~ / ~ / ~

He'd felt odd after that, Argus had - - like he'd not had quite enough dinner but couldn't think of nothing else he wanted to eat.

In the weeks to come, though, the vision of young Severus with his cock in his hand provided Argus with food for many a cold winter night.

But still, he knew that this sort of thing were not what the new Headmistress had in mind when she asked him to look into Severus's "romantic attachments." She didn't mean no romantic attachment to his hand, which the lad didn't really have too much of, anyway.

No, she wanted to know about real people, which brought Argus back to where he'd been when he'd sat down in his chair and starting having his think.

"So where have we got to, eh, Mrs Norris?" he said aloud, tipping another wee tot from his bottle into his glass. The cat, still on his lap, didn't respond beyond curling one claw into his knee, but Argus went on anyway, organising his thoughts in his head, systematic, like.

Point: the Headmistress wanted Argus to find out who shared the lad's bed. Point: he already knew. Point: he could easily tell her, could of told her this afternoon, could go to her office right now and tell her. It would get him in good with her, she'd rely on him even more, and it were about time he were taken serious around here.

But. Point: she would not be at all happy to hear what Argus had to tell her. Point: the lad would be even less happy. Point: Unhappy people tended to want to place blame for their unhappiness. And who better to blame than the Squib caretaker, what nobody but Mrs Norris cared about?

"Mwraww," said Mrs Norris, kneading his leg, and Argus thought that as usual, she had put her nose on the most important point. Trust Mrs N to ask the right question.

He knew what the Headmistress wanted and he knew what Severus would want.

But the question were, what did he want: Argus Panoptes Filch?

~ / ~ / ~

There'd been a time when he thought he'd known what he hadn't wanted: he hadn't wanted to see what he'd seen on that night two or three years after the secret door had first come into his life.

'Course, every time the door appeared, Argus had it in the back of his mind that Severus could potentially have another person in his bed. But as time went on, and it didn't happen, he began to believe that maybe the lad were really as alone as he seemed. Or put it about elsewhere, like as not.

So accustomed had he become to seeing Severus alone in his rooms that, even though he knew it were perfectly possible that someone else might someday be present, Argus hadn't really been prepared for it to happen.

He thought back to that summer night not long after term had ended, 1985 or '86, it would of been, when the door had appeared as usual. Argus had sunk into his chair, watched the window-wall go all transparent - - and found himself looking through the open bed-curtains at Severus's bare, skinny backside as it moved up and down.

Stark bollocks naked, the lad were, and there were no mistaking what he were doing. Or the fact that he were doing it to another flesh-and-blood person, a person what was making soft moaning sounds and wrapping her equally-naked legs round Severus's thighs, one foot touching his arse.

Oh, it were a "her," all right. A woman's voice, a woman's thin limbs, a woman's. . .undergarment a-laying on the floor.

A woman, in Severus's bed, and he were. . .

Well, he were fucking her. No point in being namby-pamby about it. Call a spade a spade, Uncle Stan would of said.

Severus had a woman in his bed, they was fucking, and Argus realised with a start that he didn't mind.

He'd thought he would feel upset to see the lad having it off with someone, but instead, he felt that hot rush of arousal and shame that he used to feel as a boy, listening to his aunt and uncle. Then the shame turned to something else, something more, something delicious.

It helped that it were a woman with Severus, he had to admit. He didn't think he could of stood watching Severus be excited by a man, being taken by a man, or taking. It would of been real in a way Argus didn't want it to be real.

But this - - this were more like the Muggle cinema or summat, and he settled back to watch.

So far, Severus had been silent, but now he began to add his sounds to the woman's, low grunts that sent a shaft of heat straight into Argus's privates. But before he could fumble his trousers open, Severus were coming, his head raised, his voice lifting in a drawn-out howl as he collapsed forward onto the bed, on top of the woman, who caressed his calf with the edge of her foot and ran her hands over his back and arse.

After a moment, Severus rolled over, drawing the woman half onto his chest and stroking her hair, so that Argus could finally see her face.

He were aware of only one conscious thought - - that it were a damned good thing the Filches always had strong hearts.

Otherwise, the sight of Minerva McGonagall would of killed him straight dead.

~ / ~ / ~

Minerva McGonagall.

Severus Snape were shagging Minerva McGonagall.

Argus said these words aloud to Mr Pumblechook every day in the week that followed the revelation in Severus's bedroom. The reality of that constant repetition were the only thing that kept him from being certain that he were mental, a barking, raving nutter.

Severus and that nag of a tight-arsed bitch. Argus still couldn't credit it. What could the lad see in that prune-faced harpy? She were older than his mother. She must of bewitched him; it had to be some kind of a spell or love potion, because no man would willingly put his bits into that. . .

Except, he admitted grudgingly to himself, say what you would about McGonagall - - and Argus could say plenty - - she weren't one to be dishonest in that way, using love spells and such. He didn't like her, didn't get on with her, suspected her of scratching Mr Pumblechook when she were in her cat form, but she were basically honourable. Argus respected honourable behavior, being as how he usually saw so little of it.

Still, to think of her rutting with young Severus. . .and who knew how long it had been going on?

On that night he first saw them together, Argus wouldn't of thought nothing could shock him after he'd seen who she were, but he were wrong.

It were a shock to watch Severus kiss her. It were a shock when the lad looked at her with an expression of. . .Argus didn't rightly know what to call it, except it were like a mask had been peeled off the boy's face, and he were showing the real Severus for the first time.

It were a shock when he saw McGonagall's naked body, saw that she weren't so dried-up as he'd assumed. And she had a pair of thrups on her like he wouldn't never of expected. Someone with a personality like that, all sharp and pursed and bony-like, he'd of thought she'd be flat as a board, but no. Full-breasted, she were, the way he knew a lot of men appreciated, though when Severus leant over to brush her chest with his fingertips, Argus had to look away.

And when the lad trailed his hand down her stomach, reached between her thighs, well, Argus had never left the magic room so fast. He couldn't remember the last time he had moved that quick, even before he'd started to get the rheumatism.

There was some things he just weren't ready to see.

~ / ~ / ~

He thought he'd never go back to watching Severus after that night, but the next time the magic door appeared, he opened it like always. In the weeks since he'd first seen Minerva McGonagall in Severus's bed, he had a change of opinion about the relationship. Much as he still didn't like the battle-axe, she seemed to be good for the lad. He weren't no less sneering and sarcastic, but he seemed easier, somehow - - not so tight-wound.

And often in the dark watches of the night, Argus let their images play in his mind, let himself picture Severus thrusting into McGonagall, making her moan. He could imagine the lad's arse tightening and his leg muscles flexing as he took her, filled her. The kisses that had so bothered him at first now caused his breath to catch at the thought of Severus's tongue in another's mouth, no matter that it were hers. And he liked the notion of that starchy McGonagall surrendering to the lad.

Soon he were watching them whenever he could. There was many nights when McGonagall weren't in Severus's rooms, of course, but over the years, he saw them together often. They didn't always shag: lots o' times they just talked or shared a drink; sometimes they sat quiet together on the long sofa, reading and occasionally touching.

And they bickered. Of course. They wouldn't of been Snape and McGonagall if they hadn't done. But it were a comfortable sort of thing, and Argus even came to find it relaxing to listen to them.

He remembered one night in particular, during that horrible year when Mrs Norris had been petrified. He'd been that worried about her, he couldn't hardly get no work done. He visited her as often as he could, but the sight of her poor, stiff little body usually sent him hurrying away again, before he could break down and start blubbering right there in the middle of the hospital wing.

The door appeared to him often that year, and it showed up this one night when he'd been feeling awful low. He'd rather hoped just to see the lad alone, but when the window cleared, there were McGonagall in the sitting room, too, curled into a corner of the sofa with her shoes off. Severus were pouring a dark, slightly-smoking liquid into two small, stemmed glasses, and she were reading to him from the Daily Prophet.

"Here's a tidbit you'd have been sorry to miss," she said. "Listen to this: 'Rumour has it the ever-popular Gilderoy Lockhart, author of the some of the best-selling titles in wizardom, will soon be adding to the spectacular success of Gadding With Ghouls, Travels With Trolls, and Wandering With Werewolves with a new book. The Prophet has learnt that Lockhart has signed a contract with Hippogriff Press to write Hobnobbing at Hogwarts, the true story of his experiences teaching at the prestigious school of witchcraft and wizardry. In particular, Professor Lockhart will describe how he taught duelling technique to the delectably-mysterious Potions master, Severus Snape, who - - '"

"What? Damned scandal rag! Give me that." Severus sent the drinks glasses zooming to a side table as he snatched the paper from McGonagall's hands and scanned it with furious eyes. Then he glared at her. "Oh, very funny. I knew you'd made up that last line. It's just the sort of Bludger-level humour that would appeal to a Gryffindor. Fine, go ahead and laugh. Because when you've finished, I expect a neck rub."

Argus watched as Severus settled himself on the sofa, and McGonagall, still chuckling, got up and moved behind him to begin massaging his shoulders. The lad groaned as she hit a tender spot.

"Goodness, but you're tense, Severus," she said, her fingers digging deep into his muscles. Argus could almost feel his own shoulders relax.

"And so would you be, if you'd spent the afternoon trying to keep Potter and Longbottom between them from blowing up the entire Potions classroom. Not to mention having to talk to that damned Lockhart at dinner."

"I think he was flirting with you."

"He was doing no such thing. Ahhh, yes, just there. . .mmmmm. But speaking of flirting, Minerva, I've finally figured out why Albus hired that incompetent dolt."


"Oh, indeed. The flaming old coot fancies a spot of gadding with Gilderoy."

Argus felt his eyes open wide, and he held his breath as he waited for McGonagall to go spare, as the students might say. Dumbledore weren't bent, and that prim, uptight old witch wouldn't thank Severus for suggesting he were.

But to Argus's amazement, she weren't fazed in the least.

"Interesting thought, Severus," she said, mild as anything. "But wrong. Oh, you're right that Albus wants something from Lockhart, but it's not that."

"No? mmmmm, that feels good. . .What is it, then?"

"Fashion tips. Also, I suspect that Gilderoy gets him discounts on star-spangled designer robes."

For a moment, Argus forgot to worry about Mrs Norris in his wonderment at the spectacle of Severus Snape laughing.

When the lad quieted - - the laughing didn't last long - - he took hold of McGonagall's hand and brought her palm to his lips.

"So," he said, stroking her wrist with his thumb. "I'm 'delectably mysterious,' am I?"

"Oh. . ." She leant down to kiss him in between words. ". . .you don't. . .want to listen to. . . a damned scandal rag. . ."

They'd moved into the bedroom then, and Argus had been able to push aside the thought of Mrs Norris for nearly an hour.

~ / ~ / ~

And of course there were the times Severus and McGonagall argued, each shouting at the other, pacing and pointing, Severus once hexing the teapot in his rage. Argus rarely listened to the substance of these arguments - - usually about politics, they were, or sometimes about Dumbledore or the students, or more recently, that Potter boy. He just liked to watch the angry lines of Severus's body as he stalked about.

Often if Argus waited long enough, the anger turned into arousal, and occasionally they would shag right there in the sitting room. McGonagall would hastily transfigure the hearthrug into a large cushion, or there were the memorable time when Severus bent her over the sofa and took her like that, his hands on her generous breasts, his cock flashing briefly visible as he pumped.

Argus had made rather a mess of himself that night.

~ / ~ / ~

And now the new Headmistress wanted to know all about all this.

Argus finished his drink and set the glass carefully on the floor. Mrs Norris, sensing that his think were over, hopped down from his lap and wound herself round his ankles.

"Come on rounds with me, old girl?" Argus asked, though he weren't really intending to do his rounds, not when he'd given himself the night off. He weren't easy in his mind about what to tell the Headmistress; he knew he needed to have another look at Severus before he decided.

Normally, Argus had no control over the appearance of his magic door; the Castle gave it to him only when he needed it, and he were the first to admit that he weren't always the best judge of when that might be. He trusted his Lady Hogwarts to know best.

But tonight, he thought he could ask a direct favour of her this once.

"Let the door be there, let it be there, let it be there," he muttered to himself as he hobbled toward the dungeon, as if the strength of his need could let a Squib's words work like a real incantation. His steps faltered only slightly as he reached Severus's corridor; he knew he could count on his Lady.

Nor did she let him down. As soon as he turned the corner, he could see his door, standing slightly open as if welcoming him. And the wall barely waited for him to sit down before it began to shimmer and clear.

The window opened into the sitting room, where Severus were pacing in front of the fire, looking as murderous as Argus had ever seen him.

"Yes, I understand perfectly," he were snarling. "You don't need me any longer, because you've got Albus to occupy your attention. Despite his having survived several wars and assorted maniacs, he apparently can deal with his current exile only if he has substantial support from you. And you think I won't need you any longer, because now the Dark Lord is back, I can satisfy my sexual urges by raping and pillaging with my Death Eater mates."

"Nonsense, Severus," snapped an equally furious Minerva McGonagall, who Argus could now see sitting bolt upright on the edge of the sofa. "I said nothing of the sort, and you know it. If you could stop playing the martyr for one moment - -"

"Damn it!" Severus shouted. "If I'm a martyr, I'm one you and Albus have made."

"It's Albus and I, is it, who make you sneer and snarl at your colleagues in the staff room? Make you refuse every social invitation? Made you tell the editor at Potions Quarterly that you've read more accurate articles in The Quibbler?"

"I do what I have to do, Minerva. I make what few choices are permitted me, and you must make yours. Evidently one of your choices is to leave my bed. Well, so be it. If you need to devote all your time to Dumbledore and Umbridge, then by all means, do so."

"Will you stop? What I need is for you to cease acting as if there are House points to be won by the person who is the most impossibly defensive. I will try to explain myself one more time, and you, if you please, will try to listen with at least the same level of attention and concentration as the average first-year.

"Now, then. First of all, if I believed for a moment that you would enjoy raping people as part of your association with You-Know-Who, I wouldn't be having this conversation at all. I merely asked if it would be easier for you to meet that. . .that madman's demands if you had no personal entanglements. And I said I was afraid that we would be seeing less of each other in any case, now that we have to find ways to meet with Albus outside the castle and do what he needs for the Order."

Severus had stopped pacing, and McGonagall reached out a hand to him, her voice suddenly more human and uncertain than Argus had ever heard it. "I don't want to 'leave your bed,' as you put it, Severus. But I will give you up if that's what would best help you and help the cause. That's all I've been trying to say."

For a moment Severus wore what Argus thought were a strange expression on his face, a look that were wanting and hopeful and hopeless at once. But it were gone in an instant, replaced by his usual stone-face, and when he spoke, it were in that lightly mocking tone he often took. "Who's being the martyr now, Minerva, hmmmmm?"

Ignoring her outstretched hand, he moved around the arm of the sofa to stand behind her, and he started to take the pins of out her hair, extra slow-like, one by one. She didn't used to use no pins, just kept her bun in place by magic, but Argus knew she used them all the time now, for the lad. For Severus. He'd said he liked them, liked to take her hair down himself, the way he were doing this minute.

When he finished, and a curtain of black hung long over her shoulders, Severus went back to stand in front of her. This time, he held out his hand to her.

"I believe we need to be in my bed," he said, "before you can show me that you don't want to leave it."

McGonagall reached for him.

And Argus's window went dark.

~ / ~ / ~

"Argus? If you could give me a moment?"

It were the first time High Inquisitor Umbridge had invited Argus to tea since the day she'd asked him to find out about Severus and his personal life. She'd said nothing about it since, and Argus thought maybe she'd forgotten about it, or given it up.

But no sooner had she poured the tea and sent the milk jug floating to him than she said, "So tell me, Argus. Have you been keeping an eye on Professor Snape?"

"Me and Mrs Norris done our best," Argus replied. Couldn't nobody argue with your best, Uncle Stan always said.

"Excellent." The Headmistress smiled at him and touched her hand to the pink Alice band in her hair. "And what have you found out about him?"

Argus put a bit of milk into his tea, stirred it, sipped it.

"Nowt, Headmistress," he said. "Nowt at all."

~ ~ Fin