title: Hunting for Hagrid
author: Raven Dancer
rating: PG

disclaimer: All characters belong to Rowling except for the Drs. Barnes. I receive no monetary compensation for these works.

summary: While searching for a missing Hagrid, Dr. Barnes learns there are reasons why Snape is cautious in the Forbidden Forest.

Look, Barnes, it will do no good hurry on like this. We
might miss something and the forest is dangerous, Snape panted as he kept up with the healer.

What could happen to us? It's daytime, the sun is bright
and any evil is hidden in caves, the healer retorted, pushing a dense cover of foliage aside. The ground was more uneven here and required attention.

Severus Snape and Jeffrey Barnes were a half-mile into the Forbidden Forest. A place Snape would not choose to be under normal circumstances. Barnes had not been in the forest for years, and then he'd never been near Hogwarts' part of the forest. It was darker and spookier than his remembered trips with his friends nearer to Hogsmeade.

The two men formed one of a dozen groups searching for a missing man: Hagrid, the Hogwarts' groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Creatures. Students going to class the day before came back to the castle saying he wasn't in his hut or anywhere nearby. They'd fed his various creatures, as well as took care of his beloved boarshound, Fang. But the big man wasn't found.

At first the Headmaster thought he might have gone into town. He sometimes needed special supplies for his menagerie. So they waited until dinner. When he didn't appear Dumbledore began making inquiries.

He hadn't been to breakfast, although that wasn't surprising. He usually ate in his hut before he went to feed and care for his animals. Missed the morning class, then lunch.

Flitwick recalled Hagrid mentioning going into the forest. Something about finding some special grass or leaves for the kelpie he'd stabled for his advanced class.

I just don't know if he said he was going out last night
or this morning, the charms professor lamented.

McGonagall sent two seventh-year Gryffindors into Hogsmeade to see if he'd gone to town. Maybe he'd stayed at the boarding house overnight. The students returned unsuccessful. No one had seen Hagrid in town for several days.
Doctor Barnes had returned with the students to see if he was needed.

Having eliminated most of the obvious possibilities, Dumbledore decided they'd have to search the Forbidden Forest the next day. He could not send anyone out at night; the danger was greater than the possibility of finding anyone in the darkness that enveloped the forest. Instead he stayed up late with Snape and Lupin going over the maps they had devising a search plan.

One thing he'd decided well before dawn; Snape and Lupin would not comprise a team. They were tired; Lupin getting to bed well after 2 am; Snape didn't sleep. In all probability they'd be arguing too much to actually search effectively. He paired Lupin up with Hooch and two seventh-years and asked Barnes to accompany the Potions Master. He knew Snape would not argue with the healer. Much. Anyway, Barnes knew how to handle Snape; he'd had a lot of practice this year.

Now the two men were straying off the main path, checking along the barely visible paths that intersected it. Most of these panned out within a few hundred yards. They'd gone down one such path, into a copse, when Snape had grabbed the healer and flung him backwards. Wand out, he'd dispatched the nest of wicked looking spiders that they'd nearly walked into.

Barnes glared a little as he brushed the dirt from his robes. Until he saw one of the spiders. More like a large rabbit but with lots more legs and pointed fangs.

Look, Barnes, I know you're anxious to find Hagrid; so am
I! But you can't just go galavanting off. At least slow down! Snape had remonstrated him. Barnes nodded but soon he was off trotting again, the Potions Master hissing in his wake.

This time Barnes was halted by a large, thick bush. He peered through the undergrowth as Snape caught up.

the healer called, poking.

DON'T DO THAT! Snape grabbed the stick from him. A low growl sounded from the bush and once more they were back pedaling, stumbling over one another as a large animal moved through the thicket. They never got a good look at it; Snape moved them quickly, running down the path.

gods, Barnes! What's wrong with you? Do you have a
death wish? the older man panted as they finally stopped.

No, I don't! came the curt reply.

Then quit acting like an idiot! Snape hissed. Barnes looked at the angry face in shock. The Professor had never treated him like this. Oh, he'd been rude, but never called him names or been directly angry with him before.

Not apologizing, Snape sneered at the surprised healer.
This isn't a little stroll in the woods, Doctor, he ground out.
We're in the Forbidden Forest. Do not forget that!
Otherwise one or both of us could be hurt and we wouldn't
be able to look for Hagrid.
His face soften and he patted the healer on the arm.

Come on, Jeffrey, we have a lot of ground to cover and
not as much daylight as we'll need. He moved off and Barnes fell in step behind him.

They moved further in, finding a small creek. In the mud, half out of the water, they found a boot mark. It was larger than either of theirs.

So he did come this way, Snape said. We'll have to
be careful, the ground breaks up soon. We need to
take it slow, Jeffrey, he looked at the man mentioned.

No problem, Severus, the doctor easily agreed. But the promise didn't last long!

After crossing the stream they came into a clearer area of the forest. The trees thinned and patches of lush grass grew on the small hillocks.

The grass is slippery, and the ground is very rocky, Snape cautioned as they moved along.
I also seem to recall there are some pretty steep gullies
and pits, he continued.

Maybe Hagrid fell and hurt himself, Barnes said anxiously and hurried into the grassy areas. Snape let out a frustrated sigh and followed the over-eager man.

he ground out, don't be foolish! Slow down and
watch where you're stepping!

I can see why Remus gets angry with you, Severus! the doctor lit into him. You are way too cautious for your own good!
It's hard to believe you ever venture anyway for fear of
breaking a nail! Snape had caught up with him and hissed in his ear.

I'm not too cautious, Barnes. You don't know the dangers
of the forest! Snape retorted angrily.

Barnes started to reply when he started to slide a bit and immediately felt Snape's hand grab his arm.

Leave off, Severus, I'm just, he began and then he wasn't just anything.

Sliding was no longer the problem. Lack of ground under his feet, that was the problem. There was a flurry of motion as he scrambled for his footing and then he went down. Fast.

Snape still held on to him, but the sudden plummet dragged him off his feet and he landed hard, flat on his stomach, rocks jarring into his ribs and stomach. Only sheer will kept his hand locked like a vise on Barnes' arm. Flailing, the healer grabbed at Snape with his free hand, his movement arrested in one sickening jerk.

oh gods, Snape hissed as he felt his left shoulder popped. He decided it was not a good time to tell the dangling man he'd dislodged this shoulder years ago and it was rather weak. The hell with weak, it was separated again.

Barnes did not need to be told, the sharp intake of breath as the older man hit the ground as well as the gasp of pain let him know his lifeline was tenuous. Together they stilled, each willing the other to hold fast.

a dull, muffled voice rose from beneath Barnes' dangling feet.

he started to twist to get a better view but the strangled, pain-filled hiss stopped him.

Oh, thank gods, the voice below continued, I thought
I was a dead It was Hagrid, lying at the bottom of a fairly deep pit.

You might still be, if Barnes doesn't stop his damned
dance, Snape managed to get out, voice choked with pain.

Severus? That you? the voice continued, now laced with relief.

Yes, Hagrid, it's Snape complete with healer. Although
Barnes isn't in a good position to help you right now, he grunted as he moved his right arm, searching for leverage. At least he wasn't being dragged over the edge.

Severus, what can I do to help? Barnes asked quietly.

Think you can drop about 10 stone? Snape asked sarcastically.

No, sorry, came the shaky reply.

Can you reach your wand? the Potions Master asked softly. Barnes thought about it a moment.

No, I can't let lose and reach it without moving too much.
Can you reach yours? he asked hopefully.

No. Let me work on something, Snape replied. For a moment all was silent, then Barnes heard the older man chanting something under his breath. As the minute stretched to two he felt the pressure on his arms lessen. The chanting ceased and Snape's breath came faster, in and out; he felt himself moving up to the edge of the pitt.

Up and up until he could see Snape's face, pale and strained, as the man pulled back. Another hand grabbed the shoulder of his robe and with a jerk he was falling forwards, landing hard on top of his rescuer. They lie together breathing hard.

Severus? You can let me go now, Barnes said gently as he release Snape's arm.

came the strangled reply. Sorry. Pry my fingers

He realized he was going to be bruised, the Potions Master had a death grip on his arm. But he managed to free himself and helped him lean back against a tree. Snape's left arm hung useless so Barnes gently lifted it onto his lap.

Don't bother with me, Barnes, Snape growled, go see
to Hagrid.

Seeing to the fallen man turned out to be quite easy. Using his wand Barnes levitated him out of the deep pitt. A quick scan showed him to be dehydrated and scraped up, but nothing broken.

Glad ta see ya two, the large man managed as he drank thirstily from the water bottle Barnes provided.

I can imagine, Snape said dryly. He was leaning against the tree, eyes closed, willing his stomach's contents to stay put.

Barnes finished scanning the Magical Creature's teacher.
You really are just fine, he said with surprise in his voice.

'course I'm. Takes more en a fall to hurt me, he finished the water and looked at the bottle with disappointment. Setting it aside he finally glanced at his companions.

Ya look bad, Severus. What happened ta ya? he asked with concern. Snape's lip quivered as he continued to stomp down the nausea.

The healer happened to me, he said cryptically. Barnes moved away from Hagrid and went to the Potions Master. Looking miserable, Snape whispered,

I'm going to be sick, Barnes. The Healer quickly turned the man so that he wouldn't soil himself, holding him while he heaved.

he asked as the man finally stilled. Slight nod. Hagrid offered a large handkerchief and the sweaty face was cleaned off. Gently he gathered the ill man close to him to scan.

Let's see you, Severus. Bad bruising to your torso; as
I would expect from going flat on those rocks. Hmmm,
headache, dizzy. Hit your head, too?

No, had the headache at the start, Snape admitted. Barnes raised his eyebrow.

And you didn't tell me? I'm hurt Professor! he chided softly.

Lack of sleep, nothing you could help, Jeffrey, Snape said quietly. The healer simply pressed his forehead against his patient to acknowledge the confession.

Ah, the big problem. Some heavy weight managed to
dislocate your left shoulder, he pushed the hair away from Snape's mouth and eyes.

This will hurt, but it will be quick, he said apologetically. He nodded at Hagrid.

Help me, please. I need you to hold Severus while I put
the arm back in. The doctor carefully levitated his patient into the big man's lap. He arranged him so that Hagrid had a good grip then ran his hands over Snape's shoulder, reading the positions of the bone and socket carefully. He lined everything up to his satisfaction and with a twist and firm push snapped the arm back into the shoulder.

If possible, Snape went even whiter, giving a sharp yell. His breath heaving in and out. Barnes scanned the shoulder.

It's ok, Severus. Everything back in place. He pulled the shaking man out of Hagrid's arms and held him as he poured healing energy into him. Snape slowly relaxed, especially as the pain dulled to manageable levels. Barnes conjured a stretcher and with the rescued man gently put his patient onto it.

Now we'll just pop back to the school and take care of
you, Severus, the healer said as he fastened the hurt man to the stretcher. Didn't need to add insult to injury and drop him!
He soothed and charmed Snape into sleep.

Well, Hagrid, ready? Barnes asked with a smile.

Yeah. I need ta get back ta Fang, he pushed gently on the stretcher and they headed back up to the path.

I'd better send up the signal we agreed on when we
started out this morning, and the healer pulled out is wand sending a flight of gray doves wheeling skyward. They circled upwards in a spiral and then headed straight towards Hogwarts. Soon a new flight of doves, white this time, circled over them. Barnes explained this was the counter-signal. They'd undoubtedly meet some of the rescue team on the path out of the Forbidden Forest.

Let me know if you feel sick or dizzy, Hagrid, the doctor said with concern.

Don't go worryin' bout me, Doc. Takes more en a
fall ta put me down. Only gone two days; not long
enough ta get bad, he continued to nudge the stretcher along.

'course, I could use a good meal. I suppose Dumbledore
will see t' that.

He'll have the house elves lay out a celebration feast, Barnes agreed.

Won't be much of a celebration, not with Snape laid
up like this, he glanced at the healer.
How'd he do that, anyway?

Barnes told him the story as they walked along, not sparing himself any of the details. Snape had warned him but he'd jumped ahead.

Pulled ya up without his wand? Hagrid asked curious.

Yes, he did something to levitate me up enough to grab
and pull over the edge. I can't believe the grip he had on
me, and he showed Hagrid the bruises on his forearm, a band of finger prints branded him.

'mazing fellow, he agreed. He was about to continue when they heard shouts up ahead. The main rescue party was tromping towards them, older students, professors and the Headmaster.

Exclamations of praise and delight finding Hagrid whole, healthy and walking rose up. Barnes held back with Snape as the group welcomed the missing man, many needing to assure themselves he was alive and well, embracing him and patting him on the back.

Finally attention was turned to the rescuers themselves and Dumbledore came over quickly to see what had happened to his Potions Master. Before an explanation could be made snickering was heard and hushed conversations difficult to overhear began.

Stupid git.

Figures. Had to be rescued himself.

The headmaster shouldn't have sent him.

Can't even follow a clear path in the woods.

Barnes glared at the cluster of people, but said nothing to them.

Long story, Headmaster. Let's get him back to the
castle where I can care for him and I'll explain on the way, Barnes shoved the stretcher through the group. Hagrid growled at the talkers.

Let me tell ya sumthing about Professor Snape, he began. Barnes moved quickly to get out of earshot. After a few minutes of steady walking he slowed a bit.

Glad Severus is asleep, he ground out. He doesn't need
hear such callous remarks. Barnes continued to talk, explaining their journey into the woods and how Snape came to be hurt.

He was holding me with the one arm dislocated and
didn't let go. At the time I was very glad for it; still am.
But the pain must have been horrible. He could have let

Severus wouldn't. He cares for you, Jeffrey. I just can't
believe you took off like that! Dumbledore exclaimed.

You and me both, the doctor grinned. I've never
done anything like that before. I guess Severus was
being so cautious and I just wanted to find Hagrid as quickly
as possible. I keep forgetting he knows what can
be in the forest.

Coming to the edge of the forest the two men could now see the castle ahead of them. More people were waiting about, surprised to see Snape in the stretcher; concerned that Hagrid was still lost or dead. Dumbledore quickly reassured McGonagall and a few students, giving them a brief explanation, including a brief comment on how Snape came to be hurt. He promised them a full report at lunch.

And let the elves know Hagrid is hungry, would you,
Minerva? he asked with a twinkle in his eye. She smiled, relief painting her face.

Yes. I'll see to it. Hagrid can have a snack and clean up
before the celebration, she said happily. It was wonderful to have something to celebrate after all the worries that harassed them this year.

Snape woke warm and comfortable. His growling stomach let him know it was past lunch while the sun let him know it wasn't too late. He tried to push up off the bed so he could get down to eat. His left arm refused to obey while the right weakly leveraged him up.

Whoa Severus! Slow down, Dr. Barnes' voice pierced his muffled head. What did he mean, slow down'?!

Get a grip, Barnes, you're the one who's been running
off everywhere this morning, he groused. Why did his body feel like he'd been run over by a muggle's lorry? He allowed the healer to lower him onto pillows and felt a flow of energy enter him.

You've hurt yourself, Severus. Saving my ass. Let me
finish fixing the ribcage then we can discuss lunch, the doctor said. The memory of the morning's exercises came flooding back into Snape's mind. His face scrunched up as he remembered Barnes' falling and his attempt to save him.

Well, not an attempt. He'd been successful since the man was caring for him now. He looked around the room and realized he was in the Headmaster's bedroom. Oh yes, he'd been here a lot this year between Voldemort, a couple students and that damned Forbidden Forest. He wondered if he'd been in his own quarters more than a week since the beginning of the school year.
Certainly didn't feel like it!

He squirmed as the feed tickled a bit. His stomach was growling louder and Barnes' chuckled, patting it gently.

Don't worry, you noisy beast. You'll be fed very soon. He continued to nudge around checking one last time for any injury.
A final bit and Barnes slowed, carefully stopping the energy. He looked at his patient, still too pale for his liking, but the majority of the pain was gone.

Ok, Severus. I think I've put enough of you back together
so you can eat lunch with me. Like to join me at the table
or do you want to eat here and fall back asleep?

Snape looked at the bright, cheerful room. He never did like to eat in bed. He was tired, but all in all he'd rather eat at the table like a civilized human being.

he said firmly. He fingered his bound shoulder.

Although I'm going to need some help. Barnes smiled. For Snape to admit he needed help meant he still hurt. Carefully the healer pulled the covers back and helped him sit up.

I'll levitate you and help you with a robe, Barnes said, and gently began to prepare him for a late lunch. He laughed when the healing man's stomach protested yet again.

Ok, ok, I'm hurrying, he said. Snape grimaced. Leave it to the bouncy healer to talk to his stomach! But he didn't complain as the man levitated him and began the trip into the dining area of Dumbledore's quarters. He was looking forward to a quiet meal and then a nice nap, perhaps with Fawkes singing to him.

That thought sent a smile to his lips.

What are you thinking, Severus? Barnes asked.

Only that I'm getting too used to the Headmaster's rooms, he said. He hung patiently as the bedroom door was opened. A wave of noise poured in.

Hmm, so much for a quiet lunch, the doctor commented as he waved his patient through. He noted Snape stiffen as they entered a fairly full room. Quite a few professors had ended up in the Headmaster's rooms.

Don't panic, Severus, I won't let them paw at you, he knew the man was more concerned about being hurt. Although he also liked the quiet. This was not quiet at all.

That is, until Hagrid got a bead on them.

he boomed, and the room went still. The big man strode across the room ready to hug the shivering man. Barnes quickly stood in front of his patient.

No touching! Any of you! He's bruised enough without
your displays! a stern look nailed the assembly and they parted the way as Barnes moved him to the table. Dumbledore, of course, was not put off by this order and slipped through, taking the seat next to his friend. He gently hugged him and then made sure he was comfortably ensconced in the chair.

People continued to move around talking (quieter now in deference to Snape). Many chose to leave, including Hagrid.

I'll come up tomorrow ta see ya, Professor, he bowed slightly.

Dobby popped in and listened to Dr. Barnes' luncheon order. Soon sandwiches and soup appeared on the table along with tea and juice.

Snape would have rather fed himself even though only Lupin, Flitwick and McGonagall remained, but his arm would not cooperate past the first few bites. Dumbledore continued to feed him while Barnes ploughed through his food.

Hungry, Barnes? Snape asked softly.

Oh, yes, very, replied the man through a mouthful of cheese and tomato sandwich.

Amazing what a little walk in the woods can do for an
appetite, Snape continued in a disinterested tone. Barnes began to formulate a reply when the ludicrousness of the comment hit him.

Little walk in the woods! the healer spluttered sending bits of food every which way. McGonagall covered her mouth so she wouldn't laugh out loud. A smile twitched on Flitwick's impassive face.

First off, that isn't any sleepy woods, let me tell you, the man began, his mouth mostly empty.

I don't know how you can go in there, with all those
creatures wandering around! he continued, quite honest in his incredulity. Snape accepted a spoonful of soup, chewing the vegetables thoughtfully as his companion continued to enunciate his clear dislike of the forest and its residents. The professor swallowed and cast a glance at Dumbledore.

Whatever you do, Albus, don't mention spiders, he said loud enough for Barnes to hear and the healer launched onto that topic, dramatically pantomiming the fangs as with his fingers as he described the hairy black creatures. Now Lupin had to cough violently to keep from laughter. Flitwick pounded him efficiently on the back.

With a bemused look on his face Snape began to chew a mouthful of sandwich. Who knew baiting Barnes could be so much fun! Suddenly, the healer stopped his tirade on scary creatures in general and stared slack mouthed at Snape. Snape had the decency not to laugh aloud, although he didn't quite stifle the snicker. Dumbledore offered some more soup which he quickly accepted.

You ornery git! the healer hissed quietly. Flitwick, Lupin and McGonagall had given into their laughter. With a smirk Snape sipped some juice. He looked at the Headmaster.

You thought Lupin and I would be a bad match, the Potions Master rolled his eyes.

Just be glad Hagrid wasn't down in the swampy end, Dumbledore grinned.

Why? What's down in the swampy end? Barnes leaned forward eagerly.

Don't you dare, Albus, Snape began.

When Severus is back on his feet, why don't you have
him walk you down? Dumbledore began his own teasing campaign.

Snape growled.

You'll have a lovely time, the older man continued without hesitation.

Snape raised his voice a bit.

You can pack a picnic! Make a day of it, the ideas flowed from Dumbledore's mouth.

NO MORE FIELD TRIPS! Snape clearly enunciated causing another wave of laughter.