AN: Short update today, sorry. I've been stuck in a bit of a rut and distracted by work on my new Supernatural crossover. The new work was further distracted by the Avengers. Tony and Steve were clearly made for each other. Then there's the whole Coulson, Natasha, Clint threesome and we all know Bruce totally belongs with Pepper. Loki gets Darcy and Jane gets Thor and everyone is happy.
Well, in my world that's how it goes. Kudos to other authors who follow this thinking for me; you guys are awesome and distracting and I love you for it.
He doesn't often have other lawyers over to his house – he prefers to remain professional and inviting them into his home seems an overdramatic gesture his offices can handle better anyway – but Harry is on one of his off days from school and has caught a bit of a cold besides so Frank doesn't have much of a choice.
"You're going to stay in the yard, right?" He has to be sure because Mason Snyder is a Lausenschlange and, while he generally channels his more violent tendencies into his very successful career and maintaining whichever expensive car he currently owns, Frank isn't willing to leave him around his adoptive son. Especially a young Grimm who doesn't know better when to keep quiet about Wesen he sees.
"Y-eeees," Harry drags it out and sniffles. He's wearing a warm sweater, jacket, and hat and looks impatient to try out the playground installed just the other day. It's not like his cold will get worse for the fresh air and Frank doesn't mind shamelessly keeping him occupied with new toys if it means he'll be away from Snyder. "Can I go now?"
"Just don't try to open the gate," he warns and Harry beams before darting off.
Snyder arrives not long after – his bright red Camaro looks strange and flashy amongst the sleek black of the Rabes' cars and Frank stifles the offense to his rather inconveniently territorial instincts to grasp Snyder's hand and shake firmly. The Lausenschlange grins and unbuttons his jacket before he settles down on the offered seat in Frank's office.
"Drink?" he asks and isn't worried when Snyder refuses. To be honest, he tends to look more favourably on those who refuse the drink than those who accept it. He's also very sure that Snyder knows he doesn't drink and that's why he declined. Working with lawyers is always so tedious.
They go over the case. Snyder is vicious in his defense of his client and Frank has successfully defended this particular company for years so they skip most of the theatrics and get straight to business. Snyder will settle for this but not without a fight and Frank can't have news get out and they certainly won't agree to that sum. It's more haggling than negotiation but eventually they get their proposals lined up (along with the actual agreement they'll finalize after their clients have felt they've fought long enough).
Snyder grins. "I'll take that drink now, if you don't mind," he drawls.
"Of course, let me get that," Frank agrees graciously. He's content with the work they've done today and figures he can check in on Harry while he's up and out of his office.
He sees Harry through the door, kneeling and poking at something in the grass (bug, probably), and smiles gently. Then he gets the drink and returns to Snyder. They're just packing away papers when there's a sound of a door opening. He ignores the sound because he's doubtful that Harry will come over.
Which was his mistake, of course. Harry isn't known for shying away from anything and this is no exception.
"Papa Frank, this snake can talk! Look!" he's carefully holding a massive brown snake in his thin arms and his eyes are bright as he turns his head to peer at the twining mass and hiss at it as though he's actually talking.
"Harry," the smell of venom is bad enough but that snake is wound about the little Grimm's throat in a manner offensive in every possible way Frank can imagine. "Put it down. Now."
"Harry!" He yells it sharply enough that even Snyder goes still.
Harry hisses again – eyes shining and glossy – and Frank is about ready to rip that snake away from his boy and deal with the tears later when Snyder hisses behind him and Harry turns his eyes to the other Wesen and positively beams. He hisses again and it sounds less like hissing now and more like language that just so happens to be comprised of hissing. Snyder even continues to respond. It continues for a long moment to a dumbfounded Frank while the snake in the Grimm's arms just turns its head this way and that as though listening to the apparent conversation.
Harry is grinning widely and all signs of tears are gone and the snake in his arms is just still and silent and draped in his arms lazily with nary a hint of discomfort about it – it looks as though its enjoying being out of the rain, if Frank is honest with himself. "Papa Frank, you have neat friends," Harry says cheerfully. "It's nice to meet you Mr. Snyder. I'm going to go play with," he hisses again, "now."
Never let it be said that anything fazes toddlers. Harry's gone from the room and Frank knows his gait well enough now that he can track the little one's progress to his bedroom on the main floor across from Barry's from sound alone. He manages to gather his wits about him enough that the look he gives Snyder is appropriately expectant and dangerous enough that the other Wesen politely avoids making direct eye contact.
"I'd heard you had fostered a Reneigen, of course; the Mauzhertz who lives in my building is all flustered over it," Snyder says. "But I had no idea you'd found a Schlangenbeschwörer let alone adopted it."
"In English," Frank says. He can usually recognize Wesen terms so it has to be one the Grimms haven't found or never bothered to learn – a sort of Lausenschlange exclusive bit of vocabulary.
"Snake-charmer," Snyder grins just a touch but still avoids the direct eye contact. His eyes slip to some point on Frank's forehead which works well enough to maintain the illusion of it. "Not referring to the ones with the flutes either. They're very rare, but sometimes people are born with the ability to speak to snakes as easily as they can converse in their natural language. Of course, snake language is just a really simplified version of the old-tongue – which I've made a point of knowing and that your boy was speaking a moment ago – but Schlangenbeschwörer can sort of…impart that instinctive knowledge to the snakes they talk with."
"They make the snakes smarter," Frank hazards warily.
Snyder finally meets his eyes again and there's a sort of exasperated and wary cast to his human façade. "Not as such. The snake just sort of goes from…vaguely intelligible hissing to hissing with actual and obvious meaning. The story goes that the longer they stick around and the more powerful the Schlangenbeschwörer, the better they get until they can hold real conversations and even gain a measure of intelligence."
"He's a Grimm."
"Well that is interesting," Snyder's eyebrows shoot up in surprise and he glances over his shoulder. "I was under the impression that it wasn't possible to be both. Schlangenbeschwörer are more like us than they are like humans or Grimms."
"Papa Frank?" Harry's voice carries through the halls. "Do we have food for snakes?"
Frank doesn't even know what snakes eat. Small children with green eyes and glasses, he can only assume. He's only got one of those and he isn't inclined to feeding him to a snake. Rodents then – not Dexter or Harry will cry – and he's sure Roddy isn't going to volunteer to help with the slaughter of his distant cousins. "We'll have to go to the pet store," he calls back.
Harry doesn't talk after that so he must be happy, whatever he's doing. Snyder is looking entirely too curious for his own good so he lets his mask slip away so that his true face – all fur and dark eyes and dangerous – is staring down at the other Wesen.
Snyder may be a dangerous sort of Wesen, but he's not stupid enough to think he's danger enough to take on a Jägerbar protecting its young. He doesn't make eye contact and very politely excuses himself. Frank escorts him from the property before he returns to deal with Harry and that viper he's got curled up beside him under one of his desk lamps.
The big eyes are what do it. "Please, can I keep him?"
Damn you, Frank. Damn you, for falling for it. He sighs and Harry is beaming and hugging him and there's a soft press of lips to his cheek that is entirely unexpected but not at all unwelcome. Harry hisses at the snake which coils into a tighter ball and hisses but doesn't sound at all threatening. Well, Roddy won't be happy and neither will Barry but he's going to let Harry deal with them.
But not until they've gone and purchased a proper home for this new pet of Harry's. He is so whipped he can't even believe it sometimes.