Disclaimer: I'm only playing with J.K. Rowling's toys.
Author's note: This is an extremely rough draft. I suddenly got it into my head that I wanted to write a SS/HG fanfiction, something I have never, ever done. So suggestions are very much welcome, especially since I don't even know that I'll continue this. Thanks!
Hermione Granger was having one of those days. The minute she'd gotten to her office in the Department of International Magical Cooperation, she'd been accosted by several coworkers hoping she could assist them with the "Swedish fiasco." A badly timed Norwegian joke had been uttered at a diplomatic dinner and the Swedes were now furious--not at the content of the joke, apparently, but that the speaker had gotten his countries muddled up. This morning they were threatening to withdraw their contribution to next year's Quidditch World Cup--not that Hermione thought it was much of a loss. It had come down to gnomes or trolls and neither was much of a crowd pleaser.
Then there was the ambassador to the United States. Complications from a pregnancy. Had to be replaced, at least temporarily. The President (magical) had been avidly trying to form a trans-Atlantic baseball team, of all things, so the replacement preferably needed to be at least semi-knowledgeable about the sport…
After three hours of that, and just as she realized how hungry she was, she remembered she hadn't packed a lunch. Of course today would be the day that she didn't have a Knut on her, and just when she'd been about to run to Gringotts, she got drawn into another messy diplomatic situation. There was also no coffee that morning. The day definitely could not get any more tiresome.
And then he walked into her office.
Actually, she didn't even notice at first--it was only the pointed throat-clearing that got her attention. "Sorry about that--" she began, only to have the words dry up in her throat.
Severus Snape was standing on the other side of her desk. She gaped.
"Hello, Miss Granger," he said, sounding vaguely amused.
"Hello," she forced out. "Did you--er--did you need help with something?"
"Not at the moment, no. I had a few citizenship issues to sort out."
"I don't do that," she said stupidly.
He looked at her, one eyebrow raised, and replied, "Yes, I know. But I noticed your name outside and decided to be civil."
Hermione's brain finally clicked into the right gear. No, she hadn't seen the man in over fifteen years, but that was no reason to act like she couldn't string two words together. "That was very kind of you."
"Not particularly, but kind of you to say so."
"How long have you…been back?" Had he even been gone? Presumed dead, last she'd heard.
"A week or two."
She smiled a little. "Been getting many reactions like mine?"
This did not seem to please him. "No. Thankfully. Forgive me for saying so, Miss Granger, but speaking with you was a bit embarrassing for the first minute or two."
Flushing, she said, "I was shocked to see you. You were--"
"Presumed dead. Yes. I know. Or so I've heard, over the last several days."
There was something strange about Snape's appearance. Certainly he looked older, but it was as if he'd been…drained, somehow. He seemed hollow under his pale features. She remembered what he'd done in the War and felt pity stir in her.
Perhaps something showed on her face, because he suddenly became uneasy. "I'm glad you're in a good position here, Miss Granger. You're…very lucky. Good-bye."
As he turned and walked out the door, something made Hermione stand up and say, "Wait!" When he stopped, she opened her mouth, about to call him 'professor.' But that couldn't be right, could it?
He seemed to understand. "In case you've forgotten, my name is Severus."
She laughed. "No, I haven't forgotten. I just wondered at what age I stopped being a student." That drew a tiny smile from him. "Severus, then. Would you like to have dinner tonight? If you'd rather be alone for awhile, that's fine; of course, you just got back to London--"
"I'll meet you in the lobby at five o'clock, Miss Granger."
She gave him an amused look. "My name is Hermione, in case you've forgotten."
Again, that ghost of a smile. Then he was gone.