"How odd that it makes its quietus so very sodding loudly," Lucius snarled, throwing the covers off himself and rising from bed. "Accio wand!"
Hermione turned from the window to block it from Lucius. "Don't even think about it. You know they're protected creatures."
"But it's dying. Why shouldn't I help it along?"
"Aren't you the slightest bit intrigued? Listen to the poor thing."
Lucius glared out the window at the blue speckled blur of riotous sound that was the Jobberknoll. "It's screaming everything it's ever heard. How could one possibly find that of interest? Particularly when it seems that this bird has lived an unconscionably long time."
Hermione giggled and slid an arm around Lucius' waist. "You know, before tonight, I didn't realise that sound dampening charms wouldn't work with regard to Jobberknolls because they're magical birds—or that some people think it an ill-omen to remove themselves from the vicinity of their death songs."
"He's still down there? Truly?" asked Lucius, flicking his wand to raise the window and wincing as he looked down at Severus sitting under the tree. "Sweet Salazar, he is! What a waste of an evening."
"He's always had a morbid way about him," Hermione murmured, running a hand lightly up and down Lucius' back.
Lucius snorted. "That's almost an insult from you. Gah, I hate this ceaseless screeching!"
"We could shut the window and make some noises of our own," suggested Hermione.
"And that's almost crude. I approve of this plan." Lucius drew Hermione back towards the bed.
"Don't you want to close the window?" she asked, pushing Lucius down and straddling him.
He smirked. "No. One never knows what might fly through it."
"He won't come."
"He will if the thrice-damned bird dies soon!" asserted Lucius.
Beneath the tree hard by his cottage, Severus sat transfixed by birdsong, barely registering the addition of Lucius and Hermione's voices to the dirge; he'd selected this place as a holiday destination for a bloody good reason.
Fifteen Galleons per feather, he reminded himself, as his cock stirred. Fifteen Galleons per feather.
When one thought of the expensive potions that could be brewed with fresh Jobberknoll feathers and how established the flock was, he knew he'd make a small fortune by the end of their trip—if he could just remain patient and keep himself focussed on his task.
Fifteen Galleons per feather. That's worth a sleepless night!