A/N: It has taken me six months to write just over 10k words. What is wrong with me xD Ah, well, anyway, reviews would be nice. This was written with someone in mind, someone very close to me. Special thanks to three lovely ladies who helped me troubleshoot ideas, Sarah, Stacey, and Jules. Thanks guys 3
Enjoy the ride~
Headmaster Severus Snape's intelligence rivaled that of his predecessor, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, in that he perceived everything concealed within Hogwarts' walls. From soft spoken whispers in hidden corridors to invisibility charms late at night, Severus remained the wiser. Perhaps he inherited his knowledge from his only adulthood friend, perhaps it was just experience on his side. Whatever the contributing factor, Severus never missed a beat when it came to Hogwarts.
It was any wonder how the staff would still carry out their mock attempts of secrecy, casting more prolific spells then that of their students, but still unsuccessful in covert missions from Snape. One dunderhead was even so bold as to use Muffliato, a spell Severus Snape himself invented, on the Restricted Section of the Library. Severus quickly sensed the faint tell-tale buzzing noise settling in his ear as he passed through each section of the Library, the noise gradually increasing as he reached the furthest corner. With a sneer that could kill, he silently sent a small group of students scampering to another remote section.
He pressed his palm flat against the invisible barrier and instantly knew the texture of the magic presence belonged to none other than Harry Potter, the Boy-Wonder-Turned-Snape-Fanatic ever since the final battle. His magic was sloppy- unrefined and lazy, just like his personality as Severus so thought. Still, there was never a moment's hesitation when Harry came to him, personally begging for the Defense Against Dark Arts position. Severus never doubted the boy's knowledge in the field, or rather that his teaching abilities remained to be seen. He sent the boy away numerous times only to find himself assaulted with a daily dose of Potter until he decided otherwise. Harry refused to leave until Snape agreed. Minerva even recommended him herself, along with more than half the teaching staff. Severus finally gave in, offering Potter a chance to prove his worth during a summer seminar. Needless to say, Harry managed to impress his former professors enough to outvote Severus' final decision.
Severus quietly scowled at the memory. The boy's innocent yet knowing smile, the lights reflecting in his emerald eyes too joyous to be ignored. Severus would have smiled with him then, if only for a mere second before his greater instincts glared at the insignificant brat and sent him on his way. He was in no way prepared to deal with Potter as a professional colleague. He was still the obnoxious Boy Who Lived, an insufferable prat who wouldn't give Severus a moment's rest.
Potter's low groan brought Severus back to the present as he pressed his ear cautiously to the barrier and concentrated on breaking the spell just so. He succeeded and listened intently as the conversation unfolded.
"Professor, I have no idea what to do!"
"Minerva, Harry. We've been over this countless times," McGonnagall noted the desperation in Harry's dejected sigh.
"Minerva," Harry grounded out, almost pained. "What do you propose I do about this situation?"
"You're hardly the same little boy under the cupboard, Harry. Use your head for once. You know what you have to do," Minerva's voice resounded her authoritarian position as Harry slouched against the bookcase.
"But it's Snape, of all-"
"Don't tell me you're surprised! The way you fought for his freedom, the enthusiasm you've shown on his behalf, the sheer drive you have for the man! I dare say even you should have seen this coming. There is nothing wrong or abnormal about your feelings."
Severus curled his lip in a disgusting fashion. No, nothing wrong with *his* feelings at all. What about me? Severus thought. He did not have time for *feelings. He was Headmaster, for goodness sake. He was supposed to be feared, not adored like a tiny puppy!
Harry sighed for the hundredth time, his head falling in between his hands once more. Minerva could see he was in great discomfort over his recent revelation, but for what reason she was unsure of. Where was his Gryffindor pride that would storm in on Severus and take what he so wanted?
"He is so difficult to understand, no matter how much I try to even talk to him he just shuts me out. So bloody guarded and untrusting! Would it kill him to let someone in under that mask of his?"
Deciding that he heard enough, Severus turned and stormed from the Library, growling and cursing Potter for all he was worth. It's a joke, he told himself. A bloody fucking joke. Trust Potter of all accursed animals in his path to inject this poison in his vision.
Severus was so angry that he took at least two hundred house points from various students on the journey to his office.
The months following the Headmaster's eavesdropping, Severus discovered several revelations about himself and about Potter.
Firstly, Potter was struggling. Horribly.
It was any wonder how he managed to last this long; the Holidays were only a week away and Potter began showing the wears and tears of teaching children, moronic and idiotic children. There were signs of many sleepless nights spent with worry and abnegation, signs of distress probably caused by a lack of organizational time management schedule. It was to be expected of a first year Professor, so fresh and new and eager to just hop right in that one often forgets to plan wiser or strategize for the entire year.
Severus watched Potter carefully in the mornings, his observational skills sharp as ever. The boy's carriage was superiorly lacking, shoulders slumped, slouched expression to match. His outward appearance slowly began to match that of his inward fatigue. It was written all over his face and Severus should have been overjoyed at the urge to shout 'Told you so.'
Only that Severus wasn't pleased by this recent discovery at all. He found himself concerned for the boy's welfare, he found himself wanting to pull Potter aside and demand he follow a set schedule for himself and his tasks. He found himself wanting to help Potter but not just because of his Headmaster title. No, Severus thought as his own eyes were transfixed on the youth beside him, the answer was on a deeper level than Severus was willing to accept nor consider in the least.
Severus suppressed a cold shiver as he watched the boy push and pull his breakfast around his plate, only taking small bites and chasing each mouthful down with sips of water. Always keeping his facade up, his image and reputation as the Boy Who Could Never Fail, sitting aside from Severus now was the Boy Who Was Failing, the Boy Who Needed Help, the Boy Who Just Didn't Get It. The Headmaster didn't know which thought offended him more- the fact that he acknowledged Potter's situation or the fact that he saw through the boy's disgusting morale enough to actually pity him.
A disconcerting idea, definitely.
Severus continued to ignore the signs, to ignore his own subconscious screaming at him. He chose to take no action and just simply observe the road ahead. Potter would get the help he needed and it wouldn't be Severus' position to offer it, he told himself. Whatever this unsettling feeling was, he would not let it overrun him.
The night before Hogwarts was to be cleared for the Holidays, Harry stood staring at the elegant phoenix engraved on the door in front of him. He inhaled and held his breath. He needed to do this, he chanted over and over until it became his mantra. He squared his shoulders and knocked.
Severus grunted in reply as Harry shyly entered his chambers. This was it. There was no turning back for Harry, tonight was the night he would lay his cards on the table. Finally tired of debating the 'what if's', Harry decided that he would rather Severus know how he felt inside rather than being torn to shreds with anxiety and doubt. Even if the man would never return his feelings, Harry knew he would feel better just getting things out in the open. He could no longer sleep let alone face his classes day to day with this ache in his chest. It was overbearing, something had to give.
Harry stood with his back to the door, not daring to disturb the formidable dark and dangerous aura oozing from Snape right then. Severus was buried deep in floating paperwork, files would zip themselves across the room as the Headmaster finished with them. When Severus finally glanced upward from his work, he was slightly surprised to find a bright flush growing across Potter's shallow cheeks.
"Well? What do you want?" Severus could not hold the irritation in his voice. He smirked at Harry's visible cower in what he interpreted as fear.
It was the contrary, however. Harry shivered as he averted his traitorous eyes that were affixed on the Headmaster's long elegant fingers holding a feathered quill in mid sentence.
"I came to talk to you, Sir-"
"Obviously. If you will, please get to the point, Mister Potter. Some of us are busy actually working, not wasting the day away." Severus narrowed his eyes before returning to his paperwork.
The silence constricted so tightly around Harry's lungs they nearly snapped in half.
"Sir, please. This isn't easy for me to say..." Harry gulped. "I- I really care a-about you, Sir."
Severus' head shot up. "You care about me, Potter? Is that what you came all the way up here to say? That you care about me?" He folded his arms expectantly.
"Well, yeah, but-"
"And what do you suppose I do with this information? What did you want me to do with your care? Because if you want my honest opinion, you can take your care and shove it up your arse. Need I remind you exactly who I am and what my title is?"
Harry fought the sting burning his eyes. "No, but, I thought.."
Deciding he had heard enough, Severus stood and slowly stalked towards Potter in full height, the air suddenly thick with electricity. When he spoke next his voice was deep in timbre, dark with a malevolence he himself did not recognize.
"Expecting Prince Charming, Potter? Still in that fantasy wonderland of yours? What did you wish to gain by coming here tonight? That I would declare some faint unfathomable obsession with you?"
Severus now had Harry backed into the door as he loomed over his lithe form. He pressed a finger into the boy's shoulder to keep him there, like a predator on the hunt. He spoke in a low venomous hiss, "Are you so desperate for a fuck that you would torment someone like me? Given everything that has ever transcribed between us, even you should have the decency to know better. I am Severus Snape, just because I've saved your arse more times that I would count does not change who I am. You would do right to remember that."
Harry clenched his fists. "No, I was under the delusion that you could act a little bit like a mature adult about this, but now I see that I was mistaken!"
Severus snarled nastily, "Get out."
"You're a heartless bastard," Harry didn't need telling twice as he bolted, his knees weak and legs flimsy. He ran to his rooms, not bothering to fight the tears, the heartache, the pain, the rips in his chest along the way. He missed the calls of Minerva behind him, or rather he didn't care. He needed his rooms, he needed to be alone.
Oh dear, Minerva thought to herself. This was most displeasing for both Harry and Severus. She secretly swore to give Severus Snape a right telling off at her earliest convenience.
Fresh snow surrounded the castle in a still form white glow by the time Holiday break was over. Severus called the start of term staff meeting a week early this year, hoping to snap some of his employees into shape by the end of January. He would not tolerate insolence so close to the end, especially with exams leering ahead. He needed his staff's full and undivided attention.
He stormed into the conference room at five minutes to two, ready to start the meeting now and without further distractions. He surveyed the eleven sets of merry eyes reflecting at him and dismayed, one member short. Anger followed by a chilling calm settled over Severus as he called attention to his peers.
Ten minutes later stumbled Harry through the doors, rosy cheeks and soaked to the bone in melted snow. Severus was not amused.
"Late, Mister Potter," the Headmaster snarled with distaste as he met those wide emeralds he spent majority of solitude trying to forget.
"I'm sorry headmaster, but I-"
"No excuses! You will report to me immediately after this meeting is adjourned. Understood?"
Harry hung his head low and replied, "Yes sir."
"Now then, everyone is to hand in their third semester lesson plans for approval by Friday. If you do not have them ready, the consequences will be severe. I also require any special lessons or special lecturing sessions approved at least a full seven days before. No exceptions."
"Exam season is nearly upon us. I will meet with each of you individually and draft this year's NEWT and OWL exams, based on the material covered and the Ministry's official guide. I will trust each of you come prepared," Severus' eyes landed on each of his staff and lingered on one particular troublesome messy headed Gryffindor. "Ah, perhaps Mister Potter could demonstrate for us, the significance of preparation?"
"Headmaster, with all due respect-"
"You have an objection, Minerva?" Severus raised an eyebrow in her direction
"Professor Potter has only been here for one whole term, Sir," she spoke solemnly.
"I am well aware of that fact. Now, if you have any new information regarding Mister Potter's tenure, or lack thereof, I assure you I will be the first to know."
The room buzzed with silent tension. Harry clenched his fists.
"It is," he cleared his throat and wiped his palms on his pants, trying to wish away the heat that flooded to his face, "It is important to be prepared and organized from the beginning, so that if, later down the road, you come across any difficulties, you can make altercations as needed. It is important to be prepared because we are the leaders our students come to, the structure of Hogwarts lies on our shoulders."
"Spare us the heroic bullshit, Mister Potter. Tell me, what do you have lined up for your fifth year OWL exam outline?"
Harry felt his cheeks glow. "I-I've been having difficulties-"
"So you do not have even a mere outline drafted by now?"
"Pathetic, Potter," Severus snarled so ghastly it was almost a smile.
"Headmaster!" Minerva spoke when the others merely observed.
Severus disregarded Minerva's defensive posture and kept his dark eyes on Potter. He smirked at the boy's clear disposition and embarrassment marked on his face.
"Need I remind you, first year Professors have a low survival rate here, Professor Potter," Snape's lip curled in the most devious snare the man could gather.
Tears stung Harry's eyes but he bit his lip to stop them. He would not be intimidated by the likes of Snape, the same man who could make him feel like a fleeing fourteen year old all over again. It was infuriating and it made Harry sick with bitterness because he cared for this brutal bastard and he knew it would never be returned, not in the way he wanted.
Before his higher brain functions comprehended his movements, Harry was up in an instant, his feet carrying him in a quick blur right up to the formidable man he loved. Severus caught the empty stare on Harry's face in the instant Harry's arm raised, time ceased and the whole room held their breaths. The tension was sliceable, thick enough to stop water in its tracks. Harry's eyes blazed in anger, hurt, shame, embarrassment, and something Snape didn't recognize. It was neither love nor hate, but rather.. Pity. Funny how it felt to be on the receiving end of such a fierce glare.
Eleven audible gasps collectively filled the void, masking the shock that was readable on the Headmaster's face as Harry grabbed the man's robes and crushed his mouth against Snape's, unreciprocated, but hard enough to get his point across.
"You cruel fucking bastard, why the hell do I love you so much," Harry whispered against Snape's ear. He pulled back and gazed briefly in the man's confused eyes, for once Harry reeled in the fact that he shocked Severus Snape speechless.
He turned on his heels and exited the lounge, door slamming with the force of a mountain troll behind him. Ten shocked faces glanced from the door to Severus, who clutched his chest and stared at the floor, his exasperation vulnerable on his face. Minerva simply sat back and smirked, very pleased with that look. What an interesting turn of events, indeed.
Minerva stormed in his office bearing the force of a natural disaster in her wake. She warded the door closed and waved her wand in one fluid yet powerful motion. He barely had time to cast a proper glare as he recognized a full scale Muffliato enforced by tenfold. A silencing charm of such caliber usually hinted trouble. He narrowed his eyes at her lips pursed in a thin line.
"Did you need something?" Severus kept his voice even.
"I should curse you to your death but I'd rather not waste my magic you insufferable, evil, rotten swine!"
Severus raised an eyebrow in challenge but otherwise remained silent. He could feel the anger seething from her magic and her energy rose with each second.
"Do not forget, I was Headmistress in your absence. I too have a sixth sense when it comes to affairs within Hogwarts walls, Severus."
Severus stared in disgust, "You dare defile my title with such nonsense? You of all people, Minerva?"
"Not defile, no. Simply give you a good shove in the right direction. Heaven knows you need it you old bat!" She shouted hysterically.
He averted his eyes. "Potter is.. Hardly worth my time. We have absolutely nothing in common. He is a mere shadow of his arrogant father in every sense of fashion."
"Says the man with eyes still clouded by hate and judgement!" She couldn't help but smirk at the surprise on his face.
"You are too caught up in your own delusions that you've failed to notice it. You return his feelings, Severus, but you're too scared to admit it. I can see it on your face. I see it in the way you watch him every morning, silently. You think you're the only one in control when you have no more say in the subject than he does. So you refuse to lift your hatred by hanging onto even the slightest string. You are to blame!"
Pinching the bridge between his eyes delicately, Severus sighed.
"Lighten up on the boy, he is doing the best he can," Minerva's voice softened. "Please, Severus. If not for him, then for the students."
Severus considered her fragile form in the doorway.
"I... Cannot acquiesce."
"You need to let the past go. You should know.. Harry already has."
Without another word Minerva strode out of the room, her robes billowing behind her.
Severus took the next week off from his duties as Headmaster and retreated into the Valley Bend right outside of Hogsmeade. The still air always gave him a sense of tranquility and provided him some much needed solitary. Plus, the scenery was breathtaking. In the days of his recovery this had been his favorite place to sit or lay in the grass and just watch the clouds roll from the mountain tops and over distant lakes and streams. His dreams would even resemble hues of green, blue, and brown, fresh as the morning air.
In his time alone he aimed at clearing his thoughts completely in favor of focusing on life in a different perspective. He learned that sometimes, taking a step back from your own worries and considering life from a different point of view could be quite a refreshing change from the constant drabble of living day to day. He never indulged this philosophy until he hit the lowest part in his recovery, learning to speak again. The doctors advised him to give up on vocalization, but to hell with them. Severus Snape would not be bound to any disability, not in his lifetime.
The physical strain of reteaching himself a basic motor skill was unlike any pain he had ever endured. Voldemort's Cruciatus curses were mere dust in the wind compared to the excruciating burn in his throat. It wasn't as simple as teaching himself to read, or to write. Nagini's snake venom nearly disintegrated his vocal cords altogether; what remained were weak and brittle. He endured the surgery to restore them well enough. The real battle came in the months thereafter. In the beginning, the simple task of humming tore his throat into a million fibers of burning coals.
Oh, how bittersweet the feeling.
He cursed himself every day he could not speak. He believed his fate was to suffer this undesirable thirst he could not quench for the rest of his life. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months. The burn intensified until Severus would have screamed himself raw. There was no salve that could save him, no spell or potion that could end the repulsive heat from his throat. He was on the last thread, willing to give up and drown in self pity at his weakness.
It had been Potter that saved him then.
No one visited Severus Snape while he recovered, save for Minerva on occasion. No one bothered to help the man when it wasn't their duty. Even the Healers of St. Mungo's had been reluctant to offer their assistance. Severus was left on his own, not that it bothered him much. He was used to the treatment by now. He never expected anything more or less from a society that failed to understand his motivations in the war.
But no, Potter had been different. When he was allowed visitors, Severus soon found the Potter brat at his side, constantly babbling on about Granger and the Weasleys. Some days he brought books and read them aloud. There had been rare days where he simply sat in silence, staring off into empty space. His eyes had been open, yet closed to the room surrounding him.
Severus couldn't offer him words back then, although he did try. His mouth worked something fierce in the beginning, insult after insult falling short but with no sound behind it Harry simply laughed and pulled a chair to his bedside. His glares and snarls were reduced to ash.
The days of silence suddenly grew steady as Snape's progress, or lack thereof, continued. When Severus was released from St. Mungo's, still unable to speak coherently, he immediately thought of returning to Spinner's End. He soon found he had no such inhibitions to return to that place and so took residence here in the Valley Bend. His wish was to be as secluded from society as he possibly could, which only worked for the first week.
He decided to visit Diagon Alley for the first time since the war. It came as no surprise to see some buildings still unrepaired, condemned from irreversible damage that even magic could not fix. His journey led him to the Apothecary, a place that once brought him great pleasure to shop. One step inside and Severus could sense the air shift. He was being watched, judged. A man grabbed his son by the arm and yanked him roughly from Severus' path. Severus, choosing to ignore the man completely, continued his browsing. When he made his way to the counter, the merchant turned his nose and snarled.
"Your kind is not allowed in here, take your filthy blood money elsewhere," he barked in full height. A look of confusion passed and in seconds Severus slipped his mask in place. He was in mid turn when an arm unceremoniously slipped itself across his shoulder, as if it were the most natural of movements.
"Then allow me, I'll pay for this man's items," came the voice of none other than the Potter brat, an angry fire blazing in his eyes.
The salesman narrowed his eyes at Harry and grumbled, but allowed Harry to pay for the items in peace. Severus plucked the brat's arm from his shoulder and exited the shop in a swirl of black. Harry followed, of course, but kept his distance, not really knowing what to make of the situation. When he finally caught up to Severus, the man just scowled and snatched the bag from the boy's grip. He turned to Apparate on the spot and Harry called out to him, the look in his former Professor's eyes too painful to ignore. Harry reached out and touched Snape's shoulder just as the man Apparated himself to the Valley.
The look of rage Severus threw Harry was enough to scare the kid, but Harry did not move. Severus mouthed every insult in his arsenal, wishing, praying that some sound would come. His frustration only grew when the air was filled with small squeaks. He threw the Apothecary bag in the grass and walked towards his cottage but Harry dashed after him, calling for him to wait, pleading with him to let the boy stay, if only just for a little while.
It was the look of desperation on Harry's face that caused Severus a moment of impassive reluctance.
And so Severus let him stay.
They fell into an odd routine. Harry would visit during the day and only leave the cottage to watch the stars across the night sky. Gradually, Severus found the burning in his throat was reduced to a low steam, and humming was not so much of a hardship on him. It was a small victory, however, when reminded that he still could not form full words.
His first words were to Potter.
"G-et... Out..." he croaked one morning, barely awake but the sight of overbearing sunlight and a messy head with huge emerald orbs met his gaze before his eyes were even open.
"Well I would, but I love it here, so no," came Harry's response, a huge grin plastered on his face. "And you just spoke. Funny, your voice can still make me feel like a frightened school boy all over again, Snape."
"Get. Out. Brat."
"Lovely, the insults have started." Severus thought that smile couldn't possibly get any bigger. He was wrong.
After a while the burn turned into a sting that made everything a living hell. Eating, drinking, even breathing was like choking on bubbling blisters. Every time Severus spoke, it was like one of those blisters exploded. The pain was but a mild hazard by now, his determination thwarted any sense of giving up that remained in his system. He was just so bloody tired of being in pain.
Harry knew the man was struggling, it was unbearable to watch him try so hard and not be able to offer any sort of help. Well, maybe not directly, but Harry knew one thing the man needed. Distractions.
The first time Harry Potter dragged Severus Snape out to the field at night surprised not only Severus, but Harry as well. Harry had no idea if this would work or not. He definitely did not want to anger the man. Yet, as Severus gazed skyward, a peaceful expression that Harry never knew existed grew on the man's face and Harry knew it had been the right decision.
Severus didn't need words to describe the sensation back then, and he didn't need them now. Gazing over the valley, Severus spent the remainder of his week wondering how in the world he fell in love with someone who didn't have to try so hard to break him.
"I'm just so frustrated!" Harry spoke to no one in general as he kicked an innocent case across his room. "The man is a bastard! I don't know what I see in him that makes me like this. He is the only person who has done this to me, reduced me to this. What am I going to do now," he silently sobbed to himself.
In the comforts of his rooms, Harry had been mentally beating himself up in the week thereafter his display against the Headmaster. What in the Seven Hells possessed him to slap Snape! Merlin's beard, then he went and kissed the bloke! Snape! Of all people! He was sure the headmaster would sack him, send him packing to Timbuktu without a second chance to save his life.
No such motion came to fruition. In fact, Severus seemed nowhere to be found. It bothered Harry greatly. Anger, raw and unrelenting, Harry could deal with. Silence, however, was something he was not accustomed in analyzing.
Snape's eyes were so readable as they burned into Harry's mind, each reflection flashed danger on the outside and when he looked beyond the barrier he saw so many emotions, it overwhelmed him. Distrust, hurt, pain, heartbreak, and loneliness, all hidden behind cold and weary eyes. If only he could break through...
Too bad that would never happen now. Harry sulked, the skyline's vanilla twilight shades of pink and blue merged into violet passion and orange dreams. It was unfair, if only he could be a cloud, free to float to wherever his heart desired. Oh how he would circle the man all day and not have to worry about anything else in his way.
A knock at his door disturbed his thoughts and he was instantaneously pulled back to reality by his anxiety. No amount of dread could have prepared him for the scene that awaited him on the other side of his door.
Severus Snape stood looking more lost than the teenagers who wandered these halls at night.
Without preamble he strode past Harry, his usual aura diminished into nothing.
"Headmaster, I must apologize for my irrational behavior. I understand it was out of line and uncalled for. I am also prepared... If you find that you should fire me..."
"You kissed me." It was a statement more than a question.
Confused, Harry replied, "I, yes, I did, Sir-"
"Why?" Snape's eyes were warm as he fell into Emerald depths.
"Er..." Oh God, Harry thought. The amount of confusion and guilt radiating from Severus was gut wrenching.
"You said you loved me."
"How can you know the past, my life, my sins, you know everything and you still say you love me?" Severus' eyes were dark and guarded, then suddenly the man broke completely. He turned from Harry and gripped the wall to support himself.
"Why? Why won't you go away? Why do you continue to torture me so? Why do you look at me like that?"
Harry approached him cautiously and slid a warm hand across the man's back. Severus instantly turned, outrage clear on his face.
"Why? What game are you playing? Why do you want to hurt me like the rest? Tear me to pieces and leave me for the fucking wolves?"
An incredulous look flashed across Harry's face. "No, Severus, I would never-"
"You would, and I know it. I can't trust anyone. Trust is for the weak! If I let my guard down around you you'll just take what's left of me and I'll die, I'll die dammit. I can't take any more! Just, just leave me alone!" Empty tears fell from the man's face as he tried to shake Harry off of him, but Harry gripped Severus' wrists tighter and brought his body close. He wrapped his tiny arms tightly and securely around Snape's broken form.
Harry couldn't take any more, he didn't know what else to do. At least Snape was letting him hold him.
"Words are empty with you, aren't they? That's okay. I'll say it anyway and I'll prove it to you. I love you Severus Snape. No matter how many times you push me away, no matter how much you rip me to shreds, I love you. I'll do everything in my power to protect you. No one is going to harm you, not while I'm around. All you have to do is let me, let me in, let me love you. Let me protect you, let me wrap my arms around you and hold you when you need it. It's not a weakness to need love, Severus. We all need someone, you're only human after all. Stop being so damn strong."
Severus shook his head, denying himself the comfort Harry was offering.
"You do not understand," Severus regained his composure as he spoke, "I cannot allow myself to feel these emotions, I cannot allow myself to fall into a false sense of security. Every time I've let someone past my defenses, they've taken a part of me left me to rot alone in my prison called life. You couldn't possibly understand the weight I carry. That's why it's impossible."
"It's not impossible-"
"It is beyond a shadow of a doubt in my mind utterly inconceivable to even fathom," Severus fixed himself with a stone expression before facing Harry.
"You're not even willing to try?" Harry asked, his voice sounding small.
"Of course not, it is prudent for me not to."
Harry sighed and took a step back, studying Snape intensely."You... I don't understand you. Deep down you want to be loved but you cut yourself off before you even have a chance. Why? Why, Severus? Don't you realize you're not impervious?"
Severus remained quiet, unsure of how to respond.
"How long do you think I've loved you?" Harry asked suddenly. Severus narrowed his eyes.
"You've only known since last month. I've loved you since I found your body on the floor of the Shrieking Shack, within an inch of death. Did you think I would abandon you then? Did I leave you to die, Severus? No. I fought the healers at St. Mungo's, who insisted that you were beyond repair. Watching you struggle to regain your health on your own merit, such a strength I've never seen in my life. I admired you. Working for you now has been nothing short of torturous, you realize."
"You know nothing about me, foolish boy," Severus sneered, not wanting to deal with the compassion Harry was giving him. He didn't deserve it and he damn sure didn't know what to do with it.
"I don't, but what I do know is more than enough for me. Look, I know my father was a bastard to you. But the cold hard truth is that they're dead, Snape. They are both dead and have been for a while now. You have to let it go. I can't do a damn thing about what James did to you. It's only hurting you by hanging on," Harry paused and ran a shaky hand through his hair. "Is it my fault that I fell in love with your determination, such a strong force of life? Is it so wrong that I can look beyond the past of my youth for you?"
"Foolish brat, you have no right!" Severus seethed with rage at Harry's outburst.
"I have no right to what? To tell you the way I see things? They're my parents, Snape."
"And it's my childhood! You have no right to that!" Snape's eyes were livid.
Harry sighed resignedly. This was getting him nowhere.
"Look, I didn't mean to upset you. I know this is a bit much.. All I'm saying is that you can't go around expecting the worst from everyone. It's not healthy."
"I'll thank you to not worry about my health, Potter. I've got along just fine these past twenty years, I believe I can manage on my own."
And with that Severus stormed out of the room, nostrils flared in what he could only describe as anger, or rather a scalding sensation that burned from deep within. He was just as confused as before, if not worse now. It seemed Potter had a knack for giving the man massive headaches and chest problems.
"I.. It... He.. The nerve of him! That damn brat! I could kill him!"
Minerva watched him rant with a hidden smile.
"Severus, you're flustered."
"I am not!" He felt his cheeks grow warmer as he spoke. He was many things, but flustered he was not.
"Why is it so hard for you to accept it?"
"Why does it seem like everyone is conspiring for me to sleep with The Golden Boy Wonder?!"
"That's hardly the case. You don't see the way he looks at you, do you? More importantly, if you could only see the way you look at him."
Severus scoffed. "I look at Potter no differently than I look at you."
"Quite the contrary, Severus. You should take a look and see, with eyes unclouded."
"I.. I've tried," he admitted, more to himself than to Minerva.
"Then allow me to help you in the process," she replied coolly as she held out a small flask.
Severus knew he would not like whatever she had in store for him. She handed him the flask, to which he carefully uncorked and observed the silvery fluid within. He nodded wordlessly and summoned his Pensieve, hesitation lingering on his every move. Minerva raised an eyebrow as she held out an arm invitingly, pleased when he slid an unsure hand over her arm.
Together they swirled into the Pensieve until their forms materialized in the Great Hall. It was Halloween morning, Severus realized, as floating pumpkins littered the area. Minerva pointed at the staff table, where Harry looked troubled over something. Severus kept his eyes on his own face, pleased to see no difference in composure. His glances towards Potter had been subtle enough. Suddenly, Hooch leaned over and whispered something in the brat's ear and Harry laughed. Both the Pensieve- Snape and Severus directed their full attention towards Harry, Severus watched the mirth in the boy's eyes. Minerva elbowed him in the ribs and pointed at the Pensieve- Snape, who was watching in awe. Suddenly, his brow twitched and his lips pulled up in the slightest inclination of a smile. Severus gasped, if he hadn't seen it himself he would have never believed it.
The scene changed around them and when it reformed, Severus huffed in irritation and immediately folded his arms around his chest. Minerva raised an eyebrow in his direction as they watched the January staff meeting. It was like hell to relive this moment, but watching the scene unfold from Minerva's perspective gave Severus chills. He had never seen himself so angry as he yelled at Harry, the poor boy cowered in fear. He didn't find the pleasure he had felt back then, instead dread loomed in his heart as he witnessed the vexed expression on Harry's face. The sting of the slap and the kiss still weighed heavily on his conscious... And on his lips. The downright ghastly look of shame and indignation on the Pensieve- Snape's face made Severus' heart ache.
Once more Severus found himself in the push and pull of a change, this time Minerva's harsh shouting plagued his ears. It was the first confrontation out of many, he realized, as he stood watching a lost version of himself fumble around words. Reality came crashing down as the scene changed, this time, oddly enough, the conversation Harry and Minerva carried out at the beginning of the year. This time, Severus watched as Harry's form shook and convulsed. How could he have been so stupid? All this time Severus just thought it was stress of teaching children that ate away at Potter's health. Here he saw Harry, broken and miserable, pleading for help on something he didn't know how to handle. Love.
"I've seen enough," he spoke barely above a whisper, but Minerva understood. Wordlessly she pulled them both from the Pensieve and collected her memories from the depths. Severus simply nodded his thanks, words unable to form at his revelation.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Severus," she spoke softly as she turned to leave.
Severus could only stare at the Pensieve, his mind taking him miles away from where he stood.
Harry had never been so embarrassed in his life. Severus made it quite clear that he had no intentions of even acknowledging Harry's love for him. The realization caused Harry's heart to deflate in such a way he never felt before. He spent the greater part of that night in tears because of the way his chest constricted.
He decided that things would be better if he skipped breakfast and lunch altogether. The less he saw Snape, the easier it'd be. He only showed his face in the Great Hall for dinner, much to everyone's chagrin. He didn't have any other way of dealing with this. Every movement Harry made, Snape found a way to belittle him for it. Harry was suffocating.
Snape's sirens went off immediately following three days in succession of a missing Boy Wonder at breakfast. He believed the boy was simply being foolish. He spent a great deal of his time watching Harry intently. He knew eventually he would have to confront the boy, but that meant sorting out his own feelings before hand, which he still had not completed. The tension was so heavy that the students were starting to notice. Severus couldn't allow this to continue.
"Potter!" Severus barked from halfway down the hall as he caught sight of the brat ducking into his quarters. Harry flinched upon hearing his name. He slowed himself to allow the Headmaster to catch him, although he wanted nothing more than to escape to his rooms. So close, he thought to himself.
"Headmaster," Harry nodded in acknowledgment, not quite able to meet the man's eyes.
"So nice of you to join us for dinner tonight. Pray tell, have your evening meals been the only form of substance you've induced in the past week?"
Confusion spread on Harry's face. He forced his features even and gave Severus a stern look.
"Why do you even care?"
"I am required to care for all of my employees' health. What good are you to this institution if you aren't nourishing yourself! If you weren't such a complete imbecile you would have realized by now."
"Enough!" Harry waved an aggressive hand in the space between them. "It's my body Snape, I'll do with it what I please."
Severus seethed. The audacity or sheer stupidity of the boy in front of him knew no bounds. He narrowed his eyes and took a step closer, arm already shoving Harry against his door. Severus leaned close, his temper at the end of his rope, "You will resume meals at their respective times, Potter. The consequences will be most unpleasant if you do not."
Harry returned the glare Snape gave him. "Forget it, Snape. You don't rule me," he shrugged out of the Headmaster's grip, voice dipping low enough for Severus only to hear, "If you're trying to make me hate you, you will never succeed." Harry stormed off and slammed the door in Snape's face.
Severus sputtered in outrage and blasted Harry's wards to shreds. His temper had finally reached its vantage point.
"Mister Potter," he spoke calmly but his eyes put Harry on alert. Harry snarled as the man removed his outer robe revealing a white button down shirt tucked into crisp black slacks. He unbuttoned his cuff links and made a show of rolling his sleeves to his elbows. Harry waited impatiently but when Severus made no attempt at further conversation, Harry steamed.
"Not to be rude or anything, Headmaster, but what do you want?"
Severus raised an eyebrow. "Don't get snippy with me, boy."
Harry glared. "If you have nothing more to say then you can leave, Sir." Harry added as an afterthought.
Severus took a step forward. "Oh, I've got plenty to say to you, Mister Potter, all of which revolve around crude and offensive verbiage," he snarled, mere inches from Harry's face.
Harry clenched his fists defiantly. "I'm not apologizing to you, you heartless greasy fucking bastard."
"I do not want an apology," Severus' eyes flashed danger, a type of danger Harry had never seen in the man before. Even in his school days, he had never seen that look on the formidable man's face. Severus grabbed Harry's collar and threw him hard against the wall. Harry's back arched in pain and the boy flinched, taking the defensive, not knowing what to expect next. His wand, where in the bloody fuck was his wand!
All thought ceased when Severus covered his lips with his own in a demanding kiss, biting Harry's bottom lip as he pulled away.
A deliciously evil smirk tugged at the corners of Snape's mouth. "I will rather enjoy hearing you scream tonight."
Harry gulped and suddenly, he didn't know how, he was on his back in his bed with Severus ripping his clothes to shreds. Harry pushed Snape's head in an attempt to pry the man off but Severus simply pinned the boy's hands above his head and silenced Harry with another hard kiss. Severus released Harry's wrists and moved fast, before harry had the time to sit up the man was all over him, lips moving over his skin with a heat harry never knew existed. The man's hands were gripping and pulling, his nails teasing and scratching, alternating in fast and slow rhythms that had Harry's head spinning. He felt as if he were falling in a vortex of stimulation, and then he felt it. Severus tugged none too softly on Harry's cock and Harry howled, back shooting straight up as his hands found Snape's hair. Severus whispered something in Latin, something Harry's ears missed but told him to be worried, that it was a spell, a curse, a hex, anything to contradict the sweet pain coiling within him.
Severus pushed Harry's pliant legs wide and took his time swirling his tongue like a snake in very sensitive places, according to Harry's movements, careful to avoid the boy's cock until a very needy whine escaped those lips in between pants. Severus complied with only a small lick across the dew forming at the tip. Harry choked, his lungs stuck between a gasp and inhale, and Severus smirked. With his hands still holding Harry's hips open, Severus traced the outline of Harry's cock against the boy's stomach and enjoyed the desperation in Harry's voice. He only rewarded Harry with small licks to the tip, only the tip, not daring to venture any lower. Not yet.
Only when Harry's eyes, clouded by tears, found a set of dark irises watching him intently did Severus dip lower with a painfully slow flick of his tongue along the shaft. Harry pulled his duvet as his eyes rolled back, his stomach contracting with the pleasure building deep within him. Severus raised an eyebrow and smirked, carefully pulling Harry's balls into his mouth and rolling them with that devilish tongue of his.
"You're... Trying..." Harry tried to speak but was instantly breathless when Severus took the tip of his cock in his mouth and sucked. "You're trying to kill me!" he shouted as the pressure in his lower abdomen grew hotter. Severus gave a low moan and released Harry's left leg in favor of cupping the boy's balls as he sucked.
"S-Stop it, o-or I'll c-c-"
Severus released the tip with a small 'pop' and continued his torture with feather light kisses down the shaft. He couldn't help the smile that broke his concentration as Harry groaned and kicked in frustration.
"Is there a problem, Mister Potter?" Severus asked in a fake authoritarian voice. Harry shivered, eyes pleading with the man above him.
"Please..." Harry whispered, his face flushed at the realization of what he was asking for.
Severus released his hold on the boy and moved himself to level with Harry, one hand above the boy's head while the other held Harry's waist, his knees keeping Harry's legs apart. He held the boy's eyes as he leaned in close, nose to nose, mouths only inches apart.
"'Please' what, Mister Potter?" He asked in a heavy whisper, his mouth moving against Harry's in a transparent kiss.
"I-I don't know," Harry's stomach dipped with each shallow breath he took.
Severus shook his head slightly. "You don't.. know?"
"I... I-I don't.."
Severus moved his hand lower and wrapped those slender elegant fingers firmly around Harry's cock. He sucked the boy's ear lobe and uttered in a deep tone, "Say it."
"Oh! Don't.. Don't do that!"
He slid his hand up and down the shaft in a slow pace. "Say it, Harry..."
"An invitation, perhaps?" Severus pulled back enough so that Harry could watch him lick his lips. Harry's eyes widened, Severus was looking at him with a hunger so intense, the man would probably devour Harry on the spot.
"No, wait," Harry panted as Severus began sinking lower once more. The man quirked an eyebrow but continued his exploration.
This time, however, there was no preamble or soft musings as Potter waited. Severus gripped the erect appendage and shoved his mouth down with great force, coaxing as much as he could within its grasp. His hands soothed Harry's abdomen as the boy's body lifted from the bed completely. Severus hollowed his cheeks, slurping and swallowing around the thick member as he pleased. Harry squealed and whimpered, his hands roughly pulling at Snape's hair as his hips began a rhythm of their own to match the Headmaster's pace. Hissing at the discomfort, Severus released Harry's prick only to pull the tip between his teeth and give the boy a sharp bite. Harry yelped and released his grip, but kept his hands tangled in Snape's silk strands. He apologetically soothed the man's scalp as reparation and much to his delight Snape hummed, the vibrations reverberating through his cock.
Severus stilled the boy's hips and worked his lips around the tip, alternating in sucking, then pulling at the skin, then licking the shaft. The third rotation earned him a sharp gasp, the fifth a moan, and on the tenth Harry was panting wildly and thrusting his hips in search of some sort of friction or anything to relieve the pressure building.
Severus pulled the tip in slowly.
He applied hard pressure as he sucked the shaft down.
He lapped his tongue around the base, relaxing his throat enough to reach Harry's balls.
He could only hum in approval as Harry's hips rocketed and soon Harry was shouting, obscenely, and coming hard into Snape's throat. Severus refused to release him until he released the first round. He let majority of the length slide through his lips, but only just so; he was still sucking once Harry found his release and he didn't plan on stopping anytime soon. He milked the boy's erection dry, careful to swallow each and every drop.
"If you can still talk, I have not done my job properly."
"Slytherins..." Harry moaned bonelessly as he tugged on Severus' hair. Severus followed and found himself kissing Harry with every ounce of passion he saved up for this moment. Harry was all too eager when Severus snaked his tongue over, he could taste the bitter remnants of himself in Snape's mouth. He loved it- the texture, the taste, the pure eroticism of it all.
"That... Was amazing," Harry moaned as Severus nipped at his neck. He made an attempt at unbuttoning the man's shirt but Severus quickly swatted his hands away.
"You think I'm done?" he asked in a matter- of- fact tone.
"W-What? No, you have to be, I- I can't-"
The older smirked and cupped Harry's chin gingerly. "I have much more in store for you, Mister Potter."
Severus loved the way those emerald eyes widened with surprise. He pulled away and began snapping the buttons off with one hand, a talent that only he could make as erotic as Harry thought in that moment. Harry stole glances at Snape's torso, which, to Harry's surprise, seemed to be well toned. Severus threw Harry a heated look and shrugged his shirt off, revealing an outline of soft sculpted abs that Harry never would have guessed too residence beneath that dark cloak of his.
"Oh, my," Harry gasped, he couldn't help it. His hands wandered on their own volition to touch the skin he longed to touch all year, to memorize each contour, each scar, each dip he could possibly reach. He moved to sit up but Severus pushed him back, a single finger tap dancing across his chest as the man considered him like a prey to be toyed with.
Severus slid one leg across Harry's waist and kept the younger pinned beneath him like so, taking advantage of his position to kiss Harry senseless as his hands did all the work. Slowly, Severus stirred the heat to a simmer as his fingers played Harry to the tune of his body.
"This is torture, Severus," Harry protested as he felt the pressure pulse from deep in his stomach. His heart fluttered as he caught the man smile, a genuine smile, something Harry never thought he'd get to see in his lifetime.
"Perhaps," Severus replied as his fingers glided over Harry's member. Harry sucked in a breath of air as his hips rose uncontrollably.
Severus wasted no time in establishing a firm grip on Harry's cock, this time he used his hand to bring the length to full height. Harry squirmed defiantly but Severus held him down, despite the boy's shouts.
"A little sensitive, I see..." He dipped his hand low and gave the boy's balls a firm pull, then he reached even lower to caress the cavern between the boy's ass. Harry bit his lip to keep from screaming.
"Suck, Potter," Severus commanded as he brought a finger to the boy's mouth, and Harry did not hesitate in accepting the digit with delight. Once satisfied, Severus slid the finger back at Harry's entrance and teased the area by slightly pushing through the tight rim.
"OhGod, ohGod, ohGodohGodohGod! It's not fair, how can you still have pants on by now! Severus!"
Severus stilled himself and for a second, Harry worried that he had said something wrong. The look on Snape's face was strained, his eyes were closed in concentration as if he were fighting for control, although control over what exactly Harry did not know. When Severus opened his eyes, Harry could see the lust radiating in electric currents.
"Do you want my cock, Harry?" Severus purred, his voice absolute satin to Harry's ears. The man resumed stroking Harry's cock slowly. Harry blushed at the question and moaned.
"Tell me," Severus urged, coaxing the skin between his thumb and forefinger by pulling it over the tip and back down again. Harry shivered, Snape's voice was too needy, too demanding, too fucking sexy, and it was doing things to him, things he never felt before. If Snape told him to jump he would have gladly jumped at his command.
"Yes," the answer was whispered, barely audible but Severus caught it.
Severus stroked Harry to perfection but stopped just short of the boy's orgasm. With a deranged look on his face, Harry whined and hit the bed in frustration. He worked the button to Snape's slacks undone and shoved both pants and briefs off while the man maneuvered them so that Harry was now straddling Snape. Severus clutched Harry's waist and brought their groins together in a clash of fire. Skin to skin, Harry placed his hands on Snape's chest as his hips thrust against Snape's erection. Severus soothed Harry's hips to a halt as he positioned himself better. Using the boy's hips as friction, Severus dragged Harry's waist in a suggestive motion.
"Do it," he murmured in Harry's ear, hands guiding the movement.
Harry rocked his hips along with the man's hands holding him so intimately, he felt a million jolts of electricity flowing between them.
He rocked again, harder this time, and the current intensified. Snape answered with a thrust of his own, their cocks rubbing against each other in a heat that was entirely theirs, so hot and so perfect.
"Come on, do it, rub it."
His body shook as he sped up, the fire consuming him raw with need. His eyes locked with Snape's and Harry knew it would be like this, the lust, the passion, so intense that Harry lost himself as the pressure coiled tighter and tighter. Severus watched his every move, not missing the slightest detail. If he had only known Harry could be this erotic, this sensual yet innocent to the point of sweet torturous pain, he would have the boy crawling back for more.
"Come for me, Harry, come for me right now," Severus moaned and suddenly Harry was falling into a thousand stars. His cock constricted and pulsed as it released a thick spurt between them, Harry's body trembled with each spring that uncoiled. He was screaming so loudly that Severus stole his breath in a kiss to silence him, to soothe him, to bring him back from the euphoria. Just feeling Harry's orgasm spurred his own and Severus came in three long, hard strokes while kissing Harry's soft lips.
"Your voice," Harry panted as he collapsed into the warmth, "Should be illegal."
"Unfortunately for you, it is not," Severus replied equally breathless. He absently drew his arms around Harry's waist and shifted so that Harry was now laying beside him. Harry drifted an arm across Snape's chest
"So... Do we need to have a talk?"
"I would have thought your screaming would have solved that."
Harry blushed, a bit flustered. "But, before, when you-"
"Anything before tonight does not matter," Severus did not mean to sound as closed as he did, it was just a habit.
"But, you were angry, and I-"
"Harry," Severus pulled Harry's chin up so that their eyes locked, "It does not matter. I realized I was.. Biased in my opinions of you, but my reasoning was wrong. I was determined to deny the fact that I developed any sort of feelings towards you and in doing so I only made the situation worse. This," Severus waved his hand between them, "Would have happened eventually. We seem to have this sort of... Chemistry," he smirked. "How else do you explain the fact that you can slap me and kiss me in the same breath?"
"So... You didn't have this planned out? It just sort of... Happened?"
"I assure you, when I came looking for you tonight I had no such intentions of seduction or molestation."
"Well, you didn't molest me. We didn't exactly have sex, you know." Harry yawned against the crane of Snape's chest.
"I should go," Severus started but Harry shook his head.
"No, you're not going anywhere. Stay. Please," he added for effect as his eyes drifted shut.
Severus sighed, already comfortable enough to sleep for the night. What harm could it do.
"Fine. However, if you should wake before I do, I must warn you. Do not wake me. I am not a morning person."
"Duly noted," Harry mumbled before slipping off to a peaceful slumber.
Minerva came to a halt at the first shout outside of Harry's door. Torn between concern and the need to conserve privacy, she hesitated in knocking. She wasn't sure if they were fighting or fucking, and honestly she didn't want to find out. She just wanted to make sure Harry was alright, whatever the outcome.
"You're trying to kill me!"
Now, out of context, that really didn't help Minerva's situation at all. She concluded that, if the circumstances were on the off chance of love, Severus would have produced a Muffliato spell to conceal their passion. Yes, that seemed like a Slytherin move, and most assuredly the course of action Severus would take.
Throwing caution to the wind, Minerva barged into Harry's quarters, only to find it empty. The living area, the office, the lounge, all empty.
"Don't- Don't do that! Fuck!"
Minerva followed the sounds until she found herself outside of Potter's bedroom. Again, her conscious told herself that the Headmaster wouldn't be that carefree to not censor any outlandish behavior. He would, however, have the good graces to murder Harry on the spot. Driven by that last thought, Minerva slipped the door open a sliver, just enough to peek through the crack.
What she saw, however...
She closed the door with as much subtlety as she could and quickly hurried out of Potter's rooms, face flushed a deep scarlet red. Honestly, how was that position even possible for human anatomy! Once outside Harry's door, she silently 'meep'd' to herself and drew her wand. The least she could do was provide those two dunderheaded lovers a little cover.
"Muffliato," she squeaked, eyes still wide as she turned on her heels and walked away.
A few weeks later, Minerva smirked from behind her tea as she observed Severus and Harry in the far corner of the room. Harry spoke from behind a very large leather bound book, a confused expression on his face. Anyone else would have missed how casually Severus touched the younger's shoulder in an almost loving manner, or how easily their eyes found each other with no malice intended. No, anyone else but Minerva would have missed that endearing smile tugging at the upper corner of the Headmaster's betraying mouth. Severus reached in front of Harry and pointed at a single line of text. As he spoke, Harry gave the man his full attention, until Severus locked gazes with the boy. Harry blushed and looked away, practically drooling. Anyone else would have missed how wrapped around the other's fingers each of the men were.
But, she was hardly anyone other than herself, and Minerva never missed a beat.