Learning the Language of Harpies

by Bernice

Hagrid winced as Severus poured something that stung over the fang holes on his hand. It was more Snape's words that had him wincing than the potion.

"How could you be so stupid! You'll pat anything that stays still long enough, won't you?"

"I -"

"You don't care how many teeth a beast has, or spines or poison!" Severus was checking the cuts for infection. "I don't need to use a healing charm on this. I should just let you feel the pain, maybe that will make you think twice before you use your hand as bait for some awful creature."

"Well, that-"

"Here, take this. Two spoons of that potion will numb the pain and prevent any infections. This will heal in an hour or so, I've infused the bandages with a healing potion."

"Thank you, Sev-"

"Don't thank me, you bumbling idiot. Just learn to keep your hands out of the mouths of dragons!"

Severus's robe flared out as he stormed out of the room to put his potions back in their correct places.

Hagrid grumbled quietly under his breath: "I love you, Sev'rus."


"You're covered in filth."

"Er, sorry 'bout that, Sev'rus. I brought you the scales an'-"

"You're dropping clods of dung on my floors!"

"Er, I'll jus' go an'"

"Leave the scales on my desk. Go wash in there," Snape pointed towards his bathroom, "and let me get all this cleaned up. You are so inconsiderate, Hagrid. You'd think all your years at this school would have made you more considerate of others."

"Sorry, Sev'rus."

"I've put clean towels on the sink, you may use those."

"I love you, Severus," Hagrid said, once he'd shut the bathroom door.


"I can't find my wand," Snape said, his voice soft and faint.

"It's all right, Sev'rus, we can get yeh a new one. Jus' relax, I'm goin' teh pick yeh up now," Hagrid kept his voice soft and soothing as he scooped the shattered man into his arms.

"I think I lost my wand," Snape said again, and made as if to comb the leaves on the ground, but his eyes had closed and he folded in on himself as Hagrid held him close and stood up straight.

"I'll get yeh back to the castle fast as I can, Sev'rus, yeh'll be all right. You'll see, yeh'll be jus' fine."

Snape said nothing and Hagrid looked down into the white face, bruises lived, the side of his scull bald and burnt, the scorch mark of a hex.

"Don't yeh die now, Sev'rus. Don't yeh go, no one else talks teh me like you do, Sev'rus. No one needs me like you do, Sev'rus," Hagrid pleaded quietly to the man who was limp in his arms. "I love you, Sev'rus."


"I made yeh some hot cocoa, Sev'rus," Hagrid offerend, proferring a large mug.

"I dare say you loaded it with enough sugar to make send me into instant diabetes," Snape said without looking up from his cauldron.

"I made it nice an' sweet."

"I don't have time for your blather right now. Just leave it there." Snape waved in the general direction of a bench without turning to look.

"You should have some, it'll keep yeh goin' for a bit."

"I don't need you mollycoddling me, Hagrid, I am fully capable of taking care of myself."

"I'll jus' wait, then, Sev'rus?"

"Yes. Sit there, don't make small talk. Let me finish. We can play at social niceties when this is done."

Hagrid muffled his voice in his own cup of cocoa. "I love you, Sev'rus."


"Have you eaten?"

"Well, I had a stoat sarnie, but that were a long time ago."

"I thought as much. God forbid you'd ever learn to take care of even the basics of self preservation."

"Here, now, that's not-"

"I had the house elves make sandwiches for you. There," Snape pointed to the table which was piled high with enough food to feed Ravenclaw house for a week. Or Hagrid for supper. "And some of that foul concoction you like to drink."

"Oh, thanks, Severus, that was-"

"And do not get drunk. The last thing I need is a drunken idiot of your size staggering around the place."

"No, I'll be careful."

"So, do you have any news from your expedition?"

Hagrid stuffed a sandwich into his mouth to muffle his words and garbled, "I'uf oo, Sev'us."


"Well, it's about time you woke up! Do you think I have all night to stand around here and wait for you to sleep the evening away?"

Hagrid cracked open one eye, it felt gummed up and sticky, and turned to peer at the man who snapped annoyance at him. Snape was even paler than usual, and was sweating grease, his hair lank with it.

"Hello, Sev'rus... what am I doin' here?"

"You managed to get yourself blown up, you great idiot. You, Hagrid, are not the hero of this war, and it will do you in good stead to remember that. Next time you forget your minor pawn status and go running head on into battle, do not expect me to pull your enormous arse out of the fire again!"

"Er, thank you, Sev'rus," Hagrid murmured. His mouth tasted like the bottom of a harpy cage, and he had no real memory of what Snape was talking about, other than vaguely remembered fear, fighting, and pain. He could see that Snape's hands were shaking, and he looked like he was going to collapse any moment.

"Are yeh all right, Sev'rus?" Hagrid asked.

"Of course I am, don't be foolish. And now that you are awake, I shall go wake up Madame Pomfrey and have her do her job. I don't see why I should waste any more of my time-"

Hagrid cut him off. "There's somethin' I need teh tell yeh," he said, and waited until Snape turned back to him to continue, this time his voice determined and clear. "I love you, Sev'rus."


Hagrid finally cracked his eyes open a little more, arching his back into a luxurious stretch and asking the man who perched like a vulture on his bed next to him, staring intensely, "Somethin' wrong, Sev'rus?"

Snape's face closed in a little more, losing its open, soft look. "Now that you're awake, I'm going to use the bathroom. You always take far too long." He stalked away, stiff and dignified, even naked.

Hagrid muttered under his breath, "I love you, too, Severus."