You can make a plan
Carve it into stone
Like a feather falling
It is still unknown.

Arc of Time (Time Code), by Bright Eyes


She drummed her fingers against the countertop, standing awkwardly in the kitchen. Her kitchen. Hermione hadn't expected her first few hours in her new cottage to feel so… uncomfortable. Daunting, even. What was she supposed to do now? Moving in had taken less than an hour, but had left her a bit drained after using so much magic so quickly.

I could take a nap, I suppose, she mused. But she had never really been one for nodding off in the middle of the day, not when there was sunlight and things that could be done.

I could read, then. Always a good backup plan.

Decided, she went to her (new) bookshelf in her (new) sitting room, and settled onto her (new) sofa. Frowning, she stood, walked over to her (NEW) window seat and perched there instead, looking around the room.

Hermione had planned this all out so precisely, had spent over a year formulating this course and working toward this goal. She had saved up, looked hard for the perfect place, and bought this cottage, determined to make it her home. Her home. She had split up with Ronald, and had been living in Number 12 Grimmauld Place with Harry and Ginny for the past three years. But it was time to move on. She had just achieved her Mastery in Arithmancy, her second, her first being in Transfiguration. She was working diligently on her current project, attempting to rewrite some of the simpler but more difficult spells so that they would be more straightforward to use. It was tricky going.

As Hermione was pondering the letdown that her little house was turning out to be, a sharp knock sounded at the door. She wasn't sure at first, since whoever it was had only knocked once and it could perhaps have been a tree branch or some such, but as she hesitated the person rapped again, just once.

She straightened her jumper and headed over to the door, somewhat more excited now that there was someone here to admire her cottage, but as she opened the door that excitement fizzled out.

Severus Snape was standing on her porch, and he would certainly not be up for any sort of house tour. He was certainly not the simpering sort.

Hermione forced a smile. "Severus, come in."

He stepped past her, looking appraisingly about the room, before peering through each of the doorways and down the hall. Satisfied that he had examined his surroundings satisfactorily, he stood stiffly next to one of her dining room chairs, and looked at her expectantly.

She sighed. Of course, she was not without reason. Severus Snape was obviously here to be difficult.

"Mistress Granger," he said formally, waiting for her to sit before he sat as well. She dropped unceremoniously into the chair nearest him, before placing her elbow on the table and leaning her chin in her hand.

"Severus, to what do I owe this honour?" she inquired, careful to keep the overtly rude tones from her voice.