Of Steel

Tootsiesmile@aol.com

Thornangel

Warnings: Slash

Pairings: Snape/Harry

Summary: Harry is the DADA and Snape is still the Potions Master. They get into an argument and decided to deal with it in a duel. With swords and not wands. But they come to many startling conclusions during it.

A/N: I got a very nice email from Katyosha giving me this challenge. And how could I resist?! I just HAD to do it since it was a great idea!! And the fact that I absolutely LOVE challenges was an added bonus too. ^___^ But anyways, so here it is. Hope you enjoy! Hats off to Katyosha!

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters.

Harry sat at the teachers table, watching the students while at the same time trying to hold a conversation with McGonagall about a certain student that they had both been having trouble with. "He'll listen to me when I tell him to behave. But that's only for five minutes and then he goes at it again." Harry said, taking a drink of his pumpkin juice. McGonagall nodded her head in agreement. "I agree. Something needs to be done with him. He reminds me of Malfoy."

Harry smirked but stopped when he spotted the boy they had been talking about standing up from the Slytherin table. Harry slowly put his goblet down and watched him. Matt Colney was a teacher's worst nightmare. The boy just didn't know how to behave and had more detentions so far then any other student in the castle. Of course, none of them given to him by Snape. Harry rolled his eyes and shook his head and returned his attention to the boy.

He had stood up with two of his friends and was heading towards the Gryffindor trouble. Harry knew there was going to be trouble. He could probably smell it in the air if he tried. So he wasn't surprised that the next time he glanced at McGonagall there was shouting from the Gryffindor table. Harry looked over to see what had happened. Matt Colney and his friends were standing in front of a group of Gryffindors; one boy had pumpkin juice spilt on his shirt and robes, yelling at Matt.

Harry stood up, McGonagall following behind him. Snape was already further then them, heading towards the group also. He arrived in time to hear Snape demanding what was going on. Harry winced as a dozen different voices started telling what happened. McGonagall cleared her throat. "Be quiet students. One at a time. Now, Mr. Farrow, tell us what happened?" She asked the boy who had pumpkin juice spilled on him.

Snape glared at her, probably for interrupting him. "Professor McGonagall, we were just eating before Colney and his goons bumped into me on purpose and made me spill my drink." Harry had a serious sense of dejavu of between him and Malfoy. Snape sneered at the student. "Mr. Colney. Why don't you tell us what really happened?" He questioned the smirking youth.

Harry glared at him. 'Typical Snape.' The boy smirked. "Professor Snape sir. It was just an accident. I tripped and bumped into him. That was all." Harry would have rolled his eyes but he was supposed to not show sides since he wasn't a head of a house. He was supposed to be a neutral.

Snape crossed his arms. "Well, it's apparent of what happened McGonagall. The boy just tripped and Mr. Farrow decided to lie and take the changes to get him in trouble." Snape sneered at the boy smugly. "Twenty points from Gryffindor." Harry's eyes widened at that. "What?!" Harry shouted, fully shocked. 'I know Snape is a greasy git, but that was outright unfair!'

Snape turned to him, his eyes full of anger now. "Did you not understand what I said Mr. Potter? Perhaps you need me to say it again." Harry felt something wrench inside of him but he ignored it. He wasn't about to let Snape treat him like a student. He wasn't about to let him intimidate him anymore. He was grown now and didn't need to be treated like a child. "That's not fair Snape. Obviously it's just a different perspective. I doubt he was trying to blame him, unfairly."

Harry said, still glaring at him, making it fully known that he believed the Slytherin boy had been lying. Snape just stared at him for a minute with his hard coal black eyes. But Harry wasn't going to back down and just stared back at him. After a moments stare down Snape took a step towards him. "I don't remember you being a head of a house Potter. I think you should get back to your class Potter and learn how to teach it correctly."

The kids that had been standing by had backed up, sensing this wouldn't be good and they needed to get away. Even McGonagall had backed up, giving the two men plenty of room if it happened to come to blows. Everybody was looking nervous at the exchange and some even gasped in shock at the insult Snape had just given. Harry stared at him, his fists clenched. "I believe since I'm the one who got the job you wanted, I'm pretty sure I know how to teach it better then you could, since I have it and you don't. It's your class that should be worried."

Harry turned to the students. "Forty points to Gryffindor for having to put up with this slimy greasy git for the rest of time you have to have potions. You have my pity." Harry sneered at Snape and stalked out of the Great Hall in a very Snape-like manner, leaving behind a lot of shocked people. Including one person who felt…sad? Disappointed?

Harry stalked down the hallway to his chambers. 'Stupid git.' Harry fumed, glaring at everything around him. He sighed and let some of his anger and frustrations go. He was almost to his chambers when he heard footsteps behind him. He turned around to see Snape coming towards him. Harry had a quick vision of Snape taking his wand out and cursing the living lights out of him.

But all Snape did was stop in front of him and stare at him. When the uncomfortable silence got so bad and Harry couldn't take it anymore, he shifted on his feet and asked. "What do you want Snape?" Snape stared at him for a minute and an expression Harry couldn't name flashed through his eyes before disappearing. "We're to duel."

Harry raised an eyebrow. "Duel?" Snape looked down at him as if he were explaining to a child. "Yes Potter. A duel. You do know what those are don't you?" Harry glared, feeling his pride pricked. "Yes Snape." Snape smirked at him. "With swords Potter. No wands. It wouldn't be much of a challenge if you were able to use it now would it?"

Harry looked at Snape in shock. Swords? But not wanting to give Snape anything else to rub in his face, Harry grinned. "Alright then. Swords, no wands. I mean, really, what good could a Potions master do against a Defense teacher?" Harry knew he shouldn't try to provoke him, but he just couldn't resist. Snapes eyes narrowed for a minute before returning to their normal glare. 'Seriously, does this man do anything but glare?'

"Tonight. In the Great Hall at eight o'clock. Don't be late as usual." Snape turned on his heal and walked off back down the hall. When he was gone, Harry rubbed his face with his hands and sighed wearily before resuming his walk to his chambers.

Harry opened his eyes as he heard knocking on his door. He stood up and walked over, opening it to see Hermione and Ron looking at him with worried expressions. "What's wrong?" Harry asked, looking at them as they walked past him. "Harry! What were you thinking? Accepting a duel with Snape?" Hermione said, her hands on her hips, looking at him disapprovingly. "Mate, have you gone nutters?" Ron asked, looking at him as if he were crazy.

Harry just looked at them, confused. "What? Where did you find this out?" He wasn't denying it; he just wanted to know how they found out. Hermione sighed and sat down on the couch, her hands fluttering nervously in her lap. Ron sat down and grabbed them, holding them with his own. Harry had to smile. 'They make such a cute couple.'

"Snape came up to us earlier today as we came in. He told us about it and told us that we were supposed to be your witnesses." Hermione explained, reaching up to tuck some hair behind her ear. Ron frowned. "Yeah, I think his exact words were 'you're there to make sure when little Potter loses he's got someone there to drag him to the infirmary.'" Harry rolled his eyes. "That sounds like something he'd say."

Ron stared at him. "You're not really going to do it are you!!?" Ron practically screamed, and Harry jumped. "Well, of course. He challenged me and I accepted. But we've got to do it with swords instead of wands." Harry looked at Hermione in concern as she looked like she was going to faint. "Herm, you okay? You want some water or something?" Hermione shook her head, staring at the space in front of her.

He and Ron exchanged worried glances before she shook her head and looked at him, determined. "Harry, you can't do it." Harry frowned. "Why not? I don't believe you're the one that has to duel. It's my choice." Ron butted in. "But Harry. You could be seriously hurt." Harry shrugged. "Ron, I doubt Dumbledore would let someone get hurt in duels."

Hermione shook her head again. "Dumbledore has no say in what happens. Like you said, Snape challenged and you accepted. So whatever happens is totally out of his hands. Anything can go on and you CAN get seriously hurt." Harry stared at the empty fireplace and thought. Did Snape really want to hurt him badly? Sure, they didn't have the best relationship in the castle, but it wasn't that bad was it? Harry hadn't even wanted to really hurt Snape other then just smack him upside the head.

But what about Snape? Snape was a lot different then Harry. Harry frowned and looked at Hermione. "It doesn't matter Hermione. I accepted and I can't back down now. Especially not to Snape." Harry shook his head in a determined fashion; nobody was going to make him back down. "Harry…" Ron began again but Harry held up a hand to silence him. "Ron, if I can take on Voldemort and win. Then I can certainly take on Potions master Severus Snape al right? I'll be fine, trust me."

They nodded. But that didn't stop either of them from planting hints throughout their conversations that he should drop out and they wouldn't be angry or think any worse of him if he did. Harry would just roll his eyes at the poorly disguised hints and change the topic.

Snape got up from his table and went to the door, opening it. Not even bothering to see who was there, he went back to his desk and grading papers. He heard his door being shut and two pair of feet walking over to his desk and standing in front. When it became clear that they weren't going to say anything some time soon, he sighed in annoyance and dropped his quill, looking up at the people bothering him.

"McGonagall, Dumbledore. Why is it that you two are bothering me today?" Snape said, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms. "Severus my boy. We wanted to talk to you about earlier this morning." 'I should've know.' "I'm sorry Dumbledore. You won't be getting me to change my mind."

"Snape, you're setting a bad example for the students by challenging another teacher." McGonagall snapped at him. Her and Snape had never gotten along and he didn't even know why she was here. Dumbledore probably dragged her alone. "And he wasn't challenging my authority in front of the whole student body in the Great Hall?" Snape asked, sneering at her. Apparently she didn't have an excuse for that because she didn't say anything.

"Severus, I just don't want either one of you getting hurt." Dumbledore said calmly. "I won't be getting hurt. And I'll try not to hurt your golden boy, too badly." Snape had to smirk at that. He was finally going to show Potter his place tonight. And he was going to enjoy every minute of it. Now if only these two would leave him in peace.

Dumbledore frowned at him. "Severus. He's not nearly as experience as you are in swords. It's unfair to ask him to fight like that." Snape resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "And it's not unfair to ask me to fight with a wand?" He had obviously made another good argument and this time left Dumbledore with nothing to say.

"It isn't very good conduct for you to set examples like this for the students." McGonagall tried again, this time with a hint of desperation hinting her voice. Snape raised an eyebrow. "And why is this exactly? The only people who should know about this little duel are you two, Granger, Weasley, Potter, and myself. And nobody but the mentioned will be in the Great Hall when the duel takes place."

Dumbledore sighed and stared at him. Snape just looked at him, making it clear he wasn't going to take his challenge back. "Well, then I'm afraid we've failed Minerva. There's nothing we can do about it. Let's leave Severus in peace." McGonagall frowned but followed Dumbledore as he walked out of the door.

Snape smirked and looked down at the papers he had been grading. He remembered how Potter had looked this morning, staring at him defiantly, having the nerve to mock him in front of everybody, and the little shivers he had when Potter had stared at him like that. He didn't like it, it had scared him and that feeling had made him go running after Potter. But when he had gotten there, he had found nothing to say, and the next thing he knew he was challenging him. 'Why must I always get into such things?'

Harry wasn't wearing his cloak or wand as he entered the Great Hall at a little before eight o'clock. He found Snape to be already there along with everybody else. Snape had skipped the robe also and just wore pants and a shirt, the same as Harry. There was a raised platform that Harry knew that was where they were going to fight.

Snape was standing off to the side, holding a sword. Hermione and Ron came running over to him as soon as they saw him. Hermione was carrying a familiar looking sword with her and as she got closer, Harry recognized it as Godrics sword. Hermione handed it to him and the familiar weight felt comforting. "Dumbledore said that since Snape has the experience that you should at least have a good sword." Harry smiled and nodded.

'And what a good sword it is.' Harry thought fondly. It had helped him in his time of need before. "It's time Potter." Snape called across to him and Harry nodded, making his way over to the platform. Snape stood on one end and Harry on the other. They raised their swords as was tradition and as soon as they were lowered the fight began.

Snape lunged forward and Harry stepped to the side, making it miss him. But he had to jump back as Snape as soon as he saw that he missed made a swiping motion to the side that would have hit his side if it had hit at all. 'I might actually want to use the sword.' Harry thought dully and raised it to block the next attack.

It went on like this for the first couple minutes, Snape on offense and Harry on defense. Somehow, it felt strange to be fighting Snape like this. Wrong. Lost in his thoughts, Harry didn't have time to fully block the next attack and Snapes sword cut through his shirt and sliced his upper arm. It burned and blood was already slowly soaking through the shirt around it, but he had had worse.

"First blood is mine Potter."

For some reason, Snape didn't feel as satisfied as he had thought he would be as he watched the wound bleed. True, first blood was indeed his. So why didn't he feel glad? Happy that he had shown Potter up? Snape wished the sick feeling in his stomach would go away as he gazed at the wound. It wasn't bad, so why was he worried?

Snape shook his head and got ready to make another attack. But to his surprise it was Harry who made the next attack. He had to hoist his sword up quickly to deflect the sword away from his arm. Now it seemed he had to play defense. And what was shocking, was that the moves Harry was using, were the same ones Snape had just used. 'It isn't possible he learned those just from watching me. Is it?'

Harry would've grinned if he hadn't been so concentrated. He knew what Snape was thinking. He had indeed learned what to do from watching Snape from before. And now that he had adequate knowledge of what to do, he could attack instead of just defending himself. 'The next blood with be mine.' Harry promised himself, ignoring the bad feeling he got from thinking that. He made a move as to aim for the arm and when Snapes sword went up to block it; Harry quickly moved his angles to the leg.

He stepped back, not sure whether or not he had made contact with his sword. He looked at the thigh but couldn't see any blood. But wait? No, there it was. It was shallow compared to the one Snape gave him, but it was there. And a good hit for someone with his experience. "Second bloods mine." Harry said, his arm aching from holding the swords weight that he wasn't used to.

And that was how it went. Though it was strange how neither one seemed to want to really hurt the other. Sometimes their swords would brush against the others leg gently. But the fighters didn't think about it. Even though it continued in between attacks and blocks. A caress here, a caress there. All hidden in between blades of steel.

Occasionally one would actually draw blood from one, and the other would draw blood from the other in return. Until Harry stumbled and his sword was lowered for one instant. Snape had already started to make an attack and wasn't prepared for Harry not blocking it. He couldn't stop it in time and the sword cut across Harry's chest. But he had managed to stop the sword enough that it only cut the shirt and barely cut the skin.

'Why did I do that?' Snape thought, looking at Harry in shock. He didn't know why, but he couldn't bare seeing Harry hurt seriously. Especially not by his own hand. Harry was staring at him in shock also. But Snape was too relieved to see that Harry hadn't been seriously harmed by the attack to be worried about it. As he stood there looking at Harry, a strange feeling started coiling up inside him. Contentment. Relief. Love.

Snape almost reeled back in shock. 'Love?! LOVE?!' Snape screamed at himself. 'I don't love him!!' Snape looked at the man in front of him. No longer the boy he taught but somehow one and the same. 'Do I?' The boy he had constantly watched over, using the excuse of repaying his father for saving the boys life. Not wanting to admit that he hadn't wanted the boy to be harmed.

And the same feeling was still there. Only disguised. 'I do. I love him. But he doesn't love me. He can't.'

Harry looked at Snape in shock. 'Why did he pull back? He could've won. So why did he stop?' Not that Harry was complaining. He certainly didn't want to be sent to the hospital wing to be fussed over. He almost shivered as those dark eyes looked at him. Harry wasn't aware of the people who were supposed to be there to be witnesses left the room silently. Though one red head had almost needed to be dragged out.

But Harry was only focused on the man in front of him. 'Why? Why is this happening? What is this?' Whenever Harry looked at the man, a strange feeling came over him. 'What is it thought?!' Harry thought in frustration. But when he looked into the mans eyes, a feeling of happiness washed over him, making him feel that everything will be okay. He felt happy, loved.

'Loved?! No way!' Harry shook his head. 'No possible way. Nope. Absolutely not.' Harry told himself firmly, but when he glanced back at Snape, a tiny traitorous thought slipped through. 'Well. Maybe.' "Why?" He could tell he had snapped Snape out of some deep thinking. Snape looked at him, and Harry felt this was different somehow. Maybe it was his own discoveries.

Snape just shrugged. "I'm not sure." Harry looked away and nodded his head. He set the sword down on the floor, knowing he wouldn't need it anymore. His played with his hands nervously. What was he supposed to do now? He watched as Snape put his sword down also. 'Am I supposed to walk out? What am I supposed to do!!?' Harry scowled in frustration. He looked at Snape. 'Oh heck with it all. I have blood Gryffindor courage after all.' Harry stalked towards Snape and grabbed a hold of the mans collar and pulled him down.

He got a look of Snapes shocked face before his mouth was on his. He kissed him for a moment, trying to coax Snape into kissing back. He was disappointed when Snape just stood in front of him. Harry sighed and made to move back but gasped in surprise as a hand tangled with his hair and pushed his head forward again.

Harry moaned as Snape plundered his mouth with his tongue, Snapes other hands traveling to his lower back, pressing his hips forwards. Snape turned so he had Harry pressed against the wall. His tongue still roaming around in Harrys mouth. He pulled back so both of them could breath. Harry looked up and grinned at him. He reached up and tucked a lock of black hair behind an ear.

"I love you, you know." Harry said quietly. 'Nobody can ever tell me I don't have any courage. If this isn't courage, it's stupidity then.' Harry just prayed Snape wouldn't laugh or treat him like he was stupid. Snape just smirked and said in a smug manner. "I know." Harry rolled his eyes and moved so he was almost kissing Snape again.

But Snape paused. "I love you too." And kissed Harry again. This time battling with tongues instead of steel.

FINISH