Author's Note: There were betas injured in the process of creation: all praise eccentric_femme and SilentG [http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=197488]! All remaining mistakes are mine and mine alone.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing you recognize is mine. It mainly belongs to the goddess JKR or an awfully long list of people... (the MOSSes -Ministry Officers of State Security- are mine). If you like it, review and feed my soul. And since we don't need to hurt each other, if you don't like it, don't tell me! Flamers will be adopted by my family (if you don't believe it's a threat... too bad for you!)
WARNING: This fic is about Harry Potter and Severus Snape falling in love and, in the end, in the same bed. If you do not like the concept, do not read further...
Chapter Two - Thank you, Albus, really...
Thanks to Crabbe and Goyle who had told their fathers, Voldemort now knew for sure that Severus Snape was a spy. He only had the opportunity to do some of his "job"during one whole year. Then, when he answered the last summon of the Dark Lord, he barely escaped. His "friends" in the Dark Arts all tried to kill him according to Voldemort's orders.
He disapparated back to the gates of Hogwarts and ran to Dumbledore's office. The Opening Charm Albus had put on his gargoyle to recognize the Potions master operated just in time. Severus took refuge in the room where the paintings gasped when they saw him.
The door closed behind him and Albus was instantly at his side, guiding him to a comfortable chair by the fire. The early July night was chilly, as if it were sharing the feelings and fears of the Potions master. Severus was covered with dust and slightly bruised. Albus took care of him, provided some tea and sat next to the younger wizard. Severus drank and winced.
"What, my friend ?" Albus asked.
"It's too hot... and too strong..." and he started to laugh softly.
Albus's eyebrows were only stopped by the ceiling.
"May I ask to be transferred to Beauxbatons, Albus ?" Severus wondered.
For one whole and dreadful second, Albus thought his friend had finally lost his mind. He thought he had pushed Severus way too far... Then he saw that this joke of some sort had been Severus's way of remaining sane. So Albus smiled and put a comradely hand on his friend's shoulder.
"Sorry, but you're certainly the best Potions master Hogwarts ever had and I'm not sharing you with those Mediterranean witches!"
Severus blew on his cup and started drinking the ill-brewed infusion.
Suddenly, he remembered something Goyle had shouted during the fight and spilled the entire cup.
"Albus, the wards at the Dursleys are weakening and they'll find Potter soon. They might be working on that right now... We must go and take him away!"
Severus was ready to run back to the gates to disapparate to Privet Drive, but Albus stopped him.
"Fawkes!" Albus called.
The faithful phoenix popped instantly in the room and drew a circle of fire in the air. Albus took Severus's hand and told him to follow him.
Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape apparated into Harry Potter's bedroom.
Albus found the look on Severus's face absolutely priceless. He particularly enjoyed to surprise people. If he could have them amazed, it was even better. Flabbergasted made his day. Severus had just made at least a whole week!
The Hogwarts Headmaster went to the bed where Harry was fast asleep. He sat next to the boy and worked on waking him up.
"He's too deep a sleeper," Severus remarked.
"Can you blame him ?"
"No," the Potions master whispered, "But it's dangerous. If we had been Death Eaters, he'd be taken or dead by now..."
"Or *you* would be dead," Harry quietly said, finally opening his eyes slowly.
"Potter ?" Severus said.
"Professor ?" Harry answered, not fully awake yet.
"You slept through our arrival, Potter!" Severus vehemently exclaimed.
"Shshsh!" Harry whispered in earnest, "If you wake up the Muggles, we're not out of the woods... Well, I'm not..."
Harry searched for his glasses and then acknowledged that his eyes were already open and he remembered that he no longer needed them. Two weeks ago, just before he left Hogwarts, Madam Pomfrey *and* Albus Dumbledore had insisted on performing an Eyesight Charm that totally improved his vision of the world.
He grinned at the two men and explained that Hermione had helped him with wards and that they worked like Muggle security alarms.
"Do you realize, Potter, that those *improvements* of yours may have endangered your life by weakening our initial protections ?" Severus growled.
"Or not," Albus said, "Would you perform the spell, Severus ?"
The Potions master took his wand from his sleeve and chanted an intricate spell. Harry was in awe, he had never seen more elegant movements and the voice that was usually so cold was now warm and... like hot cocoa on a rainy day. Small lights appeared in the room, they were white or light blue and when a blue one touched a white one they exploded and formed three white lights.
Severus raised an eyebrow and Albus whispered, "Amazing..."
All that was Greek to Harry, but the two wizards understood that Harry's own wards were regenerating theirs. Severus ended the spell and the lights disappeared.
"What's happening ?" Harry asked.
"I shall leave Severus to give you the full details, but your life might be in danger if you stay here. You must come with us immediately. We'll help you pack," Albus explained.
"I don't have much in this room right now... Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia didn't let me have my trunk this summer..." a very embarrassed Harry stated.
"Where is it ?" Severus inquired.
"In my old cupboard under the stairs..."
"Your *what*, Potter ?"
"In the cupboard where I slept before, right under the stairs..." Harry innocently said. His voice was not bitter, he was merely making a statement.
Without a word, Severus went out and downstairs. He opened the cupboard, put a Levitating Spell on the trunk and reflected that one should really be twisted to make a child sleep there. It was at that precise moment that Dudley appeared from the kitchen where he had been stealing food... again. The boy froze, gaping.
Severus went past him with the trunk and hissed, "If you don't believe right now that I was just something weird in a dream, I promise to become your worst nightmare..."
That night, Dudley never dared to climb the stairs that black-clad person had taken and he spent the night on the sofa where Petunia found him with a plate of muffins for which he was punished.
When Severus was back in Harry's room, the boy was dressed in way too large Muggle clothes (leftovers from the calf downstairs, assuredly, Severus thought), he had his wand and his owl.
Albus was ready to take them away, "You have everything, Harry ? You won't come back before long... if ever."
"H-how, sir ?"
"You cannot stay here this summer because of Voldemort, then you'll be back to Hogwarts and if there is still danger next summer, you'll have to hide again where I'm taking you right now. I'll be the one protecting you. I'll send Dobby to take care of you and I'll even have to keep your faithful owl with me, she's too well-known and might give away your location..."
"Then... maybe we should leave a note to the Dursleys ?" Harry suggested.
"Why do you want to be civil to those people ?" Severus said.
"Because I don't want to grow up to be like them," Harry answered.
Severus looked deep in the boys eyes, trying to reach his soul, and said, "Point
taken.""*For* Gryffindor, sir ?"
"Yes, but too bad this is the summer, Potter..." yet, Severus was smiling.
"I shall send an owl to your family, Harry... Now, my boys, it's time to go... Wands in sleeve..." They obeyed and Albus gave the owl cage to Severus while himself took the floating trunk, "Take our hands Harry."
Protected by the two older wizards, Harry apparated for the first time in his
"I take it you like apparating, Harry," Albus chuckled.
"Yes, sir..." Harry replied, clearly awed.
They were in what seemed to be a town house in Hogsmeade. They were in Albus Dumbledore's secret haven.
"Well, my dear friends, I think you both need to sleep. You can take the rooms you like. I'll send Dobby right over to prepare your beds and then, Severus, you can ask him to bring back whatever you need from your quarters..." Albus declared.
"I beg your pardon, Albus ? I'm going back to Hogwarts with you!"
"No, my friend, you're not! It would be too dangerous for you as well to stay visible in the world and we cannot leave Harry all alone. Do you want me to warn your friends that you're in hiding, Harry ?" Albus asked.
"Yes, please. Sirius, the Weasleys, Hermione and Hagrid... They usually owl and even send me presents for my birthday..."
"I'll tell them... and, Severus, I've put a Confinement Spell on the whole house, so do not try to breach it..." and Albus disapparated with Hedwig.
"They found out you were spying on them," Harry stated, turning to his Potions
master."Yes!" he barked.
He took out his wand and tested the Confinement Spell. It was damn strong. He sank in a chair... happily, Albus loved comfortable ones...
He looked at the boy.
"You would not have come to fetch me in the middle of the night if awful things had not just occurred... Maybe you'll have to stay here just for a few days... and the house seems pretty big..." Harry offered, the last thing he wanted being his Potions master, former Death Eater, expert in the Dark Arts and ex-spy mad at him in a house from which he could *not* escape.
"It will do for the night, but I'll catch Albus the next time he calls!"
Then, they explored the house. It was a true and classic wizard's house : it had more tricks than it initially displayed. For example, the first door they opened on the first floor while looking for the bedrooms was the one leading to the garden.
"Albus!" Severus whispered, shaking his head.
Harry just smiled, maybe this would be better than the Burrow...
When Harry went down, following the smell of fresh coffee, he found something totally unexpected in the kitchen... Severus Snape in a silky scarlet dressing gown was at the table, reading the Daily Prophet, with a real meal in front of him, a whole pot of coffee and a cigarette in his left hand.
"Good morning, Professor," Harry whispered, sitting in front of the other man.
"Good morning, Potter," Severus answered in a rather neutral way, but without looking at Harry.
Dobby popped in the room just long enough to place Harry's favourite breakfast in front of him and he immediately popped out.
The older wizard lowered a corner of the paper to look at Harry and explained that Dobby had been doing that since he woke up, since it seemed that Albus feared he would try to catch him to get out of the house.
Harry attacked his plate in silence.
"By the way, Potter, I hope you don't mind..." Severus said showing the cigarette.
"No, sir. Someone told me once those could be soothing, but..."
"What, Potter ?"
"Is it..." Harry stopped, but the look of his teacher told him that he'd better finish that sentence, "Is it *really* worth what you're doing to your lungs ? I know virtually nothing about wizarding medicine, but..." he decided to stop there, he was still *trapped* in the house...
"I only smoke one in the morning and exclusively during the summer, besides..."Severus stopped and thought 'what am I doing ? Chatting over breakfast with a child! With
"Why should you care for my health ?" he snapped back.
Both were silent for some time.
"Would you like some of the paper ?" Severus asked.
"Hm, Sports, please ?"
And Severus gladly gave it to him.
After breakfast, Severus went back to "his" room and read for some hours, then Dobby's knock on the door informed him that it was already time to have some lunch. Dressed in black denim and a black Muggle shirt, he took the book with him and followed the elusive house-elf in the garden were a picnic awaited him under a plum-tree.
"Where's Potter ?" Severus asked.
"Studying in the parlour..."
Severus went down and found Harry immersed in his books.
"A sight I had never expected to see..." Severus said.
Harry stopped reading and taking notes, "Not surprising with Voldemort and the Dursleys around..."
Exhaustion got the best of the Potions master and he laughed out loud.
"Time to feed your brain cells, Potter."
Under the tree, Harry noticed the book Severus had kept with him, but did not dare...
"That's the complete works of William Shakespeare, Potter, since you look so interested..."
"Is it really as good as everybody says it is, sir ?"
Severus looked at the nearly spitting image of James, but the eyes he got from Lily prevented him from being too sharp... many times...
"You have everything there. The answers to the world are there."
'Brilliant, Harry, I bet I'd get a Z in eloquence if we had such a class,' he
thought.Yet, Severus did not pay attention, Harry had mentioned one of his secret pet subjects.
"You've never read any of his works ?"
"No, sir. Before Hogwarts, my Muggle school was... Well, it was not on the reading list and it is not the kind of thing you'll find in Privet Drive... Since Hogwarts... surviving has been my priority..."
Severus Snape decided to carry on this curious discussion between sandwiches, "How do you explain your relatively poor grades in Potions ?"
Harry looked at him, surprised because the tone of the question bore no judgment : his teacher only wanted to know... "Well, sir, your subject *is* the most intricate. No dates to remember, no use of the wand to transfigure boxes or pins or to cast spells, no tea leaves... I've been raised by Muggles and had never seen a cauldron or a potion before your first lesson and I can never train... I need training... and sometimes, with dear old Voldie on my back, I just... go to sleep without learning by heart the ingredients for our next potion."
"I'd gladly clear my Gringotts account to see the reaction of the Dark Lord to your calling him *that*..." Severus said, "Pray, how do you explain our Muggle-born Granger
?""She's a damn good cook!"
Then, it was Severus's turn to utter a pathetic 'Oh'.
A raised eyebrow equaled a green light.
"Do you think I could fly in the garden ?"
"Knowing Albus, he's certainly placed the Spell high enough to allow you to fly..."
"Would you mind ?"
"My flying while you read ?"
It had not occurred to Severus to stay in the garden, but that was a good idea.
"Not at all."
Harry went to fetch his Firebolt and Severus was about to tell him that he could use a Summoning Charm when he remembered that the boy was not allowed to do that.
He went back to Brutus' speech...
"Potter ? What did you do with Miss Granger exactly ?" Severus asked from under the tree to the boy on the broom.
"Oh, Hermione only helped me to find a way to place the wards without having my aunt noticing them. I created them... Would you like to see what I've done ?"
Harry flew to his trunk and retrieved a piece of parchment.
Severus read the formula Harry had entitled "Recipe" with great interest.
Days went by.
Without a word from Albus.
In only a week of work, in a quiet place, with normal meals and nothing to fear, Harry had done everything he had postponed.
In one more week, he had seriously worked on the program of his next year.
Here and there, his Potions master gave him tips.
Ten to midnight. In ten minutes he would be sixteen.
He went to the garden to enjoy the stars.
There, he met...
"Professor Snape ?"
He was sitting on the bench, smoking...
"It's not the morning yet, Professor..." Harry simply said.
"Seems that you caught me red handed, Potter... I came here to think and it felt...right. And why are you here ?"
"I can never sleep when the hour of my birthday approaches..."
Severus took a deep breath, "Albus will kill me for what I'll reveal, but if you had paid more attention in Trelawney's class, you would have seen that the hour of your birth *was* special, which is why Voldemort wants to take your magic..."
Severus chuckled sadly when he put out the cigarette.
"I was just reflecting..."
Another deep breath, "... that I would be a disappointment for my parents if they were still alive..."
"What ?" Severus whispered.
"We all make mistakes and... you joined the good guys again! It never occurred to you that what you've done and are doing *is* right and good... That you *are* redeeming... I can't help thinking that my parents... that I've somehow killed them."
"My reaction is no more logic than yours, yet, that's what we live... Good night, Professor Snape," and with those words, he went back to his room.
The next morning at breakfast, Harry found a pile of presents on the table. He opened them one by one. They were from Sirius, Hagrid, Remus Lupin, Hermione Granger, the Weasleys, Dobby, Albus Dumbledore and one last from Severus Snape : Shakespeare's Sonnets.
"Thank you, sir!"
"You're welcome... I thought that sonnets would not take too much of your time..."
Then, Harry noticed that his teacher was not smoking and was wearing a new dressing gown. Velvety, this time, but badly apple green... Severus saw his look and decided to explain, "Albus has strange choices for my birthday presents and year after year he tries to find a colour that could suit me. The way you look at this robe, I take it he's made another bad pick..."
"It's your birthday too, sir ?"
"Yes... Same day, same hour... Some years before..."
Harry worked all day.
When he went to his room that night, Severus Snape found the small dream catcher Harry had made with a twig from the garden, threads and beads provided by Dobby and one of Hedwig's feathers. The piece of parchment read 'Happy Birthday... Hope you like the colour...'
Severus came back in the bathroom to take another towel to finish drying his hair, but Harry was there too, fighting with his hair.
"Oh, sorry, Potter!"
"You can come in, Professor, I'm just... losing that battle!" and obviously the comb was stuck.
While Harry kept fighting, Severus dried and combed his hair.
"Oh! I quit!" Harry sighed.
"Here, let me help you..." and within seconds and for the first time in a long time, Harry's hair looked tame.
"Th-thank you, Professor! How did you do that ?"
"A Slytherin trick, Potter..." Severus dangerously purred.
Harry felt he would not obtain the recipe that day...
Then, he took a good look at his teacher and found that his hair looked... different.
"Yes, I know, Potter... It's too long..."
"Hm, sir ?"
"It kind of suits you, but... it *looks* different."
"No potions fumes, or Longbottom's exploding cauldrons, and thorough combing... That's all. I usually don't have time..." Severus explained, slightly amused.
Severus Snape *was* a light sleeper. In the middle of the night, when he heard Harry moaning, unmistakably in pain, he grabbed his wand and ran to the other room.
Harry was still asleep and Severus woke him up kindly.
"Is it your scar, Harry ?"
"Hm ? No... My legs..."
Severus pushed the covers back and tried to determine what was wrong. Harry's legs were almost skinny.
"Nothing dreadful. You're *just* growing... Maybe you'll be too tall to stay on that Firebolt after this night..."
"It's only that ?"
"How do you know ?"
"It happened to me..."
On the last day of August, Albus came through the door of his own house. He found his friends in the kitchen where Severus was tutoring Harry in potions, brewing over breakfast, no less! He let them finish their experience, smelling that Severus had not been smoking, and brought them back to Hogwarts with two MOSSes, kindly provided by Fudge. As if Albus Dumbledore were not enough...
Everything was back to normal at Hogwarts.
But one thing.
During the first Potions lesson, Harry Potter won one point for Gryffindor...
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