A/N: Hi to my dear readers. I appreciate very much the wonderful comments you have given to my stories, especially Chocolate Brownies and Banana Muffins. After much thought and wrestling with my flighty muse, I decided to address the issue of how Sev and Harry got together before this series of dessert-themed stories. So I would like to present…Recipe for Love. Enjoy!
Professor Severus Snape stood at the windows along the corridor that overlooked the Quidditch Pitch at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was hard to believe that just half a year ago, the Final Battle had been fought between his former master, Lord Voldemort, and Harry Potter. He cast his mind back to that fateful day…
Severus threw himself to the ground to avoid a deadly burst of purple light that had come from the wand of the crazy Bellatrix Lestrange. He had been dueling with the witch for near to fifteen minutes now, and he could see that she was getting angry and desperate at her failures to incapacitate the evil traitor. It was time to end this. From the ground, he jerked up his wand and muttered a slashing hex that was too near for Bellatrix to avoid. The witch dropped to the ground, dead.
Severus picked himself off the ground. He spotted Granger and Weasley together battling a group of junior Death Eaters; they seemed to be holding their ground well enough. Longbottom and Draco Malfoy were working together to hold the dementors at bay. Everywhere he looked, the battle seemed to be turning in the favour of the Light. So far so good…but something felt missing. He scanned the battlefield, littered as it was with corpses and blood. Then it hit him: where was Potter?
There! At the centre of the blood-soaked Pitch, Voldemort and Potter were exchanging lightning-fast curses along with verbal barbs. It was good to see that the training that he and Dumbledore had provided to the brat was serving him well; the boy was focused and he was using his quick reflexes to his best advantage. Severus would have liked to continue watching the epic battle, but a nasty curse from Macnair singed his robes and he turned to defend himself.
Suddenly a burst of green light followed by a flash of blinding white light covered the entire Pitch, and all the combatants stopped their fights and turned to the middle. What had happened? When the light died down and Severus was able to see clearly without bright sparks hovering around the edge of his vision, Potter was lying on the ground, and where the Dark Lord had once stood, only remained a pile of ashes.
It was ironic that throughout, the sky remained a perfect shade of blue.
* * * * * *
Later that evening, when all the stunned Death Eaters had been rounded up and sent to the Ministry, Severus Snape found himself staring at his third batch of ruined Boils-no-more Potion. His own injuries were minor, and had been quickly and efficiently healed. It was lucky there were minimal deaths on the Light side. His thoughts turned to Potter, who was still lying unconscious in the Hospital Wing. Poppy had determined that he was suffering from extreme magical exhaustion, and there was nothing else to be done but to let him sleep and recover.
Severus banished the mess in his cauldron and swept out of his quarters. Potions were obviously not doing the trick to relax him at the moment. He would just have to find some other way. Somehow, his feet carried him to the Hospital Wing. Slipping quietly inside, he found young Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger sitting by Potter's bedside. The two teenagers looked exhausted; Weasley nursing a broken right arm, and Granger with a bandage wrapped round her head. As he watched, Poppy came out of her office and hustled them back to their own beds, dosing them with sleeping potions.
When the Hospital Wing was quiet and still once more, Severus made his way over to Potter's bedside. He studied the small figure in the bed, bruised and battered from the battle. Throughout the months of training he had put the teen through, the two had established an uneasy working relationship. As Severus settled himself by Potter's bedside, he told himself, 'Potter's a war colleague, nothing more. I'm just sitting here to ensure no one attempts any funny business while he's vulnerable. Just a couple of hours. Then I'll head back to my rooms to sleep.' Unknowingly, his eyes dropped after half an hour had passed, and soon, he was leaning back in the hospital chair, deeply asleep.
* * * * * *
Harry slowly surfaced from the blackness of sleep. He felt tired and achy all over. He lay in the darkness for a moment, eyes closed. When he opened his eyes, he was met with starched white bed sheets and bed curtains. 'Hospital Wing, then', he deduced. Turning his head, his eyes widened to see Snape sleeping in a chair by his bedside. Then, his eyes softened and a small smile touched his lips. With a soft sigh, Harry turned on his side to face the professor, intent on studying the man's features closer. But his eyes closed, and he fell back again into sleep.
When Harry awoke again the next morning, he was greeted with cries of joy on the part of Hermione and Ron. Poppy was amazed he had woken up so soon, but declared he had no lasting ill-effects from the battle. When the furor had settled somewhat, Harry chanced a glance at the chair by his bedside.
It was empty.
* * * * * *
Over the next few days, Harry slowly learned what had taken place during the battle. Neville had lost the use of one leg; the Weasley Twins had shattered their knee caps; Bill Weasley was recuperating from the wounds inflicted on him while fighting with Fenrir Grayback; Remus was still in hospital. Draco Malfoy had lost both his parents.
There had been several deaths on the Light side. Professor Vector had died, and so had some of Harry's own year-mates: Lavender Brown, Zachariah Smith and Dean Thomas, amongst others. Harry tried to attend as many funerals as he possibly could, while trying to figure out what he was going to do with the rest of his life.
Wandering around the castle, Harry found himself in front of the kitchens. Pushing open the door, he was startled to find Professor Snape sitting at the big kitchen table, a cup of steaming tea in front of him. The professor's black eyes darted to him.
Harry nodded to the man, feeling incredibly awkward. He didn't want to enter the kitchens in case he was intruding.
"Oh, for goodness sake, Potter. Cease dawdling by the door and come in".
Harry entered and took a piece of paper out of his pocket. He called to an elf to bring him the things on the paper and settled himself on the bench opposite the professor.
"How have you been, Professor Snape?"
"As well as can be imagined, Potter. I suppose you have recovered sufficiently from your injuries?"
"Yes, I have. I just need to escape from the coddling upstairs for a bit. Everyone's asking me what are my intentions now; Ginny's dropping hints that she wants to get back together with me; but I just want to…have some time to myself, y'know?"
They sat there in silence. Then an elf ran up to Harry.
"Master Potter Sir, Misty has got everything you wanted ready on the counter over there. If you would follow Misty?"
Harry got up and followed the elf.
Severus sat there for a time, hearing clanging noises from the corner where Potter was in. Finally, curiosity won over and he went over to see what the brat was up to.
"Potter, what mischief are you cooking up this time?"
He arrived in time to see Potter spooning a dark brown mixture into paper cases.
"Potter, are you baking?"
"Mm-hmm. It's my way of de-stressing. Plus the results are always delicious. I used to help my aunt bake when I was younger."
"Hmm. Are you sure you're not going to poison someone?"
The brat laughed.
"Here, try one, Professor. Surely you can tell whether it's poisoned or not?"
Severus regarded the chocolate muffin with suspicion, but took it.
"I have to be getting on with my work. Please attempt not to kill anyone; I do not have time to concoct an antidote for you should you succeed with your muffins". He swept out of the kitchens, ignoring the stifled giggles behind him.
Once safely in his dungeons, he sniffed the muffin and took a cautious bite.
It was delicious.
* * * * * *
A week later, Severus stood in the shadows of Dumbledore's office, listening as Harry Potter told the Headmaster he wanted to leave Hogwarts.
"Professor Dumbledore, I thank you for the wonderful time I've spent here at Hogwarts, but I don't think I can stay here. There are too many memories in the halls, and I need to get away to find myself, to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. For so long, I never thought I would live to see the end of the Final Battle. But now, I'm eighteen, with the rest of my life spread out before me. I may come back someday, but right now, I can't stay here."
"But Harry, my boy, where will you go?"
"Don't worry about me, Headmaster. I'll be fine."
Albus looked undecided.
Severus decided to speak up from his corner.
"Oh, for goodness sake, Albus. If the boy says he's old enough to go gallivanting around by himself, then he is. He can definitely take care of himself; just look what he did to the Dark Lord."
Albus considered this for a while, then nodded his head.
The boy left the castle the next day.
* * * * * *
End of flashback
Severus studied the Quidditch Pitch for a while more, before turning away back to his dungeons.
* * * * * *
As the staff sat down to lunch in the Great Hall one afternoon, a grey heron flew into the hall, and dropped a letter and package in front of Albus before flying off again. Opening the letter, Albus exclaimed with delight, "It's from Harry!" and proceeded to read it out loud:
Dear Professor Dumbledore and everybody:
Greetings from Italy! That's where I am now, with Remus. I just spent the last 5 months helping him get back on his feet, as well as sitting for the muggle 'O' Levels, which are an important examination in the muggle world. Hermione would know more about this; you can ask her about it. After I finished the exams, I was feeling restless, and Remus suggested that we get away from Britain for a bit.
We just arrived in Italy about 1 week ago, and since then, we've been exploring the cities and countryside. Remus has got sick of me puttering around him, and has signed me up for a baking course in one of the culinary schools in Sicily. The course starts in a couple of days, so we'll be making our way there tomorrow morning. He claims that it will give me something to do, and I think it will help me get rid of all the excess energy as well. So I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait to learn how to make the famous tiramisu.
Don't' worry about Remus and I; we're getting on fabulously well together, and I think I'm slowly healing. The Mediterranean sunshine is great, and we're getting nice tans.
Professor Dumbledore, please pass the enclosed package to Professor Snape for me. I think he will enjoy what I've put inside. I'll write again when I have the time.
Eyes swung round to Severus, who gingerly accepted the package and stalked off to the dungeons with it under his arm, disappointing those who were hoping to see what was inside.
In his rooms, Severus cast several spells at the package to ensure there were no harmful spells on it. When the spells revealed nothing was amiss, he undid the package to find several rare potions ingredients, including the purple Moonflower, which he had always wanted to have. A note lay folded at the bottom of the package:
I found these ingredients in Italy, whilst I was browsing through some of the stores. I know they are rare in Britain, so I immediately bought them and sent them off to you. I hope you are pleased, and please accept them as a token of my gratitude to you for training me before the war, and also as a token of a friendship that I want to begin with you. Let's wipe the slate clean and start over again. We're adults now, and I would very much like to get to know you better, and to be your friend. I will write again.
At these words, Severus felt his heart grow warm within his chest.
A/N: OK, there's the beginning! Do let me know how it is.