Full Summary: Visions from the Dark Lord are incapacitating Harry. Snape decides to help, regardless of whether Harry wants his help. When a relationship develops then becomes more than just lust, can they hold on to what they have? Features a possessive Snape and a sarcastic cynical Harry with the tried and true side plot of 'must kill Voldemort' thrown in.

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe and all it's wonderful characters belong to JK Rowling and odd conglomerate companies. No money is being made.

Author's notes: Snape's inner voice was inspired by Diagonalist's 'Flawed lines' and used with permission. If you haven't read her work, she is the queen of the inner voice and a wonderful author. Her fics are archived on the major sites, including the PSA and Schnoogle (Fiction Alley).

Many thanks and much chocolate to my incomparable betas, Laura and Brenna

Warnings: This is slash. If you do not like it, do not read. Student/teacher relationship (although Harry is 17 and the relationship is consensual – if this bothers you, don't read), light bondage, rape (later on)

I've gotten several emails on To Have and To Hold. Unfortunately, I have suspended posting this story here because of the rating. I wasn't aware the story would surpass the rating scale here at when I started posting. Anyway, the story will be posted when I go back and edit the chapters for content. Anyone who would like to read it in it's current NC-17 state, it is posted on AFF, Skyehawke and on my live journal under my slash pen name, MontanaDan. The links are below.

I hope you continue to read, enjoy and review. I appreciate every comment. If anyone does want a personal reply, I do reply to every email.

Thanks you all again,

Links to To Have and To Hold:

http: www (dot) livejournal (dot) com / users/ montanadan/

http:adultfan (dot) nexcess (dot) net/aff/story.php?no34560

http:archive (dot) skyehawke (dot) com/authors.php?no769

Email to either or Have and To Hold

Chapter 1


"Ever kiss a bloke, Harry?"

Butterbeer almost spewed from Harry Potter's lips as he choked on surprise. Still coughing, he lifted his astonished gaze to his best friend who sat across the table from him in a corner booth of the Three Broomsticks.

Ron Weasley stared at his hands, his ears red, until he finally raised his blue gaze to meet Harry's. Ron's face flushed and his ears turned impossibly redder.

"Er, Ron," said Harry carefully, wiping his mouth with his sleeve. "We aren't about to have an awkward, embarrassing conversation, are we?"

Ron recovered enough to realize his own implications. "Merlin, Harry, not you," he said quickly.

They had already had the somewhat surprising conversation, or rather, Harry had had the lecture, wherein Ron explained to Harry that in the wizarding world, sexual orientation/preference was something of a moot issue. Older pureblood families cared about bloodlines, while individuals cared about finding the right lifemate. The magical, emotional, intellectual and physical counterpart which would complete your soul could be either gender but the bond, once created, would be just as legal and as binding as any Muggle ceremonial ritual.

While Harry was relieved his best friend's interest wasn't directed at himself, he felt secure enough to tease. He dropped his gaze, feigning hurt.

"Thanks a lot."

Now completely flustered, Ron sputtered, "W-well, not that I wouldn't want – I mean – not that you aren't-"

Harry laughed, putting him out his misery.

Ron glared. "Damn it, Harry, you enjoy doing that. Don't you?"

Harry shrugged, still grinning.

"Besides, you know you're one of the hottest wizards at Hogwarts."

Harry sobered and clucked his tongue. "That's garbage and you know it," Harry said. "It's just the Boy-Who-Lived Syndrome."

Ron shook his head with a knowing grin.

Harry did not want to pursue that particular debate, so he redirected the conversation back to Ron's question. "So who did you kiss?"

Ron's Butterbeer suddenly became fascinating again and his ears resumed their scarlet hue. "Actually, he kissed me."

"Who did?" said Harry, lifting his brows.

"Promise you won't laugh."

"Not unless it's Crabbe or Goyle," was all Harry would promise, but Ron choked. "Please tell me it isn't," Harry begged.

"NO!" Ron quickly assured.

Harry put a hand to his heart. "Thank God," he muttered. "Don't scare me like that."

Ron chuckled.

Harry looked up sharply. "It wasn't Malfoy, was it?"

That got a snort. "Please, Harry. Give me more credit than that. Everyone knows that Malfoy will do anything with an entrance hole." Harry sighed with relief. "I have some discriminating taste after all."

"Yeah well, Malfoy is a self-proclaimed gift to all wizarding kind," said Harry.

"Yeah self-proclaimed," Ron pointed out. "I don't hear anyone else saying it."

Actually, Harry had heard others talking about Malfoy's prowess, but he didn't see the point of lauding any of Malfoy's talents in or out of bed.

"So you were telling me who kissed you," Harry prompted.

"Oh right." Ron was red again. "Zabini."

Harry's brows shot up. Now that surprised him. "Zabini?" said Harry. "As in Blaise Zabini?" Ron nodded. "I thought Hermione liked him."

Ron found his glass fascinating again. "Well that's why we're not going to tell her, right?"

Harry sighed. "So it was that good, was it?"

Ron shrugged. "It was alright. Nothing to write home about."

"So why bother?"

"It was just different, you know. Kissing a bloke," said Ron.

"I would imagine. But if it's going to screw things up for Hermione-"

"I know. I know," Ron said. "I just wondered what you thought about it." Ron look up again. "So have you?"

"Have I what?"

Ron rolled his eyes. "Ever kissed another man?"

"Of course, hundreds of them," Harry said flippantly. "You know I have a new love interest every week. I heard two of my 'Love Children' are due next month."

Ron smirked but his eyes hardened. "I'm not talking about that tripe in the Prophet, Harry. The truth."

Harry gave him a apologetic grin and shook his head. "No," he admitted. "But I've thought about it."

"Really." Ron looked surprised and excited at the same time. "Who?"

Harry stared hard at him for a minute. Ron was waiting breathlessly. The truth, eh? Well why not.


Ron blinked a few times, studying Harry's face. Harry kept it completely bland but his lip twitched. Ron read it exactly the way Harry knew he would.

He burst out laughing. "Snape," Ron sputtered. "That's rich. Good one, Harry."

Harry just smiled, shaking his head. Just like everything else in his life, Harry knew he could throw the world the truth and if they didn't approve, they simply wouldn't believe it. Harry used that form of defense mechanism all the time. Ron knew it. He guessed in this instance, Ron had his own reasons for not believing him.

In truth, Harry wasn't sure he believed it himself. He wasn't sure how it happened either but he was pretty damned sure his 17 year old hormones were involved. Sure Snape had that whole tall, dark, mysterious thing going for him but he was a far cry from handsome. But when Harry started looking closer, everything except the extraordinary started to blur.

There was the time Snape had fixed Harry's eyesight. After a rather brutal training session, when Snape had bested him because Harry's glasses had flown off, he had insisted that Harry allow him to fix his vision.

It was a three day progression of several spells cast directly into his pupils. The first time he had sat down and Snape held his face, staring into his eyes, Harry almost fell off the chair. He had been sucked into Snape's fathomless black gaze and Voldemort himself could've apparated into the room, ritually sacrificing Hufflepuffs and Harry wouldn't have noticed. The firm but gently hold he had on Harry's jaw kept him prisoner, while the electric pull of his stare kept him transfixed. The only thing that dragged his gaze away from that vortex of darkness was his mouth. Snape actually had a sensuous mouth, Harry had noticed to his surprise. When it wasn't pulled into a sneer anyway. But the full bottom lip definitely looked suckable.

After that it was the voice. Harry had always acknowledged Snape had a commanding voice, but since Harry's intense training had increased his sixth year, he was privy to hearing more than snapped instructions and irritated comments come out of Snape's mouth. Hearing normal conversation and, on rare occasion, praise out of Snape was when Harry noticed that the timbre and resonance of Snape's voice could actually make him hard.

When his dueling training had advanced to the point that Snape found Harry 'an adequate sparring partner' rather than an 'inept stick-bearing clod,' Snape started removing his robe for freer movement. That's when Harry noticed the body; broad, lean and hard. All firm angles and planes.

True he was still a bastard – okay – a mean snarky bastard, but Harry noticed something else – it was funny.

He reminded Harry of, well, himself at times. Some of Snape's comments reflected thoughts Harry wished he had the guts to voice out loud. Stuff that coming from Snape was acceptable, normal, Snape-like, but from Harry, well, it would have certainly shocked a lot of people. The shock value itself would have been worth it at times. But no, it wasn't like him. Harry bloody Potter couldn't say such things.

Snape could though. Snape could say anything, do anything he pleased and no one batted an eye. Harry admired, and envied that. Even before the other feelings started to make themselves known, he was acutely aware of the man.

Now, the fact remained that something drew him to Snape. He couldn't explain it and he certainly didn't want to analyze it. Luckily, Ron didn't want to discuss it.

"No, really. Who?" Ron prompted.

Harry racked his brain for a suitable candidate. "Oliver," he said at length. He had to compliment himself. Ron looked fittingly impressed.

"Wood?" said Ron, nodding profusely. "Yeah. He'd be something I bet."

"Yeah." He was also conveniently not around to confront or to test the theory.

Harry rubbed his face.


Harry looked up. Ron was frowning at him. Combing one hand through his hair, Harry nodded. He could never hide that from Ron. His eating and sleeping habits were regularly monitored by both him and Hermione.

"Should've taken a potion last night," Ron said.

"I'm out," Harry admitted.

"You're out?"

"Of the good stuff," Harry explained. Regular dreamless sleep potion didn't work on his visions and Voldemort had been particularly busy, not to mention nasty, that week.

"You're not considering making more, are you?"

Harry grinned unrepentantly. "It's either that or chance falling off my broom during the next Quidditch practice."

"Can't have that," Ron agreed.

"Besides, if McGonagall notices the glamours-"

"You're using glamours again?" Ron interrupted, his gaze hard. "Has it been that bad?"

Harry looked into his empty bottle. "Er, sort of."

"Harry, why didn't you tell us?" Ron said quietly. "We would've gotten you some stuff from Pomfrey."

Harry loved his best-friends dearly, but they both knew if Pomfrey found out, he'd be stuck in the hospital wing for a fortnight if she deemed he needed sleep.

He shrugged. "My stuff works better anyway."

"I'm sure but-"

"Ron, it'll be fine," said Harry. "I'll make some more tonight and I'll catch up on some sleep over the weekend. It will be quiet since it's a Hogsmeade weekend."

"And what if you get caught?"

Harry wasn't about to tell Ron that he was secretly hoping to be caught in Snape's lab. He didn't understand why he wanted Snape to catch him, but it was one confrontation he was dying to have, even if Snape did go ballistic on him.

He'd been hiding some of his magical talents from the teachers for over a year now and his newfound proficiency of potions (mostly due to necessity) was one he wished could be acknowledged.

"If I get caught," said Harry with a shrug. "I'll deal with it."

Ron snorted. "Right. I'll be sure to pick up the pieces."

Harry's grin fought its way back to his face. "Thanks Ron."

"Bloody uncontrollable, impertinent brats!"

Severus Snape threw off his covers and emerged from his warm, cozy haven to be greeted by the damp chill of his dungeon bed chambers.

"Incompetent elves," he muttered, clutching up his wand and sending an 'incendio' to the fireplace. Flames burst to life and the flicker illuminated the room sufficiently for Severus to shove his bare feet into his slippers and find a school robe to don over his night shirt against the midnight chill.

Still the alarms from his wards resounded in his ears. The lab in his classroom was being pilfered by those little thieves and by Merlin he was going to catch the little miscreants this time.

"It's probably Potter," he muttered, casting the spell to silence his internal alarms.

Oh, you'd love that. Wouldn't you, Severus?

Severus ignored his inner voice. It was full of inanity recently anyway.

Potter, this and Potter, that. Damned annoying. Ever since the brat had smacked him upside the head with the hard reality that he wasn't a child nor was he his father.

"Blast it, Professor!" Potter had shouted.

"You've been hurling hexes and curses at me and you've been inside my bloody head for over two years now, you could at least call me by my first name. And it's Harry not James or Sirius."

Of course, coming to terms with the fact that he wasn't spoiled or pampered was something Severus would never admit to anyone, especially the brat. After a rather immature round of 'my childhood was worse than yours,' they had called a silent truce in that particular area and simply dropped it altogether.

He also had to admit that the boy was far more complex than his father ever was. He seemed to live behind a mask most of time. Severus had noticed this, primarily because he lived behind one of his own, and it irritated Severus to no end that the whelp was reminding him more and more of himself the older he became. That he couldn't abide. For the obvious reason that he wasn't all too pleased with how he had turned out himself and even the boy didn't deserve that fate. And for the not-so-obvious reason that Severus just couldn't stand the fact that Potter was capable of hiding anything from him.

It just went against the natural rules of existence, as well as the rules of Gryffindor.

Severus was yet to get a full grasp of the boy's character behind the mask, but he was confident he would. Severus loved a good puzzle and the challenge of unraveling Potter was certainly enticing.

Oh he's enticing all right.

Yes, well, then there was that. Once yanked out of the horrendous care of his Muggle relations and installed as a semi-permanent fixture at Grimmauld Place, the boy had blossomed. While he would probably never aspire to the height or breadth of his father (if Severus couldn't look down his nose at the brat, it, too, would have defied the balance of nature), he had filled out adequately.

Adequately? Adequately? Severus you must rethink your adverbs.

And thankfully he had grown out of his resemblance to that reprobate procreator of his. True, you could still discern the heritage but the distinct chiseled delicacy of his mother became more apparent in his features of late.

Exquisitely. Beautifully.

There was grace in the lithe form, which added strength to his bearing. He carried himself with a humbled dignity that few people could pull off. Severus attributed it Quidditch and those misadventures of his. Severus couldn't help the smirk. Potter's favored forms of exercise invariably led to thwarting the Dark Lord, a stay in the hospital wing and ultimately to Gryffindor winning the house cup (and to Minerva gloating).

All that coupled with the boy's untamable mass of dark locks, expressive and sometimes piercing green eyes and quirky smile, which seemed to flash around Severus at the oddest times, Harry Potter had grown…

Luscious? Delectable?

"Those are adjectives," he growled, then cursed himself for speaking out loud.

The fact also remained that Potter was still his student and as such Severus had to curtail any and all feelings of-

Attraction? Lust?

Severus was not a monster.

Potter is not a child.

Severus had outgrown the necessity of thinking with that particular muscle.

The boy is old enough to witness murder.

Because of his childish impulses and naive bravery.

That child faced the Dark Lord more than everyone else except Albus.

Point and counterpoint aside, it was a moot issue anyway. The boy was the desire of every student in the castle, as well as the wizarding world's darling. He most certainly wouldn't be interested in a greasy old man who had made it his life pursuit to make the boy's life a living hell.

I believe that's the Dark Lord's occupation.

Fine, then the cynical, sarcastic bastard who's-

Just trying to make a man out of him? Splendid job of it, too.

Potter was still a student, however. And Severus would not malign that particular trust.

Even if YOU are the only one he particularly trusts?

Severus tuned out that argument. He ignored the fact that he was arguing with his inner voice and focused on the task at hand.

He halted his steps at the turn to the hall, which housed his classroom, and peered around the corner. The door to his lab stood slightly ajar, but no one could be seen loitering in the hall. As he was about to step into the corridor, the air in front of the door wrinkled.

Severus frowned, puzzled until the space fluttered and Hermione Granger appeared shrugging off Potter's Invisibility cloak. He couldn't repress his smirk. Where there is one…

Surprisingly, Granger hesitated at the door. She pulled the cloak the rest of the way off and glanced around before folding the cloak and tucking it behind one of the many statues of Salazar Slytherin in the castle, which stood near the door. Then she slowly pushed open the door and looked cautiously inside.

As she stepped in, Snape quickly approached the door, grabbed the cloak, wrapped it around himself and followed her in.

"Harry?" she said softly.

"Damn it," a soft mutter of Potter's voice carried across the room. "What are you doing here?"

"Ron said you needed to make more potion and I came to make sure you're okay."

More potion?

Potter sighed heavily. "Well close the door."

Granger turned and pushed the door shut and Snape carefully sidestepped around the room to get a better view. He could see Potter leaning over a cauldron, with just a few candles on the worktable lighting the space.

"Are you out of your mind," chastised Granger as she neared the table. She stopped short. "God Harry, you look terrible."

Snape had to agree. He'd only seen the boy six hours ago at dinner and he looked fine then. Now however, even in the dim light, dark rings shadowed his eyes.

"You've been using glamours again, haven't you?"

It wasn't really a question, but Potter snorted and answered anyway. "Obviously," he retorted. "Voldemort's been outdoing himself this week."

"What about the Occlumency?"

"That keeps him from making a conscious attack on my mind, Hermione," said Potter. "But it doesn't stop the visions. You know this is the only thing I have that helps."

"But the stuff you make is addictive."

Addictive? What the hell was the brat making?

"Why do you think I only take it when it gets bad?" Potter dropped his gaze back to the caldron and stirred twice. "And it's bad."

"You need help?"


Potter didn't get to finish. He flinched and took a step away from the bench. Then with a gut-wrenching cry of pain, his hand slapped to his forehead and his knees hit the floor.

"Harry!" Granger cried, rushing to his side.

Snape almost threw off the cloak to assist but the boy stopped screaming and was taking deep gulps of breath.

"I'm alright," he said. His hand kept rubbing at his scar. "Get m' bag, please, 'Me'ne."

Granger looked around, spotted a backpack and pulled it over to where Potter remained on the floor. He cried out again and hit the floor on his side, writhing.

Severus watching in appalled horror as Potter twitched as if under the Cruciatus Curse. Several moments later he relaxed on the floor, again breathing deeply.

"Blue bo'le, 'Me'ne," Potter rasped.

Granger dug through the bag pulling out several vials one at a time until she found the correct color. She uncorked it quickly and helped Potter to sit up. He downed the contents swiftly and sighed.

"I think he's finished," muttered Potter. "Bloody bastard."

It had to be a Calming potion. That would be the best potion to counteract the immediate after affects of Cruciatus. But where did Potter get it? And why did he need it?

Granger helped Potter to his feet and he staggered slightly.

"Moonstone next?" inquired Granger.

Potter nodded and to Severus' surprise, she did not approach his shelves, but reached again into Potter's pack.

"You do know you have an apothecary in here, don't you?"

"Mmm," murmured Potter, checking the flame under his brew.

"Do you make all of these?"

Apparently making some of them wasn't in question.

"Of course," Potter said flatly. "You know if Snape noticed even a pinch of his ingredients missing there'd be an inquiry."

Granger chuckled. "Maybe, but if he knew half the things you are able to brew successfully, he'd be astounded."

Potter looked up at her and smirked. "More like drop dead of shock," he said. "Anyway, you know if I didn't make them, I'd spend half my life in the infirmary."

Just what the hell was the Dark Lord doing to the boy? And just why hadn't Dumbledore told Severus about the visions?

"And if any of the teachers found out about the rest of the stuff you can do-"

"They won't," Potter said harshly. "Until I'm ready."

"But, Harry, maybe they can help."

"But it defeats the purpose, doesn't it." Potter was adamant. "It's better for everyone to think I'm a mediocre student with no extraordinary magical talent. Then I'll always be underestimated. Surprise is sometimes the most successful tactic."

By Merlin, the boy was actually paying attention to him in lessons. Severus frowned. But the idiot boy shouldn't be hiding it from him.

"Anyway, if I don't get some real sleep soon," Potter continued. "I'm going to take a header down one of the moving staircases and then I'm sure to wind up in the infirmary." He glanced up at Granger. "And you know how Pomfrey babies me."

"Ok, ok," said Granger. "So what can I do?"

"I don't really need-"

"I know, I know," Granger spoke pacifyingly. "But in the shape you're in, I'd hate for you to throw the wrong thing in at the wrong time."

Potter sighed heavily.

Severus watched in awe as the two quietly brewed. Whatever potion Potter had created was a version of dreamless sleep with ingredients (all taken from Potter's bag and not from Snape's cabinet) that would more or less numb active brain function. With the correct spell (which Severus soon found out, Potter knew) the potion would put the drinker into a mini coma.

"What's the bicorn horn for?" Granger asked, sprinkling the freshly ground powder into the mix.

"That increases the shelf life without altering the effects," Potter answered softly. "But only because there's chopped ginger root in the potion."

Very good, Potter.

For the third time, Severus saw Granger grab his arm as if he were about to sink to the floor. The boy was obviously exhausted. And with the effects of the curse…

"It just needs to simmer for 10 minutes now before I add the dragon liver," Potter murmured.

Granger nodded and peered into the caldron. "Looks good," she said. She crinkled her nose. "Smells terrible, but it looks good."

Potter snorted. "Tastes worse than it smells," he said. "Believe me. But it's worth it."

"I take it you won't be coming with us to Hogsmeade."

Potter shook his head, rubbing his face. "No I plan to be comatose all weekend," he announced as if relieved. "And I may even be able to eat too."

"You haven't been eating that much," Granger agreed.

"After Cruciatus, stuff won't stay in my stomach," he explained.

"You should take some sort of nutrient supplement potion," Granger told him.

That wasn't a bad idea. Severus could probably create one.

"I'll whip one up tomorrow," Potter muttered. There was no mistaking his sarcasm, which was warranted as it was clear the boy was relieved that he was standing.

Potter stirred once then stared into the pot. Granger sighed and dug through his pack for something.



Granger looked up at his profile.

"Do you really want to kiss Professor Snape?"

Severus suppressed his snort. Granger must have some deluded feminine sense of humor. Potter's face swung up. Severus would have killed to be able to see his expression.

"Where did you hear that?" His tone was surprised.

"Ron," Granger told him. "He told me about your conversation and that you almost got him with that little joke." Potter said nothing, merely stared at her. "And well, Ron forgets at times, but I don't."


"Harry, it's me you're talking to," said Granger. "I know how you throw people the truth knowing they'd never believe it."

Ah, more of the puzzle revealed. Severus wondered what other bits of personal truth, Potter had been spewing knowing no one would believe it.

There was a little tidbit about living in a cupboard for 11 years which you thought was utter nonsense.

Severus ignored the irritating nag as the rest of the information caught up. Was it true?

"So?" Potter finally muttered and Severus wondered if it was in response to his tendency of hiding behind a truth no one believed or that he actually wanted to kiss a teacher.

"So it's true?"

"What's true?"

"God you're impossible sometimes," she said with exasperation. Severus felt that exasperation keenly himself. "That you want to kiss Snape."

Potter looked back into the caldron. "What if I do?"

Severus let out the breath he hadn't been aware he was holding. While his inner voice was rejoicing, Severus was having trouble concentrating on breathing. The first thing coming to mind was-


Potter looked up at his friend again and shrugged. "I like him."

Here that, Severus? The delicious delinquent likes you.

Granger looked frustrated again. "Well I know the two of you have been working together amiably for a while now, but I mean, do you like him, as in like him?"

"I don't know," said Harry. "Maybe."


Potter rubbed his face again, clearly not wanting to have this particular discussion at the time. "Look, Ron asked, I told him. I wasn't expecting a sort of Spanish Inquisition."

"I'm sorry, Harry." She sounded sincere. "It's just that you never really mentioned anyone in that way before. I just wanted to help if I could."

"I know. It's just," he stared off nowhere in particular, "he's smart, powerful, talented, and God knows he's more mature than anyone else here. And…"

"And," she prompted.

"He makes me laugh, Hermione." He stirred the potion. "The other day he referred to McGonagall as an inflexible, interfering, little furball."

A chuckle escaped the girl. "That's terrible."

"I know," said Potter. "I swear I almost bit clear through my lip to keep from laughing. She was standing right there."

"She heard him?"

"Yeah." Potter nodded and a tired grin stretched across his face. "She said, 'When I come up with a clever retort, Severus, I'll be sure to retaliate.'"

"And what did he say?"

"He said, 'Oh, don't have kitten's Minerva, I was jesting,'" Potter continued. "And then she clucked her tongue at him and told him not to be crass because she was too old to have kittens."

Granger smiled fondly. "Sounds like friendly banter."

"Right, but McGonagall wasn't insulted or angry because it was Snape," Potter said. "He can get away with it."

Granger murmured some agreement. "So?"

"So." Potter sighed at looked at her. "What would you do if I called you a nosy, know-it-all with bad hair?"

Severus suppressed his snort of laughter. Not bad.

Granger's mouth dropped open, her eyes wide.

"Is that-"

"Hermione, that's my point," said Potter. "I wouldn't say that because you'd hit me."

Granger smirked. "I wouldn't hit you."

"You hit Malfoy fast enough."

"Malfoy called me a Mudblood and we don't like him remember."

Potter smiled faintly and rubbed his face. "I know. I'm sorry. Don't mind me, I'm just so tired."

"It is true though, I guess," said Granger. "But if you tell anyone, especially Ron, that I admitted it, I'll have to kill you."

Potter glanced at her and smiled.

"And you've successfully steered the conversation away from the topic, Harry."

Yes, do go back to the kissing part.

Snape couldn't honestly argue with his inner voice. He was learning a lot more than he had ever figured on about the brat. He just might have to hang onto this cloak.

"And what was that?" Potter asked.

Granger didn't buy the innocent look either. Smart girl. "Snape, are you going to tell him?"

The brat scoffed. "Oh that would be a priceless conversation. Excuse me, Professor, care to have a snog?"

Works for me.

Severus frowned. He was sure the boy had more nerve than that. Where was the heralded Gryffindor bravery?

"He'd laugh himself into a coronary," Potter said. "After he hexed me into oblivion."

"Oh stop," Granger said, the picture of female reassurance. "I'm sure he'd be flattered."

Potter looked incredulous. "Flattered? Hermione, Snape doesn't subscribe to the Prophet. Nor does he put any stock in this scar. My various illustrious titles mean nothing to him, which is one of the reasons I like him."

The last was murmured so softly, Severus almost missed it.

"Must we go through this again, Harry?" Granger muttered with annoyance. "You are attractive."

"Hermione, they don't call them glamours for nothing," Potter replied tiredly. "There are mirrors in the tower. I know what I look like without them."

"Do you?"

Potter nodded, ignoring her concerned look. "My hair is terrible. It's like it's magically disenchanted."

Severus had to agree there. Potter, Sr., worked diligently to get his hair to behave exactly the way Potter's was naturally. It had to be some sort of magical irony that Potter Jr. hated it.

"I'm too skinny and-"

"There's just no talking to you when you're tired." Granger's exasperation was back.

Potter sent her one of those quirky smiles. "For now, I can live vicariously through my sordid reputation."

Sounds like the boy has a bit of a self-esteem issue.

Severus could commiserate with that one first hand and almost had to laugh at the further irony of it. James Potter was as arrogant as the came. More proof that Harry was not his father.

"Now you'd better leave," said Potter with a glance at his watch. "I can take care of the rest. I'll see you back in the common room."

"Don't be silly." Granger's jaw lifted. "I'm not leaving you alone."


"What if you have another vision? What if-"

Potter looked at her and whatever expression was on his face was apparently enough because the girl acquiesced.

"If you're sure." She didn't look or sound pleased.

"I'm sure."

Severus watched Granger hesitantly leave the room, but his mind a torrent of thought as he speculated on all that he had heard.

Potter hiding his magical abilities? Suffering first hand the torture of Voldemort's victims? Attracted to him?

That last one had him reeling. He ignored his inner voice, which was currently mocking his doubts and encouraging him to jump the boy before he changed his mind, in favor of wondering why, how, when.

You heard it from his own mouth. He wants to kiss you.

He pushed all his somewhat questionable thoughts away as he was faced with the matter at hand. Potter was exhausted, not to mention recovering from several doses of Cruciatus. He'd have to take the matter into his own hands (clearly the boy couldn't take care of himself) and see that he was suitably rested. If he added some hellebore to the mix…


Severus turned his attention back to the boy. Potter was holding a small vial up to a candle. It was obviously almost empty.

He leaned heavily on the lab table, shoulders slumped, head down in defeat. Must be the dragon liver. Severus moved closer. Since when was the troublemaker above borrowing from his own stores?

Potter seemed to have the same thought as his head swung up and he turned to the side cabinet containing Snape's more valuable ingredients. He moved to the doors studying them with a thoughtful look Severus had never seen before.

As Potter began working on the ward to the cabinet, Severus silently plucked a vial off a shelf, sprinkled a pinch into the bubbling mix and returned to his place to observe the brat, who had stopped muttering spells at the door. He was now eyeing the design on the door with interest.

To Severus' surprise, he spoke to the cabinet, his tired voice – hissing? Parseltongue? Ah yes. There was a snake on the front of the door. Again to his surprise, the door hissed back.

It was fascinating to watch and listen as Potter argued with his cabinet.

"Bloody stubborn snake," Potter muttered. "Leave it to Snape to have a loyal and incompatible potions cabinet."

He paced before the locked doors, tossing out words every few steps. Apparently the snake had informed him it was a password lock and not a spell lock. Several of Potter's attempts at guessing were quite admirable actually, but Severus was afraid he would probably have to abandon his cover and help the boy. Potter did need his assistance and Severus was now eager to interact with him.

He needed to confront the boy on several of the things he had heard.

And kiss him. Don't forget, you have to kiss him.

Severus ignored the voice as Potter's head came up again, staring at Severus with wide eyes. For a moment, Severus thought Potter had seen him.

Potter smiled with satisfaction. "I've got you, Severus Snape," he said, the soft words and the tone sending an impulse right to Severus' groin.

He was about to toss off the cloak and berate the miscreant severely when Potter turned back to the cabinet.

"Sherbet lemon," Potter said and the doors sprung open.

Severus let out his breath again. Okay, so Potter had figured out his password.

Potter dug out his canister of dragon liver and brought it over to his brew. He pulled out one medium sized chunk, diced into a precise measurement and consulted his watch. With a sigh, he extinguished the flame beneath the pot and held the last ingredient over the surface.

Severus decided it was time to act. Leaning into the shadows, he let the cloak fall off and stepped closer to the table. Potter didn't seem to notice.

"Sorry, Professor," he murmured as he dumped it in. "I swear I'll replace it."

"See that you do."

Potter swung around, surprise and horror on his face.

"Professor, I – um – I didn't hear you come in."

"Obviously," said Severus unable to suppress his smirk. "You really should stir that, Mr. Potter."

"What? Oh." The boy turned and picked up the spoon. Severus stepped behind him to observe over his shoulder. He could feel the boy's body instantly tense. "I'm sorry, I-"

"Clockwise, idiot boy," Severus snapped. Potter stirred, his breathing labored and Severus had to wonder why.

The boy wants you.

Again Severus ignored the voice, intent on the trembling body before him. He smelled of vanilla and colamile musk.

Gods, it would be so easy to take now that he knew it was an option. But that would open up a whole new series of problems. A teacher simply did not instigate any sort of relationship with a student, despite any chemistry or mutual consent. He reminded himself of his obligations.

However, it was important to see to the boy's well being.

"So let's see what you've concocted, Potter," he said mildly enough. Potter moved to the side, leaning heavily on the surface of the table.

The color was acceptable what with the additional components added and the smell was as vile as it should be. He filled a goblet with a dose and set it on the table. Then he moved to stand before the boy. He still appeared to be a combination of flabbergasted and apprehensive.

He stepped closer, their legs almost touching and Potter leaned away, his hands further back on the work table to support him. Severus studied his face, now that he was close enough. Even in his fatigue, he was beautiful.

He turned his face away and Severus quickly brought his hand up to cup his chin, holding it securely to his view. The bright green eyes were blood shot and rimmed with shadow and his brow was furrowed in confusion. Luscious cherry lips contrasted dramatically with the paleness of his face. Those lips were still parted reflecting his surprise.

Severus slowly let his hand drift down the jaw to his throat. The pulse pounded furiously beneath his fingertips. Merlin, he was going to regret this.

He leaned down and touched his lips to that red mouth. Gently at first, he tasted the sweetness of Potter's warm lips, then he allowed his tongue to stroke the fullness of the bottom lip. A soft moan came from the boy's throat and Severus lifted his head.

Potter's eyes were closed, his chin lifted, his mouth opened in offering.

Compliant, yielding. Severus had an intuitive feeling that this was merely the tip of the iceberg - so to speak. Severus had tasted the forbidden fruit-

Merlin, he was reduced to cliches. He was in serious trouble.

He lowered his head again, his arm moving around Potter's back as he crushed his lips again. Potter groaned, one hand lifting to clutch at Severus' shoulder. Severus pressed his hips against Potter's to keep him from slipping as his mouth followed his finger's path around the boy's jaw and down his throat. He bit down, sucking in the skin to feel the silken texture between his teeth. Potter arched into him with another moan.

Severus moved his mouth back up the smooth neck, trailing his tongue up to his ear. With a nip at the skin behind the lobe, Severus lifted his head again.

Potter's face, bereft of the mask, looked totally vulnerable, delightfully so. There was something about that helpless, neediness, which totally dissolved Severus' will, as solid as he considered it. Severus never did anything part way. It was all or nothing with him. Was he prepared to go through with this, this, whatever it was, with a student?

Again, student was the operative word. Potter wasn't a child. That had been decided. Severus wouldn't be entertaining such thoughts if the brat wasn't mentally capably of grasping the complexities of having a questionable relationship.

Potter was, after all, notorious for rule-breaking.

You don't have to convince me.

He was desperately in need of someone to care for him as well. How was the boy to save the world when he couldn't take care of himself? Those friends of his were little help. Just who could Potter rely on to insure his well-being?

There you go. He needs you.

Severus sighed. Despite the moral issues, he wanted the boy fiercely. Not only the incomparable form, but the whole package. He wanted the loyalty, the dependency, the trust. He had given Potter his kiss, now he would have to see what else he wanted. How far was he willing to go? It was up to him.

Severus stepped away, holding the boy firmly by the arms. Potter still needed special care. He held up the goblet. "Drink."

Potter took the cup. "But-"

"Drink," Severus insisted firmly. Potter knew the potion would take effect almost immediately. "Now." Potter eyed the liquid in the cup then glanced at Severus. "Drink it, Potter."

The boy downed the contents of the cup and Severus took it and placed it back on the table. Potter's grip tightened on the edge of the table but the boy's gaze never moved from his own. Finally the green eyes rolled back and Severus caught him as he slumped into unconsciousness.