Harry knew full well that words were powerful things. At least, he should have known. After all, he was a wizard, and all wizards know that words have power...
It was unfortunate, therefore, that he seemed to forget this just when he did.
He was leaning against the castle wall, looking up at the sky. Hogwarts was the only safe place left in Britain, and now that all but one of the Horcruxes had been found and destroyed, Harry had been called back to assist in the castle's defences. They expected an attack any day.
Harry was entirely sick and tired of the bloodshed and was wishing longingly for it to all be decided, for once and for all, so he could stop being on edge all the time. "I really hate this," he growled.
Ron sighed. "Well, join the crowd. It's the same for all of us."
Harry snorted. "Not all of us. I bet the Death Eaters are living it up. They just got Scrimgeour. The country's practically theirs. And Snape—I haven't even seen him since the night he killed Dumbledore. He must be some sort of god to them. They probably carry him round on a litter and fan him and feed him grapes," he said bitterly.
Ron gave him a doubtful look. "Can't see Lucius Malfoy fanning anyone or feeding them grapes, or Draco, either."
"Ha. Bet he's having the time of his life. Bet Voldemort gave him a holiday for a job well done. Bet he's off in the tropics buggering cabana boys."
"Could be," Ron replied.
Harry huffed in dissatisfaction, glaring up at the stars. Then he made one of the worst mistakes of his life. He opened his mouth and said, "I wish I was Snape."
The next thing Harry knew he was standing in front of a urinal holding—"Oh, wow."
"I beg your pardon?" Lucius Malfoy's unimpressed drawl floated over. "Have you taught it tricks or something?"
Flushing, Harry hurried to button himself up and turn around. Lucius was staring at him, one arrogant brow high in the air.
Harry winced a little; his face felt sore and he gingerly touched it with a fingertip. He was utterly at sea. Where was he? What happened? Why did his face hurt? Why couldn't he remember how he got there?
"You were saying?" Lucius said.
"Eh?" Harry turned and saw a mirror; the reflection there nearly threw him into a panic. Severus Snape stared back at him, looking far more bewildered than he usually did, his face swollen and cut in places.
The man sighed. "Come, Severus; you were moaning about how ill-used you are, how you little deserve to be treated as a whipping post, and how Potter was probably safely enthroned in Hogwarts with the students clustered round offering him sexual favours and sweeties. And then you said, 'I wish I was Potter.' Then you looked down and said, 'Oh, wow.' I'm still waiting for the punchline."
Harry started to laugh wildly.
Lucius sighed and walked away.
Harry leaned weakly against the mirror when the man had gone. "Punchline? I think he missed the entire joke," he told himself.
It didn't take Harry long at all to realize he mustn't let anyone know what happened, and Snape was probably having to pretend to be Harry, as well. He wondered if they'd catch him. Hermione was sharp—perhaps she'd realize.
Part of him was very concerned—he should get back as soon as possible and expose Snape. On the other hand, this was an opportunity he'd probably never have again. He'd be able to find out the Death Eaters' plans. He might even be able to get close enough to Voldemort to kill him.
He came out of the loo and looked around cautiously. He seemed to be in some sort of government building. It had the same depressing shades of colour and bland decorations as most Muggle counterparts. Harry felt a chill wash over him; Voldemort had wormed his way into the Ministry building? On second thought, it wasn't that big of a surprise. There had been spies there all along, and with Scrimgeour gone...
Harry cautiously began walking down the hall, passing limp potted plants and washed-out abstract paintings. At the end of the hall was a large door of dark wood; Minister was spelled out in shining letters of gold. MacNair stood beside the door, his wand in one hand and a large axe in the other. Of the two, Harry was pretty sure he knew which one the man preferred.
"What are you looking for?" MacNair challenged.
"Vol—er. The Dark Lord," Harry told him, swallowing hard. To his surprise, MacNair looked rather astounded by this announcement—and just a little bit frightened.
"Come back for more, did you?" he asked with grudging respect.
What did that mean? Had Snape already been to Voldemort this evening, demanding a reward of some kind? Well, it didn't matter. Snape had killed Dumbledore; Voldemort had to be grateful for that. Snape could probably ask for the moon. "Yes," Harry said curtly. He wasn't sure he could imitate Snape's speech patterns; it was best to keep it short.
MacNair gave a short, disbelieving laugh, but stepped aside and rapped his knuckles sharply on the door. "Your favourite is back again, Master," he grunted.
There was a long, low snarl, then the door swung inward. "Hello, Severus," Voldemort growled. He was sitting behind Scrimgeour's desk, hunched over, his hands folded in front of him. It was dim in the Minister's office, and all Harry could really make out were the gleam of the man's red eyes.
Harry opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, Voldemort hissed "Crucio!" and Harry dropped to the floor, feeling as though he'd been set on fire. It went on and on—far longer than he'd ever experienced the curse before—until he'd forgotten who he was, until he'd forgotten why he came.
"Are you still unready to tell me?" the Dark Lord queried, and Harry looked up from the floor, gasping like a fish out of water. He had no idea what the man wanted, but it didn't really matter. All Harry could think of was how grateful he was now that the pain had stopped, and how his stomach was heaving. "Legilimens," Voldemort said, and Harry stared back, unseeing.
Harry could think of nothing but the pain he'd just endured and the roiling of his stomach, and the Dark Lord looked away in disgust. "You never learn, do you?" he asked.
"Guess not," Harry grated.
Voldemort's eyes narrowed. "Saevio," he snapped, and Harry found himself flung back into the hall, body skidding to a stop outside the Minister's door. "Get him out of here," Voldemort instructed MacNair in a voice shaking with rage. "And keep him out, or I'll kill him before I've recovered the Horcrux."
MacNair nodded, face white, and rushed to shut the door. Harry got unsteadily to his feet and the man moved uncertainly towards him, as though he wasn't sure if he was supposed to restrain Harry or not. Harry backed up a step or two and glared.
MacNair stopped immediately. "You'd better listen this time, Severus," he warned.
"Fine," Harry rejoined. "I know when I'm not wanted." Rather than risk being incarcerated, Harry kept going down the hall, limping away. He hurt all over. Not only was he sore from the Cruciatus Curse, but he was battered and bruised from being tossed head over heels for several feet. Did Snape have to go through this on a daily basis? In any case, Harry wasn't ready to face Voldemort again. Obviously Snape didn't have the reflexes for this sort of thing. If Harry'd been in his own body, the Dark Lord would certainly be dead by now, he was sure.
Eventually, Harry found his way to the atrium, and after that outside, expecting to be followed or attacked at any moment. When he managed to get out of the phone booth, he found Lucius Malfoy apparently waiting for him, leaning against the building and smoking a cigarette.
Harry was a bit nonplussed by this—he'd never seen Lucius smoke before, but perhaps dealing with the Dark Lord on a daily basis drove him to it. Or maybe he just felt it made him look that much more evil. "You weren't—waiting for me, were you?" Harry demanded.
Lucius gave a quasi-shrug. "You are the only other intelligent and yet halfway sane person in the vicinity," he said. "Sometimes it's nice to have a conversation that's more than a series of grunts and doesn't end up with me spoiling a perfectly good French shirt with my own blood."
Harry looked away, feeling hunted. "I see."
"Are you going to tell him?"
"Tell him what?"
Lucius gave a short laugh. "Very good. I wouldn't trust me, either."
Harry looked out at the dark city. "Why hasn't he—why haven't I—left, do you think?" he asked with genuine curiosity.
Lucius gave a grimace and another shrug. "You're asking me to read your mind? I assume it's because you've nowhere to go. He'd track you down and he'd kill you. I suppose it's clever to string him along...it's your only hope at this point."
Harry only looked at him.
"I know, I know—you don't remember. Potter hit you with some kind of memory charm as you were fleeing the scene with Draco and it stole the past year or so. Of course. Very, very smart, I must say. He doesn't dare kill you before he finds a way to unlock your mind, and since he can't be certain you're lying...and you did kill Dumbledore...you're a frustration, but not necessarily a traitor—or so he thinks. You're playing a risky game, my friend. But even I have to admit you're playing it well." Lucius doffed an imaginary hat in Harry's direction, and Harry scowled.
"I'm so happy to have impressed you," he sneered.
Lucius looked amused, but before he could answer, his eyes went blank and he toppled over sideways. Harry blinked at his prone body, then looked up to see—himself—standing over the man with wand drawn and a very angry look on his face.
"You fool," Harry's mouth snarled.
Fumbling, Harry tried to retrieve his wand, only to realize he didn't know where Snape kept it. "Back off, Snape," he warned. "You'll only get hurt."
"If you're looking for my wand, the Dark Lord has it," Snape told him. "So you've really very little with which to threaten me. Now hurry up, you body-stealing baboon! I want to be well away from here before anyone comes looking."
"Why should I do anything you say?"
Snape arched a brow, and on Harry's face it didn't look quite right. He looked like a very young boy playing at being evil. "Because I've got your wand trained on you," he said.
Harry realized the man was right. Bitter regret boiled inside him and he gritted his teeth. "Fine. Where do we go?"
Snape hesitated before saying, "The Shrieking Shack."
"They do a check of that every evening," Harry told him. "They'll catch you."
"Weren't you clever to have warned me? That's fine; I'll say I'm doing the check myself tonight."
Harry's expression must have soured at the realization that he'd given his enemy useful information, but there was nothing to be done about it. "Fine," he grunted.
"We'll do side-along Apparation," Snape told him, sidling closer, looking wary. "I don't trust you not to splinch yourself or try to make a run for it, so you'd better think twice; I've had a bad day and suicide is looking rather inviting. Wouldn't want to spoil this lovely body."
Harry bristled. "You don't have to threaten!" he hollered.
They arrived at the Shrieking Shack quickly, and Snape picked a room with few windows and conjured a couple of chairs.
"Give me my body back," Harry said after sitting and taking a couple of deep breaths. "You haven't any right to it."
"You're the one going round invading other people's skins!" Snape accused.
"I HAVE NOT!" Harry roared. He lunged, intending to wring the man's neck, but Snape raised Harry's wand menacingly and Harry settled back in his seat, frustrated, on being reminded of whose neck he'd be wringing.
"Now, what happened, Potter? Lumos," Snape added, glaring down at him. Harry's green eyes abruptly widened in indignation. "Dear god! What have you been doing to me?" Snape demanded, grasping Harry's chin and turning it roughly left and right. "You've nearly ruined my beautiful face!"
"Absolutely hysterical," Harry said dryly, enjoying the way the words rolled off his tongue, sharp as acid. "Most of it was already like that, and let's face it, I could hardly make you uglier."
Snape's drew back his hand as if to slap Harry, but then he made a face and caught himself. "I admit some of the damage was there, but you managed to make it worse. What the devil did you do? You only had possession of the thing for a quarter of an hour!"
"Voldemort happened to it," Harry told him in exasperation. "He wanted to know where the last Horcrux was."
"You didn't tell him?" Snape said sharply.
"I didn't know," Harry retorted.
"Ah. That's right." Snape began to pace, scowling at the floor.
Despite himself, Harry found it difficult to keep from sniggering. Snape was obviously used to longer legs and a more dramatic body; he looked like a puffed-up little actor pretending to be a king. "We have to change back, and quickly. If he realizes you're you, he'll kill you immediately. And of course I can't let the Order discover me."
"What do I care if the Order discovers you? Let them hang you, that's what I say," Harry told the man.
"Hang whom?" Snape sneered.
"Oh," Harry said.
Harry sighed heavily. "I have a headache."
Snape looked at him. Perhaps he wasn't as skilled at schooling this particular face, or maybe it was only that he couldn't stand to see himself in pain, but he actually looked rather tender for just a moment. "Yes...you did get a good thrashing today," he muttered. "And you're still bleeding. Or bleeding again."
"I am?" Harry asked in surprise, lifting a hand to his awkwardly large nose, where a trickle of blood ran.
"Don't ruin your robes," Snape scolded. He conjured a handkerchief and dabbed at the blood.
"Thank you," Harry said in surprise. The words rang oddly and it occurred to him that he'd never heard Snape say such a thing. "Thank you," he repeated, just to hear it again. "Thank you very much. Good show, Potter; well done," he added. "My name is Severus Snape, and I'm an absolute tit," he continued in his best stuffy drawl. "I like looming and skulking, being tremendously evil and buggering cabana boys."
The man scowled at him. Doing that, he didn't look all that different than Harry often did when he was looking in the mirror, particularly when his hair was acting up. Harry smiled.
"Dear god, don't do that; it's ghastly," Snape told him.
"You can't make me stop," Harry replied. "I can smile if I want. I can buy a tutu and do a little dance for Voldemort, if I want."
"He'll not thank you, I can assure you of that," Snape replied. "Besides, if you try that, I'll rip off all your clothes and run through the great hall screaming 'look at my bits!'"
Harry scowled. "You're the one they'd be looking at. Won't you be embarrassed?"
"They aren't my bits."
"Where is the last Horcrux?" Harry asked abruptly.
Snape looked away. "I don't know."
"Bollocks." Still, Harry knew there probably wasn't anything he could do to get the man to talk. Voldemort was far nastier than he was, and even though ordinarily Harry probably wouldn't have been above a bit of torture—he couldn't think of anyone who deserved it more—he couldn't bear the thought of injuring his own body.
"I took a potion to make me forget. I have to take it twice a fortnight. It won't be long until he catches on. We'll have to keep me away from him until I've had a chance to remember, so you can recover it."
Harry gaped. "What are you talking about? You're letting me get hold of it?"
Snape huffed, and with Harry's face it looked very petulant. "Don't bug your eyes out like that," he said snippily. "You look absurd. Can't you at least try for dignity?"
"I've never needed it," Harry told him. "And I've never had time to practice."
Snape gave him a resentful, sidelong look. "Of course not. When you're handsome, you have no need of dignity or grace. You just go about looking stupid and people love you."
"I do not go about looking stupid!" Harry protested. "Do you really think I'm handsome?"
Snape rolled Harry's eyes. Studying himself, Harry decided that he was sort of handsome. Part of it had to be the way Snape kept his chin lifted so he could attempt to glare down his nose, and the fact that he kept pouting. Harry's lips, Harry was coming to realize, were just made for pouting. He ought to do that more often. He wondered what he looked like when he smiled—really smiled, not the self-conscious way he did looking in the mirror or for a camera.
"Will you quit gazing at yourself like a lovesick dolt and get back on point? You're a ruddy raving narcissist!" Snape demanded, and Harry shook himself.
"What was the point?"
"We have to keep me away from Voldemort—and the Order—long enough for my memory to return."
"You mean we need to keep me away from them," Harry pointed out.
"You're right," Snape sighed.
"And I still don't understand why you're helping me," Harry added.
Snape stared at him. "You mean you haven't figured it out by now? I've spent the better part of my life embroiled in intrigue and espionage; do you have any idea the sacrifices it took to get me this deep undercover? Not my sacrifices—not just mine. And you have no respect for them anyway."
"Dumbledore? You mean he did it on purpose? Why?"
Snape turned away, studying the lone window. "He wanted me to survive."
"Bloody fool he was, then," Harry grumbled. All the rage, grief and horror he'd felt in those first few moments after Dumbledore's death suddenly bubbled up in him again, and he dropped his face into his hands. Dumbledore would do something like that—the compassionate old bedlamite.
"And he wanted you to survive. I'll be damned if I watch his sacrifice—my sacrifice—go to waste. I will put that Horcrux in your hands or die trying. From there, it's your problem."
Harry let out a shaky breath. "Understood."
In the end, Snape had to leave Harry alone in the Shrieking Shack and return to Hogwarts alone to fake it the best he could. He was fairly confident it couldn't be too difficult; all he really had to do was be oblivious and rant a lot about the unfairness of life, with the occasional act of rampant hooliganism thrown in for flavour.
He ran into Weasley almost as soon as he returned to the castle. "What's the matter with you, mate? You eat something nasty?"
Snape stopped and stared at him. "No. Why?" Potter spoke in short, confrontational sentences, as he recalled.
The redheaded menace looked at him askew. "You have this really odd look on your face. Like you ate a lemon and you're having trouble passing it." To illustrate, he tried to mimic Harry's expression—bitter and scowling.
"I refuse to believe I look anything like that," Snape replied.
"Nonsense! Ha—I'm always perfectly attractive, even when I'm angry or upset."
Ron really looked baffled now, and a bit suspicious as well. "Are you feeling all right?"
"Because I happen to recognize that I'm gorgeous? Do I not go around extolling my incredible beauty?" Snape asked, this time more to himself than aloud.
Ron gave him a wavering, uncertain grin. "You're joking, right?"
"Of course," Snape replied smoothly.
"Right," Ron said. "Right. So. Where have you been? Everyone's been worried."
Snape weighed this for several moments; how would Potter react? He ran his finger over his lips as he considered; would Potter explain away Weasley's fears, or would he tell him to get lost? Snape decided Potter was reactive and irrational. "NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!" he screamed in Weasley's face.
Weasley looked surprised, then outraged. "WELL, FINE, YOU GIT!" he snarled. "NOT LIKE ANY OF US CARE ABOUT YOU OR ANYTHING!" he added as he stomped away.
Granger came over and gave Snape an exasperated look. "Harry, I know you're under a great deal of stress," she said, "but must you take it out on Ron? You know it doesn't help anything when the two of you don't speak to each other for days on end."
Feeling smug that he'd guessed Potter's likely reaction, Snape sneered. "What would you know?"
Hermione looked at him coldly. "If that's the way you're going to be, then why don't you find the last Horcrux by yourself? You certainly don't seem to need my help." She flounced off, curly hair bouncing haughtily.
"You're right!" he called after her. "I don't!"
"Mr. Potter! Twenty points from Gryffindor for alienating your much needed allies!" McGonagall scolded as she passed.
Snape glared at her grumpily. It was hard being Potter.
He was so misunderstood.
Harry transfigured himself a mattress and several plump pillows, then proceeded to pace well into the night, ignoring them. What was Snape doing right now? Was he tricking the Order? Worse, was he tricking the Order merely in order to betray them again? Was he with Harry's friends? Could they tell he was different? They had to be able to tell! Snape did everything wrong—he walked like billowing, he scowled like he couldn't possibly make himself uglier, and he spoke like he was vomiting a dictionary. They had to be able to tell.
Only...Harry sort of hoped they wouldn't. If they could only get this last Horcrux, it would all be over. He could destroy Voldemort and get on with his life. He ached to be able to get on with his life. Other days, he just ached.
Speaking of which...he went over to the mattress and lowered himself carefully. He was sore all over; Snape had apparently been through a lot. His back muscles were screaming at him. He wondered how Snape felt wearing his body. Did his knee twinge where Nott cursed him last month?
Or did his body seem impossibly young, hedonistically perfect, strong and whole? Was he admiring himself in the mirror right now? It'd be a first. Was he out getting birds? Was he out getting blokes? Harry hated to think about what would happen if one of his former flames propositioned him right now.
But no; Snape had never seemed too interested in the pleasures of the flesh. He probably liked goats or something. Or he had impossibly high standards; it wasn't too likely he'd find anyone he thought was as great as he was.
Was he out getting—himself? Spread out in front of a mirror and tossing off in Harry's body? That sick bastard! Harry's stomach roiled. Harry could just picture it; his own body spread out deliciously over his bedspread, legs splayed wide while Snape slowly oiled his wand...
Come to think of it, that wasn't quite as nasty a thought as Harry first expected...
Sighing, Harry rolled over and buried his sore, very large nose against a pillow. Snape, he thought, you'd better not be doing what I think you're doing. Severus Snape got to be young and—Harry had to admit—kind of attractive, while Harry was stuck as a gruesomely greasy git.
The world was so unfair.
"Now don't flip your wig at me; I brought you some soup."
Snape sat up slowly in Potter's bed. "Why would you do such a thing?"
Ron took a deep breath, evidently to keep from dumping the soup on Snape's head. "Because we're friends? Even when you're the world's biggest tit?" he suggested.
"I see," Snape said, slowly accepting the soup. He stared at it, thinking of all the various Weasley inventions throughout the years and the ghastly things they could do to you. "Thank you, but I...really don't have much of an appetite," he said.
"Come on, mate; you've got to eat something or Hermione will mount my head like they did to the house-elves at Grimmauld Place." Snape looked up sharply, feeling a tug on the thread of a memory, but Weasley went on. "Anyway, I know you didn't mean anything by it. You haven't slept in a week, and last time you did you had raving nightmares again, so I don't blame you for going a bit mad."
"Have I?" Snape said abstractedly.
"And you're skinny as that mummy Bill brought home from Egypt. You know Mum's been after you to eat more. You shouldn't work so hard. Even if you win, you're losing, you know?"
Snape blinked a little, looking down. He was a bit on the bony side, come to think of it—not a spare ounce on him. He must not have noticed because he was used to it, but Potter ought to have more meat on him. Frowning, Snape took up the bowl and began scooping broth into his mouth as Weasley sighed in something like relief. The world had really come to something when Snape even had to do this because Potter was too incompetent to do it himself. Spoon-feed him, so to speak.
"You want the latest news and rumours?" Weasley asked conversationally.
"Snape disappeared earlier this evening. Draco came to us for protection. He's frantic," Ron informed him with relish.
"Yeah, he's downstairs. A gibbering mess too, I might add. Apparently Snape had been protecting him, and his father was attacked and Draco was sure he'd be next."
Snape's blood ran cold. He'd completely forgotten about Draco. "What...does he say happened to Snape?"
"I do! I mean . . . if there is a wasp about, I'd like to know about it."
There was a knock at the door as Weasley admitted the rationality of Snape's reasoning, and Granger came in. "Harry! You're eating! I'm so glad," she said, coming to perch at the foot of his bed. "Draco just ate as well. Did you tell him?" Ron nodded.
"He has no clue where Snape disappeared to?" Snape asked carefully, feeling decidedly odd to refer to himself in third person.
"None," she said with a sigh. "It worries me."
"You're worried? Over Snape?" Weasley asked, horrified.
"In the first place, he could come after Harry," she responded, obviously nettled. "And I feel bad for Draco. He was apparently close to the man and is concerned about him."
"Snape and Draco Malfoy?" Weasley said, even more horrified.
"No!" Snape shouted.
"How would you know?" Ron asked. "Did...you and Malfoy?"
"I just said—I mean, no!" Snape snapped, despite the fact that he wasn't sure what Potter had done or with whom. It was one thing to ruin Potter's reputation, but quite another to ruin Draco's.
"It's all right if you did, Harry," Hermione said gently. "We understand and support your preferences."
"Not if they include Malfoy!" Ron protested. If he got any more horrified, he'd probably pop.
"I didn't. I don't," Snape added weakly. Preferences? Potter had preferences?
"Snape, then?" Hermione said shrewdly. "You looked positively ill when I mentioned he'd gone missing. It's understandable, you know; he's sexy in a dark, sultry, evil sort of way."
Ron turned purple and fell off the bed, sounding as though he were suffering from apoplexy—probably caused by horror.
"Snape?" Snape echoed stupidly.
"We've all seen the way you fight with him all the time—or used to. Pure unresolved sexual tension," Hermione opined. "And for heaven's sake, stop that, you twit," she told Ron.
"Sexual tension? Snape?" Snape said, sounding exactly like Potter—blank and imbecilic.
"The way the two of you used to glare at each other!" Hermione said, reminiscing. "I'm surprised something didn't catch fire!"
"Something's flaming, all right," Ron moaned morosely from the floor.
"Are you done?" Hermione asked, favouring Snape with an approving smile. "I'll take the bowl down, then. You two try to get some rest."
"Rest," Snape repeated, still totally at sea. Is Potter seriously attracted to me? How did I not notice?
As soon as she was gone, he whipped his bed-curtains closed and huddled up in a whimpering ball while in the four-poster across from him, Ron did the same.
All in all, it had been a very traumatic return to Hogwarts.
Harry rolled over and blinked against the bright morning light. He nearly forgot who he was, stumbling muzzily to his feet to find a loo. There was a rather rusty one with a cracked mirror, and he nearly fell down when he caught sight of himself. Ye gods! He looked even worse than yesterday, and for being Snape, looking worse was a terrifying prospect indeed.
He conjured some soap and water and scrubbed his hands, then went back to bed. He had nowhere better to be. He couldn't return to the Death Eaters—it was obvious they were only biding their time to kill him anyway. Snape really had nowhere to go, and not a friend left in the world. Harry found it hard to feel sorry for him, considering he'd killed the last friend he had.
Sighing, Harry stretched out on the mattress. He had a morning woody. Weird, that; he wouldn't have thought the old guy could get it up. Yet there it was, revolting, undeniable evidence of the man's sexual vigour. Harry fought the urge valiantly for a few minutes before giving in and undoing his three thousand odd buttons to get to it. After all, he'd only seen it once before, but it had been impressive.
There. Yes, still impressive. Big and downright frightening in its largess, actually.
This was seriously wrong. There was nothing more wrong that assaulting your former Potions Professor just because you happened to be in his body.
Then Harry thought, What the hell. Snape had probably already done it to him. After all, he was evil.
Harry touched himself. It was kind of nice, but weird. It was hard to stay interested when his mind kept reeling around and returning to the fact that he looked like Snape. It was dampening to the libido, that was for sure.
Sighing, Harry tried to think of a way around it. Snape had to have some good point to focus on. There were his hands, for starters. Long hands. Hands that had fingers made for—well. Harry began to feel more aroused. Snape could walk well, but Harry couldn't stalk and flutter about the room and do this at the same time. He settled for closing his eyes and picturing Snape doing it. Oh, yeah. That was nice. Harry could almost hear the silky glide and domineering snap of Snape's robes.
And then there was his voice. Harry's eyes popped open. He could do the voice. He could make that deep, hard liquor and soft chocolate voice melt down his own spine.
"Yes," he said. "Potter, you're a filthy boy."
I know I am, and I love it, Harry thought.
"You're begging for me, aren't you?"
Oh, yeah. Make me beg.
"Do you know what I want to do to you, you little bastard? I want to bend you over my desk and spank you. I want to make you squeal, whimper and cry and scream my name. Oh yes... yessss, Snape," he moaned.
"Potter, you are a filthy little boy," a voice informed him from the doorway, but without the rich base, he didn't sound impressive or heated; he merely sounded vaguely amused.
Harry flopped around like a fish caught out of water, grabbing up a cushion to shield his—Snape's private parts. "You bastard! You were listening!"
"You were howling my name," Snape informed him with a quasi-shrug. "If I'm lucky there are a handful of isolated Tibetans that didn't hear."
Harry's face flamed red. It suddenly occurred to him that he'd done something...well...not very heroic. Something the 'good guys' just didn't do. "I'm sorry," he mumbled. "I don't blame you if you're angry with me." To his surprise, Snape merely shrugged again.
"I've done worse things to it," he said with a nod indicating his body. It was true; Harry looked down to see the scars crisscrossing his torso. He'd taken more than a few mean hexes, that was for sure. And then he remembered he was staring at Snape's naked body as if fascinated and his face began to heat again. "For pity's sake, stop that," Snape implored. "Bad enough to see you grinning like an idiot, but blushing like a school girl? Severus Snape does not pink like a delicate rose whenever someone says something racy, understood?"
Harry laughed awkwardly. "Really? Maybe you just haven't heard anything racy enough yet. On the other hand, you did hear me begging you to do me, so I guess you are pretty much immune." To Harry's amusement, the man promptly turned fifteen shades of red and turned away.
"Damn hormones," Harry heard him mutter.
Harry's hormones were coursing as well. "You're voice is totally wasted on curses, you know," Harry told the man. "It'd be wicked if you, like, narrated porno or something."
Snape rolled his eyes. "When the Dark Lord is dead and I need a new vocation, I'll certainly look into that," he replied.
"Didn't I just tell you not to do that?" Snape demanded.
"Sorry." Harry tried to look serious and stern.
"I'd feel better about it if I didn't already know you were faking it," the man told him with a sigh. "And haven't you performed a Shaving Spell yet this morning? You look like hell."
"Not that I wouldn't anyway, but I've never had to worry about it," Harry responded, rubbing his chin. It felt prickly and strange. His own facial hair wasn't much to speak of, and Snape was doing his own surreptitious exploration, trying to look casual as he brushed his knuckles over Harry's downy-soft face.
"Well, come here and let me fix it."
Harry went to the man, leaning down accommodatingly, but still holding the cushion close, and Snape drew Harry's wand over the stubble, letting it fall to the floor. When he was finished, Harry ran his fingers over the now-smooth skin. "Better," he said grudgingly.
Snape reached up as well, searching for missed patches of bristle. Harry felt his face began to heat as Snape's gentle hand stroked his face. Snape was very close now, and Harry stared into wide green eyes. It was very peculiar, but kind of exciting. "You're still bruised," Snape murmured.
"I didn't have a wand to do any healing spells," Harry reminded him.
"I apologize," Snape replied, and set Harry's face right immediately. Harry gaped at him. "What?"
"You apologized," Harry pointed out, still in shock.
Snape scowled, his glasses slipping down his nose. "Dear gods, how do you stand these things?" he demanded.
Harry gave him a crooked smile and reached out. "They're generally the least of my problems," he said, pushing the glasses back up Snape's nose. Harry's nose. It wasn't a bad nose, really. Harry wasn't at all used to seeing it from this angle. It was quite nice, actually.
Snape was looking at Harry, too, in a strangely bemused way. "Potter..." he said.
Snape blinked and began to back up, but Harry swooped in and kissed him, hard. After a wet, breathless moment, Harry pulled away for a moment. He yanked the glasses off Snape's face and tossed them aside. "Damn things always get in the bloody way when I'm trying to make out," he complained. Before Snape could remark, Harry kissed him again, tangling his fingers in Snape's robes and nearly yanking him off his feet.
"Potter—Potter—" Snape gasped as Harry turned his attentions to the soft skin of his former throat. He seemed to be protesting at first, but as Harry laved the warm, silky column of skin, Snape's voice seemed to strangle and trail away, turning into a moan.
Shaking hands came up to bury themselves in Harry's hair.
When they finally broke away, Harry was dazed to see his own face, flushed and dizzy looking, green eyes dark and glossy. Snape panted for breath, crooking a finger at Harry. "Come here," he ordered.
Harry didn't need to be told twice. Snape kissed him this time, and kissed ravenously, pushing Harry back and down onto the mattress. As soon as Harry was prone, Snape was scrambling atop him, flinging the cushions out of his way.
"Wait—wait—" Harry gasped, holding Snape at arm's length. "What are we—how are we—?"
"You will lie there and I will take what I want from you," Snape declared with the air of a master strategist. "I must say I've the length and girth for it. And besides, there is no way in hell I'm letting you violate my body."
Harry shrugged. At this point, he was up for any number of suggestions, and this one didn't displease at all. Snape made sure Harry wasn't going to move, then began kissing and nipping him.
Then he was in Snape's mouth—or Snape was in his mouth—or—whatever—because it really didn't matter; all that mattered was that it felt amazing. Snape-cum-Harry's tongue was doing gymnastics, and it was hot and slick and oh, God, Harry thought.
Snape drew back with a smirk. I should smirk like that more often, Harry thought, woozy. I look wicked sexy.
Then Snape was on him, and when Harry tried to half rise up to kiss the man, Snape grabbed his shoulders and slammed him back down, thrusting his tongue into Harry's mouth, his mouth and body fierce and hungry. Harry could feel Snape whimpering into his mouth, and reached up to grab his own head and hold it in place to kiss Snape thoroughly, deeply.
He felt his own body, familiar yet strange, ran his fingertips down his spine and pressed bruises into his hips. He splayed his hands across his chest, trembling.
Harry was babbling; he didn't know what he was saying, but it was all sinuous words and limber muscles and throbbing heat, and the words slithered off his tongue, twisting like snakes.
The words reverberated in his ears, tickling like ribbons of whisky-tinged smoke, and Harry was—oh—! He sucked in a shaky breath—he'd had no idea that anything could sound as sexy as Snape's voice—unexpectedly speaking parseltongue! Snape cried out in pleasure, and Harry held him tightly.
Sleepily, Harry laughed as Snape sagged against his chest. "We totally have to do that again," he purred.
He could feel Snape smile against a pectoral, or what little there was of one. "I think you'll find it's not nearly as simple as all that," he replied.
Harry grinned at the ceiling. "The stuff that's worth it is never easy," he announced firmly.
Snape groaned. "Spoken like a true Gryffindor."
They crept into Grimmauld Place. "Why would you stick it in here?" Harry whispered, hoping not to wake Mrs. Black. "We were taking stuff out, remember?"
Snape shook his head and Harry's messy hair danced in a corona, the moonlight from the window by the front door a thin strip across his face. "It was brilliant," Snape told him defiantly. "I did it after realizing why Regulus had done the same with the first locket; Grimmauld Place is already under many protections. With the Fidelius Charm, I couldn't even tell the Dark Lord about it if I wanted to."
Harry shrugged. "Well? Where is it?"
"In the curio cabinet."
They made their way through the house as quietly as possible to the drawing room. Snape felt uneasy and rather reluctant; it was nice to have his memory back, but surely after destroying the Horcrux, Potter would want to forget about him. That was, if they ever got back into their right bodies. It would be a bit difficult for Potter forget Snape if he saw the man's face every time he looked in the mirror.
"Well?" Harry said when they were standing before the glass-fronted cabinet. "Which one is the Horcrux?"
Silently, Snape pointed.
Harry worked the latch open and pulled it out. "I don't get it," he said, puzzled. "It's a collector's plate. With a symbol of an elephant on it. I mean, why would the most evil man in existence choose to make a Horcrux out of something like that?" He turned the plate over in his hands and read aloud, "'Vote for Nixon.' Who's Nixon?"
Snape couldn't do more than shrug. "I may have heard the name...something about a tricky dick?" he said.
"What, like a gimpy leg, sort of thing?"
"One can only assume. Well, take care of it."
Harry looked down at the plate, then up again. "What do you mean? How? All the others required specialized incantations and stuff."
Snape shook his head. "I don't have the faintest idea. I only know that Albus always told me it would take our particular chemistry to destroy it."
Harry tapped it tentatively on the cabinet. "It's pretty damn solid," he said. "That's all you know? Fat lot of good that does."
"Look, you little ingrate, I went to a lot of trouble to get that to you!" Snape replied.
"Oh, yes! You went and got yourself stuck in my body and then brought me here. I never would have been able to do that on my own!"
"You never would have been able to figure it out!" Snape snapped. "You have the mental capabilities of an inbreed ogre!"
"Shut up! Who cares what you think?"
"Certainly not you, judging by the fact that you never listen to me!"
"I swear, Snape, you just do everything in your power to make my life miserable, don't you?"
"Oh, yes! Protecting your sorry arse, boffing you silly, always trying to get you to try just a bit harder—I'm so incredibly cruel!"
"I should have known you'd hang the boffing over my head!" Harry yelled. "I should have known better!"
"What are you complaining about? It's not as if you were ever going to look twice at me after we got this straightened out anyway! You never would have looked twice at me in the first place if we hadn't switched bodies!"
"You're such a liar! I totally would have—if you weren't so completely rotten to me!"
"Bollocks! Dumbledore was certainly wrong about our so-called chemistry," Snape said bitterly. "My God, I can't wait to get away from you!"
"Same here!" Harry retorted.
They were nose to nose, red-faced and snarling. "I want my body back!" they both roared, and Harry flung the plate at Snape's head.
It missed, striking the wall and shattering into a thousand pieces with a sound like a gong. Mrs. Black woke up and began screeching downstairs, as the two men stared at each other.
Harry waved his hand in front of his face. "Is this me?"
"What an absolutely moronic question," Snape remarked, sounding out of breath.
Harry stared at him. "Yeah," he admitted, and began to smile.
Snape stared back. "It looks much better on you," he murmured.
Harry looked down at the broken plate, then back up at Snape. "Dumbledore was right," he breathed. Snape looked taken aback when Harry threw his arms around the man. "We have great chemistry."
"What happens next?"
"I tell the Order you're a hero and we go and kill that bastard Voldemort," Harry said.
"Are you sure? I did kill Dumbledore, you know. Do you really think they'll forgive me?"
Harry thought this over. "I think they will. After all, I did." Snape smiled a little. "And you've gone through a lot of changes since then, anyway. You're not such a bad bloke."
Snape arched a brow. "I suppose it's all a matter of perspective."