Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Harry Potter. It all belongs to J.K Rowling, the movie company and the publisher company. If they were mine, I wouldn't share, ever!

Note: So it has been Harry Potter's birthday and my little muse wouldn't leave me alone since I saw the movie, even when the fic doesn't take place in sixth year or has anything to do with the movie, - sighs- but who am I to deny my muse?

Summary: On Harry Potter's birthday in his seventh year the Ministry for Magic calls together a lovers' ball but will Harry Potter's lover show up or will our hero end up heartbroken?

Warnings: Slash, AU warning

Pairing: Harry Potter/Severus Snape (duh)

Author: Laurenke1

Title: The Lovers' Ball

Additionally note: cheerfully ignores Deadly Hallows.

The password to the headmaster's office is deeds, not words and comes from a Harry Potter game.

The Ministry for Magic is proud to announce that on the 31 of July, at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, there will be a ball held especially for all the lovers. This ball will thus be attended only by the graduate class of Hogwarts and the special guest will be the birthday boy Harry Potter, who will his lover be this paper wonders?

Harry Potter crumbled the paper in his hand before he stuffed it behind the gargoyle that guarded the entrance to the Headmaster's office and quarters. He had already spoken the password (Facta, non verba) and the gargoyle had moved away, Harry just had to gather the courage to go up and ask his question.

"Clean that up, will ya? He will find it!" The gargoyle answered and Harry shot a glare at it.

The messy haired hero of the wizarding world and the one who had defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort merely sighed as he sighed and gathered his courage. He was going to be 18 come tomorrow dammit and he couldn't appear at his own ball without his lover.

He walked up the rotating staircase but not before snatching the newspaper from where he had stuffed it behind the gargoyle. The ghastly thing had been right, the Headmaster would see it and he would it had been Harry who had stuffed it there.

His momentarily newfound but fable Gryffindor courage disappeared the moment he stood before the beautifully decorated wooden door. He sighed and then raised his hand to knock when he heard an unpleasant, nasal sounding voice coming from behind said door. "Headmaster, it is Potter again."

"Black, like I've told you before, it is no business of yours if Potter comes to visit! And besides, I did not think that you had taken over the duties of a house elf, announcing somebody's arrival?" The deep, dark voice send shivers down Harry's spine and he closed his eyes, lips parted in a soundless gasp of pleasure.

"It is my business if you keep on fucking him on the esteemed Headmaster's desk that has been in use for centuries…."

"You do not have to watch if it makes you uncomfortable, Professor Black…." This time the voice purred before a rich chuckle followed and the Headmaster said. "And you forgot to add sturdy to your description of the desk…."

"Why do you even keep him around, Headmaster? Are you trying to proof something to Headmaster Dumbledore? He had the boy over here at odds times as well but I had yet to see him mount the boy like I see you do so many times…."

"Phineas Black, my reasons for having Potter over at odds times are none of your business."The headmaster's voice cracked like a whip and Harry sucked in a large breath.

"Is it those pretty green eyes of his, Headmaster? You can't get enough of them…or do you just want a submissive lover after all those years that you spend at Dumbledore's beck and call?" Phineas' voice was sly but it was hard to hear over the pounding of his heart. He leaned against the door.

"Phineas!" The voice dropped into a low, nearly feral growl and then Phineas crackled.

"So you dump the boy before tomorrow night? It will be a blemish on this school's perfect record if the Headmaster is seen with his pretty toy at the lover's ball. You know better than to fuck a student, Snape!"

"Headmaster Snape to you, Phineas and like I said before, my reasons for keeping Potter are my own…." Harry's breathing exhilarated, Snape hadn't even denied it.

Hadn't the past year meant anything to the older wizard? Was this he all he could ever be to his lover, a pretty toy that was merely conveniently there? Had this been Snape's plan all along, dump Harry the moment he had graduated and the older wizard had another easy prey to feed upon?

"Well then I'm here to remind you of your duty tomorrow, Headmaster. You can't attend the ball as a lover, Snape but as the Headmaster. Oh the heartbreak for the boy…and on his birthday no less…but I suppose that a young heart is resilient and I'm sure that around this time tomorrow, young Potter's heart will have healed from this conversation that he accidentally overheard…" The chuckle from the deceased Headmaster was the last part Harry heard as his eyes flew open and he fled, not seeing how the door was pulled open, or the wretched look on Snape's face or heard the soft call of his given name because all he knew was the agonizing pain of his heart breaking.

Hp

The hooked nose, dark haired, thin, tall man that was seated in the middle of the long staff table that still served its purpose was a mystery to Harry. He regarded the Headmaster, not trying to dwell on the fact that the dark eyes never met his own or the way his heart kept shattering a little bit more each and every time Snape ignored him.

He had thought that after a year of sleeping together, talking about every possible subject, arguing and practically living together would have allowed him to get to know the man behind the mask that Severus Snape put on every day. But he was wrong…oh dead wrong, hence his breaking heart.

When had this all consuming Slytherin managed to tear down the brick walls Harry had build around his heart to safe guard it? He had assumed that the worst thing that could possibly have happened if he had asked Snape to attend the ball with him had been that the older wizard had refused. But to know that Snape had decided to end things between them had been the final drop.

Harry was fed up, sure he could understand the need for secrecy and why Snape hardly ever called him Harry, or why the older wizard pretended that Harry wasn't there, it had been enough because he knew that in private, he was Snape's and the older wizard cared, or so he had assumed. No, Snape had only ever wanted a lover and nothing more, no commitment, nothing…

And it was Harry who ended up heartbroken because he had hoped for more after he had graduated. But who was he kidding? Why would Snape want him? Even when Harry had tentatively told Snape about the Dursleys, the older wizard had only sat there, face unmoving like he had been carved from stone.

Snape didn't care, that was the bottom line. He never cared…

He didn't care that it was Harry's birthday today or that the sodding Ministry had proclaimed the Lovers' ball and that Harry's lover had abandoned him, on this night of all nights. Why couldn't Snape have broken up with Harry later? It still would have hurt but Harry would have had one night in which he could have pretended that somebody cared for and about him.

But now he didn't even have that, sure, he had a beautiful set of dress robes, a birthday gift from Ron and Hermione because they said he needed to look good on this night of all nights. Harry would have preferred to crawl under a rock and spend the rest of his life there, but that sadly wasn't an option when you were the Boy Who Lived Twice And Still Couldn't Be Loved.

He hadn't been able to tell Ron and Hermione yet, who could? He glanced around, there were so many people here, the hall was packed and everybody looked fine in their nicest sets of robes and the females all looked beautiful and the males handsome but still Harry couldn't even force a smile to his face for the press that was present.

"So, Mr. Potter, where is your lover?" Harry shuddered at the soft drawling voice beside him. He glanced up, meeting the grey eyes of Draco Malfoy. The young blond Slytherin was dressed in dark red robes. Draco cocked his head to the side, the grin fading a little as he asked.

"Did you even ask him?"

"It wasn't necessary; he made it perfectly clear how he felt about me. He doesn't want to be seen with me in public." Harry tried to foreign disinterest but he was failing miserable. The grey eyes narrowed as Draco took in the messy hair which seemed to hang limp now and the way the green eyes were washed with misery and unhappiness.

"Surely Severus wouldn't be that adamant about it…I mean he did plan…."

"Draco, there you are." Whatever had Draco had been about to say was rudely interrupted by a bushy haired witch that was dressed in a beautiful dress of pale pink. Hermione Granger smiled at Harry and beamed at Draco who nodded at her.

Ever since Harry saved Draco from the Room of Requirement a year ago in the decisive battle they had become friends. It had been a hard year for those that had returned to school to (re) take their seventh year because they had to battle the memories that resurfaced and plagued them, rumors, the press that dodged their ever steps, the classes and newfound alliances, friendships and relationships.

For Harry, a consistency this year and a tremendous peace of mind had been Snape. Even if they had just been shagging as it had turned out, it had made him feel good about himself and for a couple of months, Harry could comfort himself that when he dragged himself out of this hell, or while he was going through it, there was somebody who cared for and about him.

He chanced a glance up towards the staff table but Snape wasn't there. Harry frowned and was so focused that he missed Hermione's question. He blinked when his friend waved a hand in front of his face.

"I'm sorry, what did you say, Hermione?"

"I said that you look very handsome tonight, Harry. Are you excited?" Hermione was smiling at him but Harry couldn't smile back. He cast another look at the head table, hoping to see Snape but the chair was still empty.

People were starting to crowd together, eager for the ball to begin and Harry fixed a smile on his face as he said, knowing that reporters with camera's were probably close by. "To tell you the truth, not really…you know how I hate all of this."

"Yes, that is true but it is the last time that we're at Hogwarts as students and besides, it is your birthday. It is going to be a very exciting night…"

"No, an exciting night it would be for those who have lovers, for those who don't it is just torture." Harry replied through gritted teeth. Hermione's head shot back towards him and her eyes narrowed in concern. It had been a while since she last heard that bitter tone from him.

"But Harry you've got Severus and…." Draco shot her a look and Hermione stopped talking. Harry followed the looks that his two friends exchanged with a perplexed expression, what were they going on about?

A terrible suspicion began to grow in his mind and he accused. "You knew!"

Hermione exchanged another startled look with Draco and then hurried on to place a hand on his shoulder and sooth. "Harry, no really I swear we thought you may like it and…."

"How could I possibly like it? Do you even know me at all? You know how much he meant to me and…"

Hermione looked upset as Harry bit out sharply at her and Draco put a hand on her shoulder as she opened her mouth to answer as he smoothly injected, shooting her a glance Harry couldn't read. "Potter, what are you talking about?"

"About Snape breaking up with me of course!" To say the word out loud and to acknowledge to himself that it was truly over seemed to bring out a fresh wave of pain. Harry bore it stoically. He merely looked away once as Hermione whispered.

"But Harry, when and how? I mean…."

"I overheard him talking to Phineas Black's portrait. Black said he couldn't attend as my lover today and he said he had to break up with me and…Snape didn't even deny it. He hasn't even come after me or sought me out to explain anything! No, it suits him just perfectly that his lover overheard it, I'm sure that he planned that way too. It is much easier to deal with then face to face. I mean, I may try to persuade him and that is the last thing he needs! No, this is the best way! No explanation or anything, just dismiss me like everybody does. That is how much I mean to him. I don't even get an explanation or a made up excuse…no, I served my purpose and I am even so bad as a lover that I…."

That I can't even keep a shunned death eater interested? Why would somebody I love, love me back for once in my life? It is just the way everything is…I'm not meant for love and I should have known better then to let myself get so attached…I was a fool and I…

But the truth was, Harry knew he had been a fool but he couldn't help himself and he had welcomed the feeling. The feeling of being hopelessly and utterly in love with Snape and he had allowed himself to dream of a future after Hogwarts with his dark eyed lover but he had been so very wrong…

He tried to choke back a sob and swallowed bitter tears away. He would rather die than shed a tear about Snape.

"It is just like the Dursleys all over again. I thought he cared but no! He doesn't! I suppose that I should be grateful that he did it yesterday and not today. Now I may still have some dignity left…"

"Harry, he may not have…"

"Had the time? Right, Hermione, he just didn't care! Let's just stop pretending, all right? Now, who can I borrow to pretend to be my lover for the evening so I won't suffer a total loss of face next to a breaking heart." Harry glanced around, he needed a drink.

"Harry, I don't think that it is such a good idea…"

"The press is all dying to know who my lover is, aren't they? Well, why not give them several lovers? Yeah, that should show Snape what he gave up and…"

"Potter, please…this really isn't a good idea…" Draco cut in but Harry wasn't listening, or he didn't want to listen because listening meant thinking and thinking meant hurting and hurting wasn't what he wanted to do on his birthday. His shattered heart would still be there in the morning and if he had to nurse a hangover along with it, then so be it.

"You know what I'm glad for, that I never told him I loved him, yeah; imagine that…it might actually hurt even more…" Harry giggled hysterically, closer to tears than ever before and the night hadn't even officially started yet.

His friends exchanged another sets of looks but Harry ignored them in favor of looking around for somebody who like him was alone. If he was forced to stay till the very end then he would at least have a good time. He swallowed pas the lump in his throat when he began to realize that, unlike him, there was nobody else who had come alone. Everybody had brought a lover and they were all chatting and looking around, enjoying the soft playing music and waiting for the official declaration of opening.

"Hey mate, why so glum?" Ron leaned heavily against his shoulder, grinning at him as he handed Harry a butter beer, Harry wished it had been a firewiskey. He took a sip, trying to shudder away Ron's arm around his shoulder.

Would he have danced with Snape tonight or would the older wizard have thought up some excuse not to be seen with Harry? He swallowed back another wave of tears, would there ever be somebody who wanted him or was he forced to spend his entire life wishing for something that everybody else but him had?

"Good evening, all and what a fine evening it is. You all know that this is a very special night, not because it is our hero's birthday…." Cheers went up around the hall as the Ministry official walked to the stage. He smiled and then continued. "…but because of all the lovers out there. Now we have a surprise for everybody. Tonight, on this very special night there will be a Claiming Dance. Now for those who are unfamiliar with this term here is a very brief outline of what the Claiming Dance is. It is a dance shared between two lovers which is basically a declaration of marriage or bonding intend. As tradition demands for this dance the lights will be dimmed and masks will be given out to those who wish to participate. I'm sure that not everybody is willing to make such a big commitment on a fine night such as this but…."

The words seemed to fade out as Harry stared moodily at the floor. Terrific, rub it in more, why don't you? Perhaps I can convince somebody to curse me…it will be less painful then living through this night and remembering what I've lost…

"But now, for some rules, I give you the Headmaster of this fine school, Professor Severus Snape!" Some people cheered as Harry stared up at the dais, eyes wide. He wanted to escape but he found that he couldn't and neither could he keep his eyes from moving over the black clad body that enhanced the thin and tall build of the older wizard.

"There will be no cursing each other, starting a fight, making love on the Hogwarts' grounds or frolicking on the dance floor because if you fail to obey these rules, I'll proof that nobody is too old to serve detention…" The deep voice was smooth like honey and Snape scolded at the assembled crowd as snickers broke out.

"Keep it nice and clean, ladies and gentlemen and for all the lovers assembled here…." The dark eyes met Harry's eyes for a moment and Snape seemed to falter, clearing his throat and finally looking away before he continued. "…enjoy this beautiful night."

Harry was not sure what he had seen in Snape's eyes but the malice he had expected hadn't been there. Snape had seen lost and a little bit confused and somewhat hurt but Harry's lips pressed together in a thin line, why should he care that the man who he thought had loved him, had broken up with him and was wondering why he was here?

There was loud chatter as the music began to play loudly and the various couples moved to the dance floor for a quick dance. Ron and Hermione were already gone and with an apology look at Harry, Draco left when Ginny came to collect him for their first dance.

Harry drifted along the edge of the dance floor, he couldn't stand to look at the various happy couples on the floor and this was just a fast tune. What would happen when the music turned romantic and soft? Would it hurt even more or would he be so blissfully numb that he couldn't cry anymore?

He tried to smile and nod politely but people were merely staring at him, not once approaching him for a talk or anything else. Harry longed for a mirror, or perhaps a way to disappear. Was he eluding something that made other people hesitant about approaching him?

Normally he didn't mind that other people didn't approach him but it meant that the night would be even more unbearable then normally. He settled against a wall, allowing his gaze to drift through the Great Hall, telling himself that he wasn't looking for a pair of black eyes.

The Great Hall was decorated beautifully, long ribbons hanging on the walls, giving the room a mysterious look. Harry knew that there were plenty of spaces that lovers could escape too and for a moment he wondered if he could escape as well, perhaps even sneaking upstairs to the Gryffindor Common Room, it would be better to spend his birthday alone then sitting here, looking at other lovers.

"Here is the birthday boy!" Harry bit back a growl and plastered a smile to his face when he saw Rita Skeeter approaching him. "So Harry, where is your lover? I haven't seen her yet at all. I must say that the public is no doubt curious who has stolen the heart of our young savior."

Harry tried to hide his grin as he said. "Do you want a group picture or do you've time for a posing with each and every one?"

Rita's mouth opened and she stuttered out. "You don't have a lover, do you?"

"Of course I do! Just ask, everybody in this room loves the Boy Who Lived, so they're all my lovers." Harry knew it was a bad pun but he couldn't stand the words in the papers the next day. Boy Who Lived Without a Lover at Lovers' Ball!

"You're playing with me, Harry, very funny." Rita smiled at him and Harry smiled back coldly. "So who is your mysterious, lover?"

"Look…I…." Harry wanted to make up an excuse when suddenly Draco and Ron stood before him.

"Ah hello, Miss Skeeter." Draco said, taking Harry by the arm.

"Mr. Malfoy, are you perchance Mr. Potter's lover?" Rita held up her camera eagerly and Draco sneered.

"Don't be stupid, Miss, it doesn't become you. Come, Harry…."

"But then why do you insist on holding his arm?"

"Because he needs rescuing from you…"

"You just want to dance with him!"

"Nonsense, I'm here with Ginny Weasley!" Draco hissed and Harry swallowed away tears. Unlike any other ball he would have been able to dance with a friend but not now. He had to dance with a lover, somebody who he had sex with and who knew his body and who cared for him and…

"Come on, Harry let's go. The Claiming Dance is about to start soon and this is something that you don't want to miss!" Ron nodded at Rita and pulled Harry along with him. Harry tried to protest but truly, why couldn't he watch? Perhaps he could lose himself in the simplicity of the dances and forget about this whole night.

He was guided through the crowd, Ron on one side and Draco on the other. The crowd parted close to the dance floor and Harry slowed his steps. Ginny and Hermione were standing there, looking around and whispering to one another in enthusiasm, gossiping whose relationship would last and which one wouldn't.

Ginny smiled at Harry, beaming at Draco as he came to stand beside her. For a moment, a sheer moment Harry just wished to have what they had, a passionate relationship and he felt jealous.

Suddenly the lights went dark and gasps went up around the Great Hall. Harry reached for his wand.

"Lumos." Draco whispered as his wand tip lid up. It shone an eerie light on his face and Harry could see how the grey eyes sparkled. Draco turned to him, exchanging a look with Ron, Hermione and Ginny and Harry realized he was closed in by his friends.

"What's going on?"

"The Claiming Dance is about to begin…." Ginny whispered, smiling at Harry. Harry startled when something slipped around his throat and up to cover his face. He struggled and Ron whispered.

"It is alright. It is part of the tradition. All couples that participate will have to be masked."

"But I'm not going to participate." Harry bit out as Ron slid the mask over his face and he glared at Draco through the eye holes. A lump was rising in his throat, had his friends been in on the plan to humiliate him?

"Harry, you got it wrong. Before the lights go back on, there is a full minute so that you can consider the suit and reject it if you want to. You can leave in that minute and nothing bad will happen…" Hermione explained.

"Except the relationship may be destroyed…." Ginny whispered, rolling on the balls of her feet in excitement.

"Hush, else he won't understand and this may end wrong. You can dance in this dance and then see whatever comes from it, Harry. This isn't a commitment for life if you don't want it to be." Hermione smiled at him, a sad smile as she whispered. "Oh, Harry, you got it all wrong…"

No, it can't be… please don't tell me that I made a mistake and ruined things…

He was so lost in thought that he didn't notice Ron tied the mask over his face or that the music was slowly beginning to play. He was pushed forward and Ron whispered in his ear, guiding him to the dance floor. "Close your eyes mate and just surrender, he'll catch you, alright? Everything will be fine."

Harry closed his eyes, ears perked up for the smallest noise as he could hear the soft movements behind him of robes and the excited whispers of the crowd. A hand brushed his arm, and Harry's whole arm tingled, he knew that touch. His hand was caught in a firm grip by a hand that shook ever so slightly. The hand was warm and dry, a man's hand. I know this hand.

"Harry, are you….?" The voice that had filled his nights for the past year whispered in the darkness and Harry opened his eyes. He glanced up at the white mask that hid everything but the dark eyes from view. The dark eyes seemed so open and Harry smiled, not even knowing if his suitor could see it but he took a faint step forward, allowing himself to be led to the dance floor.

The room was completely dark except for the floating candles above the band that was playing the soft tune. Harry stumbled, mind working overtime before an arm around his waist caught him, the hand splayed over his stomach and he was brought into contact with the firm body of the Headmaster.

How could I even think that I'm worthy of him? I'm such a freak that I freak out simply because I hear a conversation, I'm not normal and I ruin everything!

He nearly flinched away from Snape, so lost in his own thought that he didn't see the dark eyes close for a moment in pain before Snape asked. "Does my suit disgust you so that you cannot even bear to dance the traditional dance with me before you reject it and me?"

"What do you mean? It is I who is such an unhealthy and disgusting freak and I…"

A finger was laid against his lips and Harry stopped whispering as he looked down at Snape's chest, ignoring the ache in his own. "Did I not tell you this before that I will not stand to hear such language from you about yourself?"

They were swaying, slowly rotating on the spot to the music that was playing in the background. Harry looked away as gentle fingers curled underneath his chin. "I've heard a lot of things and those have been proven wrong as well, except the things that the Dursleys said about me. I'm a freak for not understanding things and nearly ruining them…."

"Harry, there is no need to apologize. The fault lay partly with me, just enjoy the dance." Fingers stroked the mask and it was the tenderness in the words that made Harry look back up. He still had to apologize properly but Snape was right, he should just enjoy the dance. Surely Snape would leave before the lights came back on.

He placed his hand on the stiff black clad shoulder and tried to get himself to relax. It was not helping that Snape seemed uncomfortable as well.

Do I disgust him or…?

Harry chewed on his lip, glancing away into the darkened room. He could see the twilight that came in from the high windows and illuminated the room. He could make out the stiluets of the people around the dance floor. There were about five or six other couples in the room but they didn't seem as awkward as Harry and Snape were no doubt, dancing as far apart from each other as their arms allowed.

Harry was glad that the room was dark; he didn't want to see the look on Snape's face, even without the mask he would no doubt know just what Snape was thinking. The older wizard's back was no doubt ridged and his demeanor stiff.

Suddenly Snape released a big breath and Harry tensed in preparation of being pushed away when Snape's hand that had been resting on his shoulder moved away as Snape said. "This won't do!"

Harry glanced up despite himself at his dance partner's face and then Snape's hand brushed his hip, causing him to tense even more as the big hand curled around his hip and he was pulling forward, flush against the taller wizard as Snape brought their joined hands closer together and lengthened his strides, one firm leg stepping in between Harry's spread ones and brushing his groin before he pushed Harry back two steps.

Harry was helpless against the strong guidance from the older wizard. He wasn't entirely sure he wanted to lose the feeling of belonging that he found when he was in the Headmaster's arms. He tried to relax himself and Snape leaned down, his mouth close to Harry's ear as he purred.

"Yes, that is it. Relax, my love, this is something that should be enjoyed." Snape's voice was soft and private, meant for his ears only and Harry beamed up at the older wizard as Snape drew back. He received a small smile in return and Harry realized that the mask only covered Snape's eyes.

It seemed like yesterday hadn't happened and the past twenty-four didn't exist as he lost himself in the black eyes that had come to mean so much to him. Snape's hand rested on his hip as Harry rocked slowly to the music, moving his other free hand to Snape's hip, slowing to the music as the timbre changed softly.

Snape tensed ever so slightly before he took a deep breath and glanced away, Harry moved his hand up to cup the pale cheek as Snape turned back to look at him and said, voice dropping lower with each passing words.

"There are no easy ways to say this, Harry, nor will our future together be easy, if there is such a future. The past year we've been living on borrowed time, time stolen in nightly hours or in between classes. It was bearable because nobody knew and nobody judged us, or if they did I always said that it was necessary for your healing that you had somebody take care of you but I've been lying. I was selfish, I kept you around, pretending I did not care so I could not be hurt when you moved away from Hogwarts towards something new and exciting and left me behind…."

"I could never leave; Hogwarts was the first and only place that I ever felt at home and…"

"Hush, let me finish." Even Snape's demeanor was gentle and Harry fell silent. He was used to being berated by the man, not spoken to gently. "There will come a day when you've your own home and you need things that I cannot give you, such as children and a happy home that does not remind you of the past with every single thing a person says or does. I kept telling myself these things that I would do it for you but I couldn't make that final step, to break whatever there was between us. I lied to myself and said that you were happy with me, happier then you've ever been."

"You never lied to yourself, Severus. I'm…I was…." Harry closed his mouth with a snap but the damage was already done as Snape stopped dancing, resting his forehead against Harry's as he whispered.

"You'll never be a blemish on my already dark record, Harry, not to me at least. The general public will no doubt see it like that but I always thought that what there was between us was pure and that I love you with all that I have in me, small and scarred at that may be. It is all yours, if you will have me. I promise you that though you may be shunned by everybody else, I'll love and protect you. You will belong to me and…"

Harry gasped and Snape stopped talking, taking Harry's hand in his own as he said. "I should not have said that…I…"

"Do you mean it? Do you mean that you will love me and take care of me for the rest of our lives?" Harry demanded, standing on his toes to better see Snape's eyes. The older wizard gave a nod, his hand tightening around Harry's.

"Then make your offer!" Despite his casual tone, Harry was feeling nervous butterflies flying around his stomach as he took in a deep breath. Snape looked away for a moment and Harry realized just how hard it was for Snape to say these words, to open himself up so much for Harry and for allowing himself to be hurt if Harry denied and rejected him.

But he waited patiently for Snape to gather himself as the older wizard looked back at him and softly said, knowing that these words may indentify the rest of his life. "Do you, Harry James Potter, would care to sign your life away to be with me, Severus Tobias Snape, a murderer, a spy and a death eater? Will you willingly allow yourself to be subjected to ridicule, possible even violence when you step into the public eye to be with me?"

Harry cocked his head to the side, pretending he was thinking very hard when he said casually. "No, I won't allow myself to be subjected to ridicule and violence. I will willingly submit myself to somebody who loves me for me."

Snape relaxed against him, finger stroking Harry's cheek tenderly. "Then I should change our equal bonding to a dominant – submissive relationship if you wish to play the pretty little bottom."

"Whatever you think is best will suit me fine, Severus." Harry smiled up, hoping that he wasn't being too submissive.

"Well, I think that I would like to have your answer now."

"If you make a better suit then the previous one, I'll dignify it with an answer." Harry smirked up and Snape rolled his eyes, mutter under his breath before he took a deep breath and said.

"Then would you consent to binding with me in marriage that will make sure that you're well looked after, loved and satisfied in all areas that may need satisfying?" Harry could hear the unspoken words Snape couldn't say, even to him.

I will love you with all that is mine. You will want for nothing

"I have been such a fool! I knew you would never give something that was yours without a fight. I'm sorry for misunderstanding, Severus and for nearly ruining things between us, destroying everything that we have."

"No, Harry, you did no such things. You demanded to be shown how important you were and I should have made you realize it sooner. I should have told you that I do hold you very dear." Snape's deep voice tripped over the emotion and then the music stopped.

Harry looked around, confused. He had been so lost in the older wizard that he had completely forgotten that they were in the Claiming Dance. He glanced back at Snape as the older wizard took off his mask and said. "If you wish to reject a claim, Harry, you can leave now."

"And if I wish to accept it?" Harry molded himself back into Snape's arms. He didn't care for the lights that would go on in another minute or the fact that the Headmaster's hands were resting on his hip in a manner that was very familiar and possessive.

"You could say yes." Snape stared down at him, his black eyes filled with warmth suddenly and the lines in his face shadowed by the dim lighting in the hall.

"Yes."Harry breathed, beaming up at his lover and Snape gave him a tiny nod before he carefully placed his hands on either side of Harry's face, carefully removing the mask and Harry blinked a little, pushing his glasses back up his nose.

Snape placed the mask aside, one hand holding Harry's chin steady as he whispered in a rush of breath against Harry's parted lips. "Then now we seal it with a kiss."

Harry could only smile as Snape's lips touched his for barely a second. The taller man was bend over him and Harry tangled his hand in the long dark hair as he pulled Snape forward. The older wizard groaned ever so faintly and then allowed Harry, deepening their kiss. It was one of the only times that Harry had known Snape to relax into their kiss and it heightened his feelings.

He teased his tongue over the thin lower lip and opened his mouth to allow Snape's tongue in. They most likely had only moments when suddenly…

His eyes ached in the sudden harsh light as flashes went off around them. He did not care for the cheers or the gasps that went up around the room when they saw what their Headmaster was doing and with who. He merely focused on Snape's lips on his as he closed his eyes in bliss.

I'm going to get married!

His heart sang out in joy and when they did finally break apart, Harry smiling up into Snape's usual stern face, he was relieved to see the thin lips easing into a confident smile as the dark eyes seemed alight with passion and happiness.

It didn't matter to him that the other lovers' who had attended the ball were whispering about him and Snape, forming their own opinions as Snape leaned in and whispered. "Happy birthday, Harry."

And Harry realized that he was very happy indeed.

The end

I hoped you liked it. So I did manage to fix everything when my muse made them break up – growls a muse - . So reward me with reviews, I deserve them, lol. No, seriously, review, I'm not joking.