A/N: This is a repost of the story "Your Body is a Wonderland." That was taken down due to the fact it was a song fic. (Insert fierce scowl here.) Never mind that the song was there so I didn't have to write an explicit lemon… Anyway, this is almost the same story. I'm editing it again to reduce spelling and grammar errors that escaped last time. I will also remove the song, but that really doesn't effect the story. Other than that; read and enjoy.
Chapter One: Dusty Closets
"Dunno. He told me he would meet us here after he was done with detention."
"That's odd. I thought his detention was tomorrow."
"Yeah, he has another tomorrow. Poor bloke's got detention with the greasy git every day this week."
"Oh! I thought they were starting to tolerate each other now…"
"Not bloody likely! If anything, they despise each other more. Have you seen the looks they throw at each other, Hermione? I don't envy Harry at all."
"Well, no matter. It's almost curfew now, so he should be heading back here soon. We can talk with him then."
Harry sighed and ran his hand through his disheveled black hair. Damn, it sounded as if he ought to tread softly in the future so as not to incur Hermione's curiosity. He'd warn Sev to tone it down with the detentions. It was a good thing that Ron was too dense to read the real emotions behind all those looks—if anybody found out about his relationship with his Potions Master… Well, let's just say it wouldn't be a relationship anymore. Knowing Fudge and the Ministry, they would lock Sev up for being a pedophile. Harry snorted quietly. As if I ever got the luxury of being a kid.
Resolutely steering his thoughts away from that rather depressing direction, Harry took a deep breath. It took every ounce of acting that he'd learned over his past 17 years of life to paste on the look of utter hatred that his friends expected. After all, he'd supposedly just been to Hell, courtesy of Professor 'Greasy Git' Snape. Opening the door to the seventh year boys' dorm, he swept in, pretending that he hadn't just overheard Ron and Hermione talking.
"Hey guys. Sorry I'm late—the snarky bastard seems to take an insanely large amount of sadistic pleasure in making me do menial labor." Internally Harry winced at his harsh words. He hated having to talk about Severus this way. Bitterly he continued, "I swear, if I have to look at that overgrown bat one more time this week—" I'm going to loose my self-control and ravish the sexy beast. "—then I'm going to loose the last of my self control and strangle him."
Ron winced sympathetically at the bitter quality in his friend's voice. Yes, Harry was slightly bitter, but it certainly wasn't because he had to spend time with Severus! No, but if they wanted to be together, they had to stick it out.
"Only two months left." Harry mumbled under his breath, throwing himself face down onto his bed. "Only two more months of this hell."
"Oh, it isn't that bad." Hermione said with exasperation, moving over to sit on Harry's bed. "I know Snape can be a real git, but you have to admit that he knows what he's talking about when it comes to Potions. I mean, he's probably not even that bad when you get to know him. For all we know he's a perfectly decent human being who just happens to hate kids!"
Harry threw her a look of astonishment that she misread completely. "Oh grow up, Harry! I'd've figured that reaction from Ron, not you."
"Heeey…" Ron began, frowning at Hermione's implied slight. "That's not nice, Mione."
"Yes, well, it's the truth, and don't try to deny it—I saw the way you glared at me when I was talking with Harry."
"Yeah, but still! Snape?"
"Please, Ron. It's not like I'm telling Harry to fall in love with him! I'm just saying that the man deserves some respect."
Harry just about choked and Ron grew red in the face at the implications of Hermione's statement.
"Please don't, Mione—Snape and Harry? That's sick! You okay there, mate?" he asked, peering over at Harry, who was currently coughing heavily. "I mean, if she's disturbing you too much…"
"Ron, I already said that I'm not saying anything of the sort! Everyone knows Harry has a thing for your sister anyway."
Yeah, Harry thought as he buried his flaming face in his pillow, Everyone but Gin and me. He studiously ignored his two friends as they continued to bicker good-naturedly over his head. Yeah, Ginny and he were close friends, and getting closer—ever since Hermione and Ron had become a couple, they seemed to have less and less time for him, and the time they did have… Well, as the now kissing couple reminded him, in many aspects the trio had long since become a duo with a third wheel. Not that he doubted their sincere friendship and care for his well being! But still—sometimes it was really difficult.
Ginny, on the other hand, had revealed herself as someone Harry could genuinely like and respect. She was intelligent, had a great sense of humor, and was much more fun to be around now that she'd gotten over the debilitating crush she'd had on him for years. After the incident in her first year she had become slightly introverted outside of Gryffindor—but not with most of the current Seventh Years, and most definitely not with Harry. If knocking out a mountain troll was enough for Hermione, Ron and himself to become best friends, well, how much more binding would that foray into the Chamber of Secrets be?
I wish it were Ginny in here with me right now, Harry thought longingly. I wish I dared tell her everything that's been on my mind. I wish I could come out of the damn closet and admit out loud that I'm in love with a man—and Professor Snape, no less! I'm tired of hiding. I'm just so tired of always running away… Harry fell into an uneasy sleep with his not so pleasant thoughts running rampant in his head, and the not so pleasant background music of his two best friends snogging on his "brother's" bed.
The next morning dawned bright and clear at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. One particularly unfortunate schoolboy found himself subjected to a pre-dawn wakeup call courtesy of his surrogate little sister.
"Wake up!" Ginny called softly, shaking him vigorously. "Harry, wake up!"
Groaning, the seventeen year old waved Ginny off, mumbling something about "ten more minutes." Ginny, of course, would have none of that.
"Harry James Potter," she hissed dangerously, "if you don't wake up this instant I'll be forced to pull a Gred and Forge!"
"I'm up!" Harry croaked, groping around for his glasses. Grinning, Ginny placed them in his hand and patted his cheek mockingly before scampering out the door and down to the common room. Sighing heavily, Harry swung out of bed, careful not to wake any of the others—who were still sleeping soundly, he noted enviously. But Ginny was waiting for him, and it wouldn't do at all to keep her in that state for long, as the girl had inherited her mother's infamous temper. Dressing quickly, he performed a quick cleansing charm on himself. He would shower properly after breakfast, but this would do for now seeing as he was going to be outside getting dirty anyway. Pounding down the stairs two at a time, he almost ran into the younger girl, who was tapping her foot impatiently at the bottom of the staircase.
Grinning, she grabbed his hand, and the two sprinted out of Gryffindor Tower like Hell itself was on their heels. Hell, of course, being channeled through Filch or Snape.
This had long since become tradition for the two Gryffindors, and they ran along their carefully plotted path with surety. The first few times they'd snuck out quietly, aided by the Maurader's Map. They were bolder now, running and giggling madly. They reached the grounds in minutes and slowed to a brisk walk, heading toward the lake. When they finally reached the secluded grove – their grove, as they told themselves – Harry settled with his back against a tree, and Ginny curled up against his side.
"So." Began Ginny with a little grin.
"So." Harry replied, matching her grin for grin.
"What's happening in the life of Harry?" Ginny inquired, craning her head at an odd angle so that she was looking up at him. "Any news flashes to share?"
Harry was silent for a long while. To tell or not to tell, that was the question… On the one hand, he mused, I was thinking last night about how good it would feel to tell someone. But on the other, he continued, it's also dangerous. I wouldn't place Ginny as a homophobe, but you never know…
"Harry?" asked Ginny, genuine concern in her voice. "You alright? You've been really removed the past few weeks. Something bothering you?"
"Well…" Harry began hesitantly. "I'm not sure how to tell you, really. I don't know how to tell anyone. I've only ever told two people—one is dead, and the other, well…" he trailed off, unsure how to continue. But he'd started now, so he might as well go on. "I haven't even told Ron and Hermione. Honestly, they'd probably completely freak out. Especially Ron."
Ginny frowned slightly and sat up straight, turning so that she was looking directly at him. "You can tell me absolutely anything, Harry. As Fred and George oh so charmingly put it this summer, I think you hung the moon. You could tell me that you enjoyed fornicating with Mrs. Norris and I would smile, nod, and say 'that's nice, Harry, when's the wedding?'"
Harry let out a slightly strained laugh. "Yeah, well, according to some sources this isn't a huge step above that."
Now Ginny was getting worried. What on earth could be that bad? Whatever it was, it certainly wasn't healthy for him to be holding it in. "Really, Harry, tell me."
"I like men."
Ginny blinked. That was it? That was his dreadful secret? She almost laughed, but she stopped herself when she saw his expression.
"And…" Here Harry faltered, looking carefully in the other direction, unable to meet her curious brown eyes. "And, there's more," he stuttered, heat rising to his face. "This is so hard, Gin, you can't believe how hard this is. But… I need to tell someone or I think I'll explode. Promise you can keep a secret?"
Ginny nodded quickly. "Of course, Harry!"
Harry took a deep breath. "I'm in love with Professor Snape."
If it were anatomically possible for Ginny's jaw to drop to the ground, it would have. Instead she settled for a rather stunned, deer-in-headlights look that didn't suit her very well at all.
Harry paled, taking it as a bad sign. Biting his lip, he reached into his robe and toyed with his wand. He could always obliviate her memory… But that was wrong on a lot of levels. And besides, if I can't get her to accept this now then I'll never be able to bring myself to tell her again, and then there will always be that one huge secret hanging between us…
He was startled from his thoughts by Ginny's soft laugh. He looked down at her, stunned as her giggling increased. "Gin?"
Snickering she pushed his shoulder lightly. "Merlin, Harry—you should've seen your face!" she dissolved into laughter, and Harry allowed himself a few weak chuckles, still at a complete loss. Still giggling, Ginny continued. "I'm glad you trusted me enough to tell me, Harry." Looking up at him, her eyes twinkled mischievously. "You know," she continued conversationally, "I've suspected you had leanings that way for a while." When he looked at her with a wide-eyed expression she dissolved into laughter again.
"Is it that noticeable?" Harry asked weakly, slumping again the tree.
"Nah, just to me." She leaned forward and kissed Harry on the nose. "I mean, what kind of straight guy could resist me, drop dead gorgeous sophisticate that I am, throwing herself at him at every possible opportunity?" She posed dramatically in what she supposed was a seductive manner, before dissolving into laughter again. To her pleasure, Harry joined her, albeit weakly.
"Yeah, really." Harry said, giving her a hesitant smile. "Resisting you is something of an indication." He still looked uncertain, and Ginny knew instantly why.
"Well, I can't really fault you for choosing Professor Snape over me," she informed him with a melodramatic sigh. "The man would be damn sexy if he ever bothered to try."
Harry stared at her. "You mean…"
She grinned. "Yeah, I know—I have terrible taste in crushes. I seem to choose 'em dark, handsome, older, and gay."
Harry had Potions first thing that morning, and he was really looking forward to seeing his lover. After his confession to Ginny, they had spent the next few hours talking, and he felt a lot better. Somehow she made him feel slightly foolish for being so hesitant to tell people—at least about the being gay part. She strongly advised that he do as he had been and keep his relationship with his professor strictly under wraps—but that really went without saying. He was, without a doubt, in the best mood he had been in for quite some time. He had Severus Snape wrapped around his pinky finger—never mind that Sev could say the same about him—and he had his best friend/surrogate sister's approval. Times were good in Life of Harry.
Ron and Hermione had both asked about his good mood that morning, seeing as the last either of them had heard he was still monstrously upset about having to spend his evenings doing monotonous manual labor for the Greasy Git. He had skillfully hedged around the real reason, of course. Harry might be willing to come out of the closet to Ginny, but he still wasn't sure he was ready to bare his soul to the entire world—especially Ron, who struck him as the type of person who very well might be a closet homophobe. Besides, Ron had basically come out and said last night that the idea of he and Severus being together was appalling.
Now it was Potions and time to interact with his most beloved professor yet again. Waving at Ron, he followed Hermione down towards the dungeon. Ron hadn't gotten into NEWTS level Potions, but Hermione had, easily. As they entered the currently unoccupied classroom, his friend rounded on him.
"Alright Harry, spill."
Harry stared at her with a confused look. "Wha…?"
"Oh, come on, Harry! You can tell me—I'm your best friend! Something's happened to get you in a good mood, and I have the feeling it has to do with a certain redhead we all know, love, and call Ginny."
Coughing to cover up his slight blush at what he knew she was implying, he decided to hedge around the truth. Maybe if he gave Mione a different tree to bark up, she wouldn't think of Sev as a possibility. "Alright, I admit it—I had a pleasant conversation with Ginny this morning."
"Ha!" crowed Hermione in triumph. "I knew it! You two are an item, aren't you."
Harry's face twisted briefly in annoyance, but he remained silent. After all, he had brought it up in order to distract the bushy-haired teen.
Hermione opened her mouth to say something more, but at that moment the doors to the classroom opened and in poured the rest of the class. Throwing Harry a look that said quite clearly that she wasn't finished with him yet, they sat down in their normal spots, and Harry waited for his love to appear.
He didn't have long to wait. Within seconds, Professor Snape breezed through the door, caustic glare sweeping the room as his black robes billowed ominously behind him. "Today," he said softly, seeming to glare at each student in turn. "Today we will be brewing an advanced healing potion. Directions are on the board – get to work." Sneering, he began to prowl the room as the student quickly sorted out their ingredients and got to work.
Twenty minutes into class, he stopped in front of Harry's cauldron, and Harry felt his breath hitch. Oh Sev… He was beautiful. Carefully averting his eyes, Harry paid careful attention to the potion. He didn't really need to – over the summer he'd actually been able to study, and he already knew how to brew this particular potion. He was already ahead of the other members of the class, and while their potions bubbled a cheerful looking sky blue, his was already turning the correct red-violet.
"Mr. Potter." Harry's head shot up at the familiar drawl. The Slytherins all turned to watch what promised to be the spectacular twice-daily showdown between Potter and Snape – front row tickets on sale now. "Why is your potion a different color than the others?" Sev had a malicious sneer plastered on his face, but the quirked eyebrow and amused twinkle in his eyes told Harry that he was actually quite pleased with him. But Potter wouldn't know that Snape was pleased…
"Erm, it's, ah, supposed to be this color?" Harry asked, blushing slightly as he purposefully made a fool of himself. The Slytherins snickered, and Hermione cast a sympathetic glance over at him.
"I know that Mister Potter – five points from Gryffindor for your cheek."
Harry glared up at him, carefully schooling his face into a look of loathing. "Well, if you already knew, why did you ask?"
In the next seat over, Seamus choked slightly. Harry risked a quick glance over at the other Gryffindor who was shaking his head frantically. He looked back at Sev, and cringed a little as both eyebrows rose slowly, silently questioning why Harry felt like pushing it today.
"You are simply asking for detention, Mister Potter, and since I know how much you enjoy scrubbing cauldrons, I shall grant your request. Now answer my question. Why is your potion a different color than Mr. Malfoy's?"
Draco, whose potion was the same blue as everyone else's, smirked at Harry. Harry snapped his gaze back to his Potions Master, then looked down at his cauldron. "Because I've already added the armadillo bile, Professor."
To everyone's surprise, Snape nodded sharply. "Two points to Gryffindor for having a student—however imbecilic—who is able to produce a healing potion in a decent amount of time. I suggest the rest of you hurry up, or yours will not be ready by the time we test them."
With another superior sneer directed at Harry, Snape continued his rounds. As soon as Snape's back was turned, Hermione rounded on him. "What on earth was going through your head, Harry? You back mouthed Professor Snape! I know you were mad at him last night, but really… I'm surprised he's not happily dissecting you for potion parts right now! And to actually give Gryffindor points…"
"Ten points from Gryffindor for your incessant chatter, Miss Granger." Same old Severus. Harry thought, ducking his head to hide his amusement.
Next Chapter: the Bastardization of Ronald Weasley and the Humanization of Draco Malfoy.