|snarryhols (snarryhols) wrote in snarry_holidays,|
@ 2007-11-29 08:55:00
|Entry tags:||fic, rated: r|
THE SEEKER AND THE SOUGHT, for who_la_hoop
Title: The Seeker and the Sought
Word Count: ~4100 words
Warnings: DH spoilers, I suppose
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J. K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Severus Snape has been living anonymously in Rome since the end of the war, and never expected anyone to look for him.
After five years I thought it was safe enough, you understand. I had been living in Rome for most of that time, supporting myself by making potions and selling them through Owl Order. A few discreet advertisements in several different wizarding newspapers across Europe had been all that was necessary; my needs have always been modest.
Perhaps my mistake was in placing an advert in the Daily Prophet. But, as I say, it had been five years. Moreover there was nothing to connect my place of residence with the name of my business. "Princely Potions" as a name may have been a clue, of course, but something in me needed to have that one frail link to my past.
More likely it was my decision to stop disguising myself that brought an end to my self-imposed isolation. Not that it happened immediately; it was probably four months from the time I decided to end that part of my charade before I was discovered. The wizards of Italy maintain a somewhat different arrangement from those in Britain. There is nothing like the wizarding neighbourhood in London -- Diagon Alley and the rest. Rather, the wizarding establishments are scattered throughout the Muggle cities and towns, concealed from non-magical eyes by means of various charms and spells. A Squib or a Muggle can see them only if accompanied by a witch or wizard. Once I had become used to the arrangement, I found it quite useful for my purposes. It meant that I could blend in with Muggle society and make contact with my own kind only when and if I chose to do so.
I suspect that the neighbours near my previous flat thought that I was both bisexual and promiscuous. I appeared as myself only perhaps a quarter of the time; the rest of it I wore a succession of different faces and bodies, most of them those of young to middle-aged men; occasionally a woman, but that was only by mistake. It is, after all, impossible to tell the original owner of a hair unless you pluck it directly from someone's head. The one or two times that the Polyjuice potion turned me into a child, I waited out the hour of transformation and tried again. A reputation for promiscuity was acceptable, one for paedophilia was not.
When I decided that I would no longer keep up my practice of disguise, though, I moved to a new flat. Such a change in my behaviour, I reasoned, might attract unwanted attention in itself. It also pleased me to leave behind the impression of promiscuity. There had been a certain irony to it, mind you, that one so inexperienced as I should have that reputation, but there it was. The reasons why I had been -- not entirely willingly -- celibate my whole life were quite straightforward. To begin with, I was an unattractive boy who grew into an equally unattractive man. You see, I am honest about my shortcomings. Even had I not been thus unappealing, the role that I played for virtually my entire adult life, as spy and double agent, meant that it was far too dangerous for me to even consider trying to find a partner. A careless word could have endangered everything. And, finally, there was the drawback that my taste has always leaned heavily toward my own sex. I suppose that if chance had permitted I might have been able to perform with a woman, but the only one for whom I ever had strong emotions was Lily Evans, and she turned to the detestable Potter instead.
In any case, I changed my flat and my habit of disguise at the same time, and for four months all seemed well. The new flat was larger -- a boon for my flourishing business -- and it was on the top floor of the building, at the rear, so that the frequent presence of delivery owls was less likely to be noticed. For most deliveries within Italy I used pigeons, which served the purpose and were far less conspicuous. They weren't suitable for the larger packages, naturally, but for potions taken in small doses, such as Felix Felicis, a pigeon served admirably.
I permitted myself one day off each fortnight, generally a Saturday unless I had a complex potion brewing that required close attention on that day. Saturdays I spent in walking through the city, sometimes visiting Muggle shops, sometimes wizarding ones, according to my whim. Often I went to look at the ruins in the old Roman Forum, and contemplated mortality.
It was not there that I was discovered, however, but in a small café near my flat where I was indulging in a cup of espresso and reading through the latest issue of Potions Quarterly, which I had disguised to look like a copy of Dante's Inferno. I doubted that anyone would interrupt me to try to strike up a conversation if they saw me reading that. My mistake.
"I didn't think you were dead."
The voice was one I had not heard in over five years and had never expected to hear again. Hoped, indeed, never to hear again. Only my years as a spy, with all the attendant practice at concealing my reactions, enabled me to keep a firm grip on the tiny cup and not let it slip and go crashing to the floor. Instead I placed it carefully on the table, laid down my journal, and looked into the green eyes of Harry Potter.
He appeared very much as he always had. A little older, the lines of his face more mature, but still the same messy dark hair, the same spectacles -- were they the same spectacles? good heavens, you'd think that he could have afforded a new pair by now -- the same puppyish expression.
"Why?" I asked.
"No body." He had set down his own cup and plate, and was busily stirring spoonfuls of sugar into the milky fluid in his cup. I repressed a shudder at the sight. "I should have realised earlier, well, I did realise earlier, but it took a while for me to check and double-check and then to decide that I really did want to find out what had happened and where you'd gone."
"Congratulations, Mr. Potter. You've found me at last. Now go away and leave me in peace." I picked up my journal and opened it to signal that the conversation was over.
Being Potter, he ignored the hint. "Are you worried that you might be in trouble with the law? Because I can promise you won't be. Your name has been completely cleared. I testified for you myself."
With a sigh, I turned a page. I admit that I was curious as to why Potter might have done so, but I had no intention of giving him the satisfaction of asking.
After a pause, he went on regardless. "Things are a lot different now, back home. Kingsley Shacklebolt is Minister of Magic, and Percy Weasley is his personal assistant. Hogwarts is changing; after the way that almost all of the Slytherins acted, Professor McGonagall is talking quite seriously about eliminating the houses.
"Ah, I thought that might get you," he said with a note of triumph in his voice as I looked up involuntarily in astonishment. "Yes, it's true. She's still working on it. There are advantages in having the house structure, so it may not be suppressed altogether, but probably within the next year or two there will be no more Sorting the way it's been done for all these centuries."
I cleared my throat with a sip of coffee. "I still fail to understand why you felt the need to track me down in my exile and tell me all of this. I assure you that my decision to leave Britain was both deliberate and entirely voluntary, as is my resolve to remain here. Alone," I emphasised.
Potter sighed. He reached across the table as if to touch my hand, then apparently thought better of it. "Hermione was right," he muttered under his breath.
"About what was Granger correct?"
"You. That you're as stubborn and prickly as ever."
I laughed at him. "Why would you have expected otherwise?"
"I hoped," he said, suddenly angry. "I thought perhaps since you'd nearly died, I mean, we all thought you had died, me especially, I thought perhaps it would --"
"Mellow my opinions?" I inquired scornfully. "Hardly."
He flushed. "Something like that." He looked at me with eyes so much like his mother's that I could hardly stand to see them in James Potter's face. "I'll have to do this the other way, then."
"Do what, in what other way?"
"I assume that you can still practice Legilimency. I won't try to block you, so you'll know that I'm telling the truth." He appeared nervous yet determined.
"Very well," I growled. It was quite evident that I would be unable to rid myself of Potter until he had unburdened himself, whatever his confession might entail. "What is it?"
If Potter's sudden appearance in the café was a surprise, what he proceeded to say was a shock.
"I think about you all the time, ever since I realised that you were probably still alive. I'm obsessed with you, Hermione says, but she doesn't know the half of it. I want to go to bed with you."
There was no hint of a lie in any of his words, and yet I could not believe them. What purpose Potter might have in mocking me this way I did not know, but surely that was what he was doing.
"Why?" It seemed a reasonable question.
"I don't know," said Potter, his voice frustrated. "Believe me, it's not something I ever expected. I've known that I was attracted to boys as well as girls for a long time..."
"Yes," I murmured, recalling a few glimpses I had had of Harry's desires when I had attempted so unsuccessfully to instill the principles of Occlumency into his stubborn skull.
"But I never thought I'd feel like this about you. I can't explain it but I can't ignore it."
"And just what do you expect me to do about this ridiculous assertion?" I asked. To my chagrin, my cock was telling me in no uncertain terms exactly what it would like Potter to do about it, but I ignored that response. Potter undoubtedly assumed that I had certain abilities in bed, and I had no intention of disabusing him... which any serious sexual encounter was likely to do.
"Um." The boy was actually blushing. It looked far too good on him. "I don't think this is the place to talk about it." He nodded toward the Muggles at the other tables. "Couldn't we go back to your flat and discuss things there?"
"If you found me here, I expect you already know where I live." I sighed. I could either take him home now, and deal with this, or undoubtedly he would be pounding at my door daily until I relented. "Come along, then."
Potter stuffed the last bite of his pastry into his mouth and followed me out.
"It's nice," Potter said with an air of surprise as we walked into my flat.
"It serves the necessary purposes." I considered. "Would you like a drink?" If I could get Potter slightly intoxicated, perhaps it would be less irritating to deal with him. In any case, I wanted something alcoholic myself to cushion the pure shock that his appearance had caused.
"All right," said Potter, wandering around the room and peering at everything. "If you're having one, too."
In response I Summoned a bottle of rather good Chianti and two glasses, and made a show of filling both.
"Now. Tell me what you really came to see me for."
"I told you. You're all I think about. I had to," he paused and took a gulp of wine, "had to see you, alive, if nothing else."
"And if I said, 'You've seen me, now go away,' what would you do?"
Potter blinked. "Why, are you likely to say that?"
I managed to turn a snort of laughter into a repressive cough. "I believe that you are the supplicant here. Please answer the question."
"I'd follow you," he said with a disturbing cheerfulness. "I spent a year living in a damp tent, trying to find Voldemort's Horcruxes. I can perfectly easily spend as long as it takes to persuade you that I'm serious in a nice comfortable hotel with en-suite bath."
The insufferable brat would do it, too.
"Don't you believe me? Like I said before, you can use Legilimency to see for yourself. I'm not going to give up unless you convince me that there is no hope." Potter nodded firmly and finished his glass of wine. I refilled it, and topped up my own while I was pouring.
The mere fact that he was willing to let me rummage about in his mind was sufficient proof that he meant what he had said, or at least believed it was true. There was no point in going through with it; I didn't fancy giving him the chance to penetrate my own thoughts as he had done once before.
"It's not necessary," I replied. "You may attempt to persuade me without such means."
I expected him to argue, but instead before I could set my glass down, I had a lap full of Potter. He took the glass from my hand and then kissed me.
I can't really judge if Potter is a good kisser or not. My previous experience, after all, had been extremely limited. Nevertheless I found that the way he moved his lips against my own, his tongue flickering out to explore my mouth as he coaxed it open, was perhaps the most sensual and stimulating experience I had ever had with another person. I could taste the wine on his breath, and the lingering flavour of coffee and pastry, but mostly it was the sweetness of this unexpected and unabashed affection that left me with a prick so suddenly hard that it ached, trapped as it was by my clothing.
Potter felt my response, of course; he could hardly not, with his bum firmly planted in my lap. His mouth curved into a smile against mine, and he ceased from exploring my tonsils long enough to say, "Me, too," and push his own erection against my stomach.
"Have you... done this before?" I cleared my throat.
"Why?" He looked wary.
"Answer the question, Mister Potter." My lips quirked at so addressing someone whose tongue had been in my mouth moments before.
Potter chewed at his lip as if trying to decide what answer I wanted to hear.
"This is not a difficult question. Yes or no, have you been with a man before?"
"I, uh, yeah, I have." He looked at me defiantly. "I'm not that experienced, but enough to know what I'm offering."
"Good, because I have no intention of deflowering a nervous virgin," I told him. Let him make of that what he would, but surely he would not guess that if any virgin were to be deflowered, it would be myself.
"Then it's all right." He looked relieved. "That happened quite some time ago." He put his arms around my neck and kissed me again greedily.
I reciprocated to the best of my ability, trying to follow wherever Potter seemed to want to go. I don't know that I was particularly successful, but Potter made no objections, rocking his hips against mine.
It was flattering, no question, to have him so obviously eager, even if I couldn't conceive of why that might be the case. Using Legilimency would not have availed me; as I had tried to explain to Potter more than once in the past, that technique permitted the Legilimens to sense the other person's emotions, but it was hardly mind reading. It would have taken a great deal of time and effort to sort through the muddle of Potter's mind, find any relevant images or memories and emotions, and put them all together to form a sensible whole. Far easier simply to ask, and since Potter had denied understanding his reasons himself, I didn't bother.
Whatever those reasons might have been, though, they had made him most ardent. I debated with myself as to what extent I should reciprocate. None of the reasons for hesitation that I might once have had applied any longer: Potter was no longer my student, he was of age, and if I allowed myself to feel affection for him it could no longer imperil his life. It didn't take much convincing, really. My primary cause for hesitation was not that this was Potter, but my own lack of experience. I had no wish to expose myself to potential ridicule. On the other hand, since Potter was the one acting as the aggressor, I would probably never have a better chance to correct my ignorance.
Potter's hands were fumbling at my trousers.
"I never thought of you dressed in Muggle clothes," he panted. "Always imagined you in those robes you used to wear at school, the ones with all the buttons. I imagined the way that they could be undone one by one, slowly, so that each inch of flesh could receive its due in kisses before the next was revealed."
Hearing Potter wax lyrical was a peculiar sensation; that he was doing so over my scrawny carcass went beyond peculiarity, but I was in no state to object. He paused and touched my hair. "This hasn't changed, though. Do you never wash it?"
"Of course I wash it." I had my hands firmly planted on his arse by now, kneading and squeezing and pulling him closer. "Twice a week."
"Well, no wonder." He pulled a face. "I can get away with every other day, but daily is better, particularly when it's warm." Then Potter gave a huge grin. "I could wash yours for you if you'd like. If you have a shower?"
I rolled my eyes. "I do." There was something quite appealing about the thought of standing under the warm water with Potter, feeling his fingers in my hair.
"Then let's." He bounced up from my lap and tugged at my hand.
I wouldn't let him undress me once we reached the bathroom, however. I needed a few moments free from his touch to try to regain a modicum of control, lest I embarrass myself by coming like an overexcited teenager as soon as he touched my naked body.
Potter was already under the shower, sniffing at the bottle of shampoo, when I stepped in.
"Is this all you have?"
"It serves the purpose admirably," I said. "I was unaware that my shampoo choice was going to be judged and found wanting."
"Hm. I'll buy you something better," Potter said.
I raised an eyebrow at that. "Rather presumptuous of you, isn't it?"
"Is it?" he asked absently. "Here, step under the water and get your hair wet."
I did as ordered, closing my eyes as the warm spray fell across my face. When I opened them again Potter was looking at me and smiling, but it was no derisive or pitying sneer, rather an expression of pleasure.
"You look just as I thought you would," he said happily, running a hand over my chest and then downward, although he stopped shy of my prick for the moment.
He was quite attractive himself. Those muscles were never acquired playing Quidditch, and he had more hair on his chest than I might have expected, the rosy pink of his nipples peeping out through the thatch of dark curls. I reached out to rub the pad of my thumb over one, and he made a soft sound of pleasure.
"I'm supposed to wash your hair first," he reminded me.
"Then wash it," I growled, impatient.
The vaguely herbal scent of the shampoo filled my nostrils as Potter tipped some into his palms, rubbing them together and then working the lather into my hair. I could feel his focussed attention as if it were a force pressing upon me. Try as I might, I could not remember having ever experienced such a thing before, not even in my childhood from my mother. Potter's fingers moved across my scalp so gently that it was more of a caress than a massage.
When he said, "You can rinse now," a stab of disappointment went through me that it was over so soon. Nevertheless I followed his directions and allowed the clean hot water to pour over my head.
"You need to buy conditioner," said Potter disapprovingly.
"Whatever for? Given that my hair is greasy all on its own." I glanced at Potter and added, "Of course I am aware of what it looks like. It has never been something that concerns me overmuch."
Potter rolled his eyes. "If you washed it a little more regularly, it would be more attractive." He rested one hand in the middle of my chest. "Besides, in the shower one can find uses for hair conditioner other than its intended purpose."
His eyes met mine, and in their green depths I caught a flicker of his meaning. Hoping that my flush would be attributed to the heat of the water, I cleared my throat. "No need for that," I said, my voice rough with urgency.
"No," agreed Potter, his hand sliding down across my belly and -- at last -- wrapping around my cock. He urged me to step back, and I leaned against the cool tile of the wall as he sank to his knees and took my prick in his mouth. Looking up at me he began to suck.
There was something deliciously obscene about the sight of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, Saviour of the Wizarding World, and -- most especially -- James Potter's and Lily Evans's son, with his lips around me, stroking me intimately with his tongue, his fingers below toying with my bollocks and even teasing at my tightly furled hole. It had been years since I had been touched this way, and never with such emotion. Purchased passion is not the same. Desire hovered around Potter, an almost visible aura, and when I grunted, touching his hair, he moaned around my cock, sending shivers through me.
"Potter..." I tried to warn him, but he only took me deeper, sucking harder, until he had wrung the orgasm from me, pumping deep into his throat. He stayed there until it was clear that I had finished, then stood up -- I envied his youthful ability to remain kneeling on the hard ceramic for that long -- and said, with a smile, " That was just as I imagined. Thank you for letting me do it."
"You're welcome," I muttered as he put his arms around me and tilted his head for a kiss. I could feel his erection against my thigh. Reciprocation was obviously necessary but I couldn't return the same favour. No, I would have to stimulate him by hand; there I felt reasonably confident of my skill.
I reached down and began to stroke him. His flesh was hot and heavy in my hand, the foreskin moving under my fingers, peeling back to reveal the sensitive head, and Potter whimpered as my fingertip touched the slit.
To hear my first name on his lips shook me, but given the circumstances I could hardly object. "Harry," I said softly in return, and at the sound of his name he jerked, semen spurting unexpectedly through my fingers in sticky strands.
He leaned against me, still quivering, and said into my chest, "God. I didn't... I'm sorry, I don't usually come so fast."
"It's all right," I assured him, and moved us both a step or two so that the water spilled over our bodies once more, washing away all traces of his seed.
Potter, or Harry as I supposed I should try to think of him now, was like an eager puppy then, bubbling over with delight, washing both of us before we emerged from the shower. Then he insisted on taking me out for dinner.
"To celebrate a better understanding," he said, lifting his glass in a toast.
I nodded and drank with him and made no objection when he came home with me instead of returning to his hotel.
Somehow, he never left again. In the end I have to say that I have no regrets that he found me.