Chapter Eleven - Like A Bludger To The Gut
Harry was quite certain that, between Lupin and himself, the slightly stunned thestral had never been so well groomed in its life. Around three he left Remus to finish up any unlikely spots they might have missed and wandered back to Sev’s office. The sky had turned overcast; pregnant grey clouds churned with the promise of a blizzard. Clear trails of melting snow followed him but, this time, he had cast an Impervious Charm on his clothes before going outside. It finally hit him which robe he’d worn. He wondered why. The office was dark, the ever-burning fireplace cold. Snape’s desk held neither note nor Pensieve. Harry frowned. He made a quick circuit, just in case. Nothing. The classroom yielded similar results. Maybe he’d gone home.
Their room, however, was deserted. Harry noted that his damp clothes had been carefully laid out by the fire. He knocked on the bathroom door. “Sev?” Nothing. Harry stuck his head into the dark, cold, empty white room. He crossed his arms and frowned, wondering where on Earth Snape might have gone. The library? The Great Hall? Hell, Filch’s office? Or Dumbledore’s. The last one was almost likely in a morbid way. He sighed and started to leave.
Sev’s Cleansweep Six stood in the broom rack by the door. Harry’s Firebolt was gone.
Images of Hogsmeade and alcohol and Death Eaters flooded his head. “You didn’t. You couldn’t have. You idiot!” Holding no real hope he ran to the window and wrenched the curtains open. Harry’s jaw dropped. Hovering a good hundred feet above the Quidditch pitch was a black smudge. Bludgers came at it from two directions. He watched in horror as Sev brought down one bat, then the other, smacking the iron spheres on a new tangent. They came straight back at him. With no one else on the pitch they only had one target. Harry came to his senses. Grabbing Sev’s broom, he tore out of the suite without even bothering to lock the door.
From the bleachers he could see the harsh twist in Snape’s shoulders every time he brought a bat down. His legs were wrapped around the broomstick and tensed with each swing. There was no way he could keep it up for long – sooner or later one of the Bludgers was going to knock him off. The Cleansweep was clumsy and slow compared to his Firebolt and it took too many seconds to reach Severus. “Get down!” He ducked a Bludger just in time, and the wooden bat missed his head by an inch. “You’re going to get killed!”
“So?” Wham. Another went flying.
“Goddammit, Sev! Are you trying to make things worse?” The sneer on his red, drawn face told Harry the answer was a resounding “yes”. Harry turned his broom just in time to beat a ball off with the twigs. “Albus would be,” duck, “furious if he knew you were trying to,” duck, “kill yourself!”
“I,” wham, “am not trying to kill,” wham, “anyone!” Harry grabbed the Firebolt’s shaft and spun it around. He jumped on behind Sev, one hand clinging to the Cleansweep. The broom bobbed but stayed up. Wielding Sev’s broom like a staff he fought off Bludgers coming from behind. How were there only two? “What in Hell do you think you’re doing?”
“Trying to save your worthless hide.” Whack! He threw his arms across Sev’s chest and rolled. A Bludger shot through exactly where Snape’s head had been. He slammed it with the Cleansweep and heard a crack.
“Was that my broom?” Harry took a piece in each hand, too enraged for guilt. “Was that my broom, Potter?”
“Yes, it was your fucking broom!” He beat off another of the relentless balls before it could knock them off. His arms burned. He backbeat one, only to have its twin graze his face. Harry cringed as his glasses fell to Earth. “I’ll buy you another one.”
“I don’t want another one, you stupid boy!” A bat nearly drove Harry off the Firebolt; the Bludger ricocheted. He yelped and clung, upside-down, with his legs. Just barely, he stopped an iron mass from taking his head. “That broom,” wham, “was a gift from,” wham, “Headmaster,” wham, “Dumbledore!” The Firebolt wrenched around. Harry almost slipped. Sev’s words sunk in. He glanced at the battered, ruined bits of wood he held, fighting back another Bludger with one. “Why do you think I took yours?”
“How the Hell was I supposed to know?” He righted himself and sent another Bludger flying with one motion. Sev had almost ceased fighting them by now. Harry’s strength was starting to ebb, too. “Get us down!”
“No!” Wham. The ball skittered and sheared Harry’s thigh.
“GET US DOWN RIGHT NOW!” Harry reached around and grabbed the Firebolt, pointing it at the ground, racing barely ahead of the Bludgers. He jumped off early, rolling to his feet, and knocked the speeding balls out of the way. One went after Sev, who spun it off-course. Harry braced himself. He dropped the broken Cleansweep and launched himself at the ball racing towards him. It slammed into his stomach; he saw stars. Literally. Crawling on his elbows, he managed to get to the ball case a few feet away. Forcing the struggling lump of metal into its harness, Harry heard a sharp cry of pain. Sev clutched his arm. Both bats had fallen into the deep snow. He saw the Bludger come around for another strike and tackled Sev into the drifts. Harry’s fingers closed around a bat and he swung blindly. A resounding crack shook his arm and, for the moment, the ball spun. When it came back a second later he sent it flying towards the case and scrambled after it. Once again his abdomen took the brunt and Harry wrestled it into the box. The lid slammed. For a moment he kneeled, panting, blind. He had no idea where his glasses were. Sharp, burning pain stiffened his shoulders. His belly throbbed. He turned his head to the blurry black lump behind him. It hugged the broken broom, bare fingers stroking shattered twigs. “You idiot! Do you have any idea how stupid that was?”
“Leave me alone.” Sev sat in the snow, knees drawn up to his chest, rocking the broom. “Just leave me alone.” Harry could barely make out those cruel black eyes brimming with tears and anger. Severus wore neither cloak nor at. His sallow skin was red.
“I will bloody not leave you alone!” Harry’s muscles protested but he dragged himself to the sudden stranger. “Goddammit, you’re not the only one who’s upset—“
“SHUT UP!” Sev’s squall echoed through the pitch. He tried to storm to his feet but they tangled in his robe and he fell. The Cleansweep’s remains were still clutched tight to his chest. A long, metallic, wordless howl rang shrill and sent a flock of birds screaming from the woods. Harry pulled Severus out of the snow and cradled him. “Let me go.” His broken voice had no power behind it. “Why didn’t he take me with him?”
“Because you have to stay with me.” He felt so thin, so small. Harry buried his face in cold, wiry hair. Heavy clumps of snow started to fall.
“You can come too.” Sev sounded like a child. “Gran’s there. You’ll like my Gran. She taught me things.”
“No, Sev. We have to stay here. Albus wouldn’t want us to come with him yet.” The man’s lips were purplish; his stained teeth chattered. Carefully, Harry stood up. Snape’s legs dangled over his arms. He was nearly a foot taller than Harry, but couldn’t weigh much over a hundred pounds. The deadly Unicorn Blood was the only thing keeping him alive. His head came to rest on Harry’s shoulder, and Harry leaned his own head against it. “Let’s get you in where it’s warm, okay?” He heard a soft slurping sound. Severus Snape had stuck three fingers in his mouth. His eyes were wide and frozen. “Oh, Severus…” This was not good. This was not good. It didn’t occur to Harry until they’d slipped in through the school’s back entrance that his glasses, his Firebolt, and the Quidditch supplies were still on the pitch. Sev whimpered, and he forgot.
Harry made his way through the halls as quietly as he could. The last thing they needed was Minerva – Headmistress McGonagall? – swooping down or, worse, a student. He peeked around a corner. Empty. Sev seemed oblivious. He’d stopped sucking his fingers, at least, and once again fondled the shattered broom. “Harry?”
“Just checking.” He hugged the limp figure tight and scooted into the next corridor. Halfway down it he heard a soft shuff shuff. It was getting closer. He bit his lip and cursed softly. There were no doors nearby. Harry ducked between two shielded suits of armour and muttered what he hoped was an invisibility spell. Sev murmured, “Avia?”
“Do you want me to get Madam Pomfrey?” Harry opened his eyes to find Nadja looking Sev over with a very no-nonsense expression. Snape stirred and stared at her. “Are you okay, Professor Snape?”
“I want Albus,” he mumbled.
“Shh, Sev.” Harry shifted him slightly. Some of the burning in his shoulders eased. “I don’t think so, Nadja, but thanks. Um… could you do something else for me, though?”
“Could you go out to the pitch and see if my glasses are there? And my broom.” It would get rid of her, and he wouldn’t have to leave Sev. The Quidditch supplies could screw themselves. Nadja nodded. Her chocolate eyes were still on Severus.
“Did you fall off your broom?”
Sev slowly shook his head. He hugged the Cleansweep tighter.
“That’s good. Harry falls off things too much. It’s better if you don’t try to copy him.” Suddenly, she grabbed Harry’s arm and hoisted herself up the wall. Nadja ran down the corridor towards the pitch before it even registered to Harry that she’d kissed Sev’s cheek.
Thin fingers twined the Cleansweep’s splintered twigs. A few fell to the stone floor. “Ten points to Ravenclaw,” he muttered.
Harry nuzzled the side of Snape’s head. “Let’s get you home.” Silently, carefully, he got back to the suite. Mrs. Norris saw them at one point, tail twitching vengefully, but left them alone. Harry set Sev in his chair and pushed the hair out of his eyes. They were distant. Maybe Dumbledore was wrong when he said Severus didn’t see him as his father. He didn’t dare take the broom away. He waved his wand at the fire and the burst of heat made them both gasp. “I’m going to run you a bath. I won’t be far.”
“Can you make it with the big silver and green bubbles? I like those.”
Harry smiled sadly. “Sure, anything you want.”
“I want Albus.” His eyes were so lost, so pleading Harry couldn’t form the words that he couldn’t have Albus. He brushed his fingers across Sev’s forehead and ran to start the bath. Huge green bubbles quickly filled the room, mixed with slightly smaller ones that looked like gazing balls. Harry shook off a memory of his dream in the hospital wing. The surface of the water was mottled silver and green. He draped his cloak over the washing hamper and stuffed his gloves into his hat. When the steaming water nearly overflowed he turned the tap off and stuck his head out.
Sev was standing at the desk, trying to fit the broken ends of the broom back together. A long piece of Spellotape hung from his lip. With the pieces more or less matched he angled his head so the tape caught one of them. He lifted the broom to wrap it. The ends slipped. He sank. Harry pulled the tape from his lower lip and stroked his cheek. “He’ll be fine.” Are you really sure about that, Professor? “Come on. Bath’s ready.”
Sev wouldn’t give up the mangled Cleansweep as Harry helped him out of his robe. It was only when he saw it would get wet if he took it into the tub that he carefully leaned the halves against the wall. Severus sank into the hot water and watched bubbles dance in front of him. Harry leaned against the side of the bathtub and flicked his long hair miserably. The streaks of grey were much more prominent than they’d been when term began. He had the gnawing feeling Sev hadn’t washed it since long before that other night in the bath. “Duck under.”
“Gonna wash your hair.” Harry groped under the tub until his hand closed on the shampoo bottle.
“Eversor won’t like that.” Harry smacked his head on the tub. He sucked air through his teeth, clutching the sore place.
“Yeouch. Crap. Eversor’s dead.” Uh… why would it bother his brother if his hair’s clean?
“I know. Like Albus.”
“Yeah.” Harry sighed. The large bathroom with its white marble tiles felt closed-in with the Slytherin bubbles everywhere. He gently prodded one skeletal shoulder. “Duck under, Eversor’s not here.”
“What if he finds out?” Harry started to tell him Eversor couldn’t find out. Sev was trembling. Sev hadn’t even trembled when he came face-to-face with an enraged Voldemort. He’d just taken the Cruciatus Curse with almost Gryffindor bravery. Harry’s mind raced in neutral. He wanted to find the enigmatic Eversor and make him bleed.
“I’ll protect you.” Severus thought about this for a moment. He took a short breath and ducked under the water. In a moment he came up, dripping with silver bubbles. Harry rolled up his sleeves and squeezed out a handful of white goo. Snape’s hair was so oily he had a hard time getting it to stay on. Quite a bit slid onto the floor. “Gah, nasty greasy bastard.” He finally managed to make enough stick. Sev looked quite silly with his hair squashed on top of his head with white foam. He kept his gaze down, visible only from the shoulders up. “Rinse.”
When he came back up, Harry inspected and decided that “lather, rinse, repeat” suggestion was a sound one. He glopped more of the pearly, vaguely coconut-scented stuff on Severus’ head. This time he worked slowly, rubbing out the tense spots in his scalp and down his neck. He received a small, appreciative groan. Harry smiled. His fingers stroked little circles around Sev’s temples. There was more he would happily have done, but today he couldn’t stand to be rejected. “Last time.” Sev came back to the surface and rest his neck on the back edge of the bathtub. The ends of his hair floated on the surface amidst the remaining bubbles. “Ready to get out?” He shook his head.
“Don’t go anywhere.”
Ever? “I’ll try.” Harry fingered the slim beaded chain still around Sev’s neck. It was a reminder of better times. God knew why he still wore it. At least Harry’s had the copper key, no longer so shiny. Sirius never did tell him how the house was coming along. Maybe he’d just decided to fix up Lupin’s old place instead.
“Hmm.” Sev grabbed his hand. Harry held his breath. He hadn’t felt this in longer than he dared think. He clutched back, afraid that if he let go he’d wake up. Severus sadly turned his head to the Cleansweep. “It’s dead, isn’t it?”
Harry nodded. A broom was far, far too complicated to repair magically. “I’m sorry. If I’d known…” A hard place arose in his throat.
“I’m keeping your Firebolt.” His voice was suddenly more like the Severus Harry knew.
“Okay.” Really, it was the least he could expect.
“I don’t know why I put up with you.”
“Neither do I.” It was probably time to move to the couch. After Sev was stable, at least.
“I love you.”
Sev turned around and glared. “Don’t they speak English where you come from?”
Snape rolled his eyes. “I’ll translate, shall I?” His lips were firmer than Harry remembered. They pressed once, quickly, then for a long, slow, lingering time. Harry put a hand around the back of his neck. He leaned his head against Sev’s, afraid to open his eyes. “A bit clearer now?” Harry nodded. He couldn’t speak. Severus took his head in both hands. “Don’t leave me.”
Harry rubbed the oddly fine hair at the base of his neck with an idle thumb. It had curled with moisture. “I don’t think I could if I tried.”
“You really are the most obnoxious of brats.”
“I love you, too.” God, that fourth word. The first three, fine, dandy, wonderful. Could say it ‘til the thestrals came home. To be able to tell his Sev “I love you, too,” again, was something he’d never even dared dream. All it took was Albus Dumbledore’s death. The man had to do something great even now, didn’t he? Sev sank back into the water.
He might as well have slapped Harry across the face. Harry blinked for a moment. “You hypocrite. Tell me you didn’t just say that.”
“I did.” He slid down further and stuck a narrow foot out of the water to turn on the hot tap. Annoying bubbles started to fill the air again. Harry’s cheek twitched. Sev lay there, eyes shut, arms folded over his chest in an X. That was how corpses were laid out. A vicious black bruise bloomed just below his left shoulder. Harry scooted across the floor and shut the water off. A black eye glared at him. “Turn that back on.”
Shoes and all, Harry stepped into the water. He crouched down over Snape’s sunken stomach. In a sharp motion he knotted that wet hair in his fist and forced Sev’s head against the back of the bath. “You coward.”
“Let go of my hair.” His face was turned away. Harry felt something flutter against his chest and glanced down. Sev’s hands were less than an inch away from him, twitching, defencive.
“Give me one good reason.”
“Let go of my hair. Please. Please.” His fingers loosened. Sev bit his lip. He slipped under the water and curled into a ball. He didn’t react when Harry pulled him up.
“Sev?” He whined and flinched when Harry tried to push the tangles out of his eyes. Frantically, he muttered under his breath. Harry realised with a start it was a long string of curses. Dark curses. He’d never heard half of them. If Sev had his wand Harry might have some smoking remains. Never taking his eyes off the rapid lips, Harry climbed out of the tub. Water sheeted from his protected clothes but beaded on his bare skin. “Sev, say something.” More curses. Harry touched his arm and he jumped.
“Don’t hurt me!”
“I’m not going to hurt you!” Harry was lost. He couldn’t touch him, couldn’t get a rational word out of him. He certainly couldn’t leave him. Harry stuck his hand in the water and groped for the plug. It slurped. Goosebumps rose on that sallow skin wherever air touched it. There was no way to tell if the man shivered in cold or fright. Harry opened the polished white cabinet next to the bath and found one of the blanket-like school towels. As soon as the water drained out he draped it over the person he used to know so well. Or thought he had. This… this wasn’t Snape. This was a petrified child with nothing to protect him from the world. Gently, he slid his arms underneath the muttering ball.
“Don’t touch me!” He thrashed, keening. Harry picked him up and held tight. “Let me go. Please. I’ll do anything you want.”
“What are you talking about?” The man started to sob. He clenched into a smaller ball and tried to roll out of Harry’s arms. The towel got tangled around both of them. Balancing him precariously, Harry kicked off a shoe and worked at the doorknob with his foot. After several tries he got his toes over top and pulled the door open. He started to lay Sev on the bed. Severus screamed.
“Get away from me! Avia!” Harry dropped him and took a step back. Sev huddled on the floor, wrapped loosely in the towel, dripping eyes fixed on Harry but finding someone else. Only when he tried to crawl under the bed did Harry remember how to move. He dropped to his knees and grabbed one of Sev’s wrists. The man squalled. “Don’t… Eversor, please… not again, please…”
“Sev, it’s me, Harry. Eversor’s not here.”
“Liar! Harry wouldn’t do this! Ever!” He wheezed. Was this an attack? It had to be. But… Sev was awake.
“What wouldn’t I do?” There was no real need to ask. He touched that thin back as the sobs grew harder, louder, primal. Could he wake up from this one? Harry slipped under the bed with him and tried to hold his eyes open. Sev pulled away. Harry took his cheeks between his palms. “Severus, look at me. No, don’t shut your eyes. Look at me.” Snape tried to jerk his head away and crawl out. Harry held him tighter. “Fifty points from Slytherin!”
It was a dumb thing to say, but Sev opened his eyes. He looked puzzled. “You can’t do that. You’re not my teacher.”
“No, but you’re mine.” Sev squinted. His entire body twitched.
Those frightened black eyes darted madly. “Where’s Eversor?”
“You killed him?” His pale brow knit, trying to make sense of the present and the past.
“No, love, you did.” Sev chewed the inside of his lip. Harry stroked his cheek. It was cold.
“Does Professor Dumbledore know?” Harry nodded. If he opened his mouth he’d release the scream lurking in his throat. “I need to see Professor Dumbledore.” Harry shook his head. With effort, he managed to fight back the shriek.
“Albus is gone, Sev.”
“I can wait. Where’s he gone?” Oh, god, this was worse than a thousand Bludgers.
“He’s with your Gran.” Severus frowned. A moment later something flickered under his skin.
“Oh. That’s right. I remember now.” He pressed his cheek against Harry’s breastbone. His arms were crossed over his chest. “You’re not going, too, are you?”
“No. No, I’m not going anywhere.”
“That’s good. I might get a little upset if you didn’t come back. That would be unbecoming of me.” Harry cuddled him. One of Sev’s hands tentatively grasped his robe. “Did I pick your clothes out?”
“Okay.” Memory apparently didn’t want to right itself. “You look nice.” Harry smiled reflexively.
“First time you’ve said that.”
“Oh.” He sounded disappointed. “I haven’t been very nice to you, have I?”
That was possibly the most bizarre thing to come out of Snape’s mouth all day. Harry kissed the top of his head, smirking ironically. “I wouldn’t trade you for the world, y’ugly git.”
“I thought I was a greasy bastard.”
“Can I have my points back now?”
“As many as you want.”
Pause. Harry could smell warmth through the wet, chemical cleanness of his hair.
“Why am I naked and under the bed?”
“Because you crawled down here.”
“Could you please let go of me? I’d like to regain some shred of my dignity.”
Harry hugged him quickly. “Greasy bastard.”
Sev slid out from under the bed. Harry watched the towel wrap three times around his ankles as he secured it at his waist. Even at eight stone, there was little in the world nicer than Snape in a towel. He smiled, but it faded. Not after what Sev just relived. God, Hagrid was right. The Death Eaters did worse than kill him. He couldn’t stop one furious tear from running down his temple. Harry pushed it away. Suddenly, two sharp, black eyes peered at him, upside-down. Wet hair dragged the floor. “I do hope you haven’t abandoned me in favour of dust bunnies.”
“They’d be an improvement.” He pulled himself out from the dark, remarkably dust bunny-free spot and settled on the bed, cross-legged. Exhaustion weighed him down. It was only four, but the concept of a nap wasn’t remarkably unpleasant. Sev leaned over the desk, rifling drawers. He scratched his nose, and set his palm back down on the strip of Spellotape.
“Gah! Bloody useless shite!” He yanked it off and rolled it between his palms before tossing it at the bin. “Can’t you clean up after yourself?”
“Sorry,” Harry muttered. Sev ignored him and yanked open another drawer. He reached to the back and drew out his journal. His other hand groped for his wand; it wasn’t there. With curt grace he strode to the bathroom and emerged a moment later, tapping the cover with his rigid wand and murmuring. He shoved it, open, under Harry’s nose.
“That was my Gran.” Harry found the familiar sketch of Philia looking at him, bemused. She made a subtle motion of pushing glasses up her nose. At a casual glance it would look like scratching. Harry flinched. Sev frowned, but said nothing. “Well?”
Harry took the journal with shaking hands. “I- I didn’t know you could draw so well.” Sev snorted.
“I can’t.” He snatched the book back and gazed at the picture with flashing eyes. “It doesn’t even look like her. Not exactly.” He turned his back to Harry, still looking at the picture. He cradled the book like a child. Harry stood on the bed and leaned against his bony shoulders.
“What did she teach you?”
“Earlier you said she taught you things.”
“Oh. That. Just some spells, a little about potions. She was a grand master. There hasn’t been a potion conceived she couldn’t make.” His long fingers traced the edge of her hair. Philia smiled up at her grandson in a way that made Harry’s heart ache. Sev used to smile like that, sometimes. “Nor a language she couldn’t speak. Emendatus, Avia?” Harry saw her lips move but couldn’t tell what she said. Sev smiled sweetly. He murmured something else in Latin. She cast cold eyes at Harry, then looked back and forth between them. He nodded and snapped the book shut. In a moment it was resealed and locked in the desk. “Get your shoes off the furniture.”
Harry growled and fell on his bum, yanking at his remaining shoe. It clattered to the floor. “Do you have any other pictures of your family?”
“Why would I have any other pictures?” Severus snapped. He glared at Harry and sat down in his cordovan leather chair. Harry fell back on the bed. He sighed. The man was bloody impossible. He felt the distance between them seep back into the room. “You are allowed to join me, you know.”
“Why don’t you come over here? I’m comfortable.”
“Hmm. Nice socks.” Harry shut his eyes. The weight of the day pressed on his chest. He needed rest, not more bickering. His arms still burned from the Bludgers, and from lugging around a hundred and fifteen pounds of dead weight, and from all the months he’d spent dragging books around just to stay with someone who wouldn’t even sit on the bed with him anymo— “I refuse to have anything to do with someone with these things on his feet.” Sev tugged one striped monstrosity down his ankle and threw it over his shoulder. The other quickly followed. “Just because you’re a Gryffindork doesn’t mean you have to advertise.”
“Those were a present.”
“From someone who wants you dead, presumably.”
Harry folded his arms. “Dobby the house-elf, actually.”
Sev gave him a withering look. “Lucius Malfoy’s elf.”
“Used to be, yeah.”
“Christ,” Snape whispered. “Can’t expect you to associate with anyone sane, can I?” Harry motioned lightheartedly at Sev, who looked even sourer. He turned away. Something in Harry’s gut shattered.
Suddenly, Sev wrenched the duvet off the bed. Harry went with it in a storm of claret and bottle green. He yelped. “What the Hell did you do that for?” Snape stared down at him.
“You didn’t make the bed.”
“It was made when I came looking for you!” He hastily threw the mess of covers back on the mattress.
“Then it must be your turn.” Sev folded his arms and snarled. Outside, the wind moaned. Harry hoped Nadja had been able to find his glasses. Otherwise he might have to go without until spring. The precious Firebolt, as much as it devoured him, was no longer his issue. Harry shook his head and started straightening the top sheet. “Oh, for fuck’s sake, Potter. Not right now.”
“Why not?” If he was going to have a nap, he’d quite like to do it in a properly made bed.
“If you insist, then be my guest. I’d rather hoped to fit a few hours of blatant sodomy into the afternoon, though, not that you’ve got any interest in the subject.”
Harry turned and stared up at Snape, incredulous. “Was that supposed to be an apology?”
“Apology for what?”
“For the last month! Closer to five weeks now, really.” He sneered and went back to fixing the sheet. “Not to mention everything you really should have told me a little sooner.”
Sev sighed heavily. “Such as?”
“Let’s see. Unicorn Blood, a psychotic older brother who apparently did things to you I don’t even want to imagine, where your broom came from, the point of the research you spent my goddamned birthday with instead of me… shall I go on? Oh, let’s not forget the Death Eaters, which I still don’t know anything about despite the fact you wake me up every single night shrieking at them. Not that you’re even capable of saying a simple ‘I’m sorry’. Or much of anything else pleasant when you’re not delirious.” Harry threw the duvet a little too hard; fuming, he leaned forward to grab the foot. He honestly had no idea why, today of all days, he was shouting this at Sev. Too late to stop, though. Lupin would let him use the couch until he got his own rooms. He didn’t see spending any more nights with the Potions master, celibate or otherwise. Not by his own choice, mind, but Snape obviously didn’t want him for the reasons he’d originally thought. After this he certainly wouldn’t want him at all. “How much did I miss?”
“Well?” He ignored the cracking sensation through his chest as he tugged the duvet into place. The pillows could wait. “Brilliant. Not even worth an answer, am I?” Harry couldn’t look at Severus. Anything he saw would make the hurt worse.
Thin hands took his shoulders and chased some of the burning away. The callous part of him that wanted to look tough protested, but the pain he felt on every possible level won out. He didn’t move. “Paeniteo. Mundus, et mei causa viva es. You’ll have to pardon my accent. I haven’t spoken much in rather a few years.”
Harry pretended to smooth out the covers. His hands shook so much he wondered if he’d suddenly come down with palsy. I’m sorry. You are the whole world, and my reason for living. The urge to untangle that towel and show him another reason for living was great, but he couldn’t just let the last month… Hell, the last six months go. “Why didn’t you tell me anything? And I don’t want one of your answers. I want the truth.” His voice was rather softer than the words.
Sev was quiet for a minute. His hands never stopped lancing the pain from Harry’s shoulders. “Why haven’t you told me about your Dursleys?”
“Ah.” He did have a point. Sev knew about them only in the most basic sense. Harry didn’t even like to mention them now that he never had to see them again, whether they were an incontrovertible part of his past or not. “You didn’t spend three weeks sitting in the hospital wing after they did god-knows-what to me, though.”
“And I don’t have screwed up flashbacks, either.” Sev was quiet for a minute. His knuckles ran down Harry’s spine, seeking hard little knots.
“You’ve seen the worst.”
Harry looked over his shoulder. “Ya think?”
The man was an onion. Peel back one layer you weren’t sure you wanted to touch in the first place and suddenly you had a dozen more. Snape wasn’t supposed to be this calm. Snape wasn’t supposed to have sad, childlike eyes, or murmur apologetic Latin like a proposition, or have any kind of history that wasn’t evil slime purely of his own design. He definitely wasn’t supposed to show it to Harry Potter. “Promise?”
Sev licked his lips. “I’d break it.”
“So you lied.”
“No.” He gazed down at Harry. His fingers ran through short, unruly hair. “I know better.” Oh. Unicorn Blood, probably. He knew a lot more about it than Harry did. There was still too much left unanswered. Harry quietly wandered around the bed, straightening the covers some more, fixing the pillows. His mind drifted to the watch ticking softly in his bedside drawer. Nobody had commented on its absence for the last month. Not even Sev. Snape sat on the foot of the bed and absently traced his Mark. “Your little friend Alabaster has shown remarkable improvement lately.”
“Hmm.” Harry fluffed his pillow viciously. When it seemed dead he folded a corner of the duvet back and pulled the green robe over his head. He was aware of Sev watching him. Every year that Slytherin had won the Quidditch Cup, ever, was printed on the back of his shirt in silver ink.
“You could at least find your own clothes.” Harry did his best not to hear that wistful edge. He climbed into bed and pulled the covers up to his ear. He shivered. It was cooler under the duvet than outside it. “Don’t sleep in my shirt. You’ll ruin it. Or is that the trend for today?” The false venom in his voice made Harry bristle.
“Fine.” He wiggled out of the shirt and, with great show, dropped it on the floor. You are welcome to join me, you know. No, he wasn’t. Gah. Too many conflicting thoughts. Harry wrapped his arms around his chest and most certainly didn’t think about those firm lips. Maybe it all was just about sex.
He felt the other edge of the covers lift and the mattress depress. He screwed his eyes shut. “’To sleep, perchance to dream.’” Ay, there’s the rub.
“Will you just keep your mouth shut for five minutes so I can perchance?” Sev was quiet. Harry looked back at him. His eyes were open. The duvet was bunched at his waist, revealing his bent, sticklike arms, the shoulder blades that sprouted like broken angel’s wings, the dark, damp hair strewn about his back and around his somber face. “You forgot to take your potion.”
“I thought I might try without it.”
“Good luck.” Harry turned to face the sitting room door. Part of him wanted to sleep on the couch; he couldn’t have left if he tried. “Y’know, it’s bloody difficult to get any sleep with you staring at me like that.” Cool fingertips touched his spine. He tried to flinch away, but found himself settling into the slight contact.
“Adhuc amas me?” Harry scowled. No matter how much he wanted to right now, he couldn’t lie about that.
“Of course I do, you tit.” It gutted him to say it. It gutted him more to deny it. “Why didn’t you tell me about Eversor?”
“It would hurt you more to know.”
Goddammit. The bastard was right.
“You were never afraid to hurt me before…” he trailed off. He had no real desire to go back to the days of Potter versus Snape.
It probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise when those familiar arms slipped around him. It probably shouldn’t have come as a shock to settle back and feel the surface of his breastbone, or the edges of his ribs, or the sharpness of his hips. It probably should have bothered him. Pretty Quidditch stars didn’t want living dead Potions masters.
Well, maybe one.
Sev’s arms crossed over Harry’s chest. Harry mirrored them, clasping their hands over his shoulders. Like married corpses, ready to spend eternity together. If the Snape motto were correct, that was the only way they could. “Let me forget that part of my past, Potter. God knows the rest isn’t going away.”
Harry took a sharp breath. “I want to help you with your research.”
“Please? I can’t stand to watch you getting sicker and sicker and not do something about it.”
“Nothing is keeping you here.”
Angry tears spilled onto the pillow. “I told you I wasn’t going anywhere. If you aren’t going to hold me to that, then why did you give me that fucking watch?”
“That was before I knew this would happen.”
Harry dropped his hands and rolled over. “You honestly think I’m that shallow?” Sev’s hollow eyes were dropped. He looked like he was awaiting the executioner’s axe. Severus Snape. Potions master. Domineering son of a bitch. Goddamned holier-than-thou spy, martyred upon the altar of Lord Voldemort. A cold, vicious, ruthless, deceitful, cruel, deprecating monster that hid an utterly terrified little boy.
“Do you want me to go?”
“Yes,” he whispered.
Harry blinked. “Why?”
Sev shrugged. “You’ll get hurt.”
“Look at me.” Harry put a finger under his chin and tilted it level. Those black eyes – he couldn’t even tell where the pupil began – wouldn’t meet his. “Severus, look at me. Or don’t, then. Do you honestly think I’d still be here if I minded getting hurt?” Silence. “If you really wanted me to go, you wouldn’t try so hard to make me stay.” Harry kissed him softly. “Mei maritus es.”
Sev’s eyes fixed on his. They were stone cold serious. “Don’t say that.”
“Mei maritus es,” Harry repeated more firmly.
“You want to build your life around visiting hours at St. Mungo’s?” Sev’s thin face contorted with self-loathing.
Harry found a narrow hand and brought it to his lips. “I want to help you so that doesn’t happen, but if it does I’ll be there every day. Happily. Just for you.”
Severus rolled onto his back. Tremors ran through his splayed body; tiny sounds escaped his throat, torn between laughter and sobs. “God. You really are the most persistent, obnoxious, stupid brat on Earth.” He snorted. “’Mei maritus es’.”
Harry leaned over him and cupped his cheek. Sev didn’t flinch or turn away when he kissed him, but the tension there said he was fighting not to return it. “Mei maritus es, et tui sum.” Sev closed his eyes and screwed up his sallow face.
“Stop it. I don’t want someone else to lose.”
“You’ve already got me.”
“You don’t want someone with my history.” Harry caught his lips again. “I tried to r… ra…” clear trails ran down into his dark hair as he fought with the word.
“You’d never do that. To anyone.” Harry traced the scar on his arm. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said it in the first place.”
“You didn’t do anything.” Sev’s jaw clenched. “My life was so much easier when I hated you.”
“Are you trying to start again?”
He looked away. “Damn you.” He viciously rubbed his face. “I can’t. Why do you think you have to leave?”
“Why are you so terrified that someone might want to spend the next hundred years with you? And don’t tell me that’s not what you want – there’s a watch in my drawer that proves it.” Sev’s ruined body shuddered and he took Harry’s hand.
“Snapes don’t get that kind of happiness.”
“You didn’t have to do it.”
“I wanted to.”
“It’s just a watch.”
Harry took his face in both hands. “It’s our legacy, Professor Snape. Do with it what you will.” Sev closed his eyes again, but he didn’t fight when Harry’s mouth met his, nor did he resist its insistence. In fact, if those narrow hands on Harry’s back were any indication, he didn’t want to leave it at that. Snape broke away.
“Greasy,” he panted, “hideous, worthless—“
“Beautiful.” Harry kissed his nose. “Precious. Mine.” He cradled the shaking ball of bones.
“Severus?” Sev looked up. His face was red. “In a hundred years, who’s going to care?” Thin lips twisted in an ironic smirk. It faded quickly.
Harry rubbed a palm up and down his ribbed back. “Worthy.” Sev swallowed, fighting any display of emotion and losing by the very fight.
“You’re not leaving, are you?”
“Not a chance in Hell.”
Sev put his head in the crook of Harry’s neck. For an awful moment Harry feared he would stick his fingers in his mouth again. “Hell it may well be,” he murmured.
“Let it.” He twined long fingers with his own. Sev lifted their hands to his mouth. The kiss on his knuckles made Harry smile. The wet warmth suddenly surrounding his index finger made him gasp. “Oh, my god,” he mouthed as a living tongue cradled his finger, gentle suction exciting nerves up his arm into his body at explosive speed. It might have been an exclamation, or it might have been wishful thanks. He really couldn’t say. He pulled Sev to sit between his legs, the man’s thin ones bent around his hips. For the first time in far too long he felt the pure touch of skin against his torso, the softness of that red tongue against his, the accidental brush of thick lashes on his cheeks. Reflexively, he moved to grab Sev’s hair; instead, he settled on cradling the back of his neck. The long spine curved gently. “Mei maritus,” he murmured.
“Mei maritus. Semper, mei maritus.” Slow, moist kisses, each punctuated by a tiny lick, trickled down his jaw, over his throat, along his collarbone, up and around to his mouth. Sev shifted his hips, and Harry gave a hiccoughing squeak. “Mei guinea porcus.” Harry laughed.
“Porcus you, Snape.”
“Is that an offer?” Teeth caught a soft earlobe, and Harry moaned. His Y-fronts were singularly uncomfortable. He brushed his lips down the front of that thin throat, placing a kiss in the pit in Sev’s clavicle. A soft sigh encouraged him. He moved lower, letting his mouth settle on one small nipple the colour of a ripe peach. Sev whimpered. Harry fussed the tightly wrinkled skin around it, first with his lips, then with his tongue, then with his breath. The other he stroked with his thumb. It was worship. Something was different this time, though: every small touch went deeper than skin and nerves, bringing up a plethora of emotion Harry couldn’t name. It was potent enough to make him dizzy, insistent enough to press him on but like a slow-moving tidal wave that would collapse in its own time. Reverence, as always, was there, but so much stronger than before. It was reverence for someone who, despite his best efforts, had survived.
Sharp fingertips traced lazily over his back. Out of curiosity, Harry paid attention to their pattern. Thank… you… Albus… I… will… miss… you. Over and over again. Harry kissed the middle of Sev’s chest. “I’ll miss him, too.” The thin fingers jerked to a halt. He looked up, expecting anger in those dark eyes. Instead, he saw sorrow, distance, bittersweet loss. Sev smiled sadly.
“Not in quite the same way, I expect.”
Harry gently stroked the hair at his temple. He was careful not to catch it in any way. “Want to stop?” The sudden, hard kiss nearly put him on his back. That’s a “no”, I guess. A hand slid down his back and into his pants, cupping his arse. Harry shivered. He stroked Sev’s sides for a moment and tucked his thumbs into the fraying waistband. With a little help and only a few position adjustments he managed to get them off. Severus caught his ankle as he brought it down from kicking them to the floor. He stroked Harry’s sole with his knuckles; unrecognized tension there fell away. Harry moaned. He didn’t see the smirk in time. With a yelp, he nearly went arse-over-tit off the bed.
“I’d forgotten how ticklish you are. I wonder…”
“Don’t you dare!” He kicked, laughing hysterically, painfully, as Sev held down his other foot, fingers wiggling wickedly against it. “Stop! Stop, you sadistic git!”
“Why should I when I’ve got you in my clutches?” His timing could have been better. At that moment, Harry’s other foot connected with his face. Sev let go with a grunt, clutching his nose.
“Oh, god, are you okay? I didn’t hurt you, did I?” Harry leaned close, fluttering hands trying to inspect the damage.
Sev opened one eye. “If you’re going to kill me, you could at least use a preferred method.” He loosened the grip on his nose, one hand at a time. Harry looked. It was a bit red but otherwise undamaged.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.” Snape raised an eyebrow.
“I think I’ll survive the night. Unless you’ve got some other heinous plot up your… well, you don’t appear to have any sleeves right now—“
“Hush.” Harry pressed him back against the bed and kissed his nose. “Did I hurt you?” Sev nodded, eyes wide. “Did I hurt anything besides your pride?” Sev growled. “Prat.” He kissed him softly. “You deserved it. Really, attacking my innocent feet like that—“ he giggled, triumphant, when Severus slapped him on the bum.
“Show a little respect.” Harry licked the side of his neck. Sev gasped. “Or do that.”
Harry ran his hands along Sev’s body, letting his fingers remember every little sensitive area, re-mapping by soft, wordless sounds. His arms – yes, there was that little place in his elbow that always made him squirm – up over his chest, along his sides where he would never, ever admit to being so ticklish he’d curl up in a helpless ball, that sunken stomach – which made such a lovely pillow – and the sharp, narrow cup of his hips. Still nuzzling his neck, Harry stroked one long, thin thigh, letting the fine net of dark hairs tease his palm. He resisted the desire to slip his hand underneath – the last thing he wanted to do was scare him. Instead, he let it rest where thigh met hip, thumb absently stroking the joint. His other hand had long since come to rest under Sev’s back. When he looked up he smiled at the tinge in those shadowed cheeks. His lips were the same deep peach as his nipples, and Harry tasted them slowly. So trusting, so still. It must be almost impossible for him to allow this kind of control. Sev had always been dominant. Sexually, emotionally, affectionately – everything was subject to his advance approval. Now it made sense. Harry kissed his eyelid. They opened. “All right?” Severus nodded. A spark of fear kept leaping in his trusting eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“Don’t look away.” Half of Harry’s mouth twisted in a sad smile. Sev tried to mirror it but it got lost. His fingers tangled in short, messy hair.
“Not even for a second.” His conviction was a little puzzling until he reached down and guided Harry’s hand to a place it hadn’t been in a very, very long time. Harry tried to jerk back, but Sev held him firm.
“Yes, goddammit.” The sparks of fear jumped more rapidly now, but behind them were utter trust and a need to prove it. Gingerly, a fingertip brushed against flesh. Sev held his gaze, mouth open slightly to breathe. Another hesitant touch and he bent his knees reflexively. Harry pressed their foreheads together. He found a gentle rhythm and slowly worked his way over eroded muscle. At his first direct touch, Sev hissed. Harry paused to let him get used to the contact again. God, why was he doing this now? He wanted it, though, and Harry couldn’t deny him anything, really. He never could, not even when they hated each other. At the very least, he’d give Professor Snape the satisfaction of shouting at him. What a fucked-up pair we are.
Harry stroked gently, circling, never quite trying to press further but always, always the offer was there. Sev panted. “Tell me if I need to stop.”
“Keep going.” He did. “Keep going, dammit.” Harry hovered on the edge.
“Are you sure?”
“Are you deaf? If I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t say it, you dim little cretin.” Harry blinked quietly. He couldn’t tell if Sev’s urgency was need building or resolve breaking. Never taking his eyes off that thin face, he moved towards his bedside table and fumbled inside until he found the little cut-glass bottle. It was on its side. On the way out his hand knocked the Snitch. It made a metallic clink when it hit his watch. Harry almost looked back.
No, everything it could ever mean was already here.
Carefully, he slid the drawer shut. The bottle was firmly grasped in the circle of his thumb and forefinger. Severus lay still, head moving to stay locked on Harry, a hand spread out on his abdomen. His other hand grasped Harry’s, and only then did Harry realize it had since he’d moved. He knelt back over the delicate form and kissed him. “Are you sure this is what you want?”
“If I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t have mentioned it.” Snippy. But right now Harry could forgive snippy. He pulled out the glass stopper with his teeth. The few drops that trickled over his hand were warm, and smelled of sandalwood. The capped bottle fell to the bed and Harry settled back over his Sev. He watched carefully for any signs to stop.
“Te amo,” he whispered as his fingertip slid into long-forgotten warmth. Sev keened softly but held onto him. Harry couldn’t resist petting back that long, damp hair. Sev grabbed his hand, kissed the inside of his wrist, clutched it to his chest. Harry felt like he was really looking at his Severus for the first time. The hollow shroud had fallen away from his eyes, revealing a need to trust, a need to be trusted, a need to know he’d done something right. Harry smiled broadly at him, and was rewarded with a small, innocent smirk. Only Severus Snape could make a smirk look innocent. He carefully pressed Harry’s hand deeper. Harry kissed him.
“Please?” His voice was soft, devoid of its usual edge. Harry nodded and groped for the bottle. With Sev’s help he managed to get a few drops in his palm. He started to grasp his lover’s member; a sallow hand guided him to his own. “Te confido.” I have complete trust in you.
Harry gaped. It came as a surprise when his hand was guided up and down and around, slick liquid covering him in a molecules-deep membrane. He cried out almost silently. The innocent smirk came back with a hint of wickedness. “Suppeditas?” Sev nodded quickly. Yes, he was ready. As ready as he’d ever be. Harry silently begged himself not to falter.
As carefully as he’d ever done anything he settled between Severus’ bent knees. He tasted the restrained old fear on those trembling lips and propped himself on one elbow, far enough from Sev’s face that they could have no doubt of whom the other was. With his other hand he guided himself into place. He pressed in. Sev cried out; his inner muscle clamped down. “Shh, it’s just me. You’re okay.” He pulled out as gently as he could. Harry stroked his cheek. Black eyes were wide. Sev panted heavily. Sharp, thin fingers dug into his back.
“A little slower?” His silky, deep voice wavered. Harry nodded. His heart fluttered wildly. He couldn’t believe how much more he felt for the man in light of what he’d gone through, and his determination to go past it. Slytherin ambition – it had to be good for something. He settled down and kissed lips, cheeks, the hooked tip of Sev’s nose until his breaths were regular and his dark eyes their normal width.
“Mundus mei,” he murmured. Snow fell, wind howled, friends mourned, but all that mattered right now was this warm redemption. Harry slipped a hand behind his neck and pressed their lips together as he slid his finger inside again. It was more easily accepted. When he felt muscles completely lax he added another. Sev whimpered, and squirmed in a mix of pleasure and once-forgotten shame. Harry settled far enough back for him to see his face. In a minute he was able to move his fingers ever so gently around, and soon in and out as well. Sev gave him a reassuring, slightly shaky, smile. When he added a third finger and began to open them a little he saw the first flicker of true comfort. The man relaxed against his hand. His eyelids were heavy. Harry beamed. “You’re doing so well.” He wanted to do something more. “Uh, how do you say ‘greasy bastard’ in Latin?”
Sev smiled and, Harry could swear, blushed. “’Adipatus nothus’.”
“Adipatus nothus.” Severus leaned up and pressed their lips together, tips of one hand stroking Harry’s face. Even if he never saw this side of his maritus again, Harry would forevermore hold him as this: warm, tender, frightened but so trusting, and not in the least bit a Snape. Somewhere in the middle of that engulfing kiss he found himself inside warm pink darkness. His hand slipped away to rest on Sev’s leg. Severus trembled, perched on his elbows, and fell back on the bed when they faltered one at a time. Harry clutched his hand. The sparks of fear in his eyes were doused by adoration. Harry stayed still until he realised Sev wasn’t going to panic if he moved. Slowly, oh so slowly, he allowed himself to sink to the hilt. No moans, no whimpers, none of the sounds he remembered so fondly, but never before had this felt like being buried in the man’s soul. Of course, the last time he was in this enviable position, Voldemort was barely dead and, by comparison, Harry was still a little boy playing grown-up. Seven months. The night before Severus was sacrificed for the greater good. God.
No matter what he may have previously believed, this was the night he fell hopelessly in love.
He was mostly sure Sev felt the same way.
Gently, he urged his hips back and forth. It was a steady motion, nothing that might frighten or shock. Sev’s badger-striped hair was tangled around his pale face. It almost looked curly. Harry stopped himself from playing with it by running his free hand down the thin sides, under his back. His extreme thinness should have been repulsive, but in the wasted body lived his Sev. Harry would help find a way to counteract the dilute Unicorn Blood and flesh would return. He brushed his lips over long, thick, arcing eyelashes; they enhanced the extremes of black and sallow and gave him a distantly Coptic look. Sev purred. Harry tasted salt, and smelled sweat and sandalwood, and every nerve ending pulsed with contentment.
Suddenly, Severus caught his face and kissed him deeply, wet tongue dancing with Harry’s. A thin arm pulled him closer and it became very difficult to stay at the languid pace. Legs knotted around his waist and before he knew it he was on his knees, Sev straddling him, foreheads pressed together. Harry ran his fingertips up and down the bumps of bent spine. Eyes locked, the pace quickened. He felt warm, wasted arms wrap around him and hold tight. He quickly reflected it, skin slipping on sweat as Severus radically redefined his understanding of the words “make love”. His jaw was slack as he breathed. A low growl built in his throat as he felt a familiar tightening in his stomach, telling him that there was a sanctifying end to this nearby. He did nothing to fight it. Sev took the growl as permission to cry out softly. He did so again and again, volume building, eyes half-closed but never off Harry. How could he have ever thought Severus looked like a vulture? It was so obvious he was an angel. A fallen angel. But not wicked enough for Hell.
The bone wings on his back rose and fell as he rhythmically tightened his hold. The cries were broken now with words, “Mei maritus… mei maritus… mei maritus…”
“Adipatus nothus.” Harry’s entire body was tensed. Waves of joy, of Heaven, broke over him, warnings of the tidal wave coming fast. Suddenly, Sev shrieked.
“Mei Harry!” The milky white bursts of liquid fire pressed between them and the fierce contractions of Severus’ body drew all sensation out of Harry’s for a moment of perfect inevitability. It crashed. He heard his own distant screams as a wall of sensation, emotion, unity grew from his stomach, up and out. He shook with the shallow rush of air through his lungs. He felt hands struggle to stroke his slick back, pulled the body on his lap against him with arms of lead, followed a shining face he would happily gaze at for a century and more. Or as long as he could have it.
Gathering his ebbed strength, he clutched Sev tight and lay him back on the pillows. His legs were stiff and it took a moment to straighten them out. Still, he never lost sight of Sev’s face until he slipped away, and had lingered a few moments more. A soft kiss, and he moved to one side. The arms around him never let go. “Mei maritus, Severus,” he mumbled.
“Mei maritus, guinea pig.” His mouth twisted into an infuriated grin.
Knock knock knock knock.
Harry stirred. His head was tucked quite comfortably under Sev’s chin, and his trapped arm was happily rife with pins and needles.
Knock knock knock knock.
Sev groaned. “Go answer the door. She won’t give up.”
“Nuh-uh. Don’t wanna move.”
Knock knock knock knock.
Knock knock knock knock.
Knock knock knock knock.
Oh, fine, then. He stole a quick kiss before groping on the floor for Sev’s towel. That bloody knocking wouldn’t go away. “I’m coming! Hold your horses.” He wrapped the towel around his chest, mercifully hiding the dried, uncomfortably itchy evidence. For such a pleasant substance, it could certainly be a pain in the arse. Knock knock knock knock.
He opened the door groggily, peeking out to hide his body. Professor McGonagall stood there. He squinted. Her eyes looked a little red, but her face was solemn. “Hello.”
“Good evening, Harry.” It dawned on him that she held both his glasses and his Firebolt. “Miss Alabaster was looking for you earlier. She said you sent her out to the Quidditch pitch to find these?”
“Oh. Yeah. Tell her I said thanks?”
McGonagall sniffed. “You should have ample opportunity to thank her yourself, but I’ll tell her if I see her. I’d planned to give you these at dinner, but…” she held out his glasses with a stern look.
“Ah, yeah. Thanks.” He stuck out half a bare arm. The world came back into focus, and it was apparent that she’d indeed been crying. He would have offered her a hug, but, erm, well…
“Mister Potter, are you in the habit of answering the door naked now?”
“I’m in a towel,” he muttered. His face burned. Her hand flew to her mouth.
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t realize you were in the bath. Severus isn’t here?”
“Minerva.” His hair was a tangled mess. He looked aloof, hands in his bathrobe. She looked, then flushed, then responded with a sly smile.
“Severus. Really. In the middle of the evening?”
“Is it evening already?” She turned bright red and snickered.
“Incorrigible.” She handed Sev the broom and, with a knowing smile, walked off. Harry closed the door. Severus slumped against it, face in his hand.
“I swear, filthiest mind I’ve ever seen.”
Latin Lexicon For Latin Lovers:
Adhuc amas me?: You still love me?
Mei maritus es: You are my husband. “Maritus” can also imply lover or suitor, hence use of this particular term.
Mei maritus es, et tui sum: You are my maritus, and I am yours.
Porcus: pig (well, duh)
Te amo: I love you.
Suppeditas: ready, prepared (second person – “You’re ready?”)
Mundus mei: My whole world.
I fully expect a few flames due to Sev’s reaction in this situation. It’s actually a fairly common response, seeking what is perceived as justification and personal value. Don’t question, just take my word.
Return to Archive | next | previous