A/N: Thanks to my beta, Lilith Kayden, who is held in high regard.
This was written for the Potter Place Anything Goes Challenge. The prompt follows the chapter.
Hermione sat behind the desk in the book shop, reading. She thought she heard a noise and looked up, but she didn't see anything. The shop was empty at the moment, but she knew it was only a matter of time before the little bell over the door would ring and another patron would enter. She smiled fondly at the stacks of books lined on high shelves. This bookstore was her baby.
The Treasured Word was the name of the store. Hermione had opened it in Diagon Alley five years ago, soon after graduating Hogwarts. The bookstore specialized in rare and out of print books. In fact there wasn't a book in the store that was younger than fifty years old, and she had some that dated back centuries. She even had some that were more than 1000 years old, but those were locked in a cabinet at the side of her desk, only to be touched by those serious in acquiring such a pricy heirloom.
The shop had done well for itself and Hermione wanted for nothing. She had a little side business associated with the shop that kept her happily spanning the globe also. She searched for lost books. Patrons would come to her with the title, author, and description of a book that was rare, out of print, or simply impossible to find, and Hermione would do the impossible and find it for them. Of course, she would be rewarded handsomely for her finds.
She smiled at her last find. The witch who had commissioned her search was so pleased that she had alerted the Prophet about the find, and Hermione had found her face plastered on the front page of the newspaper with the headline Ancient Tome discovered by Hermione Granger.
She always marveled at how she was a household name now and everyone knew of her. The article had spouted her 'perilous' adventure to find the book, a six hundred year old tome on transfiguration, and had made her look like the Wizarding world's equivalent to Indiana Jones.
She had laughed heartily when she had read it. Truly, the most adventurous thing she had come across was a tarantula in the stacks where the book was located. But of course, the Prophet was notorious for its reputation for being accurate in its reporting.
Her current project was much more difficult than the last. It had been giving her headaches for over a month now, and she found herself at a dead end. She reflected on the job and the patron who had commissioned her.
Hermione sat at her desk, reading, when she heard the bell over her door chime. She looked up to see a tall old man with a high black top hat covering his head. He had dress robes on that looked somewhat like a Muggle tuxedo with tails. He also had a walking stick that was made completely of ivory and had an elephant head carved on the top. Hermione smiled at her new visitor, who was regally walking up to her.Cecil," she complained with a grin, knowing he would never search anywhere else for his books.The Potions of our Time?" he asked her.The Potions of our Time, a most excellent reference to that which comes simply to our world and that of which is truly a hidden secret to all but the most adept of Potioneers.—Barnaby Sutton, Potions Master and Author."
"Master Nottingham, how lovely to see you!" she exclaimed to the man who was a regular in her shop.
"Now, Miss Hermione, I have asked you repeatedly to call me Cecil," the old man said with a smile.
"But Master Nottingham, after all you have accomplished in your life, I find it hard not to give you the honor you deserve," she retorted.
"Being a mighty Potions master does not mean that I am any better than you, Miss Hermione. Call me Cecil or I shall take my business elsewhere."
The twinkle in his eye was not missed by Hermione, but she pretended to be flabbergasted anyway.
"I wouldn't want to lose your business,
"I have a job for you, my dear," he said as he looked over his glasses at her.
"What can I do for you, sir?"
"Have you ever heard of the book,
Hermione thought for a minute.
"Isn't that book fictitious? There is no evidence that it has ever really been a book in print."
"Well, my dear, a lot can be lost in one thousand years."
He carefully took a small, old book from his robes and opened it up to the last page.
"I came across this just last week, and my mind has been mulling over the possibilities ever since," Cecil admitted to her.
Hermione took the book and looked at what was written on the last page.
"I owe all that I know to my mentor, teacher, and friend, Horatio Holt, author of
Hermione glanced up at Cecil.
"Have you ever heard of Horatio Holt?" she asked him.
"No, never," Cecil told her.
"It seems that you have found a wonderful clue, Cecil."
"Can you find the book, Miss Hermione?"
Hermione looked up at Cecil and smiled widely. "I shall give it my all, sir."
He handed her a small bag of Galleons.
"For your retainer," he told her.
She scoffed at him. "Cecil, I need no retainer from you."
"Take it anyway. I would feel better knowing that I have given you something toward your extensive search."
Hermione took the bag reluctantly.
"How long before you want the book, sir?"
"I know these things take time, Miss Hermione. Take as long as you need. I don't think you will come upon this book easily. It will be worth the wait."
Hermione smiled at him as they sealed the deal.
Coming back to reality, Hermione opened the top drawer of her desk and pulled out a copy of the inscription that was found on Cecil's book. She read it over again while shaking her head.
Horatio Holt seemed to never have existed. She had been to every library in England, including the one at the Ministry, and had come up with nothing. How could a great Potions master not have one word written about him anywhere? She had even researched Barnaby Sutton extensively. There was no mention of his relationship with a Horatio Holt in anything she had found. She had come upon a dead end. When this happened in her research, she usually would put the topic aside for a while and eventually she would get an idea on a lead. This had been laid aside for two weeks, but so far, no other ideas had been forthcoming. She replaced the paper back in her desk and got up to inventory the books on Charms. She was so deep in thought that the bell ringing on the door startled her.
She looked up and was surprised to see Ron Weasley enter the shop, followed by an incredibly handsome man.
A/N: Next up: The perfect date?
Here's the prompt: 19. Hermione has made her way rather successfully in the Wizarding World (own business, whatever). She has the clothes, more shoes than Imelda Marcos, pretty blondes to give her a foot massage whenever she feels so inclined, and eligible wizards galore on her arm vying for her attention. But Hermione being Hermione wants someone special in her life – someone who is her intellectual equal – and she knows just the wizard. Trouble is, he's living as a recluse (could be at Hogwarts but doesn't have to be) and has shunned the world. How does she manage to get Severus Snape out of his semi-monastic existence and to take an interest in her? (No magical compulsion of any kind allowed). Canon compliant would be good, but not essential.