Title: The Fountain of Dreams

Parings: Harry Potter/Severus Snape

Warnings: Mild child abuse, some violence (because of the former), slash (which should be apparent) and, to top it all off, a touch of angst

Summery: A reluctant prince holding a ball. A dying girl. A beaten boy defying the odds to save her. A chance meeting. A desperate race against time. Love has a habit of blooming at the most inopportune moment there is. A very different look at Cinderella

Author's note: Part four is up! Last chapter guys! Wow! I can't believe it's finally here! I hope you've all enjoyed this well-known tale and (if so) remember to read and review. Thanks to all those who did so, you guys kept me going. This chapter, this ending, is for you.

You're scared and you're scarred
You're shy and afraid
You grasp any joy close
For you're sure it will fade
You're beaten, your bruised
You've run out of tears
Yet when you're near
There's nothing I fear
You're certain you're shattered
But I'll show you affection
In your eyes you're nothing
In mine you're perfection.

Part Four: After All

Harry had never run so fast

He threw the broom carelessly into the shed, wincing as he did so, and then bolted inside where he ran, as fast as he possibly could, to the cupboard under the stairs; wrenching it open and throwing himself in, the door magically slamming itself shut behind him.

He was just in time. The cupboard door had just closed behind him when he heard the front one open. Burrowing under the covers, Harry faced the wall, curled up and remained very still, struggling to keep his breathing slow and even. Moments later the door opened, light streaming in, and Harry held his breath, lying dreadfully still. The moment seemed to last for a lifetime before, finally, the door closed once more.

Harry breathed a sigh of relief, relaxing for real now.

That had been the most wonderful night of his life. He hadn't thought it was possible to feel so content, so happy. And that kiss… If all kisses where like that Harry wasn't doing enough of it. Severus had been absolutely perfect in every way. God only knows what he had seen in Harry. Most likely the nice robes. Harry knew nothing would ever happen, that that was as close as he would come to perfection, as close as he would come to love…

Still, now he had something to dream about.

With that thought Harry got right to work, falling instantly asleep. Not wanting to disappoint, his dreams were filled of beautiful dances, breathtaking kisses and a pair of dark obsidian eyes…

Sometimes the only path is the rockiest one

Minerva thought her son was awfully stubborn.

"And you don't even know his last name?" She asked him, having heard his longwinded story about a perfect creature with vivid green eyes.

"His first name's Harry." Severus offered, looking determined, "You said I had to chose my spouse at the ball. I have made my choice."

"He must have made quite the impression." Dumbledore commented, looking ridiculously pleased with himself.

"He made a wish at the Fountain of Dreams and it was granted, father! Granted! I can safely say he made a rather large first impression," Severus drawled. Dumbledore looked thoughtful.

"Indeed." he agreed, "I don't remember the last time one was deemed worthy. He would make a fine ruler, for sure…"

"But how will we find him?" Minerva asked logically, "We can hardly search the entire kingdom with only the name 'Harry' to go on. It's a very common name, Severus."

"I will find him." Severus said firmly, "He had a friend, Hermione. She works at a bookshop in the market. How many bookshops are there?"

"Around seven." Dumbledore replied promptly, "I really should build another."

"Well then, if I find the right shop I find Hermione. If I find Hermione, I find Harry." Severus mused, looking thoughtful.

"You are quite taken with him aren't you?" Minerva asked, looking at Severus' determined expression with surprise, "Your quite besotted."

"I never believed in love at first sight." Severus replied, a little hesitantly "But he convinced me otherwise."

"Well then," Minerva stated firmly, glad to see her son so… human for once "We'll search the entire kingdom if we have to. We'll find him, Severus. I promise."

Severus didn't doubt her. His mother always kept her promises.

True friendship consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and value

Hermione was shelving books skillfully, humming lightly under her breath a song that refused to leave her head. Her mother stood at the front desk, looking at her daughter in fond amusement as she tidied it up. The bell tinkled and Hermione grinned, feeling unaccountably cheerful.

"I'll get it!" She called to her mother as she bounced happily towards door.

Whoever she had been expecting it certainly hadn't been the royal family. She gasped in surprise, ducking hastily into a low curtsy.

"Your majesties," She exclaimed, her surprise obvious, "What can we do for you?"

"Your Hermione, are you not?" A voice asked, oddly familiar. Puzzled, Hermione looked up to see the Prince gazing down at her. Quite abruptly, she remembered his name.

Severus Snape.

A startled hand flew to her lips as she realized just whom Harry had been dancing with the night before.

"Yes." She said shakily, "That's me."

"I'm looking for Harry." Severus told her frankly, "Do you know where he lives?"

"No," Hermione admitted, having never been to his house. Severus sighed and Hermione nervously ventured an alternative, "But I know Ron knows where he lives. And I know where Ron lives."

Severus looked at her for a long moment before nodding abruptly.

"Come with us then, dear," Minerva (the Queen! Hermione's mind seemed to cry) "Our carriage is outside."

"Oh… of course" Hermione stuttered, stumbling over her words. The King, Dumbledore, smiled at her reassuringly, leading her gently to a rather magnificent carriage. Hermione climbed carefully in feeling as though her presence could taint it. Quite hesitantly she guided the driver slowly through the streets to the house she knew the Weasley's resided in.

"That's it." she said, a touch more confident now, and the carriage stopped. The royal family got elegantly out of the carriage (Hermione stumbling ungracefully after them) and knocked as they reached the house.

A lot of noise followed from inside before the door finally opened. Mrs Weasley stood, looking flushed, in the doorframe. She seemed happier than Hermione had ever seen her and gasped at the sight of the royal family, curtsying at once. Then she saw Hermione.

"Hermione?" Mrs Weasley asked in surprise, straitening, "What can I do for you, dear?"

Hermione looked towards the King, uncertain if she should speak. Dumbledore nodded to her, though, so Hermione cleared her throat and spoke.

"We're looking for Harry," She told her uncertainly. Mrs Weasley huffed.

"I've got a word or two to say to him as well, let me tell you. Foolish boy, risking his life like that. But Hermione! Oh, Hermione! Ginny! She's better! She woke up this morning and was fine! Harry saved her life, bless that boy! I don't know whether to yell at him or hug him silly!"

"Ginny was sick?" Hermione inquired, blinking in shock, "She was actually dying? So that's why Harry wanted to make that wish! I can't believe he wouldn't tell me! When I get my hands on him…"

Hermione seemed to realize the royal family was looking at her oddly, and cleared her throat, blushing.

"Er, is Ron home?" she asked eventually, "Only I don't know where Harry lives."

"Of course Hermione, your majesties. One moment please," she requested kindly before turning "RON!"

Feet slammed against the ground and the next moment Ron was at the door, his eyes widening when he saw who it was. He bowed clumsily before he saw Hermione.

"Hermione?" Ron asked, in surprise, "What are you doing here?"

"We need you to show us where Harry lives" Severus cut in smoothly before the conversation could be repeated

"Sure." Ron replied, looking puzzled, "He's not in trouble is he? It was all my idea, if he is. I swear it."

"He's not in trouble." Dumbledore assured him, looking amused.

"And what's the meaning of not telling me about Ginny?" Hermione demanded as Ron walked forwards, the door closing behind him, "How could you not tell me?"

"I didn't want to upset you." Ron admitted, "You'd want to make the wish and you'd be upset if you failed. I didn't want your life to be cursed."

"And what about Harry?" Hermione cried, following Ron as he led the way, "What about his life? Its bad enough as it is without him being cursed."

"Harry's happy." Ron pointed out, then relented, "But Harry's always like that. I knew he wouldn't be cursed though Hermione. I knew it."

"How?" Hermione snapped, looking irritated.

"Because he's Harry." Ron said simply. The royal family seemed puzzled by this response but Hermione seemed to understand the argument, because she sighed.

"He does more than try," she muttered and Ron nodded, approaching a house.

"This is it, your majesties." Ron told them, "Harry lives here."

Severus looked oddly determined as he stepped forward to do a simple, vital action.

And, raising a single hand, he knocked.

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them

"BOY!" Vernon yelled as Harry cleaned the family room, "Get the door!"

"Going!" Harry yelled back, smoothing down his rumpled clothes swiftly (back to wearing ones that didn't fit) before he opened the door.

He blinked.

Standing at the door was the whole of the royal family and, standing quite casually with them, Ron and Hermione. Startled, he bowed hastily before standing once more. He looked at them with interest before his eyes landed on the Prince and he was stunned motionless as he recognized that face.

It was Severus. Severus bloody Snape, adopted son of King Albus and Queen Minerva, Prince of all Hogwarts and the head of Slytherin house.

"Bloody hell." Harry whispered with a sigh, wondering what the hell he had gotten himself into.

"Boy!" his uncle called, sounding closer now, "Who the hell is it?"

Despite himself, Harry flinched before calling back that it was the royal family.

Quite suddenly he was knocked roughly out of the way. Harry cried out in surprise as he stumbled and fell inside, wincing and glaring at his uncle's back when he landed.

"Excuse that boy, you majesties." he heard his uncle gush, "I gather you're here for Dudley?"

"Actually," said Severus, rather annoyed with how Harry had been treated, "We're here for Harry."

In a moment Harry found himself lifted by his collar and presented to the royal family in that manner. Harry frowned at his uncle, embarrassed beyond repair.

"What's the boy done now?" Vernon demanded, looking furious, "I assure you, your majesties, that he will be punished quite severely."

Unable to help himself Harry reached up and grabbed his uncle's hand (he was starting to have breathing problems). Vernon released him instantly, crying out as Harry used wandless magic to burn him.

"Why you little brat!" Vernon cried in rage, taking a swing at him. Nimbly, Harry ducked and backed up, quickly getting out of his uncle's way.

"Mr. Dursley!" Dumbledore cried, freezing them both, "That is quite enough! Harry, please show me your arms."

Harry blinked at how kind the King suddenly sounded and, hesitating (his friends were there, after all) he obeyed. Everyone barring Severus and Vernon gasped in shock at the bruises. By their shape there was no denying where they had come from.

"Oh, Harry!" Hermione cried, "Their awful!"

Harry, seeing her distress, broke the rules and used magic, his fingers brushing down each of his arms and healing them instantly. Hermione looked shocked.

"Why didn't you do that before?" She asked, grabbing his arms and examining them carefully.

"My beatings are worse if uncle Vernon notices any of my marks missing." Harry replied, shrugging, "Not worth the effort, really."

A hand grabbed him firmly and Harry found himself pulled close to a warm body. He stiffened instinctively before he relaxed, looking into the concerned gaze of Prince Severus and losing himself completely before he remembered who exactly it was that held him.

"Your highness," Harry murmured, bowing his head in submission.

A finger curled under his chin and lifted his face gently (almost reverently) so that his eyes once more met the penetrating gaze of the prince.

"Its Severus." Severus whispered. Wordlessly, Harry nodded, unable to do anything else. Then, arm still holding him securely, Severus turned to Vernon. He looked more dangerous than Harry had seen anyone ever be.

"Vernon Dursley." Severus purred, the tone sending shivers down the spine of everyone present, "I'd like to hear your explanation before I lock you away for child abuse."

"It not actually illegal." Harry cut in, as Vernon looked too terrified to talk, "I'm not really a servant but uncle Vernon can claim me as one. My chores are payment for their care and since there are no laws about the treatment of servant's, beatings could be seen as a justified punishment for not completing my chores to their satisfaction. Though servants, even ones in debt, are usually paid there's no law dictating the amount so they decided to pay me nothing. They haven't actually done anything wrong."

The royal family looked horrified at the man's blatant disrespect of the laws and Vernon cowered under their vengeful gazes.

"I'm sure we can find something to punish him for." Severus snarled, scowling darkly.

"What do you want with the boy, anyway?" Vernon demanded, "What do you plan to do to him?"

"Marry him." Severus said simply, and Harry's eyes flew to his.

"Me?" He cried in shock, "You want to marry me? No offence, your majesty, but are your sure you don't have a screw loose? Why on earth would anyone want to marry me, not to mention someone like yourself?"

"Oh Harry, don't be silly. You're a wonderful person. Your just modest, not to mention your appalling lack of self esteem" Hermione chimed in, glaring at Vernon pointedly

"She's right, Harry." Severus told him gently, "You defy all my former beliefs."

"He has a habit of doing that," Ron agreed, nodding solemnly.

"I never believed in love at first sight until I saw you," Severus continued, ignoring Ron's comment, "And I would be honored if you agreed to marry me."

"Alright then" Harry agreed smiling, but shy. Severus turned to the King and Queen, arm tightening around Harry in a rather possessive fashion.

"Do I have your blessing?" He asked them bluntly, tugging Harry even closer. Harry relaxed into him, looking at him with his emotions completely bare.

"Of course." Dumbledore allowed instantly and Minerva nodded her agreement, looking tearful, "In my opinion you have rather excellent taste, my son."

"I know." Severus replied smugly. Harry blushed lightly and, quite suddenly; Severus tugged him forwards and into a kiss.

Harry gasped in surprise and Severus took advantage of this and invaded his mouth with his tongue. Relaxing into the kiss, Harry anchored himself by wrapping his arms around Severus' neck, in the eventuality that his legs would give out which was, from how they felt, a distinct possibility. Harry submitted completely to Severus, kissing him back with just as much passion, letting Severus lead without question. They eventually pulled apart with a sigh and Harry abruptly realized that everyone was staring at them. Blushing, he buried his head in Severus' chest. Severus, he saw when he peeked, looked rather satisfied with himself and kept his arms securely wrapped around Harry's waist.

"Well then," Minerva declared, breaking the moment, "I believe we've got a wedding to plan."

"Oh and Mr. Dursley," Dumbledore said, as though just remembering him, "My guards will be back later to pick you up. Not bowing, challenging royalty, threatening the prince and questioning our judgment? You'll be given a rather nice home in the dungeon for a very long time, I assure you."

With that, eyes twinkling merrily, Dumbledore made his way to the carriage. Harry smiled as Severus lead him there, Ron and Hermione following behind them.

"Severus?" Harry asked curiously as they walked and Severus looked at him with raised a brow, arm never releasing his waist, "What happens now?"

"Now?" Severus echoed, obviously surprised, "Why, we live happily ever after, of course"

"That's a nice thing to say," Harry smiled, teasing him slightly.

"I'm not nice, Harry," Severus replied at once, as though deeply insulted "I'm honest. And that's the truth."

Harry had no problems believing him. It seemed he was going to have one hell of an interesting life and, at times, he was sure it wouldn't always be easy, or fun or even very happy. Life was hard, after all, and Harry was under no impressions that his would all be sunshine and roses.

But he was going to enjoy every darn minute of it

The End

A/N: Okay, some answers. No there will not be a sequel. This is the be all and and all. Yes, I have other stories in process, most of which use this particular pairing. Yes, the poems are completely, 100 mine. No, the characters are not. I'm just borrowing them for a bit. Any other questions and leave them in a review (the little button is right down the bottom there! You know you want to pres it! Go on!) and if not, leave one anyways. Its been a pleasure writing this story (and a shame its come to an end) and thanks once again to all those who left encouragement. It really helped.