Author's Note: So, my first fic. I seriously started and finished this in the same night, so it probably sucks. Right now I'm somewhat happy with it, but it came out so much better in my head... oh well. For my first slash fic, I think the slash part came out well, all things considered...
Disclaimer: Oh yes. I am J. K. Rowling. That's why I'm writing a slash fic when there was obviously no hint at all of that in my books... [sarcasm]
Ever since that one time when he had been running from Dudley's gang and ended up on the school roof, he had longed to be there again. Where he was high up and no one could hurt him. No one could touch him.
His cupboard had been so small and cramped. Up on the roof, it was wide-open and spacious, offering a veiw of the school playground and parking lot. Even that was better than a dark closet.
Maybe that was why he loved flying so much. He was high in the air, with the Quidditch pitch stretched out below him and a wide sky above, and air whipping his hair back. It was in those moments that he felt free. But nothing could compare to the roof.
As a first year, he had seen the many roofs of Hogwarts. The building was tall, and so to be out on top would offer a much better veiw than from his school building. But he was afraid that if the wind picked up enough, or if he shifted the wrong way, he would fall. The Dursley's hadn't really fed him much, and so he was as thin as a twig. Maybe he might have gained enough weight to try at the end of the year, but he was side tracked by the stone.
His second year, he was thrown directly in to a plot of mysteries, what with Dobby, the hearing voices, and finally the Chamber of Secrets. But it was always at the back of his mind, and whenever he would try to find a way to climb up onto the roof something else would happen.
Third year, he thought he would be expelled, and when that didn't happen he was focused on the dementors, and helping Hagrid with his teaching, and with his troubles with Buckbeak. He met Sirius, who was, to the rest of the world, an escaped, murdering convict. In actuality, he was Harry's godfather, and the drama played out from there.
Fourth year, Harry was shoved headfirst into the tri-wizard tournament, fighing each task for his life, and literally at the graveyard. It was then that he truely realized what Voldemort could do, now that he had a body. Harry was only saved by his wand, and the ghost images of the last people Voldemort killed.
Needless to say, for the past four years, he's been suitably destracted. But this year was different. He wasn't going to let almost being expelled again, or Umbridge, or anything else stop him.
After a few hours of searching, he finally found the perfect spot. In a usually deserted part of the castle on the seventh floor, there was a balcony. Next to that balcony was a stretch of stone wall that had deeps grooves that Harry could use as foot and hand-holds. Climbing carefully, he set himself down on top of the slightly slanted roof, but straight for the most part. The shingles were warm from the sun's touch that day. It was around sunset, and his breath caught at the view.
It was more than what he'd hoped for. The grounds were green, and he could just see the sparkle of the setting sun on the glistening lake. The sky had barely a cloud in it, and the clouds that were there were whispy and unsubstantial. He breathed in and closed his eyes. This was perfect.
He stayed there for two hours, at the very least. The sun had set, and the stars were twinkling merrily, reminding him of Dumbledore's eyes. He'd had to leave then, because Dumbledore wasn't looking at him at all, lately. He seemed to be pretending Harry didn't exist. Negative emotions didn't seem to belong on his roof, and so Harry had left, whispering a silent promise to return. He wasn't sure why he'd said it, but it felt right.
Days went by, and Harry found himself back on the roof. But this time something was off. He could feel something different. He frowned, wondering what was wrong. He trusted his instincts. They hadn't been wrong yet.
Okay, well, there was that one time, when he thought Snape was the one after the Stone... and then when he'd thought Malfoy had opened the Chamber... and when he'd thought that Sirius was really a murderer... and when he- Okay, so he's made some mistakes! But the point was, he was sure this time.
It almost felt like someone was watching him.
Startled by this thought, Harry glanced around, scouring the roof for someone else, the grounds, the visible windows, and saw no one. His eyebrows drew together in confusion. He remembered his first year, when he was sneaking to the third floor to get to the stone, and they had ran into Peeves... "Know you're there, even if I can't see you. Are you a goulie or ghostie or wee student beastie?"
That sounded slightly ominous. Harry entertained the fact that there could be a ghost up here. No one else had an invisibility cloak, so if someone were up here, he'd see them. He breifly remembered his trip to Grimmauld Place during the summer, recalling the disillusionment charm that had made him feel like someone cracked an egg on his head.
"Hello?" He asked tentatively. He got no response, but he knew that something was still there. He stood fo a while, contemplating. Finally he nodded decisively, sitting down in the spot he had before, drawing his knees to his chest and wrapping his arms around them.
"I'm not going to leave, or make you leave." He spoke, quiet as he took in the view. "It's not really anyone's roof, after all. We can share." And Harry treated his unseen companion fairly, not trying to figure out what was there, though he did speculate. He didn't try to engage them in conversaion that they clearly wouldn't - or couldn't - take part in. He waited a few seconds after he stood to leave, giving them time to move if they were in his way.
He wasn't sure if he'd imagined it or not, but he could have sworn he'd heard footsteps against shingles, backing away when Harry stood.
The visits continued in much the same way, and he always felt The Presence, as he'd taken to calling it, there when he was. One afternoon, as Harry sat looking out at Hagrid's hut, having been empty thus far, he spoke.
"You don't have to answer, if you don't want to." Harry said first, not looking away from the cabin, knowing he wouldn't be able to locate the presence even if he did turn around, "But I could use someone to talk to. And you're the closest thing I've got." He finished, with a somewhat wry smile.
He launched into the story of seeing Voldemort return last year, and how Harry's blood had been used, and how scared he felt at the duel. He spoke of the wand beams colliding and Harry seeing his parents. He said that he was sure that Hagrid was gone because of Order buisness, but he didn't know where he was, and he was worried for his first friend.
This prompted a retelling of Harry's rescue from the Dusleys, because for some reason he didn't think he should leave anything out while he spilled his soul to someone, or something, that he didn't know. He couldn't even see them. He told of his first year, with the stone, and his second, with the chamber and how horrible he felt when he'd thought the only people who cared had abandoned him.
And he recalled meeting the people who were closest to his father, and how he heard their deaths when the dementors got a bit too close. He spoke, quietly, of wishing that he had more memories to remember them by, other than their final moments. His voice was broken, but he kept going.
And he told of last year, with Rita Skeeter spurting lies left and right, and of being thrown into the tournament without his consent, scared for himself, and everyone else. He said, quietly, that Ron's abandonment had hurt more than the whole school against him back in second year.
Finally he looked back up to see a night sky, and wondered at the time, and how long he had been speaking. "I need to go... I'll be back."
And he left.
When he came back, it was in a grumpy mood, grumbling to the presence about Ron and Hermione, and how they had gotten into another fight. The presence was there, and so Harry went off, explaining all their stupid fights, like when Ron thought Crookshanks ate scabbers, and every other pointless row they'd had. And he complained that they should just bloody snog each other already because Harry knew they liked each other. He was tired of getting in the middle of everything.
But then, in a much quieter voice, he confessed that sometimes he didn't want them to get together, because he'd feel awkward and left out like a third wheel, and Harry could see them ignoring him already, lost in each other. They did have years of sexual tension to get out of them, after all.
Harry sighed and looked at the gently swaying trees, and one quite literally in the case of the Whomping Willow.
"I'm sorry." He finally said. "That's really stupid of me; of course we'll still be friends, and it's selfish to want them to not be happy so that I can be." He could feel the presence get closer to him, but Harry didn't try to reach out to see if they were a person or not. He turned his head slightly, in it's general direction.
"Sometimes... I wish that there was someone who loved me." He said. "Not Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, not some poster boy who everyone expects to kill Voldemort, but... just Harry." He almost wished he could be 'Just Harry' again, back before he knew the magical world, where he was revered like he was Merlin himself. "I thought... with Cho..."
And he told briefly of his crush on the Ravenclaw, that had begun around third year, but had festered through fourth year and the beginning of this year. "I thought that she..." Harry broke off, not sure how to word his thoughts. "But I don't. Love her, I mean. I thought I did, but... I found out that I couldn't." He didn't elaborate, not even positive what he meant himself.
They sat in the silence for minutes longer, but when the sun disappeared, Harry said that he would be back, and he swept away.
"That hag!" Harry yelled with frustration, upon getting up to the roof. "She just wants to make my life miserable, doesn't she? That... that vile..."
He visibly calmed himself, and rubbed the words etched into his hand, sluggishly bleeding.
"Just because I said that Voldemort was back... she must know! She has to! And she gives me detention every bloody night. I bet she gets a sick pleasure out of it, that... that..."
He plopped to the ground, pulling his legs to him and wrapping his arm around them. The bleeding arm lay at his side. "I told you about Voldemort coming back. I saw it. How can she expect me to just sit there and take the crap that she's dishing out? She's not even teaching us Defense! Just theory." He sneered. "Like that's going to help. What are we going to do if a Death Eater attacks us? Recite the book at them?" He snorted, bitterly.
"Every night, more lines than before. I swear, that blood quill is going to etch through my bone." He frowned at the still-bleeding hand. With his good hand, he tore off some fabric from his robes, wrapping his hand, and tying it in a secure knot.
"I guess I'm good at that, by now. From the Dursleys." He inspected his handiwork. "Would have been better if I'd've cleaned it. Oh well." He grimaced slightly, but shrugged.
He explained the times when he'd have to fix his own wounds, because his aunt didn't miss with the pan that time, and when his cousin shoved him just a little too hard against the wall, and when his uncle would take out too much of his anger on Harry, resulting in Harry re-aligning his own bones for them to heal.
"Now that I think about it," He mused, "I always healed a bit faster than normal. Now I know it was my magic that helped, but I had always been so confused before." He gave a small chuckle. "I remember asking a kid who had broken his arm why he had to wear a cast for a few months. I wondered why his didn't heal in a few days, like mine did. He didn't talk to me after that." Harry said, matter-of-factly. "Of course, no one really did. If they did, they would get beat up by Dudley's gang."
Harry informed the presence of Dudley's 'Harry Hunting', and how he could outrun Dudley, but some of the gang members were not as slow. He told of one of them holding Harry while Dudley punched him, so that he couldn't get away. "Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon never seemed to notice, really." Harry said, almost wistfully. "Not like they would care about me, but I'm sure they would have praised 'their darling Dinky-dums." Harry smirked at the nickname, feeling the presence right beside him.
There was a small swish of air as they sat down, inches away from himself. Once again, Harry did not reach out to touch them. But he did feel a hand ghosting on his shoulder, there, but applying next to no pressure. Harry smiled, a genuine one, not the fake one he'd been throwing around lately. "Thank you."
That night, he stayed longer than he should have.
A troubled Harry returned the very next day, only to find a bowl of murtlap essence on his spot on the roof. The presence was there, sitting on the other side of the bowl. Harry knew that only he and the presence came up here, and so Harry thanked them and sat down, placing his bleeding hand in the substance, breathing a sigh of relief. He hadn't realized how much it was hurting until that hurt was taken away.
The hand was back on his shoulder. "Did you make this?" He asked softly. There was a soft squeeze, that Harry assumed meant yes. "Then I guess you're alive, and not a ghost." He heard the sound of slient laughter, and Harry grinned too. He looked back down at the bowl.
"Why are you always here?" Harry wondered. "I'm sure you have much better things to do than listen to me rant and spill my life story." The hand was still, unsure of how to respond. "Why are you invisible? Are you someone I wouldn't like?" The hand sqeezed once for yes. Harry thought about this for a while.
"You're always here. You offer your support for what I'm going through. You always listen. You're here." Harry closed his eyes, shutting out the image of the grounds. "If I don't like you now, than who you are here is probably more than enough to erase the dislike. Unless, of course, you're Voldemort." The hand squeezed twice for no. "Well, good. Let's see... who do I not like... Umbridge?" No. "Didn't think so. Hmm... I guess you're a slytherin, right?" One sqeeze. Harry nodded. "I don't dislike all slytherins, you know. Just Malfoy, and possibly his two cronies, but I don't think they're really all that bad. They just do what Malfoy tells them to do."
"You're not Malfoy, are you?" Two squeezes. "Phew. If you were, I guess you'd be offended, so I'm glad." He frowned. "I guess you have a reason to be invisible. But I want you to tell me who you are, someday. You don't have to now." Yes. Harry released his legs, letting them dangle over the side. He pulled the essence of murtlap with him as he laid down on the roof, his free hand under his head. He looked up at the twilight, releasing a contented sigh.
Almost hesitantly, Harry felt the presence follow, laying down next to him. "I'm glad you're here." He whispered, and then stayed in silence until he left, once again promising his return.
Something was wrong again. Harry almost couldn't place it, until he realised that the presence was not there. He frowned. The presence had shown up every time Harry had been there, barring the first time. He couldn't help but think that something was wrong.
He stayed up on the roof, studying the sky as it transformed from late afternoon, to cold winter night. He didn't leave at all that night, waking up the next morning with a backache and a cold. There was no school that day, and so he stayed outside, shivering and sneezing and trying to ignore that he should probably get inside.
He stayed like that until it was time again for him to come, and finally, finally he felt the presence return. Harry was shivering violently, teeth chattering together, but his face still lit up. "Yo-you-you're ba-back." He said, through his shudders. He smiled, showing off his teeth which were clattering together. There was an audible gasp, and the presence rushed over, feeling the cold of Harry's skin, and taking in the blue of his lips. A push on Harry's shoulder prompted him into explaining.
"Y-you were-en't here. I wa-waited." Harry's eyes closed. "But Y-you're back, no-ow." Harry was much too out of it to feel the presence picking him up, rushing him to the hospital wing. Harry could only feel the warmth. "S-so warm... Cold out the-there."
Harry could feel the presence there, even as he slipped into unconciousness in the hospital wing bed, that seemed to be reserved just for him.
The presence was still there, when Harry woke up the next day, almost dying under multiple heating charms and under a mountain of blankets. He threw them off, aware of his sweaty hair sticking to his forehead. He breathed a sigh of relief.
He turned his attention to the presence, which he could feel sitting on the bed next to his. They drew up a chair to sit closer.
"Where were you?" Harry murmured. "You're always there. You weren't yesterday." Harry was upset. The presence was one of the only steady things he could count on in his life. The almost daily roof meetings were his only break. They both knew this, but neither voiced it aloud. Especially the presence who never said anything anyway.
The presence did nothing for a few moments, but then his hand came out and touched Harry's shoulder, reassuring. Harry didn't know who was reassuring who, though.
It was a teary Harry who met the presence up on the roof. Since the overnight stay up here of Harry's, the presence was always there. Harry was glad, because he needed someone to talk to. Tears streamed down his face, and he made no effort to wipe them away.
"When you try to suppress your tears, it only hurts more." Explained Harry, with his voice shaking only slightly. He curled himself into a ball as he usually did, and he felt the presence wrap steady arms around him. Harry leaned back into their chest, closing his eyes, but the tears still appeared out from under them. He looked tired and upset.
"It's Ron." Harry began, with his eyes still closed. "He... he... I told him..."
Harry had a big red mark on his face that was bleeding slightly.
"Just because I'm..." He couldn't get the words out. He struggled with them for a while. "He freaked out. Punched me. Because I'm gay. I told him." His answers were choppy, and he suddenly let out a sob before placing his head in his folded arms resting on his knees. The arms around him stiffened, and then seemed to relax.
"Are you disgusted with me?" There were two firm squeezes. No. "That's... that's what Ron said. That he was disgusted with me. That I was a poof. A fairy, a fag, every word in the book!" Harry let out another sob, and he felt the arms stiffen again, though this time in anger. Protectiveness. "He... he called me a pervert. Said... said that I was a fag all along, and that I didn't tell because I liked watching them change for Quidditch, and in the showers, and none of that is true! I just found out... with Cho... it wasn't right. That's when I realized..."
Harry half turned and burying himself in the invisible body behind him. "And he punched me." Harry said in a muffled whisper. "I didn't do anything. I couldn't. He's my best mate... or, was. But... everyone saw." Harry said brokenly. "And I don't know if 'Mione... she heard, and saw, and I didn't wait to hear what she would say... I bolted."
As far as he knew, homosexuals were still widely unaccepted in the muggle world, and with Hermione's muggle background... he just didn't know anymore.
"I thought I could trust them. But now... I regret saying anything." A third sob, and He wiped his tears with the sleeve of his robe. "I'm sorry for crying all over you..." Harry apologized, and moved to pull away, when the presence just held him tighter. Harry allowed a small smile to grace his face, before letting his head fall on a comforting shoulder, drifting into a light sleep, where he wasn't sure if he had really ever slept at all. But next thing he knew, he was being shaken slightly by an invisible hand.
It was night. Harry looked around, for a split second wondering where he was before seeing the shingles he laid on. He grinned, and gave his thanks to them, but he and the presence knew who he was talking to. Harry was embraced again, snd Harry noticed for perhaps the first time how tall the presence was.
"When I graduate," Harry began, upon entering, "I don't want to be an auror." He settled down on the shingles, being embraced by the presence from behind. Harry knew enough by now to feel that he was curious.
"Maybe once I had wanted to be one, but I don't think I'll want to do much of that when Voldemort's dead." He said this with certainty, not pausing to think about the alternitive.
"Another option is playing professional Quidditch. But I don't think I want to do that either." He loved Quidditch, really, but he couldn't see himself doing it for a living. Quidditch was for fun, for freedom, not profit.
"I think that I want to be a professor. At Hogwarts." He took a deep breath of the familiar air around him. "This is the only real home I've ever known. I can't imagine leaving. I'll be a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. I'll be five times the teacher Umbridge is." He said firmly, and the presence hummed in agreement, one of the few noises he made.
Harry was quiet for a few moments. Then his face broke out into a wide smile. "Snape is going to hate me." And Harry laughed along with a silently shaking presence, his version of laughter.
They sat in contented silence for a long time. Harry felt more comfortable around him than he did with Ron and Hermione. Ron it was to be expected, he hadn't said one word to Harry since... the incident. And Hermione was awkward around him, as though unsure of how to act. Harry knew she was in love with Ron, and Ron's utter rejection of Harry was pulling her in two seperate directions. She had made it clear that she still wanted to be Harry's friend, but it was never the same easy friendship that it once was.
There was one problem. While he was this comfortable around the presence, he didn't want it to be a friendship kind of comfortable. He... he wanted... he wasn't sure what he wanted.
While the presence had comforted him through the incident with Ron, Harry had no idea if he was accepted. Maybe the presence just hadn't said anything. Maybe he was secretly disgusted. Maybe he was only here to learn Harry's secrets.
The presence placed his head on Harry's hair, and Harry heard him breathe in deeply, as though Harry's very scent was an anchor to life. He suddenly felt horrible for even thinking that the presence was here to spy on him, Harry settled further into his embrace, sighing contentedly.
He knew what he wanted. But did the presence want him back?
Was it possible to love someone, when you didn't know who they were?
"Will you show me who you are now?" Harry asked quietly, not wanting to push him. Harry hadn't said much when he'd arrived today. He'd sat down, and the presence sat down behind him, keeping Harry close in his arms, as always. They were quiet for a while, as Harry tried to word his question. Unfortunately, there was no way to subtly bring it up. He'd have to be upfront.
The presence hesitated, and Harry knew he wanted to show him, but was afraid that Harry wouldn't like who he saw. "It's okay." Harry said moments later of indecision. "You don't have to."
He was relieved, but Harry could tell that the barely hidden disappointment in Harry's voice was weighing on his mind. Harry placed a hand on his knee, though he missed at first.
Gradually, the sky turned darker, and Harry wished he could stay longer, but he knew he had to leave. Harry turned as he stood, the presence rising with him. Harry's hand found his chest, and trailed upward until he reached the other's jaw. Standing on tiptoes, Harry brushed his lips against the presence's, and left in the next second.
Harry was worried as he climbed the wall to get to the roof. He wasn't sure how his kiss would be recieved. He felt him there already, but how would he react? Maybe the presence had wanted to remain friends, but Harry needed to make his intentions known. He wouldn't go lusting after someone who was just his friend. He would rather the presence leave then not love him back. Though, Harry knew he would fall apart either way.
Calming his frayed nerves, his head poked above the roof, and the rest of his body followed. He was soon embraced by the presence, and Harry couldn't help wondering if it would be thier last. Presence pulled him away slightly, but still held him in place. After a breif moment of hesitation, Harry felt a pair of lips against his own. Harry gasped before returning the kiss, soft and gentle. Their bodies, Harry's being smaller and thin, and the presence's being taller and lean, fit against the other perfectly.
They broke apart for air, but quickly melded lips together once more, and this time it was harder, stronger, and more urgent, desperate. Harry couldn't help but moan as a hot, wet tongue slid along his lower lip, allowing it entrance. They explored each other with reverance, and when they finally came apart, Harry's cheeks were flushed, his lips red, and his hair was dishevelled from hands that had slid through the ebony locks. Harry's own hands were on the presence's hip and back, drawing him closer.
The presence touched Harry's lips a final time with his own, and backed away a few steps, turning around. A wave of his wand and the disillusionment charm dissolved. A dark cloak was all Harry could see, and the hood was up over his head. He wasn't just The Presence anymore. He was a person. Harry held his breath.
The person seemed to be convincing himself to turn around. Finally, he did so, letting his hood fall, and letting the setting sunlight fall on the sallow and pale face of everyone's least favorite greasy potions professor; Severus Snape.
Harry was frozen in place, taking in the long dark hair, and the onyx eyes, searching his own face. Harry could see his not-so-well-hidden fear, that showed that he was afraid of what Harry would say. He was preparing to be rejected. Scorned. Deserted. Harry entertained the idea. I wouldn't like you indeed. He thought, almost amusedly. There was no way Snape would be winning Witch Weekly's most charming smile award, but he had his own sort of grace, that Harry had secretly admired for a while.
And then he took in the fact that Snape has been here, listening to him, comforting him, holding him, kissing him. Harry felt warmed at the thought. So the unaproachable professor has emotions after all. He couldn't help it. His face slid into a bemused smile. "Well. That was a shock." He let a teasing note fall into his voice, taking deliberate steps to the professor.
Harry took in every detail of the man he hadn't seen before now. Well, seen, but not really seen. Severus (because it seemed wrong to call him anything but) looked disbelieving, as though still expecting to be thrown away. As if Harry was pretending to like him just to crush his hopes at the last moment. Really. How cruel does he think I am? He reached him, raising on tiptoes, putting both hands on his shoulders and looking into his eyes. Severus saw the truth there, and Harry kissed him again, not his presence, but Severus Snape, greasy hair and all.
"Harry." He said hoarsly, barely daring to believe it.
"Severus." The boy returned, smiling softly. "I still love you. Nothing can change that. Not even knowing who you are." He said, smirking.
Severus kissed him again, not even needing to return the words. Harry felt it.
Hours later they were still there, Harry in Severus' arms, leaning against the man's chest. Both were looking out on the grounds.
Suddenly, Harry began to laugh, breifly startling Severus. "It's no wonder!" Harry finally managed, looking at him with sparkling eyes. "I was wondering why you weren't being as cruel to me as usual in classes, and here's my answer."
Severus rolled his eyes, but couldn't suppress the upturn on his lips.
"Yes, well, don't expect that to continue. I have a reputaion to uphold." He said it in his usual drawling way - Severus had made his sarcastic personality quite clear hours ago - but they both knew he was gently teasing. Harry laughed, and it was contagious, for Severus even laughed along.
It wasn't just the roof anymore. It was their roof.
Author's Note: Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know. If you see any spelling/grammatical errors, let me know of that, too. I think I'm going to have one more chapter, but in Severus' point of view. What do you think?
Also, if it seems like the romance is moving too fast, keep in mind that the meetings that I write can be days, weeks, even months apart. The timeline starts a few days after the beginning of Harry's fifth year, and ends a month and a half or so from the end. The time when Severus didn't come was around winter break. I might have changed a few things from canon, but know that the episode in the Department of Mysteries never happened. That is all.