|snarryhols (snarryhols) wrote in snarry_holidays,|
@ 2008-11-09 17:55:00
|Entry tags:||giftee: venturous, rated: nc-17|
Fic: Just for Tonight
Title: Just for Tonight
Word Count: 9,123
Pairing: Severus/Harry (brief mention of past Harry/Ginny and Snape/Lily).
Warnings: AU only in that Snape survives, EWE implied, scenes of explicit sexual nature, angst, and some harsh language.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: The happily ever after that was so fervently expected right after the war didn’t quite fall into place. The Wizarding World is in shambles, and Harry doesn’t have the strength to contribute to rebuilding it, and no one expects him to. Instead, he is drawn to a place where he’s always felt the safest, and he’s not the only one who feels this way.
Author's Notes: I was able to use only one of your prompts, though I originally wanted to incorporate them all, they were so cool, and I tried to squeeze in all of your kinks. I hope you like it; it was an absolute pleasure to write! This fic takes my Snarry virginity. :D
Harry doesn’t tell them that he’s still having nightmares almost every night. He knows that if he does, it will bring up unnecessary and unjustified fears. For some reason, though he has a pretty good guess as to what it is, his nightmares are and will forever be associated with Voldemort. But he has seen loved ones die, and he had a part of himself torn away. The faces of the dead ones come to him every night, and he can’t shake the feeling that he belongs with them much more than where he is now. They’re not the kind of nightmares from which he wakes up screaming and scared; they are ones that fill him with incredible sadness. If he is completely honest with himself, which he’d rather not be in this case if he can avoid it, he would prefer the scary Voldemort-filled ones back.
He floats from place to place, but none of them really provide the escapism he desires. The Burrow is too full and too busy. Even after Fred’s burial, and especially because of it, they are all back and the house is constantly buzzing with life. Bill, Charlie, George, Ron, Ginny, and even Percy. They need each other right now to pull through, and there is love and comfort enough for him, too, but that’s not exactly what he’s looking for. He doesn’t really know what he’s looking for, actually, but it’s not the constant chatter and liveliness of the Weasleys. Besides, Ginny keeps looking at him with hope, and he knows that now that all the obstacles that hindered them before are out of their way, she’s justified to think things can go back to the way they were before, but he’s not sure they can. At the moment, he can tell her nothing solid because he has no answers himself.
There aren’t many more options for him. He can go back to the Grimmauld Place, but Kingsley insists that it’s not safe yet. Hermione’s in Australia and he knows he doesn’t belong with her family, because even she’s not sure whether she does. She says in her letters that the Memory Charm did come off, but he senses that things aren’t the way she would like them to be through her letters. He guesses that after having the Weasleys as pretty much a stand-in family, Hermione’s ever-absent one that has no idea what she’s been through doesn’t really fit the bracket she needs them to. Hermione needs solitude to work through things just as much as he does, so she’s not an option.
He feels fortunate that war has left everyone so caught up in their own pain and rebuilding that he is forgotten for a change. He begs Molly and Arthur to let him go his own way and not ask questions, and they let him. He can see the pain and worry in their eyes, and feels guilty to add to their already overflowing cup, but he promises to take care of himself and they can’t stop him. He is of age and they know he knows best. Loneliness, when taken as independence or freedom, is much easier to swallow than taking it for what it actually is.
He isn’t sure how he finds himself in the Shrieking Shack at the end. He has a room rented out to his name in Hogsmeade more for his friends’ sake – so they would know he isn’t living in some park somewhere, but he never spends any time in it. He starts off wandering aimlessly throughout Hogsmeade and somehow finds himself in the Shrieking Shack. It is as abandoned as ever, though now for a different reason. He walks through the empty rooms and marvels at how many memories one broken-down house can hold. What an incredible legacy.
Remus’s hide-out. Where Harry met Sirius for the first time and gained a family that was all his own. Where he found out for the first time of all Dumbledore had planned for him. For him, it’s a house of truth. He thinks fleetingly of the person whose legacy is forever etched here with a pang. A man he spent the better part of his life hating and can do nothing but spend the rest of his life thanking. Severus Snape doesn’t accept praise, though. He was named a War Hero and was awarded every medal and honour a wizard can be, but he simply shrugged them off and Harry doesn’t know where he vanished off to as soon as he was well enough to leave St.Mungo’s. As with Harry, nobody asks or tries to follow. He never had a chance to thank Snape, Harry thinks, but it’s not the kind of thing you can simply say “Thank you” to. He knows Snape doesn’t expect a thank you. He never had.
Of course, it’s no time at all until Harry comes to Hogwarts. He holds it off for a long time. The sight of the shattered walls and the last memories he has of the place are not something he’s sure he can stand, but when he finds himself in the shadow of its magnificent walls, he’s not thinking of the deaths or the final battle. He’s thinking of the time he caught the Snitch for the first time, and the time that Dumbledore announced the additional points in their first year’s final feast that made them win the House Cup. He thinks, with a smile, of Norbert the dragon – Norberta now, and the first time he met Buckbeak.
He’s not sure of the state Hogwarts is in currently. He had heard something vague about a rebuilding project to make the school accessible for the new school year, but he hasn’t concerned himself with it. It’s not that he doesn’t care. Hogwarts is perhaps the only home he has ever had and now, when his heart yearns more than anything to go “home”, it’s the only place that comes to mind. It’s just that he isn’t certain that he has the strength to lend. He feels selfish, coming to the place that has provided so much for him in its time of need for strength and with nothing to give back, but he pushes the thought to the back of his mind. Hogwarts will persevere better than any of them.
He gets past the boundaries easily. He’s not sure whether it recognizes him, or whether the tight security has just been slackened because there is no reason for anyone evil – those few left, anyway – to come to Hogwarts anymore. Either way, it doesn’t surprise him. He is, however, surprised when he finds the castle brimming with life. Not the kind of life he’s used to there, but life nonetheless. There are a few students, fewer on the weekdays, most of the staff, and a few parents that he keeps bumping into as he wanders the halls. Everyone’s busy with some sort of building or fixing up, and they’re giving him surprised looks. He can see they feel they have to say something to him – he had saved the world, that warrants some kind of agreed-on reaction, doesn’t it? – but they don’t seem to find the words. He walks past them and looks down, and they look after him, shrugging, marvelling. Things are no different than they have always been. He doesn’t care.
McGonagall doesn’t put him through any of that awkwardness. To her, hero or not, he will always be a student who is single-handedly responsible for half of her grey hair, like his father before him. She tells him plainly the state of the castle and the rebuilding strategies and plans. She doesn’t ask where he has come from or where he plans on going, but tells him that he is welcome in the castle at any time. Her heart aches to do more for him, but she knows that by doing nothing she is giving him what he needs most, so she says nothing more. He’s not the first wizard she’s cared for that brought down a Dark Lord in her lifetime, and it’s not the first time she's seen the world crumble around her in such a way. But she knows it gets better with time, and time is one thing she can give him.
Harry doesn’t tell anybody when he moves into Hogwarts. He brings the little stuff that he owns to the Head Boy’s room and stays there. The house elves come and go with his meals, and he is undisturbed otherwise. He tries not to think about what he’s going to do in two months, when school starts and he won’t belong there anymore. He takes it a day at a time.
Soon enough, he attains the habit of wandering at night. It’s simpler that way, because the halls are empty and quiet. Even the ghosts appear rarely, and when they do, they try their best to stay out of his way. When he first runs into someone he expects to see last, he is rendered useless by surprise and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. He startles and stumbles and gawks, and all of a sudden understands all the people surrounding him every day. Snape is imperturbable. Harry wants to say something – he knows there’s something that must be said between them – but he has no idea what that is, and Snape is not about to give any pointers. So they stare. Harry looking away, fidgeting, standing his ground. Snape calmly, unmoving, unsmiling.
“Good evening, professor,” Harry mumbles finally and thinks himself stupid immediately. He’s not a school boy anymore, and he’s not entirely sure whether Snape is even a professor anymore. In fact, he’s not entirely sure whether he’s not an apparition, because he is certain Snape has not been in the castle all this time unnoticed. Or has he been unnoticed only by Harry?
He can almost feel Snape draw in and stone himself. He nods curtly and keeps walking past, but Harry doesn’t feel it right to let him leave. He wants to speak, but he doesn’t know how to make the transition. Does Snape still hate him? Had he ever really hated him? Harry supposes he’s given him little choice, and it was happily and unquestionably mutual, until recently. He doesn’t know how he feels now, but he knows he owes the man walking hastily away from him his life, so he turns and catches up.
Snape looks over at him wearily, but Harry doesn’t speak. He decides that until he knows what to say, he’s going to show Snape the effort to be civil by keeping him company. Just for tonight, or just until he’s told to leave (which, knowing Snape, is going to be any moment now). At least he’s going to make his intentions clear. He pushes the thought that Snape probably doesn’t care for Harry or his intentions at all now and wants to get as far away from the boy as possible to the very back of his mind. He’s been pushing a lot of things to the back of his mind lately. It’s getting rather cluttered.
Severus knows Potter’s there way before Potter had any idea of his own presence in the castle. He hasn’t thought about him much – Merlin knows he’s had more pressing things to ponder since war’s end – but he does have a fleeting suspicion Potter might show up there as well when he decides to go back to Hogwarts. The moment he settles into his own well-hidden room in the dungeons, McGonagall pays a visit. She makes it seem like she’s there to welcome him back and catch up, but he figures quickly enough that she’s there for nothing other than to let him know Harry’s in the castle and get out of there as soon as she’s able. He doesn’t blame her. He knows she’s thankful for all he had done for Dumbledore, but Dumbledore is everything they’ve ever had in common. She dryly asks if he wants to take his Potions position back, and he shrugs and agrees. He can’t say he wants to, but he’s got nowhere else to go, and he’s tired of trying to find a place to hide that would be as good and familiar as the school. Hogwarts will serve its purpose to him like it has always done.
Severus stays up the whole night, sipping Firewhiskey and staring into the fireplace, even after the fire has long dwindled down to nothing. He had concerned himself completely with the boy for the last eighteen years. It seems, looking back, especially on the last seven years, that all his thoughts were constantly taken up with Potter’s every step, breath, and deed. It doesn’t matter how much he looks like James. It’s his duty, and Severus is good at duty. But that part of his life is over now. His debt has been repaid and his guilt has been lifted. Or as much as can ever be. Keeping Harry safe, however, has become a way of life, rather than just a way. Severus notes to himself with a bitter laugh that Harry has become such a huge part of his life he finds himself constantly going back to him. It’s ironic, really, considering how much he hates him. Or hated. Nowadays, Snape doesn’t feel much of anything that strong.
It’s not hard to avoid Potter at first. Severus has always preferred to take solitude during the night to avoid all the students. But when he bumps into him on one of his nightly strolls through the silent castle, he curses himself inwardly. He knows he should’ve known Potter would be running from the same kind of attention Severus is running from and would figure that night-time is the ideal time to do so.
It’s awkward. Severus has half a mind to just do what feels familiar to both of them and drill Harry about what he’s doing up alone at that hour and send him off to bed, but he catches himself before any words leave his mouth and just nods instead. He has no power over Potter now. He never did, but he doesn’t need to think about that. Potter’s not a student anymore, or even a child, and he’s not in any kind of danger. Plus, Severus supposes, Potter can take care of himself now in any case.
Severus is shocked when he starts walking away only to find Potter by his side, walking silently. He wants to say something, but somehow doesn’t want to break the silence and, uncharacteristically, doesn’t really find a way to. There is some kind of purpose to Potter’s step. Appreciated for all he’s done at last, Severus realizes, and scowls. He has never wanted or needed to be. He’s a Slytherin, after all. He might have loved Lily once, and a lot of things he’s done stemmed from that, but he did it for himself before all else. He needed to alleviate his guilt and to settle his conscience. The only person whose apology and thankfulness he’d accept now is long dead. She’s one of the only people, aside from Dumbledore, for whom he’s done something completely selflessly. When it came to Potter, it was never about him.
Potter seems to take his silence as acceptance and visibly relaxes. Severus decides to let him tag along just this once. He knows Potter a little too well to think that he’d just let things be. He knows Potter has a need for “justice” – oh, what would he know of a concept like that? – and will probably insist on having some kind of awkward, useless conversation in which he will fail in many ways to convey his gratitude and new-found respect, or something of similar nature. This way, he reasons, maybe Potter will find this an adequate way of letting Severus know how he feels and spare them both a very painful time. By not saying anything, Severus accepts and acknowledges. Potter can’t possibly expect much more from him. It’s already quite a stretch considering the kind of relationship they’ve had.
They walk slowly through the corridors, each seemingly off in their own thoughts. Every time Severus catches himself thinking that he feels surprisingly comfortable with Potter by his side, he reprimands himself. He doesn’t want to be comfortable with him. Too many things have changed as it is, and Severus wants to maintain this. Hating Potter has made protecting him a lot easier, and hating him and protecting him at the same time is something he’s become very good at. So he concentrates on the fact that Potter’s there, that he doesn’t want Potter to be there, and that he doesn’t feel comfortable walking in silence with another person.
The minute he’s not consciously thinking about that, however, his mind drifts off again and he gets lost in his own thoughts. He even forgets Potter is there anymore at all, though something inside him – that rare something within himself he’s not even remotely attuned with – is very aware of his presence constantly. It’s a part of Severus that chooses to stay invisible to him because it can’t be gotten rid of, and it’s much easier for him that way. That way he doesn’t have to spend energy he doesn’t have trying to silence something that can’t be silenced.
Harry feels like a creepy stalker as he pulls out the Marauders Map and looks eagerly for the familiar name. He almost doesn’t need it anymore. His eyes go immediately where he has no doubt Snape is, and he’s not mistaken.
Two weeks. But if Snape wants him to stop, he’ll surely just ask. When has Snape ever had a problem communicating anything he’s not happy about? Harry lies to himself, and he knows that perfectly well, and it’s just another thing he brushes off. He can see that Snape is highly unimpressed with Harry deciding to start joining him every night. But then again, Snape doesn’t tell him to leave him alone or go away, either, though he’s at liberty to. In fact, Snape doesn’t tell him anything at any point. They just wander the corridors and grounds of Hogwarts in complete silence for hours. They don’t say hello or goodbye. Most of the time, Harry silently falls into step with Snape, and the other doesn’t even acknowledge his presence.
Harry isn’t that sure what it is. He doesn’t know why he sleeps during the day and looks forward to their walk during the night. During all the years they’ve known each other, Snape has never given Harry any comforting words at all, but in his silence now Harry finds comfort. It’s not the typical sort. Not the kind that Snape gives freely or consciously, but rather the kind his presence radiates. Harry feels calm on their walks, and safe. He’s never even had a doubt he felt as safe as he ever had at any point since Voldemort’s fall until Snape’s presence made him feel safer.
He realizes he had been wrong. When he left his friends behind, it wasn’t because he was looking for solitude or didn’t want comfort. It was because the kind of solitude and comfort he was looking for, they couldn’t provide. And, inexplicably, Snape, of all people, does. He does in that he is there with Harry without really being there at all. With him, Harry doesn’t feel alone, but can be completely alone at the same time. He doesn’t fully understand it himself. He doesn’t really want to. His friends care too much to be able to fight their own demons beside him, rather than with him, and not try to take on his, too.
They’re sitting by the lake on a bench Harry guesses Snape has conjured up at some point during his treks when all of a sudden, Harry opens his mouth and starts speaking. He startles himself almost as much as he startles Snape, but it seems he can’t control himself. All he wants to do is hex himself into silence, but the words just keep coming. He starts talking about the first time he’s seen this lake back in his first year and the feeling of happiness it brought him. And then all of a sudden he’s describing every happy moment he remembers spending on the grounds. Becoming Seeker, freeing Dobby, his very first kiss, and his first great grade that made him realize he’s actually a wizard capable of doing magic. It’s spilling and spilling and spilling and Harry’s wondering why in the world Snape’s not stopping him with one of his venomous comments.
He stops abruptly about an hour later because Snape looks over at him. It’s not a side-glance or a blank look that he’s so used to. Snape actually turns his head and studies the person in front of him. Harry stares back and knows it should be awkward, but it’s not. He opens his mind completely, knowing that Snape would sense that immediately, but Snape doesn’t try to pry, though his body tenses. He just stares, and when Harry remembers to breathe and lets out a long breath and finally breaks eye-contact, Snape gets up and slowly walks away. Harry doesn’t follow.
Potter chats non-stop now. It’s like something that night popped the cork and made it all flow out. Severus is tempted on more than one occasion to turn to Potter and demand why he feels it necessary to share these kinds of things. Why he would think for a second Severus could be even remotely interested. But he knows that one sentence of that nature from him is all it’s going to take to get Harry to never come back, and somehow is uncomfortable with that kind of power. It doesn’t feel right.
Silence is a tricky thing in the way that it hides nothing, so eventually, Severus doesn’t have a choice but to register the things Potter’s saying. He’s disturbed greatly when he finds himself actually listening. They sit on his bench staring out at the lake every night, and Potter talks and Severus listens. Sometimes, Severus wonders whether Potter’s imagining someone else in his place. Whether he’s even aware who it is that he’s talking to when he gets caught up in his one-sided conversations. And even though he won’t admit it, these nightly talks are becoming... something. During the day, he shuts himself away in his dungeons, brewing and reading absent-mindedly – something he does when he needs to take up time and distract himself. He does everything the long way, and convinces himself that he’s living life as usual, keeping busy and doing what he’s always done. During the night, Potter provides company. Potter seems to need to talk and hear his own voice and remember without interruption. And Severus does one of the first truly kind things he’s done in a long time – he lets him.
He thinks he’s gotten too soft, but it’s hard to even try to care now. It seems to him that he’s had a role to play and he’s played it well, but now it’s over and he has nothing left. He doesn’t have a purpose anymore, and having one clear purpose was always a highlight of Severus’s life. He’s not the kind to just float along and go through the paces. He hasn’t been brought up in the kind of world that could allow that, having joined Voldemort’s ranks at about the same age Potter is now, and good or bad, it’s the only thing he knows. He can’t help but feel that something went terribly wrong in the fact that he didn’t die that night in the Shrieking Shack. To fulfill his role, do his job, tie up his loose ends and then move on from his ever-miserable existence seemed like something that was supposed to happen, but somehow he was thrown back into the world that had no purpose for him anymore. And he can’t bring himself to care – or, rather, not care – about the things that used to compile his entire existence. Potter seems to need him, at least as a dead-weight who can hear what he’s saying and not interrupt, and its reminiscent of having a purpose, so Severus shuts off his mind and serves it.
Severus is thankful enough that Potter doesn’t try to engage him, at least. But it seems that he requires a sounding board only for so long, and soon craves conversation.
“Do you hate me, Professor?”
Severus takes a long time to register the fact that he’s been asked a question which he is actually expected to answer. He doesn’t miss that Potter is staring at him intently. It’s like him to blurt something like that out completely out of nowhere, and Severus closes his eyes and lets out a long breath.
“What kind of bloody stupid unwarranted question is that?” he asks slowly.
He can feel Potter fidget nervously at his voice.
“I’ve forgotten what your voice sounds like,” Potter states with an unexpected smile.
Severus sighs and stands up. He doesn’t want to encourage conversation. They always end up on the bench, and when Severus stands up and walks away, it indicates the end of their date. Potter never follows, but today he jumps up with him. All of a sudden, on a bizarre impulse, he moves forward and places his hand on Severus’s shoulder. Severus jumps and his hand is on his wand in a second, and Potter jumps with him, looking over at his own hand, appalled. He blushes vigorously, drops his hand and looks down, seemingly as much surprised by that move as Severus is. Severus is not certain whether Potter had attempted a pat on the shoulder or a hug, and he has no idea how to react, so he just tucks his wand back into his robes and walks away. He doesn’t have to glance back once to know that Potter watches him until he’s swallowed by the darkness.
If Harry’s ever had equally inappropriate desires, he doesn’t remember them, and his nights with Snape are becoming increasingly difficult. Snape talks a little bit now, though the little he does say is almost of no substance, and almost always a reprimand or a retort. It’s forced, but it’s something. And Harry would enjoy it doubly if for no reason whatsoever he didn’t get the most ridiculous, uncalled for, unexplainable desires out of nowhere. Sometimes, when they’re walking side-by-side, Harry feels like taking his hand. The first time he realizes he is thinking this, he laughs out like a loon and scares Snape, who gives him a dirty look and doesn’t ask. It is just... ridiculous. There is no other word for it.
Every time they part, Harry clenches his hands on the bench until his fingers hurt for fear of doing something as stupid as reaching out and trying to touch Snape again. Snape had freaked out the first time he did it, and was completely right in his reaction. Harry has no idea what he was thinking or attempting to do. And he has no idea why all these thoughts just keep on coming. But still he stares at Snape for a long time when he’s not looking and studies his face and gets an uncomfortable, unfamiliar feeling at the bottom of his stomach.
He realizes that in truth, he’s never really looked at Snape before. What he knows of the man now puts everything he thought he knew before into perspective. He isn’t able to let all the hateful, venomous things Snape had done to him and his friends go completely, but he doesn’t look at him as a greasy, hateful, uncaring, and evil git. He figures even if he is half of that, he has better reasons than anybody. If he hates Harry, Harry feels it understandable, if not deserving.
He tries his best to trick Snape into talking, even if getting him riled up and charge into long angry rants is often the only way to do so. At least he’s allowing Snape to let it all out, he figures. He knows the older man is nothing like him, but he also marvels at how anybody can keep what Snape has kept inside all this time and still be sane and functioning. He’s much stronger than Harry ever imagined him to be. He thinks back on calling him a coward in the end of his sixth year with a pang of guilt, and remembers how insulted Snape was at that. Snape is no coward. He is braver than Harry could ever be, and Harry has all the respect for the man he once thought he could never in his life respect or even accept.
Harry almost doesn’t notice when the nightmares slowly subside, but he does notice when they are suddenly replaced by the kind of dreams he blushes to remember in the morning, waking up sweaty, horny, and often in need of a Cleaning Spell. He starts to blush every time he sees Snape now, and he’s sure that even in his big uncaring act, Snape is too astute not to notice the change in Harry’s reaction to him. But the dreams bring on even more pressing wants and questions. Does Snape actually taste like that? Does he really have a much larger body-frame than it seems under his completely concealing cloak? Does he really bite when he kisses?
Harry tries his best to divert his mind away from the subject and order his body to go back to being neutral to Snape’s proximity. He tries to masturbate to the image of Ginny, but it does nothing for him. She might as well be related to him now, she turns him on so little. And no matter what, her delicate nose always morphs into a long one, and her red hair turns shorter and black.
He is going insane, he’s sure of it now. But he’s even surer of the fact that he enjoys going insane. He walks around telling himself non-stop that Snape is still a cruel git who hates him, but that only succeeds in bringing on fantasies where Snape is rougher and more possessive and assertive, which make Harry even harder. He wonders what Snape’s sex life has been like during his life. He can’t imagine it’s been active, but Snape is still a man and he must still enjoy sex. Would he enjoy sex with Harry?
Harry shakes his head and clenches his fists when thoughts like that creep up on him. About that, he hardly has to wonder. Snape can probably barely stand his presence, forget any thought of intimacy. He thinks how ironic it is that he’s thinking what he’s thinking, though he accepts it. He realizes soon enough that no matter how wrong and disturbing it is, and how absolutely inappropriate and fruitless, what he feels is there and it’s strong and he’s never had the talent of putting feelings on the back burner.
It’s a night like any other when Harry completely loses the last strand of his sanity and does the unspeakable. They’re sitting on the bench in silence, and Snape has his eyes closed in a deep reverie, as he often does. Harry is taking advantage of this, as he often does, and studies the older man’s face. Today, however, he doesn’t seem to be able to look away from his lips. They’re moving barely noticeably, as if Snape is muttering something to himself, and Harry feels mesmerized by their movement. He wonders whether Snape would actually Avada Kedavra Harry on the school premises if he does what he’s yearning to do, or take a minute to drag him into the Forbidden Forest and kill him there.
And all of a sudden, he’s not wondering anymore. He’s leaning forward and pressing his lips to Snape’s. His mind is screaming for him to stop, to not completely ruin everything by his carelessness and inability to control himself, but it’s too late. Snape stiffens and Harry takes the advantage of his surprise to pry Snape’s lips open and make the kiss more demanding. But it only takes Snape a second to come to his senses, and the next minute Harry is sprawled on the ground six feet away from him, and Snape is hovering above him, his face set in an unreadable expression.
“I’m sorry, Professor,” Harry mumbles. He can taste blood and wonders whether it was Snape that bit him or if he bit himself in the fall.
Snape seems completely at a loss for words, though he looks livid. Harry sees him grip his wand inside his robes, and he knows Snape has half a mind to actually hex him, but changes his mind and does what he always does. He walks away. Harry is left sprawled on the ground, his head in his hands, cursing himself. He and Snape operate on an extremely fragile balance and somehow, Harry has managed to break it irreparably.
Just a stupid boy. Stupid boy who did a stupid thing and it doesn’t matter.
Except Severus somehow can’t convince himself of that. He can’t find a way to just shrug the whole thing off like he knows he should. Trying to distract himself with potions and books is no use. His mind is still reeling from what happened. Throughout his life, and not without good reason, Severus was convinced that nobody would ever want to kiss him. And suitingly, nobody ever did that he knew of, unless he paid them for it (which doesn’t really count as wanting).
It is the absolute last thing he ever expected Potter to do. Severus would be less surprised if he punched him in the face. In fact, sometimes he almost expected that. But a kiss? Potter can’t possibly have feelings for him, can he? But if he doesn’t, what could have possessed him to do such a thing? Severus is convinced even a mentally unstable Potter that he used to know – even completely screaming crazy – would never do something like that. But Severus keeps coming back to it – how desperate it was, how forceful. It wasn’t shy or unsure. Potter wanted it, and Severus wants to believe that.
He paces his study for hours that night, knowing Potter will be waiting for him. Or perhaps he is wise enough to know that Severus wouldn’t come anymore. He hates the fact that this affects him in any way. It was shocking, yes, but Severus doesn’t want to keep thinking about it. He doesn’t want to wonder why. He doesn’t want to remember that for one quarter of a second, before he flung Potter off of himself violently, his hands almost went around the boy’s waist. His lips almost responded. He almost forgot himself completely.
Severus is unfamiliar with the feeling of being wanted. Needed, yes, but not wanted. He has to admit, that for that short time when he almost failed himself, he felt somehow... he feels too weary to say exhilarated – that is way too strong of a word for him – but almost rejuvenated for a second. A little pang of excitement. A smidgen of want. Things he hasn’t felt in such a long time he’s forgotten what they feel like at all.
But no. He can’t allow himself to feel that. He knows the body reacts a certain way regardless of his mind knowing better, and he can’t let that be the deciding factor. He’s not a young boy overrun by hormones. Potter is Potter, and that says everything that needs to be said. He is a replica of James in looks, a replica of Lily in personality, and a constant pain in his side. It’s wrong. And Severus is more than familiar with withholding and controlling himself. At swallowing his feelings and letting his common sense and rationality shine through. He may find himself thinking of Potter in ridiculous, inappropriate ways when he’s not consciously choosing not to, but he’s a Legilimens, for Merlin’s sake! If he can control the intricate fabric of others’ minds, he’s certain he can control his own.
Severus locks himself in the dungeons, intent on not showing his face until Potter gets the point and leaves the castle. He is amazed at how much one single little kiss can change. He hates that.
Another two weeks. Harry knows he’s completely obsessed now and doesn’t even try to justify it anymore. He has more important things to worry about. The Marauders Map is his constant companion, and he keeps it open at all times, staring at Snape’s name on the map. In his rooms, no matter what time of day or night he looks at it. He hopes to intercept Snape when he leaves and apologize, in the very least, but it soon becomes evident that Snape has made a conscious effort to prevent Harry from being able to do just that.
Harry knows he should leave. Snape has made his feelings perfectly clear. He obviously doesn’t want to see or speak to Harry, and he obviously doesn’t approve of what Harry had done. But there is something at the back of Harry’s mind that’s preventing him from doing that. Because Harry’s sure that for a moment, Snape’s lips moved under his as if to answer. He knows that he should probably write it off as something he’s imagined, but he wants it to be true too much for common sense to take it away from him. At this point, common sense is completely out of the equation. Perhaps Snape is locking himself away from Harry just as much as he is locking Harry away from himself. To Harry’s harassed mind, it totally makes sense.
When Harry is sure that Snape is not coming out, he studies the map closer than he has ever before. Snape’s quarters are hidden, the entrance concealed by a statue with a password. It makes sense, the chambers having once belonged to Salazaar Slytherin, who needed utmost privacy and secrecy for what he cooked up. But there is another entrance. From what Harry figures from the map, the two rooms are Snape’s bedroom and Snape’s study. There is an entrance that is concealed by a wall inside what looks like a tiny storage area inside the study, and Harry doubts Snape would know about its existence. The entrance leads out, he is surprised to note, to a tunnel which leads up to a random place on the grounds not far from the Qudditch pitch.
He knows he should put all thoughts of breaking into Snape’s room out of his head, but he’s too far in this by now to be able to do that. He needs Snape to hear him out, whether he wants to or not. Granted, he doesn’t know what he would say, but any conclusion, if conclude it must, would be better than the one they had.
So that night, Marauders Map in one hand, Invisibility Cloak in the other, he’s standing in the middle of the grounds near a small hole in the ground he found through a Revealing Spell. What he’s doing is stupid and reckless, and he knows that the repercussions could be dire, but he shrugs it off. He’s already taken it too far. He may as well finish it now.
The tunnel smells of earth and Harry is surprised to find that the walls, ceiling and floor are all covered in some kind of black stone. It seems that this tunnel, unlike all others at Hogwarts, has been made to be somewhat elegant. He imagines Slytherin wasn’t be a man who would fancy crawling through dirty tunnels in the ground, thus making his tunnel easily usable and well-built. It’s a short walk before it comes to an abrupt stop at a small wooden door with no handle. He guesses it to be the back of the storage space.
He’s not sure whether to put on his Invisibility Cloak and sneak in unnoticed, eventually revealing his presence or walk straight in, and, after careful consideration, folds the Invisibility Cloak and places it carefully on the ground along with the Marauders Map. He’s already crossing the line of privacy and decency, and he is sure that appearing out of nowhere and scaring Snape to death would not help his cause in the least.
The next immediate dilemma he’s faced with is how to get inside. With no handle and no evident switch, it could be a one-way corridor, in which case Harry can only break it if he has any hopes of going through, or it can just swing in or rotate. Harry prays that it’s the latter and leans on it with his whole weight.
He quickly realizes, though too late anyway, that the wall is not made of wood at all, but of some kind of semi-hard carton, and it folds under him like a piece of paper. With a tremendous crash Harry is sure can be heard throughout the entire school, he finds himself crashing forward, bringing down shelves, bottles, cauldrons and all kinds of brewing utensils and landing on top of them. He can immediately feel the sharp pain in both his hands as they shatter the bottles of a potion that starts to sizzle and burn his skin, mixing with his blood and a sharp, overpowering pain in his stomach as he feels something penetrating it.
He tries to say something but only a groan comes out, and he feels tears pouring out his eyes. What a stupid idea! He deserves this, he thinks through excruciating pain. What could he have been thinking?
And then he’s not on the floor anymore. He’s swept up as if he weighs nothing, shards of glass raining down on the floor as he is lifted farther and farther from it. He doesn’t have the strength to look up, but he knows it’s Snape, and he can hear him swear viciously under his breath. He registers the anger in Snape’s voice and him calling his name sharply once, twice, three times, until everything melts into blackness.
He comes to what seems like a second later, but he realizes it has been far longer than that, because he’s lying in his own bed in his trousers, there is no pain, and there are quiet voices just outside. He sits up slowly and looks at his hands. He is shocked to see that there are no cuts or scars on them. One glance at his stomach reveals a big scar of a puncture wound, though it looks like it has had days to heal. Harry can smell the strong scent of some kind of ointment that radiates from it, and knows either Snape or Madam Pomfrey must have done their job. The clock on his bedside table indicates seven hours since he was down in the tunnels, and it’s the middle of the night.
The door creaks open and Snape walks in, holding a big vile of a sickeningly purple liquid. He freezes when he sees Harry awake and sitting up and then turns on his heels without a word.
Snape stops with his hand on the doorknob but doesn’t turn around.
“That was an inexplicably stupid thing to do, Potter,” he growls quietly. “When you’re better, I would like an explanation as to what it is you thought you were doing.”
“I am better!” Harry’s voice sounds desperate and pleading when Snape makes to leave again. “I feel fine, please talk to me now!”
Snape rounds on him and stomps over to his bed. Harry sinks back into the pillows, hanging his head. He’s not too old for a lecture, and he really deserves it this time.
“The only reason you feel fine is because I ran like an idiot throughout the Forbidden forest looking for a plant that is nearly impossible to find in pitch darkness, then crammed a potion that takes days to brew into an hour and then soaked your hands in it for two hours,” he snaps, glaring at him. “You broke four different bottles of potions and put your hands in the mix, which ate away at your skin and bones. You’re fortunate to still have hands, as these potions are not supposed to ever come in contact with each other and there was no known antidote to heal your hands.” He shakes his head. “Luckily, your stomach wound was not as serious as I initially feared. You pierced yourself on a silver dagger. Now do me a favour and tell me what it is you hoped to accomplish with that incredible act of brainlessness?”
“You wouldn’t talk to me,” Harry says, still not looking up, and can hear how stupid his excuse is. He startles when Snape sits down on the edge of his bed and puts the vile carefully on a nearby table. “I know it’s stupid. I just... I wanted to apologize.” When Snape still doesn’t say anything, Harry adds, “For the kiss.”
“Let’s not speak of that,” Snape replies finally, and something inside Harry clenches painfully. You didn’t want it, I didn’t–”
“I wanted it,” Harry replies quickly. “Too much to be able to stop myself in time.”
Snape is looking at him now. There is disapproval on his face, but there is something else, too. Disbelief, Harry realizes. It becomes very clear all of a sudden. Snape can’t believe the fact that Harry wants any part of him. It’s not Harry he hates, or at least it’s not the issue here.
Harry moves slowly. He sits up and crawls toward Snape on the bed, the other watching his wearily. Harry doesn’t want to get punched again, but he decides to take the risk. When by him, Harry stops and puts his hand on his former professor’s shoulders.
“Don’t,” Snape says, but it’s barely audible, and it’s not final. It’s not a rejection yet.
Harry leans in slowly and presses their lips together, bracing himself for the hit that never comes. Snape’s lips are unresponsive, but he’s not resisting. Harry leans away and whispers, “Tell me that again.”
“Don’t,” Snape whispers back, and Harry’s off the bed and in between his legs now, his hands on Snape’s knees. All his shyness and inhibitions of just a moment ago are gone. Snape doesn’t say no or push him away. He may actually want him. No, he actually wants him, and that gives Harry all the courage he needs, even if Snape is unsure of it himself.
He runs his hands slowly up and down the inside of Snape’s thighs, finally gently cupping Snape’s quickly-growing bulge. Snape is unable to contain a loud moan, and it drives Harry insane and makes him hard instantaneously. He pushes up on his knees and catches Snape’s lips again, his hand furiously working on freeing his erection from his trousers. This time, Snape’s lips are responding. Slowly and unsurely, but he’s kissing back.
“I want you,” Harry restates firmly. Snape thinks for a second and then seems to make a resolve. His lips become more desperate and claiming.
It seems an eternity to Harry until he finally manages to undo Snape’s trousers. He slides them off slowly down his legs and stops to marvel at Snape’s impressive erection before gently touching the head with his lips. Snape shudders and exhales loudly, but his hands fly out to Harry’s shoulders and still him, not allowing him to move his face any closer.
“Don’t,” he repeats, more insistently now. But Harry refuses to believe Snape doesn’t want this. His body is shaking and his breath is ragged and uneven. He reaches out and closes his hand around Snape’s member, placing his thumb over the head and starting to draw circles slowly.
“You want this,” Harry insists, increasing the pressure on his thumb, drawing another small moan. “I know you think this is wrong. I do, too. But maybe it’s the wrong things that are right sometimes. There’s nobody but you and me. There’s nobody here to judge us or tell us what’s right or wrong. So if you can’t realize this is right, tell yourself it’s right. Just for tonight. Just for now. Please.”
Snape’s grip loosens and Harry’s mouth is wrapping itself around the head and sliding down before Snape has a chance to change his mind. Harry’s hands are gently pushing Snape back and Snape gives in, lying back on the bed as Harry’s mouth slides up and down his shaft. Harry wonders if Snape can sense how nervous he is and how eager to please, though Snape’s moans are definitely reassuring. He wonders whether Snape can tell that he’s never done this before in his life.
He is stroking Snape’s balls now, moving his head faster, marvelling at the feeling of being able to make the other squirm and moan that way.
“Come here,” he hears Snape say loudly and obliges immediately, kissing his way up his body and freeing Snape of the rest of his robes on the way up. When their faces are on the same level with each other and Harry’s hands are roaming over Snape’s body wildly, he asks, “Are you certain?”
Harry jerks his head and drives his hips down. His own erection is painful in his trousers now and he frees himself of them awkwardly. For the first time since the final battle, he feels alive and happy to be so. His body is tingling with anticipation and he feels an overwhelming surge of emotions. He wonders whether Snape can feel it too and whether it’s a feeling they both desperately needed to move on from the after-war stupor.
“I want you now,” Harry says, looking down into Snape’s face, feeling his own flush. “I want to be inside you.”
He slides off Snape carefully and makes his way to the bedside table, pulling out a small tub of Vaseline. Hermione had given it to him a couple of years ago for chapped lips and it worked so well Harry had made it his habit to always have a small one on him. He laughs as he imagines Hermione’s face if he was to ever tell her how handy it came when he buggered Snape.
When he comes back to bed, Snape is sitting up and casting spells around the room and on the door. Harry reckons it’s a good idea, considering McGonagall visits him often and always comes in right after knocking without listening for an answer. Snape watches Harry as the Gryffindor scoops the Vaseline out of the tub and rubs it slowly on his cock.
Harry starts at the bottom again, kneeling in front of Snape and licking and sucking his cock before moving up his pelvis to his stomach. He kisses and bites his way up his chest, concentrating on each nipple, and then spreads Snape’s legs. He may not know from experience what to do, but it feels natural and he goes where his body takes him.
Snape’s hand is running up and down his chest when Harry lines his cock up with the opening and looks down at Snape’s face again. He’s smirking still, but there’s an almost-smile in that smirk. Something very unfamiliar and light in his face.
“Just for tonight,” Snape murmurs and Harry can’t hold it anymore. He slides in slowly, gasping at the unfamiliar overwhelming feeling and the hotness and tightness. Snape arches his body with a sharp intake of breath and his fists clench around Harry’s biceps.
Harry pauses to allow Snape to get used to him before he starts moving slowly. His hand is around Snape’s cock and begins a rhythmic pumping, in step with the movement of his hips. The sight of Snape moaning, squirming, arching his back and moving his hips up to meet his thrusts makes Harry want to scream and shout for pride, joy, and lust. He feels himself get close and reaches down to kiss Snape. The moaning and screaming into his mouth only make him go faster, his moves more desperate now.
He can feel Snape arch his back and jerk and he’s cumming with a scream, clenching around Harry so tightly it brings on his own orgasm. Harry is clutching at Snape, their lips stumbling against each other as their bodies convulse. It is the most intense orgasm he has ever experienced, and the aftershocks wrack him long after his cock is limp and he pulls out, rolling off and falling on his back, gasping.
“Merlin,” Snape whispers beside him. Harry agrees.
Severus isn’t sure whether to get up and leave or give in to his body completely and roll on his side and take the shaking, moaning, gasping boy beside him into his arms. Just for tonight. The words ring clearly in his head, but he somehow doesn’t believe them. Yes, it would be wrong to continue this, but it was wrong to start it, too, and to go through with it, so fuck wrong, he decides.
Until a few weeks ago, Severus was convinced he would be better off if he was let to die. He wasn’t even sure if he could find any kind of meaning or purpose to his life at all, but Potter makes him feel different. He’s not sentimental enough to say that he makes him feel alive or meaningful, but definitely something powerful that he can’t quite place. He crawls up lazily to lie vertically on the bed, and Potter crawls up beside him. Severus is amused to see that he is almost unconscious with sleep, so he pulls a blanket over them and lets Potter snuggle into his chest with an irritated sigh and shake of the head. Potter’s smiling as his breath evens out and he falls into a deep sleep, though, and Severus allows his own lips to be tickled with a faint smile as well, unseen.
Severus watches the shadows from outside dance on the walls and thinks. He doesn’t know how it can ever work. He isn’t sure it will, but he’s tired of weighing everything so heavily. If it doesn’t work, he doesn’t want it to be because he said no just because. He’s made this mistake enough times in his lifetime to know better. He doesn’t have a choice but give himself up to the tides now. He came to Hogwarts to find comfort and Hogwarts had provided an unlikely source.
He sighs and closes his eyes. He’ll take it a day at a time. Just for tonight is fine with him. It will be fine with him every single night after this.