Rating: PG-13, T, M
Genre: Drama; romance
Proofreaders: sesshiyuki and mimiheart. Thank you both!
Summary: one-shot \ the smile looks rotten and evil. He likes it that way. \ If only Severus could let go and realise what he would gain by doing that.
Disclaimer: If I thought JoKeR would write something like this in her books, I wouldn't write it at all.
Author's Notes: I tried writing here explanations of all sorts, for many things. However, I'm at a loss. I can't say a thing. So I'll let the fic speak for itself. Please enjoy.
Severus settled on watching Harry while he slept, unaware, his chest rising and falling in rhythm with his breaths.
Loving Harry had been very hard for Severus, mostly because he wasn't supposed to love Harry. Harry was someone he hated, the son of a person he despised. Since Harry and James Potter looked so alike, it felt as if Severus liked the father and not the son.
That statement raised several questions he did not want to think about, so he didn't. He wouldn't until he was forced to admit that he loved Harry. If he didn't love, he at least liked him. A lot.
Harry had grown up and matured. He was tall and thin, his black hair always a mess. When he slept, his eyes were closed and the vivid green hidden; because Severus thought he loved Harry so much, it was painful for him to think that maybe, just maybe, it was James he loved, and not Harry. Never mind that they weren't alike. Never mind that their eye colour was different. Never mind that Harry was twenty years younger than James and lived in a different era and shouldered a bigger responsibility.
After all, Harry was his father's son, and sons are often just like their fathers.
He tried to avoid comparing him to James. Harry was not like Ja--Potter, and was drawn into his mind instead.
His steps are tapping against the stone floor, making clinking sounds in their wake. Severus tries not to cringe at the way the sounds echo, and attempts to walk more softly, but he fails. Unnoticeable is what he aims to be, but his body is far too forceful and confident. Never mind that his spirit isn't.
The dungeons are cold, but Severus likes the cold. The temperature allows him to indulge comfortably in his robe for the warmth of his own body heat, and the robes hide him from prying eyes. The cold is like a second skin; it makes him apathetic. He has no need for any warmth -- not anger, nor lust, and certainly never the stirring blush of humiliation.
The common room is filled with students when he enters. Some are from his year, most aren't. Most talk about the next day's Quidditch match, but in the seemingly shadowed corners, whispers of a snake-wizard are exchanged.
"I'm not too worried about the Gryffindor seeker," the team's captain says loudly. "It's the chasers; you know, with Potter and everything. And our keeper --" he shoots a glance at the keeper, "isn't all that great. He'd better improve a lot by tomorrow." Laughter. Severus sneaks away to his dorm to get ready for bed a little earlier than usual because it's a Friday, and the last remaining Transfiguration essay isn't due until Wednesday. He sheds his cloak and puts on the long nightshirt he wears to bed. Sleep comes quickly.
Harry woke up and stretched his naked body, showing no regard for decency. Severus gathered his lover's clothes from around the bed and handed them to him; Severus, himself, was already showered and dressed.
"So what do we do today?" Harry asked.
"We do nothing," replied Severus. "I work on my latest project, and you go your own way."
Harry wilted. It was unnerving sometimes, to know that the unusually small boy had grown into a tall man, who surpassed Severus in height.
"I'll see you again tonight, then?" He sounded hopeful.
There was no way Severus could tell him no. So he said yes.
The Slytherins sit glumly in their common room; Gryffindor won the Quidditch match. The room is barely lit as always, but now the atmosphere of the underground dungeon fits their mood.
Severus sits in the corner, his eyes on a Charms textbook he'd gotten from the library the day before; however, he isn't reading it. He listens to the defeated conversation that echoes through the room, bouncing from wall to wall, from ceiling to floor, from person to person. No words are wasted, no words are being missed.
"I can't believe they won," one says.
"It wasn't that hard to predict," counters another.
A third voice adds, "If only we had a decent keeper!"
"I said I was sorry, okay!" The Slytherin keeper snaps.
"No, it's not okay! You're the keeper; your job is to keep that Quaffle out! Not let it in."
"We're just lucky we got the Snitch."
"We would be luckier if our keeper could actually defend our hoops."
At this, Severus stands and closes his book quietly. The only reason he's upset that they've lost the game is because now James Potter will have more cause to further his arrogance.
Sneaking out of the common room and into his dormitory, he lies on his bed to read his book under the light of his wand.
He sat in the Great Hall eating supper at the Professors' table, with Harry sitting next to him. Whenever Harry frequented Hogwarts -- which was often-- that was his place at the table, Minerva had asserted. Severus had initially hoped his visits would be infrequent, but his hopes evaporated quickly when faced with reality. Harry ate regularly at Hogwarts.
In the end, it made it so that meals were rarely as quiet as Severus liked them. After supper, he stood up, leaving the table without a backwards glance. Harry grated on his nerves, with his constant dinner chatter, not recognizing Severus's need for peace.
As much as Severus liked spending time with Harry, and even though the sex was satisfying, sometimes, all Severus needed was peace and quiet.
In the corridor, Potter is lying in wait with his three goons. They're just big bullies, Severus tells himself. Ignore them.
But Black doesn't ignore Severus, and struts forward, sniggering from a joke. Perhaps it is Potter's joke, at his own expense. At that thought, Severus wilts against the wall, hoping his robes don't betray his body, reveal any secrets they don't already know. He wants new clothes suddenly -- clothes properly fitted, of good quality.
How? It is not possible, perish the thought. These clothes will have to make do -- even though they are size too small, and he feels vulnerable.
"What do you want, Black?" he sneers.
Black smirks. "Only your death, Snivellus."
"Too bad, not any time soon," replies Severus, and tries to pass them.
Black snorts and looks back at Potter, who looks amused. Severus's face would betray pain, if he'd let it show. He doesn't. "Not if I have anything to do with it, Snape. If your life was in my hands, we wouldn't even be having this conversation."
Severus smiles, and knows the smile looks rotten and evil. He likes it that way. "I'll do my best to outlive you, then."
Grey eyes smoulder with anger, and Black, together with his friends, stalk past him down the stone corridors into Transfiguration class.
Severus walks slowly because he doesn't want to walk into class at the same time as those four, so he ends up late for class. "Snape," The professor says. "A point from Slytherin for being late."
Severus lowers his head in acceptance, but sneaks a glance at Black and Potter. Black smiles smugly and Potter sighs cheerfully.
He'd thought that something would change between Potter and himself after the Incident. For a time, things were different. Shouldn't something be different? Better. Friendlier.
No, he doesn't want to think about differences and changes, or anything. All Severus wants is a friendly face to see. He's a fool for thinking Potter could be that friend.
Potter is still with Black, Pettigrew, and Lupin. They are still the Marauders, still playing pranks on everyone. Nothing's changed. Severus doubts that anything ever will.
So what if Potter saved his life. So what if it'd been his friends who created the danger? Friends stick together, after all. And Potter had been so close to seeing the stupid beasts for what they were.
That's what they are, really. Beasts. Only beasts play with their prey. Only beasts have prey.
True, when Potter sees him in the hallway, he averts his eyes. When Potter's eyes connect with his, he offers a hesitant smile which Severus never returns.
Severus knows that he's safe, now. Safe from Black and Lupin. Potter will keep them in line, and they'll listen to him, because they always do.
Wide, green eyes bore into his own, and Harry repeated, "Ginny likes me."
"So you've said before," Severus sighed. Harry had a tendency of repeating himself every once in a while, and it rather frustrated him.
Severus didn't think much of Ginevra's crush on Harry, since the boy didn't like her back. He felt no pangs of jealousy, and in a small corner in his mind, he almost wished that he did feel jealous. Wasn't a lover supposed feel jealous when confronted with these sorts of situations?
Apparently, not. Severus wasn't jealous.
No hard feelings at all. Really.
"What should I tell her?" Harry asked.
Severus shrugged and looked right through Harry Potter, saying, "Whatever you like."
Harry looked quite disappointed.
One day he is cornered with no way to break free. Black is in front of him, pointing his wand at Severus's chest.
Severus tries to make himself as small a target as possible. It's hard -- folding his knees together and hunching his shoulders -- he's always been too tall for his age. He's thin though, and knows he doesn't take too much space. Maybe if he denies magic a miracle will happen; maybe he'll shrink into such a size of irrelevance that Black would never seen him.
He's almost shaking.
No one will ever know how afraid Severus is of Black.
"Get that wand away from me," he snarls, exactly as a caged animal would.
"Not until you answer some questions, Snivellus." Malice flickers in Black's grey eyes, and they shine with mysterious light. "Why are you following us?"
Severus's brow furrows, unwanted lines appear that will only deepen into wrinkles years later. "I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm not following you."
The wand point comes nearer to his throat, and Black looks like a maddened dog. No matter how much he barks, he'll always bite you. Severus knows that, because he's already experienced one of Black's bites. Unpleasant is the least you can say about them. Life threatening is more like it.
"I've seen you looking at us, I've seen you staring where you shouldn't. Why do I keep seeing you everywhere!"
And then Severus sees a chance for escape, so he straightens his body, willing his presence to fill with empty air and take up hallway space. He looms indignantly. "You think that because you are barking mad. How should I know what faulty reasoning passes through your head? I am not following you! And yes, I do stare. For self-defence!"
With that he takes a step forward, leaving Black stunned and unbalanced enough for Severus slip out of his corner. Severus wants to run, but dignity doesn't permit him to do anything so ungraceful. He looks backwards for a moment, and sees Black restrained by a hand, which floats in midair.
It looks like Potter's hand, Severus thinks slowly.
But disembodied hands -- human or not -- do not float in midair, suspended by air without the rest of the body nearby -- either on the floor, hanging from a ceiling, or charmed.
Severus does run then.
It's after Transfiguration class, and Potter is waiting for him in the corridor. Severus knows he's waiting.
"Snape," Potter says levelly.
"Potter. Move. You're in my way."
Potter doesn't move, though his hands can't stay still. One hand plays with a quill, and the other one taps against the wall impatiently. Severus begins to feel nervous. "I want to know why you're looking at me."
"Because you're talking to me, Potter."
He twirls the quill absently, but the other hand is still. Potter fidgets under Severus's black stare, does he see two eyes full of nothing? Severus would smile, but he doesn't dare. There is no way Potter can read him.
Not that there's anything to read, obviously.
"I'm not Sirius. I know what I see."
So he does.
"And I see you looking at me. A lot."
He switches to a new tactic: when things get out of hand, make the enemy feel like a bug, and that you are the shoe. "Like I told Black. Self defence." His lips curl in an unexpressed snarl. "You surely know why."
Potter has the decency to blush, but he doesn't avert his gaze. Severus doesn't either.
"James," a feminine voice says sharply. "What are you doing?" It's Evans.
She rushes to James, who looks upon her with a gentle smile. He leans down and kisses her on her lips; a small peck, but it's enough to make Severus turn his head.
He can't look at this.
Never mind that Harry isn't James. Children always become their parents sooner or later.
It might have solved so many problems, if Harry was James.
This time, Severus would not run away.
This time, Severus would not run away in unthinking stupor-- to Voldemort -- to prove that he wanted nothing to do with Potter. To prove that he wanted nothing, anything to do with Potter. Including the side of light.
This time --
Harry deserved better than a deranged old man who lived his past, or maybe he deserved worse. Severus couldn't decide quite what.
"Harry," he spoke.
Harry's face brightened.
It couldn't work. Not really. It never had worked.
"It's over," said Severus. His hand reached out to touch the younger man's cheek, to caress it one last time.
Harry's eyes widened and the colour drained from his face. He looked like death.
"It has never been." Severus finished.
Soon Harry is gone, having stormed outside the grounds. Severus squishes one thought quickly and effectively:
Never mind that Harry isn't James. It doesn't matter that he loved James, and loves Harry.
All that Severus minds is that a relationship with none of these people would've worked. Ever.
And Severus smiles bitterly as he watches the younger Potter leave the castle.
Never mind, just keep watching.