Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Harry Potter.

Note: As promised my Snarry-A-Thon entry. Just one more fest fic reveal.

Title: In Between The Lines
Author: laurenke1
Rating: R
Word count: 17,249
Warning(s): CHAN;(Harry is 14)(highlight for spoilers) *AR, Slash, violence, bad words, smut*
Prompt: #458 - An acceptable/expected part of wizarding development is the erastes/eromenos relationship and Snape becomes Harry's Erastes. This could come about because of Dumbledore's machinations, or Snape's, as a previously arranged agreement with Lily, or any other creative reason!
Summary: Harry finds that his fourth year is going to set him apart from his peers again but he doesn't have any idea just how much he will gain because of this.
A/N: My first Snarry-A-Thon entry. I give a huge thank you to accioslash for making me feel so welcome and for matching me with the best beta ever. But above all I want to give lots of credit and thanks to my awesome beta slashpine for being so great to me and for editing my story. Thank you so much.

"Ah, Mr. Potter, please take a seat." Harry Potter stood in the Headmaster's office as Professor Dumbledore urged him inside. Harry frowned. Surely he couldn't be in trouble already? He had only just returned from the summer holidays for his fourth year.

Sliding into his chair with the clumsy grace of an adolescent who was just growing into his skin, Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived as some knew him, sat down in front of the Headmaster's mahogany desk.

He glanced past the portraits of past Headmasters toward the bird stand for the Headmaster's phoenix. Fawkes was displaying his full red and yellow plumage, and clicked his beak at Harry.

"You must be curious, my boy, why I asked you to come here, aren't you?" Harry turned his attention Albus Dumbledore. His blue eyes seemed a little bit grave behind his half moon glasses.

Harry pushed his own round glasses back up his nose and said. "Yes, sir. I mean, I can't be in trouble yet. I've only just arrived. We haven't even had the Welcoming Feast yet."

Harry had been plucked from the excited students as they entered the castle He barely had a moment to shrug at Ron and Hermione when Professor McGonagall had told him he was to go to the Headmaster's office.

Dumbledore smiled at him and immediately Harry felt more at ease. He had been worried that something had happened but now that he was here, the burden fell off of him almost at once. If Dumbledore was smiling then it couldn't be so bad.

Dumbledore steepled his long fingers together and looked over his joined hands at Harry and then said. "Now, Harry, you are fourteen years old, correct?"

"Yes, sir."

"Alright then. It is my most solemn duty to present you with your Erastes document. Your father left this in my care until you were of the correct age to start this procedure. I'm sure that this a most anxious time for you but also very exciting. I remember when I was your age and--"

Harry cleared his throat as he softly asked. "Sir, what is an Erastes document?"

"Oh, that is just the fine print that states the boundaries of your Erastes/Eromenos relationship. The particulars of how your family would like to see you taught and what-not, just the smaller details. It is really between you and your Erastes, Harry to discuss this relationship--"

"What relationship?" Harry was feeling terribly confused now. He glanced up at Dumbledore, wondering if this was some sort of joke. Dumbledore had mentioned his father but the words Dumbledore had spoken rang no familiar bell in Harry's mind.

"Oh dear, you mean that your relatives haven't told you anything?" Harry shook his head as he bit back a laugh. Why would the Dursleys tell him anything except what he wasn't allowed to do? If this Erastes whats-it was part of the magical world, it was one more thing that his aunt and uncle would despise even more than Harry.

"Well, that is very unfortunate. It seems, then, this duty falls to me again. Alright, now where to start…. Ah yes, this tradition finds its origin in ancient Greece. It was widely accepted that young boys would enter a relationship with an adult man to learn about the world. It was usually done before they married. Many considered it a sacred duty . This custom has been adopted by the wizarding world and it is sometimes practiced by pureblood wizards. The young wizard would be in a committed relationship with the adult wizard, learning everything there is to learn before entering marriage. An Erastes treasures his young wizard for his beauty, cleverness and stamina. In the old days the older wizard was expected to court the younger one but now a days these relationships are recorded in pre arrangements, because it is easier than having to arrange everything on the day itself."

"But what would I learn? What sort of relationship? Would it be like having a guardian?" Harry was still confused. Had his father signed a document that his son, Harry, was going to enter a relationship with an older adult man? Wasn't that against the law or something? From what Harry knew of James Potter, he didn't seem the kind of man to do that without thinking about it.

Much to Harry's surprise Dumbledore laughed and said. "It is unlike a guardian relationship at all. If a guardian did these things to his ward, he would be thrown in Azkaban. No, Harry, an Erastes relationship is very different. The older man acts somewhat as a guide in all things that a young man must learn, such as magic, dancing, music, politics, social etiquette and even sex. It is a privilege to be selected as an Erastes for a young wizard because the Erastes holds such an important role in the education of a well-bred young wizard."

"So this can be anyone? Even Sirius or Lupin?" Harry did his best to ignore the sex bit. It was a little bit weird to think of anybody teaching him about sex. No, it was much easier to focus on Dumbledore's voice as the older wizard shook his head sharply .

"Oh goodness no, Harry. Sirius, is your godfather; it would almost be like incest for him to assume the role of your Erastes. As to Remus, he is a likely candidate of course since he had such a strong friendship with your father, but I'm afraid that there is a little bit of a problem. You see, werewolves only mate once and that is for a lifetime, and well, Remus has chosen Sirius as his mate. So it isn't very safe for you to have either of them as your Erastes. Remus' wolf's side wouldn't accept that and he would most likely try to harm you because you are a threat. No, somebody else has been picked for you."

"Uhm, who is it, sir?" There were butterflies flying around Harry's stomach. Surely this was some sort of cruel joke. How could he form a relationship with a man he didn't even know? He could have handled Sirius or Lupin, but to have a stranger teach him all these things....

"Well, it is an excellent choice, if I say so myself. I was a little bit surprised at first but indeed, it really isn't very strange considering the strong friendship between your mother and your Erastes. It does speak to considerable trust on your father's side, because he charged this person with the most important years of your education…"

"Sir?"

"Yes, Harry?' Dumbledore glanced up from the parchment to see the nervous green glance thrown his way as Harry shifted in his seat and said.

"Would you mind just telling me who it is?"

"Oh, of course, Harry, your Erastes is…"

"Why me of course, Mr. Potter." The deep voice that rumbled behind him put all the hairs on Harry's neck on end as he turned around. He knew without even looking who it was, but he looked anyway.

The sneer was aimed in his direction as the older wizard advanced into the room, but Snape's cold black eyes were fixed upon the Headmaster. The thin lips eased into a smirk as the Headmaster spoke.

"Ah, Severus, there you are. How good of you to come on time…"

"How could I not when it concerns Potter?" Snape drew his robes around himself and sat down in the empty chair next to Harry.

"Now, Severus, you know that this sort of relationship is one of trust and…"

"Yes, yes, Headmaster. The document, if you will." Snape extended a long elegant hand and the dark eyes passed over the lines quickly. Then he took up a quill and, flipping his greasy hair back irritably, signed his name quickly in his spidery handwriting.

Snape then looked at Harry, who felt his insides had frozen together. This couldn't be happening. Snape couldn't be his Erastes now, could he?

The Head of Slytherin house held the parchment out for Harry to take but Harry felt like the world was coming to an end. He muttered a meaningless apology. He had to get out of here. This couldn't be happening, no really, this was a bad dream and he was going to wake up in his cupboard and do his chores for the summer…

He rose and did the only thing he could think of - he fled. Heedless of the shocked and angry murmurs of his name, not waiting for somebody to call him back, he shot past the students who were on their way to the Welcoming Feast and up the stairs, choking out the password to the Gryffindor common room and squeezing in.

He was breathing heavily but he didn't care. All he wanted to do was to disappear and he knew just the place. The fourth year dormitory was the best place to have some privacy. There wasn't anybody there at the moment, so Harry went upstairs and closed the curtains around his bed. As he lay on his bed, he thought about how his life had taken this latest turn, but truthfully he couldn't understand why his father had done such a thing.

Hp

"Harry, are you alright?" The gentle voice of his best friend cut through the haze of Harry's misery. He peeked out from underneath his pillow to see Ron sitting beside him.

Ron had grown up with five other brothers, so of course he would know when somebody was feeling miserable.

Ron's blue eyes were concerned, and he pushed a napkin filled with chicken legs towards Harry. Harry sat up, accepting the little package with a smile and a nod of thanks. He was hungry, despite everything.

"So, what's going on? You didn't attend the Welcoming Feast and you missed Dumbledore's speech. This year we're going to host the Triwizard Tournament--"

"Ron, what do you know about Erastes/ Eromenos relationship?" He didn't care that his voice was a little bit shaky. He couldn't stop thinking about Snape and everything that had happened. Why would his father leave him with somebody like Snape?

Ron's eyes widened, and then he grasped Harry by the shoulder as he said. "Where did you learn that? Is that why you're so upset?"

Harry could only nod at first, but then the whole story came tumbling out of his mouth, everything that had happened since he left the train and had been taken to Dumbledore's office. Ron said nothing until Harry paused to take a sip of the glass of water that stood on the table by his bed.

"Harry, that's an incredible honor. Dad always wanted us to be in a relationship like that but we're too poor to be considered a good match. Lucky you…"

"Lucky? Snape got picked for me, how is that lucky? Who knows what the git is going to teach me."

"Nothing too bad. There are rules for these kinds of things, Harry. It is a great honor to be even considered and it shows there is a lot of trust between the intended party and the one who has arranged everything. It's a wizarding world tradition."

"Yeah, but why did my dad have to pick Snape? Couldn't he have picked anybody else? He hated Snape."

"He must have respected him a little bit, or else he wouldn't have done this. Look, we all know Snape has a temper, and he may be a terrible teacher in Potions, but Snape knows better than to muck up something as important as this. I'm sure that even Dumbledore was somebody's Erastes…"

"Do you suppose that I can ask Dumbledore to help me out and to teach me? I mean, Dumbledore even mentioned sex. I don't want to learn anything sexual at the hands of Snape, really. I don't want to learn anything at the hands of Snape for that matter," Harry bit out sharply. He was feeling upset and he had expected Ron to understand him but his friend was staring at him like Harry had made a huge mistake. Then Ron reached out and touched him upon the shoulder, pulling Harry into a hug.

Harry was normally not a person who liked physical contact but this time he allowed it. He just wanted somebody to be there for him and he buried his face against Ron's shoulder. He felt Ron's hand patting his shoulder. "Look mate, I know that you don't like this and probably don't understand this kind of relationship, but really, it is an incredible honor to be considered for such a relationship, especially with somebody who has influence in the wizarding world. Like it or not, Snape may be that sort of person. He can't harm you or do anything against your will, it's all in the document, and because Snape signed it, the magical agreement is in place. If he tries to harm you, then you'll be protected. Come on, isn't it worth checking out?"

Harry pulled back so he could look Ron in the eye. Ron's blue eyes were very honest and Harry asked, "Are you sure that it's going to be alright?"

"Yeah, mate, I always look out for you. It'll be fine. It may be the best thing that ever happened to you. Come on, eat something and let's just forget about this, at least for tonight." Harry allowed Ron to pull him from his bed, but he wasn't sure if he could just forget about this.

Hp

The first morning after all the students had returned to Hogwarts was always one of the busiest times for the owls who delivered letters, packages, and things the students had forgotten at home. Yet for Harry this was always a slow morning, because there was nobody who could send him a package. So he was hugely surprised when his snowy owl Hedwig landed near his plate. She dropped a package on the table and flew up to sit on his shoulder, allowing Harry to feed her a piece of toast.

"Are you sure that this is for me?" He stroked her feathers and looked at the small package that she had dropped for him.

It was a small square box, but there was no inscription on it other than the name, Harry Potter. It was wrapped in brown paper that could contain anything. Harry looked up to see Ron and Hermione exchange puzzled looks. Then Ron seemed to get a knowing gleam in his eye, but Harry was sure that he was imagining it. He looked back down at the package in his hand.

Hermione said, "Well, shouldn't you open it?"

Hedwig nuzzled his cheek and then flew off, presumably to take a long nap in the owlery . Harry hooked his fingers underneath the tape that held the package together and slowly began to unwrap it. He frowned to find another small box inside. It was made out of a bluish material and Harry could feel magic coming from it but he wasn't sure what it was. Opening the box, he gasped.

Immediately Ron and Hermione leaned forward, as Harry took a photograph from the box. The green eyes were wide as Harry stared at the picture of a young girl dancing with a tall man. The man had the same messy hair as Harry and was dressed in a formal set of robes. The woman had long hair and wore a beautiful dress. They swayed slowly to some unheard music and were completely lost in each other.

Harry swallowed thickly. He knew who this was, his mom and dad. He wondered who had sent it to him.

"Harry, there is something written on the back."

Harry turned the photograph around to see his name written in a spidery elegant hand, with a short note.

Harry,

This picture was taken by me on the wedding day of your parents. I was invited by your mother. I was not sure I should have attended, but to see your mother so happy, it was a great consolation to my heart. I was approached by your father mere days after I took this picture regarding the Erastes agreement. I had wanted to say no, but your mother insisted that I give it some thought. I have given this a great deal of thought in the past years, especially when your parents died. As I'm sure Mr. Weasley has told you by now, an Erastes relationship is considered a great privilege in the Wizarding world, one I intend to honor.

I can promise you that you will learn things that you cannot have imagined. But it is up to you what you want to learn. I will wait in my office for your decision.

SS

Harry turned the picture around again before he looked up towards the Staff table. Snape was watching him and Harry's eyes met the dark ones. The Head of Slytherin house nodded and then rose from the table to leave the Great Hall. Harry looked back at the picture in his lap once more before he rose as well. He had made his decision.

Hp

The morning after breakfast, usually a time when the students returned to their dormitory to get ready for their classes, found Harry Potter striding purposefully down the corridors towards the dungeon. He had an important mission to undertake. It required a great deal of concentration and courage, and at the moment, those weren't things Harry had in abundance. He had carried the picture that had been given to him in his hand the whole way down, the box he had carefully put inside his trunks, and now he looked down at it once more, before he took a deep breath and knocked on Snape's door.

"Enter."

Harry turned the brass knob and stepped into the gloomy office. The dungeon was dimly lit and in the dark corners, there were shelves loaded with jars of repulsive things that Harry didn't like to dwell on. He looked around the office quickly, heartened to see a fire roaring in the fireplace that cast a much needed warm light in the office. Snape was sitting behind his desk, taking notes, but he looked up as Harry entered.

A brief smile, something Harry had never seen before, crossed the pale face before Snape set his quill down and rose. A wave of the slender hand invited Harry to sit on one of the two hard backed chairs that had been moved in front of the fire. After some contemplation of Harry, Snape waved his wand and the chairs changed into plush overstuffed chairs in which Harry sank gracefully. The fire was warm and Harry dropped his picture in his lap. He wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans and swallowed thickly.

"Do you wish for some tea, perhaps, before we talk?" Snape's deep voice penetrated Harry's thought and he only nodded before he remembered his manners and said quickly.

"Yes, sir, please."

Snape seemed pleased with the response, and before Harry knew it, there was a steaming mug of tea in front of him. Unsure of what to do with his hands, and not wanting to touch the photograph again, he curled his fingers around the mug and blew on the hot liquid.

"So, you've come to a decision then I take it?" Snape leaned back in his seat and was contemplating Harry over his own mug of tea.

Taking a deep breath, Harry leaned forward to set the tea in front of him on the tray and said. "Yes, sir…I've decided to accept the...uhm, relationship…." He was stuttering but he wasn't even sure what proper protocol was. It wasn't as if he had gone to the library and done research on it. He should have, but -- well, it had been kind of sprung upon him yesterday. He wasn't even sure what was expected and Harry realized he was looking up to Snape for guidance.

The older wizard allowed himself a brief smirk before his eyes searched Harry's face. Snape sat his own mug down and he softly spoke, summoning a roll of parchment and a quill. The dark eyes remained trained on Harry's face before they dropped to the parchment, but Harry waited expectantly as Snape looked over whatever was on that parchment before the older wizard traced his lips with the feather he was holding. Harry's eyes were hooked on the unthinking gesture for a moment, then he looked away, flushing.

He glanced around the room instead, trying to find some sort of insight into who his Erastes was, but he found no clues. Perhaps Snape was such a private person that he didn't want his whole life on display. It was something that Harry could understand.

"Very well, Mr. Potter, I take it that you understand what an Erastes relationship entails?"

Harry nodded. He had understood that much, if not from Dumbledore, then from Ron. Snape's eyes pierced his and Snape crossed his long legs at the ankles before continuing. "Very well, all documents that are arranged beforehand contain some details about what is to be taught to the younger man, but your father didn't specify anything except that I teach you a little bit of everything. That means: history, magic, defense against the dark arts, transfiguration, dancing, music, books and…sex. I will take you places, for example, the theater, or perhaps even a concert. Do you have any problem with any of these subjects?"

Feeling a blush creep up his neck Harry shook his head firmly, not daring to say anything. Snape's eyes locked with his own as if the older wizard dared him to say anything.

"I expect honesty from you, Harry; otherwise this relationship is not going to work out."

"I…I've never done anything sexual before," he finally confessed shyly, once more wiping his sweaty hands on his jeans. He refused to look at Snape, but then the older wizard surprised him.

"Good, I didn't expect it. But there is no need to worry; there is no pace that we have to stick to. I think that during the school year it is best if you come by every Saturday or Sunday and once a day during the week for an afternoon and an evening. We will work out this schedule according to your classes. I will help you with homework and will help you revise for your exams. From this moment on you will be my ward and I will be responsible for you. You will come to me with issues or problems you may have. I will be your companion, mentor and tutor and at some point, I'll become your lover. This relationship will take last until you are seventeen. You will stay at my house with me during the summer and any other holidays that may arise. You will accompany me when I travel, and possibly even when I run errands. Is this acceptable?"

Harry's mouth had fallen open. Surely Snape was joking. Could Harry really stay at his place during the summer? Did this mean that he wouldn't have to return to the Dursleys again?

Swallowing thickly, his voice hoarse because of the emotions that were threatening to break free, Harry leaned forward and asked. "Do you mean that I'll never have to return to my family again? Not even to secure the blood wards?"

It was too much. Harry had learned better then to hope but his heart was beating so fast right now. He tried not to look at Snape like a lost little puppy that had almost found a new family, afraid that one wrong word or if he appeared too hopeful it was going to be taken away. He tried to act cool but inside he was praying reverently that the older wizard would take him away. Surely even staying at Snape's place would be better then staying with the Dursleys starving and doing chores even when he was ill, not to mention being slapped sometimes by Uncle Vernon.

"There is no need for you to return to your relatives to activate the blood wards. An Erastes relationship is much more powerful and I will be able to protect you from just about anything. I made my house Unplottable and it is protected with the best wards available. Anybody I don't want to enter won't get to enter, so you need not worry about the blood wards, unless you would like to visit your relatives. If so, that can be arranged."

"No, you really mean it that you will take me away from the Dursleys?" Harry was sitting at the edge of his seat, ignoring the frown that was send his way as Snape snapped.

"That is just what I said, you dimwitted boy. I have no idea why you wish me to repeat myself, but just in case you didn't hear me the first time: You will be staying with me.

"So I won't have to return." Harry really had to know. He didn't want Snape to make a promise that when the time came, he would not hold himself to. Snape's eyes narrowed and he rose from his seat and paced around the room once, hissing his words.

"Are you stupid, Potter? I just said that I would take you away from your relatives and give you a place to stay during the summer so that we can continue--"

Anything else Snape had been about to say was rudely cut off, because Harry had risen and had wrapped his arms around the older wizard's waist, burying his face in the dark robe to hide his tears, all the while mumbling, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Harry could feel that Snape was tensing in his arms but then a warm hand came to touch his hair, pushing it away from his face. Harry nearly purred. The Dursleys had never touched him except to hit him, and Ron or Hermione only gave him hugs when he asked for it, or when they wanted to thank him. He never had his hair stroked like this and it felt so good. Harry was sure that he could get used to this feeling. He glanced up at Snape, not ashamed in the slightest that there were tears in his eyes.

The Potions Master stared down at him and asked. "What kind of life have you led at your relatives that you would jump at any chance to stay at my home during the summer?"

Harry opened his mouth to try to answer, but his voice was stuck in his throat. Could he really answer Snape's question and reveal all that the Dursleys had done to him? Could he just say that he had been sleeping in his cupboard till he got his Hogwarts letter? The slender fingers on his forehead made him glance up again.

Snape said softly, "I think by your lack of answer I can deduce what has happened. You do not have to say anything else unless you want to."

"Thank you, sir." Harry looked back down at the buttoned down shirt in front of him before Snape cleared his throat and pulled Harry's hands away as he said.

"I think that because of our new relationship, it is best if we use each other's given names. What do you think, Harry?"

Harry could feel his mouth curving up into a smile as he answered, and saw an answering smile. "I think that I would like that, Severus."

Hp

They seemed to settle into a pattern of sorts as the weeks flew by. Harry would go down to Severus' office one day during the week after his classes were over and study and do his homework. One day on the weekend he was down in Severus' quarters learning other things. So far, much to Harry's relief, they hadn't done anything remotely sexual except perhaps dancing, which he secretly had to admit he adored. He had learned new spells and had even managed to make some potions, at which Severus seemed pleased.

Harry had settled into the new routine fairly easily. He enjoyed spending time with his Erastes and he liked to hear the man teaching him about history or spell craft. Merlin, he even liked it when Snape taught him potions.

But what he liked most of all, was the silence in Snape's quarters. There was a peace there that was nowhere in the castle anymore, especially when the students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons arrived for the Triwizard Tournament. There were so many students in the castle now that Harry couldn't go anywhere without being stared at or pointed at. He hated it.

But right now that was a moot point. Tonight was All Hallows Eve, and tonight the Goblet of Fire would pick the three champions that were going to compete in the Tournament. Already two had been chosen, one pretty girl from Beauxbaton and Victor Krum, the famous Quidditch player from Durmstrang. Now it was time to pick the Hogwarts champion.

Harry was watching anxiously, hoping that it was somebody he liked and who could win. The wooden goblet flared red and Dumbledore caught the smoldering piece of parchment easily. The Headmaster glanced around and then cried out, "And for Hogwarts it will be Cedric Diggory."

Harry cheered and clapped just as loudly as everybody else as Dumbledore turned to point Cedric towards the room where all the other champions were waiting. The whole hall was chattering softly but suddenly, a silence was beginning to descend, as if a storm was approaching. Harry glanced up to see Dumbledore and the other teachers staring at the goblet. It flared again and another piece of parchment flew out of it. In a daze Dumbledore caught it, frowning as he read the name. Harry got a terrible feeling in his stomach as the Headmaster called out.

"Harry Potter!"

There was a sudden commotion in the Great Hall as Harry sat up. This couldn't be happening. He hadn't put his name in the goblet, when would he have the time? And most importantly how would he have been able to cross the age line Dumbledore had drawn around it without growing a beard? He glanced at Ron as Dumbledore said his name once again. The redhead was staring at him before Hermione leaned forward and said, "Go!"

Horrified Harry shook his head. He didn't want to go. Ron's hand came to rest on his shoulder and the older male squeezed as he said, "It will be alright. I'm sure Dumbledore will fix this. He knows that it is too dangerous for you to compete. Just go and see what this is about."

Mutely Harry nodded and then he rose, walking towards Dumbledore. The old wizard stared down at him, then said, "Go on, Harry, and wait with the rest of the champions."

"But, sir…I'm not a champion."

There was no friendly twinkling in Dumbledore's eyes. "Your name was chosen by the Goblet."

"But sir, I'm not a champion."

"You are, Harry. Go on-"

"No!" The deep voice that suddenly roared made Harry look up startled. The hall fell silent and Harry turned to look at Snape. He had risen in a rage and stood with his hands pushed against the staff table. Dark eyes fixed on Harry for a moment before the cold gaze swept up to meet Dumbledore's eyes. Snape rounded the table to hiss coldly in the direction of Barty Crouch, one of the judges.

"What are the regulations concerning champions when they are in an Erastes relationship?"

Harry stood frozen in between the two wizards. He didn't know what to do. Dumbledore had turned around and was looking at Crouch as well. The same wizard who had accused Harry of calling forth the Dark Mark during the Quidditch World Cup looked ten years older now. Harry understood that Crouch would be more tired with this new tournament but really, was it that tiring? There were new lines around Crouch's surprisingly bright eyes.

Harry hadn't realized the whole hall had fallen silent or that Professor McGonagall, his head of house, had risen as well and approached them. Harry only had eyes for his Erastes, as the dark-clad wizard stood his ground against the ancient headmaster. The black eyes were alight with anger in a way that Harry had never noticed before. For the first time, the anger was not aimed at him, and he could almost feel the magic that radiated off of Snape. Instinctively he shuffled closer to Snape, and was relieved when the dark eyes locked with his for a brief moment before they looked back at Crouch.

"Whas is the meaning of zis?" The voice of the Madame Maxime, the Headmistress of Beauxbatons, was a welcoming distraction. She was about as big as Hagrid, but at this moment her pretty face was set in the same lines as Snape's face, lacking only the scowl. "Can we not go further with finding our champions?"

"There seems to be a problem, my dear Madame," Professor Dumbledore said. The blue twinkling eyes fixed on Snape's face as the Potions Master sneered at the Headmaster. One slender hand shot out and clamped down on Harry's shoulder painfully, drawing him to Snape's side. The whole hall saw this gesture but nobody said anything, all awaiting an answer from Barty Crouch.

"I take it that you are Mr. Potter's Erastes?" Crouch moved forward until he was close to Snape.

"Of course, do you think me a champion of the boy perhaps? It's not only in his interests not to compete in this tournament, for which he is too young; it is also in mine. I intend to honor the agreement that was drawn up by James Potter, and signed with the Headmaster as our witness. Mr. Potter is not competing in the Triwizard Tournament!" Snape's voice was cold and the hand on Harry's shoulder tightened painfully but Harry was barely aware of the heat that had suddenly flamed in his chest at Snape's words. The older wizard did really care about him.

"Did you put your name in the Goblet, boy?" Crouch looked at Harry, and he immediately shook his head.

Snape answered for him. "I don't see how he could have had the time. He has not been out of my sight unless he was in classes or Gryffindor's common room, where I'm sure his friends were there to watch over him. Mr. Potter knows my opinion of sneaking about after hours."

Harry glanced up at the cold black eyes. He certainly did know how Snape thought about this, and he had stopped doing it out of respect for the older wizard. Somewhere in the past couple of weeks pleasing Snape had begun to matter to him.

"Well, the rules state that if the champion is in an Erastes relationship, then it is up to the Erastes to decide if the champion should compete. Especially with an underage champion."

"But once the name is picked, the person has entered a magical contract to compete." The gruff voice of Alastor Moody cut in, and instinctively Harry pulled closer to Snape. His shoulder dug into the older wizard's side. The hand on his shoulder tightened again but Harry didn't comment on it.

"No, not with an Erastes document," Crouch hastened to say. "It precedes the Triwizard Tournament." The judge turned back to Harry. "An Erastes/Eromenos relationship is a great honor in most circles of wizarding society, since it is accepted by the Ministry and it is a long-standing tradition. When the Triwizard Tournament was held every few years, the champions who were in such a relationship were banned from entering, because they were not ready. Only champions who are of age are allowed, and since an Erastes/Eromenos relationship clearly states that the young wizard isn't mature enough yet, as judged by society, then I see no reason to relax the rules. Mr. Potter will not be competing."

Murmurs went up around the room, and Harry released a breath he hadn't even realized he had been holding. He suddenly realized that Snape's hand on his shoulder was the only thing holding him steady.

But Moody leaped forward and snarled, "The Goblet has chosen him, and therefore he must compete. The rules are very clear about this."

"Obviously the Goblet was tricked!" Snape's voice was a low snarl. "Three champions have been chosen, each for their own school, and there cannot be any more champions competing.! We have three champions, what more do you want?"

"For Potter to compete. His name has been chosen by the Goblet and-"

"Alastor, the Goblet was wrong. Barty is right, the rules are clear on this and-"

"Potter cannot be in an Erastes relationship! He is no pure blood wizard!"

"It was arranged by his father before his death. I oversaw the terms and ensured that his wishes were carried out." Dumbledore's voice was soft, but Harry could feel the tingle of magic as it passed about him. He pressed closer to Snape, but the older wizard whispered, "It is a protective spell; something is happening."

Harry's hand tightened on his own wand, but he never expected what happened next. Moody abruptly doubled over and gasped loudly. Snape pulled Harry behind him. Suddenly there were three wands trained on Moody, as a murmur rose in the hall. Dumbledore approached Moody, but before he could reach him one of Moody's clenched hands pulled out his flask and he took a long drink. Immediately the tension eased in the misshapen body, and slowly the Defense Professor straightened.

"Are you alright, Alastor?"

"Of course I'm alright. We need to get this business settled about that damned tournament!" The gruff voice, and especially the odd tone caught Harry off guard. There was a strange glint in his eye as Moody limped towards the Potions Master. Snape drew himself up to his full height as Moody hissed, "So what does it take for your brat to compete? His name was picked by the Goblet. That qualifies him to enter."

"My brat is not for sale, Moody! And especially not in such a tournament! He's underage and since I'm his Erastes, he falls under my guardianship, and I say that he will not be competing! He did not put his name in the Goblet! The rules are clear. He will not be competing."

Moody drew closer with a crazy smile that Harry didn't like at all. From the start of the year he had trusted Moody, but tonight something seemed to have come over him, something mad. Harry felt his chest tightening. This wasn't the Moody he was used to seeing. This was a different Moody, one who was crazy and determined to get his way.

"If you don't let the boy compete, I'll talk! Let's see what the parents will think when they learn that a former Death Eater is teaching their children!"

Snape smiled thinly. "Go right ahead! I've nothing to hide. Do you honestly think that you can discredit me? The files are open for anyone to read who has an interest. Letters have come to the Headmaster daily about my position teaching children. I was a spy for the light side, you fool! Do not presume to pressure me into doing what you want me to do. Why are you so keen for Potter to enter?"

Each breath was a tensing of his muscles, as Harry waited for something to happen. He wasn't the only one looking at Moody. Snape stood in front of him, his stance relaxed but his hand resting on the pocket of his robe that held his wand. Dumbledore and McGonagall had moved closer, as had Barty Crouch, as if getting ready to step in if something happened. Madame Maxime was watching them with a raised eyebrow.

"Potter's name has been picked by the Goblet…"

"And the rules state that he does not have to compete, so stop with this nonsense that Potter has to enter the Tournament. Do you perhaps know who put his name in the Goblet?"

"Don't be ridiculous, Snape! Why would I want to put his name in the Goblet?" A sudden heavy silence descended, and immediately Moody realized he had misspoken. The whole hall gasped as one and Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall approached the Defense teacher. Harry was pushed back by Snape before Moody suddenly grinned madly raising his wand. "He should have died that day when the Dark Lord murdered his parents! He won because of sheer luck! He is not a pure-blood like my lord, no, he is a filthy half-blood and he doesn't deserve to live! My lord shall use him and then give him his due-"

Moody cackled madly as he pointed his wand at Harry. The crazy glint in Moody's eyes had only intensified, as did the mad grin that stole over the heavily scarred face.

"Stupefy!"

Moody slumped to the ground unconscious. Harry could only stare as Snape approached. Dumbledore had his wand held high and immediately his voice boomed. "Prefects, take your students back to their common rooms! The rest of the feast shall be served there! Igor and Madame, I ask that you direct your students back to their accommodations while we sort this situation out."

In a moment, Dumbledore had conjured ropes, and Moody was bound. Harry wasn't sure what had just happened but he realized that it was something significant. Could Moody really have put his name in the Goblet, or had something else done that?

He could only stare at the scarred face, and he faintly heard Professor McGonagall say, "Severus, look to your boy. This is no place for him.."

Harry glanced up as Snape approached him. For perhaps the first time ever the dark eyes were kind, and as Snape held out his hand, Harry accepted without a question and was swept out of the Great Hall, back towards safety.

Hp

Harry's mind was busy as he was guided into Snape's room. He stood in the living room where he had spent so many afternoons and evenings learning everything from spell casting to dancing and even to brewing. He had discussed so many things with Snape right here in this very room that it had become like a second home to him. This was the place where he could be himself, because Snape wouldn't allow him to be anybody else.

"You can stand there gaping or you can sit down. Unless you want a written invitation, but then you'll have to excuse me so I can go fetch some parchment and a quill." Harry glanced up at his Erastes as Snape growled. The older wizard had poured himself a tumble full of amber colored liquid. Snape raised the glass to his lips and took a sip, his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed and Harry stared as if fascinated. Snape licked his lips clean of any droplets that still clung to the thin lips and Harry looked away, feeling a blush rise to his face..

Snape moved towards the couch that stood in front of the fireplace and settled down in comfort. The room was a stark contrast to Snape's dungeon office. It was warm and inviting, with bookshelves covering two walls. Separate doorways led to the bedroom and the bathroom, as well as the small study and private lab. The furniture in the room was made out of wood and dark leather. The big table that stood at the other end of the room was where Harry had done many hours of homework.

Fueled by a desire for some human closeness, Harry sat down on the couch too. He kicked his shoes off and curled his legs underneath him, tucking himself into a corner of the couch as he shivered. It only now began to dawn on him what had happened, and how close he had come to being injured, or to competing in a tournament requiring skills beyond his years. He thought back on all those times in Moody's class; never once had the Defense teacher singled him out, or pretended to hate Harry or to like him because he was famous, as Lockhart had done in Harry's second year.

Harry hugged his knees to his chest. Was there truly no end to people trying to harm him? Moody would have whisked him away to unknown dangers, and if something had happened to Harry nobody would have thought to blame it on anything other than an unfortunate accident of the tournament. Did Moody really hate him that much? Perhaps Moody was right, and Harry should have died that day when Voldemort had killed his parents.

People either wanted him to live so they could fawn over him, or they wanted him to die because he'd caused Voldemort to fall. He was just a normal fourteen year old boy, nothing fancy. He was just trying to fit it and do well in school. He didn't want the fame or this ugly scar upon his head. He didn't want to be stared at after in the corridors. He just wanted to be normal. He wanted a family and to do well in school. Why was he the one who was being hunted by a madman?

He had trusted Moody. He had believed that he had finally found somebody who saw him as just another student. Snape had never been impressed because Harry was the Boy Who Lived, but Snape had hated Harry because he was a Potter. So what did that say about Harry? It meant that nobody ever saw Harry or they saw somebody they could use. It was the same with Moody; he intended to use Harry for his own ends.

"Harry?"

He glanced up. Snape was watching him, and Harry immediately blurted out, "Would Moody really have tried to harm me?"

"That wasn't Alastor Moody, Harry. The real Alastor Moody may have been a real bastard in his time, but he would never willingly endanger anyone. He always played fair. He never lowered himself to using means that were unforgivable, such as breaking the rules to allow an underage wizard to enter a dangerous tournament."

"But then who is it?"

"We will know soon enough. You should not concern yourself with it."

"But it does concern me. He was trying to kill me!"

"Yes, but as you can see, you haven't been killed."

"Yeah… but if it isn't him then it is going to be someone else! Sometimes it may be better if I had died." Everything he had gone through this evening was suddenly pouring out. Nobody had stood up for him when his name had been called. Even Dumbledore hadn't believed him. Only Snape had stood up for him, and Harry wasn't even sure if it was because Snape believed him or because the he didn't want to see Harry hurt.

"Nobody is going to harm you! I'm here to watch over you."

"But even you can't protect me, and it isn't like anybody cares. They all want the freak to die!" Harry stared up at the blurred figure of the stern Potions Master. Snape was his Erastes, perhaps the first person who had begun to mean something to Harry. The past few weeks had allowed Harry to dream of what he really wanted, a family and somebody who taught him but who also respected his opinion.

"Who taught you that nonsense? I certainly haven't! Your parents died so that you could live. Is this how you intend to honor them?"

"But did they really want me to be hunted all my life? The only way I'll live in peace is when Voldemort is destroyed forever."

"Why don't you let older and more experienced wizards and witches worry about that? All that I ask of you, Harry, is that you simply do your best in your studies, come to me when there is any difficulty, and simply stay out of trouble. I know it is rather a lot to ask, but I'm sure that even you can manage."

It was the first time that somebody had told Harry not to worry, that somebody else was going to fix all the problems. It was too much for him. Snape had already done so much for him and now he was simply telling Harry to be a teenager and not to worry about anything else. Snape was going to take care of him. Suddenly, Harry felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his chest. He glanced up with tearful eyes and a bright smile, unable to say anything.

"Now there's no reason for tears. It isn't like I'm promising you that I'll fetch you the moon." Snape's voice was brusque and Harry realized that the older wizard was embarrassed. Gentle thumbs brushed away the tears that fell as Harry wiped at his runny nose with his sleeve. It didn't matter what the future was going to bring, Snape was going to look out for him and Harry was so very glad. Now he knew what was so great about having an Erastes- Snape was always going to be there for him, and that was all that Harry wanted. Well. at that moment anyway.

Hp

The weeks blurred together and the first Triwizard task was hailed as a huge success. Harry was glad that he was sitting on the side lines and not competing. These tasks were not designed for fourth-year students. The old Moody, the one who had been taken away on Halloween night, was quietly replaced with the real Moody. The real Moody was twitchy and even more paranoid then the old one, but for most students it was just a humorous occurrence while Harry and his teachers were the only ones who knew the truth.

The Moody who had tried to make Harry compete had been revealed as Barty Crouch junior. Harry had wanted to know what the testimony had been, but Snape had been surprisingly tight-lipped about it, and told Harry there was nothing to worry about. As his lessons continued with Snape and became more intense, Harry did notice that his Erastes was locked up with Dumbledore in the Headmaster's office a lot, but he didn't ask because he knew Snape wouldn't tell him.

Right now, Harry had something else entirely on his mind. Something so important that it removed all lesser thoughts from his mind, such as any possible danger from a Dark Lord who was supposed to be quite dead. Right now, all of that didn't matter. Because in a few weeks, right before Christmas the Yule Ball would take place. It was a formal ball for the fourth years and above, held especially because of the Triwizard Tournament.

It was a time to have fun and to dance with that somebody special, and ever since Professor McGonagall had told them about it, he had known who he was going to ask.

It was one of the reasons why he bounced into Snape's private quarters with such enthusiasm on a day that he didn't really need to be here. He whistled softly, closing the door behind him.

He looked around for Snape, finally spotting his Erastes in the chair in front of the fire, scowling fiercely. He took a step forward, not hiding the smile that burst forth or the funny way his stomach seemed to clench when he saw Snape.

"Severus, have you heard about the Yule Ball? I can finally use those dance lessons you gave me." He dropped his bag near the table and approached the seating area.

"Of course I heard, Potter! I was the one who had to give this splendid news to my Slytherins after all." Harry's smile froze on his face. It seemed that something was wrong and he wrung his hands nervously.

"So you'll give me more dancing lessons then?" he asked instead, subdued.

"Why should I? So that you can take somebody else to this thrice cursed ball and make a fool out of me for being forced to watch you instead of taking you - as is my right as your Erastes?" Snape's enraged eyes rose up to meet Harry's and he got up from his seat to stalk towards him.

Harry flinched before he dropped his gaze to the floor. He swallowed thickly, trying to hide the tears that were rising to the surface.

"I was hoping you'd go with me, actually. But I understand if you don't want to," he whispered. "I'll go and find somebody else then…"

He turned on slow feet that didn't even feel like his own any longer. He thought they had come so far, but apparently they hadn't. He was a fool for thinking that Snape could feel anything for him except contempt and a misplaced feeling of duty.

"Harry?"The soft call of his name was enough to make him turn around. The miserable green eyes met the dark ones as Snape said in a low voice, "I would be honored to take you."

A bright smile came over his face, but Harry looked away and wiped a sleeve across his eyes. He glanced back up when Snape beckoned, and the older wizard put a hand on Harry's shoulder the moment the younger male was near him.

"Don't tell me that my wicked tongue has managed to reduce you to a tearful mess."

"Well, it isn't like you use your tongue for anything else," Harry replied without thinking. He glanced up at the taller wizard to see the dark eyes positively alive with something that he couldn't quite place. Snape leaned in so the warm minty breath was playing over the parted lips as he purred.

"You've no idea what kind of things a tongue can be used for…"

"You are just talking about potions-"

"Oh no, not about potions at all." Snape's eyes were twinkling. To Harry's surprise, he could feel his cock twitch. He averted his gaze, trying to fight his blush. He cleared his throat to make sure that his voice didn't give him away before he asked, "So when are we going to resume our dance lessons?"

"Right now." Snape lifted his wand and a soft waltz filled the room. Harry glanced up with wide eyes. He had never learned the waltz. Snape was standing extremely close to Harry, causing him to feel the body heat from the older wizard. He was standing so close to Snape that he could feel every puff of breath Snape took. Harry forced himself to relax, trying not to tense up as Snape slowly took his hand, placing his other hand on Harry's back, and slowly eased Harry into position.

Harry was more tense than he realized. He took a deep breath and forced himself to relax, slowly swaying in time with Snape. Unsure of what to do with his free hand he wanted to reach up to lay it on Snape's shoulder, but he knew that would look weird because he would be standing on his toes. So he placed his hand a little bit above Snape's hip. He could feel the sway of the powerful muscles underneath his hand and slowly began to move in time with the music.

All that existed in Harry's world was the music as he was guided by Snape. He was only aware of the music that seemed to weave across him, gently making his body respond. He closed his eyes, enjoying the peace and the feeling of belonging and arousal that was thumping in his blood. He looked up, smiling up at Snape as the older wizard looked down at him. Not once did Harry trip as the lessons Snape had been teaching him finally paid off.

When the final phrase of the music died away, Harry resurfaced from his dream world. Snape held him for a moment longer and Harry began to realize that the close proximity of his Erastes had done something else besides teach him a new dance and making him feel happy. He was aroused. The knowledge was enough to make him bright red and he backed away, hastily stammering an apology.

"Harry?" Snape's voice was soft but firm and Harry glanced up, aware that the older wizard could see his erection tenting his jeans. Why did this have to happen now? Couldn't he just fantasize about Snape in the shower? Why did it have to be now during a simple dance-?

"Come here, please."

Harry hung his head and walked towards Snape, feet dragging. The firm hand on his shoulder guided him towards the couch and Snape sat them down before the gentle fingers curled underneath his chin and Harry was forced to meet the dark eyes. "Now, what seems to be the problem?"

"It's nothing…sir…"

"Then why did you back away so suddenly? There is nothing to be ashamed of if you are aroused by our dance. Our magic was doing most interesting things when you finally relaxed. The magic you accidentally released interacted with my own. You never became aroused before?"

Merlin, how could Snape say these things to easily as Harry stammered out. "Yeah, but never by a dance and never by a bloke…"

He was blushing bright red but he didn't resist when Snape pulled at his hand so that Harry was standing in between his legs. The older wizard smoothed Harry's messy hair away from his forehead and softly said. "Do you even know how enjoyable it is to be pulled off by a man?" Sure fingers travelled down Harry's chest towards his jeans. He gulped, eyes rising up to meet the dark ones. Something must have changed in his green eyes because the next moment Snape leaned down and kissed him lightly on the lips.

The touch was light, but it was unlike any feeling Harry had ever experienced, and after a hesitant moment Snape pulled away, causing Harry to blink up at him. The younger wizard touched his lips, trying to feel if they were tingling before he slowly moved towards Snape, seeking more of those sweet kisses. It was the first time he had been kissed by somebody else.

Snape wrapped an arm around him, lightly kissing him upon the lips again, but Harry demanded more and he opened his mouth, pressing it against Snape's. There was urgency in his movements that had never been there before, but Snape pulled him close with an arm around the waist so that Harry was standing against his chest. Their tongues intertwined and played around each other as Harry wrapped his arms around Snape's shoulders to pull his Erastes closer.

Snape's mouth hungrily moved against his own and Harry bucked against the hand that suddenly lay against his groin, seeking to increase the friction. He moved his hips in the wicked rhythm of Snape's hand as it added pressure to the right places. It wasn't long until he could feel the heat in his belly dispense in a sudden flood. Harry broke the kiss as he lay breathlessly against Snape. The older wizard tugged him onto his lap and waved his wand, making the stickiness in Harry's boxers disappear. Harry glanced up, too relaxed to do anything but snuggle into the warmth Snape offered.

The Potions Master petted him with a careful hand as he whispered. "Now, imagine, if my mouth can achieve that fact, just think of what my hands can do?"

Harry didn't care that he was blushing, but he found that he was looking forward to more lessons Snape would bestow upon him.

Hp

"So mate, where is your date?" Ron looked around for Hermione but he couldn't find their friend. Ever since Hermione had disappeared with Ginny Weasley to get ready this afternoon, they hadn't seen her. Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang had already arrived, both looking wonderful. But Harry had barely spared them a glance as he searched for Snape. The tall wizard hadn't arrived yet but Harry felt a little bit ridiculous in his dress robes. They weren't black but a very dark green, and he didn't like them one bit.

"Leave your robes alone, they're fine. They're a lot better than mine anyway- no lace or bad color." Ron hissed sharply at him, nudging Harry in the ribs.

"You're behaving like a mum." Harry muttered back, standing on his toes to look across the Entrance Hall and see if he could glimpse Snape yet.

"I like to think of it as more of an older brother then a mum," Ron answered absentmindedly.

There were a lot of people gathered in the Entrance Hall, all looking around for their partners and waiting for the doors to open. Harry wished he was taller now so that he could see Snape. Draco Malfoy had already arrived with a bunch of Slytherins, but so far the Head of Slytherin was absent. Surely Snape would have sent Harry a message if he had been delayed or held up. Harry sighed softly and glanced up as the doors to the Great Hall opened.

Professor McGonagall stepped into the Entrance Hall, dressed in a tartan dress and called, "Champions, please enter first!"

Cedric Diggory and Fleur Delacourt were the first to come in with their dates. Right behind them came Victor Krum and…Hermione Granger. Harry's mouth fell open as he saw how pretty his other best friend looked. Hermione was dressed in a beautiful gown made of pale pink, and her hair was sleek instead of the normally bushy mass that she kept tied back from her face. She waved at them both and Harry grinned back. He nudged Ron in the ribs, but he had already seen her. His mouth had fallen open.

Harry looked around the Entrance Hall once again but there was no sign of Snape. Sighing deeply, he walked after Ron and his date who were chatting softly between themselves. Most of the students had stopped at the sight of the Great Hall and Harry did the same. The Great Hall was unrecognizable. It seemed so much larger suddenly. The tables had been removed and there were a lot of festive candles floating around, adding a soft light to the room. The ceiling reflected only stars, and as Harry glanced towards the open doors that let in the cool night air, he saw that the school grounds were unrecognizable. It seemed like a small rock garden had been conjured up, and Harry studied it briefly before he glanced back at Ron. All the students were searching for their seats and the champions were already seated at the Head Table. Ron was looking at Harry and pointing at an empty table in the Great Hall that was fast filling up, before the redhead's eyes went large. Harry turned around on quick feet and his heart skipped a beat.

Severus Snape had been standing behind him. He was wearing his customary black, but the robes were cut very differently. They were tailored to fit, and Harry glanced up to see the soft hair framing the pale face as the dark eyes gleamed. The thin lips twitched into a smirk as Snape held out his hand and bowed at the waist.

"Mr. Potter, may I be your escort for this evening?"

Harry could only give a breathless nod as he accepted the hand Snape held out for him to take and was drawn to the older wizard's side. He didn't care about the murmurs that were rising in the Great Hall as people spotted him with a teacher. This was his Erastes, and Harry was proud to be at Snape's side. He smiled at Snape, unable to keep the grin from his face, and Snape smirked right back. It seemed like Harry was floating, and he hardly paid any mind as he was led to a table by Snape - a table just for the two of them.

He hardly paid any attention to what he ate or the conversations around him. Glances were darted his way but Harry didn't spot them, and they didn't even bother him. He was right where he belonged. He didn't hear Dumbledore's speech, content as he was to watch Snape and be pulled into a conversation with his Erastes. He liked the way Snape spoke, with a soft voice. The older wizard moved elegantly as he cut up his food. The dark eyes were fixed on Harry's face for most of the evening, though Harry noticed that once when he had to use the bathroom and he came back, Snape was staring around the room with an expression of distaste.

Snape turned back to him and his expression softened immediately. Harry looked away at once, flushing, before gentle fingers on his hand made him turn back to stare at Snape as the older wizard spoke.

"I must say that you look very handsome tonight, Harry…"

Harry blinked before he smiled. He leaned forward and softly said, "Well, I could hardly look like I normally do, can I? I mean, you look so nice, I wouldn't want to embarrass you."

Much to Harry's surprise Snape seemed to be blushing. The dark eyes shot away for a moment and Snape was speechless, but the hand that was resting on Harry's hand, squeezed his hand gratefully and then Snape did the most unthinkable thing - he smiled. It was a gentle and tender smile; a smile Harry was sure not a lot of people had seen on the Potions Master, and it transformed his whole face. The deep lines in the harsh looking face were erased nearly completely and Harry took a deep startling breath.

I won't mind looking at that face for the rest of my life if Severus smiles at me like that.

It was a surprising thought, but it was one Harry was most comfortable with. He merely glanced up at the dark eyes and then Snape nodded.

"Shall we dance, or are you content to sit here and look at each other like love sick fools?"

Harry shook himself from his thoughts. There was a soft tune playing, and Harry pushed his chair back the moment Snape rose and extended his hand. Harry immediately accepted it and was guided to the dance floor. There were already some couples who were dancing to this slow song. The dance floor was filling up quickly but Harry didn't try to let this bother him. He knew what he was supposed to do. He had been learning dancing ever since the summer, when Snape had begun to teach him, so this should be easy.

He placed his hand on Snape's shoulder, glad that he had entered another grow spurt so that he could now put his hand on the dark-clad broad shoulder without standing on his toes. Snape's hand was warm in his and the Potions Master's other hand was resting on the small of Harry's back as he guided them to the music. The music was filling Harry up, making him feel more relaxed than ever. At first he had assumed that he would never want to dance in public with Snape but now he began to realize that this was one of the best things ever.

He never wanted this dance to end. He wanted to dance with Snape for the rest of his life.

But like all good things in his life, it wouldn't continue. There was a huge bang, and immediately Harry was pulled away. He rolled over the ground, reaching for his wand as he sat up. There was screaming, and he blinked to clear his vision of the dust that had seemed to settle over it. He crawled to his feet, his wand extended.

The students had all scattered and the professors had darted forward, forming a huge circle around the dance floor. In the middle stood a group of masked wizards. They wore skull-like masks and had hoods over their heads, making them unrecognizable.

But the one wizard who stood at the front of the small group without a mask was one that Harry knew. Peter Pettigrew was the one who had betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort. The appearance of the wizard who had faked his death so many years ago at Hogwarts filled Harry both with fear and a terribly rage. Last year he had missed the chance of hurting Pettigrew but he wouldn't let the slimy rat escape now.

"Ah, Severus Snape, our beloved traitor!" The soft and deadly voice came from within the bundle of robes Pettigrew carried. "So what is this that I hear from my most loyal servant? That you are Harry Potter's Erastes?"

Harry knew that voice. It had haunted his worst nightmares. But he had never heard it since facing Quirrell to secure the Philosopher Stone. He shivered and tried to stop the trembling in his limbs.

"His gaze says enough, my lord," Pettigrew whispered harshly. "Look how it drifts towards the Potter boy as if to warm him…" Red eyes focused upon Harry, but they dismissed him almost immediately and settled eagerly on Snape's white face again.

"You know how we deal with traitors, Severus. They do not deserve to live in our new world. Did you really not think that I would not learn about your role in destroying my hocruxes? And here I always thought that you were such a clever man. You are a fool and I have no time to deal with fools. Avada Kedavra!"

Before Harry could think he was sprinting across the hall, trying to outrun the green light that was coming from the wand hidden within the folds of the cloak, speeding towards the frozen figure of Snape. He arrived there in the nick of time, throwing himself in front of Snape. The dark eyes widened impossibly as Harry could feel the curse take effect. But strangely enough, there was no pain. The last thing he saw as he drifted off into darkness was Snape's mouth moving to form his name, and then he knew no more.

Hp

Harry struggled to open his eyes. His body was aching in ways that it had never done before, not even when he had lived with the Dursleys and Dudley had gotten hold of him. He was lying on his stomach, tucked beneath a cloak, and there was some fierce dueling going on. Snape was standing in front of him, protecting him, together with Professor McGonagall, Professor Moody, Professor Dumbledore and Professor Flitwick. Many of the students had fled the hall and were hiding in the corridors or any other place they could find.

Hagrid was protecting the other students, whom the Death Eaters had backed into a corner. Opening his eyes had been painful but Harry realized that somebody must have cast a shield over him because all the curses were bouncing away harmlessly. The softness of the cloak startled him and Harry began to think that it must have been Snape's. He could feel warmth spread through his chest. That turned to wonder that he had somehow survived. His head was aching fiercely, but the knowledge that his Erastes could die was far more painful.

Peter Pettigrew had disappeared behind the cloaks of the other Death Eaters. Harry could see the small wizard crouching over something. He was running his wand over the small body that was lying bundled up in the cloak. The grotesque thing wasn't moving and hardly breathing. What had happened? Was that thing Lord Voldemort? Harry couldn't remember what had happened ever since he had jumped in front of the killing curse.

There was a hand on his back and then a whisper, not overly loud but loud enough to be heard in the vicinity. "Harry?"

Harry glanced up to meet Ron's eyes. They were red rimmed but Ron was staring at him like he couldn't believe what he was seeing.

"You died…"

"Yeah well, you know my luck…" Harry winced as he sat up. "What happened to Voldemort?" he softly asked.

Ron was supporting him and glanced towards Pettigrew.

"The moment you jumped in front of the killing curse was the moment that Pettigrew screamed. I have no idea why, but Dumbledore said that whatever was happened was good. But they've been trying to break through the defenses of the Death Eaters for a while now."

"I think that if they concentrate all their curses at once at Voldemort, they may be able to kill him. He is already weakened because of whatever happened. If we can just get around their defenses and cast our curses at the same time, then I'm sure that we can defeat him." Harry didn't care that he was wincing as he sat up. He was helped to his feet by Ron but he swayed and grabbed hold of Ron's hand. "Come on, now's our chance."

"What do you think that we should do?" Ron's voice was a mere whisper in his ear.

Harry glanced around the room. Right next to where Pettigrew was crouching, there was one of the ice sculptures that adorned the Great Hall. Harry nudged Ron in the ribs as he softly said, "Look at the sculpture. I'm sure that it is quite heavy. If we can make it fall over then it must be enough. Voldemort can't move quickly enough."

Ron glanced at the sculpture. It was quite big and tall. The sculpture had been made especially for the Yule Ball and it was in the shape of a beautiful maiden. Similar sculptures were all over the Great Hall and the Entrance Hall. It had been a welcoming change from the big trees that Hagrid normally dragged in, but right now the decorations looked grotesque with the Death Eaters standing near them. The whole hall had changed into a battlefield. But Harry was going to end it tonight. Voldemort had made the mistake of coming here to try and harm his Erastes. He was going to pay.

Slowly and carefully Harry and Ron moved forward, behind the circle of fighters that were paying no heed to the terrified students moving around, some lending support and others merely trying to find their friends and flee. Harry and Ron moved slowly, and it hardly seemed as though anybody was paying any attention to them with the curses flying around. Some of the curses bounced off the protective shield that Dumbledore had conjured over the place Harry had been laying and the Death Eaters had to hastily conjure up their own shields.

Harry was only fixated on one goal and that was to get to the small wizard who was trying his best to revive Voldemort. Voldemort was still lying as still as when Harry had woken up. Many of the upper years students had taken out their wands as well and had joined the lines of Professors that were already defending their home and castle. The students of Hogwarts were putting on more of a resistance than the Death Eaters had originally thought. Harry felt proud.

He and Ron crawled underneath the Head Table to get on the proper side of the ice sculpture. The ice sculpture was seated on a pedestal and while it was broader on the top, it was quite narrow on the bottom. It wouldn't be impossible to cut it down with some well placed cutting hexes. But they would have to be quick. If Pettigrew noticed what they were doing, then it meant the end for them.

Carefully they crawled on top of the pedestal, where there was enough room for them both to stand.

"Go and get Nagini! I need some of her milk to regain my strength." Voldemort's cold voice sounded small and brittle.

Harry exchanged a glance with Ron. This would be the only chance they'd get. Ron nodded, and whispering the hex, they began to cut away the ice. The ice was thick, but with some quick thinking, Ron heated the ice as they heard Pettigrew hurrying away to carry out Voldemort's commands. It was a nearly impossible task to chop the ice away, but they were managing.

The sculpture began to topple as the gravity point shifted. Harry gave Ron a tired grin and they both began to push. It was slow at first and heavy but slowly inch by inch they managed. They threw all their weight and magic into it. Harry didn't care that he was becoming tired. It seemed like an endless task but he was managing it, together with Ron.

"Come, we shall help you."

Harry barely had the time to glance around to see Cedric Diggory and Victor Krum raising their wands to help them. Hermione and Fleur were right behind them, wands raised to help. There was a grinding noise and finally the sculpture fell over. Harry toppled right after it and it seemed to happen in slow motion. Harry could see from the corner of his eyes as Pettigrew was felled by a curse and the great snake, Nagini, Voldemort's familiar spun in the air. She hastened towards Voldemort but the next moment Hagrid got to her with an axe. Harry bit back a scream as his tall friend brought down the axe and beheaded the great snake.

Her body withered on the ground but it was nothing to the scream of horror that filled the hall as the sculpture shattered on top of Voldemort. Silence descended as along with the bluish tiny pieces of ice mixed with the red of blood.

Harry was breathing hard as he tried to pull himself up but the next moment a great shout interrupted the respectful and horrified silence.

"Harry James Potter, I swear that by the time I get through with you walking is going to be a far away dream!"

Professor Snape strode forward, his eyes flashing fury though his face was pale. The students scattered and any happy cries that were rising were quickly silence as Snape reached Harry and bend over to seize him by the lapels of his robes. Harry was lifted off his feet, for the first time ever face to face with his Erastes.

"Of all the foolish things to do, this was probably your most foolish effort! I swear that I aged 20 years in the past half hour. What were you thinking jumping in front of a killing curse like that? Luck normally only holds one time except for yours. You foolish, foolish Gryffindor."

"Yes, but I'm your Gryffindor. If I was less foolish you wouldn't love me."

The whole hall drew in a deep breath at Harry's cheek but he couldn't help it. It slipped right out. He dared to glance up towards Snape and finally the older wizard laughed as he sighed heavily before pulling Harry towards him.

"Sadly, you are right. I do love you the way you are."

And much to the surprise of the hall, Severus Snape kissed Harry full on the lips. It was a celebration unlike ever seen before at Hogwarts as the whole hall interrupted into cheer.

Amidst the cheering, Snape said, "First you go up to the Hospital Wing, young man and when you are released, I intend to make love you to so that you will remember who you belong to."

It was perhaps one of the few times that Harry hurried towards the Hospital Wing.

Hp

"Can I be dismissed, Madam Pomfrey?" Harry fidgeted on the bed, not in the least bit intimidated by the glare the formidable mediwitch sent his way.

Madam Pomfrey huffed as she closed the parchment she had been writing upon with a snap of her wand. "You were hit with a killing curse and you survived. But very well, obviously you have more important things to do then to be examined by me. But you will return first thing on Monday morning so that I may examine you properly. And if, during the weekend, you feel anything unusual, I want you back here before you can say Quidditch, is that understood young man?"

Harry nodded as he quickly rose from the bed. He glanced up when a low chuckle could be heard to see Professor Dumbledore standing at his bedside. The Headmaster was smiling broadly at Harry and he then extended his hand.

"I just want to say thank you, Harry, for your quick thinking yesterday. You saved us all…."

"I couldn't have done it alone," Harry said. He put his wand in his pocket, anxious to return to Snape. The evening was still young and while all the Death Eaters had been rounded up, it had taken a long time for the Aurors to arrive and Moody had taken charge of the situation. But Harry had gone to the Hospital Wing almost immediately because he remembered Snape's promise. It was all that mattered at the moment.

"I'm sure that you must be very curious about what has actually happened-"

Harry made a face towards his watch as he fastened it around his wrist. He turned back with the Headmaster with a cheeky smile and said, "Oh yes, sir, but just not at the moment. You see, Professor Snape told me to get back to his rooms as soon as I was released from the Hospital Wing and you really don't want to be responsible for arousing his wrath now do you, sir?"

Professor Dumbledore blinked for a moment, stunned for words, before he said, "Surely Severus wouldn't mind if you were a little bit later…"

"Oh he would mind, terribly. But not as much as I would mind, sir. I can't even wait one more second so yes…talk to you later, sir-"

"Harry, really…" Dumbledore called him back.

"Albus, have you heard nothing the boy has said? He is right. I would be terribly put out unless he arrived on time." Snape's voice was a welcome distraction.

Harry immediately gravitated to his side, throwing one arm around the firm waist as he hugged his Erastes.

Snape's voice dropped to a purr as he whispered in Harry's ear, making the boy shiver. "But don't worry; I'll personally make sure that you come precisely on time."

Green eyes met black eyes. The black eyes held a promise and Harry found a shiver shooting down his spine. He pulled away at once, lest he betray himself and he shifted his stance slightly, body turned towards Snape even as he spoke to Professor Dumbledore.

"I'm sure that the full story can wait, sir. I'm not so curious and I'm rather tired…"

"Don't worry; I'll be sure that I will exhaust you before I send you to your bed,." Snape murmured.

His deep voice was a low whisper, but it carried quite far and Albus Dumbledore sputtered as did Poppy Pomfrey, drawn to the commotion going on in her ward. She looked closely at Harry, though, noting how he clung so closely to Snape, and then smiled as the dour Professor swung an arm around the slender waist close to his own, one hand splayed over the delectable arse.

"Ah Severus, it is good that you will give Harry some exercise. I fear that he has some pent-up energy that needs to be released. I'm sure that you can give him all the exercise he needs." Poppy chuckled softly.

Snape's dark eyes narrowed in a glare, though the sunken cheeks flashed with color before the Potions Master said, a delightful and devilish smirk playing over his lips, "Oh don't worry, I plan to make him so tired and sore that come tomorrow he will not even think of leaving the bed so that he can get that much needed rest you prescribed him, Poppy! I doubt that I need to add, Albus, that you will not be disturbing us."

The Headmaster was still sputtering and Snape added, "I thought not. Now, Mr. Potter, are you ready to celebrate your victory?"

Harry only had to nod. It wasn't like he wanted to do anything else at the moment. He had a ton of questions about everything that had happened but they could wait because all that mattered right now was him and Snape. He looked up at Snape, biting his lip. Snape glanced down and smoothed a thumb across Harry's lip, making the pink tongue come out for a quick taste. Snape's dark eyes widened for a moment as he watched this, before his face settled into an expression Harry had difficulty reading.

"I thought that I had told you to start moving. It seems that your legs aren't working as they should, so perhaps I should carry you."

It was as if a hook had been attached behind Harry's ankle as he floated up in the air. He stared wide-eyed at Snape, who merely smirked down at him and then directed him towards the double doors. Harry floated peacefully out of the doors. He waved at some of the students who he passed and who were staring after him. Snape was walking behind him. Harry had to close his eyes when he floated down the staircase, it was a scary sight. A murmured word later and Harry opened his eyes to find that Snape had charmed him so that he was floating arse and feet down first into the dungeons.

He was happy enough to just focus on his Erastes' face. Snape's expression was one of concentration but Harry found a hidden beauty there. It almost seemed that since the defeat of Voldemort, a burden had fallen from Snape's shoulders. Already some of the rigid lines in Snape's face were easing, and for some reason Harry hoped that he could he could see every line vanish from the sallow face.

He shook his head firmly to try and dislodge any thoughts. He wasn't going to think about the future now. All that mattered was right now and being with Snape. He could worry about the future later.

A Voldemort-free future. He has really died… wow, it has finally ended….

Harry was shaken from his thoughts as his arse bumped a hard surface. Harry turned his head around, nearly dislocating his neck until Snape twirled him around and he found himself in front of Snape's door to his private quarters. The door swung open and Harry was floating inside. The next moment he was set gently upon his feet. Harry looked around the familiar room. This very living room had become more of a home to Harry than the Dursleys' had ever been. I never want to leave this place again. Can't I stay with Snape for the rest of my life?

"What is on your mind, brat?" The slender hand squeezed his shoulder and Harry answered without thinking.

"That this place really feels like home to me, and that I know that I never want to leave… I never want to leave you…." He turned around, lifting earnest green eyes up towards Snape. The older wizard was taken aback for a moment, but then his gaze softened and one hand came to rest against Harry's cheek, cupping it and stroking the smooth flesh.

"We haven't had sex yet, and you are already begging me to keep you. Perhaps we should focus upon one thing at a time, Harry before we delve into dreams about the future."

"You don't want to keep me then?" Harry looked away. He tried not to be hurt. Why should he be hurt when it had happened time and time again? He was not important enough to be kept…

"I would love for me then anything to make you honestly mine, brat." Snape answered so softly that Harry was not sure he had heard anything at all. Only when he looked up and saw the honest emotions in the dark eyes did he know that he had heard correctly. He fully relaxed and threw his arms around Snape, hugging his Potions Master to him. Snape's hand petted his hair before the older wizard pulled away, smirking gently.

"So then, shall we get down to business?"

"You really mean get down to it or…"

Snape smirked as he whispered, "You delightful little imp, don't you worry that handsome head of yours. You can get down on me later, but for now, let me show you how delightful sex can be."

Harry barely had time to open his mouth to say something when Snape swooped in and kissed him. Harry had to steady himself by wrapping his arms around Snape's neck, feeling the older wizard wrap an arm around his waist. The expert tongue was twirling around his own as Snape's quick hands were removing Harry's dress robes, not bothering if they fell to the floor. Cleaning up was for afters because at the moment all that mattered was just the two of them in this moment.

Harry pulled away, his own hands pulling his shirt away. All his thoughts about being self- conscious had faded away as he saw the heat in Snape's gaze, felt each caress by those eyes as they glanced up and down his body. He felt warmth by some inner knowledge that Snape desired him. He pulled his shirt over his head, messing up his hair and nearly knocking off his glasses. He stood there in his dress pants and shiny shoes as he lifted his head bravely, awaiting Snape's verdict.

He was thin and his chest hadn't even begun to broaden out, there was no chest hair, but when he saw how the black eyes hungrily devoured every inch of flesh he displayed he felt alright. No, he felt even better then alright, he felt wanted and without a doubt Harry Potter knew that this was the way he wanted to feel for the rest of his life.

"So, shall we take this to the bedroom or are you content to leave a trail of clothes for me to follow?" The rich purr floated over Harry's senses and he smiled gently.

"I think actually, your clothes would look very good with mine on the floor as we move to the bedroom."

Snape merely inclined his head before the long elegant hands drew away the long cloak. It was cast off towards the couch though it didn't quite reach it, falling short of it by several feet. Snape then ran his wand over the length of buttons that buttoned up his robes and Harry's went wide as the pale flesh was revealed underneath. He followed Snape's wand as it moved down, revealing more, and Harry longed to run his fingers and tongue down the muscles that were displayed.

Firm muscles rippled the broad chest and the flat stomach but Harry's eyes were fixed on the small trail of dark hair that ran into Snape's trousers. He licked his lips unconsciously and glanced up, blushing to the roots of his hair as he noticed Snape's smirk. The older wizard rolled his shoulders once he had removed his robe, standing only in his trousers.

"Come."

Snape beckoned, and immediately Harry was at his side, feeling the heat of Snape's body as the older wizard kissed him deeply. The flesh felt so good against his own and Harry felt his cock only get harder. He ran his hands down the broad back, feeling the muscles underneath his hand and the scars that adorned the body before him. He didn't let it bother him. If Snape could be aroused by him- and Harry could feel the hard cock that poked into his stomach - an underage and underfed urchin, then he wouldn't be turned off by a few scars.

Snape was beautiful to him. The man displayed himself with power but it was a subtle power that Snape knew how to wield. Harry wanted this man to be inside of him, kiss him, caress him, squeeze him and stroke him until he reached fulfillment. He believed he even told Snape as much and within a moment and a swirl of Snape's wand they were both naked and Harry had been picked up and thrown over Snape's shoulder. He was given a nice view of the man's backside as Snape walked into the bedroom and without apologies tossed him onto the bed.

Harry landed on his back, crawling up so he could look at Snape. The well muscled legs displayed powerful thighs that shaped into narrow hips, but what drew Harry's gaze was the heavy cock that rose from the nest of black curls. He swallowed thickly. He had done a little bit of research about how sex between two males happened, but right now he felt a tingle of fear. Something must have shown in his face because Snape smoothed a hand down his chest and on over Harry's young and slender cock. The older wizard then joined him on the bed, guiding Harry's attention back with a careful touch as he kissed the younger wizard.

Harry closed his eyes, focusing only on the taste of Snape's lips as the older wizard's fingers tweaked his nipple. His body gave a start and his hips rose up on their own, stroking against Snape's thigh. Harry pulled away, blushing. What must Snape be thinking about him…

But the older wizard only leaned in and whispered, his warm breath sending delightful shivers down Harry's skin, "Don't regret anything that you are doing right now. Let your instincts and impulses guide you. There is no right or wrong…"

Snape's mouth sucked at his neck, nipping lightly as the dark eyes locked with Harry's own. Harry's hand came to rest in Snape's hair which was soft right now and not at all greasy. He threw his head back, displaying his neck in a sign of surrender. Lying back against the soft pillows on the bed with his Snape so close, it was as close to heaven as Harry was ever going to get. How could this even get any better?

It was when Snape's mouth closed around a nipple that Harry realized that Snape had every intention of making it even better for him then it already had been. He moaned, not at all ashamed by the sound. He began to realize that Snape was pleased and encouraged by the sounds he made as the slender fingers touched his cock for a moment, stroking the erect flesh. Harry tried his best not to buck into those sinful fingers, but he couldn't help it as Snape encouraged him by stroking and pulling faster and harder. It wasn't long before Harry's climax shot through him and the older wizard milked him.

He lay back on the bed, exhausted for the moment. A heavy hand came to rest upon his stomach and Harry opened his eyes again. He glanced down at Snape to see that the older wizard had Summoned something from the other room. The small vial resting in Snape's hand drew his attention and Harry glanced up as Snape uncorked it.

The older wizard grinned at him and said, holding the vial up, "This is lubricant and it is used to ease the passage into something tight."

His cock gave a twitch and Harry sat up, leaning back on his elbows. Snape kissed him briefly on the lips. "I'm going to prepare you, Harry. This will feel uncomfortable…"

The older wizard reached for a pillow to raise Harry's hips up. "You can lie down on your back, but it would be easier if you lay down on your stomach…"

"But I want to see you." Harry reached out to push a lock of long dark hair behind Snape's ear, but the older wizard caught his hand and kissed his palm, smiling at him as he nodded.

"Very well."

Snape helped Harry to draw up his knees and he instructed the younger wizard to hold them there. Snape uncorked the vial. His Erastes coated his long fingers in the liquid before Harry felt the digit circle his hole. He clenched his muscles but Snape stroked his flank, gently calming him down before the older wizard suddenly pushed past the muscle. Harry drew in a deep breath at the sharp pain. He released his breath in a hissing sequence as Snape stretched him. The next moment the older wizard leaned over him and kissed him deeply, distracting Harry from the pain.

Snape crooked his finger and added a second and a third, saying as if he wasn't doing anything more interested than lecturing his potions, "There is a spell for this but I find that the practical approach, that is, to use my hands very satisfactory, don't you agree?"

Harry could only mewl before Snape drew away. The older wizard smiled gently at Harry, picking up the vial again as he softly asked, "Are you ready?"

Harry wasn't even sure what he had to answer. Of course he was ready. He cocked his head to the side but the question left his mouth before he could say anything.

"What do you mean, am I ready? I've been bloody ready for the past ten minutes, unless you hadn't noticed…"

The dark gaze that fixed on him made him want to take the words back before Snape leaned back on his heels, showing more patience than Harry was sure he was capable of this moment.

"Harry, you are about to lose your virginity. I do not know what your fellow students have been telling you but there are no second first times. Are you absolutely sure that you want it to be me?"

How could Snape even ask that? Harry couldn't even picture himself with anybody else. Somebody else wouldn't be so gentle and so patient. He gave a nod, not even knowing what to say. It was a testimony of the trust between him and Snape that Snape even asked this. But Harry wondered why he had to ask this. He smiled finally and spoke, knowing Snape wouldn't do anything unless he gave his consent.

"Now, how can I make it any more clear, unless you want me to help you find the spot you have to be in?"

"Cheeky brat!" Snape shook his head, laughing before he sobered and began to lubricate his cock. "I'll be gentle."

"Alright, if next time you can be rough…"

One fine eyebrow rose before Snape grabbed Harry's hips and lined himself up with Harry's hole. The older wizard carefully pushed his way in, gently shushing Harry with soft caresses and words, words Harry would be sure to remember for the rest of his life. The dark eyes were focused entirely upon him but Harry shifted a little, rocking in time with Snape when the older wizard finally thrust home. The older wizard began to move slowly, the burn inside of Harry melting away to pleasure. He closed his eyes for a moment, opening his mouth to moan softly.

Snape angled his thrust a little bit, hitting something inside of Harry that made his cock stand up rock hard. Stars erupted behind his eyelids, and his breathing left him nearly entirely. Snape's hand fisting his cock was his undoing, and Harry climaxed for the second time that evening. His muscles clenched in the uncontrollable spasms around Snape and the older wizard followed him with a low growl. Snape collapsed on top of him but then slowly pulled away, slipping his softened cock out as he rolled onto the empty, cold spot next to Harry.

Harry rolled onto his side. The sticky semen on his chest and slowly seeping out of him wasn't bothering him as a slow and satisfied feeling stole over him. He suddenly began to realize how tired he was but it didn't mattered. All that mattered was the peace that was between him and Snape now. He curled up to his Erastes as Snape whispered a cleaning spell and drew the blankets over them both, creating a small world for the two of them.

"That was brilliant, Severus. Can we do that again sometime?" Harry rested his head against the warm chest underneath his cheek, feeling the heartbeat slow down underneath his ear. Snape chuckled, the sound rich but welcoming as Harry felt a hand settle in his hair.

"As many times as you'd like, Harry."

"Good, I think I would like it for the rest of my life…" Harry yawned.

"You mean with me or with somebody else?" If Harry noticed the strain in Snape's voice he didn't comment on it but instead said as he glanced up. "Actually, with you would be most brilliant of all."

"We shall discuss that another time. Don't you have any questions about how Voldemort could have been beaten so easily?" Snape shuffled as he pulled away, creating some distance between them. Harry frowned at that. He didn't want distance, he wanted Snape here right beside him.

"Yes, but do those have to be answered now? I'd rather snuggle. We have the rest of our lives to talk about that, right? Unless… you aren't in trouble are you? I knew that you were a Death Eater but you were a spy, right?"

"Yes, Harry, I was exonerated a long time ago. And even more because of everything that Dumbledore and I have done in the past few months to hunt down Voldemort's horcruxes. They are objects that can be used to contain a part of a person's soul. A soul can be split by doing the most evil of acts, which is to murder somebody. Voldemort deliberately created these objects so if something were to happen to his body he would still be able to return to this earth. He created seven in total, one accidentally. The one he didn't mean to create was you… This was how you survived the killing curse for the second time. The horcrux was destroyed within you and you escaped unscathed. We didn't know that you were the seventh one."

"But what does that mean?" Harry's voice was shaking and within a moment he was safely wrapped in Snape's arms.

"It means nothing! It means that you are still my Harry, untouched by evil and so you shall remain. You are free to live your own life now, a life of your choosing."

"So you have been hunting down horcruxes?"

"Yes, together with Professor Dumbledore. It was nasty work but it paid off, Voldemort is defeated for good now."

"So we can get some sleep now and have sex again in the morning?" Harry nudged his way closer to Snape, content to sleep around the older wizard. Snape nodded, as he stroked a hand down Harry's cheek.

"Severus, you said that I could choose my own life now, right? Would you mind terribly if I spend it with you?"

Snape had rolled onto his back but at Harry's question he rolled back onto his side and said. "So I should be filing for bonding papers then, when you turn seventeen?"

"Yes, I think you should." Harry yawned, snuggling into Snape. He closed his eyes, giving into some much needed rest but not before he heard Snape's final words.

"I suppose I could just be happy enough to spend the rest of my life as your bond mate when my time as your Erastes ends."

And as Harry fell asleep with a smile he knew that in accepting Snape was his Erastes, he had found love and he couldn't have been happier.

The end