Disclaimer: The World of Harry Potter belongs to J.. I'm just borrowing it for a little while and promise to give everything back unharmed.
A/N: My gratitude goes to the awesome Kelly Chambliss and her wonderful beta skills.
Alcina vom Steinsberg
Kreacher hated sandwiches with all his might. No proper food this was, no sir! Nothing but some stale, papery bread with gloopy goo on it, no fit for eating for proper wizards!
Bloody mudblood inventions, the old house-elf muttered, standing once again at the counter of the grubby kitchen at Grimmauld Place Number 12 and smearing said stale bread with the requested, dubious substances. If it had at least some proper meat on it and some decent spread, like, say, mustard, or horse-radish, that would be something! That one could look on as food, if need be.
But THIS ... Kreacher nearly got sick at the sight before him. Cress and cucumber for Miss Hat-Knitting Miss it was - limp green pieces of rabbit food. For Himself, funny red and yellow slices. Nothing but coloured, greasy bits and parts. Salami and Emmentaler, it was called, said Himself. Kreacher knew EVERYTHING there was to be known about food for humans, but this vile stuff wasn't something humans could live on. Nothing you could get in a proper wizard store, either.
But there was this new shop at the end of Diagon Alley which no decent house-elf would be seen dead going into. "Muggle Delicatessen", read the sign. Pah! Balderdash with green spots!
Cutting the hated sandwiches into neat triangles and laying them on three dishes, he scrunched his nose. Worst of all, however, was the item Readheaded Friend of Master requested: day after bloody day he wanted sticky-icky-gooey-Marmite-with-Branston-Relish. Preparing this incredible insult to human nourishment, Kreacher had a hard time stifling a gag every time. The smell alone! He was used to much, but this was worse than anything that had ever lived or died under any piece of furniture in Grimmauld Place.
Two hours later, after he'd complained about how long he had to wait for them to finish and after Himself and his cronies had gone to bed, Kreacher crept tiredly back into his dirty nest of rags. Cleaning the dishes wasn't really an effort, nothing more than a snap of his fingers – not that he would ever have admitted this. No, it was not his light duties that tired him, but the bleak days of serving an unwanted Master and his ungrateful, outlandish friends. He hated them all with a passion and wanted nothing more than to tell them just how much. But of course that wouldn't do, with him being Himself's house-elf and having to perform his duties towards the Mighty House of Black ... and it was so tiring, always having to restrain himself ...
With a deep sigh, Kreacher rolled himself into a tight ball. Life was a burden, ever since Herself had gone into that portrait and lost half her mind. Of course, the other half had gone long before that, so there really wasn't much that remained. But she liked it when he talked to her, and he liked it, too. It reminded him of the times when he had looked after her brother and her, reading stories to the delighted children and playing games with them when nobody was looking.
Suddenly, a loud crack echoed through the silent halls. Kreacher woke with a start and, after a moment of deadly silence interrupted only by the pounding of his heart, he crept noiselessly out of his hideout. Mister Spinning-Eye-Stomp used to come quite often out of the blue to poke and prod around, and he did bad things to Kreacher, he did. No point in getting his attention.
But he could hear no stomping of a wooden leg, no cussing of Mister Spinning-Eye-when-he-thought-himself-alone, and no other sound, either. It was eerily quiet, but House told Kreacher that somebody was inside.
Silently, Kreacher went up the stairs. On the second landing, finally he could hear some small sound.
A faint light came through the slightly-opened door, and from the inside came the sound of a wounded animal or something, Kreacher wasn't really sure.
He crept as close as possible without touching the door, and cocked his ear to hear better.
No, not an animal, but a human being, emitting low, keening sounds. Crying? A human in there, crying? In Master Devil's-Spawn-get-him-out-of-my-house-Sirius's room, too?
Though Kreacher opened the door as slowly as he could, the stranger noticed and froze. Huge tennis-ball-sized eyes stared into dull, bloodshot black ones.
Kreacher gulped. Master elf-poisoning-Master! Holding some torn papers and one of those human-images.
Oh dear. That wasn't good at all. Kreacher was not happy in the current circumstances and with the new Himself, but still he felt too young to become part of the shelf-decoration in the stairway.
Clearing his throat, he blurted out the only thing he could think of: "Master Potions-Master of Hogwarts would care for a sandwich? Kreacher makes nice sandwiches."
Dawn just loomed under the horizon when the kitchen was finally empty again. Kreacher sighed contentedly and went back to his rag-nest.
Master elf-poisoning-Master hadn't spoken a single word, but after an endless-seeming moment of staring, had followed him quietly down to the kitchen and had taken the offered seat while Kreacher prepared a cup of tea and the best he could do with the existing provisions. Equally silent, the unexpected visitor had munched down his roast beef-and-horseradish sandwich. He'd looked much more composed, Kreacher thought, when he'd thanked him with a nod and disappeared as secretly as he had come.
Kreacher was happy. He was still alive, and perhaps sandwiches indeed had some merit.
A/N: Written for the Mini-Drabblethon of the ownficfest on LJ as giftlet for Miss Morland. It was
a stray plotbunny, wiggling its tail in my face I just caught and killed (i.e. wrote down) fast, without any research into what I have forgotten of Deathly Hallows. Of course, the "chronology" of the mentioned events won't fit together in any way, too. Be patient with me for this little bit of silliness, pretty please? And may Herself not let her wrath come over me and kill all my plotbunnies. The idea of House communicating with the house-elves derives from Josan and her "Man of property" series. The idea of Snape's favourite sandwich being roast beef with horse-radish is from MMADfan if I'm remembering correctly.
Oh, and Kreacher's title and thinking of Snape – well, nobody says it's based on reality. But rumours, you know ... considering Kreacher's last master before Harry ... ;o)