An Accident in Time
The knock on the door came
just when Harry had set his dinner dishes to wash themselves in the
Harry sighed and glanced at
the clock, then shook his head and went to answer the door, expecting
to see either Wesley Charlton, his ex-lover who kept trying to come
back to him, or Ginny, who kept hoping that perhaps someday he would
figure out that being gay was just a phase and come back to her.
What Harry had not expected
upon opening the door was see a gangly adolescent boy, dressed in
too-large wizarding robes, glaring at him with all-too familiar black
Reeling with vertigo, Harry
clung to the door and blinked at the boy – young man – who looked like
a younger version of Severus Snape.
Exactly like a younger version of
And he even sounded like him.
The voice was younger but unmistakably Severus Snape.
The boy who looked and
sounded like Snape narrowed his eyes in a hard, impatient stare.
'You are Potter, aren't you?' he
Harry blinked, swallowed, and
firmly told himself to stop acting like an idiot. If the boy had to ask
who he was, he couldn’t be Severus Snape, no matter how similar he
looked. Not when they had known each other for over fifteen years.
Besides, the last time Harry had seen him, Snape had been a grown man
of forty-odd years.
So Harry made himself smile
politely and answer, 'Yes, I am Harry Potter.'
The boy gave one, sharp,
short nod. 'You look a lot like James Potter. You related?'
Once more, Harry had to grip
onto the door, feeling dizzy, as though the world had just hiccoughed
off course and proceeded to spin in a different direction.
If the boy knew James Potter,
who had been dead for longer than this boy seemed to have been alive …
'Snape?' Harry asked faintly.
The boy’s black eyes grew
sharper, more wary and distrustful, and the thin body swaddled in the
black robes twitched ever so slightly. Tense, ready to bolt, his gaze
so intense Harry wondered vaguely if this was what Legilimency looked
like on a less trained wizard.
'Yes?' the boy said
Harry swallowed. 'Severus
Snape. Oh Merlin.'
The boy – Snape – took a
sudden step forwards, his eyes alert and demanding. With his sharp,
hooked nose looking even larger in the face of a teenaged boy, he
reminded Harry of a predator ready to strike.
'You know me?' the young
Snape asked, his voice vibrating with breathless urgency.
Harry nodded weakly. 'Yeah.
Yeah, I … know you.'
The boy gave another sharp
nod and bounced back on his feet. 'Good.'
Before Harry had opportunity
to ask, an envelope was thrust in his face. A familiar, spikey hand had
written his name and address on it.
'It said you’d explain this.'
Harry looked from the
envelope to Snape’s face and saw the fear the boy had been trying to
hide in the slight relaxation of his body’s tension. He shook his head,
took the letter, and stepped back from the door, holding it open for
his unexpected guest.
'You'd better come in.'
The boy who was Snape did not
'It said you'd explain,' he
Harry ran a hand through his
hair. 'Look, I have no idea what is going on. Yes, I know you, but not
like you are now. I need to sit down and read the letter and understand
this situation, and I’d rather not do that out here in the open. It’s
getting late and it’s getting chilly.' He sighed and added, 'And I’ve
got the feeling that the situation can't be dealt with in five minutes.
So, come in, sit down, and give me a moment to read this.'
Snape hesitated, gave him a
sharp look, and then seemed to decide. Keeping a wary eye on Harry, he
sidled through the door, never turning his back to Harry. Harry, being
familiar with Snape's paranoia – some of which came thanks to one James
Potter – closed the door and then turned towards his living room.
'Come in here and sit down,'
he said over his shoulder. Taking the rustling behind him as indication
that Snape followed him, Harry walked through his little entrance hall
into the spacious living room. Heading straight to his armchair, Harry
plopped down, thankful to sit.
Snape sidled in behind him
and moved cautiously over to the sofa, where he perched on the edge.
The tension in his body and the way his wary eyes darted from Harry to
every corner of the room and back again told Harry that this Snape
would jump up and run at the merest hint of imagined danger. He wanted
to say something reassuring and calming, but he couldn’t think of words
that would work on Snape.
Deciding that reassuring
Snape could wait until he understood what was going on, Harry merely
gave the boy a smile and concentrated on the letter in his hands.
A standard, brown envelope,
the address written in black ink. Nothing extraordinary. A few checks
with his wand revealed no jinks or curses. The letter had been written
by Severus Snape with no harmful intention towards the receiver. Harry
swallowed, ripped the envelope open, and let the folded parchment slide
into his hand. After another quick glance at the boy, who was watching
his every move with distrustful caution, Harry began to read.
I am writing this in the firm hope
that it will never become necessary. However, in the event of my life
once more becoming subject to fate’s mockery, I will need you to know.
Although you were a very unwelcome
witness to the event, it may have slipped your execrable memory that I
did not escape what has grandly been termed the “Battle of Hogwarts”
unscathed. Even now, almost ten years later, I am not free of the
damage I received that night. It is this damage that will have sent an
adolescent boy with my name and my face to your door with this letter.
In plain words, so that even you can
understand: I was cursed, and the effects of that curse still linger.
The result you have now seen with your own eyes. Yes, Potter, that boy is me.
For you to take the required action,
you must understand what happened, and so I will attempt to explain the
details of my condition.
This is not the result of a single
curse that hit me during the battle. Do not go haring off in an attempt
to find curses that reduce physical age. No such curse exists. If it
did, wizards and witches would have been using it for centuries. No, my
unexpected youth is due to an unfortunate combination of spells, and
the resulting irregular reaction of magic.
The original, attempted curse was an
Aging Spell – sub-category Senescere Exsecratio, type Chronos Epirroi,
with an attempt at a triple circulation (ask you friend Mrs Weasley
née Granger for the explanation if you don’t understand) – cast
by one of my former Death Eater comrades. You have seen the effects of
Aging spells of the Chronos Epirroi type, I believe, when the Misters
Weasley endeavoured to trick a certain Age Line around the Goblet of
Fire. The sub-category Senescere Exsecratio, however, is classified
Dark, as the spell’s intent is to harm and finally kill the victim. The
curse cast on me was meant to speed my aging three-fold.
Unfortunately, the caster had neither
the power nor the ability to cast the curse correctly. It would not
have mattered if the spell had failed. However, the incorrectly cast
curse had unforeseen results when it collided with a Disarming Spell,
an Expelliarmus, I believe. I suspect Longbottom cast it. The result
was the opposite of the original intent – not aging but de-aging.
As the curse failed, the effect is
highly irregular. It is neither lasting nor cumulative. That means I
have not steadily grown younger, Potter. Instead, the curse flares up
erratically, with no discernible trigger, and I suffer from what I have
termed “youth flashes”. These flashes regenerate me for unpredictable
time spans. Sometimes mere months, but other times years.
During these flashes, I regress to
the person I was at that age. I have no access to knowledge and skills
I acquired after that point in my life. I do not remember what has
happened in the years that I have lost. Occasionally, though, I retain
dim memories of the past that will become my future.
Take your time understanding this,
Potter. I know you will have trouble untangling the mess that passes
for your brain.
I do, however, remember most of what
happens during a flash.
In general, the youth flashes neither
last long nor do they de-age me significantly. However, some flashes
have cost me a considerable number of years, and I suspect that, one
day, a flash will de-age me into an underage wizard.
Since you are reading this letter, my
suspicion is correct. I can only hope I have not grown too young to
reach you before someone else reaches me.
This is the reason I came to your
home, Potter. I need help, your help, as much as it pains me to even
write it down.
No, I do not need help finding a cure. I doubt there is anything you could do for me in that respect. However, there are people who would very much like to catch me underage, and they are not disgruntled former comrades of mine. I seem to have a talent for gathering contacts who seek to use me for their own benefit without any thought of my health or well-being.
This past decade, I have been seeking
a cure for my condition. You are aware that I have not yet been
successful. Still, the time spent in research was not entirely wasted,
though I doubt you are aware of my achievements. I would be surprised
if you even read the News in Magical Research page in The Daily
Other wizards and witches do,
however, and for several years I have been in close contact with
Healers at St Mungo’s, as well as a number of Unspeakables. They have
all shown great interest in the physical, mental, and magical changes I
undergo during a youth flash, and their help and insights have been
invaluable in some respects.
Yet, as I implied above, my contacts
seem ultimately only interested in those insights they can gain from my
condition. Both St Mungo’s and the Department of Mysteries have
repeatedly suggested I undergo further tests to discover how my body
and magic react to the youth flash, to determine the workings of my
mind and memories during the regression or regressed state. For the
sake of magical science or, Merlin forbid, the greater good.
I have read the outlines of several
of those “tests”, and I refuse to be an object they can vivisect for
However, now that I am underage, I
have no power to refuse their demands. Legally, I am a minor without a
guardian, which places me in the power of the Ministry. Say what you
will about the “new Ministry”, Potter, they will not protect me. They
will cite the “greater good” and hand me over the moment the request is
You will stop them, Potter. I invoke
the Life Debt that you owe me to protect me from the Ministry and St
Mungo’s alike. You will take care of me until the flash has passed and
I have returned to my proper age. This includes care of my physical,
mental, emotional, and magical well-being. I shall consider the Life
Debt null and void when this is over.
Exhaling noisily, Harry let
the letter fall into his lap.
Well. That explained a lot.
'So?' an impatient voice
asked, and Harry looked up at the boy Severus Snape had become. He was
leaning forwards with his eyes intently on Harry’s face.
'Does it explain? The letter?
What is going on?'
Harry nodded slowly. 'Yeah.
Yeah, it …' He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, wondering how he
could tell the boy. 'Yes, it explains your problem.'
'And? What happened?'
Harry bit his lip and glanced
down at the letter. He had no idea how to do this, how to tell this boy
that he was actually a grown man and that his current youth was due to
a magical accident. Snape hadn't left him any clues, either. It would
be easier if he remembered, at least a little. But he said he usually
didn't remember. Usually.
Cautiously hopeful, Harry
looked back up again and asked, 'How much do you remember?'
Snape frowned. 'Remember
Harry shrugged helplessly.
'Everything. Your life. What happened to you.'
The look he got in response
was so pure Severus Snape that Harry felt as though he had been
de-aged, too – into an eleven-year-old.
'I don’t know what happened
to me, Potter. That’s why I'm here!'
'Yeah, but … I mean, what was
the last thing you remember before you woke up this morning? Or
whenever you woke up today.' Slowly, Harry’s brain digested the
unexpected news and moved into work-mode. 'What happened after you woke
up? How did you know to come here? And that I would be able to explain?'
Snape stared at him for a
moment. He hunched his shoulders ever so slightly, an instinctive
gesture of self-protection that Snape probably didn't even realise he
had made, or thought was so slight no one would notice. It made Harry
'It was a letter,' Snape said
after a moment of silence.
'Yes, a letter. I … found it.
It was addressed to me. Severus Snape, underage wizard, it said on the
envelope.' Snape stopped, watching Harry intently.
Harry, having no idea what
was going on inside of the boy's head, nodded encouragingly. Snape
hesitated a little longer, then went on, 'I thought … But there wasn't
an explanation in there. Only your name, and that you would explain it
to me, and your address and Apparation coordinates.'
Harry nodded again, wondering
why Snape tensed further. Perhaps he thought he would get into trouble
because he Apparated without a license. 'Okay, so you read the letter
and Apparated here.'
Snape's hands were hidden by
the robes' overlong sleeves, but Harry thought he saw them clench.
'I did not Apparate,' the boy
said with painful formality and superficially hidden vulnerability. 'I
am not of age and do not have my Apparation license.'
'Oh.' Harry remembered the
glimpses he'd had of Snape's childhood. 'You came the Muggle way?'
A short, sharp twitch of the
boy's head answered him. 'Knight bus.'
Harry opened his mouth to ask
– how he got the money, if someone had recognised him – but bit his
tongue. Better not. It could only end messily. Instead, Harry asked,
'Okay, but what about that letter? How did you get it?' Had Snape
somehow managed to develop a spell that timed the appearance of the
letter with the youth flash that would make him underage?
'I found it,' Snape repeated
Sighing, Harry ran a hand
through his hair. 'Okay. Let me guess. You woke up, this morning or
whenever, you were in a house you didn't recognise, and you imagined
the worst. So you started rooting around to try and find out what,
where, who, why, and how. Right?'
Snape pressed his lips into a
thin line and shuffled his feet. A very faint rose colour spread over
his cheeks. 'Yes,' he admitted grudgingly. 'I found that letter in a
drawer.' He took a deep breath, straightened his shoulders, and looked
challengingly at Harry. 'It was written in my own handwriting.'
His tone was so belligerent
that it took Harry a moment to understand why. Snape probably thought
Harry would think him crazy. Harry tried for a reassuring smile.
'Uh, yeah. Yeah, of course it
Snape's eyes widened in
surprise – or perhaps shock – before he managed to control his
expression. 'So.' He swallowed, trying to appear unconcerned. 'So, the
house … that was my house?'
Harry shrugged but nodded.
'Most likely, yeah.'
Snape nodded as well, but
slowly, thoughtfully. 'I … I thought the house looked … looked as
though someone like me might be living there. As though
<i>I</i> might be living there.' He looked back at Harry,
and this time couldn't hide his confusion and fear. 'But why would I
have written myself a letter?'
'Um …' Harry's mind raced,
trying to come up with the best explanation. Something that was
straightforward, not too shocking but still believable. He came up
blank. Finally, he shrugged and handed Snape the letter he had brought
Harry. 'Here. Read this.'
Snape looked from him to the
letter and back at him. Slowly, he reached out and took it. He stared
at Harry for a while longer before he lowered his eyes to read. He
tilted his head slightly so that his hair slid forwards and veiled his
Harry sat back in his
armchair and waited. He couldn't see Snape's face but the sudden
tension in the thin body told him more than that would have. The
trembling of his skinny, pale hands – not yet potion-stained – was
barely discernable. After several quiet moments, long enough for Snape
to have read the letter at least twice, the boy looked up.
His face was sickly pale. His
eyes were wide and panicked. Yet his voice was calm, though tight
enough to make Harry wince with the effort it must cost Snape not to
'So. A magical accident did
this.' He paused and took a deep, shaky breath. 'How old am I?'
Harry hesitated, considering,
not sure whether he ought to answer outright. Snape had already gone
through quite a lot, from not knowing where he was and what had
happened to him, to be forced to go visit a stranger and trust him to
explain. But on the other hand, Harry remembered only too well how much
he had loathed being left in the dark by adults "for his own good".
'How old am I?' Snape
Harry sighed and gave in.
'Can't say for absolutely certain, but around forty-eight, I think.'
What colour there had been in
Snape's pale face rushed out. His eyes were wide, dark holes in his
thin face. He opened his mouth, but all that came out was a choked
gasp. His breathing sped up unnaturally.
'Oh, shit.' Harry jumped up
and grabbed the boy's shoulders. Snape twitched and made an aborted
move to jerk away. 'Breathe,' Harry ordered, trying to remember what
Auror training had said about calming down victims or relatives.
'Relax. Concentrate on breathing.'
Snape spat a few, choked
words and flailed his arms. He struggled to get up. Harry pushed him
'No, don't move, don't talk.
Concentrate on breathing. Everything else afterwards.' Wrapping one arm
around Snape's thin, shaking shoulders, Harry groped for his wand and
cast a simple Breathing Charm on Snape. Immediately, Snape's breathing
Snape made a soft sound and
another attempt to get away, but it was half-hearted and Harry had no
trouble keeping him on the sofa.
'Don't get up,' he said.
Reaching out, he gathered a blanket and spread it over Snape's thin
shoulders. 'Here. Just sit here and calm down. It's all right. You'll
see.' He patted Snape's shoulder and made move to get up.
A hand shot out of the
tangled robes and grabbed his wrist. For such a thin person, Snape was
surprisingly strong. Harry looked down and met panicked eyes. He gave
his best, reassuring smile.
'Hey, don't worry. I'm not
going away. Just into the kitchen, making a pot of tea. We could use
it, don't you think? You just sit here. I'll be back in a moment, and
we'll talk some more. Okay?'
Snape stared at him and took
a couple of deep breaths. His dark eyes were sharp as he looked up into
Harry's face, and again Harry wondered if Snape was trying to use
Legilimency. He projected thoughts about tea to the forefront of his
mind and kept his reassuring smile steady. After a moment of searching
Harry's face, Snape let go of his wrist.
'Okay.' His voice was trying
very hard not to be shaky. 'Okay, I, I…'
Harry gave his shoulder a
squeeze, but then went into the kitchen without trying to reassure the
boy again. It wouldn't help.
In the kitchen, Harry needed
only a few, quick flicks of his wand to start the tea to preparations.
He wasn't all that good with household charms, but preparing tea was
one he could do in his sleep. While he arranged teacups, cream and
sugar on a tray and waited for the kettle to sing, he kept an ear out,
listening for Snape. All was quiet, though, and when he returned a
couple of minutes later with the tray floating before him, the boy was
huddled on the sofa, the blanket wrapped around him.
'Here.' Harry pulled the
small table Hermione had kept on insisting he needed over and placed
the tray on it. 'How do you drink your tea?'
Snape blinked at him and then
at the teacup Harry held out to him. 'Oh. Sugar. Please.'
Harry added some sugar and
handed Snape the cup. 'If you want more sugar, feel free.'
Snape accepted his cup slowly
and sipped. 'It's okay, thank you,' he said very politely.
Harry doubted it, but didn't
say anything. He simply fixed himself a cup and sat down in his
After they had sipped their
tea in silence – and Harry had kept watching Snape – he spoke up. 'So,
you know what happened to you and what brought you here, and I suppose
you have a lot of questions.'
Snape stared into his tea. He
was quite obviously debating with himself what to ask. Or perhaps
whether to ask at all.
'You never said if you were
related to James Potter.'
That wasn't quite the
question Harry had expected, but he shrugged and answered nevertheless.
'Yes, I was. He was my father.'
Snape looked up. 'Was. He
Harry looked at him,
searching for something like glee in Snape's face, but there was only
He nodded. 'Yes,' he said
slowly. 'He died. A long time ago.' It felt odd to tell Snape. After
all, he was directly responsible for the Potters' deaths. Somehow,
Harry couldn't blame him any longer, though. After all, Snape's plea to
Voldemort for Lily's life had allowed Harry's mother to sacrifice
herself for her son – and had, in the end, helped Harry to win.
Snape stared at him so
intently that Harry wondered whether he had read Harry's thoughts. The
next question came unexpected, nevertheless.
'Your eyes,' Snape said
hesitantly. 'I …'
'Oh.' Harry grimaced and
suddenly felt a lot more awkward. 'I. Yes, well, I have my mother's
Snape's face twisted,
crumpled. He looked as if he was about to cry. 'She married him.'
'Yeah.' Harry bit his lip,
and then decided he'd better tell Snape, to get it over with. 'She's
dead, too. They died the same day. Voldemort killed them.'
At the mention of the name,
Snape jumped and grabbed his left forearm. Harry's eyes widened – but
so did Snape's. The boy stared down at his arm, pushed up the long
sleeve. His forearm was unmarked.
'I … I thought …' he
He looked so pained and
confused it hurt Harry to go on. 'Yeah. Um. You are.'
Snape's head snapped up.
'You, your older self, were
marked. With Voldemort's Dark Mark.'
Snape's eyes went unfocused.
'I … did it, then. There are … boys in my House who …'
Harry sighed. 'Yeah, you did.
You were a Death Eater. But when Voldemort threatened my mum, you went
to Dumbledore and, um. Well, told him you'd do whatever he wanted if he
kept my mum safe.'
Snape's eyes, wide and
afraid, fixed on Harry's face. Harry made himself go on, 'It didn't
work, obviously. A close friend of my parents betrayed them to
Voldemort, and he found them. He was actually after me, because a
prophecy had told him about a child being born with the power to defeat
him.' Harry shook his head and pointed to the scar on his forehead. 'He
hit me with the Death Curse, but I survived.'
'That's impossible!' Snape
burst out. He sat up so suddenly the tea sloshed onto the saucer.
'There is no defence against Avada Kedavra!'
Harry looked down at his
hands holding the cup. 'He gave my mother the chance to step aside. But
she didn't. And when she died … for me …' He shrugged uncomfortably.
'Dumbledore said that my mum's sacrifice protected me. And I kept only
the scar.' He didn't say anything about the Horcruxes. Snape didn't
need to know about that.
'Why Dumbledore?' Snape asked
after a pause.
'Why did I go to Dumbledore?
To keep Lily safe?'
'Oh.' Harry nodded. 'You
wouldn't know that, of course. Um, Dumbledore was the leader of the
Order of the Phoenix. The Order fought against the Death Eaters. And
Dumbledore was known as the only wizard Voldemort was ever really
afraid of. So, yeah, you went to him. And he gave you a position at
Hogwarts,' Harry went on, anticipating what would probably have been
the next question. 'You were the Potions master. That's how I met you,
by the way.' He grimaced at the memory.
Snape gaped at him. 'I was a teacher?'
'Yeah.' Harry had to chuckle
at the boy's expression. 'Not the career you'd have chosen, was it?'
'No.' Snape snorted.
'What would you've liked to
do?' Harry asked, suddenly curious. He had never thought about it
Snape eyed him over the rim
of his teacup. 'Why do you ask?'
'I'm curious, I suppose. I
mean, one of the first things I ever got to know about you was that you
were the Potions master but wanted to teach Defence Against the Dark
Arts. But after the war, you went into private potions brewing.' Harry
shrugged. 'I just wondered.'
'Oh.' Snape licked his lips
and sipped his tea. He looked a little discomfited. 'I … I want to go
to St Mungo's.'
Harry blinked, surprised. 'A
'Yeah.' Snape looked up
Harry blinked some more. 'Oh.
Um.' He cocked his head. 'Yeah, actually, I can see that,' he said
thoughtfully. 'In sixth year, they seemed to always ask you.
Dumbledore, he said something about you saving his life with a potion,
I think, but with Leanne, that was probably a spell to stop the curse
and—' He stopped, seeing Snape's bewildered face. 'Sorry, just thinking
out loud. But, yes, I can see you as Healer.' He grinned. 'You don't
have any bedside manner, though.'
Snape narrowed his eyes at
him, and Harry sighed. He probably thought Harry was laughing at him.
And, most likely, wouldn't believe it if Harry told him otherwise.
Harry backtracked the conversation to what they had been talking about
before to find a way to go on.
'Um. So, anyway, you were
teaching at Hogwarts when Voldemort vanished the first time. Everyone
thought he was dead, except Dumbledore. And he was right, of course.'
'What about you?'
'Your … parents had been
killed, you said.'
'Oh. Yes.' Harry wrinkled his
nose. 'Well, since all of my grandparents were dead, I was given to my
only living relative, mum's sister.'
'Tuney?' Snape was
incredulous. 'But she hates
Harry nodded and gripped his
cup a little tighter. 'Yes, well, she wasn't all too pleased to be
saddled with me.'
Snape's eyes were
uncomfortably shrewd. 'I see. She called you a freak, too, did she?'
Harry nodded, surprised. Then
he remembered that Snape must have had more contact with Petunia than
Harry had seen in his memories. He'd probably seen some of the
resentment Petunia had held for the magical world after it had become
obvious that she wouldn't be part of it. 'She did. And my uncle, too.'
Snape's face showed an
expression of disgusted disbelief. 'She married? Who would have wanted
to marry someone like that? Ew.'
Harry was startled into a
laugh, and then decided not to try and stifle it. It wasn't nice,
laughing at Aunt Petunia. But she had never been nice to him, either.
'Hey, my uncle wasn't a lot
better,' he said. 'He thought exactly the same way she did. But he
looked like a walrus. And my cousin was even more stupid than my aunt
and uncle together, and he looked like a pig! Well,' he amended, 'in
the end, Dudley, that's my cousin, kind of redeemed himself. But my
uncle was glad I was gone, and I can tell you, I was more than happy to
never have to see them again!'
There was that shrewd
expression on Snape's face again. He looked as though he understood a
lot more than Harry had wanted to say. Well, if his home situation had
been anything like the few flashes that Harry had seen in the man's
memories and the Pensieve …
'Um, anyway. I left the day I
turned seventeen. And besides, I spent most of the year at Hogwarts, so
that was all right.'
'Gryffindor, right?' Snape
Harry felt his hackles rise
at the smirk the boy gave him. He could see the adult Snape in that. He
reacted the same way he had done as a boy: thoughtlessly.
'Yes, well, the Sorting Hat
wanted to put me in Slytherin,' Harry snapped. 'But I'd already heard
that Voldemort had been in Slytherin, and I didn't want to be in the
same House as the murderer of my parents, so, yeah, Gryffindor.'
Snape stared at him. Harry
blinked. Whoops. Perhaps he shouldn't have told him that bit about
Slytherin. Hastily, Harry went on, 'And anyway, it doesn't matter
anymore, now. I've been out of Hogwarts now for longer than I was
'Played Quidditch?' Snape
Harry growled. 'Yes, yes, all
like my father, thank you. You don't have to say it again. I've heard
it more than enough from you.'
Snape shrank back a little at
the harsh tone. 'So I gathered correctly from my older self's letter to
you that I don't like you much,' he said stiffly.
Harry fiddled with the handle
of his cup. 'No, you don't like me at all. You loathed my father, and I
happen to look a lot like him, so you loathed me on principle, too. And
I didn't like you much, either, because you were a perfect arsehole to
me right from the beginning.'
Snape's eyes had gone wide at
the swearword. He looked cautiously delighted, like a boy who'd been
disciplined for using "language" and was delirious at having caught an
adult using it.
Harry huffed. 'Yeah, you were
an arsehole, so I was an arsehole right back at you. Didn't stop you
from saving my life, and more than once, too.'
'I did?' Snape now looked
'Yeah. Well, the first time,
which was during my first year, so you can see I had a really
interesting time at Hogwarts, that first time was because you owed my
dad a Life Debt. But you kept saving my life afterwards, too. Um, I
think. Well, you more or less told me that it was for my mum's sake.'
Harry flushed a little at the white lie. Snape hadn't exactly told him … and if the man had
thought that he would survive the war, he'd never have left certain
memories in the "secret Pensieve", Harry was sure.
Unfortunately, Snape was
sharp enough to see that something didn't match up. 'I told you? Not
likely, if I didn't like you that much.'
Harry ran his hand through
his hair again. Snape's mouth twitched into a hastily suppressed smile,
and Harry thought he could tell what had amused the boy. Stupid hair,
sticking up and out.
'Uh, no, you didn't exactly
tell me…' he admitted. Chewing on his lip, he thought about what to
tell the boy, and then shrugged. The truth, as best as he could, of
course. 'Okay, listen. I'll give you the short version of what happened
after Voldemort returned.'
Snape sat up, face serious
and concentrated. Harry nodded at him.
'So, he came back with the
help of the man who betrayed my parents, when I was fourteen," Harry
said, and then continued with a very short version of his fifth and
sixth years, leaving out Sirius' death. That wasn't something he wanted
to discuss. Not then, and not with Snape. When he got to the end of his
sixth year, he stumbled. 'Shit, this is going to be difficult."
'Difficult, how?' Snape
asked, eyes narrowed. 'And you shouldn't swear in the presence of
'Shove it,' was Harry's
snorted reply. 'Difficult because … Well. I don't know how you'll react
'I did something bad, didn't
it?' Snape said quietly. He sat very still.
Harry took a deep breath and
told Snape about the events atop the Astronomy tower. Snape was still,
silent, and very, very pale. Harry went on, more slowly, 'It was his
'That I kill him?' Snape
gasped. His hands shook badly.
Harry nodded. 'Yes, and you
didn't like it one bit. You told Dumbledore you wouldn't do it, but he
made you do it. Kind of blackmailed you into it.'
Snape blinked. 'W-what?'
'Oh, yes. He said you had
promised to do whatever Dumbledore needed you to do, so there. And …
and he kept throwing my mum at you. You know, that you'd promised to do
anything to keep me safe for her sake, and so on. Well. But the thing
is, no one knew at the time you did it.'
Snape's teacup clattered
against the saucer, and Harry saw that the boy was shaking all over
now. He got over to the sofa, sat down next to him, and put a hand on
his shoulder. 'Hey, it's okay now. It's over. Everyone knows, now.'
Snape made a little noise
like a whimper. Harry took his cup and refilled it, adding more sugar
than last time, and made Snape drink the tea. It helped a little. The
boy stopped shaking.
'Here, are you all right?'
Snape laughed, but it was
choked and sounded more like a sob.
'Okay.' Harry said softly.
'Do you want me to tell you the rest? What happened until Voldemort
died? Or would you like to go to bed?'
Snape shook his head quickly.
'No, tell me,' he demanded. 'I want to know …'
Harry nodded and squeezed
Snape's shoulder again. The boy leaned into him, just a little. Harry
went on, quickly recapping the year of Snape's tenure as headmaster and
talking in broad strokes about his own mission until he came to the
night of the battle. He had to pause then, to sort through his
memories. It had all happened so fast.
Snape didn't urge him on,
kept listening silently as Harry told him how he had seen Snape that
night and how, intent on killing the man, Harry had followed him.
'But you led me to the
Headmaster's room and then kind of vanished.' Harry still remembered
his confusion and anger at Snape disappearing like that. 'A hidden
door, or something, I don't know. The room was empty. I looked around,
saw the Pensieve. It sat right there, on your desk. It was obviously
full of memories.'
He paused and rubbed his
nose, still a little embarrassed. 'In hindsight I know you set it up
for me. Then, I was too angry. Thought I could hurt you, looking into
your memories again. So, I poked my head into it and saw a lot of
things that I was actually meant to see.
'Dumbledore had given you
some last orders for me. You were meant to pass them on close to the
end, though how you were meant to do that, I don't know. In the event,
I got to know things a little early, but it didn't matter. I got the
information and acted accordingly.
'There was a battle. You
fought, though no one ever knew on which side. I think you didn't fight
on any side but to keep as many students safe as possible. That was
when you were hit by that botched curse. Um. I got rid of Voldemort.
Oh, I actually told him that you'd been on our side all the time. There
were memories in that Pensieve that were … pretty convincing. The
memory where Dumbledore ordered you to kill him, too. So, when
everything was over and you were found alive, I told the Aurors what
I'd seen, and they questioned you under Veritaserum, and then you were
cleared. So. That's it.'
Harry looked down at Snape
and found the boy watching him. He was still pale, but he'd obviously
recovered. And there was that uncomfortably astute look again. Harry
had known Snape was clever. Hell, he'd been the Half-Blood Prince! But,
somehow, Harry had always associated this cleverness with the adult
Snape. Not with the teenaged Snape. Yet here was the boy, clearly a
teenager and also clearly hearing a lot of things that Harry hadn't
'My older self hadn't thought
he'd survive, did he? That was why he let you have the memories?'
Yup, sharp as a knife.
Harry grimaced and nodded.
Snape stared at him some more
but didn't ask any more questions. After a while, he went back to
staring into his tea. Harry let him. The boy needed time to think about
what he'd heard.
The chiming of the clock in
the hall made both of them jump. Harry glanced at his watch. It was
'Okay, late!' he said and got
up, flicking his wand at the tray. Snape looked up at him, clearly
worried what would happen now. Harry sent the tray to the kitchen
before he turned back to the boy. 'So, um. The letter said I was to
take care of you. I'll do my best. I promise. But tomorrow we'll think
about what happens next. You need rest. And some time to work through
all the stuff I just told you. Come on, I'll show you where you'll
sleep. Or, that is, would you prefer to sleep here on the sofa?'
Snape blinked. He looked
around. He looked at Harry. 'Do you have a guest room?'
Harry grinned and waved at
him to follow. 'Not exactly a guest room. It's more an extra room, kind
of a study. But there's a bed there. In case one of my friends needs a
place to crash.'
Snape followed wordlessly up
the narrow, winding staircase to the small room next to Harry's
bedroom. Harry opened the door and let him enter.
'It's not much,' he
apologised. 'But it is a bed. And you probably won't mind sharing space
with my books,' he added with a grin, seeing the boy eye the shelves.
There were some of his old textbooks, both from Hogwarts and from Auror
training, as well as the remainders of the Black library. Harry had
taken the books he wanted to keep when he'd closed up Grimmauld Place
and given the rest to the Ministry for safekeeping. Crammed in side by
side with ancient tomes on the Dark Arts were the few novels Harry had
collected, mostly Muggle and wizarding crime fiction.
'Books are okay,' Snape said
absently as he trailed along the shelves that lined two walls. The bed
took up a third, and a wardrobe the fourth. Harry went to the wardrobe
and got bed linens out. While the boy murmured excitedly over the
selection of books, Harry fought to get the bed made. That was a charm
he'd never managed, and so he had to do it the Muggle way.
When that was done, Harry
took away Snape's book to show the boy the bathroom and where Harry
slept. After telling Snape to wake him in case he needed anything,
Harry wished him a good night and got ready for bed himself.
There was a lot he had to
think about as well.
Harry was woken by his alarm
as usual. He rolled over and blearily groped for his wand, as usual. He
sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes, yawned and stretched. As usual.
Still more asleep than awake,
Harry frowned as he stumbled to the bathroom. He had a feeling.
Something was different. But it wasn't until he stepped out of the
bathroom again, showered and ready for a cup of tea, and saw the closed
door to his library-slash-guest room that things clicked. Closed door.
Not usual. And then he remembered.
Right. Snape. Snape as a boy.
Was sleeping in Harry's guest bedroom.
Harry scratched his head.
What was he supposed to do
with the boy?
No thinking before tea,
though, so Harry got dressed and wandered into the kitchen, where he
soon had his breakfast ready. As he sat down with tea, toast, and
bacon, he wondered whether he ought to wake up Snape. On the other
hand, Harry had never been able to think with Snape staring at him, and
Harry rather thought he needed to do some thinking. Besides, what with
the shock yesterday, the boy needed rest. Harry would wake him up later.
While he absently made his
way through his breakfast, Harry pondered what he should do now. What
to do with the boy. The letter had said Harry was responsible for,
until the "youth flash" ended and Snape became himself again. But what
did being responsible for Snape entail? Keep him safe. Sure, Harry
could do that. Get food into him. No problem. But what else?
Harry sipped his tea,
frowning. He had no idea how to take care of a teenaged boy. He knew
perfectly well that his own home life with the Dursleys was not how it was done. Perhaps he
ought to Floo Mrs Weasley. After seven children, she'd know. But if he
asked her, then she'd tell Mr Weasley, and then it would get around the
Ministry in no time.
And hadn't Snape said that
the Department of Mysteries was after him? Harry wasn't all that wild
about having to deal with the Unspeakables if he could prevent it.
So, not telling the Ministry
about Snape was probably part of taking care of him. But what else? And
how old was Snape, anyway?
The second alarm – the one
that told Harry it was high time to get a move on and Floo in to work –
dinged and jerked Harry out of his musings. He looked at the clock. He
glanced towards the stairs and listened. No sound of Snape. Well.
Harry went over to the
fireplace and Flooed his boss. Robertson frowned fiercely when Harry
told him he wouldn't be in today, and probably not tomorrow, either,
and he couldn’t really tell how long until he would be able to come in
'If you're ill, I want to see
you at St Mungo's,' the man growled.
'Sorry, Rob, not ill.' Harry
gave his superior a small smile. 'I have a Life Debt situation on my
hands, though. I can't tell how long it will take until I get things
The Head Auror still didn't
look pleased but told Harry they'd manage a couple of days without him.
Harry thanked the man and ended the Floo call before Robertson could
change his mind. Not that he would. Life Debts were taken very
seriously in the wizarding world, and even more seriously by the DMLE,
and most seriously when an Auror was the one who owed the Debt.
And most likely even more seriously when it was Harry
Potter how owed it, Harry thought with a grimace and pulled his head
out of the fire.
He found Snape standing
behind him when he turned. The boy looked sullen.
'You don't have to stay home
because I'm here, you know,' he said before Harry could do more than
open his mouth for a good morning. 'I'm old enough to take care of
Harry blinked. 'Well, yes,
I'm sure you can. But we didn't talk about what you'd do last night,
and I'd like to get things sorted out before I leave you alone for most
of the day.'
'I'll stay in your guest room
and read. There's really no need for you to hang around and watch me,'
Snape said sulkily, wrapping his too large robes around him.
'We'll still need to get
things settled,' Harry insisted.
Snape scowled at him. 'I'm
not a baby!'
Harry sighed. 'No, you
aren't, but you're in unfamiliar surroundings. My wards don't know you
yet, so they might decide you're dangerous if you so much as open a
window. Or you might get hungry some time during the day and wander
down into the kitchen, but everything in there works magically, and you
aren't allowed yet to do magic yet. So you'd have no way to get
something to eat. See, things we need to talk about.' He pointed the
boy towards the kitchen door. 'By the way, how old are you?'
Snape looked even more
'How far at Hogwarts?'
'Finished fourth year,' Snape
replied shortly and plopped onto a chair, scowling. Harry shook his
head. 'Okay, thanks. Um, anyway, good morning. I hope you slept well.
Would you like breakfast?'
Snape slumped over the table
and poked moodily at a few scratches in the surface. 'Yeah.'
Harry waited for more, but
realised there wouldn't be. So he took that to mean Snape wanted
breakfast and got to work again. He'd need to go grocery shopping again
soon, he noted. And buy more. Two people needed more than one,
especially if one of them was a teenager. Snape could need some
Harry flushed as he caught
himself at that thought. He was turning into Mrs Weasley. Uh. He
hurried to get done. Shortly afterwards, he placed a plate with bacon
and eggs in front of Snape. 'Here. Do you want tea or juice?'
Snape scowled at the plate
and poked the eggs with his fork. 'Tea.'
'Okay.' Harry got him a cup.
'You've a real bad taste in
reading matters,' Snape informed him.
Harry blinked. 'Oh? Last
night you looked rather pleased.'
Snape flushed a little and
glowered. 'The books on magic are good. Interesting. Some really old
ones. The rest is trash.'
'The rest? Oh, the novels.'
Harry grinned. 'Yeah, they're trash, but I like them.'
Snape shot him a look that
said something along the lines of 'of course a dunderhead like you
would like them'. Harry grinned unrepentantly back. He'd had this
discussion with Hermione before. It drove her mad that he would read
bad novels when he had so many interesting books on magic and magical
'They're relaxing,' he told
the boy what he always told Hermione. 'I don't have to think when I
read that stuff. Plus, they're kind of funny.'
'Funny.' Snape forked eggs
into his mouth and looked at Harry as if he'd grown a second head.
'Yep. Especially the
wizarding novels.' Harry chuckled. 'Man, the Aurors those books are a
bunch of idiots! And the writers …! Honestly, as if things would work
that way. A dark wizard every day, terrorizing the wizarding world,
taking hostages left, right, and centre. Thinking up terrible rituals.
And one lone, brave Auror Apparates in to save the day. It's hilarious,
Snape looked offended. Harry
bit his tongue not to burst out laughing. Hermione looked like that,
too. She couldn't bear Harry talking badly about a book – even if the
book was a trashy novel.
'So, what do you do that you
can just take off a day or two?' Snape finally asked.
Harry grinned and tilted his
chair back. 'Auror.' He laughed at Snape's stunned expression. 'Which
is why the books are so entertaining. Especially those by Abraham
Wright. He's an ex-Auror, who was demoted to Hit Wizard in the
post-Voldemort purge. He's been writing Auror novels ever since. Kind
of rewriting his own history. Making himself look like a hero. The
really funny thing is how much he gets wrong about Auror procedures.'
Snape gave him a strange
'Somehow you don't strike me
as someone who would laugh about something like Auror incompetence,'
the boy said slowly, and then his expression became completely
bewildered, as though he didn't know why he was of that opinion.
'Oh.' Harry's grin vanished.
'Well, not usually, no. But Wright, he's just so pathetic. Gets so much
wrong. And … and it's better to laugh about his books, and tell
everyone how stupid you think it is than get angry about it.'
Snape was still frowning.
'But why did I…? Oh. A memory of my older self?'
Harry nodded. 'Yeah, must've
Deep in thought, Snape
finished his breakfast. Harry sat back, sipping on his cup of tea and
watching the boy. When Snape finally pushed his empty plate aside,
Harry leant forwards.
'Okay, let's think about what
to do about you until this youth flash stops.'
Snape immediately hunched his
shoulders, fingers wrapped tightly around his cup, and scowled at
Harry. 'I'll stay here, you go to work, we wait. What else is there?'
'Well, your letter told me
I'm to take care of your well-being.'
'Yeah, and so?'
'Oh, we need to talk about
how you can get something to eat while I'm at work and you're not
allowed to do magic.' Harry looked the boy over. 'And clothes. You'll
need something that fits. We'll need to change my wards to include you.
And exclude people who would mean harm to you. And, I don't know,
perhaps you'd like to have something else? I mean, something to do
besides reading books? You tell me.'
Snape looked uncomfortable.
He pulled his robes closer around his thin body. 'I've got something to
wear,' he said stiffly. 'I don't need charity.'
Harry rolled his eyes, but
insisted. He remembered all too well how much he hated Dudley's
hand-me-downs – and the flashes he'd seen of a weirdly dressed Snape in
the man's memories. 'Nonsense. You need clothes that fit. I know a neat
little shop that sells Muggle-style clothes; we'll find you something
there. Oh, you can pay me back once you've returned to your older self,
if you insist.'
The boy blinked at him,
seeming surprised, but Harry didn't pay much attention to him. He was
already thinking about how to change his wards to accommodate Snape and
his special needs.
'Hey, you wouldn't
accidentally remember who those people are that want you for the tests,
The boy sneered at him. It
gave Harry pause. Somehow, it looked a lot different than the adult
'Of course I don't remember.'
'Oh, well.' Harry got up and
wandered over to the living room, trying to remember where he had put
the ward stone. 'You haven't found anything in your house that would
give us some clues?'
Snape followed him, trailing
a black train behind him. 'Contrary to what you seem to believe, I did
not ransack the house.'
At Snape's awfully formal
tone, Harry looked up from digging through a chest. One glance at
Snape's rigid back and blank face, and Harry knew he'd insulted him. He
opened his mouth to apologise, but Snape beat him to it.
'What are you doing, anyway?'
'Oh. I'm looking for my ward
stone.' Harry smiled. 'Sorry. I didn't mean to imply you'd go around
snooping. Just thought you might have seen something when looking
around. I can't imagine your older self would have put a letter
addressed to himself somewhere open on the off chance he'd turn into a
child. Sorry. Underaged wizard.'
uncomfortable. 'Why do you have a ward stone?' he asked, completely
ignoring the apology. 'No single wizard needs one. Only the large
places, like Hogwarts and the Ministry, need stones to anchor the
wards. Every wizard or witch is capable of carrying the wards on their
Harry suppressed a grin.
Snape really reminded him of
Hermione. 'I need strong wards,' he explained. 'You know, me being the
one to vanquish the Dark Lord, and all that. My wards need to keep a
lot of people out. And being an Auror, I can't carry those wards
myself. They'd collapse every time I needed to use a lot of magic and
that would leave my home unprotected.'
'If you say so.' Snape
sniffed contemptuously. 'And you keep the ward stone hidden in your
'Aha!' Harry dove under a
large, fern-like plant – a present from Neville – that was enthroned on
a stool, and dragged a small box made of dark, polished wood out from
underneath it. 'There you are! Yes,' he added, turning towards Snape.
'I always hide it here. Last place people look for it.'
He grinned at Snape's
expression and carried the box over to the fireplace where they had sat
last night. Sitting down, he tapped the box with his wand to open it.
The lid dissolved, revealing the ward stone, a facetted, dark green
stone that seemed to vibrate ever so slightly. Snape edged closer, eyes
intent on the stone.
'Okay.' Harry put the open
box onto the small table and waved Snape over. 'Come here. Let's try to
figure out how to add you to the wards.'
Adding Snape to his wards
turned out to be easy, though it took a lot of time since Harry had to
proceed carefully. However, changing the wards so that they would keep
away wizards and witches who meant harm to the boy was a lot more
difficult. More than once the wards began to tangle, making the stone
throb warningly, as they struggled to reconcile some of Harry's friends
with the person Snape was and with what "harm" actually meant. Harry
cursed when a ward line that allowed Ron access to Harry's house once
more snagged around the "harm" line in Snape's pattern.
'You have some very
interesting friends,' Snape, who was very pale, commented.
Harry snorted. 'No, you're a
paranoid bastard. Ron's not dangerous to you, but he's working with his
brother at their joke shop and … well, people at Hogwarts generally
thought that George and Fred, who founded the shop, were even more
trouble than my dad and Sirius had been.' He looked at Snape out of the
corner of his eye and saw the boy flinch a little.
'Ah,' was all Snape said.
The wards kept tangling.
Finally, Harry gave up.
Sweat-soaked and panting, he put the stone back into its hiding place.
'We'll need to find out who, exactly, could be a danger to you and add
them individually to the wards,' he huffed.
'That would be a good idea, if we knew who those people are,'
Snape said patronisingly.
Harry scowled at him. 'Yeah,
which is why we need to find out. We'll go to your place and have a
look around. Your letter said you'd been writing to these people. There
ought to be some names around for us to find. Um. That is.' Harry
hesitated, looked at Snape. 'If that's all right with you? To go
through your stuff?'
The boy once more looked
surprised. 'I,' he began, then shook his head. He seemed to think about
it and finally gave a short nod. 'I would like to go to my house,' he
said. 'I … I must have made notes about the "youth flashes". Perhaps I
can find out more.'
Harry nodded. 'Okay, good.'
He wiped his brow. 'Hey, let me get changed and we'll be on our way.'
'To my house?'
Harry wondered why it was
that he apparently kept surprising Snape. 'Well, yes, that too, though
later. First we'll go to that shop near Bristol and get some clothes
for you. Something you can move in easily,' he went on when Snape
opened his mouth to protest. 'You're a walking fire hazard like that.'
Snape glowered at him.
Harry got changed and then
dragged a very reluctant Snape with him to Patty's. Patricia McCaull
was a Squib who specialised in designing Muggle-style clothes for
wizards and witches. Her jeans might look like ordinary jeans, but they
had special pockets for wands or potions phials, and some shirts came
with specially reinforced sleeves to protect the wearer during
ingredients gathering. Plus, since she wasn't actually part of the
wizarding world, she didn't much care about who and what Harry was. She
was happy to accept his Galleons (which her brother would change into
Muggle money for her) and never considered trying to earn more by
selling stories about what "The Boy Who Lived Wears This Summer". Harry
almost loved shopping there.
Thankfully, the shop was
nearly empty when Harry and Snape showed up. Patty was busy advising
two witches when they entered and only nodded and smiled at them. Harry
waved, signalling that she could take her time with her other
customers, and pushed Snape through an arched doorway into the wizard's
section. Snape at first showed even less interest in clothes than Harry
usually did, but once he discovered Patty's the clever additions, he
not only became interested, he actually went looking for his own
There was a brief discussion
when he finally saw a price tag – Patty was expensive – and he wouldn't
allow Harry to pay for him. Harry reminded the boy that, if he wanted,
he could pay the money back once he'd returned to being an adult, or
consider it part of the Life Debt. Snape stopped arguing and only
At one point, Patty showed
up, and she actually managed to talk Snape into buying more clothes
than the single set he had insisted on. Harry withdrew and watched the
battle from the distance, not at all surprised when Patty emerged
victorious. But when Snape emerged wearing black jeans and a dark-red
jumper over a black t-shirt, Harry was stunned.
Wow. The boy looked … nice.
Thin and pale and his nose was still too big, but overall he looked
much better than Harry had thought possible. Wow.
Snape glowered at Harry and
marched to the cash desk, a bag with his old robes in one hand, and
several more clothes hung over his other arm. He dumped everything on
the counter for Patty to ring up the amount, his glower getting darker
when he heard the final sum.
'I'll settle it with
Gringotts directly, Mr Potter, shall I?'
Harry nodded and went over to
sign the slip that permitted her to withdraw the correct amount of
Galleons from his vault. Patty packed Snape's new clothes into
self-shrinking bags and handed them to Harry, who handed them to Snape,
who looked at them suspiciously before putting them into the pocket of
his new jeans.
'I'll pay you back as soon as
I've re-aged,' he informed Harry stiffly.
Harry shrugged. 'Okay.'
Then he dragged Snape with
him to a Muggle grocery shop to buy a few more supplies, badgering the
boy about what foods he liked. Snape kept insisting that he didn't need
anything special, until a small girl gave him a wide-eyed look and
squeaked, 'Don't be stupid, you could make him buy you lots of sweets!'
Snape flushed but relented
and shyly pointed out some fruit and sweets he liked. Harry winked at
the girl and dumped double of everything Snape told him into the
shopping cart. Snape followed him to the checkout with wide eyes.
'I … thank you,' he said a
bit breathlessly as he followed Harry into an alley near the store
where Harry could shrink the bags and Apparate them. 'You didn't have
to buy me things I liked at all. I'm sure my older self wouldn't think
you careless about fulfilling the Life Debt if you hadn't.'
Harry smiled at him, a small
ache in his chest. 'Of course I didn't have to. But I remember being
your age, and since taking you to Honeyduke's wouldn't be a good idea,
Muggle sweets will have to do.' He flicked his wand at the bags, and
they shrunk obediently. 'Okay, ready to Apparate to your home?'
Snape blinked and slowly
reached out to take Harry's arm for Side-Along Apparation. Harry
checked the mouth of the alley to make sure no Muggle could see them.
'You know where I live?'
Snape asked as Harry raised his wand.
'Yeah, and I hope you haven't
changed your wards to keep me out.'
He hadn't, and only seconds
later, Harry and Snape found themselves at the dead end of a narrow
alley that ran towards a lively street. The alley was bordered by
gardens on both sides.
Harry led Snape to the first
gate on the left. It opened into a small garden at the back of a
'Here, you'd better go
first,' he said. 'I don't know how your wards might react if I barged
through without you being home.'
Snape eyed him curiously, but
then did as Harry told him. The wards flared for a moment but settled,
and they remained quiet when Harry followed him through the gate.
'You've come to visit me?'
Snape asked curiously.
Harry grimaced. 'No, not
visited. But after the war, there were some people who wanted to see
you in Azkaban. The DMLE thought it would calm people down when they
knew that you were under regular Auror observation, and—'
'I can't believe I agreed to
that!' Snape stopped and glared at Harry.
'You didn't. Not at first.'
Harry prodded the boy up the back stairs towards the door. 'You need to
open the door. I know I can't.'
'Open how? I'm not allowed to
do magic, remember?' Snape sneered.
'Just touch your wand to the
'That's magic, too.'
'You want me to give you a
written permit to open your own fucking door?' Harry growled.
Snape huffed, but he dug his
wand out and touched it to the lock. The door glowed green and opened.
Instead of entering, however, he turned to stare at Harry.
'So, if I didn't agree to
Auror observation, why do you know you can get through wards set by my
Harry wondered if Snape was
stalling. It probably wasn't easy for him to enter this house, his own
house, and be faced with a life he couldn't remember.
'Well, the Head Auror pointed
out to you that, if the public knew you were under observation, they
were less likely to do something stupid. And if they did, there would
be someone to help you and arrest your attacker.'
Snape's thin lips twisted
into an ugly smile that Harry remembered only too well. 'And you won
that questionable privilege, oh Chosen One?'
Harry gaped, and then
actually laughed. 'Gosh, no! I was only an Auror trainee, after all!
You had three different Aurors during the first five years, and then
Robertson, the Head Auror, decided that I'd be the best for the job. I
think the last Auror complained about you threatening him. And then you
all but killed an attacker and Shipley, the Auror on duty, almost
couldn't stop you. He refused to come back after he was released from
St Mungo's, and Robertson assigned me. He probably assumed that after
Voldemort, I could deal with you.'
Snape had cocked his head.
'Did I threaten you?' he asked, almost gleeful.
Harry huffed. 'Of course you
did. And I threatened you right back. We then had what the report later
termed "an argument" and got our differences settled. Off the record,
we both hexed the other, and you healed me if I promised not to write
about the duel in my report, and I promised not to be a nuisance if you
cooperated. You've set your wards so that I can enter your house when
you're in, and we've only had to meet three or four times when some
idiot tried to break in and kill you.'
The boy gaped at him. 'K-kill
'Mmhmm. At least one of them
carried a knife and made it as far as your bedroom door. Another one
managed to break into your lab and fiddle with your potions before you
took her down, and I arrived just in time to throw up a Shield before
whatever that witch had done set off an explosion that was meant to
'But,' the boy shook his
head, eyes wide, 'if you've done that, I mean, saved my life in that
explosion, why would I invoke the Life Debt now? Wouldn't it already be
'Because you're a paranoid
bastard and don't want to ask me for help.' Harry shrugged. 'I don't
know. You probably convinced yourself that those times before didn't
fulfil the Debt since I was only doing my job, and that I would never
help you with this if I didn't have that Debt dangling over my head.'
Snape looked thoughtful, a
little doubtful. 'Hmm.'
Harry shrugged again. 'Never
mind that now. Are you going to enter?'
Snape hesitated, then took a
deep breath, straightened, and shot Harry a quick look as if to gauge
whether Harry had seen him preparing himself. Harry made sure to look
at the door, and finally Snape turned and pushed it open.
They entered into a small,
tiled room that led to the kitchen. Lights sprang on each time Snape
went into a room, making him twitch every time. Harry thought it best
to ignore that, too. Instead, he said, 'Okay, let's go looking for
clues. I know you have one bedroom made up as an office, and that there
are lots of things down in your lab. Probably your journals are down
there. Letters more likely in the office. So, do we split or look
Snape looked around, a little
helpless. 'I'm … not sure. Splitting would be faster but if there are
'Um, I could come with you to
the lab and look around for wards, if you'd like,' Harry offered,
unsure of his reception.
But to his surprise, Snape
nodded. 'Yes. Thank you.'
Harry nodded back and
preceded him down the stairs to the lab in the basement, thinking how
different the boy was to the man. The adult Snape Harry knew would
never, ever have admitted he couldn't see wards, or accepted Harry's
help, and he definitely wouldn't have let Harry be alone in any room of
his house if he could help it.
Harry wondered what the adult
Snape would think about his younger self's actions once he'd re-aged.
The letter had mentioned that Snape remembered what happened during the
There was a simple locking
spell on the door to the lab that Harry was able to dismantle easily.
The lab itself was free of wards, but most of the cupboards and
cabinets were locked and warded. In a corner, there was another desk,
its drawers warded even more heavily than some of the ingredient
cupboards. Harry pointed out where the wards were and what he thought
they hid. Snape nodded, twisting his wand between his fingers. Harry
eyed the wand and came to a decision.
'Listen, Snape. This is your
house. And, underaged or not, your magic won't be noticeable here. So,
if you need to use magic to get through wards, use it. No need to come
and get me. Most likely I won't be able to get through your wards,
anyway. You might, though.'
The boy's head snapped up and
he looked at Harry out of narrowed eyes. 'Permitting underaged magic,
Mr Potter? And you being an Auror. Does the Ministry know you're
breaking the rules?'
Harry snorted. 'Snape, I'm
famous for breaking rules. You spent six years trying to get me
expelled from Hogwarts for that reason. The Ministry has its reasons
for not allowing underaged wizards to perform magic. I think most of
them are ridiculous. Besides, there are exceptions to the rules, and
you know it. So. If it helps you, wait until I have left the room, then
you can pretend that you're a sneaky Slytherin going behind the
dunderheaded Gryffindor's back.' He flashed a wide grin at Snape, who
was looking mildly stunned, and left the lab.
A little later, he felt the
ripple of magic as wards were tested and then lifted. Harry smiled and
set to working his way through the office.
It didn't take him long.
Snape was a very neat person, and he had his letters sorted in files.
The files were in turn sorted on the shelves by topic in "Business",
"Research", and "Special Project". There was a fourth stack, labelled
"Hands off, Potter!", which made Harry think that this was private. He
laughed a little, and felt a little guilty, and resisted the temptation
a peek. Snape wouldn't forgive him if he snooped again. Thinking the
"Special Project" files were the most likely ones, Harry concentrated
He was right, and again
Snape's neat streak helped, for each file was labelled with the other
person's name and reason for writing. After thumbing through the first
few files to make sure that these were indeed letters about the botched
curse, Harry simply began noting down the names on the files. There
were three Unspeakables, two of whom Harry had never heard of, and a
surprisingly large number of Healers from St Mungo's. At a glance, it
seemed as though Snape was in contact with every Healer on the Spell
Damage ward, and then some. Harry simply took down the names. It was a
depressingly long list.
Harry sighed and put
everything back where he'd got it from, and then went down to the lab.
At first, he didn't see Snape
at all. And he saw a very nice arse raised invitingly up into the air.
Harry's cock took an interest
before Harry's brain caught on and he realised who that pert bottom
Good god, who'd ever have
thought Snape had an arse like that?
Harry shifted to give his
erection some room to grow, and then realised, horrified, what he was
doing and who he was staring at. He flushed and withdrew, needing
privacy to subdue his body, silently cursing himself. It hadn't been
that long that the mere sight of a shapely arse should be able to get
him that hot and bothered. Besides, it was Snape!
Not to mention that, right
now, Snape was a minor and under Harry's care.
There probably was a special
place reserved in hell for people who lusted after underaged wizards.
Harry felt a little sick.
Thankfully, that helped getting his stupid cock down. Taking several
deep, calming breaths, Harry got himself under control. Then he went in
search of the rest of Snape.
When he entered the lab
again, he found the boy kneeling next to a trunk he'd been digging
through. There was a pile of slender books on the floor next to him,
and Snape was browsing through another one.
'Found something useful?'
Harry asked as he stepped closer.
Snape looked up, eyes
distant. He blinked, and they snapped back into focus. It was oddly
adorable. Harry fought a smile.
'Oh. Yes.' The boy pointed to
the books. 'These are my journals. I have apparently prepared for this
to happen. For me to become an underaged wizard. There was another
letter with those journals that explained some things, and the journals
are really helpful, too. I.' He paused and looked hesitantly at Harry.
'That is, I'd like to take them with me.'
'Oh, sure,' Harry nodded.
'That'd probably be best. Would you like to take the whole trunk or
only some of the journals?'
Snape stared, surprised. It
was getting very weird, Harry thought. 'What? Did you think I'd tell
Snape blushed and looked
away. He put the journals back in the trunk and closed the lid. 'I'd
like to take the whole trunk, please'
Well, that would be a yes,
then. Harry began to wonder about Snape's experiences if simply saying
yes to a small request surprised the boy like that.
Unfortunately, he couldn't
shrink the trunk, so they had to Floo back to Harry's place. Harry
hated Flooing, but Flooing with luggage was even worse. He sent Snape
through first, hoping the wards would accept the boy, and locked
Snape's place up as best as he could. He set some additional wards that
would warn him if someone tried to break into Snape's house. Then he
reluctantly grabbed the trunk and Flooed home.
Bruised and dizzy, he
stumbled out of his fireplace – to find Ron there, his wand drawn and
pointing at Snape.
It took a moment for Ron's
yells to register. Harry blinked, looked from his best friend to Snape
(wand drawn, perfect duelling position, great, and he'd have to scold
the boy later), and shook his head.
'What the fuck is going on
Ron's yelling stopped the
moment he saw Harry. 'That's what I could ask you, mate. Who's that and
what's he doing here? He looks like Snape. Is he moving in?'
Harry rubbed the scar on his
forehead and sighed. 'Ron, he doesn't look like Snape, that is Snape. And before you get any
funny ideas into your head, I'm bound by the Life Debt I owe him to
take care of his well-being. That includes you hexing him. Don't even
think about it. I'd be forced to do something I don't like.'
Ron gaped at him. 'What? You?
The boy sneered, and Harry
noted absently that this time, it looked very much like Professor Snape
at his best. Worst. Whatever.
'Um, Ron, do you think we
could take this somewhere that is not in front of my Floo? And put your
wand away, please. That goes for you as well, Snape. Underaged magic,
and all that. Hexing my best friend doesn't count as an emergency, you
Snape bared his teeth at
Harry, glared at Ron, and ostentatiously put his wand into his pocket.
Ron blinked at the boy, then at Harry, and sighed. 'Okay, okay. You
come in properly and make tea, and I'll call Hermione over, then you
can tell us both at the same time. How's that?'
'Sure, whatever. Hey, Floo to
that place in Diagon that delivers and get us something to eat, will
you? We haven't had anything since breakfast, and I could eat a
'Don't let Buckbeak hear
that.' Ron grinned, and Harry herded Snape and his trunk out of the
Harry directed both trunk and
Snape into his living room. 'Sorry about that,' he said as he put the
trunk down. 'Was Ron here when you arrived?'
'Yes, and he didn't let me
say anything before he started yelling at me,' Snape said indignantly.
'Is he really your best friend?'
'Yup. Never mind him, he's a
bit overprotective sometimes.' Harry smiled weakly.
'He's an idiot,' the boy said
'He's my best friend and he
doesn't like you, well, your older self, much,' Harry tried to explain
as he went to the kitchen. 'He probably took one look at you, jumped to
conclusions, and decided he needed to rescue me.'
The boy followed him,
snorting. 'Jumps to conclusions and decides he needs to rescue you? Do
you need rescuing often? Wonderful, I entrusted my life to a
thoughtless thrill-seeker. Besides, he'd get a lot more answers if he
yelled less and gave others a chance to explain.'
'Hey, Harry's not a
thoughtless thrill-seeker!' Ron exclaimed from the kitchen door. He
glared at Snape, who glared right back at him. Harry leant against the
counter and laughed helplessly. Ron and Snape turned to glare at him.
Harry laughed harder. Hermione pushed into the kitchen next to Ron and
looked at the three guys.
'Anyone interested in telling
me what is going on?' she said, sounding annoyed. 'Ron Flooed to tell
me someone impersonating Snape was encroaching upon Harry, and here I
find him in a tussle with a child and Harry laughing his head off.'
'I am not a child!' Snape
snarled at Hermione. There was his wand again.
Hermione straightened, about
to deliver a lecture, from her expression. Harry was laughing so hard
his knees gave out and he sank to the floor. Now all three of them gave
him disgusted looks.
'What the hell is so funny?'
Harry waved a hand. 'You
guys,' he wheezed. 'Oh, man, some things just never change.'
'Harry, would you please—'
Hermione began. Harry waved his other hand, shushing her.
'Yes, yes, Hermione, I will.
Okay.' He bit back another howl of laughter and pointed to his friends.
'You guys go to the living room and sit down. Snape and I will get the
tea ready and follow you. No, Hermione, explanations later. Shoo.'
Hermione huffed and rolled
her eyes before leaving and dragging Ron with her. As the door closed
behind them, he could hear her starting to grill Ron. Snape gave him a
'I'm not a child,' he mumbled.
Harry grinned. 'I know. That
was just Hermione being confused. She probably was ready to be all
worried about me until she found a situation that was very different to
the one she expected. She tends to become more and more like Professor
McGonagall in situations like that. Oh, I ought to mention you'd best
get that wand out of sight, or she'll lecture first you and then me.
And you don't want a Hermione-lecture.'
Snape stared at him and
seemed to be about to say something nasty, but he closed his mouth
again and put his wand away. Harry nodded, getting to his feet. With a
wave of his own wand, he set the kettle to boiling and got the tea tray
duelling position. If you were a bit older, I'd take you to Auror
Headquarters and let you give our trainees a run for their money.'
Snape made a funny, choked
noise and busied himself with arranging teacups on the tray. When Harry
looked over at him, his pale cheeks were flushed a deep red. Harry
smiled, and when the kettle sang, he took take care of the tea. He was
about to lead the way back to the living room when he thought of
'Uh, Snape, I … Er, say, do
you mind if I call you Severus? Seems weird, somehow, to call you
The boy blinked. 'Ah? Oh.
'Okay. Hey, you can call me
Harry, too. Anyway, Severus, I just wondered … Do you want to be there
when I tell my friends about you? I mean, they'll probably say things
that you don't want to hear. So if you'd rather stay away, you can. You
know, if you'd rather go and put your clothes away or oh! The
Harry dug the shrunk bags out
of his pockets and re-sized them, putting them on the kitchen table.
Snape immediately stepped forwards and took them.
'I think I'll put these
away,' he said, not looking at Harry. His face was still rather flushed.
Harry nodded sympathetically.
'Okay. Take your time. I'll keep a cup of tea for you, though, okay?'
Snape grunted something from
inside a bag, which Harry took as assent. Leaving him to putter around
in his kitchen, Harry gathered the tray and went to the living room.
Ron and Hermione were sitting
on the sofa. They'd obviously been talking to each other but looked up
when Harry came in. He gave them a small smile. 'So, let me sit down
and get a cup of tea, and then we can talk.'
Hermione nodded and took over
pouring each of them a cup of tea. 'Is Snape not coming?' she asked.
'Thanks, Hermione. No, he's
putting groceries away. I thought it would be better if he wasn't
around while I told you. Especially considering the first thing Ron did
when he saw him was start yelling.'
'Hey, mate, I came to look
for you because Grant says you haven't been in to HQ today. But you
weren't home, and then the fireplace spat him out! He sneered just like
Snape. What was I supposed to do?' Ron protested.
'Stop yelling long enough for
him to explain?' Harry suggested but grinned.
Ron grabbed a biscuit from
the tray. 'Well, if you can stay calm in the face of that sneer then
you're a better man than me.'
Harry laughed. 'Actually,
I've never been able to stay calm in the face of that sneer, have I?'
Ron winked at him. Hermione
rolled her eyes. 'Okay, so that boy really is Snape, Harry?'
Harry nodded, and then
quickly told his friends what had happened, the boy showing up with the
letter, Snape explaining the botched curse, and the Life Debt. He ended
with asking them both to promise that they wouldn't talk to anybody
else about Snape.
'The longer I can keep it
secret, the safer he is,' he said, looking at both of his friends.
Hermione nodded emphatically.
'Of course I promise, Harry.' Her eyes glowed and there were pink spots
on her cheeks. She was clearly already pondering Snape's plight and how
to help him. Ron, on the other hand, only gaped.
'Wait, that means you're
saddled with Snape? A teenage Snape? Until Merlin knows when?'
Harry shrugged. 'Looks like.'
'Damn. That's awful. I'm
'What for? He hasn't been
that bad, so far.'
'Ron.' Hermione's tone was
disapproving. Harry grinned into his teacup.
'He's a boy, now. Not the man
who was our professor. If you're nasty to him, you're treating him the
same way he treated us.'
'Yeah, serves him right,' Ron
'But did you like him being
nasty to us? Did you think it was fair?' Hermione sat up, eyes
flashing. 'Do you think he was right to act the way he did?'
'Whoa, hey, Hermione! Of
'Then you shouldn't do the
'Wha—?' Ron wrinkled his
brow. 'But … I'm not. Hermione, I'm not! I'm not a nasty git like
'Then be nice to the boy.'
Hermione gave him a hard look before she turned to Harry. 'What do you
plan to do about him, Harry?'
'What can I do?' Harry
shrugged. 'He said in his letter he doesn't want me to help him find a
way to stop the flashes or lift the curse. He just wants me to take
care of him while he can't do so himself. What else is there to do but
'But there has to be
something we can do.' Hermione frowned.
We? Ron mouthed, eyes wide.
'Thank you, but that is not
necessary,' Snape said from the door. He came over to stand next to
Harry's armchair, meeting Hermione's eyes but without anger or
condescension. 'I have my journals. I'll work through them and see what
can be done.'
Hermione blinked. 'Journals?
Harry only mentioned a letter.'
'We went to his house for
information,' Harry explained. 'Which reminds me. Hermione, I need to
get some people added as dangerous to my wards. I tried before in
general terms, but that didn't work. I've got some names, though, now.
Think you can help me with that?'
'Oh, yes, of course, that is
easy,' Hermione readily agreed.
'Dangerous?' Ron asked
'To Severus.' Harry nodded,
ignoring his friends' surprise at hearing him use the name. 'I told you
how the letter said … Oh, heck, where is the damn thing, anyway?'
Snape – Severus – gave him an
incredulous look. 'Are you always this careless with important things?'
Then he pointed to the fireplace. 'I put it on the mantelpiece.'
Hermione gave Harry a stern
look. 'Yes, Harry has been known to be careless on occasion.' She got
the letter, ignoring Harry's spluttering. Snape – Severus – grinned a
'Hey, two against one is
unfair,' Harry mock-complained. Severus's grin tickled him pink. 'Ron,
a little support here, mate?'
Ron looked from one to the
other, wide-eyed. 'Uh …'
Hermione slapped him over the
head with the letter. 'Don't say anything wrong if you can avoid it,
Ron.' She sat down, letter open in her lap. 'Okay, let's have a look at
the wards then.'
For the next hour, Harry and
Hermione, with occasional help from Severus, added the names of the
Healers and Unspeakables Snape had corresponded with as potential
threats to Harry's wards. Hermione suggested some minor changes to the
general wards, so that they could warn against people meaning Snape
harm in a way that threatened the terms of the Life Debt. It was too
theoretical for Harry, so he just nodded. Severus, though, was
interested, and he and Hermione got into a heated discussion, first on
theory and wards, then on Severus's condition.
Ron just watched, stunned,
and got the food when the delivery came. Later, he and Harry played
wizard chess, while Hermione and Severus fought over what seemed to
Harry minor details of potion brewing. He lost big time to Ron because
he spent more time watching Severus than the chess board.
It was an odd but relaxing
evening, Harry thought later when he lay in bed. He had enjoyed
watching Severus, lively and animated, talking to Hermione. Watching
them talk and argue without contempt on either side.
It really was no trouble at
all, having Snape – Severus – here.
Harry returned home early
from the Ministry. This was the first day after Severus's arrival on
his doorstep that Harry had gone to work, and he had been jittery all
day. Anticipating something. Trouble.
He hadn't been worried about
Severus. He knew the boy would be all right for the eight hours Harry
was away. He had books and his journals, and there was enough food in
the pantry that didn't need to be cooked for Severus's lunch. Plus,
Harry had given him the Floo code for a direct connection to the Auror
Harry had felt a little
silly, fussing like that. More than once, he was reminded of Mrs
Weasley. And Severus's expression occasionally resembled the one Harry
must have worn when Mrs Weasley had been mothering him.
Still. Harry found himself
taking the Life Debt very seriously. Besides, doing his best to keep
Severus as safe as possible made him feel better. That was just who he
was, keeping people safe.
However, despite his
precautions and his strengthened wards, Harry had felt … not nervous
but agitated. He couldn't quiet his mind, and so he went home early.
Some of his colleagues looked up from their desks as he left, but by
now the whole department knew about the Life Debt he was bound to
fulfil, and no one protested him leaving.
When Harry arrived home, he
knew immediately that his feeling had been right. The wards hummed with
an alien touch. Someone had tried to get it.
Harry hurried to get inside
from his warded Apparation point.
'Severus?' he called out the
moment the door closed behind him. There was a thump from the living
room, and the boy appeared in the doorway.
'Everything all right?'
Severus blinked. 'Yes, of
course. Oh! There was someone here earlier today. They tried to get in.'
Harry nodded grimly. 'Yes, I
felt their touch on the wards. Did you see who it was?'
'No. But it was an
Harry paused in hanging his
coat up. 'Oh?'
Severus nodded. 'I was in the
living room, and I heard the ward stone hum. So I went upstairs and
looked out of the window. It's a good spot, that hall window, because
it reflects a little and no one can see in from the outside.'
Harry nodded. He knew that.
'I couldn't see their face,
but I think it was a man. Too broad for a woman. And he wore the kind
of grey robes that all Unspeakables seem to wear.'
Harry took a deep breath. 'So
they already know you're here. Of course, with you gone and everyone at
the Ministry knowing I was away dealing with a Life Debt, they probably
put two and two together. And when I went in to work this morning, they
must have decided to come and try.'
Severus shrugged and went
back to the living room. 'They might have already known they'd find me
here with you.'
Harry followed him, frowning.
'How would they?'
Severus gave him an
exasperated look. 'Oh, I don't know. Perhaps because you're the Auror
whose duty it is to keep an eye on me? Who was most likely to find me
first if they didn't. And they're Unspeakables. I'm sure they knew
about the Life Debt, and that I would claim it to get away from them.
They're not stupid, you know.'
Harry gritted his teeth,
trying to keep his temper under control. The expression on Severus's
face, the tone of his voice, and most of all, the implication in the
words – they all reminded him too much of his days at Hogwarts. 'Well,
good thing you took precautions,' he grated out.
The boy gave him a somewhat
condescending smile. 'Of course.'
Harry took a deep breath to
calm himself and caught a whiff that reminded him of the boys' dorm in
Gryffindor tower. Distracted, he took a closer look at the boy who had
sat back down on the sofa with one of his journals. Yep, definitely
greasy hair. A lot greasier than four days ago, when Severus had shown
up on Harry's door step. He hadn't showered since, had he? Well, Harry
thought with an unholy delight, he couldn't do anything about the
attitude, but he could do something about that.
'Okay, fine, whatever,' he
said with a wave of his hand. 'The important thing is that no one got
through the wards. Did the ward stone come under pressure?'
'Hm?' Severus looked up. 'The
stone? No, I don't think so. It hummed but nothing else. I think it
would have given an alarm if the pressure became too strong, wouldn't
'Well, it should, yes. So the
Unspeakable tested the wards and tried to get through but launched no
strong attack.' Harry nodded. 'Probably was aware that doing so would
'Would it?' Severus's head
snapped back up. He suddenly looked far more interested.
'Oh, yes.' Harry gave him a
somewhat nasty smile. 'There are a few reporters who found that out.
Now they have a lot of time to think about how stupid that was –
Azkaban doesn't offer many distractions.'
'So, if someone tried to get
through, you'd know immediately?'
Harry looked at the boy, a
little surprised. 'Yes, of course. You're perfectly safe here.'
Severus blinked several
times. His face twitched. He swallowed once, but the only thing he said
Harry shook his head as he
regarded the thin figure. Now that it was gone, he noticed how tense
Severus had been. Silly boy. What had he thought Harry had changed the
wards for? But that was Severus Snape all over.
'Okay, come on, then,' Harry
said with a smile and turned towards the kitchen.
'Dinner.' Harry grinned over
his shoulder. 'That is, I'll prepare dinner, and you'll go have a
Severus sank back onto the
sofa. His eyebrows pulled down. 'I don't need a shower.'
Harry's grin broadened. 'Oh,
yes, you do. You're a teenager, and all teenage boys need to shower.
Daily. And wash your hair.'
The boy flinched as though
someone had hit him, and then sat up straight, fists clenched at his
sides. 'I am not a child who needs to be told what to do,' he snarled.
'I can take care of myself.'
'I don't doubt that.' Really,
Harry was having far too much fun with this. 'That doesn't change the
fact that you need a shower. Somewhat badly, I might add.'
Severus's face flushed an
ugly red and he surged to his feet. 'I don't have to listen to you
insult me, Life Debt or not.'
'Hey, I wasn't insulting
you,' Harry protested, still grinning. 'Only pointing out the fact you
need a shower. Really, it's not that bad. There's unlimited hot water,
too, and you can use my shampoo.'
Somewhere in those words must
have been something very wrong to say, though Harry hadn't a clue what
it was. But it set Severus off into a snarling, spitting rage,
reminding Harry of an alley cat he had once encountered on a stakeout.
The tom had bristled and hissed at him just as Severus was doing. The
comparison amused Harry.
The words Severus spat at
him, however, did not.
There was a lot about being
an arrogant Potter, just like his father, in what Severus said. It
moved Harry back a decade or more, back to the classroom where he had
to listen to Snape unfairly berate and insult him. He'd drawn and
pointed his wand before he knew what he was doing, and the sight of its
tip pointing at an unarmed, underaged
civilian shocked Harry back into his right mind.
'Enough,' he snapped and
shoved his wand back into its holster. 'I don't care what you think
about me. You invoked the Life Debt and enjoined me to take care of
your well-being. So I'm doing that. And you will go and take a shower.'
Severus was trembling all
over but bared his teeth at him, not backing down. 'I sure as hell
don't think that's what I meant when I said—'
'I don't care if that's what
you meant or not,' Harry snapped back, interrupting the boy. 'If it
wasn't, then it's your mistake. Be more precise next time. Now. Shower.'
The boy drew himself up
straight. He was thin but almost as tall as Harry. 'I don't have to do
what you tell me. You have no power over me, Potter!'
Harry snorted. 'Spare me the
dramatics, Snape. You didn't intimidate me when you where twenty years
older than me. You won't intimidate me now. And you will find that I
have power over you – you gave it to me yourself. Now, I suggest you
make use of the shower. Or I will
Severus glared at him, and
Harry glared right back. They were both panting and snarling, Severus's
hands were clenched into fists, and Harry had taken refuge in clinging
to the doorknob to prevent himself from drawing his wand again. They
stared at each other silently for what felt like a very long time.
Finally, Severus whirled away.
'Fine, I'll go and use your
damned shower!' he yelled as he stomped away.
'Use the soap!' Harry shouted
Severus's answer consisted of
a number of expletives and an, 'I hate you!' screamed in a cracked
A door slammed upstairs.
Harry fell back against the doorjamb and sighed.
Taking care of a teenaged
Snape was more difficult than he'd expected.
Saturdays, Harry firmly
believed, should not be spent at work.
Yet with his unexpected
absence during the previous week, his boss had suggested that Harry
might want to come in on Saturday to clear up his paperwork. There
hadn't been anything Harry could say against that – there was an awful
lot of paperwork to be done, and with the three days he'd been missing,
the mountain had only grown. So Harry struggled out of bed and went to
He hadn't wanted to leave his
house at all. Part of that was due to his dislike for paperwork, and he
could imagine better ways to spend his time on a Saturday than brooding
over boring formulas and unintelligible law texts. The larger part was
his worry for Severus.
He hadn't seen much of the
boy over the past couple of days as Severus had mostly spent the time
locked up in his room. Whether he was forty or fifteen, the man could
sulk for the Wizarding World Games. And while Harry worried what a
sulking Severus might get up to, his biggest worry was what others
might do in an attempt to get the sulking Severus out of the safety of
There had been no further
attempts to breach his wards. But Harry believed the Unspeakables would
try again, and the weekend was the best time for that. None of the
Unspeakables had to be at work, so they could attack as a group.
Harry's wards, even bound to the ward stone, could not withstand a full
attack by a group of adult wizards.
Even if Harry was home, he
wouldn't be able to fight them off for long, barely long enough for
reinforcements to get there – and on a Saturday, those reinforcements
would be nothing more than the two Aurors on duty. Not enough to fight
off a group of Unspeakables.
But while Harry was away from
home, he depended on his wards' alarm spells – and he wasn't sure the
alarm would come in time for him to keep the Unspeakables away from
Harry left very, very
reluctantly. His admonitions to Severus about being careful had not
been well received. Once at headquarters, he spent most of his time
listening with half an ear to the alarms instead of filling out forms.
The rest of the time he spent wondering about his paranoia. Taking care
of Severus seemed to turn him into Mad-Eye Moody.
By two o'clock, Harry decided
he'd been there long enough. He hadn't got much done, true, but at
least his boss couldn't say Harry hadn't been in.
Arriving home, Harry's first
action was to check his wards. He felt very relieved – and more than a
little foolish – when they proved untouched. No one had tried to take
Severus away. Harry's mood immediately improved, and he thought he
could even deal with a sulky (but these days always showered) Severus.
However, Severus seemed to be
in a better mood as well. He had come out of his room and was once more
sitting in the living room with his journals. He even deigned to greet
Harry, and later approached him with a question about something he had
read in one of his journals. Although there was little that Harry could
tell him, Severus showed no impatience at Harry's lack of knowledge.
A little later, Harry was
surprised to find himself in a lively discussion with Severus about
defensive magic. That was something Harry knew a lot about, so he was
able to answer Severus's questions and even hold his own against
It was almost fun, Harry
realised. Sitting in his safe living room, on the sofa next to Severus,
talking with him and watching his face flush with enthusiasm … it was
Severus looked nice, too. It
wasn't only his clothes. His face was less pale and, Harry thought, not
as thin anymore. There was a small smile on his lips as he excitedly
talked about Shield Charms, and it wasn't a nasty smile. With his hair
clean and eyes sparkling with animation, Severus looked rather …
It was a pretty stunning
The chiming of the Floo alarm
that signalled an incoming call made Harry blink. For one, dazed
moment, he thought the sound was some kind of musical-magical emphasis
on his discovery. Then he recognised the sound and shook his head.
Getting to his feet, he mumbled an apology to Severus and left the
living room, heading for his little Floo chamber.
He'd had the Floo moved from
the living room to a separate chamber after he'd been surprised by Mrs
Weasley one morning. Talking to the woman who was almost his mother
while wearing nothing but underwear, his chest covered in bite-marks
and his lover prowling down the hall stark naked, was not something he
wanted to do ever again. With
the Floo in a separate room, he at least had a chance of throwing on a
robe – or getting his thoughts back in order after he'd just had the
rug pulled out underneath his feet.
Harry was doubly glad for the
additional seconds it took him to walk from living room to Floo chamber
when he saw an unfamiliar face hovering in the flames.
Auror-trained skills helped
him examine his caller quickly. Male; small, neat beard; high forehead;
stern looking. The type of face his mentor at the Auror department had
called the "should wear glasses"-type. Scholar. Instantly, Harry was
'Good afternoon,' Harry
greeted him with bland politeness while he sat down in the low chair in
front of the fire.
The stranger's smile was
equally bland and polite. 'Good afternoon, Mr Potter. My apologies for
calling you unannounced. I had hoped to find you at home today.'
The wizard's slightly oily
voice made the hairs at the back of Harry's neck rise. He didn't need
his instincts to scream at him to know that whatever the man wanted
from him, it wasn't something Harry would like. 'Well, you've found me
at home,' he said, trying his best to remain calm and courteous. 'Is
there something I can do for you?'
The wizard's face twisted
into an expression of insincere shock. 'Oh, no, Mr Potter! Indeed not.
I would not dare to call you and demand your assistance. No, no, quite
the opposite, actually!'
He smiled benevolently, and
Harry gritted his teeth. 'Yes?' he prompted. 'Let's start with you
telling me who you are, and then you explain why you think I need your
'Of course, Mr Potter, my
apologies.' The wizard nodded. 'I assumed you knew my name. Bainbridge
is my name, Henry Croft Bainbridge, Mr Potter. I am the Healer in
charge of the Spell Damage ward at St Mungo's Hospital. It was brought
to my attention that you might be in need of my assistance. My niece,
Clara Croft, senior secretary in the Wizengamot Administration,
informed me that you had taken time off work this week in order to deal
with a cursed family member. We at St Mungo's Hospital are well aware
that in the past you have had trouble keeping your visits away from the
notice of the press, so I was convinced that this was the reason you
did not contact us before.
'Therefore, as the Senior
Healer, I decided to approach you in this fashion for indeed, Mr
Potter, as well-versed as you are in dealing with all manners of
curses, you must be aware that a curse victim needs medical care from
professional and experienced Healers. This is especially important to
remember if the curse victim is a family member. We do not recommend
that even our own staff attempt to cure family members. There are
curses that are crafted to attack any wizard or witch of the same blood
who comes too close, physically or magically, to the victim.
'So I humbly offer you my
help, Mr Potter. Send the poor victim to my care, and I shall give them
my closest attention and do my utmost to break the spell.' Healer
Bainbridge smiled benignly.
It was all Harry could do not
to gape at the wizard. Not only because Bainbridge was a pompous ass.
But how stupid did he think Harry was? A cursed family member? The
Healer couldn't possibly believe that Harry would buy the story that St
Mungo's "had heard" about his "cursed family member". Which family
member would that be, after all? Everyone knew that the Weasleys were
the closest Harry had to family
It was a ruse to get at
Severus, of course. Harry remembered seeing Bainbridge's name on one of
the files (and he'd have to talk to Hermione about why the wards let
the wizard Floo call when he'd been identified as a threat by name). But even if he hadn't
remembered the name, that ridiculous story would have set off alarm
bells in Harry's head.
Either St Mungo's Healers
were idiots, or they thought Harry was an idiot, or they were
absolutely awful schemers.
Well, if that was the calibre of his enemies
this time around, Harry wouldn't have to worry. At all.
The thought was enough to
relax his earlier tension, and he had to fight to keep his smile in. It
wouldn't do to let the Healer know that Harry had seen through him.
Biting back his laughter, Harry made himself frown in confusion.
'A cursed family member?' he
repeated innocently. 'Well, I am very grateful for your offer, Healer
Bainbridge, but I think there must have been a mistake. Are you sure
your niece mentioned me? My only living family members are Muggles, and
if they'd been cursed, the Department of Magical Accidents and
Catastrophes would have taken care of them.'
The Healer blinked, looking
lost for a moment as though it had never entered his mind that Harry
would refuse his generous offer. 'Mistake? No, no, Clara mentioned your
name. She is not generally prone to repeat gossip, but she thought your
sudden absence noteworthy and told me when we had tea last week.'
'Gossip!' Harry laughed,
delighted. For once, the Ministry's gossip mongering would work in his
favour. 'Oh, I understand. I'm very sorry, Healer Bainbridge, but you –
or your niece – have fallen prey to Ministry gossip. Never trust
anything a Ministry employee tells you they "have been told" or "have
heard". It's always grossly wrong and exaggerated. I was away to deal
with a Life Debt. There was no talk of curses or family members. That
must have been a Ministry grapevine addition.'
Bainbridge looked as though
he wanted to reach through the fire and throttle Harry. 'Clara was
quite clear in her information,' he insisted.
'I don't doubt it.' Harry did
his best to curb his amusement. Idiot or not, it wasn't wise to offend
a Senior Healer too much. 'I'm just saying that the source of Clara's
information was wrong. Hey, that information travelled from level two
to level three. That's plenty of time for gossip to become embellished.
But anyway, while I thank you for your offer, I can assure you there is
no cursed family member in my house.'
He smiled apologetically into
the Healer's angry face. There was nothing more that Bainbridge could
say to convince Harry if he didn't want to mention Severus's name and
end the game. Bainbridge seemed to know that, too, because he gave
Harry a reasonably gracious smile, muttered some more apologies, and
ended the call.
Harry remained where he was,
sitting in the low chair. He laughed at the Healer's idiocy. Although,
when he thought for too long about what had been behind the stupid plan
– how the Healer had tried to manipulate Harry, how he'd intended to
use and abuse Severus – Harry felt all his old rage come back.
Wizards and witches using
their power to manipulate others, abusing their power, he hated it just
as much as he had when he had been at Hogwarts. He loathed the
corruption he'd seen in the Ministry. When he'd become an Auror, he'd
fought hard to root it out, the corruption, the abuse of authority, and
to make the Ministry a place of fairness and clean politics. He'd even
been successful. The Ministry under Kingsley Shacklebolt was a better
place than it had been under his predecessors.
But it wasn't perfect. Harry
knew that. It would never be perfect. And in his years as an Auror,
he'd learnt not only how to fight corruption – but also when to fight
it. He'd learnt that charging in and smashing everything to pieces was
not the best way, and that sometimes standing back, waiting, letting
the manipulators get caught in their own webs was the way to do it.
And he'd learnt that laughing
sometimes made the schemers angry enough to make mistakes. And an angry
schemer who made mistakes was someone who could be taken in, accused,
Even if the schemer was a
Senior Healer. Harry hoped, really hoped, Bainbridge would make his
mistakes soon. Very soon.
Well, it was no use getting
angry. No one had done anything wrong – yet – and just because Harry
didn't like the Senior Healer didn't mean he wasn't a good Healer. He'd
just have to keep his eyes open and Severus safe.
When Harry returned to the
living room, he found Severus sitting on the sofa, ostensibly reading a
book. But the boy's head shot up the moment the door opened, and Harry
noticed how pale and tense he was.
'Hey, are you all right?'
Severus nodded stiffly. 'Yes,
of course. Who was that?'
'Senior Healer from Mungo's.'
Harry plopped down in his armchair and grinned at the boy. 'Said he
heard about me having a cursed family member at home and wanted to help
From the fact that Severus's
face didn't show the least surprise Harry gathered that the boy had
eavesdropped. He was probably worried about his safety again, Harry
thought, recalling earlier reactions.
'He was one of your
correspondents,' Harry added, nodding towards the pile of Severus's
journals next to the sofa. 'Bainbridge. I saw his name on a file and
Severus nodded slowly, not
looking at Harry. He shuddered and wrapped his arms around his body.
'He's an awful man,' he whispered.
Without thinking about
anything but wanting to comfort the boy, Harry went over to him and
wrapped one arm around Severus's thin shoulders. 'Hey,' he said softly,
'don't worry. You're safe, here. He can't get through the wards.'
Severus hiccoughed and
shivered. He was so tense Harry's body ached in sympathy.
'Really, don't worry,' Harry
repeated, tightening his hold just a little. 'He might be a good
Healer, but he's a real idiot. I mean, can you believe he thought I'd
buy his story? And just hand you over? How stupid does he think I am?
Or you are, really. As if you'd have simply gone with him, even if I
had fallen for his lies. You'd have seen through him instantly and then
called me a dunderhead and told me what my duty to you and the Life
Severus peered at him. He was
still so tense, looking ready to bolt. Harry wondered what he was
worried about. That Harry would one day decide to hand Severus over, no
matter what he'd said before? No matter that there was a Life Debt
between them? That Harry would laugh at him and mock him for being
scared? For wanting comfort?
He probably was, Harry
realised. Poor Severus. He badly wanted to comfort the boy, hug him and
reassure him that, really, Harry would never do either. But he didn't
know what to do, exactly – would Severus even let Harry hug him? – or
what to say. He wasn't really very good with these things.
In the end, Harry awkwardly
patted Severus on his shoulder. 'Cheer up, Severus. If that's the
calibre of our enemies, we won't have to worry at all. They're either
idiots or abysmal schemers. We're better than they are.'
Severus once more gave him
that stunned look. But then a shy, little smile curled his mouth, and
he reached for Harry's hand, squeezing it.
'We're better than they are,'
he agreed fervently, and then flushed and hid behind his book, leaving
Harry to wonder yet again at his reactions. He'd never understand
'—and he said in chapter four
that you could do a Scathell Shield Charm with the Protego wand movement! Can you
believe that? And he's taught Defence at Hogwarts! As if that would
work! Every idiot knows that if you use the Protego movement, you'll base the
Shield on yourself. And the Scathell is meant to be long lasting, so of
course you can't base it on yourself. You'd kill yourself the moment
you started attacking. Honestly, what was that guy thinking?' Severus snorted
derisively and dropped the potato he'd been peeling into the bowl.
'There, all done.'
'Thanks.' Harry finished
cutting the veggies and dumped them into a pot. 'And being Defence
teacher at Hogwarts doesn't necessarily mean the guy's competent. In my
second year, we had a fraud teach us, and fifth year, a Ministry drone.'
Severus brought the bowl over
to the cooker. 'I know, I had a bunch of funny people teach me, too.
But Viridian wrote books! Isn't there someone who checks whether the
stuff people want to publish is actually correct? Seriously, you'd kill yourself if you tried to do
what he claimed was a short-cut.'
Harry gave the boy an amused
smile. He was so honestly disgusted with the many mistakes he found in
Viridian's out-dated Defence book. It offered Harry no end of
entertainment, coming home to a barrage of indignant words, or to
Severus quarrelling with a book.
'I doubt that many people
would get any results at all if they tried,' he said. 'The wand
movement alone would make that impossible. You'd have to be incredibly
powerful to force inward-focused magic to obey an outward-focused
Severus huffed and hopped
onto the counter next to Harry. 'That's no excuse,' he groused.
'Mistakes like that shouldn't be printed at all.'
'Oh, I agree with you on
that.' Harry poked his wand at the cooker to set the veggies to
simmering. 'It would make my job easier sometimes. Now, don't just sit
there and watch. If you want to eat potatoes, find me a pot to cook
He shooed Severus off the
counter, and Severus obeyed with an exaggerated sigh. Instead of
opening the cupboard to get out a pot, however, he simple leaned there.
'No idea where the pots are, but I could find you a cauldron,' he
offered with a smirk.
Harry snorted. 'Pots are
right behind you, as if you didn't know.' He stirred the veggies, then
turned his head to glare at Severus. The boy sighed again and, twisting
his upper body around, he opened the cupboard – the wrong one – and
peered inside. 'I can't see any pots,' he said, faking confusion.
Harry wasn't listening. He'd
frozen the moment Severus had moved, eyes drawn down as if by magic. He
was staring. Right at the boy's crotch. Where his jeans stretched and
wrinkled in all the right ways, in all the right places, perfectly
outlining the shape of Severus's cock.
Harry stared. Everything
around him vanished, all sounds turned into white noise as he traced
the shape and size of that cock with his eyes.
His mouth watered. Harry
imagined shoving clothes away to reveal that cock, and then taking it
into his mouth, sucking and licking and worshipping it until it was hot
and hard. Until he heard moans and pleas for more. He could almost feel
it, the weight of the hard cock in his hands, could almost smell the
scent of aroused male. His hand moved without thought, reaching out to
'Harry? Hey, is something
The vision vanished, and
suddenly Severus was standing right in front of him, looking at him.
Harry blinked, and then flinched as he realised what had nearly
happened. He flushed and cleared his throat, turning towards the cooker
in the hopes of hiding his erection.
'Wrong cupboard,' he managed
to say. 'Pots are in the lower one.'
Silence followed his words,
but Harry didn't turn. He stirred the veggies, inwardly berating
himself and cringing at his own stupidity. More than stupidity. It was
… was … there was no word for what it was.
'Oh. Of course.' Severus
sounded subdued, perhaps even a little hurt.
Harry bit his lip and forced
a smile onto his face as he turned around to reassure the boy that he
hadn't done anything wrong. But the smile vanished the next moment, and
Harry never said his platitudes.
Severus was squatting in
front of the cupboard that held the pots. His jeans were stretched
tight over his arse. Harry's erection came back full force. And then
Severus kneeled and bent forwards, reaching into the back of the
cupboard for one of the large pots. The denim shifted, became even
tighter as Severus ducked down.
Harry swallowed, clinging
desperately to his wooden spoon. His heart was hammering, and his own
jeans were uncomfortably tight as well, his erection straining against
its confines. He told himself he ought to look away, move, turn around,
but he couldn't.
He couldn't. He just stood
there, motionless, staring, wanting. He hadn't wanted that much, that
fiercely, in a long time.
And he couldn't have. He
couldn't. Because this was Snape. Even if he was a boy at the moment –
and that was horrible enough. Harry shuddered away from the realisation
of how much he desired a child. But it was still Snape. The man who had
loved Harry's mother. A man who would never want Harry in return.
A man who had been cursed and
de-aged into a boy. A boy who was under Harry's care.
A boy who was kneeling in
front of the cupboard, pot in hand, staring back at Harry with wide
eyes and red cheeks.
'Um.' Harry grinned weakly.
'Found a pot?'
Severus nodded, licking his
lips. Harry couldn't help staring again, following the movement with
his eyes. His prick twitched with desire to feel that tongue.
'Yes, I…' Severus coughed and
finally looked away. He got to his feet and hesitantly held the pot out
to Harry. 'I … Does this one f-fit?'
Harry took the pot, careful
not to touch Severus's fingers in the process. 'Yes, thank you.' He was
about to turn away when Severus shot him a quick glance from beneath
Harry froze again, holding
his breath. Severus looked away. His face was flushed, and his
breathing seemed a little too quick, a little too shallow. Harry wanted
to reach out, brush the black hair away, to see Severus's face. See his
eyes. He wanted—
Severus fidgeted, shuffling
his feet. He bit his lip, then opened his mouth as if to speak,
half-turning to Harry. Their eyes met for a second, before Harry's
dropped from the boy's face. Once more drawn down as though by magical
force, and Harry saw the outline much more clearly now.
Severus was hard, too.
That shocked Harry back into
clarity, and with clarity came guilt and disgust. Here he was, in his
own kitchen, all but seducing the poor boy. Who probably didn't
understand what was happening, why his body was reacting to Harry.
This was wrong. Harry
shouldn't be doing this, not even unconsciously. He was supposed to
care for the boy; he couldn't abuse his own authority that way. Abuse
the shaky trust Severus had in him.
Resolved, yet inwardly
berating himself, Harry turned to the cooker, just in time to rescue
the veggies from boiling over.
He wouldn't do anything, he
swore to himself. Not even acknowledge Severus's reaction. It was
better that way. It didn't mean anything, anyway. Severus was a
teenager right then. Sporting an erection didn't mean anything at that
And that was all. Harry
wouldn't read it any other way. He couldn't. So he wouldn't. He
wouldn't say or do anything. He wouldn't make Severus uncomfortable.
'Hey, do you need help with
the potatoes?' Severus asked.
Harry jumped a little, so
buried in his thoughts about Severus that he'd almost forgotten that he
was there. Nor had he noticed Severus moving.
Severus was far too close
now. Harry could feel him, standing right there. He could feel the
warmth of Severus's body, could smell him. He smelled good, like
Harry's shampoo and potatoes and young man. Harry's cock was still
'Oh, no, thank you.' Harry
tried for light and casual, but wasn't sure how successful he was. He
didn't look at Severus, because turning would bring their faces too
close. 'I can manage. But you could check the CoolKeep and see if
there's any more of the lamb we had the other day. I can defrost it and
throw it into a pan if you want some.'
There was a choked sound, and
then Severus retreated a little. 'What?' He sounded angry and
God, not a moment too soon,
Harry thought. 'Lamb,' he said out loud, still not turning and
pretending he was busy with the potatoes. 'Or sausages, if you'd prefer
There was a long silence, and
finally Harry had to turn if he wanted to remain circumspect. But
Severus had stepped back even further, and to Harry's relief, he didn't
look like a seductive siren anymore, either. He looked pale and shocked
'Severus? Do you want lamb or
sausages for dinner?'
The boy seemed to flinch, and
Harry felt awful for acting like this, for seeming to simply brush the
incident away. But it was better this way.
Severus's face crumpled, and
he turned away. His body sagged into a slouch. He shoved his hands into
his pockets and hunched his shoulders.
'I'm not hungry,' he said
'Just potatoes and veggies,
then?' Harry asked, wincing at himself.
Severus promptly glared at
him. 'I'm not hungry,' he repeated. 'I'll go to my room.'
'What? No, no you won't.' It
was unfair, Harry knew, to cast a locking charm on the door that
Severus couldn't cancel. And perhaps he was abusing his authority that
way, too, as Severus murderous scowl seemed to indicate. But the boy
had to eat – and more than a bite of breakfast and an apple for lunch.
That was part of his physical well-being and Harry had to take care of
Which he told the boy when
Severus began to protest, loudly. Severus snarled at him, but in the
end subsided and sat down. Then he sulked all through dinner, and at
the earliest opportunity, he vanished into his room.
Harry didn't even try to get
him back down to help with the dishes. Severus was angry, and he had
every right to be. Harry had acted irresponsibly. But he was trying to
rectify what he'd done. He needed to, both for his own conscience and
for the Debt he owed Severus.
He was taking care of
Severus's emotional well-being.
He wouldn't take advantage of
'What the fuck happened
here?' Harry stood in the doorway, looking around the kitchen.
The smell had assaulted him
as soon as he'd entered the house. He'd thought perhaps Severus had
tried cooking and burnt something. Hurt himself. But this didn't look
like a cooking disaster.
There was goo everywhere: the
floor, the surfaces, and the walls. Even the ceiling was dotted with
dark green blotches. On the kitchen table was the molten mass of what
had probably been a cauldron. It rested in the middle of a large,
blackened area – the remains of a fire set up under the cauldron. The
mess was steaming gently. Severus sat in a chair beside the table, his
hair and clothes equally blackened. He'd been poking at the molten
stuff with fascination when Harry had burst into the kitchen.
The stench was horrible.
'Oh.' Severus jerked. He cast
a quick glance at the clock, bit his lip, and gave Harry a faintly
sheepish look. 'Um. You're back already.'
'What. The Fuck. Happened
here?' Harry repeated, pressing the words through gritted teeth.
Severus looked around the
kitchen and seemed to notice the mess for the first time. 'Ah. I was …'
He turned hesitantly back to Harry. 'Um. An experiment. It … it didn't
'An experiment.' Harry
struggled not to start yelling. 'You were experimenting in my kitchen?'
'Where else could I?' Severus
protested, jumping to his feet. 'You don't have a lab!'
Harry wondered if this was
how Professor Snape had felt when one of his Potions students had
melted a cauldron or exploded a potion. He wanted to wring the boy's
'You shouldn't be
experimenting at all,' he snarled. 'You shouldn't even be trying to
brew potions, much less experiment!
What if you'd blown the house up?'
'I wouldn't have!' Severus
crossed his arms, looking mulish. 'I know enough about potions not to
'Yeah, but apparently not
enough not to make a fucking mess out of my kitchen!'
'I told you, it was an
'And it quite obviously
didn't go as you wanted! So don't fucking tell me you knew you wouldn't
blow up the house!' Harry shouted. His knees felt suddenly very wobbly
and his heart was hammering. Good god, the boy could have killed himself instead of making
one hell of a mess!
'I knew it wouldn't' Severus
yelled back. 'It couldn't explode. Just because you're completely
unaware of some basic principles of brewing doesn't mean I'm ignorant
'Oh, yeah, right, Mr Genius.
Your ignorance was apparently enough to … to … whatever the fuck
Severus sneered, hands
clenched into fists, shaking. 'Two ingredients acted adversely, which
resulted in an unexpectedly violent reaction.'
The boy sounded so much like
the adult professor at that moment, mocking Harry, implying he was a
useless moron, that Harry lost it. He crossed the kitchen, goo
squelching under his feet, and grabbed Severus's shoulders. He shook
the boy hard. 'You pretentious little shit! You go and explode shit in
my kitchen, you own up to it. Don't hide behind big words like a
'It didn't explode, you … you
ninny!' Severus shrieked, fighting to get loose.
Harry laughed. He let go with
a shove, sending the boy stumbling back against the table. 'No
explosion, right,' he sneered. 'And the stuff just flew out of whatever
you used as cauldron peacefully.'
Severus made an
unintelligible noise of rage. 'I-it r-reacted,' he stammered.
'No!' Severus shoved the table,
banging it against the wall. 'It … the potion, it fountained up and then the cauldron
melted! No explosion!'
'Fountained, exploded, what
the fuck ever.' Harry felt like pulling his hair out. 'Doesn't matter
one bit. What matters is you shouldn't be experimenting! Good god,
Severus, don't you know what could have happened? You could have killed yourself!'
Suddenly feeling faint and
sick, Harry dropped down onto the other kitchen chair. No wonder
Professor Snape had always snarled at Harry and tried to get him
expelled when he'd done something heroic and potentially fatal. Harry
suddenly felt much more forgiving towards his old teacher.
'No, I couldn't!' Severus had
tears of frustration in his eyes. 'The potion reacted badly, but it
could never, never have
exploded or, or done something like that! I know that much!'
'I don't care!' Harry glared
at the boy. 'You could have hurt yourself, you idiot. No more
experiments, at all, but definitely none when you're alone.'
'But you're never home!'
Severus cried angrily. 'And I can't just sit around all day and do
nothing but read! For days and days!'
'Then find yourself another
hobby!' Harry tiredly rubbed his forehead, feeling the tension and
adrenaline ebb away. 'Preferably one that isn't destructive.'
'And what do you suggest I
do?' Severus whinged. 'I can't use my wand, I can't brew potions, can't
leave the house, what else is there? Folding paper cranes?' He sneered.
Harry sighed and looked
around his messy kitchen once more. 'Anything, as long as it's not
dangerous and you don't get hurt.'
Severus tossed his head. 'Who
are you, my mother?'
'Might as well be.' Harry
sighed again. 'I am
responsible for you. Until you return to your proper age, I'm
responsible for you, and that includes your physical well-being.' He
tried a smile. 'You'd never forgive me for letting you harm yourself.'
Severus snarled at him. 'You
only care about that fucking Life Debt! I could die of boredom, and
you'd still only think of "taking care of my well-being"!'
'Hey, that's not true!' Harry
sat up, stung. 'I do my best to make things as easy for you as
'Right.' Severus snorted.
'Easy for you, you mean. You
go off to work and expect me to entertain myself. But no using magic,
oh no, can't have that. In case you didn't notice, there isn't much to
do around here without magic.'
'But you said yourself you'd
be busy reading,' Harry protested, genuinely hurt. He'd thought Severus
was okay, that he liked staying with Harry.
'But I can't be doing nothing
but read!' Severus threw up his arms.
'Well, then.' Harry blinked,
thoughts whirling. 'There's got to be something you like to do that's
not reading and doesn't require magic. And isn't potentially dangerous.
I mean, what do you usually do over summer when you go home?'
Severus face closed off
instantly. He stood motionless for a moment, body gone rigid. Then he
sneered. 'You know what, forget it,' he spat. 'I'll go to my room and
read your stupid novels.' With that, he banged out of the kitchen.
Harry could hear him storm up the stairs, and then a second bang.
Harry sagged on his chair.
Tiredly, he rubbed his face. What had he said this time? He'd only
wanted to help.
He would never understand
Groaning, he let his hands
drop to his lap and took another look around at the mess. Goo
everywhere, sticky and thick and slowly dripping off the cabinet doors.
He sighed and got up. Looked like it was up to him to clean this mess.
Hopeful, he tried a few basic cleaning charms, but only the
Air-Freshening Charm really took.
It was times like these Harry
regretted telling Kreacher to stay at Hogwarts. He could really do with
some house-elf magic right now.
Harry woke up slowly. He felt
heavy but rested. Outside he could hear birds singing. The house itself
was still quiet.
Harry stretched languidly,
enjoying the sensation of his warm, comfy bed and of not having to jump
out to get ready to work. Thank god, it was finally the weekend. No
need to leave the house – to leave Severus alone in the house and spend
the day wondering and worrying about what he'd get up to. Perhaps they
could find something for the boy to do while Harry was at work.
Thinking about Severus erased
the last vestiges of sleep. Harry sighed. The last two days after their
row had reminded Harry of the days after the shower discussion. Severus
remained mostly locked up in his room, and when he came down to dinner,
he was sulky and taciturn. No matter how Harry had tried to strike up a
conversation, Severus answered in monoyllables.
He didn't even quarrel with
books anymore. Whenever Harry passed Severus's room, it was silent
behind the door. Harry wondered what the boy was doing. He'd debated
spelling a wall transparent, but decided against it. Severus had a
right to privacy, no matter what.
Well, perhaps today, when he
didn't have to "go off" he could do something to draw Severus out,
Harry thought. He'd even offer to help him with a potion, if that was
what it took.
Harry grimaced. Potions
brewing with Severus. And him willing to sacrifice himself for
Severus's entertainment. What had got into him?
Harry shook his head at
himself, and then heaved a deep sigh. His wonderful Saturday-morning
laze over before it began. His pleasant languor had
vanished, leaving him restless. Time to get up.
With another sigh, Harry
threw his duvet back and sat up. He grabbed his glasses but didn't put
them on. He could find his way to the bathroom even in darkness, and
he'd only take them off again. Pulling on his bathrobe, Harry wandered
out of his room.
On his way to the bathroom,
Harry passed Severus's door and he paused, listening. All was quiet.
Well, it was only nine o'clock. He was probably still asleep. Evading a
creaking floor board, Harry continued on to the bathroom, where he
softly closed the door behind himself.
Five minutes later, the
shower was running hot, and Harry eased in with a soft sigh. He loved
Saturdays. And Sundays, of course. Days when he could stand under the
shower for as long as he wanted, enjoying the heat and the pressure.
When all he had to think about was what he'd like for breakfast.
Well, that day he was
thinking about Severus, too. What could be done to entertain him.
Something without magic, and something that wasn't dangerous. They
could play cards or wizard chess. Hm, wizard chess. Hadn't Ron once
told him about a set of charms and spells that could be put on the
board so that one person could play against, well, the board? Perhaps
Severus would like that. He'd have to remember to ask Ron.
Or perhaps they could go out.
If Severus was with Harry, he should be safe. And he'd been cooped up
for more than two weeks. He was probably going stir crazy. On the other
hand, Severus had never struck Harry as someone who enjoyed spending
time outside. And he wasn't a great flyer. Or was he?
Harry realised he didn't
know. The man had at one point obviously been good enough to referee a
Quidditch match. But as a student, he hadn't been a good flyer. And
he'd been jealous of James's talent. Or had that only been Sirius's
explanation for the antagonism between them?
Okay, he'd better ask
Severus. Harry grimaced and tilted his head back, letting the water
spray over his face. He'd better ask Severus what he liked, full stop.
It didn't speak well about Harry that he, after living with the boy for
several weeks, still didn't know what Severus liked to do, apart from
reading and brewing potions.
Harry groaned, the sound
echoing softly in the bathroom. He really wasn't a good guardian, was
he? He neglected Severus and yelled at him, and on top of everything
else, he was lusting after him.
Harry let his head fall
forwards until his forehead came to rest against the tiled wall. He
didn't even have to close his eyes to see Severus's jeans hug the boy's
erection or stretch over his arse. Hm, and it was such a nice arse,
round and pert, and he remembered what it looked like raised invitingly
into the air as Severus bent over a trunk.
Aw, fuck, now he was hard.
Harry groaned again. It kept happening, no matter what he told himself.
Sometimes all he had to look at Severus and within heartbeats, he was
rock hard. And that wasn't even counting the dreams. God, that last
week, he'd felt like a teenager himself, waking up either hard and
aching, or sticky and spent.
It was disgusting, really, to
lust after a teenager. No matter that he'd sworn never to do anything
about it. He shouldn't even have those fantasies.
And why was he having them
now? He'd never even remotely thought like that about the adult Snape!
Or had he?
No, Harry was sure he hadn't.
He knew he'd ignored quite a lot during his days at Hogwarts, denied
and redirected his emotions. Such as his crush on Cedric, which he'd
turned into a crush on Cho. But even after he'd become aware of his
preferences, he'd never thought of Snape as a sexual being.
Besides, the man had been in
love with Harry's mother.
But the teenage Severus was
so different from the adult Snape. Of course, he was just as touchy,
but not quite as jealous of his dignity yet. And although he thoroughly
disliked James Potter, there hadn't been those incidents in his past.
The Shrieking Shack and the incident by the lake. Severus hadn't
loathed Harry on sight and on principle like Snape had done. There
weren't years of antagonism between them.
And Harry liked the boy
Severus was. Had been. Whatever. He enjoyed spending time with him,
talking about magic, Defence, and the Dark Arts. Severus had a vicious
tongue on him, sometimes, but he could also be funny without being
cruel. He'd worked so hard to understand what had happened to him. And
he'd shown an amazing amount of trust in Harry.
God, he should just come out
and admit he was fond of Severus. Too fond. He'd miss him when he
returned to his real age. Perhaps they could stay friends? Or would
Harry just transfer his … okay, okay, his crush on Severus to the adult Snape?
Harry blushed with
mortification at the mere thought. Snape wouldn't be as innocent as
Severus. He'd see Harry's
attraction and … No, better not go that way.
Better to enjoy the time he
had with Severus.
If only his brain would
understand that he didn't mean "enjoy" that way! And would stop throwing
those dreams at him.
Dreams in which the things in
the kitchen had ended differently. Where Harry had knelt down and
opened Severus's fly. Where he had stroked Severus's cock to hardness,
and then blown him to nirvana. Dreams in which Severus was bending over
something, wiggling his arse at Harry. Where he looked over his
shoulder at Harry and gave him a wicked smile. Where Harry would
actually step closer and touch, and then they'd both be naked and …
Harry moaned and tightened
his hand around his cock. Then he realised what he was doing. The thing
he'd so far refused to do, had resisted doing. No matter how hard and
aching the dreams had left him, he'd refused to wank while thinking of
Severus. Yet here he was, wanking and thinking of Severus, of the
dreams about Severus.
But it felt so good, and god,
he needed it so much! Surely it couldn't hurt; only this, he'd never do
anything else …
Harry shoved all reflections
of a guilty conscience aside and relaxed into the sensations. He would
allow himself this, just this once. Just enjoy it and think about the
other stuff later.
With a soft moan, he leaned
back into the spray of the shower. Closing his eyes, he focused on the
feeling of his hand on his cock. His other hand reached down, cupping
his balls, and Harry sighed with pleasure. He sped his hand up a
little, stroking faster, and added a gentle squeeze and twist at the
end. His toes curled on the smooth floor of the shower, and his balls
tingled. Harry tugged them up a little, and then rolled them in his
palm, before he concentrated on stroking again.
Soon, his movements became
faster, more urgent. Harry bit his lip to stifle his groans. Don't wake
Severus. That would be too embarrassing but, oh, the fantasy was damn
hot! Severus hearing him and coming into the bathroom to find Harry
wanking. He'd smirk and then slip out of his pyjamas to join Harry
under the shower. He'd press his naked body against Harry's, and then
drop to his knees in front of him, smiling knowingly up at him.
Harry would run his hand
through Severus's hair and whisper, 'Please.' Severus would lean in to
press a shy kiss to the top of Harry's cock. Then he'd open his mouth
and let him in. One hand would come up to play with Harry's balls as he
twirled his tongue around Harry's erection. At Harry's pleading
whimper, he'd give in and suck …
Harry came with a deep grunt.
Shaking and panting, Harry
leant against the cold wall. As he blinked his eyes open, he was for a
moment confused that there wasn't a naked Severus kneeling in front of
him, sporting a smug grin. Then reality cut through his afterglow, and
'Oh, fuck.' He banged his
head backwards against the wall, and then gave himself an angry shake. That had been incredibly stupid. No more fantasies.
Quickly, Harry washed off the
last of the evidence and shut off the shower. Still annoyed with
himself for getting lost in what should only have been a wanking
fantasy, Harry slid the shower door open and groped for his towel – and
froze, mid-motion, as he came face to face with a very real Severus.
Who was standing closer to
the shower than to the bathroom door. Looking flushed and a bit
rumpled. And whose pyjama pants were tented quite impressively.
'Um,' Harry said. Then he
quickly tugged the towel over his groin. 'Uh, S-Severus.'
Severus looked up at Harry's
face, his expression half-embarrassed and half-defiant. 'I heard a thud
and then you groaning,' he said. 'I, I only came to see if … if you're
Harry almost believed him, if
it hadn't been for the way the boy had stared at Harry's cock before
Harry had covered it, and the twitching of Severus's own, persistent
And the fact that Severus had
quite obviously taken several steps into the bathroom instead of
silently closing the door when he'd seen that nothing had happened to
But it was better, far better
for everyone concerned, to pretend to believe the boy's story. So
Harry, face burning with embarrassment, gave him a weak smile. 'That's,
uh, thank you. I'm, ah, as you see, I'm fine. Uh. You, um, need the
Severus blinked, and suddenly
flushed a violent shade of red. 'Uh, oh, no, thank you,' he stammered
and beat a hasty retreat out of the door.
Harry sagged and hid his face
in his towel with a groan. Then he snapped up, snatched his wand from
one of the pockets of his bathrobe, and cast a locking charm on the
door. Which he should have done in the first place. Before he got
So much for fantasy and
Shaking his head at himself –
and trying not to whimper in mortification – Harry towelled his body
and his hair, and then flicked his wand at his magical shaver. He'd
better not shave himself the Muggle way. Shaved and squeaky clean, he
wrapped himself in his bathrobe and crept into his room, where he
dressed quickly. In the baggiest trousers and sweater he could find.
Just in case.
If he'd thought getting
caught wanking by Severus was the height of embarrassment, Harry was
soon taught otherwise. Having to answer questions concerning his love
life by a teenager who'd caught him wanking was even worse.
Severus had seemed recovered
from his own embarrassment by the time he'd come down for breakfast.
He'd been relaxed and smiling at Harry, and it hadn't been a nasty or
teasing smile. It helped Harry a lot with his own tension and
uneasiness that Severus appeared to ignore the incident.
In hindsight, Harry ought to
have known that things wouldn't go as smoothly when Severus had offered
to lay the table. The boy usually refused to do something manually when
Harry could do it in half the time with magic.
But Harry hadn't realised it
and been only too glad to find Severus in a good mood. Especially after
their row three days earlier.
As they sat down for
breakfast, Harry said, 'I've been thinking this morning.'
When he caught Severus's
smirk, he flushed madly, scolding himself for his ill-advised choice of
'I mean, about what you could
do,' he hastened to add. 'While I'm at work. Something other than
reading that doesn't need magic and isn't brewing.'
Severus's eyebrows rose.
'Hmm.' He grinned. 'I see. Well…'
Harry ground his teeth and
told himself that no one had died of embarrassment yet. 'I meant something like wizard chess.
Ron told me about a new set of spells you can put on the board so that
you can play against the magic. Something like that. I could set it up
for you, and you don't need to use magic to play.'
Severus propped his chin up
in his palm. 'That does sound interesting,' he said slowly, still
Harry relaxed a little.
'Okay. Good. I'll Floo Ron about the spells. And I thought that perhaps
you'd like to go somewhere today?'
'Are you asking me out?'
Severus batted his lashes. It was done so exaggeratedly that Harry had
'No, I'm not. Argh, Severus,
what are you thinking? No, no, don't tell me!' Harry shook his head. He
really had a talent for setting himself up, hadn't he? 'I just thought,
well, you've been stuck inside this house for weeks now. Perhaps you'd
like to go visit Hogsmeade, or someplace else. You know, get out a bit?'
Severus shrugged. 'Hogsmeade
might be nice,' he agreed. 'If it isn't a Hogsmeade weekend at
Hogwarts. I think I'd be noticed despite being the correct age at the
Harry nodded. 'Yes, probably.
Well, that's easy to find out. I'll ask Ron. There's a Weasleys'
Wizarding Wheezes shop in Hogsmeade, too, so he'll know. Um, but on the
chance it is a Hogsmeade
weekend, where would you like to go? Diagon Alley?'
Severus snorted. 'No. So far,
only the Unspeakables and Healers have tried to get me. If I show up in
Diagon Alley, we'll have the press camping outside the wards as well.'
Harry sighed and poked at his
toast. 'I'm afraid you're right. Well, I know of some other wizarding
places in Britain, and Seamus – an old classmate of mine – once invited
me to Ireland, so I know one or two places there as well. But, um. The
thing is. I don't know how well you fly. Or if you'd like to go flying.
Or play pick-up Quidditch. Or something like that.'
'I can fly.' For a moment,
Severus looked uncomfortable. 'I can fly,' he repeated. 'Not well
enough for the Quidditch team, but I don't fall off the moment the
broom goes up, either. But I haven't had much practise, and if you want
to play Quidditch … well, I'll watch.' He shrugged.
'No, no, you won't. You'll
not sit around and watch while my friends and I play.' Harry pointed
his fork at Severus, who scowled at him. 'This is supposed to be
entertainment for you. And you don't strike me as someone who enjoys
watching pick-up Quidditch. If we meet some of the guys to play, you
play as well. If you don't want to play, we don't go.'
Severus's scowl darkened. He
fiddled with his knife. 'I … I'm not good at playing Quidditch.'
'Hey.' Harry smiled gently
and waited until Severus looked back up. 'It's about having fun, not
about playing well. It's more everyone on their own than a regular
game, anyway, what with the kids flitting around. Hey, I've been
playing Quidditch with Teddy for years, and it's always been great fun.'
Severus's eyes narrowed.
Harry blinked. 'Huh? Oh, of
course, you wouldn't know. Eh. He's my godson. First year at Hogwarts
now.' He smiled fondly.
'Oh.' Severus ducked his
head, hiding behind his hair. 'Okay.'
'Okay.' Harry frowned, then
shrugged it away. 'So, would you like to go play Quidditch? Or would
you rather do something else?'
Severus peered up at him. 'I
… I'd rather not play, if you don't mind,' he said hesitantly.
Harry felt a bit disappointed
but smiled at the boy. 'Of course I don't mind. I asked what you wanted to do, after all!'
Severus considered him with a
strange expression on his face. 'And … and you'd come with me to do
what I'd like to do?'
'Of course!' Harry grimaced a
little. 'Well, I can't promise to be more than a watchdog of some kind
if you decide to go and gather ingredients, or whatever. But of course
I'll come with you. And not only because you need a watchdog, so don't
scowl at me.'
Nevertheless, Severus's scowl
lifted slowly. 'But … you'd come with me? All day?'
Harry was a little confused.
'Yes. I just said so, didn't I?'
'You'd go and spend a whole
day with me?' Severus seemed baffled. 'You don't want to, I don't know,
perhaps, spend time with someone else? I mean, you don't have to if
you'd rather go out with someone else. You've stayed home every weekend
with me, it's okay if you'd like to go and see someone.'
'Severus, I offered to go with you, didn't I?'
'Yes, but you would no matter
what you'd want to do. You'd feel oblig … obligated.' Severus peered at
him from behind his hair, but despite his posture, the look in his eyes
was neither shy nor insecure but rather searching and a little
calculating. 'I just wondered if, perhaps, you wouldn't like to go out.
Like … with a girlfriend.'
Harry's snort came
spontaneously. 'I haven't had a girlfriend since Hogwarts.'
'What about the Weasley
girl?' Severus asked. He frowned even as Harry opened his mouth. 'Um.
What Weasley girl?'
'Oh.' Harry nodded. 'Flash of
'From my future?'
'Yeah. I did date Ginny
Weasley when I was at Hogwarts. Sixth year.' Absently, he rubbed his
scar. 'I suppose everyone expected me to keep dating her after the war
and then eventually marry her.'
'Why didn't you?' Severus
asked, head cocked like a curious robin. Harry gave him a considering
look. Severus immediately shrunk back. 'S-sorry, you don't have to tell
me. Not my business.'
'No, that's okay. You can
always ask.' Harry shrugged. 'Everybody asked. I was just wondering …
Oh, well. I didn't marry her because, once the dust had settled and I
had time to think about something else than Voldemort, I found out that
I prefer men.'
Severus sat up straight as
though hexed, eyes sharp and intense. 'Men?' he repeated, breathlessly.
Harry blushed and shifted the
jam jars in front of his plate. 'Yes.'
Harry looked up. Severus was
staring at him as though he'd had an epiphany. But the next moment, the
expression was gone, and Severus's eyes, even sharper and more intent
than before, were fixed on Harry's. An uneasy shiver ran down Harry's
spine. Just when had Severus learnt Legilimency? What if he saw …?
'So, do you have a … a
boyfriend, then?' Severus asked.
'Er.' Harry scratched his
head, a bit thrown by the reaction, the unquestioning acceptance. He'd
never experienced that before. 'Um. No. No boyfriend at the moment.'
'But you've had a boyfriend?'
Severus leant forwards. His sleeve came dangerously close to sliding
through the jam on his toast. 'Before?'
'Yes,' Harry answered slowly,
wondering about the interest. Or was Severus gearing up to a "Tell me
all about sex!" demand?
'And what did you do?'
Harry blinked. 'What?'
'What did you do?' Severus
repeated, impatient. 'What do boyfriends do?'
Harry remembered that Severus
was only fifteen at the moment. That he probably knew next to nothing
about sex and intimacy – and hadn't that been the reason Harry had
chastised himself so much? Besides, Severus had been a teenager thirty
years ago. Acceptance of wizards loving wizards – or witches loving
witches – was still not universal. He'd experienced that himself.
But it would have been even less accepted during Severus's adolescence.
He gave Severus a gentle smile. 'The same as a boyfriend and girlfriend
'The same?' Severus was
wide-eyed and a little flushed. 'You mean, holding hands and sneaking
off to k-kiss? Things like that?'
Harry smiled. 'Yes, things
like that. Going to Hogsmeade together and sitting in the Three
Broomsticks at a table in a corner, whispering and making eyes at each
other. Touching under the table. Sneaking off and getting caught by
professors and put in detention for breaking curfew.'
'Well, I was out of Hogwarts
by the time I realised, so I was never put in detention.' Harry
grinned. 'The rest? Yes.'
'Oh.' Severus blinked,
looking faintly stunned. He stared at Harry. 'Did you … did you like
Harry laughed softly. 'Of
'Then, why don't you have a
boyfriend at the moment?'
'There isn't anyone I like
that way right now,' Harry said gently. It wasn't entirely truthful,
and it wasn't that easy, either, but he didn't want to discuss the
difficulties of adult relationships with Severus.
'And what would you like?'
Severus bit his lip, eying Harry, half-curious, half-uncertain.
'In a boyfriend?' Harry told
himself not to fidget. Severus couldn't know; he was prying. 'Why do
Severus shrugged a little too
casually. 'I'd just like to know. I don't know any wizard who has a
boyfriend. I'm curious.'
There was more to it, but
Harry couldn't see what. He thought it was probably okay to go with the
basics. 'Well, I want what everybody wants in a boyfriend or a
girlfriend. Someone who likes me, and in my case definitely someone who
likes Harry, and not the famous Harry Potter.' He grimaced. 'Someone I
like to spend time with. Who likes the same things I do. Someone who at
least gets along okay with my friends. Someone who can live with my
job.' He stopped himself and shrugged. 'Just the things everybody
'What about how he looks?'
Severus eyes all but glowed with intensity.
'Um.' Harry leant back in his
chair, eying the boy nervously. He didn't know Legilimency yet, did he?
'Isn't that important, too?'
Harry gave a half-shrug and
firmly chased the fantasies of Severus away. Not what he should think about now.
Even if Severus couldn't read his mind, yet. 'For some it's important,
'Not for you?' The boy seemed
'Well. Um.' There really
wasn't a way out, was there? Damn. There was a reason Harry hated
talking about relationship stuff. 'It's not important in the sense that
the guy has to be beautiful, you know. Just, um, good looking.
Interesting. Attractive. But that's something individual,' he quickly
continued. 'I mean, someone who I think is attractive, other people
won't, and vice versa. There's this colleague of mine, Grant. He's got
a partner I wouldn't look twice at if I'd met him somewhere, but
Grant's always going on about how pretty Justin is. Which he is.
Pretty. And that's the thing, pretty just isn't attractive to me, not
in a man.' He finished with a nod.
Severus was watching him
pensively. 'Mmhmm.' He was silent for a long time, looking at Harry and
toying with his mug. Then, he suddenly grinned mischievously. 'So, what
did he look like then?'
'Who? My last boyfriend?'
Severus shrugged. 'Mmm, him,
too. But I meant the guy you were thinking about this morning.'
Harry choked on his own
breath. 'W-what ?'
Severus's grin broadened. 'In
the shower. You were thinking about some guy, weren't you? What did he
Harry gaped. He couldn't help
it. He felt his face heat, and the heat spread down his neck, and he
kept gaping at the boy. Severus flushed pale pink, but he kept grinning
Harry's mouth moved, but no
words came out. He couldn't think of anything to say. And then the
fantasy was back, Severus wet and naked in front of him. Except now he
was flushed the same pale pink as the real Severus, and his grin was
just as mischievous, and Harry was hard. He gasped and closed his eyes,
shaking his head, trying to get himself under control.
Trying to reconcile the
Severus he knew with the grinning imp who sat across the breakfast
table and asked embarrassing questions.
And, oh god, don't forget
that Severus would remember
all of this when he'd re-aged!
Harry forced himself to smile
at the boy. 'Tall, dark, and handsome, Nosey Parker.' He got up but
made sure to keep his groin out of Severus's view. 'Now, let's not sit
around talking all day. I'll go and Floo Ron about Hogwarts and the
chess spells. You tidy up, please?'
With that, Harry escaped into
the living room, firmly telling himself that no, he wouldn't die from
embarrassment, and that he must have imagined that calculating gleam in
Severus's eyes. And if he hadn't, it didn't mean anything, anyway.
Harry was almost thankful for
the chiming of the wards, because it allowed him to leave the living
room, and Severus's presence.
On his way to the door, Harry
wondered whether living with teenagers was always like this. Whether
they were always either moody and sulking, or absurdly cheery and …
Because he was sure that
Severus was scheming. The way the boy acted was not normal. Probably.
But ever since last Saturday when he'd cornered Harry with his
questions, Severus had been acting weird. And he'd been watching Harry.
Constantly watching him, openly or out of the corner of his eye. More
than once, Harry had seen a calculating gleam.
It made him very nervous.
Uneasy. Mostly because he had no idea what Severus could be planning.
If it had been someone else, Harry would have said Severus was
interested in Harry. There had been that one time in the kitchen …
But that hadn't meant
anything. Severus was a hormone-driven teenager. He'd just reacted
unwittingly to Harry's interest. Plus, Harry knew that Severus was interested in
women. The man had been in love with Harry's mother for most of his
life! True, Harry had dated girls, too, before he had even realised he
was more attracted to men more than women. But he rather thought that
Snape, who had always been more self-aware than Harry, would have
realised that he'd been attracted to men by the time Harry had come to
Hogwarts. But there had never been the tiniest hint. So he wasn't.
Hadn't been. Couldn't be.
And Harry doubted that sexual
orientation changed with de-aging.
Unfortunately, Harry's body
hadn't received the message that Severus wasn't interested. It made
spending time with the boy even more uncomfortable.
So much so that the wards
sounding the alarm came as a welcome distraction.
It just surprised him that
the people who were after Severus hadn't taken the next step sooner.
They really weren't very good schemers.
Harry stopped in front of his
door and took a deep breath. He let it go slowly, counting heartbeats.
Then he rolled his shoulders back and nodded once before he let his
wand slide from its holster into his hand. The routine, trained into
him during his first three years with the Aurors, made him calm and
concentrated enough to face any kind of enemy.
Holding his wand up at
half-ready position, Harry opened the door. The path to his garden gate
wasn't long, and even in the darkening gloom he had no trouble seeing
the person standing just in front of it. Close enough to trigger the
alarm, but not close enough to actually activate the ward's defence
Harry closed the door,
leaving it slightly ajar, and inclined his head towards his visitor. He
didn't step away from the door. 'Yes?'
The hooded person bowed ever
so slightly. 'Good evening, Mr Potter.' A deep voice, slightly
scratchy. Obviously male. Probably the same Unspeakable who'd tried
before. 'You are harbouring Severus Snape.' It wasn't a question.
Harry crossed his arms in
front of his chest and smiled grimly. So they were finally moving out
into the open. 'Yes.'
The hooded head nodded.
'Please hand him over.'
Harry barked out an
incredulous laugh. Fucking impertinent idiot. 'No.' He turned as if to
walk back inside, wand arm tense to start casting the moment the
Unspeakable tried something.
'Mr Potter!' the wizard
snapped, and Harry stiffened. The anger he'd been feeling grew. He
wouldn't be ordered around by anyone, much less on his own property.
Slowly, as slowly as he possibly could, he turned back around and
raised his brows.
The Unspeakable huffed,
obviously annoyed. 'You have no legal right to Mr Snape,' he declared.
'Neither have you.' Harry
gave him a bland smile.
A sharp, impatient movement.
'Mr Snape is, at the moment, an underaged wizard without a designated
guardian, which puts him in the care of the Ministry.'
'Wrong.' Harry bared his
teeth in what the other might take as a smile. 'He is mine under the
requirements of the Life Debt. If you want to argue that, take it up
with your own department. Aren't the Unspeakables the ones who know all
about Life Debts?'
The Unspeakable gave the
impression of gnashing his teeth. Harry could only marvel once again at
how stupid everyone apparently thought he was. He hadn't fallen for the
idiotic story the Healer had told him, and now they thought he'd cave
because they mentioned Ministry guardianship? They really must think
him stupid. Or naïve. The wizard hadn't even tried to use legal
It was rather insulting.
'Mr Potter,' the Unspeakable
spoke up again. His voice was lowered to what Harry recognised as
gently coaxing and "We're all reasonable adults here, aren't we?". 'We
do not want to harm Mr Snape, despite what he might have told you. He
was unreasonably suspicious about the outlines of the tests we asked
him to undergo. He did not allow us to properly explain these matters
to him but insisted we wanted to, ah, vivisect him for our pleasure. I
assure you, Mr Potter, that is quite, quite wrong.
'We do not want to harm or
hurt Mr Snape in any way. We want to study him. We want to understand
his condition, and the magic that caused it. We want to help him break
the curse. You cannot argue that this is a desirable result.'
Harry shrugged, unimpressed.
Of course it all sounded so very reasonable
but Harry had come to trust Snape's paranoia. The man usually knew his
enemies very well.
'Sorry,' he said insincerely,
'but when Snape invoked his Life Debt, he insisted that I was to keep
you away from him and not hand him over for any kind of "test". So I
won't. Neither to you, nor to the Healers, not even to the Minister
himself. That's all I have to say on the matter. Please don't come to
trouble us again. Good evening.'
With that, he turned and went
inside, ignoring the Unspeakable shouting after him. He made sure to
close the door gently, then cast a couple of locking charms on it.
'Those bastards,' he growled
at the door and shoved his wand back into the holster with unnecessary
force. Turning around, he saw Severus standing in the hall just a few
steps shy of the door. He had obviously been eavesdropping again.
But, surprisingly, he didn't
look as upset as Harry thought he would have after hearing the
Unspeakable so blithely discuss him. In fact, he didn't look upset at
all. He was pale and wide-eyed and breathing rapidly, but the
expression on his face looked more like joy than upset. As though his
birthday and Christmas had come together, with an Order of Merlin,
First class, on top.
'You all right?' Harry asked
gruffly. 'Stupid Unspeakables. As if I'd give in to threats. Or
sweet-talking. They must really think I'm some kind of complete moron.
It's pretty insulting.'
Severus blinked and gave him
a shy, shaky smile. 'You said I was yours.'
'Yeah, and they won't get
their dirty paws on you. I won't let them!' Harry shot another dark
glare at the door, hoping the Unspeakable who was still lingering in
front of his gate would somehow feel it and go away.
He didn't. The wards chimed
For a moment, Harry thought
about going out there and hexing the man, but then he had a better
idea. He dashed into the living room and dug out the box with the ward
stone. It needed only a little prod with his wand, and the first, and
mildest, defence wards activated. A yelp came from the front of the
house. Harry grinned with satisfaction and put the stone back into the
'There.' He turned to Severus
with a broad smile. 'That one definitely won't come back again!'
Severus's answering smile was
so bright and joyful Harry's heart had trouble dealing with it.
It was Sunday, and Harry
invited Ron and Hermione over to his place for a late lunch and an
afternoon of conversation. He hadn't seen Hermione since the evening he
had told his friends about Severus's accident as she'd been busy
preparing for a law reading before the Wizengamot. Ron he'd seen more
often, but never for long, and Harry missed talking with his friends.
Besides, he needed adult
conversation and some normalcy. He needed to be able to completely
relax for at least a couple of hours and not worry about … certain
things. Like Severus. All those sneaked glances and calculating looks
and bright smiles made Harry edgy.
He didn't want to think of
inviting his friends over as protection from Severus, but that was what
it was. If he spent one more quiet evening alone with the boy, he might
do something … stupid. And wrong. Very wrong. No matter how much
Harry's body enjoyed those fantasies filled with images of hot, sexy, naked Severus.
No matter how much some parts
of him – mostly certain southern parts – insisted that Severus would
welcome Harry. It was just his southern parts thinking, and Harry
didn't trust them.
To Harry's surprise, the day
had turned out even more enjoyable than he'd hoped. To his even greater
surprise, most of that unexpected enjoyment was due to Severus. And it
hadn't been due to the boy's absence either.
Harry had thought Severus
would be bored with only adults visiting, perhaps not even sit and eat
lunch with them, or be silent and resentful. Instead, he and Hermione
animatedly discussed some obscure laws and principles of potions
brewing over lunch. There weren't any sneering or insulting or
contemptuous glances, even though Harry was aware that Severus had at
least two memory flashes. But Severus didn't sneer, and Harry relaxed
into his argument with Ron over Wheezes and the weekend's Quidditch
After lunch, Severus
challenged Ron to a match of wizard chess. Ron was surprised, but
pleased to play someone who wasn't Harry or Hermione. He was even more
pleased – though he cursed enough to make someone less familiar with
him think the opposite – when Severus gave Ron a run for his money.
'I never knew you're such a
good chess player!' he exclaimed after Severus had chased him
mercilessly around the board.
Severus gave him a smug
smile. 'I've had a lot of practice. There isn't much I can do around
here, since I'm not allowed to use magic.' He gave Harry a speaking
glance, which made Ron frown and Hermione nod approvingly. 'So I've
been playing a lot since Harry set up the board for me. Those spells
for self-playing are really neat.'
Ron blinked. 'Yeah? You think
so? I never got a good match out of them. It's always the same, you
know, when I play the magic.' He shrugged.
Severus's grin became even
smugger, and he shot another look at Harry and Hermione, but he didn't
say anything. Harry admired his restraint – and wondered at it. He
hadn't thought Severus would miss an opportunity to point out that a
Gryffindor's magic was lacking.
Ron strolled over to the
fireplace and peered at the small table next to the sofa. 'Say, Harry,
you got any biscuits in the house?'
Harry laughed. Hermione
pursed her lips. 'Honestly, Ron. You had lunch less than an hour ago.
With two helpings of pudding! You can't tell me you're hungry again.'
'Hey, I was working hard over
there,' Ron protested with a grin, pointing over to the board. 'Hard
work always makes me hungry.'
Severus sniggered into the
box of chess pieces he was putting away.
Hermione huffed. 'Ron, you
need to eat fewer sugary things. They're not healthy and can adversely
affect your magic, you know. I read something just the other day about—'
'No lecture, Hermione,
please!' Ron groaned, flopping down on the other end of the sofa, and
Harry laughed softly as the two of them began bickering. This was
familiar and normal, and just what he needed.
What wasn't normal, though,
was Severus suddenly appearing next to him, holding a bowl of biscuits.
Ron and Hermione stopped bickering and blinked. Severus grinned and set
the bowl down, snagging a handful of biscuits for himself.
'A well-deserved reward after
a hard battle, since the maiden seems a bit displeased,' he said,
winked, and wandered out of the room.
Ron gaped after him for a
second, then pounced on the bowl. 'Really, mate, child Snape's a lot
better than the adult version,' he commented, munching happily.
Hermione sighed, loudly, but
then smiled. 'Well, we'd better have some tea to go with the biscuits.'
Harry smiled at her. 'Right,
I'll go and make some.'
Hermione raised her wand in
the direction of the kitchen. 'Oh, no, let me, Harry!' she said
brightly. 'I've learnt a new spell from Molly, and I want to try it.'
Harry looked at Ron, who
shrugged, and then a tea tray zipped into the room, startling both of
'There.' Hermione smiled as
she directed the tray towards the table. 'Perfect tea within seconds.
Oh. I think I forgot the cream.' She blushed, and before Harry could
stop her, she vanished into the kitchen and came back with the creamer.
For a while afterwards,
Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat in front of the crackling fire in the
living room, sipping tea and munching biscuits and talking. When Ron
snagged the last biscuit, Hermione gave him a reproving look and,
turning to Harry, asked, 'What about Severus, Harry? Don't you think he
would have liked some tea as well? And perhaps more than a handful of
Harry grinned and shrugged.
'If he'd wanted tea, he would have reappeared. And if he'd wanted more
biscuits, he wouldn't have left them anywhere near Ron.'
'Mmmph!' Ron protested, mouth
Hermione gave Ron a disgusted
look. 'But, Harry, don't you think he might have liked to stay? I feel
as if we've chased him away. Does he know we wouldn't have minded if he
'Yeah, mate, he didn't have
to vanish,' Ron chimed in. 'I mean, I never thought I'd say it, but
he's actually kind of all right, you know.'
'I'm sure he'd be pleased to
know that, Ron,' Harry quipped. 'And don't worry, Hermione. Actually,
he stayed longer than I thought he would. Because, and don't tell him I
said it, but I think he's started reading my novels, and he's got to
the point where it's hard to stop reading because you really need to
know what happens next. So he's probably pleased that you're here and
diverting me. That way, he doesn't have to wait until tomorrow to be
able to read without the chance of getting caught.'
Hermione's lips twitched as
she was caught between amusement and annoyance. While she approved of
reading, she didn't think much of Harry's reading preferences. Ron was
'Snape?' he burst out. 'He's
reading your crime novels? Wow. Plays chess, feeds me biscuits, and
reads trash. You know, if he keeps that up, I might start thinking he's
human.' He grinned. 'I like this version better than the old one. Think
we can keep him?'
Harry's amusement vanished
and he sighed.
'Harry? What's wrong?'
Hermione asked immediately. 'Has something happened to Severus? Is he
Harry ran a hand through his
hair. 'No danger, no. Not any more than he usually is. At least, as far
as I know.'
'But, the thing is, nothing
has happened, Hermione.'
'But that's good, isn't it?'
Ron cut in.
'No, not really.' Harry
sighed again. 'He hasn't changed at all. I mean re-aged.'
'Don't you think it's great,
mate? The version of Snape you've got is way better than the other one.'
'Yes, Ron, but that's not the
point.' Harry gesticulated with one hand. 'He's been fifteen for over
three, almost four weeks now. Severus's been reading through his
journals, you know, stuff Snape wrote down about his condition. And he
said that the youth flashes rarely ever lasted longer than a week at
most. A week! And it's been almost four now!'
Hermione nodded. 'You're
worried he won't age back, aren't you?'
'Yeah. Of course, it's nice
that I get along with Severus. That's not the problem. But it's not the
real Severus Snape, you know? He's not a fifteen-year-old boy, he's an
adult. It's, I don't know, it's not right that he should be … trapped
'There wasn't anything in
Snape's records that would explain the situation? Or point to a way the
youth flash might be counteracted?' Hermione asked. 'I looked up those
spell categories Snape mentioned in his letter, but I didn't have much
time to study them because of the law reading. But if you want me to, I
could look into the matter, Harry.'
Harry nodded slowly. There
was an odd sensation in his chest, and Harry called himself a fool. He
agreed with Ron, more than his friend could imagine. He liked this
version of Snape. But of course he couldn't keep him.
'Yeah, perhaps you'd better
have a look at it,' he told Hermione. 'If you can spare the time.'
'I'll make the time, Harry,'
Hermione promised. 'But are you sure there was nothing in Snape's notes
that could help?'
'I don't think so.' Harry
shrugged. 'Severus read through all of his journals and he hasn't found
anything. At least, he never said so, and I haven't seen him with a
journal for quite some time, now. Either he's through and hasn't found
anything, or he's discouraged because there wasn't anything in there
that could speed up his turning back into his proper age.'
'Did you have a look at those
journals?' Hermione had tugged a small notepad and quill out of her
robes and was busy making notes. Ron watched her with an amused smile.
Harry looked away. 'Not
really, not,' he said. 'And I don't see what use it would be. I don't
understand half of what you and Severus talk about, Hermione. How could
I find something in the journals if he
'Well, perhaps there is
something in there that needs advanced knowledge Severus simply doesn't
have at his age,' Hermione suggested.
Ron snorted. 'Hermione, if
there's advanced knowledge that Snape doesn't have, it's got to be
really advanced and obscure, and how likely is it that Harry knows that
kind of stuff? No offence, mate.'
'I just said that I know I
won't be able to find or understand anything in Snape's journals that
'All right, I don't have any
appointments on Wednesday afternoon. I'll have time to do some research
then.' Hermione made another note. 'Is that early enough for you,
Harry?' She looked up. 'Oh. Hello, Severus. Did you come to get some
tea? I know you said in your letter you don't need help with finding a
cure, but I hope you won't mind me looking into the matter?'
Turning around at Hermione's
greeting, Harry saw Severus standing in the door. He was almost ghostly
pale. His eyes were wide and hurt. Harry immediately got up, feeling
worried. 'Did something happen?'
Severus took a deep, shaky
breath. His hands clenched into fists. 'Are you trying to get rid of
me?' he said. He'd probably intended a snarl, but he only managed to
Harry stopped and blinked,
and then cursed Severus's ability to sneak up on conversations.
Apparently he'd overheard more than just a few sentences, and he'd got
the wrong impression. Harry ached for the boy's pain.
'Of course not!' he said
fiercely. Stepping closer, he grasped Severus's shoulders tightly. 'Of
course I don't want to get rid of you! I'm just worried about you.'
'But you want me to become my
proper age again,' the boy said accusingly. Harry could feel him
trembling under his hands. 'You don't want to take care of me anymore,
Harry fought the urge to pull
Severus into a hug. He tightened his grip on the boy's shoulders, and
even that made Severus bristle.
'Yes, I want you to be your
proper age again,' he said softly, 'but not because I want to be rid of
you. Never that, Severus. But I'm worried, and this isn't right. You
aren't fifteen, you're forty-eight. You shouldn't be trapped forever at
an age that … that isn't your own and that doesn't allow you to brew
potions or do magic. I don't want you to be trapped like this. You've
been trapped and … and chained for most of your life in one way or
other. You don't deserve to have that done to you again, no matter by
Severus stared at him. For a
short heartbeat, Harry thought he saw Snape in there, thought the boy's
wide eyes had become black, bottomless tunnels. But then the impression
was gone, and Harry was staring into eyes that were simply wide and
dark and hurt. The boy was breathing in rapid, shallow pants. 'But what
if … what if I never re-age,' he whispered. Scared.
It felt as though someone had
punched him. Harry's hand tightened until his knuckles were white and
Severus would probably be bruised. 'I'll keep you anyway.' He shook the
boy a little. 'God, Severus. What did you think I'd do? Kick you out?'
Severus bit his lip and
blinked rapidly when his eyes became suspiciously bright. He reached up
to cling to Harry's hands which were still holding his shoulders.
'Promise?' It was said even more softly.
'Idiot.' Harry swallowed
hard. 'I promise.'
Relaxing, Severus let go of
Harry's hands. Suddenly feeling awkward, Harry took a step back and
cleared his throat.
'Okay. Now. Um. Tea?' he
fumbled. He made himself smile brightly. 'There's still some tea left,
though Ron's eaten all the biscuits.'
Ron made protesting noises
again, but Harry didn't pay him any attention. Severus gave Harry a
small smile, and then ducked his head, hiding his face – and his eyes –
behind his hair. Harry hesitated for a second. Then, feeling safe with
Ron and Hermione there, he wrapped one arm around Severus's shoulders.
'Then let's get you some
tea,' he said gently and steered the boy to the fireplace where he
conjured a second armchair for Severus to sit in. Ron, perhaps feeling
a little guilty, was pouring Severus a cup, and Harry added sugar with
a flick of his wand. He sat Severus down and handed him the cup. 'Here
you are. Hope it's still hot enough.'
'And if not, Harry's a wizard
and can do a heating charm,' Ron said with a grin and a wink.
Harry was so thankful for Ron's easy joking that he teased right back, and the awkward moment was gone. Harry concentrated firmly on being relaxed and casual and on joking with Ron – and firmly ignored the strange, searching look Hermione was giving him.
But of course he couldn't
escape her entirely. When she and Ron said good-night, she hugged Harry
'I'll look into the matter as
soon as I find a spare moment,' she said softly, then kissed him on the
cheek and followed Ron through the Floo.
Harry sighed and rubbed his
scar. He had the feeling that Hermione had seen a lot more than he
wanted her, or anyone else, to see.
'Harry!' Severus jumped up
from the sofa, dropping his book, when Harry appeared in the doorway.
He quickly walked up to Harry, looking him over worriedly. 'Are you all
right? You're home so early. Did something happen?'
Harry gave Severus a tired
smile and moved past him to sink down into his armchair. He sighed and
closed his eyes for a moment. He ached all over, from stress and lack
of sleep and that last chase through the dungeons – or was it a crypt?
– of the old monastery where they had finally run down the Dark wizard
they'd been trying to catch all week. The bastard had got at least two
curses through Harry's shields, and although a Healer had stopped and
reversed the worst damage, Harry still ached.
Sometimes he hated his job.
This was definitely one of those times. For months the Aurors had been
tracing a Dark wizard who was attacking old wizarding mansions and
manors, terrorising their inhabitants. The case had been baffling, for
despite all the terror, the rogue had never harmed a wizard or a witch.
His targets had always been the buildings.
Of course, with many of the
old pure-blood families, the family seat was the foundation and source
of their power. And their survival.
But as if being a
high-profile case hadn't been enough, the case was made even more
difficult because the rogue preferred ancient Egyptian curses. Few
wizards and witches in modern Britain knew how to defend themselves
against them. Harry had talked to Bill, but curse-breaking wasn't the
same as defence, and Harry had mostly been as helpless as his
The previous week, they'd
finally had a breakthrough concerning the identity of the rogue behind
the attacks. Every day of the current week, Harry's unit had worked
overtime, following leads and hints in order to gather hard evidence
and to discover where the wizard had his base. They'd found the old,
half-ruined monastery the previous night, and the Head Auror had
ordered the full team to be ready before sunrise.
They'd made their move shortly after nine o'clock, after crouching in the dewy fields and glade surrounding their target for almost four hours. Then three more hours of cat-and-mouse with the rogue, and another three hours of paperwork back at the Ministry. The Head Auror had sent everyone in Harry's unit home as soon as they'd signed the preliminary reports. They'd all gone gladly, and not even the most ambitious ladder-climber had protested.
Harry was determined to sleep
all weekend. Preferably with the help of Dreamless Sleep potions. That
one rogue had given him nightmares. He'd called himself Ankh-amon and,
like nearly every Dark Arts user gone rogue, he was stark raving mad.
Harry wished he never had to take a case like that again. Or at least
not anytime soon.
'Harry?' Severus's worried
voice penetrated through the light slumber Harry had fallen into. Harry
could feel the boy stand next to his armchair, bending over him. That
was the only good thing about the case, Harry thought fuzzily. It had
kept him away from Severus and temptation, and kept him too tired to
even think of it.
'Harry, were you hurt? You
said last night that your team would move out today. What happened?'
Groaning, Harry forced
himself to open his eyes. Severus was indeed hovering over him, pale
and worried. Harry managed a tired smile. 'Don't worry. 'm fine. Just
'Were you hurt?'
Harry flapped his right
wrist. 'Cut. Rest was healed. Not hurt. Only tired.'
His eyes closed again, and
already he could feel himself sinking into sleep. Far away, he heard
footsteps, and the rustling of cloth, and then a blanket was spread
over him. Something popped up underneath his feet, propping them up
comfortably. Harry sighed with pleasure and fell asleep.
He woke a little over three
hours later, still exhausted but rested and hungry. Severus was sitting
on the sofa, legs curled under him, and nose buried in his book. One of
his trashy novels, Harry realised with a small grin. He was nearing the
end of the novel, and so enthralled he didn't even twitch when Harry
shifted in his armchair, snuggled deeper under the blanket, and yawned.
Harry eyed the boy with still
sleepy amusement. Severus's head was lowered, but Harry could see his
lids flutter and twitch as Severus's eyes raced along each line. Harry
chuckled, and not even that seemed to register with Severus. Harry's
amusement deepened. He'd be teasing the boy for days over this!
The amusement vanished at
that thought and Harry sobered. Four weeks now, and Severus was still
fifteen. Still no change. That wasn't good. Harry shouldn't have the
opportunity to spend days teasing the boy.
Though, he wasn't really a
boy. Harry ran his eyes over the figure sitting opposite him. No,
Severus wasn't a boy. He might be thin, his body still boyish with his
narrow shoulders, but he was almost as tall as Harry was. And even as
an adult, Snape had been thin. Or perhaps lean was the better word,
Harry though absently as he ran his eyes over Severus's folded legs.
Nice, long legs, Harry
noticed, a little surprised. Why hadn't he noticed before? With Severus
wearing Muggle trousers instead of wizarding robes, his legs were so
clearly visible. On display. And it was far less reproachable to stare at than
Severus's legs than his arse or cock.
Neither of which was visible
to Harry at that moment. Not that he was trying to see them, anyway!
But of course, the mere
thought brought back images of Severus bending over, of his trousers
stretching over his erect cock. Harry's prick twitched and began to
Harry shifted uncomfortably,
half-ashamed to be sprouting an erection with Severus only a few steps
away! But he wouldn't see, Harry argued, because it was hidden under
the blanket. Though that didn't mean he was excusing his reaction,
Harry hastily reassured himself. Then he dismissed that train of
thought entirely in favour of staring at Severus's slender hands
holding the book, and imagining what those hands would feel like on his
He was so lost in the fantasy
that it took him a moment to realise that the slender hands had gone
still, that one of them was no longer turning pages. Harry blinked and
looked up – and wished he hadn't as his eyes met Severus's. Dark and
burning, intent, mirroring Harry's own desire back at him. Harry
swallowed and tried to look away. But that only allowed him to take in
Severus's flushed face, his slightly open, glistening lips – as though
he had just licked them – his shallow breathing. The splayed legs. The
unmistakable bulge in Severus's jeans.
Harry swallowed again, his
own legs spreading to give his erection room. It was straining against
his fly. Under the cover of the blanket, Harry snuck a hand down and
squeezed his cock. The resulting jolt of pleasure made him aware of
what he was doing, with Severus sitting there, watching him, and he
'Um,' Harry began, needing to
say something to break the silence and the tension, and to divert both
of them from what was going on. 'What time is it? I'm hungry.'
Severus breathed out in a
hiss, and Harry's eyes darted back to his face. They widened when Harry
saw the smile on Severus's face.
Slowly, Severus stood up and
let the book drop. Harry watched it bounce on the sofa, and then his
eyes were drawn back up to Severus's face. Severus smirked and walked,
prowled, closer. 'I'm hungry, too,' he said. His voice was stunningly
deep and vibrating slightly.
Harry shivered, feeling
pinned to the spot by the dark eyes and Severus's smile. Helpless, cock
throbbing, he looked up as Severus loomed above him. 'S-Severus …?'
'I'm very hungry,' Severus
repeated, voice going even deeper, softer. His eyes fell to Harry's
mouth, and he licked his lips. 'Positively famished.'
Before Harry had time to
react, Severus moved again, closer, a sudden flash of dark jeans and
sweater, and then he was straddling Harry's lap. Harry yelped and
started, shocked and, deep down, thrilled by the boy's forwardness. His
hand tightened on his cock, and involuntarily his hips thrust upwards
just a little.
As close as Severus was, he
couldn't miss the motion. His eyes seemed to glow as he regarded Harry.
'Very hungry,' he whispered. His hands slid to the armrests of Harry's
chair and he leant in, but slowly, hesitantly. Unsure, despite his show
of confidence. Harry dug his fingers into his thigh to prevent himself
from reaching out and up and pulling Severus down to kiss him.
'Severus, I…' His voice
broke, and he didn't try to speak again. He felt dizzy, all his blood
having gone south.
'You want me,' Severus said
softly. It wasn't a question, but neither was it as confident a
statement as it was probably meant to be. Severus's eyes stared closely
into Harry's, at Harry's face, gauging his reaction. Harry clenched his
fingers a little tighter, feeling his nails bite into his leg through
A sudden, bright smile
bloomed across Severus's face. He'd seen what he'd been looking for;
not that there was any way for Harry to hide it, not now, not anymore,
not with Severus so close and Harry rocking ever so softly into his own
hand. 'You want me,' he repeated, sounding delighted.
'I … Severus …' Harry tried
Severus laughed softly,
exhilarated, and put a finger to Harry's lips, silencing him. Harry
wanted to suck that finger into his mouth.
'Shh,' Severus breathed. 'You
want me. I know you do. You can't deny this.' And he ground down with
his hips, pressing Harry's hand into his cock. The sudden, increased
pressure made Harry moan.
'God, Severus, don't!' he
pleaded breathlessly. Yet he made no attempt to get away, to shake
'Why not?' Severus
challenged. 'Why not?' He pushed down again, and Harry's hand slid away
without his input, allowing Severus's groin contact. Severus gasped
softly but he kept talking. Harry wondered how he did it. 'Why
shouldn't I do this? You want me, I want you.'
Harry moaned again. One hand
shot out from underneath the blanket and grabbed Severus's hip. 'You …
you can't want me,' he panted, shaking his head in an attempt to clear
it. It only served to make him dizzier. 'You … I know you aren't …
aren't into men.'
Severus choked out a laugh
and grabbed Harry's hand, dragging it to the front of his jeans where
he pressed it down. Through the cloth, Harry felt Severus's erection
slide into his palm. Instinctively, his fingers curled around it.
Severus bit his lip. 'Doesn't that feel like interest?'
Harry closed his eyes, one
hand on Severus cock, the other going back to his own. He knew there
were good reasons not to do this, but it was getting incredibly hard …
no, no, difficult to remember them.
'That's … that's because
you're a … a teenager,' Harry gasped as Severus rocked into his hand.
'You're … horny by default.'
Again, Severus let out a
strangled laugh. 'And yet, I had no desire to jump any of your
friends,' he whispered. 'Only you, Harry. Only you … I, oh, please!' He
clamped his hand over Harry's, holding it as rocked into Harry's palm.
Harry swallowed a groan. He
needed to let go, get up and away from Severus, stop this. While he
still could. Severus was moving more insistently, moaning with each
thrust forwards. He leant closer, resting his forehead against Harry's.
His eyes were so close, so dark and glowing, they filled Harry's entire
'Severus …' he moaned and
closed his eyes.
Groping for some last straw,
Harry mumbled, 'What … what about my mum?'
Severus's breath hitched.
'My mum.' Harry bit his lip
and opened his eyes. The memory of what he'd seen in Snape's Pensieve
had cleared his head a little. It had also reinforced his decision that
this couldn't go on. He couldn't do this. Shouldn't do this. Severus
was in love with his mother. 'Lily Evans.'
Severus stilled, staring into
Harry's eyes, panting softly. 'What?'
Harry tugged his hand free
and made himself let go of his aching cock so that he could push
Severus a little further back. Trying to calm his hammering heart, he
looked up. 'What about Lily?' he asked again. 'I know that you … that
you love her.'
Severus had become very
serious. He closed his eyes for a moment, clearly struggling to take
even breaths. Then he looked at Harry again. 'I … Yes. I love her,' he
admitted very softly. Harry felt a sudden, sharp pain in his chest, but
he ignored it.
'Of course I do,' Severus
went on, just as softly, but with an odd intensity. 'She's my friend.
My best friend. She … Yeah. But. I don't want to do this with her!'
Unexpectedly, he leant in and pressed his lips to Harry's.
It was an awkward angle, and
Severus was too forceful. He smashed their lips together until Harry
felt his teeth digging in. Severus had clearly never kissed anyone
before, and that was enough to make Harry forget everything else. One
hand found its way to Severus's hip again, the other curled around the
back of Severus's head, tilting it just enough to make the kiss easier,
and then Harry took over.
He nipped Severus's lip, and
when Severus drew back, Harry turned the kiss into a gentle slide of
lips on lips. Severus trembled, tensed, but gave in and relaxed with a
soft sound, allowing Harry to lead. Harry moaned and parted his lips,
let his tongue tease the corners of Severus's mouth.
Severus's mouth opened in
surprise, and Harry's tongue darted in. Just a little, just for a
tease, before he pulled back. Predictably, Severus mirrored him, and
before either of them knew, they were kissing deeply, madly, tongues
tangling and sliding, chasing each other. Harry pulled Severus closer,
hand on his hip sliding lower to cup one buttock. Severus gasped and
moaned into Harry's mouth.
Suddenly there was movement,
the blanket they had trapped between them slid away. Harry pulled back,
confused, and Severus shoved it off and to the floor. His usually
smooth hair was a little mussed, and Harry ran his fingers through it,
wonderingly. Severus had such nice hair …
The memory of Snape as he'd
been when Harry had first seen him snapped Harry out of his
lust-induced haze. Harry whimpered, and when Severus tried to lean in
again, Harry stopped him.
'No! No, Severus, don't! I
can't,' he panted pleadingly.
'What?' Severus was just as
breathless as Harry. 'Can't do what?'
'This!' Harry flailed one
hand. 'Wanting you! Kissing you! Wanting to do more than just kiss you.'
Severus flashed him a
predatory smile. 'Good!'
Harry shook his head. 'No,
no, not good, not good at all!'
'Why not? What's the problem
Harry gazed imploringly up
into Severus's eyes. 'I mustn't, Severus. I'm and adult and you're only
'Wrong.' Severus smirked. It
looked strange but good with his bright eyes and pink cheeks.
'I'm only temporarily
fifteen. You said yourself that, in truth, I'm forty-eight.' He cocked
his head and raised one eyebrow. 'I don't mind that you're so much
younger than I am.'
Harry grinned weakly and
shook his head. 'But right now, you're fifteen, Severus. You're in my
care, and I'm supposed to protect you and take care of you and once
you're back to your own age, you'll never forgive me.'
A strange little smile
hovered on Severus's lips. 'How would you know, Potter?'
Harry blinked. 'I'd be taking
advantage of you. You don't like me. And, and you said in your letter
that I'm to take care of your well-being, and—'
'Hmm, yes,' Severus all but
purred, already leaning closer again. 'This way, you're taking care of
my emotional well-being. And my physical well-being. Probably even my
magical well-being as well.'
Then his mouth closed over
Harry's, and his groin slid against Harry's erection, and all
reasonable thought went out the window.
Harry moaned, tightening his
hold on Severus, and kissed back without restraint. His hips rolled up
to press against Severus's at the same time that his tongue thrust into
Severus's mouth. Severus shuddered and groaned. He twisted, making
their erections rub against each other, and then suddenly there were
hands under Harry's shirt and on his naked skin. Hesitant fingers that
trembled as they trailed over his fluttering stomach muscles. Harry's
hold on Severus tightened for a second before Harry pushed him back.
Severus's eyes were glassy
and dazed and confused. Harry didn't give him time to clear his head
but grabbed Severus's jumper, pulled it up over his head, and tossed it
aside. Then he sent Severus's shirt the same way, his eyes already
gazing hungrily at Severus's bared chest. It was thin and hairless, the
ribs still prominent, but all of Harry's attention went to the pink
nipples that tightened under his gaze.
Severus jerked and cried out
when Harry's lips closed over one of the tight buds. Harry sucked
gently, then took the nipple between his teeth and pulled. Nibbled.
Severus clung to his shoulders, writhing in his lap. The stunned,
gasping sounds he made drove Harry wild. He attacked the other nipple
while he snuck a hand into Severus's trousers.
'Harry, oh, Harry!' Severus
moaned when Harry touched him. Harry hummed and curled his fingers
around Severus's cock. It was already slick with pre-come, and the way
he twitched and clung and groaned told Harry that Severus was close.
Suddenly, Harry burnt with the desire to see Severus's face in ecstasy.
He tightened his hold and
stroked as best as he could in the confines of Severus's pants, rubbing
the head with his palm as he twisted his wrist on the way up. Severus
gasped and bucked his hips. His thighs trembled against Harry's, and
his body tensed. Harry leant back and looked up into Severus's face as
he squeezed a little harder, stroked a little faster.
Severus's eyes flew open,
sightless and glazed. His breathing hitched. Then his lids fell shut,
and he shuddered, coming with a drawn-out groan over Harry's fingers.
Biting the inside of his
cheek, Harry fought for control. His balls were so high and tight, it
wouldn't need much to set him off now.
Severus sighed and sank
against Harry's chest. Harry withdrew his hand and let it dangle over
the armrest, wrapping the other arm around Severus's waist. He pressed
a soft kiss to the boy's temple.
It didn't take Severus long
to recover. Soon he sat up and looked at Harry with a wide, joyful
smile. 'Wow, that was brilliant,' he said. His eyes dropped to the very
noticeable bulge in Harry's trousers, and Severus's smile became
wicked. He shot Harry a glance through his lashes. 'Hmm, your turn now.'
Harry wanted to shake his
head and give the boy an amused, indulgent smile. He wanted to tell
Severus that it wasn't necessary. But he did nothing of the kind as
Severus took his glasses off. He still said nothing when Severus began
to pull on Harry's clothes. Then Severus's mouth was on his again, and
he couldn't say anything.
Fingers tugged on his fly,
and Harry gasped into the kiss. Severus pulled back with a soft, smug
chuckle. He looked so happy. Harry cupped Severus's face in his hands
and just stared for a moment. Severus raised one eyebrow. Harry began
to smile and shake his head, but while he hadn't been paying attention,
Severus had opened his trousers. Harry's cock sprang free and into
Severus's hand. Harry's eyes rolled back in pleasure at the sensation,
whatever he'd wanted to say forgotten.
Severus's touch was a little
hesitant at first. His fingers too loose. His movements too slow. Harry
thought he'd die from this torture, from the stimulation that wound him
tighter and tighter but was never enough to tip him over.
Then Severus shifted and
scooted backwards. Harry blinked, uncomprehending, down at Severus. His
lust-fogged brain was too slow to understand Severus's wink, or his
intention as he lowered his head. The sensation of Severus's lip
wrapping around the head of his cock came as a shock.
Harry groaned, or perhaps
whimpered, he couldn't hear himself over the loud thrumming of blood in
his ears. His toes curled, and he clenched his fingers, gritted his
teeth, desperate to hold on, enjoy, and not simply explode.
Severus sank lower, taking
more of Harry into his mouth until he gagged. Then he pulled back and
began to lick and suck, experimenting. Harry shook with pleasure and
the strain of trying to hold on. Severus's tongue curled around him,
and there was a hint of teeth.
Gasping, Harry tugged on
Severus's hair. 'S-Sev'rus … I … I …'
Severus tightened his lips
and sucked so hard his cheeks hollowed. Harry's head fell back, and his
hips shot up, and with a cry, he came in Severus's mouth.
Vaguely he was aware of
Severus jerking as though startled, and then pulling back. Severus's
hair slid through Harry's nerveless fingers, and Harry regretted the
loss of the soft touch. Still trembling and panting hard, he forced his
eyes open. And moaned as he saw streaks of his come on Severus's face.
Severus coughed and shook his
head, wrinkling his nose. Then he wiped at his cheeks. 'Messy,' he
commented, with a look at his filthy hands.
Laughing weakly, Harry tried
to sit up. 'Sorry,' he said. 'I … wait a s-second.' Concentrating
wasn't easy, shaky and dazed as he was, but he'd Summoned his wand
often enough to manage it even half asleep. Blown out of his mind made
no difference there. His wand obediently wiggled out of the pile of
Harry's clothes and flew into his hand. Harry cast a cleaning charm at
Severus, and then one at himself.
'I'm, ah, sorry,' he said,
suddenly feeling embarrassed.
'Sorry?' Severus frowned.
'Um. Making a mess.' Harry
felt his face heat. 'C-coming like that. All … all over you.'
With a shrug, Severus
grinned. 'It was worth the experience. And it really doesn't taste that
bad. But the swallowing is tricky.'
'What?' Harry gaped at him.
Severus cocked his head. He
seemed utterly unconcerned that he was still naked as he perched on the
footstool. 'What "what"?'
'You … I … But you …'
Severus rolled his eyes and
leant forwards, hands on Harry's knees. 'Harry,' he said seriously,
'It's okay. I didn't do anything I didn't want to do.'
For a moment, Harry stared at
him and debated contesting Severus's words. That he couldn't have
known. That he couldn't have wanted it. But he swallowed his words.
Harry remembered being fifteen. He hadn't taken being told what he
Severus laughed and kissed
him, just a gentle brushing of lips. Harry's cock was too spent to do
as much as twitch, but a frisson of reawakened arousal ran down Harry's
'Hmmm,' Severus said softly
against his lips. 'Bed?'
Harry blinked, then laughed.
'For sleeping, yes.'
'No sleeping.' Severus
straightened. It brought his groin – and his half-hard cock – right up
to Harry's eyes.
'Ah. Teenagers,' Harry sighed
and struggled to his feet. His knees still felt wobbly. Harry grabbed
hold of the backrest and peered around, looking for his glasses.
'Here.' Severus bent over –
god, that arse looked even better naked! – and picked up Harry's
glasses. 'Though I don't know why you need them. You'll be taking them
off again in five minutes' time.'
Harry shoved them onto his
nose and raised his brows at Severus. 'You're confident, aren't you? Or
are you just horny.'
Severus stepped up to him, so
close their bodies almost touched. 'Just wanting you,' he whispered,
his breath caressing Harry's face. Harry shivered. When Severus took
his hand and tugged him toward the door, he followed without protest.
The way down the hall, up the
stairs, and into his bedroom seemed both long and short. Harry's head
cleared a little, and suddenly all the good reasons why he shouldn't be
doing this came back to him. Making out and a hand-job, that might
still be okay. Snape might not kill him for that. But he knew what
Severus wanted, and Harry was convinced it wasn't a good idea. No
matter what Severus said. He wasn't Snape.
With those thoughts and
arguments going through his head, the way seemed too short. He hadn't
yet untangled his head when they reached his bedroom, and Severus
pushed Harry down onto the bed.
'Severus,' Harry began,
holding up his hands to stop the boy.
Severus all but snarled at
him. 'We're not having this discussion again!'
Severus shut him up in a
tried and tested manner by kissing him. His hard cock rubbed against
'I want you, Harry,' he
whispered in Harry's ear. 'Please.'
The soft plea was unbearably
hot, making Harry moan. Severus then unwittingly destroyed Harry's
defences entirely when he trailed his lips down Harry's neck and grazed
his teeth over the spot right behind the juncture of neck and shoulder.
Harry's body jolted as though electrified. Harry gasped. Even his cock
Severus gave a surprised but
pleased murmur and licked that spot. Harry quivered, his hands on
Severus's hips clenching. Severus bit him, unexpectedly hard, and Harry
cried out. His cock hardened instantly. Severus lapped and nuzzled the
bite. Desire so forceful Harry almost blacked out ran through his body.
With a growl, he flipped them over and forced Severus legs open.
'Yesss,' Severus hissed and
arched beneath him.
Harry growled again and
pounced. He lay on top of Severus as he began kissing him. Their cocks
slid and ground together. Severus ran his hands down Harry's back,
stopping just shy of Harry's arse. Harry bit Severus's lower lip.
'Come on, touch me,' he
whispered against Severus's lips before he claimed another kiss.
Severus did as he was told,
sliding his hands over Harry's bum. Harry rolled his hips. Severus
lifted his legs and wrapped them around Harry's thighs. They both
moaned at the changed angle, and for a while, they simply rocked
together, enjoying the sliding and gentle friction on their cocks.
But that wasn't what Harry
wanted. He pushed up until he crouched above Severus as he nibbled
along the boy's neck. Severus whimpered and dug his fingers into
Harry's arse in an attempt to pull him down again. Harry resisted and
instead attacked the dark pink nipples, licking, sucking, and biting
one while he teased the other with his fingers. He changed to the other
nipple, and then switched back again, until Severus was almost sobbing.
Satisfied, Harry slid lower,
running his tongue over Severus's smooth stomach. He could smell
Severus now, musky and mouth-watering and male. Changing direction,
Harry went for his prick.
Severus went wild as Harry'
swallowed him down, and Harry had to grab his hips to hold him down, or
else Severus's twisting and bucking would have hurt him. He didn't need
a broken nose right now. Above him, Severus was babbling, an endless
stream of, 'Harry, Harry, yess, oh, please, oh, Harry!' over and over.
Harry hummed and swallowed again.
While he had the boy
distracted, Harry dared to let go of one hip to slide his fingers over
Severus's balls and down to his crack. He gently rubbed over Severus's
hole until the boy was squirming, and then carefully pushed the tip of
one finger in. He didn't meet much resistance but still pulled back.
Severus gasped when Harry let
'Lube,' Harry grunted and
lunged across him to the bedside table
Severus moaned. His legs
splayed even wider. 'Oh, yes.'
Then Harry was back to
sucking the boy's cock and sliding one finger in. With the added slick
of the lube, there was even less resistance. Severus bore down, taking
Harry's finger all the way in. Harry moved it slowly in and out, then
crooked it, searching. Severus arched off the bed with a wail when
Harry hit the right spot. Harry hummed and did it again.
When the thighs spread for
him began to tremble, Harry eased up on the sucking. He wanted Severus
so far gone he wouldn't experience any pain but not post-orgasmic.
Severus groaned in protest and pulled on Harry's hair.
'No, Harry, please, please,
Harry kissed the tip of
Severus's cock and slicked up a second finger. Moving slowly, he pushed
into Severus's hole.
'God, Harry, more,' Severus
panted and tried to bear down.
'Slowly, slowly,' Harry said.
He nuzzled Severus's balls and pushed deeper.
'Fuck slowly and just do it!'
'Hmm, pushy.' Harry's fingers
slid in. Severus gasped and began rocking more forcefully. But Harry
refused to be rushed, and he kept his movements slow. In and out,
stretching, opening, occasionally hitting Severus's prostate.
'Damn it, Harry!' Severus
cried with a painful tug on Harry's hair. 'Stop pussyfooting around. I
want you, not your fingers!'
Harry groaned, shook his
head, tempted by Severus's words. 'No, I'll hurt you.'
'No you won't,' Severus
growled. 'I'm fine, come on, Harry, please!'
'Don't rush, or you'll get
hurt. I know what I'm doing,' Harry growled back.
'Me, too!' Severus ground
down on Harry's fingers. 'Come on, please, now, inside, please!'
Harry bit Severus's thigh in
reproval, and Severus kicked out. 'Severus, stop!' Harry glared up.
Severus, propped up on one elbow, glared back down. 'You've never done
it before, have you?'
'No, I haven't but there was
a book,' Severus said, talking over Harry's repeated admonishment to
Severus pushed back against
Harry's fingers. 'Yeah. One of yours. Was on a shelf in the back. Read
through it. I know what I'm doing. Please, Harry!'
Harry didn't know whether to
laugh or not. Typical bookworm, Severus had read up and now thought
that reality was just like the book. On the other hand, Severus hadn't
shown any pain or discomfort when Harry had inserted even two fingers.
And he certainly showed enthusiasm.
Tired of all the inner
debating he'd been doing, Harry decided to trust Severus. He pulled his
fingers out, still moving carefully, and slicked up his cock. Severus
watched him with wide eyes, then fell back onto the mattress with a
groan. His legs splayed obscenely wide, he raised his arse.
Face with so much temptation,
Harry had to bite his lip, needing the small pain to remember to go
slow. At least at first. No matter what Severus said.
Propping himself up with one
arm, Harry guided his cock to Severus's hole and pushed in. Severus
hissed and clamped down. Harry forced himself to hold still.
To his surprise, it didn't
take long for Severus to relax. Harry pushed a little more, and then
slid in, slowly, smoothly, all the way in. When his balls came to rest
against Severus's arse, Harry paused, staring down at Severus in
amazement. Severus stared back. For a second, they remained still,
looking into each other's eyes. Then Severus shuddered, and his eyes
closed, and Harry began to move.
He meant to go slow, no
matter how relaxed Severus was. But Severus was impatient, bucking his
hips and pulling on Harry, urging him to go faster with hissed words.
So Harry complied. He thrust in, hard and fast, and Severus's legs
wrapped around him to pull him even deeper. Harry lost all control he'd
had, even if only in his own imagination, and began pounding into
The bed creaked with each of
his thrusts. Its groaning was accompanied by the sound of flesh
slapping against flesh and Harry's grunts. Severus moaned and hissed
and pleaded were in harmony, and together they created a symphony of
desire that echoed in Harry's heart.
Severus came with a soft,
surprised sound. He threw his head back, dark hair fanning out on the
pillow. Then he cried out, louder, and shot over his stomach and chest.
Harry froze, watched. The sight and the smell and the sensation of
Severus's arse contracting around him had him teetering on the edge.
Severus shuddered and sagged
limply back onto the mattress. Still gasping, he half-opened his eyes
and gazed at Harry. A lazy, mischievous smile spread over his face.
Harry swallowed and tried to
thrust in deeper. Severus dug his heels into Harry's arse, moved up
into Harry's next thrust, and clenched.
Harry's hips stuttered, lost their rhythm. Grunting, he pushed in as
deep as he could go and came.
The next thing Harry was
aware of was lying half on top of Severus's body, sticky and sweaty,
with Severus's arms around him. One hand trailed over his spine. He
could feel Severus's breath on his temple and Severus's heart under his
palm. With an effort, Harry turned his head and pressed a kiss to
'Back again?' Severus asked
quietly, sounding amused.
'Mmmm,' Harry replied and
Severus's arms tightened.
'Harry. I …'
'Mmm,' Harry said again and,
lifting his head, kissed Severus's lips. 'Yeah.' With a sigh, he
slumped back down. For the moment, they lay in sated silence.
'Need to clean up,' Harry
said a little later. 'We're sticky.'
Severus moved under him, away
from him, and Harry grumbled a protest. Then a wand was pressed into
his hand. Harry blinked at it. He looked up at Severus. He stared.
Severus's straight, dark hair
was mussed and streaked with sweat. There was a white smear along his
jaw that looked like dried semen. His lips were curled up in a lopsided
smile. His eyes were radiant. He was so beautiful that Harry's heart
'Cleaning charm?' Severus
'Yeah.' Harry gathered his
thoughts and performed several cleaning charms. Then he kicked the
duvet down and pulled it up over them. 'Sleeping now. Tired.'
But Severus was too far away,
and Harry insistently pulled him closer. Severus came into his arms
willingly and curled against Harry's body.
'Hmmm. Good,' Harry mumbled
He thought that he felt the
body next to him tremble, and something hot run down his chest. But he
was asleep before he could think about it.
Harry woke up slowly. Even
still half-asleep, he was aware of feeling relaxed, rested, and sated
in a way he hadn't felt for a long time. For a moment, he couldn't
remember why he was feeling so well. Then the memory of the previous
night came back.
Severus. Touches and kisses,
and whispers and moans. He'd kissed Severus. Touched him. Made love to
him. He remembered, Severus's dark eyes glowing, his face flushed with
pleasure. Severus's hands on his body. The feeling of Severus's cock in
his hand, against his hip. The feeling of Severus's arse clenching
around him, hot and tight, and Severus moaning softly, dark hair spread
on the pillow over his head.
Humming with lazy
satisfaction, eyes still closed, Harry revelled in the memories and the
sensation of sated hunger in his body. With a smile, he reached out to
touch Severus, to pull him into an embrace. Kiss him. See Severus smile.
But he touched cold sheets.
Blinking, half-sitting up,
Harry squinted at the side of the bed where Severus had lain last
night, when they'd fallen asleep. Severus wasn't there. Harry knuckled
his eyes, trying to wake up more. He hadn't dreamt last night. He was
feeling too languid and sore to have imagined making love to Severus.
Perhaps Severus had got up to
go to the loo? Make breakfast? How late was it, anyway? But the sheets
were cold where Severus had lain. Confused and a little hurt, Harry sat
up. And saw Severus standing at the foot of the bed, watching him.
Only it wasn't Severus. Harry
groped for his glasses, not taking his eyes off the black figure, but
he didn't really need his glasses to see. To understand.
The world came into focus,
and Harry looked up at the adult Snape, who was dressed in his own,
black robes. He looked a little different, less thin and less pale, but
the lack of expression on his face and in his eyes was horribly
'Oh. Um.' Harry, suddenly
panicked, pulled his duvet up to his chin and gave the man a nervous
smile. 'Snape. You're, um. Back to your own age.'
He waited, trembling and cold
inside, for the tirade that surely would follow. He waited for Snape to
start yelling about Harry's inability to take care of a teenager, about
how Harry had abused his authority, and Snape's trust, and that he'd
report Harry to the Wizengamot for child molestation.
But Snape, still
expressionless, only inclined his head ever so slightly. 'As you see.'
'Um,' was all Harry could
say. All he could think of. His mind was oddly blank.
'I have to thank you,' Snape
said coolly. Harry winced a little and sank lower behind the shielding
duvet. Now it would come. Now Snape would turn sarcastic and vicious
and flay Harry's character and morals and heart.
Snape's eyes grew
uncomfortably piercing. 'I have to thank you,' he repeated, 'for taking
such good care of me.'
Harry flinched. He had to
look away from those eyes, suddenly feeling too raw to be able to stand
their gaze. All his earlier satisfaction, the utter peace and happiness
he'd been feeling, melted away, leaving him cold and hollow. Aching.
God, Snape didn't even have
to yell to cut him down. He didn't even have to be openly sarcastic.
But what had he expected?
That Snape would, miraculously, somehow still be that fifteen-year-old
boy Harry had come to lo— be fond of?
He clenched his fingers into
the blanket and straightened his spine. Harry had never backed down in
a fight with Snape.
'You're, uh, welcome,' he
said quietly. Although he still couldn't look at Snape, his voice was
An uncomfortable silence
followed, stretched. Harry could hear birds outside. The creaking of
the house. Severus … Snape's breath. His own, rapid heartbeat in his
Harry kept his eyes trained
firmly on his feet under the blanket. He wouldn't look up, meet Snape's
eyes. He couldn't. This man – the adult – knew Harry too well. He
probably didn't even need Legilimency to know what Harry was thinking.
He'd only laugh. Harry couldn't take it right now.
'Well,' Snape said finally.
Harry's fingers tightened until his knuckles turned white. 'I shall
take my leave, then.'
Harry nodded. 'Yes. Okay.'
Another silence. Then Snape
seemed to sigh.
'Goodbye, Mr Potter.'
'Goodbye,' Harry whispered to
the retreating footsteps. The bedroom door closed.
Harry sat still, tense,
listening, waiting. The front door closed. The wards flickered as Snape
stepped through. The pop of Apparition seemed oddly loud.
'Goodbye,' Harry whispered
Squeezing his eyes closed,
Harry took off his glasses and burrowed into his bed, pulling the duvet
up over his ears. He didn't want to get up any time soon.
Harry poked morosely at his
dinner. He was feeling lonely and very sorry for himself. The kitchen
was too quiet, and when he looked up, the place opposite his was empty.
Harry sighed and shoved his plate away.
It was ridiculous. Stupid.
He'd known that things couldn't last forever. They weren't meant to
last, after all. Still. He missed Severus.
It had been over two weeks
since he'd seen Severus. The boy Severus, that is. He'd gone to visit
the adult Severus a couple of days after the youth flash had ended,
ostensibly to see if the man was all right and to return his journals.
Harry had been nervous before the visit. Trembling. After all, the
adult Snape remembered everything Harry had done with and to Severus as
He'd known not to expect a
warm welcome. But perhaps he'd hoped for it. Or at least for a welcome
that didn't consist of curses and insults thrown at him.
What he'd got couldn't really
be called any kind of welcome at all. He'd arrived at Snape's front
door, happy to discover that the wards still allowed him in. Snape had
opened the door a little later, and Harry's heart had begun beating
even faster, somewhere in his throat.
But Snape hadn't welcomed
him, only grunted at Harry's explanation for coming. He'd waved Harry
in and told him where to put the trunk, even going so far as to thank
Harry for bringing it. But he hadn't invited Harry to stay, and he
hadn't seemed very interested in either Harry or the trunk. His whole
demeanour had been absent-minded and vague, and his words somewhat
disjointed. He'd kept hovering at the top of the stairs that led down
to his lab, clearly impatient to go back down to whatever experiment
was taking up all his time and concentration.
Harry, hurt, had left and not
gone back again. Not for a second attempt at a visit, and since there
hadn't been any alarm, not to check up on Snape in a professional
capacity, either. He came home every evening to a silent house. He went
out to see his friends, who kept asking after Severus. He didn't sleep
very well, because his dreams kept him up – in all possible senses of
It was no use telling himself
it was ridiculous and stupid and impossible and whatever else came to
Harry missed Severus. And he
With a groan, Harry got up
from the table and dumped his mostly uneaten dinner into a box to put
it in the CoolKeep. Perhaps he'd have more of an appetite tomorrow
The knock came just as Harry
set his dinner dishes to wash themselves in the sink.
He sighed and glanced at the
clock, then shook his head and went to answer the door, wondering who
it might be. Wesley Charlton perhaps, who, now that Severus was gone,
had begun to make even more and stronger attempts to come back to
Harry. Or Ginny, who once again wanted to talk about how well Harry had
taken care of the boy and what a wonderful, perfect father he'd make.
What Harry had not expected
upon opening the door was to see a slender young man, dressed in black
jeans and a dark red jumper, smirking at him in an all too familiar way.
Reeling with vertigo, Harry
clung to the door and blinked at the boy – young man – who looked like
a younger version of Severus Snape.
Exactly like a …
'I think I figured it out.'
Harry opened and closed his
mouth several times before he managed, 'You … What …?'
Severus shrugged. 'An
accident in time saves everyone a lot of heartache and pain, or however
the saying goes.'
Harry blinked, utterly
confused. 'I don't understand.'
Severus gave him a fond
smile. 'I know. You have no idea what the memory of those weeks with
you means to me.' He suddenly became serious. 'That first time, I came
to you because of an accident, and because I couldn't think of anything
else to do, anywhere else to go in case I regressed into an underaged
wizard. I thought you'd keep me safe, no matter what, especially if I
appealed to your sense of fairness. But you did more than that. And I …
I thought that, perhaps, my accident hadn't been entirely – accidental.
In the end, we both gained something. Didn't we?'
His dark eyes were intent,
but not to the point that Harry was reminded of Legilimency. Instead,
Severus seemed to be looking for something in Harry's face, searching,
pleading just a little.
Harry was still too
bewildered to try and make sense of it. But Severus's eyes struck him
as different. While they weren't as cold and bottomless as Harry
remembered adult Snape's eyes being, they weren't exactly those of a
young man, either. They looked as though the adult was there behind the
young man's eyes.
Severus's words were even
'You … You remember? Your
adult self?' Harry shook his head. 'But I thought you said you don't
when you de-age …'
Severus's smug grin looked
oddly shy. 'Told you, I figured out how to stabilise the age changing.'
'I … what?'
Severus rolled his eyes. 'The
age changing, Harry,' he repeated patiently. 'I figured out how to
control the flashes and how to retain most of my memories. I understand
now what triggers a flash, what cancels it, and how to manipulate the
triggers.' The smug smile was back.
Harry kept blinking. Did
Severus just say he had deliberately
de-aged himself? And that he meant to stay that way? 'But why?'
he all but wailed.
Severus's smile became darkly
seductive. 'Let me come in. Harry. I'll show you.'
Language disclaimer for the translation: I don't speak Greek, and my Latin has seen better days. I used online dictionaries for the translations.
senescere: verb, to age
exsecratio: noun, curse
chronos: noun, time
epirroi: noun: influence (on)