Warnings - this story will contain graphic male/male sexual content, swearing. Possibly male/female content too haven't quite decided!

A/N This is my first ever attempt at writing a fic. I hope I can do the idea justice. Please review and let me know how you think I am doing. Need a bit encouragement since a bit unsure of posting this x

Chapter One – Going Insane

"Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed" – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Severus Snape was standing in the middle of the tiny sitting room, in his run down flat, in Spinners End. He was staring at the closed door that his once best friend's wife, Narcissa, and her sister Bellatrix had just exited through. He felt sick as a heavy blanket of despair and depression fell over him. Severus was dreading going back to Hogwarts after the holidays this year, having worked hard all summer trying to find a solution to the current situation he was facing. Now, there was no chance of finding a way out.

How ironic that both the Dark Lord and Albus has asked of me the same thing, he thought as he snapped out of his motionless staring and collapsed down rigidly into his old battered armchair, mind racing.

If only Narcissa and Bellatrix knew the reasoning behind my seemingly unquestioning acceptance of taking the Unbreakable Vow to kill Dumbledore, should Draco fail.

He started laughing, but the laughter quickly turned to silent tears of despair. He had just sealed his fate. This year was going to be his last at Hogwarts as a Professor.

The Defence Against the Dark Arts role is truly cursed he thought with no amusement.

Teaching at Hogwarts had been his life for the past 16 years. In truth, it was the only thing that had kept him alive. Without it he would have died in Azkaban or taken his own life, had he managed to escape capture after the demise of The Dark Lord. He knew his students and most of the staff, thought he hated teaching due to his outward demeanour, but he normally looked forward to returning to the school after the holidays eagerly. This year however he wished summer would never end. He would gladly endure the loneliness he felt whilst not there and happily continue sharing his home with that traitorous rat, if it meant he didn't have to kill Albus.

He couldn't honestly say that he loved teaching, but he certainly could not imagine his life without doing so. Even though he had known for some time that the day was fast approaching when he would no longer be welcome at Hogwarts.

The school had become his home and refuge; a place where he had been welcomed and accepted at a time when no-one would open their door to him, but Albus had. Albus had given him more than just a job, he had given him a home and for that he was immeasurably grateful. He was the only person Severus felt comfortable enough with to truly be himself and show any signs of emotion without fear of rejection or ridicule. He was going to miss Albus dearly, as well as his role at the school. He even admitted to himself grudgingly, he would miss the insufferable brats he had to teach every day.

Especially Potter he thought.

This thought shocked him to the core and he snapped out of his rigid staring. Jumping to his feet he distractedly wiped away tears from his sodden face, and looked around for something to do; anything that would distract him and help push the thought to the darkest recess of his brain. He really had no idea where the thought had come from and didn't want to dwell on it, to consider whether it might be true. Albus had asked him if he cared for the boy earlier in the summer, during a meeting that had been very emotional. He had vehemently denied it at the time, but the question had triggered something in him and he had been pushing thoughts of the boy out ever since.

I am going insane he thought as he flopped back down onto his armchair.

It was a grey misty dull day at the Burrow, as it had been for the majority of the summer, but Harry and his friends had tried to make the most of it. Harry was sitting outside the tall lopsided building watching his two best friends fly about each other pretending to chase a snitch. Hermione was rubbish at flying but it didn't really make much difference because she and Ron could hardly take their eyes of each other long enough to look for it. It was currently hovering, unseen, right beside Ron's head. Harry shook his head and laughed at the scene as he distractedly continued pulling at the long grass whilst thinking about his life. He'd had the best summer he could remember since Professor Dumbledore had brought him here from the Dursleys', and he loved the Weasley's like they were family. However, he was looking forward to getting back to Hogwarts tomorrow. Ron and Hermione were his closest friends, they had been since first meeting them 5 years ago, but Harry had started to feel a little uncomfortable around them as the pair had grown closer to each other. It wasn't that he was unhappy about their budding relationship; he actually would be delighted for them if and when they finally did get together. It was just that he just felt very lonely most of the time, and wished he could have someone in his life that he wanted to share it with in that way. He had been getting closer to Ginny this summer but he wasn't sure how he felt about her yet and was a bit scared of getting too involved with her. If he was honest with himself he couldn't imagine ever feeling free enough to have anything that intense with another person. He also didn't believe that anyone, male or female, would ever really understand him or want him for just him. He wasn't the "Boy-Who-Lived" the "Chosen One", as the Daily Prophet was now referring to him, he was just plain Harry.

All his life he had been treated differently and he was sick of it. He desperately wanted to have at least one thing in his life that wasn't tainted by who he was, he hoped one day he would be able to look to the future and maybe be lucky enough to meet a nice witch, fall in love and have a family, but how could he even think about his future because he wasn't normal! Everyone he was close to was in "mortal peril" as Mrs Weasley's clock reminded him every day and he wasn't even sure if he liked witches or wizards, in fact, he hadn't never experienced strong feelings about either.

Yeah bloody typical "Harry-not-normal-in-every-way-Potter" that's me. He thought disgruntledly.

Ron and Hermione had just landed and came running over to him laughing; he tried to give them a smile, but obviously failed miserably.

"Why the long face mate?" Ron asked.

"Oh sorry, just thinking about going back to school. I will miss being at the Burrow," he lied. He felt bad lying to his friends but he couldn't very well tell them he couldn't wait to get back to Hogwarts. It would seem awfully rude after all the trouble Ron's family had gone to, to keep him safe in their home over the holidays.

"At least we won't have to put up with The Greasy Git when we get back. Neither of us achieved an O in our potions O.W.L, that should at least bring a smile to your face!" Ron said with a big grin.

Harry did manage a little smile at that, but in truth, it hadn't really cheered him up.

"Really, boys! That is not the correct attitude to receiving poor marks in the potions exam. It is not something to be celebrated," huffed Hermione. "You should both be enrolling in Professor Snape's 6th year O.W.L re-sit class. You could then study for the NEWT in 7th year, and still apply to be Aurors. Which I thought was important to both of you!" Hermione continued haughtily as she stared angrily at both boys in turn.

"Yeah that will be right eh Harry?" said Ron screwing up his face as if Hermione had said something disgusting.

"Yeah no way" Harry answered, although the way he said it quietly, wasn't very convincing, even to himself. Hermione didn't seem to notice as she grumbled something to herself and stomped off. Ron watched her silently shaking his head as she went inside.

"Right mate what is it? There is something bothering you and it's not just going back to school"

Ron took a seat beside Harry in the grass. Harry really didn't want to have this conversation; he didn't even understand all that was going on in his head himself, never mind having to talk to Ron about any of it.

"It's nothing Ron, please just leave it," Harry said, a bit more sharply than he had intended. Ron looked a bit taken aback as Harry stood and started walking back to the Burrow leaving him sitting there with his mouth open.

Harry ran straight up to the room that had been his over the summer and slammed the door. He threw himself on the bed, face down, and screamed into the pillows. He was so frustrated. He just had so many things tormenting his mind, and he couldn't make sense of any of it. He felt a bit ashamed of acting this way after being made welcome here at the Burrow, but he needed to find someone to talk to or he was going to go crazy.

He couldn't talk to Mr or Mrs Weasley; he had tried talking to them when he had first arrived about how losing his Godfather made him feel, but they didn't really understand his guilt. Oh they had said all sorts of nice things, but it hadn't helped, and he could see they were uncomfortable with talking about it in any depth. He certainly couldn't talk to them about the other things on his mind; he could feel the embarrassment rising to heat his face at just the thought!

He couldn't talk to Ron. God he could just see his reaction now, and although he thought maybe Hermione would be good to talk to, he believed she would find it difficult keeping a secret from Ron and he didn't want to ask her to do so. Alson, she hadn't really seemed to be all that bothered when he had told her about the prophecy and being the chosen one. She had been more worried about her O.W.L results only 5 minutes later than what the prophecy meant for Harry's life. On top of that, he was still a bit put out that neither of his friends had listened to him yesterday after returning from Diagon Ally. He was sure something was going on with Draco Malfoy, but they weren't interested in his theories, so he definitely couldn't talk to them about all the other things bothering him he decided.

Dumbledore had been very understanding after Sirius' death, and he looked up to the man and respected him greatly as a wizard, but he firmly believed that, in Dumbledore's eyes, he was only viewed as a means to an end in this blasted war against Voldemort, and nothing more. That realisation saddened him greatly at the time. Dumbledore hadn't been there for him when Cedric had been murdered and for that he had never quite forgiven the old man.

The only person that had been a constant in his life since going to Hogwarts was a man who had been in Harry's thoughts a lot this summer. He was a man who didn't look at his scar and want to touch it or stare at it reverently. He didn't treat him as though he was special, in fact, he treated him as if he was nothing but a spoilt arrogant brat. Yes, Snape was wrong about him; he wasn't a spoilt brat that thought himself above everyone else, but it didn't matter to Harry that Snape had him all wrong. He found Snape's attitude towards him refreshing and hoped he would continue treating him the way he had done for the past 5 years. He was the only teacher he counted on to treat him, maybe not normally, but at least with something other than fawning regard. Everyone knew how much Harry hated Snape, and that Snape hated him in equal measure, but being hated by someone was better than the mindless respect he received from almost every other teacher in the school. Harry didn't understand why the Professor treated him so badly, but he knew Snape had saved his life on countless occasions, so there was definitely more to the man than met the eye, and Harry was intrigued by him. His lessons in Occlumency with the Potions Master last year had been a total disaster; the tension between them had been unbearable. Snape had seen a lot of Harry's memories about things that he had never wanted anyone to know, and he had seen some of Snape's. Oh the atmosphere had been awful, but for some reason he was going to miss these lessons this year. He had always felt safe when with him, and not so lonely.

Yes, he was going to miss being around Snape.

The truth of this realisation took hold and Harry sat bolt upright in his bed.

Oh my god! I am going insane he thought as he flopped back down and hid his head under the pillow.

A/N Ok I am new to writing any sort of fiction and not at all sure how it has gone. This chapter and the next is really just a background starting point of an idea that has been going round my head for some time. I have changed the narrative style on a couple of occasions flipping from 1st person accounts from the main characters (obviously Harry and Severus) to 3rd person and not sure what reads the best. I don't have a beta reader so any errors in style or grammar are all mine. Please let me know what you think x