Disclaimer: If this was mine... I wouldn't still be in denial about Book Seven.

Author's Note: Two different inter-house shippers. If you don't like Gryffindor/Slytherin... well, why did you click on this? Anyway, I saw all these fanfics with notes passed in class (which I thought was a pretty cool idea), but none of them had any plot. So, I decided to combine, note-passing, interhouse shipping, a plot, and an Alan Rickman reference all in one story. Interested? Read on!

Ah! Before I forget: this is set in the latter part of OotP.

Minerva McGonagall was finally blessed with free time. She had no classes for an hour and a half; her papers had been graded; and she was not being called to patrol the halls at the moment. The first thing to do, she decided, was to have a large cup of chamomile tea. If she got there at the right time, she could catch up with Pomona and have their usual discussion about the first years. Life was going to be good for the next hour. She reached her destination and turned the door handle, smiling slightly. She could practically smell the chocolate bars….

Upon entering, though, she was met with a most unusual sight: Severus Snape was in the teachers' lounge. He was sitting at the table, smirking at a slightly crumpled, scribbled-on piece of parchment. Minerva searched her memory. There were no mandatory meetings of any sort today, and therefore no reason for Severus to have dragged himself up from his dungeons. The teachers' lounge was more a social place, and so he was rarely present.

The object of her confusion looked up, eyebrow raised. "Are you going to stand in the doorway all day?" He gestured to the paper in front of him. "Have a look, Minerva. This should interest you."

She pulled up a chair, intrigued. "What is it?"

He looked smug. "I confiscated a note from none other than your precious Granger."

Minerva frowned slightly, but didn't reply. To say it was unlike Granger to pass notes was an understatement. However, as she leaned forward, she recognized the neat, round writing of her brightest student. Every other line was made in another student's thin, spiky cursive. She began to read.

Hello.

Writing notes in class, Granger? What is the world coming to?

It's only Pepperup Potion. I could practically do that in my sleep.

Too true. How shall the rest of us mortals ever catch up with you?

Oh, stuff it. You're just as smart as I am, only you're lazy.

I think I'll take that as a compliment. Honestly, though, why are we passing notes in front of Snape? Not the wisest pastime.

I need to talk to you… about yesterday?

There's nothing to talk about. That conversation is over and done with. Or didn't you take the hint when I walked away?

I think this is a lot more important than you make it out to be.

Oh, no. I agree. It's very important. But I'll deal with it.

Not alone, surely?

Yes, alone. Can't you just mind your own business?

Not about this! I want to help!

Do you? I know what this is, Granger. It was fun being your guinea pig for inter-house unity, but don't act like you actually care!

Draco Malfoy, don't you dare assume how I feel!

Minerva paused, went back, and reread the name. She didn't care to look at Severus, lest she see the king of all smirks that he was most likely favoring her with right now. Now far too curious about the entire affair, she continued.

I'm scared now. My father is nothing compared to you.

I care. Believe me.

We'll see. Have you told Potty and Weasel yet?

When are you going to lay off the names?

It's all in fun, Granger. Now answer the question.

No. I haven't.

What faith you have in your friends. When, if at all, did you plan to let them know?

I don't know. "Hey, Harry, you know Malfoy, your mortal enemy? Well, he and I are friends now!" It can't go over horribly well.

…We're friends?

Yes! Well, I mean, I thought so. Why?

Nothing.

No dodging, Draco. Why did you ask?

If I must. Well, Crabbe and Goyle are more dumb cohorts than friends, and Zabini and his crowd are such wonderful people, you see.

So, we are friends, yes?

I suppose so.

I can always count on you for definitive answers. But back to our original discussion.

No.

Yes! Why are you trying to handle it by yourself?

Because it's my life! Why does it matter to you whether or not I get the Dark Mark

Minerva had to squint a little to make it out, but those last words of Malfoy's were definitely "Dark Mark," though someone had scratched them out. She paled, but it wasn't entirely unexpected. He was a Malfoy.

Don't write it down!

I don't plan on having this note taken up.

But it could! Do you really want to become his servant?

That doesn't really matter, does it? It's not my choice.

Why not? Because of your father?

Right. So now I can be a Death Eater or get disowned.

I'd rather be disowned. And please, don't write these things down!

That's just you. I have a reputation to uphold.

You're worried about your reputation?! And here I thought you were sane!

No need to get hysterical. I was only making light of the situation. You would, too. Honestly, where would I go? What could I do if my own father turned me out?

There's always somewhere to go. Dumbledore wouldn't let you live on the streets or anything.

Yeah? They don't let people live in the school. Besides, no one here trusts me.

Well… there is one other possibility…

Do go on.

My parents own a vacation home in on the Scottish coast. If nothing else, you could go there.

You want me to live in a Muggle house?!

Do you have another choice?

Great. I'm down to choosing between the Dark Lord and Muggle vacation homes. This is ridiculous.

Ridiculous, but possible. Well?

I'll think about it.

Good.

Granger, you actually do care, don't you?

Why, yes. I'm so glad you noticed. Do

This, apparently, was where Severus had finally noticed his students' note-passing. Minerva stared at the parchment for a few moments, not reading anything, but digesting all this information. At last, she looked up at Severus, who was patiently waiting for her reaction. "That was… interesting," she said.

"That was an understatement." He appeared rather disappointed in her lack of visible shock… or perhaps it was her lack of eloquence. "What ever possessed these students to pass notes in my class?"

Minerva raised an eyebrow. "I hope you aren't being a hypocrite."

"What? I never passed notes when I was a student here. Classes were much more interesting than my classmates."

She grinned maliciously. "Really? Wait here." Turning abruptly, she left the room.

Severus sat down and picked up the note again, rereading it idly. He would have to talk to young Malfoy tonight, and make him see that there were better places to go than vacation homes. Really, it was too obvious that Malfoy wouldn't go through with it if he had any say. Severus rubbed his left arm absently. No one needed another reluctant teen Death Eater.

After a few minutes, Minerva walked in and dropped a plain wooden box on the table in front of him. "There," she said. "Let's see what you make of that."

Glaring suspiciously, he lifted the lid. The box was filled with rolled-up pieces of parchment. He selected the one on top and unrolled it. His eyes widened, and shifted to Minerva. "You kept these?"

"I always keep that sort of thing," she admitted, and her smile turned somewhat sad. "I thought it might turn out to be interesting later."

He looked back down and scanned the paper. Nodding, he rolled it back up and placed in back in the box reverently. "Thank you."

"No…" She picked up Granger's note and tucked it in a pocket. "Thank you."

Review, please. I simply love constructive criticism.