Summary: Dobby wants Harry and Severus to be happy, and pulls out all the stops.
Notes: Part of the Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest, scenario #56: Snape is caught inflagrante delicto by a house-elf, and chaos ensues. Beta thanks go to Byrdie and Bernice.
Archiving: The Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest Archive and any others that would like it, but please ask first.
Hearts and Flowers
By Louise Lux
Strong fingers twisted into the white sheets, and gasps filled the darkened room. Hands slid along sweat-dampened skin to curve around slick buttocks, parting them. This was perfect. He gazed down at the beautiful face transfigured by lust, pulling out one more time, wanting to stay buried inside the clinging heat but unable to resist the urge to thrust.
"Please," his lover urged, lips curving into a smile, breath whispering across his flushed cheek "I want you so much." The body beneath his moved, enticing him to lose control. It was a very long time since Severus Snape had heard those words spoken to him, and he willingly complied. Desire blossomed in his stomach, and he couldn't hold back any longer. It was wonderful, pleasure piercing him to the core.
"Dobby is here Sir, with those socks you wanted darning!"
The door to the bedroom stood open. A small figure stood there, mouth gaping and wet, tennis-ball eyes goggling in disbelief, a pair of black socks dangling from his skinny fingers.
The two figures on the bed sprang apart, both fumbling for the blankets, anything, to cover themselves. One of them looked, gasped, and then promptly fell into fits of laughter. He retreated under the sheets and became an unidentifiable quivering lump, from which smothered giggles occasionally emerged.
With an inadequate corner of bedspread pulled hastily across his midriff, Snape stood looking from Dobby to the shaking form of Harry Potter, seemingly unable for once in his life to think of a single thing to say. Dobby took this as his cue to fill in the social niceties.
"Oh, sir! I is so happy for you and Harry. We all said you would never be having any fun, ever," Dobby babbled. Snape was sure he could see tears of joy welling in his eyes. "And now you is shagging!"
Stuck for words no longer, Snape roared his disapproval. "Get OUT, you miserable specimen, before I break your neck. What on earth do you think you're doing, entering a member of staff's private rooms unannounced. I'll see you're sacked for this, you sneaking wretch," he spat. He advanced menacingly, modesty all forgotten. Dobby gulped, keeping his eyes firmly fixed on Snape's face.
"Bad Dobby, Sir," he cried, grabbing the door handle and banging the door on his head repeatedly, but with a suspicious lack of vigour. "I was knocking but you and master Harry was too busy, er...." He stopped speaking as the look on Snape's face changed from merely murderous to positively psychotic.
Harry emerged from under the covers, face flushed and eyes bright, still chuckling to himself. He wiped his eyes.
"It would have to be Dobby. You know what this means, don't you, Sev," Harry said lightly. Snape stalked over to the bed and sat down next to him.
"That I'm going to kick that little sod's arse from here to Hogsmeade, you mean?" Snape snarled, flopping back onto the rumpled bad and covering his face with his arm.
"Er, no, not exactly."
Something in Harry's voice made him shift his arm, and look at the young man propped up on his pillows.
"What do you mean?" he said, narrowing his eyes.
Well, you know Dobby's always been very fond of me?" Harry slid his hand along Snape's bare thigh, fingernails scratching softly though the dark hairs.
"Yes, and?" Snape said, turning over and propping his head on his hand. "Out with it Potter, I haven't got all day you know, there are House Elves to beat."
"It's just that Dobby always likes to celebrate things like this."
"Like this?" Snape raised his eyebrows, face blank.
"When I'm happy, you know, with someone, Dobby's happy too, and thinks that the entire world should be as well. He likes to throw a big party, you know, and give presents. It's a house-elf thing, apparently." Harry stopped, looking sheepish.
"How do you know that?" Snape asked, frowning
"I don't suppose you remember that time in my seventh year when I saw Blaise Zabini for a bit?"
Snape paled at the memory. "You don't think he'd do that to us? I'll kill the little bastard first!" He sat up, fists clenching and mouth pressing into its accustomed hard line. Harry manoeuvred himself closer and slid his arms round Snape's waist from behind, pressing his body close. They sat still for a while, then Snape leaned his head back onto Harry's shoulder, their black hair mingling.
"So Dobby does this when you're happy," Snape said.
"Yes," Harry kissed the pale skin in front of him and slid his hands down into Snape's lap, "he does."
Snape felt the tension melt from his limbs as Harry's hands moved. He lips parted as hot breath came ragged in his ear, and he thought that anything Dobby could do would probably be worth it.
Next morning Severus Snape strode down the corridor to breakfast, a hundred things on his mind. He'd forgotten all about Dobby's unfortunate timing of the evening before, and was looking forward to his morning coffee. He entered the great hall and was quite a few steps inside before he noticed anything amiss. His footsteps faltered and he stopped, scowling as he slowly turned his head from side to side.
Good god, it was worse than Lockhart's deplorable Valentine's day 'treat'. Snape shut his mouth with a snap, and forced himself to walk to his seat. On the way, he could see the students wincing at the lurid pink and white walls, food, plates, tablecloths and floor. Glancing up, he saw that the ceiling was showing a radiant dawn which, predictably, bathed everyone in a flattering, soft pink light. Reaching the teachers' table, he gingerly inserted himself between his now red-velvet covered seat and the garish pink tablecloth. Slumping in his chair , he turned and looked at Harry, who was sitting further up. What the hell were the house-elves thinking? A terrible idea suddenly struck him, and Harry's words of the night before came flooding back. A house-elf thing. Dobby's big party, a celebration.
No, no, no.
Snape cringed inwardly, remembering. Oh god, it was all for them! Dobby was to blame for this nauseating colour scheme. One glance at Potter confirmed his suspicions. Harry gave him an imperceptible nod and a brilliant smile. Distracted, Snape picked up a piece of toast before he realised it was heart-shaped. With a small cry, he dropped it back onto his plate. Thoughts of torture and revenge sprang to mind. Dobby would look good on a rack, maybe with hot irons shoved up his nose. Glowering, he sipped his coffee. At least that wasn't pink. Yet.
"So, Severus, any idea what this," Dumbledore waved his hand at the hall, "is in aid of? No one else seems to have a clue. Do you think that perhaps Gilderoy has come back, in secret?" Dumbledore sounded puzzled, but in a very pleased way, Snape couldn't help thinking. He plastered a sneer on his face to hide his confusion.
"Some addled-brained fool's idea of joke, no doubt, Headmaster," Snape said through gritted teeth. He could see Potter sitting next to Binns further down the table, grinning at him. His face felt hot and he turned away on the pretext of examining the food. A black mood descended on him. He was being made to look a fool, and all because of that little twerp Dobby.
Scowling, he stabbed resentfully at his eggs, which had heart-shaped yolks. He thought about the best way to get revenge. The only problem was, he admitted to himself, House-elves had their own kind of magic, which, in its limited way was very powerful, and since Dobby had been freed he could use it in anyway he liked. Snape considered his options. He could try intimidation. One snag there though: he was certain that, having seen him naked, Dobby would now be rather difficult to pressure in that way. He sighed. Just pretend it isn't happening, and that it's nothing to do with Severus Snape, he decided. It would have to do, for now, anyway.
Snape picked up a rasher of bacon on his fork, and looked at it suspiciously. Deciding it was normal he bit into it, and then paused. Could he hear bells? Everyone in the hall was looking around them about in puzzlement. Suddenly a cry came from the Hufflepuff table and little Basil Mayhew leapt up, thrusting his finger skywards.
"Bells, " he squeaked, "and confetti!" Gasps of surprise echoed around the hall. Everyone looked on open-mouthed as pairs of glittering silver bells appeared in the air above them and began to clang tunelessly. House-elf magic didn't stretch far enough to produce a tune then, Snape thought grimly. Drifts of pink confetti floated down to land on upturned faces. Looking down he noticed that his fist was clenched around his fork, and his grip tightened further as confetti drifted all over him.
"Excellent!" Dumbledore cried, "Does this mean that we'll be getting a special announcement today?" He looked expectantly round the table at his staff. Snape scowled, willing the Headmaster not to turn those twinkling eyes on him. Casting a dark look at Harry, he rose stiffly from his chair and swept from the hall, confetti billowing in his wake. Quite a few students followed his retreating back with their eyes, and sighed.
Snape stood in the potions classroom, trying hard not to think of all the awful things that Dobby might do, when a sharp rap came at the door.
"Come in." Snape barked. The door swung open and one of the very things he was trying not to think about walked into the room. Snape bit back a curse, and whipped out his wand, pointing it right between the eyes of the unfortunate Dwarf-O-Gram who was busy unsheathing his musical hammer from his gold leather trousers. Forty pairs of Slytherin and Gryffindor eyes swivelled eagerly between the two mismatched figures as they faced each other across the classroom. The dwarf gulped audibly as Snape advanced menacingly, a nasty smirk on his face. Then he cleared his throat, looking round nervously at class, and pulled a crumpled piece of paper from his pouch.
"Aah...I've a message fer you, Severus Snape," he quavered, opening his mouth wide to start singing.
"No, you haven't," Snape murmured icily. "Incendio." Whatever was on the paper was burnt to a crisp, and the dwarf dropped the burning parchment, and hastily stamped out the flames. He looked fearfully at Snape, while hastily backing towards the door.
"Yer mad, you are, mate," the dwarf said, eyes wide with shock.
"Well you'd better leave now, hadn't you, before I do the same to you, " Snape hissed.
"You're a maniac, mate, you need lockin' up," the dwarf sputtered, "and I'll still charge for this, you know," he called from the safety of the door. With the minutest flick of his wand Snape shut the door, and turned back to his class. All eyes instantly dropped to their desks. Wordlessly, Snape walked to his desk and sat, regarding his class with a basilisk stare. Nobody dared say a word, and the lesson continued in silence.
Snape crashed though the doors that led into the kitchen, sending house-elves skittering away as he swept by. Dobby was waiting by the fireplace, twisting a garishly patterned sock between bony fingers. His face was wreathed in smiles. Snape glared at him.
"Don't give me that look, Dobby," he spat. Dobby's face fell.
"But Sir," Dobby babbled, "I is only wanting to make master Harry happy, and you too. I was wanting things to be nice and comfy. You and master Harry is so wonderful together, and you is always making him smile. So wonderful, after all he suffered in the war." Dobby's voice was quavering, and his eyes becoming damper by the second. Snape was uncomfortably aware of being manipulated.
"Enough." He raised his hand in a quelling motion, and then swooped down until his face was inches from Dobby's, "You don't get it do you, you little wretch. I neither appreciate nor welcome your imbecilic, half-baked notions of mush." Dobby's face hardened ominously and Snape knew he'd made a tactical error. He groaned inwardly.
"Dobby is planning the most wonderful things, to celebrate Master Harry being in love," Dobby said, his voice noticeably less whiny than it had been a few moments before, and with chin quite definitely thrust out pugishly. "He deserves to be happy and I is doing all I can."
Snape bared his teeth, "Just don't try my patience, you little idiot, or I'll make you sorry." Dobby gave him a look that quite plainly said, 'You and whose army?'
They stared at each other for a long minute, neither breaking eye-contact, until Dobby quietly spoke, "Oh no, Sir, Dobby is not wanting to upset Sir." He dropped his eyes and adopted his more customary ingratiating pose.
Snape flexed his fingers. Somehow things weren't going as planned. Damned Dobby was getting power crazed. He had a strong sense of foreboding.
"Very well," he snapped, feeling that somehow things were unresolved. Turning sharply, he swept out, cutting a dark swathe through a sea of tiny, tea-towel draped figures.
Later that evening, Snape lay in bed unable to sleep. Harry lay next to him, idly trailing his fingers through locks of long black hair.
"It's not that bad, Severus," Harry said sleepily.
"It's awful," Snape said, in dull, quiet tones, "why is he doing this to me?" Snape sat up and suddenly pounded his fist on the bed. It wasn't his bed, it was a bed from Dobby's twisted imagination. It had leather sheets. Snape flung back the leopard-skin cover and clambered out, feet sinking into the red and black sheepskin rugs scattered liberally about his room. Dobby had no taste either, he thought bitterly.
"I can't sleep like this," he complained, flinging himself into his new armchair. It began vibrating.
"Oh for god's sake," he cried, leaping up. "Is nowhere safe from that little monster?" His entire life had been taken over by Dobby. Not even his private rooms were inviolate.
Snape wasn't sure how he managed to get through the next couple of days. Dobby had somehow contrived to keep the pink décor, probably with the collusion of Dumbledore, Snape thought bitterly. He had also stunk out the entire castle with some awful scent, something heavy with civet and some other chokingly strong musk. Snape had heard, with some satisfaction, that it had given quite a few students bad dreams and upset stomachs. Secretly he rather liked it, but he was not going to admit that to anyone, except perhaps to Potter, later on.
Large piles of oysters sat in their gleaming dishes, flanked by great bundles of warm, buttery asparagus. The entire school was starting to look a little bilious as a result of Dobby's new crusade to 'celebrate love'. Snape shuddered at the notion, chewing sullenly on an asparagus stalk. He glanced across at Professor Sinistra, who was choking down another oyster, and rolled his eyes.
Nobody had been able to get the elves to bring anything but what Dobby wished. Apparently, this was a lesson for them all on the intractable nature of house-elves, and the power of their particular sort of magic. Any attempt to change things back to normal had resulted in failure. Privately, Snape felt some relief that most house-elves were still in servitude. At least they could do less damage that way.
Snape frowned. This really had gone far enough. Not that he cared about the rest of the school, but personally, one more sniff of Llebkuchen, or a chocolate covered strawberry, and he would do something unforgivable.
He was losing morale. Last night Dobby had changed his bed into a nasty heart-shaped waterbed with a pink (pink!) satin headboard. Harry had had to negotiate for quite a while to get Snape's normal bed back, and even then Dobby had left the red silk sheets on. That wasn't all. His school robes had come back from the laundry looking suspiciously tighter and more form-fitting, and his bathroom was suddenly overflowing with hair-care products, and 'Just for Wizards' midnight-black hair dye, 'to cover greys'. As I needed it, Snape thought indignantly.
Harry was suffering too, apparently. Snape looked over to where Harry sat stifling a yawn as Binns talked to him. Last night Harry had come to Snape's room and had wandered about for half an hour complaining bitterly about how uncomfortably tight his jeans had suddenly become, ever since they'd been sent back from the laundry. Snape flushed and his pulse quickened as he remembered how he had examined them minutely to see exactly how tight they were.
Suddenly, dissonant bells clanged and jerked Snape back to reality. Dobby had obviously been working on the musical side of things and now, much to Snape's regret, they started to bash out a discordant version of 'Love is in the Air'. Apparently it was one of Dobby's favourite songs. Last night, as they'd been going to sleep, Harry had pulled him close and told him, amongst other things, that Dobby used to sing it non-stop during the Blaise Zabini debacle and that Severus should be glad that Dobby had bells now, because he really didn't want to hear Dobby singing at him. The memory of their laughter failed to cheer him up, though.
Snape was not looking forward to the inevitable denouement of this particular charade. So far, Dobby had thankfully not mentioned that this was all about Harry and Severus, but he had no doubt that that was the pint-sized oaf had in mind. The thought made Snape's hands go cold. The whispers, the gossip and sniggering. How dare that little tosser put him through this! Everyone would know that he had feelings! The ridiculous thought made him smile grimly, but it didn't make him feel any happier.
Snape turned his attention back to the hall. The half-eaten plates of oysters and asparagus had disappeared, and it seemed that the entire hall was waiting with deep misgivings for the next 'treat'. Judging by the previous day's offerings, it would be tooth-achingly sweet, pink, creamy and probably heart-shaped. His attention was caught by Dumbledore, who was proffering a small dish of sweets that had appeared on the table between courses.
"What are these?" Snape asked suspiciously, picking one up with long fingers, and bringing it to eye-level. He could make out small black letters, that he noticed were printed on each pill. "Viagaras?"
"Must be Botts' new line," Dumbledore answered, swallowing. "They're not very nice though," he said, regretfully eyeing the dish.
"No thanks, then," Snape said, coldly, and dropped the sweet back into the dish. Snape watched as the it went round the table, and saw Black scoop out a handful. Just like him, the greedy pig, he thought.
"Oh my god." The sharp voice of Madame Hooch rang out and Snape turned to see her staring down at the plain iced bun sitting in front of her. Everyone had one, and each one had writing scrawled across it in pink icing, a pair of names. Snape looked down at his, it read "Severus loves Harry." Frowning, he quickly squished his hand over the words, obscuring them. He strained his neck to try and read Hooch's, but she quickly stuffed the entire thing in her mouth, and then sat, chewing ferociously.
"What the devil are these things?" Sprout asked huffily, examining her bun with a black look.
"Enchanted buns, my dear Severus," said Dumbledore, who was waving his iced bun for all to see, (it said Albus Loves Minerva). McGonagall was flushing an incandescent shade of red. Further up the table Snape saw Sirius Black choke on his drink and start sniggering.
"Would you like a bite, Severus?" Dumbledore asked, poking the bun towards Snape.
"Certainly not," he snapped, surreptitiously wiping icing off his hand with a napkin. Dumbledore, as usual, seemed to be enjoying the chance to embarrass everyone. Snape sighed heavily. This really was ridiculous. If only he could stop that little monster. He was causing complete havoc. Snape looked round the hall at the students, his mouth twisting into a sneer. They were in uproar. The iced buns had obviously caused quite a stir. Arguments had broken out at all the tables, along with tears and fights, not to mention some quite ambitious kissing.
It was hardly better on the teachers' table. Madame Hooch was engaged in a furious row with Sprout, after Hooch had grabbed Sprout's bun and thrown it at the wall with all the strength of her Quidditch arm, where it was now firmly stuck. Professor Vector was sitting next to Binns and was looking highly uncomfortable, while Binns looked distinctly crestfallen. As if the dead fool could ever have a chance with her, Snape thought with some satisfaction At the far end, Lupin and Black were leaning their heads together and laughing at whatever was written on theirs. Lupin soon stopped though, when Sybil Trelawney came wafting over, bun in hand, and asked him if he wanted to climb her ladder that night.
Tiring of the spectacle of the staff and students making utter fools of themselves, his gaze inevitably wandered to the face of Harry Potter, who was calmly eating his own iced bun, a small smile on his face as he watched Snape. He waggled the cake at Severus and pointed his finger, first at Snape, and then at the bun. Snape looked down at his hands, and then the mangled cake on his own plate. He stood up smoothly, and with one long glance in Harry's direction, left the hall.
It was his last potion's lesson of the day, and Snape would be glad to get it over with. His students were distracted. Notes were being passed with increasing frequency, and the atmosphere seemed noticeably more charged. He'd lost count of the number of students who'd turned up outside his office in the past few days, in tears or looking for some guidance on their love-lives. They must be desperate, he thought, to ask advice from me. Another feather in Dobby's cap, he supposed. He wished it would all end. It was as natural for him to comfort a hormonal teenager as it was for fire-demons to swim. A sudden commotion in the class brought him back to the task in hand.
"What is it now?" he snapped.
"In the grounds, Sir," a first-year squeaked, "there's a parade!"
"What!" Snape hastened over to the high windows and peered out. Sure enough, there was Dobby, a long way off, advancing on the lawn and leading some sort of procession. Faint, discordant parps drifted over on the breeze. Snape squinted. Was that...? Yes, a brass band. His blood ran cold. There were banners too, and already Snape could make out the words. He clenched his teeth together. Each bright yellow banner had 'Severus loves Harry' scrawled across it in glowing paint. More noise to his left drew his attention and he watched in horror as pupils came pouring out of the building. Turning round, he saw that his own class was fast disappearing out of the door. Losing all sense of what decorum , he simply turned and followed them.
There were worse things in life than having your most private affairs revealed to the goggling denizens of Hogwarts, Snape thought resignedly. Not many, but there were worse things. The shambolic procession was nearing the school. Hordes of pupils were milling about, chattering and laughing and Snape could see Harry with them, herding them into a group. He could also see that Dobby was quite clearly unhinged.
He eyed the procession balefully. There were ranked house-eves who were blowing haphazardly into a variety of brass wind-instruments, and all playing a different, if any, tune. Behind them trailed the motliest assortment of creatures Snape had ever seen, and that was saying something. He squinted, trying to recognise the different species. There were things that looked like giant ants, and some half bear, half lion beasts that sported long sharp teeth. Snape frowned as he saw a thing that resembled a large lump of quivering flesh with eyes, that was pulling itself painfully along the ground. There were two of those.
He was getting a very bad feeling, wondering where he had seen creatures like this before. Then he remembered. The Forbidden Forest. Dobby had there and persuaded these monsters, who he must know, to come out and join a parade. Snape stood, momentarily awestruck by Dobby's powers of persuasion.
There was Dobby himself, leading the parade with a large banner on a stick. The magically illuminated letters waved around gaily for all to see.
"Dobby," Snape growled. This was too much. His wand arm began to act of its own accord, and he had his wand pointed straight at Dobby when he heard a commotion at the back of the procession. There was some struggling going on between the sabre-toothed lion-bears and the giant ants. The pupils were shifting back in alarm as fighting and snarling broke out and fur and blood began to fly. Harry had stepped forward, wand at the ready. The beasts were struggling fiercely by now, and the giant ants were moving towards the children, pincers clicking fiercely. Snape strode forward.
"Dobby," he roared, "get those benighted creatures out of here, now!" Dobby shrieked and dropped his banner, running at the ants and waving his arms.
"Not now, not dinner yet," Dobby yelped, " Dobby has nice dinner for you later. Rabbits!" His voice had reached a pitch of terror. The giant ants weren't paying him any attention, too interested in the forthcoming meal of schoolchildren.
Little cretin, Snape thought caustically. "I don't think they understand about mealtimes, you fool," he spat, pushing Dobby out of the way. He gripped his wand harder and pushed forward, sending curse and hexes shooting off to all sides. Several sabre-tooth lion-bears wobbled off on jelly-legs, and sat down harmlessly on the lawn. Snape had other worries, though. He could see Harry in the distance, penned in by the hideous ants, and dashed forwards, kicking house-elves out of his way. Harry was in danger, that was all that mattered. Snape could hear still hear pupils shouting, but they seemed along way off. He blasted his way though the pack of ant-creatures and stood at Harry's back. "Shrink them?" he gasped, not pausing to catch his breath. Together they cast the spell, and the ants vanished. Looking down Snape saw them running frantically to and fro, trying to bite his shoes. Harry turned to look at Snape, and closed his hand tight over Snape's arm.
"Thank you, Sev," he said.
"I'm going to kill him, Harry," Snape said quite calmly gazing into Harry's sea-green eyes, and at the same time treading surreptiously on the ants.
"No, don't do that. I can think of a better way of solving the problem." Held by Harry's intense gaze, Snape's heart began to beat even more rapidly as Harry pressed him close and kissed him, right there in front of everyone. Surprisingly he found that he didn't mind that much at all. It was...nice, he decided.
"Oh Sir!" a squeaky voice broke in on this thought, "You saved Harry, Sir, and now you is snogging him in front of all your friends, you is truly a hero. Oh, we need to celebrate!" Dobby waved his scrawny arms in something like ecstasy. Then he stopped, noticing the look on Snape's face. Snape stood quite still, expression dead calm, wand raised.
"Er...Dobby," Harry cleared his throat, "run!"
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