Disclaimer: If you recognize something in this story, I do not own it, it belongs to someone else. If you don't recognize it, then it came from my crazy, mixed-up mind (be afraid...be oh, so afraid). No money has been, or will ever be made from this story.

Warning: this story contains Slash. A male/male relationship, and is rated M for a reason! There is also strong language and random bouts of snark. Oh, and the occasional misspelled word and grammatical error.

A/N: *The Voice of Rhyme and Reason has temporarily come to visit Point of Tears*

*kicks*

Point of Tears: Ow! What was that for?

VoRaR: You're kidding, right?

Point of Tears: Okay...so I'm a little late with this chapter.

VoRaR: A little late is a month. Do you even remember how to write?

Point of Tears: I do, too! I mean, I think so...

*kicks*

Point of Tears: Ow-w! What was that for?

VoRaR: It amuses me.


This is also a belated birthday gift to Infinity Limited. I am sorry that I did not get this posted by your birthday, but I hope you enjoy the chapter. This is also dedicated to all the readers who kept at least a little hope that this story would continue.

Would anyone be willing to be a Beta Reader for me? My current Beta, Invader Shawn, has become busy with real life and I am really not the kind of writer to go without one or even several people proof reading it first. If you are interested, send me a PM!

***Please note that this chapter contains scenes of mature/adult content. Mature scenes will be marked at beginning and end by asterisks (*) ***


Chapter 17: When Hasty Plans Turn Out Right


Did you just make a dirty joke about Snape and Harry? ~Ron Weasley

"—and then, just as we had gotten outside, it started to rain and the lightning was everywhere and then there were all these flashes of red light coming from inside the house—like lightning it was, ya know, totally wicked—and then—and then—"

Hermione's hand came up in a stopping gesture—which held an amazing power that had nothing whatsoever to do with a spell—and effectively paused the redhead's explanation. The young witch did not even take her eyes away from her task at hand, which was healing up the minor cuts and applying bruise and burn salves that were covering a certain black and grey haired wizard who was a million kilometers away, given how quiet he was and the look in his eyes.

"Ron," Hermione finally said when she was certain that the wizard had stopped talking, "please breathe."

The young wizard was about to protest that he could, in fact, remember to breathe without being told to, thank you very much, but his body seemed to come to its own realization that it hadn't really been breathing all that much and, hey, that might just be somewhat important.

Ron took a deep, almost gasping breath.

He really hated when she was right.

"There. I'm breathing. Happy now?"

"Of course." Hermione still didn't look his way, distracted as she tended to the raw skin of Harry's hands.

The red head really wished his young friend would say something. Anything. This was somewhat unnerving.

"Um," Ron said as he rubbed his shoulder, feeling a spot on his sleeve where a hex had cut a hole. "Can I continue my story now?"

"Please do," the young healer said calmly. Like she wasn't the least bit worried that their friend had seemingly become a walking, grey-eyed vegetable.

"Well, anyway, the red light got really bright, like there was lightning going off in the house. The ground even started shaking, like, you know, earthquake shaking. It was scary. You know, in a good way. Then, all of a sudden, it was over. Everything. Just…silence….That was when we went in and found Harry ….ya know…sitting on the floor….just…"

"In Harry-land?"

"Yeah."

Silence fell in the sunlit sitting room as Hermione still sat facing an unresponsive Harry on the couch when Ron stood off to the side, watching. He had a few wounds himself that would need a spell or two, but he could wait. Mostly, he just wanted to shake Harry. Wake him up. Snap him out of it and grab something to eat with him. But he was scared.

Yes, that's right. Scared.

He was scared to touch his best friend.

And he could tell that Hermione was also hesitant to touch him. Doing so only lightly to turn his hand to apply the salve with a spell.

At first, Ron had told himself that it was because Harry was hurt.

Then he forced his mind to admit that it was because he was afraid of getting hurt himself.

Like Harry was some dangerous…

weapon from his arsenal books…

Bloody hell.

Ron brought his hand up to rub his face. Wincing slightly when he irritated a small cut in his left cheek.

Unanswered questions made the room seem heavy, despite the slight breeze that blew in through a cracked window, causing the sheer curtain to billow out a bit into the room.

Finally, Hermione quietly broke the silence, asking one of those questions. One that Ron knew Hermione knew the answer to, or at least had some idea. Had to know. But also had to ask. Ron hated those kinds of questions. They were usually never good.

"What happened to the other men in the house?"

Ron opened his mouth to answer, but he never got even to the first syllable.

With no warning, Harry stood up from his spot on the couch, startling both of his friends with the suddenness of his movements. He still didn't say a word, still the far off look. Ron shifted on his feet, expecting now to be the time that his shorter friend would talk. Do something.

And he did.

He walked out.

That was it.

Harry just walked out into the entryway of the Grimauld, the sound of his footsteps hinting to the other two that he had gone up the stairs. They both stayed silent as they heard the noise fade out. Ron's eyes were fixed on the doorway that Harry had just exited; Hermione's were on the spot on the couch that still had an indent from where he had just sat. When the Ron looked at her, he immediately recognized.

It meant that she was trying to decide whether to hit Harry upside the head, or hug him.

Ron's money was on both.

Possibly at the same time.

He sighed and sat down on the couch beside his girlfriend.

"Think we should go after him?"

Hermione shook her head. "No. I think this is one of those times then he needs his space."

The unsaid, "for now," was just understood.

They weren't going to just let Harry stay in his...whatever...for very long.

Ron put his arm around Hermione's shoulder and drew her closer to him on the couch. She leaned her head against him and they stayed like that for a few, still moments. Blue and brown eyes now following the movement of the curtain a few meters away.

"What happened back there?"

Ron was about to ask what she meant, because it all just seemed confusing to him sometimes, but he took a stab in the dark that she was meaning during the fight just a few hours ago.

"Place was utterly trashed. Rubbish and broken furniture everywhere."

"And the four men?"

"Dunno."

Hermione turned her head to look up at him, moving her hair out of the way to see him better and for Ron to see the look of confusion on her face.

"What do you mean, 'dunno'," And Ron smiled slightly. It was always fun to hear the young woman talk in slang.

"I mean I don't know. There wasn't a trace of them. It was like they just," he shrugged, "vanished."

"Could they have dissaperated?"

The red head shook his head. "I seriously doubt it. Their wands were left behind...and their clothes."

"Their clothing?" Hermione asked, her eyebrows raised high in both question and disbelief.

"Yep. All of it. Kind of hope the naked part came after they disappeared and not before. That may be why Harry isn't talking. I think I'd need a remembral for my own name if I saw them starkers."

"Be serious."

"Oh, I am! You should have seen some of those guys," the tall wizard shuddered at the mental image.

Hermione just shook her head, not saying anymore as she sat up and turned, beginning the few healing spells that Ron needed, even magically mending the hole in his sleeve.

"Is it bad that I'm scared?" Ron asked as the last of his cuts vanished, leaving only a faint pink tine of new skin. "I mean not scared, cause that's just silly. What I mean is—"

"Terrified."

Ron shot the young woman a small glare that went almost unnoticed. "Not quite what I was going for."

"Trust me; your manliness is still intact. This is a scary situation."

"Yea, but I'm talking about Harry."

"So am I."

Oh.

"Oh."

"Yes. Oh. You aren't really scared of Harry"

"I—I'm not?"

"You're scared of the situation that is currently surrounding Harry."

Ron thought about that for a moment. He still trusted his friend, still would fight alongside him as they have always done since they first met. Was he really afraid of him? Is Harry still Harry? Could the situation effect him to the point that the person and the-

Ron was getting a headache.

"I think I need a sandwich or something to deal with this deep stuff."

"Ron."

"What? I'm hungry. And you can't possibly expect a man to think about situations and things when he is hungry, can you?"

"Of course not," Hermione deadpanned. "How silly of me."

Ron stood and stretched, his muscles still aching from the recent fight, despite the fact that there were no outward signs of battle. "I have a great plan."

"I'm sure you do."

"First, we eat."

"You mean you'll eat."

"And then we will have a deep conversation," Ron said. He couldn't help wagging his eyebrows a bit at the brunette, grinning lopsidedly.

Hermione just smiled up at him. "You mean you'll be having a 'deep conversation' with yourself."

Ouch.

"You wound me!"

"I wish, sometimes, with that crass humor."

"My humor is a lost art. Anyway, after that, we can go hunt down our catatonic friend and play a game of Smack Some Sense into him."

That said, Ron leaned down to give the young witch on the couch a kiss. He made it nearly there, when a loud noise, the clearing of a throat, came from the entryway, startling the two teens. Ron stood quickly and looked, only to be greater Snape. The Potions Master stood there, arms crossed over his chest and the usual, slight scowl to his face.

Ron couldn't help but match the expression. And then some. He couldn't help but think that the older man had done that on purpose.

"How nice to see you," the red head said flatly.

Snap raised an eyebrow. "So sorry to interrupt a touching moment."

No he wasn't.

"Is there something the matter, Mr. Snape?" Hermione asked, finally standing from the couch by Ron.

"I have come to gather the Order to give my-where is Harry?"

Ron had to blink a few times from the sudden change of topic."Uh, we don't know. See, the was a fight earlier and Harry-"

He didn't get to finish his explanation. With a quick turn on his heels, Snape was gone with a sweep of black robes and a stomping of feet. Ron didn't even have to guess. He knew the man was going upstairs.

"Well," said Ron, "I guess that takes care of item number three on our list. Do you think Snape will be able to knock some sense into Harry?"

Hermione started to walk out of the sitting room, speaking with her back to her boyfriend. "Oh, he'll knock something into him."

Ron nodded his head. He stopped, though, when the words sank in.

His eyes widened.

Did she…

"Hey!" he yelled as he followed the silently laughing witch into the kitchen. "Did you just make a dirty joke about Snape and Harry?"


Severus only had to look in a few places before he found Harry. There were only so many places he could go without alerting The Order to his whereabouts. At first, Severus had thought the teen to be utterly ridiculous and even childish for trying to hide or thinking he could hide, however he now had a feeling that Harry was not so much hiding as he just simply wanted to be left alone, a sentiment that Severus could very well understand. It is why when he saw the young man sitting near the very tiny window that graced the far corner of the attic, he was tempted to leave him be.

For all of two seconds.

"This seems a little melodramatic, but given your propensity for overreaction at times such as these, it is not a surprise."

He is really just looking for a reaction. Something to snap Harry out of his self-imposed state. To see his eyes flash with emotion, instead of just staring dully out that damned window. He didn't even get a head turn. Not even a hint of acknowledgement.

This is unacceptable.

Severus crossed the room, careful to not trip over the many boxes and dust-ridden furniture that occupied Grimmauld attic. When he finally made it over to Harry, he continued to attempt a reaction by standing over—looming—over the black and grey haired man. Harry, however, continued to look out the window. The skin of his hands still a pink coloring from the healing salves that Granger had undoubtedly administered. His face was impassive, giving noting away as to what he was thinking or feeling.

When Severus turned to look out the window himself, it was a simple scene of the street down below. There was a couple walking hand in hand down the sidewalk across the way. A car drove past.

Severus gave a mighty, internal sigh as he sat down in the dust next to Harry.

The two sat there, staring out the dingy window at the street below. Severus believed that, like previous times, Harry would simply begin to talk if given enough time, but as the minutes ticked by, it became obvious that Harry was either not going to talk, or the timeframe he needed before he would just did not work for this situation.

"You are being childish."

Nothing.

"Spoiled."

Zilch.

"A brat."

Zero.

"For magic's sake!" Severus finally was fed up. He brought he hand up and popped the silent young man in the back of the head. "Snap out of it, Harry!"

Harry only blinked, owlishly a few times and continued to stare out the window.

Severus took a deep breath through his nose in an attempt to calm down and collect his thoughts. He should just get up and leave. Let Harry have this time if he was going to be so stubborn about it. He looked back to the window in time to see a bird land on the windowsill. It cocked his head to the side, almost like it could tell that there was an awkward situation going on inside and he wanted nothing to do with it and flew off.

'A smart bird,' Severus thought as he cut his eyes over to Harry again.

The young man's grey eyes were not actually looking out the window, but were looking past the window, looking out into subspace. His shoulders were not hunched down like they normally were when Harry became self-pitying. No, they were rigid and his back straight, almost as if he was beginning a meditation session.

"Harry." Severus did not even think as he turned and reached up again. This time, though, it was not to smack the young man, but he brought his arm around the other's shoulder and pulled. It was not until Harry was leaning over, head lying against his chest that he realized that he was hugging the man.

'I have officially gone soft. Absolute mush.'

He was about to release the young, silent wizard. About to say something sarcastic and witty. Anything to save face from the fact that he had just willingly decided to engage in a hug. Severus did not get that far though, because in a split instant Harry's arms came up and encircled the Potions Master, his head burying further into the older man's black robes.

Severus's arms had come up slightly in surprise from the quick action. Slowly, he lowered them to wrap around the slighter man, resting on his back.

It wasn't until a sob wracked the teen's body that Severus realized what was happening.

Harry was crying.

Dark eyes flashed for a moment with panic. He could not possibly handle a situation like this. This was more than he had bargained for. Perhaps he should leave and go get Granger or possibly Mrs. Weasley. They would be better suited for dealing with such an emotional—

Those thoughts flew off just as that little bird when Harry shook again, clung tighter to Severus's robes.

Severus's brow knit together as he, too, tightened his hold on the grey and black haired young man. The way that they were seated was awkward, so—and until the day he dies, Severus will swear it was only because he was out of his element and it was a moment of panic—the older man drew the young in and up, essentially manhandling him into his lap. Harry's face stayed hidden the entire time. When Severus was satisfied with the way Harry was sitting, he brought one arm around the teen's body while the other went up, hand going through Harry's hair.

"You do not have to tell me what is wrong," he eventually said, after Harry's sobs had seemed to calm. "But you must understand that I am persistent and I will figure out what is going on."

There was a distinctive sniff from under his chin and Severus worries for a moment that the young man has used his robes as a handkerchief. Harry brought his head up finally, eyes slightly red from his crying. He tilted his chin slightly to look up at the taller man. Severus stomped down the urge to do anything else too maudlin, like wipe his tears, or rock him.

Or kiss his nose.

"I'm sorry."

Severus blinked at the first words the teen uttered. "Oh, lord, you really did use my robe to blow your nose, didn't you?"

Again, let it be said that he is a Potions Master, not an emotions master.

Amazingly, the teen gave a very small chuckle. Harry let go with one hand to wipe his cheeks, but he stayed close to Severus. He sobered quickly, looking away.

"I killed them."

Sadly, the older of the two was not surprised that this is the problem plaguing the young wizard.

"You were in the middle of battle, casualties are to be expected."

"Yea, but—" Harry closed his eyes. Shook his head. "Not like that."

"Perhaps I would be better able to assist you if I were more informed about the situation."

The young man sighed and opened his eyes, looking up at Severus again. "I went into the red area during the battle."

Severus's eyebrows rose. "Were you able to control it?"

"Yes, but…I didn't have to do that…" Harry drifted.

Severus brought his hand from the back of Harry's head to his neck, rubbing a little to get the teen back to reality.

"You will have to explain exactly 'that' is."

"I think I turned them into magic."

The older man blinked. Then blinked again. "You think that you turned them into…magic?"

Harry nodded. "While I was in the red area my magic was like the red—lightning—stuff and when they tried to cast a spell at me again, I hit one of them with a blast of magic and he," Harry shuddered a little in Severus's arms, "glowed red for a second before he, well, broke apart."

Severus had a terrible mental image from that. "Broke apart?"

Harry seemed to get a little frustrated. Whether it was with Severus or himself, it was difficult to tell. "I don't know how else to explain it. It was like he slowly broke apart in to red lights until there was nothing left."

Well. That is quite different.

"That isn't the worst part though," Harry went on.

"Oh, really?"

"Yea. The other two turned to run. I was still so angry and there was all this energy and I just kept thinking about everything that they had done and I—Severus I hit one of them when his back was turned!"

Harry looked like he may start crying again and Severus really did not know if he could handle that.

"I'm turning into a monster." Harry's voice broke at the last word.

All right, that is it.

"Harry, I want you to listen to me and listen well," Severus brought both of his hands to Harry's upper arms, pulling the teen away from him a little and turning him slightly to look him straight in his grey eyes. "You are being an idiot. You are not, nor will you ever be a monster. You did, in fact, become overwhelmed by your emotions and your magic. I doubt we can do too much to help with your emotions, typical Gryffindor, but your magic we can work on and hone. Next time that you enter the red area, it will not overwhelm you."

Harry looked at him for a moment before he cut his eyes to the side. "Ron and Hermione are afraid of me."

Severus could not help but snort, causing Harry's eyes to turn back to him. "They are no more scared of you than they would be a rabbit. Honestly, towards them, I think the rabbit may be more deadly."

"But they—"

"What is more than likely the case is that they are overly worried about the current and future situations and are scared for you. A very distinct difference."

Harry narrowed his eyes in skepticism and looked down, but didn't say anything to negate Severus's statement.

"I'm sitting in your lap."

The Potions Master rolled his eyes. "Please do not tell me that you are just now realizing this fact."

"Thank you," Harry said honestly. He looked back up at the taller man.

Severus snorted. "I am becoming an absolute sap. I find this entire situation absolutely deplorable."

Harry smiled and nodded. "Whatever you say."

The older man watched with dark, ever-observant eyes as the young man slowly got up and out of his lap, absolutely not missing the warmth that was now gone. Harry still seemed unsure, even though he was now responsive. He also noticed that the teen's feet were not touching the floor again. In fact, it was several centimeters, very noticeable.

"You cannot react this way to battle," he said sternly.

"You can say that," Harry responded, "but that doesn't mean that I am going to listen." He extended his hand towards Severus.

Severus raised a dark brow, "You must be joking?"

"About offering my hand or not listening to you?" Harry asked, arm tilting slightly to the side. Severus was reminded of the little bird in the window.

Severus stood, without the aid of a hand. He looked Harry straight in the eye, watching as Harry's own brow line disappeared into his black and grey hair. He looked down at his feet, then cursed quietly under his breath.

"I think you realize what this means."

"More training?"

Severus threw up his arms in sarcastic triumph. "There may just be hope yet. I am going downstairs. I need to assemble The Order to give a report of some findings that concern Albus's condition." He began to make his way across the attic, knowing full and well that he had caught the curiosity of the young Gryffindor.

"What sort of findings?" Harry asked as he jogged the few steps to catch up to Severus.

"You are just going to have to come down to the meeting, then, because I am not going to repeat myself."

"But I'm special!"

"Oh, yes," came the sardonic reply, "in many ways."

"Hey!" Harry reached out and grabbed Severus's hand, making him stop and turn around. "I—I mean it. Thank you."

"You may make it up to me by never doing that again. Feeling sorry for yourself will not change what happened and shutting down will only make things worse!" Severus's face and words were set in an almost angry manner, but his hand gave him away, squeezing Harry's slightly.

"You really are the sweetest," Harry said with a small smile.

Severus's cheeks turned a very faint pink as his eyes narrowed. "I am leaving now."

Harry chuckled as the older man turned on his heels and started walking again. He did not feel quite right still. There was still regret. Severe regret over what happened. His mind wandered as he thought about what would happen if an innocent person got in the way of his magic. What if—

Smack!

"Ow!" Harry brought his hand up to the back of his hand that now smarted from the Potions Master's slap.

Severus pointed a finger straight at Harry's nose. "Stop!"

"It's not like it's going to go away, right away!" Harry said with a little more heat to his voice, still rubbing the back of his head. "And that hurt!"

"So what are you going to do about it?"

"Learn to duck?" Harry couldn't seem to help the sarcasm.

Severus rolled his eyes, then glared at him again.

Harry sighed. "I am working on this, I swear. This was just…"

"Of course it is not going away. I am not asking you to ignore it. I am asking you to learn and move on."

"And what if I can't on my own?"

"Well then it is a good thing that you are not alone, then, isn't it?"

They had been raising their voices, and slowly been getting in each other's personal space, but the things that they were saying were not really those meant for an argument.

"Are we fighting? I'm confused!" Harry said; his voice was still loud.

Severus did not lower his volume either. "Love is confusing!"

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

The wind was taken out of Harry's sails instantly. His face fell as his mouth dropped open slightly. "Huh?"

Severus went on as though he had not realized what he had just said. "Now come on. I need to talk to The Order and you are pertinent to the discussion."

And perhaps he really didn't know what he had just said.

The older man reached out and wrapped his hand around the younger's wrist, pulling as he walked until the still slightly dazed teen followed behind him.

"You will be the death of me, asinine, impetuous boy," Severus grumbled as they began to descend the stairs, his hand still on Harry's wrist.

'Huh….love…'


It didn't take long to send out the signal to assemble The Order. Those that were able to, that were not held up in some type of mission, were soon assembled around the dining table at Grimmauld place. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had been some of the first to arrive and with Hermione's help, they had cast a few spells to start a small meal cooking for those who would want it and two pots of coffee because everyone seemed to need it. Barely anyone actually sat at the table; there seemed to be an energy about the place that prevented anyone from getting too comfortable. Most were just whispering as to what the impromptu meeting could be about. Others were whispering about the battle that had happened earlier. Harry was grateful that no one was asking him any questions about the incident, though from the few pointed stares he got, he had a feeling that there were several versions of the story now floating around. The grey-eyed teen stayed off to the side with Ron and Hermione, until Severus finally called the meeting to order.

"I shall make this brief since I am well aware that many of you are quite busy. You have all asked to be kept abridged about the condition of Albus Dumbledore and the research into finding a cure. I think I may have discovered the diagnosis."

"You think?" Remus was the first to ask.

"Yes. I cannot say without a shred of…some...doubt," Severus said as his nostrils flared ever so slightly at the comment from his once school rival, "But after conducting several experiments and research, this seems to be the logical explanation. Does that satisfy you?"

Remus put up his hands in a surrendering fashion. "Of course. Please, what have you found?"

Severus straightened his robes and looked to the room at large. "I, and Madame Pomfrey agrees, that Albus is most likely suffering from something of a magical autoimmune disease."

The room was silent for a few moments as everyone digested this information. A few of the Order members nodded their heads, having at least some understanding of what the ex-Death Eater was talking about. Others, not so much.

"Say what, now?" Ron finally asked.

"It means, Weasley, that the Headmaster's magic is literally attacking and killing his body from the inside out."

A few of the people around the room visibly shuddered, Harry included. That just sounded awful. Worse than awful. The idea seemed to be a little too much for Mrs. Weasley, who quickly excused herself to go back to the kitchen to see to dinner. Hermione threw a worried look to both Ron and Harry and quickly went after her.

"Can this be cured?" Mr. Weasley asked the Potions Master. His eyes, though, were on the door that his wife had just exited.

"I cannot be certain. Nothing of this nature has ever been completely recorded in magical medical journals. However, there is one possible idea, thanks to our own Mr. Potter."

Every eye in the room turned towards the grey-eyed wizard and Harry had to fight the urge to take a few steps back. "Er…I did thought of what, exactly?"

He could really kill Severus right now for putting him on the spot like this.

"It is not so much what you have thought of, as what you do. During your meditations you gain access to your magical core, correct?"

"I believe that using some form of magical connection would also allow you to slip into someone else's magical core."

"That…sounds really—"

"Weird," Ron interrupted.

"Personal," Harry finished.

"It may very well be, but the ability to have an outside force—a powerful outside force that is equal to Albus's—be able to break through whatever spell the dark lord has cast, then there is a good chance that his magical core could be stabilized."

"This seems like quite a few 'chances' and 'maybes' and 'what ifs'" George interjected. "What happens if you're wrong?"

Severus straightened ever so slightly. "Then there does run a risk that we could cause further damage. This is, however, the most logical, and at this point only feasible, explanation for what is occurring."

"Would you be willing to do this, Harry," Kingsley asked from his chair.

Harry was once again confronted by a roomful of expectant stairs. Could he do this? Did he want to? What if something worse happened? This was not a sure thing. Albus could even die because they went and messed with his magic. The young man's eyes find Severus's, as if trying to find his answer there. The dark eyes are serious. Confident. And something else, too.

Something like hope.

Harry has his answer.

"Yea—yes, I'll do it."

A few of The Order members nodded before Kingsley spoke again. "When can this be done?"

"Just as soon as proper tests are completed to prove it can be done," said Severus; his eyes were still on Harry's.

There were a few murmurs of agreement as the meeting disbanded. Several of The Order members even got up to give a small congratulation, a handshake to the Potions Master on his discovery. Even Harry got a few pats on the shoulder as people started to file out of the room and out into the hallway to the apparation spot, but Harry didn't know why. Was it for his agreement? Or for luck? At this point Harry was thinking the latter of the two was the case. The more he thought about this, the greater the risk appeared. Were they really going to go in and mess with another person's magic, with Albus's magic? Harry's mind flashed back to the three men who had vanished into red lights and his stomach rolled. He immediately pushed the thought away and began picking at the worn, deep purple tablecloth that dressed the dining room table as he waited for everyone to leave. Finally, Ron clapped him on the shoulder.

"I'm gonna go check on 'Mione. You alright, mate?"

"Yea," Harry said as he continued to pick at the material. "I'm fine."

"Yea, sure you are. I think you picked a hole in the corner there."

Harry cut his eyes over at his redhead friend who was trying to lighten the situation. The younger man smiled a little. "Just go bother your girlfriend in the kitchen, okay?"

"Well, I know when I'm not wanted." He gave Harry's shoulder a light squeeze. "Making you a plate of food. You better eat it."

"Yes, mum."

"Prat," Ron tossed the insult casually over his shoulder as he walked out and to the kitchen where the smell of food was already drifting.

Finally, it was just Harry and Severus alone in the dining room. Harry finally stopped picking at the tablecloth and looked up. The taller—or at least taller when Harry had both feet on the ground—man was still standing in the same spot, arms crossed over his chest.

"Do you really think we can do this?" Harry asked.

"Yes. Now ask the better question."

What? Better question?

'Oh.'

"Do you think we'll succeed?"

Severus took a deep breath through his nose. "It is not a guarantee. In fact, there is quite a large contingency of failure or mishap, as I hope you are at least somewhat aware of due to your own dabbling in your magical core."

Harry nodded, taking a few steps around the table and towards Severus. "Do you think we can do this? You and I?"

Severus paused only for a moment before he answered quietly, "Yes, I believe we can."

The teen was still walking towards the man in front of him. He stopped just a few steps away. He reached out, took Severus's arms, and with a little effort, uncrossed the man's arms, dark eyes watching him the entire time. Harry moved the thin arms around until they were at Severus's side. He then brought his hands up to Severus's shoulders and pushed them a little until they finally sagged, relaxed just a bit. Harry kept his hands on the Potions Master's shoulders. The corner of his lips quirked upwards just a little.

"Then I believe you."


*****Begin Adult Content*****

Grey eyes stared back at Harry in the mirror as he brushed his teeth hastily in the upstairs bathroom. After The Order meeting, his mind kept replaying all the events that had happened during the day, all the things said. In fact, the whole replay seemed to be on fast forward, with his brain not seeming to be able to settle on one particular image for more than a few seconds before it would be off to the next. The whole thing proved to be quite the distraction through dinner, earning him several pokes in his ribs by Mrs. Weasley and Hermione.

After eating, the small group had gone into the library to talk. Mostly, it was an impromptu meeting between those present about how certain missions were going, reports on Death Eater activity, and Ministry hubbub. Harry tried to pay attention, really he did, but he just seemed to be on information overload and his mind simply said, 'No'. He contributed a little to the conversation, but mostly he just sat back in his overstuffed chair, let the words wash over him, and let his eyes and mind wander. If anyone noticed, no one said anything.

By this point, the memories that he had apparently decided to fixate on had to do with Severus, and maybe that was because the man in question was sitting right in front of him, talking to Kingsley.

What did happen in the attic earlier this afternoon? They had been fighting, hadn't they?

Sort of.

Kind of.

Not Really.

They had been yelling, though, and both just generally frustrated and upset.

And then Severus had said it. Love.

Perhaps Harry had even heard it wrong. What sounds like love? Dove? Above? Glove? None of those made any sense. Shove? That one was a little better, but not by much.

Harry leaned farther back in the chair and nodded at something Ron had said about armor or the like. Perhaps Severus had not really been referring to them specifically, but more as a broad subject. Although, that seems a bit of a reach since Severus would be more likely to wear a coconut bra than expel the virtues and perils of love in a general sense.

Harry looked over at the dark eyed, dark haired man, trying to see if he could gain some type of insight into the other's body language. Severus sat, straight backed in the couch that he was sitting on, looking particularly uncomfortable. This wasn't a new thing. Severus often felt uncomfortable in group settings. Also, it could have a something-maybe slightly-to do with the fact that Harry kept looking at him. The other man avoided all eye contact, though, focusing on everything else and everyone else around the room. He had been that way the entire evening, even after Harry had told him he supported his plan to try to cure Albus.

Which the grey and black haired teen believed that the older man actually did realize what he had said that afternoon. He hadn't meant to say it, but he did, and was now avoiding the whole thing.

They were both pretty good at that when they wanted to be.

Wait.

Had he been avoiding it, too?

Did he love Severus?

No, don't be ridiculous.

Seems too fast, doesn't it?

Of course, they had been setting their own crazy pace since the very beginning, hadn't they? What would be different about now?

Harry's head was starting to hurt. He brought his hand up to rub at the side of his forehead in a futile attempt to find relief. He saw Severus's eyes finally look over at him at the movement. His dark eyes flashed with concern. The look made something in Harry's chest shift. He gave a small, lopsided smile and mouthed out the words that he was fine. Severus looked at him for a few more seconds before he nodded and returned to the conversation.

That was when Harry made up his mind. Severus was right, love is confusing, because he still wasn't sure if he was in love or not, but he cared and trusted Severus and he wasn't about to have the man shut down or back off simply because of saying a simple word. He would just have to help Severus get over it or face it, just as Severus had done for him on many occasions. There were three ways that they excelled at this task. The first was verbally yelling at each other-which had rather gotten them into this situation in the first place. The second was to physically fight, as in box. This, Harry felt, was not the proper course of action.

So that left the third way.

Harry had to fight back the rising heat to his face.

He liked the third way.

So, one very hasty plan for seduction later, and Harry is standing at the bathroom sink with a toothbrush in his mouth and is really starting to worry if this whole thing is going to work or not. Still brushing his teeth, he reached up with his other hand to try to smooth down his hair just a bit. The task was difficult and in the end he thought he had probably done more harm than good.

His reflection in the mirror took the toothbrush out of its mouth.

"So who are we trying to impress, hm? Do you really think you're going to do it looking like that?"

"Shut it," Harry mumbled back around a mouthful of toothpaste.

The reflection opened his mouth to say another gem to boost his confidence, when he heard a very distinct grumbling coming from the room across the hall. His and Severus's rooms.

"If I discover that Kreture is, yet again, damaging clothing in the laundry basket on purpose I shall be unaccountable for the..."

Harry quickly rinsed out his mouth and looked at the door to the bathroom, then back at the mirror.

His reflection winked. "Show Time!"

Right.

'What could go-'

Harry was not going finish that thought.

The teen poked his head outside the door to the bathroom to make sure there was no one else in the hallway to spot him before he made a mad dash for the bedroom door. He stopped just before it, straightened up a bit, and tried to flatten his hair down one more time before he slowly opened the door and went inside. Severus was on the other side of the room rummaging through a drawer in the wardrobe, his back to the younger man, as he continued to grumble. He was already in his pajama bottoms, a simple black cotton pair with a very small white strip pattern, but was still shirtless, a fact that made a Harry's heart rate increase ever so slightly.

This was what he had been hoping for when he had first thought of his plan. One of the odd things that he had noticed while sharing a bedroom with the man was that Severus wore his pajamas in order. That's right. He would wear only certain pajama sets on certain days.

Obsessive compulsive?

A little bit.

Anally retentive?

Possibly.

Something Harry thought was a little endearing, funny, and- as of this present moment-something he found very helpful.

The young man let Severus go on searching for a little while longer, smiling at some of the general insults the other man was mumbling darkly into the quiet room. Finally, when nerves and adrenaline won out, Harry cleared his throat to let Severus know that he was not alone in the room. The reaction was immediate. Severus stood straight up, startled, then whirled around with his eyebrows knitted together tight in irritation to no doubt tell Harry a thing or three about sneaking up and scaring people...

Only as soon as his eyes focused on Harry, all those words seemed to disappear, leaving the older man's mouth hanging open slightly, his eyes going a bit rounder in surprise.

Harry fought the urge to fidget or cross his arms or say something stupid as Severus continued to stare at him. At the time, that he had thought this up, it had seemed like a good idea at the time, but now he wasn't so sure. His hand cane down to the hem of the shirt he was wearing.

A certain black with white striped pajama shirt that happened be the missing set to the ones Severus was wearing.

And not a stitch else.

The larger shirt came down low enough that it covered him, some. All of his legs were on display and if he raised his arms he would definitely be giving Severus a show. He had even had to cuff the sleeves so that he could use his hands.

He either looked sexy, or like a kid trying to play dress up.

Harry was really hoping it was sexy.

He brought his hand up to run his fingers through his hair, causing the left side of the shirt to rise considerably higher, showing off the skin of his hip.

Severus's eyes widened even more and he made this odd, grisly noise in the back of his throat.

Harry was starting to believe it was sexy. At least to Severus.

"Looking for something?" the younger man finally asked and instantly kicked himself for. What was that? Looking for something? Of all the cheesy things to say! Severus is probably going to laugh at him now and his whole plan would be ruined.

This time it was Harry's eyes that widened as Severus crossed the room quickly, only a few long strides at most, and was completely in the smaller man's personal space before he could blink, breathing heavily and eyes now hooded. Harry's heart somehow found the energy to beat even faster, his own breath speeding up to catch Severus's.

"Stealing another person's things is a very grievous offense," Severus said in a low voice. He seemed to be coming even closer.

Harry licked his lips and watched as Severus's eyes followed his tongue. "What are you going to do about it?"

That seemed to be all the invitation Severus needed. The Potions Master rushed forward, eliminating the already small gap between the two and sealed his mouth over Harry's, sucking on his bottom lip. Harry made a very appreciative sound as his eyes fluttered close and he responded back enthusiastically to the kiss, parting his mouth and allowing the older man access with his tongue.

They kissed like that for a few moments before Harry brought both of his arms up to circle around Severus's neck. The action caused the two men to come closer together and exposed Harry from just below his belly button and down. The cooler air on already heated, sensitive skin caused Harry to shiver in a most wonderful way, adding fuel to the fire and driving his urgency forward.

Severus hands dropped down to squeeze Harry's rear end, long fingers pressing into very soft flesh. The quick action had caused Harry to let out an odd, squeaky sound, followed by a moan; both of which were swallowed up by Severus's mouth still devouring his.

Harry carded his own fingers through long black strands of hair as the older man began to massage the cheeks of his butt more firmly. He accidentally pulled a on the hair a little and moaned when the hands began to move inward, towards the cleft. Harry felt a pang of loss when the hands moved away when he did that and the grey eyed wizard was about to break the kiss to apologize, though for what he had no idea. He knew this wasn't quite part of his plan but if Severus kept kissing him like that, then hell with the plan.

The kiss finally broke and Harry let out a loud gasp as Severus swept down just a bit, put his hands firmly under Harry's arse and lifted, drawing the younger man off the floor even more. Harry instinctively wrapped his legs around Severus's waist, tightened his hold on the other man's neck as he was lifted and brought closer.

"You are a tease," Severus said through labored breathing. They were so close that their noses were touching.

"Yea?" Harry's voice was shaky and breathy as well. He licked his bottom lip, then tilted his head and moved forward, licking slowly across Severus's bottom lip.

Severus made another sound in the back of his throat, this time more of a choked gargle.

That's a fun reaction.

Harry moved from the older man's lips to his cheek and then to his ear, kissing and licking a trail the entire way. It was when he began sucking on Severus's earlobe that the choked noise turned into a gasp and Harry found himself being spun around and laid down on the bed with Severus over him, kissing him in earnest once again.

'Remember the plan!' his lust-fogged mind tried to tell him.

Emphasis on tried.

He figured though that he could certainly enjoy this part for a little...long...while longer.

Running his hands downward, Harry began to give attention to Severus's hairy chest and stomach, enjoying the feel of it under his fingertips. One of Severus's hands was bracing the larger man up, while the other was on Harry's hip. With firm pressure, it would run up the smooth side of Harry's stomach, bunching the sleep shirt farther up as he did, and then back down to his thigh.

It wasn't until that hand started to wander inward and cupped him carefully, sending a fissure of pure need up Harry's spine that the young man remembered his plan.

With great reluctance, he broke the kiss. Severus moved back and looked down at his face, his expression one of worry as he began to move his hand.

Can't have that.

Harry quickly caught the other man by the wrist and slowly shook his head. Without a word, he moved the hand back to its spot, hissing quietly and letting out a small whimper at the contact. He kept his eyes on Severus; on those dark eyes that seemed even darker now, on his slightly flushed face, and willed his face to show trust, and that he wasn't afraid of this. Of whatever their feelings were and that Severus shouldn't be afraid either.

"Turn over."

In his plan, this was supposed to be said as a seductive command, but now that he was actually in the moment, he thought it sounded more like a plea. Oh well. Best laid plans.

He must have seen something in Harry's face, because Severus looked at him for only a moment before he leaned down for one, quick kiss and slowly removed his hand and turned over so that he was now lying with his back on the bed.

Harry was quick to follow the older man and as soon as Severus was settled, Harry straddled his lap. He fought down the blush from feeling Severus's own erection still trapped in his sleep pants with Harry's freed one.

He looked down at Severus as the older man placed both elegant hands on the teen's hips, running them up and down his thighs.

"Are you scared about what you said earlier? When you mentioned love," Harry asked as he did a slight roll of his hips, gasping and whimpering a little at the pressure.

Trying his best to scowl even as his eyes rolled back in his head, Severus answered him in a rush through gritted teeth. "By confronting me about this during such a compromised time you are playing in a completely unfair manner!"

Harry always marveled at Severus's ability to stay so articulate during these times.

Let's change that.

"And who said love is fair?" Harry asked.

There. It wasn't a declaration, but it put him on the exact same ground as the man underneath him.

Severus opened his eyes, throwing a questioning look at the young, half-naked man in his lap. "You are not-"

Harry leaned forward, placing his hand against Severus's mouth to stop him. "I'm not going anywhere, are you?"

The half-hearted glare he received at being interrupted was made even less effective by the Potions Master's continued state of arousal. Harry smiled when the man finally shook his head no from behind his fingers.

"Good. Remember what you said before? About setting our own pace? Let's just keep going and see where this road takes us, then. Alright?"

Severus stared up at him, his mouth still obstructed by Harry's fingers. Slowly, almost so slowly that Harry had thought he had imagined it, the older man nodded his head.

The kiss to the pads of his fingers confirmed it.

Harry smiled as he brought his hand down, resting it against Severus's chest.

"I still believe you entirely cheated."

"And I am entirely okay with that."

Harry reached up and began to unbutton the shirt, willing himself to not get embarrassed. He'll, Severus had pretty much seen everything, so modesty should be right out. Still, he couldn't help the blush that infused his face, neck and chest from the intense stare that his bed partner had locked on him. When he was done, he left the garment on, but opened it up more.

"Now let's see if we can't get you to make some embarrassing sex noises, as well."

"I have no idea what you are talking about."

"I'm going to make you squeak," Harry said with a warm smile.

Severus narrowed his eyes. "I do not squeak."

"We'll see."

Harry leaned down, lying flat against Severus's chest as his mouth latched onto the older wizard's long neck, kissing, biting and sucking while his hands roamed up and down long, strong arms.

The noise that Severus made was more like a hum than anything else; a deep and almost melodic hum that caused Harry's whole body to pulse.

He moved downward to Severus's chest, slowly kissing his way over to one of the dark pink nipples and gave it a small lick. He heard a gasp come from up above him. Harry smiled against warm skin as he began nipping and licking more insistently, actually causing Severus to actually start to squirm a bit. After he had made sure that Severus's chest had received enough attention and the Potions Master was panting, sweating, and making small moaning noises every so often.

Moving down, Harry made sure to keep as much bodily contact as possible and was quick to realize that the man's stomach was not as sensitive as his own, so he moved onward and downward. He hooked his thumbs into the waistband of Severus's black pants, pulling it down.

He had seen Severus naked, but he had never seen him like this. This erect. It almost looked angry. Harry's body pulsed again in sympathy.

He looked up at Severus who was looking down at him with heavy lidded eyes, his face the reddest Harry had ever seen it.

"Teach me."

Severus sucked in a breath through his nose. "What?"

Harry knew that Severus had understood him perfectly, so he repeated himself. "Teach me."

Severus stared at him, stock still, for what felt like an eternity, but was probably only more than a few seconds. He finally brought his hand to Harry's mouth, using his thumb to push in on the teen's full lips.

"Most men do not enjoy the sharp bite of teeth when receiving oral pleasure. Use your lips to cover them slightly."

Almost mesmerized by those dark eyes, Harry nodded his head, the thumb still against his lips.

"Another thing," Severus went on, his voice soft as he kept playing with the younger wizard's lip, "despite some vulgar vernacular, you do not have to blow. I am not a balloon." The last line was said with a smirk that the teen found himself mirroring.

"In the end, it is more about pressure and doing what feels comfortable to you. Harry toy do know that you do not-"

Severus didn't get to finish the statement, ending in a shocked gasp as Harry decided to just go for it at leaned his head down, placing a firm kiss on the heated skin. He stuck his tongue out for a tentative lick.

It was...different.

But not a bad different.

No, the skin was both soft and hard and the reaction he got from the man above him sent a happy little buzz through Harry. Keeping in mind his teeth, he took a deep breath before he took Severus completely into his mouth.

Only to get a pained sort of groan or cry from the Potions Master.

Harry immediately backed off. "Did I do something wrong?"

"No," Severus assured him rather harshly, because of his breathing, "It is just that I—that is it has been a long time since anyone has wanted to—"

The older wizard did not finish the statement, but he didn't have to. Harry smiled and nodded, then, a little slower this time, returned to his task.

It really didn't take long to establish a rhythm. He played around with different things that his tongue could do and enjoyed all the different reactions and noises that he was drawing from the normally stoic man.

That was when it happened.

Severus squeaked.

It was not quite like what Harry did, it was a much lower pitch, but it was still a definite squeak and Harry desperately wished he could remember what he did with his tongue that had gotten that reaction.

Placing both hands on Severus's thighs, Harry's focused doubled as he sought to drive the man above him absolutely crazy. There was some trial and error, with some things definitely working well than others, but Harry was having fun and Severus was having a hard time talking so it had to be going pretty okay. Harry began to get lost in his own little world, letting all the new sensations bombard his senses. The movement, the taste, the touch, the pressure, everything. He began to feel the muscles under his hands tremble and started to rub them, though why, he wasn't sure. Just felt like the right thing, is all.

Severus's orgasm seemed to take them by surprise, with Severus gasping out with his back and shoulders curling upwards a bit, and Harry giving his own muffled groan.

When it was over, Severus fell back against the ruffled pillows, his slightly sweaty hair splaying out as he looked down at the young grey eyes looking back at him. Harry stayed where he was for a few seconds, feeling the last weak pulses against his tongue before he raised his head and released Severus. He pushed himself up farther on his hands and felt the shoulders of the sleep shirt slip off, the garment falling around his arms and back.

His tongue on impulse went out to lick his lips again. Severus watched the entire time.

"That was fun!" Harry said, his voice a bit hoarse from their activities.

It wasn't the most romantic thing to say and definitely not the sexiest, but was it ever true.

Severus cocked an eyebrow as his breathing began to slow. "Indeed."

Harry had absolutely no warning for the swift movements of the apparently recovered and physically larger man below him as Severus sat up and flipped him over, pinning him to the bed.

"While you happen to play unfairly, I am an individual of great fairness," Severus whispered darkly into Harry's ear, making him smile even as his body began to pulse anew, "and as the saying goes, 'turnabout is fair play.'"

With that, Severus disappeared, moving down the nineteen-year-old's lean body and without pretense took him hotly into his mouth.

Harry let out a high gasp as he fought to keep his eyes open and on the dark, older man. His toes began to curl and his hands clenched, wanting something to hold onto. He gasped again when Severus's own hands reached up and clasped with his own, squeezing slightly.

Oh yes, they were going to make this work.

Had to.

*****End Adult Content*****


Thank you ever so much for reading Chapter 17! I really hope you enjoyed it!


Teasers for next chapter (with a bonus):

Have you ever meditated before?

The force is strong with this one.

What is our next move, my lord?

What have I told you about calling me sir?


Reviews are loved, as always, like the gems that they are!