Something familiarly rancid burned his sensitive dog nose as Snape padded a hole in the rug out of the TV room. Hermione had been locked up in the bathroom for a while; he was growing more and more worried by the minute.
"Check on her," suggested Crookshanks, looking up from licking his leg.
Snape scowled, his ears drawn back. "She obviously wantsó" The rancid smell of cigarette smoke burned his lungs and made him freeze. He could see his father, drunk out of his mind, the bottles clacking as little Snape tried to make his way quietly to his room; a fog of smoke lingered in the room and he always reeked of it, much to the amusement of his peers, who always jeered and jabbed at him.
He found himself up and trotting down the hallway, his wounds aching as he did so. The smell of blood, broken noses, pulled teeth, slaps to the face was sharp and bitter but the smoke was overpowering. "Hermione?" he called as he raked his claws down her door, frantic. Something made his chest tighten, beating loud and dangerously; he could feel the blood rushing in his ears.
He was trembling. He barked once, hating how canine he sounded, how pathetic, how low he'd sunk, as he barked louder and louder, frantic now. The splash of water made him back up against the wall, his heart pounding in his chest and then the door swung open and the witch glared down at him, a cigarette hanging from her lips, her arms covered in bleeding lines, nude as the day she was born, her chest heaving.
Had he been human, he was quite certain he'd have kissed her silly. He stared at the wounds in horror, feeling bile rise in his throat; was he the breaking point? He didn't want to know/ maybe he did/ okay, no, not really / okay, yeah, he did but how/ you can't talkó
"Shut up," she snapped as her bloodshot eyes met his. His fur rose and a low growl began in the back of his throat, vibrating through his stomach. He snapped his teeth back at her and she stepped forward, leaning down to him. She looked sad and angry and he felt his throat close up as the cigarette dangled too close to his skin.
Too many times his father had gotten frighteningly close and burned him with cigarettes. The smell made him dizzy and his legs gave out and he fell soundlessly, his chest heaving as he tried to breathe, only succeeding in hyperventilating. "Snape?" She was on her knees, and his cock swelled slightly. The cigarette hung out of her pouty lips. Had he been human, he probably would've fainted.
He woke with a start. Hermione sat next to him, curled up with a thick book, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and bandages on her wrists. She smelled no longer rancid; instead, she smelled like herself. Soft, light. Floral. He closed his eyes and tried hard not to move; every inch of his healing body ached.
"I'm sorry," she said. He nodded. Likewise. "I was just so overwhelmed," she whispered, looking sad and tired as she set down her book, her face turning redder and redder with each moment. She stared down at her fingers, clenching against the blanket; her shoulders trembled as her lip pouted, trembling. He was shocked to see the tears drip down her cheeks, leaving glossy trails; in all his life, he'd never once seen her break.
Had this been his fault?
Your fault/ how so?/ you broke her / I suppose that's all I'm good for / just like your bastard father / I'm nothing like that manó Snape whined and turned his head to her, pressed his jaw into her side, staring up at her over his long muzzle. She laughed softly, tears staining her breasts freely; her trembling hands unfurled, reaching to cup his face, stroking his brow, fingers shaking horribly. "I'm so sorry," she sobbed as she buried her face in his neck, his face stuck between her elbow and hip; he rested his paws on her thighs and let her soak his fur with her tears.
Her entire body trembled as she let out her feelings, her fingers grabbing fistfuls of fur. Slowly, the tremors died down, and she took deep breaths to calm herself. When she straightened up, her face was red and snot ran down her face; her eyes were bloodshot with tears and her face stained with them.
He stood up, hopped off the bed, and headed down the hall. He tried hard to ignore the pain in his back as he snatched a box of Kleenex tissues off the table and padded back. She laughed when he hopped back on the bed. "Thanks." She smiled and wiped her face, blowing her nose. "I'll tell you about my scars some day," she whispered as she went to the bathroom to wash her face.
Crookshanks filed in as Hermione took her leave. "Good job, Snape," he purred as he slunk in, settling down on the top of the bedpost. His thick, bushy tail swayed back and forth as Snape's lip curled.
"Good job? For what?" asked the dog, ears drawing back.
"For helping my mistress," said Crookshanks, stretching himself across the headboard's edge, pacing back and forth in a slow, predatory way. "Things have been changed around here since she found you," he continued, hopping down. "Although," the cat said, leaning down into Snape's face, cold lemon eyes meeting black stones, "I'm quite certain it's been for the best." He turned and jumped down, whacking Snape in the face with his bushy tail as he did so. Hermione came back in and watched him leave, smiling softly at Snape, who looked a bit confused.
"Do I even want to know?" she asked as she got back into the bed. "Oh, here. I need to change your bandages and apply the antibiotics." She did so carefully and threw away the dirty ones.
It was as she crawled under the blankets that he answered. He shook his head and pressed himself against her, relishing in the warmth.
He fell asleep to the sound of her laughter, but the half-Kneazle's words ran circles in his brain. Although I'm quite certain it's been for the best. Although I'm quite certain it's been for the best. Although I'm quite certain it's been for the best.