A/N: This was a gift for Musamihi in the 2011 SSHG Exchange at LiveJournal. As such, it is complete, and the 19 chapters will be uploaded regularly. Thanks so much to my alpha reader, Atuliel, and to my Britpicker/beta reader, Ruth. They're both brilliant! Also thanks to the exchange mods for organising what I imagine to be a logistical nightmare. And finally, thanks to musamihi for the great prompt (which I'll put at the end of the story). This was a bit of a stretch for me, so I hope you like it. The usual disclaimers apply, of course.
Thanks so much to my alpha reader, Atuliel, and to my Britpicker/beta reader, Ruth. They're both brilliant! Also thanks to the exchange mods for organising what I imagine to be a logistical nightmare. And finally, thanks to musamihi for the great prompt (which I'll put at the end of the story). This was a bit of a stretch for me, so I hope you like it.
The usual disclaimers apply, of course.
Severus stared suspiciously at the letter that had just been dropped through the Floo onto the hearth rug in his office. He was tempted to check it for Dark Magic – there were still quite a few people, after all, who thought he'd got away with murder, and Severus made a point of never underestimating how far they might go to achieve what they viewed as suitable revenge.
However, to his very great annoyance, he had recognised the hand that had delivered this particular letter, and he knew that as furious as she had ever been in her life, Hermione Granger had never been the type to actively attempt to harm anyone who wasn't imminently trying to kill her or one of her friends. With that in mind, and considering how tired he always felt these days, he almost decided to forego entirely his usual scan for hexes, jinxes, and the like.
In the end, of course, the habits of a lifetime won out, though he did manage to convince himself not to waste his increasingly limited energy looking for anything truly Dark. Several minutes later, when he was satisfied that the parchment contained nothing more potentially dangerous or annoying than its words, he stared at it for a few moments. This was the first letter she had sent him since the day he hired her for the Arithmancy post, so it was rather disconcerting that he had known immediately whose hand was dropping it on his rug. Still, he supposed there were few females of her approximate age at Hogwarts (or anywhere else, really) who would deliver him any sort of letter …
In any event, the handwriting confirmed his identification of the source of the letter, and anyway, only someone who was physically within the castle or on the Board of Governors could access his Floo for any purpose without his express permission.
At last, he took a deep breath and cracked the wax seal on the parchment and read the surprisingly brief missive.
Dear Headmaster Snape,
Please accept my resignation from the post of Arithmancy Mistress at Hogwarts. I will, of course, fulfil the terms of my current contract.
I wish Hogwarts all the best in the future.
Hermione J. Granger
For the first time since he had woken from that dreadful coma nearly eight years ago, Severus smiled.
Several of the portraits, who had been avidly watching the drama unfolding so silently before them, fled their frames when he began to laugh.
After all, if Headmaster Snape was that amused, the end of the world must be at hand.