Rating: M

Warnings: Slash, swearing, infidelity, ignores epilogue, probably a bit OOC

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

Chapter Twenty: Addiction

"It's that time of the year again," Ron muttered quietly, scratching the sharp end of his favourite quill into his desk, a frown fixed to his face.

"Another year, another batch," nodded Samuel.

"I heard they were only taking on three this year," Karen whispered with wide eyes. "Cut-backs."

"I heard that one of them has only just been released from Azkaban after serving fifty years for murder!" a shocked Jeremy told the group of Aurors.

"Well I heard that one of the new kids is a werewolf," Lydia supplied. "Imagine that!"

"There's nothing wrong with werewolves," Ron said, firing up at once.

"You read up on Fenrir Greyback and say that," she answered wisely.

"Yeah? Well, you read up on Remus Lupin and say that!" he retorted.

"Ssh," said Karen, waving her hands at both of them. "Here they come, look!"

As one, the group looked up, Ron swivelling round in his chair. A line of people were filing through the open door - five of them, three male and two female, all wearing black robes with the words "Trainee" stamped on the breast pocket in red. Head Auror Harry Potter led them to the front of the room, Head of Department Gawain Robards bringing up the rear.

By now the rest of the Aurors in the room had noticed the arrival of the new people and had stopped what they were doing to look over. Some of them were whispering to one another, others were waiting patiently in be introduced. Harry smiled at the room and cleared his throat.

"Could I just have everyone's attention?" he asked unnecessarily. "Thank you. First of all, I would like you all to welcome the new recruits joining our brilliant team this year." There was scattered applause. "I can assure you that any rumours you may have heard -" he looked pointedly over at Lydia and Karen "- are completely false. We're very lucky to be having such smart and skilled witches and wizards joining our ranks. They've worked very hard studying for their Auror examinations and will continue to do so for their training over the coming months. As is the usual way," he explained, "some of you will be partnered up with the new recruits and I expect you to treat each other with the utmost respect and loyalty, and not just in the field. I'll now hand you over to Gawain for a few more words."

Harry smiled around at the Auror-filled office once more before heading over to join Ron and friends. He perched himself on Ron's desk and folded his arms, listening to Robards.

"…sure you remember well you're first day here so I expect you all to…"

"Oi, Harry!" Ron whispered near his elbow. "Am I paired up with anyone?"

Harry rolled his eyes, barely containing his grin. Like Robards had just said, he did indeed remember his first day as a trainee Auror well. He remembered how nerve-wracking it had been to stand in front of a room full of qualified Aurors and introduce yourself, especially when you'd just finished saving the world and everyone knew a lot more about you than just your name already.

He also remembered how nervous he'd been when he'd been assigned his partner for the next six months. It hadn't taken him long to figure out how the process worked.

Aurors that worked in pairs had a responsibility to look out for their partner. But looking out for a partner that was still in training wasn't something that everyone wanted to do. There were few that took on the role gladly, who saw it as a challenge and a way to prove themselves as a mentor. But most just didn't want the hassle.

Harry's partner when he had joined had been an Auror named Kevin. Old and grouchy, yet highly skilled and surprisingly flexible, Harry had had to work very hard to gain his respect. They'd bickered and shouted and had never managed to agree on a single thing. Then one day, on what had started out as a routine arrest of a bunch of youths causing trouble on a muggle housing estate, they'd been ambushed by Death Eaters. Kevin had been hit with a jinx that had momentarily robbed him of any sense of direction, but then, from a dark corner, a killing curse had shot his way. Harry had rushed at Kevin and knocked him out of the way in time, the impact of landing on the hard ground bringing Kevin back to his senses just in time to shove Harry out of the way of a blasting curse heading towards him. It had hit Kevin instead, ripping his arm right out of its socket. In the few shocked seconds that had followed, Harry had heard someone jeering and he'd shot a stunning spell straight at the place where the voice had come from, knocking the wind right out of Rodolphus Lestrange, leaving him free, finally, to be arrested and brought to justice.

Harry smiled to himself and made a mental note to arrange dinner plans with Kevin, the still-grouchy, but now-retired, Auror.

"I did think about pairing Seamus Finnigan with you," Harry said quietly to Ron now, as Robards prattled on about there being no 'I' in 'team', "but it would have been a pretty unfair advantage to the rest of the recruits if he was partnered with someone he already knew…"

"Good thinking," Ron said, looking quite relieved.

"…so I partnered you with Joe instead," he grinned. "He's the one with the all the facial piercings at the end there."

Samuel laughed and hit Ron on the back as he let out a hacking, choking cough.

"Are you quite alright, Auror Weasley?" Robards asked across the room, cutting his speech short.

"I'm - I'm f - fine," Ron coughed. He turned to glare at Harry and mouthed the words 'I hate you.' Harry laughed and got up to pair the recruits.

"So I hear Ron has a new partner at work," Ginny said cheerfully as she sat down across from Harry at the kitchen table, delicious chicken, gravy, and roast potatoes in front of them.

Harry swallowed his mouthful of wine. "His name is Joe, he has long green hair, listens to heavy mental, and has sixteen piercings, only nine of which you can actually see."

"Oh my…" Ginny giggled. "I can only imagine where those other seven are."

Harry grinned. "He scored the highest in all the Auror examinations and out of all the applications we had this year he had a very respectful looking CV. He studied in Japan for a number of years and has worked in magical security ever since leaving school. He has qualifications to rival even Hermione."

"Impressive. And you partnered him with Ron because…?"

"Because he hasn't had a partner at work since he started," he pointed out. "It'll be good for him. They could learn a lot from each other."

"Hey, I'm not complaining," Ginny said, holding up her hands and laughing. "Anything that makes my brother uncomfortable is fine with me."

Harry grinned.

They spent the rest of the meal chatting about friends, updating each other on the latest news and gossip. After eating a wonderful sticky toffee pudding for dessert, Harry declared himself full and retired to the living room sofa in front of the TV. A muggle soap was playing, some scruffy-looking female characters having a screaming argument in a pub, so he switched over, flicking through the channels until he found one playing music. He dropped the remote on the sofa and stretched his legs out in front of him, closing his eyes and relishing the chance to relax after such a challenging day at work.

Out of the five Aurors he'd paired up with new recruits, only one of them had taken it without complaint. In a way, he understood their reluctance - they didn't want the added responsibility, they didn't want to be worrying about looking after someone else, they just wanted to get on with whatever they'd been assigned. But surely they remembered what it was like to be the new guy? To be resented because you were the new guy or simply because of who you were? Harry knew that feeling all too well - the Dursleys had made sure of that for over half his life, and Snape hadn't exactly hidden his feelings on Harry's first day at Hogwarts.

Harry snorted. That bastard.

"What's so funny?" Ginny asked, sitting down at the other end of the sofa. She had a glass of red wine in one hand and a Quidditch magazine in the other.

"These music videos," he said, glancing back at the screen where a boy band was in the middle of a tricky piece of choreography.

"I know," Ginny sniggered. "The dance moves are so gay." She wriggled around a bit on the sofa and stretched her legs across Harry's lap. "Though I gotta say, the music is a hell of a lot better than what we have in our world. Makes me wanna go clubbing." She bobbed up and down where she sat, shrugging her shoulders to the music, and waggling her eyebrows at Harry.

Harry got the hint and sighed. "Not tonight," he said tiredly. "It's been a long day."

She rolled her eyes. "Spoil sport." She flicked open her magazine and Harry returned to the television, watching the smartly dressed men on the screen grinding with scantily clad women, moving their hips in time with the music.

He wondered if Severus had ever been clubbing, and for a couple of minutes he tried to imagine the picture the man would make, swapping his long robes for a shirt and a tight pair of jeans, throwing some moves on the dance floor.

Harry grinned at the image. He was sure Snape would curse him for even entertaining the idea, but it was far too amusing too ignore. He wondered vaguely what sort of clubs Snape would go to. Harry knew there were plenty of gay bars in London, though, of course, he'd never been in. He wondered if Snape had, back in his youth. Had he ever picked anyone up for the night? Taken them home and fucked them senseless?

"OK, here's something for you to do," Ginny said, and he looked up to see her reading from the magazine. "For a chance to win five hundred Galleons and two tickets to this season's Premier League match of your choice, just answer the following questions."

"I'm not eligible to win because I'm engaged to a Quidditch player," he pointed out dryly.

Ginny stuck her tongue out. "Just for fun," she said. "Question one; name the position played by new the captain of the Lawford Lions, Dominic Darwin."

"Easy. Beater."

"Two; name the manager that was involved in the controversial signing of former Appleby Arrows seeker, Malachy Taylor."

That one had been all over the news, Harry remembered.

"Trevor Knight."

"Question three, and I swear there'll be no sex for a week if you don't get this! Name the seven players that make up the all-girl team, the Holyhead Harpies." Ginny lowered the magazine and glared at him.

Harry smiled and looked thoughtful. "Let's see…there's Kat and Lanette," he said, ticking them off on his fingers. "There's Rhiannon, and then there's Gwenog, Zoe, and Tarren, and then there's the Seeker…Jenny? No, that's not it. Gina? No…"

"You're an arse, you know that?" she laughed, shoving at him with her foot.

"Oh, I remember now," he grinned, grabbing hold of her leg. He pushed it aside and crawled on top of her. "It's the gorgeous," - kiss to her neck - "lovely," - kiss to her cheek - "sexy," - kiss to her chin - "absolutely amazing…Ginny Weasley."

She laughed again, the sound making his stomach churn nervously, and he bent his head and brought their lips together in a slow kiss. She hummed softly and kissed him back, opening her mouth and tempting Harry's tongue in. She wrapped her arms around his neck and before Harry knew what was happening, she'd apparated them to the bedroom.

They landed heavily on the bed. Ginny moaned and arched her back, her hips rolling against him. Her arms fell away from his neck and he reached up and tugged her shirt off, kissing tanned skin as it was revealed, inch by inch, so soft beneath his lips.

He pulled away for a few seconds, just enough to divest himself of his own clothes, loving the way her eyes watched the movement of his trousers as they fell to the floor. He yanked his boxers down and pulled his shirt off before returning to Ginny.

He covered her body with his own, his weight resting on his arms as he sucked at her neck, as her lips pressed against his shoulder. He snaked a hand behind her back and she arched upwards, leaving him free to unclasp the bra and peel it away. He squeezed her breasts in his hands, first one and then the other, loving the weight of them in his palm, loving how her nipples hardened as he swept his thumb over them. He trailed his hands up her sides, taking hold of her arms and pinning them above her head. She arched up again, purring, pressing her naked breasts against his skin, trying to get as close to him as she could, hooking her legs over his waist, squeezing, undulating.

Crossing her arms above her head, he held them there with one hand as he kissed down her neck, down to her chest, and sucked on one of her nipples. He wanted to use teeth, he wanted to bite them and make her gasp, he wanted his nipples to be played with, he wanted Snape to -

He growled and captured her mouth in his. Her lips were so warm and soft and they slid perfectly against his own. She kissed him back, not hot and desperate like Snape, but slowly and sweetly, leaving Harry in charge…

He tore his mouth away. He let go of her arms. He returned to her breasts, licking, sucking, nipping. His hands crept to her sides, holding her hips in place, as he moved lower down her writhing body, kissing her glowing skin, not pale, not scarred, not imperfect…

A hand on his head, stroking. He butted at it, wanting her to pull on his hair, wanting her to push his head further down, but all she did was weave her fingers through it, her moans getting louder.

He returned to her mouth, wanting focus, needing something to consume him, and he kissed her hard and fast and he heard her breath hitch as she tried to keep up with this new pace, but she wasn't kissing him back hard enough, just making those noises that sounded so breathy, and she didn't even try to take control like Snape would have done -

He ripped his mouth away from hers and turned away.

Fucking Snape. Fucking Snape trapped in his fucking thoughts.

"I can't…I can't, I…"

He trembled as he lay there, his forehead resting against her shoulder.

"Harry? Harry, what's wrong?"

Closing his eyes, he bit his lips and shook his head, trying to even his breathing out. He felt her hand stroke up his back and he rolled off her, to the side. Snape was still swimming around in his mind, all pale and forceful and everything that Harry wanted at that moment. He swung his legs up and sat on the side of the bed, his hands gripping the edge. He didn't want to be near her. He couldn't bear her touch.

"Harry? Harry, it's OK. Please." The bed dipped as she moved, and her hand fell softly on his shoulder. "Come here," she said quietly.

But he just shook his head again. Unable to look at her, he slid off the bed and away from her hand. He shrugged on his dressing gown as quickly as he could without seeming desperate to get away, and left the room.

He wanted to go to the kitchen, to grab a bottle of Ogden's finest, and forget this little scene had ever taken place, but the thought that she'd follow him made him head for the bathroom. He locked the door behind him.

This is insane, he thought angrily, splashing his face with cold water and avoiding his reflection in the mirror. This is so fucking insane.

He shouldn't be having an affair in the first place, he knew that. But comparing them, and in such an intimate way, somehow felt like the most sinful act he'd ever committed. It felt like he was violating them. He shouldn't be comparing them. But he couldn't help it. His mind refused to listen; it picked out things without his consent, things that should have been, and were, sentimental and personal.

Snape wouldn't kiss me like that, he'd grab hold of my hair tightly and kiss me until I couldn't breath. Snape wouldn't kiss my shoulders delicately, he'd bite them and leave bruises.

How was it that people didn't go crazy from having affairs? Morals aside, how the hell did people cope?

Shutting off the cold water tap, he slid on to the floor, his back against the side of the bath, thinking.

He remembered the very first time he'd slept with Ginny. He'd been terrified.

It had been a year after the war had ended, the summer Ginny had finished school. She'd snuck out of The Burrow one night and had turned up on Harry's front door, at Grimmauld Place. In bed with her for the first time, Harry's whole body had trembled with nerves, his thighs an uncontrollable quivering mess. He'd wanted to make love to her more than anything and he'd been excited about losing his virginity, but that excitement had been coupled with great anxiety. More than anything else he remembered being embarrassed - embarrassed that his heart was beating so hard and fast, scared that Ginny would come too close and feel it thumping through his chest. He remembered well the sweaty, musky smells, the noises as he'd thrust in and out, the paranoia of being judged on looks and technique. The fact that Ginny had left him in charge and he hadn't really had a clue what to do, asides from the obvious. It really hadn't been a special moment - not what he'd expected at all, not after hearing people talk about how the first time was magical and one of the best experiences a person would have. If anything, it had been quite mortifying.

Now, of course, things were different. The smells and noises were still there, but he was used to it. It was all entirely normal, nothing to be embarrassed about. He no longer trembled with nerves and his heart didn't try to escape through his chest.

But things were different with Snape. With Snape, the smells and noises weren't just an expected part of it - they added to it. When he was with Snape he wanted to hear the sound of skin slapping against skin, he wanted to smell the sweat coming from the other man, he wanted the unmistakable smell of sex all around him. Because, somehow, it was much easier to enjoy those things with another bloke. With a girl, with Ginny, he sort of felt like he had to keep her clean. It probably sounded really sexist, but he wanted to keep her away from those smells and noises because they felt indecent. He wanted things to remain on her level, not his. With Snape he was free to let those inhibitions go.

Cursing how fucked up his life was, he got up off the floor and thought of some excuse to tell Ginny that would explain away his behaviour in the bedroom.

"Hey, mate, listen," said Ron, the moment Harry stepped through the door the following morning. "About green-haired Joe. Do I have-"

"Yes," Harry said firmly, hiding his sigh by taking a swig from his coffee cup.

"But he's weird," Ron complained.

"He's not weird," Harry said, collecting his files from Jeremy and strolling into his office. "He's just different from you and me."

"You, me, and everyone else who works here," he pointed out.

This time Harry couldn't hide his sigh. "Ron," he warned.

"He's invited me out for a drink on Friday."

"A date? How lovely. Make sure to wash your hair and wear your loveliest clothes."

"He said he wants to learn more about me and get used to the feel of my magic," he continued.

"It's nice to know that some people are taking their jobs seriously and making an effort."

"Can't you come with me?" he begged. "Or arrange a night out with the other Aurors so we can all go together?

"I can't Ron," he said, swivelling his chair round and sitting down. "I'm at Snape's on Friday." And I'm not cancelling for anything, he thought to himself.

"Go on, just this once," Ron whined. "I don't think I can handle being around Joe for more than an hour. We have nothing in common and I keep thinking I'll ask him about his other piercings just to break the silence!"

Harry laughed, but gave his friend an apologetic shrug. "I'm sorry Ron. Maybe next time? Besides," he added, taking another sip of coffee, "it'll do you good, getting to know your work partner. He's right in what he says about getting to know your magical signature, you know. Any bonding the two of you do can only help your work relationship."

"Bonding?" Ron scoffed and headed for the door. When he reached it, he turned back to Harry. "I don't care if you think you're doing me a favour," he said. "You owe me."

Harry laughed again at his friend and began to arrange the files on his desk. Glancing at them, he was extremely glad he hadn't been one of the Aurors on call last night; 43 reports of suspicious activity, 28 assaults, 19 burglaries, 15 complaints about neighbours, 11 muggle-related incidents, and 3 domestics.

Why couldn't everyone just get along?

Downing the rest of his coffee, he grabbed a red quill and began to make his way through the reports, underlining everything he wanted to hear more about and circling anything that was important to the individual case or familiar to another. It was a job that took all morning and, thankfully, with the trainee Aurors adding to the man-power in the offices and out in the field, he had enough time to himself to get it all done. Only when he'd finished did he allow his mind to wander.

Waking up next to Ginny had been very awkward that morning. Not knowing what was wrong with Harry, she'd convinced herself that he hadn't been able to 'get it up' because of all the stress at work. Obviously Harry much preferred her version of things than the actual reality; that he was so obsessed with Severus Snape that he couldn't enjoy being with anyone else.

Maybe Snape was like a drug, he thought miserably. Maybe he needed a fix. But a fix only lasted so long and Harry knew he needed more than that. A lot more.

He dropped his quill on his desk and rubbed at his forehead, the sharp beginnings of a headache starting to make themselves known. He really wished he could forget about Snape, because now all he could think about were Snape's fingers tugging at his hair, and Snape's nails digging into his skin. Snape's hard body pressing him into the mattress. The smell of Snape, the feel of Snape.

Yep. Snape was a drug, all right. And Harry was well and truly addicted.

Friday couldn't come quick enough.

A/N: Thank you for the wonderful reviews. I know it wasn't a quick update but hopefully it wasn't too long this time.

Please review. I hope you're enjoying it. x