|phoenixfest (phoenixfest) wrote in phoenix_flies,|
@ 2007-10-22 19:43:00
|Entry tags:||fic: alisanne, fic: nc-17, hp/ss, prompt 39|
Fest fic: Dinglepuffs Always Know
Title: Dinglepuffs Always Know
Prompt: #39: (from torino10154) Luna is a very good friend/close confidant/ex-lover(?) of Harry's and she uses her unusual ways to help him win Severus.
Pairing: Severus Snape/Harry Potter
Word Count: *gulp* 7566, meep!
Warnings (if any): het, slash, graphic m/m sex.
Author's Notes (if any): Thanks to the mods for being generous enough to allow my verbose muse the room to express herself. *sigh* Thanks also to my hardworking beta sevfan and to torino10154 for the inspiring prompt. :)
Dinglepuffs Always Know
On that fateful morning that changed his life, Harry woke up to find Luna seated across the bed from him, watching him sleep.
“Why are you up so early?” he asked, grabbing for his glasses. When she came into focus, he realized she was braiding the tail of her Kneazle. Harry’s lips twitched. The animal looked fed up yet resigned, a common look on its face, actually. He sympathized. He had to admit, being her lover was... different.
“Oh, hello, Harry,” Luna replied in her dreamy voice. “It’s good that you’re awake. Today is the day.”
Harry smiled. Conversations with Luna were never boring, that was for sure. “Today’s the day for what?” he asked, sitting up and allowing the sheets to pool about his waist.
“For you to go to him,” she said, picking up a pink ribbon to tie into the Kneazle’s tail.
“I need some specifics, Luna.” Harry reminded himself that her vague ways were endearing.
“Why, to Severus, of course,” she said, petting the Kneazle gently.
Harry frowned. “What? Severus? You mean Severus Snape? Why would I go to him?”
“Because you’re meant to,” Luna said, patting her pet one last time and setting him on the ground. “I’ve known for ages, but you’ve been really fun in bed, so I decided I could keep you for a while, especially since Ginny would have swooped in, but now that she’s with that other boy...”
“Dean,” Harry said automatically.
“Yes, Dean,” Luna agreed. “Anyway, so she’s taken care of, and the timing was tricky since he wasn’t ready before, but now that he is, it’s time.”
Harry blinked. “Luna, I’m confused. What does Severus Snape have to do with Ginny or me or even you?”
“Why he’s the one you’re meant to be with, silly,” she said, smiling as she stood up.
Harry’s mouth dropped open as she walked towards him, her breasts bouncing gently. Harry allowed his eyes to wander a bit. “Luna, I dunno what you’re talking about. Just... come to bed.”
She smiled. “All right, but we shouldn’t. If he knew he’d be upset. Still, if it’s only just one last time...”
Harry welcomed her back to bed with open arms, and as they made love, he couldn’t help but wonder what mad, mysterious idea Luna was harbouring now.
As they lay together after, Harry gently stroking Luna’s hair, he wondered how to bring up the Snape topic again. Try as he might, he couldn’t figure out what Luna could have meant by what she said.
“You doing it again,” she said, her voice muffled.
Harry grinned. “Yeah, me and my loud thinking,” he teased. She often chastised him for that, but this time it was her fault. “Don’t blame me. You had to go and bring up Snape, of all people.”
“Oh, but, Harry, it’s really past time the two of you were together...”
He shushed her. “Luna, the thing is, I like women. So how can I be meant to be with Snape or any man, really, in, well, that way?”
She nodded. “Oh, I know, Harry,” she agreed. “You do like women. And we like you, too. A lot.” He blushed and she ploughed on. “The thing is, you love Snape, so you should be with him. You can save him, you know. He needs your help. At first it may seem as if he doesn’t but he really does. And when he decides to keep you it’ll be so romantic... Well, eventually it will, at first it may seem a bit odd.”
“No odder than this conversation,” Harry muttered, sitting up. “So, wait a second. I love Snape? Since when? And what do you mean he needs me? And when he decides to keep me? Luna, this makes even less sense than usual...”
She sighed and stretched herself in a way that reminded him of her Kneazle before she sat up. “You still remember the first time you saw him, don’t you? How imposing he looked in those black robes with all the buttons? How those black eyes focussed on you so intently, made you shiver? Well, it’s the same for him. Not the robes or the eyes, of course, since you were in your school uniform and your eyes are green, but I bet you made him shiver, too...”
“Yes,” Harry interrupted. “I mean, I remember that day. Of course I do. Everyone remembers the first time they meet Snape.”
Luna shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know about that. I sort of remember him, a little, I suppose, but I remember Hagrid more, actually.”
“Hagrid?” Harry shook his head and glanced at the clock. He really didn’t have time for this. “Look, I have to go to work now, but I’ll be back this evening and we’ll talk about this some more, yeah?”
She smiled at him as he kissed her hair, clambered out of bed, and went to take his shower. When he’d left, she hummed softly and began packing up his things. He would need them.
Harry managed to put the odd conversation out his head for most of the day, but by that evening on his way home he remembered it and he almost groaned aloud. When Luna got something in her head it was bloody impossible to get it out, which was why he still had to sneak the occasional biscuit while he was out, ever since she’d become convinced that coconuts were trying to kill him.
When he got home, he stood outside for several minutes recalling the morning’s conversation and trying to make some sense of it. Finally, he rolled his eyes. Why was he bothering? Taking a deep breath, he opened the door and entered the flat.
“Luna! I’m home!”
He heard an indistinct answer from the direction of the kitchen and he walked that way, unbuttoning his robes as he went
“How was your... Snape?”
“Oh, he’s not my Snape, Harry,” Luna chided. “I thought we went over this already? He’s yours.”
Harry gaped at Severus Snape, who looked disturbingly at home seated in their kitchen. He appeared relaxed, and he was sipping tea.
“Potter,” Snape said, nodding politely.
Harry blushed. “I... er...”
Severus smirked. “I see some things never change,” he murmured, placing down his teacup carefully. “You are as eloquent as ever.”
“What are you doing here?” Harry asked, maintaining a death grip on the kitchen door frame as his legs threatened to buckle.
“He Flooed to come and get you, Harry,” Luna explained as she walked by. She handed him a cup of tea which he took automatically. “Everything’s ready to go.” She winked as she said the last.
“You... I... What? Go?”
Severus stood up and Harry reflexively pulled himself taller to try to meet his eyes. Generally Harry was happy with the way he looked, but right now he could have used some more height.
“May I have a moment alone with Potter, Miss Lovegood?” Snape asked, and Luna hummed happily as she brushed by Harry on the way out. “I expect to be the best girl at the bonding,” she whispered. “Hermione will have to get over it.”
With that, she was gone, leaving an incredibly embarrassed Harry to face his nemesis. Well, perhaps not his nemesis but one of the people who he least felt comfortable being around, for all that Snape’d practically sacrificed himself for Harry at the final battle.
“Interesting young lady,” Severus said, and Harry nodded.
“You don’t know that half of it,” he said ruefully. “Anyway, why are you here, Pro... Snape?”
A fleeting smile quirked Severus’ mouth and he sat back down at the table. “Take a seat, Potter,” he advised. “Have some of your girlfriend’s tea while I explain the reason for my visit.”
Blinking, Harry hesitated only momentarily before deciding he could at least hear what Snape had to say before asking him to leave. Plus, the man was actually being decent at the moment. He hadn’t insulted him at all yet.
Fixing his tea the way he liked it, with lots of sugar and milk, Harry pulled out a chair from the table and, sitting back in it, said, “Right. So why are you here, exactly?”
Severus tapped a finger against his chin thoughtfully. “How much do you keep up with the news, Potter?” he asked.
Harry shrugged. “I won’t read the Daily Prophet at all,” he said. “I don’t believe a word they print.”
“I see.” Snape looked unsurprised.
“I keep up in other ways, though,” Harry continued a bit defensively. “I work at the Ministry, so I know a lot about what’s going on in the world. Why?”
Snape pursed his lips. “You are aware that I do consulting for St. Mungo’s?”
Harry nodded cautiously. He’d surreptitiously followed Snape’s career once the war cleanup had begun, and he’d been pleased to see his erstwhile professor was doing potions research. Not that he’d paid that much attention, of course...
“My current work is investigating ways to reverse the long-standing neurological effect of prolonged exposure to the Cruciatus Curse,” Snape said. “As I work mostly from my home, I grow my own herbs and harvest my own potions ingredients whenever possible. This means my gardens are important to my research.”
“Okay.” Harry wasn’t sure what this had to do with him, although he imagined Neville was following Snape’s research with interest.
Snape eyed Harry carefully. “I have recently developed a problem that requires your rather specialized assistance,” he said finally.
“Me? I’m not really the best at potions...”
Snape smirked. “Indeed. I would be in dire straits if I needed you for your potions prowess, Potter. No, what I require is rather more unique to you. It appears I have a particularly troublesome snake infestation. While I have nothing against snakes, per se, they are disrupting my garden, and while they do not eat the plants, they do destroy them as they hunt, making it virtually impossible to successfully grow anything.”
“Snakes?” Harry blinked. That certainly hadn’t been what he’d been expecting Snape to say. “So, um, you need me to talk to them?”
Snape snorted. “Talk to them, scare them, whatever. I just need you to get them to leave.”
Harry sat back. “Oh. Well, sure I can ask them, but snakes can be a bit stubborn...” He held up his hand when Snape opened his mouth to speak. “But yeah, I can certainly talk to them. I mean, that’s easy enough. When do you need it done?”
“Yesterday,” Snape said succinctly.
Harry shook his head. “It’s a bit late, and I have work in the morning, so maybe...”
Snape raised an eyebrow. “Do you have time now?” he interrupted.
Harry blinked. “Well, I guess...”
“Excellent.” Snape placed down his cup carefully. “You’ll see it’s quite the... infestation.”
Harry blinked as Luna’s voice drifted in from the other room. “Harry, be sure to watch out for the Nargles.”
Snape looked inquiringly at Harry. “Nargles?” he asked.
Harry sighed. “It’s a bit hard to explain,” he said apologetically. “Come on, show me the problem.”
Snape rose abruptly. “Can we Apparate directly from here?” he asked.
Harry nodded. “Yeah, so if you’ll give me the coordinates, I’ll meet you there in a minute --” His words were cut off as Snape grasped his arm and Side-Along-Apparated them immediately.
“What the...? Why did you do that?” Harry gasped, stumbling as Snape released his arm abruptly. His eyes widened as he took in the surroundings. They appeared to be in the country, and he was facing a cottage, nestled in a copse of trees. He had no idea where he was, although it was probably still somewhere in Britain, he imagined.
“Where are we?”
“My home. I am... careful with whom I share the coordinates,” Snape said.
Harry sighed. Given Snape’s history, he wasn’t sure he could blame him, although the fact that man didn’t trust him galled a bit. “Whatever. You’re the one asking me for help,” he griped, rubbing his arm where Snape had been clutching him.
“Bringing you was easier that having to explain,” Snape murmured, brushing past him. “Well, do come on.”
Harry followed, grumbling all the while under his breath about secretive gits as they approached the house.
The first inkling of a problem came when a voice hissed what was the equivalent of, ‘ouch,’ beneath his feet.
“What the...?” Harry stopped walking and bent down, peering closely at the dirt beneath his feet. The dirt was writhing, and he pulled back instinctively.
Snape, far ahead, called back sardonically, “You see the problem? Tell them to stop crushing my hawthorn while you’re at it.”
“Errr...” Harry rolled his eyes at Snape’s back, then, stretching out a hand towards the snake, he attempted first contact. “Hello,” he whispered. It came out a bit like “sssssrheksss.”
He could only just see beady eyes blinking up at him.
Harry smiled. This ought to be a piece of cake. “Hullo. So, um, why are you and your friends gathered here, scaled one?” he asked, concentrating on the snake’s face so as not to slip out of Parseltongue.
“Our friend sssent ussss to ssstay until the sssnakessspeaker came,” was the surprising answer.
“Your friend?” Harry frowned. “Who’s your friend? And why were you were waiting for me?”
The snake rippled, the movement somehow approximating a shrug. “We cannot sssay assss he aasssked usss not to. But we will leave, ssssnakessspeaker,” it hissed. “And asss long asss you remain, we ssshall ssstay away alssso.”
“If I... what?” But the snake was already gone, having slithered away into a bush. Harry could hear whispering that made him realize that there were more snakes nearby.
Harry started, standing up and walking towards the house. It was now so dark that he could barely see the path, and he had to cast Lumos to make his way to the cottage.
He knocked on the door and it opened immediately. “Well?” Snape asked.
Harry walked in. “Right, well, I talked to one and as near as I can tell, they were sent here,” he said.
Snape frowned. “Sent here? By whom?”
“A friend, it said.”
Snape shook his head. “Whatever. So did you tell them to leave?”
“Actually, I didn’t have to.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, it said that they were told to leave when I got here.”
Snape glared at him balefully. “Oh, your ego has grown even bigger, hasn’t it?” he sniped. “Now you expect me to believe that even the snakes have heard of you? Bloody cheek...”
Harry rolled his eyes. “No,” he said. “What it said was they had been instructed to wait for ‘the snakespeaker’, then leave.”
Snape scowled at him. “So now that you’re here they shall leave?” He nodded. “Very well. I suppose I should thank y--”
Harry held up a hand. “Not yet,” he said. “I didn’t tell you all that it said.”
Snape narrowed his eyes. “Why do I have the feeling that this is about to get worse?” he muttered. Shaking his head as Harry began to reply, he said, “Come through to the kitchen. I suspect I’ll need to be sitting down for this.”
The kitchen was a bright, cheery place, with spotless countertops and everything stacked neatly in its place. Snape busied himself making tea, and after a minute, handed Harry a cup.
Harry sipped it, surprised that Snape had somehow managed to replicate his perfect cuppa exactly.
Settling into a chair, Snape drank his tea thoughtfully. “Well?” he finally said. “What is it? What else did the snake say?”
Harry repeated the earlier conversation he’d had with the snake, and of course Snape immediately picked up on the most relevant bit. “You’re saying that some mystery person sent them, and they will stay away only while you are here?” he asked.
Harry nodded. “That’s what it said. Now, I suppose it could be lying, but I doubt it. I think that they’ll just return when I leave.”
Snape shook his head. “Utterly unacceptable,” he said. “My experiments are at a very delicate stage, and I cannot be tiptoeing round snakes and having them destroy my delicate plants.”
“Erm, well, I’ll see if I can talk to them again...” Harry started.
“No, this is what has to happen,” Snape said. “I don’t have time to wait to see if they actually do stay away. Clearly, you shall just have to stay here until my experiments are complete. You can be my research assistant.”
Harry’s mouth fell open. “What? But, I can’t! I have a job, a life!”
Snape flicked an invisible speck of dust off his sleeve and stood up. “This is important work I’m doing here, Potter. I think you’ll find that I can make it so that this becomes your job. As for your life...” Snape smiled unpleasantly. “I believe your girlfriend turned you over to me.”
“What? No way. She wasn’t serious! She was just being Luna. Surely you can’t have believed all that she said...”
“About us being meant to be together?” Snape smirked. “Certainly not. Yet, it is in my best interests for you to remain here until I conclude my experiments, so I am willing to tolerate your presence.”
Harry stood up. “This is ridiculous,” he said. “I’m going home.”
Closing his eyes, he concentrated hard on his home, but no familiar squeezing sensation engulfed him, and after a few moments, he asked, hands clenched, “You have an anti-Apparation field up, don’t you?”
“Of course I do. My research is very sensitive. I cannot allow it to fall into the wrong hands.” Snape stood up, his chair scraping against the floor. “My wards are up as well, so you shan’t be leaving that way.”
“The Floo, then!”
“Closed for the evening. I value my privacy. I’ll bring you some blankets. You can sleep on the couch.”
“I work for the Ministry. This is kidnapping! You can’t just keep me here!”
Snape smirked. “I think you’ll find I can,” he purred. “Now, enough melodrama. Get some sleep, Potter. Breakfast is at seven sharp. Since you’ll be staying, you can at least earn your keep.”
“I already have a job so I earn my keep just fine!” Harry snapped, but Snape ignored him, walking out of the room with robes swirling. “Not that you’ll be ‘keeping’ me anyway,” he muttered under his breath.
Harry had evidently underestimated Snape’s paranoia, however. The cottage was locked up tight by both magical and mundane methods. Harry couldn’t even break a window, and he tried.
“Are you done?” Snape asked sardonically thirty minutes later after Harry had thrown his third chair at the window.
Harry couldn’t even look at Snape he was so angry. “I’ll see you in Azkaban for this,” he growled.
Snape laughed mockingly. “Potter, I was one of Voldemort’s lieutenants and I walk free. What have I done to you that warrants Azkaban when that did not?” Placing a bundle of sheets, a blanket and a pillow on the table, he walked away. “There’s a sofa in the other room. Sleep, or not, I don’t care, just be ready to work in the morning.”
Harry slammed himself down onto the chair and crossed his arms. “I’m not doing anything until you let me go,” he said mulishly.
“We shall see,” Snape murmured.
“Yes, we will!” Harry snapped back.
Snape didn’t reply as he left, but the triumphant smirk on his face said it all. It was a long time before Harry, very reluctantly, found the sofa and slept.
Harry woke up to sound of voices, and for a moment he was disoriented. It was only seconds before he remembered the prior evening, however, and he sat up. He’d been lying on the sofa, and at some point someone (he refused to think it was Snape) had covered him with a blanket, tucking him in.
Wiping his face, Harry extricated himself from the blankets and went in search of the origin of the voices. Perhaps he could appeal to the person Snape was talking to.
Rounding the corner, he skidded to a stop. A wide smile broke out over his face. “Tonks,” he cried. “Thank Merlin!”
“Wotcher, Harry!” Tonks beamed at him. “Snape here tells me that you’ve already started working with him on the project. Excellent!”
Harry’s eyes widened. “What? Look, he practically kid--”
“Yes, Potter’s been quite helpful. His specialized skills are invaluable.” Snape managed to say that with a straight face, and before Harry could give voice to his outrage, Tonks was heaving a sigh of relief.
“Brilliant. Well I was going to tell you today, Harry, but Snape beat me to it. I’m assigning you to Snape for the duration of his project. I understand you’ve already moved in, so that’s taken care of. Do you have things there or do you need them sent?”
Harry was beginning to feel as though he was dreaming. “No! I don’t, I have to...”
Snape held up some familiar looking bags, and Harry stuttered to a stop, a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.
“Your Miss Lovegood delivered these by Floo this morning,” Snape said. “She led me to believe that they contain all of your portable belongings. She offered to pass through your furniture, but I informed her that I had adequate amounts of that and yours would not be needed.”
“Right, looks like you two have it all sorted. I’m off, then. Harry just shoot me a report every week or so, yeah?” With that, Tonks was gone and Harry was left staring incredulously at the empty Floo.
“As I said last night,” Snape murmured as he walked past, “this will be your new job. First things first, however. Wash your face; you look as though you’ve been drooling in your sleep.”
Harry followed, grumbling loudly about supercilious overbearing gits, but he did wash his face.
After their rocky start, they settled into a routine. Harry got up about seven each morning to go outside and look for snakes. There was always at least one, and that snake never said anything, just nodded at Harry gravely and glided away with a flip of its tail.
Snape did all the cooking, saying he didn’t trust Harry not to poison them, which was fine with Harry. He’d done enough cooking to last a lifetime.
Snape turned out to be a good cook, much better than Luna, who had tended to prepare fairly experimental meals involving odd vegetables. Soon, Harry was actually looking forward to the meals he shared with Snape.
At first they didn’t talk much, except for Snape to assign Harry with a task each day. Generally it involved ingredient preparation, and while it was usually messy, it wasn’t too strenuous. Harry didn’t really mind chopping things up, after all, since it gave him a chance to think. All in all, this assignment was turning out to be a plum one.
When he thought back on it, Harry decided he wasn’t too proud of the way he’d acted that first night, but he never could find the words to apologize, and he wasn’t sure Snape would accept it anyway, so he didn’t. Snape never mentioned it again either, although Harry did occasionally catch him eyeing him speculatively.
Harry was given his own room down the hall from Snape’s, and it was relatively comfortable. He’d unpacked his things after the first two days, and, surprisingly, it felt like home.
One thing Harry missed, however, was human contact. He knew he wasn’t in love with Luna, he’d known that for a long time, but he did miss the sex, which had been fun. Snape wasn’t exactly the ideal companion, but he was all Harry had access to, so he did try to make an effort to be cordial.
Things thawed between them after the first week. Apparently Snape’s research was going well, and when, one evening, Snape offered Harry a glass of wine with dinner, Harry accepted.
The meal that night was simple, consisting of roast beef, root vegetables, and potatoes. The bottle of red wine Snape opened was a good accompaniment, and after his second goblet, Harry was feeling quite mellow. Evidently, so was Snape.
“You did an adequate job in preparing the Bobotuber today, Potter,” he said as he waved his wand to clear the dishes.
Harry’s mouth fell open. “I... er... thanks,” he said. This had to be a first. He hesitated, but, emboldened by the wine, he decided it was time he asked some questions. “How is the project going, anyway?”
Snape sighed. “I have been making some headway, but I have been unable to stabilize certain components of the potion.”
“Do you have any clues on how to do that?” Harry asked.
Snape pursed his lips and stared at Harry for long moment. Finally he nodded as if coming to a conclusion. “Come with me,” he said, rising.
Harry followed Snape down the hall towards his office. Typically the room was warded; this was going to be Harry’s first time inside.
Muttering a spell, Snape opened the door and gestured for Harry to enter. “Sit down. I have been scouring manuscripts, looking to see if any of the ancient Potions masters came up with a solution to this dilemma. I have here a collection of books and manuscripts dating back several centuries, all to do with nerve damage and other effects of the Cruciatus.”
“The spell’s been around that long?” Harry asked, settling into one of the comfortable leather chairs.
Snape sighed. “Indeed, the Cruciatus is one of the oldest curses known to wizarding kind, predating even the founders. Many mediwizards have tried to study and reverse its effects, but to no avail.”
Nodding his interest, Harry also took the opportunity to study Snape’s inner sanctum. There were innumerable books, of course, but also scattered periodicals, newspapers and journals. Most of the books appeared to be serious tomes, and Harry wondered what the man did for fun.
“Firewhisky?” Snape offered, and Harry nodded.
As he sipped, Harry’s eyes slid over a collection of books and parchments, and something on the cover of the largest book seemed to move, capturing his attention. He leaned forward for a closer look, and Snape saw what he was gazing at.
“I got that collection on a raid of the MacNair estate,” he said. “Some Ministry fools were about to destroy them, but I managed to rescue most of the papers. It’s indecipherable, unfortunately, as it’s all in an unrecognizable language. I hope to decipher them one day.”
Harry’s mouth fell open. “You can’t read that?” he asked.
Snape narrowed his eyes. “Clearly I cannot. Are you saying that you can?”
Harry nodded, leaning down and picking up the book on top of the pile. He opened it. “Yes, it’s as plain as the words in any other old book. The letters are shaped a bit oddly, but it’s like that old-fashioned English, you know?”
Snape blinked. “No, I do not know. That is not in any language that I have ever seen.” He hesitated, and Harry’s eyes caught on the movement of his throat as Snape swallowed some Firewhisky.
“What does it say?” Snape finally asked.
Taking a sip of his own drink to try to relieve the sudden dryness in his throat, Harry began to read, and after the first few words Snape said, “By Merlin’s beard, Potter, if you’re playing with me...”
“Playing? I dunno what you’re talking about.” Harry looked up guilelessly, and Snape stared at him for a long moment before nodding almost imperceptibly.
“You have no idea what this means, do you?” he said.
Puzzled, Harry shrugged. “Not really,” he said.
“Indeed. Well, you’re reading something that sounds like Parseltongue, which means these are probably the lost manuscripts of Salazar Slytherin. His research is now accessible to me, through you. Continue. See if you can mentally translate it into English before you speak so that I can understand.”
Dropping his eyes back to the book, Harry read the line once, then looked up at Snape and repeated it in English. Snape closed his eyes and smiled.
“It appears I’m taking you off ingredient preparation, Potter,” he said, the harsh planes of his face oddly softened by the candlelight. “You shall be helping me with research.”
‘Research’ proved to be far more interesting than ingredient preparation, Harry discovered.
Snape had a sharp mind, Harry knew that, but working closely with him to translate old manuscripts gave Harry a chance to appreciate just how witty he was as well. It was especially gratifying when that wit wasn’t directed against him, and his acerbic comments often had Harry laughing out loud.
Harry now found it was a pleasure to get up and clear the garden of snakes before coming in to begin looking through manuscripts. They were trying to be systematic about it, and they were cataloguing their findings as they went along.
“Hermione would love this,” Harry muttered one day, as he placed yet another parchment into the classified pile. “It’s got more about elf magic than anything I’ve ever seen.”
Snape shook his head. “Is Mrs. Granger-Weasley still on that kick? I knew she was quite the activist when she was a student at Hogwarts, but I thought her Auror studies would not allow her time for that.”
Smiling, Harry said, “Hermione makes the time. Once she gets something in her mind, it’s almost impossible for her to let it go.”
“Stubborn,” Snape observed. “Like most Gryffindors.”
“Not most!” Harry felt oddly insulted. “We’re pretty flexible, actually. And if someone proves we were wrong, we admit it.”
“Is that so?” Snape asked. “So you have forgiven me for ‘trapping’ you here that first night?”
Harry flushed. He’d almost forgotten. “It wasn’t very nice how you did it, but yes,” he said. “That’s all forgotten. I’m guessing you knew ahead of time that Tonks had assigned me to you?”
Snape smirked and nodded. “I had visited the Ministry the day before I went to your flat. Tonks offered to contact you, but I wanted to make the arrangements myself.”
Snape hesitated, and Harry waited.
“I wasn’t sure that you would be willing to meet with me at all,” Snape finally admitted. “Our history is... spotty at best, and you must admit, this assignment is not exactly exciting. It requires someone who is willing to be secluded for a potentially long period of time. I wasn’t sure you would be willing to leave your... Miss Lovegood.”
Harry shrugged. “Luna is... well, you know her. She’s a good friend but she’s not... we’re not... Anyway, it’s been kind of nice being away from the hustle and bustle of London, actually. And the research is interesting.”
Snape pursed his lips. “Interesting? Research? Careful, Mr. Potter,” he said, the movement of his hands oddly mesmerizing. “You may cause me to believe that a lion can actually be trained.”
Smiling, Harry just kept sorting manuscripts.
“So have you kissed him yet?” Luna asked, tilting her head.
Harry rolled his eyes. “It’s not like that, Luna,” he said. “I know you think we’re supposed to be together, but we’re not.”
“But you want to be,” Luna said, a smile playing about her lips.
Harry’s mouth opened but nothing came out.
“So what’s stopping you?” she asked. “Just kiss him.”
“It’s not that simple,” he groaned. “It’s Snape! He’s not exactly the sort of bloke you can just go up to and say, ‘fancy a snog?’, you know? He’s likely to hex me, and it’s so secluded up here, no one will ever find me.”
The flames in the Floo danced as if they, too, were laughing at him.
“I should think the seclusion would make it even easier to get close to him, Harry,” Luna said. “The Dinglepuff herds up there would make it quite romantic.”
Harry sighed. “Luna, I’m being serious here...”
She waved her hand. “Oh, I know you can’t see them, but they are there. I like them, though, since they only flourish in the presence of deep, passionate emotion.”
Harry snorted. “Passionate emotion? Yeah, there’s plenty of that. I think Snape could strangle me as soon as kiss me...”
“Are you still talking?” came Snape’s smooth voice from behind Harry, who jumped and yelped.
“Did I startle you?” Snape looked unrepentant, and Harry sighed.
“Almost done,” he said. “Thanks for letting me use the Floo.”
“Mm, well it has been three weeks since you’ve seen your... girlfriend,” Snape said. “It’s the least I could do. It’s past time we got back to work, however, so do hurry.”
Harry stared after him. Was it his imagination or had Snape looked a bit upset?
“Bye, Harry! I’m off, and by the way, he’s jealous,” Luna said, smiling dreamily. “You’d best reassure him.”
She leaned out of the fireplace, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “Trust me,” she whispered. “He’s jealous. It’s time to make a move.”
With that she pulled her head back and was gone.
Harry got to his feet. Make a move on Snape? He snorted to himself. Not a chance.
“... oft times an antimony base will stabilize a volatile potion,” Harry read, his eyes straining to read the fine script.
“Stop.” Snape had a strange look on his face. “Antimony?” he repeated. “Wait a minute...”
Whirling, he strode across to where he had several cauldrons simmering. Peering behind them to where cauldrons were stacked, he levitated one forward and checked it, muttering to himself as he did so.
“Antimony hasn’t been used to make cauldrons in decades,” he was saying. “Luckily I have an antique one. I wonder...?”
Harry judiciously stayed out of Snape’s way as he worked, knowing better than to interrupt the creative process. He watched as Snape put together a replica of the base potion he’d been developing for the past three weeks. Harry could probably have done it himself, so when he saw Snape reaching for ingredients, he began handing them to him unasked.
Snape grunted, accepting the help without comment, and soon, a new potion was simmering alongside the others.
“I’ve a good feeling about this one,” Harry said.
Snape looked at him. “Do you, now?”
Harry nodded. “It’s pretty late now, though. Dinner?”
Snape didn’t reply, but led the way to the kitchen where they worked in tandem to create the meal. About thirty minutes later they were eating, and Snape offered Harry some wine.
They sipped in companionable silence, Harry yawning periodically.
“It’s time we both retire,” Snape finally said. “Before you fall into your plate.”
“Sorry,” Harry said, rising from his chair. He stumbled, and Snape instinctively reached for him, catching him before he ended up face down on the floor.
Harry found himself pressed to Snape’s chest, inhaling a mixture of bitter herbs, spices and soap. He buried his face in Snape’s robes.
“Are you all right?”
Snape’s voice sounded deeper when he listened to it with his ear pressed to his chest, Harry decided. Not that there was anything wrong with Snape’s voice normally...
“What? Oh, yes, I’m fine,” Harry muttered, pushing away reluctantly. He looked up just as Snape looked down and their lips ended up a hairsbreadth apart.
“Oh.” Harry, lips suddenly dry, licked them, and a groan reverberated through Snape.
Ohgodsyes, Harry thought as his every nerve melted under the onslaught. Who knew he could kiss like this? And then all words were gone as Snape’s tongue, prehensile, Harry was convinced, curled around his and he was reintroduced to kissing.
The kiss ended far too soon, Harry decided as he opened dazed eyes to look up at Snape.
“That was a mistake,” Snape said, his voice making Harry shudder.
“No,” Harry replied, pressing closer and tilting his face up. “It’s not.”
“Potter, this is not a good idea...”
Grabbing a handful of fine hair, Harry pulled Snape close. “This is a great idea,” he whispered against his lips.
“You’re inebriated,” Snape said.
“I’m not... well, maybe I am a little,” Harry admitted. “But I know what I want. Wanted you before I had any wine tonight.”
“Harry. If we’re going to do this, you should call me Harry.” Harry rocked against Snape’s frame, smiling as he felt an answering hardness beneath his buttoned up robes.
“Pot... Very well, Harry. Do you see that we simply can’t...?”
Despite his objections, Snape was cradling Harry against him, so Harry decided the time had come to use his most persuasive tactics. “All I see,” Harry moaned, “is someone I’ve wanted for a long time.”
Snape probably would have said something else had Harry not swallowed his words by kissing him again, this time wrapping both arms around his neck as well as a leg around his hips.
Harry felt it the moment Snape... Severus capitulated. His mouth somehow softened yet heated up, and he took control of the kiss, coaxing a low whimper from Harry.
Turning, he backed Harry against the wall, grinding his erection into Harry, who was mindlessly thrusting back.
Dragging his lips away from Harry’s clinging mouth, Severus began sucking kisses into his jaw and neck, chuckling softly as Harry tipped his head back in a non-verbal plea for more.
“So you’ve wanted me for a long time, have you?” Severus rasped, rolling his hips such that Harry’s breath hitched. “Do tell.”
“Ohfuck...” Harry managed to open dazed eyes. “Yes, a long time,” he said, clumsy fingers trying to undo Severus’ robes.
“Not as long as I have been eyeing you, I imagine.” Severus’ hand had worked its way under Harry’s shirt, and he scratched his nail over Harry’s nipple, making his back arch in pleasure.
“I watched you in class, Harry,’ Snape purred, his voice curling around Harry’s cock and making it ache. “I watched you and your little friends, watched you grow up, and when you became a man I wanked to the thought of you like this, wanton and pleading and begging.”
“Oh, I shall,” Severus said, his voice silky and dangerous. “I shall please both of us, over and over and over...”
Severus murmured a low spell and Harry gasped as his trousers and pants slithered away, leaving him naked from the waist down. When a sure hand began to stroke him, Harry shuddered.
“Can’t wait to be inside you,” Severus whispered, his thumb circling the tip of Harry’s leaking prick. “To fill your tight little hole. That’s what you want, isn’t it?”
“Nngh,” Harry whimpered, pressing as close as he could to Severus.
“Going to take you right here, against this wall,” Severus murmured, his breath hot against Harry's neck.
Harry, frantically clutching at his shoulders, could only nod and tilt his hips up, sending his prick deeper into the channel created by Severus’ hand.
“Have you ever done this before?” Severus asked.
It took Harry a moment to process the question, but when he did he hesitated. “I...”
“Yes or no, Harry?” Severus murmured. He paused in his ministrations as he waited for an answer.
“Not... exactly,” Harry moaned, thrusting against Severus. “But... want to, I’ve... read about it, dreamed... she was right...”
“She?” Severus’ eyes narrowed.
“Luna. She...” Harry’s dazed eyes focussed on Severus’ face. “She told me we were meant for this, you and I.”
“Did she now?” Severus’ face softened slightly. “I’ll go slowly, then.”
“No!” Harry was frantic, his body clearly begging for more stimulation. “Just do it.”
“Very well, legs... around my waist,” Severus instructed.
The same spell from before had Severus naked from the waist down, his rigid cock ready. He prepared Harry thoroughly, taking his time, eyes at half mast as Harry squirmed and writhed in his fingers.
His shoulders mashed against the wall, Harry’s eyes flew open to find Severus’ when that fat cock nudged against his arsehole. A firm thrust had Severus balls deep, and Harry’s mouth opened in a silent scream which Severus swallowed with his mouth.
They kissed violently, urgently. Severus waited for several long moments for Harry to adjust before beginning to fuck him steadily, and even through his robes, Harry could feel the wall against his back and shoulders, knowing he would be bruised later.
He wrapped his legs tighter around Severus and hung on, and when his bollocks tightened up, heralding his orgasm, he gasped a warning.
Severus gripped Harry’s prick tightly and sped up his hand strokes and that threw him over the edge. With a wail, Harry convulsed, his cock spurting hot fluid between them. Severus was close behind, coming with a low groan, his hips grinding against Harry’s arse before his knees buckled, taking them to the ground.
Harry blinked as most of the air was driven out of him by Severus landing on top of him, then he began to laugh. “Next time maybe should try this someplace safer,” he wheezed.
Harry grinned. “Yes, next time. And before you think this is the wine talking, I’m sober and I still want you.”
“Indeed. Well then perhaps this is best repeated in a bed,” Severus said, gathering Harry to him. “For the moment, however, the floor seems adequate.”
Harry sighed happily, and as they lay there wrapped around each other, catching their breath, a movement at the window made him look up. There he saw a snake staring in at them. It swayed for a moment then slithered away. He frowned, deciding to ask the next snake he saw some very pointed questions.
“Congratulations to both of you! You’ll be receiving St. Mungo’s awards, First Class,” the Ministry official said. “We’ll call you when we’re ready.”
Harry glanced over to Severus, who looked very distinguished in his dress robes.
When the man walked away, Tonks came up to them and gave Harry a quick hug. She then shook Severus’ hand. “Your assignment was quite a success,” she said. “You and Snape make a good team.”
Harry blushed while Severus stood there, appearing entirely too collected. Tonks looked back and forth between them speculatively.
“Well, you can pick your assignment now, Harry,” she continued. “With the success of the Cruciatus Cure, the sky’s the limit. What do you want to do now?”
Harry shrugged. “I thought I would do some more research with Sev... Professor Snape, actually. The manuscripts I’m helping him decipher talk about cures for other things, too.”
Tonks nodded. “I think you would be well suited for research, Harry,” she said warmly. “Perhaps better suited to that than to being in the Auror corps.”
Harry nodded. They had discussed this before and now he was ready to go back to life as a private citizen.
“Oh, and someone’s here to see you before the awards ceremony,” Tonks continued.
As if that had been her signal, Luna walked in accompanied by Hagrid.
“Hullo, Luna,” Harry said, leaning down to kiss her cheek. He endured a bone-crunching hug from Hagrid, who looked a bit worried as he pulled away.
Luna was off greeting Severus, so Harry took the opportunity to ask Hagrid what was wrong.
“I think Luna should be th’one ter tell yeh, Harry,” Hagrid said, looking even more nervous.
She turned and smiled up at Harry. “Oh, yes, Hagrid and I are together,” she said, a gentle smile on her face. “Isn’t it wonderful?”
Silence settled over the room.
“People think we be ’n odd couple,” Hagrid finally said. “Oi was hopin’ yeh at leas’ would understand, Harry.”
Harry met Severus’ eyes in mute understanding. Who were they to judge?
“It is wonderful, Luna, Hagrid,” Harry said, meaning it. “Congratulations to both of you!”
Hagrid let out a deep breath and began beaming as Luna simply smiled dreamily. Leaning forward, she whispered, “You see, Harry, we’re both with who we’re supposed to be with now.”
Harry grinned. “Yes,” he said, gazing fondly over at Severus, who was gamely discussing something with Hagrid. “I suppose we are. I don’t know how you knew that I was meant to be with Severus, though.”
Luna waved her hands. “Oh, it’s simple really. The infestation of Dinglepuffs made it most likely. They always know.”
Harry shook his head. He should have known better than to expect a rational answer from her. “I see.”
“Oh, and the snakes made sure of it,” Luna continued, holding her arm up to admire her cork bracelet.
“What?” Harry’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “What about the snakes?” He never had found another one to question after that first night he and Severus had made love.
She smiled. “Oh, Hagrid and I sent them there. We told them to stay until you came and then not to leave until you were mated.”
Harry’s mouth fell open. Luna had planned the whole thing? “But... how...?”
With a giggle, Luna used her finger to close his mouth and, leaning forward, she pressed kiss to his cheek. “Never mind. You don’t have to thank me,” she whispered. “You’d have done as much for me.”
As she skipped back to Hagrid, and Severus’ arms came around him, Harry decided to let it go. He’d chalk it up to yet another of the life mysteries surrounding Luna.