Title: The Newest and Greatest Buzz, Ever.
Rating: R (language and adult situations)
Summery: Harry is addicted to the thrill of danger to his well being and he has kept it hidden well for years. Living in the muggle world and keeping his life shrouded in mystery is second nature for him. He is found out one day and those who love him try to help him the only way they know how. Harry finds that Snape is the only one who understands what his life is like, and the only one who can really help him.
Warnings: Morning after scene, mild language, drug use.
Genre: Angst/ Romance
Disclaimer: I'm not totally penniless, but I'm pretty damned near it. As of yet, I do not own any part of the rights of Harry Potter book series, Harry Potter movie series, Harry Potter toy collections, or anything else I mention in here. But I do recomend you try the things I do talk about especially Chobits!
Harry knew he had a problem. He knew it every morning when he would finally lay down for a nap. He knew it every time he ended up going home with yet another stranger. He knew it every time he popped a new pill that those he met told him about. He knew it every time he pushed himself to the edge of his limits and then rested up for the next time. He just couldn't stop.
He never told anyone about it. He just couldn't bring himself to let down those who had worked so hard and actually loved him. He hated the lies but he knew that they couldn't find out about his problems, they were his demons not theirs. He asked that his friends give him a day's warning before a visit, claiming that his work was time consuming and dull, but he could get time off if he requested it. He also told Ron and Hermione that his cupboards were typically bare, and when he entertained he liked to be able to at least serve a good tea. They bought it, they never surprised him because he didn't like surprises. He claimed it was due to the fact that the fighting had spoiled him for that. They never pushed him, they never asked about his job, they never asked about his new life. They cared, but didn't want to hurt him, they loved him, but were afraid of him.
It hurt. It crushed his heart, it made it easy for him to justify his actions every time he took another pill, drank another drink, started another death defying leap with another stranger. It was the only way he still felt alive. And yet he knew it was killing him in every way. In his dreams he died, over and over again, a million different ways. Every time he fell asleep he would die. His life was a lie, to everyone, to himself. It hurt.
Harry pulled on the tight leather trousers and then the loose shirt. Finally he tied the boots over the microfiber socks and was ready to go. Grabbing his wallet and house keys he locked the flat up and went to another hot and thumping club, then another overly crowded and drug filled rave, another dark and dangerous bar, another unlit alley, another hair raising mini-adventure, another taste of sweet death just to feel alive. Another night of forgetting he was loved, another night of killing his soul and mind, another night of strangers who didn't care if he lived or died, another night that he would wake up from not knowing who he was next to or what they did.
Harry knew he should just stay home, get into his pajama bottoms and old t-shirt, turn on the telly and watch reruns of Monty Python, and order some chinese food from Tai Pei. He knew that if he left he would regret it, he would kill another part of his being. Maybe he was suicidal, he just didn't like to go about it the usual ways. He had spent most of his childhood certain that he was going to die quick and painfully, now he was killing himself slowly, with pain and pleasure, and knowing full well this was going to hurt everyone he loved when they found out.
He still left.
Argh, ow. muttered Harry as he sat up in a cheap hotel room. The walls were a dirty stained mix of colours that Harry knew that were all covering the peeling paint job that had to be older than he was. Harry noted that he was naked and next to a rather haggard looking man that had to be just out of his teens. At the foot of the bed was a naked girl no older than eighteen and sleeping in the chair was a guy in just a mesh shirt, looking like he had been through the mill. On the floor were two more naked bodied, tangled together, and next to a couple of dildos. Harry looked around, signs of yet another wild night were everywhere. Dead glow sticks, clothes thrown every which way, smears of bodily fluids, and the unmistakable headache and hangover that Harry now had. His whole body was aching and there wasn't a single muscle protesting as he stood and stumbled to the shower.
In the tub was a young woman who cursed him as he moved her out of the was and washed. She like everyone else looked like she had a hard night, but Harry was too far gone to feel any compassion. As he washed away the sticky feeling and the dirtiness he knew was there, he mused that he could just use a spell. This was too much of a ritual to spoil with a spell, it was a cleansing of his mind as well as body. It served a multitude of reasons, all aimed at trying to regain that purity that had vanished long ago. He dried with the surprisingly clean, but very rough towels and summoned his clothes, wallet, credit and other cards, his house keys and his boots. Dressing quickly he ignored the pounding, the aches, and the emptiness. He left the room without caring about the other bodies and the people trapped in them.
As he stepped into the sunlight he sighed, he knew it. He just knew it would turn out like this. He walked to the motel office and found it was just in time for the shift change. The old man that looked ready to leave smiled at him knowingly.
You're up early. Sleep well? he asked leering at Harry. Harry looked the man in the eyes.
As well as could be expected. Who paid for room three twenty? asked Harry tiredly. The man got the message, Harry was too out of sorts to recall anything from last night and wasn't happy about it.
That brunette, Liz Derricks. You were all over her. said the old man as he pulled on his old coat and left. Harry sighed, she must have been the girl in the tub. Harry grimaced as his head started to thrum louder than ever.
a large black coffee and couple of aspirin were placed in his hands. Harry looked up at the kind middle aged woman who smiled at him. Her face was just starting to wrinkle and she made no effort to dye her graying hair away. Her eyes sparkled with kindness and understanding. Harry popped the pills and thanked her as he left and walked into the worst place he had ever woken up so far. It was a slum that looked like it had never been anything else, but to be sure he was in England still. In the daylight he saw a couple of boys trying to steal a parody of a car, a drug dealer selling his wares openly as a costermonger in the better sections of London. The pavement was broken and more like gravel than cement, Harry had almost stumbled a few times, but was now watching his step.
The coffee slowly helped to revive him as he walked along in the early morning light. He smiled as he saw two boys talking, until he heard what they were talking about. It was a conversation on how their mother was beat to within an inch of her life by their father, and they didn't seem to care. He walked on wishing for a normal life, a normal morning, a normal anything. Ducking into a space between two buildings that wasn't big enough to call an alleyway, he disappeared. He appeared into his apartment and collapsed onto the sofa in exhaustion. He had been further away from Liverpool than he had thought, and wandless disapparation was an exhausting method of crossing long distances. Coupling that with a hangover, a worn body, and no nutrition in more than twelve hours, it was downright stupid of him to attempt. He was very lucky not to be spilnched or worse. Harry fell into a deep sleep to try to recover again.
Waking up Harry was stunned to see the lights on and hear voices. He knew how he got home, he stupidly appeared from God knows where and by luck fell asleep on his sofa. The voices were coming from the kitchen-dining area that carried voices very well into the living room.
He's in awful shape, I don't understand how you can say that he appeared over three hundred kilometers without a wand. It's just not possible! a feminine voice, worried, and very familiar. Harry was in no mental state to try to remember so he listened.
I swear the apparition records show it. He did it, I don't know how. See, five forty-seven in the morning, Harry Potter, London to Liverpool. I know you ran that scan on his magic as soon as you saw him, what did you see? asked another familiar voice, masculine and defensive. It was a deep tenor, rather youthful sounding. It was a pleasant voice, or would have been if it wasn't trying so hard to keep calm. Harry's head was pounding, too much concentrating. He ignored the sounds coming from the kitchen, stood up, and silently made his way to his bedroom. He was still in the clubbing clothes, and was not comfortable at all.
His vision was blurry but he made his way into a pair of loose sweatpants and a torn up old t-shirt that he loved to wear on days like this. He stumbled into the bathroom and washed his face and dug out his old glasses. He was too tired and out of sorts to try to wear his contacts like he usually did, and he popped a few aspirin to try to banish the headache. His stomach grumbled and Harry rubbed it with a soft chuckle, he was very hungry.
Walking back to his bedroom he found his cell phone and a pamphlet for a local sandwich shop that delivered. Calling them he read over the menu.
Hi, Renoyld's Deli! How can I help you? asked the overly perky girl on the other end of the line.
Yeah, er, I need an order delivered. said Harry as he tried to banish the newly strengthened headache. The girl's voice was almost unbearable.
Phone number? asked the girl.
Harry rattled off quickly. He heard the tapping of keys.
Okay, Mr. Potter. What's the order? she asked suddenly a little more professional and in a less shrill voice. He was thankful for the small miracles.
A Meatball Submarine, lots of sauce and cheese, grilled peppers too, please. I'd also like a bag of regular crisps and a mineral water, please.Got it. It should be there in twenty. The cost's gonna be four pounds and six pence. Okay?Great. Thanks.Have a good afternoon, Mr. Potter. The girl hung up and Harry turned off his cell phone. He sat on his bed and massaged his forehead, willing the pain killers to work faster and right in his head and aching body. He always pretended that he could make the medicine work faster, better, just by wanting it to. It seemed to just help. Maybe it did work, he ought to ask Hermione about it.
Then the epiphany hit. It was Hermione, her and Ron, in his kitchen worried and talking about him. Harry mentally ranted and raved about how screwed he was and how much that this was going to hurt them. He tried to find a safe way to deal with this, a way to defuse the worry. He wasn't almost a Slytherin for nothing, he knew the best way to defuse a problem was to convince them the problem was all in their heads. He would wait and listen for the doorbell, get his dinner from the delivery boy and go sit at his kitchen table and eat, offer to order some dinner for his surprise guests, and act normal. It wasn't a hard thing to do.
Fifteen minutes passed and the buzzer sounded. Harry grabbed a five pound note from his bureau and strode to the door. A short pimple faced teenaged boy stood there with a large brown sack and a bottle of water.
Here's your order. The kid handed over the meal and Harry gave him the note.
Fast service, don't work too hard, kid. said Harry with a smile. The boy smiled back.
No problem, Good afternoon. the kid left and Harry shut and locked his door. As he turned around he saw much more than just Ron and Hermione. Dumbledore, Mr. Weasley, and Poppy Pomfrey were there as well.
A party? At my house? asked Harry with a slight frown. Hermione looked downright murderous. But she kept her mouth shut and let Dumbledore talk. The old man looked, for one of the rare moments, hurt.
Harry, we know you are not well. said the headmaster, getting to the point. It was a very rare thing, but it was also a sign this was too serious. Hermione snorted, and muttered something that sounded like, Understatement.' Mr. Weasley gave her a warning look and Ron held her hand. Harry sighed.
Okay. Since I'm very hungry, could we have this talk in the kitchen? I could always order you all some thing. I really don't have anything to eat but Muesli and old milk. I might have a beer somewhere. He didn't wait, he walked through them and to the table. Sitting down he pulled out the sandwich, it was thick, soaked with the sauce and grease, and delicious. He took a few bites to silence his stomach and then he took a few sips of his water. He then wiped his face with the serviette provided by the deli. Harry tossed the bag of crisps to Ron who was always hungry and then he sat back and waited for some one to speak at this intervention.
Harry, Poppy ran some tests on you two hours ago. said Mr. Weasley in a cautious tone. He was trying to be level headed and not alienate Harry or anyone else.
Okay. Quite unsporting of you, but okay. said Harry letting himself show a hint of a smile. Ron's face froze, he was unhappy with how Harry was brushing it off. No one looked happy with him at all. Poppy cast a quick spell and an image of him appeared, it was like a hologram from those space shows Dudley watched.
You're dying. Toxins are eating away at you. Irreparable damage has been done to your neruo-chemical balances and if you don't stop you will find yourself needing to get a few organ transplants and living on potions. The image turned into an outline as small dots of problem areas were now visible. Next to the body a chart of it all was scrolling by. It was quite long. He tried to read it, but he just couldn't follow it, You are killing yourself, and I think you know it. she said in a cold voice. Harry looked up at her, was it that apparent? He wasn't surprised or bothered by her message at all. He forgot to show shock, a minor set back. Her face was like Hermione's angry and set. Harry took a bite of his sandwich and frowned. There was no point in hiding anymore.
Of course, I'm very aware of it. It's to be expected if you pop pills and party whenever you get a chance. Harry said in annoyed tone. He was pleased to note that it obviously ruffled everyone's feathers. He knew it was going to be a long night.
Dumbledore took a chair and everyone else made themselves comfortable. Harry watched as Hermione drew up a chair with her wand for Ron and then a tall bar stool for herself. Harry was always facinated by that spell, he never could understand how it worked, but it was just so cool to watch. He knew that he would have to figure out how she and Dumbledore could do that.
Pomfrey cleared her throat and Harry turned to face the unhappy mediwitch. Her countance was clouded as she started to tell him in detail just how badly he was diseased, and Harry started to tune her out. He figured that he really didn't need more depression than he already had. It was a risk to do it, but he faked attentiveness and nodded and made the correct murmmers when they were needed. He didn't notice Dumbledore and Hermione, both were very displeased with him. He didn't notice until he heard someone mutter something, then heard Hermione's shouts.
Harry James Potter, you are really the most insensitive jerk I have ever known! Here we are worried out of our minds about you, and you just patronize those who love you. I am disgusted with you. You know that your actions don't just harm you, but you still chase that next fix! You selfish, arrogant, idiotic, prick! You have no right to do this to all of us. Now you will sit here listen to everything everyone has to say, and you will memorize it! She screamed at him. The intervention had now officially started.
Harry's intervention had not gone the way that his confronters had hoped. After that first admission and Hermione's outburst, he had taken to being sarcastic and cutting to everyone. He didn't answer questions, he didn't play along. In the end Dumbledore had Ron pack an overnight bag and used a portkey to get Harry to Hogwarts. That was why he was now locked in a guest room without a wand or any other magical object. Harry paced the room again, and again, and again. There was nothing else to do. He thought about using wandless magic, but that would make Dumbledore up the wards and locking spell complexities. Right now they were easy enough to unwind and bend to his will, but any more was out of his grasp unless he had a wand. For the most part he just couldn't control his magic with complex spell work, unless he had a wand to help filter it and restrain him. School had spoiled him for living a purely wandless life, but he was still very capable even if no one knew it.
That was one thing he was happy to know, that they still underestimated his abilities with magic. From what he understood, every child who was drafted into Hogwarts did one or two acts of magic before entering the school. Harry had done no less than six and one was wandless disapparation and apparition. As it turned out he was like his mother, and had a gift for charms, hexes, and the like. Because of that and his wellspring of power, he was exceptional at instinctual magic, defense and offense. He hated to be locked up and so unlocking spells and breaking wards came naturally. He was always fighting, so hexes were next on his list of wandless abilities. It was hard to explain, but it was there. It didn't really show up until he was older and in more life or death situations than he cared to think about. It was also part of the reason flying just clicked for him.
Flying was the most basic of wandless magic skills a wizard could learn. It was just the act of channeling your innate magic and combining it with the magic infused with the broom. That was why Hermione had found it hard to get it at first, it was an instinctual thing that you just had to feel, or learn in early childhood like Malfoy had bragged of. Harry was great at flying without trying, because of his ability to focus magic without his wand, he just knew how to use the powers and fuse them. That was part of the reason he was awful at school. He just couldn't go from instinctual knowledge to the clumsy cobbled way they taught it. He knew that it was the best way for the group, but for him wands were a real hindrance to the natural flow that he could have and should have tapped into as were the words. If he could just understand what was needed and why it would work, he could do it.
Harry glared at the door, he just wanted out. Instantly the door was turned into ashes, and with one puff of air it collapsed. Harry sighed and put his head into his hands. He was just out of control right now. He didn't notice the stunned student who ran away until Snape followed the student back and saw that the second year was not lying.
he growled in a low voice. Harry looked up stunned.
Er. . . Hello. You wouldn't happen to know how to fix my door, I kind of wished it like that. Harry said weakly. Snape just sneered at him.
I'm sure you know how to undo a simple reductor curse. he said in a cutting tone.
Sure, that's easy for anyone who has a wand. But I have no wand. Harry said with a shrug. That was another reason he needed a wand, some reverse hexes were just created for use with wands only. Snape grudgingly pulled out his wand and soon the door was back in place.
Now tell me why you have no wand. demanded the man as he took a seat in a chair that was by the wall. Harry smiled.
Should have known. But a few secrets in return for a simple spell sounds fair enough. said Harry in a sardonic tone. Snape glared at him. Harry chuckled, Careful that's how I ruined my door. Snape looked a bit intrigued but no more emotion showed.
Why do you not have a wand? asked Snape again. Harry rolled his eyes but chose to answer.
Fine, Dumbledore took it, before he locked he in here. Harry spoke in a slightly bitter tone. Snape raised a questioning eyebrow. Harry went to the window and just stared out of it, neither dared to speak first. Harry could feel Snape's gaze burn him though, it was like Snape had those laser eyes like Superman.
Time seemed to halt as Harry just tried to watch what was happening outside, but he couldn't. He saw everything but just couldn't comprehend it. All he saw was strands of spell work and colours that he just knew didn't exist. It wasn't a real window, Harry knew that the moment he woke up in this room, but Harry wasn't sure that he wasn't in a room that wasn't close to the outer walls until now.
I'm in the dungeons, aren't I? asked Harry at last.
How can you tell? asked Snape. Harry shrugged indifferently.
You rarely left them when I went to school. If you were the one a student brought then no doubt it was out of fear of something that could be scarier than the evil potions master and the fact that you were close by. Snape snorted.
True enough, but I simply could have been coming out of a meeting with Dumbledore. said Snape trying to find out more. Harry did stiffen a bit but no more. He figured he could trust Snape just enough to let him know this secret.
This window. I could see that it was false as soon as woke up in here. Can't you just see the spells? Over the past week Ive been losing the ability to comprehend the image, I can only see the magic that makes it and the odd colours that are projected. I used to be able to see the sky. I hate this.Being trapped or being a Magivisum? asked Snape. Harry still hadn't turned to face Snape, and for good reason, hiding his emotions was growing far too difficult. He had only had contact with Ron, Hermione, Poppy, Dumbledore and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, and that was only for an hour a night. He spent that hour getting checked over by Poppy and interrogated by the rest. Snape wasn't interrogating him, he wasn't asking about his addictions, he wasn't telling him that he messed up, he wasn't doing anything but refusing to leave and trying to understand the cryptic statements. It was very disconcerting to Harry that the man he had spent his Hogwarts days avoiding was the one who was being the most civil to him now.
Hurting them. said Harry in almost a whisper. Harry turned to face Snape, the elder man looked shocked but controlled, he was giving Harry a chance to speak before he jumped to conclusions and Harry couldn't refuse, I have been killing myself; drugs, drinking, anything to make me feel that thrill of being alive, usually things that should have killed me. I think my problem started early, there is no greater high than just escaping Voldemort's clutches year after year. Then after those first brushes with death, the war ruined me. It seemed like all I did was dance with death and fight for my life. I was hooked but never knew it.
I didn't understand until a week after it all ended, the press was just starting to leave me alone and I had my first peaceful night without fear of anything in years. I was watching the stars from the top turrets of the Astronomy Tower. I felt so dead inside and empty. I didn't figure out why until I ventured out into the Forbidden Forest without a wand or map. I just barely escaped Aragog and his children that night, and as I found Hogwarts again it hit me. I was addicted to the adrenaline rush, the feeling of being alive.
I never felt so much pain in my entire life, I agonized with that knowledge all day. I hid in the Shrieking Shack and tried to banish my weaknesses. As I was nearing dinnertime I came to the conclusion that it was just another part of me I'd have to hide, like my love of Dark magic, my hates, my understanding of why Voldemort was the way he was. I hid it from everyone, I got a job in the muggle world, asked everyone to let me know when they wanted to visit, faked a hatred of surprises, hid what I did at night. I became quite the actor, no one questioned me, no one could see that I was killing myself.
It was perfect until someone came and caught me in a moment of weakness, apparently Ron tried to call me but I wasn't home he was worried so he and Hermione broke into my flat. I was tired and in rather bad shape, I was also dressed quite differently than I typically was for their visits. In a moment they had Ron's father, Dumbledore, and Pomfrey there. I didn't wake for another two hours and when I did they weren't in the room and I didn't register what was going on. I figured it out after I changed and ordered dinner from a local sandwich place. I wasn't happy about it, because they decided to try and get me to renounce everything I had been doing. God forbid I ever have a flaw.
After it sunk in that while they had finally seen that I'm self-destructive, that I was not going to change for them, Dumbledore brought me here. I spent a few hours in the Hospital Wing but then as I slept they brought me here. I've been here for a week. They all come and see me for one hour every night just after dinner. I still haven't given in. Harry finished the confession in a chair opposite Snape. Snape's face had shown a controlled range of emotions that seemed to all come together in a weird and awkward parody of understanding. Snape hadn't interrupted or shown anything that even looked like disgust. It was odd, but Harry had learned not to look a gift horse in the mouth as a child. He then realized that the chair he was sitting in wasn't there before. He had been so caught up in the confession that he didn't even recall that he sat down. Looking up at Snape in surprise, Did you create this? he asked in a surprised tone, Snape gave him a withering look.
You idiot, you did it. You turned that ugly side table into that. sneered the older man. Harry blushed.
I can't control it anymore. I used to be able to, sort of. I haven't really used my wand in two years, is this a side effect of that? asked Harry. Snape just glared at Harry.
No. Damn it. No wonder Voldemort wanted you dead, you really can't contain your magic now that your older. Snape muttered. Harry sighed.
I never could, well I could fake it. I could exercise enough willpower to not make a fool of myself in class and get expelled regularly during the summer hols. I lost control a portion of the time, putting more power than I needed to into a spell, blowing up Marge Dursley, all those messed up potions and transfigurations that seemed so normal of a student. It wasn't normal, I was fighting against my wand and the awful way that something so natural and graceful was taught to me. I did well in defense because I never had to really learn, that all came so naturally to me like breathing. I was average in charms and the rest of the classes only because of Hermione's unwanted but needed help. But the rest was just awful, I didn't understand until I was in my sixth year and then I couldn't do anything about that. I just had to start trying to learn how to understand it all on my own. Harry grinned, Wow, I had no idea that you were so paranoid. Seven protection spells? No, five and two light shielding wards that are practically alive. Who cast them? They are just so, so wild. Harry looked at the spells that he just managed to see with admiration, never before had he seen anything so beautiful unless he cast it or reworked it. Snape smirked.
I did. said the man in an arrogant tone, I'm a Magivisum as well.
Harry spent the next month in what he dubbed, Purgatory. It wasn't quite Hell, but it sure as hell wasn't heaven. The routine of visits from his friends never altered, just after dinner for an hour, they came, they talked to him, they tried to puzzle out what was wrong. Snape was what Harry looked forward to, the man never had a set schedule and he was never constant. Some day's he visited, some he didn't, sometimes they talked, argued, or even just sat in silence. If Snape visited it may have lasted a few minutes or half the day. Harry just sat back and let the man rant about his brain dead students and incompetent idiotic colleagues once or twice.
Snape and Harry would spend at least one day a week talking about their abilities and trying to figure out their limits. As it turned out Snape was hopeless at wandless magic, but he had a pure love and natural understanding of fusion magic or the near seamless blend of two different fields of magic into one stronger or more dynamic type. Harry was a natural at wandless, but too much so. Snape had made it his mission to teach Harry control or find a way to channel Harry's irritate energy. So far nothing was working, but neither knew how to give up. That was why Harry was reading a book on charmable object theory. It was a difficult subject to read about mainly because of the fact the books were written by too many idiots who had never truly understood what magic was, and they were all written so long ago, modern magic had changed greatly since the eighteen hundreds. Broom-crafters, tool-smiths, and wand-makers certainly never wrote about their professions, they were mostly family businesses that thrived only due to the fact that no-one could figure out how to recreate what they did. And so the two Magivisums had to try to blend the old ways of thinking, the new magical theories, and their talents and knowledge together. It was going slowly.
The door banged open. Snape has arrived for lunch today', thought Harry, What a nice surprise.' He smiled as he reread an entry of the old work journal of Galileo and then a portion of the newer book, Alchemist's Guide for the Modern Wizard Studying the Old Masters. Hello. I'm stuck on what Galileo's formula on transfiguring charms really does, the old symbols just don't match with any I'm finding here in these old alchemy and arithmancy texts. Harry called out without looking back.
There was a long moment of silence before he saw turned around and saw that it wasn't Snape, it was Mr. Weasley. And he looked puzzled. Who were you addressing? he asked, in his ever-unoffending tone. Harry's eyes narrowed just a tiny bit, he wasn't expecting this.
It's not dinnertime yet, why are you here? asked Harry in a biting tone. Mr. Weasley looked worn and old, it was the first time Harry had ever registered him as anything but a father and kind hearted man.
Dinner was served two hours ago, Harry. he said, his voice sounded hurt. Harry felt a gnawing pain in his chest, he just wanted for them to stop worrying. Then he realized how forgetful he was being, the window was a picture of night, thanks to the improvements that Snape had made. Harry groaned.
Damn it. I just got too caught up in our research. he muttered as Dumbledore and Poppy came in.
Our research? asked Dumbledore with his always twinkling eyes. Harry started to bang his head on the nearby wall. He was stopped by Poppy and given the normal checkup spells. Harry played his normal roll, the stubborn and stubborn prisoner. He was doing well until Snape showed up.
He knocked on the door and was lead in by a house elf that Harry knew was the only one who knew he was here. Headmaster, you asked for this as soon as possible? Snape handed Dumbledore a bottle of something, it was opaque glass and Harry couldn't smell a thing. Snape gave him a warning glance, his way of telling Harry to be ready for anything. Dumbledore set the bottle in Poppy's hands and chuckled.
You're not surprised to see Harry here, Severus? asked Dumbledore. Snape rolled his eyes,
I've stopped being surprised by anything anymore, Headmaster. said Snape with a very uncaring look.
Yes, I suppose not. Oh well, Poppy, please do figure out the correct dosage, I'd rather get this over with as soon as I can. I really dislike doing this Harry, but you just refuse to cooperate. said the weary looking man. Harry stood up and glared at the headmaster.
Doing what? Snape, what is that? asked Harry, he felt like just charging out of the now very small room. It was rapidly shrinking, or so Harry felt. Snape's eyes looked regretful.
I won't lie, a derivative of the Veritaserum. It is impossible for even me to fight without the risk of going mad or worse. Snape told him a voice that Harry knew to mean that Harry was screwed and that Snape wanted to help, but was helpless.
Oh, shit, no. Harry was now against a wall, his eyes darting around for a way out. He didn't want to be cured if it meant he had to take this truth serum, he hated them. He wanted nothing more than to leave, to just be left alone. He couldn't let them find out everything, his secrets were just that, his. His to chose to reveal and to hide away. They had no right to do this, none at all. Harry saw the look of fear on Snape's face, was he using a spell? Harry was panicking too much to bother to try to control anything. He couldn't hear what Snape was shouting as he pulled out his wand and cast something. He lost focus and lost consciousness.
He woke up in the hospital wing, he knew it by the blankness everywhere. Sitting up he saw that Snape was sitting next to him reading.
You really lost control, we need to find a way to prevent that. said Snape without looking up.
I'm sorry, I just panicked. I have a phobia of truth serums, I just couldn't. . . Harry trailed off, he was focused on his fidgeting hands. He heard Snape close the book.
I know. If I knew it was you that was going to be taking it I would have made it less potent or something. I know how this all feels, I had my own addictions to face, and when Dumbledore got it into his head to help it drove me to near madness. I did give up my vices, and then took up new ones that only I could see. I think I've had an addiction to my work and to just making people hate me for about twenty five years, but no one tries to stop it. Snape told him in a low voice. Harry nodded.
So, I just have to replace this addiction to danger with something more socially acceptable? Smoking or drinking? asked Harry. Snape chuckled.
You can't pull it off, Potter. Besides, those are what they call, bad for you'. Pomfrey would yell at you every chance she gets. Snape was silent for a moment then spoke, I honestly have no idea of what we can get you hooked on. You need something that everyone will dismiss as a personality quirk, but still be enough to keep you focused and looking for the next fix. And not sex. Snape gave Harry a searching look and Harry smiled.
Well as you try and find that new thing, you have a book I can go through to find a way to control myself? asked Harry. Snape handed him a heavy tome and a muggle notebook that Harry had been using. He also handed Harry a ball-point pen as well. Harry started to read page after page, jotting down notes of likely looking text and formulas that came to mind. It was a peaceful task that Harry just liked, it wasn't empty, he had a purpose, a reason to be doing this. It wasn't like the research he had done for school, that was like pulling teeth, slow and painful, pointless. This was the start of a new way of doing magic, using whatever to do what everyone but he and Snape knew to be impossible. It was the seed of hope.
Two years passed and Harry was back alone, in his apartment, without the ever rushing river of guests. Snape was the only regular visitor, he came twice a month to go over notes and brainstorm with Harry, just like Harry went to Hogwarts twice a month. It was a great working relationship, both were dedicated and passionate men who felt a distinct need for this, both were also opinionated and stubborn, both needed each other.
Harry was the first to feel this need, he had to skip a weekly meeting and Snape was not too resentful. That night was okay, he was a bit temperamental but he was at work late due to a local band that finally made it into mainstream and wanted to celebrate at Rubbish, the music store that had promoted them for six years. Harry had gotten his job back at the store as soon as he set a foot in the door just three months ago and he was an assistant manager now. He was a bit snarky by the time the party shut down, and the owner sent him home with a strict order to get some rest. Harry was grouchy all week, he was deeply depressed and lethargic by the time Snape came for his visit. The only thing Harry could think of that could be the blame was the lack of the regular visit with his partner in this endeavor. He noticed that Snape was a bit more open than usual as well, Harry only brought it up after a letter from Dumbledore though.
In that letter the headmaster told Harry how unbearable the potions master was during that one week. By the end of the week even Slytherin had lost substantial points and the man was only seen when teaching, the rest of the time he locked himself away behind elaborate shield spells and locks that Dumbledore just couldn't get through. Harry showed the letter to Snape when he went to Hogwarts again.
Snape, I was like that too. I was grouchy the night I had to cancel, and by the end of the week my mood swings were dangerous and I was depressed most of the time. On Thursday my boss told me I was on leave until I could be declared sane again. Harry told Snape who was looking murderous.
That is still no reason for that meddling idiot to disclose my life to you. snapped the man. Harry nodded.
You are right, which is why I decided to show you this. I figured if he did this without permission, you had a right to know. Harry said as he went to Snape's secret supply of liqueurs and wine and poured both some scotch with water. Harry handed one to Snape who nodded his thanks to the younger man.
He will probably just say he was keeping you up to date on the happenings here or find a way to pin the blame on us. There is no way that man could have been in Gryffindor. Snape said just before he took a drink of the alcohol. Harry laughed at that, it was the popular rumor, that Dumbledore had been in sorted into the Gryffindor house. The more Harry thought about it, the more the old headmaster seemed like the Weasley twins, Fred and George. They were so Slytherin they chose to go to Gryffindor.
Can't say I don't know what you mean. But we have to figure this out, if skipping a meeting means we get to be miserable all week, then we need to find out why or how to fix this trouble. It seriously impairs us both, and I hate being that helpless. Harry said and took his favorite chair, a chair he had created one night when he had been too tired to do anything but sleep. Snape was just gazing at his drink, thinking. Harry got into a thinking mode as well when his gaze wandered over to the fire, it just helped him to slip into a meditative state. When Harry looked back to the Potions Master, he saw that he was being stared at with an intensity that he had never seen before. It was almost scary, but oddly comforting to know that Severus was this comfortable with him.
What did that mean? Did he think of Severus as a friend? Or maybe something more? Or was it just another addiction? Harry was confused but wasn't about to voice his thoughts, the last thing he wanted to do was hurt Severus. He couldn't care less about the opinions of those he called his friends, after their allowing a truth serum to be used on him, he had lost all trust for them and their judgment in matters that were related to him. The only reason he left Hogwarts before the research was complete was because he had to be free of their meddling or he'd lose his sanity. But back to the matter at hand, what was going on between he and Snape?
Harry shut off that part of his brain and got started in on the work of sorting through their jumbled and indecipherable notes and try to create a few loose theories. After that they would analyze them and dismiss them as implausible or lacking substance. It was the same every week, they would have three Quick Quotes Quills going simultaneously and then be writing their own notes of what ideas they were bouncing around. It was their method to be sure that everything was recorded and easier to sort through. Harry made it easier by typing up all the notes, creating graphs and spreadsheets, and creating a working research outline with excerpts of the books and their notes when needed. Snape liked the idea of it, but for three obvious reasons he wasn't able to do more work with it. Harry kept him updated though, each week Snape got a hardcopy of everything that Harry had on his harddrive and stored online.
Snape was reading through this week's copy of what they dubbed The Sparker' due to the fact it either sparked an idea in Snape's head or it ended up in the fireplace with a few sparks to set it on fire. Harry's mind wandered, muggles had lots of cartoons and comics with magic, and a lot of non-wand users to boot. One comic had a cute little girl who used a deck of tarot cards, some used crystals, some used staves, one had a bunch of teen girls who used pens and star power to use something like offensive magic. The muggles sure had lots of ideas on how to use magic for people who thought magic didn't exist. Maybe he would infuse his excess magic into cards like that girl, he recalled that her name meant cherry blossom and that was about it. He only knew about her because he liked another comic done by the same group of illustrators.
Cards would be fun, but rather awkward. I think something less obvious, or easier to conceal would be better. Harry muttered thinking aloud. Snape's head jerked up.
asked the almost surprised man, he looked at Harry as if the younger man was retarded.
A girl in a muggle comic used a set of cards to control her magic, each card had a different set of spells or type of spell associated with it. She would then tell the card what to do, but she could only use a few cards at a time. Harry explained. Snape rolled his eyes and gave a snort of disdain. Harry gave a weak bark of laughter, Yeah, yeah. I know, but you have to admit that they have better imaginations than most wizards. You never hear wizards coming up with stuff like Star Wars or the Matrix, both are really great movies that I have to show you. I swear you'd relate to them. Harry explained and Snape shook his head and went back to reading and thinking without saying a word. Harry grinned, Wouldn't it be so funny if it is a muggle thing that inspires us,' thought the man as he started to jot down notes and ideas.
What are you reading? Snape's voice intruded upon Harry's peace. Harry was holed up in his flat reading his old copies of Chobits, his favorite comic series that was romantic in nature. His favorite over all was the Gundam series, but Chobits was a very close second. He thought it was a great read, it was easy to relate to and Chi was cute. He was just at the part where Hedeki finds out that Shimbo has eloped with their teacher. It was a very funny part, but Snape ruined it. Harry gave Snape an annoyed look.
Chobits, a muggle comic I enjoy. Snape looked disinterested. Harry sighed, Why are you here? asked Harry, it was Wednesday night. Snape just smirked and handed Harry a book that looked like it was about to turn into dust.
Read the bit I circled. Snape explained when Harry turned to the bookmarked section. As Harry read the section, his eyes widened and he gasped.
Damn it, Snape! If this is one of your bad jokes I'll throttle you! Harry exclaimed. Snape laughed and shook his head.
No, this is it. It is that one variable we couldn't find. The all of the essential equations now balance and I'm ready to start experimenting. I've just gotten a month's leave, can you do the same? asked Snape. Harry looked at him as if he had gone insane.
If I can't, I'm quitting. This is what we've been working towards for the past two years, I am not going to put a stupid job ahead of that! Harry practically yelled at Snape who still looked very amused and happier than Harry had ever seen him. Harry thought it was a look he enjoyed on the man very much.
Harry took the book to his laptop and started to update the database and copy the excerpt along with all of the book's information like author, publisher, and edition number. Snape watched him work and then gave him a new set of notes, the newly balanced equations, and a final statement. Harry put all into the computer, the equations he scanned along with the diagrams Snape had scribbled. After two hours he finished, burned it all to a disk and then burned three more disks. When Snape asked him why Harry laughed, I am taking no chances with this. We are both keeping a copy of this along with the computer and the copies on the internet, we will also give a disk to someone we trust or put it into a safe place that we know won't be touched. I'm putting mine into a safety deposit box I have at a muggle bank, and this extra into my vault at Gringott's. Harry told Snape who looked mildly impressed. Harry smirked. Every copy of the Sparker and our personal notes have three duplicates plus the original sets. The originals go to Gringott's, one copy to the muggle bank, one copy to my safe and fireproof box here, and one copy to a locker in Heathrow. I do not want to lose anything.Forethought, but a bit of an over kill. said Snape. Harry shook his head.
Not really, the more I've looked at old Sparkers when I was stuck, the faster I found new connections and new ideas. The better we document our research the easier it will be to write this up formally when we finish this. Harry said and Snape had to agree. They finished the night by talking about the lab they would have to find and the future. It got to be far too late for Snape to head back to Hogwarts so Harry gave Snape a pillow, blanket, and a spare set of pajamas and flipped out the bed in his sofa.
This was the hundredth time. Harry never could manage to get the spell sequence correct, it was a long and very complicated set of the ten that had to be cast. After this spell set was done and had cured the medal, the ring would be soaked in a potion, then four more spell sets would be cast, and after one last soak in the potion and the final spell set, the ring would be ready. The electrium, an strong magical alloy of gold, silver, and iron, was the perfect receptor/channeler, and set in the ring of electrium was a beautiful gray pearl that would focus and help to filter Harry's magic. It was in the form of a ring because a ring really wasn't that obvious and the hands were a powerful sender of his magic, only his eyes could do more damage, but they weren't about risk everything to try to use a pair of eyeglasses.
Over the past six months Harry and Severus had practically shut themselves off from the world, doing little other than working. Harry did get Severus to watch a few old muggle movies with him on the nights where neither could sleep, but both were in no shape to do anything constructive. Severus liked the Star Wars series, the anime movies that Harry had, the few mysteries that Harry had, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In fact it had been those movies that gave them the idea to use a ring. Harry thought it was brilliant that muggles indirectly helped to create what could be the second greatest invention in magical history after broomsticks, of course.
Or it would be, if he could just finish this fourth spell set. It was the hardest of them all due to the fact that it was the one that opened the ring to absorb the potion and started to tell it how to channel. Getting it to receive magic was the job of the first three spell sets, and it went quickly, only four days. This spell set should have only taken two days, but due to the constant revisions, it was now on day five. Harry glared at the ring, it was doing this on purpose, Harry was sure of it.
Harry heard the familiar deep chuckle from behind him, Severus was laughing at him. Harry whipped around and turned his glare onto his partner in this fool's quest, I wasn't laughing at you, Harry. said Severus.
Sure you weren't, Snape. snapped Harry.
I just noticed why it isn't working. We have to work together, split the set in half and cast both halves at once. It will only take a day and a half. said Severus. Harry thought it over, Severus was right, the ring was having trouble taking in only one type of magic from just one source. If this was to be successful it needed to be able to combine and condense the magic into a core, and you can't combine magic from the same caster, it was like putting the same poles of two magnets together. They bounced off of each other. Harry nodded, it made sense.
Okay, Sev, I need a break and then we need to practice. Dinner with a movie? asked Harry, Severus shrugged.
Sure, you take a nap and I'll order both up. said Severus. Harry yawned and thanked him with a smile before he headed off to his bedroom, the converted accounting office of this old warehouse near the ports of Portsmouth. The lab was the main bulk of the building, but it also held their mopeds, bicycles, the owls they used, and whatever they didn't want in the smaller rooms. The large foreman's office, that overlooked both the labs and the ports was converted into a living/dining room and they even connected the kitchen to it. Harry's room was directly under it and Snape had the old payroll office on the other side of the building as his room which was next to the old file room, their new library of books, periodicals, all the notes of the project, and Harry's collection of muggle media. They had really turned this old place into a promising home, and he had doubted Severus's positive assessment of the place a little less than six months ago. Harry doubted that he'd leave after they finished. Harry stumbled into his room, more tired than he thought he was, he just made it to his bed when he fell asleep.
Severus slipped the ring onto Harry's middle finger of his right hand, slow, gentle, looking into Harry's eyes with such an intense gaze that Harry had trouble meeting it. But Harry's eyes never wavered from Severus's. This was the moment they had been going after for all those years, but it was something else too, a question was being asked by them both, and both were answering.
Do you love me?
Severus smiled as Harry grinned, both looked elated, and more than a bit relieved. For one moment they knew nothing but the two hearts beating out a steady tattoo together and the eyes of the other. It was the first time either had broached the subject. Sure they were kind of friends and were very close, but never intimate in any way. But here they were silently declaring love for each other, and possibly for life. It was incredible.
Harry breathed. Severus smirked.
Well, it's easy to see how you could get the two of us mixed up. quipped the dark man, Harry rolled his eyes.
You really know how to ruin a moment, don't you. Harry said as he gave Severus an annoyed look. Severus shrugged.
Naturally evil, sarcastic, and, of course, a slimy snake. Severus said with an amused glance at Harry, All traits needed to know how to ruin any moment. Harry laughed and shook his head. Sometimes the man was just impossible.
Harry looked at the ring, it was beautiful without being too feminine, yet he could just feel the power in it already. A stray thought entered his mind, where was the user's instruction book? He knew that this would be a trial and error process, but something told Harry that that was going to be fun. Harry held out his hand and just pictured something he needed and then wanted it with his whole heart. In the palm of his hand he felt the sudden introduction of the object.
He grabbed Severus's hand and laughed at the mixed expression on the man's face. He held up the new ring, a darker electrium, with a pure white pearl set in the band, It's only right you wear the first bit of magic created with our ring. Harry slipped the new ring on Severus's middle finger of his left hand, I think I created this right. Try to cast a spell. You don't even need words. Harry whispered as he watched Severus's now stunned and happy face.
I don't need to try, I can feel it. Damn. Harry grinned and felt his heart soar. He was in love with Severus and nothing was better than that.
I think I found my new addiction. Harry said, Severus looked surprised but mildly interested.
Care to share? asked the dark man. Harry laughed.
This was the man he could see spending forever with, Severus was just right in every way. He was funny, saddening, caring, spiteful, and a million of other contraditory things. But most of all, he knew that Harry was failable, had darkness, was very flawed, and a danger to everyone. Despite that he still loved Harry for simply being Harry. When Harry looked into Severus's eyes he wondered if he could ever give Severus that same security and honest love. It was something Harry would be more than happy to spend eternity finding out, something he could become addicted to, if he wasn't already.