I don't own these characters... you know the drill. Reviews are fun, just in case anyone was wondering
It was just past nine in the morning when a small tawny owl landed next to Hermione Grangers plate. With a smile, and an offering of toast she removed her paper and the delivery bird was off. Looking at her companions to the left and right, skillfully catching their attention without saying a word, she inclined her head and gestured to the kitchen door with her eyes. Catching her hint, the other two thirds of the now famous golden trio excused themselves and headed for the Burrows back garden. Clutching the news paper in her hand Hermione led them around to the back of Mr. Weasleys work shed.
Spreading herself out on the soft grass, she rested her back against the side of the shed and motioned for the boys to do the same.
With out saying a word she opened her copy of The Daily Prophet to the personals section and held the paper high so everyone could see. This had become their Sunday morning ritual of sorts. Every Sunday, rain or shine, they would take the Sunday Prophet and look through the personal ads in hopes of finding someone interesting for Harry.
Being the Boy-Who-Lived hadn't been easy on him, but being the Man-who-killed-the-Dark-Lord had made his life ridiculous. He couldn't date because he never knew who was with him because he was famous and who liked him for himself. He learned in his sixth year at Hogwarts that being gay wasn't an issue in the wizarding world. After defeating Voldemort during the summer between sixth and seventh year, Harry realized that he had quiet a bit of free time on his hands. With out a mad man trying to kill him there was nothing to occupy his mind aside from classes and quidditch. So he started dating. It had begun pleasantly enough. There was no end to the stream of suitors, some of them his very own housemates, vying for his attention. Everything had been going well until the morning, in mid-January, when Hermione had opened her copy of the Daily Prophet at the Gryffindor table during breakfast. A picture of Harry, standing with his back against a wall, and another boy who happened to be dropping to his knees in front of him took up most of the front page. The caption beneath the picture told the boys name and informed the reader that an interview with him would be in the following day's paper.
Harry had been crushed. He wasn't in love with the boy, but he had figured that he wouldn't go running his mouth to anyone that would give him a few galleons. After that day Harry refused to date just anyone. His sex life wasn't for sale and he refused to be exposed like that ever again.
It had been a year since the incident and Harry hadn't been linked to anyone. Not in the paper and not by his friends. Ron and Hermione knew that he had messed around a bit with the twins and had even had drunken sex with Charlie while they stayed in Romania just after finishing up at Hogwarts, but that was all that had occurred since leaving school.
So there they sat, every Sunday after breakfast for the past six months, reading through the personals looking for the perfect match for Harry. They had found a few promising ad's in that time, but on closer inspection they always found that the man just wasn't right. Not that Harry was picky; he just wanted someone that he would be comfortable with. Someone who was willing to occasionally spend nights in his bed not sleeping, and not say a word about it to the press or anyone else.
The trio had made a game out of it. While their main goal was to find someone that Harry found interesting, they also had the side goal of finding 'the nutters' as Ron liked to call them. People that for some reason just didn't understand that their approach was somewhat lacking. The friends had a scrap book that was filled with clippings that ranged from mildly humorous to just plain strange. Harry's personal favorite had been found about two weeks into the search. It was Hermione who had found it, pointing it out to the other two as she laughed herself silly.
'Light from a distant Sun is bent through layers of turbulent Air, thick with the dust of Earth and Life... The dazzling sunset comes from a complex, gritty and sometimes turbulent Path. The Story of every person who walks beneath that sunset is just as complex, gritty and turbulent... Complexity is beautiful. All life is complex and mine is no exception. Can you see this complexity in your own life? See it as a beautiful thing? Are you unafraid of finding someone new and real to share it with? Are you searching for the answer? I know that I am. Will you be my answer?'
Ron had tried for a month to get Harry to answer it. Just so they could see who would write something like that. He might have eventually given in if Hermione hadn't pointed out that it sounded a bit like something Professor Trelawney might submit.
They had been looking over the paper for less then a minute when Hermione cleared her through and started reading aloud.
"'Single wizard looking for someone who is interested in the same things I am. And cares about how I feel. Someone that likes me for me and won't try to make me into what they think I should be. Also, you must have a dog.' How in the world are we supposed to know what he is interested in? Why do people think vague is the best choice when it comes to these, I mean does he think that a seer is going to read this and just 'know' him. Give me a break. And what's with the dog requirement?"
Bighting back a laugh Harry smiled at her and touched his wand to the ad. A small red box appeared around it, indicating that it was one for their scrap book. Before he was able to move his wand away, his eyes were caught by the next ad in the queue.
'Single Wizard looking for friendship, maybe more. I am a very private man who takes pleasure in simple things. I like to cook and read. Tall, with dark hair and two tattoos. You show me your's and I'll show you mine. An affinity for leather isn't required but would be appreciated.'
Harry's lips moved over the words as he read it through for the second time. He knew that this was one that he had to reply to. Removing the paper from Hermione's hands he folded it in half and pointed to the ad. Letting his friends read it over he waited a moment before speaking.
"Well? What do you think? He spelled everything correctly and he stressed how private he was. I think I should respond."
He worried his lower lip between his teeth, in a gesture he had inherited from Hermione and looked at his friend. Hermione smiled at him and winked. She just wanted him to be happy. Ron eyed the ad again before answering him. When he did, his voice was soft and slightly serious.
"Here's the thing mate. Are you writing because he claims to be private or are you writing because he likes leather and has a few tattoos?" The grin he couldn't hide took away from serious tone and Harry knew that they agreed. This was defiantly someone that he needed to follow up on.
Two hours and three crumpled sheets of parchment later Harry sat at the desk in Ron's bedroom looking over what he hoped would be the final copy of his response. Checking over the letter one last time he removed the ad from The Prophet using his wand and placed it in the center of his letter. With a tap of his wand the news paper clipping melted into the parchment, which folded itself as the words 'box #487763' appeared on the front. Adding a spell so that no one but the owner of box #487763 could open it Harry handed to Hedwig. The magic in the clipping let Hedwig know exactly where to deliver the letter, and Harry trusted that the man who had placed the ad would be getting his response within the next few hours.~*~
Severus Snape walked into the sitting room of his quarters at Hogwarts with a sigh. The trip to Hogsmead that he had been forced to chaperon was finally over. Loath though he was to admit it, he did enjoy going into town with the students. They might have been irritating brats but he didn't actually have to interact with them while he was there. It had also given him a chance to stop by the post office to check his personal mail. The mail he wasn't willing to have delivered to him at breakfast in the great hall.
He had been in luck. Though the personal mail box only contained one letter, he was willing to bet that it was a response to his ad in the Daily Prophet.
First day the ad was posted and already a response, he thought to himself with a smirk.
Sitting in front of the fire in his favorite arm chair he took out his wand and spelled the letter open. He was pleased with what he saw before him. The letter had been sent by someone with small tidy penmanship. Each word looked as though it had been carefully added to the parchment. It wasn't overly long, a bit more then one half of the parchments length, but he had a feeling that he was going to enjoy what he was about to read.
I saw your ad this morning and had to read through it twice to be sure if it was real or not. I have to say, I was pulled in with the fact that you are a very private man. I am also private and would like to find someone that understands the need to keep a person's personal life to themselves. But what got my attention the most was your comment about tattoos and leather. I have a tattoo as well and leather is something that I adore in my private life. Hopefully you are everything your ad implied and you understand what I am saying. I will cut this short for now. If you would like to reply, just send your owl to 7 Church rd, Ottery St Catchpole. I won't include my name for now, I hope you understand.
The note was light and sweet, just as he had expected it to be, though he had to admit that the omission of at least the author's first name did take him by surprise. He was the most secretive person he knew and his planned signature had been his first initial. The secret identity of his new friend intrigued him. The desire to write his response almost over took him. Always a man in control of himself he set the letter on his end table and moved toward his liquor cabinet. Something with this degree of seriousness needed to be dealt with over whiskey. With a tumbler of Glenmorangie in his left hand he sat at his desk and fingered his quill. The idea's for his letter filling his agile mind.