Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling and her publishers; no money is being made.


The first time Weasley comes to Severus, it's during the boy's last school year.

It's the day before the students leave for Christmas, and Severus's mood is anything but festive. He dislikes Christmas, dislikes seeing everyone getting ready to reunite and celebrate with their families. The idea of spending Christmas with his colleagues and some leftover students – and not to forget the Dementors lurking around the school grounds – is, like every year, annoying, but spending this time of the year alone at Spinner's End would be even worse. There is no family waiting for him at home, nothing but a house full of dust and bitter memories.

He's not planning on partaking in the festivities more than necessary; he'll attend the obligatory Christmas Dinner in the Great Hall and have tea with Albus on Boxing Day. The rest of the time, he'll spend on brewing, stocking up the infirmary's inventory of basic healing potions before the students get back.

He is just grinding Billywig stings when there is someone knocking at the door of his adjoining office, and for a moment, he's tempted to not react. He doesn't like being disturbed. But then, it might be something important – maybe it's even that Black has finally managed to get into the castle and they need Severus to help overwhelm him.

But when he opens the door, it's only Percy Weasley waiting for him, smiling awkwardly.

"Mr Weasley, what is it?"

"Um…I just came to wish you Happy Christmas, Professor."

Weasley shoves something into Severus's hands, and he is surprised enough to take it – it's a small square package wrapped in red and gold paper. He has never received a present from anyone but his parents and Lily.

"Well. Thank you." If anything, he can at least be polite. He just hopes this embarrassing situation will be over quickly. "Is there anything else?"

Weasley hesitates, but suddenly takes a deep breath, as if to gather courage.

"Yes," he says. "Actually, there is." With these words, he takes a step forward, and before Severus knows what is happening, the boy presses his lips gently against Severus's. The kiss is soft, the boy's lips warm against his own, and for some seconds, Severus is too stunned to react in any fashion. But when what is happening sinks in, he hastily pulls away.

"Mr Weasley!" He has to clear his throat – his voice is hoarse all of a sudden when he wants it to be sharp. "What is the meaning of this?"

Instead of apologising, being embarrassed by his impossible behaviour, Weasley looks him straight in the eyes. Only a slight flush on the freckled cheeks shows that anything out of the ordinary has happened.

"I've been watching you, Professor."

He says it as if it were answer enough – and it is. But Severus will be damned if he admits to that.

"I have no idea what you're speaking of."

"I've been watching you watch," Weasley adds. "Students. Me, for the last two years."

"Don't be ridiculous!"

"I'm not. What I think is ridiculous is the two of us not acting on what we want from each other."

"And what would that be?"

"Sex," Weasley replies calmly.

Severus is too shocked to answer – he can't believe Weasley's bluntness. He would never have taken him for someone to speak of these matters so freely. And to a teacher, no less. The situation is completely insane! But maybe…

"Wait here while I'm getting my wand from the desk. I need to examine you for hexes. Someone must have played a prank on you. I assure you that there is no need to be embarrassed once this is over. If we find out who did this, though, he will be in for prolonged detentions and a considerable loss of house points."

Weasley looks surprised, but then he shakes his head.

"There is no hex, Professor. How would I know that you've been watching me if this was no more than a silly prank?"

He leans in again, and for a moment, Severus fears – and almost hopes – that he's going to kiss him a second time. But Weasley only whispers in his ear, warm breath ghosting over Severus's skin.

"I'm seventeen – we're both adults. We both want it, and I'm not going to be at Hogwarts much longer." He takes a step back. "But I can see you need some time to think things over, so I'm going to wait for you to make up your mind."

"I will most certainly not sleep with a student of mine!" By now, Severus feels angry, although whether it's with Weasley or with himself, he can't tell. "You need not wait for anything."

Weasley smiles. "I'll stop waiting, then, as soon as you stop watching. Good night, and have a pleasant holiday, Professor."

Then he turns and walks away, leaving Severus to stand in the doorway, unable to move for quite some time.

When he regains his senses, Severus notices that he's still holding the gift. Despite his shock and anger, he is curious. Back in the office, he sits down at his desk and unwraps it. Inside, he finds a small, cream-coloured box. Madam Minchin's Mint Marzipan it says on the top in chiseled letters, and against his will, Severus is impressed. These are his favourite chocolates, and he can't even remember when he last indulged himself and bought some at Honeydukes. It must have been almost a year ago.

Severus opens the box and eats the first chocolate, and when he tastes mint and marzipan after the dark chocolate has melted away, he finds that he can no longer be as angry as he would like to. Weasley's actions were inappropriate, and of course it's out of the question that Severus acts on his request, but still…

Weasley is the first person who has ever approached Severus in this way, and he was right – Severus has been watching him. He has watched him grow from a child into a young man, an intelligent, hard-working, far too attractive young man. Severus had never thought that Weasley would return his interest, and now that it happened, he feels confused, flattered, and annoyed at the same time.

And then there is the kiss. Embarrassing as it is, it was his first, and although the fact that it was not Lily is still incredibly painful, remembering the feeling of Weasley's soft lips makes him feel warm and almost pleased.

Severus decides that he no longer wants to work tonight. Instead, he goes to his quarters, sits down on the couch with a cup of tea and the chocolates, and enjoys the memory while it's fresh. He will have to forget about this soon enough.

.-.-.-.

The holidays go by quietly, and when the students return, Severus does his best to ignore Weasley. It wouldn't do to encourage him, and soon, he will be gone from the school, and Severus will no longer have to think about this.

But however much he tries, again and again he finds himself observing the boy, be it during meals or during classes. He likes watching him work on his potions in his calm and effective manner, likes how the worn but neat school robes flow around his slim body, likes the freckles on Weasley's nose and cheeks, and how his red hair shimmers in the candlelight of the dungeons. Whenever he catches himself, he tries to banish these thoughts, but he finds that it is getting harder and harder each time. To think that he could kiss Weasley again, that he could run his fingers through his hair, undress him and touch his naked skin, to think that Weasley wants it to happen, wants him

And it's not as though Weasley had forgotten about it – on the contrary. Severus can tell by the looks his student is giving him when – far too often – he notices that he's being watched. Weasley will smile, then, and one time, when he's handing in an essay, he whispers in a voice so low that nobody can hear him: "I'm still waiting. All you need to do is tell me." Then he leaves quickly, and Severus has to take a deep breath to calm himself. The nerve!

But he will resist. Easter Holidays are over by now, and it's just a few short weeks before Weasley will finish his seventh year and leave, never to return. Despite the fact that he wishes it would be even sooner, however, it's not easy to ignore a feeling of regret at the thought.

Summer comes, and shortly before the holidays begin, there is the terrible mess with Sirius Black. Three days after everything is over, Severus is still seething with anger – Black should have got what he deserved, the Dementor's Kiss, and Lupin should have been punished for helping him. His resignation from his position is not nearly enough. Potter and his friends should have been punished as well. Severus is sure the brats had something to do with Black's escape, although of course, he can't prove anything, and he doubts the Headmaster would listen even if he could. The man looks pleased despite his words to the contrary; Severus has learnt to read him rather well. He feels as though everyone had conspired to assist Black – and to disregard him.

It's in this mood that he is now teaching potions to the seventh-year Gryffindors and Slytherins. Although the N.E.W.T.s were over at the end of last week, he has no intention to go lightly on them, and while the students clearly dislike the work, they dare not complain, only muttering and glaring when they think he is paying no attention. The only exception is Weasley; he works as effectively as ever, and every now and then he looks up and shoots Severus an unobserved smile. At least one person in this whole damned castle is not against him. At least one person is willing to trust him. The thought is comforting, and as he watches Weasley put some final touches on his potion, Severus makes a decision.

When class is over, he sends the students away with some last disdainful remarks concerning their brewing skills.

"I doubt that any but a select few will get anything better than 'Poor' on your exams. Now leave. Weasley, stay behind."

The classroom empties quickly, leaving only Severus and Weasley, who has approached the teacher's desk.

"Yes, Professor? Is there anything I can do for you?"

Severus hesitates. Maybe Weasley has lost interest by now. Maybe he'll only make a fool of himself if he mentions the matter. But this might be the last chance he gets – no more than a week before Weasley will be gone for good.

"If you're still interested in what we discussed before Christmas, come to my office at eight this evening."

Weasley looks surprised, but then smiles.

"All right. I'm glad you changed your mind after all."

"Just make sure nobody sees you come. I have no desire to lose my job over this. And now go to your next class. You don't want to be late."

"Yes, Professor."

Weasley leaves, and Severus stays behind with his heart hammering wildly in his throat. He can't believe that he did this, that he made an appointment for sex with a student! But Weasley iis/i an adult and will be a student for only another week. And right now, Severus can't afford to think about it any longer – already, the next students are arriving, and he has to concentrate on the lesson.

During the course of the day, Severus grows increasingly nervous. What possessed him to invite Weasley? He must have been insane. So much could go wrong. Most of all, he fears that Weasley will change his mind at some point. He hates to imagine the humiliation he would feel.

When eight o'clock arrives and there's a knock at his office door, he almost decides to ignore it. But he takes heart, and as he sees Weasley standing in front of him, he's glad he did not back out.

"Good evening Professor."

Severus steps aside to let him in.

"Come in before someone sees you."

Weasley obeys, and Severus leads him through his office into his private sitting room. And what now? He feels terribly awkward – what does one say in such a situation?

"Sit, please. Would you like a glass of wine?"

"Yes, thank you."

Severus goes to get a bottle of red wine and two glasses, and he joins Weasley on the couch. There is silence for a while as they both sip their drinks, but eventually, Severus needs to say something.

"If you've come with some mistaken teenage idea of love in mind –"

"No, Professor. I've come for sex only."

"Good." It's a relief. The thought had been bothering him for quite a while, and he doesn't want to be misleading to Weasley. The only person he has ever loved and will ever love is Lily; anything else is inconceivable.

"Then how about we go to the bedroom?" Weasley suggests.

Severus is taken aback by his bluntness for a moment, but then puts down his glass.

"Fine."

He leads the way to the bedroom, though once there, he feels at a loss. The only people he's had sex with before have been prostitutes, one man and several women, and right now, the atmosphere is as business-like as it had been then.

"Professor?" Weasley touches his arm. "Are you all right?"

"Of course I am. I was just wondering…have you ever done this before?"

Taking away his hand again, Weasley shakes his head. "This will be the first time."

Severus wouldn't have suspected this – the boy seems so certain of himself and of what he wants.

"Then why me? For the first time?"

"Well." Slowly, Weasley begins unbuttoning his school robes. "For one, I find you attractive. Also, you're a good teacher in the classroom, and I imagined you'd be in other areas as well."

Severus doesn't know what to say, and so he watches silently as Weasley proceeds to undress. Now that the young man is clad in nothing but his briefs, Severus realises that he is still fully dressed. He has been staring, fascinated by the slowly uncovered slim body and white skin. He starts to disrobe as well, but he feels hesitant. He has no illusions about his looks – he is too pale, bony, and hairy – and Weasley might be disappointed. But they have gone this far, and it would be silly to stop now, so he plunges on, quickly discarding all clothes until he stands naked before Weasley.

From that moment on, it all goes too quickly for him to think much about it. Before he can worry any more, Weasley's warm body is pressed against him, and Weasley is kissing him firmly, arms wrapped around Severus to keep him close.

"Let's lie down," he demands when they break the kiss, and Severus complies, lying down with him on the blue covers of his four-poster bed. It's almost too narrow for the two of them. Before now, he has never needed a larger bed.

Weasley's hands are all over him, touching, caressing, and, encouraged by his eagerness, Severus reciprocates, his doubts forgotten. They keep exploring each other for a long while; Severus relishes the feeling of running his fingers over smooth, almost hairless skin, the way Weasley gasps as Severus teases his nipples with his tongue and teeth, and how quickly the boy is learning just what to do, how to touch to make Severus shiver.

Then, finally, Severus grasps Weasley's hand and guides it to his hard cock. Weasley begins to stroke it gently at first, then firmer, and Severus can't suppress a moan – it's been far too long since someone other than himself has touched him there. He takes hold of Weasley's cock, and soon, they're both panting heavily, Weasley's breath hot against Severus's chest, and only when Severus feels that he's close to coming does he stop, taking hold of Weasley's wrist.

"Wait!"

He disentangles himself and leans over to the bedside table, reaching for a small jar of petroleum jelly that he had placed there before Weasley had come to his quarters. After a few moments of hesitation, Weasley turns on his back and spreads his legs. Severus takes his time stretching him; he wouldn't want this to be a painful experience for the boy, not when he chose Severus, above all others, to make this good for him. Then Severus is inside him, thrusting slowly, Weasley's face flushed with pleasure beneath him. It doesn't take long before Severus comes, and Weasley soon after him, his fingers digging deep into Severus's back.

They lie together until their breathing has calmed down, then Weasley sits up, looking down at Severus.

"I was right," he says. "You are a good teacher."

"Well. Thank you." Severus sits up as well, now feeling a bit embarrassed again. "You were just as much of a diligent student as you are outside the bedroom."

Weasley chuckles, and reaches for his glasses on the bedside table. "I should better go. It's just half an hour until curfew."

They clean themselves with some spells and dress. Severus is glad that Weasley doesn't seem to feel the need to talk. He accompanies him to the door, but before he can open it, Weasley turns to Severus and gives him a last kiss.

"Thank you, Professor. I won't forget this evening for a long time."

Severus won't, either, but all he says is. "Don't let anybody see you on your way back."

Then Weasley is gone, and Severus goes back to his quarters to have another glass of wine. At least for tonight, all unpleasant thoughts about Black, Potter, and the Headmaster are forgotten.


The second time Weasley comes to Severus, it's just a day after Crouch Junior's confession of killing his father.

It's late at night, and Severus has dressed for bed already, when there is someone knocking at his door. When he opens, he finds himself faced with a distraught-looking Weasley. The young man looks dishevelled and exhausted, eyes red and swollen, hair sticking out untidily into several directions.

"Mr Weasley. What brings you to me?"

"Professor." His voice is hoarse and shaky. "I…I thought…" He trails off, and Severus realises he's close to tears. He only hopes he won't actually cry in front of him.

"Come on in and sit down."

Weasley obeys with a grateful look, makes for Severus's sitting room, and sits down on the couch.

"Firewhisky?" Severus offers, and Weasley nods, downing the alcohol like water when Severus hands it to him.

"Have you heard? About Mr Crouch?" he asks, and now Severus understands what is wrong with him. He knows Weasley had been admiring the man greatly.

"I have."

Staring down at his empty glass, Weasley seems once more close to crying.

"I…I should have noticed something. I…maybe if I had, he would still…"

Severus feels terribly uncomfortable – why on earth is Weasley coming to him with this instead of his family or friends? They've had sex once, but they're not close; they know nothing about each other.

"Look, if you've come for comfort –"

Weasley looks up from the glass, shaking his head defiantly.

"No," he almost snaps. "Just for sex."

Stunned, Severus doesn't answer at first – he hadn't thought the experience would ever be repeated. But he's not at all averse to the idea.

"Come to the bedroom, then."

Once inside the bedroom, it's only a matter of moments before Weasley is naked; he rips off his clothes hastily, throwing them on the floor beside the bed, and Severus hastens to get rid of his nightshirt as well.

This time, there is no slow exploration of each other's bodies, there are no caresses. Weasley's kisses are hungry and hard, his grip on Severus so firm it hurts. It's fascinating to see Weasley like this, and Severus finds that he likes being handled roughly, likes how Weasley's teeth sink into his skin as he kisses – or rather bites – his neck, shoulders, and sides.

"The lube!" Weasley pants after a while, and Severus quickly gets it from the drawer in the bedside table. Weasley grabs the jar, then makes Severus turn on his hands and knees. The two times Severus had sex with a man, he's been on top, but to his surprise, the idea of Weasley's cock inside him excites him much more than he would have expected.

Weasley doesn't take much time to prepare him, and he's not careful, making Severus hiss in pain as he thrusts into him for the first time. But Severus doesn't protest; instead, he finds himself wanting more. And he gets more – Weasley fucks him with hard, jerky thrusts, almost clawing at Severus's shoulders as he clutches him tightly to himself. Severus is rubbing his own cock furiously, and he knows he won't last long. This pleasure mixed with pain is too much for him. He comes long before Weasley does, but he doesn't mind – Weasley needs this release more than himself. At some point, the young man's moans and grunts turn into sobs, and then he comes with a shudder, collapsing against Severus, who holds still as he feels Weasley's wet face against his back and waits until he stops crying.

Finally, Weasley rolls off him and sits stiffly on the edge of the bed, his back turned to Severus. He rubs his eyes awkwardly and won't look at Severus when he accepts a handkerchief from him. There's nothing Severus knows to say, but when he puts his hand on Weasley's shoulder, the young man relaxes after a while, and they sit in silence for some time.

"I should go," Weasley mutters in the end.

He looks sad and lost, and for some reason, Severus doesn't like the idea to let him leave like this in the middle of the night.

"If you want, you can sleep on the couch," he offers.

Weasley tries to smile, but doesn't seem to find it in him, only grimacing weakly instead.

"Thank you. For everything."

Later, Severus lies in bed and listens to the faint sobs he can hear through the closed bedroom door. When he gets up in the morning, Weasley is already gone.


The third time Weasley comes to Severus, it's only a few days after he killed Albus.

He would have expected to find death Eaters on his doorstep – maybe Bellatrix, once again confronting him with her suspicions about his loyalties – or Aurors who want to take him to Azkaban. But there is only Weasley, looking at Severus earnestly from behind metal-rimmed glasses.

"Weasley! What are you doing here?"

In a pocket of his robes, Severus is clutching his wand tightly, ready to whip it out at any second. Weasley does work for the Ministry, after all.

"May I come in?" the young man asks softly. "I don't think I should be seen here."

Severus is tempted to Obliviate him then and there, send him away without learning his intentions. Weasley is right: he shouldn't be seen here; it's too dangerous for both of them. Luckily, Pettigrew is gone for the day – the Dark Lord has requested his presence. But when Severus opens his mouth, he can't find it in himself to utter the words, so he grabs Weasley by the arm, drags him inside, and quickly closes the door behind him.

"What are you doing here?" he repeats. "You must be insane! What makes you think I won't kill you now that you've found me?"

"You won't," is all Weasley has to say.

"You're a fool! A fool who works for the Ministry – the same Ministry that's trying to catch me for murder! How do I know you're not here on their behalf?"

"Would you like to use Veritaserum on me?" Weasley, in contrast to Severus, is still perfectly calm. "I'm not here to spy on you for the Ministry. I found you on my own. And I'm not going to turn you in once I leave. In fact, you should Obliviate me concerning your whereabouts so nobody will be able to make me reveal the information."

"You bet I'll do that! I'm not suicidal. Or maybe I am for letting you in in the first place."

He still doesn't understand completely why he did it, except for the fact that he feels alone and miserable, and – the realisation is pathetic – there is nobody to whom he's been closer in his adult life than Weasley. But he can't afford such weaknesses now, not when everything depends on his ability to fight alone.

"My wand is in my right pocket," Weasley says. "You should take it."

Severus does as Weasley suggests, pocketing the young man's wand himself. At least now he can be certain that he won't be hexed.

"I was right, you are a fool to put yourself at my mercy like this."

Weasley says nothing. His silence is unnerving.

"Now tell my why you're here! What do you still want from me?"

"What I would like is to know the truth," Weasley replies levelly. "But since that's not possible, I'll settle for sex."

The truth about what? It can't possibly be that Weasley knows anything.

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

"It doesn't matter. Don't worry, I won't ask about things you can't tell me."

Severus stares at the young man, who returns his gaze, unwavering. Can it be that he has figured Severus out when nobody else has? Could he trust Severus this much? But why? Or is Severus interpreting too much into his words, and Weasley simply doesn't care that he's a Death Eater and murderer? It seems equally impossible.

"Does it matter so much why I trust you?" Weasley asks. "Isn't it more important that I do?"

Maybe it's this that does Severus in. Nobody else trusts him; the only man who did is dead by his hand. Before he can think more deeply about it, he has grabbed Weasley and they are kissing, tongues moving in each other's mouths as they hold on to each other tightly.

It's not long after that they find themselves in the bedroom, but when they're both undressed, Severus hesitates. How does he know Weasley is telling the truth? It would be easy to overwhelm Severus once he's let down his guard, lost in passion.

Weasley seems to be able to read his thoughts.

"Bind my hands," he demands and sits down on the bed.

"What?"

"My hands. Bind them, so you can be sure I won't try to take one of the wands after all."

It sounds insane and logical at the same time. There are a few scarves in the wardrobe, and Severus takes one of them and binds Weasley's wrists together before he tells him to lie down on his back so he can tie the other end of the scarf to one of the metal bars at the head of the bed. Weasley complies willingly, and once he's entirely helpless, Severus stares down at him in fascination.

The sight is strangely compelling, not only because Weasley is a beautiful young man in Severus's eyes. It's the way he makes himself vulnerable to Severus, that he trusts him with his freedom, his life. Severus believes it now, although he still fails to understand it. He can't put the feeling that this knowledge creates in him into words.

Weasley looks up at him with a little smile, and when Severus reaches out to touch him, he notices that his hands are shaking. Suddenly, he almost fears the contact, as if that warm, pleasant glow deep inside were to vanish the moment his fingers meet Weasley's skin. It doesn't, though – on the contrary, it only intensifies as he runs his hands over a flat stomach and barely visible ribs, and it makes him feel almost dizzy. To distract himself, he puts his mouth to work together with his hands, and soon, Weasley is squirming and gasping, his cheeks flushed with the hint of pink Severus found so becoming and tried to ignore the evening when Weasley kissed him for the first time.

He takes his time, even longer than they did during their first encounter. Weasley's responses are intriguing, and it's almost a pity when Severus realizes that he can't wait any longer. But when he eventually enters Weasley, the look on the young man's face and his own pleasure more than make up for it. Even now, he doesn't rush; he wants this to last as long as possible, their bodies rocking together slowly, skin against warm skin, Weasley's legs wrapped around him as he arches closer to Severus with each thrust.

When it's over, Severus doesn't immediately release Weasley. Instead, he cleans them with a spell before he lies down next to him. The sight has lost nothing of its fascination, and he doesn't want this to end just now, to see Weasley leave. Weasley doesn't seem to mind; he doesn't object. He's lying with his eyes closed, his cheeks still flushed, looking perfectly relaxed. He looks so comfortable, as if he were at home or in bed with a lover who can be trusted implicitly, and Severus feels envious. The fact that he can't afford it to trust Weasley frustrates him, and suddenly, seeing him tied up like this makes Severus angry.

With a few quick motions, he undoes the scarf and throws it on the floor. Weasley looks surprised, but then wraps his arms around Severus and kisses him. Severus reciprocates eagerly; he doesn't want to have to think so much, to sour this short-lived comfort by brooding. Soon enough, he'll have to worry about watching and contributing to torture and death.

Death… He tries to shake off the thought, but it's too late. There has hardly been a time during the last three days when he's not been thinking of Albus, and now it's all coming back. The way Albus had pleaded with him, his own voice speaking the Killing Curse, and that terrible green flash…

Abruptly, Severus breaks the kiss and turns away, barely stifling a pained moan. Thankfully, Weasley does nothing but put a hand on his shoulder and wait until he has managed to compose himself a little. However, all desire for sex or kisses is gone when Severus turns back to face Weasley's worried frown.

"Are you all right?"

Severus doesn't answer. There is a lump in his throat that makes him unable to speak.

"I'm sorry. It was a stupid question."

Weasley draws Severus closer, making him lay his head on the young man's chest, and Severus doesn't resist. Instead, he closes his eyes and ignores the small voice telling him that it's too dangerous. He wants this, needs this, and just this once, he won't deny himself. Screw the consequences.

A few moments later, Weasley pulls the covers over them, so high that Severus is buried under them up to his nose. It's warm and comforting, and his agitation seems to have given way to exhaustion. He hasn't slept well these last few days – in fact, he hasn't slept for more than two hours straight since he's killed Albus – and he realises that if he's not careful, he might very well fall asleep like this.

Weasley's grip on him loosens slightly, and then there is a hand in his hair, stroking, caressing. Nobody has done this since Severus was a small child. It's almost too alien at first, and Severus is tempted to pull away. He holds still, though, and bit by bit, he can relax into the feeling.

Sleep is pulling at him, and it is getting harder and harder to resist. The caresses on his hair are gentle, and Weasley's heart is thudding in his ear in a slow, steady rhythm. Still, letting this happen is one thing, sleeping in Weasley's presence is something else entirely. He can't risk it. He needs to get up, now! All that he manages to do, though, is to tense and make a feeble attempt at shaking off Weasley's arm around him. In response, the young man tightens his hold.

"Shhh. Sleep," he whispers. "It'll be all right." Severus wants to protest, but he's too comfortable and tired, and he gives in almost immediately and relaxes again. Before he knows it, he has dozed off in Weasley's arms.

.-.-.-.

Severus awakes with a start, and for a few seconds, he's confused by the warm body he feels next to himself. Then he remembers, and he immediately turns around to where he put his clothes, instinctively reaching for his wand.

"Professor."

A hand touches his naked shoulder, and now he sees his own wand on the bedside table and the tip of Weasley's wand peeking from the pocket of his robes. He slumps back down with a sigh of relief, and Weasley's arms wrap around him once more. Severus closes his eyes as he feels Weasley's fingers in his hair again.

"I'm a fool," he mutters. "For falling asleep, and for letting you in at all. I risked everything." His own life. Potter's. The fates of so many others.

"I'm glad you are," Weasley says, pulling Severus closer. Weasley's heartbeat in Severus's ear is as regular and comforting as it was before, and he realises he could go back to sleep within minutes. But he can't allow himself to sleep again. Weasley needs to leave sooner rather than later. They can't know when Pettigrew will return – it's turning dark already, and they've been insanely lucky so far.

He doesn't want to think of it, of being alone once more for who knows how long. A war is coming, and it's not unlikely that they'll never see each other again. The idea is unwelcome, painful even. He wants this again, wants to touch and be touched, and not only physically.

He truly iis/i a fool. How does he know Weasley would want the same?

"I'll come back," Weasley eventually whispers into his thoughts. "Once all this is over, I'll come back to you."

There is a fondness in his voice that makes Severus almost think that he is not alone with his feelings. Still, he can't suppress an unhappy chuckle.

"What makes you believe either of us will still be alive?"

He gets no answer, and Severus tries to banish the thought once more. He doesn't want to think of death. He used to wish for it for a long time, and when he agreed to Albus's plan, he knew and expected that sooner or later, he would pay for it with his life. He didn't care much, but now he finds that he is not as ready as he believed he was. And Weasley dying – he can't go there, not now.

"What if the Dark Lord wins and I'm loyal to him after all?"

He has to ask it, has to try and find out what Weasley truly thinks of him.

"Then at least there'll be one Death Eater whom I'll trust to protect me."

Is this it? Is that what Weasley is doing? Buying himself protection in case the worst should happen? It's logical, but Severus hates the thought. Even when there was no sign of the Dark Lord rising again, Weasley had sought him out twice. Surely, that has to mean something?

After another few minutes, Severus sits up.

"You need to leave. It's not safe. Pettigrew could come back soon."

Weasley doesn't contradict, and they get dressed quickly and go downstairs to the living room, where Severus draws his wand.

"I'm going to Obliviate your memory of where I am and how you found me before I give you your wand."

"All right."

"Concentrate on how you got here," Severus orders, then points the wand at Weasley.

"Obliviate!"

Weasley blinks, looking confused.

"I think it worked. I have no idea where we are or how I got here."

Despite the fact that he believes him, Severus gets a vial from a small cupboard in the corner of the room and holds it out for Weasley to take.

"It's Veritaserum," he explains. "I need to be certain you don't remember, for both our sakes."

After hesitating shortly, Weasley takes the vial and downs its contents. Moments later, his gaze is getting slightly glazed, and Severus knows the potion is working.

"Do you know where you are?" he asks.

"At your place."

"And where is that?"

Frowning, Weasley tries to concentrate. "I don't know."

"Not even the country?"

"No."

"And how did you get here? What gave you the idea to look here, of all places?"

Weasley can only shake his head. "I can't remember."

"Good." Severus is tempted to ask more – he has many questions. Why did Weasley come? What are his feelings towards Severus? Is there something more, or is this about nothing but sex and protection in case Potter's side loses the war? But he knows better. Instead, he gives him his wand and crosses his arms in front of his chest. He wouldn't have imagined it would be so hard to watch Weasley leave.

"Then go now. And don't try to find me again. We might not be as lucky."

"I know."

Weasley takes a step closer and kisses Severus one last time.

"Goodbye, Professor."

There's nothing more to say – Severus dislikes farewell scenes, and he can't think of the fact that this might be a farewell forever. But when Weasley is about to Apparate, Severus grabs his wrist.

"Be careful!"

Weasley nods. "I will."

Reluctantly, Severus lets go, and moments later, Weasley has Apparated away, and Severus is alone again.


The first thing Severus notices when he comes to is thirst. His throat feels like sandpaper, his tongue dry and sticking to his gums. Slowly, he realizes that he must be lying in a bed; he can feel the covers around him. He wants to get up and get something to drink, but when he tries, he has to realise that he can hardly move. All that he manages to do is to lift his head weakly before he slumps back down.

There is a light touch on his shoulder, then, and a voice that sounds vaguely familiar.

"Severus? Are you awake? Can you hear me?"

It's only now that he notices that he hasn't even opened his eyes. It seems to take him forever, and even then, his sight is blurred at first, and all he can make out is what appears to be a human form bending down to him.

"Thank Merlin! I was getting truly worried."

Slowly, his sight clears, and now he recognises the other person – it's Weasley, looking down at him with an expression of joy that confuses him.

Then Weasley composes himself and sits down on the edge of the bed right next to Severus.

"Can you understand me?"

Severus nods. He needs something to drink; it seems much more important right now than remembering what happened and how he ended up here, or why Weasley is here.

"Is there anything you need?"

"Water…" It's a barely audible rasp, and it hurts to speak, but luckily, Weasley understands. Only a few moments later, a cup with a straw appears in Severus's field of vision, and Weasley gently lifts his head to help him drink.

"Thank you," Severus murmurs after taking a few sips. His throat feels better already, and talking isn't as painful as before.

The cup disappears, and he is lowered back on the pillow before Weasley takes Severus's hand into his own. They feel warm around his cold fingers, the covers tucked around him are soft and warm as well, and within seconds, Severus has fallen asleep again.

When he wakes up for the second time, Weasley doesn't seem to have moved. He's still sitting at his bedside and holding Severus's hand, smiling when he sees him awake once more.

"Where am I? What happened?" He had been too tired to ask when he'd awoken before.

"You're at St Mungo's," Weasley explains. "Voldemort is gone; Harry beat him once and for all. You got badly injured by that snake, and when everything was over, Harry had you brought here. You were still alive, but you've been unconscious for almost three weeks. Harry told everyone what you showed him, and the Wizengamot cleared you of all charges."

As he speaks, it comes back to Severus: the Shrieking Shack, Nagini's fangs in his neck, the memories he gave Potter.

Look at me!

Green eyes boring into his, reminding him of the woman he loves, the woman for whom he's doing all this. He can feel the venom running through his veins, can feel the life running out of him, but just before everything fades to black, green eyes change into blue ones, and the face of Lily into that of a young man with freckles and glasses.

"Weasley…" he whispers.

"Please, call me Percy."

For a few seconds, Severus is disoriented before he finds himself looking up at that same face.

I'll come back to you. Weasley – no, Percy had said it back at Spinner's End, and he's kept his promise.

"Percy. How often did you come by?"

Weasley's grip on his hand tightens slightly.

"Every day."

What does this mean? What will happen between them now?

"If you've come for sex, I fear you'll have to wait a few more weeks," Severus mutters. He can't think of anything intelligent to say.

Weasley shakes his head.

"Not this time."

He bends down, then, and kisses Severus's forehead, and for some strange reason, this kiss feels more intimate than any sex, anything they've had before.

"This time…" Percy's voice is shaking slightly, but he looks Severus straight in the eye. "This time, if you want, I've come for everything else."

Severus can't answer, not yet. It's only now that he truly realises that he has survived, and that the one thing he'd tried – and failed – not to hope for through all of this might have come true. He feels tears welling up and closes his eyes, breathing deeply, but it's useless. It doesn't seem as though Percy would mind, though, and Severus relaxes, letting the young man pet his hair and caress his wet cheeks in silence. His touch is as soft as he remembers.

Later, there will be truth, and for a short, insane moment in which he has to think of Percy's expression when he first opened his eyes, he dares to contemplate the idea of love. But for now, the comfort of Percy's presence is enough.