The Teacher's Pet.

Chapter 1: Love at first sight.

It had been a routine school day at Hogwarts for Severus Snape, former Death Eater and present Potions Master. After several classes, he was content with several points having been deducted from all Houses, with Gryffindor in the lead with minus sixty-five points. Several detentions had been issued as well, but he had succeeded in passing them all to Argus Filch, which would spend a very enjoyable evening in the company of Fred and George Weasley - because Snape had plans for the evening.

Finishing his paperwork, he shoved the graded assignments of his not-so-bright students in a drawer and walked to his private chambers, closing the study door behind him. He took off his robes and threw them on his bed, while his gaze never left the small parcel on the table in the middle of the room. He poured himself some firewhiskey in a short glass and unwrapped the package with trembling hands. His eyes gleamed with excitement on reading the title of his new book: "Pickling and gutting: Rediscovering the meaning of Life" by the infamous alchemist Gerald DragonBreath.

His fingers brushed the hard cover of the book. He had been trying to locate a copy for many years, but most of them had been sealed away in private collections. And now that he had acquired one, he was going to savor every minute of reading it. Nothing could spoil this moment.

Or so he thought.

As he momentarily raised his eyes from the book to grasp his glass, he realized with surprise that he was not alone. A big, ginger-colored cat was seated on his bed - on his robes of all places, shedding fur on the dark fabric.

Snape frowned. How on earth had that cat sneaked in?

By the size of his head, this was most probably a male cat, one belonging to a student. There was a collar on him and Snape thought that the name of the cat would probably be written there. And hopefully so will be the name of his owner, he thought with a smirk. Someone was bound for severe point deduction and most probably detention as well. He walked to the bed and reached out with his hand to examine the collar.

The cat reached out with his front leg extending one razor sharp claw.

Snape prudently retrieved his hand.

The cat did the same.

Snape scowled at the cat, feeling really annoyed. He was not going to be intimidated by a cat, of all creatures.

On the other hand, these claws appeared to be extremely sharp. Perhaps a different approach was needed here, one that required a lot of willpower on Snape's part. Focusing on the task, somehow he pulled it through. He smiled.

"Nice kitty," he cooed the cat. However, the attempted sweet-talk from the Potions Master's lips sounded more like "Aveda Kedavra".

Naturally, the cat didn't buy it. He hissed at Snape.

The smile, that was more of a sneer anyway, vanished from his face. He tried to pull the robes from under the cat, and thus throw the creature on the floor, but the cat growled and pointed the same clawed paw at him again. Snape evaded a vicious scratch by less than an inch.

He moved one pace backwards and studied the cat.

Merciful Merlin, he thought, I could swear the cat is sneering.

The cat growled again in a very unsettling manner.

Pull yourself together, Severus, he ordered himself. Are you a man or a mouse?

Resisting the urge to squeak, he wondered if he should call for Filch. The caretaker was an avid cat-enthusiast and would know how to deal with this. On the other hand, in this way he would openly admit that he was terrorized by a cat. No way he'd allow this to be known outside his chambers.

And then the Potions Master had an epiphany. With slow movements, he took out his wand. On seeing this, the cat rose from his seated position and prepared to jump on Snape, should he dare to point the wand at him. Snape pointed the wand at a different direction, casting a summoning spell.

A bowl of tuna salad appeared on the table.

The cat looked at Snape, then at the bowl, then back at Snape, as if contemplating of how to respond. Licking his lips, the cat finally jumped off the bed and attacked the tuna salad, purring loudly.

Snape sighed in relief.

If you can't beat them, bribe them, he thought with a smirk.

And then, seeing the state his robes were left in, covered by tons of ginger-colored fur, the frown returned to his face.

He should rid himself of the cat as soon as possible.