(A/N: Sorry it's so late, hun! And really just unromantic fluff but this was something I thought you might enjoy. 3 Happy Birthday!)
He never really understood why, after that day, Snape had so much trouble looking him in the face. After the day where they had thought him to be dead, the day that Snape had laid bleeding and poisoned only to be dragged back to the infirmary later that night by the Boy Who Killed Voldemort. Harry had gone back to retrieve the body to lay it with the rest of the heroes who had fallen that day, only to find Snape's breath rising in shallow gasps, hanging to dear life as if at any moment it would be extinguished.
Snape had lived, and Harry had gone on to (unfortunately a bit late) attend his Seventh year of Hogwarts so that he might actually be able to graduate and get a decent position as an Auror (but who would really deny Harry that particular job in the first place?). Even still though, it was his dream job, but he had been offered (somewhat secretly) the job of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts by McGonagall... and as the year had gone on further, he'd found himself more and more frustrated with Snape outright avoiding him. Sure, it must have been awkward for Harry to suddenly know all of his secrets, especially particularly involving his mother, but...
That wasn't any reason to avoid him, was it? Seriously, if anything, it meant that Snape was...well, one of the few powerful wizards left in Harry's life that he could trust and look up to and maybe even /talk/ to. There were only so many things he could ask Molly Weasley before she would get tired of the constant questions (still grieving for the loss of Fred, of course). McGonagall was busy actually running Hogwarts now. Remus, Tonks...Sirius, all gone. Heck, he was having a hard enough time knowing he was going to be raising Teddy once he was graduated, and...well, McGonagall had told Harry he could stay in Hogsmeade and still teach. It was something he was looking forward to. Even if he would possibly take a break to work as an Auror later...well, hadn't he been happy even if nervous when he was teaching Dumbledore's Army?
And now, with graduation a few weeks away, his O. coming back with scores that would never had been quite as high without Hermione's help, he was left with a bit of unease in his heart. The unease had led to restlessness, and restlessness had had him moving down from the Great Hall to the dungeons, and to Snape's office. After a firm knock on the door, and a drawled, somewhat annoyed sounding 'Enter' was heard, Harry moved to step into the room.
Harry practically felt the calm mood of the room freeze over, and Snape's eyes fell from his face back to the parchment he'd been writing on. "Pray tell, Potter. I had finally escaped having you in my class this year, now what drivel do you bring me when I was about to be free from you once and for all?"
Ouch. Same old Snape, that was for sure, albeit with a slightly higher collar that hid the scars Harry knew were there. Harry had been the one to hold those wounds tight to try and stop the bleeding without cutting off the other's air flow. Instead of indignance, Harry merely took a slightly deeper breath, and moved to cross his arms lightly over his chest. At least Snape tended not to deduct /too/ many points this close to the end of the year. It was generally frowned upon in the last couple of weeks to give or take too many, considering it looked like you were favoring houses.
But when had house favoring ever had an effect on Severus Snape?
"Not quite." He admitted instead, forcing a bit of a laugh as he crossed his arms. "I came for...a bit of advice." He finally admited, brows furrowing for a moment as he took a deep breath. Great, this wasn't going at all how he planned, really. It wasn't what he'd had in mind. This was seriously starting to look like a bad idea rather than attempt at a peace offering.
"And what on earth could you possibly have to take up my precious time with?" Snape questioned, sounding shorter by the moment. His temper obviously hadn't improved with his wound.
"Well." Okay, he had to get this out before the obviously agitated teacher drove him out of the room. "I've decided to accept the position as teacher of Defense of the Dark Arts for next year. I've been offered it and my O. returned with more than acceptable scores for a teacher position." He blurted, not sure whether or not Snape would be angry, surprised, or...well, considering it was Snape, utterly indifferent. He had consigned himself to the Potions Master position this year, with no further apparent interest in the 'coveted' spot, but Harry was met with an unreadable expression once the initial small bit of surprise had worn off.
"Well, Potter? Do you want me to dance a jig to congratulate you?"
Oh. He hadn't clarified. "...I...was somewhat hoping you'd be able to give me some advice on how I could...you know, manage students...and...lesson plans and stuff."
A slow, long quirk of a thin brow. A look of disbelief. "Potter, if this is some pity ploy to talk about-"
"That's not what I'm here for, sir. I'm here to learn. Only this time without my homework inked red as a bucket of cherries, please." He added as an afterthought with a nervous laugh. Even though he would...have actually liked to talk to Snape about his mother, it was something that he knew was a touchy subject and wasn't likely to rise anytime soon.
A clear look of suspicion slipped across Snape's face for the moment, and there was an inner war to keep up the mask of hatred that had been so easy to maintain to protect himself and the boy for so long. There was also the side that fought, with quiet valor, the continue helping Harry, even though this time it wouldn't be from the shadows any longer. And if now he was going to have to put up with the Potter on a regular basis as coworkers…well, it was time that they learned to tolerate each other better very soon.
A flick of the wand on the desk in thin fingers, and the chair in front of said desk pulled out for the raven haired young man. "Well, Potter, what are you waiting for? I have papers to finish grading. I do hope you brought parchment, but you've never been all that prepared before, so I shouldn't be surprised if you aren't now."
There was a silent sigh of relief that Harry didn't know he'd been holding in, and he shifted the bag that stayed on his shoulder nowadays. A small nod. "Of course, professor." He answered with a faint grin, which he tried to keep from being too contented or Snape would probably call it a look of cockiness. But he had a feeling that even if the other called him out on it, it wouldn't probably change the agreement the other had just (albeit silently) given him.
Three weeks later as Harry received his certifications as a graduate, Snape had summoned him to one of the various chambers of the school, a long hallway that overlooked most of the Hogwarts grounds. Considering the last several weeks of school were somewhat uneventful for the trio, what with them having taken the exams early as to not be mixed in with the classes of younger students, Harry had been in the older male's office almost every day under lessons that were no less harsh than Snape's normal Potions lessons. But Harry had learned quite a bit under the guidance of a man whom no longer felt forced to pretend to hate him.
It was with the both of then leaning against the balcony in silence that Snape spoke first. "You're as stubborn as your father when you set your mind to something…but I think you got more of that from Lily than anything else."
Harry froze for the moment, green eyes widening as he glanced over to the man, who had spoken words about a woman who Harry had thought he'd never mention again. "Professor...I…"
Snape shook his head then, seeming more tired than Harry had seen him at any point before. Then again, he'd spent most of the year stubbornly teaching classes even while recovering from a rather vicious wound. "No. As of today, you're to refer to me as Severus. We're no longer Professor and student, and it's …" A pause of distaste. "Unseemly to continue that relationship. However, you're still not ready to assume the position of a Professor quite yet." Hesitation, as if Snape was mulling something over in his head. "If you would rather further your study, I …would be willing to…tutor you at my home, over the summer."
Harry could barely hold in the laugh that threatened to spill over at the entirely awkward conversation that Snape seemed to be trotting over as carefully as a centaur at a dinner party. Of course the man would want to make it seem professional, but….Harry had the sneaking suspicion that maybe Snape was actually starting to develop a soft spot for him that wasn't a direct result of who his mother was. And the thought of a long, lonely summer without anyone at Sirius's old home, when he couldn't even get guardianship of Teddy until he'd been working for a year…
"That'd be great." He agreed without much further thought, offering Snape an almost warm grin. "But I'm definitely going to be decorating the guest room in temporary Gryffindor colors."
"Over my dead-again body, Mister Potter."