Title: Supply, Demand and Zauberer
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not.
Summary: The bell rang over the door of the spice shop while Rosalee was in the middle of mixing in the last ingredient for a fiddly special-order Zaubertrank. 1200 words.
Spoilers: Sometime post-1.15 "Island of Dreams" for Grimm; Post-series for HP
Notes: For treppie, for Day 12 in Wishlist 2012, for the prompt: "Severus Snape & Rosalee Calvert; Severus had found it annoyingly difficult to find a reliable supplier on this side of the Atlantic". Slightly AU for a particular development in HP, obviously! Zauberer is, according to an online translator, a German word for "Wizard"; most of the other unfamiliar words were pulled from either the Grimm wiki or the HP Lexicon.
The bell rang over the door of the spice shop while Rosalee was in the middle of mixing in the last ingredient for a fiddly special-order Zaubertrank, and she called out to her unseen visitor without looking up. "I'll be with you in just a minute!"
The voice that replied didn't belong to her cranky Skalenzähne customer, though, nor anyone else she recognized. "I would never interrupt a fellow practitioner of the art," he said, in dry, somehow silky tones.
Rosalee gave the mixture one last stir, then turned up the heat under the small cauldron and looked up, gaze drawn instantly to her visitor. The man who'd spoken was wearing austere, old-fashioned clothes, the kind of thing she'd expect to see a member of the Verrat wearing rather than the wesen who normally passed through her shop; but his accent was British, from a country notoriously known for expelling most of its native wesen during a magical civil war, and when he turned away from the display of common herbs to return her gaze her breath caught in her throat.
"I, ah, wouldn't call myself a master," she said, staring wide-eyed at the vicious scars on the man's neck, half-hidden by a fall of uneven dark hair. "More of a journeyman. But I know my stock. How can I help you today?"
Equally dark eyebrows arched higher over flat, black eyes as he replied. "This is, in fact, the first shop this side of the pond where I have found even so basic an ingredient as armadillo bile. These are my requirements; how many can you supply?" He withdrew a sheet of paper closely covered in hand-written cursive from a pocket, holding it out in Rosalee's direction.
Mystified, she took the sheet of paper from him, then glanced down long enough to check the timer on the cauldron before examining his list.
The ingredients he'd listed were mostly strange items, herbs much more commonly found in the secretive Wizarding community rather than the broader wesen world- which probably explained why he hadn't woged in greeting. The face he was wearing was his true face. But there were a few things on there that lived up to the name on the door, the Exotic Spice and Tea Shop: ingredients her parents had mostly sold to Hexenbiester. If the guy was a Wizard, he probably was a master at the art of stoppering death- but that didn't seem to be what he was going for that day.
"Phoenix tears?" she murmured in surprise, pausing half-way down the list. "I'm not sure I have that much- it's extremely rare, these days. I'd have better luck sourcing an Unbezahlbar than replenishing my stock. If you're trying to do something about those scars, I can probably find another option, though. Königschlange venom tends to leave traces in the wound if you're lucky enough to survive, but I know a topical recipe that should draw it out and at least let the skin heal normally."
He frowned, somehow managing to look affronted and intrigued at the same time. "It was not a Königschlange; it was a magical breed of snake, and a remedy for the remaining scarring was not the purpose of my visit. However- if you know of a salve that might be of some efficacy-"
Her eyes widened, and she cut him off in surprise. "A magical snake large enough to have a bite radius that size? That's- sorry, but that's just astounding. I can certainly provide you with the recipe; none of the ingredients are particularly uncommon, and it can't hurt to try. What do you need the phoenix tears for, then, if you don't mind my asking? I'll sell you all I do have, but it'll be very dear."
"My business is my own," he said curtly, any hint of good humor draining out of his expression. "And cost will be no object."
Rosalee sighed, shaking her head, and turned to gather the rest of the ingredients she recognized by name. Billywig stings, really? They were almost as addictive as J for some wesen; her brother had kept them in the locked cabinet with the tears. And what possible recipe could call for both ginseng and gillyweed? She paused half-way down the list to turn and take her own cauldron off the flame, then went back to gathering, scooping quantities out of boxes and jars into precisely labeled plastic baggies. Her customer spoke no further word as she worked, except to inquire rather rudely about the freshness of certain of the biologically-based ingredients.
She was used to highly private people, given her connections to the Laufer and her slightly less than legal activities as a young, rebellious Fuchsbau; she wouldn't press. But he was certainly the first customer she'd ever had that took his hauteur far enough to tempt her to jack up her prices, especially given how much he was about to spend. And what he wanted to spend his money on.
Maybe his lab had burnt down or something, and he was replacing his entire private store? She had heard that there'd been yet another upheaval in Britain. Maybe they'd be seeing more wizards fleeing from there in future, driven to mix with those they used to denounce as neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat- neither wizard, cursed or otherwise; nor magical being; nor even Muggle- if they wanted to approximate their former standards of living.
Well, it really was none of her business. And if he caused trouble later- well, she'd keep an eye out for potential malicious uses of the ingredients, and talk to Monroe about expanding Nick's Grimm education a little further.
In the end, there were only a few things she didn't have; she had no idea what an acromantula was, for example, and not even her parents had been brave enough to grow Mandrakes.
"Here; I've notated the things I didn't have, and wrote the name of an apothecary I know in Seattle there, at the bottom. He might be able to help you source them. As for the rest..." She carefully lined the samples, small and large, into a flat box, so that nothing was crushed or folded or flattened that wasn't meant to be. Then she placed it on the counter, and quoted him a price.
And tried not to gape when he overpaid in genuine Wizarding gold. Even valued at the Muggle equivalent in base weight, it was more precious metal than she'd ever seen in one place in her life.
"It's been a pleasure doing business with you, Mister...?" she hinted as she handed the box over.
He paused, meeting her gaze again; his dark eyes seemed to glitter for a moment, then his spine unkinked just a little, and he gave her a stiff nod. "Prince," he said. "I must be about my business- but I will return to discuss your salve another time."
"Sure," Rosalee told him, with a bemused shrug.
The bell tinkled behind him as he swept out- then again, as the Skalenzähne finally arrived.
Back to the grind- but boy, was she going to have an interesting conversation with Monroe later on.