|snarryhols (snarryhols) wrote in snarry_holidays,|
@ 2008-11-19 18:22:00
|Entry tags:||fic, giftee: jin_fenghuang, rated: r|
Fic: The Memories That Matter Most
Title: The Memories That Matter Most
Word Count: 2400ish
Pairing: Snape/Harry (Harry/Ginny, Ginny/Dean)
Warnings: infidelity, divorce
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Harry doesn't need the photographs in order to remember – but he keeps them nonetheless, his forever memories.
Author's Notes: The story is told backwards in four parts. Inspired by the photographs in jin_fenghuang's Snarry Games artWhen All is Said and Done. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed your art, Jin.
Thanks to my fabulous beta, who knows who she is, and to the person who came to my rescue at the last minute and found the perfect title! :)
Up against the wall – his breath caught in his throat, burning in his chest, his heart racing as Snape puts both hands on his arse – Harry doesn't need the photo to remember. He flexes his fingers and then touches the frame, tracing the outline of the wood before dipping down to press his fingertip against the cold glass. He has the memory, and he doesn't need the picture. He turns the frame down flat on the dresser and leaves it there.
The bed, the bathtub, the kitchen table, the rug in front of the fireplace – with the Floo left open because Snape was a kinky bastard who loved to make Harry squirm. There had been other times and other places, memories without pictures. Harry has them all. He could fill a hundred Pensieves, if he had to do it, if he had to part with the memories.
It takes longer to dress, now, than it ever had. Harry's fingers are slow with buttons and he leaves the top one undone, pulling on a sweater instead. It will be cold in the park – only November, but it's already cold this year.
Harry pushes his hair down until it lies flat, not bothering with the mirror. There's no one to see him but Snape and the pigeon lady who squawks as she doles out crumbs, and his hair doesn't behave any better now than it ever did. Some things never change.
Snape left the kettle on, and it whistles mournfully as Harry works his way down the stairs – taking them one at a time, grabbing the railing when he needs it, out of breath by the time he gets there. It's harder every day – and some days, Harry wants to move down to the ground floor permanently, taking over the kitchen with its light and its vast hearth and the smell of tea and toast.
It's comfortable, here, and Harry silences the kettle with a wave of his wand, settling into one of the high-backed chairs to wait for Snape.
He makes tea for two. It's a ritual as familiar as the back of his hand – as familiar as Snape's hands, even as they've grown stiff and weak with age. Lemon and one sugar for Snape, milk and sugar for himself, the clink of the china and the steam rising from the tea, it's familiar and solid. Harry folds his fingers around his warm cup and waits.
"Brat," Snape says when he comes up from the basement, bounding up the stairs with more energy than he's a right to have. "Keeping your own cup warm and letting mine chill … where is your Gryffindor gallantry?"
"You left the kettle on," Harry says, putting his hand over Snape's. "Don't you think that calls for a little discourtesy, if anything does?"
Snape drinks his tea standing. He watches Harry all the while, looking at him over the rim of his teacup. When he swallows, Harry can see the faint lines of old scars, white against Snape's pale skin. He tightens his fingers around Snape's hand and, when they've finished their tea, pulls him close.
"Park or river?"
"Park," Snape says. "It's colder by the river."
This will be a memory, too, though it won't be captured in any picture. Walking down the street, hand in hand with Snape, kicking at the fallen leaves – Harry likes to hear the scuffle under his feet, though Snape chides him for being as unruly as ever.
"Sickle for your thoughts," Snape says when they're sitting on their usual bench, leaning one towards the other.
"This is nice."
Snape's knuckles are a little swollen, his fingers callused from hours spent over a cauldron, his skin stained with bat's hearts and fresh pickled toads. Potions made for him, for Harry – years of teaching and years of toil, it all built up and left his skin permanently stained. His fingers are cold – he takes his hand from Harry's and puts it on his shoulder, clasping it in a firm grip.
"Yes," he says. "It is nice, to use your insipid turn of phrase."
Harry leans into his touch, putting one hand on Snape's thigh to steady himself, and Snape's fingers tighten on his shoulder. Some memories are made without fanfare or photographs – some things need to be remembered, and some things never change.
Harry knocks over the picture on the nightstand as he rattles around, dressing as quickly as he can. He's late already, and he doesn't have the time to fix the picture – and maybe that doesn't bode well, and maybe it doesn't matter. The picture of his two boys with Ginny, Al sitting in her lap and pressed against the bulge of her belly … Harry had them two months ago, and maybe he'll have them again. Maybe omens don't matter.
It's the same court, the same grim-faced old wizards, the same rules. Harry's done everything wrong and now that Dumbledore's not here to argue his case, he can't win. The manacles clink as he shifts in his chair, and he shoots a glance across the aisle at Ginny.
Lily's in her lap. The child she had with Dean is here, fidgeting and fussing, her hands fisting in her mother's hair – the children she had with Harry are off at Hogwarts, tucked safely away from him.
"Please," Harry says. "Visitation rights. I want to be able to see my children."
"You'll see them, the same as everybody else," Ginny says. She strokes Lily's back and doesn't look at Harry. "Summers and winters at the Burrow, where they belong. They're my children."
They're Harry's children, too – James Sirius and Albus Severus, named after the men in his life – but that's why Ginny wants to take them away from him. Harry fidgets in his chair, and the manacles clink again, but they don't know what he's thinking. They don't know why Ginny left him. It doesn't matter in the end.
When it's over and they all leave, Ginny and Dean pose with Lily for the photographer at the Prophet. They make the perfect picture of a family – and Harry isn't included. He's off to the side, ignored for the moment and then harassed by the reporters when he tries to leave.
"Mr. Potter! Is it true that you forced your wife into the arms of another man?"
"Are you impotent, Mr. Potter? Who's James and Albus' father?"
"Is it true that you take after Albus Dumbledore in all respects?"
"Mr. Potter! What about Aberforth? Any connection to Aberforth Dumbledore and his goats?"
No privacy, no life to speak of, no respect – Harry's fingers twitch on his wand and it's the work of a moment to hex the photographer, blinding him and sending him stumbling to the floor. Harry rips the film out of the camera and stuffs it into his pocket before he runs away – out of the Ministry, as far away as he can go, only as far as he needs to go.
Grimmauld Place is Harry's haven – dark and safe, still secret under the Fidelius Charm, still protected by spells and wards and Mrs. Black's screaming portrait. It's home to bats and doxies and ghouls, all sorts of vile things – and it's Snape's home, too. Harry finds him in the basement, his fingers fluttering through the air as he sprinkles powdered unicorn horn into a steaming cauldron.
He doesn't look up when Harry slams his way down to the dungeon – doesn't chide him for the heavy thudding footfalls that are enough to upset a delicate potion. "From your thunderous expression, I'm assuming that the hearing did not go well," he says.
Snape pauses, his fingers frozen over the cauldron. Harry doesn't say anything and Snape doesn't move – he waits. He's what Harry needs.
"Not good enough for them," Harry says at last. "Not a stable family environment – not a role model, whatever that means. I don't–"
"Ah." Snape stirs three times counter clockwise and then sets the ladle on the counter, turning to Harry. "Doubtless they heard a story or two from your days at Hogwarts, then."
It's not enough to make Harry laugh – not even enough to make him smile, not today – but Snape's there, wrapping his arms around Harry, holding him close enough to hear his heartbeat, and that's better than anything he could have said.
Snape's the only one to have taught Harry anything that matters. The spells that aren't nice, the spells that work, the ones that get under his opponent's skin, the ones that get results. It's his spell that Harry's using now, a shadow spell that Snape used for eavesdropping during the war.
Snape's the only one to have taught Harry – really taught him – how to be brave. Snape's the only reason that Harry's still there in the shadows, still listening as Ginny tells James and Albus that they're going to have a baby sister.
This isn't his home anymore – Godric's Hollow isn't his home now, if it ever was. The floorboards creak under Harry's feet and he's almost caught – but the floorboards always creak, and James moves just as Harry does, and he's saved.
There's a breath of air on Harry's neck, soft and warm. There's a shift in the shadows, a subtle change, and then he knows that Snape's there. He can feel Snape in the shadows beside him, there with him. Harry catches Snape's hand and holds it tight, and Snape pulls him closer.
"Is this what you needed to see?" he asks, his voice so soft that it's less than a whisper in Harry's ear. "Is this what you want to remember?"
He has a camera, a boxy little thing that he presses into Harry's hand. "She left you, Potter, not the other way around. Remember that."
A moment, a button pushed, a flash of light, and it's done. Harry and Snape keep to the shadows and the safety of the spell as they rush out of the house, their feet making the floorboards creak. Harry clutches the camera, but as soon as they're outside, he pushes Snape against the wall of the cottage.
Trying to catch his breath, he rests his head against Snape's chest, listening to the solid beat of Snape's heart. "Thank you," he says. "I needed that."
Snape doesn't say anything, but he's there – he's there, and that's enough. After a moment, his arms come up around Harry and hold him tight.
When Harry comes up for breath, he's kissing Snape. The spell worked, then – Harry has time for that one fuzzy thought before Snape is pushing him back, back against the wall. Snape's hands are on Harry's arse, lifting him high enough for a kiss, equalizing their heights. Equals now – they have both died and lived again.
Harry's fingers slide over Snape's skin, finding no purchase. He's wet from the cauldron, still slippery from his rebirth – but his heart is beating strong, he's alive, it's real. It's nothing like Voldemort.
A flash goes off. It's the light of the camera set to record the results of the spell, to tell the story if he failed, if he brought back an Inferi or worse. Careful experimentation – he had researched the spell – he had been almost certain.
Harry blinks, blinded by the light of the flash. It worked. The spell had worked, and Snape was alive – he was kissing Snape.
Memories of a loved one, soft and silver vapours wafting over the cauldron – a mother's blessing, soft words spoken in the Shrieking Shack before Eileen's ghost disappeared – and last, the kiss of an enemy, lips pressed against the surface of the cold water. Willingly given.
Harry kisses Snape again, lips against warm lips – it feels right. Snape breathes, and Harry kisses him willingly, kisses him harder. Not for nothing – it wasn't for nothing – and Snape's hands slip between them, stroking Harry's cock.
"Always determined to play the Gryffindor martyr," Snape says between kisses, his breath coming in short gasps. "Always jumping in to rescue someone."
"Please–" Harry arches up into Snape's touch, wanting more - needing more. He needs Snape.
Snape pushes him against the wall and holds him there. "You didn't have to–"
"I did," Harry says. "I did."
He kisses Snape until he's quiet, swallowing Snape's moans. Snape died for him once. He died to let Harry live. This is more – more than Harry ever had with Ginny – more than he hoped for. His fingers slip over Snape's skin and he clenches his fingers in Snape's hair, pulling him down for another kiss.
Snape lowers them to the floor, to the blanket that Harry spread over the dust and the bloodstains, and Harry traces the scars on his throat and kisses them, one by one. "Not a Horcrux–"
It isn't quite a question, and Snape doesn't let him finish. He puts his fingers over Harry's mouth and holds them there, rolling over and pinning Harry to the floor. "No," he says. "Just a promise that I made – a wizard's oath is stronger than a Horcrux, love triumphing over evil and all that rot. Didn't Dumbledore teach you anything?"
"He didn't teach me this," Harry says, rolling his hips and arching up to kiss Snape. "Teach me – please–"
Harry can't breathe now – just as he couldn't breathe when he was in the cauldron, when he tore off his robes and jumped in, trying to pull Snape out of the water. Snape has kissed all the air out of his lungs, and his heart is pounding, and he needs – he needs -
"For me," Snape says, slowing the pace. He pulls back from the kiss and looks at Harry. "You did this for me."
Harry holds Snape tighter, skin against skin – breath and blood and bone, life and memory. He wants to keep this, wants to remember it. A forever memory.
Snape's eyes are gleaming in the half-dark of the Shack, and Harry doesn't know what to say – he nods, and maybe that's enough, because he doesn't ask what Snape promised, he doesn't ask what brought him back. Some things never change. From the first day at Hogwarts to the Forest of Dean to the Shrieking Shack, there have always been things that Snape left unsaid.
Snape swoops in for another kiss, and he's crushing Harry's lips, his fingers digging into Harry's shoulders. He's marking Harry with bruises, just as he was marked with scars for Harry – just as they're equal in life after death. Just as they need each other.