the Language of Harpies
Sequel to Learning the Language of Harpies, beta by
I love you, yeh know that, Severus?
Hagrid said, full of good will and several pints of mulled mead.
Yes, yes, youve said that before. Now stop. Not in public, Snape spat,
annoyed as he was once against anointed with Hagrids affection and spilled wine. But
it was too late to stop Hagrids words, and although this was not the coming out
Snape would have wanted, he was at least pleased to have been prepared for Hagrids
unavoidable outburst, and had his face schooled to indifference as the rest of the staff
at their table looked round with amused disbelief that changed to horror or outrage as
Hagrid descended to place an overly affectionate smooch on the top of Snapes head.
Someone gasped, and someone giggled, and someone spilled a glass of butterbeer that spread
over the table and dripped onto everyones laps. Hagrid was not the only one whod
imbibed a great deal at their celebratory slap up nosh at Madame Rosmertas that
You two? someone squeaked.
Yes, Severus has consented teh be my
Hagrid paused to find a word,
Snape oofed as Hagrid demonstrated the squeeze.
Calm down, you great oaf, he hissed. I hardly think this is the place
for that kind of behaviour!
Hagrid looked properly chastised and let him go, sniffling a little into his mead.
Snape had to admit, this was probably a new record for him, being able to bring that many
happy, celebrating people to an abrupt, uncomfortable silence, in just a few seconds. Even
Dumbledore didnt know where to look, and everyone was happy when someone made
excuses about lesson plans to organise, which gave them an opening for quidditch in
the morning, family commitments, or just mumble mumble then
everyone shot out the door as if Snape and Hagrid had declared mutual leprosy.
They walked back to Hogwarts together in silence, and Hagrid quietly nursed his hangover
all the next day.
"Hagrid, if you ever cheat on me,
attempt to cheat on me, or even think about cheating on me, I will kill you, do you
"Yes, Severus," Hagrid said, trying not to grin at the strident man who glared
down at where Hagrid was sitting, minding his own business and reading a book. "Did
yeh jes' come in teh tell me that?"
"No. Also, I will kill whomsoever you cheat or attempt to cheat with. And that
includes that Madame Maxime, should she decide to come sniffing around here. I've already
made it known to the Headmaster that she is not to be invited back for any more
interschool 'co-operations'." Snape put a disgusted emphasis on the word
'co-operations' as if it was a synonym for adultery, "and I have requested he send a
communication to her expressing the same."
"Righto, then. Salt the Earth where they fall 'n' all, I s'pose?"
"Salt the Earth," Snape nodded, a small crack in his anger flitting about his
"I'll keep that in mind then, Sev. I'll make sure that any o' my hundreds of
potential suitors know how the wind blows and all that. Save 'em from pinin' away with
unrequited longings and such like. S'only fair."
"Indeed." Snape nodded brusquely, a lip twitching in a way that said 'I am
sneering in contempt, not trying to hide a laugh', and strutted away, nose in the air.
The staffroom door slammed open, bouncing off the
wall, but Snape didn't bother to apologise when Professor Flitwick jumped out of his
chair, startled. Snape merely nodded politely, "Professor."
Flitwick shuffled sideways, patting down his robes as if looking for something, his eyes
darting nervously around the room.
"Severus," he said, nodding. "Yes. Well."
Snape watched him, silent, curious about the usually cheerful professor's odd demeanour.
yes. Well." And Flitwick circled widely around Snape until he
reached the door and shot through, like a spat out cherry pit.
Snape snorted and shouted after the other professor, "You're not my type anyway!
You're far too... cheerful!"
Snape plonked himself down next to
Hooch on the referees' corner and watched the game, trying not to notice Hagrid's waving
and yelling from the stands. Hagrid got louder and louder, and out of a desire not to see
the stands collapse under Hagrid's enthusiastic jumping, Snape finally nodded a pursed-lip
Evidently satisfied, Hagrid returned to watching the game and Snape turned his attention
to watching for opportunities to take points from the Gryffindor team.
He could feel Madam Hooch sitting very stiffly beside him, her already rock-hard thighs
tensing up and pulling away so that she wouldnt accidentally touch him.
He turned and showed her a questioning eyebrow.
She relented a little, her expression confused. "Gay?"
Snape merely nodded, waiting for her judgment.
She looked back to the game and was quiet for a while, then: "Penalty to
Slytherin!" she yelled.
He returned his attention to the sport and arguing with his co-referee.
McGonagall slipped her arm onto his and joined
Snape on his nightly prowl. Although she preferred the word 'stroll'.
On cat-quiet feet, they prowled the halls, making sure all students were tucked up in bed,
safe, sound, out of trouble and out of Snape's potions supplies.
Snape opened with, "You're very quiet tonight, Minerva."
She started to say something, stopped, started again, but remained quiet. Finally, she
stopped walking, let go of his arm, and turned to face him.
"Hagrid?" she asked, her voice sounded strained, seeking understanding.
"Hagrid," he replied, not elaborating.
Again, she drew breath as if to continue talking, but then let it out, retook his arm, and
they walked on.
"Hagrid, I don't know how you can stand
"Stand what where, Sirius?" Hagrid said, straightening from harvesting his
enormous beetroot crop.
"Stand having that slimy git hanging around you all the time." Sirius wobbled
but kept his balance as Hagrid threw the huge beetroot into the basket Sirius carried for
"He in't slimy, Sirius, an' I do wish yeh'd stop sayin' things like that. He's lovely
when yeh get teh know him."
"He's a horrible, greasy git who'd sooner spit in your eye than say hello."
Hagrid took a deep breath and puffed out his beard sadly, "Sirius, yeh don't know
"I've known him since we were eleven."
"No, yeh only know the angry Severus."
"Is there any other kind?"
"If yeh see a snake sunnin' on a rock, and yeh rush over to it and jab it with a
stick, yer goin' teh see an angry snake. Yer goin' teh see a snake what hisses at yeh an'
tries teh bite yeh."
"So that's all yeh've ever done teh Severus. Yeh rush right over and poke him with a
stick, so all yeh get teh see is the angry Severus, hissing an' tryin' teh bite."
"Hagrid, there is no other-"
"I don't do that, yeh see. I walk up all quiet an' calm and talk gentle-like, so I
get teh see the nice Severus. The funny Severus, the brave Severus." Hagrid stared
dreamily into the middle distance, "The warm, soft, sleek, Severus, all long 'n' lean
"You're going to make me lose my lunch, Hagrid."
"To each his own. But don't yeh see? There's more teh Severus than yeh know."
"I don't see it. After all, he talks to you like you're dirt, Hagrid, you deserve
better than that!"
"He talks teh me same as he talks teh everyone else."
"He talks to everyone else like they're dirt!"
"He doesn't talk teh me like I'm some simple minded dunderhead, no more'n he does teh
"You sound like you're quoting him now, and no one talks to you like-"
"Yer doin' it right now, Sirius," Hagrid said sadly, shaking his big shaggy
head. "He never uses smaller words when he talks teh me, or talks to me extra kind
like the Headmaster does, bless him, or thinks that I can't take care o' me own
"Oh," Sirius really couldn't think of anything to say to that, and felt a small
flush of embarrassment pink his cheeks as he realised that was exactly what he'd been
"I appreciate yer concern, but I'm big enough and ugly enough teh take care o'
"I suppose you're right. You're old enough to make your own choices. But wouldn't you
someone who loves you?"
"He does. In his own way. Course, he'd rather pull out his own tongue than say it,
but I know he does, deep down."
"Wouldn't you prefer someone more pleasant?"
"No, I wouldn't want teh be saddled with someone all nice an' sweet," Hagrid's
bright white grin broke through the black of his beard, "How borin' would that
"Severus, what happened?"
Lupin matched strides with Snape across the grounds.
"Nothing. Mind your own business, Lupin."
"Severus, it's everybody's business if a friend is being abused."
"Abused? Friend? What are you talking about, you addlepated prat?"
"Look at your neck, Severus!" Lupin said, not hiding his distress, "It
looks like Ha- like someone tried to rip your throat out!"
"My neck? It's nothing." Snape waived his wand at the huge, purple bruise, and
it disappeared quickly. "Just a love bite. But thank you," he ground out the
words resentfully, "for pointing it out before any one else saw."
"You're so often covered in bruises, Severus. Last week you had cracked ribs! If
Hagrid's knocking you around-"
"Merely a love pat rendered with a little too much enthusiasm, I assure you."
"The week before that you were in the sickbay with a broken pelvis!"
"Ah... a love broken pelvis?" Even Snape looked less than convinced at that, and
Lupin just slanted him a look.
"Lupin, it's not that I don't appreciate your concern," every word dripped with
the obvious, sneering lie, "but I assure you that am perfectly all right."
"I'm worried about you, Severus. If Hagrid's losing his temper, hurting you."
"He's not! How dare you make that accusation!" Snape turned, fire in his eyes,
spit on his lips, his voice sharp and quiet, "You've known him as long as I have, and
I'm disgusted you'd make such an insinuation."
"He's a half giant, Severus. We all love Hagrid, you know that, but giants are known
"As are werewolves, Lupin," Snape said, his voice a low and soft hiss and Lupin
knew he'd bailed up a cobra.
Lupin backed down. "The offer is there, Severus. If you ever want to talk to
"I'll pull out my tongue."
"Here, I thought I told yeh I were goin' on a
diet," Hagrid said, rubbing a hand over his belly.
"I heard you."
"Then what's with all the cake?"
"I like to bake. Don't you like to bake? I know you like to bake."
"Then why are you denigrating my cake?"
"If you don't like my cooking, just say so!"
"No, it's not that! I love yer cooking, but I reckon I need teh loose a couple
hundred pounds or so. I've been squashin' yeh something awful o' late."
"Nonsense. If you eat the cake, I've made pudding for afters."
"Oh, I love yer puddin', Sev."
Snape looked like he was about to say something Hagrid expected would be rude, but instead
he snapped his mouth shut, hummed thoughtfully, and bent to put a Welsh rarebit in the
"I love yeh jus' the way yeh are, too, Sev'rus."
"Quiet you. Eat your supper."
If you get up and defend this issue before
the Wizengamut, you know what people will say about you, dont you? Lucius was
paler than normal, upright as if a string connected him from earth to the top of his head
and an unseen puppet master was pulling that string as tight as they could without lifting
Lucius from the ground. This had the added benefit of making sure that he was unlikely to
accidentally brush against Severus as they walked.
Theyll say Im defending the rights of giants to own property in front of
the Wizengamut commission into the same, Snape said reasonably. He was getting
calmer, the more Lucius became overwrought.
Theyll say youre associating with that
With a creature who is not only not even human, but hardly of our class.
Our class, Lucius, or your class?
Severus, please. You may not be on the top of the social strata, but you can, and
you have, done better than
he paused to sniff in the direction of Hagrid, who
was working his garden, that.
Better? Snape said, as if musing thoughtfully, a small smirk playing about his
lips. Perhaps better is also in the eye of the beholder.
For his part, Lucius, despite his disgust, at least had the grace to look amused. Perhaps.
Perhaps this is just a little bit of rough trade, Severus. Very rough trade. A
temporary eccentricity. A passing fancy. Youve been a favourite of the Dark Lord,
after all. You were my favourite once upon a time, and Ive also heard rumours about
yourself and Dumbledore.
Snape refused to rise to Malfoys fishing expedition.
Anyway, Severus, from Dark Lord to Groundskeeper? Youve followed some odd
paths in the past, but this is truly beneath you.
They were silent for a long time, and Snape watched Hagrid, shirtless in the sun, huge,
sweating, and hairy, turning over the rich, loamy earth with an enormous shovel, and
thought of the people in his past, and all the ambitions he once had, the alliances he had
forged or broken. He remembered how hed clawed and fought every step up the ladder,
trying to make something of himself, gain some foothold on the future, to drag himself out
of the muddy mire of his birthright.
You know, Lucius, of all the Lords I have followed, be they dark and bitter, or
light and sweet, not a single one of them has, after I've spent a long day standing in
front of a class, ever fetched me a cup of tea and rubbed my aching feet.
Oh, said Lucius, his voice a small surprised puff of air, and he continued
after a moment, his voice unutterably sad: Nor me, either.
And the two would be followers of a dead Dark Lord stood silently and watched Hagrid yank
something horrible and vicious out of the ground, then try to befriend it.
Hagrid draped an arm over Snape's shoulders, and
made it look very casual. People were watching, and Severus wouldn't want a fuss, would
not want any sort of sloppy public display of affection. But Hagrid's intention was less
than casual. He wanted Snape to feel protected, secure, supported, loved, and unable to
The staff jumped out and yelled, blowing whistles and throwing confetti, a huge,
multi-coloured 'Happy Fourth Anniversary, Severus and Rubeus' banner, sparkling with
fairies, draped from the ceiling.
Hagrid had made sure it wouldn't be a surprise, knowing just how well Snape reacted to
surprises (usually someone lost at least an ear), but Snape reacted with the usual sour
tenseness so no one knew Hagrid had already given away the secret.
He clasped Snape to his side now, forcing him to follow Hagrid around the room and accept
handshakes and congratulations, glasses of champagne, and well wishes, but he knew that
with that arm so securely tugging him along, Snape was also being given the perfect excuse
to socialise. He couldn't go off to sulk and fester when Hagrid was so obviously hauling
him about against his will. He could enjoy himself and blame it on Hagrid.
Thus social convention was served and Snape's dignity preserved. In a somewhat undignified
"Cheers!" yelled Hagrid, picking up a punch bowl as if it was his own glass, and
downing the contents. He was planning on having a great time, plenty to eat, plenty to
drink, and perhaps a cuddle later. A good anniversary.
They wandered the room, ate tiny sandwiches, drank many different coloured drinks, and
Hagrid even managed to whirl Snape around the floor in a quick dance or two, never letting
Snape's feet touch the floor, and Snape didn't glower at him, even though everyone
"Speech!" the others cried, as midnight approached, "Speech!"
"Er. I don't know what teh say," said Hagrid, more than a little tipsy.
"Severus?" He gazed blearily down at his friend, "Thank you fer stayin'
with me this long, and er, not gettin' too cross about the dung."
Severus regarded him quietly for a long moment, and then said, solemnly:
"I love you, Hagrid."
Hagrid burst into tears.
Notes: Learning the Language of Harpies was written to prove something about
short, repetitive stories (it relied on a leitmotif of Hagrid saying "I love you,
Severus", to which the last lines of this sequel refer). I don't remember what it was
I was proving, but I probably proved it. That story didn't need a sequel, so I'm putting
this down to another lesson on 'don't write unnecessary sequels to completed stories' no
matter who asks. I will learn that lesson soon, I hope. I know this is hideously mushy,
but hey, it makes a change from all the all nasty rat trap fics I've been writing lately,
The segment where Lupin worries that Snape is being abused is adapted from an abandoned
story I was writing for ntamara. I dropped the fic
when it was clear that it was not only not working, but it was, in fact, getting quite
offensive, but this is a way to include at least a reference to the concept.