Warnings: Implied slash (not Bill/Hagrid)
Author's Notes: Written for the hpcon_envy community at LiveJournal for savine_snape, who requested Hagrid wooing a lady with a bit of Bill/Severus.
Disclaimer: © 2008 Mundungus42. All rights reserved. This work may not be archived, reproduced, or distributed in any format without prior written permission from the author. This is an amateur non-profit work, and is not intended to infringe on copyrights held by JKR or any other lawful holder. Permission may be obtained by e-mailing the author at mundungus42 at yahoo dot com
Hagrid shut the door behind me and tapped it surreptitiously with his pink umbrella. I recognized the spell as one to ward against eavesdropping and found my curiosity piqued once again about the purpose of his invitation.
"It's right good of yeh ter come, Professor," he said, pouring me a cup of tea. "It's a delicate situation, you see, but I think yer just the man to help."
"Not at all, Hagrid, and please call me Bill. Now, what's this all about?"
He shifted his not inconsiderable bulk from one foot to the other. "Well, yeh know abou' what happened with me and Olympe, righ'?"
"I'm sorry, Hagrid."
"Ah, don' be," he said, sitting down at last. "She n' Thag are over the moon about each other. Expectin' a little 'un in spring, even. Glad ter see her so happy. And between you and me, I never thought I was quite enough for her, if you catch my drift."
I couldn't suppress a grin. "She must be quite a woman."
"That she is," he said, eyes twinkling. "I think she'll be happy when she finds I've moved on, too."
"Really? Who's the lucky lady?"
He lowered his voice to a whisper. "It's all a bit difficult, you see. I'd hoped yeh could give me a bit of advice, seein' as you've done the closest thing to it."
"Well, she's not exactly sentimental, you see. Quite the spitfire, even a bit, well, scary if yeh get on her bad side. Seein' as your Severus is the same sort- good at heart, but a mite tetchy- I thought yeh might be able to give me some advice on wooin' a reluctant sort who's liable to hex yeh if yeh don't do it proper like."
I couldn't keep my eyebrows from rising. What kind of person could scare the man who befriended Acromantulas? "Anybody I know?"
"No secret there. You've met Professor Longbottom's grandmother, righ'?"
I blinked hard, but managed to keep my jaw from dropping. "Vulture on her hat? Flattened five Death Eaters with a single curse during the final battle and took another out with her handbag?"
A broad, slightly goofy smile spread across Hagrid's face. "Aye, that's Gusty. A couple a years ahead o' me at Hogwarts- same year as Professor McGonagall. Had something of a rivalry, the two of 'em, to be puttin' it mildly. There weren't no Head Girl their seventh year 'cause old Armando Dippett was afraid ter choose between the two of 'em, for fear he'd get hexed or turned into somethin'."
"Right," I said, scratching Fang's head. "So what seems to be the problem? You've loads of experience with creatures just as dangerous as she is. I think your formula of persistence, patience, natural charm, and immunity to burns and minor hexes would be just the thing for her."
"Well, that's the trouble, innit?" said Hagrid eagerly. "Every time I talk to her I end up babblin' 'bout something daft, like Hogwarts's stoat problem. She must think I'm a right clot."
"Why do you think that's so?"
To my surprise, Hagrid's face went bright red. "The fundamental difference between a Hippogriff and a lady is that I don't have ter worry about what the Hippogriff thinks of me, you know, as a man. Or 'alf-giant, as the case may be."
"You mean sex?" I asked.
"No, I mean raisin' twelve-headed hydras," he said, rolling his eyes. "'Course I mean sex! So -ah- how d'you do it?"
Horror must have shown on my face, because Hagrid let out a hearty guffaw.
"Not that!" he exclaimed, chuckling. "I mean, how do you stop thinkin' about what's, er, down below long enough to let 'er know you appreciate all of her fine qualities?"
I thought for a moment about Severus, then I grinned. "Actually, you don't need to."
Hagrid raised a skeptical eyebrow.
"I'm serious," I said. "As marvelous as Mrs. Longbottom is from an objective viewpoint, do you really think she's beating suitors away with that formidable handbag?"
"She's got family goin' back ter-" began Hagrid hotly.
"I know how pure her blood is," I amended hastily. "But be honest. She's not a young woman, and her estate's entailed upon her grandson. Not exactly a prospect at which an opportunist would jump, right?"
He seemed to accept that. "Right. So what?"
"So, I imagine it's been quite a while since someone approached her socially who wasn't motivated by her famous grandson or estate."
"I hadn't thought o' that."
"It's one of the few advantages of being attracted to dangerous, difficult people," I said. "The relative lack of competition."
"But I still don't want to do anything that'd offend her," said Hagrid, whose enthusiasm seemed to have deflated somewhat.
"Well, if you're interested in pursuing her, why not give her a small taste of what life would be like as your wife."
"You mean like slaughterin' cattle for the Thestrals?"
"Perhaps not on the first date, but something like that. Your life can be called many things, Hagrid, but dull is not one of them."
He seemed to sit a bit taller in his seat. "That's true enough."
"And I'd advise you to occasionally invite Neville to tea. I'm sure he'll tell you all you want to know about her habits."
Hagrid gave something of a sly smile. "I bin doin' that. We have tea every Tuesday. How d'yeh think I got to speak with her at all?"
I laughed at his expression. "Sounds like you're off to an excellent start." An absurdly large cuckoo clock began chirping the hour. "Well, I'm afraid I'm on duty tonight, if you'd be good enough to excuse me."
His eyes widened in panic. "Just one more thing."
I paused, collecting my cloak. "Go on."
"Say this goes well. Say Gusty don't mind bein' flirted with and, Circe willing, she flirts back. What if… I mean… Gusty'll be the first all-human girl with whom I've been, you know, friendly. What if I scare her?" He patted his groin matter-of-factly.
I could almost hear my imagination's whining protest as I refused to let it run unchecked. "Hagrid, any human would be lucky to be on your receiving end. I had some experience with the opposite sex, before Sev, and I can guarantee that Gusty will be the envy of her knitting circle if you and she end up hitting it off."
Hagrid let out a huge sigh of relief. "Thank Merlin. And thank you, Bill." His eyes twinkled, which made me suspicious.
"You're welcome." I drained the last of my tea. "You didn't really need any advice about approaching her, did you?"
"Nah," said Hagrid. "But I thought it'd be a bit rude to whip meself out and ask if yeh thought someone regular-size could take it. I 'ad to let the nature of the conversation take its course."
I let out a loud guffaw. "You and Mrs. Longbottom will do quite well together, I think."
"I hope so," said Hagrid , his eyes twinkling.
And they did.
Author's Notes: Thanks as usual to Mr. 42, beta reader extraordinaire.