Disclaimer: Snuffles, Sirius, James, Remus and Lily all belong to
JKR. Abigail Loomis belongs to Katinka.
Author's Note: Read Katinka's fabulous 'Interwoven'. This fic
is based entirely on a scene from Chapter 3 of said wonderful story.
Read that. Oh, and has anybody noticed that I am a big sandbox-hog?
Yeah, that's right. Write a story that I like and I might just
swoop in with my shovel, bucket and castle molds. ^.^ I owe
everybody a big 'thank you'.
Beta props go out to Katinka and Chelle.
Dedication: To Katinka, for letting me; I'm glad you liked it because
I loved doing it.
If Sirius Black had had money to bet, he'd have laid
odds that Hagrid had finally gotten bored with gardening and was beginning
to create his own pets. The thing that had been chasing Abigail
Loomis had been part-fire crab, part something he couldn't identify,
and altogether a mistake of genetic crossbreeding. Interesting.
Knowing Hagrid, the thing was probably just being friendly. Sirius
dropped Abby's wand by the door and flopped down in front of the fire,
panting in exhaustion; all in all, he thought, saving the lady's life
was a good way to say thank you to the woman who'd taken to feeding
him and giving him newspapers. A bit of rest, he told himself
as his eyes drifted closed, a bit of rest, a check that Abby was still
breathing and able to take care of herself, and then he'd get back
to his cave. With a deep sigh, he was fast asleep.
The sound of running water woke him sometime later.
Abby was standing in the door of her bedroom, studying him.
Sirius hoped that she wasn't going to get undressed in front of him;
while he wasn't about to hang around and let the pretty witch disrobe
in front of him (even if he was the only one who knew he was
a wizard), he was just too tired to move. Apparently,
Sirius mused as Abby came to stand beside him, God was on his side.
"Shh, come now, Snuffles, come on," Abby urged
him to his feet and led him into her bedroom. She kept up the
soft litany of 'good boy, come on' all the way into the bathroom.
The bathroom had a large bath filled with steaming warm water and
bubbles. Lots of bubbles. God, Sirius knew, was not
on his side. In human form, Sirius would have been craving hours
in such a bath. Padfoot, however, disdained them and as he was
currently Padfoot, the doggy part of his brain was shuddering.
Sirius eyed the bathroom nervously. "Please
God," he whispered, hearing it come out as a muted whine.
"Good boy, everything is all right," he heard
Abby murmur. Maybe it was, he thought hopefully. Maybe
she just wanted the bear-like Padfoot to be nearby in case she slipped;
she had been hurt and dizzy and...and she was lifting his front
end over the rim of the bath, wasn't she? "There you
go," with grunt and more strength than Sirius would have thought
possible, little Abigail Loomis had him neck deep in bubbles.
"No way," Sirius muttered, another whine released
into the steamy confines of the bathroom. "No way."
She had a scrub brush laid out. He backed up as much as he could,
ready to take a running leap right out of that vaguely flower-scented
Abby was far more clever than he would have thought,
even if he hadn't known that her O.W.L. scores were a lie.
"Oh…no, no, no, my good friend," she moved directly
in front of him, blocking off his escape route; there was no way he'd
push over a girl and most certainly not a girl who was injured. "This
is the least I can do for you, after tonight."
"I saved your life," Sirius reminded her with
low, keening sound. "The least you can do is let me go.
Don't do this to me."
Abby patted him on the head, ignoring him. "Now,
if you’ll just…"
He certainly would not 'just', the Padfoot part of his
brain insisted. He dodged for the other end of the bath; he'd
simply go around the lady and be on his merry way, thanks all the
same. He hadn't counted on how slippery the porcelain was and
his escape was ruined by his hind end sliding ignominiously back into
the bath with a splash of grimy water. Most of it cascaded over
Abby's shoes, he noted, but he was just put out enough to notice that
some of it had soaked back into his fur. He bit back
a howl of frustration as Abby's eyes narrowed and she leaned in close
to him, nostrils flaring.
“Now, that certainly was not called for!" She hissed.
Sirius snorted. "I'll say."
"This could be much worse – I could have you smelling of raspberries
right about now,” her voice was rising irritably.
"Not bloody likely; this stuff is just as girly smelling as
raspberries would have been. I have a dog's nose, Miss,"
he argued in a short series of barks.
She apparently didn't care for his arguments; she glanced at
the sink. Unfortunately, she didn't entirely take her eyes off
of him to do it. Blast it. “I could throw a quick
Cleansing Spell on your coat and be done with it…”
Hell no, she would not. Oh, oh...here was his chance!
Something on the sink had distracted her; possibly the winking wizard
on the bath soap. Abby was either quicker than he knew or he
was slower than he remembered because before he could do more than
lower himself and get ready to make a break for it, Abby had flung
herself forward, grabbed him around the neck and wrestled him back
down into the water. His self-indulgent whine of distress was
drowned out by her shriek as she nearly toppled into the tub.
"That's it, lady," the Padfoot part of his brain muttered
via a gusty sigh and moan. "You see how well you
She was holding her arm, he noted suddenly. Her elbow.
Sirius thought back on her scream and realized that she must have
hurt it diving at him. Part of him, admittedly Padfoot, thought
she sort of deserved it for dunking him. The rest of him felt
badly; she was only trying to help him. Poor woman, he thought
sympathetically. Or maybe not. She was backing toward
the sink, eyes open now. Narrowed eyes, Sirius knew from experience
were a sign of mistrust. Lily had looked at him like that countless
times. Abby, he concluded, was up to something and he was not
going to stick around as she found another way of keeping him in the
bath. He reared back and, just like Lily, she came at him.
Well, if she were going to come at him, she'd have to pay the price,
he decided, and braced his paws on the lip of the tub. He didn't
jump, however. That witch had her wand on him; despite slipping
and ending up with her skirts around her knees and her bottom in the
middle of a dirty puddle, she'd drawn her wand and aimed it at him.
A smart dog knew when to hold himself still.
Her voice was low and measured, but filled with an unmistakable fury.
She'd make a good mum, with a voice like that, he thought. “Stay…still…now.
Or, by Hogwarts, I’ll turn you into a kitten. A girl kitten.
And I’ll have no compunction about leaving you that way.”
"Well, since you put it that way..." he said with a soft
yelp. Remus had once used the very same threat against him during
a bit of mischief in Hogsmeade and James had offered to hold
him down. Somehow he doubted that Abigail Loomis needed the
help. He sat back with a sigh and let her cast spell after spell
after spell at him. He even let her use that wicked, long-handled
brush on him with barely a whimper. A smart man knew when he
Abby seemed happy with his compliance, although, he noted sourly,
she didn't put her wand down until she allowed him out of the
tub. "That was easy, wasn't it, Snuffles?" she said
in a cheerful voice. Sirius appreciated the irony and gave himself
a good, hard, shake in agreement. "Come on, you can dry
by the fire while I get myself tidy again." She threw down
a clean quilt that smelled of the open air and sunshine and pointed
to it. "Don't move."
He'd have to thank her, he realized. It was good to be clean
even it hadn't been fun getting that way. "Shoes,"
he muttered quietly to himself as he heard the water being run again.
"Wasn't she going on about her..." house slippers, he remembered
suddenly. She'd lost her favorite pair a week ago when she'd
kicked them off in the garden; they were right underneath the bench
she favored. With a weary sigh and a hopeful heart, Sirius trotted
out to the garden. The house slippers would do suitably as both
a thank you and an apology; and maybe, if he were at all lucky, she
wouldn't try to comb out his fur.