Title: Sympathy For the Martyr

Author: GrapeSmshr

Rated: T

Coupling: HP/SS mild slash

Disclaimer: Insert brain here...

Posted on: March 3, 2006

A/N: A new fic, yay! This was inspired by a Straylight Run song of the same title (lyrics posted at the end). I suggest everyone d/l the song... It is eerily fitting of Harry and Sev, and I think you'll agree with me. So, read on and enjoy!

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He was in a foul mood. Again. His classes had inadvertently ended in rampant chaos. Again.

And he was tired of it.

Stalking the corridors on his nightly rounds, he seethed over the incompetent brats whose company was forced upon him. Over the Death Eater meetings, which were becoming more and more taxing. Over the fact that he was forced to abide by the rules of both sides just in order to survive. Basically, over his entire life.

He had never appreciated being told what to do. Being dictated to. Lied to. Manipulated. Yet, that was how he had spent his entire life. First by his family, then his professors, his peers, the Dark Lord, Dumbledore. He had never really had the opportunity to live his own life, to do whatever he wanted without fear of repercussions.

Expectations. He hated them. Despised them. Loathed them more than anything he had ever loathed before. Nothing was ever enough for anyone. But one could only give so much of himself until only an empty shell remained.

But he was no shell.

He was granite. Stoic. Unyielding. Uncaring.

Unforgiving.

He had grown up with everything and nothing. He had continued his existence in the same way. Having acted in such an oxymoronic fashion, it was no wonder that he was so fucking screwed up.

Leaving the dungeons, he started climbing the moving staircases, daring them to shift in another direction. Once on his intended floor, he resumed his patrol and his inner tirade.

He loathed nightly patrol duties. Yet somehow he always found himself stalking the corridors more frequently than any other professor. One day, in a moment of sheer bravery--or stupidity--he had confronted Dumbledore on this fact. And, as always seemed the case, the old man only smiled with that infuriatingly crazy gleam in his eyes and said that Severus was the one he depended on the most to uphold the integrity of the rules and whatnot. He tended to tune Dumbledore out after a few seconds of lecture... Like he needed more torture.

And this most certainly qualified as torture. If he had known how many years he would be stuck teaching such neophytes, he would have gladly Avada Kedavra'd himself long ago. He had full gratitude toward the headmaster for virtually saving him from eternal damnation, but he also had full contempt for the same reason.

He wanted it all to end.

It wasn't that he was suicidal. He wanted to live. He just didn't want to live like this.

He wanted more. Teaching. Torturing. Being tortured, Spying. Pretending to give a damn. He followed the motions effortlessly, so much so that he feared his brain would short-circuit from lack of use.

And the last thing he needed was to become like those brainless twits he had the misfortune of trying to educate.

Hiking up the spiraling stairs to the Astronomy tower, he once again cursed everyone in the school twice over--including himself. For whatever reason, his sixth sense was pulling him toward the tower. Whoever--or whatever--was up there had better take minimal time to deal with. He was in no mood tonight--any night, really, but tonight especially--to deal with anything.

Approaching the tower, he got the niggling sensation of another person's presence. Oh, how he was just itching to take off multitudes of points from some unsuspecting student who was out after curfew.

He rounded the balcony of the tower, narrowed eyes searching stealthily for any sign of movement from a hidden person. A faint rustling sound off to his left alerted him to the less than stealthy curfew breaker. He silently stepped in that direction, ready to begin his lecture and reprimand. He stopped abruptly as his eyes fell on the person, who was standing on the tower's thick stone ledge, staring down as if contemplating the distance to the ground below.

He was less concerned with the fact of finding someone seemingly ready to splatter himself across the school's perfectly manicured lawn than he was with the fact that this someone was none other than Harry Potter, whose magical signature he should have been able to detect from halfway across the castle. Whom he was unaware had thoughts of offing himself. Whose death would affect not only those who knew him personally, but the entire wizarding population.

It went against his very nature, his entire being, but he felt the stirrings of panic course through him. "Potter, don't do it!"

Without turning around, without moving a muscle, Harry asked in a bored tone, "What can I do for you, professor?"

"You can start by climbing down from that ledge. I don't fancy explaining to the headmaster why there are Golden Boy guts strewn across the courtyard." He instantly regretted the words. Egging the teen on was not the brightest way to get him to leave the ledge.

Or apparently it was, because a moment later Harry gracefully jumped down and now faced the professor head-on. "Evening, professor," Harry greeted cordially. "I apologize for disturbing you this evening."

The nonchalance of the reply was enough to anger Snape. "What the hell did you think you were doing? Did you even spare any thoughts as to how anyone else might feel?" he yelled, sneering in response to the confused frown he received. He knew Potter had limited intelligence and was suicidal, but surely even the teen could have gathered that his presence would be missed when, say, the entire wizarding community erupted into total chaos.

"Sorry, sir. I didn't realize my being out after hours would affect so many people," Harry answered with a hint of annoyance in his voice. He sat down stiffly on one of the stone benches, regarding his professor warily. He braced himself for the inevitable points loss that occurred every time he and Snape were within a certain radius of one another.

"You didn't realize--" Snape cut himself off in disbelief, fury causing his blood to boil. What the hell kind of asinine answer was that? "Are you completely daft? I think the world would notice if you were permanently gone!"

"Gone? What the hell are you on about?" Harry paused, now worried. "Did Voldemort say something at one of your meetings? Should we alert the Aurors?" he ranted as he began pacing back and forth. He knew the recent quiet was not going to last. His mind began to process several ways in which Voldemort could try to have him extinguished.

"Do not use the Dark Lord's name!" Snape hissed. "And no, I was not referring to that. I was speaking of your apparent suicide attempt!" Oh, why him? Why did he have to be the one to find Harry bloody Potter? Didn't he already have enough to worry about?

Harry blinked. Then he blinked again while his mind tried to wrap around the ridiculously false accusation. He may have been fed up with his life, but he sure as hell wasn't suicidal! "That is crazy!" he exclaimed, waving his arms about haphazardly. "I have never attempted suicide!"

"Oh, I beg to differ. Were you not just standing on that ledge?" Snape demanded, pointing. "One does not normally stand on ledges without reason."

"Sure, I had a reason. I was enjoying the night air," Harry deadpanned, smirking inwardly as Snape's face flushed an even darker shade of angry red. Wanting to avoid a confrontation, he sighed and said, "Look. If I wanted to kill myself, I'd use Avada Kedavra because at least then I'd know if I really meant it."

Snape bristled, refusing to read into the familiarity that statement brought him of his own past thoughts. Instead he focused on the fact that once again Harry appeared to need rescuing by none other than the Potions Master. "That is so typical of you," he sneered venomously, stalking up to Harry so they were toe to toe. "Ever the attention monger. Committing suicide would mean getting dirty. You would rather put on a show and make people fall in love with your problems. Poor, overwhelmed Harry Potter," he mocked. Tone hardening, he ground out, "What, is your current level of worship not enough for you?"

As the verbal dagger slashed at him yet again, Harry could feel his calm begin to wane substantially. He had no idea where this outburst stemmed from, but it didn't sound like Snape would be letting this go. And if the man wanted a fight, he'd receive one. Standing his ground, Harry growled, "Are you trying to insinuate something, sir?"

"Finally you catch on! I cannot believe that you are the last hope for our world," he sniffed disdainfully. "Escaping death is hardly cause for hero worship."

Eyes flashing, Harry retorted, "If I am so much of a hindrance to you, then why don't you just go away and leave me be?" He was far past the age of needing a sitter, least of all by someone who chose to insult him--with unprecedented arguments, no less--for whatever random reason.

"Because I can't!" Snape yelled bitterly, eyes flashing in loathed resignation. "I made a vow long ago--several vows, in fact--and am bound by them. I would like nothing more than to forget you ever existed. Forget the Dark Lord. Forget Dumbledore." He balled his hands into fists, shaking with fury, at both himself and at Harry. He never was one to show emotion, but now that he started, he couldn't stop the torrent of anguish and anger from spewing out. "I have spent my entire life under someone else's thumbs, doing their bidding! I work, and I spy, and I keep insolent brats out of trouble!" He stared hard at Harry when he said this. "And the appreciate factor is zero!" he finished with a snarl, taking a step back from the teen and turning away.

Harry was beyond fed up with the insinuation that Snape was the only man fighting in the ongoing war. He wasn't trivializing the man's importance in the Order, but he was pissed that Snape overlooked one simple fact. "So let me get this straight," he said slowly. "You want sympathy for a conscious decision you made that put you in the position that you are in today? What about me? Did I consciously choose to fight Voldemort at age one? Or at age eleven? Twelve? At any fucking age?" he shouted, watching in satisfaction as Snape winced. "Do you even remember that nice little prophecy of mine, the one telling me to kill or be killed? Unless you became Harry Potter overnight, I don't see how your situation is worse than mine!"

Whirling around to once again face the teen, Snape felt this insane urge to grab Potter around the neck and throttle him until his face turned an unhealthy shade of blue. That long, delicate throat would crush in his hands like a flobberworm. Alas, it seemed he had to save the Golden Boy from Snape himself. "I have fought this war virtually my entire existence!" Snape hissed, once again in Harry's face.

"Did you not just hear what I said? So have I!" Harry shouted right back, eyes beginning to cloud as he became overloaded with emotions. "Don't presume that you're the only goddamned martyr in this war! Others have sacrificed their lives as well!"

"You always have to be right, don't you?" the Potions Master spat. "It's not enough that you have all of the fame and the glory. You want to take it away from everyone else deserving?"

"You want my fame? Have it!" Harry cried. "I don't want it!"

"How noble, offering me my fifteen minutes of fame," Snape sneered, matching Harry's steely tone. "Should I bow at your feet now?"

"I have never asked for your or anyone's worship, nor do I intend to. Ever," Harry emphasized. "Gah! You are so damned stubborn, you know that?" He threw his hands up in frustration, narrowly missing smacking the ornery man in the head. "Everything I say, you twist into something completely opposite of my point!"

"Then perhaps you should be making a different point," Snape growled snidely.

Harry studied the man searchingly, eyes locked in fierce determination. Yelling was getting them nowhere. Glaring was only fueling the fire. Apparently he needed to try something else to end this infuriatingly juvenile tirade. "I never thought you were undeserving," he whispered harshly before grabbing the back of Snape's head and pulling him into a kiss.

Having not expected such an action of the other man, Snape was frozen to the spot. Were they not just arguing? Did he convey some sort of want for Potter to be invading his person like this? He thought not!

But he wasn't about to complain. Far from it. Why wasn't he complaining? Or pulling away? They had always been connected on some level or another, and usually it was through mutual loathing. He never bothered to notice that they actually had much more in common than he would have liked to admit. Perhaps that was why he had yet to utter a single debilitating hex.

As the teen's lips became more insistent, Snape made a decision then and there to temporarily quash whatever complex he had been harboring. It was difficult to think when one had a foreign tongue in his mouth, anyway. After a moment he relaxed, allowing himself to sink into the unexpected embrace.

Gently easing out of the kiss, Harry gave a tentative half-smile to the man before it morphed into a furious glare. He said sternly, "If you want someone to yell at, don't call on me. If you want sympathy, you won't find it here. If you want to spend time with someone understanding of your situation, you know where to find me. And if you want something else entirely, well..." He gave the man a meaningful look before marching past him and exiting the tower.

Snape was stunned, to say the least. This turn of events quickly deflated his anger and self-pity, if only for the moment. Wouldn't he know, Potter was the one to stand up to him and get him out of his self-induced fury. And after such an event, he was insanely thinking that he may just take Harry up on his offer.

Wanting sympathy for his martyrdom was apparently not rewarding.

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I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief now that this is finished. I'm not sure if I'm one hundred percent happy with the ending, but I suppose it works out all right. I went through a myriad of genres at the end with their introspection, so if their thinking processes seem a bit off-kilter, they were meant to be that way.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little piece of ficdom. I had a blast writing it. If you are inclined to do so, please leave a review. If not, I appreciate the read. I appreciate the read either way. You guys are totally awesome. I just can't express that enough.

So, until the next fic, then. Peace out!

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You just can't relax
and you can't rely on
anyone for anything
So you make your complaints
and oh everyone's let you down
You just can't
ever win

Convinced there's a war and it's always
everybody versus you
Convinced that your critics are watchin'
and you've always got something,
you've always got something to prove

So tie the noose
and raise the cross
The martyr's arrived
A desperate plea
for sympathy
It's all you need

A laundry list of problems doesn't make you interesting
and never getting help doesn't make you brave
Not listening to reason doesn't mean that you have faith
You're just cutting off your nose to spite your face

So tie the noose
and raise the cross
The martyr's arrived
A desperate plea for sympathy
It's all you need

And you want it all