*(‘Here it comes,’ thought Snape as he steeled himself for the worst.)*
she is my best friend. I will accept her choice of partner as she accepted my choices in the past.
However, your treatment of us and other students at Hogwarts was abysmal at best. I question your ability to treat Hermione as she deserves.
*(Snape winced. He deserved that.)*
Also, her parents might be a bit taken aback at the Old Customs. Please take into consideration their culture before contacting them.
*(So he was supposed to mount and impregnate Hermione before he met her father; then beg her father to let him live and, by the way: ‘Please can I marry your only daughter?’ Not bloody likely. Perhaps he was missing something and should get a second opinion.)*
Also, they may have heard unfavorable things about you in the past. Sorry, but you’ve no one but yourself to blame.
*(He inwardly chuckled. The girl did go on like Molly at times. She did have a point, though.)*
Hermione ‘has’ been unusually quiet about your courtship.
*(Snape frowned. He knew it was a bit surprising, but he didn’t expect her to turn mute about the subject. Was it a secret to her?
Was she ashamed to be courted by him? He knew he was a grumpy bastard, but he had not been intentionally rude to her in over a year.
Perhaps it was his age. He glanced at a mirror and studied his reflection. He looked the same as he had for years. A few youth potions a year and a swish of the wand to keep light hair away kept him feeling comfortable.
He could look younger, of course. Like all mothers, his kept a few locks of his hair from the infrequent times he cut it in his youth. He could whip up a polyjuice potion and be seventeen again. Whatever Hermione liked.)*
I suspect it is because she has not seen you in person. Your letters come frequently, but sometimes that is not enough. Often the tone of the writer and reader are different and I’m sure she would like to see the face of her suitor.
*(Snape reluctantly agreed. After the tone of his first letter he couldn’t blame Hermione for wanting to talk to him in person and find out his true intentions. It was time for his reply to her letter, anyway. Perhaps Miss Weasley could be a chaperone.)*
Owl me if you like. If you intend to keep her at a distance to preserve her reputation you might need someone close to her as a go-between before it turns into a disaster. Sometimes things kept at a distance stay that way.
*(Snape scowled. How inept did the Weasley girl think he was?
‘Ginny,’ he chided himself. He would have to stop thinking of her as just another Weasley spawn.
Then again, it would be helpful to have some assistance. Ginny knew Hermione well and didn’t seem too opposed to his advances towards her. Ginny was concerned, but didn’t threaten his life. This was a good thing, in his opinion.)*
*(Luck? She thought he needed luck?!)*
Severus reached out and scratched Aristotle. He heard light rain start to fall outside his window and he looked out at the overcast sky, the day just starting.
“What a perfect start to a perfect day,” Snape sighed.
Hermione and Ginny were sitting at their kitchen table after lunch a few days later, labeling small bottles of scented oil when Aristotle fluttered through the window hooting triumphantly.
“So if it’s from Ari it’s for me; Caesar for you?” Ginny asked, glancing at the name on the letter.
“I guess,” Hermione said. What did they have so much to be talking about, anyway? When did she have time to write back to him?
‘Rosemary,’ Hermione assured herself. ‘Ron’s right, you’re paranoid.’
Ginny cracked the Snape seal and read quickly.
I floo’d Oswold this morning at his shop and he was pleased with the sample of rosemary I showed him. He is interested with how much you are willing to part with. He normally deals in large quantities.
*(No problems there.)*
Thank you for the advice about Hermione’s parents. I did not take into account that they may not be completely familiar with our customs. I will try my best.
*(That sounded vague. Ginny was a little worried.)*
~ Severus Snape
Ginny frowned and turned the parchment over. That was it?
“What’s he have to say?” Hermione asked, trying to sound innocent.
“His friend is willing to take the rosemary off my hands,” Ginny said, pocketing the letter. “Sounds like most of it.”
“That’s good,” said Hermione, waving her wand and boxing the small bottles. She felt a little relieved.
“I think I might go later this afternoon,” Ginny mused. “Want to go to Hogsmede with me?”
“Sure,” said Hermione. “It’s been forever.”
“Great,” said Ginny grinning, she hoped not too widely.
She knew Ron had opened the scroll. He had caught one of his red hairs in the wax of the seal when he repaired it.
If Ron knew, Luna knew. They knew Ginny knew, but didn’t know she knew they knew. Ginny began developing headache thinking about it.
This was a great opportunity to create mass chaos. Her grin turned malicious as she turned from Hermione to give Aristotle a treat.
Snape was lucky she wasn’t vengeful.
Ready, willing and able to stir up a little trouble, perhaps.
Snape sat at his table at the Three Broomsticks, drumming his fingers impatiently. The Weasley girl was ten minutes late, so far. She had floo’d him after the arrival of his letter and had agreed to meet him. Perhaps if he worked up enough courage he could ask her to chaperone a meeting between him and Hermione. It was worth a try. What was the worst that could happen?
‘Ginny.’ Snape chided himself, absentmindedly.
The small brass bell above the door rang and Snape looked up to see Ginny Weasley entering the pub. He tried to force out a cordial, small smile but felt it freeze on his face as Hermione entered after her.
He felt his blood run cold. His heart gave such a pound he though his chest must have actually moved with its force. He prayed to wake up but nothing happened.
What if Hermione laughed at him? What if it was a big act of revenge for the way he had treated her and her friends in the past? What if he was as much a fool as he suspected he was?
His eyes met hers and he knew this was not the case. She looked shocked at his presence. Obviously she had not known he was going to be here, either. Underneath his discomfort he felt a bit relieved.
Snape remembered his manners and leaped to his feet. He bowed slightly and motioned for the young women to join him in the booth he had been waiting in.
“You first,” Ginny said to Hermione. “If he’s going by traditional courtship rules I have to sit between you.”
Snape was surprised at Ginny’s knowledge. He shot Ginny a questioning look, almost afraid to speak in Hermione’s presence. She gave him an innocent look and he turned to Hermione.
She looked radiant, in his opinion. Her curly hair was windswept and wild, a curl bobbing over her forehead; nearly touching the arch of one eyebrow. Her cheeks were slightly pink and her eyes down. She looked as if she didn’t know what to do with her hands.
The bracelet Tinky had sent her was around one wrist. It looked pleasing on her. If she was wearing the chain it was hidden under her lightweight salmon colored robes. The day was quite warm outside. Bare unpainted toes peeked out from under her robes. He wondered if she had remembered to charm her sandals to protect her feet.
“Oh,” said Hermione, turning a deeper red.
‘Good Lord,’ Hermione thought embarrassed. ‘I look frightful.’
The day was unusually warm, but windy. Hermione had gotten too warm for comfort and removed her sleeves an hour ago. Her skin felt damp and she knew her hair looked like a whirlwind hit it. She nervously hoped she didn’t smell.
Ginny could have at least warned her. Hermione was a little annoyed. What else had that letter said that Ron hadn’t told her? She mentally kicked herself for not reading the letter herself. Ron probably thought the whole thing was hysterical.
Snape took Hermione’s hand, hoping she wouldn’t slap him, and kissed the back of it gently.
“You look lovely,” Snape said.
“Thanks,” Hermione muttered, hoping he wasn’t being sarcastic. She slid into the booth, followed by Ginny. Snape slid in on the other side of Ginny.
“I would not think you would be familiar with the Old Customs,” Snape said to Ginny.
Hopefully he didn’t look as if he wanted to strangle her. He certainly wanted to.
“I do have parents, you know,” Ginny said, looking lightly amused. “Mum’s always kept a diary.”
Snape frowned. Diaries were dangerous things. They had a habit of popping up at the most inappropriate times. Perhaps she let them read the old ones and had the recent ones hidden. He hoped.
“So what are the Old Customs?” Hermione asked, her voice sounding slightly strained. Her eyes met Snapes for an instant and were gone.
‘Lords,’ Snape thought, slightly distressed. ‘The girl looks terrified. I’ve worked by her side for three years and now she’s acting like a First Year again.’
Snape straightened his spine, swallowed his pride and cast a silencing charm on the booth.
“Ginny, you are sworn to secrecy as a chaperone,” Snape said firmly.
“Of course,” Ginny said. “I haven’t told anyone, honest. It’s not my place.”
Severus felt a little better. The Weasleys were a silly lot, but they seemed to have a deep sense of honor. He didn’t know much about Ginny, but he knew her parents and older brothers from their work in the Order.
Percy was an odd one, but there’s one in every family, Snape supposed.
“Hermione,” Snape began, reaching out for the back of Hermione’s hand that was resting on the table, crossing in front of Ginny, who leaned back, grinning like a Cheshire cat. “I know my first letter to you was barbaric, uncivilized-”
“Kinky,” Ginny added.
Snape shot her a fierce look.
“She ripped it out of my hands,” Hermione blurted out. “I couldn’t stop her.”
“That wasn’t for you!” Snape bellowed, withdrawing his hand from Hermiones and fuming at Ginny. What a fool he was. He crossed his arms tightly.
He noticed a small tear in his sleeve. If he had warning he would have dressed a little better. Brought a courting gift. Something.
“She just kept staring at it,” Ginny said, innocently. “I swear she didn’t even blink. I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was horrible news and took it from her. You should put a warning label on things like that.” She quirked a corner of her mouth at him.
Severus felt his cheeks flame. This was not the way he imagined his day.
“Well,” Snape said, shooting Ginny a glare. “I am terribly sorry.”
His eyes went to Hermione and softened.
“I assure you it is not typical behavior for me.”
“Too bad,” Hermione heard herself say softly.
Heavens, did she really just say that? She glanced up to see Snape looking at her dumbfounded. Her cheeks felt like they were aflame.
“You know what?” Ginny said, sounding like she was trying not to laugh. “I need a Butterbeer. Anyone else want one?”
“Yes,” Snape and Hermione said together, not looking from each other.
Snape rose and Ginny left them, leaving her bag of shopping between them. Ginny gave Snape a meaningful look and walked to the bar.
Hermione knew Ginny could move at the pace of a wounded snail if she wanted to. Hermione suspected this was going to be one of those times. Thankfully, Madame Rosmerta was passing by with a tray full of the amber bottles and thunked two on the table.
Snape reached out and put his hand on the back of Hermione’s again. He watched as she looked up nervously and smiled, almost painfully at him at him.
Was she going to reject him? After seeing him she realized what she was doing and changed her mind, Snape reasoned. He should have expected it. He hoped she wouldn’t be cruel. He wished she would say something.
“I’m sorry I look a fright,” Hermione blurted out. She nearly wanted to kick herself. What a stupid thing to say. By the way Snape was looking at her he must agree.
“What?” Severus choked back a mad laugh of relief. Apparently, no matter how intelligent, how well learned, how enchanting she was, she was still a woman and concerned with her appearance. His mother had been the same way and she had been beautiful.
‘Silly girl,’ he thought fondly, biting his tongue so he didn’t voice it.
“I had no idea,” Hermione said. He was laughing at her. She tried to catch a reflection of herself in anything she could to no avail. The only thing reflective was the Butterbeer bottle and it didn’t work very well. “I mean I’ve been bottling oil all day and haven’t even changed my robes.”
“Oil?” Snape asked, looking confused.
“Scented oil,” Hermione thought she was babbling, but couldn’t stop herself. “From the rosemary. We have bails of it. Had to do something or build a storage area in the yard.”
“First, you have never looked more radiant,” Snape said. “If the scent you and Miss Wea- Ginny,” he carefully corrected himself, “are radiating is an example of your work, you have done well. It is quite pleasing.”
He prayed he didn’t sound as if he wasn’t groveling at her feet, although he probably would if she asked. Gods, he never dreamed an impudent know-it-all could reduce him to this. He tried to recall what exactly he had written in that cursed letter. She may already know what lengths he was willing to go to in order to win her heart. How embarrassing.
“Thank you,” Hermione said, smiling. “The recipe was out of a muggle book. It was quite simple.”
“Is it on the list you gave me?” Snape asked.
“Yes,” Hermione said, her face turning to an expression of annoyance.
She had forgotten all about his rude letter. She fought the urge to pull her hand out from under his. It was a treasure and a shock to him. She would have been a little unreasonable if someone had done that to her. She tried to reason with herself before she said something and blew it.
“I also apologize for my last letter,” Snape said, wincing slightly. Hermione suspected he didn’t apologize often. “I may have overreacted slightly.”
“No more than me with the lepidolite,” Hermione quirked a corner of her mouth at him. She shivered a little as he scooted closer to Ginny’s shopping bag.
“I have kept that letter,” Snape declared. “I was amazed at your ability to shout without the use of a howler.”
Hermione looked at him. He quirked an eyebrow at her as if impressed. He was obviously amused.
Hermione chuckled and reached for her Butterbeer with her free hand. Snape released her hand and reached for his own bottle.
“Second,” Snape went on as if he had never left his original subject. “You have bails?”