Rating: PG

Genres: Angst

Spoilers: None

Summary: Songfic to the Used's "Hard to Say." Severus can't express his feelings, so Harry leaves. Now it's five years later and Severus realizes what he missed out on.

DISCLAIMER: Characters belong to JK Rowling. Song lyrics belong to the Used. The plot isn't all that original, but I still like it.

Author's Note: Originally a songfic, the lyrics have been removed from this fic to comply with FF rules. Song lyrics can be found here: www (dot) plyrics (dot) com (slash) lyrics (slash) used (slash) hardtosay (dot) html

For the original version of this fic, please check out my livejournal:

www (dot) livejournal (dot) com (slash) users (slash) Harry (underscore) sev (slash)

Hard to Say

Severus Snape was never one to show his surprise. Sometimes, when he was very surprised, he would blink for a moment. Sometimes he'd raise an eyebrow. However, when he turned the corner to see Harry Potter singing in the streets, a small hat on the ground beside him for tips, Severus stopped walking. His mouth hung open for a moment before he snapped it shut. Shaking himself out of his stupor, Severus kept right on walking. He pretended he didn't even see Har-Potter! He didn't see Potter standing on the corner.

Of course, as soon as Severus had turned the next corner, he doubled back to sneak another look at his ex-lover. It had been almost five years since that final night. Feeling his chest clench painfully, Severus noted the sad look in Harry's eyes as he sang some song about how he had let true love get away.

Severus remembered when he and Harry had first gotten together. It had been right after the final battle. Their friendship had been improving steadily while Severus trained Harry. During that time, Severus had found himself more and more drawn to the green-eyed young man whom he had spent so much time with. Not the hero of the wizarding world, not the boy who lived. Harry.

To say that Severus had been shocked when Harry had shown up at his door and confessed his feelings for him was an understatement. He had been so shaken that he had spent the next twenty-four hours checking Harry for every love potion and spell ever created. Harry had just sat through it all, a small smile on his beautiful face. When Severus had determined that no, Harry hadn't injected any sort of poison, Severus had been floored. What could Harry, beautiful, kind, and intelligent, want with some used-up, old Death Eater?

Not long after that, Harry moved in with Severus. The younger man had been asked to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. After being assured by Severus that it was okay, Harry had taken the job. He would spend every day teaching his students and every night snuggled up next to Severus. Harry was constantly declaring his ever-lasting love for Severus. Severus never returned the sentiments. In his mind, Severus knew that he loved Harry. But whenever he would go to tell him, all of his fears and insecurities would come rushing back, telling him that if he confessed his feelings for Harry, the young man would suddenly change his mind. So Severus never said anything and ignored the pained look in his young love's eyes whenever his sentiments went unreturned.

Harry had lasted a year before he finally snapped. He couldn't bear it anymore. He constantly told Severus that he loved him, and all Severus would do was murmur, "I know," or "mmhmm." What broke Harry's heart the most was when Severus would simply ignore him altogether. Eventually, Harry stopped saying it all together. His own insecurities had never left him, and the more Severus ignored his declarations of love, the more Harry felt sure that the older man was only using him for sex. Harry left that summer.

Severus had spent the next five years convincing himself that he wasn't in love with the former Gryffindor. That Harry was better off without him. After all, Harry was young. He was attractive. He was sure to find someone to bounce back with any day now. Anyone would fall in love with him—not that Severus had! No, he most certainly did not love Harry. No he didn't. Eventually, he reasoned, he would actually start to believe that. What he really did believe, though, was that Harry would find someone better, move on with his life, and forget that Severus Snape ever existed.

Now, as Severus stood on the side of the street, secretly watching his former lover, he couldn't stop the tears that welled up in his eyes. Harry looked exactly the same as he had before the war, before he and Severus had gotten together. Small, and frightened, and so terribly sad. Severus felt his breath hitch as he watched Harry wipe a tear from his eye.

How could this have happened? How could Harry still be alone? And what was he doing singing on street corners? Severus desperately wanted answers. He wanted to know what had happened. He wanted Harry. But he still didn't know if he could voice his feelings. After all, it had been five years since they had spoken. Who said that Harry would want anything to do with him? Maybe he was crying because his latest boyfriend had broken up with him. Yes, that was it. Of course that was it. He wouldn't still be upset about Severus. No one would still want him after five years. He had known that even when he and Harry were still dating.

Sighing, Severus ignored the tightening of his chest and walked away.

xxx

Harry Potter watched Severus walk away and had to bite onto his lip to keep from crying then and there, in the middle of the sidewalk. It had been five years since he had left. Of course Severus wouldn't love him. He hadn't back then and he didn't now. Sniffing and blinking his eyes repeatedly, Harry continued to sing the song he had written about Severus.