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 !)

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.


Chapter Four - A Kiss Is But A Kiss... And Sometimes It's So Much More

By DrusillaDax


I've been training since we came back from Paris...

By the way, that was an incredible break. Those seven days have been the most important in my life till now. They've come to count more for me than my initial "four happy memories". I cherish them more than the day I discovered I was a wizard, more than the day Gryffindor won the House Cup in my first year, more than the day Cho pecked me on the cheek before leaving Hogwarts -and my life-, more than the day I fell asleep in Hermione's arms and she held me like a sister, a mother and my best friend...

It *seems* that Severus's has endless layers. And I like it.

Because Shakespeare has taught me the true meaning of that verb and thus I have some hope that I will understand Severus one day.

Maybe it's just me growing up, becoming an adult, somehow... Maybe he's changing as well... I don't know. And I don't care.

All I know is that working with him is a real pleasure.

I guess that, prior to his apparating to Privet Drive, if anyone had told me I would be waiting for him to be brought back to me by a grinning house elf, I would have kindly recommended a thorough therapy in a place with padded walls...

But, I'm learning so much... About being a wizard... About myself...

We work a lot and we work hard, but we have some fun too.

During one of the first days of September, he found me with a cauldron in the parlour and asked what kind of potion I was brewing. I gave him the recipe Hermione had sent.

"Bouillabaisse ?" Severus said, evidently flabbergasted, but with a perfect accent.

"Why, yes... Sounds good for our evening meal, and that's training nonetheless..." I quietly answered.

"But, Harry... In here ?"

"So what ? Don't be so conservative Severus !" and I clapped him on the back before adding, "Besides, I can have an eye on the soup and learn the new spells you recommended..."

We had a very pleasant meal in the garden and I got another glimpse of that smile I had only seen in Paris.

Some days afterwards, during the week-end, I had found his old packet of cigarettes and I had taken it with me to the garden. I was reading under the plum-tree and was about to light a cigarette, not taking my eyes from Hero's ordeal, when a hand took it away.

"I've stopped years ago. You're not starting," Severus simply said. There was no command in his tone, it was between a statement and a wish... And he added slyly, "Believe me, the last thing most people want is to kiss a cold ash-tray good morning when they wake up!"

"Which is why you were smoking *after* breakfast ?" I chuckled.

He laughed softly. *That* was something new as well.

"My, my... The Slytherin training is finally paying off..." he gently teased me.

I gave him the packet and he made it disappear.

"If you want to keep your mind busy, beside your regular training," Severus advised, "Learn his work by heart." That being said while pointing at Shakespeare's works.

I started with the sonnets he had given me first (the initial gift... so important... even if we never miss our birthdays and Christmas now).

Curiously, or not, those sonnets helped me see through the tangle of my emotions.

I started thinking that love is a tricky thing, that one soul searching for another soul is the only important thing, that whatever the wrapping around the soul is, *that* is not relevant. Once you've recognized the other soul, the body that harbours it becomes at the same time secondary and damn spicy... I had such a glimpse of a soul with Cho, but this is *not* what she saw in me...

And... Now...

Now... I'm lost.

Even Shakespeare is not enough to see me through this. Or...? After all, Severus had said that everything was there.

I've been so emotionally secluded that I find it difficult to decipher my own feelings. It is in times like these that I dearly miss my friends...

Sooo, I do need to question my soul for some hours with the help of the Bard and if I add one good chat with Hermione the next time she visits us and I can hope to see clearly in me...


OK, I have to admit that what happened during the Christmas break *did* help a lot too.

In spite of the freezing temperature, Severus had insisted on training outside. We flew and he ended in a thick layer of snow after I pushed him off his broom. He was so surprised and it was so funny that we improvised a massive snow-ball fight. There we were, officially two grown-ups, two wizards threatened by the Dark Lord and his followers, acting as if we were back in school! We had a lot of fun, but Severus caught a cold.

I had never seen him sick, and he admitted that it had not happened in years. I prepared a potion, fed him and put him to bed.

While Dobby regularly added logs to the fire, I did something Ron had once told me his mother did when one of her children was ill: I read to him.

At the beginning, I sat in the chair by his bed. When he started to shiver, reacting to the potion, I no longer thought,but acted. I climbed into bed, took him in my arms and shared body heat while reading love sonnets all the while.

It just seemed the proper thing to do.

I finally stopped reading when I was certain that he was fast asleep and that the potion was healing him. We did not move from our positions and in spite of the nasty ache in my back, it was a lovely night. We woke up at the same time and did not feel embarrassed at all.

I remember thinking 'Six'. I have to stop that...


In the Spring, Jules invited us to the renewal of his vows. Severus explained that the ceremony usually was something private and as such his inviting us acknowledged our friendship and our importance in his life...

I think Jules saw.

I hope he did.


One year after my own graduation, Albus authorized me to come to Hogwarts for the staff celebration. That proved to be a vital invitation. Truly vital.

Dobby brought me to Severus's quarters where I was supposed to hide till I could secretly join the staff. I went to his office and borrowed his Shakespeare edition. I was reading the plan of Richard III to get rid of his wife Anne, when I heard someone forcing the spells on his bedroom door. I hid. It was Fleur Delacour. For one split second I was tempted to reveal my presence, but something in the way that 'Fleur' was holding herself told me that the original owner of that body was *not* a woman. Who but a Death Eater would use Polyjuice Potion to breach in Hogwarts security and enter the quarters of the traitor to Voldemort's cause ?

When Severus came in his office, I signaled him not to say a word about my being there. 'Fleur' came in and tried to take Severus's wand. Then, there was a concert of spells. Dark spells.

Finally, wand pointing towards Severus, 'Fleur' started to say, "Avada..." and I ended it with the only thing that could save Severus "... Kedavram !" causing the curse to backfire.

The green light turned blue, hit 'Fleur' and 'she' was dead before she hit the ground.

Severus and I looked at each other and asked at the exact same time, "Are you all right ?"

When the Potion wore off, it revealed Lucius Malfoy. I had never seen Albus so relieved, afraid and proud. For one minute Minerva had acted like a goldfish out of its bowl and then she had taken to beaming silently. There was so much pride in her eyes that it made me blush !

When we were finally left alone, Severus hugged me.

"Thank you, Harry!" he said.

"I did what had to be done."

"You saved my life. By using one of the Unforgivable Curses. You have..." He insisted, unable to bring himself to say that I had killed for him, that I had taken a life to protect his.

"Of course!" I answered with more heat than I had originally intended.

He extended his hand and I clasped it.

There was so much in that gesture.

Final truce.



And feelings...


Ten to midnight, last day of July, I go to the garden...

"How come you beat me to this spot each and every year, Severus ?" I ask my friend who's already sitting on the bench.

"The answer might be in the number of my years..." he answers, clearly joking.

I sit next to him and say, "Naaaaaaaah ! The candles on your cake have *nothing* to do with that... I think it's just because you're a cunning Slytherin and a damn gifted wizard who knows where to be and what to do."

We each reach for the other's hand at the same time and sit there, hand in hand, watching the twinkling stars. It's a blessing that there is no light pollution in Hogsmeade...


Then, everything goes very fast. Faster than light or Curse.

Albus apparates and gives us a spell that Hermione and the real Fleur have invented. Using that and the indications gathered by the Order we begin our final attack...


Side by side in the kitchen over the breakfast we've barely had time to touch, we look at the spell. It seems that when the Death Eaters kidnapped Fleur they had not thought she could learn a lot from them and escape to tell. The spell is designed to trace the main concentration of magic produced by the Dark Mark. We may find some of the homes of the Death Eaters, while looking for Voldemort, but we are bound to find where the Dark Lord and his followers are meeting.

We look at each other.

That's it.

The last battle.

This time we either win or die.

Strangely, I'm not really afraid. It will be over for good in a few hours.

There's but one thing...

One stupid thing.

And yet... If I am to die today, I want to be kissed once in my life. I want a kiss.

No, let's be honest... I don't want to die - I refuse to die - before I have been kissed... By Severus...

I want my very first kiss in this kitchen. Right now. And a spark in his dark pupils informs me that this is what he wants too.

I have to let him operate as I am without a clue...

He holds me in his arms and brushes my lips with his lips. I am so surprised that I close my eyes and open my mouth to say something... Bad idea... So to speak, since his tongue gently invades my mouth immediately. That is so soft, so tender.

My mouth is so dry that if we were in a desert he would be saving my life right now. Right now, it feels like he's saving my soul.

Soon enough instinct kicks in and I start to respond. What he does to me gives me ideas that I mirror or transform slightly.

His hands on by back make me purr. The moan that escapes his mouth when I caress his scalp through the soft mass of his black hair makes me happier than if I had won a Potions Contest in my first year at Hogwarts.

With one last peck on the lips he breaks the spell before we cannot stop.

I must be blushing *and* grinning.

We have to go, but I have something *else* to fight for, besides saving the world.


Severus and I apparate and disapparate. Location after location we are looking for the reunion organized by Voldemort.

We find them and we are the first to do so...


Our friends must have found some of the Death Eaters since the circle around Voldemort is far from being complete.

We are the first to react and start cursing them with lethal spells : we have agreed that the Ministry sending them to Azkaban or anywhere else would be too dangerous. We must kill them and free the earth from that plague.

Severus is shielding me as much as I am shielding him.

A damn good team.

Now it's two to one : Voldemort is all alone.

No ! Wait ! I blast his snake and now he is all alone.

I remember the spell I had found last year. The one that started most of this.

I no longer need to use words with Severus. I know we are thinking the same thing at the same time. I want to cast that spell, get rid of Voldemort and go back to Severus's arms and lips. There must be so much more and I want to know everything...

Severus swiftly places himself behind me. His left arm encircles me and we intertwine our fingers. Our wand hands point towards Voldemort, we clasp our right hands, holding our wands together and we yell, "Arvadekadava !". The fourth Unforgivable Curse.

The white light hits Voldemort whose face shows his utter surprise and he dies. Finally.

Severus screams and hisses as his Mark leaves his flesh.

I put my wand back in my sleeve and examine his arm with him. It's smooth and white.

It's over.

We are alive and I must be grinning again. I want to go back to the kitchen and resume our activities where we had left off.

Now that the world can be mine, all I want is to share a desert island with Severus Snape. I see no irony in that.

I clearly see that he has become my world. It seems that my thoughts are readable for I see him gulp and he is undeniably speechless, for once.





Now I know and he knows. And I feel that he feels the same.

I want to go back to Hogsmeade, but our friends and companions arrive and we cannot escape.

Hermione jogs in with a company of MOSSes. She's not wearing the usual dress of the Aurors but has trousers and a shirt with very large sleeves. It seems practical and some of the MOSSes look like they think it's a brilliant idea.

She's ordering the MOSSes to check everything when Minerva and Albus come in. Then, a whirlwind of red apparates: the Weasleys join us.


It took us hours to get news from all the other members of the Order. All of the Death Eaters are dead while our side was extremely lucky.

I had not remarked that Severus and I were still holding hands, it's Ginny's pretty smile that made me acknowledged that. Severus sees her look, then mine. I press his hand and don't let go.


Back in London, Fudge informs us that there will be a gigantic celebration in a few days. I'm happy because, then, we'll be able to have a huge party with all our friends and right now I can go back *home* with Severus.

"Could I stay some more time in your house, Albus ?" I ask my old friend.

"You can stay as long as it pleases you," he says, eyes twinkling.

I mean to take the French leave, but it's out of the question because the Weasleys want to celebrate our victory and we all find ourselves in the Leaky Cauldron.

Once we start celebrating, it becomes obvious that we won't be leaving any time soon. While I can still remember my name, I ask Tom for a room: a big one, with a large bed and a view over Diagon Alley. Bill overhears me and winks in a friendly way. I see him send Ron my way.

My friend hugs me and whispers, "Back in our first years, who would have thought you'd end up with *him*..."

I grin. He is my friend and he doesn't care for the gender of the person I've come to love more than life.

I go back next to Severus, our ankles barely touching as we sit, like promises of things to come...

When I 'take a walk down the corridor', I am somehow ambushed by the Weasley sons. They give me time to deal with my 'business' and start giving me tips... right there in the bathroom!

Then Percy throws them out : he wants to be alone with me and shares some interesting spells, Slytherin ones, with me and offers me something that, he says, would be useful.

There's a knock at the door and Ginny comes in. Percy goes out, leaving the stage to his sister.

"I thought I'd come and rescue you..." she says.

"Thanks !"

She's beaming. She has almost the same look on her face as she had on that bridge in Paris. She is a true friend.

"Our parents are blind... about Professor Snape and you and that's very funny !... I had seen it coming, you know..." she adds.

"H-how ?" I stammer.

"I think that you'll soon discover the advantages there are to dating a Slytherin..." and with those words she pecks me on the cheek and puts a phial in my hand, leaving me with two Weasleys' offerings for which I do not know the application.

I put them in my sleeve, quite sure that Severus *will* know what to do with those...


We've been drinking. A lot.

But I'm only tipsy, I'm not drunk.

Severus looks relaxed. He smiles.

Hermione is acting drunk and I think she's having fun with the Weasleys since she can play tricks pretending it's the whiskey speaking.

Minerva and Albus nearly die laughing when Ginny brings Draco, and Arthur and Molly welcome him like a lost son. The Weasley parents are unlikely to remember anything of this because they have more alcohol than blood in their systems, but Draco will *never* forget that evening.


The light is dimming. The sun must be setting and I want to enjoy that with Severus. Alone.

"Come with me ?" I ask in a whisper.

He nods.

He follows me upstairs.

Room 9.

Nice door.

I have the key in my hand and we're standing in front of it.

My stomach is reinventing the concept of roller-coasters.

I have fever and I am freezing at the very same time.

I am lost and I have never been more certain of anything.

Severus smiles *that* smile and holds out his hand.

I give him the key and he opens the door...


A/N: Room 9 is not some twisted reference to Cloud 9, it's just than 9 is my lucky number. There. You know...

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