A/N - Here it is finally, the last chapter. Endless apologies for how long this has taken, real life has been very busy.
As usual, not beta'd so let me know if you spot any mistakes. Enjoy!
Snape felt Harry turn slack in his arms and picked him up to take the boy back to his own chambers in the dungeons. It didn't even occur to him to take Harry to the Hospital Wing; there was nothing Madam Pomfrey could do that Snape himself couldn't do just as well.
Even unconscious Harry was still trembling and Snape adjusted his hold on the boy so that he could gently stroke a hand through the mess of black hair. As he did Harry froze slightly and Snape cursed his own lack of thinking. Of course the boy wouldn't respond well, someone had just tried to force themselves upon him and here Snape was making it worse.
However, within seconds the Gryffindor had leaned into the touch, stirring a little in his arms, and Snape looked down to check if he had woken up. Drowsy green eyes stared up at him as a voice mumbled,
"It's alright," he replied softly. "I'm here. You're safe now."
Harry gave a small nod before shutting his eyes again and turning his face into Snape's chest. Subconsciously his hand had resumed stroking the boy's hair in an attempt to soothe his own nerves as well as the boy's. When he reached his chambers Snape lay Harry down on his bed to rest, cast a quick diagnostic charm to check that the boy was physically fine and then, having sent off a patronus to Dumbledore, crumpled to the floor shaking.
He had just started his patrol of the corridors when he heard the terrible yell that Harry had given out. Not once in all his years as a spy had Snape ever experienced anything like the utter dread he had felt at hearing the sound.
From the moment of Lily's death, Snape had vowed to do anything and everything to protect her only child against the Dark Lord. But this time it wasn't Voldemort that had threatened Harry, this time he had failed, he had almost been too late.
Whimpers from behind him broke Snape from his thoughts. He cursed himself yet again; could he not do anything right today. Here he was wallowing in self-hatred while the young man on his bed was tossing and turning; no doubt reliving his ordeal.
Without a second thought, Snape removed his shoes and outer robes, climbed onto the bed beside Harry and pulled the boy close to his chest. The potions master was not a man known for his skills at comforting people but with Harry his instincts took over. Murmuring soft reassurances, he rubbed one hand in circles on the boy's back while with the other he held Harry's head to him and stroked the boy's nape with his thumb.
Snape continued this until the Gryffindor's breathing had deepened again and he was sleeping restfully. He was loathe to stop his ministrations completely because, he reasoned to himself, it seemed idiotic to put all his hard work in calming the boy to waste if Harry was just going to start panicking again the moment he let go. Besides, it wasn't as though he could move away without risking waking the boy up. Snape steadfastly ignored the voice in his head which mockingly told him that those weren't the only reasons he wanted to keep holding Harry.
A caress of fur to his cheek startled Snape momentarily until he realised what it was. In his sleep Harry's tail had curled up and was now nestling into the side of the potions master's face and neck. Snape chuckled softly to himself; sometimes it was so easy to forget that Harry was no longer just a boy. He raised his hand, smoothed down the hair around Harry's new ears and watched as they twitched slightly. Snape spent many moments just gazing at Harry as he slept before the rhythmic stroking of fur against his cheek lulled him to sleep.
Harry awoke the next morning to warm arms around him. He was momentarily confused until he remembered the events of the previous day. He flushed realising that he seemed to have spent the night in his Professor's bed...with his Professor. Harry wasn't entirely sure how Snape could bear to be near him. The man had never liked him before but even if he had...
Everybody had been right to taunt him about being weak and helpless. When the Slytherins had ambushed him all Harry had done was stand there, meek and passive. Why would Snape want to bother with someone who didn't even try to defend themselves? The potions master was strong and cunning, and dare Harry say it, brave as well. Harry didn't deserve him or his comfort at all.
The Gryffindor hadn't realised that he had started trembling until he felt a hand stroke down his back and settle just above his tail.
"Hush now, you're safe here."
"But I...I didn't even," Harry couldn't get the words out but Snape seemed to understand what he was trying to say. His grip around Harry tightened,
"Look at me. I said look at me, Potter." Harry reluctantly lifted his head to meet Snape's dark gaze.
"It was not your fault," the man told him firmly. "There were three of them and only one of you, nevermind the fact that they are a year older than you with more knowledge of spells. There was nothing you could have done. Do you understand?"
Harry nodded, he wasn't sure if it was the words or just listening to Snape's voice but he felt himself slowly relaxing. The potions master's eyes softened as he continued,
"You are brave and loyal and kind. And no matter what has taken place in your life you have always pulled through, even when the impossible happens." Snape chuckled slightly and flicked one of Harry's new ears.
"You are far stronger than you think, Harry."
As he finished speaking Snape became aware that they were still lying in bed, bodies pressed together and faces only inches apart. He was a teacher and Harry was only sixteen; they shouldn't be in this position, especially considering what had just happened to the boy.
And yet Snape couldn't bring himself to break the moment. He was also keenly aware that however much he may call Harry a boy, it was a man's body that he was holding in his arms. A very attractive man who had somehow broken through all the defences Snape had built up as a spy. He could feel himself stiffening and prayed that Harry wouldn't notice.
That didn't seem to be the case if Harry's widening eyes were anything to go by.
"You..." Harry said before cutting off, blushing. Snape was trying to think of a way to explain himself out of it when Harry shifted, pressing closer into Snape so that he could feel the Gryffindor's own erection against his thigh.
Snape watched as Harry gasped at the friction, his mouth parting. The boy's lips looked so soft and Snape could feel himself giving in, leaning towards them as Harry mewled at the movement.
A sharp knock at the door interrupted them before their lips could meet.
"Severus, my boy. Are you in there?"
Snape huffed out a sigh and manoeuvred his way past Harry and out of bed to answer the door.
It was like nothing had happened Harry thought miserably, several days later. After Dumbledore had arrived, Harry had been escorted up to the Hospital Wing to be checked over properly, despite his protestations that he was fine. Then, the headmaster had asked him to recount what had happened and with Snape's steady presence at his side, Harry had managed to stumble through the whole thing up until Snape had found him.
It was at that point that Ron and Hermione had turned up, frantic, and Snape had left with Dumbledore to deal with the perpetrators. They had apparently spent the night being interrogated in Dumbledore's office.
Ron and Hermione were immensely supportive about the whole thing. Despite the fact that the ringleader had been expelled and the other two put in detention for the foreseeable future, Harry no longer felt comfortable walking the corridors of Hogwarts alone. Hermione had smiled kindly when he told her this and had made sure that there was always someone with him if he needed to go somewhere.
What did irritate Harry, however, was that Snape was acting just as he had before the incident and the ensuing events. He had hoped that things would be different now; Snape had been so caring and Harry knew that he wasn't just fooling himself in saying that Snape cared about him personally. The Gryffindor had looked into Snape's eyes and seen the emotions there, and now the man was ignoring him.
Harry was resolved to confront the potions master about it but the problem was he hadn't told Ron and Hermione what had happened with Snape, nor did he particularly want to at the moment. That meant that if he wanted to talk to Snape he would have to go down to the dungeons himself.
Harry glanced at his watch. He was studying with his friends in the library and he had about an hour before dinner which was plenty of time to go and see Snape.
"There's something I need to do," Harry told his friends. Ron stood up to go with him but Harry shook his head.
"It's fine. I'll be alright by myself."
"Ok, if you're sure mate," Ron said cautiously, sitting down again.
Harry nodded, took a deep breath and headed off to the dungeons.
The last person Snape expected to see when he heard the knock on his door was Harry Potter but then, he supposed, knowing what he did about the boy he probably should have expected it.
He stepped back and gestured Harry into his living room. Harry blinked,
"You're just going to let me in?" Unsurprisingly, the boy seemed surprised by this.
"You do not seem to be at ease out in the corridors. After all you've been through I'm not going to make it worse."
They moved inside and Snape shut the door behind them. The potions master stayed silent, waiting for the boy to say whatever it was that was on his mind. Harry stood in the centre of the room, wringing his hands. Eventually the words came,
"Thank you," Harry said gratefully. "You do that a lot you know, the helping me. I always know I can rely on you."
He looked directly into Snape's eyes as he said this, unflinching. Snape was conflicted; he wanted to tell Harry that he could trust him fully; that he would protect him for the rest of his life, but at the same time confessions like that would lead to other things, things that shouldn't be happening.
Looking into Harry's eyes, he realised that the boy already knew his thoughts. Quite when Harry had learned to read him so well Snape didn't know.
"Harry, this can't happen. I'm your teacher and you're so young."
Harry's ears and tail drooped at the rejection but his fists clenched in determination.
"No," he said, stepping towards Snape. "No, you don't get to push me away. Besides, when have I ever followed the rules."
He reached forward and rested his hand on Snape's upper arm but the hesitated, unsure what to do next or if he had just crossed a line. Snape just stared at him, fighting some internal battle. But then he gave a small smile and said wryly,
"Who am I to deny Harry Potter."
Once, the words would have left Harry full of righteous anger but hearing the sheer strength of emotion behind them all he could feel was immense bliss as Snape cupped Harry's cheeks and soft lips pressed into his own.
The cat side of him purred in complete contentment and he knew that he would never feel this way with anyone else. This was his home.
A/N - Thanks for reading, let me know what you thought.