Warnings: Slash and non-slash, probably OOC, swearing, and affairs
Pairings: SS/HP and HP/GW
Genres: Romance, Drama, Angst
Summary: Harry's engaged to Ginny, but then along comes Severus Snape. SLASH, SS/HP, POST DH
SPOILERS FOR DEATHLY HALLOWS
Disclaimer/Spoilers: This is very much post-book 7 with one major exception (Snape). The information referring to what the characters went on to do/work as/marry is taken from J.'s post-DH interview so none of those ideas are mine either, although I have added and changed a few things.
Chapter One: Reacquainted
Harry shivered in the cold and pulled his robe tight around him as he stepped out onto the rain washed street. The grey clouds overhead rumbled menacingly and the bright lanterns swung on their hooks as a strong wind rolled down the crooked lane. Witches and wizards hurried along, some huddling under umbrellas, others pulling out their wands to perform charms to keep themselves dry. With a sigh that sounded more like a groan, Harry rearranged the box under his arm and headed for the pub, keeping his prey in sight.
The walk felt a lot longer than it normally would have done, but given that he was ducking his head, trying hard not to be spotted, it didn't come as a surprise – people had a habit of stopping him and making conversation whenever they saw him and, even though Harry knew they meant well, he had more important things to do this evening; besides, he was already running late as it was.
He cursed as he stepped in a puddle, water soaking him to the ankles, but still he continued down the street, eyes fixed firmly on the figure ahead of him. A flash of light lit up the sky, quickly followed by another low rumble of thunder and Harry sped up his pace, trying desperately to stay under the shop canopies, out of the rain and out of sight.
He was just passing Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes when another flash rent the sky. Ahead of him, the figure came to a halt. It stood still in the middle of the street and for the briefest of moments Harry thought he'd been spotted. The figure, however, merely ducked into the bookshop and disappeared from sight.
Moaning in frustration, Harry hurried for cover behind a large crate of 'Canary Creams' to wait for the reappearance of the man he'd been following. A couple of witches gave him funny looks as they passed, but he kept his head down, trying to hide his face in the dark shadows.
Gripping the large box under his arm tightly, Harry checked his watch. 7:40pm. He was supposed to have been home ten minutes ago to give himself enough time to get ready, but the party didn't start until 8. He knew he was pushing it but…if he was right…if it was indeed him…
He licked his lips and, slowly, carefully, he peaked out from behind the crate, just in time to see the door to Flourish and Blotts opening. Out stepped the dark figure - long black robes, black hair…pale skin that glowed in the light from the candle-lit lanterns…and that nose – he'd recognise that nose anywhere. It was him.
But before Harry could even think what to do, the man with the hooked nose had set off down the street again. Damning his own curiosity, Harry followed.
He kept a fair distance away, not wanting to alert the other man to his presence. In his head he was trying to form all the questions he wanted to ask, but he found himself transfixed by those billowing robes, the likes of which he hadn't seen in almost five years. He remembered those long strides all too well and he slowed his own down as the man came to a stop at the wall leading to The Leaky Cauldron.
Harry watched from the shadows as the man pulled out his wand and tapped the correct brick. The wall parted to let him through and he passed without a glance and entered the building beyond. As soon as Harry was sure the door on the other side had closed, he ran forwards and repeated the actions.
Slowly, he pushed open the door and slid into the dimly lit room.
The dusty old pub was the same as ever, with its creaky wooden furniture and lively customers. Over in one corner of the room were a group of young men, arguing loudly over the result of the latest Qudditch match, and opposite them were a few old, wrinkled women playing poker. No one seemed to notice that Harry Potter had just stepped into their midst and that suited Harry just fine. He walked further into the room and movement caught his eye – a dark robe disappearing up the staircase.
He glanced around and headed for the bar.
"Hello, Tom," he said politely, wiping his wet hair out of his face.
"Good evening, ," the old barman smiled toothlessly. "What can I do for you?"
"That man that just came in," said Harry, nodding towards the stairs, "What room is he staying in?"
"I'm afraid I can't tell you that Mr. Potter," he said, with a shake of his head. "I have to respect their privacy, you see. Unless, of course," he added, eyeing Harry's blue robes, "it's Ministry business."
Harry blinked, and decided to cease the opportunity.
"It is," he said, standing up straight.
"Well, in that case…" Tom looked around the noisy bar before leaning towards Harry. "Room three," he told him. "But keep it clean, yeah? If you have to arrest him do it somewhere else. Bad for business, you see."
"Don't worry Tom," said Harry, smiling at him, "I just need some information from him. Nothing nasty, I assure you."
With a last smile at the barkeeper, Harry turned and headed off in the direction of the stairs. He climbed them, feeling his heart pounding with each step he took. He still didn't understand why he was doing this…but something inside him told him that it was the right thing to do…
He reached the top of the stairs and headed along the empty hallway, listening to the laughter and chatter floating up from the pub below. The wind howled angrily, shaking the windows in their frames and Harry had to suppress a shudder.
All too soon, he found room number three.
He tried to remember the questions he had wanted to ask but he suddenly found there were none. His mind had gone completely blank and for a long moment all he could do was stare at the closed door.
He'd felt compelled to follow…he'd seen the man passing through the street and had just been so curious…But why? What could he possibly gain from this?
The brass number '3' fixed on the door seemed to be taunting him. Harry scowled at it and raised an arm.
A deep breath, and then…
It was exactly two seconds before the door was swung open. Harry started in surprise but managed to keep his composure as he took in the sight before him.
Severus Snape. Tall, dark, and brooding. He looked the same as ever, with his black robes and dark eyes. His long, stringy hair fell about his pale face and his top lip curled as he looked at Harry.
He didn't even look surprised.
"Well?" he said, as Harry stood there in silence. "Are you after something?"
Harry swallowed a lump in his throat.
Snape snorted. "As eloquent as ever. Come on Potter; I haven't got all night."
"You…what are…I was…"
Snape rolled his eyes with a suffering sigh. "I can see this is going to take some time. Well, you might as well come in. I refuse to have this little exchange of words in the hallway."
Feeling incredibly stupid, Harry entered the room. It was nothing fancy, made up of nothing more than a bed, chest of drawers, and sink.
Behind him, Snape closed the door.
"So," he said, sitting down on the edge of the rickety bed, "out with it Potter. What have I done to earn myself a stalker?"
Harry eyebrows shot up.
"You knew I was following you?" he asked, finally getting a hold of his voice.
Snape let out a grunt of amusement.
"Of course I knew. I knew you were there the moment you stepped out of the shop. I recognised your magic immediately. And you call yourself an Auror," he finished, smirking at Harry and shaking his head.
Once again, Harry found himself speechless. Here he was, in this cheap little room in The Leaky Cauldron, having a conversation with Snape as if it were an everyday occurrence. In three more months it would have been five years exactly since they'd last seen each other, and yet Snape was sat here, not even batting an eyelid!
Memories of the war flashed through his mind and he shook his head.
"The last time I saw you, you were in a hospital bed," he said to Snape, staring down at him. "The next morning you just…disappeared. Just got up and left! Why? Where have you been all these years? Why have you never gotten in touch with people? Minerva was worried sick!"
Snape held Harry's eyes for a few moments before looking away and sighing. He ran his hands over his pale face before looking back up again.
"Potter," he said, and he sounded quite tired all of a sudden, "Why do you ask? What makes you think I would answer any questions you have for me? Do you think yourself special because you saved the world? Do you think you should be obeyed?"
Harry stared at him, very much torn between disbelief and amusement. Even after all this time, the man still wanted to fight with him.
"I ask because I was worried," he told him earnestly. "You suffered a terrible injury, there was so much poison in your blood…you were lucky Madam Pomfrey was able to save you. Why run away? Everyone knew the truth, I made sure of it. They were all praising you for taking such a risk."
But Snape was shaking his head, amused, once more, at Harry's words.
"Do you think I want praise?" he said. "Do you think I want to be praised for the things I have done?"
"It's better than being called a murderer," Harry replied. "You had nothing to fear, so why run?"
"Why do you think?" he said calmly. "Why does anyone run? To get away."
"To get away from what?" Harry asked, confused.
"Everything," Snape said with a shrug. "I knew I wasn't a wanted man. But it was over. There was no need for me to stay any longer. I wanted to put it all behind me."
"And you couldn't have informed someone first?" Harry asked sceptically.
"I had my reasons, Potter," he told him impatiently. "I haven't shut myself away from society if that's what you're thinking. We just haven't been unlucky enough to bump into one another. Until now."
"So where have you been then?" Harry pressed on, keen for some answers now that they were talking.
"Why would I possibly tell you that?" said Snape.
"Well, do people know you're alright? Minerva and everyone?"
Severus sighed. "Yes," he said.
"Why wasn't I ever informed?" he demanded – after all the trouble Harry had gone to to clear the man's name, surely someone would have thought to let him know that he was still alive and well!
"The world does not revolve around you, Potter," said Snape with a nasty sneer. "Not anymore at least. Now, are we done here?"
Snape stood up and gripped his sleeve tightly. Harry staggered.
"You have invaded my privacy long enough," he said, dragging Harry towards the door. "I would very much appreciate it if you would leave."
"But – but I haven't finished talking to you," he stammered, trying not to trip over his own feet.
"How unfortunate for you then," Snape said dryly. He gave Harry one final push and he stumbled into the hall.
"What – ?"
"Give my regards to all your little friends," he said. "It was lovely to see you again." And with that, the door closed in Harry's face.
Harry stood for a moment, not entirely sure what had just happened. He went over his words in his head, trying to see if he had said something to offend his ex-professor, but there was nothing. The man was just simply rude.
Straightening his robes, Harry huffed and made his way back downstairs.
"Where the hell have you been?" Ginny snapped at him the moment he appeared in the living room. "God, you're a mess! We had to be there five minutes ago! Give me that," she said, snatching the box from his hands. "God, we're going to be so late. Hurry up and get changed!"
Harry let out the breath he had been holding and collapsed onto the sofa. He didn't see why she was so angry – it had been her fault he had been in Diagon Alley anyway. She'd ordered some new robes for the party and since they had been so expensive they had required a signature upon collection. If she had just made do with the dozens of robes she already owned than there would have been no need to go to Diagon Alley and he wouldn't have run into Snape! Simple really.
With a heavy sigh, Harry began to take off his shoes, lost in memories of years passed. A lot had changed since he'd left Hogwarts behind and, even though there were dark arts-obsessed crazy people still running about the place, things were a hell of a lot calmer.
The first year following the end of the war had been the most difficult. Kingsley Shacklebolt, the new Minister for Magic, had had more than his hands full in the aftermath, chasing up runaway Death Eaters, weeding out traitors, and trying desperately to restore peace within the wizarding community. Eventually, with the help of the remaining Order members, Kingsley had turned things around. Working at the Ministry was now something people looked forward to.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville had all been offered jobs as Aurors. Hermione had declined and the following September she had returned to Hogwarts to finish her education, joining Ginny and Luna in the year below. Surprisingly, Neville had opted to do the same and had graduated with an 'O' in Herbology a year later.
Ron had also turned down the offer in favour of helping out his brother George with Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. With Fred gone, the remaining twin had been finding it difficult and Ron's heart had been with his family. However, he had eventually taken Kingsley up on his offer the following summer and now enjoyed a comfortable and exciting job as an Auror.
Harry had accepted straight away.
Hermione, after receiving straight 'O's in her N.E.W.T's, now worked at the Ministry, in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, where she was happily throwing all her efforts into helping magical beasts and beings gain more rights – at current she was working on trying to get Centaurs and Merpeople seats in the Wizengamot. Ginny's career had also taken off pretty quickly after leaving Hogwarts and she now enjoyed the position of seeker on the Holyhead Harpies Quidditch team.
Luna and Neville, meanwhile, had flown off to explore the world. Neville had quickly returned home though and was now working as a Herbologist for St. Mungo's Hospital, although he hoped one day to become a teacher when it came time for Professor Sprout to retire. Luna, in a move that was both fitting and bizarre, was a Wizarding Naturalist and had already written her own book. Hermione was still pretending she wasn't jealous.
In other news, Fleur had given birth to the first Weasley grandchild – a beautiful, blonde girl by the name of Victorie, named so for the ending of the war.
Ron and Hermione were, of course, dating and had been since the end of the war. After attending the many funerals of lost loved ones, they had flown out to Australia to find Hermione's parents and restore their memories. They had been successful – Mr. and Mrs. Granger now lived in Swanage, and Ron and Hermione had recently moved to a small house in Ottery St. Catchpole, the village near The Burrow.
Also living nearby were Andromeda Tonks and little Teddy Lupin. After the death of her husband (and then her daughter and son-in-law), Andromeda had sold her place and had moved to a lovely cottage that was just on the outskirts of Devon. Harry stopped by once a week to pay them both a visit and together he and Andromeda tried to answer any questions Ted had for them about his parents. Being the curious little toddler that he was, he was never short of things to ask.
Also keeping in touch was Aberforth Dumbledore who, rumour had it, was trying – unsuccessfully – to 'woo' Minerva McGonagall. After the war, Professor McGonagall had taken up her rightful place as Headmistress of Hogwarts and was doing a grand job of things.
The curse on the Defence Against the Dark Arts job had finally been broken and a Professor Nicholas Carter had succeeded in holding the position for three years before being struck down with a deadly case of dragon pox. People had waved it off as a funny coincidence and now the teaching post was being filled by a charming young woman named Isabelle Howard.
Professor Slughorn was still Head of Slytherin and Potions Professor of Hogwarts – given that he'd originally agreed to only come back temporarily, the man was doing remarkably well.
Percy Weasley, proudly reinstated junior assistant to the Minister, had recently married – his wife, Audrey, was expecting their first child any day now.
Charlie, much to his mother's dismay, hadn't settled down and had no intentions to do so. He was far more content with his job and the travelling opportunities it offered him – although he had, at one point, had a fling with Luna Lovegood when they'd bumped into each other in Sweden. Ron was still recovering from the shock whilst Luna was happily dating a man named Rolf Scamander.
George was single and seemed to like it that way. The death of his twin brother had naturally had a devastating effect on him and for a while everyone had been worried – at one point, the poor guy hadn't even been able to face looking in a mirror. But as the years had gone by he'd slowly started to turn into his mischievous self again and was now once more up to his old tricks.
And then there was Harry. Recently promoted to Head of the Auror Department, he was more famous than ever and had now been sharing a lovely townhouse in London with Ginny Weasley for two years.
Life was good, he thought as he stood up from the sofa and headed for the bedroom. It had its ups and downs like everything else, but overall he was enjoying things immensely. He had loyal friends and a comfortable home and his work was far from boring. And Ginny – Ginny, his high school sweetheart; Ginny, the love of his life.
And so it was in high spirits that Harry headed off for The Burrow.
After all, it wasn't everyday you celebrated your own engagement.
A/N: OK, so I probably shouldn't have posted this until I had my other fic finished, seeing as how I have trouble keeping up with quick updates as it is! But I couldn't resist!
Please review and tell me what you think! xx