Prompt: Top/Veela!Severus Bottom!Harry romance/hurt/comfort no spoilers from books 5-7.

Summary: Harry and Hermione run off to find a way to defeat Voldemort, but Harry finds him in serious trouble along the way. Severus has no choice but to go after the Boy Who Lived, and discovers a little something about himself, while Harry finds out just what Severus is keeping secret.

Warnings: Language, MalexMale sexual content, violence.

Disclaimer: Not making any thing from this and I hold no claim to Rowling's characters.

I realize you might see Veela in the prompt, but I promise that it's not horribly corny. Not really a fan of creature fics myself but I enjoyed writing this. Enjoy!


Save Me Once Again

The autumn storm had picked up pretty quickly as Harry and Hermione did their best to navigate through the nameless forest they found themselves in. The wind howled with a fury unknown to living beings, tossing heavy snowflakes every which way, as the temperature plummeted further below freezing with its fearsome wind-chill. The thick, angry storm clouds had blotted out the light of the moon completely, dropping their visibility to zero. The pair found it increasingly difficult to light their way while they kept themselves from succumbing to the harsh storm.

The terrain wasn't much better.

The forest was thick with trees that looked decrepit. The leaves they had shed in preparation for the season change were buried underneath layers of frost. The snow made great camouflage for other obstacles that laid in waiting. Harry had tripped a couple of times while Hermione lost her footing when she stepped on a giant tree root, subsequently ripping her jeans and cutting her knee with the jagged bark of another root. Both had ended up covered in snow, their clothing becoming damp as it melted with the remaining body heat.

How had they ended up like this?

It was something that Harry had started contemplating as soon as they Apparated into the forest. They weren't on the run, they were on a wild goose chase for something that might bring down Voldemort. Initially, Harry wanted to bring both Hermione and Ron with him. Harry knew he could rely on the both of them, they'd been friends ever since their first year. It was for that exact reason he insisted on going alone. He didn't want to put any more lives on the line for his sake, especially theirs.

Harry had gotten fed up with sulking around Grimmauld Place, waiting to be called upon at the right moment.

With all the cunning Harry had been able to muster, he made his way up to his room from the library to start packing. He had been doing quite a bit of reading while he was on "house arrest", as the young man called it. There hadn't been much to do since he graduated from Hogwarts in the spring. It was now late November. Reading was all Harry had to keep himself sane, not that his babysitters helped him with the cabin fever that slowly started to onset. He enjoyed spending what little time he had with Sirius and Remus, but he felt absolutely useless in a war he was supposed to be winning.

Harry had found a lot of potential solutions to the defeating of Voldemort. While he had presented plenty of his ideas to Albus during the order meetings, the old man would just tilt his head and smile, thanking Harry for his valuable ideas while brushing him off as gently as possible. Oftentimes, Snape would smirk at Harry, eyes glittering in amusement as the boy was shot down yet again. Harry's irritation with the ordeal increased with every idea that was vetoed.

Harry began to formulate a plan as he stuffed his rucksack with assorted clothing and more important things, such as books, maps, and potions. If no one was going to take him seriously then he was going out to help the cause in his own way. Hermione often sought out Harry after the meetings to praise him for his research and brilliant ideas, then reassuring him that Dumbledore had everything under control. It wasn't good enough for Harry.

Surely Hermione realized that they'd taken more hits and had bigger losses than Voldemort's side and the Ministry put together?

He didn't want to take anyone with him, just for safety's sake, but he wanted to just as badly because they had been through thick and thin together. He couldn't risk his best friends, nor could he risk his family. Just as he threw the last few things he needed into his sack Ron stepped through the door with a pensive look on his face. Hermione wasn't far behind, a soft smile pulling at her lips. Harry wasn't as sly as he thought he was. He turned to look at the both of them.

"We want to come with you, mate. You can't go out there by yourself." Ron tried to convince him yet again.

"He's right. You can't just go out there alone. You'll get yourself captured, or worse, Harry." Hermione huffed.

"There isn't much of a choice anymore, 'Mione. Someone has to do something," Harry said softly, turning back to his packing. He began adjusting the things he had thrown into the sack, making sure everything fit.

"Then let someone else do it!" she pleaded, biting her bottom lip. "Or at least take us with you."

"You know I can't do that, Hermione. The last thing I need is for you guys to get hurt or killed," Harry said with finality as he tied his bag closed.

"You should at least let one of us go with you, Harry. Two is better than one," Ron said smartly, hands in his front pockets, as he stared at the floor sulking.

Harry hated it when his two best friends did this to him. Guilt-tripped him into doing something. He didn't blame them for it. He would do anything for them. Anything within reason, of course.

He sighed and rubbed a hand over his face and under his glasses, rubbing his eyes. He really couldn't argue with them; they had both presented him with irrefutable points. Ron's had been especially difficult to ignore, and they were both right, as much as he hated to admit.

"Which one of you is coming then?" Harry asked as he let his arm fall back to his side.

A whole conversation was wordlessly had without so much as a noise or the blink of an eye. It was almost as if Ron and Hermione had this conversation with each other before even coming to Harry to confront him. He was clearly very obvious with his intentions and hoped that, perhaps, no one else had noticed. It would have poked a hole in all of his hastily made plans.

"Hermione'll go with you. She's the brains in the group, after all," Ron stated as a smirk spread over his face, with plenty of mirth twinkling in his eyes. "I should probably stay and keep everyone off your backs."

Hermione let out a shaky breath then closed in on Ron, wrapping her arms around his neck and hugging tightly. After an hour or two of yelling and arguing earlier, they had both decided that Hermione would be the better choice. While it was the smart choice, it was also the difficult choice. It was hard for Harry to witness the raw emotion between the two.

Harry shifted awkwardly for a moment, trying to look away, not wanting to be rude. He was surprised when two sets of arms enveloped him in a warm embrace between friends, nearly falling over into the bed. The three of them chuckled, enjoying the moment while there was still time before Harry and Hermione had to leave.

They were interrupted by the quiet sound of knocking. The trio untangled themselves from each other, and stared at the door.

"...arry," Hermione's voice echoed in his head as he continued to stare at the door.

"Harry!" Hermione grabbed his arm and shook gently, trying to bring him out of his thoughts.

He flinched as he came to his senses. "Sorry."

"Honestly, Harry. We need to keep going. We just barely got out of there without getting caught. We can't stay here." She admonished him.

Harry followed after her, walking as fast as the snow and darkness would allow. It had been a stupid idea going into that ruin when there was only one entrance. How could they have known that Death Eaters would swarm the place? It was far too suspicious.

He could feel his body begin to ice over with his damp clothing, his muscles starting to spasm in an attempt to find warmth while the cold wind continued its assault. Hermione fared no better. There was an obvious limp as she walked, hunched forward with one arm trying to hold her layers of clothing closed, while the other tried miserably to block out the offending snow being deliberately blown into her face. She shivered like a leaf, her own clothing just as damp. They had to stop soon or they'd both freeze to death. But Hermione was right, they had to get some distance away before they could even think about stopping to set up camp.

They trekked on deeper into the forest.

Another soft knock on the door came, accompanied by the soft muffled voice of Remus Lupin. "Harry? Are you in there? Harry, I want to talk to you."

Harry's heart pounded in his chest, a mildly shocked look passed over his features. He wasn't expecting to be found out this quickly.

"Harry, I only wish to talk."

He shared a look with Ron and Hermione before walking over to his bedroom door, opening it slowly and just enough to be able to talk to Remus. The man had his hands in his pockets now, looking worn and yet still managing to smile.

"Yes?" Harry asked, sounding more panicked than he would have liked.

"May I come in? I think it would be best if we didn't have this conversation in the hallway," Remus pressed gently, and Harry hesitated. Looking back towards his friends, he quickly decided to step away and open the door a bit more for Lupin to slip inside, the door closing with a subtle click.

Remus' expression seemed to hold an almost guilty sadness to it. It was something he only saw when Sirius had to leave on Order business, and Harry always had the biggest urge to hug the man. Remus knew that he planned to leave. Did the man come to convince him to stay and forget these ridiculous plans? Wouldn't he have brought this information to Sirius' or Albus' attention then? Whatever the case, Remus had clearly not come to stop Harry from going off on his journey.

Harry gathered his thoughts and asked the question that frightfully plagued his mind. "What do you need, Remus?"

It wasn't hard for Remus to come to the conclusion that Harry had planned to leave. He learned to spot the signs when he and Sirius were teens. He was rather grateful that he had managed to catch Harry before the young man left. Remus knew that sitting around, wasting away in Grimmauld Place while there was a war going on outside had been making Harry feel cooped up and useless. It wasn't healthy for a young mind, anyhow. He would not blame the boy for feeling that way, especially when he had put so much time into using the Black family's vast library of knowledge. Sirius would have puppies if he knew what was transpiring.

"I know that you plan to leave Grimmauld Place, Harry," Remus murmured, his amber eyes locking with Harry's as those glassy emeralds shimmered with worry. He held a hand up to stave off the questions that now swam unanswered in the air around them. "I did not come here to stop you, Harry. I am fortunate that I was able to catch you before you left, however. I have something for the three of you."

Naturally, this made no sense to Harry.

Remus was part of the Order and someone he considered a parental figure in his life, just like Sirius. The man couldn't just let him leave the protection of Grimmauld Place to go off on his own during a war.

Remus could sense the boy's distress and quickly began to explain. "Harry." He paused, glancing at the three of them before continuing, "The three of you are adults now, and I believe that whatever you choose to do, those decisions are yours to make, and I can't force you to listen to me, nor can I keep you locked away for the rest of your lives. You didn't expect me to not know what was going on, did you?"

Lupin dug his hand around in his right trouser pocket for a moment then pulled out three gold, round objects, bringing his left hand up to cradle them between his palms. The trio stared at the glinting metal pieces in the man's hands, none having a clue what they might be until it dawned on Ron.

"Whoa! Where'd you get those at?!" The ginger's face lit up with excitement and awe.

The watches were crafted by a skilled craftsmen. Their inner workings were put together carefully by hand. Intricate designs were emblazoned upon the metal to decorate them and complete the time pieces perfectly. They were finished with magic, spells that would make the watches work as intended and any extra spells that Remus specified were added. The watches were difficult to obtain because there were very few capable craftsmen, and the magic put into them was too dangerous for unskilled witches or wizards to cast.

"What are they?" Hermione asked, staring inquisitively at the three pocket watches cradled in Remus' hands.

"Those are Wizard's watches, aren't they?" Ron asked with giddy excitement.

Harry had always relied on the Tempus charm, or his bulky Muggle wrist watch. He did notice that strange looking grandfather clock in the Burrow, but never examined it beyond what he saw at first glance. So he asked, "There's a difference?"

Remus cut in, "Yes there is, Harry. These are special. They don't tell time, they can show where people are, or what condition they are in, depending on what spells are imbued within the time piece. I had planned to give you these as Christmas gifts. It was an idea that Sirius had, but I felt it would benefit you three now."

Harry's eyes lit up with understanding, "They must have cost a fortune to have made."

"It is of no concern, Harry." Remus smiled. "They have your names on them. They will monitor and change depending on if you're in danger, safe, hiding, or injured. They may also act as a Portkey, should you need to find each other. Just concentrate on who you are trying to reach, and clearly say, for example, 'Take me to Harry Potter', and you will be taken to their general location." Harry opened his pocket watch as Remus explained its uses and admired the smiling, animated pictures of themselves on the hands which rested under the word safe.

"The Grandfather clock at the Burrow shows where all of us are. How come these don't?" Ron finally asked as he continued to familiarize himself with his own pocket watch.

"I thought it would be safer this way, should you lose your gifts or get captured. Magic is a very complex thing, Ron. The spells I had put on these watches was quite specific. While everyone may see your status, only you three may use the Portkey magic. Even if you were forced to give information about the spells placed on these objects, only you have the ability to use them."

"This is a wonderful gift, thank you," Hermione spoke quietly, still examining her own pocket watch.

Remus smiled. "Usually these are gifted to young witches or wizards who come of age or to newlywed pureblood couples. It is a very old tradition. Now then, I believe I've kept you far too long. You only have a few minutes before a group of Order members return from a reconnaissance mission." Remus finished then turned to leave the room. He wasn't surprised when he felt fingers wrapping around one of his biceps, and found himself with an armful of Harry.

"Be safe, Harry. Sirius wouldn't know what to do with himself if he lost you," Remus said sadly as he released Harry, leaving the room without another word.

Watching Remus leave was difficult. How could he ever apologize to him or Sirius if he did end up getting killed? He vowed to himself that he wouldn't let that happen, to either him or Hermione.

"Keep her safe, will ya?" Ron nudged Harry's shoulder in a brotherly manner, breaking him away from his thoughts.

"I can take care of myself, thank you," Hermione sniffed haughtily, as if she were offended by the words, but she hugged Ron tightly anyways.

"Time to go."

A shriek of terror pierced through Harry's eardrums, pulling him out of his daze. Hermione was yelling at him to run, pointing at something off in the darkness. It was difficult to see in the dark, and as he strained to see whatever it was she was pointing at, his eyes locked on to a wriggling shadow that was quickly closing in on to their position.

"Harry, we need to move. NOW!" she yelled in a distressed tone, trying to drag him away from whatever it was that slithered towards them. Harry seemed to stand there almost as if his feet had been flash frozen to the ground. It was too late for them to run. He could hear the distinct hissing of the snake language drift fluidly into his ears.

Not one to break a promise, Harry finally sprung into action, pushing Hermione behind him and taking a defensive stance. His wand hand twitched in nervous anticipation.

Severus wasn't sure what he was expecting when he placed his hand on that watch. Arriving in a freezing, snow covered forest during the dead hours of night had not been on his list of possibilities. When he lit his wand with a lumos, he discovered that the snow had a red tint to it, coming to the conclusion that the snow was covered in blood. The few errant spatters at his feet were only minor compared to the bits of flesh and pools of freezing blood that littered a good portion of the section of forest they were in. It was the site of a gruesome battle, and that knowledge did not ease his mind at all.

At his side, Weasely had fallen to his knees, bent over retching at the macabre scene. Severus couldn't belittle the young man. This was not a view for the faint of heart. But he himself had a lifetime's supply of vulgar, disgusting pictures of sights such as this burned into his mind.

"Weasely, get up," Severus said in a controlled, monotone voice. "You need to get up and find Granger. Now." He wouldn't admit that he was trying to spare the boy of any more cruelty.

A long moment later Ron slowly picked himself up, unable to keep from looking at the carnage before them. "Do you think Harry's okay?" He asked, managing to find his voice again.

The weeks without Harry and Hermione had been dull and full of dreadful worrying. When his two best friends left Grimmauld Place that night, it was the first of many restless and often sleepless nights gazing at the face of his own pocket watch. When the morning came, the Order members stationed at Grimmauld Place had discovered that both Harry and Hermione had disappeared without a trace. The safe house became a mad house.

Dumbledore had called an emergency Order meeting, questioning people who had seen them or talked to them before they had disappeared. Ron managed to get away with 'I don't know where they went'. A few people were skeptical and slow to believe him. Remus played dumb very well. Ron noticed his ex-professor remained tight lipped about the fact that he had been one of the last people to see Harry.

Ron tried to keep from constantly checking his watch, not wanting to draw suspicion to himself. There were a couple of days when he noticed that the clock hands had moved under danger, and it made it impossible for him to not look at the watch. He was high strung during those hours until the hands moved back to safe or hiding. Ron swore up and down he felt that someone was staring at him. It only seemed to happen when he became stressed and fidgety.

This particular meeting wasn't any different from previous meetings. This was one of the few meetings where most of the Order members were in attendance. Most of Ron's family was present, Snape, McGonagall, Dumbledore, Mad Eye, Kingsley, Tonks, Remus, Sirius, and many others. They had to use the dining room instead of the kitchen just to fit everybody.

Oh how he hated these meetings.

Dumbledore had good intentions, but Ron knew now why Harry wanted to do what he did. Nothing had been done to try and reach the end of this war.

He sat in between Remus and Bill, the former at his right and the latter at his left, turning the pocket watch gently between his hands while staring at the smooth, dark wood of the table in a bored manner. He looked down every now and then, popping open the watch cover to stare at the hands before closing it once more. He wasn't really paying any attention to the reports being made.

Ron looked down at his watch for the fifteenth time, or was it the sixteenth? He'd lost count.

He felt that irritating, oddly penetrating stare on him again. The awkward feeling compelled him to snap his watch closed again and look up. To his astonishment he found that he was being studied by that git, Snape. His arms were crossed tightly over his chest, stern look picking him apart slowly. It made him feel like a scared first year all over again. There was something unreadable glinting in his eyes. It worried Ron slightly and it creeped him out more than anything. What was Snape staring at him so intently for?

He couldn't bear looking at his ex-professor anymore, and went back to staring down at the table, hoping that Snape would quit staring at him already. He found it difficult to not stand up and scream "What the hell do you want?", but he violently squashed the urge down.

"Any word on Harry?" Albus Dumbledore asked quietly like he did at all the other meetings.

Sirius nodded a no forlornly, unable to look at Dumbledore or speak a word. Sirius looked haggard and exhausted, no doubt from all the dangerous missions he began to take on after Harry disappeared. Remus lifted his right hand to rest on Sirius' arm in quiet reassurance. Ron wished he could tell Sirius that everything would be okay, explain to him that Harry would be back safe and sound eventually. He couldn't no matter how much he wanted to, and the secret he had to carry gnawed relentlessly at his sanity.

For the seventeenth time, maybe it was the eighteenth now, Ron looked down at his watch and popped it open. At first the change didn't register, the clock hands had stayed the same for the past several hours, with both hands resting under the word safe. Ron stared mindlessly at the face of the watch, carefully examining the change of the hands. This had to be his exhausted mind playing tricks on him. The hand that Hermione's face was on looked frightened and sat under the word hiding, while the hand Harry's face was supposed to be on was gone and rested in between the words injured and danger.

It felt like he had swallowed an iceberg, shuddering as it plummeted into the pit of his gut, bringing with it a cold and bitter wind that chilled his very soul.

What could he tell this boy? He couldn't lie to Weasely when he didn't even know what to think himself. "I don't know. I will not tell you again, Mr. Weasely. Go find Ms. Granger and do not return here. Go back to Grimmauld Place when you find her."

Ron wanted to argue with Snape, scream at him that Harry was his friend and that he had to know that he was alive. Whatever it was he had heard in Snape's subdued voice made him obey. "Help him, Please." Were Ron's parting words to which Snape gave a curt nod in response. "Take me to Hermione" was a mere whisper and Ron was gone.

Snape couldn't stop staring at the mangled remains that lay in a nearly frozen pool of dark blood. He crept closer to the hideous sight, minding his steps to avoid the blood stained patches of snow, which was rather difficult, as it was nearly everywhere. Upon closer inspection of the mangled corpse, he found it to be that of a snake.

The size suggested it to be a python, but what reason did a fangless, non-venomous, tropical snake have for being in a place such as this? Severus stepped around to the creature's head and poked at it curiously with the toe of his boot, making sure it was, in fact, dead. Convinced that it wouldn't spring up and attack him, he lowered himself into a squatting position and pried open its mouth revealing long, pointed fangs. Snape quickly recoiled.

This wasn't any ordinary python, it was Nagini. Potter had managed to kill that blasted snake, but what of his injuries?

"Fuck," Ron hissed before abruptly standing up, his chair toppling over backwards in his haste. He hopped over the felled furniture then bolted out of the door. The outburst had everyone staring between the door and at the over turned chair that was left in Ron's place.

Remus had realized what happened, but instead of making another scene he stood up quietly. "I'll go see what's wrong, shall I?" He gave an awkward smile and left the room to follow after Ron.

The dining room remained quiet thereafter, unable to break the strange silence that enveloped the room. Snape took his time putting all the pieces together, time seemingly slowed as each detail began to make sense to him.

Over the weeks he had observed the one-third of the Golden Trio that had had been left behind, watching closely as the young man kept fiddling with that ridiculous pocket watch. Constantly opening it to look at the time, or whatever it was showing. He found the changes in attitude rather peculiar, and the way that bloody werewolf always calmed him, like he knew exactly why Weasely was upset in the first place. Both Lupin and Weasely knew something about the disappearance of both Potter and Granger.

Something had happened.

That was the only explanation for Ronald Weasely's hasty retreat.

Severus' insides twisted painfully as his mind circled that thought. The boy he had sworn to protect was possibly in trouble. Severus didn't speak a word as he stood up from his own chair and walked out of the room, not paying anyone any mind, not even bothering to look Albus' way.

He would maim Lupin and Weasley, then chop them up and use them for poisons if they did not tell him immediately where Potter and Granger had run off to. He didn't risk his life at every turn just so that damned brat could go and get himself killed, and when he managed to get his hands on the boy he'd give him year's worth of detentions. It didn't matter if the boy was no longer his student.

There was too much blood for him not to deduce that Potter had been bitten, and Nagini's venom was rather potent for a magical creature. It would prevent Potter's blood from clotting properly and would lead to a very slow and painful death. Which brought him back to the reason he was standing here in the first place. Snape stepped away from the snake corpse, looking for anything that could lead him to the boy. If Potter wasn't here, then there had to be a blood trail or tracks that led away from this part of the forest. He was running out of time and he cursed himself thoroughly for taking so long to start searching for the brat.

He had to be sure, though.

Every second it took looking for Potter's trail further stressed Severus out. He walked around the area a couple of times. There was a lot of blood and Potter had moved around quite a bit, it seemed. There were footprints everywhere, and smoothed imprints on the snow from where Nagini had slithered about. Severus breathed a sigh of relief when he finally found what he was looking for.

As he followed the mixture of Potter's tracks and drips of blood further into the forest, he took note that the boy seemed to have stumbled a lot trying to get away. From the amount of blood on the ground, he discerned that the boy had been hurt pretty badly. Though Snape would never be caught dead running, he found himself doing just that, running as fast as his own freezing body would allow.

Severus listened as he slowly ascended the stairs, trying to figure out which room they hid themselves in. He could hear the muffled sounds of a worried conversation, Lupin asking questions and Weasely's distressed answers.

"I have to go help him, he's my friend! He could be dying!" Ron yelled. He was apparently going through his belongings, Snape concluded, from the sound of objects hitting the walls and floor.

"You can't go alone, Ron. What if there are Death Eaters? Then you could end up in whatever situation Harry is in," Remus tried to persuade the worried teen.

Severus was quickly losing his patience. He needed to determine the situation and was quite fed up with this silly mystery. He drew his wand then took a firm hold on the doorknob, turning it swiftly to push the door open with a little more force than he would have used otherwise. The occupants of the room were momentarily caught off guard, both staring at Severus with wide eyes.

"Where are they?" The Potions Master growled slowly through his clenched teeth, pointing his wand at the duo.

He cut Remus off as the man tried to feed him some bullshit about how they didn't know what he was talking about. "Do not start with me, Lupin! I know that the two of you know something about the disappearance of Potter and Granger. Do. Not. Test me!" The underlying threat was conveyed loud and clear.

Ron's face was a mixture of fear and contempt, torn between keeping the secret or spilling everything. The decision was made for him when Remus spoke up. "Harry and Hermione left together, looking for their own solution to our problems." Remus paused. "Can you really blame him, Severus?"

It made Severus want to vomit when Lupin tried to argue logic with him. Was the werewolf so daft that he would argue that it was better for the golden boy, the only one capable of killing Voldemort, to be out running around trying to save the world in his own way? Surely he could see the idiocy in that logic. "He's a Gryffindor, of course I can blame him for his ridiculous Gryffindor tendencies!" Severus spat. "Now tell me! Where did they go?"

Remus hesitated for a moment. "We aren't quite sure, Severus. Harry seems to have found himself in a bit of trouble, however."

What were they pussy footing around for then!?

"Then tell me how to reach the whelp and his companion, since you two seem to know so much!" Severus hissed venomously. The sorry excuses for Gryffindors that stood before him looked dumbly at each other, trying to decide what to do. "Any day now would be wonderful. Harry Bloody Potter is as good as dead if you do not speak up!" It almost sounded like he cared for the snot and he seethed in disgust.

"Ron was just about to Portkey to Harry's location," Remus spoke quietly and Ron's face turned red at the implication that he would have to take Snape with him.

Lupin seemed to have sensed the young man's thoughts and he tried to press the importance of taking Severus with him. "We don't have a choice I'm afraid, and Severus is probably the only one that could help in this situation."

Snape's presence always made him feel petulant. "Fine," he sneered and held out his hand that the watch was in so Snape could be Portkeyed along with him.

"Rest assured, Mr. Weasely, I would rather cut my own arm off before I'd ever willingly lay a finger anywhere on your person." Severus glared as he let his hand rest on the pocket watch.

The Potions Master was certain he heard the words 'greasy git' whispered under the red headed idiot's breath just before "Take me to Harry Potter" was spoken.

They were gone in the blink of an eye, leaving Remus to pray to whatever higher being existed that Harry would be okay.

His heart clenched tightly when the trail ended and he spotted Harry Potter propped up against a rather decrepit looking tree. His face was smeared with blood, glasses knocked askew, left pants leg completely soaked with his own blood. He was unconscious, but Severus could tell from the pallid color of the boy's skin and the icy blue of his lips that hypothermia would soon set in. He'd be surprised if the brat managed to avoid frostbite altogether.

Snape quickly closed the rest of the distance between them, bending down on one knee and shaking the boy. "Potter, wake up." He didn't respond.

"Potter, listen to me, you need to wake up! It is imperative that you wake up this instant!" He tried again, shaking the youth with more vigor.

Harry groaned as he tried to move himself. "...'Mione, that you?" His voice sounded exhausted.

"No, you bloody imbecile! What were you thinking, running off like that? You could have been killed!" Severus' anger flooded him, but he tried to fend it off for now. He had to tend to Potter's wounds first.

"Snape?" Harry muttered, unable to keep his droopy eyes open for longer than a second.

Harry couldn't hear much more of whatever it was that Snape was saying. He was so very tired and his body was wracked with unimaginable pain.

He passed out moments later.

"Harry, we need to move! NOW!" Hermione yelled at him.

"It's too late for that! It's Voldemort's snake!" Harry answered. He had to get Hermione away from here. He wouldn't let her get hurt. He promised Ron, and he wouldn't break that promise. His life depended on it.

"Get out of here, Hermione! I'll be right behind you," he lied. Harry knew that this snake was more than just any snake. There was a reason Voldemort kept her as a companion. From all the stories he had heard, this snake was absolutely vicious.

"No, I won't leave you here, Harry!" Her voice was full of panic and her words pleading.

He turned around to face her, grasping at her arms. "Hermione, you need to go! I'll be fine, I promise, just trust me, please," he begged her. Sometimes he hated his Gryffindor bravery. He didn't fancy going up against a magical creature that wouldn't hesitate to kill him.

She was clearly distressed, but he didn't give her any more room for arguments and they were out of time for the both of them to escape. Nagini hissed menacingly and bared her fangs as she curled herself into an attack position, ready to strike at her prey any moment now.

Harry whirled around to face the enormous reptile. "Go now!" He spoke with finality then aimed his wand at his adversary. Hermione couldn't think of anything more to say. Instead she shot Harry another frantic look then Disapparated with a muffled crack.

As he stared straight at Nagini, as she began hissing at him again. The soft words sounded oddly familiar. "Potter, wake up."

"Wake up, you little fool!" Her hissing sounding more like an agitated growl now.

...Snakes can't growl.

"Potter!"

The scenery faded away and Harry's vision became blurry. His body felt like he had been crushed then dropped into a furnace. He grunted when his head was propped up by a supporting hand, and a cool glass vial was pressed against his lips. The bitter taste made him grimace. The pain and feverish feeling that clung to his body began to slowly ebb away.

"Maybe after this ridiculous stunt, Merlin forbid, you actually might gain some common sense." Snape muttered as he checked the brat's wounds. "And when you get better, Potter, I'm going to ring your scrawny little neck and kill you myself."

Harry tried to move around, but Snape stilled him, "Quit squirming around, lest your wounds reopen. I won't bother re-healing them then," he warned in a harsh tone.

Potter had sustained some rather nasty bites. Gauze covered the boy's left shoulder. The bite he had received there was healing slowly, blood oozing out and the fresh wrappings soaked it up like a sponge. The layers of clothing the brat had been wearing on his upper body when he went up against the snake had protected him from a deeper, more lethal bite. The same couldn't be said for Potter's thigh, however.

It took Severus a great deal of time trying to carefully peel the blood soaked jeans from Potter's body without causing any more damage. Initially, when he inspected the wound with the jeans on, it hadn't looked too bad, but after removing them he thought only about how lucky the boy would be if retained the ability to use the leg at all after it healed. The fangs had penetrated deep; even if the leg healed, Potter would still feel this injury for the rest of his life. His greatest worry was the venom. The bites alone were not life-threatening, as no arteries were nicked. It was the venom that made the situation dire. The threat the venom posed was easily overcome as he had spent a great deal of time crafting and testing an antidote that would null the effects of the toxin. Another of his own safety precautions.

Harry tried to sit up again still lost in his haze. "What did I just say?" Severus growled and gently held him down, his hand splayed upon the boy's chest. He eyed the strange dark green crystal that hung around Potter's neck. It slid off to the side and onto the bed when he pressed Harry back down again. Briefly the thought of yanking it off crossed his mind; he should have when he had first stripped the boy of his clothes to tend to the wounds underneath. Severus ignored the thought as Potter attempted to speak.

Harry's voice was raspy and hoarse. He couldn't muster anymore strength to try to lift his upper body off the mattress again. "Hermione..."

"No, you stupid child. Go back to sleep, and for once in your pathetic little life do as you're told!"

Severus huffed irritably when Harry managed to rebelliously murmur 'git' under his breath as he fell into a potion induced sleep.

"Kill. Must kill you!"

The hisses were much louder, the once fluid sound now grated harshly against his ears. There was no doubt in his mind that Voldemort's pet was sent to kill him, and his deepest suspicions were realized. The ruin that Hermione and himself had visited had, in fact, been a trap. There was no other way to explain how quickly the Death Eaters swarmed the place. There had also been plenty of carelessness when they escaped, but how could they have been found so quickly, and when they had moved so deep into the wilds...?

Nagini had grown impatient with just eying her prey, and her master had promised her a wonderful meal. Harry was freezing, his movements had grown sluggish, and the snake could sense this. She could taste the fear and desperation with a flick of her tongue, hissing to continue taunting and threatening him. "Yes, run. I'll kill you!"

There was no point in trying to reason with the thing. If he ran, she would find and kill him, if the cold weather didn't kill him first. If he tried to fight, how long could he keep her at bay before his body reached its limit, when he was almost there already? His jaw tightened painfully just as Nagini bared her fangs and launched her coiled body at him like a spring.

"Die!"

Harry barely had time to dive out of the way, then scrambled to stand on his weakened legs and staggered about with grace only a drunkard knew. The snake appeared to have immunity to the cold and wetness of the snow, giving her the advantage and making her more lethal. His hope of defeating her began to slip through his fingers, but the Gryffindor inside of him wanted to continue to fight on. Harry flicked his wand then gasped out every spell he could think of. Nagini easily out maneuvered the sloppy spell work. The hissing sounded amused and almost replicated laughing, in a sense. She was enjoying this little game with him.

Nagini, finding an opening in his casting, lunged at him again, catching Harry off-guard. Her mouth opened wide, sinking her fangs through the obscene amount of clothing he had been wearing, then into the tender flesh of his left shoulder. The sharp points of her fangs hadn't penetrated very far, but the damage had been done and her venom entered his bloodstream. Harry screamed as the pain shot through him, whimpering when Nagini released him.

"Potter!" Severus jabbed the boy again in his ribcage with his right index finger. "Knock it off, you little cretin!" he hissed again.

It was a couple hours before the painkiller he had given Potter finally cleared his system.

The boy had scared the hell out of him when he launched up off the mattress into a sitting position, yelling and flailing about like he was being attacked by something. His words were unintelligible and the sentences made no sense at all. The movement ripped open his shoulder wound and blood began leaking into the bandage.

When Harry had fallen asleep the first time, after ingesting a painkiller with a mild sedative, Severus made sure the wards he had put up around the shabby magical tent were still holding. They were both stuck out in the snowy wilderness he did not know until the brat's condition stabilized. While he was no medi-wizard, Severus was confident that he dealt with Potter's injuries well enough that the boy would survive until he was sure that the threat level was tolerable. Snape couldn't take the risk trying to get back to an Order post or Headquarters and leading the Dark Lord's forces there.

It took a while to calm the boy down and rewrap the injury. To his disdain, Potter started shivering like a leaf, his body was freezing still and the warming charms had no effect with raising his body's core temperature. Severus hadn't enjoyed shedding his clothing and slipping into the rickety bed behind the boy in an attempt to help raise his body temperature. Surprisingly, he found himself tired after carrying Potter deeper into the forest, setting up the ridiculous tent, expending a great deal of magic to prevent them from being found, and taking care of the bloody moron that got himself attacked by a dangerous magical snake in the first place.

The things he did for that ungrateful snot!

Severus fell asleep within minutes and stayed like that for a couple of hours.

The pain triggered Harry's survival instincts and adrenalin was pumped through him, steadying his body, and the endorphins increasing his pain threshold. He gripped his wand tightly and yelled "Depulso!" when the snake let go of him. The window of opportunity sent the snake flying backwards, but it did not deter her from her dinner.

He had pissed off the snake, it seemed, and she wasted no time in making her way back to him for another attack.

The spells he had always relied on bounced off of Nagini harmlessly, her movements faster and more threatening and he had to resort to running and dodging. He was losing his remaining strength to the freezing temperature, the fresh wound, and his exhaustion. As he tossed his spells and escaped the angry beast, his blood was smeared wherever he landed.

He couldn't keep this up. "Confringo!" Harry shouted desperately, not at all expecting that spell to blast away the snake and a large chunk of snowy earth.

"Bloody fucking— you just won't die, will you?!" Harry yelled hysterically. Nagini had only suffered minor wounds and still slithered towards him.

He stumbled to the ground, his legs giving out trying to run again. He couldn't continue on; he was going to die alone in this godforsaken forest. His body had failed him, but he'd use the last bit of magic he still had to fight to the very end. He very much hated to cry, but the salty tears slipped down his cheeks shamelessly, the warmth burning his face before the tears cooled off.

"Die!" Nagini hissed as she sprung at him. Harry's Muggle jeans did nothing to protect him from her attack. Her fangs sank deeply into his leg and she curled around, putting more force into her grip around his upper left thigh, injecting a large dose of venom into his bloodstream. Adding to what she had left there earlier.

The pain was nothing he had felt before. He wailed in agony as pain crashed through him. Harry slashed his wand in random erratic patterns, taking a final stand in hopes of killing that damned snake. His panicked, pain induced hysteria allowing him use of wordless spell casts. Each movement of his wand left a deep gash on the snake's spell-impervious body. She recoiled in surprise; her flesh was flayed off her body in varying chunks and was cut open effortlessly. Harry kept slashing his wand at Nagini until no more hissing could be heard. The spell he used in his distress had been powerful enough to overcome her invulnerability, when his other spells could not. The body of Nagini lay motionless on the ground in a growing pool of dark blood.

Harry let his arms collapse underneath him, and he sobbed in despair. The odds were stacked against him, and he had somehow managed to win, but at what cost? Harry's blood seeped freely from his wounds; the venom would probably finish him off before all his blood spilled out onto the snow. The pain that wracked his body now made him dizzy and lightheaded and standing up became difficult.

He had to get away from here. If Nagini had been sent to kill him then there might be others looking for him, too.

When he could go no further, he sank to his knees and crawled to the nearest tree. He could barely keep his eyes open as the minutes passed. The pain, exhaustion, and venom must have caused him to hallucinate. He saw a dark blob and a dim light in the distance making its way towards him.

His vision swam and he let his heavy eyelids shut, barely registering the stern voice calling his name. "Potter, wake up."

When Severus had woken up the first time, it was because Potter moved around restlessly in his sleep. Severus had always been a light sleeper; it was in the job description, no telling when a fellow Death Eater decided they wanted to kill you because you had pissed them off in some way or another. Potter had warmed up considerably, but still felt chilled. Somehow he had managed to arrange their bodies so he was lying on his back with the left side of Potter's body pillowed on his right side. Harry's left shoulder and thigh had been injured. It was an awkward feeling, but he didn't contemplate it for long before he had fallen asleep again.

The second time he had woken up, he felt a heaviness that blanketed his body. He could feel a warm breath at his neck; it gently moved the errant locks of hair on the other side of his head. A hand lay unmoving upon his chest, a leg hooked over his own left leg, and there was a firmness pressed into the thigh of that same leg. Severus was groggy and half asleep, not completely aware that it was Potter who was laying on him.

Severus remembered that he arranged himself and Potter this way to warm the boy up, but only to avoid jostling injuries. Whatever it was pressed into the side of his thigh was beginning to irritate him. He hadn't the foggiest idea of what it could be.

Experimentally, Severus shifted his left leg just a bit. It was an awkward movement which had an equally awkward feeling to it as his leg rubbed up against the offending object. Interestingly enough, the movement made Potter moan. The sound wasn't of the pain variety, no. It sounded like it was...More of a pleasurable sound. Severus came very close to smacking his forehead in the face palm fashion.

Harry Potter had a stiffie and it was pressed, unknowingly by him, into his ex-professor's thigh. Severus became positively mortified by that thought. He tried to keep it logical. It was only a natural reaction to sleeping with another warm body. It could happen to any healthy man. That's what he thought until Potter began rubbing himself into his bedmate's leg.

Severus closed his eyes tightly, attempting to calm himself as Harry continued his frottage. The sensation was strange, but not completely horrible. He had plenty of experience with both female and male lovers, but the fact that this was Harry Potter, bane of his existence, rutting against him made this far stranger. When his own body had taken interest in the sexual excitement, he unsuccessfully threatened himself with potion induced celibacy for the next eternity if his libido didn't knock it off this instant. Then his brain started in...

Potter had filled out quite nicely for his age. He was still a little on the short side, and he had become a little thin since he left Grimmauld Place. There was no denying that the boy's arse fit perfectly in his Muggle jeans. Severus let his hands wander lightly over the warm and surprisingly soft skin where the bandages did not cover. Harry wasn't a chiseled Greek statue, but there was a perfect balance of toned muscle and body fat.

Severus swallowed thickly trying to will away his half hardened, but very interested, erection.

Harry continued to rub himself up against Snape, whimpering and moaning in response to the sweet friction. The hand that had been resting on Severus's chest trailed downward, wrapping itself around the man's waist tightly. Severus was trapped for now, suffering the erotic torture given to him by a very attractive young man. His cock stood at full attention now, shamelessly straining against the stretchy material of his boxer briefs.

If Severus thought things were strange the way they were now, he was completely blown away by the oddity when Potter did something he wasn't prepared for. He couldn't tell what the boy was dreaming about, but had to be something of wet dream quality. Potter squirmed in Severus arms, inching upwards, still rubbing himself against the man, and craning his neck some. Harry had managed to lean over just enough to press their lips lightly together. Not much shocked Severus, but he was at a loss.

Something that felt restrained inside of him snapped. Perhaps it was his sanity. He let himself kiss Potter back, meeting the shy touch of lips with his own need. The part of his conscience that told him this was a very bad idea was telling him now that Potter was still in a haze, or still sleeping and acting on his dreams in the physical world. He didn't care.

Severus managed to turn Potter over onto his back without irritating the boy's injuries, then pinned him to the sheets, resting on his forearms on either side of Harry's head, hovering over the body below him. His arousal was in control now. He aligned their hips together, then ground down into the boy's awaiting hardness. Harry's tired form caught on quickly and tried to meet Severus's downward thrusts. It would be awkward for them in the morning, but Snape was on cloud nine, which was probably why he didn't mind much when he lent his head forward to kiss Harry as they moved together. He ate up every noise that the boy made.

Harry uttered a strange gurgling sound as he came in his undergarments, continuing to moan due to the sensitivity of post-orgasm. Severus came in his own underwear moments later. He shuddered, their ragged panting filling the silence.

Severus let himself stare at the boy's face, taking notice that Harry's eyes were cracked open. They stared at him with a disoriented, yet satiated look. What he had done with a half awake Potter sunk in. He immediately sat himself up, kneeling over Harry's hips. He felt disgusted with himself. He practically took advantage of the brat! He was more than disgusted, he was ashamed. He just stared down at Harry for a few fleeting moments more, and when he grew tired of his self-loathing he groped for the wand under his pillow and murmured a cleaning charm.

He'd deny that this ever happened, and he'd Obliviate Potter, if he had to.

For now he laid back down on his side this time, facing Potter, and made sure that the bedding covered the both of them adequately. Severus fell asleep quickly and thought only of the morning to come, and of Potter, but begrudgingly so.


Ron had succeeded in locating Hermione, and they both made it safely back to Grimmauld Place. Information was forced out of them by an enraged Mrs. Weasely, who put the anger of the most fearsome Hungarian Horntail to shame. When Severus finally returned to the Order Headquarters a day later with Harry Potter in tow, the tension had dissipated and everyone swarmed around Harry. It was a disgustingly happy sight, and Severus found some sick sense of glee when Black fell to his knees and started to bawl like a child. He was never one for silly sentimentality, but he welcomed the chance to relax. He'd personally kill the brat later out of revenge for his little adventure.

Since their arrival back to base, just after breakfast, Severus kept mostly to the basement, brewing to keep himself occupied, and to avoid the constant questioning that Potter had to endure. Severus had really just been hiding himself away, avoiding what had happened in the tent, avoiding Harry Potter. He was not a nice man, and he didn't have time to babysit insane teenagers or keep one insane teenager out of constant danger. What had happened in the tent was nothing more than a fallacy, anyway. It was a mistake engaging in such frivolous acts of sexual desire. What Potter and he had shared was caused by the secret in his DNA, one that he kept closely guarded since he was old enough to know.

There was nothing between them. The little spark of hope, deep down in the furthest recesses of his cold heart, told him otherwise.

Severus had become so engrossed in his brewing that he hadn't bothered going up to the kitchen for lunch or supper, instead taking his meals in the basement as he continued filling potions requests for Poppy and the Order. When the last of the potions had cooled and were decanted Severus retired for the evening. His exhaustion snuck up on him, and he only wished to strip down and fall asleep for the next twelve hours, preferably undisturbed. Severus still had every intention of avoiding other people and was grateful that the house allowed Apparation by its inhabitants.

With his nightly routine completed, Severus went about turning down his bed and undoing the ridiculous amount of buttons on his clothing. He had just kicked off his boots and removed his socks when a soft knocking brought him out of his tired daze. "Oh for the love of Merlin," he mumbled irritably as he slipped his waistcoat off his shoulders. He had gone nearly the whole day without being bothered, it figured that someone would come and bug him while he was preparing for bed. Severus let his unexpected visitor stand at the door for a few more moments while he slowly unbuttoned the cuffs of his white button down, going over the spells he knew as he debated whether or not to hex them.

Severus sighed in resignation, the insistent knocking on the door threatened to give him a headache. Perhaps instead of hexing on sight, he'd wait until the annoying pest left his room before sending them a rather nasty stinging hex. "Enter."

To his surprise it wasn't Lupin, Black, or Albus at his door.

When the doorknob was turned and the door tentatively swung open, Severus' irritation came to life. Harry Potter had always had that effect on him ever since the brat had begun his schooling. The shy smile that the boy wore made his stomach squirm in the most awkward way, and it was most unsettling.

"Leave, Potter," Severus glared. Maybe if he glared a bit harder, Potter would disappear. To his disgust, the brat's smile widened just a bit more.

Potter carefully inspected the room without really craning his neck around, and when he was finished he stared Severus with unreadable eyes. It made Severus want to fidget, as he was not so used to being stared at while in such an extreme state of undress. Given that he had shared a bed with Potter, in an emergency, he urgently reminded himself, while the only thing that shielded them from each other had been two pairs of thin undergarments; it was still very awkward for him.

Potter still had yet to say anything, and it annoyed Severus further. "Say what you need and leave. I'd like to get some sleep sometime tonight, Potter," he snapped in his usual annoyed fashion.

That stupid smile of Potters had grown into a confident grin, setting off warning sounds in Severus's head. A quiet Potter is a dangerous Potter, but a confident Potter meant something else entirely. A something else that Severus did not want to become familiar with. Ever. He found himself trying to decipher the meaning and was caught off guard when the idiot strode up to him, hooked a hand around the back of his neck, then brought their mouths together in a lip crushing kiss. It wasn't like the slow and shy kiss they shared back in the tent, but it was enough for Severus to lose himself.

When his hands began roaming over Harry, who had pressed himself into Snape, he stopped himself, breaking the kiss and pushing Harry away from him. Severus had come to terms with the incident in the forest, but then the moron had to come into his room and obliterate his resolve.

"Leave, Potter," Severus said softly as he moved to sit at the foot of his bed. They couldn't do this, not when it was one sided. Severus refused to look at Harry, instead finding something interesting to stare at on the floor.

"I won't." Though Severus was not looking, Harry's eyes had a determined hardness to them. It was that determination which urged him towards Severus, and onto the man's lap. Potter had become very good at keeping the him off balance.

"Potter, we can't—" Severus tried to argue. The lips attacked him, again, when he opened his mouth, intercepting his words. Severus thought those lips were heavenly as he let himself become immersed in the feeling of Potter kissing him. He had found himself staring at Potter more and more over the past months. He had become quite handsome indeed.

No. He couldn't do this; he wouldn't hurt Potter this way. Severus gripped Harry's shoulders gently with his hands and detached their lips, holding the boy away.

"You don't even know, do you?" Severus asked. "Of course you don't. No one knows." He corrected himself bitterly. He hadn't told anyone his secret, but he had a feeling Albus knew. The old wizard was absolutely nosy. Now here he was, ready to spill that same secret to the boy-who-got-under-his-skin.

Harry's curious stare studied his ex-professor, and asked, "What are you talking about Snape?" His memory of the night spent in the same bed as Snape was vague. He remembered that whatever it was made him feel good, and he wanted to feel that way again.

"Potter." Severus hesitated to speak. He wasn't giving this secret away lightly. It could very well lead to the destruction of his reputation in more ways than one. "My family is very old." Merlin, he didn't understand why he was doing this. "While the years may have diluted my family's secret, its effects still remain rather potent..."

There was one thing that Harry hated most about Snape, and that was his ability to drag out explanations in lectures. "I get it, your family is old, but what does that have to do with anything?" Harry asked impatiently.

Severus leveled a glare at the impertinent brat and continued as if he were uninterrupted. "I am a quarter Veela, from both my parents. I'm sure you've read about the Veela, Mister Potter."

The cat was finally out of the bag, he waited for Potter to absorb that information. He was rather uncomfortable with the silence that had fallen in the room.

Harry saw Snape as a lot of things, but he never expected Veela to be one of those. Ron would just love to hear this juicy bit of information! It was so ironic, though, that a man like Snape was a creature that attracted people to him. Harry couldn't keep himself from laughing at the irony. Harry's laughter filled the room, and Snape took offense.

"Hahaha! I...am," Snape's eye twitched with irritation, "...So...Hahahaha— sorry!" Harry gasped as he tried to talk in between fits of laughter. He couldn't help it, but the sneer that was on Snape's face sobered him enough to quell his laughter.

"I'm sorry, but you have to admit that it's pretty ironic with you being who you are." Harry explained, and Severus couldn't contest that statement as much as he wanted to. "You think I'm being led on by your Veela power, don't you?" Harry asked bluntly, wiping away tears of laughter from his face.

Potter knew then, what the Veela were capable of. Severus let his face fall into indifference and nodded an affirmative. The 'I-know-something-you-don't' smirk found its way onto Potter's face as the boy dug around in his shirt, taking out the green crystal Snape had come across when taking care of the youth. The candle light made the trinket twinkle.

"Do you know what this is? Or what it does?" Harry asked as he let the crystal dangle in front of Severus's face.

Severus had never really thought it did anything, and it wasn't something he recognized, Dark or otherwise. It was obviously a magical item, most likely for defensive uses or a power focus similar to a wand. "I've no idea Potter," he admitted.

The smirk Harry wore grew. "Sirius gave it to me for my fifteenth birthday. It's a rare green quartz. It protects me against love charms, detects love potions, and prevents Veela from affecting me."

It took a moment for the information to process in Severus's head. The boy's godfather had the foresight to gift Potter with a magical artifact that would save him from manipulations of the heart. Then what was Potter doing, kissing him, or the look of interest that he observed when the boy stared at him, and what happened in the...Oh. Potter couldn't possibly think of him like that willingly. Could he? He could, apparently.

Harry leaned in, but stopped just short of kissing Severus. "Are you a top or a bottom, Snape?" The brat's voice was husky, yet playful. His eyes shined with amusement.

"I do not bottom, Mister Potter," Severus replied in a low, silky purr. Before Potter could utter more insolent nonsense, he devoured Harry's mouth with his own in a hungry kiss.

Several very strong wards and one powerful silencing charm later, Severus explained to Harry, with a detailed, hands-on lesson, why he always topped.


A/N:

Special thanks for Danniperson for beta'ing this one shot. I can't imagine how much she wanted to strangle me at the end of proofing this story. I owe you something but I don't know what that something is yet.

The song that inspired me to keep writing was 'Save Me Once Again' by The Rasmus (Dead Letters Album). I've named the story after it.