Warnings: Femmeslash, implied threesome
Author's Notes: Written for the hpcon_envy community at LiveJournal for juniperus, who requested a threesome with Severus and two females from a list of nonstandard pairings.
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
Severus drifted into consciousness to a gentle tapping sound. Not wishing to let his unknown companion know he was awake, he slowed his breathing and peered at his surroundings from beneath his eyelashes.
They'd moved him. Again.
Another unfamiliar room, another unfamiliar bed. Far more surprising was the identity of the person seated comfortably near him: Millicent Bulstrode. And she was typing on the smallest, sleekest-looking laptop computer Severus had ever seen.
She was casually dressed in a tee shirt and jeans, and her bare feet were propped up on the vanity. She looked more at ease than he had ever recalled seeing her at school, which wasn't surprising. It was common knowledge that the late elder Bulstrodes had increased their dwindling fortune dramatically through investing in Muggle technologies.
It was remarkable that Miss Bulstrode had managed to keep such a low profile, given that she was heiress to millions and the top student in her house. And then there were her considerable height and strong features, which had made her a homely and awkward child. They now granted her a singularly aristocratic handsomeness.
Only the very prejudiced or the very stupid would underestimate Millicent Bulstrode, and he was neither.
It's like Jane Eyre. Except I'm the one keeping Mr. Troubled Hero hidden away from the world instead of the other way around. And I'm not mad. Or secretly married. And instead of a burly nurse I've got Lovegood, who's been leaving piles of clothes all over the house to encourage a colony of Lucky Sockmonsters to move in. Maybe she's the mad wife, except for the wife part. Or maybe it's not so much like Jane Eyre after all.
Sod it. Books just aren't my thing, and there's no sense in wasting time thinking about them. I've got the security system to set up. Shacklebolt's in for a surprise when he tests the estate perimeter tomorrow. If he's lucky, he won't be too singed for his press conference tomorrow afternoon. He's due to report on the Death Eaters still at large, as if he weren't helping us harbor one.
Just another forty minutes of hex programming, and not even He-Whose-Scaly-Arse-Got-Kicked at the height of his powers could breach my system. Manky wanker probably wouldn't have known a laser from a lawn ornament. And that's exactly why it's going to work. I'm calling it Tron. Dad would have liked that.
The door flew open and banged loudly against the wall, causing both of the room's occupants to jump. A blonde streaked into the room clutching a bundle of clothes to her chest.
"LOVEGOOD!" Millicent's surprised cry and Snape's furious one were simultaneous.
"I've got one!" cried Luna, beaming in the face of their scowls. "The nesting materials did the trick! I knew they would!"
"Miss Bulstrode, would you kindly explain what she is doing here?"
Millicent shrugged. "Catching Lucky Sockmonsters, apparently, sir." She resettled herself and went back to typing.
Luna's face was flushed with pleasure. "Would you like to see her, Professor? I'm sure that having her here will speed your recovery significantly." Not waiting for a response, she set her bundle down on the bed and began to unwrap it. A black nose poked out from the pile of linens, followed by a pink tongue and intelligent eyes. Its gaze met Snape's, and before he could protest, a small, two-tailed dog leapt up on his chest and began licking his face with enthusiasm.
Snape winced, expecting pain, but was shocked to realize that the little animal was being very careful to avoid the livid wounds on his neck.
Snape scowled, but made no attempt to remove the animal. "Lovegood, this is a Crup!"
"That's Amiga," commented Millicent, not looking up. "She belonged to my mum. She doesn't like anybody."
"But she went straight for my Sockmonster nest, and she likes Professor Snape," said Luna reasonably. "She must be a shape-shifted Sockmonster!"
Snape made a sound of outrage.
"Then calling her Amiga will make her think she's fooled us, won't it?" commented Millicent.
Luna beamed. "Of course! You're so thoughtful, Millie!"
Millicent looked up from her computer. "Lovegood, why don't you take Amiga down to the kitchens and get the elves to feed her. That way she'll definitely stick around."
Luna's smile grew wider. "You have such a gift with creatures, Millie. You're positively wasted on all those gigathings and circus boards. You really ought to come with me to Norway. You know, once the Wizengamot clears Professor Snape and he doesn't have to hide out with whomever will take him, and-"
Snape cleared his throat, which was still being licked by the enthusiastic Crup.
"Oh, sorry Professor!" Luna seized the dog, which whined in protest. "See you later, Millie!"
She was gone in a swirl of blonde hair.
Millicent closed her computer and retrieved a covered tray from the table by the window. She set it over Snape's lap and removed the cover, revealing a light, nutritious meal with a dish of fresh strawberries.
He looked up at her with suspicion. "Surely the task of feeding and watching over me could be done by your House Elves."
Millicent shrugged, a small smile curving her lips. "It's an honor to help you, sir."
Snape snorted. "What an appallingly Gryffindor sentiment."
"Bollocks. What you did as Headmaster- nobody else could have done it, or would have done. You had an absolutely crap job to do, and you did it brilliantly. Almost too brilliantly, actually. It took me and Potter days to convince the rest of the Order that you'd been on our side all along. But the point is that I'm grateful to have witnessed you doing it, sir."
"I do believe that you've never before said so many words to me at once, Miss Bulstrode."
"Your eggs are getting cold. I should go make sure Lovegood hasn't captured any of the other pets."
"Why is Lovegood here?"
"She volunteered. And she's not so bad. Quite sweet, really. Goodbye, sir."
Snape woke to soft, tuneless humming. He suppressed a groan when he realized that Lovegood was watching him.
"Oh, good, you're awake! Millie said to wake you if you weren't up for supper."
"Where's Miss Bulstrode?"
"Securing the perimeter."
"I should help."
"Don't coddle me, Lovegood." Snape pulled himself to his feet, but his knees buckled, and he fell into Luna's arms.
"Millie's fine," she said, lowering him back to the bed.
"I refuse to entrust my safety to a teenager."
"You didn't know?"
Snape scowled. "Know what?"
"Millie was the Order's Head of Security. Nobody knew except her parents and Dumbledore."
"The Fidelius Charm-"
"Was only a small part," finished Luna. "She says she's good at it because she was raised with both magic and computers. I don't understand it, but I do know that she kept us safe when we were hiding in the Room of Requirement. I caught her bringing us food one night when I was hunting Curdleshrews. That's when I first fell in love with her, you know. "
Snape stared at her.
"Don't worry, sir. I haven't told her. I know she fancies you. Oh! Supper!"
Luna skipped out the door, humming.
Severus slept poorly, but that was more than compensated for by the spectacle of Kingsley Shacklebolt attempting to trespass on the grounds of Bulstrode Hall. When he finally signaled defeat by shooting shot sparks from his wand, the girls helped him limp into the house, presumably to undo or heal the worst of the damage.
Lovegood was right. Bulstrode really did know what she was doing.
The following days proved them to be gracious hostesses, both taking time to bring him meals, healing potions, books, and what conversation he could tolerate. Severus liked it best when their shared laughter broke the silence of the old house. He had never visited when the elder Bulstrodes were still alive, and he wondered if it had always been brightened by laughter and love.
He also considered Lovegood's comments, and now that he was looking for it, he observed subtle signs of admiration in Millicent's behavior. He didn't understand it any more than Lovegood understood computers, but he was flattered nonetheless.
What did surprise him was Lovegood's perspicacity. It unnerved him when those remarkable blue eyes found him. He knew it was ridiculous, but he sincerely hoped that she did not find him wanting.
Several weeks into Severus's stay at Bulstrode Hall, Poppy Pomfrey declared him strong enough to start physical therapy. The girls embraced their new roles with gusto, taking turns wheeling Severus around the estate and assisting him patiently as he learned to stand and walk again.
Some days were good, like the picnic by the pond where Amiga the Crup (or Sockmonster) learned how to catch bullfrogs. Luna's laughter was infectious, and Severus found himself unwittingly relaxing against Millicent's shoulder as Luna and Amiga frolicked at the water's edge.
Some days were harder, and Severus was frequently frustrated by his slow recovery. Millicent's patience and Luna's ability to defuse his anger were godsends on such days, and he allowed himself to depend on them more.
He found himself looking for excuses to assist them with their hobbies. He rationalized that computer proficiency would be invaluable in the Muggle world, and it was only fair that he spend equal time with Luna, too, even if it meant holding aloft her Garpenfargle Detector antenna while she explored underneath stones in the garden.
Severus's body regained strength, and he found himself in the unprecedented position of having two friends who enjoyed one another's company.
One morning, the smell of autumn leaves blew in through Severus's open window, and with it the chilling realization that he'd been living with Luna and Millicent for over two months. He knew then that it couldn't last. They would move him somewhere new very soon, and he found the idea disagreeable in the extreme.
He was so upset that he managed to launch his breakfast spoon across the room.
"Really, sir, I thought we'd gotten over this," said Millicent lightly, retrieving the utensil.
"Why is it, Miss Bulstrode, that you insist on calling me sir?"
"For the same reason you call me Miss Bulstrode, I expect," she said, setting the spoon on his tray. "Would you rather I called you something else?"
"Rather a waste, don't you think?"
"I don't follow."
"It would be a waste to allow the familiarity only to have it evaporate when I'm carted off to the next poor sod who's ordered to play nursemaid."
Surprise and hurt clearly registered on her face as she stood. "I'm sorry, sir. I had no idea you wished to leave. I'll contact the Order immediately."
"Blast it, woman, that's not what I meant!"
But she was already gone.
He had to stop her. Damn it, he'd crawl on his hands and knees if he had to. He yanked himself upright and hissed as his body protested the sudden, rough treatment. However, he didn't fall, and he was able to lurch to the door and open it. He rested against the doorframe, panting.
"Millicent!" he called, in as loud a voice as he could.
There was no response.
"Luna!" he bellowed.
He heard nothing other than the persistent wind in the curtains. Severus took a deep breath and began to edge slowly along the hallway towards the atrium.
"You must have misunderstood him, Millie," said Luna.
"I don't think so, Lu."
"Nonsense. The way he feels about you is as plain as the nose on his face. You didn't flounce off like a spurned Gryffindor or anything, did you?"
Millicent's tears ceased abruptly. "I don't flounce!"
A soft smile crossed Luna's face. "Then you won't mind waiting to make the call until I ask him, will you?"
Millicent's reply died in her throat as a loud crash came from somewhere near the atrium.
"Severus," they said in unison. They shared a look of horror and took off running.
He lay unconscious near a suit of armor. Millicent froze, her hands clasped to her mouth. Luna didn't hesitate. She raced to his side and lowered her head to his.
"He's fainted, that's all," she said, smiling reassuringly. "It'd have been much worse if he'd got to the stairs."
Millicent shuddered, which seemed to release her from her paralysis. "He should be in bed."
Luna pulled out her wand, but Millicent stayed her hand. "I've got him. I was the one who acted like a stupid first year with hurt feelings. "
Millicent squatted down next to him and gently raised his head with her arm. When he made no response, she gathered him close and slid her arm beneath his knees. Breathing deeply, she lifted him. He smelled like her father's soap, but with an undercurrent of something sharper and aromatic.
She felt Luna's arms supporting hers, and together they carried him to his room. Once they had laid him on the bed, Millicent drew Luna onto her lap.
It didn't feel like a first kiss. Luna's lips were soft and accommodating, her fingers gentle along Millicent's cheek and jaw.
They waited for him to wake, their arms entwined.
They were asleep together in the armchair when he woke, lying against one another with the intimacy of lovers, their hair, light and dark, in layers that in the candlelight looked like ocean waves. Severus wasn't sure if the lump in his throat was from jealousy or simply the emotion stirred at the sight of his two friends finding comfort in one another's arms.
He wasn't surprised that Luna was the first to wake.
"Thank you," she whispered, taking care not to wake Millicent. "I mean, I'm not thanking you for nearly doing yourself a serious injury, but you finally did it. Millie's finally figured it out."
Severus felt his heart sink. "She loves you."
"Of course she does, silly. But that's not what I meant."
He scowled. "For once in your life, Lovegood, would you kindly make sense?"
"Oh, Severus," she said. "You know there's plenty of room in Millie's heart for both of us."
"What about yours?"
"Sockmonsters are not only good judges of character, but also of potential sexual compatibility."
Severus smirked at her "Liar."
Luna's smile turned mischievous. "That's one of the advantages of studying arcane subjects. Nobody will ever know exactly how much I invent."
Between Severus's injuries and Millicent's embarrassment, it took Luna a week to maneuver them all into the same room.
Henceforth, Severus knew better than to underestimate Luna's incalculable precision or Millicent's strength.
Henceforth, Millicent knew better than to take her love for Severus too seriously or her love for Luna too lightly.
Henceforth, Luna knew that Severus was ticklish and that Millicent had a kiss-shaped birthmark on her hip.
Henceforth, Bulstrode Hall rang with many sounds: laughter, shouting, and sometimes something entirely different. Before long, they helped Amiga welcome five metamorphic puppies into the household. They were lucky indeed.
Author's Notes: Muchas gracias and muchas smooches to Mr. 42, the finest beta-reader the world has ever seen.