One day following:
The feel of soft cotton against his skin. The scent of early lilacs hinted on the breeze. The rustle of the drapes. Raw itchiness in his eyes and an immediate clenching of his heart. Those were the first things he noticed when he awoke on that day. The day after: when they'd lost Draco.
The second thing was that he was alone.
Like a man trying to fill a sudden void, Harry spread out his arms and legs, moving them in searching arcs over the bed. The sheets weakly held onto Severus' warmth; he couldn't have been gone long. Harry wondered why he'd left without waking him. Harry wondered if Severus blamed him.
He knew he blamed himself.
Lying motionless, he stared up at the ceiling. The same exact ceiling he'd been looking at for the past few weeks, here in Severus' room. The same exact ceiling as the one in that other world, exactly the same but so fucking empty and hollow without Draco.
He wrapped his arms around himself and squeezed. He felt small and needy.
Finally, with too much effort, he threw back the duvet and climbed out of bed. Outside the small window he could see the sky, blue and forever endless. The edge of the world. A small flock of songbirds darted by, chittering in the warm spring morning, flitting about a bush that rustled in the slight wind.
It was a beautiful day.
He turned around and climbed back into bed.
Two days following:
He hadn't slept much the previous day. He kept remembering Draco's laugh, his scent that still lingered on his clothes, but mostly, he remembered his touch, those kisses.
Snape had climbed into bed late, saying nothing to Harry, who'd said nothing back. Snape must hate him. That couldn't be blamed, really. He understood. Then the sun had barely breached the edge of the earth and he'd climbed out of bed, leaving Harry there, alone. So terribly alone.
He thought about getting out of bed, of doing something productive with his day, catching a fish or cleaning the fireplace. But then none of those projects sounded good.
Today just didn't look good all around.
Three days following:
His mouth tasted like plaster and week old bologna. When he opened his eyes, he noticed Severus wasn't there and the bed was cold.
He lay there staring up at the ceiling. A sharp pain in his bladder urged him out of bed. It'd been the only reason he'd risen over the last three days and he finally noticed his stomach's rumble. He threw back the covers and caught a whiff of his body odor, stale and sweet, and he could just hear Draco scolding him on poor personal hygiene. "Harry," he would say, "Though I understand your childhood left you with the social skills of a wild boar, I certainly hope I had more of a taming influence on you. Go wash."
Humorlessly, Harry chuckled to himself, and then left to relieve his bladder.
He stood there before the toilet, urinating for an astonishingly long time, letting his mind race over his last six months with Draco. His last four months with Severus.
Suddenly, a heavy force settled in his chest like the dead weight of past mistakes.
He wished Severus would announce breakfast, call out to him, but it seemed he, too, had abandoned familiar routine and Harry had a crushing need to be with him.
He brushed his teeth and showered in record time and then entered the main room of the cabin. Severus was sitting at the table staring into a mug that looked full and tepid. His hair hung limp, framing his face as his gaze swam in the dark tea. He looked lost; he looked like he was searching for something. A forlorn crow seeking answers in a sea of questions.
"Severus?" Harry said, keeping his voice quiet in the utter stillness of the room.
In drawn out lassitude the man lifted his face and looked at Harry. His eyes were haunted: huge and drawn together and brimming with loss. Then he blinked and it was dashed away to a dim memory, a ghost of something that could never be.
"I see you've finally grown sick of your own stink."
"Did you wish for something to eat?"
He shrugged. "I'll make it," he offered, walking towards the kitchen. He opened the cupboard and saw that it was stuffed with food: dried, fresh and preserved. "But… There's a full larder here."
"Yes, I am aware." Out of the corner of his eye Harry saw Severus lift the cup to his lips, take a half hearted sip and then flinch, setting the cup back down.
He stared at the cupboard as Severus stared as his cup.
"Severus…" Harry began again, tentative, afraid. Afraid of what, he wasn't sure. Afraid Severus would yell at him, accuse him of losing Draco. Afraid that he would blow up, throw the mug and paint the room in cold black tea. Afraid that Severus would sit there, quiet, and ignore Harry, making him keenly aware of just how alone he was in this displaced sliver of existence.
Harry exhaled in relief; and then realized he didn't know what to say. He crossed the room and sank into the chair across the table from Severus. They looked at each other. One pair of dark eyes gripping those of green.
"I'm sorry," Harry said and Severus frowned.
"You've nothing for which to apologize."
"I… I couldn't reach… I couldn't—" Shocked, he could feel tears building.
"Harry, stop this. It was not your fault. The spell—I cast it too soon…"
"I'm sure he's okay. Hermione, and Arthur, I saw them…"
"I left him behind…"
Harry reached out his hand and laid it on the table halfway between. "No. I couldn't reach." A fat teardrop splattered against the tabletop. "I tried, but I couldn't reach." He'd let them down, both of them. He'd lost Draco.
A cool hand settled on top of his own and he became mesmerized by the hands. One pale, one tanned, one set of long, stained fingers, one set shorter, decorated with scrapes and old scabs, together resting on the table. He looked up into Severus' eyes again and they sat together, in the stillness.
That night when Harry went to bed, Severus joined him, a relieved bedmate. Together they lay, side by side, hands held loosely between their bodies.
Seven days following:
Slowly, life returned to the two men.
As a young boy Harry'd never traveled, never gone to the park with his father and mother and played. He'd dodged bullies and hidden away from violence and neglect. He kept his tears silent while locked away in a tiny cupboard like something broken or out of season. Dumbledore had assured the skills to survive would be ingrained into his very soul.
Harry used to resent him, hated the man for leaving him at the Dursley's even as he'd once adored him, held him practically responsible for his cherished freedom at Hogwarts. Now he figured Dumbledore had done him a favor. First Voldemort, then his time with the Death Eaters, now this accidental exile. Harry was a survivor.
At least he had Severus Snape by his side.
And wasn't that a jarring thought.
"Severus, why is there all this food? Shouldn't it have been eaten?" Harry asked, categorizing the bags of legumes, boxes of crackers and cartons of preserved milk.
"Who would have eaten it?" Severus asked. He'd been hovering over a lined notepad of yellow paper all morning, periodically scripting out his thoughts and then pausing to ponder some more.
He hadn't really considered that. "Well… us."
He looked up at Harry. "Do you see anyone here other than you and me?"
"Umm, no. But certainly, this place has a you and a me. I mean, why else would this cabin be here, all stocked up. Wasn't it yours?" Harry realized he'd never really asked. So many things he'd never bothered asking about, he'd been so content in this secluded paradise.
Snape glanced back down at the charts, equations and Greek symbols covering the sheet of paper. "Perhaps. I'm uncertain," Snape said in his torn voice. "This world must be very close to our own. Even with the thinning membrane between the worlds on Beltane and Samhain, it still would have been nearly impossible to sabotage my spell if it were not a close copy. There could be a you and a me, though I have seen neither, and it is simple to assume I of this world could have set up this cabin for such a hideaway as I did in our own dimension."
Harry mulled this over. "What happens if we meet ourselves? Isn't that some kind of paradox or something?" Would the worlds crumble in on each other if he set eyes on this world's version of himself?
Harry pulled out a chair and sat across from Snape. "We have not traveled through time, just dimensions," Snape explained. "I think we would be safe, but I've not studied this form of magic before. I need to do some study and without the proper reference materials, I believe I will get nowhere at a surprising rate." He sighed, laid down his quill, and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Unfortunately, I think it imprudent to leave the wards at this point in time."
"Is there anything I can do?" Harry asked, his voice small. He felt so useless.
Snape looked at him, really looked at him for the first time in days. His neutral expression belied the tenderness of his voice as he said, "Harry, just be here with me." Then with a cough, he returned to his notepad and his numbers and his algebraic symbols and Harry felt warm.
With a bit of exploration Harry found this place in this dimension exactly like that of his own home, only nothing had been used. The cabin was intact, there was food aplenty, the flowers in the garden were bright and cheerful. There was no worn path to the stony outcrop that Harry liked to sit on, but he was doing his best at replacing it with his constant journeys to his sanctuary.
The cool breeze, the brilliant reflections across the surface of the lake, the honking of geese—all transient, short-lived beauty: it reminded him of life.
The wards surrounding the cottage and land remained. The forest still contained the unknown, because Harry had never ventured there. His world: it was microscopic. It was safe.
"Severus," he asked later that evening. He'd made dinner while Severus worked away on his project that they both hoped would take them home. It was his goal to help out wherever he could, understanding completely that he wouldn't be able to help with the actual magical theory. "How is it going?"
"It is… going to take some time," Snape admitted. He picked up his spoon to dip into the potato soup. A thin layer of melted cheese covered the top.
Harry nodded and slurped up some soup from his own spoon.
Ten days following:
The wand in his hand felt cold. It'd been over a week before he finally decided to actually pick up the dead man's wand and use it. Out in the field, when he was fighting to defend Draco and Severus, it had worked for him, blazing with curse-power and punishment. Now, in his hand, it felt like a stick of wood.
Harry swished and he flicked and he cursed the morning away, but nothing happened. He couldn't cast any magic with this wand.
He went to retrieve Snape's, sitting in the little holster by the door.
"Severus!" Harry called, his voice high with panic. "Severus!" He ran outside, looking for the man.
He was sitting by the lake. Harry sprinted up to him.
"Magic. I can't," he panted, "do any magic." He leaned forward, palms against his thighs as he caught his breath. "The wands. They aren't working," he finished.
His back to Harry, Severus faced the lake. "I know."
Severus said nothing.
"What do you mean you know? What does it mean?" He shook Snape's wand at his back. No sparks. Nothing. "When were you going to tell me?"
"I saw no reason to set you into undue panic." Snape took in a deep breath, his shoulders rising and falling with the action.
"Undue panic!" he cried. "I can't do magic!"
"And neither can I."
The bottom of Harry's stomach plummeted. Neither of them could do magic. They could never return.
"Why?" he finally asked.
Reluctantly, Snape turned to look at him. "Apparently, though this dimension is very similar to our own, it isn't the same. There is the potential that we can learn to work magic here." His dark eyes looked dull. "I've not yet succeeded." Harry stood there shocked at the revelation. "Perhaps, this world has no magic at all."
Twenty-four days following:
For the next two weeks Harry worked every day with both Severus' and the captured wands. He tried simple spells like the Levitation Charm and more powerful spells like the Patronus Charm. He even tried the Imperious Curse on a black beetle he'd found crawling amidst the sorrel. Nothing.
"Lumos," he cast. "Lumos! " He shook the wand. "LUMOS! " Nothing at all.
"Severus, what are we going to do?" he whined. He was detached from a part of himself, like the strongest part of his soul had been lobotomized. He could still feel his magic inside of him, but it was trapped and all it could do was swirl and pace like a caged tiger.
"Keep trying," Snape counseled. Then he took a wand and began his own routine.
Twenty-eight days following:
Sometimes it was impossible for Harry to get out of bed. He would wake early enough, but then he would entwine himself with Severus, laying one arm across the other man's chest, nudging one leg between his two. He would run his nose up and down the soft skin of Severus' neck and breathe in his scent. Some days, that smell was his only anchor.
Thirty days following:
"Severus?" he asked. It had been another worthless day of waving a stick around. "How did you survive?"
"How so?" he asked. They had retired to bed early and were spooning with Severus nestled in behind Harry, holding onto him. Harry felt safe in Snape's arms.
"From Nagini. I saw you. I saw her bite you and… You were dead."
Snape breathed deep. "Obviously the rumors of my death—"
"—have been greatly exaggerated." Harry finished and Snape chuckled. "Yeah, I get that," Harry continued with a squeeze of the man's arms. "But you were bleeding; there was blood everywhere."
"Yes, it was rather unpleasant." Snape's breath puffed against Harry's unruly hair. "I had expected something… I knew the possibilities that the Dark Lord would kill me. He trusted no one. I had been building a tolerance to Nagini's venom for months."
"But the wound… the bleeding…" It still gave Harry the shivers. Red. The shack had been bathed in red.
"After you took my memories and left—"
Harry interrupted. "About that, I'm sorry I left you."
"Water under the bridge, Harry. You had a job to do. Anyway, I was the Head of Slytherin House; I did have contingency plans." Snape stopped speaking.
"Well?" Harry urged.
Snape rasped in what Harry knew was a chuckle. "I had several potions on me at all times. Unfortunately, in my fall my bottle of Phoenix Tears shattered. However, I had a tincture of Heal-All that I drank, stemming the blood loss, though it left me with these scars." His voice rung bitter.
"Better scars than death," Harry said, rolling over to look at Severus. Slowly, he reached out and touched the scar along Severus' throat. The skin was twisted and white, a bundle of damaged tissue under his fingertips. "I'm happy you're alive."
Snape didn't move.
"And I think it makes your voice even sexier," Harry said with a shy smile.
Those dark eyes grew wide and Harry congratulated himself at shocking his old potions professor.
"Mr. Potter," Snape said, "Are you chatting me up?"
Harry burst out laughing and then leaned close and kissed him.
Thirty-five days following:
One day Snape coaxed a weak light from his wand. They had been there over a month.
Harry cheered and dashed around, jumping in the air. Then he leapt into Snape's arms and kissed him soundly, holding him tight. He took his victories where he could.
Forty days following:
June blazed in their secluded valley. Even surrounded by tall fir, the forest didn't carve out enough shade to cool their cabin and Snape hadn't worked out too many spells yet.
Harry took to living in the lake.
It was a daily regime for him to swim across the small body of water, get out and sprawl upon his stone, letting the moisture evaporate from his skin, and then swim across again. He was as brown as the high grasses were turning.
"Lunch," Snape said a few feet behind Harry, who'd jumped at the sound.
"Don't sneak up on me!" he cried, his heart thudding as he glanced over his shoulder at Severus. He was wearing black trousers and a white long sleeved shirt with the cuffs rolled up. "How can you wear so much clothes?" Harry was wearing a pair of cut offs and still felt hot.
Snape lifted his wand and cast a cooling charm, full strength and perfect, over his body.
"You did it! You got the magic to work!" Harry scrambled to his feet and grinned widely at Severus from his spot on his stone. Severus' eyes crinkled at the edges and the right corner of his mouth twitched.
"Yes. I have mastered most magic in this dimension." Then he sobered. "How have you been coming along?"
"You have been practicing?" Snape put his hands on his hips and his smile turned into a scowl.
"A little. I can't get it. It's never worked for me." He couldn't do it. He tried. This place was dead to him… a hollowed husk.
"Stop being a lazy boy and continue to practice. You won't ever get it unless you keep trying."
Annoyance, then resignation raced through him. His shoulders slumped. "I know," he said to Severus' feet.
"Does my wand work better for you?" he asked, voice softer.
Harry looked back up. "It used to. I can't seem to get anything to work anymore. Not even a little Light Charm. I try, and I can feel my magic, but nothing happens. It's like it's all plugged up."
"You are not a clogged drain. You are a wizard. Come here." Scrambling over the rocks, Harry approached Snape. "Turn around." Harry did so and Snape wrapped his arms around him, placed his wand in Harry's right hand and then gripped his wrist.
"Now, feel the magic pulsing under your skin. Focus on it. Feel it." Snape whispered against the side of Harry's head, the soft breath circling around his outer ear sending a shiver down his back. A tingle numbed his hand and he could feel Severus forcing his magic into him… Harry shivered again; his groin flashed hot even with the charm in effect. "Feel it. Now look for your own. Feel your magic and focus it to the wand."
Harry felt inward, sensing his own body and the magical currents within, looking with an odd inner surveillance. He compared everything he felt to Snape's magic and found his own--his own magic that surged through his very cells.
With every muscle pulled taut, he focused, pulled his magic into his hand, and gathered it like a beam of light, a laser of magic flooding into the wand.
"Lumos, " he whispered; the tip of the wand glowed the faintest bit and Harry laughed aloud.
Forty-two days following:
"Severus, may I touch you?"
The air was heavy, trapping the question.
Harry couldn't help remembering the sensation that coursed through him when Snape infused him with his own magic. Though he never got hard, his groin still ached. He missed Draco, missed everything about him—the good and bad. He missed his touches and kisses, and pleasing him.
He guessed Snape felt the same.
He couldn't forget it, the sizzle through his body. The whisper against his ear. Snape really did have a sexy voice.
Snape rolled over and looked at him. Side by side they were in bed, as they had been forever—since Draco had been taken from them. They hadn't done anything but share a few kisses, maybe hug each other on their bad days. Severus hadn't asked; Harry hadn't offered.
"You wish to… touch me?"
"Well, if you don't want me, then never mind…" Suddenly he couldn't believe he would ask such a thing. Of course he didn't want Harry to touch him; he loved Draco, as Harry loved Draco. Draco was their center, their core, and they were peripheral.
"I would enjoy that," Severus said. Harry's gaze darted up and saw Snape's eyes had darkened. Intense. Hungry.
Suddenly, Harry felt hot all over.
He yanked his hand out from under the thin sheet and with shaking fingers caressed Severus' cheek, brushing his fingertips over the high cheekbones, down his roman nose, gently over his thin lips. As he traced those lips again, Snape opened his mouth, his eyes never leaving Harry's.
He pressed close and ghosted his lips over the man's, stoic yet yielding. His tongue dragged across the surface of his mouth and dipped inside to meet another and they danced, gently, almost shyly.
Snape wrapped up Harry with his arms and one leg, and pulled him in tight, kissing him with equal parts desire and equal parts kind acceptance. His demand was held in check, and for that Harry was grateful, but his need, his hard erection and shallow breaths, was overtly evident.
Severus was such a restrained man that it was few the times Harry'd seen him out of control. Once was during his flight from Hogwarts, yelling at Harry, telling him he wasn't a coward, that he was, in fact, the Half-Blood Prince. Another was when Draco caressed him all over, tasted him, drank him down. Harry vowed he would make Severus lose control like that again.
Harry pulled back, his eyes focused on Severus' face which revealed so much in those soft eyes and parted lips, pink and glistening from this kiss. His leaned in to kiss him again, sucking Snape's bottom lip through his teeth, nibbling, tasting, claiming as he tracked across Snape's skin: his cheeks, his eyelids, the soft skin behind his ears.
"Harry." His name was released like a sigh, set free with no reservations.
"Mmm," Harry breathed against his skin, running his tongue along Severus' neck until he reached the edge of his night shirt. His name. It was Harry Snape had moaned. He slid his body over Severus', making sure to put just enough pressure on his erection to entice a groan from the man. Sitting up, he undid one button at a time, his gaze holding Severus' eyes, which were huge and eager, as his fingers did their work. Pop one button. Pop the next. Slowly, as each button was released, Harry rocked against Snape's hard cock, rubbing his groin against the prone man.
Soft growls filled the air and then Severus smiled. Just faintly, but he smiled and Harry leaned forward to capture it all with a kiss.
The room was filled with the night and the darkness was their bedmate as Harry planted kisses down Snape's thin chest, licking across each nipple—Draco liked that, maybe Severus would, too—and cataloguing each and every response. A sigh, a groan, a twitch: none of them were lost. Finally, he found himself at Snape's waistband and the soft hairs there tickled his nose.
He breathed in deep.
He loved the musky scent of a man aroused and he wondered: if he hadn't been captured and trapped with Draco would this be something he knew about himself?
He slipped his fingers under the fabric and slowly slipped the pants down past his knees and over his feet. He lay there spread out, ready for Harry's touch.
Slightly nervous he leaned over Severus' erection, heavy and proud and so full. Severus tilted his hips, just slightly, but Harry got the hint. With tenderness he rubbed first one cheek, then the other against the soft, silky skin.
"Oh Merlin… Harry," Snape groaned and Harry's ego swelled with excitement. .
He sucked and Snape's moan curled his toes. He was doing this. Snape was letting loose for him.
"Harry…" Severus groaned, whined and begged. He lifted his head and watched Harry; heated eyes burning each other in their gaze.
Harry dropped his eyes and curled his tongue and then Severus threw his head back, his face contorted in a petrified scream as his orgasm overtook him and he flooded Harry's mouth.
Severus' body went limp and Harry looked up. The man's eyes were closed and his face had adopted a relaxed mien that set Harry's heart to erratic beating. He slid up his body, pressing his unresponsive erection against Snape's side and curled up close to him.
"That was…" Snape said, then stopped and chuckled, running his hand through Harry's hair. "Thank you."
"My pleasure," Harry said happily, and he nuzzled Snape's neck until they drifted off.
Forty-seven days following:
With regularity he copped Severus' wand and escaped to the outside with it. He would stand by the edge of his lake attempting to flood the wand with magic, his magic. Sometimes it would glow, but usually Harry just became frustrated and wanted to throw the damn thing into the depths and laugh maniacally as it sank to the bottom and rotted away with moisture and time.
His hopelessness sometimes overwhelmed him and he would remain at the lake edge into the evening, and as the sun left the day behind, he would close his eyes.
Fifty days following:
"Come swimming with me, Severus," Harry begged. He'd gotten sick of his own company. It was noon and Snape had been spending all his time with his notes. Harry cooked and cleaned, the Muggle way, and sometimes coaxed the wand to glow. He was fairly bored.
"I do not walk around half clothed in public," Snape assured him as he hunched over a long scroll he'd been working on.
Public? It seemed they were the only two people in existence in this tucked-away world. "Public?" Harry repeated aloud with a snort. "Who is going to see you, but me?"
"You," Snape said.
"I've already seen you naked," Harry said with a leer. His pulse sped up a bit when he thought of Snape's magic flooding his body. When he thought of his taste, his voice when his lust was awakened. "Maybe we can go skinny dipping," he egged him on.
"I would not subject the fish to that. Unlike you, I have a healthy allotment of modesty."
Thinking back to Snape's grey underpants, he wasn't all that shocked. "We could go at night," Harry offered.
"No. I'm busy. Leave me be," he said, not unkindly.
Harry snorted and plopped down next to Severus, reviewing the scroll. It was color coded with red, green and black ink. Much of the Latin was recognizable, but everything else was an amalgamation of magical systems Hogwarts had only touched on.
"What are you so busy with?" he finally asked.
"I think I might have found a way to get us back," the older man simply said.
"What?" Harry's leap to his feet was so violent the chair crashed to the floor. "You can get us back? Why didn't you say anything?"
Snape finally looked up, a glint to his eye as he noted the overturned chair. "I feared for the furniture's survival." He smirked, but then his face settled into something more kind. "Plus, I didn't want to get your hopes up. According to my calculations, we should do this spell tomorrow. The Solstice. Now go away and practice your magic. You will need to be useful."
Ignoring the jibe, Harry snatched Snape's wand and began working on spells.
Fifty-one days following:
He'd only waited a day, but it almost seemed a lifetime. A lifetime of twitches and vain hopes. A lifetime of checking in on Severus, hovering just on this edge of irritating. A lifetime awash with the ebb and flow of imaging his lost friend by his side, or him away, gone, trapped in another realm entirely, forever.
A lifetime of less than twenty-four hours.
"Severus," Harry whispered to the man next to him in the bed. Harry hadn't slept a wink.
Severus was silent.
Harry glanced at the wind-up clock. It was 4:37 a.m. Attempting to disturb the bed as little as possible, Harry rolled onto his side and watched Severus. His eyes, deeply shadowed with weariness, were closed; the thin skin of his eyelids looked silky and delicate. His breaths came in a deep, steady cadence.
As the sun rose, lightening the room in tiny measures, Harry watched him until Snape finally asked, "Do you plan on staring at me all morning?"
"No," Harry said. "Just until you wake up."
Severus opened his left eye and looked over at Harry. Harry grinned. Snape closed his eye with a groan.
"You are far too cheerful. Go make breakfast," Snape ordered, and with a laugh, Harry obeyed.
Snape paused for a moment, stirred five times clockwise and then dropped in the last twig of belladonna. A puff of steam circled and coiled as it floated up into the air in hues of putrid yellow and moldy gouda. The smell wasn't much better.
He ladled the potion into two large, ceramic jugs and the two men walked steadily to the bathroom together, each grasping a jug tightly in his hands.
"Now disrobe," Severus said and Harry shimmied out of his clothing; first his shirt and then his trousers, all the way to naked and then he stepped into the tub with his jug. Severus took far more time and hung his clothing on a peg and then followed Harry into the bathtub.
"Remember," Snape instructed, "Keep your mind on us returning home. Focus on home."
Harry thought of Draco. Draco and, Harry paused at the realization, Severus were all the home he ever needed.
The two men, nude with their hope bared and open, faced each other, each lifting a jug. Snape dipped his first two fingers into his jug of potion and set the jug down on the tub edge; Harry followed suit. The potion was thick and gooey and stuck to Harry's fingers like the slime from a pulverized slug. Then he thought of Draco and ignored the sensation as Snape anointed his forehead and palms with the substance.
"By Earth and Water, Fire and Air, you are released. Return to your origin. Return to your heart."
Harry brushed his fingers against Snape's brow and his upward tilted palms. "By Earth and Water, Fire and Air, you are released. Return to your origin. Return to your heart," Harry repeated over and over, and the words turned into a drone as the energy engulfed them both.
As Harry continued the chant, Snape picked up the jug and began covering Harry from head to toe, the slime slithering down his arms and legs, encasing his body in a chilly membrane that could slip within the cracks between the worlds. Harry blushed as Snape ran his hands over his penis and into the crack of his bum, and stifled a giggle as he coated the bottoms of his feet. Then it was Harry's turn and as Harry covered the taller man, he chanted and thought of home. Of where he belonged.
Fully covered with the potion, the two men grabbed each other's hands to support each other due to their slippery footing. Taking a deep breath, Snape began casting something in Greek, the words unknown yet pregnant with power as Snape wove the spell that would send them home.
An odd sensation, something like a portkey, fluttered in his gut and grew with such ferocity that he swallowed to ward off the nausea threatening to bend him over.
"Severus," he groaned. His innards must have gone liquid, that was why he was feeling this way, liquid and completely useless as he began to fade, grow thin with Snape's hands held in a death grip.
"Chant!" Snape urged and Harry tried. What was he saying? Something about Water and Fire and home and Draco? He mumbled broken phrases and delirium took over until his stomach began to take form again and he hurled onto Snape's feet.
Doubled over in his own unfortunate repercussion of the spell, Snape finally gripped onto Harry's biceps and tugged him to his feet. "We are not done," he said breathlessly. "Get up."
Harry struggled, slipped twice in slime and vomit, and finally gained his feet. "Oh bloody hell," he groaned. "Did that work?"
"I'm unsure. Let's go outside. Observe the cabin's appearance."
Helping each other, the two men leaned together as they escaped the tub and then left the bathroom to finally exit the door to the outside, heedless of their nudity.
The air was shiny. The cabin had a half charred visage that shifted to pristine. "Severus?" Harry whined nervously. Fat honey bees buzzed past him, dancing around the purple lilac from flower to flower. One minute they were solid, the next an illusion.
They had not made it through. They'd gotten stuck somewhere in the middle.
Severus growled and looked around. Harry could finally stand on his own, bits of rock and dirt sticking to the bottoms of his feet as he surveyed the world around them, a shimmery double image. He could see time washed signs of the battle as well as the perfectly undamaged world he and Severus now lived in.
Then, in the distance near the lake, they saw a person: a shadow, or perhaps a mirage.
"Draco," Harry said in wonderment.
A soft word, an echo, reached the two men. "Harry?" Snape's frown deepened.
"Harry! Severus!" The mirage ran towards them. "I can see you! Can you see me? I'm right here!" The transparent form of Draco reached out to them. His hair was a little longer and he seemed careworn. But it was Draco and a sob escaped Harry's lips as he reached out, only to pass right through his extended hand.
"Severus? What's going on?" He chanced a glance up at Snape. Snape was quiet; he only stared at Draco, his eyes wide, his lips pressed firmly in a grimace.
Severus reached out a hand, but pulled back before he too could pass right through the younger man. "Draco." Sorrow. His name was a cradle for all of Snape's sorrow. "It didn't work. We have failed…"
"Where are you? Where did you go? I'm trying to get back to you. Harry? Severus? I'm trying…"
"Draco," Harry whimpered at the apparition.
"Hermione and the others from the Order are trying to help, trying to find out where you went." The figure grew thinner, the voice tinny as it began to fade. "Samhain. Hermione said Samhain! I'm staying in the cabin. I won't leave! I won't leave you!" he screeched, his voice cracking as he fell to his knees.
Harry dropped to the grass before Draco. "We will still search. We will get back to you. Keep trying. Keep trying, Draco. We will be with you again. We will! We will!" he continued to cry, to cajole and promise and plead as Draco faded, leaving them alone to the buzzing bees.
It had taken them a half hour of scrubbing each other and the tub with brutal floor cleanser and a stiff bristled brush to clean the potion away. Harry's hair was still weighed down with it and he couldn't get it all out from under his fingernails and from between his toes. Neither of them said anything as they took the brush to their bodies, scrubbing and rinsing, scrubbing and rinsing, until their skin was raw and pink.
The day was sunny and warm and Harry resented the weather its joy.
That night he rolled over and wrapped his arm around Snape's middle, trapping him under one leg, and held him close. He didn't want to be alone. Snape held him back.
Sixty days following:
One fluffy cloud strolled across the pale blue sky. It was mid-day. A soft quack was responded to by another soft quack and the happy sounds of dabbling bills. A sparrow sang from a bush long past its bloom season but now rotund with deep green leaves.
The sun hung high in the sky, blinding Harry as he stared up at it, his eyes closed but his lids offering measly protection from its fury. His arms were stretched out as he floated in the cool water of the lake.
One duck paddled alongside him and then scooted by when Harry twitched a hand. His skin was deep brown. His hopes had dried up.
"Harry," Severus called out to him. "It is time. I'm leaving."
Harry flipped over, treading water, and looked up at Snape standing on the edge of the lake; the blue water lapped his boot toes with the swish of Harry's arms and legs.
A goose honked, then another, as a small flock swept across the sky. The air held the strong scent of dried grass in the heat.
"Now?" Harry finally asked.
"Yes. I need to do more research and this world can't be one of complete isolation. We must have allies out there." Snape's eyes gleamed in the sun's light.
They'd talked about this, about Snape leaving and trying to find the Order or magical books or something to help them return home. Snape discussed leaving Harry here. Harry'd said nothing.
With two strokes he was at the water's edge and he climbed up the rocks until he was facing Severus. "I…" don't want you to go.
"I won't be gone long." He'd been saying that. Promising.
"Okay," Harry said.
Snape opened his arms and Harry leaned into him.
Sixty-four days following:
For the third time that day, Harry paced the edge of the open field that had become his world. It took him approximately an hour and a half per lap. He walked from the front door of the cabin early that morning and headed straight to the forest's edge, just to the Disillusionment's perimeter. He was topless and had only slipped on a pair of old sneakers and cut offs. In his hand he clutched a canteen of water.
He turned left and walked past trees and bushes; tiny animal trails left small broken cracks in the verdant wall. Mounds of time-worn stone were scrambled over and a small creak was crossed. Shiny scales flashed in the water, but Harry kept walking. He was not fishing today.
At the farthest reach of the charm's edge he was about a half mile away from the cabin with the lake between him and it. It was marshy here, the ground spongy, and he'd removed his shoes and squished his way through cattails, yellow-eyed grass and skirret. Frogs leapt from his passage and a marsh hen scolded his trespass.
As he continued the ground firmed and he rubbed his feet clean with the broad leaves of dock and stuffed his feet back into his shoes and continued on. The scents of muck, skunk and fox, wildflowers and sun touched grasses filled the air.
When he reached his starting point, the forest's edge closest to the cabin, he paused and wondered what exactly he wanted to do today. Severus has been gone four days and Harry had begun to go squirrelly. He'd surveyed his valley and began to walk again.
Sixty-seven days following:
Yesterday he'd slept all day. Well, it wasn't actually sleeping, he just didn't get up. But he'd done too much of that already and so today he rose out of bed at dawn and puttered about the cabin. He dusted the books. He mopped the floors. He rearranged the food stores alphabetically. With only two of them the food was lasting longer.
He did it all the Muggle way. Magic didn't work for Harry here.
Seventy-two days following:
The bathroom mirror was small, only large enough to reflect his face and the top of his chest. He stood before it naked.
He reached up and ran his fingers over his skin. He had a good complexion and he'd grown tan. Bushy eyebrows highlighted his green eyes. He no longer looked at them and longed for his mother.
The scar was faded and hidden beneath a black veil of hair.
His fingers trailed down his face over his neck along his pecs and then hovered over his nipples. Sparse hair encircled each pink nub.
He grasped each one and pinched. Hard.
Pain. He could feel the pain.
Seventy-seven days following:
It was night, the stars contrasting like a splatter of milk on black parchment paper, each one distinct and brilliant and so very far away.
Harry doffed his shorts and stepped into the lake naked. With slow steps he went deeper and deeper until the cool water reached his groin and he shivered as it washed over his sensitive skin.
When he was up to his chin he leaned back and lifted his arms and legs; his nose, toes and hands poked through the water's surface.
Sometimes Harry wanted to float within the lake, let his body sink below the surface and have the water fill in the canals of his ears and forget that the world out there still existed; that other worlds were hiding behind some veil that held promises. No more desire. No more demands. Just him and the water and whoever it is that he was supposed to be before this whole banishment uprooted his recognizable life.
Eighty-four days following:
Grey clouds built up, covering the once clear blueness that'd roofed Harry for weeks now. The change was welcome.
He stood in the doorway and stared beyond the tallest trees' tops. They danced, brushing against each other creating a wild symphony as the wind grew in power.
He turned back inside and glanced at the chess set, set up for two players and realized, even if he was only playing himself, he was still going to lose.
Eighty-eight days following:
The eggs stared at him, scrambled and yellow and completely unappetizing. He dumped his lunch in the trash bin, covering his breakfast and last night's dinner.
It all tasted like dust.
Off and on over the past few days the rain came and went, swelled and seeped away like the respiration of the earth. Inhale. Exhale. Now she was huffing in frustration, gusting up a windstorm. Thunder burst like canon fire and Harry was in the center of the battle.
He ran out into the storm and climbed his rock, standing high in the squall that tugged and pulled at his hair. He lifted his chin to the angry storm clouds, layers of grey and black. Fat raindrops pelted his face, his arms, the tops of his bare feet.
Lightning flashed across the sky and he laughed like an animal in pain.
He watched as the rain beat down hard against the tensile surface of the lake. He thought he knew how the water must feel.
Ninety days following:
Through the fog and the rain and the mist, Snape emerged.
His cloak was heavy with water and his hair draped his face like thin lengths of twine. Dark shadows encircled his eyes but they looked upon Harry brightly.
He was the most beautiful thing Harry remembered seeing in a very long time.
Harry, mindless of everything, ran to the man and hugged him tight; encircling him with arms made of ironwood from his desire to never let him go.
"You came back to me," Harry said into the soggy collar of Snape's robes.
"Of course, Harry. Of course I did."
Ninety-one days following:
It was his birthday. He was 19.
He woke up in Snape's arms. Yesterday, after Harry'd gotten him out of his wet clothes and settled into a warm tub, Harry had rubbed his shoulders swallowing down each and every question he had for the man.
Then he'd pulled him out, dried him off and held onto him with a grip to rival Hercules, afraid to lose the one anchor to his sanity that he had.
It was his birthday and Snape had returned to him and he came with news of the outside world and a way to get to Draco.
"So," Harry mumbled into Severus' neck, "You met with Dawlish and McGonagall?" He worked one leg over Snape's hips and snuggled up close.
"Yes. They were very helpful," Snape rasped. He was carding his fingers through Harry's hair. It was slow and steady and it made Harry feel safe.
"And they had a war, too?"
Snape hmmed in affirmation. "They lost many people, like we did."
Harry didn't want to know. "But they won?" Now that, that seemed important.
"Yes, Harry. They won." Snape kissed him on the top of his head, and Harry thought this to be a splendid birthday present.
"And you think you have a spell? To get us back?" He'd been pressuring Snape to answer him, but the wizard had kept avoiding that discussion.
"I found a spell. We can talk about it tomorrow." Harry guessed that was as good as he was going to get.
He dropped the questions and pressed his groin against Snape's hip, rubbing up against him. It felt pleasant and somehow comforting. He missed touching the man.
"Harry," Snape began and Harry stalled his actions due to the hesitation in his voice.
He propped himself up on an elbow and looked down at Severus. "Yeah?" Did Severus not want Harry to touch him?
"I'd like to try something."
"What is it?" Harry asked.
"Lie back." Snape closed his fingers around Harry's biceps and gently pressed him to the mattress. "On the bed."
Unsure, Harry let himself be manipulated by Severus and soon he was lying down with Severus leaning over him, their previous positions reversed.
"I want to touch you." Snape's voice was low and quiet, and heat stirred in Harry's abdomen.
"But—uhh…" he stammered. "Nothing happens. I can't…" His face grew hot and it wasn't from arousal. Snape would touch him and his fucking cock would continue to mimic a wet noodle and he didn't want to disappoint either of them. His birthday was soon looking like a disaster in the brewing. He didn't think he could take failing right now.
"Trust me," Snape said and his voice was so tender and contained no judgment that Harry simply nodded and remained still as Severus' long fingers began petting his face. With gentle maneuvers--that but a few months ago Harry would never have attributed to Severus--he removed Harry's clothes, item by item. First his shirt, then his trousers and pants. Naked, he squirmed under Snape's hungry gaze.
"Calm down," he said, and Harry stilled.
He kissed and suckled rosebuds over Harry's body, causing him to squirm some more, though this time embarrassment was the farthest thing from his mind. The things Severus was doing, how he sucked on his nipple and bit the skin on his inner thigh, were driving Harry crazy and his bollocks pulsed, so raw with pent up energy that he began begging.
"Please Severus. Anything. Please, touch me. Oh God. Oh God."
Harry could feel Severus' tongue slide along his length. The ache soon turned to discomfort; he felt like his body had expanded to fill his borders but had no more slack left.
Then Snape pressed the length of his hand along Harry's limpness. "Ahh." Harry threw his head back and moaned. His balls throbbed, but nothing stirred, nothing reacted to that gentle touch.
He wanted to sob. Wanting, needing this so much but having his body deny him was plucking Harry's nerves to the fraying point.
"Relax, Harry," Snape whispered right against the tender spot behind his ear and Harry gasped at the tickle of breath along his sensitive skin and the tiny hairs growing over his neck. "You can't just will an erection."
"I know," he said with panting breaths. "It feels good… to have you touch me… but so fucking hard to have nothing happen."
"Relax. Don't focus on anything, not your lack of erection, not my hand on you, just relax and let your body sense it all." His body was pressed tightly against Harry, it exuded heat and confidence and that musky smell of an aroused man. Harry's heart lurched.
Then Snape did something completely unexpected. Simultaneously he licked down Harry's neck to bite down at the base of his throat and then he pushed his magic into Harry's penis.
"Oh God. Oh God. Oh God, Severus," Harry cried out. The dam had broken—completely crumbled stone by stone under the onslaught of Snape's magic and wicked, wicked teeth and Harry could do nothing else but feel the power and the pleasure and the everything that came with it.
His cock jumped, filled and exploded with that one touch.
Perhaps this was the best birthday present ever.
Ninety-two days following:
It was a tune from his childhood, maybe it was a commercial jingle--he couldn't quite remember--that Harry was humming that morning. He was buttering slices of toast while Snape was showering, feeling better than he had in an age or two.
He'd come last night. He'd got an erection and come at Severus' contact and it'd made him practically pass out.
He wanted to try again, to make sure it wasn't just a fluke. He grinned at the thought as he flipped over a sausage in the frying pan.
Soon, Snape emerged from the washroom fully dressed. It was a marvel that in such humid weather he could still look fresh and comfortable.
"Good morning!" Harry greeted, laying out the plate of sausages and toast next to a jar of strawberry preserves.
Severus chuckled. "And good morning to you." He grabbed his teacup and sipped from it, hmming as he did so. His heavy lidded eyes tracked Harry as he moved around the kitchen, causing a shiver of delight to race across his skin. Finally, he looked into that dark gaze and his cock filled at what he saw.
"Oh Merlin," Harry groaned.
Casually, Snape set his cup on the table and with just two strides, he reached out and gripped Harry's wrist and dragged him back to the bedroom.
Ninety-nine days following:
"No more whining. Get your wand." Harry hated it when Snape got all professorish on him.
Harry stared up into the sky. "It isn't my wand. It's some dead guy's… a Death Eater's!"
Snape's scowl deepened. "A dead man that you killed. You won that wand. It is yours. The sooner you acknowledge that, the sooner it will work for you. Get. Your. Wand. Potter."
Harry flinched and went to retrieve the-man-whose-brains-he-bashed-in's wand. He returned with the sprig of willow, smooth against his finger tips. It'd cast the Cruciatus Curse for him back in his home dimension, but here if he really, really focused he could only get it to glow.
"Now, Harry," Snape said, his voice and features softening. "You must learn to use magic here. It is imperative. We will never see Draco again without you working magic."
Harry's heart sunk. "You didn't tell me that," he said in a very small voice.
"I was hoping I wouldn't have to, that you would have been working on your magic like I had asked you to. You must learn to use your wand. Now, pick it up. Come on, Harry, hold it properly."
Harry tightened his weak hold on the wand and aimed it towards Snape. "What would you like me to cast?" he asked snidely.
"Nothing, right now. I want you to send your magic into it, like I'd shown you before. I want you to feel that magic, let it flow from you." Harry certainly remembered Snape's magic going into his wand, the flow of it… he also remembered his magic flowing into other parts of him. A deep flush crept up his cheeks and down his neck.
"Harry…" Snape drawled, taking a step and penetrating Harry's personal space. He looked up at the man and his jaw fell open. "If you can lift this rock," he pointed at a fist sized stone on the ground, "with that wand, I will perform an act of fellatio on you to melt every cell in your body."
"Rock, Harry. Lift that rock."
With impressive effort, Harry tore his eyes away from Snape's and looked down at the stone. "That rock?" he asked.
Severus leaned forward and sighed into Harry's year, "Yes, that rock." Then he stood straight and stepped away.
It was true that in the past week Harry had discovered exactly why it was that Draco had wanted to play so often before he'd been lost. Snape was skilled in bed, forceful and gentle all at once, a combination that strummed Harry perfectly in light of his awe-inspiring inexperience. They hadn't performed any penetrative acts, well other than a finger or two, because Harry hadn't been ready, but in his mind he thought they'd done every other sexual action known to man. He knew Snape had a wicked mouth and his promise was certainly a worthy incentive.
It'd taken five deep breaths to fully pacify his nerves, but finally Harry felt ready and he pointed his wand at the stone and cast the Levitation Charm.
At first nothing at all happened. Then Harry sought out his magic and pushed it through his arm, into each finger and finally into his wand. His magic surged through him like a stampeding herd of antelope and the rock wriggled, tilted and then finally began floating. One inch, then two and in his shock, it flew through the sky and sailed off into the distance.
He watched it fly. His first real success at a spell in this dimension and he flew a rock to the other side of the earth.
He turned and grinned at Snape. "I did it!" he said happily.
"Yes, you did. Now… shall we?" Snape purred as he held out his hand, and Harry nodded dumbly as his insides dissolved into goo.
One hundred and twenty days following:
With proper incentive and constant work, Harry finally began to get the hang of his new wand and the odd way magic worked in this world. It wasn't natural and spontaneous, at least not for Harry, and he had to focus and force every single spell, from cantrip to charm. Eventually, the simpler spells were his to command and Snape had even taught him a charm to see the shadows of the other dimensions so close to their own. It astounded him that in some places this lake and field were highly trafficked by people constantly coming and going and here it was virtually deserted.
"It must be a park." Harry had wondered at it all.
Snape still refused to tell him about everything he had done when he was gone and whom he'd met, but Harry consciously decided not to push it. He didn't want to find out that he had died, or that Snape had been a true traitor or that Hermione and Ron had been captured and tortured. It was easier not knowing and he became appeased with the knowledge that the bad guys had been vanquished and nobody was going to come and try to kill them any more.
"Severus," Harry said one night, snuggled up close though it was humid and still an oven by sundown. "I wonder… when we get home, what will Draco think? About us?" Loud chirping from a host of crickets filled the stagnant, evening air.
Snape was gazing up at the ceiling and only a thin sheet covered them. A beast howled into the night, the sound lonely in the darkness. "Harry… This spell I discovered, it won't send us home."
What? He must have misheard. "Severus?"
"It won't send us home. I couldn't discover a way home. What I found was—"
"What do you mean you couldn't find us a way home?!" Harry yelled. "You said you found a spell!" He sat up and glared down at Severus. He was betrayed.
Severus closed his eyes. "I did find a spell. A spell to cross the dimensional boundaries… but it is only for a short time. Only two days per year," Severus tried to explain. Then he opened his eyes and they brimmed with compassion and Harry hated that look, hated Severus pitying him.
"Don't look at me like that," he spat, getting up from the bed. His eyes told lies.
One hundred and twenty-one days following:
He'd slept on the couch, and it was not the most comfortable of furniture. He couldn't define exactly what he was feeling, but he didn't want to be near Severus right now. He'd thought they were going home. Once they had mastered their magic, they would cast this spell Severus had discovered and they would go home.
Now, it seemed, he was trapped here on a 10-acre parcel of land in a world of strangers.
Rising at dawn, he went out to his rock and studied the water. It was placid this early, before the heat from the sun stirred it. He could see the sharp flashes of fish as they turned and darted amidst the submerged lake weed.
They were not going home. Ever.
He and Severus were stuck, out of time, out of place. Stranded in a world not their own.
Harry didn't turn. The sun glittered like thousands of fish scales on the lake's surface.
"I'm sorry." The words came from close by.
"'t's not your fault," he sniffed.
"I should have told you," Severus answered, moving right behind Harry.
He turned and looked up, and with a shrug he shook his head. "You were trying to protect me. But Severus… you can't do that anymore. We are stuck here together. You can't keep treating me like an innocent. I've tasted blood; I've seen war; I've lived through hell. You can't guard me anymore. You have to be truthful. You're all I got… I can't deal with it if I can't trust you." He stood and faced Severus, looking up into the taller man's face. It'd become so animated in his seclusion with Harry. He could see the sadness and the regret. And he could also see something else: love.
"You're right, Harry. I won't keep anything else from you any further. If you ask, I will tell you."
Harry nodded and said, "Let's go get some tea." Severus watched as Harry returned to the cabin.
"So, the spell will merge our dimensions together using specially soaked crystals and a ritual you found in Dawlish's library? We can't return?" He sipped his tea, trying to ease his tension. It had grown cool.
Snape shook his head once.
"Can't we recreate the scenario that trapped us here? Use a Sanctuary Spell and whatever it was Rowle cast?" Harry asked.
Snape snorted. "You seem to lack faith in my magical research skills, Harry." Harry rolled his eyes. "I worked off of those circumstances. Without knowing what Rowle cast, it will take some time to unscramble. As it was, I found this spell to layer the dimensions together on Beltane and Samhain."
"But you haven't given up, not really?" Harry asked eagerly, his tea cup halted at his lips.
"No, but I have little to go on. It will take time, Harry. This isn't a brainteaser; it's a bloody enigma."
Harry gulped his tea and shrugged. "But you've given me hope, and I thank you for that. Now, shall we study this spell you found?"
Snape taught Harry about the spell and the ritual components. He'd brought everything with him from his walkabout out into the world, and in all honestly, it seemed terribly simple.
Five charmed quartz crystals were to be soaked for three weeks in a potion made of crushed moonstone, dragon's blood and desiccated dryad bones. Then they would be laid out in the field, one in each corner of a square with the final in the middle. They would pace a circle around it five times and cast the spell.
"If it works as it should," Snape said, and Harry had no doubt it would if Snape was ready to perform it, "The veils will disappear and we should be able to pass through, or others could enter here, as long as it is through the circle."
"And it only lasts for a day?" Harry asked sadly.
"Yes. October 31st and May 1st."
"Well, we'll just have to make it twenty-four hours to never forget."
One hundred and thirty-six days following:
Bramburn's History of Centaur Culture by Triol Bramburn was not the most exciting book on the shelf, but he'd read the others at least four times. He sat outside on a wool blanket he'd spread across the grass. A cool, fall breeze rustled the trees as he flipped through the pages in the late afternoon.
He was trying to distract himself. October 31st was fast approaching. They would cast their spell and see Draco for one day, assuming he had remained at the cabin and saw the magical circle. They would tell Draco that they were lovers and gauge his reaction; Severus thought it would be positive. Harry hoped it would be.
But time had passed, and Harry wondered if Draco still wanted to be with them. Maybe Draco'd moved on.
Perhaps he already had another.
He didn't want to dwell on that and without proof it was mindless worry. He loved both Draco and Severus; maybe if Draco had someone new, he could continue to love his castaways as well, if only for one day.
But that wasn't the only thing eating at him as he read a paragraph describing the chieftain battles over and over. The challenger, who had donned the ritual headdress of the rival clan, raises his staff and cries three times, "I," and he speaks his name, "Challenge the Chief for the Mantel of Rulership." Once Samhain had passed what was Harry going to do?
A year ago terrible things had happened to him. Five months ago, another crushing blow. He hoped he'd paid his dues and the universe would finally let up on him. Was the next high magical day going to destroy him again?
The challenger, who had donned the ritual headdress of the rival clan, raises his staff and cries three times… And after. What then? He couldn't stay here in this secluded world, no matter the paradise it had seemed. He was safe, but he wasn't living. For a year now, he'd been standing still. His contentment had turned into boredom and decay. "I," and he speaks his name, "Challenge the Chief for the Mantel of Rulership. " He'd forgotten what it was like to live.
The chicken came out juicy on the inside and crisp on the outside. Severus certainly was a good cook. Harry spooned some steamed carrots onto his plate and poured a glass of berry juice. "Looks amazing, Severus," Harry told him, and Severus smiled.
"I've been thinking," he began.
"Oh, never a good thing," Snape said. Harry kicked his shin under the table. "Ow!"
"No, this is important. Listen." Snape set his utensils down across his plate and looked at Harry. Harry was caught between an eye roll and a snort, but then he sobered and said seriously, "I think that after Samhain… I think that we need to move on."
Snape raised his eyebrows and tilted his head.
"We can't stay here anymore. If we are stuck here, we have to--well, I have to--get out there. Do something with my life. I've got my magic back and I'm not so broken anymore… thanks to you and Draco. I need a life. I can't continue to hide here," he finished quietly.
Snape pondered Harry's words and then nodded. "You are right. We do need to move on."
"Will you go with me?" Harry asked the real question that was eating on him. He didn't want to go on without Severus.
"Of course, Harry," Snape said softly. "I will always remain by your side."
One hundred and fifty-one days following:
It was the first fire of the fall that they lit in the fireplace. It blazed cheerily and Harry was reminded of chess games and couch snuggling with his two men. Things had been so perfect back then.
He looked over at Severus, who sat with a book in his lap and a shuttered look on his face.
"Severus, what are you thinking about?" Harry asked.
He turned his head to Harry and his eyes sparkled. "I was just pondering our reunion."
"What, whether to brew more lube?" Harry asked with a cheeky grin. Snape laughed.
Impulsively, Harry grabbed the book from Snape's lap, tossed it to the floor and then straddled the man's lap. "We better practice, so we're not rusty." Like the setting sun, Snape's eyes transformed from bright to dark, smoldering as he lifted his face up to kiss Harry.
Their tongues danced, eager and needy, and Harry's hands roamed all over Severus' body, pulling away clothing as they passed. "Severus," he said as the older man devoured his throat. "Tonight… I want… I want you to be in me. I want to…" His words faded to a groan as Snape sucked hard and he could feel the man's erection brush up against his arse.
"Are you certain," Snape asked, his face hidden from Harry's gaze, but he could hear the desire and the joy in his scarred voice.
"Yes, " Harry moaned out. "I've been… hmm, Severus… been thinking about it… Merlin… for a while." Severus nibbled and sucked and played him like a violin, pulling out moans and sighs in the glow of the fire's light.
Snape stopped kissing him. "Take off your clothes," he ordered and Harry was thrust back into the memory when he, Draco and Severus were together before the fire, and Harry's blood pulsed with the image. He scrambled from Snape's lap and stood before him, backlit by the fire, and slowly, in a seductive dance, pulled his shirt from his shoulders. It slid off one shoulder and then the next and with a flutter it fell to the floor.
With each article of clothing discarded to the floor, Severus' eyes grew darker and darker; his lips parted and the rise and fall of his chest sped up. Slowly, his hand slipped past his waistband and when Harry dropped his pants, Severus' eyes jerked towards Harry's raging erection.
Severus' hand moved to his trouser button and he popped it and opened his fly, pulling out his own hard length. Harry's eyes bulged. "Do you like what you see?" Snape purred. Harry nodded dumbly. "Well come here and prove it."
Harry fell to his knees and clumsily walked upon them towards Snape. He looked at Severus' erection, hard and ready for Harry, and he wet his lips. With a quick glance up at Snape, he dove down and swallowed him whole.
"Oh, Harry. Harry… my talented Harry," Snape mumbled. He was inelegant in his enthusiasm, but Snape apparently judged him adequate by urging and cursing and promising the world.
Finally, his body stiffened and he pulled Harry away with a whimper. "Now, across my lap," he said breathlessly, and Harry complied.
They'd played with lube and fingers before, and Harry'd grown to know the exact tilt of his hips to help Severus hit his prostate every time. Snape stretched him, gently at first and then more enthusiastically as Harry began to beg and plead.
"Get up. Now." Harry scrambled up and Snape shucked off his pants. Harry looked down at him, eager yet unsure.
"How should…?" he asked.
"It would be easier on you if you are on your hands and knees…" Severus tried to explain.
"Fuck that," Harry said, and moved to sit across the man's lap.
It hurt at first, but it also felt delicious. A groan escaped his lips when was he fully seated. They stayed there for a moment, Harry wrapped in Severus' arms as he adjusted to the sensation.
"Ready?" Snape asked and Harry nodded, kissing him fervently and then he rose and lowered, slowly and steadily and soon the pain was a memory as Snape hit that spot inside him and all he could see were stars and all he could feel was Severus.
One hundred and eighty-two days following:
"Tomorrow's the day," Harry said. Though it had begun to get chilly, he was naked where he rested next to Severus. He'd come to realize how safe Snape made him feel. How at home. When had Snape become the world to Harry? It was a mystery: a silent, undefiable mystery. In the last year his life had completely changed, changed from anything he could have ever imagined and he had no clue on Merlin's magical earth how it'd happened.
"Yes," Severus said.
"We bring Draco over." How would Draco take it? That Harry and Severus had gotten so close, so close without him. It somehow seemed so unbalanced. They'd talked about it, but Harry still harbored concern.
"For a time, yes. Draco will be with us for a time."
Harry rolled over; Snape's dark eyes were studying him. "It's better than nothing," he said in a small voice. Then he swallowed and continued. "How do you think…" he paused and Snape said nothing. "Do you think he will be okay? I mean, us—getting so close."
"I think, Harry," Snape said, "That he would be happy."
One hundred and eighty-three days following:
Samhain arrived in the bright reds and oranges of fall, and with Snape's charm Harry could feel the flutter of other worlds when he focused his senses. The veil was thin; it was one of two days where travel between the different dimensions was possible. If this didn't work, they would have to wait another six months. What if Draco wasn't there? What if he'd given up?
He had to have faith that Draco knew they were trying. He had to have faith that Draco would forever be theirs.
Both men rose early, eager to perform the ritual and summon Draco through. Harry about buzzed with contained anticipation. If Draco was there and if he came through… then Harry could hold him again, kiss him, stroke him and Draco could stroke him, too. He and Draco and Severus. Together.
Maybe it was too much to ask that it all go perfectly, but he felt it was his due. The universe owed him.
"Ready, Harry?" Severus called from the far side of the ritual circle. They'd paced it out, laid it out with the charmed quartz that had been simmering in the potion for weeks. Snape stood directly north of him, about fifty yards away. A soft mist rained down from the partially cloudy sky making everything damp.
Harry nodded. "Of course!" He waved at Snape in his excitement; his wand gripped firmly, his magic coursing through it.
"Let's begin then," Severus said and began walking clockwise, Harry following suit. They walked opposite of each other along the perimeter of the casting circle chanting: "Interponi Munduso. Interponi Munduso."
A red wash filled the plane along the edge of their circle and in the oily film he could see other things. They were not alien things, or shocking things, but they were reflections of places other than his familiar existence. A small dog ran by, a couple was holding hands strolling through the field oblivious to the two wizards, and then there was something fantastic. Something that almost tripped up Harry's chant, but he swallowed his exclamation and continued his circular march.
The red was matched with yellows, blues and greens, and finally, on their fifth rotation, a white splash merged all the colors together and the veil was pierced.
Harry went to stand by Snape as they viewed this window into many other worlds, but it was only one world that truly caught their attention.
Clasping their hands together, the two wizards focused on that world, so close to their own with a cabin in the background and a glittering lake beyond. It was raining there as well and the plane from the spell they cast shimmered in rainbow hues.
"Isn't it beautiful?" Harry asked in awe. Snape squeezed his hand. Through the shifting colors they saw a form, a person walking towards them. There was breath-stopping familiarity with the gait of the man's stride as he walked, the lift of his chin as he looked over at them. Harry's breath stalled. This was it. This was it. The spell had worked. His heart pounded in his chest as Draco walked through.
"Yes, Harry. It is," Severus said.
Draco remained silent as he walked up to them. Harry smiled, overwhelmed. Draco looked from one man to the other, his eyes open and completely vulnerable as he roamed over every inch of them and settled on the entwined fingers, the touch of their shoulders. Harry waited. And then Draco lifted his face and smiled. No words could even capture how Harry felt. Here was Draco. Draco, whole and safe and beautiful and theirs. Snape remained silent as well, but Harry was certain he appreciated these careless moments of beauty as much as he did.
Harry opened his right arm and Snape opened his left and Draco walked into their embrace.