Title: When Harry Left Severus
by: Raven Dancer

rating: R for adult themes including male/male relationships.

Chapter 1 - Severing Ties


disclaimer: All characters belong to J.K. Rowling except for the Drs. Barnes, Daniel Murphy and Beryl. I receive no monetary compensation for these works.

a/n Having read a plethora of fanfiction that couples students with teachers, especially Harry Potter and Severus Snape in happily ever after' scenarios I decided to write my own version.

Thank you, HLB, for your ideas, your editing, and especially your friendship.

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The first five days the owls bore messages of loneliness and need: wanting to come home, knowing he could not.

Each message was read, a response was written and passed on to Remus Lupin to be reviewed before sending. Sirius Black had been very leery at first; wondering if Snape had been right: that all Harry needed was a few weeks away to be broken of his fascination with the Potions Master.

They had destroyed Voldemort together. Harry had been fine afterward, requiring little medical attention. But Snape... Snape had been drained of his strength and his powers diminished. By all reckoning he would regain them over time and had, after six months, improved enough to be sent home from hospital to his rambling manor deep in the countryside.

Much to Black's dismay Harry had stayed by the bastard's side all six months at St. Mungo's then came to live with him at the manor home. Lupin tried to mediate between Severus and Black, pointing to the change in the Potions Master's bearing: he simply was no longer the hateful, angry wizard Black had once known.

Which led to another contentious point: Lupin had been Snape's lover for over 12 years during the time Black was in Azkaban for murder. Snape had let his lover go when Black escaped and exposed Peter Pettigrew as the true culprit. Black, after all, had been Lupin's mate before the events which sent him to prison.

It appeared to Harry, and all those at Hogwarts at the time, that Snape had exposed Lupin as a werewolf thus destroying his ability to teach. Lupin was dismissed from Hogwarts. It was assumed the Potions Master had ruined Lupin in a fit of anger when he lost the chance to get the Order of Merlin first class.

It appeared this way to everyone except Lupin, Black and Dumbledore. Black was sick, needing much attention after his 12 year ordeal.

And so Snape had forsaken his own heart, given up the one warm spot in his life and released Lupin to return to his mate. The werewolf loved the animagus and Snape would never stand in the way.

As planned, public humiliation gave Lupin the ability to leave freely and nurture Black back to health in secret. It also caused Snape to be more reviled by staff and students alike.

These events left Snape to become more reclusive in the bowels of the school. The struggle against the Dark Lord continued on for six long years. It ended in his death and destruction at the hands of both The Boy Who Lived and the Potions Master.

The long fight had brought both an alliance and an understanding between the Potions Master and student. One that culminated shortly before the final battle in declarations of love and need. Their combined strengths drew them closer still. The affair that followed was tumultuous and definitely not hidden from anyone.

Black railed against the match, constantly trying to drag his wayward godson away from the evil clutches of the older man. Then Voldemort died. To Black's mind it had bad enough in hospital, with Harry refusing to leave. When plans were made for Snape's release the animagus became angrier still. He didn't care if Snape were the true savior of the Wizarding world. As far as he was concerned Snape was a slimy git and no good for Harry.

Despite Black's ill-will it was Snape himself who invited Lupin and Black to live with Harry and him. They were given full access to all of the manor. They were able to delve into all the darkness Snape was reputed to hold while Harry played the dutiful lover, caring for his chosen.

Dumbledore was a regular guest at Snape's home, spending weekends tending to his best friend. Dr. James Barnes, the Healer from Hogsmeade, also came weekly to continue looking after the weakened wizard's health.

Despite the opinions of Dumbledore, Harry himself and his mate Lupin, Black kept trying to pull Harry away, to break the bonds that had grown between him and the Potions Master. After four months, in the first winter after Voldemort's fall, Snape himself began talking to Harry about his younger life and of his love of travel and exploration; something he sorely missed during the long struggle against the dark forces.

Lupin watched as Snape sat in the morning room, waxing eloquently of the nightlife in London and Paris, planting the seeds of curiosity and wanderlust in his young lover. He even encouraged both Black and Lupin to recount their own adventures and love of travel.

Once planted, the seeds were nurtured. Gentle suggestions were made to visit other cities; meet up with old friends from school. Even Black was astounded as he watched the Potions Master pushing Harry away. Harry was finally unable to deny the need to go and see the world and be with his age mates. He made plans to meet Ron in France and travel several weeks through that country then down to the tip of Italy. Hermione even requested a two weeks leave of absence from teaching to join her friends.

There was initial dismay from his lover when Snape gracefully declined to join him; claiming he was well enough to be left alone but not well enough for the rigors of travel. After all his carefully laid plans, Harry relented with the proviso Lupin, at the least, would stay with Snape. Black reluctantly agreed to remain at his lover's insistence and let Harry explore the world with his friends.

So, on a fine spring day in early April, Harry left. The owls had been frequent at first and Snape read each carefully before responding. He always expressed great pleasure that Harry was having a grand time traveling; always encouraged him to continue, noting that he, Snape, was fine under his companions' watchful eyes.

Each owl and its response went to Lupin to share with Black before the reply was sent off.

When the owl came describing a new friend Harry had met in Paris, Snape was more encouraging, more than willing for his young lover to explore. Even Black could read between his godson's lines: there was an attraction and Snape gave permission in his between-lines to pursue it.

I never intended for Harry to ruin his life staying with me, Snape said simply, sweeping out of the kitchen when both Lupin and Black stared at him.

Finally Black understood: it was not that Snape was a cold hateful man who wanted to torment Harry and keep the young man bound to him forever. He had only given Harry time and space to avoid the entire wizarding world before returning to the public eye. He was still a celebrity, The then Who Lived. But over time the initial glory and frenzy of public interest had dimmed and the world at large was willing to let Harry go out without the harassment that would have crushed him earlier.

The owls slowed over the two weeks after Harry met his new . Then finally there was an owl bringing some regret, some bittersweet news that Harry was going to spend more time in the French countryside with a young wizard named Vachel. Dobby had gone to his precious Harry Potter, wanting nothing more than to work for him.

Snape's response was dignified and positive, full of the love and encouragement that marked him for who he truly was, a man who loved Harry more than even Black could imagine.

After this exchange of owls, Snape rambled through his manor, finding stray pools of sunlight to nap in as he still struggled to regain the strength lost defeating Voldemort. He packed up all Harry's belongings for him when he was ready to collect them and spent meals cordially... but ate less and less.

It was Lupin who first suspected there was something more was happening between Harry and Snape. An owl had come and was not shared... put away somewhere in the depths of Snape's private room. A second was similarly treated. Then an owl came for Black.

It was full of excitement. Harry shared his new life, his new love, and an invitation to join him in his new home. Black read with growing happiness until the last few lines:

Think of it, Sirius! Free at last from that snarky old git
who's made our life a misery
, Harry had written. A misery? Not at all. In fact, the last six months had been wonderful for Black. He had his privacy, his mate, and a wonderful manor in which to wander about and in which there was plenty to do. Several fireplaces were on the floo network, so traveling to places such as The Leaky Cauldron and Hogsmeade, was simple. And Black had to admit Snape simply wasn't the snarky old git' he used to be.

Lupin was happy, too. The gardens kept him busy and there was enough forest beyond for him to run in on nights of the full moon. Having a Potions Master was also a great boon, saving him the worry about meeting his monthly potions needs. And he still loved Severus, his dear friend over the years.

So Black had tactfully declined Harry's invitation saying he wished to remain in Scotland... saying Lupin needed the freedom of the manor. Owls continued to come several times a month full of spirit and always with an encouragement to join Harry in France. They all included a few sentences about the Potions Master that weren't kind.

It was the return of Dobby that alarmed both Lupin and Black. He simply appeared in the kitchen after a month, preparing a tea tray for Snape. The house elf wouldn't say much, only that he wanted to be with Professor Snape.

Finally, Lupin went to speak to the Potions Master, venturing into his bedroom. He watched as a parchment was shoved into a pocket.

Severus, why has Dobby come back? Lupin asked quietly, sitting on the sofa across from his friend.

I don't know, Snape lied. He merely asked if I would take
him on as my servant. He was very adamant. The werewolf could smell the lie, his eyes traveled over his old lover reading the exhaustion and misery. He longed to comfort the wizard but restrained himself.

I am going to rest in the morning room, Remus. I'm rather
tired, Snape had admitted as he stood and left the room. Lupin watched him go, feeling the heat roll off his body as he passed. Glancing at the just vacated chair, he saw a flash of white. The parchment.

With a guilty movement the werewolf retrieved the letter and read it swiftly. The vitriol within was palpable and, with a shrinking heart, he realized it was from Harry.

Besides condemning him for his involvement with Voldemort, Harry berated Severus for keeping him so long after the final battle... accusations that he was keeping his godfather against his will at the manor... spiteful, hurtful... and a post script stating he'd be visiting again to pick up a few more of his things.

Again? When had Harry visited since he'd left on his travels? And if he was so sure Black was being held there, why hadn't he sought him out when he had come? Had he? Had Black not mentioned it to him? With parchment in hand he went to find his mate.

Black was lounging in the gardens, also holding a parchment. He watched Lupin cross the grass and sink down next to him.

Lupin asked. Black handed the letter over. This one was friendly, still pressing them to join him in France.

Did Harry drop by in the last month or so and I missed him? Lupin asked. Black looked at him quizzically.

I haven't seen him since he left nearly two months ago, Black responded. Wordlessly Lupin handed him Harry's other letter. The animagus read, his face slowly turning dark.

Well, that explains why Severus' become so silent and moody, Black commented noncommittally.

Siri, he's sick again; he won't let me near him to check, Lupin said worriedly.

I'd be sick too, if someone I cared about wrote this to me.
What is up with Harry? Black asked, concern painting his voice.

I don't know but I can guess. It's the first time he's been
out and really free in his life. Completely unmonitored.
Maybe his new lover is souring his memories of Sev? Jealousy is a nasty thing, Lupin offered.

I want to go check on him, but if Severus is sick, I don't want
to seem like we're abandoning him, Black responded.
Did he say why came Dobby back?

Severus told me he didn't know, Lupin sighed. He lied,
Siri, I know he lied to me.

Suddenly a dark shape popped in front of them. Dobby. The house elf was wringing his hands.

Black encouraged. The elf actually flinched.

Mr. Potter is here Mister Sirius. Mr. Potter is here waking
the master, the elf eked out.

Well, then, let's go speak with Mr. Potter, Black replied. Dobby nodded vigorously and pulled on his hand.

Professor Snape is sick and needents be disturbed. Mr.
Potter is loud, Mister Sirius. Make Mr. Potter be quiet for
Professor Snape, the elf begged. They followed the house elf quickly into the house and hurried to the Morning Room where Snape liked the late morning sun.

When did Harry become Mr. Potter', Lupin whispered to his mate. Black shrugged as they caught the sound of yelling down the hall. They could hear an angry voice launching bitterness. Together they entered the sitting room. The lounge was vacant and Snape stood by the windows arms tightly wound around his body. Harry was standing a few feet away, body rigid, spewing his anger out at the silent figure.

Black called and immediately the young man turned and smiled broadly.

Sirius! Remus! Harry exclaimed as he rushed to hug both godfather and friend.
He wouldn't tell me where you were, he indicated angrily.

Professor Snape tell Mr. Potter Mister Sirius was in the
gardens. Dobby was told to take Mr. Potter to the gardens, the house elf squeaked. He was scared. Why was the elf scared?

Still lying, eh Dobby? I have no use for a lying house elf!
I'm sure you'll fit here just fine, Potter snapped. Dobby slinked off, moving near Snape, away from the irate glare.

House elves do not lie, Harry, no matter what you've
been told. They will refrain from... Snape started to defend the house elf.

Shut up! Just shut up! I didn't come to listen to your
pathetic lies either. I just want some of my things and make
sure you weren't keeping my godfather locked in the
dungeons, Harry burst out again. He turned to Black.
Honestly, Sirius, I don't understand why you stay here. You
hate him, you've always hated him!

Black said quietly, come and let's get your things.
Remus? the animagus tipped his head towards the Potions Master.

Go ahead, Lupin gestured in understanding. Black pulled his godson from the room.

Lupin waited a full minute before turning and looking at his friend. Snape stood completely still, Dobby leaning against his leg. Both looked out the windows but clearly saw nothing.

Dobby? Would you bring us some fresh tea and a light
snack, please? Lupin asked quietly. The elf nodded and disappeared. Now came the difficult part. The wizard slowly moved next to Snape. The stone mask was firmly in place and it seemed he didn't even notice his friend.

Well, Remus, don't you want to go pack?... I never intended
to keep you and Sirius here. I'm very sorry, Snape managed without emotion. Then he cracked.
gods, I'm sorry. I know I'm a disgusting creature, but I
never meant to, to, and he had to stop turning abruptly away from Lupin and leaning against the thick glass window.

Finally Lupin reached out putting his hands on the Potions Master's shoulders. The shoulders were warm, too warm, and a quick body scan revealed Snape was running a fever.

Severus, we don't want to leave. We are grateful you've
let us stay. I like being here with you and Sirius, Lupin said as he very carefully began to run his hands over tight muscles. The rigid body before him was trembling. Moving closer he pulled Snape back against his own body and embraced him. The other wizard's tenuous grasp on control was lost as he began to cry.

I'm s-sorry. I don't feel good Remie, Snape managed as he turned enough to hide his face on Lupin's shoulder. It was all he could do to stand there and not collapse in a sobbing heap.

It's ok, Severus. It's going to be fine. Come lie down and
I'll have Sirius call for Dr. James, Lupin said.

Lupin managed to help his friend walk over to his lounge. He drew the ill wizard up against his chest as he held him gently. gods he was too warm, much too warm. Lupin's ability to scan a body using magic was limited. Still, he could tell Snape was not only running a fever but also in physical pain.

Dobby returned carrying a large tray. There was a small pot of hot tea and a larger pitcher of iced juice along with the selection of tidbits to eat.

Professor Snape likes cold juice? Dobby brought icy cold
fruit juice and bubbly water, the elf said setting the tray down and pouring out a glass mixing the two liquids together. Lupin reached out for it and thanked the house elf, bringing the drink to his friend's lips.

Sev? Drink for me, he coaxed. At first Snape drank, very thirstily, but he soon stopped and moved a hand over his stomach.

It hurts, it hurts when I drink, he whimpered, now giving into his pain. Lupin placed his hand over his stomach and scanned the roiling and burning beneath the surface.

I think a milk based drink would be better. Dobby? Lupin called the elf closer and explained what he wanted.
And tell Sirius I need to see him. Again the elf snapped out of the room leaving the two wizards huddled together. Lupin whispered a soothing charm over his friend's stomach then snugged him closer.

I never meant to hurt anyone Remie. Albus asked me to
protect Harry a little while, Snape said sadly. He stilled against his comforter and said nothing more.

You haven't hurt me and I know you haven't hurt Sirius. You
love Harry. Just relax Sev. I'll stay with you, Lupin soothed, running his hand over Snape's back.

The door soon opened again and Dobby trotted over with a tall tumbler.

Professor Snape wants milky drink? the house elf gave the cool drink to Lupin.

Yes, Dobby, thank you. Is Sirius coming? the wizard asked as he held the cup to Snape's lips and encouraged him to sip.
This will make you stomach feel better, love. Drink some
for me.

Mister Sirius is coming back. Mister Sirius help Mr. Potter
with boxy things. Sirius Black will be here, Dobby reported faithfully. The elf settled on the edge of the lounge and rested against his master. Snape took several tentative sips before taking a longer drink. The cool, creamy concoction coated his stomach and stopped the burning.

Again the door opened and Black came in looking furious. His glaring eyes met his lover's. Lupin shook his head slightly as he mouthed a silent plea for him to calm down. The animagus took several deep breaths before continuing over to the lounge. He took in the trembling Potions Master holding onto Lupin tightly with eyes closed. The milk drink was set down.

Sev, let Sirius check you over. He's better at scanning
than I am. Then we can call Dr. James, ok? Lupin asked softly. Snape nodded in agreement but did not release his grip.

Just relax, Severus. You don't have to move, Black leaned over the lounge and placed his hands on the Potions Master's head as he began to concentrate. Slowly he worked his way down the wizard's body until he came to Dobby. With a careful sigh he patted the elf on the shoulder.

Ok, Severus. I want you to sleep a little while. Remus will
stay right here with you and when I come back we'll get
you cleaned up a bit and let you rest in our bed, Black murmured as he ran a sleeping charm over the ill wizard. Blinking, then yawning Snape settled down, his fingers finally unclenching as he fell asleep. Black continued to soothe him until his breathing evened out.