Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns Harry Potter, not me.

Description: Severus reluctantly agrees to babysit five year old Draco after Narcissa guilts him into it, and it doesn't take long for him to figure out the perfect way to deal with babysitting!

Hide and Don't Seek

It was a cold winter day when Narcissa Malfoy knocked on Severus Snape's door, with her five year old son Draco in tow. Severus was enjoying an afternoon to himself, drinking a glass of Madam Rosmerta's best as he skimmed through Potions Weekly. When he heard the knock at his door, he leaned back to peer out the window and see who was there. He could see Narcissa craning her neck to look through the small window above the door, apparently trying to see if anyone was home. Her little boy was standing next to her, one of his hands in his mother's and the other making a toy dragon fly around animatedly. Severus cringed; he could hear the sound effects the kid was making all the way in here.

Narcissa knocked again, louder this time. Severus ducked down, hoping she couldn't see him. He knew exactly why she was here, and he wanted no part of it.

After a few moments had passed, Severus sat up again and relaxed; he was sure Narcissa had given up and left. He sank back onto his favorite chair and took another sip of his wine. Then he heard his door being forced open, and he jumped up, yanking his wand out of his pocket and pointing it at the door.

With a final shove, Narcissa made her way in, dragging her son by the hand. She looked into the living room and saw Severus. "Oh for crying out loud, put your wand away, it's just me." He sneered at her and reluctantly stowed away his wand. "And Draco!" she added brightly. "Draco, say hello to Mr. Severus, you've met him before, he's a nice man."

The little boy tucked his dragon under his arm and wrapped his arms around his mother's waist. "Hi", he said obediently, and leaned closer into his mother so that he was partially hidden behind her.

"He's shy", Narcissa said, waving her hand dismissively. "Anyway, Severus, I'm here because I need to ask you for one small, insignificant favor that requires little to no effort on your part."

If it was the favor he suspected, Severus thought, it was not small or insignificant in any way, and it required a lot of effort on his part. "And what is that favor, Narcissa?" He looked at the little boy by her side, who now had the tail of his dragon in his mouth. Lovely.Why did small children insist on putting everything in their mouths?

Narcissa glanced down at her son. "Not in your mouth, honey", she admonished gently, and Draco took the dragon out of his mouth. "Well, Severus, I was going to ask if you could babysit."

Severus laughed scathingly and shook his head.

Narcissa huffed. "Oh don't be like that! It's just for a couple of hours this afternoon!"

Severus had just taken a very large sip of his wine, and Narcissa's request made him choke on it. After he had coughed and spluttered for a few moments, he yelped, "'A couple of hours'? 'Hours' as in sixty minutes? Are you out of your mind?"

He looked down at Draco, who had put his thumb in his mouth in place of the dragon. Seriously, what was with the oral fixation?

Narcissa sighed theatrically. "All right then. If you can't do this one little thing for me, I guess I'll have to find someone else. Maybe one of Lucius's old friends is willing to help, even though none of them have children or care anything about them."

Severus privately thought that Narcissa had just described him perfectly, although even he knew that out of all of Lucius's old "friends", he was the preferable choice. But Narcissa was just being dramatic. Surely there was someone else within reason who could watch Draco. "You are not getting me this way, Narcissa." He picked up his paper and returned to the article he had been reading.

"What way?" she asked, feigning innocence. "You said you don't want to help me, and that's fine. I'm sure there's someone else who will." She smiled at Severus and looked down at Draco. "Come on honey, let's go."

To Severus's surprise, the little boy gave him a small wave before turning to go with his mother. They had almost made it to the door when Severus threw down Potions Weekly and said, "Oh all right then, if you're going to be such a drama queen about it, I'll watch him for the afternoon!" Narcissa turned to him, beaming. "Oh, thank you so much, Severus! Draco will be good, and I'll be back by five at the latest." Severus rolled his eyes, and looked at Draco, who still had his arms wrapped tightly around his mother. "It doesn't look like he's going to let you go", Severus said skeptically. Maybe he could get out of this after all.

Narcissa shook her head. "He will, don't worry." Severus raised his eyebrows; the fact that Draco might not let his mother go was not what he was worried about. Narcissa bent down to be at her son's height and hugged him tightly. "Okay honey, Mummy's going to leave for a little bit, you're going to play with Mr. Severus, and I'll be back before you know it. Okay?" Her tone was cheery and bright.

Draco, thumb still in his mouth, glanced over at Severus suspiciously before reluctantly nodding to his mother. Narcissa kissed her son on the cheek, and said, "Okay, bye sweetie, I love you." She gave him another hug and kiss. "Love you too, Mummy", Draco said into her shoulder, squeezing her tight.

"Goodbye, Severus, thanks again so much." Narcissa turned and left Draco with Severus.

The two stared at one another for a moment, and then Severus returned to Potions Weekly and Draco sat down and returned to playing with his toy dragon. Severus had just begun reading a particularly interesting article when he heard Draco making sound effects again. His dragon was apparently flying around in the air, doing back flips and dives that Severus knew no real dragon did. And they certainly didn't sound like that, no matter what they were doing. Severus tried to ignore this and read the next paragraph. The whooshing and roaring was getting progressively louder and more difficult to ignore. After he was unable to focus on the next few sentences of what he was reading, Severus slammed down his magazine, and yelped, "Draco! Cut it out!"

Draco's eyes widened slightly at being shouted at, but he put his dragon down and clambered onto the couch next to Severus. "What are you reading?"

Severus took a deep breath and slowly let it out. It hadn't been ten minutes and already the kid was driving him frickin nuts. "Potions Weekly", he replied tersely.

"What's it about?"

"Potions." His patience was wearing thinner with each inane question.

"Can you read it to me?"

Severus slowly counted to ten in his head. The little boy had barely spoken before, what had gotten him in such a talkative mood?

"No."

There was finally silence for a few minutes, but to Severus's discomfort, Draco was still sitting close by. He was just about to start on another article when the kid started to shoot off his mouth again.

"I'm five." He held up a hand with all five fingers raised, the thumb shiny with spit, Severus noticed with disgust.

"Spectacular." Severus turned to the ads section and noticed that a particularly nice cauldron was on sale.

There was quiet for another few wonderful minutes, and then the talking resumed. "I'm bored. I want my mummy to come back." He sounded so sad when he said this that Severus actually felt a little sorry for him in a way. But then the little boy sighed loudly and began to drum his heels against the bottom of Severus's nice couch.

Severus gritted his teeth. "Yeah, well, I want your mother to come back too. But life is full of little disappointments, isn't it? Why don't you go take a nap or something to pass the time?"

"Because I'm not tired."

Severus looked across the room where all his potions paraphernalia was assembled, and noticed a few key ingredients for a sleeping draught. Yeah, well, something could be done about that…

"Do you wanna play?" The little boy looked up at him hopefully.

Severus rubbed the back of his neck impatiently. How could he shake this kid off without pissing off Narcissa? And it was then that his brilliant idea occurred to him…

"Sure I do!" Severus answered, putting aside his paper and feeling awkward using the unnaturally sunny tone people tended to use when talking to small children. Draco beamed expectantly. "And you know what a really good game is? Hide and seek! Now you hide, and I'll seek!"

Draco happily jumped down from the couch. "Okay, I'll go hide, and you cover your eyes until I say okay, don't peek!" He gleefully skipped off to find a hiding spot as Severus covered his eyes.

Once Severus heard Draco call out, "Okay, come find me!" he leaned back onto his couch and stretched out his legs, picking up Potions Weekly once again with a self satisfied smile. Who said babysitting had to be tough?

A few hours went by, and Severus had fallen asleep on the couch, mouth hanging open and snoring slightly. Narcissa was outside his door, forcing it open once again. Once she got inside, she found Severus asleep on the couch and Draco nowhere in sight. She folded her arms across her chest and looked down at her "babysitter", tapping her foot and pondering her next course of action.

She gently nudged him awake. "Severus. Severus!" He slept like the bloody dead…

Severus finally jerked awake, and Narcissa sat down on the couch next to him. "Morning, sleepyhead", she said, so cheerfully that Severus immediately knew something was up. He just couldn't put his finger on what it could be…

"How was babysitting?" she asked, in a dangerously sweet tone.

Severus frowned, confused, and rubbed his eyes as he sat up. "Babysit- ohhh, of course, babysitting! Yeah, babysitting went fine, stupendous actually." He yawned and stretched.

Narcissa had a pinched smile on her face. "Glad to hear it. Where's my child?"

Severus knew then and there that he was trapped. For a split second he wondered how he could get out of this…"What do you mean, 'where's my child'? You don't know where your own kid is? Wow, Narcissa, I don't know how you keep Wizarding Child Welfare from banging down your door." He laughed nervously, hoping that this would work.

Narcissa snarled and got up from the couch, beginning to search the house for her son. She had only looked in a few places before she found him, curled up asleep in a cupboard. Her expression immediately softened, and she gently picked him up, careful not to wake him, and situated him on her hip. She glared at Severus.

"You see?" he said weakly. "He's fine, happy as a clam."

Narcissa rolled her eyes as she bent down to pick up Draco's toy dragon off the floor. "Last time I ever ask you to babysit!" she hissed as she stalked out the door.

Severus waited until he was sure she was across the street, and then jumped up on his couch and did a victory dance. Yes!