Snape's breathing was labored as he limped into the bushes, his back burning. What had possessed him to change into his Animagus form was beyond him. He slowly sank into the freezing snow and lay there; he was tired. His stomach growled but he ignored it, laying his head down on his front paws. Somewhere between the sound of soft snow and Hermione's breathing, he fell asleep.
The Death Eaters had taken him as he was exiting Spinner's End near the end of August and held him in some cellar. They bound him, disarmed him and beat him until he passed out; each time they brought him back to consciousness to beat him again. They had managed to reopen most of the wounds on his back and nearly fracture his wrist; they took turns pissing on him and spitting at him. He had waited until they got sloppy to charge; in a short burst, he had changed into a lanky black dog and escaped their clutches as he raced to the park. There had been a crack of thunder behind him—they had Apparated away.
Three days later, in the late afternoon, he sighed to himself and closed his eyes. "I can't believe this," he muttered sourly as his stomach growled again. When was the last time he'd eaten? He glanced down at his side and was disgusted to find his ribs were sticking out. A pair of footsteps sounded and his head jerked up. He let out a pitiful whine.
"I can't believe I'm so pathetic," he grumbled as the leaves hiding him parted, revealing a flushed face. A girl stared down at him in surprise, her curly, wild hair framing her face. Granger! She crouched down in the snow and stroked the side of his snout; weakly, he snarled at her as he glowered up.
Softly, she began to whisper to him. "Ssh, you're gonna be just fine, baby." Gods, as if this wasn't humiliating enough, the little chit picked him up and stroked his underside. He squirmed and whined, turning his head away.
"Who did this to you, baby boy?" She was carrying him, stroking his head and sides softly and, although he hated to admit it, it felt nice. "You're a good boy," she said to him sweetly, stroking his ears softly. Reluctantly, he relaxed against her warm, soft breasts and listened to her heartbeat. He breathed in her scent softly and was pleased to find she smelt of soap and light, very light but pleasant flowers. "Here," she murmured as she set him down once they reached the inside of her flat. His legs buckled and he collapsed to the floor, the carpet tickling his sensitive nose.
The house's layout was simple: kitchen to the right of the foyer, a long hallway that split left and right, further down was an entertainment room. The walls were covered in light green wallpaper; the floors were padded with light beige carpeting. There were bookcases everywhere; there was a fire off to the left of the kitchen and, a few feet from the fireplaces was a beat-up sofa and choppy-looking coffee table.
Not bad, Granger, Snape thought to himself as he got up and headed to the fireplace; getting warm was the Potions master's first priority. He could hear the young woman rattling around in the kitchen and lay down, exhausted, hungry, cold and agitated. Granger was talking non-stop so he glared at her as she bent down—dear Merlin, she looked very nice from that angle—and flipped on the fireplace.
She suddenly said something that made him freeze. "You haven't by chance seen a tall, thin man with long black hair, a sour expression and black eyes, have you?" He stared at her and willed her to understand him. He was Snape! But she shook her head and set down two bowls. He ate slowly and drank little.
"He's very important to me," she was saying as she peeled off her damp socks. They stank of dirty snow and sweat; he sneezed several times. She shimmied off her sweatshirt to reveal an off-the-shower crop top that showed off her figure. She wasn't tight-bodied like the women who swarmed Fred and George Weasley; she was soft and full-figured with a larger belly, soft curves and thigh thighs—the exact type of woman he loved to get his hands on.
Her hair, wild and curly, fell into her face and then she brushed it into a bun. "He was the bravest man I ever knew," she said softly, her voice hoarse with emotion. He huffed and rested his head between his paws. "You're a really quiet dog," she said. He eyeballed the orange cat fur on her sweatpants with distaste. "You, mister, need a bath but that'll wait until your back gets better." He snorted and her eyes narrowed at him. "I have a cat," she muttered, pausing in petting him.
Snape resisted the strong urge to butt against her. He may have been stuck as a dog but he still had his dignity; er, well, what was left of it anyway. A new scent filled his nostrils and he tensed, watching the half-Kneazle slink around the corner.
The squash-faced cat gave him a suspicious look before walking closer. "Hello, Severus Snape," he told Snape.
Snape gave a start. "You can understand me?" he choked out.
"Yes, animals can understand one another, regardless of species," explained Crookshanks calmly, yawning widely, showing off sharp incisors. Snape shifted as the familiar stretched out beside him, pressed against his flank firmly.
"I used to have a dog." Snape rested his cheek on Granger's hand. "I'll call you Darcy, like Pride and Prejudice," she said, and then fell silent. Eventually, Granger muttered something before getting to her feet, pulling off her crop top. Snape couldn't control the way his eyes followed her as she disappeared down the hallway he'd seen in the foyer.
"She'll be crying, no doubt," said Crookshanks, licking his paw.
Snape scowled. "Why is that?" he asked.
Crookshanks's yellow eyes eyeballed him. "Guilt, depression. After-effects of the war."
The man-turned-dog lifted his lips. "I can assure you, your Mistress is not too fat. She's curvy, the kind of woman, I have to admit, that I'd pursue but…I wasn't even outside for less than ten minutes before getting kidnapped," Snape explained quietly, turning his head to the fire. It danced and lept, heat sinking into his chilled skin.
Crookshanks got to his feet and plopped down in front Snape's face. "My Mistress cares for you, whether you believe it or not. When she brought you home, she'd been looking for the human Snape for more than three hours." Snape's eyebrows rose.
"The Gryffindor princess was looking for the Bat of the Dungeons?" Snape mumbled, feeling too shocked to say much else. The cat licked his shoulder. "She's beautiful, a rare beauty…"
Crookshanks meowed when Granger appeared, dressed in deliciously tiny towel, her hair wet and dark against her skin. Her eyes looked rimmed with red and he could smell tears on her face.
She turned off the fire, nudged the animals to their feet, and headed down the hallway. "I sleep on her extra pillow," said Crookshanks as they entered her bedroom; Snape stopped mid-stride to stare at Granger.
Her skin was marred with scars, rough and textured. Her thighs, her arms were scratched up as she wiggled into a pair of black panties. She was curvy, with plenty of cushioning, thick, strong thighs and large, full breasts. She wasn't wearing a bra and he could see the stretch marks on her breasts and hips and stomach. He never wanted to be human so much more than in that moment; he ached to feel her soft skin on his calloused hands. She reached into the top drawer and he caught a glimpse of scars underneath the underside of her breast. He felt hot all over, knowing she didn't know it was him and scowled when she pulled on a lost t-shirt.
"See, Darcy," Granger was saying when she showed him a picture—of himself! In human form, of course. He hadn't been aware and was grading lazy papers with his infamous red quill, wearing his reading glasses (no one knew about them) to help read the horrible handwriting, his robes thrown onto the back of his recliner. He looked very naked and, dare he say it, normal without his robes.
"He was, quite honestly, the most brilliant man I ever had the pleasure of meeting," she whispered, stroking the side of his face—was that adoration in her eyes? And why was she smiling at that damned picture of him? He was the Bat of the Dungeons!—and then she returned the photo to the dresser.
He let out a frantic bark, hoping to catch her attention but all she did was glare at him as Crookshanks to his spot on the pillow, smiling down at Snape. "Come on, she doesn't bite…that I know of," purred the cat with an amused tone.
Mindful of his back, Snape clambered up onto the bed—the damned thing nearly sucked him in like some sponge—and curled up against her stomach. Her lips brushed his nose and then she was asleep.
He couldn't sleep the entire night. Why did she have a picture of him? When had she given herself those scars? Would he ever be able to court her? Seeing as it was five in the morning, he decided to try to sleep.
Her screaming rang in the hollow house.