Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Harry Potter.
Note: So this is a Yule slash story that takes place during seventh year when Harry stays at school for Christmas and becomes ill. I know, has been done before, but not by me. Let's begin.
Summary: Yule is always a time for miracles but can one Harry Potter hope for his own miracle while he is ill?
Pairing: Harry Potter/Severus Snape
Title: Yule Miracle
"Good lord, Potter, you look paler then usually. How do you manage to pull it off?" The slight sneer that accompanied those words was not the thing Harry Potter had been hoping to hear from Professor Severus Snape.
The dark eyes watched him as he made his way over to the table on Christmas Day in the Great Hall. Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry was nearly deserted for the first Voldemort free Christmas Vacation in years.
There was no more fear of Death Eaters or any other follows of Dark magic which would be likely to attack and so most of the 1000 students had left to go home. Everybody, except a handful and including resident hero of the wizarding world Harry Potter.
Since there were so few students Headmistress Professor Minerva McGonagall had cleared one table for the staff and the students who remained. Harry winced as his muscles protested against the slight movements of walking.
The only place at the table was the seat next to Professor Snape. Could it have been any different for him? Of course not. The fact that he was madly in love with the snarky Professor did not seem to matter in the slightest.
How he came to be in love? Well even Harry was not sure how that had happened but ever since he had saved Professor Snape from that terrible snake bite something inside him had softened and warmed up to the dour and unpleasant man. Something that now belonged irrevocably to Snape, the Potions Master and Harry feared that it might be his heart.
He would give everything for a kind word from the man but he knew that even now, when he was ill, it was not the case.
"Severus, be kind! It is Christmas." The Headmistress scowled but Harry could already feel all other eyes upon him, checking out his grayish skin. Couldn't they just leave him alone for once?
"I was merely making an observation, woman. It isn't like I meant anything with it." Snape snarled at her.
No, that is just foolish of me, isn't it? That I hope that you mean something by the smoldering looks you send me or when you look at me for so long that I grow uncomfortable…
Harry had to stop his inner monologue when the food appeared at the table. He could feel his stomach cramping within moments but he forced himself to put something on his plate anyway. He ignored Snape to his left even when he could feel the dark eyes pass over his head. He firmly kept his head down and eyes to the table, refusing to meet all other eyes.
"Harry, have you tried some of this excellent roast beef yet?" He glanced up when the Headmistress asked him something and he softly replied a negative, keeping his voice soft even as the headache soared. He should have stayed in bed instead of going downstairs to get some lunch.
If Madam Pomfrey had not left on a much needed holiday he would have gone down and gotten a potion for his illness but all he could do was to ride it out. He had refused all of Ron and Hermione's offers to stay or to join them. He just needed some time alone or if he was really honest with himself, with Snape.
The meal was uncomfortable for Harry as his stomach cramped at nearly every morsel he forced himself to eat. Halfway through the meal he could feel the tell tale signs of it rebelling and he excused himself, making an effort not to run out of the Great Hall.
Please let me make it to the bathroom. Just five more steps and then…
Luck wasn't on his side or perhaps he had used it all in the years leading up to Voldemort's demise but Harry lost the battle with his stomach and with a groan he doubled over. His eyes stung as the sour contents of his stomach made an appearance as he flinched away almost instinctively from the smell and sight of it.
He wondered if he had closed the door behind him, he hoped so. It was bad enough that he was ill, didn't mean that other people had to be put off their food as well. He sat himself down rather heavily upon the bottom step of the marble staircase and he waved his wand, saying. "Scourgify."
He sighed as he cleaned the vomit away, leaving only the smell behind. He knew he had to go back but he was afraid the moment he would return he would lose the contents of his stomach again because his stomach cramped and churned, making him feel uncomfortable. He rested his aching head in his hands as he slowly breathed out through his nose and mouth, hoping to gather some dignity back.
It seemed that not even that was granted to him as a low voice came. "Mr. Potter, are you feeling unwell?"
If he had the energy Harry would have laughed at the irony of the situation but instead he swallowed thickly and answered. "I will come right back, sir. I just need a moment."
He hoped to hear the soft footsteps on the granite floor telling him that Snape was going back to the Great Hall and he groaned when he realized that Snape was most likely waiting for him. The moment he lifted his head from the comforting darkness of his arms, he blinked into the strong lights of the many candles of the decorated hallway.
"I don't like being lied to, Potter." Snape's voice was a low growl but Harry froze when he noticed just how close Snape was. The teacher was crouching on the step beside him, one hand on Harry's back, feeling the chills that ran up the back of the young Gryffindor and Snape's other hand was on his knee.
Harry tried to shake both hands off, ignoring the instinct to lean into the body heat of his teacher as he said, his voice hoarse. "I did not lie, sir. It is nothing. I just need a moment and then I will come back."
Snape mumbled something underneath his breath and then Harry snapped, feeling tired and miserable. "I know I am drawing attention to myself and I wanted it different. I don't want to be ill on Christmas so you can tell the Headmistress I went to take a nap and sick out on my own so that nobody is burdened with having to take care of me."
Snape rolled his eyes as Harry glared at him and then purred. "Or and this is just a suggestion, Potter, from somebody common so feel free to ignore it, you could allow the only other wizard with medical training to get you better again so that we can all enjoy Christmas."
Harry suddenly felt very foolish. He looked at Snape and then managed. "Yeah, that is a suggestion."
"Good, it is the reason I made it. Now sit still and let me check your temperature." Snape's lips curled into a smirk and the messy haired teen gave a tired nod. Snape brushed his fringe back before the slender hand came to rest over Harry's warm forehead.
With a sigh, Harry dropped his head against the shoulder closest by and closed his eyes. He felt Snape moved his hand and his body stiffened, knowing that Snape would surely push him away with a snarl and a snap. Instead his teacher's warm fingers settled against his throat, pressing gently and Harry pulled away.
"Does that hurt?"
Harry gave shrug and he could hear the chuckle Snape produced in the back of his throat. Snape's fingers moved a bit higher against his neck and Harry tensed further. Instead Snape's fingers pressed against his jugular and Harry breathed in slowly, allowing the scent of the man he fell in love with to comfort him.
"Would you like to go back to the meal or shall I accompany you up to the Gryffindor Tower?" Snape's fingers brushed Harry's forehead and Harry allowed the moment to endure. The Head of Slytherin house allowed it for a moment before he said softly. "Mr. Potter, I cannot threat you here. Now up to your tower."
"You will get me well?" Harry opened his eyes as they fixed upon the dark ones.
Snape sighed and then said. "I am afraid I do not have the expertise of Madam Pomfrey but I can make you feel better."
"Won't McGonagall be suspicious of you being up in Gryffindor Tower?"
Snape snorted. "The foolish woman is the one who made the suggestion. Something about two souls not being alone on Christmas..."
"She is channeling Dumbledore." Harry replied weakly. A strange weariness was overcoming him and he yawned.
"I am sure. Now up you get, Mr. Potter." Snape's arm around his shoulder aided Harry in rising. He swayed as a wave of dizziness overcame him. His head was spinning and hands on his shoulder steadied him as Harry moaned.
"Good lord, boy, how could you have allowed yourself to become so ill?"
"I don't know! It isn't like I meant it." Harry coughed.
"No, that would make it even better that you somehow did this on purpose." Snape's voice dropped a little.
"Don't need you to take care of me, I can do it myself. I don't need anybody; I can take care of myself." Harry pushed himself away, aware that his head was throbbing and the hall and Snape were swimming in front of his eyes. He lifted his head. He could take care of himself. He had done it before, even when it would feel so nice to have somebody to take care of him, for him not to be strong at the moment and to just give in…
"So I do not have to accompany you up to the staircase? I will just wait here until you come tumbling back down and knock some sense into that thick skull of yours." Snape crossed his arms over his chest.
Harry had trouble focusing but he refused to give in. It would just mean more heartache later and his teacher took a step closer before he placed slender fingers underneath Harry's chin to force his head up. "Now, stop being such an obnoxious Gryffindor and allow me to help you. I promise I won't tell a living soul about this."
Snape's eyes seemed honest and his tone was amused but Harry was so tired. The dark eyes probed his face and then Snape softly replied. "Where have you gotten the notion that you can do this by yourself? No child ever had to take care of himself while being ill…"
"Not a child." He protested.
Snape's lips curled into an unexpected sad smile. "No, that is one thing nobody can accuse you off."
He shook his head, trying to dispel the cobwebs in his head. His arm was taken in a gentle grip and he was pushed towards the staircase. Harry tried to protest but he was too tired and Snape's hand on his shoulder, pushing him forward, guiding him was too tempting. He knew Snape would never allow Harry to love him and that after this was all over he would remember it with shame but it was Christmas and he was ill so why not? Why not indulge himself for a moment and allow his teacher to take care of him, sneering as he did so.
It seemed like ages since they finally made it up to the Tower where the Fat Lady said with a double tongue. "Password?"
"Aiding students." Snape said, Harry swaying on his feet as another dizzy spell came and went. He rested his head with a moan against the taller man beside him and Snape's arm was around his waist in an instance as Harry felt his knees weaken and threaten to buckle.
"Sorry, not the right password." She hiccupped.
"It is the overriding password…."
"For the Head of Gryffindor House. You…." She glared at Snape with a dazed look. "…are Head of Slytherin. You have no business here."
"I am returning a student of this house. The Headmistress has given the task to me so either open up or take it up with her. I am sure that she will soon be back in her office but I am sure that the other portraits will allow you to wait with them." The slight sneer and the fact that the Fat Lady paled showed Harry that she did not really want to go up to the Headmistress office.
He wondered why. Was it because of the portraits there? The Fat Lady had hung here as long as he could remember and she had always allowed him entry and with a last disgusted look at Snape she said before she swung open. "I remember you from that day when you waited here all night. Girl hasn't forgiven you, has she?"
"Seeing as you are a mere portrait and I am living and breathing I shall pretend I did not hear that. I have a slight advantage over you through I am honored you still remember me." Snape bowed before he pushed Harry through, Harry stumbling a little.
The portrait swung shut behind them and Harry glanced around at the deserted common room. He was the only Gryffindor present and he turned back to the black clad Potions Master who looked as much out of place here as Chudley Cannons in the Quidditch World Cup. The dark eyes passed over the roaring fire, the Christmas tree that stood in a corner, the many mismatched chairs that stood around the fireplace and the big ginger cat which wound himself around Harry's legs, meowing loudly.
"And what is that?" Snape pointed at the fluffy cat which was sniffling his boots with a strange look on his flat face.
"That is Crookshanks. He is Hermione's cat. She left him here for during the holidays so I had some company." Harry explained, reaching down to pet the fluffy fur.
"And does he have a tiger as a relative?" Snape raised an eyebrow.
"No, he is part kneazle but I do think that there was a lion or tiger in his linage someplace." Harry walked to one of the fluffier chairs and sat down with a moan. He was shivering suddenly. Snape chose to ignore Crookshanks as he drew closer and sat himself down on the other side of Harry.
"Most people go to bed when they are ill, Potter."
"Uhm….oh right Professor." Harry gave a nod and rose. Of course the Professor didn't want to stay, who would on Christmas Day? No, he probably had some other place to be and…
"Thank you, sir." Harry offered awkwardly, wondering if he should stay and see his teacher to the portrait or go to bed. Snape rose as well and handed Harry a vial.
"Drink this. You will feel better soon."
"Yes, thank you sir and merry Christmas." He still felt awkward but he sighed and turned, carefully walking up the staircase. He had his change now, this might be the only change he would get but Snape would never see him that way.
He was a duty to the older wizard. A student was ill and had to be taken care of, that was all that Snape saw him as, Harry was lucky Snape took care of him at all. This was far better than the earlier loathing and as Harry closed the curtains of his bed around him, he knew that perhaps for the moment dreams would have to do.
Waking up was an agony but the urge to relief himself was too great so Harry rose, sneezing loudly as he pulled his dressing gown tightly around him. He picked up his wand from the bedside table and padded down the staircase, frowning as he heard a voice from the common room.
"You are one of the most hideous beasts I have ever laid eyes on and yet you insist on laying about my robe as if you owned the thing. Go and cuddle with Harry, I am sure he will welcome you more then I." Harry frowned as he walked downstairs, wondering who was speaking his name with such a gentle tone.
"Either you go and cuddle with him or I shall. What do you think, cat, would he like that? Did he perhaps tell you his secrets? It is a pity you can't speak…"
Harry's green eyes went wide as he realized it was Snape who was speaking softly to Crookshanks who was lying on his lap, purring loudly as the Potions Master scratched him behind his ears.
"I have watched many people suffer without feeling a thing and yet I long for nothing more than to ease his suffering…it isn't right for green eyes to be so haunting or for…."
Snape rose immediately upon hearing his title and Crookshanks hissed loudly as he was dumped unceremonious on the ground. The cat hissed again before he jumped on a different chair and began to lick his paws, indifferent to the frozen expression on Snape's face.
"How long have you been standing there?" Snape managed after a moment, his mask sliding back in place.
"Long enough…." Harry managed. Was it true what Snape had confessed to Crookshanks or was it just something that Harry's feverish mind was supplying him with. "Did you mean it?" He asked, a bit breathless.
Snape's eyes betrayed him as they shot away immediately as Harry tried to peer into them. Harry drew closer and Snape finally said. "You are ill, Potter. You should be in bed." The Professor tried to sound indifferent but for some reason he couldn't quite pull it off.
Was it just Harry or had the smooth voice of the Potions Master acquired a whole new layer? Was it just that Harry's eyes had been opened up and he could hear the venerable line within the deep voice? Was it the fact that he had acquired hope?
The smile on his face was fading as he asked, in such a small voice that he could see Snape wince. "Please tell me I am not dreaming this….please….please, Severus, tell me I am not delusional because of the fever…please…." I can't live with this if it is just a dream and you found out somehow how I felt about you...please tell me the truth….
The dark eyes widened and the thin lips parted in shock and even before Snape could stop himself, the older wizard said. "It is not a dream, Harry…."
Snape shut his mouth with a snap but Harry had already staggered with relief and his hands were loosely resting on Snape's forearms. Snape looked away at once but not before Harry had seen the despair in his eyes. He wondered why, this was supposed to be a happy time.
"Severus?" He asked his voice soft and unsure. He had to know if Snape was playing with him or that there was a change for them…
"Yes, Harry?" The dark eyes returned to him and Snape glanced down.
"You aren't…happy…." Harry managed to ask after a moment and Snape snorted, looking away before he said.
"Because of what, Potter? Because you heard my confession to a cat?"
"No, because of well….this….it is good, silly." Harry helplessly gestured with his hands, a foolish grin on his face.
"This as in my confession….How is that good, Potter?" Snape sneered.
"Don't you know I feel the same?" Harry asked in disbelief. This didn't fit the imagine of the cool and controlled Potions Master and spy for the light side.
"And how would I know that? Unless you had shouted it from the tower?" Snape frowned down at him.
"I thought you had picked it up…."
"From your empty mind?" Snape grimaced. "Not likely, brat. The mind is not a book to be opened at will and….."
Sensing the lecture that was about to come, Harry did the only thing he could think of as he pulled Snape's head down and in mid sentence kissed his Professor deeply. Snape was so startled that for a moment he stood frozen before he pushed Harry away roughly and hissed, while wiping his mouth.
"What was that?"
"That was a kiss…." Harry answered, grinning, loving the specks of purple in Snape's cheeks that had nothing to do with a fever of sorts.
"That was a clumsy attempt at slamming teeth together…." Snape sneered before he demanded. "And why was that? I do not take kindly to being interrupted by such a thing again…"
"Oh…it is the mistletoe. It is tradition." Harry felt foolish suddenly as he bit his lip. Had it really be so bad and unwelcome…
The arm that snaked around his waist and that suddenly pressed him forward as Snape said. "Then why didn't you say so?"
The lips that caught Harry's own in a gentle but hungry, demanding kiss. The tongue sweeping across his upper lip but he parted them with a moan and then slipped inside, curling around his own. He stood on his toes to allow better access to his mouth. His arms slipped around Snape's scarred neck but all Harry cared about was that the kiss wouldn't end.
It did end, in his opinion all too soon as he breathlessly stared up at the face of his beloved. He managed a dazed smile and then softly said, placing a peck on Snape's thin lips. "I think that this might be the best Christmas yet."
"Yes, especially if you are trying to get me as ill as you are." Snape answered with no real venom in the sting. Harry could tell by the way the arms tightened around him.
"Well, it is always appropriate to share things with those you care for." Harry whispered.
"Mmm, especially things of no real consideration or importance, right?" Harry pulled back a little so he could search the dark eyes in front of him. They were brutally honest so he softly said.
"I wouldn't mind sharing the rest of my life with you, or at least for an unforeseeable time."
"Like I said, it is appropriate to share things of no consideration or importance." The genuine and rare smile was an answer enough for Harry.
"Funny how you were always saving me then if it was of no real importance."
"Somebody had to keep you alive if you do such a miserable job on your own. Look at you, holiday and you are ill."
"So take care of me then."
"Oh don't worry, brat I will, for the rest of your life." And as the lips kissed him again, slow this time, Harry knew that sometimes miracles did happen and for the rest of his life with his beloved Potions Master, he would always count himself blessed and hoped that everybody was having such a merry Christmas as he was and that was all that mattered.
That done, two things left to say. Review and Merry Christmas and may you have your very own miracle.