Nobody ever asked my birthday

Cautious to a Fault

Minerva McGonagall well remembered her school days at Hogwarts. She'd been prefect (not Head Girl), and had quickly developed the nickname Hawk's Eye, both for her ability to find even the most minutest problem, and her ability to ignore it when appropriate. That had been the nickname the Slytherins used, at any rate. From what she'd heard, the Ravenclaws had picked it up too.

Most of the time, she ignored the petty squabbles Snape got up to with her Gryffindors (when she wasn't nursing a private hunch that he liked certain of them more than he let on.*)

This wasn't most of the time.

Minerva McGonagall wanted answers. She brought a bottle of single malt scotch, for patience.

Quiet as a cat, she glided up to Snape's private quarters (it was a Sunday and she'd already checked with Poppy that Snape wasn't brewing), all the while using her feline senses to listen for eavesdroppers. All clear. It was a bonnie November day, and the children were outside - many watching or playing Quiddich.

Minerva curled her hand into a fist, and brought all four knuckles down on the door, three times. "Snape, you ol' nyaff bampot, open up!" She'd been patient, particularly with Snape's ... condition (whatever it was, she knew better than to ask) - it was never a good idea to talk sense into a stupidly prideful ill man. He'd just make himself sicker with arguin'.

Snape's door swung open, seemingly on its own. Snape was inside, cautious as ever - instead of greetin' her proper, he lifted his chin. It was a beckoning gesture, and she entered accordingly, slamming the door behind her.

"What's a crazy ol' doylem tabbie mog doin down here?" Snape said, slipping as easily back into his 'natural' accent as Minerva did, though he, of course, used his fair less often. Minerva flattered herself into thinking that he only used it around her - there were certainly few enough people who remembered how he'd sounded his first year. He'd spoken fair and far between - it was only because she'd given him a personal pick-up talk a few times that she'd heard his voice, for real. "Ca! Ya here fer summat canny sense?" Snape made a face that on most people would have been a grin, but on him had far too many teeth.

"Here to knock sommat dat bonnie good sense into yer gob, sure enough." Minerva said. She merrily seated herself on his desk, slamming the malt down so hard it splashed up the side of the bottle.

"Ya know I don't drink, moggie." Snape said, looking down his nose at Minerva. His seat deftly crept up a few inches, so they were at eyelevel.

"It's fer me, you big damn lummock." Minerva cried.

"Howay, man or haddaway home." Snape said, crossing his arms.

Minerva poured herself a drink, "Drinks first, then talk."

"Drink too much, and all you'll be good for is weepin'." Snape said, with a knowing glint in his eye. Minerva knew he drank, but never as a social thing. She rather suspected when he drank, he was likely to break whatever was around him, and it was safer for all if it wasn't someone's teeth.

"Toity twat," Minerva said with a sniff, "I'll drink as I please." She knocked back the whole glass o' whiskey, and leaned over the desk. "Somethin's wrong, and you're goin' to tell me just what, or you'll be explaining to Albus why I'm not at my first period class. AND havin' to substitute, as I know you have that period free."

Snape's eyes glinted, though his face was stern. "Yer pushin' your luck with the threats, you ain't that much of a wazzock."

Minerva poured another glass, lifting it as if she was truly drunk, "You just watch me try!" Of course, as a properly drunk Scottishwoman, she flung the liquor in a line that bent to nearly over her shoulder. Her entire face gleamed with the challenge.

"You would, you mangy old mog, wouldn't you?" Snape said, looking down his nose. "I could always toss ya out in the byre with that huge oaffish gadgie."

"Ya could, if you didn't larn nothing from the last time you tried to take advantage o' me. Nae, an ye want a lang donnybrook, ya'd start it like that. And what how!" Minerva poured herself another drink.

"Oh, don't be such a daft radgie," Snape grumbled, "Your point's fair and sunny. Now, could you kindly be more specific? What the divil are you worrying about? That's supposed to be dawgs what do that, not felicitous murder machines."

Minerva's lips pulled back at the compliment. "What the devil in the deep blue sea is going on with you and Potter?"

Snape contemplated the question, letting the silence grow. Minerva knew the trick, and it wasn't going to break her. "Divvin' be so nebby." Snape spat.

Minerva said, "If not me, then who? Ya know how much I hate the dank. Takes quite something to get me down here."

Severus groused, "Aye, you're bein' a proper workyticket, ya mog."

Minerva shot him a bright smile, "With bells on!"

*NOT Potter. Not everything is about Harry Potter. Guess in the comments.

[a/n: This chapter is brought to you by the Severus Snape Needs A Friend fund. More reviews will get you more scenes like this. (Or if you really hate learning new words and dialect, let me know). ]