Chapter 73 - Bit of Metal

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∞ 73 ∞


And so, keeping a mental note of all of Valentina's stipulations and having learned both what a "CUPCAKE" was and what the term "flaky" meant in Muggle slang, Lucius began fulfilling his 12 hours per week requirement, 'helping' Valentina...

His first task was to help her find the little piece of metal she wore around her neck. When she found out he didn't have the keepsake, she was frantic to find it. After several hours, over several days of looking on her own and even calling the man who owned the digger (imagining it must have gotten stuck somewhere in the machine) she had woefully resolved herself to acceptance. It was gone. Seeing how important it was to her, Lucius went out with her. Conjuring the Bloodhound charm when she wasn't looking, he found that it had been in the nest of a rook. A bit of thorny branch from the blackthorn that had effectively cut her jugular open was still stuck in the ribbon it was strung on. The rook must have taken it from the blackthorn and that is where Lucius told Valentina he had found it.

She seemed as relieved to have the thing back as if it had been a diamond ring from her granny. Lucius couldn't understand what the fuss was about. It was just an innocuous looking, flattish bit of metal. It was irregularly shaped, with a hole in it somewhere about, but not exactly, in the centre – a bit like a washer, or an eyelet, with a bit of the base area it had been mounted to around it. (Perhaps it had been a fitting of some sort, once upon a time that broken off of some larger mechanism and was warped from heavy use, or perhaps it was some sort of mis-cast object that had been broken down for scrap and discarded). She held the thing to her heart and exhaling hugged and kissed Lucius, which he accepted with more ease and made him forget his slight condescension that he thought it was weird to value the useless thing.

It was none of his business anyway if she wanted to wear an ugly, worthless, bit of scrap around her neck. He supposed that was the fashion and that the artist had probably taken ages to make the thing look like a genuine random bit of junk. He probably wasn't 'cool' enough with the current Muggle or even Magical styles to understand the trends. One of his young cousins was wearing a faucet around her neck (of all things!) the last time he saw her.

Valentina was extremely pleased to have the thing back anyway... and after the dubious start, seemed much returned to her sweet and affectionate self – which he very much liked.

So far so good.

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