Disclaimer: We do not own any of this so please do not sue us.

WARNING! This will be slash. If you do not like slash (A relationship between two men) then please do not read.

This is rated R for adult situations and language.

Taking Away the Loneliness – Chapter One

It was a cold, snowy day at Hogwarts and the seventh year Gryffindors were in the freezing dungeons with the Slytherins and the greasy git Potions Master. They were attempting to make a calming potion but Harry wasn't having any luck.

"Mister Potter. Is that supposed to be a calming potion?" Snape said with a sneer.

"Yes Sir, I believe that is the potion that you assigned, is it not?" Harry retorted. He was tired of Snape's menacing comments.

"Twenty points from Gryffindor and detention in my office after supper," Snape said calmly. The Slytherins laughed while the Gryffindors glared. Everyone remained silent for the remaining lesson.

"Snape is so…. So…."

"Evil." Ron finished helpfully.

"Yes," Harry agreed, "Evil. I mean what is his problem anyway? It looks as though he could cut me a little slack every once in a while. I don't understand what I did for him to hate me the way he does."

"You're not a Slytherin." Ron said.

"He still treats me the worst out of all the students."

"He has to Harry," Hermione said quietly, "it is all part of his role. Everyone, especially the Slytherins, have to think he hates you so they don't find out he is really on Dumbledore's side."

"I know Hermione, but I think he gets a little carried away with it. Gryffindor shouldn't have to lose as many points as they do because of that."

"Yeah," said Ron, "But that's okay, you'll make it up at the Quidditch game this Saturday Harry!" Harry laughed.

"Yeah, I can't wait until we beat Slytherin...again!"

Harry found himself glaring at his professor who was currently sitting at the Head Table glaring back with equal intensity. It was a contest that Harry would not lose. If his professor wanted to glare at him, so be it, but two could play that game.

"Come on Harry, the git's not worth it, mate. I mean, you're already serving detention with him for Merlin knows how long, do you really want to stare at him all during lunch?"

"Yeah…guess you're right. He just makes me so mad, Ron. I mean…who does he think he is that he can treat me like shite? I surely don't have any liking for the man, but Merlin, I don't wake up every morning with the thought of making his day miserable. I think he gets off on making me miserable. But then again…it's probably the only way he ever gets off!" Ron and Harry shared a long laugh and Harry shot his hated professor another sneer as they laughed.

"Really, Harry, you are only egging him on. You know you are feeding the fire, so don't let me hear it when he gives you detention every night this week. Remember, you have Quidditch practice at the same time. Your hatred of Snape is one thing, but you have other people depending on you, so I suggest you tone it down just until the game is over. We wouldn't want Malfoy and his cronies to win because of your inability to keep your mouth shut, would we?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "Nope, wouldn't want that to happen."

"Harry, I'm serious! Promise me that you won't do anything rash!" Hermione pleaded.

"Sorry, Hermione. When it comes to holding my tongue with Snape, I can't make any promises. The bastard deserves every nasty comment I can muster."

"Harry James Potter! How many times have we been through this? It is only a façade-"

"Yeah, yeah. I know. He has to do it…Spy…die if Voldemort finds out...valuable to the Order...Save it for Lockhart because I don't care. He could be a lot nicer and still keep up his 'facade'."

"Honestly, Harry. What has gotten into you lately? You have never been this… hostile before." Hermione said worriedly.

Harry snorted with laughter. "Hostile? You think this is hostile? Hostile would be extricating my wand right now and cursing him into greasy pieces," Harry said sarcastically, "Which, doesn't sound like a bad idea at all."

Hermione just sighed and went back to her lunch. It seemed as though she was fighting a losing battle. "Well, we had better get to Transfiguration," Hermione said standing up and grabbing her bag.

The boys did the same and they went off to their classroom.

All too soon, dinner was over and Harry was making his way down to the dungeons.

He reached Snape's office and knocked roughly on the door. He had rather be anywhere but here.

"Enter." Came the menacing voice from within the office.

Harry opened the door and stalked into the room.

"Good evening, Mister Potter," Snape said with a sneer.

"Unless you call being trapped in the dungeons with a snarky bastard a pleasant evening, I do not see what is good about it." Harry spat bitterly.

"Yes, well, I am your professor, therefore I have to put up with you," Snape said smirking, "Ten points from Gryffindor. Would you like to go for twenty?" Harry just glared at him as hard as he could "That's what I thought. Now, I want you to clean up the Potions Classroom. No magic." Harry continued his glare. "Now would be a good time. Or had you rather I take fifty points from Gryffindor?"

Harry came dangerously close to telling him that he had rather he shove a cauldron up his arse, but settled for turning on his heel and walking out of the office into the Potions Classroom, slamming the door behind him.

"Twenty points from Gryffindor!"

Harry wanted to scream! No one could get under his skin like Snape and it drove him crazy.

Harry reluctantly set to work on the filthy classroom. It seemed as though the first years must have been the last ones in the classroom. Ingredients strewn all over the place, spilled potions, melted cauldrons, he really didn't know where to start.

Harry did not know how long he had been working, but sometime later he heard the door open and then heard his professor say some words which sounded like some sort of enchantments, and prepared for the next round with Snape. "What do you want?"

"Potter, this is my classroom, I do not need to have a reason to enter. But, since you asked, I will tell you what I want. Would you tell me just what in Merlin's name has gotten into you this year? You and I have certainly never gotten along and I have always singled you out, I think we both know why." Snape looked pointedly at Harry, who only stared back. "What has changed, Mister Potter, between last June and now?"

Harry looked incredulously at his most hated Professor. "Why do you suddenly care, Snape? I mean it is December, why ask me now, why not when I first returned in September, why not in October - Why now? I don't get it, because I know you certainly don't care; I mean, if I fell off the side of the Earth tomorrow, you'd be cheering the loudest of them all, wouldn't you…WOULDN'T YOU, SNAPE?"

Harry was red and he could feel his face burning. He had not meant to lose control in front of Snape; the greasy git wasn't worth it.

Or was he?

Harry did not know what to think anymore; ever since the end of his fifth year, when Sirius died, Harry had been lost. Of course, everyone had done their best to cheer him up; Remus had been there for him, and the Gryffindor appreciated Remus' help and friendship, but it was not the same as having Sirius. No matter what anyone tried, Harry continued to fall deeper into despair.

Then in the middle of Harry's sixth year, he and Snape had a huge confrontation at the end of a very contentious class. They had been preparing a truth draught, and Harry's was tested on him. Of course, with Snape questioning him, the Gryffindor knew nothing good could possibly come from it. After Harry drank the contents of the vial, Snape began questioning him, mostly about insignificant things, but then Snape touched on a subject, which Harry had never talked about before, with anyone. The memory of what had taken place next was as vivid as if it had just occurred.

"Potter, tell me, how does it feel to have all of the girls at Hogwarts throwing themselves at you?"

Harry was under a truth serum; he could not control what he said. "The girls can throw themselves at me all they want, Professor, but I am not interested in them."

Murmurs could be heard spreading throughout the classroom. Fortunately, the bell for the next class rang, because Harry had a few words for his professor and did not want a large audience.

When only he and Snape remained, Harry stormed up to the front of the room. "How dare you, you sodding prick." Harry was fuming and he had every right, even Snape did not berate the boy for using such foul language. "What was that about? Who in the hell made you king and said it was all right to go around fucking up their student's lives? Did you not even stop to think? Oh no, because I am bloody Harry fucking Potter, your most loathed student and, your unwilling recipient of some debt you owed my father. I hate you, and as long as I live, I will never forgive you, you slimy bastard."

Harry continued glaring at his professor who was looking at Harry as if he was becoming impatient.

"It was one simple question, Potter, nothing more, nothing less."

"You fucking outed me last year, Damn it. Yes, that is a simple answer to a simple question, I suppose, but that is what happened. Professor, NO ONE KNEW –NO ONE! Not even Ron and Hermione, my best friends. Of course you would never understand, but with those few words you can't imagine how much you hurt me." Harry had been shouting but couldn't even muster the energy any longer. He had waited so long for this confrontation; he did not think it would do any good, but he wanted Snape to know that what he had done had indeed hurt him.

"I do understand Potter, believe me." Severus said with a defeated sigh.

Harry's eyes widened with surprise. Did this mean what he thought it did?

"I know what you are thinking Potter, and yes, I am gay. I never thought I would be having this conversation with you. I am actually surprised that your mutt of a Godfather didn't tell you this a long time ago. I was 'outed' as you so eloquently put it, without wanting to be. I very much know how you feel, and what you went through.

"By who?"

Severus looked sternly at him. "You should know."

"Well I don't. Would you care to enlighten me?" Harry asked, annoyed.

"Honestly Potter, didn't you ever wonder why I despised your father so much?"

"I thought it was because of the Shrieking Shack incident and the time they taunted you by the lake."

"I only used the Shrieking Shack as an excuse. He saved my life, why would I be mad at him for that? That was your mangy Godfather's fault. And the other…well, yes…I do still hold a great deal of hatred towards him for that, but it is not the only reason, Severus said disgustedly.

"Are you saying that my father was the one who outed you?"

"No Potter, I am saying that tortoises have shells of gold and live on the moon," Severus said, the words dripping with sarcasm.

Harry ignored him. "Did he do it on purpose?"

"I don't think so. But I could never forgive him."

"What happened?"

"It is none of your business Potter, now get on with your detention." Severus said, turning to leave the classroom.

"I bloody well think it is my business. After all, we are talking about my father." Harry said heatedly.

Severus turned back around. "Very well, but only if you promise not to ask questions afterwards."


"Your father and I met on the Hogwarts train in first year. We immediately became friends."

"What? You and my father were actually friends?" Harry couldn't believe what he was hearing.

"Yes Potter, now please refrain from any further interruptions or I will not continue the story.

"As I was saying, we became friends before arriving at Hogwarts. We were sorted into separate houses, Gryffindor and Slytherin, but that did not keep us from being friends.

"Your father would put on his invisibility cloak, come to the Slytherin common room and get me. We would then go to the Astronomy Tower where we would talk for hours. Your father was the only person, other than Headmaster Dumbledore, that I would actually talk to.

"We had to keep our friendship secret because of strong house rivalries…and Black. The man would have killed James if he had known he had befriended a Snape. The Blacks and Snapes have been family rivals for as far back as the line's go. Not unlike the Malfoys and the Weasleys, but that is another story.

"In our fifth year, I told James something that I had not even told Albus, whom I thought of, and still do, as my father; I told him that I was gay. He promised that he wouldn't tell a soul, and I trusted him. That was a mistake.

"In that same year, I befriended Lily. We became fast friends and she refused to hide that fact. We spent a lot of time together. It was a well-known fact that James and Lily were dating. Black noticed how much time Lily and I were spending together and grew suspicious. He thought that I was trying to steal her from James. That is the reason he tried to kill me. James heard about this and saved me. He then proceeded to tell Black that he had nothing to worry about because I could never be attracted to Lily. Seeing as how your mother was very attractive, and nearly every boy in the school was attracted to her, Black knew my secret. The next day the entire school knew. It is not an experience that I wish to relive anytime short of eternity."

Harry was shocked. His father had told Severus' secret. Not on purpose, but still. Harry understood Severus' anger towards James. It was the same that he felt for Severus. But Harry was not one to hold a grudge.

"Thank you." Harry said sincerely.

"For what?" Severus asked, actually looking shocked.

"For telling me. It explains a lot. I have always known that you were angry with my father but could never fully understand why. Like I said before, I thought it was because of the prank. But now I understand. You had every right to be angry with him. But it was an accident, and I am sure he regretted it." Harry said with a small smile.

"Are you saying that you forgive me, Mister Potter?" Severus said, with a look that Harry thought akin to hope.

"No, Snape, I am saying that tortoises have shells of gold and live on the moon." Harry said sarcastically. Severus actually smiled.

"I thought you said you would never forgive me? Actually, as I recall, your exact words were 'I will never forgive you, you slimy bastard."

"Well, I didn't think you would ever apologize."

"Who said I apologized?" Severus said defensively.

"Don't give me that. You did not tell me that just to tell me; it was an apology. Whether you want to admit it or not." Harry said with a look of triumph.

Severus shook his head and let out a slight sigh. "Potter, I do regret what happened, and yes, I apologize. And I do not think I need to tell you that this conversation must remain between the two of us." Snape's face had returned to its normal state, scowl firmly in place.

"This will remain between us, Professor Snape, promise."

"Very well. Now you still have some cleaning to do, so I suggest you get back to work. Oh and one other thing, I may have let you get away with your sarcastic remarks earlier, but don't expect such leniency in the future."

"Yes Sir."

Snape went back into his office and Harry returned to cleaning Snape's classroom. The Gryffindor felt as if a large burden had been lifted from his shoulders, but he was having a hard time understanding why he felt so relieved. He had never cared what his professor thought, and the only reason he had told him what he had this evening was because he had gotten so mad

Harry continued until he had finished washing the last cauldron, then walked back into Snape's office. "I'm finished Professor..."

Harry walked in the office and saw his Professor sitting in a comfortable chair by the roaring fire looking through what appeared to Harry, to be a photo album. The older man did not even seem to notice Harry had entered. He looked happy and content. Whatever he was thinking about, Harry knew it must be a happy memory. Harry knew that his professor did not have many happy memories, at least not of recent times.

Severus was oblivious to his student observing him. When he had returned to his office after his conversation with Harry, he had immediately pulled out his old Hogwarts photo album, which was filled with pictures of he and James; they had been so happy and carefree, back then. It had been an odd relationship; Severus and James had been as close as two people could be without being lovers; Severus had found it odd that he was never drawn to James sexually, but he wasn't. Harry's father had been extremely handsome and had no shortage of admirers, but Severus could not see past their friendship. He would have done anything for James and he felt certain the other boy had felt the same. After James had inadvertently let Severus' secret out, there had been whispers that the two had been involved, which infuriated Severus, but he had never said anything. He had been so hurt, by his friend's betrayal that he did not care what rumors were spread around.

Harry had been playing voyer long enough and decided his professor did not deserve to have his seemingly private time, invaded. "Professor?"

Severus looked up and had to shake his head; Harry did look just like his father, except for the vivid green eyes; those were most definitely Lily's. Severus had never really looked at Harry, the student before; he had always been so full of rage because of what the boy's father had done that he never looked at Harry as an individual. Beautiful.

Severus cleared his throat and tried to clear his mind, "Sorry, Potter, so you are finished with my room?"

"Yes Sir…um, may I ask you a question?"

"You may, however, I cannot assure you an answer."

Harry nodded. "What was my father like, Professor? I mean, after what I saw in your Pensieve, I thought my dad was a bully, and you certainly never corrected that assumption. Now you are telling me he and you were once the best of friends? How do you go from one extreme to the other?"

Severus had not expected Harry to ask this, although it seemed only natural; the boy had never known his parents, and Severus had just informed him that he and James were best friends while they were at Hogwarts, after letting the boy think he had always hated his father.

"Potter, your father was basically a good person, and you need to know that."

"But then how could he have done all of the bad things he did to you?"

"I don't know Harry. Believe me, I have spent many a night wondering what went wrong between us. After he outed me, I wanted nothing to do with him, so I ignored him and went out of my way to avoid him. He chose a different route, one that included teasing me." Severus took a deep breath before continuing. "I don't want to upset you, but it was your Godfather who seemed to spur your father on."

"That still does not excuse his behavior."

"No, it doesn't. But Harry, your father was a good person; don't think he wasn't. He made some bad choices, but then again…so did I." Severus closed his eyes. Yes, he had made very bad choices, and was paying the price. He opened his eyes and saw Harry staring at his arm, the one where his dark mark had been branded for all to see. It was covered up presently, but Harry had seen it before.

"I'm sorry, Professor, I didn't mean to stare."

"It's okay, Potter, that is my biggest mistake, there is nothing secret about that."

"So I guess you and my mum did not remain friends?"

"She tried, but I pushed her away; no one ever wanted to be near me; everyone said I was the little queer freak, and I believed them. I really thought something was wrong with me, so when your mum tried to come near me, I pushed her away until eventually she stopped trying."

Harry had felt horrible when he had looked into his professor's pensieve two years earlier, and when he had seen the distress and anger on his professor's face that day, he had felt so badly for him. But sitting here now, Harry's empathetic manner took over. He knew all to well about being lonely.

How was it? We hope you liked it! sev1970 and Nymphadora Tonks1