Author Notes: Originally written for the 2009 Snarry Games. Thank you so much to Team Cauldron and especially leela_cat for their help.
The first time Harry heard the voice inside his head, he thought he was going crazy.
But then he realised that it might have come from a radio he had accidentally left on in the other room. He walked around his apartment, switching off anything that could possibly make the sound, closing all the windows, but still, he heard the soft voice. It was insistent, like there was an important message that needed to be imparted. It wasn't a clear voice. That would have been less frightening. It was a bare hint of a whisper, like the flutter of his curtains in the chilly winter air.
Harry tried to ignore it, but that failed miserably. He tried to concentrate on something else, but as soon as he had finished whatever it was, the voice came back, whispering constantly in his mind.
As the days went by, Harry realised that he could understand what the voice was saying. Not because he was focusing more on it, but because he had a sudden flash of understanding.
"Save me," the voice said. "Save me."
Harry thought that there was more to the message, but the words were garbled, much like the sound of a Muggle radio that hadn't been tuned properly. Occasionally, an image flickered inside his mind, or perhaps a map. It was apparent that whoever or whatever was communicating with him wanted him to do something.
Harry's mind immediately jumped to Voldemort. Even though he knew that Voldemort was dead, this felt too close to what Voldemort used to do to taunt him. He was worried. That drove Harry to report what was happening to his supervisor at work. The days where he went around listening to potentially dangerous objects and disembodied voices inside his head were long gone. He knew the rigors of Auror training could cause mental problems in some trainees. He'd heard stories of trainees who'd gone crazy from the long hours. One trainee had apparently dressed up like a rabbit and hopped into the Ministry of Magic atrium chewing on carrots. Harry didn't think he was that crazy, but he also didn't want any suspicion cast upon his future career.
His supervisor had looked worried at the news and immediately ordered a psychiatric exam at St Mungo's.
Harry was directed to a blandly decorated room. He suspected that the cream and light blue coloured decor was deliberate. Somebody probably told the bespectacled psychiatrist – Doctor Stanton – sitting in front of him that cream and blue made people calmer. As Harry looked around the room, he found that the decor had the opposite effect on him. He felt more nervous than ever.
"Have you ever had nightmares?" Stanton asked.
Harry stared. He wasn't sure whether the man was being serious or not. "For years," he said cautiously. "They were caused by Voldemort."
Stanton flinched at the name, scribbled something down on his notebook with his quill, and then looked up to regard Harry through serious eyes. "Are you sure?"
"Of course, I'm sure!" Harry snapped. "My connection to Voldemort produced the nightmares. They disappeared once he was gone. I'm not crazy!"
Stanton nodded. "Of course not, Mr Potter. However, you do say that you hear voices. What do these voices tell you to do?"
Harry hesitated. "I'm not sure they're voices, exactly," he finally said. "I think it's just a single voice. It keeps on telling me to save it. Although recently, I seem to hear other words as well but I can't make them out. Could this be some sort of after-effect of my connection with Voldemort?"
"Unlikely," Stanton told him. "I see this all the time with young people who have had too much responsibility forced on them at a young age. You spent your adolescence saving people. Indeed you saved the entire wizarding world, a fact for which we are all very grateful." Harry felt rather uncomfortable as Stanton regarded him through widened eyes. "You are now adjusting to a normal life. It is understandable that you would be going through stress."
Harry blinked. Was Stanton telling him that he was making it all up? Or that, Merlin forbid, he was doing this as an attempt to seek attention? "I'm not faking this," he protested.
"Of course not, Mr Potter," Stanton said reassuringly. "I think you should take a week off work. I'll arrange it with your supervisor. Relax. Have a holiday. I think you might find that the voice goes away."
Harry discovered that having a holiday at the age of nineteen wasn't anything like having a holiday when he was still at Hogwarts. For one thing, this was a forced holiday. Everybody else he knew was still working, so he couldn't even go and talk to them during the day. Plus, he could still hear the voice.
Instead of dissipating, the voice seemed to be getting stronger and more insistent. For the first time, Harry began to hear a familiar tone within the voice. It wasn't pleading with him, as he'd first thought. It was more derisive, with a smidgen of sarcasm. Truth be told, Harry though it was a bizarre tone, given that the voice was asking him to save it.
"Save me, you twit."
Harry jumped. He stared around the room, but couldn't see anybody. It was impossible, but he could have sworn that the voice he heard was one he knew very well. "You can't be," he said aloud.
"Finally!" the voice snapped. "You can hear me. I've been trying this for days. And yes, it really is happening, so stop denying it."
Harry could feel his heart pounding. "Who are you? What do you want?"
He could have sworn that he heard the voice snort. "Severus Snape, at your service, and I want you to bloody well come and save me."
"What?" Harry exclaimed. "You're dead."
"Obviously not, if I'm communicating with you," the voice said icily.
A sudden, horrible thought occurred to Harry. "You didn't create any Horcruxes did you?"
"I'm still alive, Mr Potter, but I won't be for much longer if you keep twittering on about inane things. I'm not a disembodied part of Severus Snape's soul. I am Severus Snape, you dunderhead!"
Harry had to admit that he was mostly convinced. Snape had always had such an interesting manner of speech, one that Harry had yet to see replicated anywhere, and this voice definitely sounded like him. "Why did you take so long to try to communicate with me?"
There was a long silence. It was so long that Harry began to think that Snape had lost his temper and had stopped trying to communicate with him. "I have been trying for months. Ever since you defeated the Dark Lord, in fact."
Harry blinked. "But I only started hearing your voice a week back."
"Do you really think that you were the first person I tried to contact?" the voice snapped. "In fact, you are the last person I tried. Nobody else heard me."
Harry couldn't help but feel unreasonably satisfied at that statement. "So I'm your last hope then," he said. "I'm the only person who can help you." He could have sworn that he heard Snape sigh.
"Are we going to simply sit around and chat? Or would you prefer to organise a real funeral for me in the near future? Because if you don't follow my instructions, I'll truly be dead very soon."
Harry fingered his wand. There was still a very good chance that this was all some sort of elaborate trap set by Voldemort ages ago or by one of his many, many other enemies. But it didn't feel like a trap. Surely, if it was a trap, the voice would have been nicer to him, more honeyed. Instead, the voice behaved just like Severus Snape would have acted.
"I'll do it," he said.
Harry hesitated before he entered the Shrieking Shack. He hadn't been back here in months. In fact, the last time he was here was when he witnessed Snape being murdered by Voldemort.
"Stop being so maudlin," the voice ordered. "Now, listen closely. Keep your mind open and make sure you follow my instructions to the last detail. Thank Merlin the spell does not require a potions component. If it did, I suspect I would be stuck in this state forever."
Harry clenched his hands. After a few seconds, he made himself open his mind. Almost immediately, he was sent reeling by the sheer amount of information that assailed him. It was a detailed, audacious plan, and Harry realised, one that only Severus Snape could have pulled off. Of course, Snape had assumed that he would be able to communicate with people afterwards in order to ensure that he came back to life. However, other than that one minor detail, it was a perfect plan.
"Got it?" Snape's voice asked.
Harry nodded and began the incantation.
The room swirled around Harry. He could feel the floor shake beneath his feet. A bright flash of light seared his eyeballs, and he fell to the ground. He wrapped his fingers tightly around his wand, holding it before him in a defensive gesture. Slowly, as the world swum back into view, he could see a blurry figure standing in front of him.
It was Snape and he was naked.
"This was not part of the plan," Snape said, as he looked down at his body.
Harry couldn't help but gape. Snape was standing in front of him, looking just like he had the day he had died, except for the fact he was sans clothing. Harry tried not to stare, but he couldn't help noticing the muscular shape of Snape's upper thighs and the thin little line of hair that led down to Snape's cock.
Harry gave a start and dragged his eyes up to look at Snape's face. "I wasn't... I wasn't," he started to say, defensively, but wasn't sure how to finish.
Snape snorted. "Of course you weren't." He swooped down and picked up the cloak Harry had dropped when he'd fallen over. It was a rather short cloak on Harry and as Snape wound the cloak around his waist, it barely managed to cover just enough to stop embarrassment. "I believe I shall be borrowing this."
Harry nodded. "You're alive," he managed to say. And naked, his mind added not-so-helpfully, but he ignored that.
"So it would seem," Snape said wryly. "I believe I owe you thanks, Mr Potter. Who would have thought that you, of all people, would be most in tune with my innermost thoughts?"
Harry struggled to stand up. "What?"
"The spell I used meant that I would be able to communicate with a person or persons whose thoughts were on the same frequency as my own. A very ancient and rather dark spell." Snape looked rather pleased with himself.
"It almost didn't work," Harry retorted. "I thought I was going insane."
Snape took a step forward so that he was less than a metre away. Harry felt rather uncomfortable at the closeness, but he didn't want to take a step back. "However, it did work, and I have you to thank for it, Mr Potter," Snape said softly.
"You're welcome," Harry said awkwardly, wishing that Snape would just leave. It would be so much easier to breathe without the other man here. He had forgotten just how much presence Snape had.
"You're misunderstanding me," Snape said. "I owe you a debt now, for saving my life."
"Oh," Harry said, his mouth falling open.
Snape took yet another step forward. Harry could feel Snape's breath on his face as the other man talked. "I wish to repay this debt," Snape told him, his voice still low. "Is there anything that you want, Mr Potter?"
Involuntarily, Harry found his eyes wandering downwards. Although Snape had wrapped Harry's cloak around his waist, the cloak didn't manage to cover much. There was a wide gap that managed to show much of Snape's upper thigh. Plus, Snape was still naked from the waist up. Harry could feel the heat coming from the other man's body. He bit back a semi-hysterical laugh. Just an hour ago, Snape was technically dead.
Snape's eyes widened slightly. He had obviously realised the meaning behind Harry's quick glance. "I see," he said. "If you're sure that's what you want, Mr Potter?"
"I," Harry stammered. "I, you don't have... I mean..." He took a step back but found himself up against the wall of the Shrieking Shack.
In front of him, Snape had a slight smile on his face. "I believe I shall enjoy discharging this debt," Snape said slowly, as he advanced forward.
Harry gasped as he felt Snape's weight pinning him against the wall.
"Yes, I believe I shall enjoy this very much," Snape murmured into his ear. Harry moaned as he felt one of Snape's hand open up his robe. "You seem to be enjoying yourself too, Mr Potter."
Harry opened his mouth to respond but thought better of it. Instead he reached up and dragged Snape down for a kiss.