Big, big apologies for making everyone wait.

I present to you, dear Readers, the final chapter to this story. I got a little serious with this one just for the sake of the content of this chapter, but I hope it's well received all the same.

This chapter is not beta'd and all mistakes (if there are any) are all mine.

Harry sat in his Transfiguration class, staring out into space, day dreaming instead of doing his book work. Professor McGonagall sent him a warning glare every now and then when she looked up from her grading, but it wasn't enough to keep him focused.

The days following Harry's dangerously stupid plan to open Severus's eyes seemed to quiet down substantially. Severus had embraced the fact that he was stuck with Harry Potter, but not begrudgingly so, and Harry kicked the habit of hatching ridiculous plans as Severus finally came to terms with their..."thing". Though neither of them apologized, there was an unspoken agreement that they'd both been utterly stupid. The majority of the inhabitants of the school still found the pairing to be quite strange, but Harry and Severus both managed to deal with gossip and whatever else was put on to their plate. They were more or less back in the routine they shared before everything spiraled out of control. Harry spent quiet nights with Severus, in the man's quarters, doing his homework or coercing Severus into snogging him.

Their silent truce also included no more public displays, like sex up against a wall in the corridor, which seemed to pacify Dumbledore well enough, Severus wasn't against receiving all of Harry's attention during their time together. In fact Harry noticed that Snape demanded his affections, which was completely fine by him, he enjoyed pleasing the man.

Harry slipped into a memory, one of those memories; he was kneeling on the floor in front of Severus who was sitting slumped on the couch, his mouth firmly closed around the man's cock. The first night he was allowed back into Severus's rooms, two days after Snape captured him, and he was convinced by Severus to make him feel good under the guise that he had a horrible two days of classes. Harry didn't need an excuse to suck the man off; the silky voice that Severus wielded was enough to get him to do just about anything.

Before Harry could really delve into that erotic memory, Hermione elbowed him hard in his ribs, pulling him out of his day dream. He sent her an irritated glare, which she returned tenfold, and before he could whisper anything remotely scathing, McGonagall caught his attention as she cleared her throat.

Having gained his attention she spoke, "Mister Potter, Professor Dumbledore wishes to see you in his office."

"Why?" Harry asked, knowing that he probably wouldn't get an answer he wanted. Memories of the last time McGonagall had told him to go to the Headmaster's office came to mind as well. That was a wonderful day.

"I wasn't informed about the nature of the visit, just that you are to report directly to his office. He shall know if you do you not." She paused, "There is a quarter of an hour left of this class, I expect your book work to be finished and handed in to me by tomorrow afternoon, Mister Potter." McGonagall eyed his Transfiguration notebook with mild disappointment, and then shot him a stern look before walking away.

His Transfiguration homework was the least of his worries. He hadn't really enjoyed his last visit to Dumbledore's office as the old wizard was far too nosey for his own good. It wasn't like there was a choice in the matter; he would have preferred to avoid it. He sighed and put his things in his book bag, ignoring the few glances, Hermione's in particular.

Since he couldn't avoid the visit, Harry decided that he'd walk a little slower than normal. He had to get his revenge in some way, even if it was a bit childish. As he walked, Harry fell into his thoughts again.

Everything in his life had finally fit together, all those missing puzzle pieces had been found and the holes filled, the picture was complete. This feeling wasn't limited to just him either. Draco and Blaise looked perfectly happy together. The gossip about Harry and Draco died out pretty quickly when Draco and Blaise officially started dating. Blaise denied threatening half the student body when he was confronted.

While Harry was perfectly happy with his own life now, Severus seemed just as happy. From what Harry observed of the man, it wasn't so obvious for everyone else, but he noticed that the man wasn't as nasty to the Gryffindors as he once was. Harry's class was shocked silent when the man awarded five points to a Gryffindor. Those same five points were lost not minutes later by a silly comment from Ron, plus five more thanks to a snickering Seamus.

Speaking of Ron, he still hadn't forgiven Harry for going after their Potions Professor, or liking him in the first place. His best friend was becoming a thorn in his side. Ron was the only person, the only true obstacle in his way of his happiness now. Ron and Hermione went through hell and back for Harry, but when it came to Snape, Ron couldn't comprehend what Harry had with Severus. Once upon a time Harry would have gone to great lengths to keep his first real friend, but it wasn't worth the cost, not now and probably never. Perhaps one day Ron would come to his senses. Harry remained optimistic for his best friend.

Harry was bumped out of his thoughts when Draco ran into him, nearly knocking them both to the floor. His year mate's hair was mussed and his face was tinted red…Harry mumbled irritably until he realized who had bumped into him. He grinned wide when he had a quick glance at his friend. It was still quite awkward to refer to Draco as a friend, with their history having been dotted with many confrontations.

Harry couldn't keep his thoughts to himself and immediately spoke, "Well Malfoy, you look like you had a good shag."

"I don't know what you're talking about, Potter." Draco's face flushed a brighter red, he practically admitted to Harry what he'd been up to.

"Oh is that so? Because it looks to me like you just got done shagging." Harry pointed out again.

"So you're an expert now on shagging, Potter? When was the last time you got some?" Draco retorted haughtily. To Harry's amusement, his year mate looked off-balance; it must have been a really good shag then.

Harry smiled sickly sweet and said, "If you must know Draco, just last night I had Severus's co—"

Draco interrupted Harry before he could finish his sentence, but the damage had been done. His face burned hot and a he spluttered, "Keep it to yourself, Potter, for Merlin's sake!" He was thankful that they were alone in the corridor.

It was too much for Harry, and he couldn't keep himself from laughing. He never thought it was possible to be so comfortable, joking around with Draco like this. "So things are good then?" Harry asked in a lighthearted tone.

If someone told Draco years ago that he would have plenty of civil and friendly conversations with Harry Potter, he would have cursed them within an inch of their life. Harry's ideas had a streak of stupidity to them, but he couldn't deny that the last one worked out, even though Blaise was moments away from giving Potter a good hexing. "Things are good, and yea it was a great shag." Draco lifted an eyebrow and smirked.

"Keep the details, please!" Harry chuckled, but he remembered why he was in walking about in the hallway to begin with and grimaced. The face he made piqued Draco's interest.

The blonde couldn't help himself, "What?"

"Nothing, I just have to go see Dumbledore. I'd rather not though." Harry sighed, "I suppose I should go see him before he tracks me down."

"Hate to be you, Potter. Don't choke on a lemon drop!" Draco snorted, lightly shoving Harry as he went to make his way down the corridor where Harry previously came from.

Harry rolled his eyes and shook his head, "Thanks for the confidence, Malfoy!" Harry said loudly just as Draco turned a corner.

He let out a frustrated sigh and began walking again.

Ron wasn't particularly happy about his blooming friendship with Draco either. The argument they had about that issue was still fresh in his mind. Hermione advocated in Harry's mature choice to befriend a Slytherin, the poor thing ended up crying for a couple hours, but Ginny was happy to console her.

He shoved those thoughts somewhere deep when he reached the stone gargoyle that guarded the door to the office, it moved out of the way without the required password. Now that he thought about it, McGonagall never did give him a password when she told him that Dumbledore wanted to see him. He ventured a guess that the old Headmaster didn't want his desk defiled again. Harry snickered mischievously and climbed the staircase, preparing himself for a conversation he probably didn't want to have. When he made it to the top of the stairs, and before he even got a chance to knock on the wooden door, Dumbledore's voice beckoned him into the office. The words sounded oddly cheery, and very disconcerting, Harry found himself caught a bit off guard. Ignoring the awkward feeling in the pit of his gut, Harry gently pressed a hand against the heavy door and stepped inside.

"Ah! Harry my boy, do come in!" Albus said a little too enthusiastically, "Please sit." The old headmaster gestured to the comfortable vacant chair that sat innocently in front of his desk.

Harry eyed the offending piece of furniture with mild disdain before lowering himself into it. "Good afternoon Professor." Harry greeted the old wizard with a wary politeness.

"Would you care for some tea, Harry, or perhaps something sweet?" Dumbledore offered, popping an unidentifiable sweet into his mouth.

"No thank you, sir." Harry declined, irritated that the man was dragging this meeting out. "Is there something you needed me for, professor?" He asked seriously, leveling the headmaster with a pointed expression.

Dumbledore seemed to sober with Harry's underlying bluntness. He did in fact call the young man here for a rather important reason. The boy, no, the young man that sat before him had grown a lot since he first stepped into the wizarding world. It was time to treat him as such, and he replied with the same measure of seriousness that Harry was showing right now.

"I did indeed, Harry." Albus started, pausing to take a sip of his tea before continuing. "I asked you here concerning a rather important matter actually. What is the state of your relationship with Severus, Harry?" The old wizard ventured.

The uneasiness Harry felt on his short journey to Dumbledore's office flared up again, nearly consuming him in irrational fear and nervousness. While the question was meant to be innocent, memories of the visit to the headmaster's office after the classroom incident replayed in his mind. The headmaster wasn't very happy with the way things had been progressing between Severus and himself. The stern look that the old wizard was pinning him with now was a sign that he was stuck here until he answered Dumbledore's questions.

He sighed with resignation and played along, "It's stable now. We've overcome the problem between us." He spoke honestly; the answer seemed to placate the old man a bit. The tension seemed to lighten fractionally.

There was a few agonizing moments of silence before Albus asked his next question, "Do you love Severus?" It completely shook the foundation of Harry's mind, shocking him silent. It was a completely valid question on Albus's part. Albus saw Severus as his son and treated him like one too. He knew very well Harry's capacity to love, but the last thing he wanted was for the both of them to hurt each other and themselves. What the two of them had together needed to be something more than just the physical.

Harry wasn't at all prepared for that question. It brought up a lot of questions and doubts that he hadn't been aware of before. Did he love Severus? Did Severus return those feelings? Was that even something that was plausible for the both of them to obtain? Severus Snape was a passionate lover, of that he was completely sure, but did the man love him for him or just the physical relationship they had together? His negative thoughts stopped upon remembering all the times spent in the man's presence. The easy companionship and tenderness Severus had given him these past months gave him a positive optimism when it came to that four letter word. He felt loved when Severus, while stubbornly claiming he wasn't a nice man, kissed him or when the man held him after their sexual liaisons.

Perhaps he had already fallen in love with the man, only figuring it out now while the headmaster interrogated him. Dumbledore was always going on about his ability to love so fiercely; maybe the lack of love he was shown while growing up blinded him to such affections.

Harry swallowed thickly, "I'm not entirely sure, Professor…" he started with uncertainty, his thoughts not at all complete, but he had a general idea of what he wanted to say. "I guess I don't know actually, but with all the trouble I went through to get to Snape, I think that I wouldn't mind exploring that possibility. I wouldn't have done what I did if I didn't feel something towards Severus." Harry admitted resolutely.

He must have said something right, the sparkle in Dumbledore's eye returned and he was smiling again. "I believe you Harry. You both are important to me, and I would hate to see the product of a caustic relationship between the both of you." Albus finished, taking another sip of his tea.

The awkward quiet that blanketed the room made Harry fidget a little. The portraits, specifically Headmaster Black, were oddly silent. He almost missed the perverse comments the crazy old codger often made. "Was that all, Professor?" Harry asked, letting his eyes move over the portraits that covered the walls.

Albus caught Harry's curious gaze and smiled in a far too innocent manner, knowing exactly what the boy had been thinking. "I've punished Phineas and Dilys. I fear that I may have frightened the rest of them with my mild irritation." He admitted. "As for the impromptu interrogation, yes that was all that I was concerned with. You may leave if you wish." Albus smiled as he picked up a glass container full of jelly beans.

Harry doubted that he could ever come to understand the eccentric old wizard, but he felt inexplicably relieved after talking with Dumbledore. Having no other reason to stay, Harry stood up and made for the door; before he was able to exit Albus spoke up again.

"The board of governors has informed me that the request I sent to the Ministry, for a new set of rules regarding student-teacher relationships, will not be implemented until the next school year." The Headmaster said nonchalantly. "I hope that you will continue to keep your relations with Severus discreet, Harry." The old wizard finished, popping several jelly beans into his mouth.

Harry was surprised at the final parting words, but the admission had him wondering if the Headmaster had a part in delaying the rules with the recent changes in his relationship with Severus. Whatever the reasoning was, Harry found himself in a better mood than when he arrived. "I will, Professor." Harry said as he stepped out of the office, the door clicking shut behind him.

Time slipped away slowly while Harry sat in each of his remaining classes. He found that he didn't really care that he had to endure a pop quiz, a really boring lecture, and a group activity. When his classes were over for the day, he had no qualms with doing the essay he was assigned in Defense, or the research Hermione made him do for their Charms group project, he was quite willing to do the reading homework for History of Magic. Everything was completed by the time he was dragged to the Great Hall for dinner.

He ignored the insults Ron had passed on to him, comparing his current look of dreaminess to that of Luna's. He knew he should have found that comment insulting to both Luna and himself, but the sour words bounced off him harmlessly. He couldn't bring himself to care about his best friend's behavior at the moment; his good mood couldn't be dispelled so easily. He continued to ignore Ron and his friend's ridiculous attempts to enrage him. Harry's true friends were chatting animatedly, laughing, and enjoying his company during the moments he wasn't acting like a love struck teenager.

When dessert was cleared from the tables and the Headmaster bade everyone good night the real trouble started.

Harry climbed the flights of stairs, making his way towards Gryffindor Tower for the evening. He wasn't supposed to visit Severus until tomorrow evening; the Potions Master had some work to complete before the night was over. Harry spoke the password to the portrait guarding the entrance to the tower when he finally arrived. The portrait accepted the password and he slipped in with every intention of taking a shower and passing out in the warmth of his bed. Even with the good mood he was in, he felt exhausted and had a pressing need to unwind.

As he went for the stairs that lead to the seventh year dorms he was faced with a human blockade. A rather angry looking Ronald Weasley stood between Harry and his bed.

"You're not welcome here, Potter." The red head spat venomously leveling his former best friend with a nasty glare.

"Last I checked I'm a Gryffindor, and I am pretty sure that I'm a seventh year." Harry retorted calmly, a hint of bitterness backing his words. "And if it's ok with you, I'd really like to get some sleep sometime tonight." Harry finished with a bit of venom of his own.

"Gryffindors don't sleep with Slytherins, especially if one of those Slytherins is that greasy bastard Snape!" Ron growled.

"Wait." Harry said, pinching the bridge of his nose and holding a hand up to pause Ron's imminent rant. This standoff was making his head hurt. "So, you're not mad at me for being with another man, but you are mad at me because it's Snape?"

'Must have struck a nerve…' Harry concluded as Ron bared his teeth, similar to that of a rabid animal, and shoved him hard backwards. "It's Snape, Harry! How could you?" The red head yelled. The few people who were sitting in the common room stared at the pair. The commotion had curious students coming out of the dorms rooms to find out what was happening. Harry didn't care anymore; he wouldn't let his friend make silly, irrational, prejudice judgments.

"How could I? How could I what Ron? How could I grow a pair, man up, and act mature? How could I enjoy Snape's company? How could I get along with a man who isn't as cruel and sarcastic as he seems?" Harry growled, he refused to let Ron get a word in. "I made a choice for myself. If you can't deal with that, Ron, then I'm afraid that you and I can't be friends anymore." Harry said with finality.

Ron spluttered as he tried to make a comeback but as the seconds flittered by, his anger continued to grow while what was left of his dignity drained away. Ron caught Harry off guard as his fist collided with the cheek of the right side of Harry's face, knocking his glasses off onto the floor. Those who were watching the exchange gasped and murmured.

"Friends don't betray one another, Harry!" Ron seethed.

Harry rubbed his cheek gingerly, surveying the damage his friend had left in his anger; it stung, but nothing had been broken. "Hitting me isn't going to change my mind," Harry stated with a strained neutral tone as he bent down to pick his glasses up off the floor. Surprised they weren't cracked or broken, aside from the scratches on the lenses; he set them back on his face and scowled at Ron. "As fun as it is to stand here and let you treat me like a punching bag—" Harry continued with as much sarcasm as he could wield, "—I'd really like to get some sleep. That is, if you don't mind." He said dryly.

Harry truly had a gift for riling people up it seemed. Ron was not too amused with his former friend and lurched forward and struck at Harry again, aiming for the other's mouth. The hit made Harry stagger back, grunting at the momentary surge of pain. The impact had split open his bottom lip, and small trickle of blood oozed out. Harry winced as he gently used the sleeve of his uniform to absorb the blood, bringing back memories of his scuffle with Draco.

"Do you feel better now?" Harry asked bitterly. Before Ron could say, or do, something more Hermione, who had been watching the argument since Ron had first punched Harry, quickly stepped in to defend her friend.

"Ronald Weasley!" She screeched menacingly, "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"

Harry was fortunate that he couldn't see the look on the girl's face. There was a light touch on his shoulder trying to grab his attention. Looking over, he discovered that it was Ginny giving him a look. There was a mixture of irritation and amusement that blanketed her face. The irritation he could understand but had no idea what the amusement meant. She said nothing, and instead jerked her head towards the portrait hole, the freedom from the drama that was continuing to unfold in the Gryffindor common room. He understood immediately that Hermione was running interference for him; she was simply a diversion for his escape.

He looked back towards the pair, Hermione held no punches as she lay into Ron. Harry would definitely owe her for this. He took the spare moment to mouth a thank you to Ginny before he quietly slipped out the door.

Before the portrait closed shut behind him, Harry heard a loud thud as someone fell to the floor. He felt a minor pang of sympathy for Ron. That particular feeling was fleeting, and was quickly replaced by a feeling that some sort of justice had been served.

Severus carefully observed the cauldrons that were set up on the work bench in the middle of the lab. He had been immersed in his brewing since dinner had ended. Tonight was his brewing night, one that Harry agreed not to pester him on. The brat wasn't here but Severus couldn't do anything but let his mind wander to the young man. He nearly added the wrong ingredient to the dreamless sleep that was meant for the headache reliever. Thankfully, the potions were in their final stages of brewing, he let his mind drift back to Harry Potter.

These past weeks were a wild ride for Severus. Coming to terms with things between himself and Potter was quite a strange trip in itself. He refused to think that Albus put things in perspective for him when the rather eccentric Headmaster requested his presence a few nights ago. He steered his mind away from that meeting, and instead let himself think about ways he could entertain Harry tomorrow evening. Would it be strange to have the boy join him for dinner in his rooms instead of the Great Hall? Perhaps they'd go to Hogsmeade instead, or even a muggle venue. Severus's face pinched into mild disgust at the thought, he really was becoming quite sappy. No thanks to Potter.

Severus huffed and flicked his wand, extinguishing the flames under the cauldrons on his work table. Perhaps Harry and he would sit in companionable silence in front of the fire. The Potions Master followed that line of thought; the images began to tumble into the gutter. Harry, the insatiable little monster he was, squirmed suggestively in Severus's lap…

The wards on Severus's rooms quivered, sending tingles down his spine, sobering him of his lewd thoughts. "For fucks sake..." Severus mumbled irritably, quickly placing stasis charms on his cauldron's to preserve their contents. As he wrenched the door to his private lab open, he could hear the soft knocking upon the heavy wood door to his quarters. Unhappy and degrading words hung off the tip of his tongue as he went to pull the door open. The spiteful words dissipated when he recognized who it was that had dared to disturb his brewing time.

Harry looked a bit disheveled. Severus took special note of the split lip, and the newly formed bruise on the right side of boy's face. The Potions Master felt a pang of anger well up inside him, but he shoved them away promptly. "Potter." Severus said darkly and narrowed his eyes.

"Hello Severus." Harry murmured his greeting softly. Severus wondered if the boy knew that he could be so innocent without trying. The Potions Master said nothing while he leaned up against the door jam, staring at Harry who was returning the gaze. It was an awkward and silent few moments before Severus relented, stepping to the side and allowing Harry into his quarters. Snape immediately began questioning Harry upon closing the door, granting them privacy.

"Why is it that you always manage to find some sort of trouble, Harry?" Severus asked crossly as he led Harry to the common room.

"It's not like I ask to get into fights, Severus." Harry mused as he dropped down onto the chesterfield. He slouched down and stared into the burning flames of the fireplace.

Severus was silent again, gathering his own thoughts, letting his gaze drift to the flames that enthralled Harry. The boy hadn't asked for a lot of things, and he had an inkling as to who might have caused Potter trouble this time. "If you did not ask to be assaulted, then what happened?" Severus ventured.

"Ron just doesn't appreciate you the way I do is all."

"I would rather he didn't appreciate me the same way as you." Severus snorted.

Harry's morose expression crumbled, smiling at Severus's attempt to cheer him up. Now that he thought about it, Harry really didn't have a good reason to explain why he was down here, interrupting Severus's time to himself. The time that they had both agreed that would go uninterrupted. Perhaps he was just seeking the man's own brand of comfort.

Harry suddenly felt the need to apologize, standing up getting ready to leave. "I'm sorry Severus. I shouldn't have come down here—"

The Potions Master lifted a hand to silence Harry, "Do not apologize, Potter." Severus ordered firmly. "Where do you think you're going?"

"I'll probably go to the room of requirement, seeing as how I am no longer welcome in the Gryffindor dormitory." Harry replied, a faint hint of bitterness in his words.

Severus was always so very calculating. He planned moves three steps ahead, and had back up plans for his back up plans. Allowing Harry to step out of his quarters to sleep in the room of requirement just wasn't going to work for Severus. In fact he was almost offended that Harry had the audacity to leave when he only just arrived.

"You may, if you wish, sleep here until other arrangements can be made in the morning." Severus offered slyly.

This was a defining moment in their relationship. Harry had never been asked to stay overnight in Severus's rooms before. It felt unreal. "Where would I sleep?"

"There is plenty of room on the floor." Severus suggested sarcastically, crossing his arms over his chest as he fought off the smirk twitching on his lips.

"The Room of Requirement is sounding like a better option at the moment. Harry trailed off, turning back towards the exit.

Severus wasn't certain if the boy was serious or trying to be cute. "If you can behave yourself, Harry, I will allow you to sleep on the bed." The Potions Master offered a little too quickly.

Harry wasn't exactly sure what the make of this new development. The both of them were on better terms now, but he had no idea how to respond. It wasn't like there were other options to think about, he was more worried about causing Severus trouble by staying with him for the night. Harry turned a bit to stare back into Severus's face, taking a moment to study the features of his lover; gauging the consequences of his next answer in his head. Severus stared right back with that unwavering and unbelievably sexy look, which Harry was quite fond of. Perhaps the answer was much easier than he originally thought.

"Don't you mean misbehave?" Harry finally replied, a smirk crawling mischievously across his face.

Severus rolled his eyes, sighing with mock exasperation. The boy really showed his age with cheesy comments. "That would depend on how you define misbehave." Severus stated softly, his eyes wandered back to the minor injuries still present on the boy's face.

"I think you know exactly how it's defined." Harry countered, his lack of tact causing great amusement for Severus.

"You are absolutely ridiculous Harry," The Potions Master sighed and pointed to the chesterfield. "Now if you're done flirting with me, I'd like you to sit on the couch, if you please." He would tend to Harry's injuries before continuing with this disgustingly intimate banter, and possibly more. Harry wasted no time in obeying the older wizard's order, but was disappointed when Severus left the room.

"Stay there, I will return momentarily." Severus called out, walking from the common room back to his private lab. He kept his personal potion stores in his lab, as he was the only one who was ever in there. This was where he kept his highest quality potions to be exact. The Potions Master headed to the large cabinet he kept at the far corner of the lab, making quick work of the wards he placed upon it. The shelves were chock full of every potion imaginable, but Severus navigated the hundreds of bottles with ease; plucking out the two specific potions he needed to remedy Harry's injuries. With potions in hand, he quickly closed the cabinet back up before rejoining Harry in the common room of his quarters.

"Shall I give Mr. Weasley a detention, Harry?" Severus asked casually as he entered the room, startling his guest out of his thoughts.

Harry thought about it for a moment, "No, but I'm sure you could find a reason to while we're in class. If you aren't against it, I'd like to get my own revenge." He smiled up at Severus.

How could Severus resist such a smile? He couldn't, to be honest; he would most likely allow Harry to have his own revenge, as long as it was within reason of course.

"I am sure something could be worked out." Severus replied as he knelt down in front of Harry, who was still sitting comfortably on the couch.

Both were silent as Severus opened up one of the phials that contained a light pink potion, which smelled faintly of mint. The Potions Master tipped the container over a few of the fingers on his right hand, and dabbed the potion onto the inflamed bruise on Harry's face carefully, trying to avoid causing the boy pain.

"How did you know it was Ron that did this to me?" Harry asked softly as Severus tended to him.

Severus mulled over the question, debating on whether or not he should give an answer. In times past, he probably would have ignored any questions Potter asked, but he no longer felt that way. "I am not blind to the abuse you have endured when everything became public," Severus began. "You do not share the same reputation as I, so consequently I am ignored because many people are intimidated by me."

Harry snorted and did his best not to explode with laughter, "That's putting it lightly Severus."

The older wizard gave a half-hearted glare and continued. "I have observed on many occasions, including those occasions during the class you have with me, that Mr. Weasley and a select few Gryffindors have caused you grief. It seems you have very few enemies left in this castle, and it was quite easy for me to deduce who inflicted your current injuries."

With the pink potion rubbed in completely, and the bruise beginning to fade, Severus stoppered that phial and set it on the coffee table; opening the second phial containing a scentless, pasty white potion, and repeated the process but applying the potion to Harry's split lip instead. Harry was silent again, focusing on the light touch on his bottom lip, inappropriate thoughts bubbled up. He instead, distracted himself with another question.

"If you knew what was happening, why didn't you do anything?" Harry's question wasn't meant to be combative, and Severus knew that. This was just idle chatter to keep them occupied so they wouldn't violently jump each other.

"If I had done anything that would be considered interfering, it would have done the exact opposite of what you wanted, and could have had volatile consequences. I am a cold and calculating person as you know, Harry. Rest assured, what you have endured will be returned tenfold." Severus was never one to leave promises unfulfilled, especially with such a tempting opportunity to severely discipline students.

The older man's words caused Harry's stomach to flip flop. Maybe he was truly in love with Severus, Harry mused while he looked over the man's face. He was too distracted to notice that Severus had finished taking care of the cut on his lip, and the fingers no longer caressed his lips in a tender manner.

"I believe you will live, Harry." Severus said with mild sarcasm as he went to stand back up. He stoppered the second phial and picked up the first.

Harry smiled, "I hope so. I don't think I could live with myself if Ron managed to kill me."

Severus ignored the silly comment and maneuvered around the couch to the hallway. "I will assume you remember where the bathroom is, the bedroom is the second door. I have to attend to some unfinished work before I retire for the evening." He said turning back to look at Harry, who adjusted to watch him walk away. "You are welcome to the facilities before then, I will leave you a change of clothes on the bed. Try not to destroy anything please." He said dryly.

Severus was certain he heard Harry mutter something under his breath but he ignored it, instead keeping himself in check for now. He slipped back into his lab, setting the potion phials he carried on the work table so he could deal with the potions he had been tending to before Harry arrived. Severus removed the stasis charms on both, and then quickly and methodically made preparations to decant them. During the process his ears tuned in on the sound of water running and faint humming coming from the bathroom.

Before he let himself get too distracted by his remaining work and Harry's shower, he stepped out of the lab and walked into the bedroom. He dug through his wardrobe, pulling out an old t-shirt and pair of flannel pajama bottoms. He laid them neatly on the right side of the bed where Harry would be able to see them before leaving the bedroom to continue decanting the potions. The whole process took roughly ten minutes including the small break to lay clothes out for Harry. With the work finished he left his lab for the night and went through his nightly absolutions.

Severus unconsciously rushed, cursing himself when he realized what he'd been doing. He felt far too anxious to be in the same place as Harry. He was indeed incurring bad habits because of the brat. When he finally went to open the door to the bedroom he was paralyzed on the spot with the vision he found standing in front of him.

Harry had slipped the pajama bottoms on, not bothering to put the shirt on as he rubbed down his hair with his towel. Severus had the perfect view of Harry's back. His sharp eyes watching as the muscles moved under the boy's skin. The motions were fluid and entrancing, very hypnotic. Severus watched as errant beads of water slide their way down Harry's neck and the perfect curvature of his back, tempting him to sweep them up languidly with his tongue.

Severus continued to admire the figure before him. Taking note on how loosely the bottoms hung on Harry's hips and the way the young man dried his hair. It was no wonder to Severus why the boy's hair was so unruly to begin with. He yearned to step closer and run his fingers through the damp locks, lightly trace the perfect pale skin, wrap his arms around that beautiful body and never let go.

There was just something about Harry that had him going back for more.

When Harry dropped his towel on the floor, Severus quietly closed the door and moved forward, winding his arms around the boy's middle and pressed up against him. Harry said nothing as Severus buried his head into the nape of his neck and took a deep breath; taking in Harry's clean scent.

The man never ceased to destroy the ever evolving image Harry had of him. Harry remained quiet allowing himself to focus in on the heat radiating off Snape's body. He shivered when the arms belonging to Severus began to move, hands explored along the way, lightly grazing sensitive areas that were discovered on previous expeditions. Harry was still, letting his eyes drift shut and his head tip backward, leaning against Severus's shoulder.

The exposed flesh drew the Potions Master in. He trailed over Harry's throat slowly, gorging on the skin, hands still probing the rest of the boy's body every now and then dipping fingers into the loose pajama bottoms that barely hung off the boy's slender hips, or passing over an excited nipple.

Severus paused, using the spare moments to pry himself from Harry's body, turning the young man around to bring their mouths together in a rough, hungry kiss. The abruptness stole Harry's breath away, but did not deter him from returning the affection. He took initiative, wiggling his tongue past Severus's lips earning a similar response from the man. Severus carefully steered Harry to the bed, the edge catching the back of Harry's knees, toppling the young man over and breaking their kiss.

Harry frowned at the loss as he lifted his weight up onto his elbows, shooting Severus a glare. The Potions Master ignored it and took hold of the fabric on Harry's hips, tugging the pajama bottoms down his legs slowly; Severus watched carefully as the skin was revealed, taking care to not snag any sensitive bits. Harry squirmed under the sensation; the flannel bottoms pooled on the ground and were quickly forgotten.

Harry Potter was very impatient, the glint in the boy's eye was indicative of that, Severus observed. He let his eyes roam over the naked flesh, noting the goose pimples that decorated his body. Severus was certain he felt the heat resonating off Potter, watching the muscles under that skin vibrate with anticipation.

"Severus…" Harry whispered almost breathlessly.

Severus allowed his eyes to catch Harry's gaze and kept it as he moved. He crawled upon the bed, hovering over the boy, his hair dangling around his face and tickling Harry's face. Opting to take his time, Severus met Potter's lips again in a slow kiss; it was fiery yet subdued, wild but delicate. The gentleness seemed to quell the impassioned flames within Harry that Severus ignited.

The Potions Master let his hands roam over Harry, the slow pace made the goose flesh return with a shudder. While the fire had diminished, Severus could tell that the need was still very much present, but he was not yet ready to allow the boy to succumb to pleasure. Regrettably, Severus broke their kiss and turned his attention to the rest of his prize. With his mouth, he followed the trail that his hands took on their journey, making detours to suck on a nipple, or nip at vulnerable spots.

Harry was unable to make intelligible words, or coherent sentences for that matter; even the sounds he made were mangled and primitive at best. The entirety of him rumbled with unadulterated need. Harry did his best to keep himself at bay, just to savor the culmination of the events leading to this point; this is where he'd pour his heart out for Severus. He would show Severus his true feelings for him. He allowed himself to be touched and held, to be caressed and kissed. He had been so focused on the moment, he wasn't aware that Severus lost his shirt, he swore the man just had his trousers on a moment ago but they were nowhere in his line of sight. When their naked bodies finally came together the circuitry in Harry's mind was fried, he could only focus on the way their dampened bodies rubbed together.

Severus was finding it difficult to keep himself in check now. He was determined to take his time, to show the feelings he'd never shown and say the words he was unable to say in this very moment. Severus paused for a moment distracted by Harry. Instead of clenching the bedding tightly in his fists, Harry began reciprocating the contact. He watched as the boy moved to cover his hand with his own, and trailed them slowly up Severus's arms past the elbows, around his shoulders to the blades. The movement was almost disgustingly gentle, and Severus was caught off guard when Harry tugged him down to kiss him in a similar manner that he had done to Harry.

Uncertain that he could keep the slow pace he had set, Severus made the executive decision to move forward. He slipped his hands down to rest on Harry's hips, squeezing and rubbing appreciatively before pulling himself away to reach for the bottle of specially made lubrication hiding in the bedside table. Harry whimpered at the loss but the realization of things to come glazed his sight over with lust, and the wild flames returned with magnificent force.

They both knew the routine but instead of the hurried, rough, and secretive love making they were used to Severus took his time and made every touch count. For convenience sake, Severus whispered the spell that would cleanse his lover. The Potions Master popped the lid off the bottle of lubrication and squeezed a generous amount on to the fingers of his right hand. Once his fingers were completely coated with the slick substance he moved to Harry's entrance.

Harry's breathing turned ragged and hitched completely as Severus began drawing little circles around the tight band of muscles protecting his rectum. When the first digit was inserted there was no pain, only the sensations of absolute need gnawing away at his soul. When the second and third fingers joined the first, there was only pleasure as the void inside Harry began to fill.

Severus knew the things Harry wanted most and was methodical in fulfilling those needs. He stretched, rubbed, filled Potter; every now and then he would press his thumb into Harry's perineum earning lustful noises as a reward. The brat was becoming impatient again Severus noticed, as was he. He slowly removed each digit one by one, and when his hand was free once more he picked up the bottle and put another generous helping of lube in his palm, coating his cock. He knew Harry was ready, the look in his hooded eyes and the words that went unspoken between them told him as such.

Severus lined himself up with Harry in one swift moment he buried himself in that heat. Potter was as loud as ever, the sweet but carnal sounds seeping out of his throat echoed through the room. Severus wasted no time; there was no slow start as he began thrusting into Harry relentlessly. Potter thought it necessary to wrap his legs around Severus's middle, pulling him down into vicious kiss. As he thrust deeply and savagely into that blaze surrounding his cock he slipped a hand up to Harry's chest to play with a nipple. He rolled it between his thumb and index finger harshly, drinking the sounds that the boy tried to make while they continued kissing.

Surprisingly, it was too much pleasure for Harry to handle. He pushed Severus away roughly, breaking another kiss and allowing Severus to sit up properly, consequently leading to harder thrusts and a better angle in which to hit that sweet spot deep within Harry.

"Severus!" Harry managed to moan loudly.

Severus knew Harry was close to the edge now, instead of helping him off that edge he decided to take a page from a previous encounter they had, doing his best not to remember all the details.

The Potions Master bent down and whispered with his deep, velvety voice, "Yes, Harry?"

Harry's body quivered at the sound, he would explode if the man continued talking to him like that. Severus relinquished his hold on Harry's nipple, but Harry swore to himself that he could still feel it; and then Severus spoke again.

"Are you close, Harry?" He asked in an almost musical tone. Harry could feel the evil curl of his lips on the edge of his ear, he could only manage a garbled swear. Merlin he was so close to the edge, damn that evil man.

Severus chuckled darkly into Harry's ear, the vibrations of his voice rippled through the boy easily as if he were transparent.

"Please, Severus…" It was becoming difficult for Harry to stay coherent as Severus continued to whisper into his ear. "—so close."

When Harry finally broke down into all out begging Severus decided it was time to show the boy a modicum of mercy. He sat up once more and took Harry's penis into his right hand, his thrusts had been dialed down while he verbally tormented his lover but quickly became erratic again as he began bringing Potter to the brink of ecstasy. It wasn't long at all before Severus stopped thrusting, his seed spilling into Harry; and Harry spilling himself onto his own chest, a drawn out moan escaping his mouth.

Severus untangled Harry's legs from his midsection, he allowed himself to watch the boy for a few moments. He admired how debauched Potter looked, completely spent, teetering on awake and asleep. Harry cracked open an eye as it was all he could manage, Severus pulled all the strength he had out of his body; he sighed with true contentment. Adept in wandless magic, Severus quietly whispered a spell and the mess that had begun cooling on Harry's chest was spelled away.

Severus finally moved to stretch out beside Harry and watched the boy's chest as he took steady breaths. He knew now that he was stuck with Potter forever, but he found that he didn't mind it so much. Not as much as he might have when he started down this road in the first place.

As if reading his thoughts Harry turned his head to stare at Severus with both eyes opened. His face was blank as he studied the other man closely, as if he were reading Severus like a book.

After a minute Harry finally spoke.

"I love you Severus."

Severus closed his eyes and sighed with exasperation, "I know, Harry."

Harry just grinned.

Yes, he was indeed stuck with Potter for a very, very long time.


Again I just want to express my sincerest apologies, when I started writing this story I promised myself that I wouldn't be one of those people that fall off the grid for a year, in this case far longer than a year, and not update.

Thanks to everyone who read and those who reviewed as well.