A/N: This came to me on a hot summer day in plain World Cup fever. Written as a thank-you ficlet for Alcina, with gratitude to my beta, Pale Moonlite. All characters, stadiums, and sports clubs herein are, of course, purely fictitious.
Heat Wave in Hogsmeade
Severus Snape neatly folded up his newspaper and slapped it on the breakfast table.
He was unamused.
The scorching summer sun had begun to peek around the corner of their cottage. They'd bought it only recently, this cottage, and up to now he'd found it surprisingly satisfactory. It was old and cosy, yet sufficiently spacious for two individuals and their respective egos. It had a basement big enough for his hobby, two airy studies overlooking the lake, and a large garden with enough micro climates to suit all kinds of potion ingredients – plant, mineral, and animal ones. In other words, a perfect place for retirement. The only downside so far had been the terrace. Facing due south. Full solar impact from ten in the morning to seven in the evening.
And now this.
Over on Hogsmeade Hill, not three hundred yards from the back of his garden, three dozen handiwizards had arrived with heavy machinery. Jackscavators. Dredge hammers. Hell, if his eyes didn't fail him, they'd even brought a Wrack & Wrecker Bulldozing Blast-O-Mat. It was obvious that they meant business.
So they would really do it.
Blast Diddy Sapling and his millions.
The soft swoosh of a broom landing caught him mid-brooding, and a faint, only slightly out-of-tune hum wafted over from the front garden. It sounded annoyingly happy, especially given that the temperature was rapidly approaching the melting point of Slytherin patience. With his luck, he'd soon be treated to a live demonstration of a new pair of shoes on top of the misery he was already in.
"Good morning, Sunshine," said a crisp voice behind him, and a stiff upper lip placed a peck on his cheek.
He gave the only answer that befitted the occasion.
Ignoring his grunt, Minerva put down her shopping basket, sat down, and poured herself a cup of tea. She frowned briefly at the three sorry crumbs that were left in the bread basket – the question, 'didn't the bakery boy bring four croissants this morning?' written clearly on her face – and reached into her shopping basket to retrieve a packet of ginger newts.
"Just forget the dust and the noise and imagine how nice it'll be when it's done," she said, looking at the vast building-site-to-be. "I saw the design. Modern but with all natural materials. They'll have a Floo hub for three hundred arrivals per fifteen minutes, and state-of-the-art soundproofing spells."
Severus gave another snort. He didn't care about the noise. When things got too loud around him, and they often did, he always had his basement. He could take eco-friendly architecture or leave it alone. And he wasn't against a new stadium for 1399 Hogsmeade, not per se.
The problem was that it was three hundred yards from his garden.
And that it had three thousand bloody seats, plus standee section.
"Severus Snape, you like Quidditch," said Minerva, and dabbed an imaginary trace of tea from the corner of her mouth.
"Besides," she continued, leafing through the stack of discarded newspaper parts to find the sports section, "isn't it nice that Diddy invests his money into something that so many can enjoy? It creates jobs. He's expanded the club's youth department. And what he does will go a long way in promoting understanding and integration. You know how badly we need that these days." She gave him a pointed look. "And may I remind you of your statement that you quite approved of their pro team's new style?"
Well. Not that he'd admit it, but she had a point. With excellent tactics and a few well-chosen but not extravagant purchases, Coach Boleslav Bangnik had turned the ailing village club into a top-notch Premier League side within a mere thirty-three months.
"Harrumph," he said.
Which was short for: masses of people traipsing past his garden, blowing obscene-sounding trumpets that scared his animal resources away, disturbing the carefully-designed nutrient equilibrium in the soil by impregnating it with metabolised alcoholic beverages (one average human bladder à 500 mL x 3,000 = 1,500L or 330 gallons = disaster.) Spectators flying under influence, possibly crash-landing in his new greenhouse. Emergency calls for sobering potions, anti-concussion salve, and hamstring ointment. Constant requests for Felix Felicis.
In short, hell. Every other Saturday from September to May. As of this autumn, if everything went according to schedule.
Minerva raised her eyebrow, got up from her chair, and smoothed her green linen dress. Seventy-four or not, she looked damn fine in thin fabric. Slender and tall, yet bearing the signs of experience. Of life. And his eyebrow wasn't the only part of his that twitched as he noticed the absence of a bra.
Damn this heat.
"Well then," Minerva said curtly, taking two small parchment slips out of an envelope in the basket. "Since you're so obviously uninterested, I wonder if I can get the name on this changed from yours to Rolanda's. I think she'd be pleased …"
Severus craned his neck, inconspicuously and with dignity, of course.
SEASON TICKET the parchments said. And, in smaller font: Grandstand, Covered. Top Tier Centre, Row 1.
"Harrumph," he said.
She'd done it. Again.
Minerva 1, Severus 0.
Damage control was the order of the hour now. Netting the object whilst saving face as much as possible. Begging was not an option. Neither was giving up. "I seriously doubt that they will show as much goodwill. Besides, Rolanda is a Harpy."
A sliver of a smile crept over Minerva's face. Damn. She knew she'd scored.
Well, she had it coming. Time for a tactical foul. "I think we should continue this discussion elsewhere," he said with the growl that hardly ever failed to produce the effect he wanted. Season ticket or not, that smile had to go. And he had the means, oh yes, he had.
Slowly, he snaked his arms around her waist. The advantage was his: he knew how she got when he touched her there. He let his hands wander further, one up, one down, and pressed her to his body. Tightly.
Minerva 2, Severus 0.
Blast the thin fabric.
And if anything, the smile had only widened.