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: Written as a betting dept for hp_worldcup_bets on Dreamwidth, where I obviously guessed the champion wrong. I drew tetleythesecond among the winners and was given her prompt of Minerva, Severus and sports. Here is what I came up with.
My heartfelt thanks go to therealsnape for fast and effective beta-reading, making short work of my abysmal punctuation and weeding out all my weird ways of writing English. Any remaining mistakes are my own.
Title: The Bet
Author: Alcina vom Steinsberg/(the) Winterwitch
Pairing and Prompt: McGonagall/Snape and sports
Warning: references to a weird culture, and probably dangerous things flying about
Word count: ~1200
Summary: Snape has lost a bet to Minerva, with totally unexpected consequences.
Minerva gave her companion an appreciative once-over. „You look absolutely dashing, my dear!"
Severus shifted uncomfortably in the unfamiliar garb. "Must I really, Min?"
He was met with an exasperated look. "Please, Severus. You promised."
"I've lost a bet," he deadpanned. Nothing but a lost bet, and no-one but his stern but beloved Mistress would ever have made him wear anything like that, no matter the reason.
"A bit of colour does wonders for your complexion," she tried to soothe him and snipped some nonexistent lint from his shoulder, "and what's even better, nobody will think you sassenach now, either. It's just a local affair, and anyone wearing trousers would stick out like a sore thumb."
Severus harrumphed and threw a glance at he mirror. Not too bad, he had to concede, but he would rather die than admit it. At least, he had been spared wearing full Highland regalia, complete with Prince Charlie vest and jacket, Sgian Dubh and whatnot, as he had seen laid out on her brother's bed the other day. Instead, he had been given a kilt in the family tartan, which came in a rather enjoyable pattern of greens and a little black and white. The outfit was combined with shiny black Brogues, black hose, a white button-down shirt and a black jersey, he felt rather nicely dressed after all. It wasn't that he was vain, but one would like to look one's best when meeting the partner's extended family, wouldn't one?
And they did make a fitting couple, too, with Minerva in a close-fitting, black woollen dress and wearing the customary sash. Seeing her out-of-doors without a hat was rather new for him, but it brought out her strong profile and her beautiful, milky skin.
"Lay on, McDuff", he quipped, grabbing Minerva's arm and letting her Apparate them to their destination.
The "local affair" turned out to be quite large to Severus's humble opinion, held in some large park with a stately manor or castle peeking through a copse. Countless spectators ambled among fenced-off areas where obviously the competitions were being held, and he followed a very eager Minerva towards some marquee on the other end.
He really hadn't had any idea what her "Highland Games" consisted of when that bet he lost had been placed, but he had imagined some kind of Muggle team sport, not unlike the soccer games he had been taken to as a boy. But this was something quite different.
Several groups of kilted men were engaged in the most bizarre activities, and in some cases calling them "sports" seemed rather far-fetched. But they were Scots, so being outlandish seemed to be part of the appeal. Some were rolling barrels, other carrying and lifting enormous round stones, and a third group was doing something indeterminable with large tree trunks.
A loud squeal from Minerva made him jump, and it cost him all of his self-restraint not to get out his wand and hurry to her defence. The reflexes honed during his time as a spy were still strong, but seeing her hugging a bear of a man with a strong family resemblance was reassurance enough.
Only now did he realise that Minerva was busy greeting literally everybody present, talking nineteen to the dozen and obviously having the time of her life. He had never seen her so relaxed and outgoing; she seemed like a different kind of woman here. A woman he liked very much, Severus thought, and he couldn't stop a large smile from lightning up his whole face.
Minerva, who was looking in his direction just at this moment, came back to him and, eyes alight with joy and love, gave him a peck on the cheek before introducing him to some distant relatives of hers.
And suddenly, everything was just perfect. He didn't feel weird in the dress he wore any longer, despite the occasional draught sneaking under the kilt, and he certainly didn't feel out of place, as he usually did. He was nothing more, but also nothing less than Minerva's partner, accompanying her to a family venue and making sure she enjoyed herself. Everybody had some friendly words for him, too, and he felt more welcome than ever before in his life.
A few hours later, he had regaled himself on a large helping of the first edible Haggis he had ever been served (house-elves simply didn't have the knack of cooking it), a considerable amount of Shortbread of the different varieties (he couldn't affront any of Minerva's aunts, nieces and whatever relatives by refusing to sample their speciality, could he now?), and more glasses of Single Malt than he cared to count. Minerva had finally talked to all the people she wanted to talk to, and she had watched and cheered all the family members she needed to watch and cheer (in literally every contest, as so many of the participants were in some way related to her), and she came back to him with a sheepish apology the size of Astronomy tower.
She hadn't meant to leave him on his own for all that time and was very, very sorry, but she absolutely HAD to cheer cousin Murtagh and talk to auntie Imogen and applaud young Domnhall and... he had pulled her behind some shrubbery, and some heated snogging later, she was reassured that he was all right and had spent an enjoyable day. Contrary to popular belief, he didn't need to exploit his lover's guilty conscience, at least not much. And not today. Not when he had discovered a whole new side to his lover and had fallen in love with her all over again.
"There is one last contest going on," Minerva explained, "shall we watch it together?"
They did, and he soon found himself cheering the green-kilted part of the Tug-o-War as loudly as his companion. After all, tomorrow he would be sitting at the breakfast table with most of them, and he had to let them see that he knew how to behave as a guest. Particularly as the contestants were given a hard time by the guys in the red-and-blue-checked skirts - no, kilts.
"Care for a bet?" Minerva's eyes glittered mischievously.
"What?" Severus hadn't been paying attention.
"Would you like to bet on the winning team, my dear?" The glittering intensified.
Despite some whisky-induced carelessness, Severus wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. When the outcome was too clear, Minerva tended to wager the most uncomfortable things – for him. Today had been all right, as had been the night involving ropes, blindfolds and her large four-poster. Still, who knew what she would come up with next...
"No, thank you," he said, with all the dignity he could muster. Not before he had thought up some interesting wagers himself.
A/N: At the Highland Games held at the neighbouring village, who served coincidently as a real-life inspiration as well as example for Minerva's games, there was a Kiltmaker having a tartan on display which I found just perfect for Minerva, and therefore decided that from now on, this will be McGonagall tartan for me. It was in different shades of beautiful green with a small white line, though I don't remember if there was some black, too, or just a rather dark green. It's called Lamont muted. Any online reference I found looks rather different, though, so I'm not sure if my memory fails me or if the cloth was labeled wrong. I've seen a kilt in this tartan as well, on a dark-haired man, and didn't THAT look good! *drools*
Edit: I know that a McGonagall tartan doesn't really exist. For the sake of the story, and my personal view of the Potterverse, though, it does. ;o)