Tea with Hagrid
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters, settings, etc. from the Harry Potter Universe. Jo Rowling does.
This fic is from Hagrid's POV and takes place during Severus Snape's second year at Hogwarts, just in case there is any confusion.
Glancing out my small window, I sighed. The pumpkin patch was becoming overgrown with weeds again. Shuffling my large feet to the corner of the room, I opened my dusty cabinet.
Immediately, dirt and smoke clung to my beard and coat like powdered sugar. I coughed slightly and dragged my rusty garden shears from the wooden shelf. By the time I made it out my back door, sweat had begun to run underneath my hair. It wasn't exceptionally hot outside, but the midday sun was making itself known.
I would rather be taking Fang on a stroll through the forest, but the Halloween feast was coming up the following weekend. I was determined that my pumpkins would look their best.
I moved around to the side of my brick hut and grabbed my old shovel from where it was propped up. Glancing out over the grounds, I sniffed, taking in the fresh silence. The students should be just finishing their morning classes and filing into the Great Hall for a light lunch. I had taken mine early today – in hopes of getting my gardening done as soon as possible. On the other side of the castle, I could just see the glistening lake. No one seemed to be enjoying it. But they would be later, after classes. I smiled . . . how I love this place . . .
Slinging the shovel behind my shoulder and tapping the shears on my knee slightly, I made my way over to the pumpkins. A light chuckle gathering in my chest. They really were looking nice. Especially the two in the back, closest to the forest's edge. Those two were even taller than me.
Nodding to myself, I threw down my tools, and grabbed some of the unruly brown grass with my large fist. The front of the garden was dying. However, the pumpkins stayed a nice bright orange and yellow. Thanks to my umbrella – although no one's supposed to know about that tiny detail.
With a gruff rush of air, I set out to pull the smallest pumpkin from the front out of the ground. I dropped it behind me carefully. It was then, as I ran the back of my arm over my damp brow, that I suddenly paused. My ears prickled. Some creature was at the edge of the forest. Straightening completely, I looked around. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then I heard it again. Snuffling.
But it wasn't coming from the forest, but the two large pumpkins at the edge of the trees. I felt the familiar prickle of excitement flutter in my stomach. I love creatures – and there was no telling what had wandered into my garden this time. Slowly and as quiet as possible, I began to edge around the side of the garden, listening all the while.
My eyes grew wide as the snuffling quickly became recognizable as short, forced sobs. Suppressed sobs. Finally, I was able to rest my dirty hand on the side of the large pumpkin closest to me. I wasn't afraid. But I knew that this was definitely not a forest animal now. It was human. And probably a student . . .
Peeking around the pumpkin, all I could spot was a slim black boot and short pant leg raised off the ground. Whoever it was, they had their knees curled up to them and were seated in the wedge of my two largest pumpkins. They were facing away from the castle. Hiding.
I groaned. Pity filled my stomach. I could easily recall the tough times during my short stay here as a student. Being big isn't always easy. As soon as I released the loud groan, the sobbing disappeared, the leg retracted out of sight.
The best thing to do would probably be to go report to the Headmaster about this student. He'd probably send down McGonagall, who would be much better at this sort of thing in my opinion.
But then again, what if he, because with pants the student was more than likely a 'he', was physically hurt. He might need to be rushed to Madam Pomfrey!
"S'all righ'," I said, in my best animal soothing voice. I walked around the pumpkin. "Wha' yeh doin' out here?"
I recognized the boy to be a second year Slytherin. A Slytherin with his wand pointed directly at my chest. Although I knew he couldn't really do any damage to me, I raised my palms to show that I meant no harm.
The scrawny dark-haired boy looked about to explode. His coal black eyes glared, first at my chest then quickly found their way up, up, up to my face. He looked startled then. As if he hadn't even thought about me being here – which only proved how upset he must have been since this is my home and my garden.
During the three brief moments of silence between us, he tried to cover up his shock at the sight of me, while I observed his damp cheeks, red-rimmed eyes, and spilt book bag beside his curled form.
Eventually, my gaze centered in on his swollen upper lip and large nose, which was starting to turn a dark shade of red-yellow. To me, this seemed to be a classic case of school fighting.
"Not in trouble, are yeh?" I questioned again, briskly and lowered my hands. He suddenly flew into motion at the question – grabbing his book bag, stuffing the parchment and books back in, and training his wand at me with his other hand.
"N-no," he muttered shakily, shot up to a standing position, and made to walk quickly away. But just as he went between me and the pumpkin, I held my open hand out and caught him on the chest.
"Now, don' run off," I said softly. "I ain' gonna bite yeh, yeh know?"
He turned his head up to me with a flinch, throwing his wand hand up over the back of my hand. His young smooth brow crinkled in confusion. Slowly, I moved my hand away, turned, and lightly laid my other smudged hand on his slumped shoulders.
"'Ow 'bout some tea?" I smiled down kindly. He dropped his wand hand back to his side. He seemed to be too tired to fight further. Perhaps he hadn't been fighting at all. Perhaps he hadn't had a choice in the matter, just as I had thought when I had first heard his distress. Perhaps this small Slytherin had the same problems I had at school as the biggest student out of all four houses.
I barely felt him shiver under my hand. His robes were rather tattered and well used. Either the heat wasn't affecting him like it was me, or, as I was beginning to suspect, he was very much on the alert, afraid of an unexpected attack at any moment.
Somehow, I couldn't help but feel a sort of kinship to this fellow. "Don' be 'fraid. It's on'y tea," I insisted.
"I am not afraid," he suddenly snapped, his high voice sharp. He glared up at me and tugged his shoulder strap higher. He looked about to give a nasty comment, before his tight expression suddenly melted. I continued to smile down. I have dealt with worse. Then he looked down at the tips of his scuffed boots.
"Fine." I heard him mumble.
"Righ'," I replied, and used my hand on his shoulder to lead him toward my back latch. Stiffly, he sped ahead of me, removing my hand from his back. He was trying to give me the air of independent unfriendliness, but him walking in front of me only showed me his slightly limp on the left side.
He staled at the steps, glaring pointedly at them. Yes, yes, this one definitely needed a friend. I pulled up the latch, opened my creaky door, and motioned for him to enter first.
"Wha's yer name?" I asked softly as he passed me quickly. I went over to the counter, leaving him standing uncertainly in the doorway. I grabbed up a clean rag and dipped it into the cool, clean water I had gathered into my pail.
I glanced at him. He looked just like a wild fruit-bat I had tried to take in only the night before – ready to take flight at any moment. I knew that in order to help him, like I intended, I needed to calm him quickly. I took a seat at the table first, without setting the kettle on the fire. I drug the chair beside me out so that if he were to sit, he would be sitting directly across from me.
Finally, after letting his gaze criticize all of my visible belongings, he looked back at me. "Snape." he said in a small voice.
I scoffed. "Where?" I said looking around for an intruding garden serpent.
"Snape," he repeated harshly. "Severus Snape . . . my name."
"Oh!" I said, having forgotten that I had asked for his name. "Well, Severus Snape . . . take a seat. Le' me see 'bout tha' lip, eh?"
Instantly, his pale hand shot up to his swollen lip. With an angry sigh, henarrowed his eyes, then looked down, lowering his hand swiftly. "I thought we were having tea?" he asked sarcastically, although I did not miss the tiny bit of panic edging his comment.
"We will – but le' me tend to yeh firs'," I winked, and patted the chair. Unfortunately, Fang, who had been sitting unnoticed under the bed, took that pat as a sign to come running.
I suppose Fang had been listening in the entire time, because he knew that young Severus was not a threat. He leaped on the boy, who gave a startled yelp. Severus' wand clattered to the floor rolling toward the table.
"Fang! Back! Back!" I shouted, when I reached them, tugging on his collar. But for some reason Fang didn't listen, but continued to give the boy, who was now on his back, long slobbery licks on the side of his swollen face.
I peered down at young Severus. His pale hands were stuffed into Fang's neck hair. He face was turned away. He looked disgusted.
"Fang!" I barked again, but stopped my tugging when I heard the most unexpected sound come from the struggling boy.
Severus Snape, sharp, sobbing, Slytherin, was laughing.
Fang continued to maul the boy, because I had straightened back up. Hadn't I thought earlier that this boy needed a friend? Why not Fang? I chuckled lightly and shuffled back to my seat.
"Come 'ere!" I shouted happily to Fang and the boy.
Snape crawled from under the huge dog and stumbled to the seat, a flush changing his entire expression. He lightly sat down on the edge of the chair I had pulled out.
He had completely forgotten his wand on the floor.
I leaned forward, cool rag in hand, and gently dabbed at his lip. He jumped but didn't move away, his eyes on Fang, who was now laying his great head on Snape's lap.
"There we go," I mumbled, as if talking to an injured raven, cooling his fevered face. "So, wha' 'appened?"
If fights or bullying was taking place on the grounds Headmaster Dumbledore would want to know.
"Did you say his name is Fang?" he asked, completely ignoring my question. His eyes hadn't met mine yet.
"Yeah," I replied, but didn't give up.
"Were yeh fightin'?"
Severus' dark brows drew together. He looked up at me. "No," he stated, then looked back at Fang, laying his small hand on the slobbering dogs head.
"Ah," I said. Not fighting. Bullying. Young Severus had been hiding in my pumpkin patch.
"Yeh know – If yeh 'ave a problem, yeh should tell a professor." I stated in a quiet voice.
Suddenly, Severus shook his head and roughly pushed my hand away.
He stood, knocking Fang under the chin with his knee.
"I do not need help." he said sharply, and began to pat the pockets of his robes frantically.
Looking around angrily, he spotted his wand on the floor.
Quickly, he scooped it up, grabbed his bag, and pushed open the back door. Just before he stepped out onto my top step, he must have thought better about rushing out. He turned his head, letting his long black hair fall into his still red eyes.
"Do not tell the professors about m-me." he ordered quietly, before his voice gave way and cracked. "I swear I-I was not . . . "
"S'all righ'," I said softly. "Bu' if yeh ever wan' tha' tea. Yeh know where I am."
Young Severus nodding stiffly and turned again to walk out my door. Somehow I knew he would never find his way back to my hut . . . or my garden. But I would always keep a watchful eye out for him on the grounds.
I'll never forget that "Thank you" I swear I heard him whisper as he walked down my steps, letting the door swing shut behind him.
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