Title: Warm to the Touch

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Harry's feeling depressed and finds comfort in the last man he expected. Harry/Severus, slash.

Disclaimer: I wrote this story, but I own nothing in it. Harry Potter is the creation and property of J. K. Rowling, Goddess bless her.

Notes: I make vague mentions of the war with Voldemort, but I haven't read the fourth book yet and have no idea what's going to happen, so I probably won't go into any detail. Again this is slash, which means it's a romance between two men and more over a romance between a student and teacher. Though I would never turn anyone away willing to read one of my stories, if you're not comfortable with this idea, you're probably better off clicking the back button. Otherwise, please read on.



Chapter One: Tempest

Rain pounded with a fury against the large paned window near Harry's bed, in the seventh year Gryffindor boy's dormitory. The only other sound that could be heard drifting through the darkness was the quiet breathing of the other sleeping students. Harry lay awake on top of the covers, fully dressed. He waited until he was sure everyone was asleep. Then quietly he slipped out of bed and pulled out his invisibility cloak from his trunk. He winced when he lost his grip on the lid and it closed with a thud. He waited nervously for the sounds of anyone stirring.

A familiar voice whispered behind him, "Harry, is that you? Where are you going?"

Harry turned to face his friend. "Go back to bed Ron. I'm just going out to practice for a bit."

Ron's sleepy gaze drifted towards the window. "In this weather?"

"I'll be fine. I've flown in the rain before, Ron."

Ron didn't look convinced. "I don't know, Harry. It doesn't seem like a very good idea. Maybe I should go with you?"

Harry shook his head. "Better not. I only have the one cloak and you can't go flying with me. We might get caught. Don't worry, I'll be fine."

Ron narrowed his eyes. "If you're sure?"

"I'm sure," said Harry giving Ron a push back towards his bed, "Now go back to sleep."

"Alright," said his red headed friend reluctantly, "But be careful."

Harry drew up the hood of his cloak over his head and disappeared from view. "I will."

Harry left and managed to escape outside unnoticed. When he got there he began to have second thoughts. The rain was coming down hard in huge drops. The wind swept violently past him, blowing his cloak up. Catching sight of the broom shack, he ran as fast as he could. Taking out his wand and muttering an unlocking spell, he hurried inside. As the door shut, the howling wind quieted, but the shack walls shuddered with every strong breeze. The wind had pulled back his hood and his long black bangs lay matted to his face. Water dripped into his eyes and he was forced to pull off his glasses and brush back his hair. He wiped the glasses on his shirt underneath and slipped them back on. Deciding it would be impossible to stay hidden under the invisibility cloak while flying, he pulled the sopping cloth off of him and stashed it away. If he ended up getting caught, he didn't want to risk losing his father's cloak.

He retrieved his broom and the snitch and headed back out into the rain. He knew that what he was doing was dangerous, but if he could find the snitch in this storm, then their next match with Slytherin would be a piece of cake.

He walked to the middle of the field, let the golden snitch go, boarded his broom, and took off. The cold wind whipped past him, stinging his face, but he ignored the pain and focused on finding the snitch.

If anyone could have seen Harry flying through the storming night sky, they would have thought him insane, but Harry was determined. He could not lose the championship this year; his teammates were counting on him. For most of them, this was their last chance to win. They had lost last year and Harry was determined not to disappoint again.

A flash of light lit the sky and thunder crackled through the air, as lightening struck close. Harry squinted his eyes and strained to see through the heavy rain. Another flash of lightening and Harry saw it, a speck of gold floating in the middle of the Quidditch field. Leaning forward Harry sped up his broom and zoomed towards it.

He was close and he could feel his heart beating faster. Adrenaline rushed through him and a smile spread on his face as he reached out, his fingers inches from the glittering ball. He almost had it, he could feel it in his hand, and then something large and black came up beside him, knocking him back. He watched with wide eyes as the snitch flew away, disappearing into the rain.

He could hear someone shouting at him, barely audible over the howling wind, and he turned his head. To his complete fright he found Severus Snape hovering near him on a dark handled broom. His chin length black hair clung to his cheeks and a furious tempest swirled in his black eyes to match the storm raging around them.

He was motioning towards the ground and Harry could scarcely hear his shouts as he told him to go down. Harry headed towards the ground with a feeling of dread filling the pit of his stomach. Snape followed close behind him.

His feet hit the wet ground with a plop and he dismounted. Harry felt numb as he stood in the center of the field awaiting his fate. He had no doubt that Snape would take him straight to the headmaster and insist he be expelled. Harry wasn't sure even Albus Dumbledore could ignore this infraction of the rules.

Harry waited a long while, staring at the ground. When no lecturing tirade came forth from Snape's mouth, Harry dared to glance up nervously. The Professor's dark eyes were fixated on him. Harry shivered at the intensity with which the older man was staring at him.

"Should I even ask, Mr. Potter, what you were thinking of when you decided to go flying during the middle of the night in a rainstorm or should I assume, as always, you weren't?"

It was a rhetorical question, obviously, but Harry wondered at the answer. Why had he gone flying tonight? The easy answer was that he needed the practice. The truth was harder to admit.

Strong hands clutched his shoulders. Snape leaned down so that they were standing face to face. "Why do you this? Why do you take these unnecessary risks?"

'Why?' The question repeated in his head. Why did he do anything anymore? Harry didn't know. He had tried to throw himself into his studies and into training, doing whatever he could to keep his mind focused, away from unwanted thoughts and memories.

The fury in Snape's eyes turned to desperation. "I thought this was over! I thought that you had finally settled down. You've been improving so much, your grades, your performance. Why would you throw all that away for a game? Is it really worth it? Is it worth your life? Is it? Answer me, damn you!"

Harry couldn't help it, he had been trying very hard to hold back all the emotions and darks thoughts that had been swirling inside him since the final defeat of Voldemort, to move on with his life. But with the stress of knowing this was his final year, that soon he would have to say goodbye to his friends and the only place he had ever called home and not knowing what to do with himself next, it all came bursting out in a flood of tears. The hot salty teardrops mixed with the icy rain streaming down his face. He stood ashamed and embarrassed in front of his professor, but didn't bother to try and wipe them away.

He closed his eyes and wished he could be anywhere than where he was. Back in his common room, sitting comfortably by a warm fire, away from the cold unforgiving rain.

He felt the hands on his shoulders move to his back and he was pulled into an embrace. He lost all control then and clutched at the body before him and sobbed into his chest.

Snape must have become tired supporting his weight, because after awhile Harry felt himself being lowered to the damp ground. Exhausted as he felt, Harry didn't protest and knelt down with the other man, but never loosened his grip. Snape, for his part, never broke contact either and ran an awkward, but comforting, hand through his messed hair.

When the sobs had finally left him and he felt a bit calmer, Harry tentatively pulled back to look at the Potions Master who had so uncharacteristically comforted him.

Harry was surprised to see his eyes were red. If Harry hadn't known any better, he would have thought Snape had been crying too. Harry lifted a hand to Severus' cheek and wiped away the water tracks trailing down, with a long slender finger. Instead of bringing his hand away, he let it linger. Severus leaned into his touch.

As if compelled by some unknown force, Harry leaned forward until he could feel Snape's hot breath against his lips. He waited and when Snape didn't pull away, he closed the remaining distance and kissed him.

Harry had never imagined what it would be like to kiss Severus Snape, but if he had, he would never have anticipated the heat he felt. It was a burning sensation that started with his lips and spread across his face, reddening his cheeks, down his neck, chest, and stomach, stretching to every limb, until his whole body tingled with warmth.

He only had a moment to enjoy the feeling before the warmth was taken from him. He let out a gasp as Severus' lips left his. His breath came out in a puff of white steam.

They stayed there frozen, locked in their embrace, neither knowing what to say. Finally Severus untangled himself from Harry and moved away. Slowly he stood up.

Harry watched him slightly confused. He stared at the hand Snape offered to him, before taking it and allowing himself to be pulled up to his feet.

"You better go back to your house, Harry." After a moment he added, "I won't be reporting this."

Whether he meant Harry's late night broom flying or their kiss, it wasn't clear. But it was clear that whatever had just happened between them was over.

Harry wasn't sure why, but he suddenly felt emptier inside than he had before. And a lot colder. He shivered and wrapped his arms around himself. He glanced over at his teacher, but the man had already turned his back to him. His black robes whipped furiously in the wind.

Harry took a step closer, wanting to wrap himself once more in Severus' arms, to be shielded from the rain that beat unmercifully against his skin, to feel warm again. He opened his mouth to say something, but couldn't find the words.

Severus must have sensed his hesitation, because without turning around he snapped, "Go, now!"

Harry whirled around and started running back to the castle. He didn't stop until he was safely back in his own dormitory. His shoulders heaved and his chest hurt as he tried to catch his breath. He shucked off his wet clothes and climbed into his bed. He buried his head into his pillow and tried to ignore the taste that lingered in his mouth.

His thoughts broke off into a thousand different directions, until nothing coherent remained and oblivion overtook him.

* * *

End Part One.