Notes: Written for nimori's Harry Animagus Challenge. HP/SS, NC-17. Puns and higher ratings are entirely sinick's fault, but feel free to blame acid for the animal silliness and most of Harry's dialogue.
There was a lion in the middle of Snape’s sitting room.
It was the first thing Snape saw when he took down the wards and trudged in after a long day of classes. “Harry?” he called out tentatively as he eyed the beast. Snape expected the brat was the culprit behind this latest addition to his décor: just like Harry was responsible (or irresponsible) for every chaotic thing that happened lately, in Snape’s rooms or in his life.
But instead of Harry’s usual, entirely-too-innocent reply to Snape’s call, all was silent.
A lion, in and of itself, was nothing unusual; on the contrary, Snape had realised long ago that Hogwarts was positively infested with the brutes. Snakes, he’d noted, weren’t nearly so obvious, since Slytherins and all other reasonable snake-lovers preferred subtlety, and serpents blended so well into mouldings, cornices, portrait frames, and unobtrusive decorations of all kinds. But lions simply did not blend; the beasts were nothing if not blatant. Snape attributed it to the impossible Gryffindor habit of barging in and invading absolutely everywhere to advertise their heroic presences, whether they were welcome or not. There were lions in at least a dozen portraits scattered throughout the castle, and two pairs of large-as-life statues – one pair in front of the Great Hall and the other pair flanking the castle entrance – as well as the golden animated sculpture atop the Gryffindor hourglass, a row of them in a corridor on the second floor, several gargoyles, and of course the atrociously rampant version on the Hogwarts crest and just about every bloody Gryffindor banner. He'd counted them, time and again, during all those long nights of patrolling the corridors.
Snape’s current problem was twofold. Firstly, he had always managed to keep his own rooms at Hogwarts blissfully lion-free, at least until now. Secondly, and even more importantly, not a single one of the far-too-many other lions in the castle was alive.
At least this lion wasn’t nearly as large as most of the statues. In fact, he was a rather scrawny specimen, with paws that he hadn’t quite finished growing into, and a scraggly dark mane. He was even missing fur from his forehead, in a jagged line right between his eyes. It looked like a scratch that had scarred over instead of healing properly.
Snape arched his eyebrow. His first instinctive thought was It can’t be, followed at once by Oh, but it can; and this is precisely the sort of thing the imp would do… or be, for that matter. Snape always expected the worst of Harry – if he didn’t, who would? – and thus he wasn’t disappointed one bit. The lion blinked, his eyes a bright and familiar green, and Snape felt sure that once more he’d been proven right.
He arched an eyebrow. “Harry?” he drawled.
The lion remained almost as still as a statue; only a telltale tail-twitch betrayed the fact that the name had been heard.
Snape circled him, sizing him up critically from the tip of his nose to the tuft at the end of his tail. “You’ve trained for months to become this?” How disappointing. His mouth twisted in a critical smirk. “Perhaps there is a slight improvement after all in your appearance,” he conceded graciously. “At least, now that you lack opposable thumbs, the eternal disarray of your hair is rather less your own fault.”
Harry glared up at him, whiskers bristling.
“I suppose I can’t throw you out on your tail for the night. You might decide to hunt…” The creature gave an indignant growl, and Snape replied to that protest with one of his own. “Well you could’ve had the decency to turn into something I could actually use for ingredients!”
At the horrorstruck look in green cat eyes Snape scowled, flatly refusing to acknowledge the twinge of his own guilt. “Oh, for Salazar’s sake, stop looking at me like that!” he cried. “I meant hairs, claw clippings, saliva. I was hardly about to cut you to mincemeat, or boil you up in a dirty great cauldron.” He continued grumbling, albeit in a quieter voice, “All the same, some creature a bit more magical than this mundane, magnified moggy of yours would’ve helped. Do you have any idea the extortionate prices Slug and Jiggers charge for even Common Welsh Green scales? Couldn’t you have at least managed to turn into a Runespoor? It’s not as though you can’t already speak snake.”
Harry regarded Snape the way a cat stares at a moth, right before the leap and grab. He hissed rapidly, which sounded a bit like a sneeze and a lot like Parseltongue.
Snape twisted his narrow mouth. “Close, but no cigar, or in this case, cobra.”
Harry definitely did sneeze at that.
The ‘I’m really not smiling’ twist of thin lips intensified. “Well, now that you’ve finally managed to turn yourself literally as well as figuratively into the poster-boy for your House, do feel free to turn back, anytime you like.”
Harry ever-so-nonchalantly began to groom himself, licking one paw and smoothing it over his face like the overgrown cat he was. Only the twitch of his tail hinted that he was anything other than perfectly calm.
In reply, Snape gave him The Eyebrow. “Oh, very well, stay that way. In the meantime, some of us have work to do. Since you insist on lion about the place,” he added with an evil smirk as Harry snorted, “at least be quiet and behave yourself.”
Harry, however, had other ideas. He gave Snape a mischievous look. His tail twitched again, but this time his eyes focused on the movement. He lowered his head and stared at the tip of his own tail as if it was prey. Then he lunged in a wide circle, tipping a chair over and throwing a rug into the corner in the process.
“Oh, stop that, or you’ll end up…”
“Rowr!” Harry interrupted fiercely. His teeth closed around the very tip. “ROWWWR!”
“…catching it,” finished Snape. With difficulty, he resisted the impulse to facepalm; no point in jabbing said palm on his nose. I don’t believe him. An animal that size and he still chases his own tail like an overgrown pup.
Harry grinned at him victoriously and shook his head, mufflegrowling until his tail hung limply between his impressive teeth, and appeared good and dead like a garden snake.
Impossible brat. Snape shook his head, hiding a grin. “Accio healing salve,” he muttered, just as he’d done so many times before, whenever Harry came home after yet another rough Quidditch match. “If I could only brew up something to fix your silly streak…” he smirked as he reached out and freed the tail from Harry’s mouth. Harry “Wrowr”-ed once, but let go happily enough; at least until Snape slathered the salve – which was icy cold – on the chewed bit. Then Harry yelped and jumped back with an offended look, immediately turning round and giving his tail a lick. He snorted, sneezed twice, and rubbed his muzzle with a paw, shaking his mane and lolling his tongue out at the horrid taste. Snape watched him with a tolerant smirk. “What am I saying? You are a silly streak, only wrapped up in even more messy hair than usual.”
Apparently satisfied with the end of the healing procedure, Harry bounced, tugging on the hem of Snape’s robe. Snape had seen that look before: ‘let’s play!’ Last time he’d seen it on Nagini, and that hadn’t ended at all well. He arched an eyebrow and glared down The Nose at Harry, who blithely continued chewing on his robe.
“I know the ‘weathered’ look is currently in vogue with clothing, but I’d rather my robes weren’t redone in ‘slobbered’.”
Harry heaved a loud and gusty sigh, but let go of the hem, only to nibble at Snape’s bootlaces.
Snape frowned. “Unhand… (bugger). Unmouth those laces at once!”
Harry growled and pulled at one as far as he could. *Snap*
Snape sidestepped. Harry followed promptly, chasing after the boot like a kitten after a ball of string. Snape felt another bootlace snap. That’s it! He sat down on the floor, all the better to tug at said laces, and glared at the stubborn creature up close. “Stop this at once.”
Harry stopped. And pounced, knocking Snape flat. Heavy paws pressed into the middle of Snape’s chest and he eyed them with caution, imagining how the claws safely retracted inside, could extend at any moment to pierce skin and flesh. As he mentally rehearsed wandless hexes and calculated his chances of an ignominious demise as a human scratching-post, Harry stretched out, catlike, on top of him. Snape tentatively tried to move, but Harry let out a mighty roar. Snape froze, half-stunned by the sheer shattering noise at such close quarters. Harry gave him a satisfied look followed by a playful lick. Snape managed to turn his head aside only just in time, literally saving his skin from the rasp-like tongue, which missed his face and swiped instead at his hair.
Harry pulled back, appalled, looking as if he just swallowed a fly and didn’t quite know how to react to it. He eyed Snape’s hair with great caution, and let his tongue loll out in a ‘bleah!’ expression, just as he’d previously done with the healing salve. And then he sneezed. The impact of it made Snape’s teeth rattle.
Snape had survived Death Eaters, a Dark Lord, a giant pet snake, and one cranky werewolf compared to whom Lupin was just a pup. He could certainly remain calm while staring down a non-magical predator. Any ‘eep’-like noises were entirely due to having the breath squashed out of him. “Oh, wonderful,” he grumbled to the lion who was currently cleaning his muzzle on Snape’s shoulder, “I’m being treated like a hearthrug – in front of my own hearth, what’s more – by a mad lion, who has atrocious taste in men, and allergies.” He felt that the tirade summarised his current predicament well. He was rather proud of his ability to assess critical situations under pressure.
Harry’s ears twitched; he seemed to be listening with great attention. Then he purred.
From an animal Harry’s size a purr was definitely something to be experienced. Especially when said animal was draped all over one’s body at the time. Snape was sure that the vibrations rippled all the way down to his toes, which curled in appreciation. “That’s really rather… Mmm.” Whatever he meant to say next disappeared as those warm vibrations took over his mind and everything else turned into a human version of a purr. He buried his thin hands into the lush mane and began sifting idly through the many tangles in it. “How in the world did you manage to get so many knots when you haven’t had this mane for more than a few minutes?” Harry peered at him, purring all the while: the warm, furry body seemed to liquefy even further as Harry stretched out his neck for more grooming.
“Soppy git.” Snape smiled as the velvety muzzle touched the very tip of his own nose; his deft hands sorted through the heavy, dark strands, untangling gently. “Harry Potter, you are the World’s Wettest Lion.”
As if in reply, Harry gave a blurry, indistinct murmurumble, and blinked at Snape, his green eyes glassy and heavy lidded. He yawned wide – Snape leaned back a bit from the teeth – and went absolutely limp and twice as heavy against Snape’s chest, with only the end of his long tail twitching back and forth.
This wasn’t quite how Snape had expected to spend his evening, but after several furtive escape attempts, each foiled by sleepy shifts in the lion’s considerable weight, Snape muttered some wandless Cushioning Charms and settled down to enjoy the inevitable. Of their own accord, his hands lifted, fingers slipping back into that unruly mane. “World’s heaviest – and warmest – duvet,” he sighed, closing his eyes. …And nicest…
Harry woke up to discover he’d fallen asleep with his glasses on again. Vaguely he wondered why he felt like he was lacking a tail; although everything else, including the bony shoulder he was resting his head on, seemed absolutely normal. He groped around drowsily. “Wha’ time’zit? And what’d you do to the blanket this time?”
“Mnf,” said Snape. More strange sounds followed. “It’s half past Too Bloody Early, and I didn’t do anything to the blanket, you were the blanket.” Snape carefully lifted his hands away from where they were cupping Harry’s head, fingers still buried in the tousled hair. “I’m sure if you examine the carpet you’ll find enough shed hairs to knit an entire second self.”
Harry blinked the sleep out of his eyes and frowned as Snape’s words finally made sense. And the tail: I did have a tail! “Y’mean… I did… I was… BLOODY HELL! I DID IT!” He jumped up so abruptly that he knocked his glasses askew, flinging his arms wide in a ‘ta-da!’ gesture and grinning triumphantly. “Well, did you see me? How was it? What was I?”
Snape squinched closed his eye on the side nearest the yelling and leaned away a bit, for all the good it did. “Down to a dull roar, if you please. Some of us prefer not to deal with noisy alarms – or alarming noises – first thing.” He hauled himself to his feet rather more slowly: not that he particularly wanted to get up, but damned if he was going to carry on lying about on his own floor when Potter was already vertical. “Of course I saw you, you silly sod. I saw you gnaw my hems, mangle my bootlaces, chase your tail like an overgrown puppy – and catch it –” A brief smile slipped out from his attempts to restrain it. “After that, your insanity worsened until you mistook my extremely bony body for a comfortable bed, at which point you knocked me flat and did a disconcertingly good impression of a fur duvet.”
“What? I did all that?” Harry frowned, but as he listened further a very pleased smirk appeared on his face. “Wicked! I need to try this Animagus thing again. And I need a name for myself, like dad’s and Sirius’.” He glanced at Snape quizzically and toed the rug, which was still covered with clumps of tawny fur. “What should I be? What’d I look like?”
“Hairy.” Snape declared firmly. “Hairy Potter.”
Harry eyed him. “Very funny. Just tell me what I was!”
One eyebrow arched. “You were lion … around on me, as I said,” Snape responded in his driest voice.
“Lying… and…” Harry frowned, but he already knew from multiple morning games of ‘guess the potion in the pumpkin juice’ that no matter how long he waited, or how much he wheedled, no other answer would follow. “Fine then!” he shook his head and straightened out his glasses. “Bloody stubborn git. I’ll just… think of it myself. And I’ll remember it! And then you’ll be sorry.” He stomped off into the bedroom. Twin thuds sounded as Harry’s boots hit the floor, followed by the rustle of covers being turned down. “Don’t wake me up before noon. If Ron firecalls, I’m still researching Magical Beasts. If it’s the sprogs, their Defence homework can wait till Monday. And if it’s anyone else, no press interviews till Thursday, not even The Quibbler…”
“I’m not your blasted secretary,” Snape reminded Harry acidly.
Harry poked his head back through the door. Snape thought he caught a glimpse of a bare shoulder in the dark doorway. “Well in that case, why aren’t you coming to bed?” He even attempted the Leer Which Suggested Interesting Consequences. Actually, the brat was getting rather better at it.
Apparently Harry thrived on a challenge, so Snape tried to appear disinterested: though he suspected the fact that he had to try spoke volumes. “I hadn’t intended to sleep in.” He folded his arms.
“Me neither,” Harry shrugged and tugged off his glasses, tossing them through the doorway. “Here, catch.”
Snape sidestepped and let them drop with a sickening *clink*. Luckily for Harry, the unbreakable charm held. “I’m not your house elf either,” he observed.
Harry winced. “‘Course not!”
That’s the question, isn’t it? “What am I then?” A one night stand that’s dragged on over the past four months? Snape honestly didn’t know why he entered his rooms on Friday evenings expecting Harry to still be there, why, Saturday after Saturday, he woke up with the heavy-limbed, messy-haired brat sprawled on top of him. Snape hadn’t questioned it before; he’d been content to simply enjoy it while it lasted. But that particular question had surprised him by escaping before he could stop it.
Harry blinked. “Dunno,” he murmured softly. “I thought, er… I was hoping…” he looked up and shook his head. “It’s daft. Forget it.”
Snape’s voice was quiet, but it was a very determined quietness, “I can’t forget it.” He summoned Harry’s glasses off the floor, absently wiping them on his sleeve before setting them down out of harm’s way.
Harry frowned, his unfocused eyes searching the dark room. “C’mere, I can’t see you.”
Snape took a few steps over to the doorway. “Well?”
“You don’t have to be anything,” Harry mumbled. “S’just, I was kind of hoping that… that you’re mine. Just mine. ‘Cause I’ve hardly got anything that’s really all mine, and nobody else’s.” He took a deep breath. “There, I said it. You can stand there and laugh at me ‘cause I’m completely mental or…” he swallowed, his hand gripping the door knob tight, “…or you can come here, ‘cause your rooms really are bloody freezing in the morning and I haven’t got any…”
Snape strode into the bedroom at a speed only just on the dignified side of hasty. He told himself that it was only natural, after all those glimpses of bare skin, to wonder whether the rest of Harry was just as bare. …Well, well, well! Apparently the brat had been practicing his Divestimenta charm along with leering and Animagic. How else could he have stripped stark-bollocks naked in the few moments he’d been out of sight?
“I’ve seldom felt less like laughing at you.” He gave Harry an appreciative look, though he didn’t get much time for ogling; Harry pounced like the lion after the bootlaces, only this time aiming for a target about three feet higher.
Snape’s plain yet serviceable teaching robes soon lost the tug of war with Harry’s wandless magic. They were quickly Leviosa-ed over his head and tossed aside. Snape knew a lost cause when he saw one, and so he shoved down his pants and kicked them off along with his socks and boots, grateful for the time saved by his shredded bootlaces. Harry grinned and tackled him; he had the breath knocked out of him for the second time in a day as they toppled backwards onto the bed with a *sproing* and bounce of bedsprings.
And then Harry was all over him: all sleek skin and taut muscle and warm touch. His square hands, as heavy as the lion’s paws, pressed and rubbed and slid down his ribs and belly reaching lower. Snape reared up like a snake, capturing Harry’s mouth in a greedy kiss. Harry growled and leaned into it, knocking their teeth together. His hands gripped Snape’s spindly wrists, pinning them down above his head, as his knees pushed Snape’s apart and he wriggled determinedly down, settling into the hollow of bony hips. Snape arched up, his feet shamelessly wide as his much longer body writhed and twisted under Harry’s – not in any attempt to escape his hold, but instead aching for more pressure: on his cock, rubbing against a tight abdomen, and on his mouth, ravished by a searching tongue.
Then Harry’s mouth was gone and his hands let go of Snape’s wrists, and Harry began a slow, torturous descent down his body, rubbing like an affectionate cat, licking here and there, and worrying a taut nipple with his teeth on the way. Harry nuzzled at his navel and Snape’s cock had twitched in anticipation, but apart from a single lick down the side and the feathery warmth of Harry’s low chuckle there was nothing. Instead Harry’s head sank lower and he felt a teasing pressure of a warm, open mouth at each of his balls in turn, as gentle as Harry’s kiss wasn’t. Snape’s eyes eased closed as he concentrated on the unpredictability of unseen contact and simply enjoyed the blissfully soft touch.
It disappeared all too soon and distantly, he expected to hear a hastily muttered ‘Accio’, or even the sound of the jar smacking into Harry’s palm at a burst of frantic, nonverbal magic. But instead there were only hands slipping under his hips, fingers spread wide to cup and knead his buttocks, lifting his hips off the bed. Hands, and the humid brush of breath, and then a tongue, the slow, slippery heat of it sliding – Ohgod – lower still, licking a searing stripe of slickness along his crack. A warm mouth with a rasp of stubble nudged into his crease, and then – wilder still – the sleek suckling pressure of lips around his opening and a slyly pointed tongue tip dipping inside again and again; its wet licks coaxing more and more pleasure from his insanely sensitised hole.
His mouth opened on a long, breathless moan of absolute sexual shock. His eyes squeezed shut and his fists clenched helplessly in the bedclothes, as he arched off the bed, impaled and wanton and wailing for more, again, yes! In one wild rush, strong hands hoisted his legs off the bed hooking them over broad, sweaty shoulders, and with a raw shriek and a yowl – if either came from his throat, he couldn’t tell – in a single, searing shove Harry pushed inside. His tousled head dropped, his shoulders leaned into the straining arc of Snape’s thighs, pressing his knees almost to his chest, lifting and spreading him for a thorough pounding.
Pinned down and bent nearly double, Snape hissed and panted and writhed, lust coiling tighter and tighter in him at the burn of hard, deep fucking; his balls pulled up tight into his groin, his untouched cock filled to bursting. Harry growled aloud amid the forceful thrusts; he shifted his weight and seized Snape’s swollen cock in a possessive grip. Above their wordless cries Snape thought he heard a low, intense snarl of “Mine!” and at that his mind was lost in a flash of blinding white. As he thrashed and yelled, that warm grip held him tight, milking the last spurts from him, and then as he drifted in a hot haze of bliss Harry’s hips surged forward, again, again, and he threw back his head and roared in sheer triumph as he pumped burst after burst of come deep into Snape’s clenching hole.
“Wow!” Harry breathed a while later.
“Quite.” Snape managed a bit after that.
When Snape could think in complete sentences again, he realised that Harry had once again sprawled out atop him in a casually possessive – leonine – pose. His hand lifted to cup the back of Harry’s head in a moment of possession of his own; still-shaky fingers sifted through the sweaty, tousled strands.
Harry stretched lazily and glanced down, green eyes heavy-lidded. Then he grinned and touched the tip of his nose to Snape’s. Déjà vu, Snape thought. But instead of giving a chest-rumbling purr, Harry’s whole face lit up with realisation.
“I’ve done this before!” He chuckled breathlessly in reply to Snape’s dubiously-arched eyebrow and added, “Yeah, all right, not all this, but – y’know – this! With you. – oh stop staring at me like that – I remember. I do! It explains everything: the fur and the tail and every single one of your sarky comments.”
“Harry.” All this bloody natter; if a man can’t get a bit of kip when he’s this thoroughly shagged out, when can he? “Hush…”
“Oops.” Harry grinned mischievously like the imp he was. “You broke my train of thought. I forgot again. Remind me?”
Snape narrowed his eyes. “What d’you mean, ‘remind you’?”
“You know,” Harry smirked, in a manner that was entirely too catlike: Hogwarts already had one cat too many on its faculty, it didn’t need another. “Tell me what I was.”
Harry rolled away.
It annoyed Snape, how damned cold he felt all of a sudden, despite the warmth of the bed. “Come back here.”
“Nuh-uh.” Harry swatted Snape’s hands away and leaned back with an expectant look on his face. “Well?”
The way the brat licked his lips while letting his gaze wander that way, was absolutely indecent. Snape simply couldn’t allow such behaviour to continue. “Since you insist. The lion. Pantera leo persica, precisely as depicted on the banner of Godric Gryffindor and, therefore, the rest of your impossible House. An uncouth beast with the manners of a spoiled pup and mane for brains. Now,” he glanced pointedly at the place on his chest where Harry’s head so naturally rested, and stressed his next words with a sharply arched eyebrow, “As you were.”
By the time Harry settled back under covers Snape felt like he’d wrestled down the Nemean Lion. Before he fell asleep, Snape recalled with a sated smile that Heracles spent the rest of his life with the same lion draped over his body. A fascinating combination of forceful presence and soft skin, keeping him warm just… like… this.
When Snape woke up, he was covered not by the usual duvet, but by a not-quite-so-usual scruffy-maned beast breathing warmth against his neck. “Are you going to make a habit of this?” Snape grumbled. Harry just twitched an ear and nuzzled his shoulder. “…I thought so,” he sighed. “Well budge up and stop hogging the bed.”
Harry did not listen, as usual. Snape sighed, and after much deliberation, didn’t thump him with a pillow after all. Really, this was still the ordinary Saturday routine, if one ignored the claws and the tufted tail. …Or at least, it was as ordinary as things could be with someone like Harry around.