Warnings: Light Slash, Snarry (no chan), angst. Messing with the time line.
Title basically translates to free yourself from [Hell].
PLEASE READ THIS:
IN THIS STORY, The Department of Mysteries and Sirius' death happens before Goblet of Fire. Why? Because I can.
Libera te ex infernis
It happened during in Potter's Fifth Year. No one was sure how he managed to get a Demon Summoning stone, or how he even knew how to use it.
But it seemed that the Boy-Who-Lived finally broke during the announcement of the Triwizard champions. Severus was surprised it took that long, honestly. As much as he disliked the arrogant boy, he would admit that Harry Potter had put up with more in his short lifetime than anyone really had a right too. His name was spit out of the Goblet to represent a fourth, nonexistent school and at first, all Severus could think was does the boy know no shame?
But then Potter had all but prostrated himself before Albus ("Sir, please. You can't be serious. I'll die. This is what he wants. You know that's what he wants!") and had reeled from Dumbledore's stark instance ("I'm sorry, my boy, but you must. The Goblet is magically binding contract. If you don't participate, you will be rendered a squib.") that he compete as if he had been struck.
And then he summoned a demon to Hogwarts.
No, really, the fool boy did. The entire Great Hall had lit up with enochian symbols and had glowed an eerie orange as the ground in the main walkway had broken open, revealing a chasm deep into the earth. The smell of sulfur permeated the air and Severus had only just made it to Dumbledore's side, wand drawn, when a skeleton-like figure had composed itself next to Potter. The force of its evil had rendered him immobile – even Albus was incapable of movement under the force of it's influence. The Headmaster had simply stood, dumbfounded, as Harry Potter negotiated the price of his soul.
"Voldermort must die. And any person he marked must as well." And here Severus had felt real fear, because that included him and Potter had no love of his person, that was clear enough. "Do this, and I will go with you to Hell."
The demon had agreed, its voice both slick and grinding and had pointed one boney finger at Igor Karkaroff. The ex-Death Eater dropped dead where he stood and Severus winced, eyes squeezing shut as that bone finger turned to him – only for them to fly open at the sound of an angry shout.
"No!" Potter had snapped angrily, throwing himself bodily in front of the Potions Master. "Snape doesn't count. He doesn't you hear me?"
The demon hesitated for a moment before shrugging (what kind of demon shrugged?) and rolled its shoulders before declaring the deed done. Potter had whirled violently around, his hand shooting out to Severus' arm and yanking his sleeve up to expose a now naked forearm. The boy's shoulders slumped, relief and fear mixing on his face as he gave the thoroughly stunned man a weak smile.
"Well that's good, then."
Severus had croaked in horror as a skeletal arm wrapped its way around Potter's waist and tugged. The last thing he saw of the Boy-Who-Lived was his mother's eyes, wide in terror, as he tumbled backwards into the Hell Crevice.
And once more, Severus Snape found himself bitterly owing a Potter more than he could ever repay.
It took them three years to find a way to bring Harry Potter out Hell. They gathered in a clearing in the forbidden forest, a holy place that rested on ancient lay lines and was pure. The centaurs had been furious that they want to perform a Dark ritual here. They demanded that the wizards leave before they strip this place of everything that made it scared.
To Severus surprise, Dumbledore had banished them wandlessly, setting up barrier upon ward upon barrier around the clearing. They worked silently as they painted the sigil onto the grass. They weren't alone. Minerva and Poppy were with them, as was Hermione Granger and Ron Weasily. Lupin was there as well, looking more ragged than ever, and an older and kinder looking Draco Malfoy. The Triwizard Champions were there as well, since the tournament had never been allowed to be completed, the Goblet of Fire's contract would not allow them to leave.
Fleur was sitting on a conjured sofa, her hand rubbing over her swollen belly as her husband Cedric hovered over her. Hermione shared the opposite side, her face resting on the broad shoulder of her fiancé Viktor Krum. Ron looked distinctively out of place by the couples but said nothing, only sat silently next to Draco as they both watched the two wizards work.
The ceremony was dark and wrong and it made Severus' skin crawl but it worked. A black pool of sludge grew out from the center of the graph, growing and expanding until they were all nervous backing away from it, but the seal held true and the pool stopped at its edge.
A figure emerged from it, tall and dark and beautiful. A tan woman with hair that would have put Lily's to shame and empty eye sockets. The power she leaked was enticing, especially to any who ever dealt in the black arts and Severus found himself growing acheingly hard. From the discomforted way that Krum and Draco had shifted, Severus was fairly confident he wasn't the only one affected.
Albus' voice was level and controlled as he wagered with the demon but in the end the only thing she would take for the return of Potter was another life. With a sigh, Severus had taken a step forward, more than prepared to give his life for Lily's son. But Draco beat him to it, promising his own life.
"I have a lot to make up for," The blonde said quietly to the stunned crowd, "I need this. And I owe him. My mother and I, we wouldn't have lasted if..." But he ended his explanation there and ultimately no one really knew why Draco paid that awful price. In less then second, the blonde was simply gone.
The sludge twisted and another figure emerged, rising up in a way that reminded Severus of Boris Karloff in a muggle mummy movie he'd once seen as a child. At first it was impossible to tell the figure's identity from underneath the black goo. But as it took slow, struggling steps towards the edge of the pool, the black goop was slowly peeled away. It was a slow process, like trying to pry your shoe from lament flooring after stepping in gum, and the darkness seemed to fight to keep a hold of its prey. But eventually they start to see a figure.
It was recognizable as Harry Potter.
But only just.
He was completely naked, his hair bleached white, his skin so tan it was almost brown. His emancipated body was covered in white scars. Some were thin and long like knife slashes, others were clearly wide claw marks and the worst was across the left side of his abdomen, where it looked as if something had tried to take a bite out him. And he was older – far older then the eighteen he should have been. If anything he appeared to be in his late twenties.
The goo surged and Potter stumbled backwards, almost falling in once more and without thought Severus had leapt forward, unwilling to lose him after three years of guilt and agony, and grabbed a boney hand. It was had been like pulling on a mortared brick and Severus' muscles ached with the effort. But eventually Potter flew out, collapsing bodily against the Potion Master and sending them both backwards a few paces as Severus fought to keep his balance.
Potter hung from Severus' grip on his shoulders, seemingly lifeless if it wasn't for the shuddering breathes his body shook with. Gingerly, as if unsure he could, Potter took his own weight. Only once he was standing somewhat confidently did Severus ease his grip.
Up close, the oddness of Potter's features was even more apparent. A long, jagged scar bridged his nose, another thinner one dissected his lips diagonally. White eyebrows furled slightly as Potter's eyelids fluttered and then, wincing against the dull light of the clearing, opened.
Severus felt something inside him break ever so slightly at the loss of Lily's eyes. The brilliant emerald was gone, replaced by a grey so light it seemed almost colorless. For a moment the two stared at each other, seemingly transfixed, and without meaning to Severus absorbed the broken thoughts leaking from the equally broken man in his arms.
-much light. Person. Black hair. Nose. Know…teacher? Friend…no, fear? Wait…no, what?
And that was when Severus Snape first realized just how utterly broken Harry (and it was Harry now, could only be Harry for the boy-man who had given everything for them) was. Guilt ate at him and he broke their stare, unable to stay in that shattered mind.
The white haired man head snapped over to stare at the speaker, pale eyes blank as he watched Hermione slowly approached him. She stopped a few feet away, her face wet with tears and bright with such hope that it hurt too look at. Because Severus knew what she was looking for she wouldn't find in the shell of man he was holding. Harry's fingers reached out, ghosting over the brunette's face before the tan body gave a violent shake in Severus' arms and went limp.
"He's alive," The dark haired man reassured the clambering group, swinging the frail body up into a bridal hold, "just in shock."
And with that, whatever it was that was left of Harry Potter was returned.
It turned out that Harry was unwilling to stay in the hospital wing. Every night they placed him in the same, heat-charmed bed and every morning they found him gone. None of them could figure out how he managed to escape without setting off the monitoring alarms or alerting Poppy who had taken to sleeping in a chair at the foot his bed. It took Severus a week to find where the broken man went every night and even then it was by accident.
Severus stumbled upon the sleeping Harry when he'd gone into his storage room late at night to get more wormswart. He had no idea why the white hair man had decided that he wanted to be curled up in the bottom of his old potion classroom's storage room but he'd been unable to bring himself to wake Harry up. He did, however, transfigure a small, dressed twin mattress that barely fit in the place underneath the frail body.
Nothing Severus or the other professors could say seemed to be able to keep Harry from returning to the small room every night and so with frowns of puzzlement and defeat they simply accepted it.
For reasons Severus couldn't understand, Albus took the fact that Harry preferred the cupboard harder than anyone else.
Apparently, Harry was not fond of anything soft. Or clothes, and it was not uncommon to see him trudging around Hogwarts shritless or pantless or both, though always decent. He would only allow coarse fabric to touch him and even then, forcing Harry to dress was like attempting to put a toddler in a suit. It was the smallest of the changes about him - and one that wasn't horribly dark and twisted. And so no one spoke of it.
No one spoke of any of the fear that Harry brought.
But Severus could still see it.
He could see the very real look of regret and revulsion on Albus' face every time he looked at the man. He knew that Dumbledore was having a hard time dealing with the fact that Harry had fulfilled the prophecy in the darkest way possible. Severus tried to to feel the same. But in the end, he could not, because for the first time since he was seventeen, Severus was utterly free.
And he would owe that to Harry for as long as he lived.
Eventually, four months after his return, when Harry was finally functioning on his own again, Albus approached the fact that the tournament wasn't over. The other professors push to delay it, as did Severus, who could see only folly in it's continuation, but in the end it was Harry that made the decision for them. The white haired man had been listening to them argue, pale eyes traveling from figure to figure before standing and making his way to the Goblet that hadn't been moved since it first arrived. He touched it and it flared to life.
And that was that.
The first task was stupid and filled Severus with an anger towards Dumbledore that he had not felt in years. Each champion took their turn with the dragons, except for Fleur, who had to forfeit because of her pregnancy. Cedric was nearly killed and even Viktor didn't come out unscathed and Severus had to keep himself away from the Headmaster because he knew nothing that would have come out of his mouth will be even remotely civil. Harry's egg collection was the shortest of the three. He simply walked out into the arena and to the nest, plucked the golden sphere up and deposited it on the judges table. The dragon offered no resistance. It simply had eyed Harry wearily from where it had relocated at the far edge of the arena.
The second task was even more of a joke. Severus handed them all gillyweed and watched as three figures slipped beneath the surface. Fleur forfeited again and moments later her sister floated to the surface unharmed. Twenty minutes after that had Cedric returned with his mother. Viktor arrived only moments later with Hermione Granger in toe.
Severus fought off a growing unease as the time grew longer and Harry still failed to show.
When it began to reach the time limit of the gillyweed, he grabbed a hand full himself and stripped his outer robe off, snarling at Dumbledore before preparing to go after the most likely suicidal man. But then Harry had appeared, walking out of the shallows. Water seemed to shrink from him and by the time he'd made it to the platform it was if he'd never gone in in the first place. A waterlogged stuff bear was held loosely in one hand and Harry dropped it at Albus' feet before turning and heading for the castle.
As one, they stared at it. Something painful bloomed in his heart as Severus took in the forgotten bear. It was missing an arm, its wet insides leaking out from around a loose and ill done mend job. He didn't why, but Severus tucked the bear into the folds of his robe and that night, long after the rest of the castle had gone to sleep, he found himself sitting before his fire place, carefully repairing the bear's side.
The third task was even more a joke. Harry simply stood in place, staring off at nothing as the other three champions made their way through the maze. Viktor reached it first, Cedric and Fleur having decided five minutes into it to simply conjure up a stuffed arm chair for the very pregnant Frenchwoman to rest on as they waited. Drumstrang was declared the victor, not that anyone gave a rat's ass, and for the first time in three years, the Triwizard Champions had been able to return home.
They hadn't realize that Harry was missing from the castle until a thoroughly frazzled Nymphadora Tonks showed up during lunch and told them that he was in the Ministry. It took Albus, Minerva, Poppy and himself less than fifteen minutes to make the normal half hour trip from the floo grate in the Great Hall's sitting room to the Department of Mysteries. In that first moment of blinding panic, Severus was first struck with the thought that somewhere along the line he'd begun to care for the broken thing that was Harry Potter out of something that could be more then just duty. Naturally, he destroyed the thought, burred it deep inside his mind and refused it any quarter.
They found Harry standing before the Veil, head cocked to the side as if listening to something. They tried calling to him – Albus first, then Minerva, then Poppy and himself and even Tonks and Shacklebolt attempted. Lupin earned a similar response when he stumbled in, wide eyed. Harry actually tilted his head slightly when Hermione and Ron arrived from their field assignments but still didn't move.
No one tried to approach the white haired man. They were all too afraid that if they try to apprehend him Harry might go through it. There had been very few things that Harry insisted upon. Sleeping in the cupboard was one, not being touched was another. After an hour, the pale haired man finally moved. He reached out and almost as one the group cried out and pitched forward to grab him – but Harry didn't go any further in. Instead he pulled something out. They watch, slack jawed, as he pulled a startled and pale Sirius Black out. The Veil's Arch gives one great shudder and then collapsed in on itself. Harry released his godfather almost instantly, stepping back as Black fell to his knees.
Lupin let out a choked sound and rushed to the crumpled man, embracing him almost violently. Black looked up, eyes wide, as he took in Harry's bleached form.
For a moment there was real emotion on Harry's face, but then Black did what he did best and ruined it.
"My god, what the hell happened to you?"
And Harry's face shuttered back into nothing.
They sat together, Albus and Severus and Lupin and Black and discussed what to do about Harry. For once, there was no enmity between the remaining Marauders and their archenemies. It seemed petty in the face of Hell and demons and broken men. In the end they can come up with nothing to help Harry, other than to let him stay at Hogwarts, the only place Harry had ever called home. Black agreed to leave, though it was obvious that it cost him to know that his presence seemed to hurt Harry. Lupin's hand never left Blacks though and somehow Severus believed that Black would be alright and the end.
He was somewhat to shocked to find that that thought pleased him.
But then again, they were all that was left of their generation and whether he wanted to admit it or not, they had been a huge part of Severus' life. Even if it was an unfavorable addition. They sat in silence, drinking luke warm tea when the familiar grind of the statue moving and the pounding of feet on the steps filled the office.
Minerva burst in seconds later, more than a little wild looking. "Dementors, Albus! In the courtyard!"
And that brought them all at a run and Severus can feel the cold grip of the creature even before they reach it. It was towered over a Ravenclaw third year, head bending for a kiss. Dozen more floated in the distance. Black froze, shaking so violently that Lupin stay behind with him, cupping his face and whispering words of comfort.
Severus pushed past them, wand raised and lips already forming the patronus and nearly hexed Albus on reflex when the Headmaster's hand flashed out and pushed his arm down. He turned to yell at the man for his carelessness but found Dumbledore's attention completely else were, blue eyes wide in apprehension. He followed the gaze in time to see Harry materialize out of the shadows of the covered archway across from them.
The white haired man stepped into the courtyard, the sunlight glinting off his white hair harshly. The look on his face was hard and unforgiving, pale eyes seeming to burn with the force of his fury. A tan hand reached out and the Dementor stilled, it's covered head snapping over to stare at the wizard. Harry took a step forward and the Dementor copies it with a step away. The tan hand slowly closes, Harry's fingers claw like as his wrists twist. The Dementor let out a shrill scream, its form twisting and quivering oddly. Harry's hand closed further and the screams grew louder, the black form suddenly curling into itself, balling up like crumpled paper.
The white haired man snarled soundlessly, his hand snapping close and there was a horrible crunching sound and then…then the Dementor is gone, as if never existed. Around them, shrill cries erupted in a horrid chorus and Severus dropped his wand as he pressed his hands to his ears in a desperate attempt to block it out. Only Harry seemed unaffected, staring at the space were the creature had been, hand still outstretched and fisted.
Then it was silent.
The Dementors in the air had fled and Harry let his arm drop. Next to him Albus moved and Severus stepped quickly in front of him, breaking the line of sight between him and Harry. Albus gave him a stern glare of disapproval but Severus matched it with one of his own and didn't move. Because there was no way in hell that he was going to stand by and watch the old man kill the Boy-Who-Saved-Them-All because Albus was too afraid of what Harry had become to do so.
Albus glanced past his him and suddenly paled, a look of pure, unadulterated grief on his face as he lowered his wand and turned away in shame. Severus turned, brows furled and froze. Harry was staring past him, at Dumbledore, face unreadable but still somehow expressing sheer betrayal and hurt.
Then Harry was gone and they do not see him again for weeks and for the first time Severus realized how accustomed he gotten over the months to Harry's quiet form in his quarters and he cannot stop himself from checking Harry's cupboard every night in the hope he had returned to it.
They set about to destroy the remaning Horcrux. Now that Harry had been freed and the damnable snake killed, there had only been four left to find. The first two – the cup and diadem – had been easy, but the last one destroyed the basilk fang completely and the duo found themselves forced to be a little bit more creative with the locket.
It nearly killed them both.
It was with great difficultly that Severus managed to apparate them to the edge of Hogwart's wards. Despite his age, Albus was supporting the majority of their combined weight as the two of them stumbled across the bridge and up the front steps. There had been startled screams and cries as they managed to make it into the entryway that did nothing to help with the vicious migraine that was making Severus see colors and shapes dance across his vision.
And then Poppy and Minerva were there and the pain lessened and Severus can almost taste his relief, it's so potent. Several spells and a half a dozen potions later and the two of them can stand on their own, abet shakily, and Albus even has the gall to joke. The worst of it had been Severus palm, which had the entirety of the top layer of epidermis burnt off, which was most likely why it didn't hurt, and Poppy was ranting to herself as her wand wove never-ending about it, knitting muscle layer over layer until all that is left of the wound was pale pink skin.
It was only when Dumbledore went utterly still next to him that Severus was aware that Harry was there, bare chested and bare foot. Despite the large crowd of students and staff alike that had gathered, there was a wide bubble of no-man's land around Harry. There was something off about his face, an emotion that no matter how hard Severus tried he couldn't seem to name.
The white haired man crossed the entryway without making any sound and Poppy let out a strangled little noise before all but lurching from his path. He stopped in front of Severus, reached out and pulled his injured hand up. Scarred fingers ghosted over the sensitive flesh, a heavy frown on his face as stared down at the new skin. His hand was released and white eyes flickered to his face and Severus breath had caught ever so slightly because there was rare emotion there, concern. Concern for him, Severus Snape, of all people.
Harry just mutely shook his head and leaned forward until his forehead was pressed against Severus' chest. It was the briefest of contact – over before he could even really register it had happened and then Harry had walked away.
When they left to destroy the last Horcrux, Harry had been waiting for them and no amount of coaxing could convince him to remain behind. He was fully dressed for once, though still barefoot, and was completely out of place amongst the wreckage of the Gaunt residence. He almost glowed against the dark colors of the moldy shack. He crossed the room with short, swift steps and picked up the Horcrux easily from amongst the decay and junk. Severus lunged forward the same moment Albus did but they're both too late and can only watch, aghast, as Harry swallowed the ring.
For a moment the trio simply stared at each other. Albus and himself in complete horror and disbelief and Harry in calm indifference. And then he was on the floor, retching violently. In seconds both wizards had knelt on either side of him, hands hovering over the heaving body. But they don't touch – they never touched. They exchanged helpless glances and Severus cannot stand the feeling of powerlessness.
Then with one final, violent retch the ring comes up. To their bewilderment the piece of Voldermort's soul was absent, stripped from it as if it was never there to begin with. For a moment Severus feared it was inside Harry, that once more the man has made himself a carrier, but Harry's signature had not changed.
The soul was simply gone.
Harry stood and rested a hand on his stomach as he wrinkled his nose in distaste and then languidly made his way to the front door. He paused, staring over his shoulders at the two unmoving wizards as if they were the mad ones, before shrugging and apparating away.
They found him in the Great Hall, nibbling on a piece of lemon cake.
The stuttered cry of, "Please come, Professors! It's Harry Potter!" from a thoroughly shaken Hufflepuff prefect shattered the soft peace of dinner and caused Severus to spill wine all over Minerva. She was pointing into the entry hall, white as death and shaking so hard she nearly fell. Severus launched himself up and over the high table, stumbling slightly as he landed awkwardly before sprinting out into the entryway.
It took him a second to locate the tan man, huddled smaller then should have been capable behind a statue in the leftmost corner, just visible around the fluttering silver-white of the Bloody Baron's form. He's staring at nothing, mouth opening and closing but no sound escaped him. There must have been something there, despite the fact that he himself saw nothing, because there was a grouping of ghosts that had formed a (protective?) circle around the white haired man had been staring at the same spot intently.
Albus reached for the frightened man but Harry shrunk further away and the Headmaster sent Severus a broken, pained look of incapacity. "Harry, my boy, please."
The sound of Albus' voice seemed to rip Harry back to reality and wild eyes swerved violently as he took in the crowd before locking on Severus' strained form. Harry stumbled to his feet and had flung himself into the Potion Master's arms, hands grasping the front of his vest in a white knuckle grip as he buried his face in Severus' chest.
Without conscious thought of his own, his arms wrapped tightly around the trembling form, clutching Harry even closer to him, pressing his check against white hair. He murmured soft words and comforting platitudes into his ear, words only for Harry, as he cradled the back of his head. He repeated things his mother used to say to him when he'd crawl into her bed terrified of the dark and his father.
He begged Harry to tell him what's wrong, what he saw, and swore that he'd protect him if he can just tell Severus what's wrong.
But Harry was silent, crying noiseless tears against him that made Severus want to break something. Instead he had settled for tightened his hold on Harry and promising him over and over that he'll never let anything harm him again.
Severus didn't know what was that prompted him to check on Harry but he was instantly alarmed when he found the transfigured bedroom-cupboard empty. For a moment he stood in the room, mind blank except for an overwhelming amount of pure panic and then there was a shimmer of silver to his left.
The Baron was floating there, his head cocked to the side, his features schooled look of what could have been pity.
"Where is he?" Severus knew without doubt that the Baron knew – the ghosts of Hogwarts always seemed to know where Harry was – and he was not diappointed.
"The Astronomy tower."
Fear truly grasped him then and all Severus could think of was broken Harry, uncaring as he moved through the day, watching things that were not there and truly without care if he lived or died before he turned and sprinted from the classroom. Students parted for him like the red sea, mouths agape at Severus' state of utter panic but for once the Potion Master didn't even notice or care. He cast his patronous off to Dumbledore mid-stride and then he was flying down the corridors and up stairs, moving faster than he ever had in his life.
He reached the tower first, despite the fact that both Albus and Minerva's offices were closer. His thighs burned as he took the curving stairs three at a time, his heart almost ready to burst from his chest, it was beating so violently. Severus nearly blasted the door from its hinges in his hurry, tripping over piles of piles of pillows as he darted across the classroom and ripped the door to the balcony open and froze. Harry was balanced on the thin stone wall, pale eyes staring at the dark campus of Hogwarts below. The wind tugged violently at him, causing the loose shirt and boxers to flare around him like a thing alive.
Heart in his throat, Severus took a hesitant step forward only to freeze again as Harry's face snapped over to stare at him. They locked eyes, broken black with dead paleness, and Severus forced himself to swallow around the thick lump in his throat. For a long moment they just stare at each other, the older man too afraid to move in case he startled Harry enough to lose his balance or…or jump.
Because why else would the shattered man have come here?
There's a sharp intake of breath from behind him and Severus knows without looking that Albus and Minerva had finally arrived and he hoped dearly that they are wise enough not interfere.
Slowly, ever so slowly, Severus advanced. His muscles were tense and drawn – ready to leap forward and grab Harry should he need to and those white eyes followed every movement he made with weariness. After what seemed like ages Severus was finally within touching distances. He made his moves as unthreatening as possible as he reached up, not touching but almost, face twisted in a silent plea.
Harry turned easily, without fear, as if he hadn't been standing on the tallest point in the whole of the castle and stepped towards him. Severus caught him easily, hands clasping tightly around a boney waist. Hands settled on his shoulders, their touch light, and Severus cannot deny the shudder as the scarred body settled against his own. The tan man still weighed nothing in his arms, despite the numerous nutrition potions he was forced to take daily and the four, unnaturally large meals he was given every day. They stayed like that, frozen in place, Harry's waist pressed against his chest, legs hanging lifelessly, for what seemed like forever.
Then Harry had leaned down, chapped lips warm against his own and it was as if someone had breathed life back into Severus once more. His hands slid around the younger man's waist until it had become an almost embrace and Severus held the tan body even closer. Neither of them closed their eyes. Those dead eyes stared down into his and for a moment Severus could almost swear he saw life there.
That night he took Harry amongst the silver and green of his sheets, transfigured from their normal silk to coarse linen. That broken body arched into his touch and Severus worshiped it, tracing every scar and dent that tan skin had with his tongue. He poured everything into his touched and for the first time in his life, Severus made love to someone.
He started to lose him towards the end and thrust harder, twining his free hand with Harry's even as his grip on the younger man's waist turned bruising.
"Don't." He panted harshly and Severus tried and failed to ignore the blatant plea in his voice – a sound he had not heard since the night he begged for Lily. Those white eyes flickered to his and he surged into Harry's mind, pushing all his want and need and yes, damn't, love, inside that shattered mind. He pressed his face against the smooth column of Harry's neck, pressed against a rapid pulse point as if to reassure himself it was still there. "Stay with me."
Long, wirily arms wrapped tightly around him and Severus almost broke as thinned hips rocked back against his own for the first time.
The syllables had been spoken wrong, the voice hoarse and ugly but gods it was enough and with a shudder Severus had come harder than he ever had before and sobbed unashamedly against (beautifully humming) Harry's pulse.
Later, he laid awake the entire night, Harry worn form tucked tightly against his own, and carded his hand through stark white hair over and over. Harry was gone again, those dead eyes watching the shadows as they played across the bedroom ceiling. But still, Harry did not leave for his cupboard and scarred tan fingered stayed interlocked tightly with Severus' own throughout the night.
It wasn't much, but it was enough.
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