I do no own these characters. Wish I did, but they belong to the Godess
J K Rowlins. I just play with them.
Also a HUGE thanks to my friend Kamion, who has made most of the pictures for the story here (the ones not signed by me)
Shell Shock By TrekkieGrrrl
Severus Snape was drunk. Pissed would be a better word for it, really. He tried to look around in the bar, but most of the surroundings were nothing but a blur. He tried hard to remember where exactly he was. And why.
Muggles. He was surrounded by MUGGLES. Drunk Muggles even.
With an enormous effort he got up and staggered against the door. He had to get out. Get some fresh air.
He stumbled into a narrow alley behind the pub, determined to apparate into his hotel. He pulled out his wand. Nothing happened. Severus shook the wand in disbelief. Swished and flicked. Nothing. This was insane. He wasn’t THAT drunk. Of course he knew the idiotic ‘Don’t apparate when drunk’. Those banners had even been in the staff room at Hogwarts. But surely he wasn’t so drunk that the safety switch had kicked in? He tried something easy. A Wingardium Leviosa on one of the dustbins. Nothing.
Severus started to get worried.
Good thing he was in London. Tomorrow, if the problem persisted, he would go to Diagon Alley and have Mr Ollivander check on his wand. Right now his biggest problem was how to get back to his hotel. In his intoxicated state, he realized he didn’t even know where it was.
He turned to get out of the alley again but didn’t get far before something hard hit him behind his right ear and everything went dark.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
Waking up was painful. He had a headache the size of Scotland and it felt like someone had put a wet sock in his mouth. Whiskey AND a blow to the head was a murderous mixture.
He tried to open his eyes, but closed them again very fast as the pain multiplied as if red hot pokers had been stabbed into his eyes.
He heard a voice. It sounded like it came from far away.
“I think he’s about to wake” the voice said. Another voice chimed in: “’s about time, too. Can’t have that ruddy drunk lying here, can we?”
It was then that Severus realized he was lying on something very hard. And cold. And wet. Something cement. A pavement. The realisation made him open his eyes in shock. He looked up on the two men who had been debating his probable awakening. Two street sweepers. Apparently, he was in the way.
“M-my head,” he mumbled. Merlin, it came out as a croak!
“Come ’ere, mate. Let’s get yer on yer feet,” said one of the sweepers. Strong arms pulled him up and let go again. Severus wasn’t sure his legs could carry him, but he tried. And succeeded …more or less. He felt like someone had thrown a jelly-legs jinx on him. That made him remember his inoperative wand. He mumbled a faint “thanks” to the two men and teetered along the street in what he hoped was the right direction of his hotel. He REALLY needed to lie down and recuperate.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
Amazingly enough his wobbly legs managed to carry him in the right direction. He got into the lobby and put his hand in his pocket to retrieve the little piece of plastic that acted as a door key. And then he realised that all his pockets had been emptied. His wand was still there, in the secret pocket, but his wallet with his Muggle money and identification papers were gone.
He went to the reception desk. Luckily, the girl there remembered him and gave him a new card for his door. When he walked up the stairs, he was once again grateful that he’d gotten a room on the first floor. He didn’t trust those Muggle elevators, and he wasn’t in the mood for any long-winded ascends.
He opened the door and with a groan threw himself on the bed and almost instantly fell asleep.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
On waking, he felt better. Not good, but better. He reached into his bag and retrieved a small vial. Pepper upper potion. He drank it. Ah! life was acceptable again! He did have two problems, though. The first was his malfunctioning wand. The second was the mugging that had cost him all his money. And worse, that little piece of paper with an address. The address where anyone had last seen Harry Potter, the Boy who Lived and Left.
Severus decided that right now, the wand was the most important issue. He whipped it out and tried it again. Still nothing. What the devil was wrong with it? Or with him?
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
Severus was furious. Because his wand didn’t work, he had been unable to move the magic bricks in the alley behind the Leaky Cauldron by himself and had been forced to ask for help from a hunchbacked little old witch. Her one worked, but she couldn’t reach for the bricks by herself. So Severus had had to carry her while she tapped the bricks. At least no one had seen it. But still. It had been very humiliating. Even more so because the witch had KNOWN who he was.
He went straight to Ollivander’s shop and walked in. Ollivander looked at his wand and looked puzzled. “It doesn’t work” growled Snape. “Hmm.. curious” the little man mumbled. “Very curious”
“I fail to see the curiosity” snarled Snape “Just get it to work again”.
“But you see,” said Ollivander, “there’s nothing really wrong with the wand”. And as to prove it, he waved it and Severus saw some sparkles fly from the tip. He looked dumbstruck.
“Are you… are you saying there’s something wrong with ME,” he almost shouted.
“Well, it would appear so,” said the little man, “yet your magical signature seems stable enough.” What DID you do when the wand stopped working?”
Snape glared. He was not exactly interested in telling Mr Ollivander that he’d been so pissed that he could hardly walk and that he had tried to apparate in his intoxicated state. But he had to admit to himself that it COULD be of some importance.
”I was drunk”, Snape said. ”And I was going to apparate to my hotel when it just ceased functioning”.
Mr Ollivander looked pensive. He reached for the wand again and examined it even more careful. He looked straight into Snape’s dark eyes.
”Is this the first time you’ve used the wand while being drunk?” he asked. Snape mumbled something. ”Excuse me sir, I couldn’t hear you,” squeaked the little man.
”I said ’No,’” Snape grumbled. ”I’ve done it a few times more. And nothing has happened before. My atoms have NOT been scattered all over. I have NOT become stuck anywhere. Furthermore, I have not managed to splinch myself! I’ve APPARATED to where ever I frikkin’ WANTED to. It’s never been a problem before. So why NOW?”
Mr Ollivander looked relieved. ”Ah,” he said with an almost excusing smile. ”I take it you haven’t been keeping up on the latest ministry decrees then?” ”Ministry decrees” scowled Snape. ”I pay as little attention to those morons as I possibly CAN”. ”Ah yes”, said Ollivander. ”But they’ve made this new ’three strikes and you’re out’ law, you see. Inspired by some Muggle law, I believe. To stop people from apparating when they are too drunk to be able to do it safely.”
Snape looked as if he was going to pop a vein. ”Are you telling me that the ministry has disabled my wand?!” he yelled. Mr Ollivander merely nodded. ”You’ll have to wait for the allotted number of days to pass. Since this is the first time, I believe it’s seven. There’s nothing I can do about it.” Snape fixed his glare on Ollivander. The man squirmed for a moment, then whispered ”Well, that is.. Technically I CAN reset it… as I was the one who set up the spell in the first place. But.. I’m not allowed to do so.”
Snape felt his inner Slytherin surface. He knew that Ollivander was an old man. And old men who climbed ladders all day in search for wands were bound to have rheumatism. And Snape wasn’t a Potions Master for nothing. Perhaps he could BRIBE the man?
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
An hour later, Snape stumbled out into Diagonal Alley again. Rheumatism indeed! Had he ever known the old git to be so cunning, he would never have as much as considered bribing him. He was sure the old man had been in Slytherin, even if he had claimed to be a Ravenclaw. But at least he got his wand back. In working order. He was almost happy. At least that feeling that counted as ‘happy’ in Severus Snape. This particular feeling lasted for about thirty seconds. About as long as it took a very official owl to land in front of him with a scroll that had a very imposing Ministry of Magic seal on it. Snape glared. How very like the ministry to be swift in a situation such as this, and languid in every occasion where it really counted. He picked up the letter and read it.
The ministry for Magic, Safety First Dept. has detected an unauthorized removal of a wand disablement at 15:21 today.
Snape was fuming. His good mood was totally gone now, and to add misery to mockery he now couldn’t even hex anybody to improve his well being.
This was the most idiotic thing he had ever heard. Of course he could technically survive a week without his wand, and he could probably get a portkey whenever he needed to get back to Hogwarts, but it was a nuisance. And VERY inconvenient. Without the wand any hope of the Knight Bus had faded, too. And he STILL had his task ahead of him. To find Harry and to find out why the boy had left after having defeated Voldemort in such a spectacular way.
Snape walked into a pub. He had to sit down. And think. He was overwhelmed by the image of the last time he’d seen Harry. The last time ANYONE had seen Harry, apart from that Creevey boy who was always stalking him. Even HE had lost track of Potter right after the battle. No wonder since Creevey had been severely wounded. However, he had at least managed to find Harry.
And now Snape had lost the address.
No, Snape said to himself. Not LOST.. He had been mugged. The address had been STOLEN. It was not like he had just dropped it or something. But it didn’t really help on his mood. He was brooding now and he knew it. Well.. To hell with it all. He couldn’t do any magic for a week so he might as well spend that week here. With a suitable supply of Ogden’s Firewhiskey within reach.
So Severus Snape got drunk. Again.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
It wasn’t until he stood swaying outside the pub that he began to wonder if this was possibly one of his more stupid ideas. Hangover for two days in a row didn’t sound like anything you would willingly submit yourself to. Yet he had every reason to believe that tomorrow morning would be about as ghastly as this morning had been. Only he would hopefully not wake up in a gutter this time. He stumbled out from Diagon Alley and into Muggle London and headed for his hotel. It wasn’t really that far, but as he staggered from side to side, the walk became about double of the preferred straight route. He knew it and snorted in realisation. Quite fitting really. Straight wasn’t a word he cared much for anyway.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
The next morning was murderous indeed. He was almost out of Pepper Upper potion, and of course there was no way he could brew it here in a Muggle hotel, even if he had the ingredients. And he didn’t. On the other hand, he didn’t like the thought of going back to Diagon Alley today. Ollivander MUST have known that his tampering would be detected. Which meant that Snape had paid him for nothing. That the old coot had pulled his leg. And more than his leg, for that matter. Snape shook his head. There were some things that were better forgotten.
He sat and tried with all his might to remember the address on that lost bit of paper. He knew the name had sounded oddly familiar to him when he read it. But for the life of him he couldn’t recall it now. Only that it was somewhere near Paddington Station. So that was where he went. Perhaps when he saw the street sign he would remember, he told himself. But somehow he doubted it.
So all that day he wandered around and looked at street signs and people. He knew that the chance of actually spotting Potter was very small. Still Snape reckoned that the boy had to get outdoors some times, he couldn’t stay in all day. And perhaps he would spot him then. At one point the actually thought he saw him. But then she turned around.
As evening moved closer, he started to wonder what he should do. Chances of Harry coming outside were as good in the evening as in the day, perhaps better, if the boy really WANTED to hide. Snape still couldn’t understand what made Potter run off like that. Here he was, having slain Voldemort and then he just threw his wand on the ground and left? Snape had been unable to follow him at that moment. Actually, no one in that battle had been able to, due to the variety of curses and hexes that had been thrown upon them. Snape still didn’t understand how Potter had been able to walk, either. It was like nothing had mattered to him, not even the blood pumping out of his wounds.
That question was the one that kept echoing in Snape’s head. When so many people were there, ready to help him. And to celebrate him. Surely Potter wouldn’t shy away from a celebration in his honour? Yet that was exactly what he had done. And Snape didn’t understand it. He decided to get back to his hotel to eat. Now that he had a new supply of Muggle money - this time safely tucked away where no ordinary thug would ever look for them - he might as well get something proper to eat. It struck him that he hadn’t eaten at all that day, and this made him as hungry as a wolf. He steered towards the nearest pub and went inside.
After a nice Steak and kidney pie and pint of beer to flush it down with he started pondering why he kept ending up in bars. After the fourth glass of whiskey he was still wondering briefly about the fact, but it didn’t really seem to matter anymore. All that mattered was that he didn’t want to go home to that empty, dull hotel room until he was sure he would fall asleep instantly. The sixth whiskey made him wonder if it perhaps would have been wiser to simply drink a sleeping draught, but on the other hand, that wasn’t nearly as much fun. ”Fun” he snorted, only realizing he'd spoken out aloud when the guy beside him gave him a puzzled look. Hmm. Talking to himself was usually a sure sign that he’d had enough to drink. Talking to himself in a mirror was a sign that he should have been to bed. Furthermore, having a full blown conversation with oneself was a one way ticket to St Mungo’s! Looking into a mirror across the bar, he decided he wasn’t THAT far yet.
Determined to get home to the hotel this time in a relatively straight line, he got up and left the pub. His eye was drawn to something whilst walking. Three men, one cowering and the two other apparently laughing at him. Typical bullies, Snape thought. Picking on someone smaller. Then one of the men kicked the squatting guy and Snape saw a glimpse of his head. At this distance, it looked like… But it couldn’t be…
Snape crossed the street. He felt the anxiety rise in him, and the alcohol he had consumed was rapidly evaporating from his clouded brain. He totally forgot that his wand didn’t work at the present moment and went straight to the bullies.
”What the hell do you think you’re doing” he shouted and one of the men turned to look, just as he was about to kick the crumbled character again. ”Keep your long snout out of this” the man replied and jabbed at Snape’s face, hitting him on his admittedly big nose. Snape felt the blood starting to gush and a wave of dizziness almost made him stumble. Then he hit back and saw the man fly several yards in the air. Astonished, the other man let go of their victim and stared at Snape. Snape was staring at his fist, slightly abashed. ”You want a flying lesson, too?” he asked between clenched teeth and the other man quickly retreated, grabbing his unconscious comrade on the way before he scurried off.
Snape looked down on the young man in front of him. At this distance, it still looked like Potter, though it was hard to see as the man hid his head in his arms. He was shaking and making little unarticulated sounds. The sight worried Snape. One thing was to be scared, but this was overdoing it. He bent down and touched the young man’s shoulder. ”It’s ok now, they’re gone,” he said. The other looked up at him and Snape saw that it was indeed Potter. Scar and all. Yet Potter didn’t seem to recognize him. In fact, Potter didn’t even seem to SEE him. He was staring with glazed eyes to a point somewhere behind - and right through - Snape.
Without further ado, Snape picked up the boy and continued towards his hotel with Potter in his arms. The boy was so skinny. Almost weightless. And he didn’t react to Snape’s presence at all. Snape was really worrying now. What the heck was wrong with the boy?
As he approached the building he became increasingly aware of how odd this must look to any bystanders. He had blood in his face and was carrying a young man who appeared drugged, into a hotel? Not good. It was bound to raise suspicion. So he set Potter down and succeeded in getting most of the blood off his face with his handherchief. The boy followed him docilely, as if he wasn’t sure where he was or where he was going.
If the receptionist was wondering about the two men’s entrance, she did a good job of hiding it. So Snape merely nodded to her and went to the staircase with Harry in tow. They got up and into his room without any problems, but soon enough they started.
It was such a little thing, really. Snape had managed to get Potter to sit in the armchair and then he pulled out his wand with the intention of conjuring up some hot chocolate, momentarily forgetting that it was disabled. When Harry saw the wand, his eyes went wide and he started to scream and tremble while he clutched himself as if he wanted to curl into a ball.
Snape stared. The screams were echoing in the room. He had to stop them. Soon, the Muggles would come running. He had to admit that it did indeed sound like someone was being murdered.
Once again, Snape sent an unpleasant thought to the idiots at the ministry that had caused his wand woes. He couldn’t even cast a silencing charm at the room. He rushed to his suitcase and fumbled to get a calming potion up. Good thing was prepared with a wide variety of potions. Of course he ALWAYS was, but now more than ever he praised that habit.
The boy seemed to be in a world of his own. The calming potion stopped the screams, but he was still shaking and his eyes still had that glazed look. Snape eyed the little vial that still held some calming potion. He really needed some of it for himself too. The screams had left a most annoying ringing in his ears and he felt shocked about the sudden changes in the boy’s behaviour. On the other hand, he might need more potion for the boy later, and while he had brought a large variety of potions, they were all in SMALL vials. More like samples than anything else. And he couldn’t afford to waste it. He looked at the bottle of Old Ogden’s Firewhiskey that was in the suitcase. Hmm, he thought, better not. He had to keep to his senses at the moment, as well as figuring out how to get both of them back to Hogwarts. Or St. Mungo’s, Snape thought. As much as he hated to admit it, the boy seemed like a mental case. However, Potter wouldn’t be safe at St. Mungo’s. The moment anyone knew that the Boy Who Lived had been found, he would be in danger. Even with all the known Death Eaters in Azkaban, there were still people around who would have favoured the Dark Lord’s victory, and some of them might want to get to Potter. And of course all the FANS - Snape mentally spat at the word - would never leave him either. So Hogwarts was indeed the best place for the boy. But how on Merlin’s Green earth should he GET him there without his wand?
Snape suddenly became aware that the boy had stopped shaking. He was looking at him now, seemingly a little more aware of his surroundings.
”Can I get you anything?” Snape heard himself say. The boy jumped at the sound of his voice but merely shook his head. Then, in a tiny voice, he said ”no thanks, Professor”.
’Professor!’ Snape stared at the boy. That would mean that Harry had recognized him, although there so far hadn’t been any indications of that.
”Potter” he said, and the young man looked at him. His eyes were wide again and the glazed look was starting to reappear.
”Why did you run away like that?” Snape asked. Probably not the best way of making Potter talk, but then Snape had never been known for his subtlety. Plus he was not used to dealing with mental cases. But, was the boy unhinged? If not, then why act like it?
The result of Snape’s question was Harry shaking all over again. He didn’t scream, this time, but Snape had a nasty feeling that it wasn’t far away. Oh shit. He still had a faint ringing in his ears from last time. If Potter started screaming again…
Snape remembered how he had heard stories of witches who turned their screaming babies into toads just to make them stop. Or hexed their mouth shut. He had always thought these tales somewhat exaggerated, but now he could truly understand what made someone DO such things. If Potter started to scream once more… Of course it was prohibited. Snape mentally cursed the ministry once again, of course such hexing required a WAND. A WORKING wand no less. Which wasn’t what Snape had at the moment.
So he did the only thing that came into his mind, he sat down beside the boy and put his arm around him.
To his great relief, the boy stopped shaking, but went almost rigid instead. Snape decided he preferred that to the shaking and kept his arm around Potter. He had to admit to himself that it felt quite nice, too.
They had been sitting there for some time, and Snape could feel his legs starting to go numb. He would have to get up soon. Kneeling beside a chair wasn’t a position a man should assume for a very long time. At least not unpunished. Snape was worried that Potter hadn’t spoken at all. The ”No thanks, Professor,” had been the only words from him. And they had been uttered in a hoarse voice, as if the boy almost had forgotten how to speak at all. With his right leg definitely numb now, Snape scrambled to his feet and reluctantly let go of Harry’s shoulder. The younger man didn’t react at all. He was clearly awake, since his green eyes were open, but for all that mattered, he might as well be deep asleep.
Snape started to pace around in the room, in an attempt to get some blood down to his prickling foot. He stomped it a few times, but disliked the noise it made and decided to simply keep walking. Slowly the foot returned to it’s normal state and Snape looked at the boy again, trying to figure out what to do next.
Clearly, it had been the sight of his wand that had provoked the screaming, and since the wand in it’s current state wasn’t useful anyway, he started pondering of another way of getting them both back to Hogwarts.
He knew he could get them through the floo network from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade, IF, and there was this big IF - he could get Harry to Diagon Alley at all. And if he could get HIMSELF into Diagon Alley. He didn’t want to go through that embarrassing act of having to ask someone to let him in again.
But wait. The Leaky Cauldron. That ought to be connected to the floo network as well. And since it was technically outside Diagon Alley, it could be a possibility. IF he could get Potter to the Leaky Cauldron, of course. The boy was once again sporting the glazed over zombie look, and Snape wasn’t exactly keen on walking through inner London with a seemingly drugged boy. He cursed in frustration. Damn the ministry. What an exquisite example of bad timing to lose the use of one’s wand right now.
Abruptly, a face appeared in his mind. A face of a girl. With a lot of bushy hair. Snape didn’t usually think of girls and it took him a moment beyond the initial shock to realise that the face emerging in his mind belonged to that Granger girl. He suddenly remembered what she had said at the graduation feast. ”Please keep in touch, Professor. Call me anytime you’re in London.”
Well he was in London now, and as much as he hated to admit it, Granger HAD been a very very clever witch. She might be the one that could help them out of here and back to Hogwarts. The fact that she had always been fond of Harry, even after she engaged that annoying Weasley brat was probably to their advantage too. At least she would understand the necessity to be discreet about Potter and his current … condition. The problem was how to ”call” her.
Severus Snape was no fool. He was aware of Muggle inventions such as the telephone… theoretically. He had never actually used one of those devices. But there was one present in the hotel room, and in a moment of inspiration, he approached it, picked up the receiver and said ”Hermione Granger” slowly and clearly into it.
Snape stared into the receiver. He knew he had seen Muggles talk into them, just like he had done. And since he suspected that not even Muggles in general were talking to themselves, he must be missing something.
Hmm.. There were letters above each of the buttons on the telephone. Perhaps he should try spelling out Hermione’s name. But it was confusing. There were three letters on each button. How would it know which one he meant? And what would happen if he misspelled it? He looked closer at the telephone. The 9 was labelled ”reception”. Tentatively, he pushed it. It gave a little beeping sound and a moment later a woman was talking into his ear.
”Miss Granger?” he asked.
”No, sir. This is the reception,” the voice said.
”How do I speak to Miss Granger then?” asked Snape, momentarily caught off balance. He felt an urge to simply slam down the receiver but on the other hand he really needed to talk to that Granger girl. For some reason he had become fixated on that idea. So he gathered his courage and kept speaking, against his better judgement.
”Uhm, Sir,” said the girl in the telephone, ”You will need to be more specific. I am sure we can help you find Miss Granger, but I will need to know her first name and address as well so I can look her up.”
”But I don’t know where she lives,” Snape admitted. ”Her first name is Hermione. Surely that should be enough. And she’s a very clever wi ... WOMAN,” he added, almost biting his tongue. He had been so close to using the word witch to a Muggle.
”I shall see what I can find, Sir,” said the girl. ”I’ll call you as soon as I have something.”
”Thanks,” said Snape, and a moment later he heard a click and the woman was gone. Snape put down the receiver as if it was covered with Bubotuber pus. He even felt the desire to wipe his hand. How could Muggles stand that way of communicating? It was so impersonal when you couldn’t see the other part. He really preferred to speak through the fire.
Snape turned around to check on Potter. He had almost forgotten the boy’s presence. When he looked, he understood why. Potter was asleep in the chair where he had left him. Curled into a ball, he looked like an abandoned kitten. Severus felt something warm well up inside him. He wasn’t sure what it was, but not for the first time he felt protective. Safeguard him. And … something more. It was this need that had led him on this mission in the first place. But somewhere inside him, he knew there was another agenda. Something he couldn’t quite define.
He walked to the chair and picked up the sleeping boy. Once again he was startled at his skinny frame. He carried him over to the bed and put him down. He removed the boy’s shoes but decided to leave the rest of his clothes on. Snape then pulled the blanket over the relaxed body and sat down in the chair. It was extremely late now and he was tired. And now he had nowhere to sleep. Snape looked at the bed. It was a large bed. Large enough for two persons. In the end he decided against it. It wouldn’t be wise. What if Potter woke up and started screaming again at the sight of him? Even if he had seemed calm enough in his presence this evening, it was impossible to tell how he would react if he woke up in the same bed as his former ”greasy old potions master”. Oh, Snape was well aware of all the things that were said about him. Well aware of the sniggering and snide remarks among the students. Greasy indeed.
Snape touched his hair. It wasn’t really that greasy. Well, perhaps it was a little, but not as much as the whispering suggested. Oh those little bastards, when they thought he couldn’t hear them. Mocking him for his nose and his hair and his pallid skin. Just like he had always been mocked, ever since he was a student himself. As if he could change his looks. Oh to be a Metamorphmagus. But he wasn’t, and if he was honest with himself, he wasn’t all that dissatisfied with his looks. They gave him a certain menacing aura, of which he was well aware, and he used it with virtuosity. He had even heard rumours that he was a vampire. Snape gave a short chuckle. Dumbledore might be crazy enough to hire a werewolf, but a vampire? Still, that was one more rumour that could be used to his advantage when it came to scaring the shit out of those little beasts. Sometimes he had even thought trying out the Cuspis Elongare spell just for the fun of it. He was sure he would look great with fangs.
Lost in such pleasant thoughts, Snape almost had a heart attack when the phone rang. He jumped up, got to the ringing apparatus in a single stride and grabbed the receiver. It was the girl from the reception again.
”I am sorry, Sir,” the girl said ”but there’s apparently no one by the name of Hermione Granger registered with a phone number. Perhaps if you had her address? Or does she probably have another name?”
Another name. Snape thought for a moment. Well, she and that redheaded Weasley boy had been very good friends at the time of the final battle against Voldemort. Snape had never cared much for any of the in numerous Weasleys so he hadn’t really been paying attention to it. But perhaps …
”How about Hermione Weasley?” he said.
”Hang on, Sir,” said the voice and soon after she said with a smile ”I thought I saw that combination during my search. ’Hermione and Ronald Weasley’. Does that sound right, Sir?” Sound right? It sounded awful in Snape’s ears. But he decided that now was not the time to let his personal feelings against the Weasley boy get in the way.
”Yes,” he said. ”That’s her.”
“Would you like me to connect you to her now or would you prefer to wait until the morning?” asked the receptionist. Snape was again reminded of how late it was, and that Granger … No Weasley now, apparently, would most likely be startled if her telephone started making that dreadful ringing sound in the middle of the night.
“No, you’re right, I’ll wait until tomorrow,” he said and put down the receiver again. Then it dawned on him that he never got the telephone number. Oh well, he wasn’t really sure how to enter it anyway. But he could at least press 9 again and get hold of the reception.
Snape sent another longing look at the soft bed, before he took one of the blankets and arranged his long bony frame into the armchair. He wrapped himself up tightly in the borrowed bedclothes. It was going to be a long night.
On awaking the next morning he thought for a moment that Voldemort had captured him again and submitted him to hours of the Cruciatus curse. He could almost hear his joints squeak as he dis-entangled himself from the armchair. Wincing at the pain in his back, he looked over at the still sleeping boy in the bed. His bed. Then, as if cued by his look, Potter opened his green eyes and tried to focus on Snape. Snape went over to him and handed Potter his glasses. The boy took them and put them on, then looked up at the looming figure of his past Potions Master.
“So it was really you,” he said with a tiny voice. “I thought it was all a dream.”
Snape was relieved. The boy seemed almost normal. Still shaken and scared, but his eyes didn’t have that eerie glazed look. Furthermore, he was neither trembling nor screaming.
“Yes, it was me,” he said, almost gently. “We have been looking for you for a long time, Potter. Why did you run away from us all? Why did you run away from Hogwarts?”
That was obviously the wrong thing to say. The moment Snape mentioned Hogwarts, Harry started shaking again. His eyes started to assume the glazed-over look and a little squeal came out of his mouth. Don’t scream! Snape frantically thought and rushed to the boy’s side, once again putting his arm around him.
Still holding the shivering boy half an hour later, Snape was going through all sorts of possible explanations in his head. Obviously, anything related to Hogwarts and magic upset the boy, yet the present of Snape himself seemed to have a calming effect on him. Strange. Snape started to wonder what the reaction would be if he hadn’t been wearing muggle clothes. He felt uncomfortable in the black suit he had on, and had a desperate need to get back to Hogwarts and his usual robes soon. But on the other hand, if it was the fact that he looked so non-magical that had the soothing effect on the boy? Speaking of which, sitting here with his arm wrapped around Potter didn’t exactly make himself relax. Shit. The time he had had to think while he was sitting here, holding the boy, had once again made him aware that he harboured certain … feelings for Potter. Not just the protectiveness he had felt all along, but something more.
Something he still didn’t quite want to admit.
After all, he was almost twice the age of the young man. Besides, there had never been any indications that Potter was even gay. Snape cursed himself for allowing such futile daydreams in the first place. Then he realised that the boy had stopped shivering. And that he was leaning against him. Cautiously, Snape let go of the boy.
“I have to call someone in the telephone,” he said.
Snape went to the table and picked up the telephone. Then, as it was a natural thing, he pressed the ‘9’ and waited for the girl in the reception to say something. Only, this time it was a male voice that greeted him.
For a brief moment, Snape was confused. Then he realised that there had to be more than one person in the reception during the day. So he casually asked the guy to call Hermione Weasley for him. A few moments later the telephone buzzed again and Snape hoped it was the right Hermione Gr.. No, Weasley, who would answer him in the other end.
“Weasley, “ the voice said. A woman’s voice. So far, so good. “Miss Granger?” Snape tried.
“Who is this?” the woman inquired. “Severus Snape,” he replied, hoping it was indeed the right Weasley he was talking to. Merlin knew there were such a horde of Weasleys around. But when the other voice squeaked “Professor Snape,” he knew he had hit the right Weasley.
“Miss Granger - or I guess I should say Mrs Weasley now,” Snape began, but Hermione cut him off with a “Please, call me Hermione, Professor!”
“Hermione,” tried Snape “I have managed to locate Mr Potter. But I have run into an unforeseeable problem, and I would be pleased if I could count on your help with certain issues.”
“Yes of course, Professor,” came the instant reply from Hermione. “What is it and how can we help you?”
‘We’ thought Snape. He reckoned that meant that the Weasley boy would be thrown into this as well. He was really not interested in letting all of the wizarding world know about his temporary wandlessness, and he had a nasty feeling that once Weasley knew, his pesky twin brothers would know, and then his father and the whole Ministry. Just what he needed. Snape frowned but carried on, asking Hermione if they could possibly meet somewhere as soon as possible. For some reason, he didn’t think it would be wise to bring the young woman to the hotel. He still wasn’t sure of how Potter would react to anything just remotely magic. But then again, she was technically, if not flatteringly so, still a Mudblood. Did that count? He hoped so.
When he had made the necessarily arrangements with Hermione, he put down the telephone again, this time with a smug expression on his face. Muggles. They did manage to make some practical things after all. And now he knew how to use at least some of them.
Only then did he become aware of the way Potter was staring at him. Semi-glazed eyes, as if he was trying to avoid seeing something unpleasant. Snape tried to divert him.
“Would you like some tea?” he asked, and was pleasantly surprised when Potter gave a small nod. “Good,” he nodded, “I’ll get some.” Then he realised that he didn’t really know how to get some tea without his wand. Perhaps the telephone again? He looked at it, and sure enough, above the ‘7’ it was labelled ‘Room Service.’ He lifted the receiver and soon a young man arrived with a tea tray.
While they were sipping their tea and eating the accompanying scones, Snape was wringing his brain to find something to say to the boy that would make him talk and not scream.
“Where have you been staying in all this time?” he asked. That seemed to be a harmless question, and Potter just mumbled that he had been with a friend, all the while looking down in his teacup.
“A friend?” Snape tried, wondering why that friend hadn’t contacted Hogwarts. Unless, of course, that friend was a Muggle.
“Yeah, a friend I met,” Potter elaborated. “But last night he threw me out of the flat. I guess he was getting tired of me.”
The flat tone in Potter’s voice made Snape send him a sharp glance. Tired of him. Almost as if… Snape dispelled the thought of what it had sounded like, but then, much to his surprise, Potter spoke again, still in that flat voice:
“Yes I slept with him and he let me stay, but yesterday he came home with this new boy. I guess he wanted some variety. So he told me to leave. Doesn’t really matter except that now I have nowhere to sleep.”
“Of course you do,” Snape all but snapped. “Do you really think I was going to chuck you out as well?” After all what I’ve went through to find you, he added in his mind
To his great annoyance, the boy merely shrugged. It was as if nothing really concerned him. Nothing mattered. This is definitely not normal Potter behaviour, Snape said to himself. But he wasn’t sure what to do about it. Hopefully Hermione would know what to do.
Glancing at his watch, he realised that he had to leave soon for their rendezvous. He briefly wondered if Potter would be all right on his own, then decided to ensure it by giving him a few drops of a sleeping draught. As he was afraid how something as magical as a vial would affect the boy, he furtively sneaked a few drops in his teacup unseen. His long service as a spy made it easy to do, and sure enough, Potter didn’t even look, but took another sip of the tea. Seconds later his eyes began to fall shut and his head lolled from side to side.
“Let me help you”, Snape said, and lifted the drowsy boy back to the bed.
When he was convinced that Potter was sleeping, he left and headed for that café Hermione had suggested.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
Seeing Hermione again was a pleasant surprise. She had somehow managed to tame the wild tresses instead of the bushy mess she had sported while in school. And best of all, she had a solution to the problem of how he could get Potter to Diagon Alley.
She did, however not have an explanation to what was wrong with the boy. They discussed whether it would be wise for her to see Harry but eventually decided against it.
Unfortunately that also meant that Hermione couldn’t be there to help with all the little everyday magic that Snape so far had taken for granted. A simple thing as shaving was suddenly a chore. Some wizards preferred using a razor for such things, but he wasn’t normally among those. The thought of putting a sharp blade to his throat didn’t seem appealing. Yet in his current situation, he had been forced to do it. He should probably be grateful that he had only cut himself once this morning. Oh well, he admitted to himself. He probably wouldn’t have asked Hermione to actually shave him anyway.
Before she left, Hermione helped him with two things. The first was a quick scourgify of his clothes, as he hadn’t brought more than the same set of Muggle attire. Under normal circumstances, that would have been more than enough, too. The second thing was to transfigure one of the café chairs into a wheelchair and place a temporary shrinking spell on it, so Snape could put it in his pocket. This was the great idea from Hermione. Snape could transport Harry to The Leaky Cauldron in a wheelchair. That way, he could keep the boy tranquillised it necessary and in any case it would look less suspicious, if Potter refused to walk. The question now was if it was safe to take him anywhere near Diagon Alley at all at the moment. If a simple wand could make the boy so upset, how would he react in a tavern filled with witches and wizards?
So Snape went back to the hotel with the tiny wheelchair in his pocket, determined to simply keep an eye on Potter and then decide when it would be safe to return to their own world again. And also hopefully figure out why he was reacting so odd in the first place.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
Entering their room, Snape saw that Potter was still asleep from the draught. That suggested that he must have been fatigued, normally he should have been awake again by now. Snape looked down on the sleeping boy. He felt compelled to lay down too, the last nights ordeal in the armchair had not really managed to make him truly refreshed. So after he had made sure that the boy was really sleeping, he climbed onto the bed and positioned himself so far from Potter as he possibly could. Within seconds, Severus Snape was asleep.
He had the most peculiar dream.
He was walking in one of the many hallways at Hogwarts. The atmosphere gloomy, threatening and eerily empty of any life.
He entered his classroom, the old batch of Slytherin and Gryffindor students all seated by their desks.
As he turned around to face the students, he noted that one student was missing.
“Mr. Potter… Does anyone here have an excuse for his tardiness? Or is he just skipping class again?”
Nobody moved. They all sat there, staring blankly into space, like rag dolls on display.
Still, nobody answered him.
“I see. Turn to page 356 and read!”
With that, he left the classroom. As he opened the door, he found himself in the forest outside the school. He kept moving like that was perfectly natural. He needed to find the boy.
As he walked further into the woods, the door to his classroom disappeared behind him, and he could hear a noise.
A wail, no… a fearful scream that became louder by every step he took. He hurried, hoping to escape the piercing sound that molested his ears. He stopped abruptly when he saw the boy, standing in an open space. His mouth wasn’t open, but the screaming was definitely radiating from him.
He ran to the boy, grabbing onto his shoulders, demanding to know why he wasn’t in class.
The boy just looked through him, his screaming becoming louder. Snape turned his head. The boy was staring at an egg that rested on the ground not far from them. The egg was pulsating, growing. A rip was heard through the boy’s screaming as the shell tore, revealing the head of a small dragon. Snape pulled out his wand, aiming it at the dragon, he cast a multitude of spells, but none worked. Damn Ministry!
The dragon grew with a fierce speed, it didn’t take long before it was hovering above them, it’s great wings spread out around them. The boy finally stopped screaming as Snape wrestled them both to the ground. The dragon latching its mighty claws after them. Protect the boy! That was all that went through his head as the dragon pinned him down, crushing him under its weight.
It took Snape a while to fully awake from the dream. He came abruptly to his senses when he realised that he had his arms around Potter. But that was not all. Something heavy was indeed pinning him down as well. For a split second, he imagined that the part about the dragon had been real before he saw a wheel out of the corner of his eye. That damned wheelchair! He had forgotten all about it and it was still at least partly in his pocket. Only now it was rapidly expanding, growing back to it’s original size. Just before his clothes were ripped by the cursed thing, he succeeded in getting it free of his coat and onto the floor.
His efforts to get rid of the wheel chair had also managed to rouse Potter. He saw the boy’s eyes widen and tried to free his left arm, which Potter was lying on.
”Sorry,” he mumbled.
There was a short, awkward silence. Then Potter all but shrugged and said ”Never mind.”
Snape pulled his arm free and got out of bed, still fully dressed. He went to the bathroom while he tried to get a hold of himself. ”Never mind”. Those words were so typical Potter. But Snape minded. He was mad at himself for falling asleep in the same bed as Potter, and he was furious of his subconscious self, who apparently had grasped the opportunity. And Potter.
He was also annoyed at Potter for being so… Potterish… It was really the best word Snape could think of to describe him. Why was it that the damned brat always had managed to make him lose his temper? And why was he still thinking of him as a brat! ‘Brat’ would indicate a spoiled child. Potter was, without a shadow of a doubt, a young man.
Of course Snape knew deep down that part of the answer lay in the damnable fact that he, as much as he tried to deny it to himself, was attracted to Potter. And every time the brat shrugged him off, Snape felt hurt. Well he shouldn’t feel hurt. He should be used to it by now. Why would a young, good looking saviour of the wizarding world be interested in a greasy misanthrope that was more than twenty years older than himself?
Snape clenched his teeth in something that resembled agony. Grow up, you idiot, he tried to tell himself.
But it still hurt.
Emerging from the bathroom, he felt slightly more composed.
“Let’s get something for breakfast,” Snape exclaimed and with his newfound confidence in his ability to use the telephone, he immediately pressed the ‘7’ and soon after he was enjoying the benefits of Room Service.
He really did his best in his attempt to make a cosy atmosphere and make Potter eat something. With limited success. The boy reluctantly ate a single slice of toast and a miniscule serving of scrambled egg. Had Snape not badgered him, he probably wouldn’t even have had that.
No wonder the boy is so skinny, Snape thought.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
After the breakfast had been cleared away, Snape decided it was time to test the boy. So he covertly armed himself with whatever was left of his calming potion, ready to pour it into the boy at the slightest sign of screaming. Then he cautiously pulled out his wand.
The second Potter’s eyes fell on the wand, he started to shake and a muffled sound emerged from his throat. Then his eyes assumed their now familiar glazed look and he opened his mouth, letting out a wail. Immediately, Snape rushed to him and poured the remaining Calming Potion into the gaping mouth. He wrapped his arms around the shivering youngster and held him tight while he waited for the potion to kick in.
This shouldn’t feel so good, he mentally upbraided himself. But it did.
As the shivering subsided, Snape gradually loosened his grip. When he tried to pull back he realised that Potter likewise had put his arms around his waist and that he didn’t let go of him yet. So Snape stood still, not sure what to do with his hands, now that they were no longer holding the boy in a firm grip. He knew that this situation was getting risky. He wasn’t ready for a mentally unstable boy, especially not when his own feelings were threatening to wreack havoc on his sanity. With an enormous effort he removed himself from Potter and plunged down in the armchair. He knew he had to get back to Hogwarts. He needed a stable supply of potions and, as much as he hated to admit it, probably Madam Pomfrey’s nursing expertise as well.
When Severus finally decided that it was time to act, he did just that. He guided the wheelchair out of the room. Then he hit a small snag. How to get down? He couldn’t get the boy down the stairs in the ungainly contraption, and now, as the calming potion had taken full effect, Potter was in no state to walk. Snape threw a suspicious glance at the elevator. It seemed harmless enough. Surely, if he could figure out how to use a telephone, he could also use an elevator. Casually, as if it was an everyday thing to do, he pushed the wheelchair into the tiny chamber and tried to reign his uneasiness as the metal doors slid shut behind him.
Snape looked at the buttons on the wall. A large red one was labelled HELP, but he decided he wanted to figure it out by himself. He pressed the one labelled ‘1’ and waited. Nothing happened as far as he could tell. The elevator remained motionless and silent. He remembered the telephone again and pressed the 9 in a vague hope that it too would take him to the reception. This time something DID happen. It felt almost like when you grabbed hold of a portkey. The same sickening drag, only a portkey seemed to drag you outwards, and this thing was doing it’s best to pull his innards into his shoes. In a rush of panic, Snape hit the ‘STOP’. The elevator obeyed at once and he felt his stomach return to normal. He turned towards the door. He’d rather carry the boy than stay in this murderous device any longer. But the door stayed shut.
Snape felt panic rise in him again. He started to sweat and felt like the air was rapidly escaping the little room. He pounded the door, but the slick metal didn’t budge.
“LET ME OUT” he screamed, working up a full fledged panic attack now. He couldn’t breathe. And was the light fading too? His legs started to buckle under him and he had to grip the wheelchair to prevent himself from falling.
Then he felt a hand on his own shaking one and heard a soothing voice. Harry’s voice.
“Here, Professor. Let me help you.” The words were slightly slurred from the calming potion, and Potter still couldn’t get up. But he could reach the buttons and apparently he knew what to do. Of course. The boy had grown up as a Muggle. A few moments later, the elevator was back in motion, this time descending rapidly. Snape still had trouble breathing in anything but shallow rasps, but when the door opened a few moments later and he saw that he was down in the lobby, he took a deep, relieved sigh and pushed the wheelchair out of the confinement.
“What happened in there?” Potter inquired, voice still soothing and obviously still influenced by the potion.
“Nothing,” Snape snapped, then, realising how rude he was behaving, tried to explain. “I just don’t like small rooms.” He paused for a moment, then continued. “It’s like there’s not enough air in them.”
“I don’t really mind them,” Potter said. “One of the benefits of growing up in the closet, I suppose.”
He looked up at his former teacher and said with a little smile, “Who would have thought you’d be afraid of anything, Professor?”
“I‘m not afraid of them,” Snape scowled. “I just don’t like them. That’s entirely different.”
“Ok, whatever you say, Sir.” came the dry reply.
Snape glared at the boy. For a moment, in the elevator, it had seemed like there were some things in the world that Potter still cared for. That he still was willing to help. But now he was back to his indifferent state. Like nothing mattered at all.
Snape grabbed hold of the wheelchair and went outside in the grey morning. A fine rain fell and he wished he had thought of something that could keep them dry. Had he only been wearing his cloak. At least that was impregnated with a permanent rain repellent spell. But in his Muggle suit, he was getting soaked in the drizzle. The boy was of course getting equally wet, and Snape tried to keep is eyes to himself. Tried not to notice how the wet t-shirt was clinging to Potters chest. That his own clothes were in a similar state didn’t help much. It felt like he was being embraced by thousand fingers. But at least it kept him warm.
Potter had returned to his lethargic condition and soon they were approaching The Leaky Cauldron. He hoped he was right in assuming it was still connected to the Floo network. He also hoped he wouldn’t be recognized this time. Or worse, that Potter would be. In a moment of inspiration, Snape bent down and removed the glasses from the drowsy boy. That would give him two benefits. The boy would be slightly harder to identify and without his glasses he wouldn’t be able to clearly see all the incontrovertible displays of magic which were bound to be present inside The Leaky Cauldron.
Pushing a strand of wet hair from his face, he entered The Leaky Cauldron. Ah! It would appear he was right. At least there was a huge fireplace and the familiar pot of Floo powder was present at the mantelpiece. The boy was shivering now, and Snape hoped it was due to his soaked state and not because the calming potion was starting to wear off. Soon they would be home at Hogwarts.
Snape stopped dead. Of course he knew they would have to go through The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade, as Hogwarts itself wasn’t connected to the Floo network for safety reasons, but how could he get Potter into the floo at all? It was highly unlikely that the boy would step into a fireplace and say the name of a magical tavern in his present condition.
His mind groped for a solution. If only someone in the Ministry could make them a unofficial, unlogged, untraceable portkey. Who was there that he could buy, bribe or threaten?
Then it hit him harder than one of Hagrid’s scones. Arthur Weasley! Merlin only knew why he hadn’t considered his old Order of the Phoenix workmate before. Potter was like a son to the chap – or so he said. There was also the added bonus of being in contact with his newly acquired daughter-in-Law.
Once again things seemed possible. At least here he was on home ground and could use the Floo network for a call. No silly phones here. He threw some powder into the fire, stuck his head in and hollered: ”Ron Weasley’s Residence!”
At the other side, his flame-enveloped head was greeted by a redheaded young man.
”Professor Snape!” Weasley exclaimed. ”Fancy seeing you here.”
”Hello, Mr Weasley,” said Snape, attempting an amicable smile. ”Is Hermione home?”
”Not at the moment,” came Ron’s reply. ”She’s at work. She works in the Ministry now, just like my father.” The redhead beamed in obvious pride ”Some are already making bets on her as the first female Minister of Magic in this century.”
Seeing as the century was still young, Snape was willing to bet on that too. Hermione had been, after all, by far the best student of her year. However, small talk was time wasting. So after a brief explanation of how to find Hermione as well as Arthur Weasley in the Ministry, Snape pulled his head out of the fire again and turned to Potter.
Snape could immediately see that it had been just in time. The boy was getting uneasy by the sight of Snape with his head in the grate, and by now the calming potion did not have sufficient effect to keep him totally sedated.
The big question now was whether to go to the Ministry at once, or try to get something which he could use as a tranquilliser, in case the Ministry would also be too magic for Potter. For a brief moment he even considered pouring half a bottle of Firewhiskey into the boy. That, he reasoned, would also waste time. The sooner he was there, the sooner they would get home to Hogwarts.
IF he could persuade the Weasleys to get him a portkey at all, he mused.
As helpful as that family had proven to be, they were also annoyingly Gryffindor in their behaviour, and Snape wasn’t sure they could be coaxed into doing such shady things. As much as he hated dissimulation, he knew that his best chance would be to appeal to their good hearts.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
When Snape entered the guest entrance to the Ministry, he was faced with a new problem. The few other times he had been forced to set foot in the Ministry, he had apparated there (save the one time at his trial, where he wasn’t really sure how he’d arrived) but this time he had to use the old telephone booth, and that meant … going underground in yet another elevator-type contraption. Also he needed to figure out what to say in order to have a valid reason for entering in the first place.
So he entered the phone box and pretended to have an appointment with Hermione Weasley. He hoped that she would answer in his favour if someone ran a check. He didn’t mention the fact that he wasn’t alone, and certainly not the fact that he had The Boy Who Had Been Missing For Long with him. While the box descended, Snape brushed Potter’s hair down to cover the scar on his forehead. He still had the boy’s glasses in his pocket and could only hope that no one would associate the huddled-up figure in the wheel chair with Harry Potter. Snape eyed the dimension of the wheelchair and weighed them up against those of the booth. Wonderful stuff, this magic! He thought. It would have been a physical impossibility to cram the contraption into a Muggle one! All his fussing around with Harry’s appearance also helped him to keep his mind off the fact that he was trapped inside a small room with flickering light and certainly not enough air for him to breathe properly. He envied the boy for his lack of claustrophobia and took a deep breath of what seemed to be the remaining air when the journey stopped and the door opened to the level where Hermione worked.
Carefully avoiding the swarm of internal memos that flew in as he went out, he tried to figure out how to get to her office, when, to his big relief, he saw her coming towards him, beaming.
”What a pleasant surprise,” she said, and hastily manoeuvred them all into a small office. Snape noticed that the window in the office showed him a nice summer day instead of the murky rain he had left a few moments earlier, and that made him acutely aware of his and Potter’s soaked clothes. Hoping that the calming potion still had at least a little effect, he asked Hermione to deal with the situation. Soon they were dry and warm, albeit still fairly crinkled. Harry gave a small squeak as the magic tingled over him, but Snape gave him a quick, soothing hug and turned to Hermione to ask her if there was any possibility of getting some more of the potion somewhere in the Ministry.
”I’ll see what I can do, Professor,” Hermione answered, ”although I think the general assumption about this place is that we would need Pepper Upper potion here instead of something calming,” she continued with a small giggle. ”Not that it’s actually true,” she continued, ”People in general are generally doing a good job here.” She looked up on Snape and asked, ”And now let me hear what it is you need me to do for you?”
”I need to get us back to Hogwarts incognito,” He said. ”That means I need to get hold on an unregistered Portkey.” As Hermione’s eyes widened in surprise, he went on explaining. ”If people heard about Potter’s condition, there would be no end to the uproar. They would probably demand a public enquiry to why it has taken us so long to find him. Not to say as to how he would go missing in the first place.”
What Snape didn’t mention was the fact that he wasn’t at all interested in anybody finding out that he couldn’t just apparate with his charge. And especially not why. He had so far managed to steer clear of the obvious question the few times he had asked Hermione to perform magic, hoping she would believe it was merely in an attempt to not startle Potter. He couldn’t help feeling naked without his wand and he couldn’t bear the sniggering that was sure to follow if anyone knew his wand had been disabled. It made him feel disabled too.
Hermione nodded tentatively. ”I’ll see what I can do, Professor,” she said. ”But it’s really not within my current abilities. After all, I’m only an undersecretary as of yet.”
Seeing how alarmed Snape looked, she quickly carried on ”But perhaps Arthur can do it.”
It took Snape a moment to figure out that ’Arthur’ was Weasley Sr. Then he let out a relieved sigh, not even realizing he had been holding his breath
In the meantime, Harry was coming out of his potions-induced lethargy. He was starting to look around, anxious glances at the memos that were fluttering in and out of the opened door. Hermione caught the direction of his gaze and took out her wand in order to shut the door. That was when everything turned to living hell.
As soon as Harry caught a glimpse of her wand, he started to scream. Not just a scream like an ordinary person would make, but the screams of someone who was about to have his intestines pulled out through the nose. Hermione looked totally petrified, then she cast a quick silencing charm over the room and looked at Harry in absolute shock. A hastily mumbled ”sorry” came from her, before she continued with a Silencio charm on Harry. His mouth was still open but at least the screams had stopped. That, however didn’t exactly improve Harry’s condition. He began to thrash around in the wheelchair with such force that it soon started to buckle. Hermione sent him a look like it caused her the utmost pain, but followed up with a Petrificus Totalus which of course made Harry’s movements stop. He was still sending her a wild glare and Snape, who tried to control his anger and concern shouted
”NOW do you see why I need to get back in a hurry?”
In a lower voice he asked her to kindly retrieve some calming potion before the boy’s mind shut itself off from the obvious stress. Hermione ran out from her office and Snape was alone with a petrified Potter.
As he knew from previous experience that he had somewhat of a calming effect on the boy, he went to his side and wrapped his arms around him, holding him as tight as he possibly could, considering that Harry was as stiff as a statue. He wasn’t sure if he as imagining things, but it looked like some of the haunted glare in Potter’s eyes was fading. Like he really WAS calmed by Snape’s presence. And Snape surely felt a lot better.
When Hermione returned, Snape was still embracing Harry, his back towards the door. She stopped dead in the doorway with her mouth gaping, then she pulled herself together, gave a small cough and watched in amusement as Snape let go of Harry as if he had suddenly turned into something very hot. Indeed, SNAPE looked as he was feeling very hot. Hermione couldn’t believe her eyes, but it actually looked like the man was blushing! There was something unnatural about a healthy glow to her ex-Potion Master.
”Here’s some calming Potion,” she said and handed Snape the vial. He uncorked it and critically sniffed the content, before he decided it was adequate, and poured some of it into the mouth of the paralysed boy.
”I think you can do a Finite Incantatem now,” he said to Hermione, who shot him a puzzled look, clearly indicating an unspoken ”why don’t you do it yourself.”
But as Snape wasn’t a man you would start to argue with, she simply did as asked and a moment later Potter was once again able to walk and talk - had it not been for the liberal amount of Calming Potion he had been given. So when the spell was lifted, his legs buckled under him, and had Snape not been standing right beside him, ready to catch him, he would have ended up in a heap on the floor. As it was, two strong arms were holding him and gently steering him to a chair.
Hermione had a speculative look on her face, but changed it instantly to a neutral expression as Snape turned around and looked at her.
”I better go talk to Arthur now,” she said and with an almost apologetic smile she left the two men alone again.
Harry tried to speak. It came out a little uncertain, as if he wasn’t sure how to use his mouth for anything but screaming. ”Where am I?” he asked and continued, ”And was that Hermione?”
”You’re safe,” Snape said. ”And yes, that was Hermione and she’s going to help you get home.”
By now he was aware that he shouldn’t refer to Hogwarts or anything with the word ”magic” in it, so he only hoped Potter wouldn’t start asking questions about said ’home.’ To his relief, the boy merely nodded and sank deeper into the chair. The calming Potion was clearly having full effect now. Not even when three new memos fluttered into the office did he react. Nor did he as much as flinch when an owl came soaring into the room with a large parcel. Snape, however felt the need to rub his eyes. The owl was wearing something that strongly resembled a diaper.
Snape looked at the door. What in Merlin’s name was keeping Hermione?
He would feel so much better once he was home in his dungeons - and out of this ridiculous Muggle suit. A brief moment his mind allowed itself to wander to the thought of Potter, out of his ridiculous Muggle clothes as well, before Snape snapped into more appropriate thoughts.
Then he heard voices outside the door and he arranged himself to conceal any evidence of what that short mental flash of a naked Potter had done to him. Then Hermione entered again, followed by Arthur Weasley. And - Snape cursed silently - Minerva McGonagall.
As it was to be expected, McGonagall was the first to break the silence.
”Harry, my dear, at LAST we’ve found you,” she squealed, and with the delicacy of a freight train, she went on:
”Where HAVE you been hiding? We have been so worried for you. Now at least Severus has had the sound sense to get you here, to the Ministry so we can get you home to Hogwarts.”
Snape looked as if he was on the brink of apoplexy and even Hermione looked as if she was having second thoughts about the wisdom of bringing McGonagall to her office.
She mumbled ”Well, she was here and I thought …”
”Well clearly you didn’t think properly for once,” Snape cut her off while sending Potter an alarmed look. The boy was starting to look more and more uneasy and he had actually given a small jerk when Hogwarts was mentioned, even in his potion-induced state. Snape took a long stride and placed himself beside Potter - and in front of McGonagall.
All the while Arthur Weasley had been standing in the doorway, his expression going from surprised to worried. Now he stepped into the office and exclaimed, ”I can see what Hermione meant, Severus. I will see to it at once.” He rushed out of the office again.
Snape noticed that he didn’t reveal anything about what it was he was going to ”see to”, and interrupted the transfigurations professor just as she was going to continue her lamentations.
”If you would excuse us, Minerva, he said with an acerbic voice that would have made even a seventh year Slytherin run for cover. ”But I believe that Mr Potter is exhausted, and frankly so am I. So would you be so kind as to hold your tongue for now?”
McGonagall looked perplexed from Snape to Potter and back again, then testily said, ”Well, of course. I was just trying to ascertain that the boy was all right.”
”He was until you started babbling about Hog.. er… The castle,” Snape scowled. ”Don’t mention anything of the non-Muggle kind to him,” he went on, hoping that the euphemism would go unnoticed of Potter. Apparently it did, because the boy seemed to relax a little again.
Hermione looked like she would start apologizing and Snape briskly asked for some tea, which, to his pleasant surprise, she immediately went to fetch.
He couldn’t stand more chatter at the moment. He felt a headache steadily building behind his eyes, not unlike the one he usually got whenever Neville Longbottom had fouled up yet another potion. Oh sweet memories, he scoffed at himself. Of course Neville had later turned out to be a master in herbology and even Snape had to admit that while being a walking disaster in the Potions class, he had been an important part of the plan that had finally rid them all of Voldemort. But he still got a headache whenever they met.
McGonagall was standing in the middle of Hermione’s small office. Still trying to find a way of mothering Potter, Snape thought. Just when he was about to say something that would hopefully make her leave, Hermione came back, levitating a tea tray. Snape quickly grabbed the floating tray before the sight of it would upset Potter, and placed it at the table while sending Hermione a warning look. I’m surrounded by idiots, he grumbled to himself. And Hermione of all people should know better. After all, she had SEEN what a display of magic did to the boy.
When the tea was served, Snape managed to get Potter to drink some of it. He had to help him, as the calming potion made him fairly weak. Hermione sent him a speculative glance when he put his arm around him in order to support him while drinking. Under normal circumstances, Snape would have used a great effort to keep to his normal snarky self, but these were not normal circumstances anyway, so he allowed himself the luxury of emotions.
He couldn’t help staring at the door though, hoping that Arthur Weasley would return soon, hopefully with the desired portkey.
”Do you want me to accompany you?”
Hermione’s question came softly and for a brief moment Snape actually considered it, before turning it down, as politely as he possibly could. The girl had been a great help after all, but he wouldn’t like her in his dungeons. Her question however made him think once again of his wand and it’s present condition. He decided it was time to swallow all pride and ask her if she knew of a way to get it back in working order. He would have preferred to do it without McGonagall overhearing him, but as it were, he had to ask now rather than later. So he took a deep breath and plunged into it.
At first, Hermione didn’t believe her ears. She looked dumbstruck for a moment, then slightly amused when she realized why her former professor had been forced to rely on her and her magic abilities in the first place. McGonagall looked as if she had to bite her tongue as to not blurt out a gloating snort, but thankfully managed to restrain herself.
At the end, unfortunately, Hermione looked doubtful.
”I’m really not sure, Professor Snape,” she said. ”As far as I’ve understood it, the spell is very complex and can’t be removed prematurely.”
For a moment, Snape wanted to tell her that if Ollivander could do it, so could she, when he remembered both what the price had been and how little it had helped. He sighed. Four more days as a squib. At least he didn’t need his wand for potion brewing, although it naturally eased some of the more tedious tasks, such as chopping and skinning the various components. He actually preferred to do it manually anyway, and the more disgusting ingredients such as shrivel figs and flobberworms could always be prepared by a student during detention.
The thought of his Potion classes made him want to get back to Hogwarts even faster. He dreaded to think of what Dumbledore had managed to wreck in his absence. Snape had almost abandoned his mission when Dumbledore had promised to take over his classes. Most likely, his students would have been taught how to make purple ink and lemon drops when he returned. Two totally useless things as far as Snape was concerned.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
When Arthur Weasley finally returned, he looked exhausted.
”I had to remind a few old friends of favours they owed me,” he said. ”Severus, I afraid I have to tell you that you’re not exactly popular around here. Quite a few people seem to still believe you never fully turned from the Dark Side. Of course I know otherwise, but promise me to take good care of Harry. He’s really like a son to me,” Arthur finished, before he handed over what appeared to be an empty Pepsi can.
”It activates in 5 minutes from now, so you better get yourself ready. And I don’t need to tell you that you’ll have to grab it simultaneously.”
Arthur placed the can on the table and turned to Harry, who slumped in the chair, looking half asleep.
”Harry, my dear. I hope you’ll soon feel a lot better. I’m sure Snape will do anything he can to keep you safe.”
The last bit was said with a sharp glance at Severus, who stared back defiantly.
”Don’t worry,” Snape said. ”I’ll treat him with exquisite care.”
Hermione and her father-in-law looked at each other, clearly not sure what to say or think. McGonagall looked at all of them, trying to determine where the sudden tension had originated from.
Then Snape hoisted Potter from the chair and managed to get him to the empty can.
”On the count of three, you must touch this can,” he said. ”Can you do that?”
Potter gave a little uncertain nod and Snape started counting. At ’three’ they both touched the Pepsi can and felt the familiar jerk behind their navels as the Portkey took them home to Hogwarts.
Even when they were still in the Portkey-created Limbo, Snape could hear Potter scream.
With a thud they landed in Snape’s room. Slightly out of balance, he almost fell on top of Potter, but managed to stay upright using all his strength to hold the still screaming boy.
Not for the first time, Snape was happy that his quarters were in such an isolated corner of the castle, but at the same time he wished that the stone walls in his chambers would be less prone to echo. It multiplied the screams to a point where he felt his head would split in two if he didn’t get them stopped.
As Potter was still technically sedated by the generous amount of Calming Potion, Snape didn’t want to give him any more, so he did the first thing that sprung into his mind in means of a silencing method; he wrapped his arms around the boy and covered his mouth with his own.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
That night, Severus Snape didn’t sleep at all. He sat in his armchair at the fire and looked into the flames while he tried to process all the things that had happened the previous day. Especially after they had arrived at Hogwarts. He kept thinking of that kiss. He still wasn’t sure what had made him do it at all, but he didn’t regret it for a moment. It had felt just right. And it had even fulfilled it’s initial purpose so beautifully. It had shut Potter’s screams off in an instant. Shock therapy. Snape chuckled at the though. Perhaps it wasn’t so far fetched after all. The boy had certainly been more relaxed afterwards. Of course it could be partially caused by the fact that he was filled to the brim with Calming Potion, but that did not fully explain the fact that he had kissed back. Snape still couldn’t fully fathom it. It had been amazing. An amazing kiss. Of course, afterwards it had been rather awkward, neither of them sure of what to say. But luckily the boy had been exhausted so Snape didn’t need much persuasion to get him to lie down. And a few seconds later he had been asleep.
Snape had sat there for almost an hour, just looking at the sleeping young man. In his bed. Again.
Of course, this had put Snape in the same dilemma as at the hotel: He had but one bed and it was now occupied. Remembering his dream from the one time he’d slept with Potter, Snape decided to avoid the risk of repetition.
And that was why he was now sitting here in his chair, staring into the magic flames. He doubted he would have been able to sleep anyway, so for once it didn’t bother him much. He even, at some point during the night, got up and went for his usual round in the castle, though his thoughts were so absent that most of the students could have danced around, having a pyjamas party, without him noticing it. He did notice, however, when he stumbled over Mrs. Norris. The scurvy cat gave an indignant hiss and leaped towards Filch, who was appearing, holding his little lantern high to see who the perpetrator was.
As Snape naturally couldn’t use his wand as a light at the moment, he had been walking around in total darkness. It hadn’t bothered him, he knew every nook and cranny of the castle from his nightly walks, but it took the caretaker by surprise.
“Oh it is you, professor,” said the old man warily. “You’re out very late tonight.” Snape merely nodded. He turned around and walked back to his dungeons, briefly thinking of getting a lantern of his own, before dismissing the thought. Lanterns were for squibs who couldn’t do a proper Lumos spell. And Snape had no intentions of being likened to a squib.
When he came back into his rooms, Potter was still asleep, sprawled over most of the bed. Snape found the thought slightly amusing somehow, that this skinny youngster could effectively fill a large four-poster bed all by himself.
He’ll probably kick me on the floor at night, he thought, before stopping dead. Where had that thought come from?! Was he actually planning to share his bed with Potter? Reluctantly, he had to admit that yes, it was exactly what he was planning. And if their previous kiss had been anything to judge from, it seemed Potter wasn’t opposed to the idea either. But not yet, Snape told himself. He wouldn’t risk the accusation of abusing a mentally volatile boy.
So he sat down again and once again got lost in his own thoughts while staring at the flickering flares.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
Morning came and brought with it a wide-awake Potter. And one scared out of his wits, once he realized where he was. Snape had to dose him with more potion, although this time he chose one that was not quite as paralysing as before. The one he’d used was highly addictive and the withdrawal symptoms from that particular potion were rather severe. He wanted to keep the boy free of any possible addictions.
Luckily, it was Sunday, which meant that he had at least one more day to get Potter settled in before he had to start teaching again. The brief meeting he’d had with Dumbledore last night had confirmed his worst fears. The kids had been having fun. In his classroom! And it was rumoured that most of the first-year students had stopped twitching by the mentioning of Potions. Oh well, things would soon be back to normal, now that he was home again.
Snape Flooed a house elf as he knew they couldn’t possibly go to the Great Hall for breakfast. Potter looked alarmed when the little creature came in, balancing a huge tray, but didn’t start to scream this time. He flinched when the elf approached, but started to eat as soon as the elf had disappeared again.
Snape was mentally going through his potions inventory while the boy ate. The reactions to this new potion - or rather the lack of reactions due to it - was encouraging to say the least. Potter had actually faced a clearly magical creature without a single scream. Perhaps if he enhanced that particular potion… His thoughts started to wander and it took him a while to realize that the boy had said something. That he was, in fact, speaking to him at this moment.
”… and I don’t feel like myself, but I guess it has to do with that blue stuff you made me drink. And in any case, I feel better than I’ve done for a long time. So … thank you, Professor,” the boy ended.
Snape felt gob smacked. Potter was feeling better! If that ”blue stuff” as the boy to eloquently called his precious potion could make him better so fast, what would an enhanced version of it do then? He wanted to rush into his laboratory to brew a new batch. But he felt it would still be wrong to leave the boy alone. However, the boy might be of some help with the preparation of some of the ingredients. Since potion brewing wasn’t all that magical in itself, he was sure Potter would be able to do it without getting any fits. Not for the first time, Snape was happy that his beloved work field didn’t involve a lot of foolish wand waving. Especially since his own wand was no good as it were.
And so that was why, once breakfast was finished, Snape found himself in his laboratory with Potter standing beside him, chopping up Snappycrock Roots with a relaxed smile on his face. Once the potion ingredients had been shaken and stirred, there was nothing else to do other than to wait for it to simmer for the prescribed time.
”Would you care for a game of chess?” Snape asked, momentarily forgetting that his chess set was in fact both very magic and very vocal. Harry agreed to the suggested pastime and Snape started setting up the pieces, when he sensed something was wrong. Potter was staring at the chessboard, eyes wide and mouth open. A small, muffled squeak came from him And Snape spun around, ready to do whatever it took to stop the full screams from starting.
He embraced the boy and spoke to him as he would to a scared animal. And, wonder of wonders, it worked. Potter started to relax and Snape felt him give in to the embrace. He almost thought he was imagining things when he felt the skinny arms wrap around him and hold him too. Fully aware that this might just be a result of the boy’s current unbalanced state, he still allowed himself to submerge himself to the feeling enjoy every second of it.
After what felt like a strange mixture of an eternity and a split second, Snape carefully removed the arms that were wrapping him closely. He sensed that the boy was relaxed, almost to the point of being all boneless and decided that it was prudent to break up the embrace. And in any case, the potion needed looking after now.
Snape poured the finished potion into the prepared vials and took one of them from his lab and to the living room where he poured some of it into a water goblet. This he handed to the boy, who took it without protesting and drank it in one go. Snape looked apprehensive at him while he waited for it to start working. When he decided that the time had come, he quietly asked, ”How do you feel?”
”I feel ok, Professor,” came the reply.
”Please, could you call me Severus?” Snape asked, ”Since I’m technically not your professor any more.”
”Yes, Sir… er.. Severus,” the boy replied, clearly tasting the name and deciding he liked it. ”Severus,” he said again as if to familiarize himself with the name, ”what was in that goblet? I feel better than I’ve done for a long time.”
Snape could feel a smile breaking out on his face. Potter looked at him in surprise, as if he was afraid his former Potions master’s face would crack at the unusual expression. Then he smiled back and said ”Wow. Whatever it was, it must have been some good stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile like this before!”
”It IS good,” Snape assured him. ”And your reaction to it is even better. It means that you’re finally recovering from whatever it is that has been wrong with you.”
Then, deciding that it might as well be now or never, he took out his wand and just held it in his hand, clearly visible for Potter. The boy blinked a few times, but didn’t scream or flinch or have any other exaggerated reactions. Just a few owlish blinks, then he swallowed audibly and said ”That’s your … wand.” Then, to Snape’s great surprise he added, ”I don’t know where mine is anymore.”
Snape thought quickly. He knew, of course, that Harry’s wand was in Dumbledore’s possession, as it had been he who had picked it up where it had been dropped after the final battle. And while he wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do this early in the course of events, he couldn’t help but ask, ”Do you want it back?”
Once again there was blinking and swallowing but finally he got a reply, in a tiny voice, ”Yes… I think so.”
Snape was delighted. This was going even better than he had dared to hope in his wildest dreams. ”Wait here,” he said and without waiting for a reply, he rushed out of his chambers and headed for Dumbledore’s office.
On his way there he undoubtedly scared a group of third year Hufflepuffs out of their wits, the mere sight of their Potions Professor with a wide grin on his normally stern face was a menacing sight indeed.
Arriving at the Headmaster’s office, he gave the password (’Cherry Chewits’) and watched the gargoyles spring to life and give way for his ascent. He then rushed up the turning staircase and swooped into the office to the surprised old wizard, startling a few of the numerous portraits out of their slumbers.
”Is anything wrong, Severus?” asked the headmaster alarmed.
”On the contrary, Headmaster,” Snape said, still with the reminiscent of the wide grin on his face. ”Potter wants his wand!”
”Are you sure? That is wonderful news!” said the old man and went to his bureau. He rummaged for a good while before coming up with a long, narrow box. He passed this item to Snape. ”Here it is, better keep it in the box until you’re absolutely sure he’s ready for it,” Dumbledore said with a smile.
”Good idea.” Snape concurred, then pocketed the encased wand and left the old wizard again.
”Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Snape cautiously asked Potter, who stood, trembling with the wand case in his hand, not daring to open it.
”I thought I was,” came the reply, ”but now I’m not so sure. And I don’t even know why I’m afraid.”
”Well, I am not going to force you. Do you think you should have another sip of the new potion first? Just in case.” he added.
”No,” Harry said determined. ”I can do it!”
With these words he opened the case, reached for his wand - and fainted without a sound.
Snape was horrified! This shouldn’t be happening! The potion should definitely have prevented this!
He lifted the boy from the floor where he had fallen, and carried him over to the bed. He briefly found himself thinking that this carrying Potter to his bed was a thing he could get used to, although he would prefer if they could both be awake for a change.
Gently settling down with the boy in his arms, he once again went over what had happened. One moment, Potter had appeared almost his old self. So confident, almost annoyingly Gryffindor, and the next moment he had simply collapsed, just by seeing a piece of wood.
A moment later, the boy woke up again with a horrified look in his face. ”Sorry,” he said with a little voice.
Snape went to collect some more of his new Potion. Potter drank greedily. ”I thought I could do it,” Potter continued, ”but when I saw the wand it was like some surge hit me. I’m sorry for being such a wimp.”
’A surge’ Snape thought and took the box where the wand was still safely tucked. He looked at the wand. It didn’t appear different in any way, and Albus hadn’t mentioned anything odd about it either. And he had, after all, been the one to pick it up. Tentatively, he took the wand out of the box and was shocked when he definitely felt something as he touched the holly. This is impossible, He thought and quickly let go. Since the wand chose the wizard and not vice versa, it was rare for a wizard to get any sensations from another wizard’s wand. And even then it was usually just a slight tingling sensation. Not this odd feeling. It wasn’t a tingle at all, more like … Snape paused before acknowledging it … a power surge. But how was that possible?! He had to ask Albus. This could very well be the main cause of the boy’s odd behaviour.
He put the lid on the box again and put it on a shelf.
”We can try it later when you feel you’re up to it,” he said and continued, ”There’s no hurry. You’ve obviously had some sort of a shock when you killed Voldemort, and…” Snape stopped abruptly. For the first time he could remember, Potter actually looked normal by the mentioning of the Dark Lord’s name. He flinched, just like everybody else. But Potter never flinched at that name before. Snape was certain of it. Actually that was one of the things he had hated the boy for, when he was younger. Even he couldn’t say it without a strange sensation in his guts, and to see an eleven year old boy casually use the name of the Dark Lord had irked - and evoked envy in - the Potions Master. As the boy had grown, Snape had come to understand that it wasn’t really lack of respect - or lack of fear - but more the fact that the boy had grown up among those hideous Muggles without the natural fear the wizarding world held for Lord Voldemort. So he simply didn’t know how to react to the dreaded name. And that made it so much more peculiar, that now, when the Dark Lord was finally dead and gone for good, Potter would suddenly start to fear him. It made no sense. And as Snape was a man who preferred that things around him made sense, he was disturbed by the anomaly. But at the same time, it added another piece to the puzzle that Potter had become to him.
”I think I’ll ask Dumbledore to visit us,” Snape said and went to the fireplace to call for the Headmaster. Moments later, the old wizard came strolling in and placed himself in Severus’ best chair while diving into his pockets for a handful of lemon drops which he offered to the two men. Snape shook his head irritably at the candy, but Potter took one and started crunching it. Snape could almost feel it in his own teeth as the others munched the despicable sweets.
“Now, my dear boy,” Dumbledore started, “Can you tell us what happened?”
“I felt…” Snape began, at the same time as Harry said “I was...”
Both men stopped and looked at each other, slightly abashed. Then they turned to Dumbledore.
With the ever-present twinkle in his eyes, the old wizard smiled to Harry. “This time I meant you,” he said. “Can you tell us what happened when you tried to take your wand?”
“I’m not sure,” Harry said. “It felt like a wave of something. Like Muggle electricity almost.”
“And you felt something too, I believe?” Dumbledore asked Snape.
“I did,” Snape admitted. “I wouldn’t liken it with anything Muggle, but I felt something indeed. Something unusual.”
With these words, Snape went to the shelf and picked up the box containing Harry’s wand, then handed it over to the Headmaster, who took it and carefully opened it.
Dumbledore reached for the wand. Grabbed hold of it and cast a puzzled glance on the two other wizards who were looking at him expectantly.
“I can’t feel anything other than the usual slight tingle,” he said and, while Harry drew back slightly at the sight, handed the wand to Snape, who took it, and almost immediately let go of it again.
“Well, I most certainly CAN,” Snape sneered. “And it feels unpleasant too.”
Harry looked at both the men and asked Dumbledore in a small voice “Do you think it can have anything to do with You-know-who?”
Dumbledore looked at Harry as if he’d never seen the boy before. Clearly he too was taken aback at the unfamiliar way of mentioning Voldemort.
“Yes, Harry,” Dumbledore said. I’m convinced that the Dark Lord has something to do with whatever happened. Do you remember how you killed him?”
“Not really,” Harry admitted. “I vaguely remember casting the Avada Kedavra but then I’m not sure what happened until some days later.”
Dumbledore looked pensive. “It must be the reason,” he mumbled to himself.
Snape felt an idea form in his head. He didn’t like it. No. Stupid idea. Remember the last time… But at the same time it became crystal clear to him that no matter how much he resented the thought, it was the only way they could find out what really happened. Snape remembered the last battle all too well himself. He had been certain that he would die. He had been on his back, hit by a Petrificus Totalus from LeStrange, so he had been unable to see what had happened in the final moments. He only heard the cheers and soon after, Minerva had performed a Finite Incantatem so he could get up. And by that time, Harry had already wandered off. With his mind apparently closing down. But Snape knew a way to unlock it. So he took a deep breath and said,
”We could try Legilimency to see what happened in the last battle. Even if Harry can’t consciously remember it, his brain will still have the memory somewhere. I believe I can get to it.”
Potter looked horrified at the thought. Clearly he too remembered what happened on that dreadful day where he had seen more of Snape’s thoughts than he ever wanted.
”Can’t it be done another way?” he asked. ”Perhaps with the Pensieve?”
”Unfortunately you must be able to select the thoughts you want to place in the Pensieve,” Dumbledore replied. ”And since you seem to experience a memory lapse in regards to the event, you won’t be able to pick out the thought. Furthermore, I don’t suppose you want to empty your brain completely in search for that?” The last bit he said with a slight chuckle and the twinkle in his eye was more prominent than ever.
Harry looked from Dumbledore to Snape and back again. ”All right” he said, sounding like he had just signed his own death sentence. ”I guess it could be considered of some importance.” He paused, then added, with a look at Snape, ”Can I please have some more of the blue potion you brewed so I don’t embarrass myself by passing out or anything?”
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
They had decided that it would be best if Dumbledore left before they started the Legilimency. Neither of them wanted spectators in case they involuntarily said something that should have been left unsaid.
Harry had drunk a large goblet of water mixed with Snape’s new improved Calming Potion and knew he was as ready as he would possible ever be for this. He briefly thought of the Occlumency lessons and wished he could at least put up some mental barriers, but as Snape had pointed out, he might block the very memory they were looking for.
As it this time was a real Legilimency session and not just a means of showing his skills in Occlumency, Harry simply placed himself casually in front of Snape and nodded to show that he was ready.
Snape shouted ”Legilimens!” and Harry thought for a moment that there was no need to yell it our when a spoken spell had the same effect, but then all thoughts were jumbled as he felt Snape prodding around inside his head.
It was a weird sensation. Harry saw memories from long forgotten summers, winters, springs. He saw himself sitting on the roof of the school. Sitting in the top of a tree. Saw Dudley fall into the Boa’s enclosure. He saw the Basillisk and when he saw Sirius fall through the veil he knew they were getting closer. He tried to push back when he felt Snape nearing some of the more emotional parts of his brain. There was his first kiss with Cho. There was.. Oh no! Harry tried more desperately to let Snape know that he should find that memory somewhere else. There was that memory from the seventh year where they had successfully brewed an induviaenix potion and Harry had spent all his, looking at Snape. Damn. The man wasn’t supposed to know that!
Snape was shocked. The boy had used the x-ray potion to see through his clothes. Most of him cringed at the thought, but a tiny fraction of him was flattered. And all of him was interested in knowing why the boy had done it in the first place. He withdrew himself from Potters brain to recollect himself, knowing that since he still hadn’t found the thought he was looking for, he would have to go back in. Only now it would be fairly awkward for both of them.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
Snape regarded the boy. He looked flustered and swayed in his chair as if he was going to faint. He took a long stride and managed to grab hold of Potter before he fell onto the floor. While still conscious, he looked like it was only a matter of which way he would tip. So Snape lifted the limp body and carried him to the bed. ”As usual,” Snape inwardly snorted.
When he had placed the boy on the bed and was about to leave, he was halted by Potter’s hand on his own wrist. ”I’m sorry you saw that,” Potter said. ”I know that must be most unpleasant for you. When you’re not like that.”
Snape stared. ”Not like that?” Did the boy mean what it sounded like? Could it be that he truly didn’t know? Only one way to find out.
So he looked intensely at Potter and said ”Not like what, exactly?”
Harry squirmed. Then said with a croak: ”Uhm… you know… like er… gay.” He looked like he wanted the floor to open and let him sink deep down where no one could ever see him again.
”And are you telling me that you are gay?” Snape asked. He was fairly sure of it by now but he had to know. Had to make sure. He tried to still a little expectant feeling in his guts. Something almost happy. He hoped. But he wasn’t used to have his dreams fulfilled. So he waited for Harry’s answer.
Potter took a deep breath and answered ”Yes.” Then he continued, ”I guess I should ask Dumbledore for another place to stay now? I’m truly sorry that you saw that memory, Professor. But I can’t help my feelings. I guess I’d better go.” With the last words, Potter tried to get up, obviously intending to leave at once. Snape almost panicked, although of course he didn’t show it.
”Will you stop that nonsense,” he scowled. ”You’re not going anywhere.” ”Not if I can help it at least,” he thought. And to, once and for all, prove to Potter that he didn’t harbor any bad feelings, he bent down and captured his mouth in a kiss.
At first, the boy went all still and his eyes flew open wide, then after a second, he returned the kiss. His tongue entered Snape’s mouth as if it belonged there (and had anyone asked Snape about that, he would have agreed fully.) When they finally broke apart, gasping for air, all Harry could say was ”Wow.”
Snape’s lip curled and he said: ”That will teach you not to pre-judge about what I am and what I am not, perhaps?”
”Yes, sir.” came the cheeky reply, then Snape felt himself being pulled down again and they met in a new kiss, tongues battling against each other for what seemed like forever – and, yet, not long enough.
Snape couldn’t believe that this was really happening. He was kissing the boy, crushing his lips and listening to the most incredible sounds from the body beneath his own. His arms were wrapped around the lithe boy of their own accord, sliding under the clothing, feeling the slick skin, the ribs, the hip bones.
He felt Potter’s hands taking a similar journey on his own body, trying to get under the layers of black clothes that enshrouded him . For a moment he was repelled by the thought of the boy seeing his pale scarred skin, then he remembered that the boy had already seen him when he had used that potion, and relaxed. Of course a certain body part of his was far from relaxed, and as he pushed himself against Potter’s body, he felt a similar hardness. This encouraged him to keep groping and kissing deeper. Potter was grinding his erection against his own and trying feverishly to get rid of the blocking clothes. Snape was getting increasingly frustrated.
”Perhaps I should slip into something more comfortable,” he grinned, watching Potter’s surprised face, then realising what he had actually said. He got up and started to remove his clothes with a slight blush. He normally spelled his clothes off, it was too much of a hassle with all those buttons otherwise, but given that he couldn’t use any spells at present and that Potter most likely would throw a fit if he pulled out a wand in any case, he continued the tedious work of unbuttoning his inner robe.
Moments later he wasn’t alone at the task. Eager hands helped him and soon he was able to shed the robes and after removing Potter’s clothing as well, he lay on the bed, beside the boy. ”Finally. Finally.” a voice sang in his head. He bent down again and kissed Harry hard while listening to the intoxicating mewling sounds that emerged from Potter’s throat. It took him a moment to realise that he was making similar sounds himself.
Their bodies were grinding together and he knew he wouldn’t last much longer. It had been so long and he had wanted this for longer than he fully cared to admit to himself. Harry was humping his thigh, lost from the outside world, and Snape had to still him. He didn’t want this to end yet, he wanted to explore more of this incredible piece of luck that befallen onto him. Sliding one hand behind the smaller body beside him, he cupped the firm round arse and pulled the boy even closer. And when he wrapped his hand around the eager cock that was nudging his belly, Potter came with a long hoarse cry, spurting his warm semen all over both his own and Snape’s abdomens. The hot, wet and sticky spurts against him undid the last of his own restraints too and he growled deep in his throat and felt his own ejaculation mix with his newfound lover’s.
Clutching Potter tight, he still had trouble believing what had just happened, and when the boy started to speak, he felt a pang of fear of what it was going to be.
”Uhm… that was great,” he heard Potter say and let out a sigh of relief. At least it didn’t seem like the boy regretted it. Yet. He hugged Harry and agreed. Then, reluctantly got up and went into the bathroom to get something to clean up the mess. Oh how much easier everything was with magic, Snape thought, not for the first time these last days. He wondered briefly how Muggles coped with such things every day. No wonder they weren’t better off.
When he returned to the bed with a damp cloth, Potter was laying on his side, head in his hand, looking right at him. It seemed that now was the time for a little man-to-man talk. So he handed the cloth to Harry and watched discreetly as the boy cleaned himself, apparently without any shyness. Snape noted that his initial idea about the size was right. Even in his present flaccid state it was clear that any thought of Potter as a ”boy” was wrong. He was indeed a man.
He sat down on the bed and waited, not sure if he or Potter should initiate the conversation.
After some minutes, just before the silence became awkward, Harry said: ”I really didn’t know.”
”No, I guess you didn’t,” Snape replied and continued with a wry smile. ”It’s not usually something I broadcast.”
That remark seemed to break the ice. Harry gave a snort of laughter and said, ”Well I can’t say I’m sorry to find out,” then launched himself at his former Professor and wrapped his still all too skinny arms around the man.
Snape hugged back and felt the beginning of a renewed interest starting to stir in his nether regions, to his slight surprise. Oh well, it had been a while. He leaned over and kissed Harry once again.
As they cradled together, Severus soon felt himself harden again, and - oh the joys of youth - Potter was already rock hard again. He fisted the hard length and listened with delight to the sounds this produced from the boy ... Oh no, the young man. Harry ... his Harry. He started to kiss him, then moved down to the neck, licked it and marvelled at the moans it brought from Harry’s throat, especially when he moved to that tender spot where the neck and shoulder met. He gave it a slight bite, but in order to avoid any further vampire rumours later on, he moved on, this time to the chest and the small nipples. They went from firm to hard as he moved his tongue around them, one at a time. Harry was squirming beneath him, incoherent words erupting from his lips. Those sounds turned into gasps as his tongue moved further south, dipping into the navel and continuing to the trail of dark hairs. Harry was almost whining now.
”Oh ... Please please please, Severus,” he panted as Snape finally reached his destination and gave the awaiting cock a lick on the shining head. He licked around the rim, before plunging down and taking the throbbing flesh deep into his throat. The sounds this caused made him wish for a brief moment that he had been able to case a silencing charm, but again, they were deep in the dungeons and no one else lived there. So he simply started bobbing his head and enjoying what it did to his Harry.
Severus marvelled at the sounds the young man made as he devoured his cock. He tasted the salty pre-come and knew that the climax was nearing. And as he knew that Harry soon would be ready again, he didn’t do much to keep him from coming. He cradled his hand around Harry’s balls and nuzzed them, letting his fingers glide towards the perineum, pressing slightly at it. Harry kept babbling his ”Oh please, please, pleeeeeeease,” and Snape held his hand up to Harry’s face. Apparently the boy was bright enough to know what he was expected to, and sucked and licked the fingers until they were glistering with saliva. Snape withdrew the hand and with one slick finger he breached the puckered hole of his bucking lover. Still sucking and lapping the wonderful hot cock, Snape edged his finger until he found the gland he was searching for. Then, with a yell, Potter came, gushing his hot seed deep into Snape’s throat.
Severus didn’t waste much time. His own erection was almost painfully hard by now and he needed release. Carefully he entered another finger into Harry, while he was still riding the afterglow of his orgasm. He fucked the boy with his fingers until he could feel the muscles relax and quickly replaced the fingers with his pulsing cock. He felt a slight resistance at the beginning, but very soon he could feel Harry relax and push back on him, and with a big relieved groan he entered the hot tunnel fully. At first he held still, letting Potter adjust to the feeling, then, as the boy started to make his little whimpering sounds, he moved out, almost withdrawing completely, while looking at the wondrous sight. Oh he had seen this so often in his dreams, but never had he dared to seriously hope it would ever come true. He realised he had stopped moving when Harry pleaded a gasping ”more, please please Severus” and then started fucking Harry in earnest.
Through his lusty haze he could hear Harry beg a ”harder, oh Merlin, harder” and complying, he did his best to fuck him through the mattress. All too soon, he felt the tightening in his groin and with a hoarse cry he spilled himself into the warm depths of Harry, effectively claiming him as his lover. His Harry.
Then he slumped onto Harry, still inside the tight heat and planted a hot kiss on his mouth, then reluctantly pulling himself out, he rolled to Harry’s side, wrapped an arm around him and simply muttered ”Harry…”
Snape woke up the next morning trying to determine if he had been having an unusually vivid wet dream or if his memories were real. He didn’t want to open his eyes, afraid what he might see, or rather not see. On the other hand, he might as well get it over with. Judging by the stickiness on his nether regions, the ”wet” part of the dream had been true, so the rest most likely wasn’t. So he opened his eyes, ready for the usual sight of his empty bed. Instead he looked right into a pair of bright green eyes. Those belonging to a certain Harry Potter. The mouth situated below those beautiful emerald orbs gave a big smile and said, ”Whoa, I thought you’d never wake up. I was afraid I might have exhausted you.”
The memories of last night came rushing in on him. It had been true! He had actually … what? Made love to Potter? Buggered him senseless? Whatever. He smiled back into the green eyes and said ”Yes, I believe you did. And I believe it’s time for a bath.” With these words, he peeled himself off the sheets and with a slight shudder of discomfort he went into his private bathroom.
After breakfast, Snape’s mind went back to the problem with Harry’s wand. As they had gotten severely sidetracked last night, he still had a puzzle to solve. He had to go into Harry’s mind again, looking for the answer. Now more than ever, it was a task he didn’t look forward to. One thing was to enter someone’s mind, but to enter your new lover’s mind was entirely different. He knew he would intrude, and he wasn’t sure what he would find - or whether or not he would like what he found. He still felt so insecure about this whole affair. It was too good to be true. Things like this didn’t just happen to Severus Snape.
He was torn out of his thoughts by a warm hand that was being placed on his own. He looked up and gazed into Harry’s worried eyes.
”Are you ok?” Harry asked. ”You look like something is bothering you.”
”This thing about your wand is bothering me,” Snape admitted. ”We will have to get on with the Legilimency.” Harry looked even more worried now, but nodded and asked,
”Should we carry on now then? We might as well get it over with. And I think Dumbledore …er… expected us to .. Figure it out last night.”
Oh we figured out a few things last night, Snape thought in amusement, and judging from the grin on Harry’s face, his thoughts had been along the same lines.
He steeled himself and nodded to Harry. ”Yes, be better get on with it,” he said reluctantly. He took the precaution of giving Harry a good sip of his blue potion so that he wouldn’t be too upset and then without any further ado he said ”Legilimens” and felt himself entering Harry’s memories.
He probed and prodded around. It felt weird as always, and he knew it was equally unpleasant for Harry. He tried hard to not indulge in the memories he passed, trying to only browse through them and carry on, deeper and deeper into the nooks of his lover’s mind. When he passed a memory of himself he paused a moment, but he felt Harry tense and knew he wasn’t supposed to see it. And as he was here, after all, with a specific purpose, he delved deeper and deeper.
He felt himself going into a seemingly more secluded part of Harry’s mind now. The memories became harder to see, like they were covered with a thin haze. He must be getting closer. Harry was breathing more shallow now, as if he too was aware that Snape was closing in on something. Something he himself didn’t even know. what was.
Suddenly the haze cleared. He saw himself at the battlefield. He saw Potter too, and Dumbledore, McGonagall, LeStrange, Malfoy, Nott and finaly Lord Voldemort himself. He saw contorted bodies around him, saw himself casting a spell against Bellatrix LeStrange. And he saw - and heard - Voldemort casting an Avada Kedavra against him. This was new to him. He had been hit by a Petrificus Totalus from Bellatrix seconds before his Tarantellagra had hit her but he never knew how close he had been to death. So why wasn’t he dead? He then realised that he had heard two voices screaming Avada Kedavra and realised that the other voice had belonged to Harry. It had been the very curse that had finally finished The Dark Lord, Snape knew. He saw, as in slow motion, how the green sparks from Lord Voldemort’s wand were hit square on by a similar eruption from Harry’s wand. He saw the killing curse rebound, and instead of hitting him, as it had been the plan, it surged into Harry’s wand where it erupted a millisecond later, multiplying itself and finally hitting Voldemort square in the chest, where it evaporated him in a bright green shower of sparks.
Snape withdrew from Harry’s mind. He was shaking, and Harry didn’t look as if he was much better. Snape’s head was buzzing with the new knowledge. Harry had actually saved his life. And Voldemort had more or less killed himself. So THAT was the explanation of how Harry could be strong enough to kill The Dark Lord. He looked into Harry’s green eyes.
”Did you know?” he asked quietly. Harry thought for a moment, then answered,
”No… And yes. I mean, I saw him pointing his wand at you and I saw you fall. I thought he actually killed you. But I never knew that his spell went into my wand. It all happened so fast. Is that why I can’t touch it now?”
Snape thought about it. It seemed like a good explanation, but not all of the explanation. And it certainly didn’t explain why the boy had gone off his rocker afterwards.
”I think we should ask Dumbledore,” he said, and the two men set off to the Headmaster’s office.
”This is very interesting,” said Dumbledore, and his eyes were twinkling so much that it was almost unnerving. ”Since Voldemort’s wand is a twin of your wand it would, as you know, make it hard for either of you to kill the other with a normal spell. But by combining the magic…” Dumbledore trailed off, ”you actually made use of both your own and Voldemort’s magic. And since his spell wasn’t directed against you, but against Severus, you had the advantage. He probably wasn’t using his full power at that moment,” Dumbledore shot Snape an apologetic smile, ”no offence, dear boy,” and continued, ”he was caught off guard, and that was our luck.”
”That doesn’t explain why Potter can’t touch his wand though,” Snape grumbled, ”nor does it explain why I get this weird sensation from it either.”
Dumbledore looked pensive. ”That is true,” he said. ”I think I will send for an expert on that matter. Fawkes, if you would please get me Mr Ollivander,” Dumbledore addressed his phoenix. The bird gave a slight nod and disappeared in a flash.
”I’m not sure…” Snape started, clearly discomforted by the thought of Mr Ollivander, but before he could finish his sentence, the door opened and the old wand maker came in.
Ollivander gave Snape a curt nod and went straight to the case. He immediately grabbed hold of the box with Harry’s wand and held it up for a close examination.
”Hmm,” he said. ”Curious. Very curious.”
He tapped the wand and produced some yellow sparks.
”Well, I never…” he said, mostly to himself, swished the wand and sent some pink smoke wafting from the tip.
”Professor Snape, Sir. Could you do me the favour and try it so I can determine what might happen if you use it,” the old wizard asked. Snape glared at the man. Surely he had not forgotten… No one was that senile… And the appreciative smile on the wand maker’s face made Snape aware that the old man hadn’t forgotten at all. On the contrary, he seemed to find great pleasure in Snape’s obvious discomfort.
”Damn that old fool,” Snape thought viciously, he grabbed Harry’s wand and did his best to disregard the unpleasant buzz the wand sent through his fingers. After all he was at least prepared for it this time. He sent Ollivander a triumphant grin. After all it was his wand and not his magic that had been disabled by that idiotic law, and while a wand chose it’s wizard, a wizard COULD chose another wand in an emergency. So he swished and flicked, hissed a Serpensortia and was pleased when he saw the black viper! appear.
For a brief moment he enjoyed the terrified look on Ollivander’s face, but with a jolt he became aware that Ollivander wasn’t the one most frightened in the office. Harry had become pale as parchment, and he looked like he could either faint or start to scream any minute. Snape obliterated the snake at once and put his long arms around Potter in a firm embrace, not caring for whatever any of the other people present might think about it.
After a few moments, Harry resumed his composure and Snape loosened his grip a little, so that he could reach into his pocket and produce a small vial containing some of the ”blue stuff.” Harry looked up at Snape’s face, and with a small smile he took the vial and emptied it in a single gulp.
They then became aware of the silence that had fallen over the office. Dumbledore looked thoughtful, but Snape was relieved to see a faint version of the familiar twinkle in his eye. Ollivander looked dumbstruck.
”Well, that was very impressive,” he said, when he finally was able to speak again. He took the wand from Snape again and continued his examination, while he kept glancing from Snape to Harry. Once again he waved it, but again all that appeared were some yellow sparks. Now, Ollivander started to look a little worried. ”That should have been flowers,” he then admitted. ”And not sparks.”
He tried again. ”Omniflorentia, ” he said, but all that happened was the now familiar sight of yellow sparklings.
Now it was Dumbledore’s turn to look puzzled. ”May I?” he asked Ollivander and took the wand. He too tried the Omniflorentia spell, but in his case as well, all he managed to produce were sparks.
Snape then sneered, grabbed the wand, swished it and growled yet an ”Omniflorentia” and this time something DID happen. The office was filled with flowers. Flowers in all colours and sorts popped up everywhere, and the odour was nauseating.
Snape looked around in the floral orgy. Then he waved the wand again and spat a ”siccaflorentum,” and watched while all the flowers withered instantly and fell to the floor in little heaps of dust. Only the smell of the flowers remained in the room, while Snape casually put the wand back in the box.
”It looks like the wand is perfectly fine,” he said and resisted the urge to clench his fist to rid it of the lingering buzzing sensation left there.
”It is far from fine,” Ollivander screamed. ”Apparently YOU are the only one who can touch the wand and make it work as it’s supposed to. Well, you and, I’d expect, Young Harry here,” he added.
Harry looked at Ollivander. Snape could see the boy trying to steel himself and quickly gave him a comforting squeeze on his shoulder.
”I’d like to try again,” they heard Harry say.
”Are you sure it’s a good idea?” asked Dumbledore carefully and went on ”You don’t need to prove anything,” he said, with a sharp glance at Snape.
Severus glanced back and noticed that Potter also shot Dumbledore a somewhat annoyed look before stating that he indeed wanted to try again.
When Harry took the wand, it was obvious that he had the utmost desire to throw it away, but apparently the calming potion had enough effect as to keep him from actually fainting. From the look of his face, however, it was only just.
With a scared look on his face, he swished the wand and directed a ”Wingardium Leviosa” at Dumbledore’s teapot, which promptly left the tea plate and hovered in the air. Then, suddenly it was as if a cord snapped and the teapot fell to the floor with an almighty crash, splattering tea and tea leaves all over the floor.
Snape spun to Harry, who was standing shaking, his face white. But at least he was still conscious, although it looked like it was only a matter of moments before he would collapse onto the messed up floor.
But before that happened, Harry was encompassed by strong, black-clad arms, which held him tight. Not caring about the gaping onlookers, Harry gave a small moan and flung himself into Snape’s arms while the wand clattered to the floor.
”I can’t do it,” he sobbed. ”I can’t. I’m too weak.”
Snape felt a little awkward hugging the snivelling boy in Dumbledore’s presence, but right now Potter’s well being was of the highest priority. And to be honest he didn’t really care. He just held on to his Harry and mumbled a few comforting words to him while he stroke his hair.
”Harry, what happened?” Dumbledore asked. ”Can you explain it?”
”I’m not sure,” Harry replied with a sniff. ”It’s l-like I see it all again, when I hold my wand. Like I’m b-back at the b-battlefield. And I can’t stand it. All those dead people. And then something happens that I can’t really see. It’s like I haven’t got my glasses on. Everything is blurred.”
Severus and Dumbledore looked at each other.
”I see,” said Snape then. ”Harry, I’m sorry, but I will have to get to that memory once again. I need to make sure that we haven’t overlooked anything.”
Harry looked at Snape with an expression of fear mixed with his everpresent Gryffindor bravery. ”OK,” he said. ”But I hope I can just rest a little before we start. I feel a little weary.”
Snape looked at Harry with a slightly suspicious glance. He wouldn’t mind resting along with him, but he wasn’t quite sure that this was what Potter was hinting. It was, however, worth a try. So he nodded and said ”Then let’s go to my quarters for a nap and afterwards we can try Legilimens again.”
With a court nod to as well Dumbledore as to Ollivander, he left the office with Harry right behind him.
As soon as they were out on the spiralling staircase that led from Dumbledore’s office, Snape turned around to look at Harry. The bright smile that met him told him that Harry probably wasn’t as fatigued as he had claimed to be a moment ago and to his surprise he felt something stir in his groin.
”That Ollivander gives me the willies,” Harry said, to Severus’ big surprise. Though he couldn’t agree more, he set up a surprised look and asked why.
”I’m not sure, he looks at you in such a strange way.” Harry paused, then continued, ”I don’t like it.”
”Never mind,” Snape grunted and hurried towards his dungeons, with Potter almost running beside him to keep up.
”Why the hurry?” huffed Harry, slightly out of breath.
”Well, I thought you was … tired… and needed to rest instantly,” Snape replied and shot a look at Potter to see if the innuendo was received. From the broad grin on the young man’s face, it was indeed.
They didn’t say any more before they reached the entrance to Snape’s private chambers and got in.
”So, you should probably go to bed,” Snape hesitated, ”and get some sleep.”
”Actually, I planned on going to bed,” Harry smiled, ”but I didn’t quite plan on sleeping just yet.” And with these words he launched himself at Snape, who, unprepared for the attack, fell backwards onto the bed with Harry on top of him.
Apparently Harry himself was a little shocked at his sudden boldness, because he had the decency to blush and stutter a little ”oops, sorry…” before Severus gave in and kissed him fiercely.
Soon, their kissing evolved into groping and they both frantically tried to rid the other of his clothes. Harry pulled in all the little buttons on Snape’s robes and Snape for once cursed his habit of using such impractical - for this purpose - clothes. Then, Harry did something totally unexpected. He trailed his finger down the many buttons and said ”Alohomora!” with a cheeky grin that indicated that he of course did not expect the spell to work.
Only it did.
Harry’s and Snape’s eye both widened, and they both stopped in their undertakings.
”Wandless magic,” Snape whispered. ”I didn’t know you could do wandless magic.”
”Neither did I,” Harry answered with a shaky voice. ”I’ve never tried it before. I didn’t even know you could do it like that. It was just for fun.”
”Fun” Snape thought. ”Some fun indeed.”
Loudly he said ”Have you done wandless magic before? Think about it, Harry” He looked very serious at Harry, who at first was about to answer ”no” but then he started thinking of the things he once had told Hagrid when he had asked somewhat of the same question.
”I guess I have,” Harry replied,” only this was the first time I did it on purpose. He looked at Snape’s concerned face and tried to lighten up the mood, ”And a good purpose it was, wasn’t it?”
He stroked the exposed breast, and heard Snape give out an involuntary lusty moan.
”We will need to tell Dumbledore this,” Snape said. ”But not right now. There’s a time and place for everything.” And with these words, he peeled Harry’s remaining clothes of him and bent down to lick the nipples that perked up to meet his hot tongue.
Marvelling at Harry’s moans, he continued the tour southwards towards the navel, which he encircled with licks and little nibbles . Harry was bucking his hips helplessly now, and his erection bopped at his every move.
”God, this is so good,” Harry panted, and tried to reach for Snape’s cock, clearly indicating what he wanted.
”Impatient, are we,” Snape grunted and swatted Harry’s hand away. He kept licking Harry’s lower abdomen and came to the curly patch where Harry’s cock was nested, pre cum dripping from the tip. Snape shot a quick glance at Harry, who was laying very still, eyes wide and expectant. With a little smirk, Snape plunged down and took the throbbing organ into his hot mouth, while he enjoyed the ragged moan this action forced from Harry’s throat.
”OhmygodseverusthisistoogoodIcan’twaitanyoooooooooh,” was all Harry managed to say before he came forcefully, deep in Snape’s throat.
Harry lay gasping with his eyes half closed and looked at Snape, who in return looked at Harry, smiling slightly, then reached for a jar of clear gel on the nightstand. Carefully, he started to prepare Harry, entering first one then another finger into the already familiar hot tightness. When he felt the muscles relax, Harry was already in a state of whimpering want, and with a quick kiss, Snape pressed the slickened head of his cock against the puckered hole, and felt it give way. He looked at his flesh disappearing into that wonderful hotness and once again he almost felt an urge to pinch himself to be assured that this wasn’t just a vivid dream but in fact real. He was in fact fucking Harry Potter.
Seeing the debauched look on Harry’s face, combined with the babbling pleas that spilled from Harry’s lips and the musky scent in the room made him reach the climax before he had really wanted to. But it was so perfect. So hot. So tight. He pounded into Harry, making sure he hit the prostate and was rewarded with a new series of incoherent words, mostly consisting of ”more,” ”harder,” and ”Severus.” With a final feral groan he slammed himself into Potter and spilt his seed deep within. For a moment he thought he saw Harry almost sparkle with magic, as the young man came once again, his cock never fully deflated from the first orgasm.
”That was remarkable,” Harry said, once he had caught his breath again. ”Could you feel it too? It was like a tingle. Like when you touch a … a wand.” Harry went still and Snape looked a bit startled too. ”So he hadn’t been imagining things after all.”
”I felt it,” he admitted. ”Harry, this can be important too. We must…” Snape stopped, realising that he couldn’t possibly find a way to tell Dumbledore about that. Harry had apparently had the same though, because he grinned and said,
”Yeah, you go tell him about it,” clearly attaching a ”I dare you” at the end.
If there was one thing, Severus Snape didn’t like, it was when someone dared him to do something. That unfortunate habit had brought him into dangerous situations too many times in the past, and he had thought himself free of that childish urge to prove himself. Yet he felt an irresistible temptation to do it again.
”What makes you think I wouldn’t tell Albus about it,” he said with a wry smirk. ”Or are you ashamed? Ashamed of what Albus will think of his Golden Boy?” His smile took the edge of the remark as he continued ”It’s not like I have any illusions that he doesn’t actually know already. Albus has his ways of knowing about everything that happens in Hogwarts.”
”Sometimes I wonder if the castle itself can speak,” he added, as an afterthought.
Harry didn’t say anything. He was still trying to analyse the whole situation. He had a strange feeling inside. It was a good feeling, new, yet slightly familiar. He sat up in the bed, winced at the stickyness at his stomach, then whispered a cleaning spell, not really expecting it to work without a wand, But the goo vanished.
He then realised that Snape was staring at him, his mouth slightly agape.
”Harry. You did it again. You did wandless magic again,” Snape whispered.
”We got to see Dumbledore immediately. Wandless magic isn’t something just anyone can do. It must mean something.”
While he said that, Snape also noted that Harry hadn’t reacted to the mentioning of magic this time. Something was indeed happening. Snape himself had of course been able to perform wandless magic before he even entered Hogwarts, but he soon found out how unusual it was and that even if it wasn’t explicitly forbidden, it was generally frowned upon as a far too unpredictable a way of acting. It was of course true. A wand was generally needed to channel the magic in a way so that the wizard or witch wasn’t hurt by the surge that was connected with most spells. But with some concentration, it was both doable and relatively harmless.
Snape jumped up and hit himself hard on the forehead. What a fool he had been. He looked around in the room, and his eyes fell on a bottle of Firewhiskey.
”Accio Firewhiskey,” he said and looked as the bottle sailed through the room towards his outstretched hand. By Merlin’s Ingrown Toenails! He could do magic! What did he care that his wand had been disabled. He didn’t NEED the wand. WHY hadn’t he thought of wandless magic before now?
With a hum, he entered the bathroom, ready to shave himself using magic instead of that hideous knife when he heard a scream from the bedroom.
”Oh no. Not again,” was the first thought that ran through his mind. Then, as he rushed back to the bed, he realised that this was something else. Harry wasn’t screaming in the way he had been doing earlier, this was more of a wail. He looked at Harry, who was sitting, clutching his right hand. The hand seemed to emit a faint glow.
”What is happening?” the boy asked with a voice that was close to breaking. ”I only tried Accio’ing the Firewhiskey too. Just to see if I could do it.”
”I am not sure,” Snape replied, and while the thoughts were whirling around in his head, he said ”We should get dressed. We have to tell Dumbledore about this immediately.”
Shortly after, the two men were once again standing in Dumbledore’s circular office, unsure what they should say or where they should start. Finally, just as the silence was getting awkward, Dumbledore broke it and innocently asked if they had rested sufficiently. Harry looked at Snape with a little grin and nodded.
”Rest can be many things, dear boys,” Dumbledore then said. ”Sometimes your brain can rest while your body is active.”
Snape got the badly hidden innuendo and said with a touch of his usual snarl ”You’re right in your assumptions, Albus. But it led to some amazing discoveries we would never have found otherwise.” He looked at Dumbledore, who was listening in silence, his usual twinkle not directly absent, but far from it’s usual brightness, and continued ”If you object to the fact that we have been together you should please say it now, so we all now where we stand. Just remember that we would never have made this discovery otherwise.”
At the admission, Snape noticed that the twinkle was back on it’s usual power, if not more. Harry had apparently noticed too, because he exclaimed ”You KNEW. You knew about us. You just wanted us to tell it to you.”
Snape sent Dumbledore a sharp glance and knew instantly that Harry was right. Dumbledore just smiled.
”I’m happy to see that you two has finally come to your senses,” he then said and went on ”Now tell me what new discoveries your little nap brought forward.”
When the two men had finished telling about the twinkle, the glow and, reluctantly, the wandless magic, they could see that Dumbledore was in deep thoughts.
”This is indeed interesting,” he said. ”The twinkle came when the two of you climaxed together. And Harry encountered the glow when he tried the same spell as Severus had just performed.” Dumbledore was quiet for a while, as he was thinking so much that both Harry and Snape thought they could almost hear the cogwheels grind against each other inside the old wizard’s head.
”The two of you are somehow connected to each other,” he finally said. ”And I don’t just mean the fact that you’re in love,” he added, to both Harry’s and Snape’s embarrassment.
”In love,” Snape thought. ”Was he in love with Potter? COULD he love?” He then had to admit that the only answer to both questions was a resounding YES. He smiled at Harry and could see the relief in his eyes. It was obvious that Harry had asked himself the same questions, and from the big smile that emerged on his face, he had reached the same conclusion.
”Listen, Harry,” Snape said, ”we really need to figure out what this whole thing means. It could be very important. Furthermore, we need to find a way so you can use your wand again. Wandless magic is one thing, but it is too unpredictable and there’s a reason why it’s frowned upon. It’s easy to get hurt.”
Harry just smiled up at his former professor.
”I’m sure you wouldn’t let me get hurt though,” he said quietly. Snape glared at him for a moment, then allowed a smile to break out on his usually so austere face.
”Never,” he said, inwardly slightly cringing at the sappy declaration. Still, it was true.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
For the next week, they were busy working out a way that would let Harry hold his wand again without flinching or having unpleasant flashbacks. They discovered that yes, their magic was indeed connected now. But more than that, it seemed like they had both gotten stronger too. Harry did wandless magic with ease, to a degree where even Severus started to feel mediocre. It helped a little when it became clear that Harry was somehow feeding off Snape’s magic, the closer they were together, the better Harry performed.
”It seems I’ll have to keep you close for all eternity,” Snape would huff but with one of his wry smiles to take the edge of the words.
They also discovered that their magic became stronger when they were still basking in the afterglow from one of their steadily more frequent love sessions.
Snape had the full use of his wand back after the disablement had been lifted, but he didn’t really think all that much about it. Using wandless magic had become a habit, and besides, potions brewing wasn’t about foolish wand waving anyway.
But they still hadn’t found a way to let Harry hold his own wand without unpleasant side effects.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
He picked it up and noticed the strange sensation again. It really was weird to use someone else’s wand. Possible in most cases, but rarely a pleasant thing to do. Yet holding Harry’s wand didn’t feel unpleasant. He could feel the magic in a way he usually only felt when he had a hold of his own wand.
Then a thought struck him.
The hadn’t tried what would happen if Harry used Snape’s wand. In the beginning it had of course been because the mere mentioning of anything magic-related had made Harry go into his semi-catatonic state of screaming. Then the fact that the wand was disabled had made it useless to try. But now, with his wand back in order…
He went back into his bedchamber where Harry was sprawled over the bed, peering owlishly up at Snape as he entered.
”Harry, I want to try something new,” Snape said. The big grin spreading on Harry’s face made it clear that there was something quite different from the wand on Harry’s mind. Snape felt a tightening in his lower abdomen at the sight. ”Oh well. The wand-exchange could wait,” he thought to himself before shedding his dressing gown and climbing back into bed.
”So what did you have in mind?” Harry asked with an apprehensive glint in his eye. ”You mean to tell me I get to go on top?”
Snape felt himself freeze. He hadn’t exactly thought of that. He absolutely preferred to be at least a little in control when they were in bed. And bottoming bore some unpleasant memories from his death eater past. But then this was Harry. His Harry. Harry, who wouldn’t hurt him. Wouldn’t harm him. Perhaps it was the way to get on with it. Wash away that part of his past he usually buried deep deep down inside himself.
And when he looked at Harry he knew the answer was already given. So he silently nodded and tried to convince himself that this would be a pleasant experience.
Harry pounced him, and within seconds they were both occupied in a kiss that made all hesitations flee from Snape’s brain in an instant. He was exploring the hot cavern that was Harry’s mouth with his tongue, revelling in the fact that this was all his. All his Harry. He felt Harry grope for the jar of lubricating gel they kept on the bedside table and tried to avoid flinching when he felt the first slickened finger enter him. He could do this. Seconds later, when Harry hit his prostate, all reservations disappeared from his mind and he allowed himself to simply feel.
Harry was fully aware that this was something Severus wasn’t all that keen on doing. He wasn’t sure why, actually he was a little put off by the fact that Sev didn’t really seem to like it, almost as if he was afraid. Well, Harry decided, he’d make it perfect for both of them, if it was in any way within his possibilities. So he applied a generous amount of the lubricant and cautiously entered the first digit into his lover. Carefully he arched his finger to make it brush the sensitive gland there and when he heard the muffled cry from Snape he knew he’d hit the right spot.
Snape felt the second finger being entered and couldn’t help himself from eagerly pushing back on them to make sure they hit the pleasure point again. He felt the fingers scissor and forced himself to relax. Then the fingers were withdrawn, but before he could really mourn from the loss, they were carefully replaced with something else. Something that drew another sort of moan from his lips.
This was good. This wasn’t like last time, he tried to tell himself. And then Harry kissed him and he knew it was going to be all right.
They moved in unison now. Faster and faster, their breaths were ragged and sweat was glistening on both their bodies. Snape felt a hand on his aching member and within a few tugs he came with a hoarse roar, feeling Harry stiffening behind him as his own orgasm was added and he felt the cock inside him jerk with joy as it unloaded deep within. In that moment he saw the glow again. Felt the sparkling and crackling of magical energy rising to a point where it almost hurt and he let out a gasp when he realized that they were both levitating a few inches above the bed.
”Wha..” he heard Harry stutter, and in the same moment they crashed down on the bed again, Harry withdrawing at the impact.
The glow seemed to linger for a few moments more, then it faded, leaving the two wizards too stunned to talk.
Finally, Snape broke the silence.
”This is… not normal,” he said, almost stumbling over the words. ”We shouldn’t be levitating like that. That is something I’ve only heard about, and absolutely NOT in situations like this,” he continued, looking at the startled young man beside him.
”This is not like what happened last time, is it?” asked Harry ”Last time there was the same sparkle but we didn’t er… exactly go to lift off.”
”I will have to consult my books, and, however much I hate it, I will have to inform Dumbledore of this,” Snape growled. Harry sent him a questioning look as if to ask why it was so bad to tell Dumbledore, when the old wizard clearly was aware of the whole affair already.
Snape sighed and tried to elaborate: ”For years that old manipulative …er… well, suffice to say that he’s shown a rather unhealthy interest in my life, because he claims he wants me to be … happy.” Snape all but spat out the last word.
Harry looked at Snape with amusement. Once again he recalled the way Dumbledore called Snape ”my dear boy.” And although Harry personally found it rather endearing, he could understand why the stern professor would find it intolerable.
”Well, he does have a point though,” said Harry and then, ”You do look more happy than the Potions Master I though I knew when I attended this school.” Harry sent Snape a big smile and was silently relieved when he saw his former professor’s lip quirk in agreement.
”I guess I am too,” Snape admitted and allowed a small smile to break through on his face. ”But I still don’t like to see him with that smug grin on his face when I tell him this.”
Snape cast a quick Scourgify and the two men got dressed, ready to tell Dumbledore about this new development.
On the way out of the door, Snape suddenly stopped.
”I actually came to ask you something,” he said, realizing
that he never got around to asking Harry to take his wand, before they
had been distracted. Not that he had minded the distraction of course,
especially not when it allowed for this new startling discovery.
”Harry, I was wondering what would happen if you used my wand instead of your own,” he said and kept a wary look on Harry’s face. As always, the word ”wand” had caused a flinch, and Snape reached for the everpresent vial of the ”blue stuff”, Harry’s eloquent name for his precious new improved calming potion. ”Do you want a sip of this before we attempt it?” he asked, holding out the vial. Harry looked at it and thought it over.
”It won’t be quite the same result if I was drugged, would it?” He asked.
”Probably not,” Snape replied ”but the main thing is to make you feel comfortable about it at all.”
Harry closed his eyes for a moment, and winched slightly, then hesitatingly said ”I think I’d like a little drop of the Blue Stuff then.”
While Snape poured some of his potion into a beaker, he was once again wondering what exactly it was about the wand that apparently made the big difference. As Harry was now able to do wandless magic without blanching , it seemed very odd that the mere thought of grabbing a wand would have that effect. He felt a scowl form on his face. Every time he thought the boy… man ... was getting better, something like this happened and threw them all back to square one.
He handed Harry the beaker and waited a moment until he was sure the calming potion had taken effect, then fetched his wand and held it out, handle first, towards Harry.
The moment Harry touched the wand, Snape could feel the tingle in his own fingers. And from the look on Harry’s face, he surely felt something as well.
When Harry held the wand on his own, it was obvious that this was very different from the usual feeling of ”just” holding someone’s wand. Snape could almost feel the energy surge and Harry looked at him with a peculiar look on his face.
”Wow,” he said. ”This feels almost like the very first time I ever held my own wand, back at Ollivander’s.”
”But you don’t feel like you’re going to be sick or anything?” Snape carefully asked.
”No, this feels ok,” Harry said with a big smile spreading over his face. ”I don’t get any of those nasty flashbacks or nausea feelings at all.”
He gave the wand a little wave and his smile became even wider when the familiar shower of sparks emerged from the tip.
Then a confused look crept into his features.
”But why? Why does your wand give me this good feeling?”
”I’m not totally sure, though I do have a theory,” Snape replied, then he walked to the mantelpiece where Harry’s wand was perched in it’s box.
Tentatively he took out Harry’s wand and almost dropped it when he realised that this indeed felt very different from the last time he’d hold it. Granted that it had felt peculiar the other times he had touched it since this whole thing had begun, he realised that this was different. Had it not been for the fact that he detested to sound like a parrot, he would have said that it almost … felt like when he grabbed his own wand, many years ago, back at Ollivander’s.
Could it be that…
”Let’s go see Dumbledore,” he snapped, left the room in a huff and set a brisk pace towards the Headmaster’s office.
Once at the gargoyles, he said the password, which had recently been changed to ”Cadbury Creme Eggs” - Snape spent a passing thought on whether the headmaster changed the password every time he encountered a new sort of sweet - and stepped onto the rotating staircase with a slightly breathless Potter right behind him. Hmm. Harry seemed in a fairly poor physical shape if a little walk could make him loose his breath like that, Snape thought, but pushed the thought and it’s possible promises of exercising Harry out of his mind and entered Dumbledore’s office.
Snape got right to the point, waving off the old wizard’s offerings of tea and lemon drops.
”Albus, this is serious,” he said. ”It would appear that Potter and I have somehow switched our wands. His wand now behaves as if it belongs to me, and vice versa. Furthermore it appears that Potter can touch, and hold my wand without any unpleasant side effects.”
Snape was aware that he sounded slightly repining. He’d had that wand for years and years and he didn’t like the thought of giving it up, not even to his Harry.
He looked down on the wand. It was wrong. Holly and phoenix tail feather.
Not at all like his own beloved birch wand with it’s core of dragon
heartstring. This wand was far too …Gryffindor.
He shot them a defiant leer and was instantly mellowed when Harry said,
”Well, if it’s any comfort, let me tell you that I don’t like the thought of switching my wand either.”
Dumbledore broke in, ”It’s not certain that you will actually have to switch your wands permanently.” The old wizard sent Snape a speculative glance and continued, ”Do you have any idea of what could have caused this new behaviour?”
Snape suppressed a sudden urge to squirm like if he was still a schoolboy and silently nodded.
Harry looked at him in surprise, not sure why Snape suddenly seemed so uneasy about their sex life. After all, Dumbledore already knew about them. Then it dawned on him that it apparently had something to do with their reversed roles, and he remembered that Snape hadn’t seemed all that keen on the whole thing either.
Dumbledore seemed aware that something unspoken was communicated between the two men and silently went to a cupboard behind his large desk, where he pulled out a bottle of Old Ogden’s and three glasses.
Without a word he placed the whiskey on the table and gestured for the men to have some. Snape immediately poured himself a fairly large drink and gulped it down with a grateful look at the headmaster. Harry helped himself to a more moderate shot and sipped it carefully, as if he wasn’t sure what to do with it.
Snape took another go at the whiskey and when that had been downed as well, he gave a small cough and said, as much to Harry as to Dumbledore,
”Yes, I believe I know why this new development has happened.” He paused, then seemed to mentally pull himself up and said, ”We had another peculiar experience today, when we were together. You will remember the sparkle I told you about, Albus. It happened again, only this time we actually levitated too.”
Dumbledore shot Snape a sharp glance and Harry noticed a faint blush on the Professor’s cheeks.
”Did you.. er.. do something different this time?” Dumbledore then asked, and Harry couldn’t help noticing that the faint blush became more prominent now.
”We did,” came Snape’s clipped reply. ”I’d prefer not to go into details, but yes we did something we hadn’t tried before.”
With these words, Snape reached for the Firewhiskey and poured himself a large amount, which he also swallowed in one huge gulp.
Dumbledore looked at Snape with a speculative expression and Harry looked slightly taken aback. What on earth could make Severus so uneasy about bottoming that he had to resort to drinking?
A brief glimpse of relief flickered in Snape’s eyes and he grasped the opportunity to at least partially explain himself, though he didn’t particularly want to do it in the headmaster’s presence.
”Yes,” he said with a sigh. “The Dark Lord had many ways of enforcing control on his minions. And many ways of punishing those who disobeyed him,” he then continued with a slight sigh.
Harry looked at Severus with a dawning understanding. He what Severus’
explanations about control and punishment implied and, while a part of
him was repulsed by the mere thought of Voldemort engaged in such actions,
his heart also ached with the knowledge of what it had meant for his lover.
Yet, Snape had overcome his uneasiness with a clearly traumatic situation.
Doused, both with The Blue Stuff and a large glass of Firewhiskey, Harry
steeled himself and asked if he should try to cast an actual spell with
”Yes,” he said. ”I’m sure.”
With that, Snape handed his wand to Harry. Harry took it and swished it tentatively a few times, feeling the hum of magic flowing through him. He looked slightly nauseous at the thought of doing magic, but the Blue potion had managed to quell his worst fearful reactions and, with an effort, Harry pulled himself together, flicked and swished and exclaimed an ”Incendio” towards the heath. Immediately, the logs burst into flames and, with a shy grin, Harry turned around to look at the other wizards.
”It worked,” he said.
”Yes, it certainly did,” came the reply from the Headmaster,
who looked like Christmas had come early.
And while he still absolutely didn’t enjoy the whole idea, he took
Harry’s holly wand and used it to extinguish the flames again.
Snape turned to Dumbledore.
”But how can this be?” he asked the old wizard. Dumbledore
looked very pensive and then went to the fireplace to call Madame Pince
into the Library.
”It seems that something slightly akin to your experience happened to two Albanian wizards back in 714,” he said, and both Harry and Snape looked at him in astonishment.
Dumbledore looked up from the book and a slight smile curled his lips.
“But does it say why it happened?” Snape demanded. “And did they glow as well?”
Snape had to admit, albeit to himself, that no matter how extraordinary the sensation had been while it happened, he didn’t particularly like to be turned into a sodding firefly. Especially not without knowing why.
“It says that they felt very bright. But since this text is translated from Albanian it could mean several things,” Dumbledore said, still smiling. “However, both wizards were clearly stronger afterwards, as if their magic had been amplified.”
Snape looked at Harry, who appeared to be in deep thought. He wasn’t sure he felt any stronger but it was clear that something had happened with Harry. The wandless magic was a prime example.
Then he thought about Harry’s inexplicable illness. That might have something to do with it of course. So Snape decided he would have to figure out a way to rid the boy of that silly fear of magic once and for all … and a way to get his own wand back.
“Now that you’ve proven that you indeed are still capable of doing magic, perhaps we should see if you could also do it with your own wand, or if you need to use mine forever.” Snape said it with a slight smirk he hoped would take the edge of the words. He was complaining about the whole situation, he knew it and hated it, but there was no way anyone would ever get him to admit it as well.
Harry looked stricken. He sent some nervous glances towards his own wand while still clutching Snape’s as for protection.
“I… I’m not sure I want to try that right now,”
he said with a very small voice.
Snape took a final sip of his firewhiskey and pulled himself from the chair. This was a waste of time.
“How come, if this … whatever it is … joined magic should function as an amplifier of magic, that I don’t feel my magic is any stronger?” he said with a frown.
“I think I can explain that,” Dumbledore replied. Harry shot him a clearly interested look and watched while the old wizard continued.
“Because Harry’s magic has been subdued for a while there hasn’t been much to pass on to you, Severus. No matter how strong Harry is, he has somehow shut himself down, magically speaking. Now why that is I cannot say at present, but rest assured we will find out. My guess is that once Harry’s magic has been fully restored, you too will reap the benefits of this bonding”.
Snape nodded to himself. How much he might hate to admit it, what Dumbledore said made sense. He looked at Harry and said, “Well I guess all that matters now is to get you back on full power. And I might be able to further enhance the Blue Stuff to speed up your recovery.”
Harry smiled and tried not to look too worried. Then he too got on his
feet and they both left the Headmaster’s office.
The fact remained, though, that Harry was still far from recovered.
The Blue Stuff would quell the immediate symptoms but still, if Harry didn’t take it once a day, he couldn’t even do magic at all without fainting.
What they needed was to find another sort of treatment.
Then the idea came back and settled in his mind. Yes, that could be what was needed to get Harry back to his senses. It would be dangerous. Very dangerous. Messing with werewolves was a dangerous business, but Snape wasn’t the inventor of the Wolfsbane for nothing. He knew exactly how it worked. And how long it worked.
If only he could be sure that Harry loved him as much as he had come
to love him in return. Snape hoped so. The plan that was forming depended
He looked at the remaining essays and decided they would have to wait. Then he got up and set course towards the bathroom too, unbuttoning his robe as he went.
The sight of Harry in the bath was exquisite. Usually they only showered because they were in too much of a hurry to get to the bedroom, but this time, Snape had slightly different plans. And looking at Harry in the hot scented water it appeared he wasn’t the only one.
“Room for one more?” he asked, slightly embarrassed to hear how hoarse he sounded.
Harry just smiled, nodded and moved to one end of the tub.
Shedding the remaining clothes, Snape slid himself into the hot water and for a moment he simply closed his eyes as the bubbles around him burst and released more of the relaxing fragrances. Well, he knew that the mixture of Patchouli which was the main component of the potion Harry had poured into the water was not only relaxing but also served as an aphrodisiac. He wasn’t sure if Harry was aware of that too. Probably not, as Snape could smell the presence of Frankincense as well, indicating that Harry had merely wanted to relax his brain and remove any fears.
Immediately after submerging himself, Snape could feel the effect from the added potions. This might prove interesting. Patchouli had some fascinating effects, it was relaxing in small doses but had the exact opposite effect in larger quantities. And judging from the redolent scent, Harry had used quite a bit of it. Of course the aphrodisiacal effect was heightened with the excessive use as well, something which became quite clear as Harry snaked an arm around him and pressed himself towards Snape’s hip.
Oh yes. Very interesting indeed.
A little part of Snape’s brain was still occupied with the upcoming plan, but soon all coherent thoughts were erased from his brain and lust took over as Harry slid a hand between his legs and grabbed hold of his pulsating cock.
With a groan he kissed Harry and tried feverishly to touch the younger man all over at once. Their tongues acquainted themselves with the other’s mouth and it was as if the kiss would never stop. Snape’s last thought was that perhaps Harry had used a tad too much of the Patchouli. Then he surrendered to a plan of existence where all he could do was to feel.
He felt Harry’s needy prick nudge against his thigh.
Felt it jerk as he seized it and squeezed.
Felt the raised nipples as he let his tongue wander over them.
Felt Harry’s balls draw upwards
Felt a hand grab his own throbbing cock
Felt the puckered hole between Harry’s two firm globes
Felt the tight muscle give way and almost suck his finger in
Felt the little nub inside
Felt the spasms as Harry came and came
Felt Harry move around and impale himself on Snape’s cock
Felt how he slid into the impossible hot canal
Felt Harry move up and down and moved his own hips to follow the thrusts
And heard Harry mumble something. ”Love you, Sev,” he said, to Snape’s astonishment.
”Harry,” he croaked, trying so hard to say the words too. Why were those words so hard to say? It wasn’t as if he didn’t mean them. Of course he did. He loved his Harry and he was fully aware. But saying the words out loud was to cross a barrier, to overstep a line he had never thought he would even get close to.
He felt Harry go slightly rigid. Clearly he was waiting for Snape to finish what he was about to say.
It was probably another side effect from the Patchouli. Or perhaps the Frankincense, because all of a sudden it was as if the anxiety left him and he hugged Harry tight and whispered 5 words he’d never thought he would be able to say out loud.
”I love you too, Harry.”
He looked down on the sleeping man beside him. Looked at the scar, ever
so visible although it had faded a bit after Voldemort’s death.
He thought of the ugly Dark ark on his own arm and wished it would fade
into oblivion as well. But it hadn’t. If anything it was slightly
lighter, that was all. It seemed like a part of his past he would have
to carry around forever. At least he would never go around in short sleeved
robes at summertime like Flitwick anyway. Snape knew his skin didn’t
take well to sunlight. Another thing to nourish the vampire rumours. Snape
shook his head. Amazing how gullible some people were. Not that he minded,
if he could use it to his own advantage. That was one of the good things
about being a Slytherin that you could allow yourself to be an opportunist
without being struck down by this inconvenient monster some called a conscience.
Severus Snape was writing a letter to Remus Lupin. Asking him for help.
Then he went to his lab and started working on what would probably be
the most complex potion he had ever made. The Wolfsbane. But not just
that. A very specifically improved version of the Wolfsbane. An experimental
potion he could only hope would work as expected, because if it didn’t,
chances were Harry would die.
It didn’t make sense.
Harry took a quick shower and was about to go to the Great Hall in his search for Severus when he heard a noise from the lab next door. He stopped. Severus was working on a Saturday morning? A Saturday morning where Harry had expected him to lie in… with him? It didn’t make sense. But what absolutely didn’t make sense was that the door was locked. And not only was it locked, it was warded too, Harry could clearly feel the repelling magic under his fingertips. What on earth was Severus doing in there?
Carefully, he knocked.
The sounds inside the lab came to an abrupt halt, like the person in there was trying to conceal his presence.
”Severus, please open,” Harry asked. ”I know you’re
All of a sudden, Harry smiled. It wasn’t all that long until Christmas. Perhaps Severus was making something for him? A present of a sort? Harry had to hide a snort of laughter from the outrageous though. As if. When he thought back at the Christmases he had spent on Hogwarts while he was still at school, Snape had never seemed like a man who exactly cherished that particular time of year. But of course, back then it seemed like the only thing Snape had liked was to snarl at the students in general and of Harry in particular.
Harry decided to leave Severus to whatever he was doing and set of towards the Great Hall in hope of some breakfast. On the way there he started thinking. It had all been so sudden. He himself had stopped hating Snape while they were working together with the rest of the Order members to destroy V…Voldemort.
Harry gave an annoyed sound. What was wrong with him? He couldn’t even say the name inside his head? Again he remembered how easy it once had been to say the name of the Dark Lord. Now it seemed like it had been someone else entirely who had been capable of that.
Passing a mirror along the way, he stopped to look into it. He saw himself, of course, and his eyes fell on the scar. He noticed that he was looking very pale. Almost as pale as Voldemort himself. At the thought of Voldemort, Harry imagined he could see his own eyes light up with the sickening red glow that was so undeniable Voldemort, and although he deep inside knew that Voldemort was dead and gone, the hallucination got hold of him and with a piercing scream he fainted in a heap on the floor.
He was discovered by a 3rd year Ravenclaw who was also on her way to the Great Hall. The girl got the shock of her life, but wasn’t a Ravenclaw for nothing, so she rushed to the Great Hall to get help.
The next thing Harry knew was that he was laying in Dumbledore’s bed and both Dumbledore and Snape was looking at him with what looked like fear.
As soon as his eyes opened, Snape started to talk.
”Harry, what happened?” he almost snapped. His voice shaking from concern.
”Did you see anything in the mirror?” asked Dumbledore then, remembering where they had found Harry.
”N-no, I don’t think I did,” Harry stuttered. It all seemed silly now when Severus was here. Why was it he always freaked out when he was alone? He thought briefly about what Dumbledore had said about their magic being joined. Could Snape calm him just by being there? And was it just because of love or was there more to it? All Harry knew was that he felt a lot better now, looking at his lover.
”I thought of V-V-Voldemort.” Harry had to force the name out. ”I thought of him and imagined I could see my eyes glow red, just like when…” he trailed off, unable to continue.
Snape looked deeply worried. The boy was even more disturbed than he had imagined. Things had been going smoothly for more than a week, and now this? He had to admit that he was starting to have second thoughts of his secret plan, and once again he wondered if he should tell Dumbledore about it, before he decided not to.
Of course, as long as he hadn’t heard back from the werewolf it
wasn’t sure there would be any plan in the first place. But at least
the new version of Wolfsbane proved to be a challenge. And Snape had never
been one to turn down a challenge, especially not where his beloved potions
And he hadn’t been there!
He had been so determined to get that new potion started that he had totally neglected his duties and not only as Harry’s lover - and THOSE duties had been thoroughly fulfilled last night, he thought with a slightly amused grimace - but the main point was that he’d left Harry on his own. Snape knew that if he had followed Harry to the Great Hall, this would never have happened. He wasn’t sure how he knew, but he was absolutely certain.
”Harry, did you drink the Blue potion this morning?” he asked, and was somehow not surprised, and deep inside also a little relieved when Harry answered ”no”. At least it wasn’t the potion that hadn’t worked. With an exasperated sigh he said ”Well, it won’t do you any good sitting on the shelf, you know,” and to his big relief, Harry shot him a small smile and simply said that he was sorry.
Then, apparently, Harry remembered something, because his next question made Snape wish he had been anticipating it and prepared an answer.
”What were you doing in the lab so early on a Saturday?” asked Harry.
Uneasy at the question, Snape heard himself bark out ”I was making a potion of course. What else would I be doing?” Slightly more composed he continued, ”It’s an experimental potion meant to help with a certain condition.” He knew that both Harry and Dumbledore would think he was working on something for Harry. No one would ever suspect Snape volunteering to make anything for Remus Lupin.
And yet that was very much was he was doing. And if he succeeded, he might change the lives of several people forever.
… . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. . CHAPTER 9 … . …- . .-. ..- … … -. .- .--. .
Back in his lab, Snape checked on the simmering potion. It looked fine, as he knew it would. He had brewed the Wolfsbane so many times during the year when Lupin had stayed at Hogwarts, that even if it was a fairly complex potion, he could more or less do it in his sleep by now.
Then of course, that was just up to the point where he planned to add a new component. Up to the point where the potion stopped being merely “Wolfsbane” and became an experimental potion. The potion he hoped would help him cure his Harry.
He hoped that his letter to Lupin had been clear enough even for the lycanthrope
to understand. That Lupin would understand the importance and at least try to
bury the animosity the two of them felt towards each other. Snape had certainly
extended an outstretched hand, quite against his better judgement. He couldn’t
help wondering if Lupin would think the letter was a fake. And honestly, he
couldn’t totally blame him, either.
He heard someone at the door to his lab. Probably Harry again. Yes, he could
sense the wards resound with the magical signature that was so typically “Harry”,
even if it was now oddly mixed with his own.
The element of surprise was the key to success.
To himself, he admitted that he also wanted to be with his Harry as much as possible. So with a silent swish with the wand – Harry’s wand – he took down the wards and let the young man into the lab.
. . .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. .
Harry seemed content to be chopping up the monksfoot when the knife slipped and he almost managed to cut off his left index finger. At the moment the blood started flowing, something triggered in Snape’s mind and he had to fight hard to not leap with joy. He grabbed a piece of cloth he used to wipe his hands in and wrapped it around the cut so that Harry could get to the Hospital Wing without further blood loss. Then, as fast as he could, he got hold of the wand and with a swift swish he collected the remaining blood in a vial and put an anti-coagulating- and a preserving spell on it. He had been thinking about how he could possibly obtain a sample of Harry’s blood and now he had got it. More or less all over the lab, actually. He “Evanesco’ed” the bloodsplatters on the floor, then put the vial away on a safe and somewhat secluded spot.
Now if that pesky werewolf would bother to answer his letter…
. . .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. .
The next morning, while they were eating breakfast, Snape looked up as the owl post arrived. A shabby-looking owl came in his direction with a scroll in its talons. As soon as the owl had dropped the scroll, Snape seized it and shoved it in his robe. He tried to ignore the curious looks the staff sent him and was only happy that Harry hadn’t been there as well.
His appetite gone at the excitement, he got up and left the Great Hall for
his dungeons. Even on the way there he took out the scroll and started to unroll
How dared he!
He read the starting the lines again as through a sea of blood.
You are even making an outrageous claim that this is about helping Harry Potter. Since when have you cared about him? All I remember hearing from your mouth about that boy has been foul slander. Do you honestly believe that I am that gullible?
You won’t trick me into your claws this time, just as you never got Sirius. Don’t think you could hide your malicious glee when he died, Snivellus. Sirius was right about you and I’m sorry it took me so many years to find out.
Snape felt as if he was on the brink of an explosion. Of all idiotic cretins
he had to base his plan on the most annoying, and apparently most bitter one
Staring over the lake he gradually came back to his senses. He realised he had a class to teach in a few minutes and set a course back to the school.
In deep thoughts he wandered into his classroom, leaving the combined lot of second year Slytherins and Gryffindors wondering about his health.
He taught the potions lesson purely on routine and when it was over he couldn’t even remember which potion the students had brewed. As soon as he had dismissed the students, he went to Dumbledore’s office. As much as he hated it, he realised he would have to confide at least some of the plan to the Headmaster. Perhaps he could make Lupin come here. And fast!
. . .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. .
Harry was confused. He kept wondering if he had said or done anything to make Snape behave as he did. Snape. He was hardly even Severus anymore. For the last couple of days, he had been acting very strangely, like how he used each and every excuse to lock himself up in his lab. Sure Harry had been let in a few times, and things had been almost normal, but even their sex life had been put on hold, and that bothered Harry on several levels. Most of all because he was painfully in love with that snarky bastard.
He kept going back to that Friday night. Or rather Saturday morning actually, when Snape had said he loved Harry as well. But ever since he had said those words, it was like he had pulled the brakes. As if he was scared. And that seemed so silly really, now that there was no reason why they couldn’t just be together and be openly in love.
Harry wondered if he had made a mistake by falling in love with his former teacher. Love couldn’t be commanded of course, so it wasn’t like he had had a choice. But still. At one occasion, Snape had murmured something about the age difference. Harry had laughed because he didn’t think it mattered one bit. He still didn’t, but what if Snape did?
Did Snape still regard him as an adolescent? A weak, pathetic kid who couldn’t even hold his own bloody wand?!
Against his better judgement, Harry decided to go see Dumbledore.
As he approached the door, he heard voices. Angry voices. Shocked, he realised that one of the voices belonged to Snape and that he sounded absolutely livid.
“…trying to help, but he’s worse than James Potter ever was!”
Harry heard the words clearly through the closed door and stopped as if he had been petrified. He felt nauseous. What had he done? Why did Snape suddenly hate him again? He turned around and stumbled down the winding stairs and burst through the hall. He noticed he was heading towards the dungeons, and changed his direction in favour of the huge doors that would lead him out of Hogwarts.
As he blindly tumbled outside, one thought kept churning in his head:
He didn’t know where he was going and he didn’t care either. All he wanted was to get away.
. . .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. .
As Snape left Dumbledore’s office he was calmed a little, yet still angry. Dumbledore had managed to get hold of the werewolf and Snape hoped he had succeeded in convincing Lupin that he and Harry had indeed become friends. Of course, Dumbledore hadn’t mentioned just how good friends they had become. Snape smiled slightly. Lupin would likely drop dead if he knew that Harry had fallen in love with his greasy professor. And that it was absolutely mutual. He walked to the dungeons, looking forward to telling Harry that Lupin was coming for a visit. Snape wasn't really looking forward to the visit itself, now less than ever. He was amazingly hurt that Lupin had called him Snivellus. That old nickname bought up so many unpleasant memories, most of them some he thought he had long forgotten. But he knew he would have to keep up a charade and make Lupin believe he didn’t hold grudges. It was vital to his plan.
But as he approached his dungeons, he was stricken by a vague sensation of something unpleasant. Something triggered his inner alarm. He sped up and called for Harry the moment he entered his door. Something was wrong.
Something was very wrong. And Harry wasn’t there!
Snape rushed to the fireplace and called Dumbledore. Shortly after, every available staffsperson on Hogwarts was occupied in the search for Harry Potter. Dumbledore had sent Fawkes out to get him but the phoenix came back alone, meaning that Harry was no longer on Hogwarts grounds.
By then, Snape was so sick with worry that none of the other teachers dared approach him. He was almost emitting sparks of frustration. That was when Dumbledore noticed something about him.
“Severus” he said cautiously and was taken aback as the Potions Master whipped around with a frantic look on his face, before he continued, “Are you aware that you are … glowing?”
“Glowing?” Snape snarled, then looked at his hand. There was indeed a faint blueish glow that seemed to surround him. This was almost like that night… Snape’s eyes widened and as fast as he could, he ran across the yard towards The Forbidden Forrest, while all the time checking on the glow. Just as he thought, it got slightly brighter.
After a moment, Dumbledore managed to catch up with him and it was clear that he too had noticed the amplified glow.
“It seems I have turned into a homing beacon or something similar,” Snape muttered. “The question is if the glow diminishes or grows according to how far I am away from Potter.”
Dumbledore smiled and said, “Well, logically it should get brighter the closer you are to him; your link should get stronger when you’re close and so should the glow I suppose.”
“In that case,” Snape grumbled, “it seems we should be moving.” He held up his hand and it was clear that the glow was fading rapidly.
The two wizards started moving into The Forbidden Forrest as fast as they could. It wasn’t easy because of the dense shrubbery which kept tangling in their robes. Finally, Snape shed his outer robe and started running. He had a dreadful feeling somewhere inside. Like that something was very, very wrong with Harry now.
When he heard the scream, his blood froze. A scream like someone was in great agony. But that wasn’t the worst. The worst thing was the way the scream was clipped. As if the person who had yelled it was suddenly no longer capable of speech. For whatever reason.
Snape couldn’t see Dumbledore anymore but had to assume the old man was somewhere behind him. He pulled out Harry’s wand and proceeded with greater care. The scream had been fairly close by. And the glow had once again intensified.
Then Snape noticed something. The glow seemed to flicker.
All caution aside, he threw himself through the bushes and almost stumbled into a small clearing. Harry was there. On the ground. And then Snape saw them. Three Thestrals. They didn’t look like any of those belonging to the school’s herd, but Snape couldn’t be sure. He’d never looked closely at those monstrous winged horses. But Thestrals were carnivores and they were standing awfully close to Harry. Had they already…?
Snape shot a few well-aimed curses at the Thestrals, who scattered and made it possible for him to leap to Harry’s still body. Frantically searching for a pulse, he finally found it. But it was weak. Too weak. He immediately Apparated to the boundaries of the Hogwarts wards and ran into the castle with Harry in his arms.
This was getting to be a habit, he thought wryly. But a habit he could very well do without.
. . .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. .
An hour later, after Madame Pomfrey had checked him over and managed to revive Harry again, it was decided that he was fit enough to follow Snape down to the dungeons again. Luckily it had turned out that Harry had merely fainted at the look of the Thestrals, and a proper dose of “The Blue Stuff” had got him back on his feet.
But before Harry was allowed to leave, Madame Pomfrey had drawn Snape aside and told him something that worried him but also affirmed him that his plan had to be carried out as soon as possible.
As always, the mediwitch had tended to Harry without spectators, so Snape had been confined to the hallway outside the Hospital Wing. But he had heard Harry scream something about “not going back to him” and “betrayed.” And when he was admitted entrance again, he was startled to hear what Pomfrey had to say to him.
Snape was admittedly angry. Not so much with Harry as with himself. Imagine that the idiot boy had thought he was no longer loved?! Snape shook his head. He had no idea of how Harry could have gotten that idea.
Had he not done everything to show Harry how much he cared for him? Even said it out loud – for the first time in his life?
Yet still he must have missed something. And it annoyed him that he didn’t know what it was. And even less what could have made Harry run away like that.
Snape knew they would need to talk. And it wasn’t something he was looking forward to in particular.
And now the two men were on their way back to Snape’s quarters. They walked side by side, none of them willing, or able, to break the uncomfortable silence between them.
When they got into the living room, Snape decided to neglect any conventions that might prohibit him to do what he needed to get this talk started. So he went to his bureau and found a bottle of Firewhiskey.
He shot Harry a questioning look while he poured himself a large shot of the
whiskey, and when Harry mutely nodded, he made a similar drink to him.
Finally, Harry broke the silence.
“I’m sorry I lost it again,” he said, his eyes still fixed
at the floor.
Harry looked up in surprise. Whatever he had been expecting, this clearly wasn’t it.
“Why did you want to find me?” he asked in a timid voice. Snape
glared at him.
Harry gazed at his glass again, then finally downed the content, gave a small cough and continued.
“Well… I heard you at Dumbledore’s office,” he said, his voice barely audible. “And I heard you say I was worse than my dad… I don’t know what I’ve done to make you start hating me again, but… I don’t hate you.” He looked up at Snape, his big, green eyes very shiny, almost at the verge of actual tears.
Snape just stared. “Worse than his dad?” But he had said no such thing… Then it came down on him like a ton of bricks. He remembered the conversation. But he hadn’t been speaking about Harry, of course, but of that damned werewolf. Even without being actually present, that mangy beast could screw up his life!
“Harry,” he said and heard his own voice tremble, much to his dismay. “Harry, I wasn’t talking about you. Not by far.” He thought for a second, then decided to reveal at least part of his secret. “We were talking about Lupin. Dumbledore thought it might be an idea if he came here to visit you.” The last bit wasn’t even really a lie, although of course it had been his own idea and not Dumbledore’s to invite Lupin here. Besides, Harry would never believe him if he had told him the truth.
At the word “Lupin,” Harry looked up and something was gleaming in his eyes. “You really mean Moony is coming here?” he said and already, Snape thought he was looking a lot better. It boded well for his plan, but he couldn’t help feeling a sharp jab of jealousy when he saw how obviously pleased Harry became at the mere thought of that beast.
“Of course I mean it, or I wouldn’t have said so,” Snape assured him. “Needless to say, I am not pleased by the thought,” he continued. “It’s little secret that Lupin and I are not exactly the best of friends, and that was why I objected to Dumbledore’s plan.” After a brief pause he went on, “It was this bit you overheard.”
“Awww,” Harry exclaimed and flung himself around his former professor’s neck “And you agreed to it anyway? I LOVE you, Sev!”
Snape stiffened at the nickname. “Sev?” he asked cautiously. “I don’t remember having accepted that abbreviation.”
Harry looked at him with an impish glint in his eye and said with a not quite innocent grin “Would you prefer Sevvie?”
Snape looked down at Harry, horror painted in his face when he huffed “I would most certainly not, Mister Potter.” But Harry just grinned and snuggled closer to him. Snape wrapped his arms around him and held him tight for a while, thinking over how close he had been to losing Harry over something that wasn’t even there at all. How stupid.
Then he slowly let go of Harry and said, “I’m working on an enhanced version of the Wolfsbane for Lupin and it needs looking after.” He disentangled himself from his pouting lover and left for his lab, trying to figure out how much he should tell Harry. All this had come from keeping secrets. But some secrets were kept necessarily, or his plan wouldn’t work at all.
. . .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. .
That night, they made love with an almost frantic passion. Once Snape had been assured that Harry hadn’t been in any way hurt by the Thestrals, there was nothing holding him back, and he claimed his lover in ways that would ensure that Harry would never again doubt Snape’s love for him.
The next morning, however, brought him back to reality, when a beaming Dumbledore - at the breakfast table, no less - told him that Lupin would arrive later that day. Snape scowled. He knew he should be pleased because it meant that he would get a chance to execute his plan. But he was absolutely not looking forward to seeing Lupin again. Not after that letter.
He steeled himself and went down to the dungeons for the first Potions lesson that day, wondering briefly if he should tell Harry now or let it be a surprise. He decided for the latter. He couldn’t bear the certainly happy look on Harry’s face whenever Snape’s old nemesis was mentioned.
So he went into his classroom to the waiting batch of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws.
When he emerged from the classroom two hours later, he had dealt out enough detentions to make sure he wouldn’t have to bother about cauldron-scrubbing for the first week at least, and the unfortunate Hufflepuff, whose cauldron had exploded in a most Longbottom-ish fashion had been sent to the Hospital wing with what would hopefully not be any permanent damage. Student injuries meant tedious paperwork and that was one thing Snape absolutely wanted to avoid. That, and Dumbledore’s scornful looks.
To himself, Snape was well aware that it probably had been his fault the incident had happened in the first place, although there was naturally no way he would ever agree to it in public. He had been in an extraordinarily foul mood of course, and that had turned almost all of the students into twitching wrecks, culminating with the exploding potion.
Kids nowadays. Imbeciles. Nervous little bastards. They ought to know that he wouldn’t really let them drink anything poisonous. That would only mean more paperwork.
Then he heard what could best be described as a happy squeal from his chambers,
and he knew it had to mean that the werewolf had arrived at Hogwarts.
At lunch, Lupin was already seated when Snape arrived, causing him to momentarily lose all traces of hunger. With an effort, he pulled himself together and reminded himself that he had to rely on Lupin’s cooperation in order for his plan to work. And for Harry’s sake he would have to appear at least civil to the werewolf, too. So he sent Lupin the closest he could possibly get to a smile, seeing as they were among the students.
“Remus,” he said. “How good of you to come.”
Several of the other teachers’ heads whipped round as they heard Snape address Lupin with apparent civility. Professor Sprout almost choked on her food and Madame Hooch had to help her with a glass of water. Snape send her a withering glare and continued to address Lupin.
“Harry has been expecting you,” he said, deliberately using Harry’s first name, something he noticed seemed to stun the werewolf for a moment.
“Yes,” Lupin answered. “You told me he had been ill.” The last sentence carried an unspoken question and Snape said
“Yes, he has been, and still is, to a degree, which is why he is dining in my quarters. I will tell you more when we have finished our lunch.” With these words he turned away, barely able to keep up this charade for a minute more. He stabbed some food on his fork and ate it, hardly noticing what it was and not caring for it either. He wanted the meal to be over so that he could get away from all the staring faces, students and teachers alike, who all seemed dumbstruck by the fact that he hadn’t as much as snarled at Lupin. Well it had been hard not to, but this was one of the circumstances where his long career as a spy paid off. He was a master of concealing his moods whenever he saw fit to do so.
When the lunch was over, Snape signalled Lupin to walk with him, and together they went towards the dungeons, Snape filling the other wizard briefly in about Harry’s present condition, but naturally not mentioning what he had in mind to change said situation.
As they approached the door to Snape’s rooms, Lupin stopped. “You are aware that the full moon is in two days?” he asked cautiously, and looked relieved as Snape almost smiled again and answered,
“Yes I am fully aware of that fact. That is actually the main reason why I wanted you to come now. I believe I have found a way to improve the Wolfsbane.”
At the last words, Snape couldn’t help noticing how an almost pathetic glimmer of hope started to sparkle in Lupin’s hazel eyes.
“Are you sure?” Lupin started to ask but was cut off by Snape’s snarling reply.
“Of course I’m sure, or I wouldn’t have bothered calling you here,” came the acerbic reply. He was about to say some more when the door swung open and Harry looked out at the two men.
“Remus!” he exclaimed and flung himself around the shabby looking man. Although Snape knew that Harry was merely happy to see his former DADA teacher, he could feel a most unfamiliar jab of jealousy at the affectionate way in which they embraced each other.
Harry looked up at Snape as if he could feel the other man’s discomfort. Then he sent him one of his blinding smiles, and Snape wondered how he could ever doubt Harry’s feelings. He smiled back and was aware that Lupin had surveyed the whole scene without a word, but with a slightly shocked expression on his face.
. . .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. .
When the three men were seated in Snape’s living room, Harry looked for a while at Lupin, then asked softly “How have you been doing?” as if the answer wasn’t given by the fact that the ex-professor looked more ragged and shabby than ever.
“I manage,” Lupin answered, sending Snape a sideways glance. “I will admit that it hasn’t been easy. The prejudices against werewolves are as strong as ever, so I haven’t been successful in keeping a job for any more than a brief period.” Unspoken were the words that those periods only lasted until the first coming full moon.
Lupin stared at Snape as he continued, “Ever since Professor Snape saw fit to reveal my condition to the whole of the Wizarding world, it has usually been impossible to even get close enough to people to even be considered for a job.”
“But you’re no danger to anyone,” Harry exclaimed furiously. “The Wolfsbane has kept you from harming anyone, hasn’t it?”
“Yes,” Lupin answered. “But lately I haven’t had the necessary money to buy any of it. When you have only expenses and no income, any given fortune will only last so long…” he trailed off, and Harry knew Lupin didn’t want to mention the fact that he’d never really had any fortune in the first place.
Harry sent Snape an angry look. “Couldn’t you have given him some?” he asked, and Snape, caught off-guard, heard himself sneer a “no” before Harry’s furious looks made him elaborate.
“No, as I didn’t know he was in need of it. After all, I am not the only person in Britain who can make the Wolfsbane, after I published the recipe.” Then he continued, determined to keep a pleasant mood, mostly because his plan still depended on it, “But now that you’re here, I will of course give you some for free. And the improvements made to the potion should mean -”
Lupin cut him off with a sneer worthy of Snape himself
“So I’m supposed to be your guinea pig, is that it? So that you can sell the new recipe and get even richer?”
Harry looked at Lupin in shock. The usually gentle man looked quite beside himself with a surprising amount of pure hatred radiating from him towards Snape, who on his part looked like he was on the brink of apoplexy.
With a tremendous effort, Snape managed to pull himself together, although he could literally feel his hand twitch to grab his wand and hex that blasted werewolf way into the next year.
“It has nothing to do with being a guinea pig,” he said with a dangerous tone in his voice. “Contrary to what you might believe I am not totally calloused, and since I care for Harry and he for some unfathomable reason cares for you, I had decided to help you.” He huffed a bit and continued, “Now, on the other hand, I’m not so sure it is worth the bother.”
He knew the last sentence was pathetic, but somewhere, deep inside he admittedly felt hurt by the accusation. Why was it that nobody would ever believe him capable of doing anything less than evil? Even after all these years, first as Dumbledore’s spy and later on still working for the Order, people kept judging him for his abominable past. At least Harry seemed to be able to see past that now. He sent Harry a small smile and saw to his amusement – though of course he hid it well – that Lupin looked astonished by even that small display of affection.
“What is going on here?” asked Lupin, shocked. “Harry, what has he done to you? Whatever hex he has put upon you or vile potion he has lured into you, rest assured that I will find a way to remedy the situation!”
Lupin seemed oblivious to the fact that Harry had a pained look on his face but did notice Harry’s flinch as he mentioned the hex.
“Ah, so he has hexed you” exclaimed Lupin triumphantly, misreading the look on Harry’s face and whipped out his wand, clearly with the intention of casting a “Finite Incantatem” or something similar.
“No, don’t…” was all Snape managed to cry out before Harry went rigid and started to scream again at the sight of the unfamiliar wand.
Snape cursed long and fluently in a language Lupin had never heard, and even if he had know it, it was doubtful he would have been able to understand it in his near catatonic state of shock.
Lupin watched in terror as Snape leapt to the bureau, pulled out a vial with a clear blue contents and quickly poured it into the mouth of the shrieking Potter.
Discreetly, he manoeuvred his wand back into its hidden pocket and took a tentative step forward towards the now quieted boy, who still had the weirdest glazed look in his eyes that Lupin had ever seen.
“You mentioned Harry was ill,” he said meekly “but I had no idea…” He trailed off and looked at both Harry and Snape with a mixture of shock and confusion.
Snape was about to say something scathing when Harry coughed and interrupted him.
“Remus, there are some things I think you should know” said Harry then, to the amazement of both of the older men. “Severus and I are in love with each other, so if you want to visit me, it means you will have to behave nicely towards Severus as well. And,” he turned towards Snape, “that goes for you too. Stop baiting him and show him the new Wolfsbane instead. You know very well that Remus doesn’t feel well in the days approaching the full moon, so why don’t we all see if your new improvement works?”
Harry sent them both one of his blinding smiles, and Snape slipped his arm protectively around his shoulder, hugging him slightly.
Lupin still looked reasonably doubtful, but nodded and said, “Yes I suppose you’re right, Harry. For your sake I will try to forget what misery Sni... I mean Professor Snape has caused me.”
The casual slip didn’t go unnoticed by either Harry or Snape, but they both seemed determined to overlook the incident. Lupin had to admit to himself that something apparently HAD happened to Snape, since he was able to refrain from taking the bait. Besides, Harry was right. He never felt quite well the last few days before a full moon and that, combined with the shock of seeing Harry seemingly infatuated with that greasy git, might have influenced on his behaviour in a negative way.
“Then let us go check on the Wolfsbane,” said Snape then, breaking the awkward silence that had fallen upon them after Lupin’s last words.
The three men leapt to their feet and went into the laboratory, and soon Snape was immersed in his favourite subject, potions and why they worked the way they did.
“This new, improved potion should, if my calculations are correct, enable you to not only keep your wits during the full moon but also hinder the actual transformation into a werewolf,” Snape declared with obvious pride, actually beaming as he saw Lupin’s face light up with the prospects. “We should, of course, keep you under close observation the first night but if that goes well, it should be safe for you to actually be among other people the whole time.
Harry looked amazed, but that was nothing compared to the look of complete and utter ecstasy which graced the werewolf’s face.
“That would,” Lupin exclaimed in a broken voice, “to all effects cure me from ever becoming a werewolf again?”
“If my assumptions are correct, yes,” said Snape, clearly indicating that he was very sure that they would be so.
“You should take the first dose tonight and continue until two days after the full moon has elapsed,” he continued and went to fetch a beaker with the intention of giving Lupin his first dose immediately.
When presented with the steaming cup, Lupin sniffed carefully as it was his habit, then stopped as he realised it would be taken as an insult towards Snape’s skills. Of course the Wolfsbane would taste horrid as always, and of course Snape wasn’t going to actually poison him after having worked on improving the potion. So, he closed his eyes and drank deeply of the bitter mixture.
Neither he nor Harry noticed the gleam in Snape’s eyes as the beaker was drained.
. . .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. .
As evening closed in, Lupin started to get more and more anxious. He could feel the draw of the moon, even if it for some reason felt slightly different than usual. Well, he admitted to himself, not all that inexplicable really... It had to have something to do with Snape’s improved Wolfsbane. Perhaps it actually worked. Perhaps he could be freed from his cursed life as a werewolf. He dared not get his hopes up too high. But for the first time he started to feel a glimmer of hope.
He also realised just how much he owed Snape. Granted, the possibility for the two of them ever becoming friends was slim, but perhaps he should try at least a slightly friendlier approach to the snarky bastard.
Then, just as he had decided to say something nice and approving about the Potion Master’s skills, Snape’s voice cut into his reverie.
“I do think we should lock you up somewhere until we know that the potion actually DOES hinder the transformation.” Snape’s voice was cold as he continued: “I’ve seen you twice in your werewolf form and let me assure you it’s not a pretty sight. I don’t want to repeat that experience”.
Lupin looked for a moment like a puppy that had just been slapped with a newspaper, but he pulled himself together and said in an equally frigid voice,
“Sure, Severus. I wouldn’t want you to be afraid of me.”
He stressed the word “Severus” in a way that clearly showed what other name he would have preferred to call Snape, and it didn’t go unnoticed by the other.
“It’s not a question of being afraid,” Snape spat. “It’s merely common sense. As well as a certain sense of aesthetics,” he continued, clearly stressing out what an appalling sight the werewolf was in his opinion.
“Would you two cut it out?” Harry interrupted, and the two men turned to him as if they had completely forgotten his presence.
Harry went on, “There’s an empty room next door where Remus can stay without the possibility of harming anyone. And with a proper silencing spell, there’s absolutely no risk of anyone hearing him, should the transformation indeed occur.” He looked Snape in the eyes and said, “But I must admit I thought you were sure he wouldn’t transform.”
Snape looked a little uneasy. Yes, he was sure that Lupin wouldn’t transform tonight. All his research pointed to this, but he needed to be absolutely sure in order for his carefully-laid plan to work. The room next door was a perfect solution though. It had been a storage room at some point but now it was virtually empty, save for a few old pieces of furniture.
Lupin went into the smaller room peacefully. “I see your point,” he said. “But I do feel completely different than what I usually do. I’m sure the potion will work as expected. However, I will not place any of you in any sort of danger, so I agree, it will be best if I’m locked up. I’m used to that by now anyway.” He finished with a resigned shrug.
“There’s a window in that room,” said Snape. “Do me a favour and look out at the moon once you’re in there. I need to test the potion’s strengths in every way possible.”
Lupin promised, and the door was shut and thoroughly locked, leaving Snape and Harry on their own. Once inside their own room again, Harry silently went to Snape and simply put his arms around him. He didn’t speak or move; he just stood still with his arms around Snape’s waist, burying his head in the Potion Master’s heavy robes and inhaling the familiar scent.
After a few moments, Snape spoke. Almost silently he admitted “I didn’t think it would be so hard to have him here.”
Harry looked up at him in surprise. It sounded like an excuse of a sort. But Snape wasn’t a man who usually excused himself, so in order to do so, this must really have been something that weighted down on him.
“I know it must be awkward for you,” said Harry “For both of you, actually. I don’t think Remus is enjoying it very much, either.”
Snape felt Harry starting to rub his hands in a soothing circular pattern on his back and wrapped his own arms around the boy in a similar fashion. Soon the touches became slightly more intimate in nature, nearing his bum and when Harry grabbed his buttocks he couldn’t do anything but to press his rapidly growing erection into the abdomen of his lover. His Harry. An almost inaudible whimper from Harry, followed by a hardness pressing against his thigh told him that Harry was as aroused as he was, himself.
“Is it wise?” he whispered “With a possible werewolf next door?”
“One of the things I love about the dungeons,” came Harry’s likewise whispered reply “is that the walls down here are so thick that they’re virtually impenetrable by sounds.”
Snape gave a short chuckle “So you’ve even considered it?” he asked and hugged Harry closer. “Mister Potter, sometimes you actually do make use of your brains.”
Harry didn’t reply with words, he simply reached up to the slightly higher man and kissed him, and after a few moments neither of them were able to form coherent speech, even if they had wanted to.
Again, Snape revelled at the wonders that had been bestowed upon him. He kissed Harry with a maddening intensity, let his tongue swirl around the other one, tasting Harry and letting Harry taste him in return.
Without any of them really knowing how, they had backed into the bedroom and feverish hands were employed in the task of opening a number of buttons and removing pieces of clothing. Snape landed on the bed with Harry on top of him, both of them grinding against the other. He felt the heat build up and murmured a “stop” to Harry. With a swift movement, he rolled both of them over, effectively pinning Harry down on the bed. Snape looked at Harry and felt himself almost drown in the emerald depths that were Harry’s eyes. He pinched a hard nipple lightly and felt the lithe body beneath him writhe in passion.
“Please, Sev” Harry mumbled against his own nipples, which Harry was sucking and nipping expertly, and Snape groped on the bedside table for the lubricant, which he then started to apply to his hand and to Harry’s welcoming arse. Soon he had three fingers in, and Harry was wriggling and writhing in an attempt to get more and more of the exquisite feeling as Snape rubbed his fingers over the hidden gland inside.
“Please,” Harry said again and Snape withdrew the fingers and replaced them carefully with his throbbing cock. Once sheathed, he steadied Harry’s hips with one hand while grabbing the other cock in a firm grip, smearing the pre-come that had already gathered there over the sensitive tip.
“Merlin, Sev,” Harry croaked, “Will you please just fuck me?”
“Touch yourself, then,” Snape somehow managed to say, and when Harry fisted his own cock, Snape let go of any leftover inhibitions and started pounding fiercely into Harry, no longer caring whether the werewolf next door could hear them or not. A few moments later, when he felt the wave of orgasm overtake him, he let out a cry not far from a howl, and shortly after he felt Harry clench around him and pried his eyes open to watch the beautiful sight of Harry as he came in lush spurts over his own belly and chest.
Snape sank down on Harry, at that moment not caring about the sticky fluid that did its best to further bond them together. Slowly he withdrew from the tight heat and rolled over to grab his wand in order to make the mess disappear.
As he got hold of the wand, he felt Harry tense beside him, so he whispered the cleaning spell quickly and put the wand safely out of sight. That Harry could still react to the mere presence of a wand, even in his post-orgasmic state, assured Snape that his plan would have to be set in motion as soon as possible, and if all went well, this would be the following evening.
They lay in silence for some time, when Harry finally spoke. “Do you think Remus has transformed after all?” he asked timidly, as if he wasn’t quite sure what the reaction to his question would be.
“No, not if the improved Wolfsbane has worked as it should,” Snape replied, “but if you want we can go check on him. As the full moon is at its height now, he will surely have transformed now if it did not work. And otherwise, he will be as harmless as any man.”
Harry looked like he was torn between an urge to go check on his lycanthrope friend and a fear of what he might encounter if the potion had not been as successful as Snape seemed to be certain it would be.
Snape had already swung his long legs over the side of the bed, apparently determined to get up and check on Lupin, and Harry couldn’t do anything but admire the man’s courage. He was about to say something about it, when Snape said “I intend to speak to him through the door. If he is able to answer, we will know he is still as much a man as he will ever be.” Snape sent Harry a bemused look. “You hadn’t imagined I would actually risk opening the door to a potential werewolf and risk letting it loose on Hogwarts? Not even a Gryffindor would be that stupidly courageous.”
Harry huffed in indignation. He knew that Snape didn’t mean it all that harshly, but sometimes the whole idea of the house rivalry felt so meaningless. And he knew that most Slytherins possessed as much courage as the average Gryffindor, only it manifested in a different form. To himself he admitted that often the Slytherins were more courageous in a way than Gryffindors, as the Gryffindor type of courage was more of a head-first plunging into danger, whereas the Slytherins analysed the situation first, much like the Ravenclaws would do, and only then decided if the goal was worth the effort. And even then, he had seen enough examples during the final battle to know that Slytherins, too, were capable of great unselfishness. When the going got tough, the Slytherins got tougher.
The two men left the room and, still dressed merely in their dressing gowns, went into the hallway, carefully listening for any signs of a roaming werewolf in the room next door. But everything was quiet. Almost too quiet.
Snape approached the door and knocked on it. He thought he could hear a muffled sound behind it and wasn’t sure what to make of it, when to his great relief, they heard Lupin’s voice.
“Are you all right in there?” Harry asked through the closed door, and when the answer was affirmative, Snape quickly undid the locking spell and removed the wards.
A somewhat flushed Lupin greeted them as the door was opened. Snape sent him a sharp glance.
“Did you encounter any side effects from the potion?” he asked Lupin, who looked slightly uneasy at the piercing look from the Potions Master.
“Er… Not exactly,” Lupin answered and to Snape’s amazement he blushed almost crimson. When Lupin continued, Harry and Snape both felt heat rise in their cheeks, because he went on explaining, that while his overall appearance had been unchanged, he had experienced some of the changes related to the lycanthropy, among those a highly-enhanced hearing as well as sense of smell.
“I did not in any way want to eavesdrop on your … er… private life,” said Lupin, looking as if he would want to be anywhere than where he was at the moment.
“But I couldn’t help hearing … certain … outbursts.” he said quickly, with an excusing smile to Harry. Then he sent Snape an almost sly grin. “I never thought you would be so … vocal, Severus.”
. . .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. .
During the afternoon the next day, Snape was getting more and more edgy. Now was the time for his plan, and he was having second thoughts about the sanity of it. And so few things should go wrong before he would be faced with nothing less than a potential catastrophe.
Even the students seemed to notice that something was wrong with him. The last lesson that day had been a remarkable experience. It had been like the whole class had been hit by a Silencio charm. Hardly anyone had uttered a word as it had been obvious that Snape was in a mood that made his usual foul temper seem quite friendly.
Of course, that wasn’t actually the case. Had anyone asked Snape, it was highly doubtful that he could even have told which year he had been teaching, so occupied had he been with his own musings. He appreciated the silence though.
After dinner, he motioned to Lupin to follow him to his quarters, saying that he had prepared the daily dose of Wolfsbane for him. That was true, of course. What Snape didn’t tell was that it wasn’t quite the same potion as the one Lupin had gotten the day before.
Inside his quarters, Snape poured the Wolfsbane into the chalice he normally used for that purpose and handed it over to Lupin.
Again, the werewolf habitually sniffed the content, then looked up at Snape.
“This doesn’t smell like the one you made yesterday,” he said, and for a moment, Snape was dumbstruck while he cursed himself for not taking Lupin’s sensitive nose into consideration. But he regained his wits and said, remembering last night, “It was in an attempt to dull your senses as well, to a more human level.”
That answer seemed to satisfy Lupin, and he drank the contents while wincing slightly at the bitter taste.
Snape observed him carefully as the chalice was drained. There. All gone. Now at least that part of the plan had worked. He hoped it would be a good omen for the rest of the evening.
The three men sat for a while in silence and Snape tried to ascertain how much time had passed without being too obvious about it. After a while he casually said, “Harry, have you told Lupin about the strange thing with your wand?”
It was clear from Lupin’s questioning looks that he hadn’t, and although Harry gave a slight jerk at the word “wand” he bravely started to explain the whole story to Lupin, who sat spellbound, listening to the story.
All the while, Snape busied himself finding Harry’s wand and placing it somewhere in plain sight without exactly shoving it in Harry’s face. He also made sure his own wand was out of sight, although he of course knew exactly where it was, should his plan go wrong, causing him to have need of it.
He sat down again, in the sofa next to Lupin, and waited.
Then a lot of things seemed to happen all at once.
Suddenly, Lupin gave a surprised yelp and looked at his hand in terror. Long brownish-black hairs were sprouting from the back of it and the nails were rapidly extending into claws. A low growl was erupting from his throat and he started to lose more and more of his human form while the transformation stated.
Snape was terrified. Although he knew this would happen, he hadn’t been prepared for the emotions the memories of the previous times he had seen the fearsome beast. And what was worse: Harry looked absolutely paralysed.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” roared Lupin with what seemed to be the last part of his humanity, and then he leapt at Snape who was knocked over by the attack.
Then, just as Lupin was about to close his fangs around Snape’s throat, Snape heard the most wonderful and welcome sound in the world: Harry, wand in hand, crying out a “Stupefy” that made the werewolf fly halfway through the room. The “Stupefy” was quickly followed by a “Petrificus Totalus” and for good measure, also a binding spell.
Snape got up slowly and looked carefully at Harry. His plan had been carried out to the letter. Now the question was if it had helped any or if he’d made matters worse by forcing Harry to use his own wand and do magic.
Harry was standing in the middle of the room, clenching the wand. A faint blue aura seemed to glow all around him and as Snape got nearer he could feel the magic crackle and to his astonishment he saw a similar glow encompassing his own body as he got close enough to Harry to put his arms around him.
“You saved my life,” Snape said and bend down to kiss Harry, who still stood as if the Petrificus Totalus had backfired. Then Harry looked up at him and kissed him back. The heard a loud crack as their mouths met each other’s, and Snape saw Harry’s eyes widen, knowing that he probably sported a similarly surprised look.
He looked down. The blue glow was gone but he felt a contentedness he had never felt before. One quick glance at Harry told him all he wanted to know.
Harry felt it too.
He looked up at Snape with a look of awe on his face.
“What happened?” he asked, then looked down at his right hand, which was still clenching the wand. The wand which Harry had not even been able to touch earlier.
A disbelieving smile shone on the young man’s features.
“I can touch my wand again,” he said. Then, narrowing his eyes, he looked at Snape.
“You set this up, didn’t you?” You knew this would happen. You made Lupin…” Harry broke off.
“Lupin!” he cried and rushed to the still figure at the other side of the room.
Snape had almost forgotten the werewolf, but now he hurried over to the crumbled heap that was Lupin. The glittering, yet immobile eyes told him that Lupin was definitely alive, and absolutely livid.
Snape went to his bureau and fetched a small vial, whose contents he then forced between the werewolf’s clenched teeth. Almost at once the figure seemed to shrink in front of their eyes, until Lupin had fully transformed back into a man. His eyes were still blazing though, as if his highest wish would be to rip out Snape’s throat at any given opportunity.
“Lupin” said Snape, “I know you can hear me. I’m going to release the Petrificus Totalus now, but please remain still or the ropes may hurt you.”
He then murmured a “Finite Incantatem” and they both watched as the stiffness left Lupin’s body, only to be replaced by a frantic wriggle. A flow of curses streamed from the normally very gentle man’s lips.
“This I will never ever forgive you for doing, Snivellus,” he sneered. Harry looked at him in horror.
“Remus,” he tried, but he might as well have spoken to a stone gargoyle, so little effect did his words have on the outraged man on the floor.
Snape had left for a brief moment but returned now with what Harry recognized as “the Blue Stuff”, some of which he dribbled into Lupin’s mouth at the same time as the man had opened it to further curse at Snape.
Almost immediately the Blue Stuff took effect and Remus seemed to be considerably calmer. After another minute or so, Snape murmured the counter spell to the binding spell, the ropes falling free. He bent down to help Lupin to his feet.
Lupin jerked out of Snape’s grip, but didn’t look like he would use an Unforgivable on him any longer. Harry placed a hand on Lupin’s shoulder and said, in a somewhat apologetic tone, “Remus, I know this must have been ghastly for you, but Severus did it to help me.” Again, he stressed Snape’s first name so as to subtly let Lupin know he was being extremely rude when he kept using the old nickname.
“I know,” murmured Lupin, with a haunted look. “But why couldn’t you at least have told me about it so I had known what to expect?”
Snape looked slightly guilty as he muttered something about “the element of surprise.” To himself, he knew that he hadn’t told Lupin not just because of that, but also because of their old feud. Of course, he would rather be subjected to hours of the Cruciatus Curse than to admit to such childish behaviour, so he changed the subject and said, “At least we know that the Improved Wolfsbane also works after the transformation took place.”
This stopped Lupin from saying what he had been about to say.
“You’re right,” he said and looked down at himself, as if only now he fully realising he wasn’t in his werewolf form any longer. “It really did counter the transformation.”
He stood still for a while, then a big, bright smile slowly spread across his face. It was so contagious that both Snape and Harry smiled, too, and their smiles grew even bigger as Lupin said wonderingly, “You do realise that this is essentially a cure for Lycanthropy, right?”
As if summoned, Dumbledore came in through the door, as always not caring for wards or locks. The three men turned to look at him, when he started talking, a smile beaming with a strength that almost overpowered those of the others spread across his face.
“Severus, I must admit I had my doubts,” the old wizard said, “but you have proven that you are indeed the best Potions Master in Britain, if not in the whole of the Wizarding World.”
Harry turned his head and looked at Snape, who had a slight tinge at the top of his cheekbones. Snape looked away as Dumbledore continued, “You have used your wits not only to help your beloved Harry but more importantly, you have helped a man whom you have been bearing grudges against for too many years. It takes a good man to help his friends, but a great man to help his enemies,” Dumbledore declared with pathos, and Snape looked decidedly uneasy at the praises.
Harry slipped an arm around him and gave him a slight squeeze.
Snape looked down at his Harry and smiled. Yes. Everything had worked out as he had hoped. Harry could hold his wand again and Lupin did no longer need to undergo the painful transformation to a beast every month.
Perhaps, with time, he could even befriend the man. As ofnow, he was pleased that their old enmity had ended.
Things were going to be fine now. He had his Harry and Harry had his wand again.
... . .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. ... FIN ... .- . .-. ..- . . -. .- .--. .