Welcome to my new story! At this time, I do not have a regular posting schedule planned. The first draft is done and being edited as we speak. I will try not to be so long between chappies that you have to go back and re-read to catch up, and if for some reason I am, I will give a quickie recap. That being said…..

I am very grateful for my britpicker, xpage394x, who despite writing her own story and having young children and going to Uni, offered to britpick my story. She has become my 'adopted daughter' and has a naughty spirit much like my own. Her insight and suggestions are helping to make this story way more than what I had first envisioned!

I am also very grateful to The Bard's Daughter who helped come up with the title for this story. My sister and I could not agree (read as 'fought like two cats on speed') on a title, and so I asked TBD for a favor. Her explanation for the title really touched my sense of romanticism.

The inspiration for this story comes from various delightful stories I have read where a letter writing campaign between our favorite couple ensues. The stories end with their marriage and allusions to continued letter writing throughout their marriage. I haven't seen this type of story for while and wanted to indulge myself in seeing what I could come up with and pursue the letter writing beyond their marriage up to their deaths. Any similarity between my story and previously published versions is accidental; I tried very hard to compare mine to others and alter as necessary.

This story is set post war so naturally it is AU because Snape lives! There will be fluff, but not enough for sandwiches (not even if you provide the peanut butter). No lemons this time, but the story is appropriately rated for some tough situations in later chapters.

J.K. Rowling owns it all. I don't. sniff sniff

Chapter 1

An Old Box

A raven sat on his perch, his feathers less than glossy due to age, muttering to itself as noise disturbed his sleep. The source of the disturbance was off to the left where a wardrobe stood with its doors open wide and clothes piled on the floor beside it.

Hermione Snape knelt amongst the robes and boots to open the drawer at the bottom. The hands that grasped the handles were painful as they pulled the drawer open; at 112, she suffered the usual aches and pains of old age. Once the drawer was open, she reached in and pulled out an old box. She lovingly caressed the careworn surface of the tiger-eye maple wood; Severus had given her the box as a gift on their 10th wedding anniversary. On its top was a carved lion and snake matching the tattoo on her wrist. Celtic symbols and runes were carved into the other surfaces.

"Gran?" A feminine voice called from the sitting room.

"In here!"

A tall bespectacled woman wandered into Hermione's bedroom. "What are you doing?"

"Clearing out; it must be done."

"But Gran, it has only been a week! Why don't you wait?"

"The longer I wait, the harder it will be," Hermione stated with sad resignation.

"Oh, Gran," Glennis flopped down on the floor beside her great grandmother who reached up and stroked the 34-year-old woman's hair. It was as black and straight as Severus' had been. She had his black eyes but she had Hermione's own irrepressible curiosity. "I miss him so much."

"As do I. He was my heart and soul."

"He really was your soulmate, wasn't he?" Glennis queried humbly.

"Yes, he really was," Hermione smiled.

"They are rare, aren't they?"

"True soulmates are rare. Sure, lots of people say they are soulmates and have deep abiding love and empathy for each other, but few are true soulmates." Hermione turned over her wrist to show Glennis the bonding tattoo. "The day we got married, after the bonding was ceremony was completed, this symbol appeared. It has never faded or dulled in color over the years. Your great grandfather and I had reasons to believe we were soulmates, but this was absolute proof." Hermione snorted at a memory. "The ministry even had the gall to require our presence at a hearing to investigate the marks, blithering some twaddle about your great grandfather's other tattoo and dark magic." Hermione traced the outline of the familiar tattoo reverently; a golden lion with a green snake wrapped around its body; the 'foreheads' of the snake and lion touched, their eyes open and looking at each other.

"Gran…." Glennis hesitated before speaking her next thought. "I have heard that when a soulmate dies, the other dies not long afterward."

"Yes. That is why I am not so sad. I will be with Severus again very soon." Hermione spoke determinedly but softly as Glennis burst into tears. "Don't cry!" Hermione spoke quickly. "It is a joyous thing for me to know this! Lenni, I miss him so much. All the little annoying things he did, all the loving things he did. I miss it all so much." Hermione rummaged around in the pocket of her robes before producing a handkerchief. She wiped her great-granddaughter's cheeks affectionately and then pressed the hankie into Glennis' hand with a firm but tender grip. "But we know what is beyond the veil, and I know I will be with him for all eternity very soon. Don't be sad for us. Be happy!" She implored with a joyous smile as she patted her great-granddaughter's hand decisively before returning her gaze to the timeworn box.

After a few moments, Glennis wiped her nose. Gesturing with the wet handkerchief toward the box she asked, "What have you got in your lap, Gran?"

"This? Watch and see!" Hermione said cheerfully. She got out her wand, performed a quick slicing hex on her thumb and then pressed it onto a well-worn spot on the lid. With another tap of the wand, the box opened. Inside were hundreds of letters, some loose, most bundled together with different coloured ribbons. "Your great grandfather and I began a correspondence in my seventh year at Hogwarts. It was after the war, and he was finally at liberty to pursue whatever he desired. What started out as merely a request for friendship became a lifetime," Hermione spoke lovingly.

"We continued writing throughout our courtship. I've wrapped the letters in coloured ribbon according to when they were written. These ones here," she pointed to a red and green ribbon tied bundle, "were written while I was at Hogwarts. The ones in blue while I was at Glasgow Institute and during our courtship; the ones in silver are the ones we wrote after we married."

Upon hearing this Glennis looked at Hermione in bewilderment. "If we ever had a fight we couldn't resolve, we began to write letters again." Hermione explained before returning to the box in its entirety. "Some letters are no more than a few lines wishing each other good luck on something; some are letters that are sad," her fingers drifted over a small bundle wrapped in black ribbon. She patted the box. "A lifetime…all here. Come on my dear; let's find a more comfortable place to sit, and I will show you some of them."

Great grandmother and great granddaughter stood together, the latter helping the former to her feet, before walking over to the bed Hermione and Severus had shared for the last 88 years. Hermione had inevitably put on weight over time, but was still thin in comparison to say, the late Molly Weasley. Her pleated hair was waist length, still very curly (although pregnancy and age reduced its former bushiness) and shot through with grey. She had never cut it short because Severus adored her hair and had asked her not to. He especially loved for her to keep it in a pleat so that he could tug it playfully when he passed her at odd moments throughout the day; it was his way of saying 'I love you'. He particularly liked to loosen her curls out of their pleat at night before she brushed it out. She did not mind taking the time to pleat her hair; if something this simple brought her love pleasure, then it was a pleasure she willingly gave.

The pair settled comfortably among the pillows sitting at the headboard. Hermione conjured up a mug of hot chocolate for each of them and settled down to begin her tale.

"After the war, your great grandfather spent several months in St. Mungo's recuperating. He returned to Hogwarts to teach by the time term started in September. Professor McGonagall, who was Headmistress at the time, gave him the choice of teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts or Potions. He chose Potions even though he had previously longed for the Defence position. I've a letter about that as well."

"Didn't Granddad want to be headmaster again?" Glennis asked whilst wrapping her hands round the comforting warmth of her mug of hot chocolate.

"Absolutely not! Hermione exclaimed. "We wrote about that in our early letters; I'll find one for you. Anyway, Uncle Ron, Uncle Harry, and I returned to complete our seventh year. It was about three weeks into the school year when I received the first letter; the one that started it all."