Disclaimer: All characters within this one-shot are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling and any other entities that lay legal claim to the Harry Potter universe. This fiction was written purely for entertaininment. No money is being made with the writing of this fiction, nor is any harm or insult intended against the creator of the HP universe.

A/N – This is a one-shot SS/HG ficlet, written in response to one of leogryffin's 30 minute challenges located on Live Journal.

A Social Call

He didn't bother to knock, finding no reason to exercise a point of etiquette in this case. The door swung open easily beneath his touch and Snape strode into the office of the new Arithmancy professor. She raised her head in acknowledgement of his entry, though there was no surprise or outrage on her rather plain face, only a guarded tranquility as she waited for him to state his purpose in visiting her.

Snape twisted his features into his best sneer, curling his upper lip and narrowing his eyes in the customary expression that sent students running for cover or cowering at their desks in fear. He was disappointed to see his fellow teacher do nothing more than raise a patient eyebrow in question and lay her quill next to the stacks of parchment she had been marking before his interruption.

"I thought Hogwarts was rid of you after your seventh year. I was certain such an event heralded a break from Know-It-Alls. Unfortunately, I seem to be incorrect. Tell me, Miss Granger, why has the greatest witch come back to Hogwarts and accepted the lowly position of Arithmancy teacher?"

He loomed above her, using the weight of his history with her and the stigma of his less than pleasant personality to intimidate. His scowl deepened as his erstwhile student laced her fingers together and gave him an arch stare.

"That would be Professor Granger, Professor Snape. And my reasons for returning here remain between me and the headmaster." She unclasped her hands and rose from her chair, making her way to a small sideboard containing a kettle and a set of mismatched cups. Her voice, no longer shrill or grating to the ears, remained uninflected, a thread of boredom weaving through it that served to raise Snape's volatile temper a notch. "Tea?" She asked, raising the kettle in question.

"No," he snapped. "This is not a social call."

Hermione lowered the kettle and turned to face him again. "Really? What a shock. Then why are you here?"

The Potions master took three long steps until he was standing close enough to tread on her toes. She didn't back away, though her body language stiffened at his proximity and he allowed himself a small smirk at her discomfort. "You do not belong here," he hissed and felt an instant mortifying blush tinge his cheeks as she slowly raised her hand and wiped a trace of spittle from her cheek.

"Either step back or stop talking, Professor. It is both rude and unsanitary to spit on someone when having a conversation with them." The scorn in her voice was withering, and were he not the recipient of its lash, he would have found cause to admire it. As it was, the setdown infuriated him to the boiling point and he whirled away to stalk out of the office. She halted him in his tracks with her next statement.

"If you are concered about my qualifications as a teacher here, Professor Snape, than your fears are unfounded. I am more than capable of teaching these students the subject for which I was hired. My reasons for being taken on this staff have everything to do with my skill, my knowledge and my training, and little to do with the sympathetic mercy of a headmaster. Can you say the same?"

Snape turned slowly on his heel, hearing the brush of his robes against the floor over the hot blood of rage roaring in his ears. He closed the distance between them in a rush, his longer fingers curling into claws at the tempting vision of wrapping them around her pale throat and squeezing. Impertinent, cheeky, scornful bitch!

"How dare you!" He snarled and reached to grab her arm. He missed and she skirted around him to return to the relative safety of her seat, with the large desk between them. There was no apology, regret or fear in her brown eyes, only a measuring watchfulness as she waited to see what he would do next.

He leaned over the desk, laying his palms flat on the surface. "I will make certain you do not last here beyond a fortnight, Miss Granger," and his eyes glittered with malice.

Hermione shrugged, seemingly unconcerned by the threat. She pulled a stack of mail toward her and used a silver-plated letter opener to slice through the envelopes.

"Do you understand me, Miss Granger?"

Snape almost yelped in shock and thanked whatever deity was listening that his reflexes were quick. He jerked his left hand away just in time to avoid being impaled by the wicked letter opener as Hermione, now noticeably angry, buried the tip in the desk.

"I understand you quite well, Professor Snape", and her words were sharp, the shrill he remembered creeping into her tone. "But before you make idle threats, I suggest you consult with your copy of the Employee Handbook regarding staff interaction. You will find an interesting pararaph regarding harrassment on page 394. You may wish to reaquaint yourself with it. Rest assured, I am well aware of what it states. Now if you will excuse me, I have parchment to mark. Good day."

The resulting silence between them vibrated with the same tension that made the letter opener shiver in its upright position on the desk. Snape's mouth had thinned to a tight line, though she could see he thought better of commenting any more.

The visitors chairs bounced against the floor in response to the concussion wave created by the slamming door as the Potions master tore out of the office in a swirl of rage and black robes. Hermione sat still in her seat for a brief moment, took a slow breath and yanked the letter opener out of the now scarred desk.

"Well," she said softly, though her voice seemed loud in the quiet of her office. "I'd say that ended on a more positive note than I expected."

(Completed in 31 minutes)