Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: If you haven't read The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, this might not make much sense. Also, if you haven't read it, then what are you waiting for? Go do it now!
A Beautiful Friendship
Severus Snape was having a very bad day of epic proportions.
Gryffindor had defeated Slytherin at Quidditch again, and Minerva McGonagall was being even more annoying about it than usual. Possibly because Gryffindor hadn't even been playing with their best team. Harry Potter was in the hospital wing. Again. Severus wasn't exactly sure how he'd landed himself there this time, but as long as he was there, and out of Severus' hair, he didn't really care. However, this meant that the Weasley girl had been playing seeker instead of Potter, and even she had been able to easily catch the Snitch before Draco.
Of course, this by itself wouldn't have been too much to handle. Severus had become quite used to regularly losing the bet he and Minerva always made before their respective houses played against each other over the last few years. And he certainly was no stranger to humiliation. (Though to be quite honest, he could have done without the smug questions about whether he and Draco had formed a secret society where they deliberately tried to outdo each other at failing miserably at various things.)
No, what was really making his day worse than usual was the tall creature with the odd, flat head and the green-grey skin that was standing in front of him on the lawn outside the castle, and what it had just told him.
Severus blinked at it, not quite sure whether he had really just heard what he thought he had heard.
"Excuse me?" he enquired incredulously.
The creature sighed, looking exasperated, as if it had gone through this procedure many times before. "I said, you are a pathetic loser, Severus Snape," it repeated.
"I see. How interesting." Severus looked from the creature to the odd silver ship that had decended from the sky in front of him, and back to the creature, deciding that this was probably a dream and that therefore, it was no use trying make any sense of it and better to just play along instead. Though he did make a mental note to go get some potion for dreamless sleep from Poppy Pomfrey as soon as he woke up.
"You are an... alien, I presume," he continued, lacing the word with all the contempt he could. This was a nightmare, after all, it wasn't like the thing could do anything really dangerous.
The creature sighed again and gave him a superior look. "I most certainly am not an alien. You are the alien here, you brainless idiot."
"I see. And exactly why did you feel it was necessary to travel from who-knows-where to inform me that I'm pathetic? I have several colleagues who are quite prepared to tell me that without going through that much trouble first. Not to mention all the students who say that, and much more, behind my back."
The creature raised an eyebrow. "Don't get any ideas about your own importance there, Snape," it said dismissively. "You're only one person on a list. You just happened to be next on my alphabetical list of all the people in the universe."
"All the people in the universe? You plan to insult everyone in the universe?"
It shrugged, its golden robes billowing theatrically around it from the slight movement. "I'm on a mission."
"A mission? How good for you! Must be nice to have a hobby."
"Don't get sarcastic with me, Snape! You try having to live forever and not get the urge to insult all the rest of the universe, see how well you do it, ok?"
Severus stopped to consider this for a while. "Well, you do have a point there," he conceded. "In fact, come to think of it, I could think of much worse things to do with your eternity."
"There you are then."
They nodded knowingly at each other, when a thought suddenly hit Severus. He straightened up.
"Did you just say you were insulting everyone in alphabetical order?"
"Oh. A shame. I know a few people who could use a couple of well-chosen words. Unfortunately most of them happen to be before me in the alphabet."
"Well, with all this pesky dying and being born going on all the time, alphabetical insulting obviously includes a lot of time-travel, so it might very well be that in the future I will insult them in the past."
Severus blinked. "…right."
"No one really gets it. Things that have already happened happening in the future and things that haven't happened yet happening in the past. Time-travel and all its paradoxes." It frowned, but then shrugged and waved its hand dismissively. "Or something like that. As I said, no one really knows."
"In other words, if I, say, provided you with a list… With a few… suggestions... Then it would be entirely possible they might be used on the people they are intended for, even if they were already insulted in the past?"
The creature seemed to ponder this. "Possibly," it decided.
"I assure you, my insults are much more creative than 'you are a pathetic loser, Snape.'"
It looked at him appraisingly, seemingly considering the offer. "Well, I suppose a few new ideas couldn't hurt too much," it finally stated.
Severus' lips curled into something that might be considered a smile if you weren't too picky with your definitions. "Excellent. I have a quill and some parchment in my office. This might take some time, so if you would like to step in for a while? Tell me, what is your position on people who go by many names? Which name do you use? Or do you insult them by all the names they go by?"
"If they happen to annoy me especially much, I might do repeated insults."
"Good, good…You wouldn't like some tea while you wait? As I said, I'm afraid this might take quite some time."
"Tea… Why not?" It shrugged, looking at Severus, and extended its hand. "My name is Wowbagger."
Severus took his hand and shook it, all while ushering his new acquaintance towards the castle and his room. "I have the feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
Wowbagger nodded politely, watching as the thing that might possibly be a smile appeared on Severus' face again.
"Tell me, Wowbagger, have you ever heard of one Harry Potter?"