TITLE: Teacher's Pet
DISCLAIMER: Belongs to J.K. Rowling, etc.
BETA: The Melodious Maidengurl
NOTES: The sequel to "Pink." Thanks to Elewyiss for the fabulous plot bunny!
SUMMARY: Severus finds himself stuck with Harry, who can't—or won't—relinquish his Animagus form. Snape grows fond of the bugger, but doesn't show it. Humour/Romance.
"The final downfall of the Dark Lord came at the height of the battle, when he was momentarily distracted by what observers later insisted was the appearance of a small pink flamingo. It is not known what spell produced this effect, but accounts generally agree that just following this, Harry Potter took advantage of Voldemort's confusion, and cast an unknown, but incredibly powerful spell, thus destroying the Dark Lord forever."—excerpt from 'For Mum, Steak and Kidney Pie, and the British Way' by Patriotica Pimpernel.
Severus awoke on the first day of the summer holidays to a worrisome amount of noise in his outer chambers. Everyone was supposed to be dead—everyone who would particularly want to infiltrate his rooms, that is—i.e., Voldemort, the Death Eaters, and that one unpleasant chap he'd borrowed money from back in the early seventies.
He quickly rolled out of bed, snatching up his wand and went to the wardrobe to make himself decent. He wasn't certain what he might face, but by Merlin he'd do it properly, in no less than three layers of clothing. He flung open his bedroom door, his wand held at the ready.
There was a small crowd of people gathered in a knot, muttering anxiously. His eyes narrowed suspiciously. The group began breaking up when they saw him. Granger was there, and Weasley, Dumbledore and McGonagall as well, along with…
Snape pointed at the flamingo. "What is Potter doing here? And in that blasted bird form, no less? Isn't he supposed to have left school for his fabulous future?"
"Harry wasn't on the train home," Granger explained apologetically. "So we came looking, and found him here."
"He keeps reverting to this form whenever we try to help him. Perhaps he felt Severus would be of assistance," McGonagall suggested.
"Well," said Granger doubtfully, "I suppose so, but Professor Snape wasn't even the one who figured out how to cure him last time."
Harry remained uninvolved in the discussion, one leg tucked up, his head nuzzling inattentively under his wing.
"In any case," Albus went on, "I don't it will take a great deal of effort to restore him. And all of you have places you need to be—except Severus, of course." Snape had a very bad feeling about where this was leading.
There was an outbreak of protests, but the headmaster raised his hand, quieting everyone. "There are no threats to Mister Potter, and there is no hurry. Perhaps what Harry really needs right now is a bit of rest. I'm sure that Severus can handle this. Besides, Severus doesn't want to head home to that big, drafty house of his and spend the summer alone. He'll be tickled pink to have the company!" Albus announced merrily.
Snape winced. "Highly gratuitous pun-usage aside, Headmaster, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't involve me. I value my privacy, and—"
Minerva grabbed the Potions Master by the elbow, the glint in her eye quite steely. "We'll return in a moment," she told the others, hauling him away. When they were alone, she said, "Albus and I have had this trip to Fiji planned for years, and it's not about to be cancelled because you've both decided to wallow in selfishness. You are taking. That. Boy." She emphasized each word with a prod of a finger to Snape's chest.
Severus grimaced. "Fine! Leave me with the little abnormality! If you come back to find we've blasted each other to bits, you'll have only yourself to blame."
She pushed her glasses back up her nose, looking more composed. "I'll take the chance," she announced coldly.
Snape's house was a bit on the ramshackle side, as Severus hadn't the time, money or inclination to adequately care for it. After all, he only used it during the summers. "Don't hang about with your beak open. Come along. I know it hardly equals the haughty grandeur of Malfoy Manor, but it ought to be more than enough. Unless you'd prefer to be kept in a pen?" He swept into the house.
The youth bobbed along behind him, webbed feet slapping on the wooden floors. He fluffed himself contentedly when the man glanced back at him. Snape put Harry in the parlour. It was the only unused place—since Snape never entertained guests—and the only room with the floor space to accommodate the paddling pool. Harry seemed happy with it, but still refused to let Snape alone.
"You can help with my potions," Severus ordered after they'd settled in. "I'll not have you loitering about and wasting time, you preening pink ponce."
To his mild shock, Harry seemed to enjoy assisting. He quickly worked out how to manoeuvre his neck around and pluck ingredients from the shelves, and was always at hand to 'help' if called on. Snape was just slightly pleased with the arrangement. It wasn't long before he was saying things like, 'Hand me that pestle,' and taking it from the great beak without thinking anything of it. He found himself conversing with the bird, although there wasn't much response. Potter would simply take it all in, muttering unintelligibly.
It was all rather soothing, actually. It made the days seem to pass quickly.
Then came the morning when Severus woke to find Harry beside him in bed, tucked into a pink lump. "I should pluck you and make myself a pillow," the man muttered. Harry untwined his neck to give the man a sheepish look, but Snape knew he'd acquired a regular bedfellow.
Harry nudged the sports section of the Prophet one morning, and sulked when his hint was ignored. He refused to come out of his paddling pool, and Severus felt unexpectedly guilt. After working the day away in his lab, Snape realized he rather disliked the deficiency of pink in the room. He wondered if he was going mad.
The next day, he picked the blighter up and prepared for an outing. Harry looked at him quizzically. "Don't think I haven't noticed that you're maliciously moulting all over my house," he said. "You're going to have to make your mess elsewhere."
They ended up at the Appleby Arrows and Wimbourne Wasps match. Harry was so excited that Severus had to forcibly restrain him on more than one occasion. "Stop that, you birdbrain!" he scolded, wrestling the boy back into his seat for the fourth time. "D'you think you can join them? Like that? They don't let birds on Quidditch teams."
Harry fell abnormally quiet.
"Let's get out of here," Snape muttered. "I'm starting to get odd looks from people. And in a society where it's acceptable to wear vultures on one's hat, sell candies that taste of sardines, and own mirrors that verbally mock one's appearance, that's saying something."
A week before term was to start, Granger showed up. Snape was irritated that she'd felt welcome to darken his door, but at the same time, he was rather relieved to see her. He didn't know what he was supposed to do about Potter once school started, and he'd made no progress in changing him back.
"Harry," she said to the bird, "we need to have a serious talk."
Severus retreated to the kitchen. It took Granger an hour and a half to have her say. After she left, Harry seemed subdued.
When Severus undressed and crawled into bed that evening, the bugger hopped up beside him, and settled with his head on the man's chest, making quiet vocalizations.
"Potter, this is most pointless. You don't listen to me, and I can't understand you." Harry squeaked pitifully, rubbing his beak against the Potions Master's face. Snape petted the bird, feeling the odd feather out of place. "Considering your pathological preening, you're a bit of a mess," he remarked, removing one loose feather. Harry nodded drowsily. "Makes you sleepy, does it?" Severus mumbled. His long fingers delved into the plumage, deftly plucking and rearranging.
Harry twittered and snuffled with satisfaction, his eyes squeezed shut. When the bird's breathing became steady and slow, Snape turned out the lights. He closed his eyes, once again wondering what would happen when it was time to return to Hogwarts.
Harry's side of the bed was empty. Snape felt round blearily, but found no trace of the bird, aside from a feather or two that had come loose during his beauty treatment, spoiled brat that he was.
Severus slowly got up and dressed, and made his way downstairs, where a very familiar dark head was bent over a plate of food.
"Breakfast?" he asked casually.
Harry looked up guiltily, straightening his glasses. "Yeah. I—yeah. Um, I realized I wasn't exactly pulling my weight, so I…you know…cooked."
"Does this mean no more sulking? You're to be human from now on?"
"Yeah…I guess." Harry took a bite of grapefruit, the juice dripping from his chin.
Severus stared. "Good. The sooner you leave, the sooner things get back to normal around here."
Potter looked hurt. "But—I thought—I hoped—"
"You may stay for breakfast," Severus told him with great generosity.
The green eyes fell to the floor, and didn't meet Snape's again.
The days passed slowly with Potter gone. Severus found himself feeling bored with his laboratory, his library, his life. And empty, too. Surprisingly empty. He wasn't certain why, but he'd expected to achieve a certain sense of relief knowing that Potter was never to hassle him again.
Snape surely wouldn't miss picking feathers out of his food. He'd hardly long to get up during the night and make sure the room was still sultry enough for a tropical bird. And it was unlikely he'd grow nostalgic for the racket the boy made when he wanted something. There was nothing to be missed.
Well, perhaps someone to hand him ingredients. A warm ball of feathers at his back when he slept. And if Snape really wanted company, he could buy himself an owl.
Why the thought left Snape so dissatisfied, he couldn't begin to guess.
Later, Severus would blame Martin Lacey for everything. The Potions Master had taken a trip to the city to do a bit of shopping. He told himself that it wasn't at all due to the fact that the house seemed abnormally cold and vacant. He expected to pick up a shipment of horned slugs. He didn't expect to walk smack into a flamboyant flamingo, looking completely innocent and wandering about London as if he owned the place.
"Come on, then, you fluttering featherbrain. I can't leave you alone for five minutes," he sighed, putting on a show of great exasperation.
Back at the house, Harry refused to turn back. Severus couldn't fathom it. He also refused to help in the lab any longer, and had no interest in Snape's bed. Severus suspected the boy was trying to punish him for being so callous. It rankled, but what could he do?
Since Harry couldn't Apparate as a flamingo, Severus had to take the train back to the school. He kept the brat in a pet carrier, because he knew that otherwise he'd draw attention from the Muggles at the station. Harry screeched all the way to the castle, despite Snape's attempts to calm him. Eventually, the he brandished his wand and snapped "Silencio," livid with the bird, which continued to open and shut its beak irately.
Back at Hogwarts, Harry refused to settle down, flapping madly, breaking vials, and knocking things over until Snape gave up and locked him in a linen closet. Things were getting out of hand.
Snape was nursing a scotch when Minerva came by that evening. "I apologize for having stuck you with Potter all summer, but Albus and I needed some time away. Thank you for taking care of him."
"Oh? Does that mean you're offering to take him off my hands now?"
Professor McGonagall looked puzzled.
Snape offered the woman a drink, and they settled back to tell her about it. Severus explained what he'd gone through with Potter, and admitted that he was beginning to worry about the boy. "He won't stop squawking," he divulged. "I've tried everything. I've made the bed with the silk sheets that he likes so much, I've offered him calming draughts, I've even preened his wings. I can't think what's wrong. He's always been stubborn, but never this stubborn."
To Severus' consternation, Minerva seemed amused. "Until today I was under the impression that I owned the rights to blatant insensitivity at Hogwarts," he said, scowling.
His colleague managed to straighten her face. "I am sorry, Severus. But rest assured, Harry will be fine." She patted his arm. "Why don't you get some rest? I'm sure things will look brighter in the morning."
By morning, things had not improved. Potter had soiled most of the linen closet and seemed to be losing feathers at a rapid rate. "That's it," Snape announced. "I can't take any more of this. I'm taking you to the headmaster." He rushed to the Dumbledore's office, the bird tucked under his arm.
"Albus, you must do something," he said. Harry was struggling frantically to get loose, shivering violently, his eyes wild. "Something is terribly wrong. I don't know if he's been hexed, or caught some avian disease—dear Merlin, what if it's West Nile Virus? I'd better look into a potion to cure that."
"Wow," a voice behind Severus remarked. "Professor McGonagall was right. You really were worried about me."
Severus whipped around. Harry walked in, closing the door behind him. "Ah, it's good to see you in such splendid health, Harry," Dumbledore said quietly. "Perhaps you could shed some light on this little conundrum?" He gestured to the frazzled flamingo still thrashing under Snape's arm.
"After McGonagall came to see me last night, I sort of looked into that. It seems Martin Lacey's Circus was visiting London. You know they have a lot of animals, and, ah, it seems a couple of animal activists got a bit crazy and set some of them loose."
Severus looked down at the flailing hellion. "You mean—I—this—? Blast!" He dropped the bird unceremoniously to the ground.
"I'll…just take him back where he belongs," Dumbledore said, putting a soothing spell on the flamingo and carrying it out.
"So…McGonagall said you really missed me."
"I was under the influence of four glasses of scotch and an insane circus animal. Those are extenuating circumstances."
Harry gave him an impish look. "Yeah? I dunno. It's kind of funny how your first instinct when you see a flamingo is to grab it and take it home to bed with you."
Severus was horrified to feel heat flooding his face. "It's your fault for insisting on the silk sheets!" he protested.
"I do love silk," the boy murmured, scuffing his shoe on the floor. "I missed you," Harry confessed. "I didn't want to leave school. I couldn't go, not when there's this…this something between us! I couldn't just walk away without finding out what it was."
Snape opened his mouth to say something scathing, but nothing came out.
"And I must say, Severus, that it was kind of shabby of you, running off with some other flamingo."
Snape gave him a dirty look. "If you weren't the one locked in the linen closet for the past couple of days, where have you been?"
"Thinking things over." Harry sighed. "When Hermione came to see me, she told me she knew what I was doing. Er. Her exact words were, 'The man is not going to make a move on a flamingo.' But then when I was human, you didn't want me around, so…"
"Ah. Well—I—it was ruddy difficult for me to sit there, watching you suck down pieces of that damned grapefruit. You—with your lips, and—and blinking those great green eyes, and—the flamingo was just far less of a temptation."
Harry's entire face lit up. "I think I'm going to kiss you," he said. Severus did not object. Harry had to get up on his toes in order to kiss the man.
Severus wound his arms around the youth, pulling him closer. Potter's lips were warm and soft, and slightly wet. They parted, eagerly inviting Severus to take something more. When they finally broke apart, the boy's glasses were fogged and his eyes were glazed. Snape was feeling none too steady himself.
"Yes. Silk," Severus agreed, beyond thinking. Harry attached himself to the man again, hungry mouths finding each other, filling each other with slick tongues.
"Mph. We won't make it all the way down to the dungeons," Harry rasped as Snape licked his way down the succulent brat's throat.
"Floo," Severus managed, stumbling to the fireplace with Potter still in his arms. By the time they reached it, their legs were tangled together, and Snape could feel the boy against his leg. He extricated himself from Harry's mouth just long enough to gasp out, "Severus Snape's rooms."
They fell through the flames, landing on the unforgiving dungeon stones. Severus ran a hand down to Potter's hip, and the boy arched upward, whimpering, seeking more contact. Snape halted abruptly, staring down. Harry looked dazed, his hair fanned out against the grey dungeon floor. "What's wrong?" he asked, his voice rising in anxiety.
"We can't do this here," Snape told him. "Bedroom. Silk sheets. You. Now," Snape ordered, helping him up, spinning him round and steering him through the door. Harry scrambled up onto the mattress, flipping his robes off over his head.
He looked at Snape with desperate eyes. "Hurry," he begged.
Snape was taking deep breaths, getting himself back under control. "Oh no, Potter. This is something one does not hurry. This is meant to be done slowly. Thoroughly." He did not remove his clothing, but stalked toward the bed, revelling in the small shudder Potter gave.
He pressed the boy down and kissed the corner of that pouting mouth, licked the smooth chin, sucked at the Adam's apple, then followed it down as Harry swallowed. "Oh, wow," the youth whispered, his head falling back.
"Indeed," Snape purred. He made a meal of Harry's body, running a flat tongue over a round shoulder, pressing feverish kisses to ticklish hips. Harry keened with a mixture of pleasure and apprehension.
"I—don't know if I can handle this," he whispered.
"Don't be daft. You've faced mountain trolls, Dark Lords, and Colin Creevey. A bit of rimming isn't going to kill you," Snape replied, his unsympathetic words belied by the hands that caressed Potter's backside, kneading and stroking until he had calmed. "I shan't hurt you," Snape promised.
Harry nodded tensely, fingers tearing at the silk sheets. Severus switched to fingers, surreptitiously snatching a potion from the bedside to make the work easier. It seemed to help, and soon Harry was grunting, pushing back, begging for more. "Please," he groaned. "Don't make me wait anymore." Snape didn't have the patience to undress. He vanished his clothing, sighing with relief.
Snape positioned himself and began to move. Each thrust caused the most wonderful sounds to come from Harry's mouth—moans and mewls and cries of carnal need.
Severus pressed sweaty palms to Potter's shoulders, staring down in awe and the flushed face, mouth wide open, lips forming a stream of wicked words, flooding Snape with a sizzling current of lust. To the Potions Master, even the boy's eyelashes, shadows against his cheeks, were delightfully obscene.
Snape watched those green eyes fly open wide, and savoured the way Harry looked when he lost control. Burying his nose in the sweaty, fragrant mop of hair beneath him, Severus lost himself, as well.
Snape rolled off the youth, and Harry promptly squirmed closer, wrapping himself around the man in a hot, sticky embrace. Severus didn't object. He just closed his eyes, feeling the damp spots on the bed cool beneath them.
"You know, I was thinking," Harry began after awhile. "The headmaster suggested I could teach you the Animagus Transformation. He said he'd clear things with the Ministry, and that…it would be a reason for me to stick around."
"I suppose it might be an amusing diversion. When we're not having sexual relations of course."
Harry laughed tiredly. "I bet you're a bat. Wouldn't that just be perfect? Or I suppose I could see you as a crow."
"I rather like the idea of becoming a hedgehog."
"Hedgehogs are cute," Harry agreed.
"Mmm-hmm. And whenever some giggling chit came up, squealing over how adorable I was, I'd stick them with my spines." Snape smiled contentedly, drifting off to sleep.
"Oh, Severus! You're beautiful!" Harry gasped.
Snape hissed at him, obviously not pleased with the results of his transformation.
"All right, all right; no need to get testy. Anyhow, at least you're black," the youth pointed out. "It is rather odd, though; I thought you'd be something a bit more…venomous. Like a snake. Or maybe a jaguar. And the possibility of a polecat crossed my mind."
Severus' head shot out, nipping at the boy.
"Ow! Don't do that! Is that any way to treat the man who loves you? The bloke who flew to your arms the moment he heard you missed him?" Severus struck out again, landing a blow on Harry's arm. "Bugger! Knock it off! You're a bastard no matter what form you're in!"
Severus shuddered unhappily.
"Now, don't be like that. I think it's kind of neat. We'll be together, you know?" He stroked the man's head lightly, smiling when Snape leaned into his touch. "Anyhow, aside from the irony, it's a pretty good animal, really."
"Albus? I have the roster for the new…what are you looking at?" Professor McGonagall asked, joining him at the window.
"Oh, I was just watching Severus and Harry. They're so peaceful when they float about like that."
Minerva sniffed. "I suppose, although they'd best be careful the children don't see their Potions Master and Quidditch professor necking like that."
Dumbledore smiled brightly. "I'm merely glad they've made up again."
"They didn't have another fight? Their arguments are becoming the stuff of legend."
"I believe Harry read his first years the story of the Ugly Duckling, and Severus found out. I'm surprised you didn't hear them carrying on—it was quite the skirmish. Feathers flew."
Minerva pinched her lips together to keep from smiling. "Well, at least they've made up again."
"They always do," Albus responded wisely. "Deep down, they're really a couple of lovebirds."