My Darling Hermione,
I hope this letter finds you well and not too overwhelmed with your workload. I understand how busy these last few weeks of preparation before the examinations are so I will not be put out if I don’t hear back from you. That being said I hope you are taking enough time to rest, I know you will be trying to burn the candle at both ends but take care of yourself.
Is everyone there still reeling from the news of our engagement at your end? Every customer I have dealt with keeps asking if it is indeed the truth despite it being in print. I’m not sure whether to be amused or offended but I am choosing amused though I think that is mainly due to the fact that I am in better humour than I have ever been in my life. To use the cliché, you have made me the happiest man alive and I cannot wait for the day we are married.
Speaking of our engagement, I have received instruction from our dear Luna that we need to celebrate formally prior to the wedding. I was thinking, as you will be home from Hogwarts next Friday evening, we could do something that night. The weather is due to be fine and the light will be adequate to enjoy the garden for a while. We can keep it intimate, Luna and Neville as a given alongside Harry and Ginny and, unless you think otherwise, the other Weasleys. I will leave the guest list to you but I would prefer to keep the numbers limited. I can make all the necessary arrangements here.
Let me know your thoughts whenever you have the chance.
I love you,
Sorry it’s taken so long to reply. I know you said it didn’t matter but I miss communicating with you and I hate that I don’t have time even for a floo call. As it stands, it is two AM as I write and I am missing you so terribly. Though we’ve never shared my bed here, I still miss your presence in it. I wish you were here. When I am restless at home, I can just listen to you breathing and it relaxes me. You’re warmth and presence are always such a comfort to me and I think sometimes I try to stay awake just a little longer purely so that I can indulge in being beside you a little more.
I fear I am quite addicted to you my love, though I believe that is apparent considering that I asked for your hand. My colleagues are still in some measure of shock at the revelation of our engagement but the majority are more than happy for us. I am praised for having convinced you into romance and Minerva grows quite misty eyed whenever we speak of the wedding. Pomona is more mischievous than misty eyed, she keeps asking if there is a reason for such a swift wedding whilst looking pointedly at my stomach. I know she is only playing and I have assured her that we are marrying out of love and not necessity but I think there is some secret hope, especially amongst the older female staff, that we make some sort of announcement soon after the wedding. Whilst I still believe we should wait until the time feels right, it is nice in a way that they are so supportive of us starting a family together. I imagine there is not only a betting pool on a pregnancy but also on their future house. Perhaps we should have a guess.
The only person who seems to not approve, not that his approval is needed, is Erasmus. I’m not sure why he appears to have taken offence to our engagement. I know it is swift in terms of most relationships but we were hardly strangers and, if we are making an error in moving so quickly, it is our error to make. Can you recall any particular event that passed between you when he was younger that could make him so reluctant to accept that you are indeed different from your days when you were teaching? I do not ask to accuse, merely to understand if there is a reason to his odd behaviour. He has been aware of our relationship and has offered no indication that he is against it before but he is clearly against the thought of our marriage. I am worried it is going to affect our dealings with Ernest and I do not wish to derail what has been such wonderful progress throughout the year. I hope he can remain professional when we are working together though it still troubles me as I did consider him a friend.
Anyway, I will not give that subject any more thought. You and I are getting married and I am very pleased that our friends want to help us celebrate. A little party would be nice and I don’t think any alterations are needed to the guest list you proposed. I know Mum and Dad won’t be able to come but I may ask Minerva to attend if that is alright with you? If you are happy to make the arrangements then I will leave them in your hands.
I should get to sleep, I have so much to do tomorrow but I knew I would not sleep until I had written to you.
I love you my darling. I know I will think of you before I sleep and dream of you when it finally claims me.
Sending a kiss and all my love,
How I wish I had heard the floo when your letter arrived. I was restless myself last night and, had I known you too were wakeful, I could have called you but then I doubt I would have slept any easier as talking with you so far away makes me want nothing more than to be with you in person. I fear reading your words makes that ache even more tangible, I want nothing more than to be with you.
We are lucky that the majority of our acquaintances are supportive of us. I am not surprised that Pomona is clucking over you, whenever anyone showed even the slightest hint of a romantic entanglement she was demanding details of weddings and offspring even, at times, before she knew the name of the man or woman in question. Sadly, it is the way of things at Hogwarts that so many of those in its employment end up alone in the world. In Minerva’s case, she came as a widow and others are kept single by the restrictions of their role. I truly did believe, young as I was when I took up my own teaching role, that I too would find myself alone for the rest of my life. A life I once believed, for one reason or another would be short but I am now hopeful will be as long as possible.
You are quite the rarity to be in a relationship and they will all fuss and fawn over you but it is all meant with affection, I assure you. It will settle down soon.
As for Professor Armitage, my darling there is a very logical reason as to why he may be against our match. He is only a few years older than you and you are so very beautiful, bright, and kind, so much so that I challenge any young man not to be attracted to you. Darling, there is every chance that it is jealousy that promotes him to react negatively to our engagement. When we were merely a couple, in his eyes at least as I do not believe the words ‘merely a couple’ could even be applied to us, there was still a chance that you may one day be free but now we are proving our commitment fully and his reaction is as it is.
I hope he comes around though, especially as you are called upon to work together not only in your general roles but also in your specific commitments to Mr Calcraft. If he decides to be difficult to an extent that it affects your work then you would be best placed to relate things to Minerva. His personal feelings should not affect his work ethic (and yes, I am more than aware that I should have taken my own advice many times there). I hope things do resolve quickly for you and that you can recover your friendship.
I will make all the arrangements for our little gathering for Friday next week. All you need to do is floo home when you are finished with work for the day.
Wishing you as restful a day as possible.
With all my love,
Good Morning Darling,
Your letter all but met me as I got up this morning and I am glad that I had already decided to take breakfast in my room so I had time to read it and reply to it.
I have to admit though that I nearly choked on my tea when I read the part about your belief that Erasmus is in love with me. Seriously? Severus, he has never given any indication that he thinks of me as anything other than a colleague but, given his behaviour, I suppose your explanation is as valid as any other. It does put me in a wretched position though. I have never invited his attentions and would not think to do so even if you and I were not together. I do hope you are mistaken, my love.
I shall look forward to the party but please help me avoid drinking too much, especially if Ginny is there, as I will have to bring some work home with me to go through over the weekend. There’s still so much to be done in preparations for the exams and I will have mock test papers to mark for both my OWL and NEWT students. I knew these would be some of the most difficult weeks of the year but I never imagined I would feel the pressure as keenly. I think I am more nervous for these than I ever was for my own exams.
I’m counting the days until I see you.
With a kiss,
Please stop worrying about the exams. Your students will do fine and will be grateful for all your hard work when they get their results.
As for Armitage, perhaps I am right, perhaps I am wrong. I am basing my judgement on memories I have of him from his youth so I cannot account for any changes the years have made. Time will give you your answer there I think but again, if things do not improve then seek assistance from Minerva.
We will keep the party low key, as always I am keen to avoid spending too much time with other people when I could be alone with you. I intend to have everyone out of the house by midnight at the very latest and then I have plans to make sure you begin the weekend as relaxed as you can be.
I love you,
Are you intent on sending me to class wearing a blush? I have to go and teach now and I will have to do all I can to keep certain images out of my head. You are a wicked man Severus Snape.
Please don’t ever change.
In desperate anticipation,
My statement was nothing but innocent. I intend to help you rest and relax. Any additional material was provided by your own depraved mind.
Don’t you go changing either.
In innocent affection…and equally desperate anticipation,
My Darling Severus,
I am so sorry I’ve not been in contact for so long. It has been so crazy here. Luckily, I pushed through and was on top of all the exam work as I’ve had poor Ernest to deal with. I’m not sure what has happened, he still is not forthcoming with the information but he has requested a private meeting with me every evening after class. He talks about his Potions NEWT but then he just grows very quiet and I swear I have seen a few tears. He refuses to let me call Professor Armitage into the meetings but I have spoken with Erasmus and he cannot think of anything that would have turned the young man against him. It does not help that things are still difficult between Erasmus and me and I find it increasingly difficult to talk to the man without him managing some veiled barb that has nothing to do with Ernest.
I know the Ernest is struggling with what happened with his family but I am concerned that there is something in addition to that that I am missing. He seems fine amidst his peer group and his other teachers report nothing out of the ordinary in his behaviour or his marks. I fear something deeper is harming the boy and I am at a loss what to do.
It is so long since I asked for advice but I need to now my love. You were not only a teacher but also a head of house and whilst I know you will maintain that you were not exactly the best at the pastoral care side of your role, you must have had some instances when you had to be counsellor to those in Slytherin. I also need to ask on a much more personal level and forgive me if it causes any pain. This young man has been at the heart of the Death Eater doctrine and whilst his story does not mirror yours, it does have similarities and I wonder if there is anything I could be missing that you could point me towards? Is there anything you can think of that I can do to help this young man? Again, I am sorry if my question causes pain but I could not in good conscience avoid asking you. Please let me know any thoughts by return if you can.
My darling, I love you so very much.
First of all, do not ever apologise or feel that you cannot ask anything about my past. I may not want to discuss it every day but I intend to be an open book to you. There is nothing you cannot ask me. Yes, sometimes thoughts of the past do cause pain but that does not mean that I do not wish to share that pain with you, not when you have helped to heal so much of the hurt.
As for young Calcraft, you are right, our stories do not mirror but that does not mean that I cannot offer some insight. Indeed his story does play more to that of Draco’s however, Calcraft has broken from his family and their demands rather than fall victim to them as Draco did. I believe that Calcraft’s choices have been helped by the fact that his teachers have been supportive of him and neither Voldemort nor impending war hang over him.
I can offer no specific advice, all I can say is be there and listen. Had I had someone like you to rely upon, a teacher I could look up to and confide in then perhaps there may have been a slim chance of a difference being made to my life. Listen, advise where you can and we can both hold out hope that maybe his path will continue towards a positive future.
If you are concerned that more professional help may be needed I can make discreet enquiries when I am next at St Mungos, there are several people that are developing practices to rehabilitate and counsel those who were followers of Voldemort and they may be able to offer some help. I cannot speak of their efficacy but I have read several published studies and the results, as far as I can understand them, are promising.
Please let me know how you get on, without breaking any confidences of course, and if I can help or I think of anything then I will endeavour to send word. I do believe however much he is hurting now, he will find his way with your guidance and these troubles will pass for him.
As an aside, you may wish to tell Armitage to pull his head from a certain part of his own anatomy and grow up. Alternatively, invite him to our engagement party. I think I know which would rile him more.
Call me if you need me my love. I am here to help you wherever I can but I do believe you have this in hand already.
All my love, for all my life,