Title: The "Second" Draft
Age-Range Category: Five
Characters: Severus Snape, Hermione Granger, implied others
Click to View [Warning(s)]For bad, however understandable, language and a form of irritation that many of us came to know in 2020.
Summary: Severus fails to mask his disgust.
"You're not seriously going to post this, are you?" Hermione asked.
Severus took back the parchment he had just handed her, frowning. "Why shouldn't I?"
"Because it's too long," Hermione replied, ticking each point she made off on her fingers, "too convoluted, and too baldly threatening. . . . Honestly, Severus, there are more succinct methods of saying 'fuck you', and certainly ones that will keep you out of—"
"She's a menace!" interrupted Severus. "She is a horrible, lying, busy-bodying—"
"That's not a word."
"—wretched excuse for a neighbour!"
Hermione shook her head. "Have you quite finished?"
"Severus, pardoned or not—"
"After all this fucking time, I might add!"
"What?" he demanded.
"Pardoned or not—and Harry's, er, assistance in this matter notwithstanding—you can't go about fighting with . . . such people. There are simply too many of them."
Severus raised an eyebrow, appearing as he did so the very picture of unmollified irritation. "Oh, very well. I'll . . . tone it down—but I am not sorry!"
After an epic bout of innovative swearing and prolonged crumpling (which thoroughly pleased Crookshanks' "great-great-grandspawn," as Severus referred to the latest litter of Kneazle kittens in their household, Severus presented Hermione with his "second" draft:
14 December 2020
Dear Mrs Karen Hampton-Smythe,
Having been prevailed upon by the Powers that Be, which you will understand to mean the Ministry for Magic's strong arm that is the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, to issue a sincere apology to you—which I was informed must, as any true expression of regret quite rightfully should, include the phrase, "I apologise"—I now write to you for the purpose of expressing my extreme sorrow that you and I met in Hogsmeade Saturday last whilst you were attempting to infect the general populace and, more specifically, the denizens of the Three Broomsticks, with the latest variant of Dragon Pox by not wearing a Bubble-Head Charm. The relevant Ministry personnel have assured me that you are not a Squib and are, therefore, quite capable of performing such a rudimentary spell, so I apologise for my confusion at finding you without the mandated, critically important charm surrounding your green-tinged head.
It was not your colour, you understand. I knew at once that you were clearly contagious rather than sporting a cosmetic affectation, and that, in spite of that fact, you were about to enter a crowded establishment much frequented by the older citizens of Hogsmeade, citizens who might very easily have become infected by the new permutation of the Pox, so when I expressed surprise at your thoughtlessness and wished aloud that the Three Broomsticks had not three but four broomsticks, the better that I might stick the fourth one somewhere that would cause you to remember your responsibility to your neighbours, I cannot imagine why you were so offended that you felt compelled to call for an Auror and unjustly accuse me of threatening to attack you. Indeed, I emphatically apologise for my confusion on this particular point, for it's not as if I did shove a broomstick handle up your arse, now is it?
You asserted, as I recall, that the air produced by the Bubble-Head Charm was harmful because of its "stale nature." Madam, I take leave to tell you that such a comment makes me fear a reorganisation of Hogwarts' Charms curriculum is long overdue, sadly so, and I assert that your claim was ridiculous, had no magically sound basis, and did not excuse your attempt to spread a plague of Pox farther throughout the wizarding world. I most fervently apologise for not doing more to prevent your dangerous behaviour. Had I not, after extricating myself from my enforced conversation with the Aurors about the events of our meeting and its aftermath, been on my way to St Mungo's to test what I was right in hoping would soon become a more refined version of the current antidote to the Pox after a rigorous bout of testing, I would have discoursed further with you upon the subject of, for want of a better phrase, your "magical thinking" with regard to sound sourcery pertaining to injurious pestilences such as
Grappling as you are with basic common
In another lifetime, Mrs Hampton-Smythe (one for which I've recently received a full pardon, I note, lest you feel duty bound to shriek out a warning, as you did upon our recent encounter, that "a Death Eater!" had come for you), our interaction would not have been so very civil as it was, your feeblemindedness be damned. In another lifetime, my resolutely former lifetime, I note for any interested parties with whom you might share my letter, I would have found a creative manner in which to remove your problematic presence from the village in which I find myself, for the most part, happily situated. In another lifetime, I would not have regretted bringing to bear upon your thoughtlessness the full weight of my mental calculus in brewing your removal. Ah, but I digress. This is supposed to be an epistle of an apologetic nature and not a history lesson.
Truly (with the most sincere regret for our meeting, the circumstances of said meeting, the memory of your viridescent visage and sound of your grating voice, and the knowledge that you most certainly infected many innocents with a dreadful disease merely because you couldn't be bothered to perform a simple Sixth-Year spell) yours,
Master of Potions, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Ad Hoc Healer and Brewer, St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries
Editor-at-Large, Potioneering Quarterly
Consulting Potioneer, Spellcraftres' Guild
Defence Against the Dark Arts Specialist, by Appointment and for an Astonishingly Large Fee
Order of Merlin, First Class
P.S. My wife is all apologies, as well, for not making her modified Bubble-Head Charm permanent. That said, she has asked me to convey to you the fact that it will fade upon the occasion of your taking the potion currently being offered as an antidote to the Pox's new strain, and "not one sodding moment before!"
"Well," Hermione said, suppressing a giggle, "I suppose that this draft will have to do given that we're now quite out of parchment."