A/N: I don't own it. Severus is slightly OOC, although that's up for debate. I have to say, we all assume who he was because the books were written basically from Harry's point of view. What if we're wrong? What if who he is is who we all believe he is? A man with a dark past, and a soft heart that he guards viciously. Fyi, I don't own Harry Potter.

Begrudging Habits

Severus couldn't sleep, so he did what he usually did, he explored Hogwarts grounds. On this particular occasion, he had no hope of catching unruly students out of bed as they wouldn't arrive at the school for another couple of weeks, so he did it simply to stop himself from going mad. He wandered out of the main doors, intent on entering the Forbidden Forest in the hopes of finding some new Potions ingredients. The unicorns were always happy to give him shavings off their horns. Heaven knew why, but they seemed to enjoy his company despite the things he'd seen and done. He was halfway across the grounds when he saw light flickering across the grass. He looked up and saw a lone figure sitting on the ground before a large screen, watching some movie.

Albus had had the movie screen and projector installed earlier in the summer, insisting that the students needed something to get away from their studies when it wasn't a Hogsmeade weekend. Severus wondered why he couldn't hear anything before he remembered that Albus had put up a silencing spell around the large area designated for seating. He moved forward a few steps, past the silencing ward, and stuttered to a halt.

"Everyone knows that!" The man on the screen proclaimed, waving his hand flamboyantly.

"Everyone where? The Little Gay Bar on the Prairie? You know what you need?" Another, incredibly attractive, man asked as the camera panned to face him.

"I need a wedding! I-" The first man responded, before being swiftly cut off as the second man practically leapt forward, pinning the first man's arms to his sides as he kissed him.

Severus could feel a blush rising in his cheeks and fought it down. He was pretty sure this wasn't the sort of movie Albus had picked out for the students. He strode forward, curious as to who was watching such a movie. When he could make out the details of the person silhouetted against the large screen he was shocked, to say the least. He'd know that unruly mop of hair anywhere. He continued forward, hiding his surprise.

"Professor Potter, what are you doing out here, and what on Earth are you watching?" He growled.

The Man-Who-Prevailed turned at the intrusion, but a smile graced his face. "Hi, Professor Snape, I was just enjoying a movie. It's called 'In and Out'. 'Mione suggested it and Albus said I could use the screen, since there are no students around and he hasn't had time to 'electrify' my rooms yet. Wanna watch it with me?"

Severus glared at the boy, studying him as the other professor turned back to watch the screen. Potter was sitting on a large blanket, dressed in Muggle clothes: a long-sleeve flannel button-up and jeans ending in bare feet. There was a barely-touched decanter of bourbon on his left and a large tub of ice cream on his right. The boy…no, man…was sitting with his legs stretched out in front of him, crossed at the ankles, as he leaned against a large rock. He wasn't sure he wanted to join the man, but he was exceedingly curious about the movie, and, during his hesitation, the boy had transfigured a beanbag chair from a pebble just for him. He grunted and transfigured the piece of furniture into a much more dignified looking armchair. He sat in it contentedly, watching the figures on the screen.

He looked over to ask what the movie was supposed to be about, but stopped short. Potter was also sitting in a fluffy armchair, now, and there was a small table between them sporting the bourbon, two glasses, the tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and two spoons. He watched in increasing shock as the boy reached into his shirt pocket and withdrew a pack of cigarettes. He arched his body off the chair as he dug into his tight jeans pocket, drawing out a muggle lighter and relaxing back against the cushions, without ever taking his eyes off the screen. The wizard opened the pack and snagged one of the cigarettes out of the box before placing the open pack on the table and lighting the long coffin nail.

Severus groaned uncomfortably, staring at the flame. He hadn't had a cigarette since he was 22. Lily had hated them with a passion and, when she had died, he'd given them up. He'd been increasingly snarky(er) the last few months, having smelled the lingering scent of cigarettes, and the craving was biting hard at his gut. He glanced at the open pack and twisted his mouth in a silent snarl when he saw there was only one coffin nail left in the box.

'Damn,' He thought viciously, turning his eyes back to the screen. He knew from experience how angry one could get if someone stole their last cigarette. He was startled from his thoughts when the small cardboard box landed in his lap. He glanced over at the other professor who was holding out his lighter, still watching the movie intently. He took it wordlessly and lit the Marlboro, relishing in the first drag. He relaxed in his chair, enjoying the rest of the movie. There was no need to ask, he could probably figure out the gist of the film before it ended.

Harry flicked his wrist and the projector cut off as the last of the credits rolled up the screen. He transfigured his chair into a pillow and laid on the blanket, his hands under his head. He stared up at the stars and watched out of the corner of his eye as Snape twisted in his chair to stare down at him.

"Why this movie?" The wizard asked, eyeing him.

Harry shrugged. "'Mione wanted to convince me to 'come out', as it were, and thought this movie would help," He explained. He sighed, rubbing his stomach. Between the two of them, they had polished off the gallon of ice cream and half the bourbon.

"Revealing your sexual preferences is not that big of a deal, Potter," Snape muttered, leaning his elbow on the arm of the chair and resting his chin on his fist, his pointer finger laying against his cheek.

Harry snorted. "Because you would know anything about telling everyone who cares about you that you fancy guys," He replied sarcastically.

Snape looked at him calculatingly. "What makes you think I wouldn't?" He snapped back.

Harry looked at him in confusion, leaning up on his elbows. "Everybody knows you were in love with my mum…weren't you?" He asked, uncertain. Snape snorted, then chuckled, and then broke into full, body-wracking laughter. "Oi! What's so funny?!" Harry demanded angrily. He chose to ignore his blush, biting his lip to keep from grinning, at the sound of the deep, beautiful (though he doubted he'd ever say that aloud), rich laugh coming out of the attractive man above him.

After a minute, Snape cleared his throat of the residual chuckles that plagued him. "I mean no offense, Potter. Lily was a beautiful woman with a fiery personality, something you obviously inherited from her, and I did love her. She was my best friend, and helped me after Lucius drugged me and delivered me to the Dark Lord. She was my shoulder to cry on after every raid or meeting. Hell, she's the one that got me to swallow my pride and talk to Albus. She wanted me to be your godfather, but James refused, and I didn't want to go against him after we'd created an, albeit tentative, truce. So, yes, I did love your mother, but I was not in love with her, nor have I ever been in love with any woman."

Harry's mouth formed a silent 'O'. He was quiet for a moment before something occurred to him. "So, does that mean you've been in love with a man?"

Something flickered in the other man's eyes before they focused on the ground. "Until recently, I didn't think I was capable of falling in love," He muttered self-consciously.

Severus rubbed his finger against the corner of his eye as he watched the man below him sit up completely and scoot around so that he was leaning his shoulder against the side of the chair, his head just visible over the arm. Severus' hand twitched with the sudden urge to run his fingers through the unruly mop of hair beside his elbow. How had they become this close over the course of a movie? Certainly, nothing in their entire history would suggest this strange camaraderie, despite the lack of malice between them since the boy had taken the DADA job at the beginning of the summer. He shoved the steadily growing urge to touch away, so as to focus on what the younger wizard was saying.

"That's silly, of course you can fall in love. If you have a soul, you can fall in love. I don't necessarily believe in soul mates, but everybody that has a properly functioning soul has someone out there that they're compatible with. Some people, like Tom's mum, get confused by the wants of the heart, and that can leave behind a broken soul, but that can't be helped. The heart wants what the heart wants, and sometimes that's in error, but most of the time a heart wants what the soul needs…as long as the person is in touch with themselves, in any case," Harry said, relaxing against the arm of the chair.

Severus watched the younger man try and flatten his black locks and felt the urge to muss the hair return with a vengeance. When he realized the urge would not be going away again, and was, in fact, growing stronger with each passing second, he stood. He bid the boy a distracted "good night" before walking swiftly in the direction of the castle.

"H-hey, wait up!" The boy called.

Against Severus' better judgment, he turned on the spot and waited for the boy to catch up. As the Man-Who-Bloody-Well-Wouldn't-Die scrambled to his feet and hurried over, Severus watched all of their transfigured items return to their original forms and House Elves appeared to take away what was left. The DADA professor skidded to a halt before him, grinning and shoving his hands into his jeans pockets. Severus turned and resumed the trek back to the school.

"So, what changed your mind, Professor Snape? About falling in love, I mean," The boy amended at the questioning look Severus shot him.

"I…Potter, where are your glasses?" Severus asked in an attempt to change the subject.

The Defense teacher rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, uh, after the scar went away," The man moved his bangs to show him the unmarred forehead, "My glasses were still a dead giveaway any time I went out in public. Poppy told me about a potion that would correct my eyesight, but I had to make it myself, since it had no shelf-life. It wasn't that big of a deal, but it only half worked. Apparently, I have very recognizable hair, and no matter what I do, I can't get it to stay cut," He shrugged with a grin, but Severus could tell that his recognizable demeanor was bugging him.

"You do realize you could've gone blind if you had made even a single mistake on that potion?" He asked, pondering how he could discreetly help the Boy-Who-Lived.

Potter blushed adorably. "Heh, yeah, I know. Albus and Poppy wanted me to ask you, but I didn't want to bother you with something as trivial as that. I had 'Mione and Draco check my work for me, and they both said it'd pass. It wasn't Masters level work, but it was good enough to work properly. Well, sort of, I still have trouble seeing long distance, but I can live with that. I can't spot a snitch anymore, and Poppy said I had to retire my broom, but it doesn't matter. Finding time to fly became a hassle when I went off to get my Masters, and I doubt I'll have any more time for it now, what with teaching and all," He explained, rubbing the back of his neck and trying to hide his downcast look. The man really did love flying.

Severus hummed again as they approached the doors. He stepped inside and was about to bid Potter a good night, when he turned and saw the boy was biting his lower lip, staring at him intently. "What?" Severus growled.

"I…I, um, I was gonna watch another movie tomorrow night in my rooms. I had fun tonight, and thought, er, well, hoped, you might have as well, and I, uh, wondered if you wanted to join me?" The man muttered, his eyes turning to his shoes as he shifted uncomfortably.

Severus eyed him warily. "What movie?" He asked cautiously.

The brat's head shot up, a grin on his face and his eyes sparkling with hope. "Pulp Fiction," He said proudly.

Severus was taken aback by the title, but hid it perfectly. "Isn't that a bit morbid for Gryffindor's Golden Boy?"

Potter chuckled. "Um, well, I guess it is, but I got into some weird stuff during my apprenticeship. Remember, I was apprenticing alongside Draco Malfoy, and we had to find something in common to make things more bearable. Morbid books and films were the starting point to an…interesting…friendship."

Severus huffed in acknowledgment of, and possible agreement to, the statement. "Alright, I haven't seen the movie in a few years. It might be nice to see it again," He said slowly, wishing immediately that he could take it back. He had no desire to spend any amount of time in Potter's rooms. They were probably garishly decorated in Gryffindor colors and the mere thought of the rooms was giving him a headache.

"Great!" The boy exclaimed. He started towards the Grand Staircase. "Good night, Professor Snape, I'll see you tomorrow at 8!" He called over his shoulder.

Severus watched the shockingly happy young man take the stairs two at a time. The man really had grown up. Physically, at least. He had matured a lot, as well, but the change wasn't as drastic for someone who had never really had a childhood. He no longer looked like his father, but he didn't really look like his mother either. He was taller, only an inch shorter than Severus, and had broad shoulders belying his well-built physique. Draco had said that Potter had taken to caring for his body after school, even going so far as to take nourishment potions (which Draco had tricked Severus into brewing) and working out regularly. Thoughts swirled around in his head as he imagined the young professor shirtless, sweat trickling down his bare chest after a hard workout and he shoved the image away forcefully (and somewhat reluctantly) as his thoughts turned dirty.

He could admit the other man was very attractive, and that he, perhaps, cared for him… just a little, but he refused to investigate these feelings. He knew from experience that the investigation would lead to heart ache, and eventually heart break, when Potter found some nice young man to settle down with. He banished his thoughts viciously and stalked to his rooms in the dungeons.

'Merlin, but I could do with a…' His thought broke off as he swore loudly. He wanted a cigarette, but had no idea how to get them at the school. The tobacco shop in Hogsmeade had closed the year after he quit, so that was out of the question. 'Damn, I'll have to ask Potter…' He swore aloud again. He didn't like the idea of asking Potter about that, it might make him look weak.

A/N: Onwards and upwards, eh?