Title: Acceptance of an Unwanted Truth
Author: Lamenting Quill
Summary: Dark eyes locked with his, the sharp angles of Snape's pale face sharpened even more so by the flickering firelight. His expression was the least shuttered that Harry had ever seen it, anxiety clear and despair clearer. "I never expected this to happen. I don't know what to do."
Info: Not DH compliant.
Completed: April 7th, 2008
Disclaimer: Not mine, J.K. Rowling's.
Acceptance of an Unwanted Truth
Harry entered the room, his eyes immediately drawn to the man seated in front of the fire, elbows on his knees with his head in his hands, his long curtain of ebony hair shielding his face from view. His posture was out of character, the posture of defeat. A posture Harry hadn't thought the fierce man capable of. And he knew – he knew that Snape had found out. Dread coiled in his stomach and he dared not draw closer. He had been expecting this. Had known the man would find out sooner or later. He only hoped that he was prepared to deal with the consequences.
"How could you? How could you do this to me?" Snape said quietly, not raising his head.
Harry shuddered at the brokenness in the normally strong, smooth voice and he shivered, unsure of what to say, unable to apologise as he couldn't muster the feelings of contriteness. "I don't know. You know how our relationship has been. I figured you to be expecting this to happen. I'm not solely to blame."
Snape snorted before releasing a frustrated growl and standing abruptly from the chair, still not turning to face him. "How did we get here? How did I let this happen? And for Merlin's sake, why didn't I see it coming?"
Sighing, Harry ran a hand over his face, wanting to comfort the man yet knowing it wouldn't be welcome. "I suspect we only see what we want to see at times, because it's easier that way."
Another snort. "How long have I been blind to this?"
"Over a year," Harry answered. "Since Christmas last."
He turned then, incredulous, black eyes penetrating Harry's very soul and causing him to take a step backwards as the man hissed, "A year? A bloody year and I'd not even a damn inkling?"
"As I said, we see what we want to," replied Harry, causing the man before him to snarl viciously.
"Don't you dare attempt to placate me, Potter. I'll never forgive you for this."
"No," he whispered, "I don't expect you will. The question is: can you accept it?"
A pause, a clenching of fists, and finally a barely audible, "I… I'm not sure."
"You finding out, it changes nothing you know. After all, it has been going on for a year, and nothing has been truly different."
Snape shook his head, eyes going back to the fire. "It changes everything."
"You won't let this come between us." It was half command, half plea. "We can work through this. This occurs between many couples; our situation is not unique."
Dark eyes locked with his, the sharp angles of Snape's pale face sharpened even more so by the flickering firelight. His expression was the least shuttered that Harry had ever seen it, anxiety clear and despair clearer. "I never expected this to happen. I don't know what to do."
The honesty emboldened Harry and he stepped forward then, stopping just in front of the man he had come to know so intimately over the years. "Severus, you don't have to do anything. We will go on as if nothing has happened – as if you never found out."
He closed his eyes, shaking his head once more. "I can't. The feeling… it hurts, aches. I can't ignore it. I can't ignore what you've done."
"Maybe it will ease if you tell me how you feel," he offered softly, gently.
"You know." The tone was sharp, unyielding.
"I do," Harry conceded. "But perhaps it will help you to say it. Maybe then we can work through this," he said looking up, expression hopeful and raising a hand to caress Snape's cheek, relishing the way the man leant into the touch. He knew then that it would be okay. The storm was passing.
"If I say it, it will be real."
Harry smiled slightly at that, dropping his hand to the strong shoulder, cocking his head to the side as he observed his lover. "It's already real, or else we wouldn't be having this conversation."
The look on the man's face clearly stated that he wished they weren't.
"We won't be able to move forward, Severus, unless you say it. I know that it's hard, and while I won't apologise for what I've done, I do apologise for not warning you."
Snape's reaction to the words was one of incredulousness. "You gave me a disease, Potter, because of your inability to control yourself, and you expect an apology to make things be as they were?"
Harry snorted this time, shaking his head indulgently. "Love is not a disease, Severus."
The man's raised brow clearly said that indeed it was, but he nevertheless snaked an arm around Harry's waist, pulling him close and repeating, "How could you do this to me?"
The chuckle escaped his lips before he could contain it, and Harry muffled it by pressing his face into the crook of Snape's neck, inhaling the man's scent, calmed by the familiarity. "As I said before, Severus, I figured you had been expecting this to happen, despite your previous certainty that you didn't have the capacity for love. Our relationship has been wonderful, and we've overcome all obstacles thrown at us thus far. Two people cannot face all that we have faced together and not develop some sort of attachment."
Pulling back slightly from the warm embrace, Harry asked, "So, are you going to say it?"
The dilemma was clear on the normally stoic face. "Do you truly think it will help?"
Harry nodded. "It truly might."
A sigh. "Very well. I'll say it."
After a stretch of silence, Harry raised his own eyebrow in imitation of Snape's signature expression. "Today?"
Harry quirked a smile, placing a soft kiss on Severus's lips before saying, "I know it's difficult. Perhaps if you write it down?"
Severus nodded, running a trembling hand through his hair, looking as though he had rather meet death.
Amused, Harry summoned a piece of parchment, a quill and ink, presenting it to his lover. He watched as the man sat down on the sofa, dipped the quill into the ink, instrument poised to start writing before he looked up, scowling.
"I will never forgive you for this – for making me feel this way."
"So you've said," Harry replied softly, fondly, watching as Snape turned back to the task at hand and finished it quickly.
He stood, handing over the note. "We will forget this ever happened, and it will not happen again. Understood?" he said, using his most menacing tone.
"Understood," Harry replied, taking the proffered parchment. He looked down at the spidery scrawl proclaiming, 'I love you against my will. It's your own damn fault, and I'll never forgive you for it. I hope you're satisfied.'
He laughed, unable to stop himself. He folded the note carefully, and placed it in the breast pocket on the inside of his robe, just over his heart as he said, "There, now that wasn't so hard, was it?"
The look on his lover's face clearly said that it was.
Harry shook his head in amusement. "You do know that I lo-"
"Don't!" the man snapped fiercely, placing his hand over Harry's mouth. "Damn you, Potter. I've already had to say it – write it; I'm begging you, don't make me hear it as well. I can only take so much."
Severus's hand almost, but not quite, covered Harry's smile.