"…a very troubled future, indeed," Sibyll Trelawney concluded her prediction, looking at him with her wide eyes. "It's in the stars, I'm afraid."

Severus remained seated rigidly in his office chair, his mouth set in a fine line. "I see," he said flatly. Why wouldn't the infuriating woman leave his office? Damn Dumbledore and his policy on being civil to his fellow staff members! If only such a nicety did not exist; he could grab her by her silly shawls and fling her out of the room –

"But perhaps," she continued, now picking up his empty tea cup, "perhaps there is hope here? – no, I don't see – oh my, the Grim! That's even worse, I – oh dear – !"

Severus inhaled slowly, trying to keep his calm temperament.

"I'm so sorry, Severus," she said, placing his tea cup back on the desk and gazing at him solemnly. "If there was anything I could do…anything at all…but the fates cannot be changed…"

"Your sympathies have been heard," he replied curtly.

"Unless…" she murmured to herself. "Unless…perhaps a palm reading…maybe there is something there…?" She reached out and took one of his hands. She began tracing the lines on his hand with one finger. Severus clenched his jaw; this was going too far.

As she brushed her finger across his skin, Trelawney suddenly seemed nervous and fidgety.

"Well?" said Severus dryly. "What do you see?"

"I…well…" She fell silent, holding his hand in her own, which trembled. Abruptly she lurched to her feet. "I'm sorry, Severus, I shall have to continue my predictions another day – I'm not feeling so well – "

"That's fine," said Severus. "It was a pleasure to – " she slammed the door as she fled his office " – see you," he finished quietly. He glanced down at the hand she had dropped so suddenly.

I'll have to remember that little weakness of hers next time she intrudes, he thought, a satisfied smirk creeping onto his lips.