Title: Animal Lover


Other pairings/threesome:/b Ron/Hermione

Rating: NC-17

Word count: +/- 8,500


Prompt: A potions accident leaves Snape as a cat until who-knows-when. Dumbledore asks Harry, after every (other?) teacher at Hogwarts, to care for him until the solution is found or the potion reverses itself. Snape is, of course, no more friendly as a cat than as a person. Bonus points if Harry doesn't tell Ron an Hermione what's happened, to spare Snape the embarrassment.

Summary: When Harry finds a stray outside his door, will it be a simple cat or a doorway to so much more?

A/N:/I had so much fun with this prompt and the fest and I wanted to thank Sarah for the awesome beta job she did and the mods for letting me pick a second story.

animal lover

Harry Potter sighed loudly as he rounded the final corner to his private rooms at Hogwarts. He loved teaching, he really did, but sometimes he wished he didn't have to deal with children all day, every day. It had seemed like a good idea five years ago to return to Hogwarts to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts. He may not know everything there was to know on the subject, but after defeating Voldemort at the age of seventeen and being an Auror for five years, he knew more than the students at Hogwarts. Or that was supposed to be the idea.

However there were students who thought themselves smarter then the Boy Who Lived. And today had been a trying day with three second year Ravenclaw students who decided that they did not need to listen to the dueling instructions and instead started their own duel. It had ended up with him having to send all three of them to the hospital wing with minor wounds.

He ran a hand through his messy hair as he rounded the corner. What he saw there made him pause in his steps. A black cat was sitting in front of the door that led to his quarters. A gorgeous cat with a sleek coat and bright yellow eyes. The cat glanced at Harry as he approached. Carefully, he extended his hand so the cat could sniff it. The animal merely sniffed once and then turned and presented him with its back, not in the least bit interested.

Harry laughed. "Picky, are we? I suppose you don't want to come in then?" The cat blinked up at him and the moment Harry stepped through the door it sped inside, quick as a wink. Before he had the time to turn, the cat was sitting on his couch, bathing. It glanced up at him, daring him to comment, and Harry merely chuckled. "Why don't you come in?"

He ignored the cat as he removed his robes. He understood why he had to wear them but he didn't like it. He still felt most at home in his jeans and jumper though it had been years since he had worn any hand-me-downs from Dudley. Now he bought his own clothes. Instead of tossing his robes over the back of the couch as he would normally do, he hung them up on the peg. He turned back to the sitting area.

Something had to be said for the staff quarters. They were large and comfortable, at least in Harry's opinion. He had a seating area with a fireplace, a door that led to a bedroom which was large enough for a four poster bed, another door that led to an equally large bathroom with a separate bath and shower. Just the bath was enough to convince Harry to teach.

He approached the couch and extended his hand to the cat. "Now, do you have a name or don't you have an owner?"

The cat didn't show any sign of that he was interested in Harry and merely continued washing. Harry frowned. He had never owned a cat before except for the few times that he had to babysit Hermione's cat, Crookshanks. But how hard could it be? It was a cat, right?

iBesides, I'm used to Snape so how bad can one cat be?/i

If Harry had suspected that surviving the war and returning to Hogwarts to teach would have mellowed Severus Snape he was dead wrong. The man was still as nasty as ever and still seemed to hate Harry with a passion. But that didn't stop Harry from falling head over heels in love with the Potions Master. In the past few years when Harry wasn't busy with his duties as a Professor, he tried to befriend Snape. 'Tried' being the operative word here because so far in the five years he had been teaching, he had yet to make an impression on Snape.

Snape refused to share a civil conversation with Harry or even respond beyond snappish comments whenever Harry tried to start one. And yet Harry couldn't help how he felt. Sometimes he wished that he was more like a normal person and didn't fall for somebody who obviously hated him, but he was resigned to his fate. Slowly but surely Snape was becoming less hostile towards Harry, or so Harry kept telling himself.

"Ahhh, damn you!" Harry was rudely shaken from his thoughts as the cat took a swipe at his hand. He swatted at it as it disappeared in a flurry of fur as Harry glanced at the three scratches on his hand which were starting to bleed. He whispered a healing charm as he waved his wand over them. Great, he was stuck with a cat that wasn't friendly, wasn't that just his l


"Here kitty, kitty kitty…." Three hours later and Harry began to wonder where the cat had disappeared to. He had spent the last hour searching for the elusive creature. He had searched the bathroom, the living room and even part of the bedroom and yet the cat still wasn't to be found. He sighed and then sank down on the couch. He was tired and ready to give up. He hadn't left the door to the corridor open; he knew that for sure because he always closed the door behind him.

So unless the creature knew how to use the Floo, where the hell could it be? He needed somebody who was an authority on cats so the only thing he could do was call Minerva McGonagall. She was only a Floo call away and by the time Harry had explained what had happened, the Headmistress was on her way down to his quarters. Harry glanced up from his seat on the couch as the stern Scottish witch stepped into his quarters.

"Ah, Harry, you have a stray you said?"

Harry nodded as he held up the bottle of Firewiskey and said, "Yeah, a beautiful black cat but he seems to have disappeared. He must be a familiar of one of the students because how else would such a magnificent animal come here by itself? But he isn't very friendly. I haven't had time to check if he belongs to someone yet and even before I touched him he already took a swipe at me before he disappeared. I haven't seen him since."

"He will come out when he is hungry. Do you want me to take a look?"

Harry poured two fingers of Firewhisky in two glasses. He handed one to Minerva before he sat down on the couch as she took the chair in front of the fireplace. "Nah, I'm sure you're right. I'll leave some food out for him to find so that he can come out and tomorrow I will ask the students if one of them is missing a cat." Harry closed his eyes in enjoyment at the burn in the back of his throat because of the Firewhisky.

"If he is a male, which I have no doubt he is, then I am sure that he will come out whenever he is hungry. You should ask the house elves for some tuna, no cat can ever resist that."

Harry laughed at the dreamy look on Minerva's face as he teased, "Let's steer away from the disgusting feeding habits of cats and talk about something else. Have you heard something from Severus yet?" Even though Snape may not have given Harry permission to use his given name, it didn't mean that he didn't do so in private. To Harry, Snape had been Severus for quite some time. He tried to sound casual but by the look he was receiving it seemed that he was failing miserably.

"You know just as well as I do, Harry, that when that man is involved in is private research nothing short of an emergency will get him out of the lab. It was the one condition that I had to agree to, to get him back here to teach. That man knows how to drive a hard bargain, but he is the best in the field. We are lucky to have him here at Hogwarts. Did you know he is one of the youngest Potions Masters in history?"

If there was somebody who would support a relationship between him and Severus, it would be Minerva. She had only been trying to encourage a friendship between them since Harry had begun teaching at Hogwarts. Actually, Severus had been appointed by Minerva to help Harry settle in. Needless to say, it had not been the best idea she had ever come up with. Harry had hoped that seeing Snape at his nastiest would have shocked him from his crush, but sadly it wasn't to be, it had only deepened, which was not encouraging. What that said about Harry's personal needs he didn't even want to think about.

He focused his attention back on Minerva just as she started asking about his classes. With a loud sigh, Harry told the Headmistress the latest developments with his students.


Yawning, Harry moved towards his bedroom, all thoughts of the mysterious black cat forgotten. He had left out a tin of tuna in the small kitchenette so whenever the animal was hungry it could come out and eat. It was always nice to chat to Minerva. She had a way of putting his problems into perspective and she said that she would help him if the problems persisted. But Harry didn't want any help. He wanted to do it on his own.

He wanted to impress Severus. Not that he had much of a chance. He had a number of things against him. First of all was being a Potter and the second was the history between them. Harry was sure that everybody who had been in school together with him could tell tales about the infamous hatred between him and Severus. He sighed; it didn't improve his chances of trying to get to know the man when Severus couldn't seem to force himself to be barely civil to Harry.

He shook himself sharply. He would figure out the Snape mystery another time, right now he needed sleep. He waved his fingers to turn on the lights. His bed looked delicious after a long day and Harry let out a long moan at the thought of sinking down beneath the covers. He changed out of his clothes quickly, settling for the sweat pants he always wore to bed and no shirt. The fire had created the perfect temperature in the room and he liked to feel the soft blankets against his skin. He moved to the bathroom to use the facilities and brush his teeth.

Already longing for bed, Harry didn't focus as he walked back into the bedroom. A hiss brought him up short. He glanced at the bed but more precisely what was on the bed. The cat had decided to come out again.

"Hey boy, you decided to come out again. I guess you found the tuna, right?" He glanced at the cat again to find that the animal didn't look particularly friendly.

The furious cat appeared to be nearly twice the size it had been previously and the beautiful sleek fur stood on end. Its ears were nearly flat against its head and the tail stood high as it hissed at Harry, showing teeth and claws.

Harry held up his hands. For some reason the cat was agitated and he had no idea what he had done to upset the animal. iHe will need a name. But I can figure that out later when I get him off my bed. I'm not in the mood to battle for the best spot on the bed with a cat./i

Slowly and with great caution, Harry approached the bed. He held out a hand and, lowering his voice said, "Easy now, I'm not going to harm you. Now why don't you move to the side and I'll just sleep over here…"

The moment he got near the cat it turned into a fighting machine. Only his quick reflexes saved him from a swipe to the face and Harry used his wand out of habit. Within a moment he blinked as he realized he had levitated the cat. The cat appeared stunned for a mere moment before he continued to hiss at Harry, swinging its paw in an attempt to hit him. Harry took care not to let it come too close and levitated it out of the door. But he was too slow closing the door and within a moment the cat was on the bed again. It snarled at him and Harry backed away.

It seemed that his bed was taken over by a cat. The cat sat down on the bed and stared at Harry before he finally admitted defeat and said, "Great, chased out of my bed by a cat…"

He moved towards his pillow and the cat hissed, "Can I at least have my pillow if I am to sleep on the couch?"

The cat merely looked at him.


Great I defeated one of the most evil wizards of all time and I'm brought down by a cat!

Harry cursed himself as he transformed one of his throw pillows into something vaguely resembling his bed pillow. A pillow that was now probably covered in cat hair. He turned on his side. His couch was apparently not comfortable enough to sleep on. He pulled the blanket he had managed to snag off the bed before the cat could tear it to shreds over his shoulder and pulled his legs up. How could he possibly have managed to find the one cat that was as nasty as Snape?

He curled up to try and find a comfortable spot. He was tired but not so tired that he could fall asleep on the couch. He closed his eyes, trying not to think about anything. It seemed to do the trick because he nearly fell asleep. The next moment a sudden weight on his chest made him sit up straight as he pointed his wand at the disturbance in the room. The cat, who was sitting on his lap, blinked innocently up at Harry and butted his head against the tip of Harry's wand.

He sighed and then said, "Do you have a death wish or something? I could have hexed you."

The cat merely looked at him and then butted his head against Harry's wand again and then against Harry's hand. It purred and it was Harry's turn to stare. Carefully, he put his wand away, pleased as the cat butted its head against his hand again, and he scratched it behind the ears. The cat purred softly and Harry felt something inside him relax. He realized he had missed another living creature around him. He missed company, he realized. He may live at a boarding school but it was still a lonely life.

"Now that you have come over here does that mean that I can sleep in the bed again or will you defend your territory again? Also, you need a name as well since I have to call you something. You remind me of somebody…well if that somebody was an Animagus I'm sure he would be like you…I think I know a proper name for you - Shadow. How does that sound?"

The cat merely blinked at him and then butted his head against Harry's hand, trying to coax more scratching. Harry laughed and then said, "Well, Shadow it is then. Now, shall we go to the bedroom?"

It seemed almost like a game to Shadow because Harry was back on the couch within moments, nursing another scratch on his other hand this time. He sighed, deciding not to heal this one. It would show him. He could hear the purrs of contentment coming out of the bedroom and he sighed. Chased out of his bedroom by a cat. And no matter how much his hand and pride stung, Harry couldn't help but fall asleep to the purring.


It was the usual dream that caught up with Harry within seconds. Sometimes the dream varied, but it was one he had never been able to shake. He was trapped in a dark world filled with the voices of people he had once known and loved. They shouted at him but that wasn't the worst bit. The red eyes and snakelike face that seemed to haunt his every movement no matter which way he turned made Harry's throat constrict with fear. He didn't scream. He had learned the hard way never to do that.

His head thrashed from side to side as he sought to escape the nightmarish world but he couldn't. He bit his lip to prevent himself from screaming, but he couldn't help the moans of distress that escaped his lips. He was trapped, unable to escape.

These sessions usually lasted a good portion of the night and Harry usually woke up soaked in sweat. He was utterly trapped and could not rouse himself, no matter how much he may have wanted to.

A purr reached his ears, the sound unfamiliar in his dreams. Something wet and rough licked his cheek and something butted its head against his chin. Harry struggled to wake.

A meow sounded a question as a soft paw touched his cheek, trying to rouse him. The purring intensified as Harry fought the demons in his sleep. He tried to run, tried to raise his wand but he couldn't fight, he could only flee. Suddenly a great howl sounded and for the first time in his dream, his enemies fled away from Harry. He turned and glanced behind him. There was a cat standing there and when the cat was satisfied everybody was gone, he turned back to Harry, meowing softly as he twined around Harry's legs.

Feeling calm descend, Harry woke up.

He blinked up at the yellow eyes that stared into his before, with a soft purr, Shadow blinked and licked his cheek, pleased that Harry had woken up. The cat made a soft sound in the back of his throat and Harry realized it was an inquiry. He scratched Shadow behind the ears, "Yeah, I'm okay, thanks for waking me."

The cat merely butted his head against Harry's hand before padding away again, jumping off the couch. Harry groaned and laid his head back, running a hand through his hair. It had been a while since it had been that bad.

A cool nose touched his hand and Harry glanced down at Shadow. Clearly the animal was waiting for something. Harry stared back and Shadow turned tail and gracefully moved towards the bedroom before he glanced back.

"Do you want me to follow you?"

Harry rose from the couch; he wondered where Shadow was going. Satisfied that Harry had risen, the cat disappeared into the bedroom, Harry reluctantly following. He remembered the last few times he had tried to enter the bedroom. He waved a hand to light the lamps and frowned. Shadow was sitting on the bed and when Harry approached the bed wearily, the cat leaned into his hand asking to be petted.

Harry was confused. "You want me to sleep here…in my own bed?"

Shadow moved to the other side of the bed and Harry carefully slid into the other side of his own bed. It was bliss to lie amongst his own covers again. He pulled them over himself, too tired to be concerned about the workings of the mind of a mad cat. Said cat merely butted his head against Harry and then settled in obvious contentment against Harry's side. It was comforting to feel the warmth of the small body and sound of the loud purrs. In fact, he could even feel the rumbling against his side, making him drowsy.

"If you have any intention of chasing me from my bed tonight, I'm afraid that you're out of luck, Shadow. I'm too tired to move and since it is Saturday tomorrow, I fully intend to sleep in. So if you do want to function as an alarm clock, feel free to wake me around noon."

Harry waited a few moments to see if anything was forthcoming from Shadow but all the cat did was press his warm body closer to Harry's and, more content then he had been in a long time, Harry drifted off.


"Please be welcome in my humble quarters." Harry stepped back in to allow his best friends Hermione and Ron entrance to his rooms. It was a running joke between them because Harry's quarters were large enough to house all three of them. Ron grinned at him, clasping him on the shoulder before the tall wizard stepped into the room followed closely by Hermione, who leaned in to give Harry a hug. Harry hugged her back warmly before he stepped away.

He glanced around noticing Shadow dozing on the couch before he closed the door. He had suspected that Shadow would have relished the chance to explore the castle but after the two days the cat had been in his company, no student had yet stepped forward to claim him and Shadow seemed to like the peace Harry's quarters offered. The weekend was nearly over but it was Sunday evening and once every two weeks Ron and Hermione visited for dinner and to catch up on each other's lives. Despite the years since Hogwarts their friendship was still close.

"I didn't know you had a cat, Harry. When did you get him?" Harry turned back on quick feet to Hermione. He should have known that she would be able to spot his weekend guest.

As a fellow animal lover she reached out to pet Shadow even before Harry could say, "Don't touch him! He's…" A cry of pain and a flash of dark fur as it disappeared into the bedroom later and Harry finished, "not friendly."

Harry immediately spelled the bedroom door shut because Ron looked as though he wanted to make a nice little black furred rug for in front of the fireplace. Vowing to keep Ron away from Shadow and Shadow away from everybody, Harry took two steps towards Hermione who was staring at the scratches in surprise as if she could not believe what had happened.

"Are you all right, Hermione? I'm so sorry."

Hermione glanced up and then smiled wryly as she healed the scratches. "Don't worry about it, Harry. I should know better than to pet a cat that doesn't know me. You won't believe how many times Crookshanks has scratched me when I caught him unaware."

"Why do you have a cat in the first place anyway, mate? They shed. It's the reason why I have a red couch."

"Oh and here I thought that was the only thing Hermione allowed you to bring into your house. And well, the cat is a stray. I found him two days ago in front of my door. The first night he chased me from my bed…" Ron chuckled at Harry who grinned in response. It was pretty funny when you looked back at it but at the time it was bloody annoying and embarrassing.

"And you allowed a stray cat into your home?" Ron looked skeptical.

"It's better than leaving it out there to try and stay out of Filch's clutches. Besides, it most likely belongs to a student. Though he's been here yesterday and today and so far nobody is missing a cat. Doubt anybody would, feisty creature like that."

"Are you sure he belongs to one of the students? He could be from one of the faculty members. They are allowed to have pets. He might be Snape's, sure as hell acts like him…"

Harry shook his head as the House elves delivered tea. He began to hand out the tea together with scones. They would cook dinner together later, but that didn't stop Ron from eating two scones with jam.

Harry took a sip of his tea before he said, "Severus isn't the type to have a pet, especially one such as Shadow. He could have an owl but that is about where it ends. Besides, he's way too busy with his research. He missed all of the meals this weekend and nobody heard anything from him since he locked himself in his lab on Friday afternoon."

"iSeverus/i? He finally gave you permission to use his given name?" Hermione seemed delighted and Harry could feel a flush stain his cheeks as he took another sip of his tea and shook his head behind his tea cup.

"Mate, how long have you been lusting after Snape?" Harry was happy that as Ron got older he did learn to swallow before he spoke, which was a blessing.

"Not that long…just…."

"After the Final Battle…" Ron said with a pointed look.

"Yeah, okay, but it isn't like I haven't had other relationships."

"Not since you started at Hogwarts…" Harry hated it when they ganged up on him.

"Yeah, well faculty members have to set the right example."

"But they are allowed to be happy, Harry." Hermione leaned forward to place a hand on his knee as she continued, "I know that you really like Snape but please promise me that you won't let this destroy you, Harry. If he isn't interested then there isn't anything you can do to change his mind. That man may be brilliant but he is also very stubborn and set in his ways. Is that truly what you want?"

Harry nodded. "He's all I ever wanted." iSince I knew I liked men. I should have recognized it before but the man isn't that easy to get to know. Merlin, even Ginny knew I liked men before I did. That was not a conversation I'm keen to repeat./i

"Then you should keep trying, Harry. He would be blind not to notice your interest."

"Or daft not to return it." Ron smiled and Harry grinned back. He was lucky to have friends like this. "Now, shall we get started on dinner?"

"Finally, mate, I thought you'd never ask." And as Ron rose, Harry laughed because really, his friends never changed.


Harry loved his friends, he really did, but he also liked it when the peace returned to his quarters. He stretched his legs, hearing a soft meow coming from his right. He smiled down at Shadow and said, "Come out of hiding, have you? They can be a bit hectic but I wouldn't have them any other way. I really do wonder who you belong to. And Ron didn't mean what he said about you being like Severus. I wish he was more like you. At least that would mean he would like me at least a bit for feeding him and offering him a place to sleep."

Shadow jumped on the couch beside Harry and butted his head against Harry's hand. Harry scratched him behind the ears and continued, "I really hope that a student doesn't come to collect you. I've grown to like you. But I suppose Severus would say I always give my heart too easily. I just wish that he knew that I gave my heart to him."

He sighed deeply. He wished, like he did most nights, that just for once Severus would look at him the way Harry often gazed at the Potions Master. But he was also afraid because what would Severus do once he knew? He could mock Harry but he could also be ruthless and crush Harry's dreams and desires with a single word. And maybe Harry was selfish to hold onto a hope of something that might not exist but he had to. For years he had done what other people wanted of him so he deserved some semblance of happiness, even when it was only one he dreamed about.

"I mean he can be a right bastard. He is a ruthless, brilliant man but I know that he would never look at me like that. He has always hated me and yet I can't help the way I feel about him. He's nasty but he is so passionate about everything he does. You should see him when he talks about potions. I just wish that he would show the same passion about me sometimes…He's…I can't even begin to tell you how he makes me feel…"

Shadow looked at him as if he thought that Harry was daft and Harry chuckled. "Yeah I know, he doesn't sound like much but he is bloody amazing. I can't even explain it. He swept me off my feet and he doesn't even know what he does to me. How ridiculous is that? He's such a perceptive man, hell, he was a spy for twenty years and he can't see what he is doing to me. He has to know and yet I wonder why he doesn't just burn me down and crush my heart. Because he's the kind of man who would."

He sighed and then continued, "He isn't nice but I don't expect him to be. I don't want him to be. I have fallen for the brilliant man he is and while I know I may be a long way from what he may want in a lover, it's just nice to dream about it sometimes. I doubt that a handsome cat like you have to worry about anything like this. I mean you are a cat, you can have your pick of people or other cats."

Shadow was watching him attentively as if he was really listening to Harry. Harry had to smile at his own thoughts. It would be just like him to humanize a cat like that. He scratched the animal behind the ears and said, "I must be losing my mind if I am dumping my troubles onto a helpless cat. But I do mean what I said. I would give anything to be in his lab right now, even if it was just to help him with brewing or even chopping ingredients. I'm pants at Potions but I hate to see him so alone all the time. What if something happened to him? I know I am the last person who can help him, but I just hate seeing him all alone… He doesn't deserve it. He has been all alone during the war so why should he be so now?"

Harry sighed again and stroked Shadow, who leaned into the petting. "He doesn't deserve to be alone but he won't let me show him how much I have grown to care about him. He always had to do everything alone and that is not how anyone should spend his life. Severus deserves so much better. He deserves somebody who loves him and who cares for him."

He ran a hand through his hair and over his face before he said, "Enough with the self pity. You can't do anything about my feelings and I should act upon them or give up, not sit here feeling sorry for myself. How can he possibly return them when he doesn't even know anything about them?"

Shadow butted his hand again and Harry smiled. He petted the cat again and then said, "Now, shall we go to bed? I have an early morning tomorrow and I have no intention of having to stress tomorrow when I wake up."


And as Harry expected a nice quiet Monday morning, he didn't realize how different it would be.

Monday mornings were always the morning Harry woke up early, earlier then his alarm went off, but this time he was disoriented. He had fallen asleep with Shadow purring beside him but now there was a warm weight on his arm that felt nothing at all like a cat. It wasn't furry or soft; well it was soft but soft like skin and not soft like fur. He opened his eyes trying to gauge the weight on his chest. What he saw made his eyes open wide and he was instantly awake.

Instead of the black cat he had expected to see there was a naked man in his bed. A gorgeous naked man as far as Harry was concerned but a naked man none-the-less. The man was lean but tall and even without the telltale sneer that twisted the thin lips, Harry knew that man. He wondered why a naked Severus Snape was lying in his bed.

Perhaps he should ask, or possibly just enjoy the fact that there was a naked Severus Snape in his bed, both ideas had merits. He couldn't move. Severus' arm over his chest prevented that. He sank back down into the embrace, trying to will the erection that had sprung up to wilt away at the close proximity of the man he loved.

Harry had barely managed to relax when suddenly the arm around his chest tightened and Harry knew that Severus was awake. He dark eyes snapped open and locked on Harry's face. He could feel himself flush and then he said, "Morning, Severus."

He tried to make it appear casual as though waking up in bed with a naked man who had been a cat the previous evening was quite normal for Harry. He knew at once it had been the wrong approach before Severus snarled, "And just what do you think you are doing in my bed, Potter?"

Trying not to show the hurt he was feeling over the snarl of his last name, Harry said, "You're in my bed actually. What do you remember of the last few days?"

The dark glower told him not much as Severus said, "I was preparing a potion in my lab and something went wrong…I just remember an explosion and then only flashes…"

"What potion were you working on?"

"It was a potion to enhance one's ability to perform the Animagus transformation. It makes it easier to make the transformation when one has already been in the animal form. But something went wrong when I said the spell. The only antidote is for somebody to see me for who I truly am…." Severus glanced up at Harry, confused before he said, "What animal did I turn into?"

"A black cat. You showed up in my quarters and didn't let me sleep in my bed…you weren't very friendly…"

"And yet you let me stay."

"I am not about to turn an animal away who needs my help." Harry flushed beneath Severus' steady gaze.

"No, indeed, and you didn't turn the cat away because he reminded you of someone?"

"No, not entirely." Harry knew he couldn't lie and Severus glanced up sharply.

The dark eyes narrowed as Severus said, "What did you do, Potter, to turn me back?"

Harry sighed and then said, "Could we stop with the formalities? You are in my bed, naked, I might add, and you still call me Potter…."

There was a pink flush to the sallow cheeks as Severus glanced down at himself before the dark eyes rose up to meet Harry's green ones as Severus answered, "Indeed. I suppose I can be persuaded to call you Harry in gratitude for the excellent care you have given me when I could not take care of myself."

Harry chuckled. "Well, I couldn't let you starve. You would not have allowed me. As I said before, you were not very friendly as a cat; you chased me from my bed and scratched me and Hermione both when we tried to pet you."

"Well, Miss Granger was always leaping in without thinking. She should know that not all cats like to be petted and cuddled."

"You liked it when I did it." Harry blushed fiercely at the heat in the dark gaze as Severus' eyes shot down his boxer clad body before moving back up.

"Perhaps you will eventually be rewarded by a purr."

Harry must surely be imagining things so he asked, "Do you remember what happened?"

"No, I am afraid I do not."

Oh, that was unexpected. So Severus remembered nothing of what Harry had told him of his feelings. Feeling suddenly cold and bereft, Harry asked, "Nothing at all…"

Severus shook his head. "No, I am afraid not. Was there something I should remember?"

Harry could feel a sob rising as he said, "No, no…of course not."

The Potions Master's dark gaze lingered on Harry's face as Harry struggled not to let anything slip. He had vowed that Severus would never see him cry over him, no matter how frustrated or hurt Harry may be. The older wizard glanced at him as Harry said brightly, despite knowing he wasn't fooling anybody, "I shall fetch you some clothes. I think your wand may be back in your lab and then I have to prepare for class…"

"Harry…?" Harry shot from the bed like he had been hit with a stinging hex but he did turn back to look at the older man. Severus seemed to struggle for words before he finally said, "Thank you for helping me, Harry. You could have left me out to wander without my wits…"

"No problem, Severus. I'll go and get those clothes now."

And as Harry moved out of the room to get some much needed space, he knew that his chance with Severus had come and gone.


During the next horrendous week, Harry kept away from Severus. Normally he tried to make conversation with the Potions Master during meals but now he suffered in silence. Other than during lunch, Harry didn't see the older wizard at all. Not that he minded. He needed time to deal with his broken heart and lost hopes.

So it was Friday as Harry finally dragged himself into his rooms. Today had been a horrible day. He had snapped at his class and taken points, handing out detentions whenever necessary. The students had been amazed because the normally gentle Professor had for a moment resembled a certain Potions Master.

He pushed open the door to his rooms, intent on taking a long bath and then falling asleep. His nightmares had come back with a vengeance and Harry had slept little over the previous nights. He stopped dead when a soft purr reached his ear as Shadow sat up straight on the couch.

"Shadow?" Harry had to know as he closed the door behind him. He hated how his voice sounded so hopeful but he sighed and took out his wand. "One moment and I shall transfigure you back, sir…"

The cat jumped gracefully from the couch and moved over to Harry, rubbing against his legs for a moment before Shadow became Severus. The tall man rose easily from his crouch as he stood in front of Harry and said, "So I was right. You named me…"

Harry could only nod as he glanced up shyly at the man before him. Severus raised a hand to caress his cheeks and then said, "I am sorry I was not available this week but I was busy with my research. I have perfected it and I managed the Animagus transformation. I would have liked to come and talk to you at some point this evening but I first had to come to terms with my memories. I remember lying curled up next to somebody, a hand petting me and a soft voice speaking to me. Giving me insight into somebody's deeply personal feelings and thoughts…."

"You remember everything…" Harry froze beneath the soft touch even though he wanted nothing more than to lean into it.

"I do, including you telling me how you feel about me." Dark eyes searched the green ones for any objections and then Severus leaned in to press a light kiss against Harry's lips. Harry moaned and melted. He mewled into the kiss and then Severus said, "I have a confession to make."

Harry's mind was still on the kiss and he had trouble focusing. When he opened his eyes he saw the smug smirk before Severus said, "If I could have an ounce of your attention then I would tell you how I feel about you."

That did warrant Harry's attention as he forced himself to focus and murmured, "Oh?"

Severus' smirk widened, "I feel exactly the same way."

Harry was afraid that his exhausted mind was playing tricks uon him but the tender look in the dark eyes could not be mistaken. Neither could the lips that kissed him deeply. This time he leaned into the kiss, allowing Severus' tongue entrance. Arms wrapped around him and pulled him forward against a firm body as the tongue delved into his mouth, exploring him hungrily. Harry wrapped his own arms around Severus' neck, pulling the Potions Master into an even deeper kiss.

Eventually they needed to breathe and Harry pulled away from Severus reluctantly. He glanced up to find the dark eyes searching his hungrily as Severus asked, "Why did you never mention anything? All this time we have wasted…"

"You could have said something as well! And…I could not take it if you were to turn me away."

Severus' gaze softened and the older wizard pulled Harry with him to the couch as he answered, "I think we need to have a chat, Harry."

"And after that more kissing?"

Severus laughed and answered, "Of course."

Satisfied, Harry settled down. He glanced at Severus, noticing that the older man was watching him. After a moment Severus spoke, "You know I am not a nice man, Harry. I learned, just as you did, that speaking out of turn was not acceptable in my home. I learned to guard my tongue and my heart. Your mother was one of the first people that I allowed in my heart and…well you saw what happened. Never think that I loved your mother in a romantic way because I did not. But she was my best friend and when ithat/i happened and she rejected my friendship, I did not dare to put my heart on the line. And yet imagine to my surprise that it was a Potter who refused to give up on me. Who managed to get me exonerated and who visited me, telling me about his life? A life I began to find I wanted to be a part of. But who would want an old Death Eater?"

"I do…I've wanted you for a long time but I have never had the courage to say it. And I told a cat before I even told my best friends…"

"Granger and Weasley do not know how you feel about me?" Severus looked surprised.

Harry fought his blush and then said, "They know I have feelings for you but not how deep. I never thought I stood a chance with you. You were always blowing me off. You never accepted my help even when I just tried to be friends. I thought you hated me…"

"I haven't hated you for a long time, Harry. But I am not an easy man to get to know and I always thought that you were young and would eventually find somebody suitable and would move on. But I had not taken into account how stubborn you can be." It was said fondly and Severus smiled at him.

Harry could feel a silly grin spreading over his face as he said, "So if I simply kissed you in the Great Hall or…"

"I would see fit to punish you but it is the thought that counts and I suppose for appearances sake I would have gone along with it. Though I am sure that you would have enjoyed every minute of it."

"And you would not?"

"Do you really need me to answer that?" The heat in the dark eyes told Harry that no, Severus did not. Though it was nice to know. He realized he didn't want to chat. He wanted to cuddle and to kiss. They could talk all day tomorrow or the day after tomorrow or after that….

He closed the distance between them to lightly press his lips against those of the older wizard as he asked, "Stay the night?"

The dark eyes widened slightly but then Severus smirked, "You move awfully quickly now that you have me here."

"You mind?"

"Well, I must say that what got me through this week was the fact that I had planned on buggering you into the mattress. It is the perfect relaxation technique after a horrible week and you look like you could use it." The sinful voice dropped to a seductive purr and Harry could feel shivers shooting down his spine. He liked the heat in those eyes and when Severus licked his lips, Harry pounced.

His lips locked with Severus' and immediately he was pulled into the other man's lap, his mouth plundered. Harry ran his hands through the dark hair, tangling his hands in softness. He straddled the dark-clad thighs and moaned as Severus slowed their kiss, sucking Harry's lower lip in between his thin ones. Severus wasn't only a Potions Master but he was also a master at kissing. Harry liked kissing, he realized. He liked kissing this man.

Hands divested him of his jumper, throwing it somewhere in the room. Harry didn't care where it landed. His shirt soon followed and Harry groaned when lips sucked on a nipple. He threw his head back and groaned as he struggled to find his wand. It appeared in his hand a moment later and Harry whispered a spell. Severus' startled yelp preceded Harry's grin at the feel of actual flesh. Flesh on flesh felt even better.

"What did you do?" Severus glanced around at the piles of clothes that had appeared around them.

Harry blushed and then said, "It was a spell that the Weasley twins taught me. It vanishes clothing…"

"And do I care to know iwhy/i the Weasley twins taught you this?"

Harry merely smiled sweetly and then brushed his thumb against a nipple as Severus gasped, "I don't think you care particularly no…"

Harry leaned back to admire the man in front of him. Severus was lean and there were scars all over his chest. Harry traced them with his fingers, making the other man shiver. He kissed Severus lightly before glancing down at the beautiful cock nestled close to his own. Severus may not have been a traditionally handsome man but there had always been something that drew Harry in. But his cock…if Harry wasn't gay, he was quite sure that he would turn that way simply to feel that up his arse.

"I shall show you another useful spell. That is unless you have objections to riding me? Perhaps you have other desires?" Severus' voice revealed nothing.

But the dark eyes held his own as Harry said, "Are you sure you can't read minds? I was thinking how brilliant it would be to have your cock up my arse. I like to bottom." Harry smiled, feeling a little bit proud as he noticed that Severus had a little bit of trouble focusing. It was nice to see that he could do this to Severus. The other man was usually so in control and Harry realized he liked to see Severus lose that.

Severus smirked and said, "Then my spell will come in handy."

Harry didn't even see Severus' wand and he didn't recognize the spell. But suddenly he was slick and fingers gently pushed in, preparing him. He groaned softly. It had been too long since he had been with somebody but Severus was thorough and careful. As the fingers brushed his prostate Harry shivered. Finally Severus pulled away as he kissed Harry lightly and said, "Are you ready?"

Harry wanted to point out that if Severus had said five years ago that he wanted Harry against the wall, Harry would have stood still and prepared himself, he was that ready and eager. He merely contented himself with a nod and the large hands on his hips helped to steady him as Harry lowered himself, pausing to allow himself to adjust to the burn of the thick cock within him. The next moment he lowered himself fully so Severus was buried to the root within him.

They both had to take a moment to catch their breath but soon they were moving, losing themselves in an age old rhythm. They rocked together, lost in each other and it didn't take long until Harry climaxed as Severus' hand wrapped around his cock. Severus came a moment later and they both collapsed on the couch. Harry landed on top of Severus but the other man didn't seem to mind as he pulled Harry closer. A lazy wand wave later and they were clean, legs comfortably entwined and Harry wondered if he was too heavy for Severus.

The older wizard was calmly stroking Harry's hair as Harry snuggled closer. "I can't believe that I waited so long for this."

Severus glanced down at him and then smiled. "It might not have worked out."

"And you are certain that this will?" Harry lowered his voice carefully. He didn't want to get his hopes up only to get them crushed again.

"Why don't we take it one step at a time and take it from there?" Severus' voice was guarded and Harry reached up to brush his fingertips against his lover's cheek.

"But I do know where I am going to spend the better part of the weekend."

Severus stiffened and not in a good way. "I was not aware you had made plans."

"I didn't before, but I do now. I plan to spend the entire weekend with you, doing absolutely nothing."

"That is a shame. I had plans to have sex at least five or six more times this weekend but if you wish to laze about…"

Harry wiggled against his lover as he said, "Oh no, I agree with the love making. But I just want to spend time between the two of us, nobody else."

"Now, to that I am completely agreeable."

And as Severus kissed him, Harry knew that all because he had accepted a stray cat into his home, he had opened his heart and home to so much more and he would not have it any other way.