A random little bit of fluffiness because I needed it. And I like to share. It's like making cookies—it's always better when you share the batch with everyone.
I don't own anything you recognize, even if I do make awesome Chocolate Crinkle cookies.
A little Minnie giggled and stood on a stool, her hands messy with dough and her face dusted with flour. The new maid, Tseba, stood behind the child and helped little hands knead and roll the warm dough with a smile on her own older face.
It was a warm scene, touching and filled with the sensations of a home. The oven was heating, and the smell of yeast and cinnamon filled the air along with their soft laughter.
A shrill voice destroyed it all, "What do you think you are doing!"
Minnie spun around with wide eyes, almost toppling off the stool except for Tseba's strong hands on her shoulders.
"Ma'am, Miss Minnie and I were making some pastries…we thought—"
"You thought nothing! I don't pay you to think. And Hermione has lessons to tend to. She has no time to behave such and dirty herself." The last was added with a stern glare to the daughter of the house.
Hermione Jean Granger ducked her head of curls and carefully stepped off the stool and away from the maid's hands.
The dinner was going so well.
The food was good and the wine was heady, except Blaise noticed something amiss as soon as the conversation turned to him. His girlfriend became nervous, stiff and twitchy.
"And what do you do?"
"He owns his own business, Mum," she put in quickly; behaving quite like the eager puppy his niece had just gotten for her birthday.
"That's nice," her father said coolly with a raised brow, "Blaise, what kind of business do you own."
Hermione ducked her head of curls and quietly folded her hands in her lap.
Blaise licked the last of the sauce off his teeth and cleared his throat before he answered, "I have a bakery on Main, it's been going strong for the last two years and picking up business."
"Oh! How wonderful! How's your profit margin increasing? It's such a marvelous location for that kind of thing."
Blaise furrowed his brow. Truthfully, he didn't actually know. Hermione was his accountant/book keeper; it's how they had truly met after the war. Blaise's one ambition every since he was a child was to make food and feed people—he'd realized his dream only to quickly realize it was slipping through his fingers, Hermione had been his saving grace.
Peter Granger Junior snorted. "That kind of thing: I can still remember trying to keep Hermione out of the kitchen."
Blaise's grin was a tad mischievous, wondering if he would finally learn why his girl never helped him when he made them meals. "Was she that bad?"
Marlene blinked. "Heavens! Practically nothing would keep her away from baking! We finally had to fire the maid who was encouraging such unseemly behavior."
Blaise froze, his spine stiffening and his tone cooling as he put a protective hand over Hermione's chair back. "She makes a fine accountant, she has a very large portfolio."
Hermione's shoulder pressed harder back into his arm as she relaxed her weight.
But her father persisted with the topic and her shoulders curled in over her stomach.
"Good thing she switched her passions. I'd much rather prefer her a secretary but this will do. It's a good respectable job for a woman of her class—I used to dread coming home to find her a mess with flour and the like!"
"Hermione, sit up straight," her mother absently murmured as she dished out dessert.
When dinner was finally over it was a relief to help Hermione into her coat and escort her to the car.
The drive home was silent, and Hermione shivered and refused to look away from the window. Blaise swallowed his anger and reached across, resting his hand on her knee and giving it a squeeze.
She took in a shaky breath and laid her hands over his.
When they were finally home and he was helping her out of her coat she looked up at him. "I'm sorry."
And she grasped his hands in front of her, as if truly guilty and wanting to convey all her apologies. He smiled and pulled her into him, tucking her head under her chin and simply holding her quietly.
She sighed into his neck.
"Think nothing of it," he said softly and kissed her forehead.
The next day after a bit of a lie in they were both in the kitchen. Hermione was groggily sipping her coffee and browsing the cupboards for something to eat.
She was very quiet, as she always was after visiting her parents, but this time the silence was as when she'd been embarrassed by her father's rather proud admission that they weren't racist. The elder Granger had justified their 'open-mindedness' over their daughter's beau while pointing out Blaise's class and breeding and manners. He'd then proceeded to comment on the invasion of 'others' in the dock area.
Hermione had been just as hurt and unsure then, thinking that her parents reflected so badly upon her until Blaise had lured her into some genuine play and got her to talk.
There needed to be that level of playfulness before they dealt with the serious.
He watched her and then hit upon an idea—waiting for the first moment she put her cup down he struck.
Blaise grinned and picked Hermione up, setting her on the counter. Her hands loosely gripped the fabric at his shoulders as her wide eyes stared right into his sparkling ones. Her knees gradually loosened from their death hold on his hips and she bit her lip unsurely.
"Want to help me?" He gestured vaguely to the kitchen.
She slowly smiled, drawing in a shaky breath that raised her shoulders. "I'd like that."
And they made (cheat!) chocolate crinkle cookies.
Despite her minimal role in the whole process she still ended up with icing sugar on her cheeks and dough on her fingers (he half-thought she'd been sneaking it, except he hadn't once caught her at it).
That was adorable.
But what he really loved was the sparkle in her eyes as she mixed the dough and the ready giggle in her voice while they spoke.
The cookies turned out spectacularly, despite his tweaking of the recipe. And the conversation afterwards was very fulfilling…and sweet.