Special thanks to Shannon for beta'ing this for me. As it's not only my first HP fic but a slash pairing at that I was very uncertain. She doesn't even know me and admitted that slash isn't her thing either but because a mutual friend asked her to she read this for me. Mucho thanks!
Harry took a deep breath and knocked on the front door of the house. He'd apparated here a while ago, but had taken until now to actually go through with it. Things had calmed down and he was no longer the focus of attention all of the time. The attention was always there in lesser amounts, he wasn't sure he'd ever get used to that. Especially since he'd gone back to Hogwart's, taking his seventh and final year late.
"Professer Snape?" He cursed silently at the use of the word professor. They weren't in school, but the compulsion to address him formally and respectfully was still there. Harry's voice sounded nervous even to him. Knowing Snape hadn't really murdered Dumbledore and wasn't a spy did little to ease Harry's feelings of foreboding around the potions professor.
"I was wondering, Sir, if you had a moment."
"Well, come in then, Potter, no use letting the whole neighborhood see you're here and hear what you have to say."
Harry shut Snape's door once he'd stepped inside.
"In here, Potter," Snape called from a room off to the side. "To what do I owe the honor?"
Harry could tell by Snape's voice he didn't consider a visit from Harry Potter much of an honor.
"I was wondering if I could trouble you for an answer to a question."
"You mean there's something you don't know the answer to on your own? What is it that has Harry Potter stumped?"
Harry swallowed. "Why did you want me to look at you, Sir?"
"What?" Severus did not sound at all pleased with the question.
"I asked why you wanted me to look at you. When┘well, you know."
Snape stood from the chair he'd been sitting in and walked up to Harry. He circled him, very much like a predator circling its prey. Harry swallowed again, pushing up on his glasses. They hadn't fallen, it was just a nervous habit he couldn't seem to shake.
Finally, Snape stopped circling and stood in front of Harry. They were face-to-face. The man who had been the bane of Harry's existence for seven years was regarding him through hooded dark eyes. They didn't look so sinister today. No, Harry saw him differently now he supposed.
Harry didn't let his eyes waver from Snape's perusal. If it was some sort of power play, he wasn't going to give in. Harry flinched when Snape reached for his face, brushing his cheek with the back of his hand. He had very long fingers, Harry noticed, and they felt - not odd exactly but different - against his face.
"Sir?" Harry asked.
"Just shut up, Potter. Please, for the next little while don't say a word."
"Yes, Sir," Harry murmured.
Was he supposed to respond? That seemed contradictory to what he'd just been told so he remained quiet.
"The resemblance to your mother. The moment I saw you," he said, cupping Harry's cheek. Harry had never seen Snape act like this. He'd never been tender with anyone, not even Slytherin students. Yet here was, treating Harry with just that. "I hated you. You have her eyes, her everything, except that hair."
Harry's eyes rolled up, as if he could see the offending hair in question. Of course, he couldn't, but he knew well enough what it looked like.
"I thought I was dying, Potter. Do you understand that?"
"Yes, Sir," he said, barely above a whisper. He still wasn't sure he could talk, but it seemed rude not to answer a direct question as that one seemed to be.
"I wanted, nay, needed to see her one last time."
"Silence," he said. "How could life be so cruel as to take her from me and then years later torture me with you? Proof positive that she'd chosen him for certain over me. And I couldn't not look after you, Lily's son."
His thumb grazed Harry's lower lip and then the upper one. It was almost as if he was trying to memorize Harry's face, his features. Or compare them to the memory already in his head of Harry's mother. Harry couldn't be sure which it was.
Harry found himself feeling something he'd never felt for Snape before. Compassion. Snape was alone, not necessarily by choice but because he'd loved someone so much that he'd been unable to move past that. That the woman happened to be Harry's mother and Harry looked so much like her were flukes.
He placed his hand over the back of Snape's. He wanted to comfort this man, give him something to help ease his torment. His pain. How horrified he must have been to find out he wasn't going to die after breaking down and making the request of Harry.
Snape's fingertips jumped against Harry's cheek at the contact, but didn't waver from touching him. He wasn't sure what it said, what it made him, that he felt this need to console him, comfort him. The ideas going through his mind as to how he could accomplish that were not exactly impersonal.
A thought occurred to him. Could Snape read his thoughts? He'd never perfected Occlumency, and Snape would always be better at it and know how to breach Harry's defenses. Snape leaned down then, his mouth hovering above Harry's as if waiting for him to reject him.
So, he did know what Harry had been thinking!
Harry didn't pull away, but he didn't close the distance between them either. This had to be Snape's doing. It was, after all, up to the professor to decide what he needed. Harry seemed to be just the vessel.
He did it then, Snape did. He closed the distance between them, slanting his lips over Harry's. His lips were rougher than Cho's and Ginny's, especially above his top lip. Otherwise, with his eyes closed he really couldn't tell the difference. It was a kiss, like any other kiss.
He wasn't sure what Snape had intended, how long he'd meant for the kiss to go on. Harry imagined he'd meant for it to be brief, on the chaste side. He felt in that touch of Snape's lips the true feelings he'd had for his mother. And Harry realized that through Snape he had a connection to his mother he'd never known he'd had until recently.
Harry couldn't help but part his lips, deepening Snape's kiss when he made no move to pull back or end the kiss himself. A low, guttural sounding groan escaped from Snape's mouth as he swiped Harry's tongue with his own.
Harry had to be going insane. Or dreaming. There was no way in any reality he was kissing Severus Snape. Being kissed by Snape.
"Shut up, Potter," Snape murmured.
"Sorry," he mumbled.
Snape drew away. Harry had no idea how much time had passed. It could have been hours or even days. Snape rested his forehead against Harry's.
"That is not at all what I meant to happen, Harry," he whispered, sounding somewhat tormented. He'd called him Harry!
"It's all right," Harry said, bringing his hands up to cradle Snape's head. "I didn't mind, if you couldn't tell."
"She was so beautiful. So good. There are no words to describe it."
"I wish I could have known her."
Snape drew away then, unshed tears shimmering in his eyes. He regarded Harry for a long while. "So do I, Potter, so do I," he said, as if it had really only just occurred to him now seventeen years after his parents death he hadn't gotten the pleasure so many others had.
"I was going to have something to eat┘," he said, cutting Harry off. "Are you hungry?"
"I could eat," he said, realizing that was an idiotic thing to say.
"Come then, Potter."
"I think you can call me Severus now, don't you?"
Harry felt the heat of a blush on his face and nodded with a hard swallow. "Yes, Sir. I, uh┘"
"You need to know what that meant?"
"I don't know. It won't happen again unless you want it to."
Did he want it to? His mother must have seen something in him that Harry was missing. Would it be so wrong to spend time with the man, find out what that was. To find out just how open Snape's heart could be if he loved something again.
"I think I would," Harry said simply.
"Perverse," he heard Snape mutter. Perhaps it was. He was here, a sort of living ghost of his mother. Snape was attracted to him because of that and only that. Harry, on the other hand, wasn't sure what he was attracted to. Obtaining knowledge of his mother? Loving someone who had loved his mother?
"Don't dwell on it, Potter, you'll drive yourself crazy. It is what it is," he said, leading Harry to the kitchen. "Do you have some place to be?"
"No, Sir, er, Severus."
"A slow week at the Ministry?"
"Something like that."
"Then you'll stay?"
Harry swallowed again. He knew what Snape was asking him. It was going beyond a kiss. Harry nodded, realizing he was all right with that. He really had nothing to lose and everything to gain. There were things he could learn from Snape far beyond insight into his mother.
"Yes, perhaps we can work on your Occlumency skills as well."
"I'd like that," Harry said simply, standing by the table.
"Thank you, Potter," Snape said, setting the table with a wave of his hand.
Snape placed his hands at either of Harry's shoulder, meeting his gaze evenly and without hatred in his eyes. It was the first time Harry could remember seeing his eyes look like that. Kindness. For him.
"For being curious enough to actually come." Snape kissed him again, really more of a peck but one of his hands slid a path from Harry's shoulder, down the length of his torso to Harry's waist. The touch was not innocent, but held all sorts of innuendo. And potential.