: After the Summer of Youth Author
: fbowden Characters
: Harry Potter/Severus Snape Rating
: NC-17 Warnings
: Flangst Themes/kinks chosen
: Relics Word Count
: 3,542 Summary
: After all these years, Harry still holds a candle for his snarky, former Potions master, Professor Snape. His husband is quietly understanding; more so than Harry could ever have hoped for. Author's notes
: Many thanks to my beta readers, chiralove venturous
, without whom this would be mostly unintelligible! I would also like to thank the mods for inviting me to write for the community, and hope that my first offering is to your liking!
Precisely fifty-four jet black strands composed the lock of hair pinched between Harry’s thumb and forefinger, subject of his close scrutiny and evident fascination. Flopping listlessly when he turned his wrist, the lock caught the firelight and shone darkly, making Harry think of raven feathers.
Carefully enfolded in a simple square of tissue, it had been preserved but not entirely unaffected by the passage of time. The greasiness had dissipated, perhaps consumed by its papery prison, or evaporated like the years passed since its collection.
The irritated rattling of a newspaper behind him caused Harry to sigh and re-wrap the memento before replacing it in the silver trinket box that took pride of place on the mantelpiece.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Harry said softly, closing the lid and sliding the tiny catch into place. “I’m a sentimental old fool who lives in the past. But what I don’t understand,” he continued, turning to face his husband, “is why it should bother you so much.”
Severus snorted and shook the newspaper again, bringing it back up to hide his face. It also served to obscure his full head of shoulder-length silver hair and the jagged scars that crisscrossed his throat, a mesh of bumpy lines from both the snake attack itself and the life-saving surgery he’d received subsequently.
“Surely you’re not resentful of a bit of hair? I mean, I could possibly understand if it were someone else’s, but it’s yours!” A croaky pfft behind the broadsheet made Harry smile. “Want to know what I think?” he said.
Severus crossed his slippered feet and continued to read; apparently he didn’t.
“I think you’re worried that I’ve developed some weird sexual infatuation with a part of you that was removed some thirty years ago. And, no, I’m not referring to your larynx.”
Severus peered over the newspaper and stared pointedly at the trinket box.
“So what if I like to remember a time when we were young – well, when I was young and you were clinging onto middle age– ” Severus shot him a dark look. “It reminds me of all the things we’ve done together since then.”
Severus’ raised eyebrow sent a shiver of pleasure down Harry's spine. “What?” he challenged playfully, “you know I’ve always had a thing for your hair, no matter what colour it is. In fact, I think I prefer it silver; it’s distinguished. Sexy.”
The corners of Severus’ mouth twitched, and Harry knew he was trying to suppress a sceptical smirk; years of experience reading Severus’ expressions had, depending on how you perceived the situation, gifted him with such intuition.
“Don’t give me that look; it’s true!”
Severus extended a bony finger and beckoned Harry to him, leisurely folding the newspaper and placing it on the coffee table while Harry hastened to sit beside him on the sofa. Harry exhaled shakily when soft fingertips traced his jawbone, yielding to the pressure that tilted his head back to meet Severus’ gaze.
The effect was instantaneous; Severus probing his mind, Harry responding with gentle prods of his own. Neither employed Occlumency, for this was how they had spent the last three decades talking to each other. While Harry loved their deeply personal method of communication, he still longed to hear the rich, deep timbre and the sarcastic inflection of Severus’ voice again.
On the rare occasions Severus left their home alone, Harry used the Pensieve to relive memories of the man before Nagini’s attack had rendered him incapable of speech. It was terribly unfair, Harry reflected, that those instances were of a time when their relationship comprised nothing more than the clashes between an aggrieved student and a mean –spirited professor. He wanted to hear something more from Severus’ lips than angry, bitter barbs. He wanted to hear his husband's softly growled exclamations of sexual enjoyment.
What do you want? Severus asked, pushing deeper into dark recesses that Harry wasn’t comfortable letting him explore.
Do not lie to me.
“I’m not,” Harry said, taking Severus’ hand in his. I’ve only ever wanted you he added mentally.
I’ve seen what you desire, Harry.
Then you’ll know I’m not lying.
Not as such, I’ll admit. Yet you are not being entirely truthful with me.
Harry looked away uncomfortably. Severus grasped his chin and forced him to refocus his attention.
Professor Snape. Isn’t that who you crave? Who you’ve always craved? Not this broken shell of him.
Severus – no –
Not a word. Your protests are both futile and a waste of my time. If you insist on denying that which we both know to be true, then I shan’t employ the means to provide you with what you desire.
“You mean it’s possible?” Harry blurted.
Severus smirked and nodded. Yes, I rather believe it is.
Harry waited nervously outside the sitting room door, the closest point at which he could hover to the cellar entrance without incurring Severus’s wrath. Severus had retrieved his Hogwarts teaching robes from a long forgotten trunk stored in the attic, restoring them to their former glory with a couple of cleaning charms before hiding himself away in the basement laboratory some two hours since.
According to Severus, the lock of hair Harry held such affinity for, had been cut prior to the Battle of Hogwarts, and thus, when added to Polyjuice, should revert Severus back to his full imposing and very vocal schoolteacher self. Harry tried not to get too excited; Polyjuice was notoriously unpredictable, and although he knew full well Severus was unlikely to encounter any problems, he couldn’t help but entertain a brief moment of pessimism. But oh, how he longed for it to work. Harry’s heart ached to hear his husband’s voice.
His husband, he thought fondly, remembering the tireless hours he had spent campaigning for Severus Snape’s release from Azkaban after his wrongful imprisonment. Severus' total lack of gratitude when he’d finally succeeded, had maddened Harry beyond all reason, and after a painful heart-to-heart with Ginny, he’d finally admitted to himself that he had fallen in love with the severe man. Whereupon, he set to proving his devotion with all out Gryffindor tenacity, as regularly as the former Potions master would allow.
The day Severus had finally let his iron mask slip, crushing Harry’s lips against his during a heated doorstep argument, had been the second happiest of Harry’s life; the first being their private and very intimate bonding ceremony less than a year later. Severus’ unwavering gaze and firm nod when asked if he accepted Harry as his bond-mate had filled him with the most unbelievable feelings of love and pride.
Harry sighed and scuffed the floor with his big toe. Why had Severus never mentioned the possibility of this before? Countless times he had witnessed the man shake with fury, powerless to verbally convey his most heartfelt convictions. Especially at the beginning of their relationship, when Harry’s Legilimency skills weren't much more advanced than they’d been in fifth year. How many of those traumatic practice sessions could have been avoided? If Severus had only thought to attempt this before, perhaps worked on developing a permanent form of Polyjuice, could they have spent the last thirty years talking to each other instead of using Legilimency?
Harry took a deep breath and swallowed hard when steady footsteps ascended wooden stairs. His stomach felt oddly hollow, despite bubbling with a sudden influx of conflicted emotion.
“Severus?” he called, taking a tentative step forwards, “is everything okay? I mean, you’ve been in there ages and I know you don’t like to be disturbed but – well – the thing is – ”
“Even the passing of thirty years has done nothing to improve your eloquence, Potter. I cannot, in all good conscience, admit to finding myself surprised.”
Harry’s knees weakened as Severus billowed into view, so achingly familiar. A million tiny buttons held the fabric to a snug fit across Severus’ lean frame, impeccably fastened all the way up to his pallid neck; smooth and unblemished, no trace of disfigurement. But it was the vision of Severus’ hair that finally took the last of Harry’s breath away, a cascade of glossy black that hung around his shoulders and fell menacingly across one eye as he stalked towards Harry.
He blinked up at the man into whose arms he was being pulled -- strange, enveloping arms that were stronger than he remembered. The biceps beneath the dark fabric were hard with sinewy muscle rather than left softer by the ravages of time.
“Oh my God,” Harry gasped, eyes darting frantically over Severus’ face as he mentally noted every missing frown-line. “You did it, you actually did it.”
Severus claimed a heated kiss before answering. “Did you imagine I could be unsuccessful?” he said, lifting one eyebrow with a well-practiced scowl.
Awestruck, Harry shook his head and traced his fingers over Severus’ throat, marvelling at the absence of the pinched, uneven scar tissue. Slowly, lovingly, he swept a thick of hair, dark as night, from Severus’ shoulders.
Harry looked up into eyes that bore only the faintest trace of crows’ feet and forced the hard lump in his throat down. “It’s so good to hear your voice again, you can’t know how much I’ve wanted to.”
Severus brushed his lips across Harry’s temple. “I beg to differ, else we would not be in this situation. Now, as fascinating as you may find this bizarre parody of a school reunion, the potion will not last indefinitely. By my calculation, we have little over forty minutes remaining.”
“Forty minutes?” Harry moaned, “It’ll take me that long to undo these buttons! I thought Polyjuice lasted an hour?”
“It does,” Severus murmured, kissing his way down Harry’s nose, “but I felt it necessary to spend a few moments reacquainting with my former self.”
“All this time and I never realised you were vain. You hid it so well,” Harry teased, hissing softly when Severus nipped his bottom lip. Harry’s vision swam before he was able to focus on Severus’ half-lidded eyes, still in possession of an unmistakeable glint; one that had never changed or dimmed in intensity, not since their first kiss. Harry couldn’t imagine going a single day without seeing it.
“They do say vanity is for the young,” Severus mused, each word accompanied by a firm press of lips that wrought a trail down Harry’s throat. “Which would suit me very well, since I am presently the youngest here.”
Harry snorted. “Only because you’ve been cosmetically altered. Besides, who says that? I’ve never heard that phrase.”
“Likely because you are an uneducated simpleton with a one track mind.”
Harry gasped indignantly as sharp teeth bit into the soft flesh of his neck. “Must be the result of spending so much time with you.”
“Insolent brat,” Severus growled, the melodious tenor vibrating through Harry like the rumbling of a juggernaut. “I believe you just earned yourself a detention, which, tragically for us both, must be served in the bedroom.”
Harry tentatively reached up, placing his hand against Severus’ throat to feel the vibration of vocal chords as the older man talked, each deeply growled syllable making Harry’s nose prickle with hidden emotion, a strange mixture of pain and joy consuming him. Finding Severus’ hand, Harry silently led him down the hall, and climbed the stairs.
Harry felt inexplicably nervous as he watched his lover undress; this man was not his Severus, not his husband of decades, but an animation of a ghost that had haunted his dreams and fuelled his sexual fantasies. Fantasies that were accompanied by fragmented recollections of drafty dungeon classrooms and the pungent odours of a thousand potions.
“What has vexed you so?”
Harry realised he’d been staring into space. “Nothing, I’m fine.”
“Then perhaps you might consider removing your clothes?”
Harry smiled and sat on the edge of the bed, pulling his t-shirt over his head. Severus observed with his usual impassivity, barely a flicker of emotion registering until Harry was stripped to his underpants. Then, he moved silently across the room, like a cat stalking its prey.
“God, I want you so badly,” Harry confessed, reaching out to entwine his fingers with the approaching man’s.
“So I see,” Severus leered, glancing down at the swollen erection trapped in Harry’s boxers. Harry pulled Severus down on top of him, laying back and moaning quietly when their cocks made contact. His hands wandered down to the small of Severus’ back, then mapped each ridge of his spine until he found the nape of his neck, fingers stroking it through the shroud of black hair.
Severus bent his head, nose nudging Harry’s face to the side and kissed the corner of his eyes. Harry closed them, letting his hands see for him as he determined each difference of Severus’ new-old body through touch. His forearms felt firmer; still lithe, but devoid of the papery skin he was used to. The hair on Severus’ forearms was softer, less wiry, like the sparse patch on his chest. His stomach, missing the familiar soft paunch that regular eating and a lack of stress had bestowed, felt defined and strong under his questing fingers.
Moving along Harry’s jaw and over his chin, Severus homed in on Harry’s mouth, thin lips and mischievous tongue demanding he yield. Reopening his eyes, Harry found Severus’ black orbs staring at him hungrily.
Kiss me, Harry.
Harry’s lips parted with a groan, his own tongue emerging to tangle with Severus’ as his fingers rolled the waistband of Severus’ pants down, hooking his thumbs in them and easing them over his buttocks.
Talk to me, I want to hear your voice.
Severus stroked an unruly lock of hair from Harry’s forehead and his eyes sparkled with amusement. What would you have me say?
Harry squirmed as sure fingers dipped into his boxers and coaxed them from his hips. Everything I’ll never have another chance to hear spoken.
Severus smiled into the kiss. Very well. How about, ‘I insist you shred the last laughable vestige of cloth protecting your non-existent modesty, in order that I may quickly bury my cock inside your still unbelievably tight arse?
Harry bit Severus’ lip in retribution. Not exactly what I had in mind.
Severus rolled his eyes in mock-exasperation, breaking away with a growl and kicking off his pants. He removed Harry’s too before settling back down in the vee of his legs.
“I want you,” Severus murmured, his groin bearing down heavily, trapping the hardness of their naked cocks together, “you are, always have been, and always will be everything to me.”
Harry exhaled shakily, wrapping his legs around Severus’ back. “Show me, then.”
Severus held his hand up for Harry to see, a whispered incantation coating it with wet, silky lubricant. Severus swiftly found his entrance and pressed inside. Harry gasped in pleasure, bearing down on the finger as it slid along his passage, urging Severus to add another, push further, go deeper. His prick leaked, and his spine arched off the bed when Severus touched his prostate, spreading shockwaves through his body. Harry grabbed Severus’ hair and pulled his head down to meet his mouth, his laboured breaths trapped between their lips.
“Show me,” Harry repeated. Severus’ fingers moved inside him, withdrawing slowly until Harry felt them at his entrance, reverently circling the stretched muscle once before leaving him completely. Severus gripped Harry’s ankles, pressing a lingering kiss to the inside of each one before guiding them to drape over his shoulders. Shuffling forward, his hard, heavy prick nudged Harry’s cleft impatiently.
Harry knew his body was a far cry from the Quidditch-toned, slender frame of his youth, yet Severus continued to drink him in like Harry was the most beautiful man he’d ever seen.
“Please, Severus,” he whispered, searching the pale, thin face poised above him, a face that held the same dark tunnels he’d helplessly fallen into all his life. Stringy black hair fell around him, turning light to dark as Severus claimed his mouth and his arse simultaneously.
Harry writhed beneath him, Severus steadily pushing deeper and deeper, driving forward until Harry could feel his full length buried inside.
“Open your eyes,” Severus rasped, and Harry did, not realising he’d closed them.
Instantly, his mind was filled with Severus’ thoughts, his need for Harry, his arousal, desire, and soul-deep love. Harry devoured it all, every emotion Severus shared with him, each penetrating thrust accompanying it, Severus’ black eyes boring into his, the connection between them stronger than it had ever been before.
Harry’s prick, purple with agitated blood, ached painfully for release as Severus adjusted his position and sunk impossibly deeper, dragging against his inner walls, his prostate, inflaming every nerve ending in Harry’s body. Hips thrusting mindlessly he cried out, compromising Severus’ rhythm Harry wrapped his hand around his cock and stroked it hard.
He fought to stop his eyes from closing, to keep the connection open between them, but his orgasm tore through his body and erupted so violently he felt sure they would have popped from his skull had he been successful. He fumbled blindly for Severus’s arms, gripping his biceps as he spilled over, come splashing hotly on his skin.
“I love you,” Severus said.
Harry’s prick continued to pulse as he tried to work out how Severus could be pushing the thought into his mind when his eyes were shut. He felt Severus stiffen, his arms tensing under Harry’s fingers as he shuddered.
“I love you, Harry.” Warmth spread through his insides, liquid heat from Severus’ spasming cock glazing the sensitised flesh, the exhausted, heavy weight of the man crushing his chest as he fell.
Harsh, rapid breaths caressed his ear, forming the same words over and over again. “I love you.”
Harry lay with his head on Severus’ chest, and listened to the steady, measured beating of his heart.
“How long?” he asked, stroking a dark wisp of hair surrounding Severus’ nipple.
“A few minutes, perhaps less.” Severus kissed the top of his head and held him tighter, but Harry resisted.
“I don’t want to watch – I don’t –” He ducked out from under Severus’ arms and swung his legs over the side of the bed.
“Harry – ”
“Please, don’t , I just – I’m sorry, I guess I really am a sentimental old fool.” Harry bit his lip as he stood on shaky legs, his back turned to Severus as he headed for the door.
“Harry, wait – ”
A rush of white-hot anger made him stop in the doorway. “If you knew it was possible - to get your voice back - why haven’t you done it before?” he asked, refusing to turn around.
“Take Polyjuice for the rest of my existence? Even if I possessed an infinite amount of hair, which I do not, this is who I was, not who I am now. I have no fondness for the past, for the period of time I inhabited this body. That epoch was filled with uncertainty and hopelessness, before the Dark Lord was defeated, before his faithful serpent condemned me to a life of silence. There are no happy memories for me there.”
Harry nodded, staring down at his own furrowed hands. His throat felt too dry to speak.
“Besides,” Severus said softly behind him, “I cared nothing for you at that time. What we share now, as we have grown together these past decades, means more to me, continues to mean more to me each day, than merely tolerating you as I did then. Is that not more important than clinging to the shadows of memories?”
“Yes.” Harry leant against the doorframe wearily and stared at the floor in shame. “Of course it is. I’m sorry, I didn’t think.” His heart contracted. “I’ve been a fool...” he whispered.
A few moments lapsed in silence. “Severus?”
His searching gaze found Severus just as the black hair grew longer and turned silver, the skin on his throat reddening and hollowing, the vicious scar reclaiming its rightful place. Harry stared for a moment, the realisation of what Severus had done, for him, emerging with rapid clarity.
“Oh God,” he gasped, rushing to Severus’ side and taking his hand, feeling the skin grow papery even as he held it tightly. “Severus, I love you so much, now, then, in the future, it doesn’t matter, because it’s all you.”
Severus smiled at him as the lines around his eyes deepened, and his face changed from smooth and sallow to softly creased and pale. Harry laid beside him, resting his hand on Severus’ chest, coiling the silvery hairs around his fingers. Severus’ arms pulled him closer, a light kiss pressed to his forehead. Harry stayed there long after the transformation was complete, eventually lifting his head to find Severus’ eyes, ever raven dark.
Harry smiled. Hello.
Get up to anything interesting while I’ve been away?
Harry pretended to consider the question. Not particularly. Caught up with an old friend. Glad to have you back though, missed you terribly.
Severus raised a questioning eyebrow. Really?
“Yes,” Harry said, reaching out to smooth it down with his finger, “really.”