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Snape's Paws by Milky_Angel [Reviews - 3]

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Snape's Paws


Muggle London, England

09/20/2003

One

Severus Snape had been missing since the end of August. The Ministry had sent out several teams of Aurors with half-assed attempts to find the dour Potions master but to no avail. Slowly, he became old news but the Hogwarts staff and the Golden Trio kept searching; they wouldn't rest until they found him.

Hermione Granger was walking through the snow-covered park near her studio/flat when she heard it: a soft, pitiful whine. She turned towards the sound and stepped closer, snow crunching beneath her boots. Parting the bushes, she saw a skeletally thin, lanky-haired dog. It was breathing shallowly and seemed to be in pain due to the bleeding gashes on its back. She dropped to her knees and stroked the side of its snout; the lips curled back in a weak snarl and a single black eye rolled up to hers.

"Ssh, you're gonna be just fine, baby," she whispered to the injured animal. It whined and turned its head away as she picked it up—bloody hell, it weighed less a kitchen chair—easily and stroked its underside. She then found out it was a male dog.

"Who did this to you, baby boy? I absolutely hate animal abusers." She carried the dog back to her studio, where she kicked off her boots and pulled off her coat. The dog lay down the moment his paws touched the carpet. "Here," she whispered, casting a glance around before casting the spell. "Ferula." Bandages laced over his back and stopped the bleeding. Seeming more comfortable, the dog slowly got to his feet and started towards the fireplace.

"How about some food?"

At the word food, the dog's spiky ears perked up and he wagged his tail a tiny bit. Hermione smiled and set about fixing him some food. "You haven't by chance seen a tall, thin man with long black hair, a sour expression and black eyes, have you?"

The dog stared at her very hard, as though trying to tell her something as she set down a bowl of kibble and a bowl of water. "Want them by the fire?" she asked as he padded over to the fireplace and rested there while she turned it on. "He's very important to me," she continued, peeling off her damp socks. Her sweatshirt came off, revealing an off-the-shoulder crop top and she piled her hair into a half-assed bun. Her sweats were chilled but not damp so she kept them on. "He was the bravest man I ever knew," [1] she said to the dog.

He huffed and settled his head between his paws, gazing at her calmly. "You're a really quiet dog," she said as she stroked behind his ears. Her nose wrinkled. "You, mister, need a bath though but that'll wait until your back gets better." He snorted at her and she had the sense he was laughing at her.

"I have a cat, though. He's somewhere. Crooks?" Hermione called behind her. The fat, orange familiar padded around the corner, gave the dog a suspicious look before walking closer, settling himself right against the dog's side.

"Well, Crooks, you've never done that. You hate dogs." The witch tugged at her ear. The dog huffed at her as his tail thumped. Crookshanks purred and settled down in a stretch, purring contentedly. "What should I call you?"

She rattled off a few names.

"You remind me of a dog I once had when I was little." She stroked underneath the canine's chin, at which he thumped his tail. "His name was Cyrus, this cute little terrier." The dog rested his cheek against her wrist and stared at her in the most unnerving way. She shifted uncomfortably.

"I think I'll call you Darcy, since you remind of Darcy from Pride and Prejudice." She smiled softly when the dog licked her hand and then lay down, closing his eyes. Hermione smiled to herself as she got up and undressed as she walked down the hallway. Her muscles hated the cold and her bones acted up frequently.

Under the hot spray, she cried because she couldn't find the brilliant wizard. She cried for the dog sitting outside, abused and half-dead. She cried for the nightmares that kept her awake and covered in sweat most nights. She cried and cried and cried for the useless relationships that never got far, for the scars on her body, for her heavy weight, for being ugly, for being useless. When the water ran cold, she got out and wrapped herself in a green and silver towel before padding outside.

She turned off the fireplace and gently roused Crookshanks and Darcy. With a bit nudging on Crookshanks's part, Darcy hobbled down to Hermione's bedroom as she pulled on a clean pair of panties. In the light, her scars were all she could see.

The Mudblood from Lestrange, the hex from Dolohov and some of her own devices made her frown as she pulled on a pair of simple black sweats. She reached into her underwear/bra/sock drawer and pulled out a crumpled, weathered photo and sighed as she stroked it lovingly. After sliding on a loose t-shirt, she noticed Darcy staring at her. The way he stared at her unnerved the witch, to the say the least. It didn't look like the stare a dog gave; it looked like the one a man with a secret gave. "See, Darcy? This is him—this is Severus Snape, the bravest man I ever knew." She got to her knees and showed him the photo.

It was one she had snuck while Snape was busy. He was dressed in simple shirtsleeves that were rolled up, his hair pushed back out of his face and making his features more pronounced, and his thick, black glasses gleamed in the light. He was obviously grading papers.

"He was, quite honestly, the most brilliant man I ever had the pleasure of meeting." She smiled softly, stroked the side of his jaw in the photo, and then returned it to the drawer.

Darcy barked very loudly, startling her half to death. She gave him a warning glare, to which he gave one of his own, and then she crawled into bed. Crookshanks occupied the pillow to her right side. Slowly, the bed dipped and a solid body pressed against her.

With a smile, she kissed the top of the dog's head and fell asleep, praying she wouldn't have nightmares. Two hours later, her screams echoed in the empty house.

[1] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling (book and movie)


Snape's Paws by Milky_Angel [Reviews - 3]

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