Note: Implied Snarry. All characters and places belong to J.K. Rowling and publishers. No profit accrues to the author of this story.

Dear Severus,

God, I miss you.

I miss the touch of your hand, warm fingers sliding across the back of my hand, or tapping at my fingers, when I make a wrong move in your class, or grabbing at my robes to manhandle me when I piss you off.

I miss the nearness of your knee, your thigh brushing mine as we sit at the bar, warmth radiating off of you as you order your drink, turn to scan the room for friend and foe, place your hand on my shoulder as you ease off the bar stool, saying, "Watch my drink," as you go off to collect congratulations and handshakes and pats on the back.

I miss you.

I miss the way you have changed – the looseness with which you carry yourself at school, the calm on your face, the softness of your hair, the absence of defensive wariness, the looseness of your bones… the way you move more freely, less hurriedly, no matter that you eat up the corridors and stairways as quickly as ever, with your long stride.

I miss the way you are the same – brilliant, insightful, sharp-witted and sharper-tongued. I miss you appearing suddenly, out of nowhere, throwing me off balance, making me catch my breath, panic and laughter equally bubbling their way up my chest and out my mouth, making me say and do stupid things, stumbling over my words and my feet and the ingredients to whatever potion you've set us brewing.

I miss your mouth. I miss how your lips thin when you are angry or displeased or when I prove, yet again, what an ignorant arse I am. I miss how they purse when you contemplate an idea, how they move silently when you brew, reviewing steps, or – for all I know – reciting poetry. I imagine it's poetry.

I miss the way your voice slithers down my back, prickles my neck, resonates in my bones when you catch me out, or issue instructions, or call our attention to the board. I miss your voice in my ear at Ministry doings – "Hold this for me, Potter. I'll be right back."

I miss that you never come back. I miss even that – that you get distracted by some sycophant or true admirer, or someone posing an intriguing potions dilemma, leaving me holding your drink of absinthe or firewhiskey or whatever, your lips leaving a light imprint on the rim of the glass, your fingers leaving a trail of warmth that mine try to find while I wait. I miss giving up and going to find you, watching you from a distance, watching you talk with others, loving that this has changed for you.

I miss that, even compared to Ron and Hermione, you get me. I miss that we share some understanding that passes between us only in looks, in silent nods, in waiting for each other, in watching each other's back. I miss knowing that you are watching out for me… even when I know you are still watching out for me, somehow, no matter that I am half a continent away.

I miss the graceful elegance of you – the way you move across a room, the delicacy of your touch when you brew or eat or write, the billowing of your robe when you whirl on your heel to leave a room or stride to the front to take the podium to address the Wizengamot.

I miss the way watching you made my stomach tighten and made me wish for things I never understood… until, finally, I did. I miss daydreams and night dreams and aching for the thought of you and what I wanted. I miss the dizzying shock of figuring it out…

I miss you, Severus. I miss the things that never were – your arm across my shoulders, amusement and acceptance in your eyes, a warmly welcoming open door when I knock at the entrance to your quarters, a "Well done, Mister Potter." I miss the opportunity to tell you how bloody grateful I am for everything you've ever done for me, ever taught me, ever been for me, from before I was born. I miss being a man in your eyes – a man worth knowing, worth befriending. I miss the opportunity.

I miss you more than I miss Hogwarts, more than I miss Hedwig or Dobby, more than I miss Remus, more than I miss Sirius. I miss all that was and never was, and all that could be but is not yet. I miss coming to know you better, being myself with you and hoping you'll somehow find that enough, fair enough, to be getting on with. I think I miss you more than I miss Ron and Hermione – not that they leave me alone enough to find the time to miss them…

I'm coming home, Severus. Not to Hogwarts, maybe… but to Britain… to Scotland… to Hogsmeade and the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley and Muggle London… I'm coming home to Aberforth's… Rosmerta's… Madam Malkins'… I'm coming home to see the Weasleys, to chuck Ron and Hermione's firstborn under the chin and teach her to call me "Uncle Harry". I'm coming home to report into Kingsley… to let Hagrid crack my ribs in one of his hugs… to let Minerva tell me to call her "Minnie"… to let Molly hug me and tell me I'm too skinny and cry over me, and for Arthur to call me "son". I'm coming home to make my peace with Trelawney… and with the ghosts of my past. I'm coming home to apologize to Madam Pomfrey for stressing her out for six years, and to the Chudley Cannons for turning down their offer, and to the Ministry for missing the last three years of memorial balls. I'm coming home to admire Neville's greenhouses and Luna's artwork and Dean's music and Seamus' cauldrons. I'm coming home to see what new products George and Angelina and Ron have concocted.

But mostly, I'm coming home to you, Severus… who knows me better than I know myself… who sees me clearly… who holds me to standards and refuses to let me fail… whom I trust more than anyone in the world…

I'm coming home. And… I hope… this time, maybe… maybe you will see me… as me… and… let me at least try.

Please. Let me try.

I am – unexpectedly, inevitably, irreversibly, completely – yours.