AN: Thank you all for your reviews and for giving me a warm welcome on Sycophant Hex! The story is finished and will be posted regularly. Many thanks go my beta, Dreamy_Dragon.
Subject: Saxifraga crustata
Dear Mr Princip,
Forgive me for writing to you again. I do not mean to be presumptuous, but I am currently employed to do Arithmantic calculations for a new line of potions using saxifrages. There are no references I could find about their Arithmantic properties. As you have published extensively about their use in potions in Bimet malore, I wondered if you could point me towards the right source or even tell me what you know.
He could. And he was hooked. Bimet malore, which translated as “Alpine Plants” was a really small, obscure Herbology publication—in Albanian, no less. It seemed Ganger‘s research habits had not changed if she found something like that.
As fas as Severus knew—and he probably was the Potions master who knew most about saxifragae crustatae—there was nothing published about their Arithmantic properties.
Subject: Re: Saxifrages
To my knowledge there has not been any research concerning Artithmantic properties of saxifragae crustatae due to their limited use in potions. I may be able to give you ballpark figures based on comparable reactions to other ingredients, though.
Would you mind telling me which line of potions you had in mind?
Subject: Re: Re: Saxifrages
Dear Mr Princip,
I am very sorry to say that I haven‘t got clearance to talk about the new line of potions the firm I am working for is planning. However, I could tell you if you are willing to sign a confidentiality agreement. Would an owl reach you?
Subject: Owls and confidence
The knowledge is not of great importance to me right now. I trust you will tell a fellow academic when you‘re able to. An owl would indeed reach me.
As to the Arithmantic properties of saxifraga crustata: you will, of course, have to run some tests, but based on my own experiments, you might want to narrow down your test ranges as follows:
With acids: x = f(y) . 10 -5 to 10 -13
With oxygen: x = f(y) . 10 7 to 10 9
With bases: x = f(y) . 10 -17 to 10 -21
Subject: Accounts and Arithmancy
Dear Mr Princip,
Thank you ever so much. Your calculations have been a tremendous help and saved the firm a rather hefty sum.
Based on this, they are offering a fee of 948 Galleons 8 Sickles 19 Knuts or 5,500 Euros, payable through either wizarding or Muggle means. I can forward your account details or you can send them by owl to
Draconian Measures Ltd, 23 b Diagon Alley, London
Re: Subject: Accounts and Arithmancy
Dear Ms Granger,
It is a pleasure doing business with you. I may well start planning my new greenhouse now instead of next year. Is Draconian Measures by any chance connected to Draco Malfoy?
Subject: Draco Malfoy
Dear Mr Princip,
Draco Malfoy does indeed own Draconian Measures.
He has an uncanny talent for doing business. He is unfailingly producing exactly what customers want, which has shaken my longstanding conviction that Divination is a load of— er, not academically sound.
The research department is led by Natali Comanec, a Potions prodigy from Durmstrang; you might have heard of her. She can be quite high-strung at times, but my friends tell me so can I.
By the way, some notebooks of Headmaster Snape and a picture of him being presented with a trophy for the invention of several healing potions at the age of sixteen are displayed prominently in the conference room at DM.
Have fun with your new greenhouse.
To his utter embarrassment, Severus felt his eyes grow moist. His therapist would be proud of him ...
He remembered holding Draco—a remarkably ugly infant—for the first time. He had felt awkward and unsure, but the little boy didn’t seem to mind and had opened his clear, blue eyes, shining with trust and unconditional love. Life had been full of promises then.
Severus turned his thoughts back to the astonishing fact that Draco and Granger seemed to not only have buried their animosity enough to work together but also to be on friendly terms if he read the tone of her mail correctly. Wonders never ceased.
But then, they weren’t obnoxious teenagers any more.
He searched the web for some pictures. He found one of Granger when her Oxford Maths team had won an award. Three male students grinned proudly; Granger scowled in the background. The picture was seven years old and did not help him to construct an image of the woman he was exchanging e-mails with. It did, however, erase the image of her as a student.
AN: The Albanian Herbology publication got its title from an internet dictionary; please notify me of glaring mistakes ... Besides, esteemed readers knowledgeable in Potions or chemistry will cringe, sorry. The Durmstrang potioneer is a nod to Nadia Comaneci, the Romanian gymnastics idol of my childhood.