On Friday evening, Harry relived every single moment he had shared with Severus, from their Apparation to the Huerto de Calixto y Melibea to their last kiss in Parejo's house. The desire to see Severus again mixed with the fear that they could realise that those days they had spent together had been nothing but an illusion.
But when Harry Apparated to Severus's room in the Posada del Clavero, those fears and concerns turned into pure lust. After a week of accumulated lust, they made love quickly and passionately.
Then Harry told Severus about his week in the Ministry, from the moment Harry had told Robards about the Neo-Walpurgians to Robards's energetic response and the attack on the headquarters of the unwary group of Dark Wizards. The poor Neo-Walpurgians hadn't stood a chance.
Not without some trepidation, Harry informed Severus that the two of them would receive the Order of Merlin, First Class, for their contribution to the capture of the "dangerous group of Dark Wizards".
Severus fumed. "You must be joking. This is complete nonsense. I will not participate in this circus."
"Listen, Severus, I totally agree with you. But we have to think of the Schola Obscura. You yourself told me we have to convince the public that the Schola Obscura is not a danger. Well, if you refuse to receive the medal, or if you go and spit on it, this won't do any good for your image."
Severus shook his head, and kept silent for a minute. Then he scowled at Harry. "You used to be such a sweet, naïve Gryffindor. Now you are learning to be cunning and politic."
"That means you will attend to the meeting and receive the medal?"
Harry shook his head.
"That's what I thought," Severus snarled.
A change of subject was definitely in order. "You still haven't told me about your week."
"Oh, students are the same everywhere. The same bunch of dunderheads."
Harry laughed. "Will you have to go there tonight?"
"No. I'm giving classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays, Mr Clavero expects me to help on their research. I am allowed to work on potions there too. Because I can Apparate, Clavero gave me permission to enter the Cueva whenever I feel like, and I arranged my schedule to have Friday nights and weekends off. We have fifteen pupils. I will teach them all the fundamentals of our magic."
"The most important ones: Potions, Charms, Transfiguration and some notions of Defense Against the Dark Arts. On the other hand, they have amazing skills in Divination, Legilimency and Mind Control."
As Severus talked about the Schola Obscura, Harry could notice his enthusiasm for the new forms of magic he was becoming acquainted with. And behind his cynical facade, Harry could see Severus's desire to be respected and admired.
When they had told each other all about the days they had spent apart, Harry gave Severus a present: a cloak with charro buttons, which he had bought in a shop near the inn a few minutes ago. Severus rebuked him for having bought something so expensive, but when Severus donned the cloak and went to look in the mirror, his contentment was evident.
"I have a present for you, too," said Severus, surprising Harry. "It's not an expensive present like yours, but I think you may like it."
Severus took him to the bathroom, where he had prepared a bath. In the light of candles, Harry stepped into the bath, and Severus dropped rose petals into the water and on him. Severus opened a bottle of red wine and poured a glass for Harry, another one for himself. Then Severus hung his new cloak carefully on a peg and joined Harry in the bath.
They stayed there for a long time, just relaxing and touching each other, on the face, shoulders, hair. After the bath, Severus dried Harry with a soft towel and rubbed him with amber oil. Harry asked to do the same to Severus, and Severus let him.
Harry lay down on the bed, and Severus massaged his shoulders and his back with long, slow movements.
"Breathe deeply," Severus whispered.
Then Severus lay down in front of Harry, looked into his eyes and gently entered his mind. Harry shared his thoughts with Severus and played with Severus's. There was no hurry nor any kind of tension. It was so good to be with Severus that way.
"No anxieties, no demands, no concerns," Severus murmured. "Just join your mind to mine."
They touched each other, fingers moving in unison, feeling the warmth of their skin in lingering caresses.
Harry lost himself in the dance of sweet flesh touching flesh. He couldn't tell how many minutes they passed like that. When their bodies joined, it was in a spontaneous, intuitive movement, as if they knew the right moment and the right way to do it.
The wheel of time stopped for their union. Severus was inside him, and Harry had his legs around Severus's waist. Harry didn't need anything else. There were no goals, just a slow pulsation of energy growing inside him. All limits vanished. Severus and he were one.
The world was melting into sheer pleasure. They were one and two at the same time, in that cosmic game of hide and seek where they lost and found themselves in the rhythm of their bodies.
Harry felt the universe inside him, vibrating in the core of his being, and surrendered to that feeling, and to his lover.
"What're doing to me, Severus?"
"Our bodies are like simmering cauldrons, and all the potions we need are inside us. We can control them, but their delicate power creeping through our veins..."
"... bewitch our mind and ensnare our senses. I know. Hmm... There are some benefits in having a Potions master as my lover. I like to be your cauldron. I like the way you move your ladle inside me."
Severus smirked. "Your metaphors are catastrophic, but I can't deny the chemistry between us. Our bodies fit perfectly together. Once I thought tantric sex was a technique to control other people. It seemed a brilliant idea, to dominate my sexual partners, to control their reactions. I was a fool. It doesn't work like that. The ritual affects both partners." Severus leaned and nibbled at Harry's earlobe. "Tell me when you want to come," he whispered in Harry's ear.
"All right. Oh, this is so good... I want to stay like that forever, just feeling you inside me and touching and kissing and..."
In the lobby of the Posada del Clavero, Mr Clavero talked to the portrait of the Marquis of Villena — which was, surprising as it may seem, a magic portrait disguised as a Muggle painting. "Severus is adapting quite well to our life style."
"How curious. I have to admit that you were right in the first place. I thought he was a dangerous man."
"He carries a lot of guilt and remorse over his past. He will overcome that, with a little help from the Cueva... and from his young lover."
"Alejandro, you are a snake. That idea you had of giving them a double bed? What a devilish plan!"
Mr Clavero gave a mischievous smile. "In the beginning, my plan was just to create hindrances and difficulties for them. But soon I realised there were more mysteries between the two of them than my vain philosophy supposed..."
The Marquis caressed his moustache. "Do you think Potter will end up forgiving Snape?"
"Oh, Harry has already forgiven Severus, he just has to fully realise that." Mr Clavero laughed. "Harry is a confused youth, and Severus is a difficult man. But everything will be all right, Enrique. Don't worry."
1) Soon after the events in this story, the Cave of Salamanca went through a restoration process, and now is open for free visits every day. Could the Schola Obscura remain open, in spite of the Muggles' renewed interest in the place? Well... I believe the Cueva has always been under a kind of Fidelius Charm, and I'm sure Snape taught them every spell he knew to prevent them from being discovered. I bet they are still there, and all you have to do to see the Cueva is to find Señor Clavero and convince him to let you in...
2) When I found the perfect epigraph for Chapter 3, I had already posted it. Can a story have... hypographs? Anyway, here it is:
love, for nothing less than thee
Would I have broke this happy dream.
(The Dream, by John Donne)