Title: Nothing So Gentle

Author: atypicalsnowman

Rating: NC-17.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling and I make no money from this fic.

Warning: Oh, just the usual. Oh, and dub-con. It's part of the prompt.

Prompts from the Severus Sighs Anti-Valentine's Day Fest: 4. Harry, or Severus, is tired of constantly being put down and seeks the aid of a love potion to finally get his man.

Author's Note: My cup runneth over! Thank you to WhiteCotton, thesewarmstars and Torina for great beta jobs. For those who are wondering, the next chapter of Pains and Contradictions is being betaed and the one after that is nearly finished. Thank you to all who have reviewed.


"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength." St. Francis de Sales


"Harry? It's nearly nine in the evening. Where are you going?" Severus asked as Harry walked towards the floo.

Harry gritted his teeth and willed himself not to explode. He paused, his hand already in their jar of Floo powder and counted to ten.

Then to twenty.


He'd been silent for too long but he still didn't trust himself to speak.

"I'm going to Ron's apartment for about an hour, Severus. I'll be back before we usually go to bed," he answered, his tone clipped.

A far too gentle hand touched his shoulder and cautiously turned him around. Severus was looking at him with open concern on his face.

"Are you sure that's a good idea? We have to wake up early tomorrow and-"

"Yes, I'm perfectly aware that tomorrow is a school day and that we'll both have to wake up early. We're not going out drinking, Severus. We're just going to relax, maybe play chess or go for a ride or-"

It was Severus' turn to cut Harry off. "A ride? A ride on a broom at nine o'clock at night? Have you taken leave of what is left of your senses?" Severus' voice was alarmed but the volume had never risen over the soft timbre he had used on Harry for the last year and a half.

The soft touch and concern were too much for Harry and he closed his eyes to temper the impending explosion as he thought of what had brought him to this point in the first place.

After the final battle, Harry had been disoriented and confused. The bodies lying on the floor of the Great Hall and the general feeling of disarray had caused him to wander over the grounds, paying no mind to where he was going. All he knew was that he had to get away from there, away from the sight of the friends he had lost. He felt as though he was suffocating, and wandering the grounds helped. After a moment he was surprised to discover that his feet had led him to the Whomping Willow. He shuddered as he recalled that Snape had fallen here only hours ago, but summoned the last of his bravery and went through the tunnel to collect the Potions Master's remains.

What he found, however, was a man barely clinging to life with an empty potion bottle by his side.

Harry had struggled to bring the man to the infirmary where the more seriously injured were being sent. There was no way Harry would allow Snape to go to St. Mungo's with the other injured gathered in the Great Hall. The healers there wouldn't know the truth about the man's allegiances.

Once in the infirmary, a few healers who had been loyal to the Order and Dumbledore were called in to treat the man. They had been present in the hall during Harry's duel and knew the truth, and so Harry fell to the shadows, silently willing the man to survive.

Harry watched from a distance as the healers ran tests and administered antidotes for the poison still running through Snape's body. Harry felt weak, and couldn't remember the last time he had eaten. Eventually his legs gave out and he crumpled onto the floor. He continued to watch the scene play out, watching as they worked to save the Potions Master's life.

Looking around the infirmary, Harry realized that there were more covered bodies than patients. The Death Eaters hadn't left many wounded.

It was hours later, after Severus had been stabilized, that Madam Pomfrey realized Harry was huddled into a ball on the floor, his eyes still taking in the scene. She quickly levitated him to a bed and to Harry's surprise, he allowed it.

She gave him a sleeping potion, which worked immediately.

He didn't wake up for three days.

When he did it was to the sound of the very angry voice of his former potions professor cursing Madam Pomfrey and threatening her health if she did not release him from the infirmary immediately.

With weary eyes Harry looked over to the Potions Master, who looked thin and pale and nowhere near as healthy as he remembered him.

Not that Harry was much better off. He knew there was nothing physically wrong with him that a few good meals and rest couldn't cure. But he was so tired and weary to the bone. He couldn't take his mind off the final battle, off the year he had spent on the run. He found himself being distracted easily and surrounded by memories of every horrible thing that had happened.

Madam Pomfrey decided that Harry should stay in the infirmary for a little while, resting and getting back his strength. She never said anything directly, but Harry knew he wasn't well.

So for the first time in his life, Harry agreed with the mediwitch. He didn't know what was wrong with him. He couldn't get the sight of the dead in the Great Hall out of his mind. He never slept unless Madam Pomfrey gave him a potion and he always suffered nightmares.

He spent most of the day in bed, speaking to no one and allowing the horrible memories of the past year to finally catch up with him.

Snape was his usual self by then. If anything, his bed-rest confinement made him even more cantankerous than usual.

Harry could ignore all the jabs at his personality, his laziness, his continued assumption that no one else had ever suffered battle fatigue. But one day, when Snape was feeling particularly cruel, he wondered aloud about who would be taking care of Teddy Lupin if Harry was stuck in bed feeling sorry for himself.

For the first time in a very long time, Harry cried.

He sobbed openly for Remus and Tonks and Teddy. For everyone who had been lost to him. He thought he might have even cried for himself.

Never once did he look over at Snape, who had fallen silent at the first sign of his tears.

But later that night Harry awoke from the throes of a nightmare, screaming, shaking and very confused as to where he was and who was holding him.

In hindsight, Harry realized he must have known it was Severus. He might have been out of his labs for some time but the man still smelled like potion ingredients.

Harry was in a panic over the terrible memories in his nightmare, but began to quiet as he felt strong arms rock him slowly and a smooth, deep voice whisper something wonderful in his ear.

Harry had once asked Severus what it was that he had whispered but the man never told him.

And so something had changed that night. Severus would talk to him gently during the day, trying to bring him out of his own mind and back to reality. Harry would drift off sometimes and Severus would leave his own bed and gently touch the younger man, slowly bringing him back to himself.

Harry began to slowly recover.

When Severus was well enough to leave the infirmary, he took Harry with him. When Madam Pomfrey protested, Severus had insisted that he was more than capable of brewing calming potions and sleep aids and that what Harry truly needed was a home.

And so quite suddenly Harry had what he had wanted all his life.

Severus slept on his own sofa and gave Harry his bed. Harry couldn't understand it. Here was a man who had once hated him but now opened up his home to him, cared for him like no other.

At first Harry thought that it was out of loyalty to his mother, but quickly realized he was wrong.

One night after a particularly bad nightmare, Severus came to Harry and sat next to him on the bed. Strong arms attempted to calm him but Harry had been consumed by the memories in his dream and had no idea where he was. The younger man had been so upset that he knocked the calming potion out of Severus' hand, hit the man on the jaw, and nearly screamed his own throat raw.

There had been no calming him, and so Severus did the only other thing he could do.

He kissed him.

It worked perfectly. Harry had been kissed before, of course, but even through the hazy fog in his own mind he knew this kiss was different. It was perfection.

They were together after that.

And it all seemed so perfect and wonderful. Severus had quickly confided in Harry that he always admired him, and had been attracted to him since his sixth year but would never have acted on it. He struggled to act on it even now, with Harry so ill.

Harry promptly admitted that he had always hated Severus but had loved the Half Blood Prince. His life was always working out that way, he mused.

And so things got a little better every day.

Severus took great care of Harry and the younger man loved him for it. There were days when Harry was completely disoriented and needed the older man to tell him when to eat, when to sleep, when to go take a walk on the grounds.

Harry had virtually no appetite, yet Severus made him eat. He had felt incredibly guilty when he got word that Ron had entered the Auror Training program and that Hermione had been accepted to university. He felt like he was being left behind, and as though he had outlived his usefulness. But Severus told him that everyone healed in their own time and that his own life had been so different from that of his friends. Harry felt better after that.

And so he healed. And Severus and Harry fell very much in love.

And when Severus was finally convinced that Harry was ready, they made love for the first time. As ridiculous as it sounded, Harry could call the act nothing else. Severus had been so gentle and so giving and so careful with Harry, that the act itself was an expression of Severus' undying devotion.

It was beautiful. It was divine. It had been exactly what Harry had needed at the time. The stress of the past year seemed to fade away and Harry felt he healed just a bit more every time they made love.

Every time since their first was exactly the same. Severus still took an eternity to gently prepare Harry so he would feel no pain. He still made his thrusts slow and shallow, showing him with every movement that the act was for Harry's pleasure, to show Harry how much he adored him.

The same painstaking efforts went into all of Severus' actions, whether it was planning Harry's day, activities, or scheduling in time with his friends. Severus showed Harry he cared in every aspect of his life.

And it was slowly driving him insane.

The Potions Master had taken excellent care of Harry when he had been ill but the younger man felt like he was healed. Maybe he wasn't perfect. He still had nightmares on occasion and he was more than a little embarrassed when he startled easily. But when he woke from the nightmares he knew they had only been dreams. And when there was some sudden, loud noise in the Great Hall, Harry would quickly realize that it was only a dish breaking or a game of Exploding Snap being played. The confusion and desperation he had felt so keenly in the months after the war had finally left.

Harry was very proud of his progress and he could tell that Severus was extremely happy that Harry was doing so well.

Only Severus hadn't changed. At all.

He still told Harry when he should eat, when he should shower. If Harry hadn't gone outside during the day, he would offer to escort him around the grounds, saying being outside was good for recovery.

Escort. Like he was some fragile woman who had to be protected lest some lecherous man accost her!

Severus never exactly forbade Harry from doing anything, but he made his displeasure known and in the worst way.

He would never scream at Harry. He never spoke in anything above a whisper, actually, and hadn't since the day he had caused Harry's breakdown in the infirmary. But he gave Harry the most awful looks of pity. Harry hated being pitied and Severus should have known that by now.

He knew that Severus was only trying to take care of him, but it was driving him mad.

But the last straw had come a few weeks ago. McGonagall was the new headmistress and while she approved of Harry staying in the castle during his recovery, she thought it would be best if he had some sort of job. So with that in mind, she offered Harry the position of Assistant Quidditch Coach.

Harry was overjoyed. He would finally have a job, finally be able to move on with his life and begin to be a functioning member of society again.

But before he could even open his mouth to thank his former head of house, Severus had made some sort of grunting noise and balked at the idea of Harry spending so much time among children 'in his condition' and that she had no right to force Harry to 'earn his keep' so to speak.

But the most insulting statement out of the man's mouth came last. Severus cursed McGonagall for not approaching him first, for allowing her to get Harry's hopes up for something he was obviously not ready for and that he was going to be upset and depressed about this for days.

Harry's rage was murderous. McGonagall took one look at him and offered to speak to Harry at another time, alone.

Severus then hugged him, all the while whispering promises in his ear about never allowing the harpy shrew to throw him out and if she ever tried, she would have to throw Severus out as well.

He was then marched down to the dungeons where Severus picked him up bridal-style and put him to bed, demanding he rest after the 'stress of the day.'

Harry lay in the dark room, fuming.

He'd had enough of this, enough of being treated like an invalid or a weak-willed woman. He tried to speak to Severus about it but the man seemed to have no idea what he was talking about. His behavior, he felt, was appropriate for a man whose partner was not feeling his best and he once again promised Harry that he would take care of him now and forever.

Harry wanted to throw him off the Astronomy Tower.

That night Harry got the nerve to tell Severus that he wanted to top for the first time. As much as he loved feeling his lover take care of him, Harry felt their sex life was very one-sided. It was always Severus pleasing Harry, never the other way around. As frustrated as he had become with his former professor, Harry still loved him and wanted nothing more than to show him.

Harry awaited his lover's response. The Potions Master had looked confused at first and then smiled, kissing Harry until he was lying on his back, surrounded by fluffy pillows.

"Harry, you deserve so much after all you've been through. Please, allow me to show you how much I adore you," Severus said, his voice deep and melodious. Well, when he puts it that way, Harry mused.

It wasn't as though he disliked their current positions. No, he loved the feel of Severus' body over his, the way he slid his tongue over his cock and perineum before going down farther, slowly coaxing his dark hole to open.

No, he enjoyed all of that, and selfishly. It was later, when Severus' cock finally made an appearance that he had grown frustrated with it.

When Severus finally entered his body Harry always gave a soft sigh of pleasure, moving his head to one side so his lover could suck and lick at the sensitive part of his neck near his ear. Severus would always wait a moment, giving Harry time to adjust to the intrusion in his body.

And then he would begin to thrust.


Maddeningly slowly.

Had it always been this slow?

Harry frowned and grew frustrated. He squeezed his muscles, trying to tempt Severus to pound into him harder. Severus moaned and then stilled for a moment before continuing with the maddeningly slow thrusts from before. Harry would have rolled his eyes but couldn't when he looked up at the expression on his lover's face, the sharp features muted with a look of joy and euphoria.

Harry didn't have the heart to tell Severus to put his back into it and fuck him already.

He closed his eyes and took as much pleasure as he could at the soft touches Severus' cock was making across his prostate and tried to imagine what it would feel like if the man didn't treat Harry like he was glass.

Slowly, he came back to the present, to Severus' irritated face asking inane questions.

Harry gave a sigh of frustration and ran his hand through his hair. His cock stirred at the thought of Severus finally treating him like he wasn't some fainting chit and fucking him good and proper when he realized the man in question was still staring at him, waiting for an answer.

"Oh... Um-" Harry broke off, completely nonplussed at the where his thoughts had taken him. "Yes, I have," he said, as he called out Ron's address and leapt into the Floo.


"I swear, Ron, he treats me like I'm a piece of glass," Harry said, taking a gulp of his butterbeer. "Or worse! Some incredibly rare potions ingredient. I can't take it anymore, I swear."

Ron returned to his small sitting room, sitting on the worn, blue sofa opposite Harry's chair. "If you're so fed up with him why don't you leave him?" Ron asked, confused. "Unless... Oh, this isn't one of those things where you can't leave him cause he took care of you? It's a pity fuck, isn't it?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "Yeah, it is but not the way you're thinking."

Ron frowned but continued. "So what are you going to do, then?"

Harry shrugged and took another drink. "No idea. But it can't go on like this."

There was silence between the two friends for a few moments as they both considered the problem.

"You know, it wouldn't be so bad if it was him. If he had changed because of the war so that he was... I don't know... nicer. But it's just with me. He still acts like he did when he was our professor to everyone else. He's only... the way he is with me... with me." Harry said, attempting to explain an awful situation and failing.

Ron seemed to understand, though, and nodded.

Harry put his head into his hands. "I love him, Ron. I do. If I didn't, I wouldn't stay with him now, but-"

Ron bit his lip but nodded. Harry normally tried to spare his friend any details about his relationship with Severus, but he was too frustrated tonight to hold back. Something needed to change and quickly.

Suddenly Ron was on his feet, pacing quickly over the small faded area rug that covered the floor.

"Okay, just a minute," he said to himself. He paced for a moment longer, squinting into some unseen distance, considering something Harry couldn't see. "Yeah... That might work."

"What might work?" Harry asked.

Ron looked over to his friend, a devious smile on his face.

Harry smirked nervously. That smile on his friend's face was never a good sign.

Ron sat down, facing Harry again. "You know that Aurors aren't allowed to use unforgivables, right?"

Harry nodded.

"Well, did you ever wonder how we perform interrogations if we can't use the Imperius Curse?"

Harry frowned again. "Well, no. But I hope you're not actually torturing people."

Ron laughed. "Yeah, 'cause I'd torture people. Come on, Harry. Think about it."

Harry was confused and didn't mind letting his friend know. "Something other than the Imperius Curse? Something weaker? Not as dark?"

Ron smiled. "Exactly. There are a few susceptibility spells and potions that the general public doesn't know about that we use. All you have to do is spike the suspect's water and imply that he would feel much better about life in general if he were to spill all his secrets and boom." Ron made a clapping sound with his hands that startled Harry. "Er, sorry."

Harry waved him off.

"But don't you see? All you do is get Snape to take the potion then imply that your... er... relationship would only improve if he stopped treating you like you were going to have a nervous breakdown at any moment."

"Right. Thanks, Ron," Harry said, snidely, not appreciating the crassness of the statement.

Ron shrugged and Harry smiled a bit. Truth be told it was wonderful to have someone who didn't speak in a whisper and watch their every word around him.

He paused and considered Ron's proposal. "Would he be susceptible to just anyone?"

Ron shook his head. "No, just the person who administered the potion."

Harry was quiet for a few moments. He hated the idea of tricking Severus like this. This was below him. It was below them and Severus really didn't deserve it. As much as Harry complained, he realized he was incredibly lucky to have a man in his life that loved him so much.

Suddenly the Floo sprang to life.

"Harry, when will-" Severus' dark head popped into the fireplace. His face suddenly looked horrified. "Are you drinking butterbeer? You told me you wouldn't drink."

Harry cringed. Actually he'd said no such thing. "I've only had the one. I'll be home soon, Severus."

He took a good look at his lover's face and felt taken aback. Severus was looking at Harry like he was his entire existence and the world just wouldn't be right until he came back home.

Harry smiled. "I'll be home soon. Promise."

Severus nodded and pulled out of the flames.

Harry looked over to Ron, his decision made. Severus hadn't given up on Harry. It was time to return the favor. "Do you happen to have any of this potion on you?"

Ron smiled.


Harry stumbled out of the floo, as was his habit, and into the waiting arms of his lover who caught him with ease.

"All the grace of a bull in a china shop," the older man said, smiling.

Harry smiled back and patted his robes, making sure that the potion Ron had just given him was still intact. It was.

"All Floos hate me."

Severus smiled. "Perhaps if you wouldn't jump into them so haphazardly they would cease to treat you so caustically."

Harry playfully rolled his eyes. He loved Severus when he was like this. When he would playfully tease Harry the way Harry assumed all couples teased each other. It made him hopeful of their future.

"Bed?" the Potions Master asked.

Harry nodded. He had stayed at Ron's a little later than he had planned and was very tired.

They walked towards their bedroom, Severus' hand on Harry's back. Harry took special care to place the potion by his bedside and repeated the instructions to himself before pulling back the covers, removing his clothing down to his shorts and getting in bed.

"Goodnight, Harry," Severus said as he doused the light.

Harry felt a kiss pressed against his forehead and answered with his own 'goodnight.'

He lay in bed for a few moments after Severus had gone to sleep thinking.

Tomorrow was Valentine's Day. He'd never really celebrated the day the way he had wanted to. Now that he thought about it, Harry had never really wanted to celebrate the day at all. He lightly traced the sharp cheekbones of the man laying next to him and considered what he felt he needed to do.

Harry drifted off to sleep, the instructions for the potion replaying in his head.


Harry woke half an hour before their usual time, quietly and taking care not to move. Severus was hyper-alert during his sleep and had needed to be when Harry was having nearly constant nightmares.

It was working against him now. The Potions Master was curled up around him and the potion was just out of Harry's reach.

He silently lamented the fact that he had never been adept at wandless magic. Nevertheless, he closed his eyes and concentrated on summoning the potion vial the few inches it needed to move into Harry's hand. He silently rejoiced upon feeling the small, smooth bottle in his palm.

Harry leaned over Severus, rolling him slightly onto his back. He uncorked the potion and tipped it into the man's mouth. Severus coughed and sputtered.

Harry recalled Ron's instructions. Severus would be disoriented and Harry would use that time to say the spell that activated the potion. Anything Harry said in the next thirty seconds would be filtered into Severus' subconscious and he would find himself very susceptible to his suggestion.

"Sinus Voluntas," Harry said softly, cradling the other man's head as he attempted to cough up the liquid in his mouth. "Severus..." Harry had rehearsed what he was going to say and exactly how he was going to say it but his conscience was catching up with him. What if Severus found out about the potion and never forgave him?

Severus coughed again. "Harry?"

Harry looked down on his lover in bed, determination overcoming his hesitation.

"Severus... I want you to stop treating me like I'm sick. I'm not ill anymore and I want you to treat me like your lover, your equal. I want you to get angry with me if I do something stupid and I want to have petty little arguments just like any other couple." Harry paused before he continued to the next part of what he had rehearsed. "I want you to stop treating me like I'm going to break in bed. I'm a man, just the same as you and I'm not going to break if you treat me as such." Harry's voice broke as he uttered his greatest desire. "I want you to look at me for who I am now. I want you to treat me like I'm normal, like I'm just Harry."

Harry leaned back and his breath caught in his throat. If he'd done it correctly Severus would have no memory of what had just happened. He'd wake naturally, perhaps wondering why his throat was sore from coughing but feeling as though what Harry had just said were his own thoughts.

The dark eyes were closed and Severus was still. Harry held his breath and lay down next to the other man again, curling his body around the other's.

Severus suddenly grabbed Harry and pulled the smaller body closer to him from behind. Harry squirmed as Severus turned on his side so that his morning erection was pressing against Harry's arse.

Oh, yes.

The Potions Master began to suck earnestly on Harry's neck while his cock was nudging Harry's buttocks, and rubbing against his entrance. Harry moaned and pressed back, thrilled that Severus was being so bold.

They never had morning sex. Severus was always so cautious of Harry in the mornings, asking if he'd had any nightmares and asking what Harry wanted to do with his day.

He was enjoying the change.

Harry smiled when he heard Severus' bedside drawer open and shut, the tell-tale smell of almond invading his nostrils.

Severus made quick work of Harry's pants, then took a lubricated finger and circled Harry's opening slowly.

Too slowly.

Oh, Gods, Harry thought. The potion didn't work-

Harry thoughts were cut off as one long, slender finger entered him quickly and began seeking out his prostate in earnest. Harry moaned when Severus quickly withdrew only to come back with another finger.

Severus was preparing him abruptly, moving his fingers in the familiar scissoring motion to prepare Harry quickly, roughly. Harry was rolling his hips and opening his thighs, attempting to take Severus' fingers deeper.

He was in heaven.

"Yes, you like that, don't you?" Severus whispered in his ear. Harry stilled and listened. "You enjoy fucking yourself on my fingers, don't you, Harry?"

Harry moaned loudly. Severus never talked dirty to him in bed. It was always only loving endearments, which Harry had longed to hear at first. But as much as he loved to hear how much Severus loved him, there was something so filthy about talking about what they were doing aloud.

"Yes!" Harry exclaimed. "Yes, I love fucking myself on your fingers. More, Severus, please."

"You simply can't get enough of my cock, can you, Harry? How badly do you want me to fuck you right now?"

Harry soared at the words being spoken. Severus had never said the word 'fuck' in his presence before, and definitely not when referring to sex. He whimpered and made sounds he had never made before.

"Severus, fuck me, please."

Severus withdrew his fingers and placed his hands on Harry's hips. He waited for the other man to turn him over onto his back but Severus' hands were drawing him up by his hips and onto his knees.

Oh, sweet merciful Merlin.

They had never had sex like this before. Severus always insisted on seeing Harry's face, always wanted to know that the younger man was enjoying himself. The act they were about to engage in felt slightly dirty and it was exactly what Harry needed. After months of making love, all he really needed right now was to be fucked.

He groaned as he felt the head of Severus' cock come up to his loosened opening. Severus petted his back and leaned over to kiss his neck. "Yes, you want this, don't you?" he said, rubbing his cock over Harry's cleft.


Severus chuckled and began to slowly press into Harry's body. Harry balked at how slow Severus was going and tried to push back, attempting to spur the other man on.

The Potions Master grunted. "Harry! Patience, boy. I do not wish to hurt you," he said, as he slowly slid all the way in.

Harry moaned and his elbows buckled a bit at the feeling of being filled so completely. He took a moment to adjust as he always did and then squeezed his muscles around Severus' cock.

The man moaned and immediately started thrusting. But where his strokes had usually been slow and shallow, they were now deeper and harder. Harry could hear the other man grunting and his balls slapping against Harry's arse with a force Harry had never known.

Harry moaned as Severus hit his prostate in every thrust. He moved his hips in time with his lover's efforts, trying to force the cock inside of him deeper.

"Yes, you love my cock. You're such a little slut, aren't you? You love being fucked."

Harry threw his head back in pleasure and screamed, "Yes, I love being fucked! Harder, Severus!"

Severus increased his speed and Harry put his head on his crossed arms. He no longer even tried to move to meet the man. Instead, he laid his head down and simply enjoyed the weight of the other man on top of him, enjoyed the feeling of being thoroughly fucked.

Severus' thrusts were coming quickly and Harry could feel a long-fingered hand come around to stroke his neglected erection. Severus ran his thumb over Harry's weeping head before stroking his fist over the shaft. The dual stimulation caused his eyes to roll back into his head and he came harder than he had in a long time. Severus continued to milk his cock as Harry thrust into his hand.

Severus shuddered as Harry's muscles tightened around his cock as he came, ripping the other man's orgasm from him. Harry restrained himself from collapsing, feeling the cock inside him deflating and Severus' come dripping down his thighs.

Everything about the experience was sublime and hot, and made Harry feel... normal.

He sighed contentedly before being slightly crushed under the weight of his lover. Strong arms wrapped around him and pulled him onto slender shoulders.

The younger man knew he had a goofy grin on his face but he couldn't help himself. He'd just had morning sex. Hot, but completely normal, morning sex with his lover. Severus hadn't taken half an hour to prepare him and hadn't continually asked if he was in pain.

They'd had normal sex. Like healthy people do.

"Hmm," Harry mused, intelligently. "That was... everything I thought it would be."

Severus scoffed. "We've made love before, Harry."

Harry chuckled. "You call that making love? You fucked me from behind and called me a slut."

Harry could hear Severus' breath still. "Yes, I did, didn't I?" He turned Harry onto his back so he could face him. "It was very odd that I did that. You were not injured?"

Harry shook his head and held his breath, wondering if Severus would somehow deduce that he wasn't acting like his normal self.

Severus nodded and pulled Harry back into an embrace. "Good. I do not wish to injure you, no matter how irresistible I may find your arse."

Harry looked up through his fringe. "You find me irresistible?"

Severus' eyes met him. "Of course I do. It's a miracle I manage to teach my classes. If it were possible, I'd keep you in bed all day. I would inform Minerva that there is simply no way I can attempt to teach young minds when my mind is constantly here in bed, with you."

Harry was shocked. He knew that Severus loved him but every time they'd been together it always seemed that Severus was pleasuring Harry, was making love to Harry almost as though he was servicing him. He knew that Severus was attracted to him, but didn't realize he wanted him so badly.

"And of course I call that making love. Every time with you is precious to me, you foolish boy." Severus kissed the top of Harry's head. "Happy Valentine's Day, Harry."

Harry leaned back into Severus' strong arms and smiled. Only Severus could make 'foolish boy' sound like an endearment.


To Harry's absolute joy the potion seemed to have worked perfectly. Severus had relaxed completely and allowed Harry to complete all his morning ablutions without hovering over him or asking if he was all right.

When Severus asked if Harry would be joining him for breakfast, he held his breath and said that he'd just grab a piece of toast since he wasn't too hungry.

Severus only nodded and went to finish his grading, commenting that he'd probably skip breakfast as well.

Harry smiled genuinely and began planning his day. His day, the way he wanted to spend it.

He was trying to decide if he wanted to take his broom out to the pitch before or after spending an hour or so in the library when there was a knock on the door. Harry rose to answer it and was surprised to find the headmistress on the other side.

"Harry. Excellent, I've caught you before you left for the Great Hall. I wanted to speak to you but is Severus- Oh." The headmistress stopped herself, looking over Harry's shoulder to see the Potions Master sitting at his desk grading. "Good morning, Severus."

"Headmistress," Severus acknowledged the other, without taking his attention off his papers. "To what do we owe the pleasure of your company?"

"Actually, I came to speak with Harry. Harry, if you wouldn't mind speaking with me outside for a moment-"

She was cut off by Severus. "You can speak to him just as well with my presence as without."

McGonagall's lips flatted into a straight line. "Very well." She turned to address Harry. "Madam Hooch has fallen ill today and I was wondering if you wouldn't mind taking over her classes." She glanced towards Severus again. "Just for the day, of course."

Harry's breath caught in his throat. Of course, he wanted to accept but he also found himself looking over to Severus, only to find the man paying complete attention to an essay covered in red marks.

Harry nodded and said, "I'd be happy to help."

McGonagall smiled but again looked over to Severus, who by now seemed to realize he was being stared at.

"Is there some reason the two of you are gawking at me like over-sized barn owls?"

Harry chuckled. Oh, it felt good to hear Severus be sarcastic towards him again.

McGonagall, on the other hand, looked furious. "If I am gawking, Severus, it is only because the last time I tried to speak to Harry on this topic you made it seem as though he would faint at the very idea of being in the presence of others for more than a few minutes every day. I am glad to see that you are no longer taking issue with it."

Severus looked confused and leaned back in his chair. "Harry is his own man and more than capable of making decisions on his own... Within reason. Don't go off fighting any dragons without me, Potter."

Harry had to choke back a guffaw of laughter. He called me Potter, he thought to himself. Harry never thought he'd be so happy to hear Snape say that again.

McGonagall, however, did not look appeased. "And if I were to offer him a permanent position on staff?"

Severus glared at the woman and said, "An excellent idea. Harry is more than ready to rejoin the world that exists outside the dungeon walls." Severus smirked and looked over to Harry. "Now, whether or not the world is ready, is another matter entirely."

"Hey!" Harry playfully protested. The smile on Severus' lips belied any bad feelings and Harry did a mental dance at the way things were progressing.

McGonagall waited until Harry turned back to her to mutter, "Well?"

Harry's smile filled up the room as he said, "Looks like you've got yourself an assistant quidditch coach."


At half past four, Harry entered the castle through the front doors, tired, sweaty, and incredibly satisfied. His lessons with the students had gone incredibly well. Harry had been able to help the still-struggling first years learn the basics and counseled a few quidditch captains who had come by for tips for their teams.

Harry hadn't felt this productive since the end of the war and he was enjoying every minute of it. The feeling of a hard day's work was definitely something he could get used to. He made his way down to the dungeons to meet Severus. He found that he missed the man something awful during the day and couldn't wait to get home. It was a wonderful new sensation. Instead of feeling suffocated by the thought of Severus, a wonderful new sentiment was filling his senses.

He was going home to someone.

Smiling, his feet began to descend the stairs that led to their rooms when he was stopped by someone calling his name.

Turning, he found the headmistress coming up to meet him. "Oh, Harry. How was your first day?"

Harry's grin said it all.

The stern witch gave a rare but genuine smile. "Wonderful." She paused and looked around. Determining that they were alone, she spoke to Harry in a soft voice. "I'm so glad that Severus has had a change of heart. Whatever you said to him must have worked because I've never seen such a change in a person in such little time."

Harry's smile faltered.

The headmistress looked as though she was reluctant to speak, but continued. "You know, I was surprised when you became friends with Severus, even after your time together in the infirmary. And when I heard of your illness-" she broke off, her silence suggesting what she thought of the idea of Severus taking care of anyone. "But I saw the way he took care of you and was glad. But when I learned of your relationship I was nothing short of stunned.

"You see, I've known Severus nearly all his life. He trusts no one, Harry, or he didn't until you came along. He's been alone all his life. When I saw how he was treating you these past months, I said nothing, but not because I thought you needed to be coddled." Harry's throat burned as the older witch's eyes gained a softness he had never seen before. "I thought that Severus simply didn't know how to love after living his life without it for so long. And it seemed the only way he knew how was to care for you the way he did."

Harry's smile dissolved instantly.

"But it seems he's found his way now. And I'm so glad Harry, so glad. You will take care of him too, yes?"

Harry nodded, completely dumbfounded at what the headmistress had just said.

"Excellent. I believe that you will." She drew herself up and moved away from him. "Well, enjoy yourselves tonight. Valentine's Day is for lovers, after all."

Harry forced a smile as he watched the headmistress walk away.


Harry had barely opened the door when he found himself pulled inside and slammed against it.

"Gods, you have no idea how much I missed you," Severus said, attacking Harry's neck with a vengeance.

Harry sighed and wrapped his arms around his lover's neck. His fingers slipped inside the man's high collar and met warm skin. "I missed you too."

"I've no idea why I ever even allow you out of my sight." Severus pulled back to meet green eyes. Harry was taken aback at what he saw: desire mixed slightly with panic.

Severus kissed him again and Harry felt a wave of guilt surge inside him. He struggled to continue their kiss while his mind was running over his current situation.

Severus loved him, of that he was sure. But what was love without trust? He thought of McGonagall's words, how Severus had tried to show his love for Harry in the only way he knew how. It had been driving Harry insane but was it truly right to force a change? Was it right to try to change the person you loved?

Harry was distracted from his thoughts as Severus' tongue moved over his own. He moaned and ran his hands through the back of the man's hair.

"Wrap your legs around me," Severus uttered, his voice dark and hoarse with passion. Harry complied, jumping on the man and smiling when Severus caught him.

This time he didn't mind when his lover carried him to their room.

Once there, Severus sat on the edge of the bed and lay back, letting Harry fall on top of him. The younger man enjoyed finally being on top of his older lover and took control of their kiss, invading Severus' mouth like his lover always did for him.

The man underneath him groaned and spread his legs. Harry felt his cock pulse inside his trousers as he fell between Severus' strong thighs. He groaned when his own throbbing cock met the larger one beneath him and he rubbed himself against it.

He snuck a hand between their bodies and opened Severus' trousers with one hand. Harry was elated. Severus had never once allowed him to lead in the bedroom. Any guilt he felt earlier forgotten as he fished his lover's cock out of his pants. He removed his mouth from Severus' so he could take in the sight of his lover's hard member, already wet and leaking.

"Harry," Severus called, softly.

Harry looked up and was surprised to meet dark eyes that looked far more vulnerable than he had ever seen them.

Severus ran a hand through the younger man's hair. "Harry, I love you very much. Do you realize that?"

Harry nodded, some of his earlier guilt returning.

Severus played with a stray strand of Harry's dark hair and looked off in the distance, unwilling to meet Harry's eyes. "I have never loved another the way I love you. I have also never trusted another with my body." Severus cleared his throat and looked decidedly nervous. "But I trust you. You asked if you could make love to me some time ago..." Severus' voice drifted off, as if he were recalling the time he was speaking of. "I wanted to take care of you then but I realized today that part of taking care of you is allowing you to care for me in return. I was denying you a very basic part of a relationship- the ability to care for your partner." Severus leaned up and kissed Harry chastely on his lips.

"I apologize and I want you to know I trust you." And with that Severus slithered out of his trousers, kicking his shoes to the floor with them and opened his body to Harry.

It was the most arousing thing he had ever seen in his life.

And Harry knew that if he took what was on offer he would never be able to live with himself.

Not wanting to hurt Severus any further than he already had, he smiled and kissed him deeply, attempting to show him that he accepted and understood what he had just confessed.

Then he pulled back, uttered a quick 'don't move' and ran to the Floo.

He quickly grabbed an excess of Floo powder and called out Ron's address. His friend quickly responded and took in Harry's agitated state.

"Oh, no. He found out didn't he? Do you need to come over? I could hide you at the Burrow but I think he'd look for you there-"

"No, Ron, he didn't find out. It's actually worked perfectly but I..."

Ron looked at the tormented face of his friend and understood immediately. "Can't go through with it, can you?"

Harry shook his head.

"The counter spell is Voluntas Finis."

Harry thanked his friend and made to exit the Floo.

"Oi, Harry."

Harry turned back. "Yeah?"

"I'll keep the Floo open in case you need to make a quick escape, yeah?"

Harry grimaced and nodded.


Harry returned to the bedroom, only to find Severus putting his trousers back on.

"Um... Severus?"

The Potions Master looked up at him, hurt and betrayal in his eyes.

Merlin, Harry thought. If he feels that way now...

"I'm sorry. I know what it looks like but I swear it's not. I love you... so much." Severus' face softened slightly at Harry's words. The younger man kissed his lover's face, using his hands to cup his cheeks. "I want you so badly, but I need to tell you something first." Harry paused then added, "Then you can get mad."

Severus looked confused but remained silent.

Harry took out his wand out of his pocket and pointed it at the Potions Master.

The Potions Master's body immediately stiffened. No matter how much he trusted his lover, Harry knew that old habits died hard.

"Harry?" he said, his eyes peeled on the younger man's wand.

Harry looked into black eyes, fearful and uncertain where they were usually bastions of strength. "Trust me?" he pleaded.

Severus paused for a moment then nodded.

"Voluntas Finis."

Severus gasped, his shoulders slummed and he looked as though he was about to fall back onto the bed.

Harry grabbed onto him all the time muttering into the other man's jacket 'I'm sorry' over and over.

"What... did... you... do?"

Harry looked up into the clear and furious eyes of his lover. He bit his lip and tried to find a tactful way of saying 'I was unhappy with how you were treating me and instead of talking to you, I completely betrayed your trust by dousing you with a potion used on criminals.'

"Do you know how aurors interrogate their suspects?"

Severus growled, his eyes furious and his teeth bared. "You gave me a susceptibility potion?"

Harry nodded.

Severus released Harry, throwing him on the bed. He quickly picked himself up and followed the older man out of the room, not willing to let him leave so angry.

Harry remained silent as Severus paced their sitting room floor, his lover's face showing a spectrum of emotions. He could see anger there but every few moments Severus would glance over at Harry, opening his mouth and then shutting it with an audible click as though he was unwilling to speak.

Harry would have none of that. No, if this experience had proven anything it was that they both needed to be honest with each other.

"Oh, for Merlin's sake, Severus," Harry pleaded into his hands. "I used a susceptibility potion on you! You have every right to be angry with me!"

Severus stopped his pacing, finally addressing his young lover. Harry saw his inner turmoil, his desire to shout at Harry but also not wanting to cause another breakdown at the same time. Finally, Severus seemed to make up his mind.

"Why? Why would you do this to me, to us? Was I careless with you? Did I treat you poorly? Are you unhappy?" His voice dropped as he said, almost too softly for Harry to hear, "Do you wish to leave?" The silent 'me' at the end of his statement went unspoken but Harry heard it anyway.

"No, to everything. You were wonderful to me but... I just couldn't take it anymore, Severus."

He approached the other man, counting it a victory when he didn't step away from him.

"I'm not sick anymore. I haven't been for a while but... You were treating me like I was mental, like I was going to have a total breakdown at any moment."

Severus scoffed. "Nonsense. I cared for you the way a man should be cared for after all you've been through."

Harry paused, not wanting to upset Severus but also not wanting to belittle the way he had taken care of him all those months.

"You did. I owe my sanity to you. But I've been fine for a while now, Severus. Thanks to you." Harry stepped into the other man's space, taking the long-fingered hands into his own. "But you treated me the same after I was better. You didn't change when I changed."

Severus lowered his eyes minutely, conceding the point.


Harry put his finger over the other man's lips. "You loved me the only way you knew how, didn't you? You didn't know how to act once I was better, so you just kept doing what you had hoping you wouldn't be found out."

Severus remained still and silent.

"I've never been in a relationship either, you know?"

Severus scoffed again. "Yes, but you are eighteen and I am thirty-nine. I am the senior partner and-" Severus broke off, his trademark diction abandoning him. "Damn it all, I should know how to do this!"

Harry smiled at the Potions Master, finally seeing the other man frustrated and nonplussed. At once, Harry realized the opportunity that was in front of him.

It was his turn to take care of Severus.

"All I need from you is to be yourself. I love you, you know. Not some watered down, soft around the edges version of you. I'm not going to break if you snap at me." Harry forced Severus to meet his eyes, placing his hand gently on his chin and drawing the older man's gaze down. "And do you know how jealous I was of every other person in this castle?"

Severus raised an eyebrow.

"Everyone else got to hear your wit, your sarcasm, your personality but me. I love you- potions and snark included."

Harry could tell that Severus wanted to smile but was forcing himself not to. "You manipulated me, Harry. I trusted you and you betrayed that trust."

It was Harry's turn to lower his eyes. "I know and I'm sorry. All I can say is that I was desperate. I understand if you could never forgive me but-"

Harry's speech was broken by a kiss.

"I suppose I did not help matters much. Looking back on my actions, I can understand your desperation. You will not do that again?" It was a statement as well as a question.

Harry shook his head. "No, never. I promise." Harry lowered his head in shame under the dark gaze. He felt awful for what he had done and Severus had every right to never forgive him. One potion-stained finger lifted his chin so that green eyes could meet black.

"Fortunately for you I am the forgiving sort." Severus cocked an eyebrow. "But only for beautiful, young quidditch coaches who say that they love me."

Harry smiled. "So I'm forgiven?"

Severus grabbed his hand and pulled him into their bedroom. He opened his bedside drawer and pulled out their vial of lubricant, placing it in Harry's hands.

"No," he said, his lips moving over Harry's ear. "But you can make it up to me."