Disclaimer: Never was mine / Never will be mine I am making no money from this story. Everything belongs to JK Rowling and Warner Bros.
A/N: This is the sequel to 'The Secret Guardian Angel'. Though it is not imperative that you read that one first it will help you understand a little more of what is going on in this story. Harry and Severus are in an established relationship in this story where as the prequel it is about them getting together.
Summary – Set after Harry has graduated from Hogwarts. Harry and Severus are working together to bring down Voldemort and save the man-child army from his clutches. This is a slash story
Pairings – Harry/Severus and Ron/Hermione and maybe some others.
Spoilers – All five books.
Genre – Drama / Romance / Action.
Rating - PG-13 for now, later chapters are rated R/NC-17. NC-17 chapters will be edited to reflect 's restrictions on such things. See my author's page for information as to where you may find the unedited version of my stories.
Beta read by the wonderful JediCandy.
Chapter One – Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?
It had become an unseasonably wet summer in the Scottish Highlands. Everyone was under the impression it was a sign of things to come: damp, dull, and depressing. Voldemort's strikes on the Ministry Of Magic and its workers was really beginning to instill fear into the hearts of everyone. People were afraid to leave their homes; they were convinced that they would be the next victims of his terror regime. The Ministry had even gone as far as testing all its employees on a weekly basis to see if they had been placed under the Imperious Curse, they were managing to catch a few people but even more were slipping through the net. Voldemort had managed to tweak the curse so it was harder to detect, not that it was all that easy to find in the first place.
The Order Of The Phoenix was working tirelessly to combat all of these problems, but even they could not combat all of the issues that were brought to their attention via their spy, Severus Snape. Their numbers had increased to the point that they were able to station members in places where they were previously unable to. Many of the Ministry's Aurors had left to join Albus Dumbledore's Order, believing the more direct approach to the 'Voldemort problem' was a better way to go than the Ministry's non-aggression policy of only reacting to direct threats. This was doing nothing for Minister Fudge's popularity. Because it was a time of war, no election could be held to change the seat of power and Fudge was safe, as long as he didn't get killed, mind you!
Another person who felt the pressure build was one Harry Potter who was currently residing in his old school, Hogwarts. Albus Dumbledore had decided that once Harry had turned eighteen and was no longer welcome at his relatives he was to return to the school for his own protection. Which in theory was all well and good, but Harry, though somewhat isolated from the wizarding world, was still feeling the expectations of that world pressing heavily down upon his shoulders. He had seen the Daily Prophet headlines screaming for him to save them once again from the evil that was Voldemort. His partner of almost nine months had told him to pay them no mind and that they were all a bunch of gutless wonders who deserved to be frightened by the Dark Lord. That had made Harry smile a little bit although he was still worried at having to go through with a final confrontation with Voldemort. He knew it was coming and it was something all of the Order was building towards. He just hoped all his extra classes in Duelling, Transfiguration, Charms, Physical Ed. and Defence Against the Dark Art's had taught him enough to win the battle.
Harry was panicking about what to wear, should he go for his tried and tested red shirt, which he knew looked good, or should he go for the new dark forest green one that Hermione had given him for his birthday. Thanks to Hermione, his wardrobe had taken a turn for the better. She had helped kit him out in stylish clothes, but because he could not leave the castle it all had to be done via mail order or Hermione going out to the shops for him. Though it wasn't particularly safe for her to go out too much, either, as she was also a target for Voldemort and his goons because of her connection to Harry. It was, however, slightly easier to get around now that Minerva McGonagall had fast tracked Harry, Hermione and Ron through Apparation training.
Harry huffed again as he took off the red shirt for the third time and replaced it with the green one again. He liked the green one, though the colour was very Slytherin, he was sure Hermione was having a little fun with his relationship with Severus, she found it continuously funny that after years of bickering they had gotten together. Very much like her and Ron, Harry mused with a smile. He decided to go with the green shirt partly because it did look good and partly because it was the colour of Severus' house and he wanted to show Severus' friend, Nikolai Miasnikov, that he was very much a part of Severus' life. Harry also removed his glasses, it was not like he needed them anymore. He had placed a correction charm on his eyes at the end of his sixth year; he just kept wearing them with plain glass in them because that was what people expected him to look like. And then there was the added little bonus that he was not so quickly recognised without his glasses on. If he went out and did not want too much hassle he forewent his glasses. If anyone asked him about it, he would just claim he had put a short-term charm on his vision, most would believe him because the full charm was complicated and not taught in Hogwarts. That had taken a trip to the restricted section in the library for the full charm.
Harry was a little nervous at meeting Nikolai because, one, he was a childhood friend of Sev's and he wanted to impress him and, two, he didn't want to insult the vampire in anyway. That was right, Nikolai Miasnikov was a vampire from Russia and was well over one thousand years old. Albus had asked Severus if he knew anyone who would be interested in taking the Defense Against the Dark Art's teaching position after Damien Larkswood resigned during the summer holidays claiming he could not spend anymore time in the castle with Harry because he believed Harry to be the new Dark Lord in training. Nikolai Miasnikov, by profession, was a Professor of History but Albus was hoping to persuade him to give Defense Against The Dark Art's a go. Severus had informed them that Nikolai was also extremely competent at the subject.
That was the reason Harry was doing a Malfoy by preening himself in front of the mirror; he wanted to look good for Severus, he hadn't seen him in nearly ten days. Harry at first had been a little annoyed that Albus had not allowed him to spend the summer with Severus as he had last summer but he could see the point that it was not completely safe. Especially now that Severus had impressed Voldemort so much that he had been promoted to his right hand man, his leading general! This made Harry laugh because Severus' loyalties lay completely with Albus Dumbledore.
"What's so funny, you nutter?"
Harry turned to the small voice coming from behind him. "Hi Lefty, nothing really." Harry answered the left head of his pet Runespoor.
"Nothing! You really have lost it kid."
"Hey leave him alone, why have you always got to pick on him."
"Oh great, now the middle head has got to get in on the act."
"Will you two shut up! There is a war going on or haven't you two numbskulls realised this. There are plans to be made and I can't make them with this racket going on!"
"Shut up Righty, you have no real plans."
"Do to, Lefty."
"Hey, Lefty, leave Righty to her planning and you two leave Middle to her daydreams and, Lefty, lay off a bit alright?" This was not the first time Harry had played peacemaker between the three heads of his snake. He was very fond of it but sometimes it was a real pain in the ass! He got an agreement from all three heads and they all went back to doing what they do best. The left head was the critic, the middle head was the dreamer, and the right head was the planner. Harry smiled at his snake; it was his favourite gift from Severus.
Harry entered the Great Hall after deciding on the green shirt once and for all and paired it with black dress trousers and dragon-hide boots, wanting to stay a little casual he didn't tuck the shirt in and he left a few of the buttons undone at the top and bottom. He was impressed at the trouble Albus and the house elves had gone to. The hall looked very nice with a circular table in the centre of the room, hundreds of candles looked as though they were floating just below the enchanted ceiling giving the room a soft glow. A fire had been lit in the giant fireplace, taking away the feeling of dampness from the rains outside. The table looked wonderful, decorated in reds and gold; even the wine glasses were red with a gold rim, it looked exquisite, even if it was a little Gryffindor in style. As Harry was the first to arrive he took a seat on the furthest side of the table and waited for the others to arrive. He was only alone for a few minutes before the door opened. Harry had to hold in the groan he felt coming out when he spotted Draco Malfoy.
Draco had sought sanctuary from Minerva McGonagall not long before the end of his final term, claiming he did not want to become a Death Eater. Harry had no doubts that that was true, he probably did not want to take the mark but he was definitely playing a game, one that Harry was not really sure of all the rules. Voldemort had told Severus to watch Draco because he had claimed to his father that he was remaining at Hogwarts to spy on everyone there and that the sanctuary story was just a cover, so that everyone would trust him. Voldemort had also told Severus that he did not trust Draco at all and he wanted to know what game he was playing. Harry guessed it was bound to happen again sooner or later; he now had something else in common with Voldemort, their distrust of Draco Malfoy.
"Malfoy." That was as far as their politeness went with each other. Harry still wanted to beat the crap out of him for seven years of torment at Draco's hands, but he had promised Minerva that he would hold his temper in check, though he thought back to the time he broken Draco's nose at the start of the summer with a fond smirk. Draco was under her protection and he did not want to face Minerva's wrath, at least not for something as trivial as beating Draco up. Slowly the others began to arrive for dinner, there were not many because it was the summer holidays. Filius Flitwick and Pomona Sprout had returned at Albus' request. Though Flitwick had returned a few times during the summer because he taught Harry, Ron and Hermione duelling. "Good evening Professor Flitwick, Professor Sprout." Harry liked both of his former professors very much and was glad for a few extra familiar faces at the dinner table.
"Good evening, Mister Potter." Flitwick said back.
"Please, call me Harry."
"Very well then, Harry, as long as you call me Filius." The Charms professor beamed back. Harry knew the importance and honour of being given permission to use a first name in the wizarding world. He had learnt that last year from Hermione while he was staying at Snape Manor.
"It would be an honour, Filius." Harry smiled back.
"You must also call me Pomona, Mister Potter, I am no longer your professor."
"As long as you call me, Harry, Professor."
"Pomona, Harry." She jokingly warned him, he just gave her his best smile in return and Harry swore that he saw her blush ever so slightly. Both Severus and Hermione had told him that he was in possession of charms that he himself was unaware of, maybe they were right, especially if he could make a grown woman blush lightly by merely smiling at her. Poppy Pomfrey was the next to enter the hall; Harry had seen her only a few weeks ago and was already on a first name basis with her.
After she had greeted the others at the table she turned to Harry and spoke quietly. "Good evening, Harry, you look splendid tonight. Hoping to catch a certain someone's eye?"
Harry leaned in towards her as she took the seat next to him, "I could say the same thing about you, Poppy, you look radiant tonight."
"You have been spending far to much time with a certain someone, Harry, he too can turn on the charm when the need arises. And anyway I am a married woman, I'll let you know." She was smiling broadly at him.
Harry liked Poppy a lot more when she was outside of the infirmary, she was witty and very intelligent and Harry had to admit out of the medical nurse's uniform she could look very pretty. Even though all that went in her favour, the big bonus for Harry was that she had accepted his and Severus' relationship right from the start without any prejudice. "Tell me, Poppy, how is Tidus doing?"
Tidus was one of the children Voldemort had captured and increased in age by ten years with a magical potion that he had poisoned Harry with last year. Tidus had realised what was happening was wrong and had escaped to Hogwarts to ask for Albus' help. Severus had created a potion to reverse the effects of the aging and Harry had created a parseltongue charm to remove the Dark Mark, both had worked. Tidus was returned to his natural age of ten and his Dark Mark had been removed. The problem remaining was due to Voldemort's brainwashing; he instinctively hated Harry with a passion, strangely though he had become slightly attached to Severus. Tidus had been taken away by Poppy for de-programming and re-education into polite society. Voldemort had taught him the Unforgivables and he had to be raised to believe that using them was wrong. "Wonderfully. Olivander came around to the safe house the other day and matched him to a new wand; it works very well, a much better match than the one You-Know-Who had given him. He has turned out to be a sweet young man. I must say I am very pleased with his progress."
"Do you think he will be able to start school in September?" Harry asked, even though the kid hated him he was not about to give up on him.
"Oh yes, he is so looking forward to it. We have mail ordered all his books for him, unfortunately for his own safety I couldn't take him to Diagon Alley but he was content after all the books arrived. You know I think he could be a Ravenclaw, he just loves to learn." Poppy told him.
"I'm happy for him, I know he doesn't like me very much but I am glad he will be starting school at the proper time. Makes me dread what state some of the other kids will be in when we get them away from Voldemort." Harry noticed the small flinch Poppy had given when he had said Voldemort's name but he refused to use any of the popular ways of referring to him, You-Know-Who or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. He respected other people's preferences; he would refer to him as the Dark Lord in Severus' home, quarters or even classroom because he knew Severus had his fill of the dark wizard and having to face him all the time and keep things from him was hard enough without having to also hide the fact that Harry used his fashioned name. He would even use the name Dark Lord in front of others if they preferred but he would never use You-Know-Who!
"I know what you mean, Harry. For Tidus' sake, I think it would be good if you two spent a little time together after he starts at the school to try and get him over his dislike."
"No problem, it will be good experience dealing with difficult children to help prepare me for when I get to open my own orphanage."
"I see you are still determined to follow through with that plan."
"He better be because I have just today finalised all of the courses he will be taking come September." Minerva McGonagall sat down next to Filius.
"Good evening, Minerva." Harry beamed at her. "And, yes I am still very serious at following that path. So all of my courses are set?"
"Yes Harry, they will be done via owl and Severus and I will oversee your studies to make sure you are following everything correctly. Also, once a term someone from the University will come along and test you." Minerva told him.
"Thank you, Minerva, for helping me and sorting everything out for me."
"You're welcome, Harry. You may no longer be my student but you will always be a Gryffindor and we like to help each other out." As she finished Albus joined the table and he sat next to Minerva, they were all waiting for Severus and his guest to arrive.
They only had to wait another ten minutes for the guest of honour to arrive. Harry's head snapped up as he heard one of the big double doors open up with a small creak, he knew instantly that his jaw was hanging open. He knew it had been a while, but damn! Severus looked hot! Harry had to use all his self-control not to spring from his seat and pounce on the poor man, so instead he chewed on a nail instead. Everyone knew they were on better terms, heck most of the people in the hall at present knew they were in a relationship except Draco Malfoy and for that reason alone Harry controlled himself. Draco was not to be trusted! Harry took everything in one slow sweeping glance of his partner. Severus was wearing low-slung, dark brown, rawhide laced suede trousers with a cream silk shirt and a dark brown travelling clock with fine gold detail, which was currently, open and in typical fashion was flapping out behind him looking very dramatic. The thing that Harry appreciated the most was that he had his hair tied back at the nape of his neck and the top two buttons undone on his shirt showing even more of the neck Harry had learned to worship. Oh, how he wanted to get up from his seat and lick the exposed neck until he received many a pleasurable sound from his partner. That thought brought a small wicked smile to his lips, which Severus had caught because he gave him an amused look back. Harry had the grace to blush a little at being such an open book to this man.
"If all of Severus' friends are that good looking he should bring them around more often." He heard whispered in his ear to his left from Poppy. He gave her a small laugh in reply, partly because he had not taken the time to check out the friend because he was to busy checking out Severus. Harry glanced at the man he presumed to be Nikolai Miasnikov. Harry had to agree with Poppy that, yes, he was good looking if that was your thing and he knew many a school boy and girl would claim that it was. His hair was a dark golden blonde, not as harshly platinum as Malfoy's, more on the golden brown side and it flowed down in waves to just below his shoulders. From what Harry could tell from a quick glance he had green eyes and a nice face to look at. He was tall but a few inches shorter than Severus, more Harry's height. He was dressed very well in a black muggle style suit with a mauve shirt on but no tie because he had on something that more resembled a cravat in black. He too had gone for the travelling cloak that only had a clasp at the top done up and a cane that instantly reminded Harry of Lucius Malfoy, but Nikolai Miasnikov had a nicer face and a pleasant demeanour about him so Harry was not going to hold that against him. Severus took the seat next to Harry on the right and his friend sat next to Severus with Albus on his other side.
"Sorry, Albus, for our late arrival, we were detained in Paris longer than I thought we would be." Severus said.
"No need to apologise my boy, no harm was done. Did you have fun in Paris, Severus?"
"Always, Albus. Now let me present my friend Nikolai Miasnikov to you all. Nikolai, this is Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts. Watch out, he is the trickiest person you will ever meet and he will have you agreeing with him within five minutes."
"Severus, you flatter me, don't listen to a word he says Mister Miasnikov." Albus replied with a devious smile, knowing that Severus was just showing his affection for him in his own way.
"Next to him is Minerva McGonagall, head of Gryffindor House and deputy Headmistress, next to her is her new teacher's aide, Mister Draco Malfoy." Harry was sure he could hear amusement in that statement.
"Ah, Lucius Malfoy's son? Yes, I can see the resemblance." Nikolai said. Harry liked his accent it had Russian undertones with a French softness.
"Indeed. Next to him is Pomona Sprout, head of Hufflepuff House." Harry had to rein in his smile as Pomona gave Nikolai a very girly grin. "Filius Flitwick, head of Ravenclaw House."
"Nice to meet you, Mister Miasnikov." Filius replied to his introduction.
"Poppy Pomfrey, our resident nurse and last but no means least, the bane of my existence, Mister Harry Potter."
Harry just smirked at Severus and rolled his eyes. "It a pleasure to meet you, Mister Miasnikov."
"The pleasure is all mine, Mister Potter, I have heard many things about you from Severus."
Harry looked at Severus with a raised eyebrow. "Don't believe anything he said, I assure you I am quite pleasant and nowhere near as insufferable as he would claim." He heard Severus snort.
"No, no Mister Potter, I assure you it has been mostly complimentary and quite polite."
"Please, call me Harry." Then Harry gave Severus a suspicious look, "Who are you and what have you done with my former Professor?" Nikolai laughed, as did most of the table.
"Watch it, Potter, I can still put you in your place." The tone was not harsh but almost playful. Harry just grinned at him.
"I think we will become good friends, Harry." Nikolai said with a smile.
"Merlin, help me." Severus mumbled under his breath and with a smirk on his face.
"Nonsense Severus. Harry, call me Nikolai, please all of you call me Nikolai, as I am no fan of formalities." The rest of the table smiled and made the same offer as he had, insisting that he use their first names all except Draco who kept very quiet during the introductions. Harry had noticed this and hoped he had not made his feelings for Severus too obvious because he had yet to work out Draco's game.
The dinner was full of pleasant, easy flowing conversation and Harry was enjoying himself. It wasn't often that he got to sit around and enjoy the company of others, especially with Severus. Though they were not able to be fully open about there relationship they were at least being pleasant to each other, if Draco pulled him up on it later Harry would just tell him he was doing it to at the Headmaster's request. He really didn't think Draco would buy it though. He was intelligent, even Harry had to admit that. Part of the reason Harry was dreading the return of the students after the summer holidays was the fact that in public Severus and himself would have to go back to appearing to fully hate each other, at least in public. Draco could after a fashion be contained but they could not do that with every student that was under suspicion. Harry was happy when five lavish deserts arrived on the table; Draco always put him in a mood that could only be alleviated by massive amounts of sugar.
"Tell me, Nikolai, is teaching Defense Against the Dark Art's something that has interested you for long?" Minerva asked.
"No, History is the subject I love with a passion having lived through so much of it, but to tell you the truth I have always wanted to visit and teach at the prestigious Hogwarts. So if I had to change subjects for a while to fulfil that dream then I would be willing."
"So does that mean we will have a new professor for next year?" Albus asked him eyes full of twinkles.
"I cannot see why not, but there has to be a few conditions meet." Nikolai told Albus.
"Go ahead, Nikolai, tell me what would make you happy."
"Well Albus, I would insist on having the children know upfront who and what I am, I am not ashamed of what I am. I have my bloodlust, if you like, fully under control and have had it thus for many a century."
"Excuse my ignorance, Nikolai, but isn't the daylight going to be a problem?" Pomona asked with another girly smile.
"Not at all, Pomona, Severus has been making me a potion for many years that allows me to walk in the daylight without any fear for over twenty years. I always knew this child would do many a great thing." Severus nearly choked on his drink at hearing himself referred to as a child. "Come now Severus, almost everyone is a child to me."
"Point taken Nikolai, just not in front of the students."
"Of course, Severus."
"I think that can be arranged, Nikolai. Anything else?" Albus continued, getting a little excited at the possibility of filling the position without Ministry interference.
"Why did your last professor leave the position?"
Harry couldn't help but laugh at that, when Nikolai looked at him for an answer Harry was happy to supply it. "Damien Larkswood believed I was going to be the next Dark Lord or that I was going to shift my loyalties and join Voldemort as his minion!" He noticed that most of the people at the table flinched at hearing him speak the name Voldemort. All except Albus, Severus who did scowl a little, and Nikolai. Curious, Harry mused, was this guy not afraid of Voldemort?
"Ah, and is that true, Harry?"
"No, I have no desire to become the next Dark Lord. I can barely manage my own life without becoming supreme ruler of the wizarding world and having to deal with all the crap that comes with that. The idea of joining Voldemort is, well, preposterous. He has made my life hell for the last eight years and he killed my parents and some of my friends. So no I have no desire to join him. Also even if I wished to, I believe he would not have me, we do not get on, he would always see me as a threat."
"Yet for all that he has done to you, Harry, you do not sound as blood thirsty as I would have thought. Do you not wish for your revenge?" Nikolai asked him.
"I did, for a long time. I wanted to kill him and have done with it; the anger I felt towards him and his movement took me to a very dark place. A place I was almost consumed by anger, hate and petty revenge but good friends of mine helped me to see the light and helped me to see that the loss I had received at Voldemort's hands did not outweigh the loss I would get if I continued on the path to self-destruction, that there was more to live for than to die for. Destiny has foretold that I must be the one to take his life and that is what I shall do, but that does not mean that I have to take any pleasure in it. I have nothing but pity and sorrow in my heart for Voldemort, I no longer have any room for hate." During his little speech Harry had noticed the room go very quiet and he also heard Draco snort in amusement when he had finished. Harry decided to ignore him, but it seemed as if Nikolai was not prepared to do the same.
"You do not agree, Mister Malfoy?" The tone was polite and curious.
"Agree with Potter! Never, all that sentimental drivel, he should just be man enough to face up to the Dark Lord and have done with it. Isn't that the Gryffindor way?" Harry just rolled his eyes he was not going to allow Draco to ruin a good evening.
"Is that what you would do, son of Lucius? Stand up to Voldemort and just eliminate him with no compassion?" He saw Draco flinch. "If you can not say his name, then how do you expect to kill him?"
Draco squirmed a bit. "It's not my job to kill him, it's Potter's."
"So you are a coward then?"
"I am not a coward!" Draco snapped.
"Watch your tone, Mister Malfoy." Severus interrupted in a quiet and deadly tone.
"What if you had the opportunity? Ah, but it was you that just said you would not kill him, that it was Harry's job to do so. You are afraid of his name so you must be afraid of him. What would you do if he were to walk in here right now?"
"Of course I'm afraid of him, who wouldn't be? Except for foolhardy Gryffindors! He is the Dark Lord for a reason you know," came Draco's petulant answer.
"So you would hide behind a, what did you call them, a foolish Gryffindor, mmmm like Harry?" Harry couldn't help but smirk at the dark look that washed over Draco's features at the thought of seeking protection from behind Harry.
"I would not hide behind him! What about you? Who would you hide behind? Not everyone can fit behind Potter."
"Mister Malfoy, I have already warned you about your tone." Harry could see Severus was itching to have a go at the younger Malfoy.
"It is quite alright, Severus. Children are always so full of questions and curiosities. I would hide behind no one, son of Lucius."
"Are you not afraid of Voldemort? You don't flinch at hearing his name, if you don't mind my asking?" Harry was honestly curious and truly wanted to know.
"I do not mind you asking, Harry. No, I am not afraid of Voldemort, through all the centauries I have lived I have lived under many a dictator and tyrant. Voldemort is not nice but he is by no means the worst. The muggle Hitler in my opinion was far more frightening, he killed over six million people with no remorse and he is only the tip of the iceberg and then of course there was Grindelwald, now there was an evil wizard who I had the displeasure of meeting once."
"You meet Grindelwald?" Albus asked him.
"Yes, not long before you defeated him, 1943 I believe was the year."
"Is that why you are not afraid of Voldemort because you meet Grindelwald?" Harry asked he knew he was being nosy but he was curious. Voldemort was terrifying.
"What can he do to me? His killing curse will merely go through me. Yes it will hurt and be a slight inconvenience especially if he manages to catch me while I am wearing one of my favourite robes. Curse marks totally ruin an outfit, totally irreparable." Harry heard Severus laugh at that. "Unless Voldemort had the proper tools he could not kill me, and I have seen him since his rebirth, he did not look physically strong enough to beat me in a physical fight."
"You have seen him?" Harry choked out. "Sorry, that is none of my business."
"Think nothing of it. Yes, I have seen him only once at a distance. I was not impressed or particularly intimidated but I can understand why others would be. He is magically very powerful, but no matter what he claims he is not immortal, not truly."
"Are you sure?"
"Oh yes, he did not smell immortal he has just been sneaky in cheating the death that should have been his. I guess you could attribute that to his Slytherin side." Harry had to laugh at that, yes Slytherin's were sneaky bastards but he filed that bit of information about Voldemort not being truly immortal away for later contemplation. "But getting back to what I was asking originally, why so many teachers in such a short time? There are rumours that the job is cursed."
"Never heard such rubbish in my life." Severus said with a sarcastic tone. "Quirrell was playing host to the Dark Lord; Lockhart was a self-absorbed charlatan; Lupin, well I believe he was satisfactory but you know about that; Moody was a fake, turned out to be Crouch, Junior Death Eater extraordinaire in disguise; Umbridge was a sadistic, blind bitch; and Larkswood even failed at being an idiot. I think that sums it up."
"I love your way with words, Severus." Nikolai said in jest.
"So, Nikolai, have we managed to persuade you to join our little family?" Albus asked him.
"On one other condition."
"I will only fill the position for one year, History is what I love and hopefully I will get the chance to see history in the making while I am here."
Albus' eyes twinkled full of mirth. "Excellent. Then allow me to formally welcome you to Hogwarts. Is there any part of the castle you would prefer to have your classroom and quarters?"
"Somewhere airy and light, lots of sunlight, and if possible with a view of the gardens. I just love the smell of flowers."
"Sunlight?" Minerva asked a little puzzled.
"Yes, my lady, lots of it. I lived almost a thousand years in the night and in darkness. When Severus created the daytime potion for me I have not been able to get enough of the sunlight. I have a lot of catching up to do."
"Severus mentioned that you were once a professor at the Sorbonne, how did you manage there?" Albus asked him.
"Ah oui, La Sorbonne. Both of my Deans were aware of my condition and allowed me to have lower level classrooms."
"Yes Albus, the first was a great man, Monsieur Robert de Sorbonne. He founded the school and I taught Astronomy, it was either that or Theology and with my vampirism, Theology and I did not mix very well. Astronomy was also a night-time class. Then I returned in 1883 when it was rebuilt and re-opened by Monsieur Nenot. I worked in the newly established History department and also in the new library, which had over two million works, both areas were dark and very shaded. I spent a very happy thirty-three years there. I could handle sunlight before but only in small doses and never too direct. Then Severus saved me from an eternity of the darkness and shade. I did not miss much from my previous life but sunshine was definitely one of them."
"I will ask the castle to provide you with adequate quarters which will hopefully fill both of those requirements." Albus told him happily.
Draco was the first to leave the dinner table; Harry put it down to him not being happy at being put in his place by what he would consider a lesser species. The rest of the professors were not far behind him. Soon it was only Albus, Nikolai, Severus and Harry left. Harry was tired but was hoping to catch a few minutes alone with Severus before he disappeared again, after all it had been ten days and he was eighteen, he had needs! He wanted to be selfish and ask Severus to remain in the castle for the summer, he knew it wouldn't have taken too much persuasion but that was unfair, Severus had a lovely home that he liked to return to in the summers and relax in. Harry on occasion wanted to damn his Gryffindor nobility.
He was starting to feel his surroundings go a little out of focus as fatigue started to set in, it had been a long day and he wanted to sleep, just not alone. His eyes sharply came back into focus when he felt a warm hand come to rest on his thigh and slowly slide up. Only resting a few inches away from where he would like to see that hand get busy! It took all his willpower not to moan out aloud. Things were getting bad, it had actually crossed his mind to hex Albus and Nikolai into another dimension so he could pounce on Severus, Harry frowned at that thought, was hexing someone into another dimension even possible? That would definitely be one way to deal with Voldemort.
"By the way Harry, congratulations on your Potions N.E.W.T, a grade to be proud of." Severus interrupted his musings.
Harry turned and gave him a small frown. "Really, who are you and what have you done to my Professor?"
"I have no idea to what you are referring to." The reply was also in good humour.
"The Severus I know does not hand out compliments, especially to Harry 'bloody' Potter!" He finished with a grin.
"True, but then again if you had told me seven years ago that you would have received an 'O' in your Potions N.E.W.T I would have laughed at you. You worked hard, you deserved it."
"Thank you. Though it was helped by the fact that you had personally drilled into me, Mione and Ron how to make Veritaserum a few months before, we were just lucky that was also our final practical."
"Maybe, but it is still a hard potion to make and I am glad to say that the three of you all excelled in the practical. How did you fare in your other N.E.W.T.'s?"
"Albus didn't tell you?"
"No, it is your news to share."
"Well, I got O's in Potions, Defense Against the Dark Art's and Charms. E's in the rest, Transfiguration, Herbology, Care of Magical Creatures and my personal favourite Divination. I was a little disappointed at only getting an E in Transfiguration, I didn't do to well on the written part of the exam, shame it wasn't all practical."
"Congratulations, they are still grades to be proud of. You worked hard the last two years and it paid off."
Harry grinned back at him, he knew he didn't need it but it was nice to have Severus' approval and congratulations. It was nice to have someone who cared about him being proud of his achievements. "Thanks."
"And Miss Granger and Mister Weasley, were they happy with their potions grades?"
"Well as you know Mione got an 'O', actually she got O's in all her N.E.W.T.'s, so yeah, she was happy. Actually so was Ron, he was pleased with his 'E' in potions, he knew he didn't do so well in the written part of the potions exam but he told me never in a million years did he expect an 'E'. Like me he got a mix of O's and E's,"
"They must have been good enough to get him into Auror training?"
"Yeah, he got the O's in Defense Against the Arts, Transfiguration and Care of Magical Creatures. E's in Charms, Potions, Herbology and Divination."
"Next time you speak to them, pass on my congratulations."
"I will." Harry smiled.
"Nikolai, why don't you come with me to my office and pick up a copy of the contract you will need to sign, it is also an opportunity for you to learn where the office is located." Albus smiled at the three of them, it was something that could have waited, or even been sent on at a later date via owl, but Nikolai was not stupid and wanted to give his friend a few moments alone with his young love. They left the hall in a flow of easy and relaxed chatter.
"You know that was a setup." Severus said with a snort of laughter. "A non too subtle one at that."
"I'm not going to debate their motives." Harry placed his hand atop of the one on his thigh. "It has been a while, not that I'm complaining."
"You are so full of contradictions, make up your mind." It was not a harsh tone, more of a mocking one.
"Okay, I have missed you and I want you all to myself, it has been far too long since I last saw you and if you don't rectify this oversight on your part very soon I am going to hex you into another dimension." Harry leaned in close to Severus and asked quietly. "Umm, Sev, can you actually hex someone into another dimension?"
Severus laughed softly. "No, Harry you can't."
"Oh, alright. Well then I am going to create a new spell and hex you into a new dimension. Better?"
"Moderately, but I am not sure if such a thing is at all possible. But I get the point and I apologise for my lack of attention it has been a very full month."
"I was only kidding, Sev, you don't owe me any explanations. I know you like your summers away from here. I can understand, if I had a home like yours I too would want to be in it as much as possible." Harry leaned over his armrest so he was much closer to his intended target, Severus' lips.
"Mmmm, though I must admit to it feeling a little empty this summer without you sprawling all over the place, making things look messy." Severus leaned in towards Harry leaving only a few inches of space between them. Harry could feel his pulse increase and could not resist licking his lips to wet them after Severus' breath had left them a little dry.
"I was the perfect house guest, I never caused a mess and when I did I always cleaned up after myself." Harry had but all closed the remaining gap between them.
"True, maybe I was being a little harsh," came the soft reply. Harry was about to comment on Severus admitting he was wrong when Severus' lips met his, effectively silencing him. Harry could not hold back the small groan of pleasure as he leaned further in, in an attempt to deepen the kiss. His efforts were not in vain when he felt Sev snaking a hand around to the back of his neck to pull him in closer. The kiss was slow and sensual and Harry could not control the quiver he felt shoot down his spine as their tongues slowly glided against one another.
Harry groaned as Severus pulled back slowly until only their foreheads rested together. "God, I've missed you." Harry breathed out.
Severus gave him one of his rare, genuine smiles and said just as quietly. "The feeling is mutual, I shall return to the castle in two days, will you be busy?"
"Doesn't matter if I am because I sure as hell am not now." Severus gave a small chuckle and placed a small chaste kiss on his lips before he pulled back.
"I should go and rescue Nikolai from Albus."
"As it is on the way, you can walk me back to my quarters."
"Are you trying to test my willpower, Mister Potter?"
"Every day, Professor Snape, every day." Harry just grinned at him and placed a quick kiss on Severus' cheek before heading towards the doors, he could hear Severus let out a snort of laughter behind him, which just made his grin even wider.
Next Chapter: Harry visits the house Severus gave him and a chat with Slytherin's portrait.