Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. In other words, I don’t own J.K.R.’s characters. Please don’t sue me; I’m not worth it anyway. Once I’m done, I’ll buy them an excellent bottle of single malt and put them back where I found them.
AN. Fluff, fluff and more fluff, watch as the bunnies skip off into the sunset. Oh, and if anyone would like to beta for me, it would be most appreciated. My inestimable beta is very busy with real life at the moment.
‘Daddyyy!’ Isabel shouted at the top of her voice.
She jumped off the sofa, where she had been sitting with her mother, and ran at full tilt towards her father as he entered their chambers. The little-girl-shaped-Bludger impacted Severus at knee height and wrapped her arms tightly around them, effectively hobbling him. She hugged him as if she hadn’t seen him for two years, rather than the two days it had, in fact, been. Temporarily immobilised, he glanced at his wife and raised an eyebrow in inquiry.
‘She missed you,’ she explained. ‘We both did. However, it would appear that, apparently, my story telling isn’t up to the same exacting standard of yours.’
A muffled voice of agreement drifted up from his knees. Severus felt Isabel’s death-grip on him lessen and looked down. Isabel stood; arms out-stretched and face raised towards him. Then she smiled. He felt the familiar surge of warmth diffuse through his chest, just as he had ever since the first time he had seen her, wrinkled, tiny and helpless held in his wife’s arms.
Isabel waggled her arms at him. Then she demanded, ‘Bat ride, Daddy. Bat ride.’
Snape frowned and looked at Hermione for help. She shrugged, indicating that there was no help to be had from her, and he was on his own.
‘I rather think you are getting too old for bat rides, Isabel,’ Snape stated.
Isabel looked thoughtful, as she considered the validity of his statement, for an entire three seconds.
‘Don’t be silly, Daddy. I won’t be too old until I’m…’ She thought some more. ‘Six, I’m four now.’ She held up four fingers and wriggled them for emphasis.
‘Is that correct?’
‘Yes,’ she said, emphatically.
Two sets of black eyes regarded each other. Isabel crossed her arms; Snape crossed his. Hermione watched trying to hide her smile. At last, with a heavy sigh, Snape broke. He swept her up and onto his shoulders. One non-verbal spell later, the room was filled with the sound of rushing wind and of a thousand leathery wings beating. The edge of hearing, ear popping, shrieks made Hermione cover her ears with her hands.
Slowly, Severus spread his arms out, gathering handfuls of his robe as he did so. In Isabel’s eyes they became the huge wings of her very own giant, black bat. He began to beat his arms up and down whilst walking around the room.
‘Faster, Daddy.’ Snape started to walk faster.
‘Faster.’ Snape broke into a very slow jog.
Snape gave up any pretence of dignity and broke into a run. Isabel’s shrieks of delight mixed with the roar of noise filling the room. Hermione watched, as the bat and its rider “flew” circuits around the room, storing the sight away in her memory.
Suddenly, the bathroom door flew open. Harry stood in the doorway, wand raised in alarm at the noise.
‘Hermione, what the?’ He trailed to a halt at the sight that greeted his eyes.
Snape skidded to a halt; arms still raised in mid-flap. The noise ceased. The resulting silence was, to say the least, excruciatingly awkward. Harry’s wand arm dropped to his side.
‘Professor,’ Harry croaked, eventually.
‘Mr Potter,’ Snape returned icily. ‘How unexpected.’
‘I forgot to mention Severus, Harry came by for a visit this afternoon.’
‘So I have noticed, Hermione,’ Snape said, rather too calmly.
He reached up and plucked Isabel from her perch on his shoulders.
‘More, Daddy, more,’ Isabel pleaded. ‘Daddy was a giant bat,’ she explained helpfully to Harry.
To Harry’s credit not one muscle twitched in his face at hearing Isabel’s explanation, but he couldn’t resist saying something.
‘Well, I’m sure he was an excellent bat. Probably, the best bat I have ever seen.’
Snape’s wand hand twitched.
‘Well, Hermione, I’d better be going or Ginny will be asking where I am,’ Harry said.
Hermione hugged her friend goodbye, and Isabel kissed him as Harry whirled her around. Putting Isabel down, Harry held his hand out to Severus. He didn’t take it, but said, ‘I’ll see you out, Potter.’
At the door, Snape held onto Harry’s arm.
‘Potter,’ he began.
‘It could have been worse, Severus,’ Harry interrupted. ‘You were only caught giving a bat ride to your daughter. Imagine how it feels to hear your son describe to your mother-in-law just how he saw Mummy and Daddy wrestling, naked.’
Snapes’ eyebrow shot up so far it almost joined his hairline.
‘Nor, did you have the pleasure of hearing your son describe how Mummy must have won, because she kept shouting “yes, yes, yes.”’
Snapes’ other eyebrow joined its twin.
‘Now, imagine that your child says all this not just to your mother-in-law, but to an entire room full of the Weasley clan at said child’s Birthday party. Can you imagine how that would feel, Severus?’
Snape stared at Harry, then released his grip on Harry’s arm.
‘Excruciatingly embarrassing, I would think.’
‘Have a good evening Pot… Harry, and pass on my regards to Mrs Potter.’
Harry nodded and turned to leave.
‘And Harry.’ Harry turned back to face Snape. ‘You should visit more often. They enjoy it.’
Harry smiled, then giving a half-wave he walked away. Snape watched him go a thoughtful look on his face. Then he turned and entered his quarters.
Hermione and Isabel were sitting on the sofa playing exploding snap. Isabel looked up when the tall shadow of her father fell across her. Her father held his hands out to her.
‘Daddy?’ Isabel asked.
‘Young lady we have a ride to finish unless, that is, you are now too old or too busy playing with Mummy.’
‘Ride, ride, ride!’ Isabel shrieked. In an instant the giant bat of the dungeons and his rider were once again flying around the room, much to Isabel’s and Hermione’s delight.