Disclaimer: Don't own the characters, 'cause I'm not J.K. Rowling, as you very well should know.
Summary: One day Albus gets tired of his to professors bickering and takes matters to his own wicked hands. He pushes the pair to the Room of Settlement and things grow a bit more than expected.
Challenge: What if Albus decided that the bickering and fights between Harry and Severus was more than enough and throws them into a closet and they can't go out until they make up their differences. (Carol, the challenge is from
A piece of history: Voldemort has been defeated, and the Wizarding World lives peacefully. That is except at Hogwarts, where two of the professors have an on-going argument basically about everything and anything. So one day, the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Albus Dumbledore, decides to take matters to his own hands and presents them with a little surprise he has up his sleeve:The Room of Settlement
"Albus! You cannot do this to me", Severus Snape protested as the Headmaster of Hogwarts pushed him in to a room. With Harry Potter. "NO!"
"Severus, my dear boy, it is time for you and young Harry to solve your differences", Albus Dumbledore assured his not-so-willing-potion-master, who he had in a partial body bind. The twinkle in the elder man's eyes was blinking madly.
"Headmaster, please!" the said Harry pleaded.
"If you two don't stop bickering and arguing at every point, we will never be able to win our war against ignorance. Surely you understand my action comes only from heart?"
"That is exactly what I am afraid of", Severus said under his breath. "Albus, you cannot do this!"
"Now, now, Severus, you must calm down. Do not worry. You cannot harm each other in this room, rest assured. And as soon as you two are ready, the room will let you out."
The Headmaster pushed the door closed before the two occupants had time for yet another protest.
"Doesn't he mean he will let us out when he thinks we are ready?" the potion master mused, muttering to himself. He was so preoccupied it took him a while to notice the partial body bind spell had worn off.
"I think he meant exactly what he said", the other occupant whispered, as if shocked.
Severus swung round to see Harry staring at something, his face gone ghostly pale.
"What are you implying, Potter?"
The younger man did not reply but instead simply pointed. 'The Room of Settlement' read a wooden plaque just above the room's only door. The door Albus had closed, and locked, few seconds ago.
"No, Albus, you wouldn't... surely you didn't..." Severus muttered to himself, seeing the crafty Headmaster with his mind eye.
For years there had been rumours around the school about the Room of Settlement. It was said that Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff had built it in the means of getting Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin back into a state of friendship. But they never had had the chance to test it before Slytherin had left the school. The Room had been forgotten for many centuries...
If rumours were to be believed, then Harry Potter had been in the room once before when Hermione Granger had become fed up with his and Draco Malfoy's quarrelling. At least, that was what Severus had heard about the matter. Though, the behaviour of the boys – they had been getting along weirdly well for a while now – did support the rumour.
"Don't bother. I doubt the Room will let you get away with any insults. At least not this century."
Harry rolled his eyes at the frustrated potion master. They couldn't hurt each other, just as the Headmaster had told them, unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – feelings were included at this list. Harry knew better than to try. Although he was secretly waiting for the third insult... it should prove entertaining.
"Bo-" Severus couldn't finish the word, again. And to punish him for his third attempt in under a minute, the room sent a jet of ice-cold water cascading over the snarling professor.
There was a startled silence. Silence from Harry over the nature of the third insult, and Snape over the water and the inability to call Harry even something that mild.
"Why am I not able to call you 'boy'?" Severus asked, curious, and dripping wet.
"Besides that I'm not a boy anymore?" Short pause. Then low murmured response: "Uncle Vernon always called me that." Harry looked at the floor and sucked his lower lip into his mouth. Admittedly, it was mostly in an attempt not to laugh at the sopping wet sight before him, but the thought of Vernon hadn't helped him any either. Somehow, it was almost impossible to look anyone in the eye when thinking about his uncle.
Sneer firmly in place, after an effective drying spell: "Why wouldn't your belov-" Wordless cursing. Then he inhaled to calm himself. At least it hadn't been water, or worse, this time. "Why didn't he use your name?"
The petite *man* huddled himself into as small a ball as was humanly possible.
"Pot-" It was the first time Severus was incapable of saying the name Potter. Luckily, the room seemed to deem the *man's* last name as slightly better than an insult and refrained from punishment.
He took a calming breath, again. Then neutrally: "Harry?"
"They think I'm a freak", the delicate man whispered, slowly raising his eyes to catch the half disbelieving, half sympathetic sneer on the dark professor's face.
"You remind me of a werewolf cub I had the pleasure of looking after once", Severus said quietly as he run his fingers lazily through Harry's unruly hair, as the younger man was resting his head on the potion master lap.
"You like being touched, even crave it. And you are just as desperate to please others as she was."
They now sat contentedly with each other. They had no choice, after all. Silence between them was companionable, even more so than when they talked. Which should come as no surprise. Even with his friends, the potion master was less than considerate. In an effort to avoid any more soakings, he had taken to long periods of absolute quiet. That suited Harry fine. The man was actually starting to enjoy the simple pleasure of sharing space with someone.
It was interesting that there was only one bed in the Room, with one blanket and two pillows. The bed wasn't large either. Surprisingly, they hadn't had problems with sleeping at the other's side. Not after the first night, anyway. Harry shivered. That first fight over the covers had left them both soaked, freezing, and mute for hours.
"When do you think the Room will let us out? We have been here for three days", Harry asked before sighing as Severus stroked his hair again. He gave a moment's thought to the fact that under normal circumstances their position would have been odd, or worse. But he didn't seem to actually care that much. It felt nice, they were alone, the damn Room was to blame, and Dumbledore was annoying. All in all, Snape petting him seemed to be the only good part of the whole ordeal.
"I do not know, Harry", Severus answered after a short pause. He gently unravelled a large tangle just above the man's left ear. "I don't know."
"Do you think it wants something else from us? I mean, we aren't fighting anymore." Harry frowned slightly. "We haven't really fought for a whole day. Does it just want to make sure this will last?"
"I certainly would not be surprised if that was the case. This is Albus Dumbledore we are talking about, after all", Severus replied dryly.
There was a soft popping sound as food appeared to the table.
"Ah, food! I was starting to get hungry", the younger man declared with such enthusiasm that the potion master was forced to smile in grudging amusement. The smile faded slightly as Harry got up without any hesitation and made for the table.
They had learned how to express themselves in a roundabout way if they wanted to say some things. And even part of the bickering had become more like a way to spend their time than an exercise in verbal duels to the death as they had been. Snape used this newfound ability as Harry grabbed a plate.
"You are a black hole, Professor Potter", Snape muttered as Harry unceremoniously shoved a whole biscuit in his mouth.
"Why thank you, Professor Snape." Harry grinned, dropping crumbs everywhere.
"It was not exactly a compliment."
"Yes, it was. It was the most nice thing you have ever told me." Harry smirked at his companion's raised eyebrow.
"You have quite low level for compliments then."
"Sev, the glass is half full, you know."
The dark-haired potion master quirked the eyebrow up, again, inquiringly. "Sev?"
"You don't like it?"
Then a soul-searching sigh.
"Yes, I believe I like it, Harry."
A brilliant smile blasted itself onto the younger man's face. "Good."
"It would be nice to get something to read, at least", the bored potion master tried in the vain hope of something happening.
A soft "Hmm", was the only response he got, and that was from Harry, not the Room of Settlement.
The petite man was running his hand along Severus' jaw, the back of his hand to one side, the palm to the other, repeating the motion with hypnotic rhythm.
"Harry?" Severus asked, looking up at the younger man's emerald gaze.
"What are you doing?"
The older man raised an eyebrow questioningly.
"If I could kiss you."
The hand stopped. A panicked expression flowed to the green eyes.
Slowly, as if not to scare the other, Severus lifted the hand that had caressed his jaw to his lips and placed a feather like kiss on it.
"Yes. You may kiss me, Harry."
"A werewolf cub, Sev?" Harry asked, curious.
"Didn't believe you would remember", the pale-skinned professor muttered, holding the younger wizard in his arms contentedly.
They were silent for a moment. Harry drew idle lines with his finger on Severus' skin.
"You do know the door of the Room of Settlement is open, don't you?"
"Yes, Sev. I know." Pause. "Do you want to go?"
"I am fine where I am, thank you", the potion master replied as he drew the other a bit closer.
"We'll let them wait, then?"
"Oh, I believe they will manage without us a week at least, before they start to suspect anything", Severus said smirking.
Harry giggled. "Quite Slytherin of you."
"But I am a Slytherin, am I not?"
"Yes, you are, Sev. My beloved Snake."
"And you are my Lion, if you insist on using absurd pet names." Then more possessively: "Mine alone."
"What is taking them so long?" Remus mused out loud.
"Oh, I think they neglected to notice that the Room of Settlement unlocked its door a few days ago", Albus chuckled.
"Yes, but... Why haven't they noticed? It has been a week since you put them there."
"I'd say they aren't in hurry to get away from each other. And that just maybe, they've been a bit busy."
"Albus, for once can you just say straight out what you are implying!" Remus ran a hand through his hair and slumped down into a near by chair.
"Remus, my dear boy, I didn't know you were that innocent. After all those sounds that could be heard from the rooms you share with Sirius, one would assume..." the Headmaster let the sentence trail off, blue eyes twinkling, as the werewolf blushed almost crimson.
"Oh, I see..."
Special thanks to my beta Saavik. I worship the ground she walks on...
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