Title: One Stupid Person
Rating: M (just to make sure, but it's more like T)
Pairing: Harry/Sev (of course)
Genres: Romance, angst, fluff
Beta: Molvanian Queen-In-Exile
Summary: Sev de-ages himself to spy on Harry and ends up falling in love with him instead.
Chapter 13: If you're a dream, then come true
The next week was a blur for Harry.
The morning after Severus' revelation, Dumbledore called Harry into his office to tell Harry that there had been no reports of any orphanage attacks the previous night, but the Order was keeping a close eye on all two-story orphanages.
A few days later, Ron and Hermione returned from vacation. After many pokes and prods from Hermione, Ron apologized for the way that he had acted. He said he was just surprised, and that he shouldn't have made such a big deal out of it. Hermione hugged Harry and apologized for the way she and Ron had treated him both before and after he came out. Harry could tell that the professor-turned-student was still angry at Ron and Hermione, but Harry was just glad he had his friends back. Besides, he had more important things to worry about, things he really wished he were able to talk to his friends about…
True to his word, Severus hadn't spoken to Harry, allowing the boy time to think without pressuring him. For that, Harry was thankful.
Everything that he had loved about Severus's personality was true about Alan's, but he still felt as if he were in love with two different people, even though both people were really the same person. It was confusing and frightening, and he had no idea as to how he should even begin to feel.
After a great deal of pondering the subject, Harry supposed he should feel relieved. After all, the only reason he doubted his feelings for Alan was because he knew he still had feelings for Severus, and he felt as if he were cheating on Alan by continuing said feelings for his Professor.
But now that Alan and Severus had turned out to be the same person, shouldn't those thoughts go away? He couldn't have loved Alan because Alan didn't really exist. He liked the way Alan looked, but he liked Severus better. Harry didn't have a problem with the age different because he hadn't before. The student/teacher relationship didn't really matter because he was graduating in six months. Besides, Severus wasn't a teacher right now, anyway.
It all came down to one thing: Harry's feelings for Alan. He had thought that he loved Severus. Then he met Alan, and he had forgotten mostly about Severus. Did that mean that he didn't really love Severus since he had forgotten about him so quickly?
Then again, part of the reason he had liked Alan so much was because he reminded him of Severus. So did that mean that he was a bad person for leading Alan on?
But he really had liked Alan.
After about a week of trying to sort through his various cycling thoughts, Harry decided to talk to Severus. Maybe the man would be able to understand.
"I was in love with someone who didn't love me back," Harry began as soon as he and Severus were alone.
"Excuse me?" asked Severus, taken aback by that sudden beginning.
"That's the reason that I was depressed before. You can go and tell that to Dumbledore."
"Harry, I already told you that I don't care about his assignment. I care about you," insisted Severus, trying to think of whom Harry loved.
Harry inwardly smiled. He had decided to open with that in case Severus really only cared about finding out whatever Dumbledore wanted to know. Certainly, he could still be lying, but Harry figured the likelihood of that was lower now.
"You said we should be honest with each other," continued Harry. Severus nodded. "I was in love with you-" Merlin it felt strange to be looking at 'Alan' and thinking of him as 'Severus' "-and I figured you would never love me back. That's why I was depressed."
Severus was shocked. Harry had loved him? He opened his mouth to say something, but Harry held up his hand for silence.
"Over the summer, I realized that I should try to stop thinking about you and find someone who could, if not love me, at least like me. Then I met Alan. He had a great sense of humor and knew how to comfort me without getting all sentimental. He reminded me a lot of the man I loved, only he was younger and didn't completely hate me. He kissed me, and, after that, I began to fall in love with him. I felt guilty because I kept comparing him to you, and I felt confused because I felt like I'd known Alan for so much longer than I had.
"Now I find out that you and Alan are the same person, and I feel as if I cheated on Alan—or you—I'm not really sure how to explain it, really."
Severus took a moment trying to understand what Harry was saying.
"I never meant to put you through all that confusion," said Severus honestly. "I never would have imagined that you had feelings for me, though now that you mention it, I understand a few things better."
"Like what?" asked Harry, perplexed.
"Like why you defended me on the train on the first day of school, and why you looked upset that I wasn't going to be there."
"You noticed that?" asked Harry, blushing even though he knew that the man already knew all his secrets.
"Yes, I noticed that, though I didn't understand until now. Harry, I didn't set out to fall in love with you. All I wanted to do was get the damn assignment with over as soon as possible.
"Once I realized that I loved you, my only goal was to spend as much time with you as possible. I was sure that as soon as you found out who I really was, you would be disgusted and leave. I never expected you to feel as confused as you are right now, and I certainly don't want you to feel guilty about your feelings."
"I just don't want you to think that I'm immature or something for falling in and out of love so quickly," said Harry. "I mean, I wasn't in love with Alan, but I probably would have been had I known him for a little longer. I've never felt this strongly about anyone—for you, not Alan—and I don't want you to think that I'd fall out of love with you in three seconds if someone else came along…"
"Harry, trust me, I don't think that you're immature…anymore. Nor do I think that you're one to go for casual flings. If that were the case, you would have used and left me long before now. You wouldn't have spent so much time trying to get to know me first. I trust your judgment, and if you say you love me, then I believe you."
"You're not upset that I liked Alan?" asked Harry.
"No. In fact, I'm rather glad you did, because otherwise we would not be here right now."
"I guess," said Harry, still feeling guilty.
"Let's start over," said Severus. "Harry, would you like to accompany me on a date on Friday?"
"You Severus, or you Alan?" asked Harry.
Harry smiled. "I'd love to. As much as I liked Alan, I like you a lot better."
"Glad to hear it," returned Severus, the corners of his lips quirking up in a half-smile.
"When are you going to go back to being you?"
"I don't know," answered Severus. "I'll have to talk to Albus about this. Seeing as the whole point of making me look 17 was so that I could talk to you, I'm sure he'd let me return to my normal self."
"I hope so," said Harry, leaning into Severus. Severus wrapped his arms around Harry and buried his nose in Harry's hair. "Is Dumbledore going to be okay with the two of us being in a relationship?"
"Trust me; he'll be ecstatic," answered Severus, thinking back on all the not-so-subtle hints Albus had given him. "I'll be surprised if he isn't celebrating with a cup of over-sweetened tea and a lemon drop at this very moment."
"Do you think he meant for me to overhear you two that night?" asked Harry.
"Undoubtedly. That man always knows when someone is standing outside his door."
"Are you sorry I found out?" asked Harry, looking into Severus's eyes.
Severus looked right back into Harry's eyes before leaning down and kissing him.
"You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you. Then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…"
-Rose Walker, a character from Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman." (Thank you, Lilith for pointing this out!)
This is it.
Thank you so much everyone who has taken the time to review! Your words kept me writing…well…most of them, anyway.
For anyone who doesn't like it…sorry.
For those of you who want a sequel…sorry.
I am a firm believer in knowing when your story is finished and not trying to drag it out more than necessary. Jerry Seinfeld knew that lesson, and so do I. If I were to write a sequel, I would hate writing it, and you would all get bored reading it.