Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of J.K. Rowling's wonderful characters.
I also want to say I'm sorry for taking so long to update this story. I can't promise following chapters will come any faster but I hope they will! After reading the last book this past summer I really didn't have any desire to complete this story, but I don't want to be that author. I've started reading too many great stories that are never finished to do that to you guys! Anyway, I know it wasn't worth the wait but hope you enjoy it all the same!Here and Now
Chapter Ten: New Developments
Daniel Harrison looked out over his classroom. His students stared back at him, waiting for him to begin the day's lesson. The man pushed a hand through his tangle of dark hair and sighed deeply. He slowly turned to his left to see a blonde man wave at him. Damn Malfoy… The professor's eyebrow twitched as he turned to his right. Severus merely cleared his throat and motioned to start classes. Damn Snape…
Mr. Harrison clenched his hands into fists and attempted to calm himself down- unsuccessfully. "Seriously! Is this really necessary?" he blurted.
"Of course! We want to make sure these delinquents know who's in charge around here"- Malfoy glared at the student body- "and that hexing a teacher, especially my favorite teacher, is an incredibly stupid idea." Severus just stood quietly.
The teacher rolled his eyes. "It's kind of hard to establish my authority when you two won't leave me alone," he pouted under his breath. Then more loudly, "Okay, let's begin class. Please disregard my poor excuses for bodyguards as we study muggle television." The professor did his best to ignore the two men for the duration of his lecture.
Although he'd thought it endearing in the beginning, Harry was starting to get really frustrated with his two shadows. Since he had been released from the infirmary and resumed his teaching duties a week ago both Malfoy and Snape had stood watch in his classroom for every class, every day. Harry could understand their nervousness- since 'the incident' everyone at Hogwarts knew Daniel Harrison was a squib- an easy target for ridicule and retaliation for the students. So far, however, no one had taken advantage of Mr. Harrison's unique situation. In fact, it had been completely to the contrary. The teacher had received many gifts and visits from students while in the infirmary- all expressing their regret he had been hurt in the first place.
Hell, even the Slytherins came to apologize personally. Harry remembered how awful the three of them looked. Apparently they hadn't truly believed him to be non-magical and fully expected to prove the rumors wrong- to prove that Daniel Harrison was a great wizard.
Class let out and Severus nodded towards Professor Harrison before walking out with the stream of students. Harry smiled to himself- now was his chance.
"Draco, can I speak to you for a moment?"
The platinum blonde gracefully walked towards his colleague. "Sure, what's going on?"
"I need your help on researching the invitation issue. I can't shake the feeling that something more is happening and that we're just not seeing the big picture."
"Okay… maybe you're just being the paranoid Boy Savior of the World. Did it ever occur to you that just maybe those kids are fine, just attending another school? Isn't it possible it's something so simple?"
Harry gave Draco a disbelieving look. "Malfoy, since when has anything involving you or me been simple?" The Deputy Headmaster laughed at his friend.
"Okay, okay. You have a point. What did you find out? Anything new?"
"Not much, but I did discover a link between the missing students. They were all only children to non-magical parents. Don't you think that's more than coincidence? It's like someone specifically picked those kids…"
Malfoy listened intently. "What do you think it means?"
Harry sighed. He knew what he thought it meant but he wasn't ready to dump his theory on his new friend. "I'm not sure, but I definitely want to look into the situation further. There are too many questions unanswered at this point."
Draco searched Harry's eyes for evidence of a lie. If the dark-haired teacher tried to hold information out on him…well, he would have to come up with a suitable punishment in the near future…
"Alright. What do you want me to do?"
"Didn't you say you visited some of the children's families? I want to speak with a few of them myself."
"No problem. I'll give you addresses for some of the families I haven't already seen." Harry looked at him as if waiting for more to come. The blonde aristocrat frowned in thought. What does he want? Suddenly his brain ground into gear. He needs transportation! "I'll go with you, of course." The Muggle Studies teacher looked relieved.
"Great, Draco. I really appreciate it. I thought about using my portkey but it's kind of a one way ticket."
A platinum brow shot up into sleek matching hair. "A portkey?"
"Yeah, it was a gift from Professor Cascara. She brought it to the infirmary."
Malfoy shook his head. "Harry, I don't think you should get too close to that particular teacher. Something about her is off. I don't trust her. Severus doesn't either for that matter- he just hasn't found a solid reason to can her yet."
"I felt the same way when I met her," the young man said thoughtfully, "but I'll keep the portkey all the same. It was a gift, after all." A smile broke across his face. "Besides, the last person I had such an uneasy feeling around was your Godfather, and I couldn't have been more wrong about him."
Malfoy's own smile spread. "Speaking of my Godfather, what's going on between you two these days?" Eyebrows wagged suggestively.
The former savior blushed. "Not what you're thinking I'm sure!" Has he always been such a pervert? "We haven't really had any time together since my accident …aside from you two hovering around my classroom." Harry shot Draco a death glare.
Light laughter filled the empty space. "You two are helpless! I know it's a scary thought but one of you is going to have to man up and step up- if you ever want to get a man up in the bedroom!"
Harry cringed at the crude joke but then smiled in spite of himself. "You are not the Draco Malfoy I went to school with, sir."
"Well, we've all changed a bit haven't we?" Pale silver eyes sparkled. "The Harry Potter I knew then went after what he wanted, even when it meant facing the darkest lord the wizarding world has ever seen; yet, the man I see before me won't ask a guy out on a date." Malfoy winked and moved towards the exit.
Daniel Harrison smirked to himself. Malfoy was making a lot of sense, for once. The teacher gathered his things and hurried out of the classroom heading for his private quarters.
Guess it's time to "man up"…
Headmaster Snape was unaccountably nervous. When Alex had come to his office earlier in the day to invite him to dinner in Harry's private rooms, he had merely accepted and continued working on his never ending pile of paperwork. Now, standing in front of his mirror, his panic was solidifying into a lump in the pit of his stomach.
Since his completely unexpected confession of caring- not love, he told himself over and over, certainly not love- for Harry in the infirmary one week prior, Severus had said very little to the Gryffindor.
What more is there to say? I believe I've already said quite enough as it is.
Truth be told, Severus Snape was at a loss. What was the next step? What exactly was he supposed to do now? The Potions Master had taken lovers before, of course, but had never been in a relationship, and if his flowery speech to Harry was any indication, a relationship was precisely what he wanted with his former student. Snape, never one to be idle, had decided he could still do something for Potter while working out a master plan- he could guard the young man from his offending students. So everyday he and Draco had watched over the teacher, much to the latter's chagrin.
The Headmaster's lips turned up at the corners. It's nice to know I can still get under his skin… Daniel Harrison's vehement protests against his constant presence had made the last week worthwhile. Besides, as long as he was "protecting" the teacher Snape had plenty of time to ogle the man discreetly…
I want Harry Potter. I want to be with Harry Potter. The sentiment still sounded strange, even in his head. I just don't know how to approach this situation- I can't just take him to bed! Snape shook his head in dismay and glanced one last time at his reflection. At least Harry has taken this step; I'll let him show me how fast and far he wants to go…
"Dobby! Is everything ready?"
The freed house elf shook his head violently. "Oh yes, Harry Potter! Dobby has brought up the best food from the kitchen just for you!"
Well, not just for me hopefully… "Thanks, Dobby. Oh, and remember, don't tell anyone who I am, okay?"
"Yes, Harry Potter, Dobby understands! Harry Potter wants no one to know he is here!"
Harry began to second-guess his friend's ability to keep his identity secret. Definitely too late now. "Right." A faint knock was heard at the door and Harry froze.
The house elf looked at the former wizard in concern. "Does Harry Potter want me to open the door?"
Potter forced himself out of his temporary shock. "No, I'll get it. You can leave now, Dobby." In a blink the elf was gone, leaving Harry to navigate his way through the dinner date alone. A second knock sounded at the door and the teacher hurried to open it. The unruly haired man pulled the door open and froze for the second time in less than five minutes.
Headmaster Snape stood in his finest Slytherin-green robes with a bouquet of magically conjured flowers in one hand while the other was still poised to knock. His soft black hair had been pulled into a low ponytail tied back with a thin, green elastic band.
Harry couldn't seem to control his body. His mouth was hanging open and he was quite certain he was drooling at the site of the handsome Potions Master. It was like a wet dream from his days in school, the days before he forced his infatuation with the "greasy git" to the back of his mind. I had more important things to focus on then- like defeating Voldemort by killing myself…
"Harry?" A soft voice broke into his dark thoughts. Potter looked up into the concerned eyes of his dinner date. "Are you alright?"
The younger man smiled to cover his lapse. "Yes, yes I am. Sorry. Please come on in. You, ah, you look really good tonight, Snape." Potter blushed furiously.
His date smirked. "Thank you. These are for you-" he handed over the beautiful flowers, "-and please, call me Severus. I believe this is a date, in which case it's perfectly acceptable to call me by my first name."
The red on Harry's face deepened as he accepted the flowers and listened to the older man's words. A barely audible, "Yes, of course," could be heard as he shuffled quickly as he could to find a vase for the flowers.
Severus smiled at his object of affection. The welcome wasn't quite what he expected- Harry seemed a little out of it at first- but it was obvious that Harry liked what he had seen. As he damn well should have. I spent a ridiculous amount of time in front of that mirror. He walked towards the teacher and placed a hand on his shoulder before gently taking the bunch of flowers back. "Harry, don't worry yourself. These are magic flowers; they don't require a vase or water. They will last without either for years."
Potter looked down embarrassed. "Oh, I didn't… the thought didn't even cross my mind…"
"It's alright. Why don't we go enjoy our dinner?"
"Yes! Great idea!" Somehow Harry felt like he had regressed a decade tonight. He felt like a teenager floundering in a new adult world filled with uncontrollable hormones and emotions. I'm stronger than this, damn it! I want to make the most of this time together!
Snape's drawling voice broke into his thoughts. "I hope you can cook better than I. I'm still amazed you managed to eat even one bite of that breakfast I made you."
Harry chuckled as he moved towards his small table. "I'm surprised I'm still alive after that! Don't worry, though. I had a friend bring this up for us from the kitchen."
Both sat down and began to slowly eat the meal Dobby had prepared for them. Although Harry was nervous as hell and Severus unsure of what to do next, their eyes kept meeting as each attempted to 'sneak a peak' at the other. When dinner had been eaten, Snape surprised himself by suggesting they lounge on the couch by the fire. Harry nodded his assent but said nothing.
Severus gracefully walked to said couch and sat down. The Headmaster watched as Harry retrieved his cane from its place by the table and limped his way towards him. I must find a way to help him- I'll spend more time on his potion starting tomorrow. Snape fought to keep his feelings from his face; he didn't want to upset Harry in any way tonight.
The Gryffindor flopped down on the couch and smiled tiredly at his companion. He gazed at the roaring fire for a moment before reaching out a hand to grasp Severus' own. Snape looked down in slight shock at the feeling of being touched. He looked over at Harry and fell into twin pools of emerald green. The light of the fire reflected in those orbs and made them shine like gems.
He's so beautiful… I can't believe it took me this long to realize it. The young man before him was a light of hope for the entirety of the wizarding world. He had saved them all once at an almost incomprehensible cost to himself. This young man was brave beyond logic, giving beyond his means, and genuinely good. Severus brought his free hand up to cup Harry face. "Daniel Harrison" leaned into the touch and scooted closer to his partner.
"You are amazing, Harry Potter." Those simple words, said with so much emotion, coming from the man Harry never thought to ever hear praise from, nearly brought tears to his eyes. "After all you've been though, after all you've done, you are still as beautiful as ever- inside and out." Snape gently traced the ragged scar across Harry's left eye. The younger man sighed in contentment, closing his eyes at the touch. "I'm not sure when it happened, but you've become irreplaceable to me. I hope you don't mind that your 'greasy Potions Master' feels so much for you- I daresay you'll have a hard time getting rid of me now."
Harry opened his eyes slowly revealing the lust previously hidden behind closed lids. He smiled dazedly at the Headmaster. "It's not that I don't appreciate your compliments- believe me I do, more than you'll probably ever know- but right now I'm in desperate need of a good snogging."
Severus smiled as he leaned in. "I'm not one to disappoint." Lips met in a soft kiss that quickly became more aggressive. Snape licked Harry's lower lip, silently begging him for entrance. The younger man complied and soon the pair was locked in a heated battle for dominance. The Potions Master pulled back for air when the need became too great. He smiled at the hazy look on his partner's face.
Harry gradually came back down from the high he'd been enjoying. Looking into dark eyes he smiled tentatively. "Well, you certainly don't disappoint, Severus Snape." A deep chuckle escaped the older man as he pulled Harry to rest against his chest and nuzzled his face into the soft, dark hair.
"I could definitely get used to this…" the young teacher mumbled into the older man's chest. "But, are you sure you want this? I mean I'm not young anymore but I still used to be your student…. and I'm not completely undamaged goods…"
Snape breathed deeply, inhaling the pleasant scent of Potter's shampoo. "I'll say it as many times as it takes to convince you. I enjoy being with you and seeing the man you've become"- he kissed Harry's forehead gently- "and I'm more than a little attracted to you. Believe me, I want this- I want you."
Harry shifted to face the potions master fully before kissing him senseless.
"Yeah, let's go." Draco grabbed Harry's arm and they immediately apparated from the school's grounds. "Where are we going this time?"
Draco smoothed down his platinum locks as he answered. "We're in the hometown of one of the missing students." Malfoy pulled a crumpled sheet of paper from inside his robes. "This is where Lawliet Maxwell's family lives."
"Daniel Harrison" nodded. Draco led the way down the tree-lined drive towards the young man's home. The two eventually came to an extravagant mansion that matched the address on the slip of paper.
"Ok, Harry. This is it. We've already visited three other families and don't have any more information to show for it. Personally, I'm betting that you're over thinking this whole situation."
"I know, I know. You just have a feeling. Alright, let's get this over with."
Malfoy knocked on the door. A few moments later an older man opened the door and peered out at the two visitors, grimacing as he looked at Harry's scarred visage. "Can I help you, gentlemen?" he sneered.
Draco stepped up. "I was hoping we would be able to visit with the lady of the house? We are from an elite boarding school for exceptional students and would be most honored if she would entertain us for a few moments."
The butler glared at him before opening the door. "I'll go speak to Ms. Maxwell. You two can wait in the foyer." The two men exchanged looks as the elderly man retreated. Draco turned to Harry.
"Maybe I should handle this one, Potter. This situation calls for the legendary Malfoy charm."
Mr. Harrison sighed deeply. "As much as I hate to admit it, I think your right on that one. Did you see how the butler looked at me?" The blonde grinned widely.
"How could I not? He wasn't exactly subtle."
Footsteps from the living room alerted them to an approaching presence. "May I help you gentlemen? Pagan tells me you are from an educational institution?"
Malfoy turned on the megawatt smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Maxwell. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Draco Malfoy and this is my colleague, Daniel Harrison."
"A pleasure, I'm sure…"
Harry noticed the uncertain look in the woman's eyes as Draco bent to kiss her hand. "Ms. Maxwell, is something the matter?"
"It's just that your friend looks so familiar…and that name…" The potions teacher glanced up sharply. "Oh, that's right! You two must be from Lord's Manor! I'm still so glad my Lawliet was accepted to your academy. It's such an honor for him."
Draco seemed unable to speak so Harry continued the conversation. "Yes, we were so happy you allowed him to attend." Ms. Maxwell nodded.
"I knew he was special"- she lowered her voice dramatically- "you know, his special powers." She clapped her hands together in delight. "To think! A wizard in the family!" She once again looked towards Draco. "You must be related to the Headmaster, you look so much like him. Are you perhaps his son?" Malfoy flinched as Harry's blood ran cold.
"Ma'am, this might sound odd, but could you tell us what the Headmaster looked like?"
Ms. Maxwell looked at them quizzically. "He was a tall, well built man with beautiful blonde hair, like yours." Malfoy nodded. "He was so charming! If I wasn't a married woman…" She giggled at the thought. "Anyway, you must know him. You are from the same school, correct?"
Harry plastered a smile on his face. "Yes, we do know him." He nudged Draco towards the door. "Ms. Maxwell, it's been lovely but since you've already spoken to the Headmaster we have no further business with you today. We'll leave you now."
"Okay, but tell that handsome Headmaster that he's welcome in my house anytime!"
Once the door shut behind them the two professors looked at each other. Malfoy shook his head before voicing the question: "Harry, do you think…? I mean, it must be…"
Potter gripped his cane tightly as they prepared to apparate back to Hogwarts. "Unfortunately, yes. It must be your father. Lucius Malfoy."