Title: He's Just Hiding

Summary: When Harry Potter saw Severus Snape die from a snake bite, he was fairly certain his old potions professor was out of his life forever. Unfortunately, death doesn't seem to be binding.

Rating: T for language


Harry Potter had never demanded, or even asked for, an easy life. He had not spent his life waiting for fate to steal him away from his lot. Nor had he allowed life to hand him glory on a silver platter. In fact, he'd spent seventeen years working very hard and seeing things no boy should see, so he was of the opinion that he had earned and deserved everything that he had today. He had earned the home in the little wizarding suburb by surviving a year in the wild. He had earned his housemate Ron by spending sixteen years with Vernon Dursley and not killing him, even though he could have—without magic—several times. He deserved the auror training he would receive this August because, damn it, he had killed Lord Voldemort! Harry Potter deserved the life he had now.

Which is why, when he opened the door to find a thinly-disguised Severus Snape on his porch, he wondered what the hell he'd done to deserve this.

"Hello, Potter," Snape sneered before Harry could make sure he wasn't dreaming.

"Y-your—I—what—I don't—dead—how—I didn't—why?" While Harry was babbling and clutching on to the door, Snape let himself in. Whoever had transfigured him had done a rather poor job of it. His hair was still a greasy mess, and any former Hogwarts student would be able to see past the artificial freckles and straightened nose into the dark, hateful eyes. "You're alive!" Harry finally choked out.

"Astute observation, Potter. You always were the sharp one."

"No, no, you're dead." Harry closed the door but still clutched onto the knob. Snape had begun to remove his shoes. He seemed quite alive. "I saw you die. You gave me your memories and you loved my mom and then I died and then I saved everyone and you were definitely dead. Remember? The snake bit you, remember?"

Snape straightened up and a muscle in his jaw was jumping, making Harry think that he did, in fact, remember. "Yes, I remember," he said through clenched teeth. "You ran off and left me on the floor with that bloody snake. And I had to crawl my way out of that house, past the Whomping Willow, only to be found be some centaurs who really liked Dumbledore! So yes, Potter, I remember."

Something in Harry's brain told him that he should apologize. However, he had a true problem feeling bad about harming people who reminded him of Snape. Especially if those people happened to actually be Snape. "You looked really dead," he finally said weakly.

"Really? Fascinating." Snape began moving into Harry's home, glancing into his parlor before making his way into the kitchen. Harry was struck dumb until Snape began rummaging through his cupboards and turning the sink on and off.

"You can't stay here, Snape."

"Oh? And where do you suggest I go?" He stopped molesting Harry's kitchenware and turned around. "You know I've been homeless for the past two months." His tone suggested that he blamed Harry.

"I don't care. Look, I may know why you did what you did, but Ron doesn't and neither does the rest of the—"

"I'm aware that the rest of the world still thinks I'm a traitorous bastard." His eyes narrowed into tiny black slits. "The Ministry won't take me off their wanted list until someone produces a body." He grit his teeth. "Or at least a story."

"I told them, Snape. I told them everything—well, except the parts about my mum, those were a little weird." Snape was turning an astounding shade of purple. Harry had never seen the likes of it except on Vernon Dursley. "It isn't my fault they didn't believe me."

"No, it's never Prince Potter's fault, is it? You just go on and play the hero your whole life; everyone else will be sure to clean up your messes. Just leave the trail of bodies in your wake," Snape snarled. Harry felt like he'd been slapped. More than anything he wanted to push Snape out of his home and back onto the street. But before he could kick Snape out of his home and regain any sense of normalcy, Snape uttered, "As much as I hate to say it Potter, you're the only one who can help me."

"I'm certain that isn't true; there are plenty of great psychiatrists in London." Harry was about to laugh at his own joke, but Snape looked ready to wring his neck. He thought better of it.

"You're the only one who can clear my name. I need you to persuade Shacklebolt that I'm innocent so I can change my name and move west."

"Fine. Easy. I'll do that. You go find yourself a flat someplace nice, and I'll owl you once the paperwork's through." Snape laughed. Harry wondered if this was the first time he'd actually heard Snape laugh.

"You're funny Potter. No, I'm staying here."

"The hell you are! Do you know what the Ministry does to people who harbor fugitives? Because I'm pretty sure it rhymes with Azkaban!"

Snape sighed. "It bothers me that you don't know how rhymes work. And please, don't think of me as a fugitive. Think of me as the man who saved your life more times than you can co—" He was cut off by a loud bang coming from the parlor and the call, "Harry? Hey, Harry?" Before Snape could react, Harry shoved him into the pantry and slammed the door behind him. Ron Weasley wandered into the kitchen. "Harry, do we have any flour? Mum wanted to bake cookies." He reached toward the pantry handle.

"NO!" Ron looked at Harry like he'd grown a second head. "I mean, no. We're completely out of flour. Out of food entirely, actually. Why don't you go back to the Burrow? I'll meet you there!" Harry finished breathlessly. Ron kept staring at him.

"Are you sure everything's all right?"

"Yes! I mean, no." Harry acted as grave as possible. "Hermione came calling today. She looked sick. Or pregnant," Ron's eyebrows shot up. "You should go talk to her!"

"I saw her earlier today, she didn't say—"

"Go talk to her, really, Ron, who knows what could be happening!"

Ron stared at him for a long time before finally saying, "All right, I guess." He looked like he was about ready to go, but then said, "You know you can tell me anything, right?"

Harry suddenly felt a bit guilty. He probably shouldn't have told Ron that Hermione was pregnant. "I know. That's what mates are for, right?" Ron smiled, turned on the spot, and was gone with a bang. It took Snape about a second to step out of the pantry, laughing like a madman. Huh, twice in a day.

"Potter, you are quite possibly the worst liar I've ever seen."

Harry fought back the urge to push him back into the pantry. "You can stay in the attic. If anyone finds you, I'll tell them I had no idea you were in my house."

Snape smirked. "What a great auror they'll think of you then."