He wasn't supposed to love like this. Not this all-consuming inferno, especially not for HIM! And yet he did. Against his better judgment and all the odds, he did. He loved that courage that often crossed the boundary into recklessness, he loved the way his bright emerald eyes lit up from the inside when he was angry or felt particularly passionate about something, and he even loved the untamable mop on his head called hair.

All in all Severus Snape was in love, deep love, with his childhood best friend's son…the son of his boyhood school rivalry to make matters worse. At first Severus thought maybe he, the youngest Potion Master in ages, had been doused with a lust potion but that thought flew out the proverbial window, because, really, who would be such a thick dunderhead as to do that to him?

Everyone in the castle knew better than to cross him, even on a semi-good day. So why in the world was he aching so for Potter Sr.'s brat? Was Lily, in the afterlife, playing a malicious prank on him with the mutt Black? He highly doubted it. Maybe Albus had slipped him something in his tea earlier or was even the object of his odd affections in on this? Well he wasn't about to sit around waiting and wondering.

With a swirl of his bat-like robes Severus quickly made his way to the Headmaster's office, shooting icy glares at anyone who dare even glance at him. After spitting out the newest password, 'Why can't Albus choose something normal?' he groused in his head, Severus made his way up to the airy office. Voices at the door stopped him however. Slipping into the shadows as only a spy can he held his breath, listening to the two occupants in Albus's office.

"Well what troubles you today my boy?" Albus could be heard asking in that grandfatherly way of his. Severus snorted to himself, when would Albus stop calling everyone younger than him 'my boy'?

"The same as the last time Albus." a familiar voice replied. Severus leaned wearily against the wall. Harry? Blinking slowly the Potions Master returned his focus to the conversation at hand.

"Ah well my boy you know you must do something about it. I'm sure, as you are aware, that he too feels the same. Of course it would be in everyone's best interest to ask him how he feels, you know how he gets about things." Albus said and even Severus could just about see the old man's twinkling blue eyes. 'Who are they talking about in such a way? It must be someone here…obviously a male…but who?' the Potions Master and Ex-Double Spy wondered.

A sigh was heard from within the office. "Yes I know, Severus does tend to be a bit prickly about certain things. I hope, though, that this isn't one of them." If there was not a wall behind him Severus was sure he would have fallen over. Himself, that's who Harry and Albus were talking about? More interested now than ever in this odd discussion the tall dark-haired man leaned closer to the wall in his eagerness, not that he would ever admit such a thing, to hear the rest.

The clink of a teacup meeting saucer could be heard as Albus said, "My boy if you are going to do something about this I kindly suggest you do so soon. Severus deserves the love he never truly received as a schoolboy and you are just the person to give it to him." Sucking in a breath, Severus slid away from the wall and walked on silent feet back to his quarters. All that he had heard could be mentally dissected over a tumbler of Firewhiskey.

The fire crackled merrily in the grate in the Potion Master's sitting room as he nursed a glass of liquor and mulled over what he had learned. The object of his affections, however unusual, wanted him, if the prior conversation was anything to go by. Now the question remained, what was he going to do about it? As he saw it he had two options: 1. Do nothing and wait for Harry to seek him out, if he ever did, or 2. Catch Harry unawares and demand to know what he wanted, without letting on he had eavesdropped on their talk.

As Severus rose from his chair to refill his glass, a knock was heard. 'I guess that's option 1, hopefully.' he thought as he, empty glass in hand, went to open the door. There, in all his messy-haired glory stood Professor Harry Potter. Keeping his features schooled into a smooth impenetrable mask, Severus silkily asked "And what, may I inquire is your reason for knocking on the door of my quarters Professor Potter? Do you not have papers to grade?"

"No Severus I don't. I came by to talk to you about something." A mix of irritation and hopefulness flashed briefly across the younger man's features. "May I come in?" he asked. Severus sighed and tried to look annoyed at being disturbed. Stepping out of the way and back toward his chair, the older man let his young colleague into his sitting room for the first, and hopefully not the last time. Gesturing to the only other chair in the room, Severus sat back down in his own chair and waited for the other man to speak.

"Well you see…I fancy someone and I don't know if they feel the same. My problem is they are quite…closed off and reclusive so I really don't know how they feel and frankly I'm afraid to ask. My question is this; how would you go about finding out?" Harry asked, a light blush coloring his cheeks. Severus pondered how best to answer him without revealing his feelings or what he'd overheard.

"Well I suppose, if I cared about this person as I thought they cared about me I would just tell them. If they reject you then at least you tried." he said all the while thinking 'But I wouldn't reject you Harry.' His attention was brought back to the subject of his recent musing when Harry spoke again.

"Then…if I were to say that you are the one I fancy, what would you do?" The question hung in the air between them as Severus's brain screamed 'Kiss him you idiot!' For once Severus heeded his anony inner voice and stood up making his way to the brat he had so longed for. The normally dour man allowed a small bit of feeling for Harry to shine through his black eyes as he whispered one word. "This." Slowly he leaned down, giving the other man enough time to rethink his question. When he felt a pair of soft, warm lips touch his own Severus was shocked but the shock quickly gave way to a feeling he had longed for, love.

Sometimes good things come from behind closed doors.