Disclaimer: I would give anything short of my soul (okay, maybe even that, too) to own Harry Potter. I think that speaks volumes about its true ownership. And of course, no monetary profit is being made here.
A/N: I wanted to write a Snape/Giant Squid fic, and with that determination in mind, this plot bunny just . . . blossomed.
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starcross'd (stärkrôst, -krst) adj.
Opposed by fate; ill-fated.
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"You needn't worry. If the Death Eaters' siege is successful, and Hogwarts is overrun – even if that happens, I see no reason why they should cause you harm. There's no reason for that."
The long tentacle that had been wavering over the water stretched toward him and stroked his wrist questioningly.
"Of course I'll be fine," he said gruffly. "I can take care of myself."
They were still for a while, savoring the pleasure of each others' company as the sun set. Such occasions were rare now.
Finally, he said, "I must get back to the castle. I shall be missed."
The tentacle tightened briefly around his wrist. Snape's eyes clouded with several complex emotions. "Yes, me too."
He left the bronzed lakeside at a brisk pace. His robes billowed behind him. A single large round eye mournfully watched him go.
Snape's mood, already irritable after his meeting with the maudlin, over-concerned, stupid – he calmed himself, taking deep breaths – Giant Squid, was not improved by his crippling hunger. His stomach growled loudly.
"Shut up, you," he snapped. They had been trapped in Hogwarts for months now. The Death Eaters hadn't been able to get past the castle's wards, so they simply waited outside. The danger was not truly the Death Eaters, but starvation. The great mounds of food in the kitchens had dwindled, and eventually been completely consumed. Dumbledore had been forced to put wards on the painting of the fruit basket in order to prevent famished students from devouring more than their allotted share.
When the house elves informed the staff that the kitchens' seemingly endless provisions had run out, Dumbledore had risen magnificently (well, that was a point of contention for some people, including Snape) to the occasion by decreeing that Hagrid's engorged pumpkins would feed the school for at least a week; and they had. For eight days they had eaten nothing but pumpkin juice, pumpkin pasties, pumpkin pie, pumpkin stew, and pumpkin whatever-the-hell-could-have-bits-of-pumpkin-in-it.
After eight days, Snape had been ready to murder the next person who said "pumpkin" in his general vicinity. He hadn't been the only one.
"Pity," Dumbledore had said. "As if we didn't have enough students expiring from the poor nourishment . . ."
Following the Pumpkin Week (as it came to be known), Dumbledore called on Hagrid once again. This time, however, Hagrid wasn't nearly as obliging. But Dumbledore was the Headmaster.
"NOOO!" Hagrid had howled. "Professor Dumbledore, yeh can' do this! My babies . . . my babies . . . !"
"I'm afraid that I can," said Dumbledore kindly, leading them away, "and must. Hagrid, after the siege, I give you leave to breed these as you will. Populate the whole of the Forbidden Forest with them! But for now, they must serve a higher purpose . . ."
Even in their dire hours, you see, Hagrid hadn't been able to tear himself away from his greatest love: strange and illegal monsters. Shortly before the siege had started, Hagrid had been cross-breeding odd animals which Luna Lovegood had, upon sight, excitedly identified as Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. When Dumbledore had seen them, he saw their next food source. As far as Luna was concerned, this was nothing short of a hanging offense. Hagrid, naturally, agreed. No one else did, though.
Much to everyone's surprise, the so-called Crumple-Horned Snorkacks had tasted delicious. They were large and meaty, and apparently prolific breeders (Hagrid had accumulated a vast herd by the time he was discovered), so they could feed Hogwarts for quite a long time.
They were running out, though, and Dumbledore had imposed strict rations again. Snape sighed as he finally took his place in the Great Hall, scowling down at his meager portion of Crumple-Horned Snorkack.
"Eat up, Severus!" said Dumbledore by his side. "Goodness knows when your next chance to taste Crumple-Horned Snorkack will be!"
"Indeed." It never failed to amaze Snape how Dumbledore could express delight at the prospect of imminent starvation.
He raised a fork of Crumple-Horned Snorkack to his lips and idly wondered what would be sitting on his plate the next time he ventured into the Great Hall.
. . .
"Brilliant, yes, Albus." It was McGonagall's voice, tinted with grudging admiration.
"I can't think why the students – and truth be told, many of the staff – actually think we're all going to waste away here. I have it on good authority that the Aurors will at last be here to save us - in a week, at most. And undoubtedly this will keep us for that week."
Snape, who was just making his way into the Great Hall, guessed Dumbledore had to be talking about whatever new food source he had secured for them.
"Yes, Dobby has told me that there are several hundred pounds still stored in the kitchens."
"Exactly," beamed Dumbledore. "Hogwarts was never in any danger of starving. It has a cornucopia of food . . . if you know where to look."
"Tell me, Headmaster," said Snape sarcastically, taking his seat, "what wondrous fare have you procured for us this time?" He glanced down at his plate.
"Ah, Severus!" said Dumbledore delightedly. "I hope you like calamari?"
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A/N: For those who don't know it, calamari is cooked squid. The end is purposely left open, so all of you can have fun imagining Snape's reaction. I certainly did. g