Author's Note: This is the sequel to The Great Tragedy of Severus Snape. It will stand alone, but I'd suggest reading that first. The idea for this story isn't particularly original. There are probably a couple hundred fics like this floating around out there, but I wanted to try one out for myself anyway. I started writing this first, but about halfway through I decided that I wanted to go a little more in depth about what happened at the Order of Merlin award ceremony, so I decided to make that into a separate story.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or related characters
Please Remember Me
Severus' lab was in disarray. This fact niggled at the back of his mind as he brewed that day's batch of potions. He never let it get this bad. He was usually so meticulously clean about his workspace, but he had such a huge backlog of work orders, that he hadn't had time to properly clean in almost a month, and he wouldn't let the house elves anywhere near his lab.
He moved ingredients around on the shelf behind his worktable until he found the aconite and added it to one of the three cauldrons simmering on the table. He stirred it widdershins a few times and searched the shelf for the mugwort. Severus managed to find the ceramic jar he kept the mugwort in and pulled out the cork. It was empty.
This was just unacceptable.
Letting the lab get this messy was at least understandable, but there was absolutely no excuse for letting his stores run bare. It was unforgiveable. He slammed the empty jar back down on the shelf in anger.
Severus had a moment to seethe before there was a deafening crash and the shelf collapsed, spilling ingredients into the open cauldrons before the shelf itself crashed down onto the table and toppled the cauldrons.
Severus was hit by the contents of the cauldrons in a splash of boiling multi-colored liquid. His robes protected him from most of the damage, but some of the potion hit the side of his face and neck. It all happened so fast that he didn't have time to shield himself, and the splash startled him back; he slipped and fell flat on his back on the floor and was out cold.
Severus woke on the floor of his workroom. It wasn't the first time. He worked too much. It was to be expected really. That was how he had always dealt with stress. He hadn't had the luxury of showing that stress during the war, and now he had quite a buildup of excess emotions to manage. Alone, in the dark of his lab, a cauldron simmering on the worktable, he was able to do that.
He sat up and brushed himself off, surveying the devastation of his lab. It wouldn't be the first time for that either. He'd destroyed his workroom in a fit of rage more than once. He stood and flicked his wand at the mess, banishing everything but his equipment. The ingredients would have been contaminated now, and so, useless.
He was just setting things to rights when there was a hesitant knock on the door and a moment later it creaked open. Severus turned, holding his wand at the ready. There weren't many people who were capable of just walking through his wards, and almost all of them were unsavory.
Severus recognized this one immediately as the most unsavory of the lot- James Potter.
"You better have a really good reason for being in here, Potter, or I'm going to blast your brainless head off."
Potter sighed. "Relax, I won't touch anything. I know I'm not supposed to be in your lab, but don't you think that's a bit of an overreaction. I just wanted to see if you were almost done for the day; I have dinner ready."
He stepped forward into the light and Severus realized that it wasn't James Potter after all. "Who the hell are you?" Severus asked, pointing his wand at the intruder.
"Severus?" The man's voice was full of concern, and he stepped toward Severus again.
Green eyes bore into him, and the grip on his wand faltered for an instant as the man walked toward him. "Stay back," Severus said, steadying his wand. "Who the hell are you?" he asked again.
"It's me," the man said, "Harry." He definitely sounded worried now. He looked around at the lab, taking in the clean worktop and empty cauldrons. His eyes flickered back to Severus. "What's going on; is this some kind of joke? Did George put you up to this?"
George? Who was George? He didn't think he even knew a George. Then again, he didn't know a Harry either, but whoever he was, he certainly seemed to know Severus. "I don't have any idea who you are, and I don't know anyone named George."
"Severus, put the wand down." Harry said.
For some reason Severus found himself obeying. "If this is some kind of joke, I don't think it's very funny," he said.
"I'm not playing a joke on you," Harry said. "Are you okay?"
"I'm perfectly fine, save that there's a strange man in my workroom, looking at me like I owe him something and not explaining what he is doing here. If Lucius put you up to this, you can tell him that he's losing his touch."
"No," Harry said, "I.."
"This George of yours then," Severus suggested. "Not exactly my idea of a joke."
"You just said that you don't know who he is," Harry protested. "You should sit down. I think you had some kind of accident or something."
Severus allowed himself to be led over to a stool and sat down. "Who are you anyway? James Potter's cousin or something, you look like a Potter."
"I am yes," Harry said, "a Potter that is, not James' cousin. Well, actually it's Potter-Snape now, I guess." Harry gave him a half-apologetic smile. "I'm your husband."
Severus let out a snort of derision. "Fine, I take it back, Lucius hasn't lost his touch after all. I should have known that this had something to do with him right off. You look like one of his. He always liked short brunettes."
Harry shuddered at the suggestion. "Lucius is locked away in Azkaban for life, and I am not short."
Severus scoffed. "Well, I hate to break this to you, but I'm not gay."
"And I hate to break this to you, but you most definitely are."
"Why should I believe anything you say?"
"Well, there is that," Harry said, pointing to Severus' left hand.
Severus held up his hand, looking at the silver bonding ring around his finger. He'd never seen it before, but he recognized the Potter family crest etched into the band. Harry held up his hand to show Severus the ring on his finger. Now that one Severus did recognize. It had been in his family for centuries, and it should be locked in his vault at Gringotts, not riding around on some floppy headed Potter brat's hand.
"This is ridiculous," Severus said.
Harry frowned. "Look, I'm going to go floo Madam Pomfrey so we can figure out what's going on. Do you remember her?"
"Poppy Pomfrey?" Severus asked, the distaste clear in his voice.
"Yeah, you remember her," Potter said. "Just wait here, I'll be right back," he said and hurried out the door.
Madam Pomfrey pulled Harry aside so that they could have a word in private. "There's obviously been some memory loss, but it appears sporadic. He knows that the war is over and he remembers spying for the Order, but he doesn't seem to remember any of the details."
"He doesn't remember me," Harry said, glancing over her shoulder to watch his husband sleeping on the sofa. "How can he not remember me? I mean, some memory loss I can understand, but he doesn't seem to remember that I even existed at all. How can that be? He remembered my father. Shouldn't he at least know me as James and Lily's son? I don't understand."
"I'm not sure that I have any answers for you," Madam Pomfrey said apologetically. "Without knowing exactly what happened, there's no way to predict what the effects may be. I'll run some more tests in a few days. In the meantime, just try to keep to your normal routine. The familiarity might trigger some memories."
Harry nodded. "How much longer is he going to be asleep?"
Pomfrey looked back at Severus. "Another half hour I would expect. Make sure that he eats something."
"Okay, yeah." Harry walked her over to the floo.
"Call me if there are any problems."
Harry nodded. "I will. Thank you for coming. I didn't want to bring him to St. Mungo's. He still has a lot of enemies."
"Take care of him, Harry," she said, and stepped into the floo.
Harry walked back into the sitting room to check on Severus. He was still sleeping soundly. Harry tucked a blanket around his husband and dropped a kiss on his brow. Life would never be easy for him; Harry had long since come to terms with this, but having his husband forget that he'd ever existed was too much.
Severus was the only real constant in his life. Harry couldn't deal with losing him. So he put the thought out of his mind. He left Severus sleeping and went to the kitchen.
He'd made a beef roast for dinner, but it had been done in the oven for over three hours now and it was completely inedible. Harry took out his wand and banished the charred briquette that was supposed to be their dinner. He went to the cupboard and pulled out a package of noodles and a can of spaghetti sauce. He set the water to boil and started slicing up a carton of fresh mushrooms from the fridge. Harry had learned most of the domestic charms needed for cooking anything magically, but none of his cooking ever turned out as well as when he did it the muggle way.
Harry had just put the noodles into the boiling water and was adding sauce to the sautéed mushrooms when Severus padded into the kitchen.
"That smells good," he said, startling Harry.
"It's your favorite," Harry said after staring wide-eyed for a moment. "How are you feeling?"
"Like I've been drugged with one of my own potions," he answered, sitting down heavily at the table.
"Madam Pomfrey thought that it would be best to sedate you while she ran her tests."
"Did she find anything?" Severus asked.
Harry shook his head. "She said that the effects could be temporary. She'll be back in a few days to run some more tests, but she wants to wait and see if you get any of your memories back before she does anything more."
Severus nodded. "And your name is Harry," he verified.
"Yes," Harry answered. "We've been married for almost five years now. You taught me at Hogwarts and then we worked together to defeat Voldemort."
"You're James' and Lily's son, aren't you? I see the resemblance now. You have her eyes." He met Harry's eyes then, searching, but looked away.
"But they're dead. The Dark Lord killed them."
"Yes," Harry said again. It felt so weird to be explaining this to Severus, but he tried. "There was a prophesy that said I would defeat Voldemort, well not me specifically, but Voldemort sought to eliminate the possibility of my fulfilling the prophesy, and he came to kill me. My parents sacrificed themselves to protect me."
"She was my best friend." Severus looked down at his hands folded on the table. "She was my best friend, and I don't remember."
"It's okay, Severus," Harry said. He came over and put a hand on Severus' shoulder. "I know that you don't remember who I am, but we've been through a lot together. We'll figure it out."
He made Severus a plate of spaghetti and set it down in front of him. He didn't bother to get any for himself; he had no interest in eating just at the moment. Harry took the seat across from him at the table
Severus was staring at him openly, and it made Harry uncomfortable to have his husband starring at him with that expression on his face- like he'd never seen him before in his life.
"Madam Pomfrey said that you should eat something. It will help with the after-effects from the sedative, and spaghetti is your favorite; it will make you feel better."
Severus finally picked up his fork and started eating. A look of surprise crossed his face as he chewed. "You seem to be correct," he said, once he'd swallowed. "This is very good."
Harry smiled. "Yeah, like I said, it's your favorite."
Severus made a noncommittal noise, but continued to eat greedily.
"Feeling better?" Harry asked when Severus had finished inhaling his pasta- wondering at how the man had managed to eat that much spaghetti that quickly without getting any sauce on his face.
"I feel like I've forgotten half my life," Severus answered after a moment.
"Madam Pomfrey thinks that it's best if we stick to our normal routine as much as possible. She thinks it might trigger some of your memories."
"What is our normal routine?" Severus had to ask.
"Well," Harry considered it. "Nine months out of the year we're at Hogwarts, but it's June 28th, so we've been home for a few weeks now. You usually spend the first part of the summer holidays catching up on your backlog of potions orders, while I do maintenance on the house. We're not here during the school year at all, so things tend to fall into disrepair. I renew all the domestic charms and the wards, weed and degnome the garden- that sort of thing. At the end of July we go on a proper holiday for my birthday and our anniversary. Then we go back to the castle around the middle of August so that we have a couple weeks to get ready for the new term."
Severus nodded, seeming to agree that this was a likely enough story. "And how long have we been married?"
"It will be five years next month."
Severus made a thoughtful sound, and twisted his bondring between his thumb and forefinger. "How old are you, Harry?"
"And, I'm…" Severus frowned.
"Forty-seven," Harry supplied.
"Old enough to be your father," Severus concluded.
"Well, I would certainly hope so; you did graduate the same year as my father."
"You seem to be taking this all surprisingly well," Severus said, steering the conversation away from James.
Harry shrugged. "I could rail against the fates and throw china, but it would only make a mess, and I just cleaned in here." Harry sighed, trying to explain. "There's a muggle axiom that you were taken with a while back: shit happens."
Severus' mouth quirked into a smirk at the corner.
"You don't know me," Harry said, "or you don't remember that you know me. Nothing in my life has ever been easy. My parents died when I was a year old. My childhood was filled with even more abuse than yours. I was used as a pawn against Lord Voldemort for longer than I want to admit, and at seventeen the whole world expected me to sacrifice myself to save them. I've been tortured. I've been beaten. I've watched my friends die." Harry gave him a sad smile. "This is just one more thing, and not even that bad in comparison."
Something told Severus that Harry wasn't exaggerating. If anything, he was downplaying the tragedy of his life, and Severus was overcome by a desire to take the man into his arms and make it all better.
"You're taking this better than I would have imagined too," Harry said.
"It's probably mostly the sedative," Severus admitted. "Though there would be little to be gained by fighting against information that I have no reason to disbelieve."
"What do you mean?"
"Just that, if you are lying, I've seen no evidence of it."
"I'm not lying," Harry said.
"It would seem not."
"I can prove that I'm not."
"Oh, I rather doubt that." Severus scraped his fork along his plate to scoop up the last of the pasta sauce that had cooled on his plate.
"You're the legilimens," Harry pointed out. "You've always complained that my mind is like an open book. Have a look for yourself," Harry offered, "unless you've forgotten that too."
Severus took his wand from his sleeve and cast, "Legilimens." Harry didn't fight the spell at all; instead he let a memory float to the front of his mind.
Severus, sitting in a chair by the fire with his eyes closed. Harry smiles to himself and pads over to his husband, wrapping his arms around him from behind. He leant over to nuzzle at Severus' neck, breathing deep the smell of his hair.
"Wake up," Harry whispered, "sleepy Severus."
"I'm not sleeping." Severus' voice sounded strange to his own ears.
"Your eyes are closed," Harry pointed out, kissing Severus' temple.
"Just because my eyes are closed does not mean that I was asleep. As usual, there's a fundamental flaw in your logic."
"You haven't turned the page in at least half an hour," Harry pointed out, plucking the book from Severus' lap.
Severus opened his eyes finally and craned his neck up to look at Harry. "Talented as I may be, even I cannot read with my eyes closed."
Harry shut the book and set it aside. He moved around to the front of the chair, standing in front of Severus. The fire cast him into shadow, and the smirk on his lips caught in a bit of reflected firelight. Harry licked his lips as he slowly lowered to his knees before Severus. "And here, I was planning on coming over here to give you a pleasant wake up call, only to find out that you weren't sleeping at all." Harry's hand faltered where they had been working on the buttons of Severus' fly. "So disappointing…"
Severus made a low sound deep in the back of his throat and Harry continued with the buttons. "Don't think that one blowjob is going to make me forgive you."
Harry looked up at him, smiling. "What if it's a really good blowjob?"
"Those frivolous muggle weeds you planted cross-pollinated with my flowering dragon lotus and ruined an entire season's crop of potion ingredients."
"They aren't weeds; they're flowers," Harry said, slipping his hands along Severus' hips to pull down his trousers and release his straining erection. "And I didn't know that they were going to wreck your precious potions ingredients."
"You might have asked me before you planted them," Severus suggested.
"And risk your wrath for entering your potions lab without an invitation. No thanks. It's better to ask forgiveness than permission." He let out a soft breath against the sensitive tissue of Severus' cockhead. "Much more fun."
Severus let out a moan as that hot mouth descended on him.
Severus broke himself away from the memory before he saw any more. Harry was looking at him expectantly, a blush coloring his cheeks.
"Did that really happen?" Severus asked.
"Just last night," Harry affirmed.
"It looked as though I was enjoying myself."
"You usually do."
Severus looked away. "Right, well, is that it then?"
"No, there's more."
"I think I've seen enough."
"I wish that were true." Harry looked sad. "Unfortunately, my strict Gryffindor ethics prevent me from continuing with this until you know the whole story."
"You're a Gryffindor?" Severus eyed him with contempt now. "Why doesn't that surprise me?"
Harry shrugged. "There's always been a lot of contention over which House I should've been sorted into, but yes, in the end, it was Gryffindor. Dumbledore thought that my connection with Voldemort, that little piece of him that I had inside of me, was the reason that the hat wanted to put me in Slytherin, but you thought that the connection was the reason the hat put me in Gryffindor- something about how I couldn't be in Slytherin House when I was the antisethi… anitesthis… anesthetist… anti-something anyway, at odds with Slytherin's only living heir," Harry made a fluttering gesture with his hand. "You explained it all in a way that made sense, but I don't remember what it was exactly."
Severus didn't doubt that. Even excepting the fact that he was a man, Severus couldn't imagine how he could ever fall in love with someone so brainless. The raven-haired moppet must be even better in the sack than the impromptu fireside blowjob would suggest.
"What is it then?" Severus asked. "What is it that is so exceedingly important that we cannot possibly proceed with this farce until you've divulged the details?"
Harry held his hands up on either side of his head, inviting Severus to look for himself. With understandable trepidation, he raised his wand again and made another exploration of Harry's mind.
Harry, much younger than he was now, running after Severus. It was dark, they were out on school grounds, and, as Harry came within the light of the blazing fire of Hagrid's cabin, Severus caught sight of his face. Tears streamed down his cheeks, his mouth contorted in rage, and there was such pain there- more pain than any human should have to bear.
"Coward!" the boy screamed, and he raised his wand to shoot a curse at Severus.
Severus deflected the half-cast sectumsempra, moving forward into the light of the blazing fire, it cast ugly lines and shadows over his face. He sends a stunning spell at the boy, knocking him on his arse in the grass several meters away. The roar of the fire is deafening, but he yells over the noise.
"You dare use my spells against me, Potter?" he spits out, advancing on the boy. "It was I who invented them- I, the Half-Blood Prince! And you'd turn my inventions on me, like your filthy father, would you? I don't think so."
The pain on Harry's face doubles. Severus watched the look of triumph on his own face and wanted to hex himself. Anything this boy might have done to deserve that much pain was outside the realm of believability. Harry made a feeble scrabble for his wand.
"No," Severus shouted and shot a hex at the pathetic vision of humanity before him.
"Kill me then," Harry begged, rage and contempt burning in his eyes. "Kill me like you killed him, you coward-"
"DON'T-" Severus shouted, his face suddenly containing as much pain as Harry's, "CALL ME A COWARD!"
Severus saw himself raising his wand, and he quickly pulled out of the memory.
He didn't want to see what his response to that kind of agony would be. It couldn't have been pretty, and the idea that the boy on the ground in front of all that towering rage would one day become his husband didn't make it any better.
"Why would you show me that?" Severus asked after he caught his breath.
"Because you needed to see it, and because that was how I found out that I was in love with you."
"You'd just killed Dumbledore," Harry said to put the memory in context. "It wasn't the best time to find out."
"I remember doing it," Severus said, really wishing that he didn't. It seemed just his luck to remember the most horrible day of his life when he couldn't even remember his own spouse. "Up in the Astronomy Tower. He made me do it. I made a vow, to protect Draco, and… something else."
Harry nodded. "You did it for the Elder Wand, so Voldemort wouldn't get it, to give me a chance to kill him, or to give you a chance to. I was never entirely clear on that. You didn't like to talk about it."
Severus still didn't really want to talk about it. He didn't see any value in reliving the painful parts of his life for constant dissection and reevaluation.
"You said you fell in love with me after I killed Albus," Severus said, realizing that there wasn't an actual question in the redundant restatement of what Harry had already said, but he wanted an explanation.
"I didn't fall in love with you," Harry clarified, "I was already in love with you; I just didn't know that it was you until then."
Severus was confused for a moment until it suddenly all clicked together. "The Half-Blood Prince," he breathed out with sudden understanding.
Harry nodded. "You can imagine how I felt. I'd just found out that the man I'd been in love with all year was my most hated professor, right after watching him kill the Headmaster."
"I saw," Severus said. "How could you love me after something like that?"
"That was the truly sick part," Harry said. "I really did. I hated you too, but it was all wrapped up with resentment that you were the one I loved, and disgust at myself for loving you anyway."
"You said that you hated me. Did I hate you as well?"
"If you didn't, you certainly made a good show of it."
"So, what changed?"
"Harry shrugged. "I grew up. We fought a war together. I died. You almost died. Things changed."
"You forgave me?" Severus couldn't imagine how anyone could forgive him for that.
"By the time I learned all the details, I realized that there was nothing to forgive. I was grateful; there's no way that I could have done it, and I understood why it needed to be done."
"How did our relationship start?"
"We ran into each other at a ministry ball. It probably started before that, but we finally acknowledged what was happening at our Order of Merlin ceremony. They held it on the first anniversary of the end of the war." Harry was smiling at the memory. "After the ceremony we got into a fight in the rose garden, and I went to your house to talk to you. Things sort of went from there.
"It was a weird night all around. Everyone wanted to talk to me, congratulate me, all these people I didn't even know. But, I didn't consider anything that I had to do during the war worth congratulating. I understood that sacrifices needed to be made, but that didn't make them noble, just unfortunate. You were the only person I wanted to talk to, but I just couldn't seem to get you alone long enough to tell you the things I needed to say. Still, the war was over, and people wanted to celebrate; I could understand that.
"The morning after The Final Battle was like that. People celebrating in the Great Hall right next to the bodies of our fallen friends. Others, crying over the corpses. I just wanted to get out of there. You were dead. I finally found out that I didn't have a reason to hate you anymore, and you were dead. I loved you, and you were dead. The last thing I wanted to do was celebrate."
"Why did you believe I was dead?"
"Voldemort's snake attacked you in the shrieking shack. Do you remember?"
Severus' hand reflexively went to the scar on his neck. His eyes widened as the tips of his fingers brushed the thickened scar tissue. "It seems that I do, but it's a bit hazy."
"After I killed Voldemort, everyone was celebrating. Ron and Hermione had gone off together somewhere, and the last place I wanted to be was in the middle of all that. So, I went to go find your body."
Severus' hand dropped from his neck, and he gave Harry his full attention.
"I was worried that the other Death Eaters would desecrate the body." Harry paused for a moment, emotion catching in his voice. "I'm not sure what I would have done. I wasn't… I wasn't stable. Mentally, I mean." Harry let out a slightly hysterical laugh. "I tried telling you this once before, but you just made sarcastic quips. Anyway, I made it to the shrieking shack. I think I was half hoping that your body would be missing. Voldemort was dead, but I think that I still wanted some kind of vengeance. If your body had been missing, I would have tracked down whoever had taken it and they would have suffered a much more grisly death than Voldemort had.
"At first I did think someone had taken the body, you were gone from the floor where I'd left you, but then I noticed the blood. So much blood. A thick red trail. I followed it, and I found you propped up behind the bed. When we were all gone, you must have dragged yourself over there. You were unconscious, but you were breathing.
"The bed was a ruin, but I still had the Elder Wand at that point. I fixed the bed. I didn't even notice at the time, but it went a long way beyond just fixing it… It's not important; I'll show you later. Anyway, I levitated you up onto the bed and started casting every healing charm I knew. It was all pretty simple stuff, things I'd learned before I went into hiding with Ron and Hermione. It didn't matter. The Elder Wand did things that I never could have. Fixed you. You didn't regain consciousness right away, but you stabilized, and I was so exhausted by that point. I'd spent part of the day dead, actually dead, not just apparently."
Harry smiled shyly. "I crawled into the bed with you and fell asleep to the sound of your heartbeat. You started stirring around dawn and I woke in time to watch as you slowly regained consciousness." Harry chuckled. "You weren't pleased to see me. You refused to go to hospital, and you didn't want to go back to the castle either. I spent almost a week taking care of you in that rundown shack. By the end it was looking almost well-kept.
"I was so happy."
"About me?" Severus asked.
"You were a miserable bastard," Harry said fondly. "When you were well enough to apparate, I saw you safely home and got you settled in. I tried to come back to check on you the next day, and the day after, and the day after that, but you wouldn't see me."
"How did you convince me to change my mind?"
"I didn't. You're way too stubborn to ever do that." Harry smirked, and Severus suddenly realized how attractive he actually was- objectively, of course. "We ran into each other at the Order of Merlin presentation, and it all came crashing back. We finally said all those things that went unsaid." Harry shrugged. "We got drunk, talked half the night, apologized, and forgave, and moved on. By dawn we were in bed together, and before we had to attend another war anniversary ball, we were married."
"What was the wedding like?"
"Small," Harry said. "We only invited maybe twenty people- McGonagall and Hagrid from the school, Teddy and Andromeda, The Weasleys, Hermione, Neville, and Luna. Draco was your best man."
"Why so few?" Severus barely remembered a few of the people on that very short list, others he didn't recognize at all.
"We didn't want the Prophet to catch wind of anything, so we kept the guest list as minimal as possible. Luna published a press release in The Quibbler, but only after we returned from our honeymoon. The last thing we needed was a bunch of paparazzi following us around Greece. It was hard enough to get you to go to the beach to begin with, though I did manage to get a few pictures of you in a bathing suit."
"Could I see those?"
"Absolutely not," Harry said. "I've already saved them from incendio twice."
"The honeymoon photos, I mean, and the wedding as well, anything. It might jog my memory."
"Oh, oh, of course." Harry hurried off and returned a few moments later with a thick leather-bound photo album. He started on the dishes while Severus flipped through the pictures.
The honeymoon pictures were in front. They were beautiful: white sand, the incredible blue of the Mediterranean, white houses lining the cliffs in a cascade of flowered terraces. There were pictures of Harry and him at the beach- he looked unnaturally pale in the golden Mediterranean sun. Other pictures showed them in front of various monuments and ruins. One picture that caught his eye was taken of them naked in a hotel room bed, half covered by a sheet. They were propped up against a haphazard pile of pillows, sweat glistening on their skin, as they talked and laughed by the faint light of early morning. Severus stared at that picture for a long time, trying desperately to remember that moment. There was nothing, and he skipped ahead to the next page in frustration.
Now there were pictures from their wedding. They looked good in matching black dress robes. Minerva was officiating. She stood at the altar before the two of them as they slipped on their bond rings. Another photo of just the two of them: newlywed, Harry grinning like a loon, Severus' smile more subdued but no less genuine.
"I don't ever remember being this happy," Severus said, so quietly he wasn't sure Harry heard him, almost hoped he didn't.
Harry wiped his soapy hands on a towel and walked to Severus' side to see which picture he was looking at. Severus flipped the page again, more pictures of them together- cutting the cake and slow dancing beneath a mirror ball. "It's hard to argue when I'm looking at the evidence, but I can't imagine a set of circumstances where I would marry a Potter."
Harry snorted. He turned a couple pages until he found the photo he was looking for. He tapped it and stepped back so Severus could see. Draco stumbling drunkenly, one arm slung over Severus' shoulders, obviously orating loudly to anyone who would listen.
"Your best man got very drunk and started making loud inappropriate speculations about our sex life. He finally asked you how you could possibly marry a Potter anyway, and you said," Harry did his best to imitate Severus' velvety drawl, "You see, dear Draco, he's only half Potter. He inherited all of his mother's best qualities and James Potter's bum. Also, he's a Snape now, and my husband, which technically makes him your godfather, so show a little respect. That shut him up pretty quick."
"I can imagine," Severus found it hard to argue with himself, but still… "Your father's arse aside, I'm still not gay."
Harry shrugged. "I can show you some of the memories from our honeymoon if you want."
"No," Severus answered quickly, "no, that's quite alright. If it's all the same, I think I'd like to go to bed now."
"Yeah," Harry threw the dishtowel onto the counter and led Severus upstairs to the bedroom. "Sleep is probably a good idea. It might give your memory time to recuperate."
Severus hardly thought that this assessment was based on any kind of medical knowledge, but didn't argue. He followed Harry through the house, trying his best to memorize the layout of the rooms as they passed.
"Do you remember the house at all?" Harry asked.
"It seems familiar," Severus answered, but he wasn't sure if this was because it actually was familiar or because he knew that it should be.
"The house used to belong to my godfather. He left it to me in his will."
Severus looked around again, making a closer inspection of the paintings and tapestries. "Black," he said in an undertone. "That's why it looks familiar. Regulus invited me over for the Christmas holidays in sixth year. I would have declined, I usually stayed at Hogwarts over the holidays, but Sirius had left home by then, so I accepted. It was actually quite enjoyable. I always liked Regulus."
Harry led him down a hall, past the library, to the master suite. "This is us," Harry said, throwing open the double doors.
The room was beautifully endowed: polished wood floors, lush Persian rugs, a black marble fireplace, and a monolithic carved oak four-poster in the center of the room. Two floor-to-ceiling windows framed each side of the bed, hung with dark green drapes, thrown open to let in the light of the dying sun.
"Madam Pomfrey said to keep to routine as much as possible, so I think you should sleep in here." Harry went over to the wardrobe and pulled out a pair of pajamas for Severus, laying them over the foot of the bed. "The bathroom is through there," Harry pointed to a door off to one side. "I'm just going to grab a few things, and I'll sleep in the guest room across the hall."
For a moment Severus was silent; he stood framed in the window, looking out over the back garden. Then he turned back to Harry. "If Poppy suggests that we stick to routine, I think that it would be best if you sleep in here. I'm not suggesting anything physical, just sleeping."
Harry chuckled. "Severus, we've been married for almost five years. They couldn't shoot a porn movie in our bedroom every night. A fair number of them probably, but not every night. I'm sure I'll be able to restrain myself."
"See that you do."
Severus walked to the foot of the bed and picked up the pajamas- black cotton ones that he recognized. He glanced over his shoulder at Harry before he set the pajamas back down on the bed and started unbuttoning his robes.
Harry quickly turned away. "I'll just… um…" he stammered.
"If your stories are to be believed, Mr. Potter, it's nothing that you haven't seen before, unless our routine does include you sleeping in the guest room."
"You always were a funny bastard," Harry said. "I'll change in the bathroom. The familiarity just doesn't feel right when you don't even remember me." Harry took some clothes from the wardrobe and disappeared into the bathroom for a few minutes; when he returned Severus was changed and tucked in under the covers on his side of the bed. Harry wondered if that was just a coincidence or because he remembered.
"Is that what you wear to bed?" Severus asked, looking up at him from his inspection of the books on his bedside table.
Harry climbed into bed wearing a thick tartan dressing gown over his pajamas, tied tightly with a cord around the middle.
"Not usually, no," he admitted.
"It's hardly necessary for my benefit," Severus said. "If Poppy wants us to stick to routine, and we've already agreed to share the bed to that end, I see no reason why you should bundle yourself like a courting virgin."
"I usually sleep in the nude," Harry told him, flushing.
"Oh, I see," Severus said. "…Perhaps a compromise would be more appropriate? Down to your pants with the assurance that you'll remain on your side of the bed?"
Harry nodded, crawling back out of bed to remove his dressing gown and pajamas, showing Severus a flash of toned thigh before quickly hiding himself away under the blankets.
"The bed," Severus asked, "it's the one from the Shrieking Shack, isn't it?"
Harry nodded. "You gave it to me as a wedding gift, arranged to have it moved here."
Severus ran a hand along the wood of the bedpost nearest him. "I can see why. It's very beautiful, a most… appropriate wedding present."
If Harry didn't know better, he would have thought that Severus called him beautiful. He had done it often enough in the past, but with his memory missing, the man sitting in bed next to him was not really his husband, not the part that counted anyway. Except, he was. Harry had sworn an oath that bound him body and soul to this man, and that hadn't changed, even if Severus couldn't remember it.
"Thank you," Severus said after a long moment of silence.
"For what?" Harry asked.
"For helping me. I know that we're bonded, and I realize that there were a series of events and experiences leading up to that bond, but I'm not a nice man. I know that. I'm sarcastic and stubborn, and I've done things that I wish I didn't remember. Whatever it was that made me change, that made you want to marry me, I'm grateful for that.
Harry regarded him silently for a moment. "I think that you're operating under a misconception."
"Which misconception is that?"
"I haven't changed you," Harry said. "You're still all of those things. You're cynical, condescending, belligerent, abrasive, insulting, overly-critical, ill-tempered, and impatient. You hate my friends almost as much as you hate my family. You never wash your hair. You constantly insult my intelligence. You haven't done a single dish since we got married. And, you absolutely refuse to even entertain the idea of getting a dog."
Severus was taken aback by this outburst, but Harry didn't seem angry. In fact, he looked like he was fighting down a smile.
"I married you in spite of all those things," Harry continued, "and because of them. They aren't always pleasant qualities, but they make you who you are. I couldn't change you if I tried, and wouldn't even if I could. Besides, you left out all the good things about you too. You're brutally honest, fiercely loyal, you have more integrity than everyone else I know combined, you're witty, unapologetic, as brave as any Gryffindor, sexy, smart, talented, and devoted. Oh, and sarcastic; I think the sarcasm definitely goes with the good stuff."
Severus was silent for a moment following this dissection. Then he said, "You called me sexy."
"Of course I did," Harry said. "You are my husband. I would have mentioned your sexual prowess, but, under the circumstances, I thought it would be inappropriate."
"About that," Severus said. "How is it that we can be married when I'm not gay?"
"You are," Harry assured him, for what seemed like the hundredth time that night.
"I don't ever remember finding a man sexually attractive," Severus said, "your father's arse notwithstanding. "
"Just because you don't remember doesn't mean that it didn't happen," Harry pointed out. "We never really talked about that sort of thing, and I know that you were in love with my mother at one point, but I know that you're gay. I don't know how many male lovers you had before me, but I'd bet the contents of our Gringotts vault that I wasn't the first. You were never uncomfortable pursing a physical relationship with me, once we'd sorted through our emotional baggage, and you definitely knew what you were doing."
"Yes, you've already mentioned my sexual prowess."
Harry smiled. "Yeah, well, as far as I can tell, you've never had any trouble appreciating the male form. I caught you checking out men when we were sitting outside the ice-cream parlor last summer, and we had a bit of a row over it actually."
Severus considered this. "If I don't get my memories back, it might be necessary to assess my feelings on the matter in a similar manner. It could clear up the mystery of my present persuasion."
"You want to go ogle men in the street so that you can decide if you're gay or not?" Harry asked to clarify, doing his best to keep his tone neutral.
"It seems a practical enough way to go about it."
Harry shook his head, trying to curb his rising anger with understanding. "I'm your husband. If you need any clarification, I think you should start with me. If it becomes necessary, I can probably think of one or two experiments we could do to settle your concerns."
"What sort of experiments?"
Harry swallowed. "I doubt it will be necessary. You'll probably wake up in the morning with all your memories back, and we can settle the matter with a nice morning romp."
"Do you really believe that?"
"No," Harry sighed, "but I can hope." Harry put out the light and settled down into bed. "Good night Severus," he said, and leaned over and kissed Severus on the temple out of habit without thinking about it.
Severus lay there motionless for a moment, and then turned over on his side and tried to go to sleep. The kiss bothered him. He lay awake for a long time thinking about it. It wasn't the kiss itself that bothered him, it was the easy familiarity of it. He had never had that with anyone, but then apparently he had. He remembered a deep-seated desire for that kind of relationship. Now it seemed that he had found it, and from such an unlikely source.
That photo from Greece stuck in his head and kept him from sleep. He wished he could remember that day- wanted it so much it was almost an ache in his gut. He wanted to remember what they had been talking about in that thoroughly debauched hotel bed. He wanted to remember what they had done to make it so debauched.
He could feel Harry's warmth and weight in the bed next to him. It was comforting, and eventually he did manage to find sleep.
Severus woke late. His eyes half-lidded, he looked out the window. It looked like it had rained during the night; there were droplets of water on the window pane. There was a shift in the bed next to him, and a strong tanned arm curled around his chest. He leaned into the warm body snuggled behind him and let his eyes drift closed.
The hand moved down his chest and over his morning erection. Severus let out a sleepy moan and heard a corresponding one behind him. His dozing brain barely had time to register how masculine that moan sounded before he felt something hard pressing into his lower back.
Severus' eyes shot open and he scrambled out of bed.
Potter sat up in bed and blinked a few times to wake up, realization dawning on his face. "Oh, god! Severus, I'm so sorry." He turned bright red. "You still don't remember anything, do you?"
Severus might not, but his body certainly seemed to, and the thin cotton pajamas did nothing to hide the results. "No," he said, quickly retreating to the bathroom.
Harry lay back on the bed and sighed. This was shaping into a fine mess.
Severus took a shower and dealt with his erection. Harry had ordered breakfast while he showered, and when he emerged from the bathroom with a towel wrapped firmly around his waist Harry was taking a laden breakfast tray from the ugliest House Elf Severus had ever seen.
"I thought we would eat in here," Harry said, taking the tray to the bed.
Severus made a noncommittal grunt of acknowledgement and went to the wardrobe to find clean robes. "Do we eat breakfast in bed often?" Severus asked as he changed into a set of deep blue loose-cut robes.
"No," Harry admitted, "never."
"I didn't think that I would allow you to get crumbs all over my bed."
"Our bed, Sev," Harry corrected. He stole a glance at Severus changing. "Um, those are mine."
"The robes, those are mine. You can wear them if you want, but they'll be too short for you."
Severus growled and began unbuttoning the robes that he'd just finished putting on- and, yes, Harry was right, they were much too short. "Which ones are mine then?"
"Kreecher usually puts yours on the right, and you prefer black. Anything black is yours."
Severus glanced at the wardrobe again, and what he had at first assumed was a basic organizational system he now realized was simply the delineation between Harry's robes and his own. He selected a set of black robes with slightly less buttons than his austere teaching robes.
By the time Severus had changed into these and taken a seat on the bed, Harry had made him up a plate with the things he liked for breakfast on it and a cup of tea the way he favored.
"Do you remember anything more than you did yesterday?" Harry asked hopefully.
"I don't think so," Severus answered.
Harry chewed his toast thoughtfully. "Do you know that you've forgotten things? Is there a void there, big empty spaces where you're missing things, or does your mind kind of fill in the blanks?"
Severus considered the question, tried to remember things from teaching at Hogwarts during the years he was sure he must have taught Harry.
"It's like wondering if you've left the kettle on," Severus said, finally locking on a suitable analogy. "I can remember being in the kitchen, but I'm not completely sure of what I did while I was in there."
"Hmm," Harry nibbled a bit of toast while he considered Severus' answer. "What's the first thing you remember after the war?"
"Minerva bringing food to my house every day while I was recovering. She seemed to think that I would starve to death if left to my own defenses, and I think she felt guilty for being cruel to me all year. She did think I was working for The Dark Lord at the time, so I didn't hold it against her."
"She wasn't the only one," Harry said. "George threw you a 'Sorry we thought you were such a greasy bugger' party. Practically the whole Order was there. Do you remember?"
Severus shook his head.
"That's probably a good thing," Harry confided. "I don't think you really enjoyed yourself. It was a surprise party, and I think you would have left if I hadn't threatened you to make you stay. Anyway, you ended up spending the whole time drinking and sulking in the corner. If I didn't know you as well as I do, I would have said that you hated it, but I know the attention finally gave you some vindication; you'd already been absolved by the Ministry of course, but the party let you know that we appreciated what you did and were grateful for it. Besides, you always liked George."
"I remember going to visit him after the war. I wanted to apologize for his ear, offer my condolences about his brother. It's strange, I can remember that, but I can't remember casting the curse that took off George's ear in the first place. They lived in the flat above the shop, and George had shattered every mirror in the place except for this little round mirror in a silver case that he kept taking out of his pocket and playing with. I finally asked him about it, and he said that mostly he couldn't bear to look at his reflection, but sometimes he couldn't bear not to look at it. He looked so miserable. He was barely holding himself together. I wish I had forgotten that too."
"Do you really?"
"No," Severus relented. "This is horrible. I don't like being at the mercy of someone else's recollections- even if they happen to be my husband." The word held a certain distaste.
Harry tried not to let it bother him too much. "What do you want to do today then?" he asked. "Normally you would be brewing already."
"Yes," Severus said, "but I managed to contaminate most of my basic ingredients. I need to make a trip to the apothecary this afternoon to replenish my stock. Perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea for you to accompany me."
That was a Snape invitation if he ever heard one.
"Yes, I'll go with you," Harry agreed, "but Teddy and Andromeda are coming over later this afternoon, so we need to be back in time for me to cook. Unless, you'd rather I floo them and cancel?"
"That won't be necessary," Severus said. "I'm sure that we'll be back in plenty of time for you to cook, but don't we have a house elf for that?"
"We do, but he's getting old. He makes breakfast and tea, but I try to do most of the cooking."
"Do we entertain the Tonks' regularly? For some reason, I thought that Ted Tonks was dead."
"He is. Teddy is our godson- Remus and Tonks' son. He lives with his grandmother, but he usually spends a couple weeks with us in the summer."
Severus nodded. "I'll need to go down to the lab and make a list of the ingredients I need to get."
"Yeah, fine," Harry piled their used breakfast things on the tray. "I'm just going to pop this off in the kitchen and get a shower in before we go."
Severus managed to find his way back down to his lab. This at least he seemed to remember fairly well. He moved some things around on the desk against the wall until he found a scrap of parchment and a quill. In the process he unearthed a photograph. It was tattered and much abused. He recognized the location from the honeymoon photos in the album Harry had shown him last night. It was the same bed as in the other photographs, but the crumpled sheets that had preserved their modesty in the others were missing from this one. Harry lay, sprawled across the bed, gloriously naked. He was sleeping on his side, offering up a good view of all that lean tanned flesh. Severus wondered if Harry knew that he had this picture, and he felt an odd thrill at the possibility that he might not.
Severus started to wonder for the first time if he mightn't be gay after all.
He hid the photograph in the top drawer and took his parchment and quill to the storeroom to make his shopping list. He wrote aconite, and eye of newt, and mugwort, all the while having to forcibly recall his attention as his mind wandered to the photo in the drawer and the man in the shower three floors above.
Harry walked in just as he was finishing the list. Freshly showered and wearing the dark blue robes that Severus had accidentally put on earlier that morning, he had to admit that the man was quite a catch.
"Ready to go?" Harry asked.
Severus tucked his shopping list into the pocket of his robes and pulled out his wand. "Yes. The apparition point outside the Leaky Cauldron?"
Harry nodded, and they apparated within a few second of each other.
They walked through Diagon Alley in companionable silence. Severus felt oddly comfortable around Harry, and he thought that some part of him must still remember. He tried to hold onto that feeling.
As they rounded the street toward the apothecary, Severus could feel people staring at him. At first he was willing to dismiss the feeling as the product of an overactive imagination, but when, for the third time, someone quickly looked away when he returned their gaze, he was forced to make mention of the phenomena.
"There are people staring at us," he hissed to Harry under his breath.
Harry looked around and laughed. "You know, I don't even notice anymore."
"Does this always happen?"
Harry bit his lip and shook his head. "You have no idea. It used to be that we couldn't leave the house without making the front page. Now, we mostly just get the staring. We don't make the papers unless it's something a little more interesting than Potter and Snape spent the day shopping in Diagon Alley." Severus still looked a little confused, so Harry tried to explain better. "It's not you; it's me. I've been making headlines since before I could remember, and we weren't exactly a likely match. People were curious. I suppose that they still are, but it's been five years now; the interest has died down."
Severus nodded his understanding. "I hadn't realized that it went to that extent. You didn't mention that the fame was such a problem."
Harry shrugged. "Like I said, I don't even notice anymore. I guess I'm used to it."
Severus caught another group of people staring at them and wondered if he had grown accustomed to it as well. It didn't seem particularly likely. He'd never liked attention; he was private by nature. Why would he have married someone who garnered fame so easily?
They stopped in the middle of the street and Harry glanced over at the row of apothecaries with disfavor. "Do you think you'll be alright on your own?" he asked. "I really don't like going into those places."
"I'm quite capable of doing my own shopping," Severus said, but the intended sneer came out sounding a little unsure.
Harry looked at him hesitantly, and then nodded his head. "Okay, I won't be far. I'm going to stop in Quality Quidditch Supplies. I want to look for a broom for Teddy. If you need me, I'll just be across the street."
"I'll be fine," Severus said, and they parted ways.
Severus walked along the row of apothecaries, looking up at the signs hanging over each shop. He had been shopping in Diagon Alley his whole life, but he couldn't remember which shop he usually frequented. Finally, he gave up and picked one at random.
The moment he walked through the door, the man behind the counter flashed him a brilliant smile. "Severus! It's been ages."
Severus halted his steps and surveyed the man. He was blonde and well favored. Actually, he was gorgeous. The slight leap in his stomach at the man's smile was almost enough for Severus to admit to himself that there might be something in this whole gay thing after all.
"And where is Mrs. Snape today?" the man asked, and Severus thought he saw that smile falter for an instant.
"Harry is across the street," Severus said. He couldn't remember the man at all, but he wasn't sure if that was something he should reveal or not. He wasn't in favor of having his weakness broadcast.
"Does he know that you're in here?" the man asked, looking concerned.
This gave Severus cause to wonder if word of his debility had not already come to light. "I am not an invalid," he snapped. "I am perfectly capable of shopping unescorted."
The man looked surprised at this answer. "Are you fighting or something?"
"No," Severus answered, "of course not."
The man nodded still looking unsure. "Well, what can I do for you then?"
Severus walked up to the counter and handed the man his list. He looked it over and then walked into the back to fill the order. He raised his voice to continue their conversation. "I saw Draco yesterday," he said. "I stopped in Weasley's Wizard Wheezes to drop off an order. Is he planning on tying the knot anytime soon?"
Severus ran this over in his head. His memories of Draco were scattered at best. He remembered Draco as a baby and a small child, but couldn't remember teaching him at Hogwarts really. There were more Death Eater memories featuring Draco than he really cared to admit, but he couldn't remember much of him after that. Surely Draco must feature in his life now, but he had no memory of entertaining his godson in his home. This wasn't that surprising; he had very few memories after the end of the war. He tried to think of who Draco must be dating, but came up blank. The most recent memory he could come up with wasn't a memory at all- merely looking over their wedding pictures with Harry. Draco had featured in quite a few of them, but Severus couldn't seem to remember if he'd been with anyone. Anyway, that had been five years ago; it was unlikely that he'd been in a relationship for that long without committing.
Severus tried to fish for information. "No marital plans as far as I know," he answered honestly. "What was he doing in Weasley's Wizard Wheezes?" he asked. He at least remembered that it was George Weasley's joke shop. Which reminded him, he should probably pay George a visit today.
"Just keeping George company I think- helping out. Doesn't he fill in for Ron sometimes?"
Well, that just seemed unlikely. Ron must have replaced Fred as George's business partner, or maybe he just worked for his brother, but why would Draco be helping in the shop? He certainly didn't need the money, and it couldn't be intellectually stimulating work. Unless…
"Did he have anything interesting to say? I haven't talked to him in a while."
"Not much," the man answered. "He said that he was busy at the Ministry. I don't know how he manages to find time to get all of his work as Deputy Minister done, and still help George on the weekends. He's way more ambitious than I was at that age. But then, I guess you were always like that too, that must be where he learned his work ethic."
Deputy Minister? Well, that was news. He'd always thought that Draco would make a good politician- insomuch that there really weren't any good politicians. But that still didn't answer the question of who Draco was dating.
"Did you want whole or crushed mugwart?" the man asked, returning to the counter with most of the things on Severus' list.
"Whole," Severus answered. He wanted to know what the man's name was. Then, suddenly he had it; he remembered him. Not as he was now, but much younger, the man had been a Gryffindor a few years younger than him. They had been in potions club together. He searched his patchy memory for a name. It started with a "P"… Prewitt, or Pritchett, or Prevaux, no… Previn! That was it, Lex Previn! He was hardly recognizable as the skinny blonde kid with the huge glasses that he remembered from school, but that grin was unmistakable.
He returned from the back and added the mugwart to the pile of ingredients on the counter. He looked over the list again. "Flowering Dragon Lotus?" He looked up at Severus, perplexed. "I thought you grew your own."
"I do," Severus answered. "Unfortunately, Harry planted some muggle flowers in the garden without first consulting me, and they cross-pollinated. It's too late in the season to replant."
Previn chuckled. "I bet you were livid; I can just imagine."
Severus found himself flushing. "He made it up to me."
Alexander raised an eyebrow, and Severus noticed his smile slip again for just that half-instant. "I'm sure," he said. "Did you want those fresh, or dried?"
"Dried will be fine." Severus watched Previn's back as he disappeared along the shelves again.
"I'm surprised Harry let you in here by yourself; I was under the impression that he kept you on a shorter leash," Previn called, sounding congenial, but there was something else under it in his tone- bitterness, or maybe hate.
This statement painted a slightly different picture than what Severus had found so far, but who was he to argue? For all intents and purposes, he had only met Harry yesterday. Still, he couldn't imagine himself putting up with an overbearing spouse. "Harry is across the street," Severus answered. "Why shouldn't I be allowed to do my own shopping?"
Alexander's smile was firmly in place when he returned with the last of Severus' ingredients. He set them on the counter, and his tone turned suggestive. "Well, if you were mine, I'd never let you out of bed, let alone out of my sight."
Severus' stomach did that awkward flop again, and he took a step back from the counter. "Yes, well, I like to think that my husband knows me well enough to allow me my independence." Severus wasn't sure where the tiny thrill of fear came from as he said these words.
Harry was perusing the selection of children's brooms, wondering how difficult it would be to add additional protective enchantments, when he suddenly had a worrying thought. If Severus didn't remember certain important events from his past, he might be getting himself into a great deal of trouble at the moment. He left the store at a brisk walk, brushing past a woman that he recognized from the Hollyhead Harpies' spring lineup as he rushed out the door.
He hurried across the street, and didn't give Severus' usual apothecary a second glance as he pushed roughly through the door into Previn's apothecary.
The bastard had his hand over Severus' on the counter, and Harry stopped short. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. The bell above the door rattled, and Previn looked up, pulling his hand away, and smirking like a cat that's been caught in the cream. Severus turned around, robes swaying with the motion, and locked onto Harry's eyes. He looked frightened for a moment, but the look was replaced with a deep blush that set Harry's blood boiling.
"What are you doing in here?" Harry ground out.
"Just finishing up my shopping," Severus said, turning back to the counter to hide his embarrassment.
Previn held Harry's gaze for a moment longer, and then set to ringing up Severus' order. Harry practically stomped up to the counter in his fury and gripped Severus' arm possessively. He must have done so a little more roughly than he'd intended, because Severus pulled away from him and looked at him with distrust.
"We don't shop here," Harry said.
"Oh, ease up, Potter," Previn said, and Harry had to suppress the desire to deck him in the face- there was a certain satisfaction in muggle pugilism that a simple curse just couldn't satisfy. "You got here just in time to save poor Severus from the big evil man," he mocked.
Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out a fistful of gold, at least twice as much as was needed to cover Severus' purchases, and threw it down on the counter. "You forget who you're dealing with," Harry spat. "If you touch my husband again, Voldemort will look like a mercy killing." He picked up Severus' bag and grabbed his hand to pull his husband from the shop.
"What's your problem?" Severus asked when they were back on the street.
"My problem?" Harry asked angrily. "I know you don't remember everything, but there are certain things to be said for plain common sense. How could you do that, with him of all people? Don't you have any self respect at all? I can't believe you'd be stupid enough to let that… I just… For Merlin's sake, you're supposed to be the intelligent one!"
"I can't be arsed to try to suss out what it is that you're not saying, so for Merlin's sake be concise just this once, and say what you actually mean."
Harry gave a scowl to rival Snape. "Well, it's good to know that you're still the same bastard I married."
"If I'm such a bastard, then why did you marry me?" Severus demanded.
"Because I love you, you prat!"
"So, now you think I'm a prat and a bastard?"
"Of course I do! Surely you didn't think that I had somehow managed to fall in love with you and marry you without us having met at some point?" Harry took a deep steadying breath and tried again. "Look, I know that you don't remember it, but could you please try not to irrevocably fuck up our marriage before you do."
"I just don't understand why you're angry," Severus said.
Harry looked around; they were starting to attract the attention of the people shopping, and a huge screaming row in the middle of the street was the sort of thing that would make the paper. "Can't this at least wait until we get home? If we continue to argue in public it will be on the front page tomorrow."
Severus scowled at him, and they travelled home in silence after that. They didn't start arguing immediately when they arrived home. It was like the calm before the storm- tense moments of silence that seemed to stretch for ages. Harry walked through the sitting room into the kitchen, and Severus followed him, waiting for Harry to say something. When Harry started making tea, and still hadn't said a single word, Severus decided to make the first move. He wasn't being treated fairly, and he wanted an explanation.
"It may not have occurred to you," Severus said in a controlled voice, "but I haven't been having the best day. I don't want to fight anymore. Could you please just explain to me why you're so upset?"
"And this may not have occurred to you, but I'm not having the best day either. I went to sleep last night, hoping that I would wake up this morning and my husband would remember me. Instead, I've had the good fortune to have you scowling at me all day and telling me how straight you are while checking out every guy who walks by and flirting with Alexander FUCKING Previn! Then you have the gall to ask me why I'm upset."
Severus was taken aback. He hadn't been looking at the men on the street, had he? "I don't think that's an unfair question. And I wasn't flirting with Previn. I was only talking to him. Why is it that I'm not allowed to talk to him? He seems competent enough and more than willing to accept my custom. What exactly is your problem with him?"
"He's your ex-boyfriend," Harry snapped. He didn't want to get into all the other reasons why Severus wasn't allowed to talk to him. He glanced at his watch and was surprised to see how late it was. "Would you please just help me with the tea before Teddy and Andromeda get here?"
"Is everything alright? Should we come back another time?" Andromeda stood in the doorway with Teddy pressed against her side.
Harry forced a smile. "Not at all. Severus and I were just having a slight disagreement."
Andromeda snorted. "It wouldn't be the first time." She took a seat at the table and Teddy hurried over to give Harry a hug.
Severus was practically bowled over as Teddy turned his attention to the seething Potion's master. "I missed you so much!" Teddy exclaimed, wrapping his arms tightly around Severus' waist. "Can we make that potion again- the blue one with all the bubbles that makes the silly noises?"
Severus frowned down at the energetic little boy, hair changing colors rapidly in excitement, and then looked questioningly to Harry.
"Last summer when he was here, Teddy helped you brew some potions for George."
"I'm sorry, Teddy," Severus said, addressing the boy in the kindest tone he could muster, "I don't remember which potion you mean, and I don't think we have time today." Teddy's face fell. "But, I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to brew potions when you come to stay with us later this summer." Teddy brightened.
Harry forced a smile for Teddy, and said, "Why don't you take Severus into the sitting room and tell him about your summer while Grandma and me get the tea ready."
Severus shot Harry a look as Teddy held his hand and led him out of the room.
Harry turned to Andromeda and let his mask fall. The anger was gone beneath it, replaced with a weary sadness.
"He still doesn't remember anything?" Andromeda asked.
Harry sighed and took out the teapot and cups to give his hands something to do. "He remembers some things, but it's sporadic, and he doesn't remember me at all."
"Don't you think that you should bring him to St. Mungos?" she asked.
"Poppy says to wait. She thinks that he just needs some time, and his memories will come back on their own."
"I know that Madam Pomfrey is good," Andromeda said, "but she's just a school nurse. Don't you think you should get an expert opinion?"
"I trust Poppy's judgment over those idiots at St. Mungos. Anyway, I don't want this getting out to the press unless it absolutely has to."
"What were you arguing about when we came in?"
Harry gave her a stormy look. "I left Severus alone to do some of his shopping, and he went into Previn's"
Andromeda's eyes widened. "What happened/"
"Nothing really," Harry said, taking a steadying breath. "I got there in time, but I don't like to think what might have happened."
"And Severus doesn't remember?"
"Apparently not," Harry said.
"Are you going to tell him?"
Harry considered it. He figured that Severus had enough to worry about without adding in that, but he needed Severus to trust him if they were going to get through this. He wasn't going to earn that trust by lying to his husband. If they got into another row over the whole ordeal, Harry would have to tell him. "I don't want to," he answered finally.
Andromeda thought that over. "No," she said, "best not to put more on his plate. If he doesn't remember, maybe it's for the best."
Harry nodded, glad of the reassurance. He put the tea and a selection of biscuits on a tray and walked with Andromeda into the sitting room. Severus was sitting in the armchair by the fireplace with Teddy in his lap, listening to the boy talk excitedly about his summer adventures. He looked up when Harry and Andromeda came in, and Teddy hopped off his lap to help Harry pour the tea.
Harry watched as Teddy added spoonful after spoonful of sugar to his cup, and Harry was finally forced to stop him after the fifth heaping spoon. "I think that's enough," he said, taking the spoon from him before he could further sweeten his drink. "Bring this to Severus." He handed him a cup of tea with a spoonful of honey and a slice of lemon in it- the way Severus liked. Andromeda made her own cup, and Harry poured one for himself.
"How are things going with you?" Harry asked her, eager to keep the conversation as far away from Severus' memory loss as he could.
Andromeda talked about her garden and the projects she was working on with the local witches' council. They couldn't travel outside the wizarding world because of Teddy's abilities- it wouldn't be good if they were around muggles when Teddy got excited or angry and his hair started changing colors. Sometimes he could control it, but mostly his hair just did whatever it wanted- not unlike Harry's. So, Andromeda had done her best to enmesh them in wizarding culture, and if they did go out into the muggle world, she put a glamour on Teddy's hair to keep it a dull mousy brown.
Teddy talked about all of his friends and how their older siblings who'd gone to Hogwarts were in Harry's classes. The little boy seemed completely fascinated by this idea. He talked about helping Arthur Weasley degnome the garden; Molly and Arthur had adopted Teddy as another grandchild as readily as they'd accepted Harry as another child.
So, they managed to get through tea without straying into any uncomfortable conversation, and Harry excused himself to start on dinner. Andromeda went with him to wash the dishes from tea and give Harry any help he needed. This left Severus alone with Teddy again.
"Can we go down to the lab?" Teddy asked eagerly.
"If you want," Severus agreed. "I don't have any potions to brew today, but you can help me store the ingredients that I bought today, if you promise to be careful."
Teddy smiled brightly, hair flashing bright blue, and promised to be very careful and only touch the ingredients that Severus said he could.
Later, after Teddy and Andromeda had left, Severus was searching the house for Harry. He'd looked everywhere, but the house was so huge that he was starting to think that Harry was moving around and must be somewhere that he'd already checked. He was about to try a locating spell when he heard a noise from behind one of the doors on the third floor hallway he was walking down.
As he drew nearer, the noise resolved into a continual sobbing. With some trepidation, Severus opened the door and quietly stepped into the room. It was the library, and Severus wasn't entirely sure how he'd missed it in his earlier search of the house. Harry, sitting on a small brown leather sofa, looked up at him as he walked over, wiping tears from his face.
"Are you okay?" Severus asked, feeling it was a stupid question but not knowing what else to say.
Harry wiped at his face again and gave Severus a weak smile. "Yeah, I'm alright. How are you? Do you need anything?" His voice sounded hoarse.
What did he need? He'd been looking for Harry for so long, and he didn't even know why. Of course Harry was upset. He probably just wanted a little privacy, and Severus had to barge in and ruin it for no particular reason. "I didn't know where you'd gone," he finally answered.
"I'm sorry," Harry said. "I just wanted a few minutes to think. Are you ready for bed?"
Severus glanced at his watch. It was a little early to go to bed, but after the day he'd been having, he'd just be grateful to have it over with. He settled for something of a compromise. "How about a nightcap first?"
"Yeah, okay," Harry latched onto the idea like a life-preserver. The emotion was gone from his voice, and he'd gotten himself more under control now. "There's a cabinet over there with some bottles and glasses." He pointed to a tall wooden cabinet near two desks at the far end of the room- one of which Severus recognized as his own.
He found a bottle of scotch and two glasses in the liquor cabinet and brought them over to Harry on the sofa. He sat down next to his husband and poured them each a generous portion. Harry downed half the glass as soon as Severus handed it to him, and he topped it off again before setting the bottle aside and sinking back into the cushions.
"Teddy's a great kid," Severus said by way of breaking the silence.
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "I wish that we could see him more, but it doesn't really work to have him visit us at Hogwarts. We're usually too busy."
"Harry," Severus paused."I want you to know that I'm sorry about whatever happened in Diagon Alley today. I don't quite understand how I upset you so much, but it wasn't intentional."
Harry drained another half-glass of scotch. "You don't have anything to apologize for. It was my fault. I should have gone with you. I should have known that you wouldn't remember Previn. I was angry at myself, and it wasn't fair of me to take it out on you."
"Will you tell me why you were so upset?" Severus asked. "It can't just be that he's my ex. Did I…" Severus struggled to voice the concern that had been niggling at him all day. "Did I cheat on you with him?" he managed finally, not meeting Harry's eyes.
"Oh, Severus, no!" Harry said quickly, placing a hand on Severus' thigh, unthinkingly, in an attempt to reassure him. "None of this is your fault. You didn't do anything wrong." Harry steeled himself to try to explain. "The first time we had sex was the morning after our Order of Merlin ceremony. You took Previn with you to the ceremony as your date."
"And then went home to have sex with you?" Severus interrupted. He sounded disgusted with himself.
When Severus said it like that, it sounded kind of horrible. "It wasn't like that. You weren't that serious about him; I think it was actually your first date. We hadn't seen each other in a year, and things just sort of happened. We started something that week in the Shrieking Shack that we never had the chance to finish. It was the beginning of a sexual attraction on your end, I think. For me, it was like falling in love with you all over again. But we never talked about it. I tried to at the ball, but we just started arguing, and then you left with Previn. You went back to his place for drinks, but that was it, and when you got home early the next morning I was waiting for you. We started talking, and I admitted how I felt about you. Then we ended up in bed for most of the day."
"From that, it sounds like Lex is the wronged party," Severus remarked, keeping his tone neutral.
"He was," Harry agreed. "I felt bad about it, but you hadn't been in a real relationship at the time, and we were happy together, so I didn't let it bother me that much. You went over and explained what had happened, apologized, and wished him all the best. He was hurt, but that seemed to be more or less the end of it. Up until a few years ago, that is. We'd been married for a couple of years at that point, and you were just starting to rebuild your friendship with Previn. You'd taken a couple years off from your owl-order potions business while you got used to being Headmaster, but you wanted to start it up again, so you started talking to Previn. He was helping you renew contact with some of your old clients and get a few new ones.
"Anyway, I didn't really think much of it at the time. Everything seemed more or less normal, but then Previn started coming around the house while I was out, and sending you owls in the middle of the night. I'll admit that I started to get suspicious. I didn't really believe that you would cheat on me, but it was getting harder and harder to argue with the evidence, and every time I asked you about it you got really defensive. One day, I followed you to Diagon Alley in my invisibility cloak."
"James' invisibility cloak?" Severus interrupted again.
"Yeah, it's a deathly hallow."
"What?" Severus frowned and gave Harry a patronizing look.
"That's a whole different story. Anyway, if you knew Dumbledore had the Elder wand, why is it so unbelievable that the cloak of invisibility would be real too?"
"I just find it hard to believe that James Potter was using a deathly hallow to sneak food out of the kitchens in the middle of the night."
Harry shrugged. "I used it to sneak down to the kitchens a few times, or into the restricted section of the library, or for sneaking out to Hagrid's, to look at the mirror of erised, and saving the school from Voldemort a few times, not to mention the world that once, but mostly it was just to avoid running into you in the halls when I wanted a walk in the middle of the night."
Severus gaped at him. "I'm starting to think that it's a good thing that I don't remember teaching you at Hogwarts."
Harry smirked. "There was a fair bit of mocking from you when I started teaching. You seemed to think it served me right, having to oversee detentions and patrol the halls."
"Well, anyway, back to the Previn thing. So, I followed you to Diagon Alley. You went into the back room of the shop and you were arguing with Previn. It turned out that he was trying to blackmail you into breaking up our marriage with the threat of exposing Draco."
"Exposing him for what?"
"When the Ministry raided the Malfoy estate after Lucius was imprisoned, they missed some stuff: family heirlooms, some books, and some of the more valuable pieces from Lucius' collection. It was dark magic, but mostly harmless-just things that Draco wasn't willing to turn over to the authorities. I knew about it; we helped Draco go through it to make sure that there wasn't anything truly dangerous that needed to be destroyed. I don't know how Previn found out about it, but Draco was just up for his promotion to Deputy Minister, and that kind of scandal would have ruined his career even if he managed to avoid Azkaban."
Severus looked shocked. Whatever he had been expecting, it hadn't been that. And Previn had had the gall to bring up Draco when they were talking that morning. "What happened?" he asked.
"I waited until you got home to confront you about it," Harry answered. "I was angry that you hadn't told me sooner, but Previn had threatened to expose Draco to the Ministry if you told me anything. As soon as I told you what I had seen, you explained everything. He'd given you another week to leave me, and then he was going to go to the Ministry with his evidence. Once we could work on the problem together, it was an easy enough fix."
"What did we do?" Severus asked.
"We told Kingsley."
"Kingsley Shacklebolt?" Severus frowned.
"He's the Minister of Magic," Harry explained, "since the end of the war. He also happens to be a former member of the Order of the Phoenix, and a close personal friend. It was a gamble, but Kingsley owes us a few favors. We explained what was happening- that the items in question were technically illegal but not actually dangerous. He wasn't actually that surprised. He agreed to overlook it, and he paid a personal visit to Previn to let him know that if he exposed Draco he would be spending a great deal of time in Azkaban for blackmailing."
"And after all that he made Draco Deputy Minister anyway?"
"I'm pretty sure that Kingsley already knew about it before we told him. Half the wizarding families in Britain have dark arts items in their Gringotts vaults. Kingsley could afford to overlook it as long as the press didn't get hold of the information. Draco never even found out about the blackmailing."
"I understand why you were upset now," Severus said. "I'm sorry."
"You don't have anything to apologize for," Harry said. "You didn't remember. I should have told you, but I didn't think of it until it was too late."
Severus finished off his scotch, which he'd been sipping at steadily all through Harry's story. "You're a good man, Harry. I can see why I married you."
Harry smiled at him. It was a sad smile, but filled with love. Then he leaned over and kissed Severus.
It was the strangest kiss Severus had ever had. It was both familiar and completely new. Harry kissed him as though he had done so a thousand times before, which he surely must have, but Severus couldn't remember the feel of his lips, soft and warm, as they moved gently against his.
Before Severus could think to kiss back, Harry was pulling away. He favored Severus with that sad smile again and said, "Can we go to bed now? It's been a long day; I'm exhausted."
Severus nodded, and they left the library and went down the hall to their bedroom. They performed their nightly ablutions in silence. Severus got lost in the routine of it, even if he couldn't really remember the many times he must have shared the bathroom with Harry as they got ready for bed. They climbed into bed together, and this time Severus wrapped an arm around Harry, curling his hand against his chest, and Harry's head fit perfectly into the hollow of his shoulder as they drifted off to sleep.
Harry was reading in the sitting room the next afternoon while Severus worked in his lab, when the floo flared to life, and George Weasley's head appeared in the fireplace.
"What Ho, Harry!" George called cheerfully. "Is your lesser half about? He was supposed to meet me for lunch, but it seems that I've been stood up. I can't say it does much for a guy's ego."
Harry bit his lip. "Um, yeah, listen, George, I'd meant to floo you earlier, but things have been kind of hectic. There's been an accident."
George's face fell. "Is Severus alright."
"Yes, yes, he's fine… well, mostly anyway. You'd better step through so I can explain."
George nodded. "Yeah, just a second, let me get Draco." He disappeared for a moment, and then the fire flared green and George and Draco stepped out into the sitting room.
"What the hell happened, Potter?" Draco demanded. "Why didn't you call me? Where's Sev?"
"He's working in the lab," Harry answered. "Just relax, Malfoy; it's alright. Severus had some kind of mishap a couple days ago with the potions he was working on. There wasn't any major physical damage, just a few minor burns, but he's suffered some memory loss. Poppy says it's probably just temporary; she thinks he could have his memories back in a few days."
"And you didn't think that was important enough to call me?" Draco sneered.
"Like I told George, it's been a busy couple days. He doesn't remember me at all, so you can imagine-"
Draco cut him off. "He doesn't remember you? You didn't tell me that this was good news, Potter?"
George elbowed Draco in the ribs, and Draco rubbed his side and glared at him.
"Why don't you stay for lunch," Harry offered. "It could be good for Severus; it might jog his memory."
"Yeah," George agreed, "I have Ron minding the store, so there's no hurry."
Draco snorted. "Yeah, cause when he blows the place up, we won't have to worry about it anymore."
"Great, well, Draco, why don't you go down to the lab and tell Severus to come up for lunch. George, you can help me make the sandwiches."
"Don't put anything in them," Draco warned.
George smirked. "They would be pretty boring sandwiches if they didn't have anything in them. That's pretty much just bread."
"You know what I mean," Draco said, and he left to go get Severus.
"He really doesn't remember you at all?" George asked as he followed Harry into the kitchen.
Harry sighed; he was beginning to get tired of that question posed with that particular tone.
"He seems to remember things pretty well up until fifteen years ago, but then his memory starts to get spotty. He remembers the war pretty well, but he doesn't remember much after that- nothing of our marriage at all."
"That's rough," George clapped him on the back. "How are you holding up?"
Harry shrugged. "Alright, I guess. We had a row yesterday, but I think things are okay right now."
"Why didn't you call us? Really, I mean? I know it wasn't just that you forgot."
Harry met his eyes for a long moment. "I don't know," he admitted. "I was going to tell you yesterday, I threw the floo powder into the fire and everything, but then I changed my mind at the last minute."
George made a thoughtful noise and began slicing a loaf of bread while Harry took meat and cheese from the cupboard. "How has he been acting? If he's forgotten most of the last fifteen years, he can't be acting like himself. Has he turned back into the colossal bastard we remember from school?"
Harry shook his head. "I'm not sure that he really was a colossal bastard back then. I think it was just that we had a different relationship with him. If we'd been older it would have been different. He still tends more toward intimidating the students. Anyway, he's been extra nice the past couple days. I think it's because he's scared."
George snorted derisively.
"No, I mean it. Wouldn't you be? And he's been really clingy. Unless he's working in the lab, he follows me around like a lost puppy- asks me where I'm going when I leave the room."
"Well, yeah," George said, "but this is Snape we're talking about. Snape isn't afraid of anything."
"He's afraid of some things," Harry corrected, "just not the things that send most people running."
George frowned. He began spreading mayonnaise over the bread. Then he suddenly had a funny thought. "So, if Snape doesn't remember you at all, how did he react when you told him that you were married?"
"He didn't believe me."
George snorted. "I wouldn't believe it either."
"He said that it was impossible," Harry paused for a moment, almost deciding against telling George the rest, but he continued against his better judgment. "He said it was impossible, because he wasn't gay."
Harry didn't really think that the laughter was in very good taste.
Draco stepped cautiously into Severus' lab. He wasn't sure what he was going to find. Potter hadn't explained the situation very well. He didn't know if Severus would even recognize him. These concerns were quickly alleviated, though, as Severus looked up at him and started handing out orders.
"Draco! Good. Go get me some lacewing flies from the store room."
"Sev?" Draco asked him uncertainly; he wasn't used to Severus barking at him.
"Lacewing flies," he repeated. "Surely you aren't so incompetent at Potions that you don't know what lacewing flies are." Severus only glanced up at him for an instant to say this, and then refocused his attention on the cauldron before him, picking up a glass rod to stir the simmering potion.
"I'm good at Potions," Draco defended sounding hurt.
"Well, then you should know what lacewing flies look like," Severus said. Then, when Draco hadn't moved from his spot near the door, he added. "I need them now."
Scowling, Draco went into the store room and returned with a container of lacewing flies.
"Thank you," Severus said, adding the desired number to his potion.
"You were supposed to meet George for lunch today," Draco said, sitting down on a stool off to the side of Severus' workbench. "When you didn't show up, he floo called, and Harry told him what happened."
"And you came here to check on me," Severus finished.
"Well, yeah," Draco said. "I was worried." He watched Severus for a while, adjusting the flames under the cauldron. "Can you leave this for a while? Harry and George are making lunch."
"I'm nearly finished," Severus answered. "I need to control the cooling for the next couple of minutes, and then I can decant it."
"Can I help you?" Draco offered.
Severus appraised him for a moment. "Yes, okay. There's a box of phials on that shelf over there." He pointed to the shelf he was talking about. "You can set them up for me."
Draco went to get the phials. "How have things been with Harry?" he asked.
Severus regarded him for a long time. "I'm not sure what you mean."
Draco tried to think of a way to phrase the question to find out exactly what he wanted to know. "What's it like to meet your husband?" he asked. "Not having any memories of him, what do you think?"
Severus was quiet for a long time. "He seems nice," he said finally.
"Nice? That's it?"
He was quiet again. "I've become dependent on him. That's… difficult for me. There are so many things that I don't know which I should. I don't trust myself to be alone in case something happens and I need his help. He's been telling me stories to help me try to remember things. Stories about things we've done together, vacations we've taken, funny little anecdotes, and how he defeated the Dark Lord a number of times during his school years- how I occasionally helped. It seems I've saved his life a number of times."
"Mine too, once or twice," Draco added.
Severus nodded at that. "It's strange though. I hardly remember anything from the last fifteen years, just bits and pieces, like a dream half remembered. That life seems like someone else's life. Someone else's story. Anyone's but mine."
Severus finally put out the fire and began to decant the potions into the phials that Draco set out with the tip of his wand.
"I hate to be the one to point this out," Draco prefaced, "but, whether you remember it or not, this is your life now. Harry seems confident that you'll get your memory back, but he's Gryffindor to the core. He's naively optimistic by nature. He thinks that everything will just turn out alright because it should. You and I know that things aren't always that simple or that easy. If you don't get your memory back, this is still the life you have to live, and you can either throw away everything you and Harry have made for yourselves and move on to other things, or you can try to make it work."
Severus fitted the phials with their stoppers while he thought this over. "You know me better than I know myself right now," Severus said. He was starting to feel like everyone did. "What do you think I should do?"
"Well, that's what I'm trying to say," Draco said. "It doesn't matter if I knew what you were like last week. You have to live with who you are today."
"Yes," Severus agreed, "but you do know Harry better than I do. Is our marriage worth fighting for? Were we happy?"
"You bickered constantly, but I think that you genuinely loved each other, and yes, I think you were happy. You were definitely happier with Harry than you ever were without him. If you loved Harry last week, I don't see any reason why you can't love him again; you just need to get to know him. Anyway, you have a better chance of being happy with the man you already married than you do trying your luck with some stranger."
Severus nodded. "Thank you for the advice, Draco. I will keep it in mind as I try to decide how to proceed." He rose to his feet, and straightened his robes.
Draco stood up too. "We'd better get up to the kitchen now. It's never a good idea to leave the Gryffindors unsupervised for long."
This comment reminded Severus of something he'd been wondering about. "Why are you helping George Weasley in the shop? You can't possibly need the money, and you must be busy at the Ministry."
"Um," Draco stared at him dumbly for a moment, "we're dating, Sev."
"Oh!" Severus blinked a few times. That possibility probably should have occurred to him earlier. "That seems like an unlikely match."
"No more unlikely than you and Potter," Draco defended.
"I suppose not, but I didn't realize that you were gay."
"Technically, I'm bisexual," Draco said, "but I'd sworn off women for a while before I started dating George."
"Why?" Severus asked.
"I don't want children, and it was just easier to date guys."
"Why don't you want children?"
Draco abruptly stopped walking in the middle of the hallway, and Severus halted too. "We've fought about this more than enough already, but you don't remember, so I'm going to tell you anyway. I'll explain, but that's it. We're not going to talk about it anymore, and we're not going to argue. You have to promise."
"I promise," Severus said uncertainly.
Draco sighed. "Okay, I decided a long time ago that, after all the bad things my family has done over the generations, I don't want to have any children. The Malfoy line is going to end with me. If George wants to have kids someday, we can adopt or use his sperm with a surrogate mother, but I refuse to father any children."
Draco looked at him like he thought Severus was going to start an argument anyway- and he was tempted. He could understand why this would be a point of contention. But, he kept his promise, and didn't make any comment on Draco's explanation.
"So, you're pretty serious about George then?" he asked instead.
Draco snorted. "That's putting it a little lightly. George and I have been together since a little before you and Harry got married. We might as well be married ourselves for all the difference it makes."
"Then why aren't you?"
Draco shrugged. "He hasn't asked me."
"Why haven't you asked him?" Severus asked. "Surely that high-society old-world upbringing must be of some use. Haven't you had all the old courting rituals drilled into you? You should be able to propose in your sleep."
"I don't really care if we get married or not," Draco said. "It's not as if a bonding ceremony is going to make us any more committed to one another. Things are good the way they are. If George asks me, I'll marry him, but I don't see any reason to change a good thing."
Their conversation fell silent as they walked into the kitchen. Harry and George were sitting at the table drinking tea while they waited. The table was already set with plates of sandwiches.
George looked up at Draco and grinned. "It's about time; we were almost ready to eat without you."
"Severus had to decant his potion," Draco explained. He sat down next to George and eyed his sandwich suspiciously. "Tell me you didn't put anything unwanted in my sandwich."
George gave him a look of mock hurt. "Made with love," he said, "just for you."
"Harry, trade sandwiches with me." Draco pushed his plate toward Harry.
Harry pushed it right back. "Do I look like an idiot to you?"
"Yes," Draco answered, "but that's beside the point."
"Eat your own sandwich," Harry said.
Severus watched this whole exchange with genuine interest. It was an odd sort of tableau- the four of them sitting there, Harry and Draco trading insults, considering the definite possibility that the food had been drugged, but for all of that no one had any real animosity toward anyone else, and the whole thing seemed perfectly natural.
"If anything in my sandwich makes my ears shrink or my tongue swell," Draco warned, "I swear that there will be a ban on half the products in the shop when I go to work on Monday."
George met this threat with a mild expression, and Draco took a bite of his sandwich. Nothing unwanted happened, and the others began eating too.
"Did everything in the lab go okay today?" Harry asked Severus between bites.
"Yes," he answered. "My ledgers were all straightforward enough. As long as I wasn't floating any orders off the books, I shouldn't miss anything."
Draco was on his third or fourth bite of sandwich when there was an odd creaking noise, and he suddenly sprouted a goatee. He dropped his sandwich and felt of his face- running his hands over the new growth of hair. He turned to George and scowled.
"What?" George held up his hands in a gesture of feigned innocence. "Nothing shrunk or swelled. Anyway, I think it suits you- makes you look rakish."
"Facial hair makes me look like some kind of low-class bum," Draco said between gritted teeth. "If I wanted a beard, I wouldn't shave in the morning."
"I think you're being a bit harsh, Draco. You don't look like a bum at all," Severus said, "more of a hobo, really." He held a straight face for a moment while the comment sat heavy in the air, and then he burst out laughing. Everyone looked at him in shock, but he just continued to laugh, and after a moment Harry and George joined him while Draco turned steadily redder with anger.
It was good to hear Severus laugh. It had been almost a week since Harry had heard that low velvety chuckle, and it was infectious.
The rest of lunch passed easily- each of them making the occasional comment about Draco's new facial hair. It felt almost normal, and Harry was tricked into believing, if only for a moment, that he had his husband back. He was reluctant to see George and Draco leave, but the shop was busy in the summer, especially on weekends, and they need to get back.
After they left, Severus and Harry were left standing alone awkwardly in the sitting room.
"I'm going to water the garden," Harry said, before Severus could ask
Severus nodded. "I have another potion to make today still."
Harry laid a hand gently on Severus' forearm. He didn't know why he felt the need to do this. He'd been willing to blame the kiss he'd given Severus last night on a little too much to drink, but now he just wanted a little physical contact from his husband- just a light touch to feel that he was still there somewhere. Harry met his eyes for a long moment, and then dropped his hand and left the room.
Harry was crying again by the time that he made it out into the garden. He tried to get himself under control as he filled the water can from the rain barrel. Harry had never really been one to cry, but lately he just felt so far out of his depth. He was a man of action, and normally he met his problems by doing something about him, but now there wasn't anything he could do but wait- wait and try to help Severus remember.
He thought that he was okay again, until he finished watering the vegetable garden and moved on to the rows of flowers planted near the garden gate. He tipped the watering can to sprinkle water over the marigolds he'd planted last week, and another wave of emotion almost knocked him to his feet. The sadness turned into a smoldering rage, and Harry fell down on his knees to tear the flowers out of the earth by the roots. It was all his fault. If Harry hadn't planted those damn flowers, then Severus would have been out in the garden harvesting dragon lotus blossoms instead of having a potions accident.
When Harry had finished destroying all of the flowers he leaned back against the garden gate and let out a long breath. This wasn't helping anything. He needed to get things under control. He should be helping Severus get his memory back, not having some kind of mental breakdown in the garden.
Severus wasn't brewing a potion. He really should be. According to his ledgers, he brewed a custom sleeping draught for Minerva, and she was due to receive a new batch tomorrow, but he couldn't bring himself to begin or light the fire under his cauldron- which already contained the base for the potion.
Instead, he sat down behind his desk and pulled out his picture of Harry and him on their honeymoon. This action felt familiar. He wanted to attribute it to the fact that he'd likely done it a hundred times before- the careworn edges of the picture certainly supported this, but Severus had taken the picture out enough times over the past couple days that he wasn't entirely comfortable attributing the familiar feeling to long-term memory.
He lost himself in the photograph for a long time, loosing himself in the contours of his husband's body and the way his hair occasionally blew in the breeze from an open window out of frame. He tried to remember something, anything, from that day. He had this kind of familiar feeling in the pit of his stomach and the sense that he could almost remember everything- like it was there but just out of reach. Every time he tried to hone in on this feeling, it only seemed farther away. He returned the photograph to its place in the drawer and got to his feet. He needed to think, but focusing on the problem only made the answers elude him- like remembering the name of a song only when you stop trying to think of it. He needed something else to occupy his higher brain function.
Severus was almost feeling happy when he took the case from the top shelf of the cupboard beside his desk. He was certainly feeling more relaxed than he had in days.
Harry followed an unfamiliar sound from the garden into the sitting room, and found Severus playing the violin. Severus looked up and, seeing the look on Harry's face, abruptly ceased the movement of his bow on the strings. That last note hung in the air for a moment, resonating in the room's fantastic acoustics, as Severus lowered the instrument.
"What is it?" he asked.
Harry, noticing that his jaw was hanging open like some bad cartoon character, closed his mouth with as much dignity as he could muster. "What are you doing?" Harry asked.
"Playing," Severus answered. "I was trying to remember something, and it helps me think."
"But, you don't play the violin," Harry said, feeling rather stupid in the face of such obvious evidence to the contrary.
Instead of answering, Severus lifted the violin to his chin and played a short piece of improvisation. About halfway through, Harry took a seat on the settee, staring up at him in amazement. Not only did Severus play the violin, it seemed, he played the violin very well.
"Let me rephrase," Harry offered once he was finished. "In the almost fourteen years I've known you, five of which we've been married and six of which we've been living together, I've never heard you play the violin. I don't think I've ever even heard you say the word violin."
Severus, who couldn't remember going more than a week without playing since his grandmother had started teaching him at the age of seven, found that frankly rather astonishing if not outright unbelievable.
"Where did you get that anyway?" Harry asked, pointing to the violin. He'd definitely never seen it before.
"It's my great-grandfather's Stradivarius. It was in the lab." The violin had been right where he'd known it would be. In its case on a high shelf where there was no risk of it being damaged or spilled on. The instrument had been in perfect tune when he'd taken it out to play, so he knew that it hadn't been left unused for any length of time. But, why would he hide the fact that he played the violin from his husband?
Harry was frowning and staring at the Stradivarius. "Was your great-grandfather a violinist or something?"
"No," Severus shook his head, "at least not professionally. He was a consulting detective."
Harry's frown deepened. Severus almost never spoke of his family, especially not the muggle half, and the way he mentioned his great-grandfather it was almost with pride. Harry recognized it from the few times that Severus had introduced him to old school friends and former lovers. Through the occasional prod for information and the memories Harry had viewed when he had thought Severus was dead, he knew that Severus' father had been abusive and he hated his mother for being too weak to leave him. He had spoken of his grandmother fondly once or twice, but there had never been any mention of a violin playing detective great-grandfather. Then a light-bulb went off somewhere in his brain.
"You did say consulting detective," Harry said, a little breathless with the sheer impossibility of it all.
"Yes, he worked on a limited basis with the police as a private consultant."
"I see," Harry nodded. "And your grandmother, I thought her maiden name was Watson."
"Yes," Severus agreed, "it was."
"And this is her father that we're talking about."
"Yes," Severus verified, "my father's mother."
Harry looked at Severus then, really looked at him, standing there: tall, impossibly thin, with his hair tied back, long delicate hands still holding the violin up on his shoulder, looking down that prominent nose at Harry, that massive intellect obviously at work behind those cold calculating eyes. He could almost bring himself to accept what the evidence was suggesting. But he couldn't quite voice the resulting question. Instead he asked. "Your great-grandmother then, who was she?"
"Mary Watson," Severus answered. "Her maiden name was Morstan."
"Which would make your great-grandfather…?" Harry trailed off. He simply couldn't put it into words. He half wanted to floo Madam Pomfrey, because he thought that Severus was losing it, but he was worried that maybe it was him having delusions instead of the other way around.
And yet, the next two words to leave Severus' mouth alleviated some of his concern. "Sherlock Holmes," Severus said. "He wasn't married to my great-grandmother, but it wasn't an affair or anything. He was a friend of her husband, and they had an arrangement."
"But that's not possible," Harry said. "Sherlock Holmes can't be your great-grandfather. I think you might have mentioned that you had a famous detective for an ancestor." But Harry immediately questioned the assumption. As much as Severus abhorred Harry's fame, it didn't seem that much of a stretch that he might have taken measures to hide this little bit of information from him.
"I'm his only living descendent," Severus answered. He set the violin down on an antique wing-backed chair by the fireplace. Severus had brought that chair over from his house in Spinner's End, and Harry wondered, for the first time, how old it was and just how long it had been in Severus' family. He walked over to the fireplace and searched among the framed photographs on the mantle until he found the one he was looking for. He crossed the room and handed it to Harry.
This one wasn't framed. It was very old, printed on a thin sheet of metal, and held in a kind of thick parchment folder. The photograph showed two men. The taller one looked incredibly like Severus; he was adjusting the leaves of a carnation in the lapel of the shorter man- mustached and wearing a bowler hat. Harry was absolutely sure that he'd never seen the photograph before.
"Why did you never tell me this before?" Harry asked, looking up from the picture.
"I don't know," Severus answered. "Perhaps it never came up."
"Maybe," Harry said, "but what about the violin?"
"That I must have been hiding from you, but I can't guess why."
Harry looked at him with eyes full of hurt at these new revelations. "Will you play for me?" he asked.
Severus walked over to the chair and picked up the violin. He brought it to his chin and began playing something by Mozart which quickly morphed into an improvised composition of his own. His whole body moved as he played and Harry watched him for a long time before he let his eyes flutter closed as he enjoyed the music.
Severus glanced up from his bowing to look at Harry. There was a small smile on his husband's face, but, even closed, his eyes looked sad. Severus felt a twinge in the pit of his stomach, not unlike pain, that he recognized as love. Love for his husband. Love for a man that he hardly knew.
Harry was uncharacteristically quiet for the rest of the day. He kept mostly to himself, and Severus didn't really even see him again until dinner was ready- a little later than usual.
The aged house elf found him in the library to tell him that Harry had dinner ready, and Severus made his way down to the kitchens. The smell of curry had his mouth watering before he even walked through the kitchen door. Harry was leaning over to light a pair of candles in ornate silver candlesticks on the already set table. He looked up guiltily when Severus walked through the door.
"Is this okay?" Harry asked.
"Yes," Severus said, "good." It was good. Draco was right, if he had any chance of saving his marriage, Severus needed to get to know the man he'd married, and an intimate dinner for two might be the best way to do so. He took a seat at the table, and Harry dished him up a portion of curry and poured him a glass of wine before taking his own seat.
"You know," Harry said, after pouring a glass of wine for himself. "It's funny; I thought that it was you who didn't know me, but it turns out that I don't know everything about you either."
Severus snorted. "I still think you have the advantage."
"Maybe," Harry allowed.
Severus took a bite of his curry and moaned in enjoyment. "Where did you learn to cook like this?" he asked. "I couldn't cook anything at your age; if I hadn't started teaching at Hogwarts, I probably would have starved. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe it was a good thing Minerva brought by all my meals after the war."
"There's always takeout," Harry suggested.
"But really," Severus pried. "Did you take classes or something, because this is fantastic?" Severus took another bite of curry.
Harry seemed reluctant, but answered anyway. "My aunt and uncle used to make me cook for them. I never enjoyed it until you moved in." He blushed a little, focusing on his plate. "I like cooking for you; you appreciate it," Harry moved his food around with his fork, "even if you don't help with the dishes."
"Well, that should certainly be rectified," Severus said. "after this delicious meal, the least I can do is the dishes."
Harry's eyes widened a little at that. "Next you'll be telling me that we can get a dog."
"How about a cat?" Severus suggested.
Harry shook his head. After a few too many summer afternoons spent with Mrs. Figg, Harry most certainly did not want a cat. "Nope, I want a dog."
Severus grimaced. "I really don't like dogs. Isn't there some kind of compromise?"
Harry shrugged. "I like snakes."
"Is that some kind of euphemism?" Severus asked, not nearly as concerned with that prospect as he thought he would be.
Harry laughed. "Well,… that too, I guess, but, no, I mean an actual snake: something big, maybe a Burmese python. I never mentioned it before, because, well…" Harry made a fluttering gesture over the left side of his neck.
Severus brought his hand up to his own neck and felt that thickening of scar tissue. He frowned. Oddly enough, he didn't feel any particular qualms against sharing his home with a snake- even a larger one. "Why do you want a snake?" he asked. Severus thought it was a little odd that the Gryffindor wanted a snake whilst he, the textbook Slytherin, wanted a cat. Perhaps it was symbolic of their relationship.
"I'm a parseltongue," Harry explained.
Severus shook his head in clear disbelief. "You're certainly never boring, Harry."
"I wish," he said. "It would be nice to lead a normal boring life for a change: no one trying to kill me, not being hounded by the press, no one expecting anything from me."
"A husband who remembers you," Severus added.
"Yeah," Harry said, "that would definitely be an added bonus."
Severus frowned. "I'm sorry about that."
"It's not your fault."
"Yes it is. I still don't know what happened, but, whatever it was, it was my mistake. I was careless in some way. I added the wrong ingredient, or forgot to do something, or I spilled what I was working on, because I was the only one there, and it's my fault."
Harry shook his head. "No, Severus, it really isn't. Whatever happened, it was an accident. There isn't anything you could have done."
Severus didn't argue. Like most everything else, he couldn't remember the accident, but he was sure that there must have been something he could have done to prevent it. There was a long silence, and Severus just finally had to say what had been eating at him all afternoon- that thing that had driven him to his violin, the thing that had kept him staring at Potter's picture all evening.
"I spoke with Draco this afternoon about my… predicament- specifically concerning the possibility that I might not regain my memories." Severus held up his had to stall whatever argument Harry was about to make. "It is a possibility, whether you choose to recognize it or not. In all likelihood, I won't get my memories back, and that's something we both need to take under consideration. Draco has advised that, in the event that my memories don't return, my best course of action is to stay with you. He thinks that if I was able to find happiness with you once, there should be nothing stopping me from doing so a second time. I'm inclined to agree with him, but it isn't that simple. I'm not the only one involved. Would you be willing to start all over from the beginning, Harry?"
Severus was looking at him very intently, and Harry had to struggle not to laugh in his face; he knew his husband well enough to know that he needed to tread carefully.
He smiled. "Severus, you're the love of my life, my husband, my partner in everything. I have loved every moment we've spent together and I would be more than happy to do it all again a hundred times, but it's only been three days. Give it time." Harry smirked. "I know that you're a Slytherin, but try not to lose hope so quickly."
"I'm not losing hope; I'm being practical. You should try it some time."
Instead of getting angry or making some retort at the barb, Harry just grinned. "That's what you always say."
"I expect that's because it's true," Severus replied tersely.
Harry started laughing at that, and Severus' expression softened.
When he had himself back under control, Harry met Severus' eyes as he regarded him carefully. "I've been trying to decide what my feelings for you are all afternoon," Severus said, after looking at him for a moment. "The conclusion I came to should probably be reassuring, but I'm not sure that it is."
"What conclusion is that?" Harry asked.
"I love you," Severus said quietly. The words seemed to hang in the air for a moment. "I don't know why. I don't remember anything more now than I did yesterday, but some part of me must remember, because that's what I feel. It hurts when you're not around, and my stomach ties itself in knots the moment I see you. I lie awake next to you in bed at night just listening to you breathe." Severus kept his eyes on his plate through this whole admission, moving the food around with his fork. "It's awful."
Harry regarded him silently for a moment then reached across the table to lay his hand over Severus', waiting for Severus to meet his eyes.
When Severus finally forced himself to look up from their hands and meet Harry's eyes, he was shocked by what he saw, though he probably shouldn't have been. Harry was looking at him with such love and devotion that Severus' natural response was to pull away. He fought it, knowing that there was no dishonesty in the way that Harry looked at him. The man didn't have the subtlety or guile for such subterfuge, anyway, and what was there to be gained from it? And yet, how could Severus feel anything other than mistrust? He had never known real love. Had never thought that anyone could love him. In the face of this evidence to the contrary he only felt defensive.
Harry seemed to sense this, because he spoke his next words softly, as if trying to soothe a skittish horse. "I want you to love me, Severus. I need you to. It's alright if you don't know why yet; I would be happy to demonstrate all the reasons. I want to know you as you are now. I'm relieved to know that you're not planning on leaving me, that there's at least some echo of what we had left somewhere." Severus felt Harry curl his fingers around his hand, and watched in bewilderment as the man lifted it to his mouth and planted a kiss on the palm. He lowered it gently to the table and said, "There's no pressure; we can figure things out as we go along."
"Are you finished?" Harry asked, glancing down at Severus' forgotten plate.
"Yes," he answered, pushing it a few inches away toward the middle of the table. "That was very good."
Harry smiled shyly. "Thank you." Harry's own plate was still almost full, but he stood and walked around the table, taking Severus' hand in his once more. "Come with me."
Severus got to his feet and followed Harry out of the kitchen, leaving their dishes for Kreecher to clean up. Harry led him to the staircase and up to their bedroom, holding his hand like a child the whole way.
Once they were in the master suite with the door firmly closed and warded behind them, Harry seemed to lose some of his confidence, and he looked up at Severus almost timidly. "Sit on the bed," he said in a whisper.
Harry regarded him for a moment then began unbuttoning his robes. "Just tell me if you want me to stop," Harry said, continuing to remove his robes.
Severus didn't want him to stop. He felt a flush of arousal. He had been looking at that naked photograph of Harry all afternoon, but this was different somehow. That living, breathing flesh slowly being revealed was quite possibly the most erotic thing he'd ever seen.
When Harry had finished disrobing, he stepped tentatively forward until he was close enough to reach out and touch. "Maybe not so straight after all," he said, glancing pointedly down at the bulge in the front of Severus' trousers.
"Perhaps not," Several allowed, making no effort to hide his arousal. Instead, he reached up and brushed his hand along Harry's cheek, across his collar bone, sliding it over the shoulder and down the firm muscled bicep. The flesh was warm and smooth, and Severus took a sharp intake of breath as he finally rested his hand on Harry's bare hip.
"Can I kiss you?" Harry asked in a breathy whisper.
Severus fought his instinct to correct the man's grammar, not willing to ruin the moment, and nodded.
Harry bent and brushed his lips softly against Severus', but Severus was having none of that, and he wrapped a hand around Harry's neck and pressed their lips together firmly, almost roughly- devouring that soft supple mouth.
Harry was panting, when they finally parted, and there was no hiding his arousal, deliciously unencumbered and erect. But Harry seemed lost, unwilling to push things further than Severus was comfortable with.
Severus felt both shy and overdressed at the same time. Obviously, Harry had seen him naked before, but how could this vision of perfection ever find his bony, old body attractive? What could Harry possibly see in him?
"We can stop," Harry said finally, but there was disappointment in his voice. "We don't have to…" he tailed off, "I mean, if you're not ready."
"I don't want to stop," Severus said. "It's just that I haven't done this before. Not that I remember, in any case."
Harry nodded. "I'll go slow."
Severus wasn't entirely sure what this meant. His knowledge of the physical logistics of homosexual sex was rather sparse, but he allowed Harry to remove his robes and lay him back on the bed.
Contrary to his fears, Harry did not seem at all repulsed by Severus' body. If anything, Harry seemed even more aroused than before. His eyes were heavy-lidded as he slid into bed next to Severus, pressing their bodies together, and began kissing him again.
Severus felt himself lulled into a warm kind of comfortable drowsiness by the other man's skillful mouth, and he let out a little whimper of loss as that mouth pulled away to trail kisses down his neck. The loss was forgotten a moment later as Harry's mouth enveloped one of his nipples in a hot, wet, ring of suction. Severus moaned.
Harry was very deliberate in his ministrations, treating it as though it were Severus' first time, which, in a way, it was, but he felt Severus' body reacting with all the ease of long-practice. He moved so that he was kneeling on the bed between Severus' splayed legs, and ran his hands over the thin chest and along his sides to grip at the man's hips. Severus bucked a little into his grip, and Harry bent down to take Severus' cock into his mouth.
This too was a well practiced motion. Harry knew just how to elicit those pleasant whimpering noises from his husband. Alternately making low bobs of his head to take Severus' cock into his throat and pulling back to suck the tip while his hand pumped the shaft. He knew just when to stop too, so that Severus wouldn't come prematurely.
Severus was lost on a sea of pleasure and arousal. If this was what a blowjob from a man felt like, there was no wonder that he had switched sides. There was none of the inexpert fumbling he'd experienced on other such occasions. To the contrary, Harry was almost ruthlessly skillful, taking Severus to new heights of pleasure, bringing him right up to the brink of climax and then easing him back down only to do it again. Just when Severus was sure that he couldn't take anymore, Harry pulled away completely and crawled back up to lay beside Severus- an infuriatingly self-satisfied grin on his face.
Severus let out a long breath and tried to settle himself back into a state of mind where coherent thought was still possible. Harry licked his lips, and Severus had to start the process all over again.
"That was..." Severus said, but for perhaps the first time in his life, at least what he could remember of it, he found himself at a loss for words.
Harry smirked. "That good, hunh? Turn over and I'll show you something even better."
With some trepidation, Severus turned over on the bed so that he was face-down, bracing himself for what he was sure would come next. He might not be well-versed when it came to the details of two men having sex, but there were some things that were pretty obvious. He wasn't sure he was ready for Harry to penetrate him, but he trusted Harry not to hurt him, and, while this might be his first time, his body had certainly done this before. He felt a gentle prodding at his most private of places and was ready for the pain he was sure would come next, but Harry surprised him.
Harry had positioned himself behind his husband once more, and, after a few appreciative strokes, had spread the cheeks of Severus', admittedly flat but still very attractive, ass to expose the pink pucker of his opening. He felt Severus' muscles stiffen beneath him as he bent his head and swiped his tongue across the little circle of flesh. Severus moaned, and immediately relaxed. Harry went to work again, lapping at the muscle until it relaxed enough for him to slip his tongue in. Now Severus moaned, low and masculine, and Harry wanted so badly to take him right then, but somehow he knew that Severus wasn't quite ready for that yet. Instead he worked his tongue in and out, eliciting more moans. He summoned a bottle of lubricant, Severus' own recipe, without faltering in his rhythm. The bottle landed softly on the bed next to him, and he had to pull away to open it and spread it on his fingers. Severus was practically sobbing, and Harry recognized the sound for what it was- raw need. Severus was ready now, past the brink of thought or questioning.
Harry wrapped a hand around each of Severus' hips and guided him up until he was on his knees, face resting in his arms on the pillows at the head of the bed. Resting one hand on the small of Severus' back, Harry slowly pushed one lubricated finger into Severus' opening. It slid in easily, and Harry earned a moan. The second was a tighter fit, but that hot ring of muscle relaxed as Harry thrust his fingers in and out, and Severus' showed no signs of discomfort. Harry used his free hand to rub lube over his needy erection as he continued to fuck Severus with the other. He quickened the rhythm as Severus began to press back against Harry's thrusts, and started to scissor the fingers.
After a few more thrusts of his fingers, judging the moment to be right and nearly past the point of restraining himself, Harry removed the fingers and replaced them with his cock, gripping Severus' hips as he pushed himself inside. Severus let out a low guttural moan and then a gasp as Harry's cock nudged against his prostate.
It had been days since Harry had had his husband in such a delicious position. Days of worry and fear that he might lose the only man he'd ever truly loved. Days of feeling as though his whole world was coming crashing down around him. Days of watching as Severus pulled away from him. Days of needing him so badly that he could hardly stand it. And now everything seemed so much brighter. The sex became possessive, needy. Harry strained with each thrust to in some way lay claim to what should always have been his, and the feel of Severus, solid and real beneath him, meeting him thrust for thrust, was enough to bring tears to his eyes. Harry wrapped an arm around Severus to grip his cock, and pumped it in time to his thrusts, bringing them both over the edge in a matter of moments.
Severus collapsed onto the mattress beneath him, and Harry pulled out his softening cock, still dripping come, and slumped onto the bed next to him.
It took a moment for Severus to regain his faculties enough to turn onto his side and meet Harry's eyes, and by then Harry had wiped away all trace of his tears. Harry smiled at him. "Did that meet with your satisfaction?"
"Yes," Severus rasped, trying and failing to pull himself into a seated position against the headboard. His limbs felt as though they were made of rubber. "That was amazing."
"I'm not going to lose you to the fairer sex anytime soon then?"
"I should say not."
"Good." Harry slid over to the edge of the bed and sat up, getting to his feet.
They'd barely had enough time to catch their breath and already Harry was leaving him. Severus did manage to sit up then, and he looked up at Harry, trying not to let his hurt show in his eyes. He wasn't sure why, but the idea that Harry was ready to leave him so soon after what they'd just experienced left a cold feeling of betrayal in the pit of his stomach.
Harry grinned at him, and extended his hand. "Come on, I want to show you something."
"You…what?" Severus frowned in confusion. His mind was still in a state of hazy post-coital delirium.
Harry laughed. "If you think you can stand, that is."
Severus managed to get to his feet, and Harry took his hand and led him across the room. Still naked, they descended the stairs.
"Where are we going?" Severus asked when Harry led him down the first-floor hall, past the kitchen, to the back door.
"I told you," Harry said, "I want to show you something."
Severus hesitated. "If we're going outside, don't you think it would be wise to get dressed first?"
"Just out into the back garden," Harry said. He paused and gave Severus a scrutinizing look. "I suppose it's too much to hope for that you've suddenly gotten all your memories back."
Severus considered it for a moment. "As far as I can tell, it's the same as before."
Harry nodded. "Then there's something I want you to see."
Severus finally relented and allowed Harry to lead him out into the garden. They walked hand-in-hand like children lost in an enchanted forest through the overgrown but well-tended garden. The grass was soft under their bare feet, and the moonlight gave their skin an unearthly shade of pale perfection. Harry led him through the trees and flowers to the rear of the garden.
There was a tinkling of water as a fountain trickled up from its marble basin and down into a small pool of clear water. The moonlight glinted off the scales of two koi fish in the pool that swam lazy circles around each other. Near the pool, in the shade of a wizened and shrunken willow tree, was a single rosebush.
At least a dozen roses bloomed against the dark green leaves. In the light of the moon they glistened with dew, and Severus thought that next to the man standing next to him, they were the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.
Harry reached out and brushed his fingertips lightly against the petals of one bloom. A drop of dew slid down one of the petals and dropped onto the back of his hand, drawing Severus' attention to a scar there that he hadn't noticed before. He was about to ask about it when Harry spoke.
"I told you how you gave me the bed as a wedding present," Harry began, "but I didn't tell you the rest of that story. The first night we were together, I brought you a rose from the Ministry rose garden."
Severus' eyes widened in surprise at that. It was impossible to pick the Ministry roses; they were shielded both by protective charms and their own innate magic.
"You'd never admit it," Harry said, "but I think it was the rose that finally won you over." He blushed. "It was a silly gesture, but…" he shrugged. "Anyway, I'd been wracking my brain for weeks to come up with a suitable wedding present, and one day I went into your lab and happened to see the rose there. You'd put a preservation charm on it, and it was laying on top of some books on a bookshelf, sort of haphazardly. But, the thing is, there wasn't any dust on it. There was dust on the books, and on the shelf, but none on the flower. So I knew that it must have meant something to you.
"The next night, I broke into the Ministry around two in the morning and stole this rosebush for you."
"You what?" Severus looked between the roses and his husband.
Harry smirked and shrugged. "It wasn't the first time."
"You'd stolen a rosebush or broken into the Ministry of Magic?"
"The second one," Harry said, calmly enough.
It wasn't the first time that it occurred to Severus that there was a whole hell of a lot more to this unassuming young man than met the eye.
"The point is," Harry continued, "I did that for you, because I love you. I wanted you to know that."
Severus met his eyes. "You've shown me that already. I love you too," he said, "and now I'm really beginning to understand why."
"So we're okay then?" Harry asked, a mixture of hope and worry in his voice.
"More than okay," Severus said, wrapped his arms around his husband, and kissed him.
Author's Note: There might still be one more part to this, but I'm not quite sure yet. I just have one more scene kind of stuck in my head. We'll just have to wait and see if it turns into anything. I'm sorry about the long wait. I got engaged recently, and I've been busy with moving and stuff. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it wasn't too derivative. Please review.