It's Been a Long Cold Lonely Winter by atypicalsnowman Title: It’s Been a Long Cold Lonely Winter Author:atypicalsnowman Pairing: Snarry Rating: R Word Count: Just under 5k Warnings: None but some man smut. Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. The characters and their worlds belong to their original writers and no copyright infringement or offense is intended. No money was made from this story. Additional disclaimer:: This fic makes mention of a real person. No harm or insult is meant to this person in any way. Summary: If Harry wants a romantic proposal Severus will be sure to give him one he will never forget. A/N: (As if you couldn’t tell) I used prompt number one: Severus' lover demands a romantic gesture, so he decides on one that will ensure he is never asked to do so again. Thanks to fellow mod roozetter for betaing and hand-holding and also telling me to get moving already.
Severus yawned and stretched his back, grunting as joints popped and muscles relaxed after a good night’s sleep. And it had been, he thought with a smirk. He woke enough to appreciate exactly which muscles were relaxed, and again reminded himself how lucky he was to have such a giving lover.
Speaking of Harry, Severus reached across the bed to perhaps begin an early morning shag only to find himself alone. Lying back on his pillow, he heard a humming from the loo and grinned.
"The movement you need is on your shoulder... Na na na na na, na na na NA!"
His smile increased as the song went on, and Severus remained quiet, giving his silent appreciation for the best thing in his life.
And Harry was the best thing, he knew. In all his years before Harry, never once had he hoped for someone as good and caring, someone interesting, someone he wouldn’t mind growing old with.
He frowned at himself. That was a new thought.
He tapped his fingers along the bedsheets and examined it. Whenever he’d thought of himself and Harry, he’d thought of the now, as opposed to the future. Now he had a kind, attractive, giving lover. But perhaps it was only natural after three years of being together—two of them co-habitating here in the dungeons—that Severus begin to think of the long-term.
His heart made a little flutter as he realized, yes, he did want Harry in his life for always. Working and living together at Hogwarts, holidays traveling and at Harry’s home in Godric’s Hollow, early morning shags, mid-afternoon shags, after-dinner shags...
"Na na na na, hey Jude!"
Beatles songs while on the toilet.
Yes, Severus realized in a moment that he wanted Harry for always. He was a fool not to have realize it sooner. And there was a strong chance Harry felt the same way.
Well, no time like the present.
Slowly rising from his bed, he slipped on a dressing gown, let his feet find his slippers, and knocked on the door to the loo.
“Be out in a minute, Severus.”
“That’s all right. Harry, I was wondering if you’d like to marry me.”
Severus heard the sound of a periodical hitting the floor and then a long stretch of silence before the toilet flushed, the sink ran, and the door opened.
Harry peaked his head through, his hair going every which way and his eyes wide. He looked absolutely beautiful.
“Would you marry me?” Perhaps Harry hadn’t heard him properly through the door.
“Did you just...ask me to marry you while I was on the toilet?”
Severus frowned, uncertain why that was an important fact. “Yes.”
“Severus—” Harry mouthed a few words, but eventually ran a hand through his hair in seeming frustration. He took Severus by the hand and walked them both over to sit on the bed.
“Were you serious?”
“Of course I was serious. When have you ever known me to make light of something as important as this? Unless you mean—” Severus’ face fell as he considered the unthinkable: that Harry was rejecting his proposal.
“No, no, I wasn’t saying no.” He gave Severus a pained smile and laced their fingers together. “I love you, and I’d love to spend my life with you.” Severus paused, certain there was something else coming after that. “But...you asked me while I was on the toilet.”
“Yes, you mentioned that. Why exactly is that important?”
Harry sighed and squeezed his hand, then gave him a look Severus could only call affectionately baffled before speaking. “You know, everyone told me I was foolish to fall in love with you.” Severus stiffened, and Harry must have felt it because he leaned over and kissed his cheek. “They all said that you wouldn’t know how to love me properly. That I was setting myself up for heartache, loving someone who was incapable of returning my feelings.”
Severus didn’t appreciate this line of conversation at all. After all, he’d had these fears himself when he and Harry had first come together and had told him such.
“But the thing they didn’t understand is that you are capable of love. So much so that you show it every day, so intense and so passionate, even if it’s not in the traditional way.”
“And what exactly is the traditional way?”
“Well,” Harry said, eyes on his feet. “It’s not proposing while I’m in the loo.” He sighed again and said, “I love you, and I get it, get you. And I don’t expect romance, or chocolates and flowers, or poetry. But...” He hesitated and Severus felt his heart fall somewhere near his slippers. This was the moment when Harry said Severus wasn’t enough for him, that he didn’t expect romance but he needed it.
“But, do you think that—just this one time—we could have something romantic? Something that isn’t...” He waved a hand in the direction of the loo and looked at Severus with an apologetic expression.
“Let me see if I understand you correctly. You do want to marry me?” He held his breath for a moment as he awaited Harry’s answer.
“Yes, so much. But I’d really like a better memory of it than that.”
“Ah.” Well, that wasn’t so much to ask, Severus thought. In hindsight, perhaps he had been a bit rash to ask Harry in that manner. After all, he hadn’t even had a ring available. And Harry was worth the effort of putting together something thoughtful. “So you’d like me to ask you again?”
“Look, I know romance is silly, and I’m not asking you to become a completely different person. Just this one time,” Harry said softly. “Just this one thing, and I’ll never ask for anything like it again.” He was silent for a moment, then asked, “Am I being ridiculous?”
Perhaps a bit. “Not at all. I may not be the most demonstrative of men, but you deserve every good thing.”
“Okay.” He took a deep breath, then said, “Oh, now I’m excited. This is wonderful!”
“What is? I haven’t asked you yet, you sentimental fool.”
Harry smiled. “You say the sweetest things.”
Severus decided to give the matter some thought. After all, in all their time together he’d never done a romantic thing for Harry. Harry was always the one putting flowers in vases and writing declarations of affection in the condensation on the bathroom mirror.
Severus showed his affection in different ways: he always gave Harry the best cut of meat at dinner, he made sure Harry never ran out of the sweets he favored, always made sure he came first whenever he was on the receiving end of their coupling.
So he delved into Harry’s past to look for inspiration as to what advances Harry had once enjoyed.
The next week, Severus found himself hiding in a shadowy place while watching Harry walk back to their quarters after his last class. A group of goblins stopped him and began to recite poetry.
Harry squinted his eyes, then looked around the shadowy areas and locked eyes with Severus.
Damn, Severus thought. But then he supposed he was foolish to believe it would work for him when it hadn’t for the Weasley girl.
The next time he tried, Severus was balls deep in Harry and approaching climax.
He ran his hands over the curve of Harry’s hips, his more carnal instincts marveling at the beauty that was his, all his, and would soon be all his for the rest of his life.
Panting, Harry murmured, “Oh, Severus... Harder...” and Severus’ cock throbbed and his heart did a back flip. He adored Harry, and needed to make him his.
“Merlin!” Severus shouted, sweat dripping from his forehead and onto Harry’s back. “Harry, I love you. Marry me!”
Harry grunted once and aborted a hip movement mid-snap. “What?”
“Er,” Severus said, thinking that he never stuttered, but admitting to himself that his cognitive functions might not be at their best at this moment. He kept himself still only by sheer force of will.
“Did you just propose to the back of my head!”
Severus winced and the movement made him groan, his cock wailing loudly at being inside such a warm, tight environment and unable to move freely.
“Just finish, all right? You’ve completely killed the mood.”
Severus’ eyes widened. But he always made sure Harry came first! “Harry, I’m sorry. Just let me—”
Harry batted his hand away and turned his head around to glare at Severus. “Just...finish.”
Wanting nothing more than to take the high road, Severus kept still, groaning when Harry finally flexed his muscles and nearly pulled the orgasm from him. Panting, Severus fell down beside Harry, who had rolled to his side so he was facing the wall.
Aware of how spectacularly awful his latest proposal had gone, Severus very tentatively reached out a hand and placed it on Harry’s shoulder. He was half-expecting Harry to pull away, but after waiting for a tongue lashing that never came, Severus wrapped an arm around his waist in apology.
After a few moments, tense shoulders relaxed and Harry shuffled backwards into the embrace. “I suppose you didn’t intend to do that?”
“No, not at all.”
Harry nodded. “Caught up in the moment?”
“Harry...you are aware of my feelings for you?” He paused for a moment and felt Harry nod. “You know then that I would never try to hurt you.”
“I know,” Harry said, and laced their fingers together. “And I suppose I should be flattered.” Severus could hear his smile. “The former spy can’t hold his tongue around me.”
“Hmph. I will get this right.”
Harry patted his hand twice and nestled deeper into his pillow. Severus was just about to drift off when he heard Harry hum the chorus of ‘Let It Be.’
The next day was a Saturday, and they took their breakfast in the privacy of their quarters. Their shared meal was a quiet affair that morning.
Severus took extra care with Harry’s tea and withheld from eating any sausage all together just in case Harry wanted the odd-looking one that looked like it hadn’t been cooked properly.
“How are you this morning?” he asked, and even he could hear his forced nonchalance.
“Fine,” Harry said, then must have noticed how Severus was poised on pins and needles. “Really, Severus, we’re fine.” He made a swooshing gesture with his hands. “Water under the bridge. Let’s just...continue.”
“Ah. Yes.” Harry went back to eating his eggs and sausage and Severus just sat there, staring at his tea, and thinking how much he was mucking this up.
Perhaps a romantic gesture wasn’t truly needed. He was in no way a demonstrative man and had always kept his thoughts to himself. He knew Harry didn’t mind it, but his eyes always seemed to shine whenever Severus gave in to his stronger emotions and told Harry exactly what he meant to him. The fact that those moments came very rarely made them more special.
Perhaps that was what Harry truly needed, some flowery words of devotion that would sweep him off his feet and hopefully back into bed for a few hours.
He cleared his throat, and Harry looked up. “You know, Harry, in potions it isn’t very often that you discover two ingredients that complement each other so well that they’re used in tandem nearly always.”
Harry frowned, and Severus took the fork from his hand and held it in his own.
“It’s extremely rare in fact,” Severus said, taking a short moment to compose himself. He was so unused to these declarations of affection. “However, when one makes such a discovery, attention must be paid. It would be a detriment to ignore it, not only to the wizarding community, but also to the ingredients themselves. They...” he took a deep breath and closed his eyes, “...deserve to be together. They are meant to be together. For always.”
Severus exhaled and looked up into Harry’s face.
He looked as though he was about to cry.
Severus held his hand tighter and thought back about what he’d said. Suddenly Harry closed his eyes, and shook his head as though he was trying to calm himself. Holding his breath for a moment, Severus watched as Harry smiled and opened his eyes, grasping Severus’ hand.
“You know what?” he said, with a smile so obviously false Severus was insulted it was being thrown in his direction. “I’m being ridiculous. I love you. I know who you are, and what am I doing asking you for some romantic gesture when you’re just not that type of man?”
“I beg your pardon?” If Severus were a bird, he imagined his feathers would be ruffled.
“Severus, not every person is suited for romance, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be in love and get married and...”
Severus felt his heart—which he had so carefully laid upon their table between the eggs and sausage—shutter and come very close to breaking. He looked into Harry’s eyes and felt his fractured heart steady itself, chipped a bit but still on its feet. Then he felt anger.
“You little bastard!” he shouted. “I laid out my soul for you, and all you have to say is...is...”
For the first time since this dance started Harry looked contrite.
“Do you have any idea how difficult this is for me? To lay out my heart only to have you destroy it like this?”
Harry looked devastated. “I’m not destroying it,” Harry said. “I’m saying yes. Yes, I’ll marry—”
“No! Do you think I want to win you by default? ‘Poor Severus, the social outcast who wouldn’t know love if it slapped him across the face!”
“I never said that! Severus, I’m saying I want to marry you.”
“No, not like this.” He pushed out his chair roughly, a plan beginning to formulate in his mind. “You want a romantic gesture? I will give you a romantic gesture that will leave even the most heartsick twit incapable of speech!” With a flourish of robes, Severus left the room to plot. And if Harry’s face looked just the slightest bit terrified then that was all the better.
Two weeks later, Harry sat at the head table in the Great Hall on his own. He sighed, served himself a cup of tea, and speared his sausage with more force than was needed. Meals on his own had been fairly common over the last two weeks, and Severus’ excuses had always been related to the grand romantic gesture he was planning for Harry.
The entire thing made Harry sick just thinking about it, and his nerves had been on edge since he’d seen that look in Severus’ eyes. The look that said Harry had come very close to breaking his heart. He wished for a time-turner to go back to that morning when he’d been on the toilet and could just say yes to Severus’ proposal then.
And Severus’ broken heart wasn’t the only reason Harry felt ill. He had a terrible feeling that the ceiling was about to crash down on his head. One didn’t hurt a man like Severus Snape and walk away unscathed. Severus might love him, but that just meant he wouldn’t kill him.
Either way, Harry had sniffed his tea a little carefully over the past two weeks.
And to make things worse, today was Valentine’s Day. Severus had never enjoyed celebrating—no matter how much he loved Harry, he just couldn’t stop himself from destroying every decoration he came across—but Harry had always marked the day with something special.
Now he was sitting at the head table, alone. And it was his own fault.
“Damn,” he muttered and refilled his tea.
Just as he was about to give up the idea of putting anything other than caffeine in his system, a loud popping noise was heard towards the entrance of the Hall and then the unmistakeable sound of fireworks. The students exclaimed happily, and Harry watched as a dozen fireworks went off and gold and silver letters drifted in the air.
Harry Potter, Will You Marry Me?
Harry couldn’t help his smile, or the way his stomach relaxed, and immediately began looking around for Severus. He couldn’t believe it! Harry had been certain that Severus was nearly out to punish him after hurting him so badly after his last proposal. And yet here was proof that Severus not only tried but put enough thought into it to succeed. Fireworks were loud, unavoidable, but magical, which is how Severus often described Harry.
He smiled and couldn’t help an almost hysterically happy laugh when the students and professors turned to look at him and clap. He continued looking around for Severus when the owls swooped into the hall to deliver the morning mail.
Harry’s smile immediately vanished when he read the headline of the Daily Prophet.
Snape and Potter To Be Engaged!
His expression turned thunderous when he read the smaller print: Rita Skeeter given exclusive access to the proposal!
No longer looking for Severus, Harry scanned the Great Hall and found Rita Skeeter by the Slytherin table, waving hello.
Standing up, romance the furthest thing from his mind, Harry made to leave the table when suddenly two dozen suits of armor clanged their way towards him. The noise reminded Harry of all those films where men marched off to war with armored horses and the sound more than overpowered the fireworks, which were still brightening the air.
The first suit of armor walked up to Harry and handed him a rose.
“Er, thanks?” Harry said, and the suit bowed and allowed the next to come up where the exchange was repeated.
“Potter, what exactly is happening?” Minerva leaned over and hissed in his ear.
“Severus is proposing,” he said, thanking another suit and accepting his rose.
Harry sighed. “Yes.”
Minerva was quiet for a moment, and they both watched as twenty house-elves materialized and began doing an interpretive dance to what Harry thought might be Peruvian folk music.
“What did you do?” she whispered.
Harry cringed. “I asked for a romantic gesture.”
She was quiet, then scooted her chair in the opposite direction.
The students thought all of this was hilarious until the suits of armor stood silent and a sibilant ‘hiss’ poured over the room, the floor seeming to come alive as snakes slithered under the house tables to approach Harry.
The sound of high-pitched screaming resounded over the Hall, and students from every house ran towards the door in an effort to escape. Harry sighed, already knowing that the snakes were either trained not to bite people or weren’t poisonous at all. Still, he rolled his eyes and wished again for that time-turner when he saw a few students from every house remaining, wands drawn.
“May I help you?” he asked the first snake that approached him. “Are you going to recite poetry or something?”
The snake slithered onto the table and said, “Actually, we have no idea what we’re doing here. I don’t think that man who bought us realized that parseltongue has to work both ways.”
Harry laughed and a second snake came onto the table. “I’m almost positive he did want us to tell you something, because he was reading from a book, and I think he was saying the same thing over and over again.” The snake titled his head and said, “That would have been very nice if only we understood what he was saying.”
“Well, thanks anyway, guys.” The rest of the snakes were on the table now or at Harry’s feet, and Harry wondered what exactly Severus had planned on doing with them once they were finished doing whatever it was he’d planned.
“Now hang on just a minute,” the first snake said. “That bloke was kind enough to rescue us from that horrid pet store. The least we can do is try to impress you like he wanted. Do you want to hear the poem I wrote for my girl before she was sold to some kid with a terrarium?”
"How I long to feel your scales under mine...
“This really isn’t necessary,” Harry said.
“The memory of your beauty will keep me warmer than any rock...”
“Okay, seriously,” the second snake said, “you’re just embarrassing yourself. This was obviously a terrible idea, and we should just go back to that room with the smelly plants."
By now, Harry had completely given up retaining any control over the conversation. ”Yeah, that would probably be a good idea.“
The first snake looked a little depressed and started to lead the other snakes out of the hall, leaving Harry sitting behind the head table alone, feeling completely dejected and wondering what else Severus would torture him with.
And just when he felt his lowest, when he felt ridiculous and rejected and like it was all completely his fault, the fireworks stopped, the armor left the room, the elves popped out, and the snakes somehow managed to close the door behind them.
Then the lights turned down and a single light appeared on a raised dais Harry had never noticed before. A man was sitting at a piano, and Harry thought he looked familiar.
"Once there was a way...to get back homeward..."
Harry squinted and cleaned his glasses, then check himself for hexes. There was no way... No, absolutely not.
”Well, Mr. Potter?“ a different, yet just as familiar voice said from behind him. ”Is this a grand enough gesture?“
”Is that really...“
”Sir Paul McCartney? Yes, what about him?“ Severus said, his tone casual, as though it was of no consequence that a legend was in their presence.
”Severus...how the hell did you get Paul McCartney to come to Hogwarts?“ Harry asked, absolutely lost as McCartney moved onto the second part of the song. ”Wait a minute. How could Paul McCartney possibly know about Hogwarts?“
Harry felt more than heard Severus’ deep sigh, could almost feel his body tense though he was a few inches behind Harry. After a moment, Severus asked, ”Can you not simply appreciate the gesture? Is this still not enough for you?“
”No! No, it’s more than enough!“ Harry said, imagining his classroom overrun with singing mushrooms or whatever else Severus could come up with. ”But how...“
”I asked him.“
”You—“ Harry finally tore his eyes away from McCartney to stare at Severus. ”How does he even know who you are?“
Severus glared. ”It may have escaped your notice, but I am also a war hero. You may have never tried to cash in on your fame, but I more than paid my dues in the war. I don’t mind throwing my name around a bit when I absolutely need it.“
”Yes, but how does he know you’re a war hero?“
Severus looked at Harry like he’d just asked the most stupid question ever. He raised an eyebrow and said, ”You don’t actually think the Beatles were Muggles do you?“
Harry turned back to Sir Paul with his mouth wide open.
”And you claim to be a fan.“
"Boy, you’re gonna carry that weight, carry that weight a long time..."
”Carry That Weight, Severus? Really?“ He moved back into Severus’ embrace and let long, slender arms fold around him.
”Well, you will be marrying me. It seemed only right that I give fair warning.“
Harry smacked his arm. ”Don’t say that. Don’t ever imply that marrying you would be a burden. You’re the best thing in my life.“
”Oh?“ Severus’ tone turned icy and Harry knew it was finally time to talk about what had happened between them. ”And is my proposal finally worthy of Harry Potter, the great romantic?“
Turning in his arms, Harry looped his hands around Severus’ neck and began a gentle sway to a song that really wasn’t meant for dancing.
”I suppose I deserved all of this. Though Rita Skeeter was a low blow.“
”A low blow, you say? Perhaps something similar to rejecting my proposal four times, the last time being particularly cruel?“
Harry bit his lip and stopped his sway. ”I am sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I want to say that I’ll never hurt you again, but...well, you know I tend to put my foot in my mouth sometimes.“
Slowly, Severus let his hands fall to Harry’s waist, pulling him against his body and tilting his head back. ”I’m not asking for promises you cannot keep.“
”Then what are you asking?“
Severus scoffed and his lip twitched. Then he leaned down and put his lips to Harry’s ear. In a voice so soft he could just barely hear him over McCartney’s lyrics, Severus whispered, ”Harry, my love, my everything, I adore you. Marry me.“
A shudder ran through Harry’s body and he felt his heart sing, felt his soul fall to pieces while in the safety of Severus’ embrace. His throat closed up, Harry could barely choke out the word, ”Yes.“
”Yes?“ Severus asked, surprised, as though after all Harry had put him through he would reject his proposal now.
Harry nodded, so happy his eyes were threatening a rebellion. ”Yes. Just...yes.“
The music stopped and Severus gave McCartney a nod and moved Harry towards the back of the room. Harry belatedly realized that Rita Skeeter and a hand full of students were still in the Hall and had witnessed the entire thing. He wasn’t surprised to find he didn’t care.
”You realize this isn’t my tune, Snape?“ McCartney said from the dias.
Severus just scowled and said, ”And you have my unending gratitude for agreeing to play it.“ He rolled his eyes and muttered something about squibs.
Just when Harry was about to scold Severus for arguing with Paul McCartney, a well-known guitar melody filled the hall and then lyrics that had never been more fitting. ”Much better,“ he said, not able to stop the wide grin from gracing his face.
”Yes, I thought you might find this fitting,“ Severus said, once again taking Harry in his arms.
"Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right..."
”Did you have a back-up song in case I said no?“ Harry asked, a teasing grin on his face.
”Run For Your Life, I believe, would have captured my feelings appropriately.“
”Not on your life,“ Harry said, laughing. They swayed softly, and Harry heard the footsteps of the students and professors (and hopefully Rita Skeeter) leaving to finally give them some privacy. ”I believe I’ve learned to never ask for a romantic gesture from you ever again.“
”You might not have to ask. I rather enjoyed this little endeavor.“
”Well,“ Severus said, using his hip to move Harry around the floor. ”At least next time I won’t be reading Keats to snakes.“
”Ah,“ Harry said, determined to keep quiet on that topic. ”No, next time you can just read it directly to me.“
”Severus?“ Harry waited until Severus leaned his head back to look down at him. He gave him a small smile and then decided to push his luck. ”There’s just one more thing you could possibly do for me.“
”Oh?“ He raised an eyebrow and Harry knew he was walking a fine line. ”And what is that?“
He looked back at McCartney and decided he wasn’t a Gryffindor for nothing. ”Think you could convince him to play at the wedding?“