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To Be Loved

Chapter Text

She spared one last glance at the small creature in the box.

It was a pitiful and ugly little thing, and Hermione had always been a defender for pitiful and "not traditionally pretty" things, for she hated to call anything ugly.

Unless referring to a certain toad-like pink wearing former professor, then she might be persuaded to make an exception. However, even then she considered it below her moral standards and intelligence to cast disparaging remarks over something so banal like appearance.

But it was ugly. And she freely called it so because not only was it "not traditionally pretty", it also had a temperament to match.

An ugly temperament.

Yet still...she could not abandon it to a sad fate. It just wasn't in her. It wasn't it's fault even as she stifled a yelp of pain when the thing attempted to bite her through the little box when she attempted to soothe it.

Patience, don't take it personally Hermione.

Casting all the privacy charms she could, despite being under the cover of Harry's cloak, she carefully deposited the box and after a parting breath to steel herself, rapped on the door and ran as fast as her legs could carry her.

Severus ripped opened the door of his chambers, a growl on his lips for whoever had dared to disturb him in his chambers only to find the corridor empty.

Before he could work himself up into an appropriate amount of range to go search for the miscreants who had dared prank him by knocking on his door and then dashing away, he noticed a box on the floor in front of him. Whipping out his wand he quickly ran diagnostics to find out just what kind of blatant booby-trap someone thought they could set for him. Only to have his curiosity peaked when all his scans came back clear. How unusual.

A noise issued from the box and it moved slightly, and Severus ran another set of diagnostics. Not a prank then, but some loathsome beast to harm or humiliate him...but again the tests came back clear. Looking quickly around the halls to see that whoever had left the box had indeed vacated, he gently nudged the box with his toe, only for it to make that strange noise again.

Stowing his wand back in the holster on his arm, he cautiously opened the box, and was greeted with a snarl and baring of sharp white teeth that had him reaching back with a muttered curse, though not before grasping the note that was attached to the side.

The beast nearly escaped from the box then as it tipped over and Severus quickly had to grasp it in one hand, note still clutched in the other, to prevent it from being unleashed on the unsuspecting populous of Hogwarts. It made that strange noise again and Severus realised it was what passed for a growl for this creature, high pitched and grating.

He sneered at the beast and it sneered right back at him, lip curling up unnaturlly and baring obscenely wicked looking teeth.

"What the devil are you?"

Flicking out the parchment he read it, while still holding the creature in his other hand.

There was no noticeable change in his demeanour, but he sniffed haughtily after reading the note, before turning back to the beast in his hand with a cruel sneer.

"You don't frighten me beast, so you may as well cease with the effort before I hex you"

Hermione watched from the end of the Hall, protected by the invisibility cloak as Snape opened his door and found the box. Waiting with bated breath she thought at fist he would hex the box and she almost shouted out to him, though sagged in relief when she realised he was just running diagnostics.

When he cautiously toed the box, it was such an un-snapelike gesture that she almost laughed. Though found herself holding her breath once more when he finally opened it. She winced as he retreated with an oath, knowing he'd likely been subjected to a flash of teeth but then the box tipped and he was quickly grabbing the small creature to prevent it escaping.

She watched him read the note, then froze for a moment. Something passed over his expression for a only a second, then it was gone. She held her breath once more when he turned to the creature with a sneer. "You don't frighten me beast, so you may as well cease with the effort before I hex you"

Typical she thought and almost snorted.

But his next words had her collapsing to the ground beneath her, hand over her mouth to prevent any sound escaping.

"You don't frighten me beast, so you may as well cease with the effort before I hex you"

To his surprise the lip receded as much as it could anyway, as he met the black beasts eyes unflinchingly. There were still very obvious and Dracula-esque fangs protruding from the lip, but Black eyes met black eyes, and a quiet moment passed. Then another.

"Well, you'd best come in then hadn't you...beast?"

He abandoned the note, to secure the creature in a better hold cradled against his chest and returned to his study, closing the door behind him.

Hermione smiled from her viewpoint as she watched the dour potions master tuck the small form against his chest and retreat into his chambers.

The abandoned note had fallen to the ground, as Severus vanished the now empty box and shortly after the discarded note.

But Hermione wasn't concerned. She knew what it said, for she'd been the one to write it.

Chapter Text

The abandoned note had fallen to the ground, as Severus vanished the now empty box and shortly after the discarded note.

But Hermione wasn't concerned. She knew what it said, for she'd been the one to write it.

Despite everything that was going on in her world, there was one thing that Hermione, like any respectable girl, could not pass up on.

Cute baby animals.

So it happened that while over the Christmas Holidays, her neighbour's dog had puppies, then that right there was an opportunity she was not going to pass up.

She had been friends with her neighbours daughter growing up, as children on the same street often are, though they were wildly different people and their friendship had fluttered out not long before Hermione went to Hogwarts. Hermione too interested in books and learning, and Annabelle too interested in makeup and boys.

Hermione didn't exactly agree with their ethics. Breeding two pedigrees and calling the resulting cross puppies "Designer", along with carefully planning the time of the litter so they'd have puppies for Christmas...but Annabelle extended the invitation to come see and play with the puppies and Hermione accepted.

It wasn't exactly what she was expecting, but Hermione had never gone for "normal" and Crookshanks was evidence of that.

The puppies were chihuahua crossed with a chinese crested. Annabelle called them "Designer Chi-Chis" and Hermione fought the urge to roll her eyes. The aim had been for tiny chihuahua sized puppies that were hairless like the chinese crested yet still with a "crest" and "tail" of fur, which Hermione eyed wearily on the mother "Versace" who Annabelle pronounced "Ver Says". Hermione wasn't one to follow muggle fashion, but even she had to hold back a snort when she heard Annabelle calling her. But Hermione desperately bit her tongue as she took in Versace's crest and tail. They were died pink.

The father "Armani" was a black chihuahua, who despite the fact that he seemed to be looking in two directions at once, was cute enough looking, though Hermione hastily retreated her offered hand when he bared silent teeth at her.

5 of the puppies were predictably "ugly/cute" as Annabelle had hoped for and Hermione fawned over the adorable little darlings. But then. Then there was the 6th.

It was as though every potential problem the puppies could have had, had all been heaped onto this last puppy to save the others.

The runt of the litter, it was barely even a handful, the very definition of a "Teacup" puppy. It also suffered from hypermelanism, meaning it was born with way too much black pigment. It's whole body was black as leather, even its gums.

Unfortunately even with little puppy teeth, it was clear the puppy had fallen foul of the terrible genes that both chihuahuas and Chinese crested were known for, problems with their teeth and jaw. The teeth seemed overcrowded in it's mouth and the jaw was slightly undershot which meant long white canines permanently protruded from the jet black maw. Combined with the bat like ears it gave the puppy an utterly vampiric look.

Lacking the volume of white or blonde hair the other puppies had to create their shampoo commerical worthy crests, the 6th puppy had a lank black mane and matching lank black tail.

Put together, it reminded Hermione of a miniature Thestral.

Hermione watched sadly as Annabelle's younger sisters teased the little puppy mercilessly. Whenever the children came to play with the puppies they would all excitably run over, but none of them would ever play with the little black puppy, even though it begged and wagged and cried for attention like the others were getting, it would just be pushed away with a squeal or an "ew". Sometimes the girls would pick it up but lift the puppies lip to bare its pointy teeth, whilst laughing and calling it Dracula. Hermione visited over a few days and witnessed this a few times, until she saw the puppy had learned to start to lift its lip and bare its teeth on its own in a ugly looking sneer, much to Hermione's distress. She had to leave before she broke the statuette for hexing them. Though she gave the little black puppy a genuine cuddle before she did, as she did every time she visited. Though each time it seemed the puppy wanted less and less to do with her.

2 weeks later she visited again just before her return to Hogwarts. 4 puppies had been sold and 1 little girl had been kept back by Annabelle. And then there was the little black puppy.

Hermione walked over to pick it up only to be warned against it. "Don't Hermione, there's something wrong with it, it's a nasty little shit, Dad's taking it to the vets this afternoon".

Sure enough the puppy snarled and snapped at her as she got closer. Older now its skin was dry and looking scaly, black eyes on black skin with black hair and those wickedly sharp teeth only gave more credence to the morbid appearance.

"There's nothing wrong with that puppy that you've not done to it Annabelle, you and your sisters teased it mercilessly!" She finally snapped out of anger. Who cared what she said now, she was going back to Hogwarts and might not survive the year.

Annabelle had sniffed haughtily at her. "Look at it it's ugly as sin! If you want it so much take it and save us the cost of putting the runt down, it's a freak just like you always were, you should get along perfectly"

Hermione had snapped the puppy up, and it had predictably and promptly latched on to her hand much to Annabelle's amusement, but she walked out of the house with her nose in the air and didn't let the tears flow until she was safely at home.

God but it had a bite to rival any vampire. She thought with a sniff as she stemmed the flow of blood from her injured hand

She had rung every rescue, every charity, every kennels that she could think of. No one would take the puppy. There were waiting lists upon waiting lists for dogs needing kennel spaces, and though it was left unsaid the words were clear between the lines. We can't waste a kennel on an ugly, nasty dog that will likely never be adopted, when there are other prettier friendly dogs out there that we can find homes for.

She was due back at Hogwarts today. Desolate she'd looked at the little puppy, sat in the corner of her room. Barely 8 weeks old. This can't be the end of the line for you. She thought. As though sensing her regard the puppy turned to look at her, and the lip lifted in an ugly sneer.

Now that she came to think about it...a familiar sneer.

Suddenly, all the pieces seemed to fall into place.

Had she not overheard a conversation between Professors Snape & Dumbledore, she never would have considered her next actions. But as it was, she'd been on her way from a late night expedition to the library, taking advantage of Harry's cloak when she found herself pressed against the wall as both Dumbledore and Snape made their way past her. What they were speaking of was so intriguing she couldn't help but follow.

She'd been surprised to find more than once that she'd been able to sneak past Headmaster Dumbledore in the past year without being noticed and she had realised with a small amount of unease, it correlated with her teaching herself occlumency after Harry's dismal attempts to learn under Snape.

It had occurred to her that at some point she may well be kidnapped, captured or tortured for information and she wanted to make sure she could keep it safe, so had begin to teach herself from books in the library and had picked it up fairly quickly. It was on these such instances, escaping from the library she had almost been caught by Professor Dumbledore...only he had walked straight past her. It was then she realised with no small amount of unease despite Harry's beliefs otherwise that Dumbledore could no more see through the invisibility cloak than anyone else could, but he could hear their thoughts. In fact he had probably been listening to everyone's thoughts unknown to them and that was why he appeared so omnipotent because he saw in peoples minds what had been going on.

The violation of it all made her slightly queasy.

She couldn't resist following them and when the headmaster's office door was left ajar what she heard made her stomach turn. Snape was going to be forced to kill Dumbledore, under the headmasters own orders no less! Nobody in the order would know, he would be hated! Reviled! Yet the headmaster didn't seem to care.

Though she knew she could not tell Harry or Ron, for neither of their minds were guarded enough to keep his cover, she'd vowed to herself to quietly fight for his side and gather evidence for his innocence, because if Dumbledore wasn't planning a defence for his spy then Hermione would certainly do it.

She'd known about his unhappy childhood from Harry's tales of what he'd seen in the mans penseive, which haunted her even as she'd berated Harry for betraying his confidence like that.

And it seemed so horrible that the headmaster knew how ostracised Snape had been his whole life, and still didn't care that his death would make Snape the most hated man in wizarding Britain.

His only 'friends' were the staff and even though she loved her, Hermione knew that McGonnagol would not forgive him this perceived injustice. The students would hate him, the staff...the world.

He would have no-one on his side.

Gods, he's going to be so Lonely.

It was that remembered thought that had her penning a note and finally making her way to Hogwarts, with the little angry black puppy in tow.

Chapter 3 / Epilogue

He called the puppy Beast, and Hermione had to hide her snort the first time she'd heard it as a student.

Nothing changed at first, until one day Hermione had heard a whine coming from the door at the back of his classroom that joined onto his personal quarters.

Silence for a while, then Severus cleared his throat and continued lecturing until the whine came again, but with frantic scratching that drew a few looks and whispers. He flicked a silencing charm around them with his wand and barked at them to carry on.

Despite the charm though, it seemed that he was unable to fight the guilt as the door was dutifully opened a crack and she heard the pitter of tiny feet entering the room.

There was a muffled swear which made her chuckle under her breath, and then he was hastily standing up and glaring at any students that were looking his way.

"Eyes to your work!"

As they dutifully went back to their essays, she wondered if she was the only one that noticed the bulge in his coat pocket.

From then on it became common place for Beast to be wherever Severus was, made evident by the bulge in his pocket that would occasionally wriggle and on some occasions snore.

The most memorable though was when the puppy finally ousted itself in lessons.

Snape had been in the middle of laying into Cormac Mclaggen for acting like a Damn Fool and "pranking" someone in lesson by adding extra ingredients to their cauldron when they weren't looking, but Snape had caught him.

Snape was red in the face, screaming what a monumentally idiotic idea that was when Cormac had decided that he wasn't going to take any more "Shit" from a "Greasy Bastard" like Snape.

The same height as Snape but much heavier muscled, Cormac had reached out to grab the potion's master by the shirt, wand raised in his other hand when a garbled snarl rent the air and sharp white teeth sank into the flesh of Mclaggen's hand.

He'd screamed and fell back, pulling the puppy out of Snape's pocket in the process and as he fell to the floor in fear he'd eyed the monstrous little thing that was now sat on his chest and snarling in his face, with open terror.

"Beast, get his wand". Severus had said calmy and the little puppy had trotted over and retrieved the piece of wood and brought it to Snape.

He pocketed the wand and pocketed the dog, who much to Hermione's amusement refused to remain hidden and instead hung out his pocket with teeth still bared in threat.

"McGonnagols Office. NOW. CLASS DISMISSED"

For weeks after there was a rumour that Snape was using the Dark Arts to Summon Demons.

After that Beast rarely stayed hidden, and would frequently sit on his desk watching the class as Severus did paperwork. Students would hand in papers and retreat as quickly as they could from the snarling little beast that sat on the Potion Master's desk.

Hermione noticed with some amusement the little Dragonhide band serving as a collar that was adorning Beast's neck. The dog was never seen without it for years to come.

When Severus was in St Mungos after the attack by Nagini, Beast never left his side .

Beast would snarl and snap and bit more than one orderly that said disparaging things about Severus within the dogs hearing .

Funnily enough Healer's Apprentice Hermione Granger was the only one that the little dog seemed to allow near Severus Snape, without risking loss of limbs.

Hermione had been on staff as mediwitch for 5 years when it finally happened.

It had gone 15 years after the end of the war and Severus walked into the staffroom for the weekend meeting late.

Which was unheard of.

And alone.

Anyone who may have said anything to the man, paused and remained silent when they noticed Severus reaching for coffee cup with a shaking hand.

Wrist adorned with a worn dragonhide band.

They continued the meeting as though nothing was unusual and only Hermione was brave enough to follow him out.

She caught up with him in the hall and grabbed his sleeve to get his attention, pulling him into an alcove and casting a privacy ward. Before he could say anything to her she threw her arms around him in a hug. He froze for a moment. Two. And then returned the embrace and Sobbed into her hair.

Hermione had never seen him cry before and she just held tightly onto him as he let it all out.

"I'm sorry Severus" She whispered when he finally had himself under control. "For the longest time...The darkest times in the war...Beast was all I had...I don't know how to live without...I'm being such a fool" He cursed himself and angrily dried his eyes with a sneer.

But one look at the soft amber eyes before him and his shoulders sagged once more, because he knew he wasn't fooling anyone. Especially not her, whom he had awkwardly comforted himself some 5 years prior when she broken down while they were brewing together, as she had just lost Crookshanks.

He turned and steeled himself, putting on his stoic face and that familiar sneer. Though he paused just before he left, and turned to look at her over his shoulder.

"Thank you, for leaving that box for me Granger. All those years ago"

"You knew it was me?" She asked, for she had been certain she'd gotten away clean.

He'd snorted in amusement. "What other bleeding heart would've taken pity on that beast and thought to bring said beast to the bat of the Dungeons?" He asked wrly and she'd smiled. "Fair Point."

There was a moment, the another.

"Granger, would you like to go to Hogsmeade and get some real Coffee instead of this swill they serve here?" She had smiled and tucked her arm into his.

"Its a date" .

As they walked Hermione fingered the worn band on his wrist.

"Not a beast really." She said softly.

And he sniffed before he answered.

"No. She was a good girl."

For The Eyes of Professor Severus Snape

"When the others and I played, I was pushed away because I was different.

Everybody laughed at me and teased me because of how I look.

So I started snapping at them and now everyone's afraid of me.

When it came to finding a family, nobody wanted me and I was left alone.

They were going to dispose of me, because I was of no value to them.

I may sneer and snap at you,  But all I ever wanted was to be loved"