Title: Harry Potter and a Slytherin Love Author: Yih

Author's Note: This is a HP/SS story with a very good friendship story for HP/DM. That's your warning, if you don't like slash then go read my other stories! I happen to be a very open minded individual and can see the beauty of both types of relationships. Isn't that fun?! I think it is ^_^;;. R+R for more!

1: Fast Forward (May 9, 2003 to May 14, 2003)

He was looking forward to seeing Harry for the first time in more than two years. A part of him found it utterly ironic that in the course of the five year war against Voldemort that he and Harry had gotten to be extremely close. Then again, another part of him knew that they understood the pull of darkness and the struggle for the side of light. Because of his dark mark and Harry's scar, they shared the same pain and torture at the hands of Voldemort.

It was once they came to that understanding that they became an unstoppable force against Voldemort, finally toppling him from power after a devastating war that had dragged on for years. The lost of a generation had weakened the wizarding community to the degree that even though the main dark power had been defeated, others had popped up to take advantage of the open wound. That was why Harry was returning to Hogswart.

Not only could he teach the next generation, after all his entire life had been defense against the dark arts, but also it came as a perfect cover for him to stay near the Order. It was the same reason he had stayed. Very few people knew of their combined involvement in bringing Voldemort down. To the wizarding world, the Boy Who Lived had been a great disappointment for his seemingly lack of involvement.

Those fools, Severus thought harshly. The great Harry Potter had certainly lived up to the lofty expectations everyone had for him. Yet because of Harry's insistence, his name in the operation that had brought down Voldemort had remained a secret to everyone but Severus, Dumbledore, and Draco. To anyone outside of those three, Harry was a person of unbelievable potential who had squandered it all away when he decided to stay at Hogswart as an assistant to Snape.

No one had been more disappointed in him than Ron Weasley. That Weasley boy had accused Harry of not living up to his Potter name. Who else was suppose to lead the charge against Voldemort other than the Boy Who Lived? It was after that tirade that Ron had asked Harry to join him when he went to test to become an Auror. When Harry refused, Ron vowed never to speak to such a traitor as Harry had seemed to become.

At least that was what Harry and Dumbledore wanted everyone to believe. What better what to make the archenemy let down his guard than to think that Harry was leaning toward the dark side? It was made only more believable in how close he and Draco became. That and that he had started assisting Snape with Draco. That hadn't been what Ron or Hermione wanted to accept, since it was a well supported rumor that Snape and Malfoy were Death Eaters.

The plan had been brilliant, Severus had to admit as Voldemort had gone from actively trying to destroy Harry to wanting to recruit him. There had been times that he hadn't known if it was that Harry had brilliant acting skills or that he had really been tempted. Severus didn't want to know because he was afraid of how much he and Harry shared.

When Harry had left, he had been mixed between relief and disappointment. After all, they had started going into a deeper relationship that wasn't about mutual satisfaction. It made him wary and afraid, yet excited and anxious. Harry was the one person that understood him and accepted the way he was without any judgment. Even more, he appreciated the way he was. He didn't expect him to change.

"How long have you been waiting for him, Severus?" asked Albus kindly as he came to stand by the Potions Master's side. It went unspoken between them, but Severus knew that the Headmaster knew about the casual relationship his two best covert specialists had shared.

Severus shrugged. "Not long," he answered. It was true, he hadn't been waiting long for him here, but ever since Harry had left him he had been waiting for him to return. "He's about to arrive, isn't he?" He tried to keep his nerves out of his voice, but he didn't think he succeeded.

Albus nodded in confirmation. "He said he was going to come about this time." For a few long moments, they stood together in companionable silence before the Headmaster mentioned offhandedly, "If it wasn't for you, he wouldn't be returning here."

Turning to Albus with a surprised look, he let the words sink in then made a response, "Why do you think that?" Immediately after he said the words, he knew how foolish they were because somehow Albus always knew everything that was a concern to him. Of course, Harry was a huge matter of interest for him.

The twinkle of amusement in Albu's eyes was unmistakable. When Severus saw his he groaned, but that didn't stop him from speaking his mind. Nothing would. "You have a choice you know." That caught Severus's full attention. "You know he left because of you and because of you he's returned."

Severus interrupted him before he could continue, " Albus Dumbledore, there are reasons why, it's not only my decision." No, it was not indeed. There was the huge question if Harry was even still interested, since he had pushed him away for his own good. The problem was he didn't think that it was.

"Isn't it Albus? I believe Harry left because you weren't willing to pursue a deeper attachment to each other," Dumbledore stated softly. "What valid reason could there be? He isn't a child, Severus. He has never been a child, not ever. And don't even bother protesting to me how others will talk. When have you ever cared about public opinion?"

"I don't," Severus acknowledged, noting that the Headmaster was in one of his rare easy to understand mood. "But what about Harry? He has enough to deal with the 'not seeming to live up to the Boy Who Lived' image. If he's with me, a Death Eater that will only cause the gossip to be even more ferocious."

"You are making excuses," Albus responded calmly. "Reasons that you are trying to believe. If Harry had wanted public approval, he would have never made the agreement to be part of the Order with the stipulation that his part was kept strictly confidential."

Severus knew that the words Dumbledore had spoken were true as much as he didn't want to admit. Two could play the game of deaf ears, but it wasn't often that Albus . "I'm too old for him," he whispered hoarsely. "Merlin, Albus, I'm old enough to be his father."

The Headmaster looked unperturbed. "Harry is old for his age. What is most important is how your two souls meet each other halfway. I, honestly, would like Harry to have a relationship with a girl his age. Yet, that will not be. He's too old for his age; he needs someone that understands him and sees him as Harry. That's you. Besides, you badly need someone that sees you as Severus. Harry does."

~ (2 years ago)

It had been another long day teaching incompetent students that didn't have the capacity to fulfill his expectations. Not many could. Only a handful of students had done that. Only one had exceeded them. That particular former student was approaching him now after having poured them both a generous portion of brandy.

In complete silence, they both slowly savored the brandy. While to everyone else the lack of noise might have been unnerving, but to them it spoke volumes of how comfortable they were with each other's presence. The need for small talk was unnecessary for them. Severus was grateful for that. Yet, he knew that they needed to talk because he'd made up his mind.

This casual relationship between them had to stop. Severus thought once Voldemort had been defeated that the harsh stories against Harry would die, instead they only got worse. As they worsened, he'd resolved his will to pull away from Harry. It was for Harry that he was doing this; it'd be better for him not to be more closely associated with the Death Eater than he already was.

"We need to talk," he stated emotionlessly. When he felt Harry's eyes focus on him, he forced himself to say the words that needed to be said. They needed to be said swiftly so that Harry did not have the chance to interrupt him. "This has to end. I know that you want to take the relationship further, but we cannot. When we entered into it, it was because of mutual gratification. That is no longer the case. It doesn't mean we have to end our friendship, but friendship is as far as it will go."

He expected Harry to bombard him with questions, but he didn't. Instead he stood there staring at Severus steadily, waiting for him to see if he had anymore to say. Severus did. "I know that you think you love me, but you don't. Dependence and understanding has lulled you into thinking that we belong together; thus, that has made you believe that you love me when you don't rely on me anymore, that will change and the feelings will fade. Do you understand Harry?"

He was hoping beyond hope that Harry didn't notice the bullshit behind his reasoning, while a thread of it was true--- most of it was concoct nonsense, but filled with enough reality to make it believable to a person not thinking clearly. It almost convinced him. But the problem with him was that he didn't fall into any belief wholeheartedly, yet that was precisely how Harry was. And he saw it was working.

Throughout his entire explanation, Severus had maintained contact with Harry, which allowed him to see that aching grief that flared up in those brilliant emerald orbs. He had to force himself to stay rooted where he was when Harry moved suddenly to him. He didn't know what he thought that Harry might do, but he wasn't expecting Harry's soft lips to part and for Harry to run his fingers through his thick black strands to pull his face down to kiss him.

The passion between them was a fire that never stopped burning once they had fed the initial flames. It was no different now. Vaguely at the back of his mind he remembered shoving Harry against the wally and peeling the dark crimson robes that shielded his body from his touch. It was when his hands caressed Harry's sinewy nakedness that he remembered what he had been intending to do and having sex was one of the must nots on the list.

Dragging himself off of his lover, he collapsed into a nearby chair and croaked out in a voice that struggled with unfulfilled desire, "Leave now. Please go."

Harry bent down to pick up his robes and looked like he was going to leave without saying a word. That was too much optimism on Severus's part because when Harry got to the door, he turned around and whispered hoarsely, "It was never about gratification. Never, Sev."

No, it hadn't been. It had been so much more, and becoming even more than that. That was what he was afraid of. That couldn't happen. He wasn't good enough for Harry. It did surprise him somewhat that Harry had left without a fight, and yet he was pathetically glad he had. If Harry had resisted, he would have caved in and admitted to the young man how much he needed him by his side.

Sinking down to his knees and dragging his fingers through his hair, he rested his forehead dejectedly against the wall. It was only after Harry had left that the regret poured through into his consciousness. He had suppressed it well enough to prevent it from stopping what he knew he had to do. Yet it wasn't enough to stop his sense of loss because Harry was the one person who accepted and understood him for who he was.

~ (present)

"Draco!" Albus exclaimed in a high enough and enthusiastic enough voice to draw Severus from his reflections. "What a pleasant surprise, I didn't--- Harry!" That was all that Albus said before hugging Harry with welcoming arms. "It's so good to see you both! I didn't know you two were arriving together."

There was little the Headmaster didn't know, and Severus was certain that Albus had known about Draco. "Draco's been living with me for the past year. He had no place to go, and well he decided to come with me back to Hogswart. With Death Eaters around still trying to gather what's left of Voldemort's power, it'd be a good thing to have two Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers. After all," he remarked with a wry smile, "he's one of the few that is capable of dueling me. What better way to prepare students than a dueling club?"

If anything the twinkle in Albus increase its sparkle at Harry's suggestion, but all Severus noticed was that Harry was ignoring him. Any thoughts of a joyful reunion brought about by Albus's words of advice were crushed. He berated himself since what could he expect when he had pushed Harry away? Welcome him with open arms like Albus? Of course not, it anyone should know how Harry had hardened and toughened up over the years--- it was him.

Besides that Draco seemed particularly close to Harry, even more so than those many years back when they'd become close mates because of their shared circumstances. What was even more of a cause of concern was that Draco had been living with Harry for the past year. The twinge of emotion he felt was not something he'd felt before, which was why it took him a while to recognize that it was jealousy.

Obviously his tormented thoughts of hurting Harry had been pointless since Harry had someone else he was with. how foolish it was for him to think that Harry had been brooding around for the past two years like he had done! Harry might never have been a child but that didn't mean he had the capacity for emotions that ran so deep that they could never be expelled.

When Draco had joined the conversation, grabbing both Harry's and Albus's attention, that was all Severus was willing to take in his fury. Angry at Harry for not lingering in the pain he'd caused him. Mad at himself for letting the pain linger all these years when he should have moved on like Harry had so visibly done. Like Harry had so easily done without regard to him.

But why have any concern to him? You pushed him away, his annoyingly accurate inner voice accused. He wished that the stupid voice didn't have to pop in the most untimely of circumstances. He knew he'd pushed Harry away. For Merlin's sake, that was what he'd intended to do! But two years later, he was not so sure anymore if what he'd done then was the right thing. Not sure in the least bit.

Seething in his jealousy, he blindly made his way to the dank comforts of his dungeons, ignoring his inner voice that told him he was foolish for running. It annoyed him how self-righteous that voice was. How somehow it was always right. By running away like that, he basically shouted to the entire world that he still had some feelings for Harry. If he didn't, why had he run?

Bloody hell! He hated feeling like a dunderhead, but he definitely felt like one now. He wasn't suppose to give Harry an obvious clue like that, that he still cared, that he still loved the boy. But he had, and his inner voice sniggered: You wanted him to know. Don't deny it, Severus, you know you wanted him to know. You want him to pursue you again because you don't want to have to admit your wrong and pursue him.

He hated to admit but that damn inner voice of his was right, deadly right. Oh, he wanted Harry--- he wanted the Boy Who Lived so badly he was trembling now. Seeing him again for the first time in two years was making all the pent up lust inside of him wash over his body in wave after agonizing wave. The sardonically amused part of him was standing back away from the side of him that was succumbing to temptation and smirking at him lusting after a boy that was young enough to be his son.

What kind of pervert was he? A pervert that Harry found sexy, delectable, and worthy of his love. Curse his inner voice, he thought angrily. But the voice didn't have to nag at him long to accept what it'd said this time. It was true, as much as he desired Harry--- he wasn't the only one caught up in that intoxicating feeling. Harry was too, he knew that only too well.

Harry had been the one to seduce him. And he wanted, he wanted so badly for Harry to try to seduce him again. If Harry attempted even half the efforts that he had taken last time, he'd be caught in a whirlwind that was inescapable. But would Harry try? From all indications, it looked like Draco and Harry were together. As painful as it was to acknowledge, maybe Harry had moved on.

The dreaded question he needed to have answer was: Had Harry stop loving him?