He ignored the first three letters that arrived.
They were too pertinent a reminder of that time. The penmanship was too familiar, the tone of the note so similar to the voice he still sometimes heard in his head. It reminded him of interruptions to his lectures, questions too insightful for a person of her age, eyes too deep with knowledge and sadness learned too brutally and too young.
He ignored the first three letters that arrived, but he didn't throw them away.
They sat on his mantle, emitting a siren call until he opened them and read them one dreary afternoon in early October.
For the attention of Severus Snape.
Forgive the tone of my initial address. I have called you Professor for so many years that I was unsure of what title to give you, and each one I tried sounded alien.
I hope this letter finds you well. We have heard nothing from you in over a year, but Minerva said you were much improved when she called to visit. I am glad you are recovered. Your brave actions during the battle at Hogwarts helped us to victory and I am glad that you did not pay the ultimate price for your heroism. I know you have no wish to discuss such things with any of us, but I could not write to you without saying thank you at least once. Henceforth you can trust I will be silent on the matter.
The reason for my correspondence, sir, is professional. I am hoping you will be able to assist me with several questions I have. You are probably aware that I have now completed my apprenticeship and Minerva has asked me to take on the role of Potions Mistress at Hogwarts from September. Whilst I am certain I will find my own feet in the role, I was hoping you might be able to provide some insight into best practice within the classroom. I must admit now that the thought of first years and some of the more volatile potions ingredients in the syllabus fills me with dread. You held the role of Potions Master for many years and your teaching was always effective if, forgive me, a little terse on occasion. If you would be willing to offer any advice on the subject then I would gratefully receive it.
You may reach me by the return address provided or directly to Hogwarts.
My thanks in advance for your assistance.
For the attention of Severus Snape
I do hope my first letter reached you however, in case it was misdirected, I would like to make my request to you once more.
I am now in post as Potions Mistress at Hogwarts and I have some understanding now why your face always appeared so apprehensive whenever certain students walked into the room. Children and Potions do not mix well.
Whilst discipline is not so much of an issue, I am struggling when it comes to managing the students who find the subject a little more challenging than others. We had to replace the ceiling following an accident with the third years the other day and I feel like I am sending students to Madame Pomfrey on a daily basis.
Any advice you could offer me would be greatly appreciated and I eagerly await you response.
Yours faithfully (and in mild desperation),
For the attention of Severus Snape
I have not heard from you in response to my letters so I am making the assumption that you have no wish to answer them. I accept that we were never on good terms during our acquaintance and I understand that you may have no wish to correspond with me, especially on matters regarding Hogwarts.
I had not intended to write again but I could not bring this to an end without at least saying thank you once more. Thank you for your teaching, thank you for your bravery, and thank you for your sacrifice. Because of you, my students are able to attend school and learn in a climate of change and renewal. They are able to heal. I hope that you are able to as well.
As for me, I shall remember what you taught me and I shall muddle through. I will worthy of my students sir, I assure you. It will just take some time.
I send you all my best wishes and I hope that your future is peaceful and restful and everything you wish it to be. I hope we meet again but if not, farewell and thank you once more.
Yours faithfully and in gratitude,