Disclaimer: They aren’t mine. J.K. Rowling, an author whom I only wish I could be half as good as, created these fine fellows and all named therein. (Same goes for various bits and bobs of the wizarding world.) I’m just having a little fun and promise to return them, more or less, in one piece.
Specialised warning for all ye who might oppose: This is slash. Graphic, perverted, obscene, blatant (yet subtle, with a plot and a story and a message and all those good things) boy-meets-boy action. Y’know, AC/AC. Wiring up without a converter. Not an ovary in sight (‘cept mine). Anyone who doesn’t like it can leave now. As for the ages of the characters, AFAIK the age of consent in the U.K. is 16. (I’m not a Brit, I just married one.) In any case, as far as I’m concerned this is a story about two consenting adults and nothing is going to change my mind so nyah. Flames will be used to roast marshmallows. If I got anything wrong, I apologise. Can’t help it, being born a girl and all. *grin* Any historical inaccuracies regarding the Muggle world are my own fault.
This story is continued in “Home Fires”, and further in “Civil War”. Go on. Read them. They won’t bite. Well, maybe just a little…
Marching Off To War
A soft knock at the door tore Severus away from the pain in his arm. Lord Voldemort’s power had surged; he was planning something, something very big and very soon, and not even Snape had been able to discern much about it. Quickly he yanked down his sleeve. "What is it?"
The door groaned and swung open. A pair of glasses glinted in the light of Snape’s office fire, untidy black hair obscuring them. "Can I talk to you, sir?"
"Oh. Potter. Come in, get it over with." He waved a thin, vague hand at a chair in front of the desk. "If this is about your grade on my last test—"
"My scar hurts, sir." Snape looked up to see those hateful green eyes bloodshot and filled with fear. He started to say something scathing about not banging his head against the wall. Something stopped him.
"You need to see Professor Dumbledore, not me."
Potter shook his head. His slight, slouched frame disappeared in the folds of his black robe. Severus saw in the seventeen-year-old a small, scared boy trying to lift the world. "Please, Professor, I’d rather talk to you." His normally strong voice was nearly too puny to hear. "I’m sorry. Just tell me if you want me to go."
Snape blinked. It took him a moment to think of any possible reason why Potter would want to talk to him. He’s never had a chance to talk to anyone else who’s defied the Dark Lord. Torn between a hatred that crossed generations and the crippling burden of his own unique state, a fleeting line from his old days in Muggle Studies touched his brain. "’When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state and trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries and look upon myself and curse my fate.’"
"Nothing. I think I can spare you a minute, Potter." His visitor nodded and pushed his glasses back up his nose. He sat down on the intentionally uncomfortable wooden chair. "You haven’t been sleeping, have you?"
"No, sir, not very well. I keep dreaming about him." Potter sucked his lower lip and glanced around the dimly lit room, at the jars from which a jury of the dead gazed with blank, clouded eyes. "I don’t want to see Madam Pomfrey about it because she’d just give me a sleeping potion."
"I wasn’t going to suggest one."
They sat in silence. Snape watched his student slowly try to shrink from the world. Say something, Severus. He has to be desperate to come to you. He pressed his hand to the Dark Mark through his sleeve.
"Life isn’t easy when everyone thinks you’re their saviour, is it?" Harry jumped and froze, halfway out of his seat. He trembled, ready to bolt.
"I—I never said I was anyone’s saviour, sir." A note of indignation quivered there.
"Sit back down." The young man fell into his seat. He ran a hand through his thick hair, and as it parted over his forehead Snape saw that the lightning-shaped scar was swollen, scaly, red. It very much resembled his Dark Mark. Suddenly, the boy broke down in tears.
While Severus Snape had a great deal of experience with crying students, he was normally at the causative end of things and found himself a bit lost in the comforting department. Pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket, he pulled himself up and walked awkwardly behind the sobbing ball of black cloth. "Here." A pale hand hesitated, but in a moment it took the worn piece of fabric. Harry blew his nose loudly. Snape winced. "Keep it."
"Thank you, sir. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be a stupid little prat." He choked the words out between heavy sobs. The boy held his breath and tried to stop crying. He only managed to turn red.
You have to do something, Severus. He’ll choke. It doesn’t look good to have students dying in your office. Snape touched his shoulder with inexpert fingers. Harry flinched and he drew back. "I’m not going to hurt you." The edge of pain in his voice slashed his heart. Why did it bother him so much that his most hated student recoiled at a touch? Once again he lay his hand on the shaking shoulder. It was warm beneath his cool fingers. Two warm, pale hands reached up and grasped his hand, hugged it tight, a soft-shaven cheek pressed against his wrist. Snape froze.
"Everybody thinks I’m brave, and powerful, and that I’m going to save the world. They don’t understand that I’m scared. Not even Ron and Hermione really understand. I mean, god, I’m seventeen. I don’t want to have to save the world again on my own." He shook harder. "There’s so much I want to do, but I’m scared that I’ll die before I can do it."
Scared that I’ll die before I can do it. God, he knew exactly how this boy felt. His work as Dumbledore’s spy put Severus in mortal danger every single day: not only at court with Voldemort, but around his own students. If Draco Malfoy were to hint to his father that Severus Snape wasn’t the very model of a "respectable" Dark wizard… He shuddered. He lightly stroked Harry’s defiant hair. It was softer than it looked, almost like rabbit fur. "What kind of things do you want to do?"
Harry looked up at him. His face was puffy. "Huh?"
"What do you want to do?" Potter stared at him. His tears were replaced by a look of shock.
"You actually want to know?"
He shrugged. Part of him still wanted to say something like, "Of course. I could use a good laugh." "I’m willing to listen."
Harry blinked. "I don’t know," he muttered, dropping his head again. "Just the usual stuff, I guess. Play Quidditch for England. Finish the really, really big ice cream that Florean Fortescue’s sells. You know, the one that’s meant for, like, ten people." Severus snorted softly.
"I finished it once when I was your age."
"Then I threw up." Why was he telling this to Potter?
"Ew. Maybe I won’t do that one, then." To Snape’s surprise, Potter leaned his head so it rest against Snape’s hollow stomach. He hated this person, loathed him with all his body and soul, but at this unlikely moment it felt right to hold him like the terrified, lonely boy he was. Severus didn’t feel quite as alone as he had for so long. "I’d also kinda like to… you know…"
"You know. Have… sex." Severus felt through his robe the heat rising in Harry’s face. "I just don’t want to die without… I don’t want to be that alone."
Snape actually felt a little guilty. He hadn’t been a virgin since he was fifteen. While those encounters had been rare, and far between, he still knew the fleeting moments of ease that only came from the intimate touch of another human being. "You won’t be." If a sarcastic, self-absorbed loner like Severus Snape could find someone from time to time, Harry Potter could pick and choose.
Harry snorted. "Yeah. Right. Everyone I’ve ever liked can’t get past the fact that I’m ‘the boy who lived’. It’s like I’m supposed to be some innocent little angel for the rest of my life." Harry drew a shaky breath. "I think you’re the only wizard who hasn’t kept me on a pedestal."
"A bit venomous, are we?"
Harry pulled away from Severus’ touch. He yanked off his foggy glasses and wiped them with his robe. "How would you feel if people decided they knew everything about you just by looking at a scar?" The boy jerked out of the miserable wooden chair and hugged himself. Yes, Severus, how would you feel? The eyes of a dozen Aurors still haunted his nightmares. Sometimes, he could swear that he still felt the chains of the interrogation chair bite his wrists, his legs, his chest.
"Potter?" The boy turned his head. Snape held out his left arm, hand curled into a fist, and drew up his sleeve. The Dark Mark stood out on his sickly skin. Here and there pieces of flesh had been rent, leaving ugly black scabs. Harry stared at the Mark. Snape stared at Harry. He saw a flicker of understanding in his student’s eyes.
"Can I ask you something, sir? It’s kind of personal."
"That depends on what it is."
"Why did you follow Voldemort?"
Severus licked his thin lips. He’d asked himself the same question many, many times. "I suppose," he started, "I thought there was a lot he could teach me."
So much death, so much terrible, terrible pleasure. "Yes." His voice ran hoarse with old demons that he could never leave behind. He pulled his sleeve down. It did nothing to diminish his past.
He jumped when Harry’s slender arms wrapped around him, and that ruffled dark head lay against his collarbone. "God, I hate you."
Blinking hard, Snape rest his cheek in the boy’s hair, one hand clutching his shoulder from behind, the other tight across his lower back. "The feeling is more than mutual." An odd sort of calm settled over him. Still, something twitched and tickled in the pit of his stomach. Gently, he pressed his lips against the top of Harry’s dark head and left them there. "You’re going to make England a marvelous Seeker someday."
The young man’s small, thin chest shook within Severus’ grasp. Hot tears soaked through his robe. He made none of the desperate, choked sobs he had earlier, though. Snape closed his eyes.
Suddenly, he felt Harry’s soft, sweet lips press against his own. He pulled back in surprise. The salt and affirmation of tears seeped into his mouth, turning sweet on his tongue. Trembling fingertips brushed the side of his face. He tried to push them away, but found himself clutching his student’s hand. He couldn’t quite get enough air to fill his lungs.
"Please, sir?" Harry let go of his hand and slid it down Snape’s wrist. Gently, he pushed back the sleeve until Severus’ Dark Mark was fully exposed. Snape’s tears ran hot as Harry touched his lips to each of the cruel, dark, painful scabs. He trembled. Whether it was in fear or shame or need he didn’t know.
"Potter, stop this. We could both get in serious trouble." The lack of force behind his words frightened him. Admit that you need this as much as he does. Go on. Are you too scared?
"Did you try to scratch it off?" ‘Claw’ would be a more accurate term. He screwed up his face and nodded. His heart fluttered in his chest like a terrified bird. He tried desperately to come up with one of the scathing, vitriolic, hurtful remarks that had worked for so long to keep him from getting close to anyone, had kept people safe. Potter, though, wasn’t safe to begin with. Those warm, pink lips pressed against his wrist once again and left a small, moist print. He touched that silky mess of hair. The boy only came up to his chin. He had to stand on his toes to once again touch his mouth to Severus’.
"Potter…" he felt the weariness in his voice. Why are you fighting this? You know you need it. He ached to have someone judge him as one of Voldemort’s victims, not one of his followers. So here it is! Why don’t you just take it? Harry kissed him again, and this time he returned the gentle pressure, savoured the fresh water taste of the boy’s mouth. A warm, insistent tongue wriggled its way between his lips. Severus closed his eyes. He couldn’t help but tease that lithe little muscle with his own. His hands slid down to the boy’s waist and stayed there. He broke away, breathing hard. Harry’s pale cheeks were flushed, his skin glossy. "Did you come in here just to seduce me?"
Harry shook his head. "No, sir." He squirmed. Severus felt long, lean Seeker’s muscles slide beneath his robe. "I like girls…" he trailed off, looking embarrassed, but tightened his grip on his teacher just the same. Snape traced the contour of his face with a long finger. Harry shivered. "What would I want with an ugly, evil, slimy, greasy, unwashed bast—" Severus silenced him with a long kiss that made the boy whimper.
"And you, Mister Potter," he whispered, pressing his forehead against Harry’s, "are a willful, spiteful, spoiled, horrible little brat who will never amount to anything if you don’t get off the Quidditch pitch and stu—" Harry grasped him by the hair and pushed his flexible little tongue between Snape’s willing lips. Hot, quick breaths brushed his face and tickled his ear. "I’m going to have to give you detention for this."
"So let me take it now." Severus gave a small cry as that soft, talented mouth found the skin on the side of his neck. Sharp teeth nipped. He felt his legs go shaky. With a short burst of strength he picked Harry up and pressed him against the door. A sharp motion of his hand and the heavy lock slid closed with a metallic THUNK. He held his student’s hips, rubbing his thumbs in small, smooth circles. Gazing down, he searched those green eyes for any flicker of reluctance or fear. They were clear, trusting, needy, anxious. He felt two hands lay against his chest, tracing the outline of his ribcage, pressing against his small, tense nipples, one breaking away to test the tight, slight indentation of his stomach. They tugged at his robe.
Severus cupped those smooth hands in his own. "Slow down." With the world around them going arse-over-tit, anyone who didn’t fall into Voldemort’s world plan dying quickly and painfully or slowly and horribly, whatever moments of escape to be found needed to be savoured. Even, he realised, with your worst enemy. He brushed the hair away from Harry’s forehead and kissed the scar. In his excited state, the young man suddenly buried his face in Severus’ chest. He stroked those delicate shoulder blades as they shook with sobs and hiccoughs. He’s probably never known anyone to treat that wound with kindness rather than reverence. Severus looked around his cluttered office. Every surface was covered with books and bottles and odd assorted bits. The only place with room for two adults was the middle of the bare stone floor, between desk and fireplace. His cloak hung on a hook in the corner. He once again kissed Harry on top of his shaking head. "Just one minute." The young man clutched at him but nodded.
He spread the heavy black cloth out as well as he could. It would be a bit short, but it would have to suffice. He looked up from his work to see Harry drying his glasses on his sleeve. My god. I’m getting ready to do god-knows-what with a student, and it’s Harry Potter. Every possible aspect of this is wrong. If it’s so wrong, though, why am I so sure it’s what needs to be done? He straightened the last corner and stood up. In a moment he’d gathered his student in his arms again.
"Are you absolutely sure about this?" Harry looked up at him and nodded. "I want to hear you say it. If you don’t, I’m going to march you out of my office and forget this ever happened."
"I’m sure." His voice was strong, determined. Severus lay a gentle kiss on his soft lips.
"Good." He traced the gentle lines of Harry’s back through the smooth fabric of his robe.
"I still hate you."
He smirked, a wicked little twist of lips. "Not, I think, as much as I loathe and despise you." He nearly fell over backwards as the younger man climbed his chest and hung on, hand clutching his thick, oily hair, tongue searching his mouth like he wanted to devour his soul. Harry wrapped his legs around Severus’ waist and held tight. Snape supported the squirming, groping, utterly exasperating and enthralling weight and staggered to the cloak where he fell to his knees. Harry landed on his legs with a bump that brought more than just their rapid chests together for an instant. He gasped; Harry squeaked. Hmm, that was unexpected. He wrapped his arms around his student’s lower back and slowly pulled him strategically closer. The young man made a series of stuttering squeaky noises. "If you fail as a wizard, you’ve got a bright future as a guinea pig."
"Oi!" Harry slapped his chest. Severus laughed and kissed his hand.
"It’s an oddly endearing trait in an otherwise annoying student." He leaned forward to nuzzle him on the neck, but Harry got to his lips first. Severus shuddered as that smooth tongue ran along the line of his mouth.
"Show some respect for your teacher."
"Okay. Bastard, sir." Harry was rewarded with a bounce. He squeaked again, but before Severus could laugh he found himself pulled into a long, hard, downright forceful kiss. His ears buzzed; he grew dizzy and hot. His fingers played with the neck of Harry’s robes, trying to decide whether or not to undo the tiny buttons. The first one accidentally came open as he played with it. Oops. Well, there’s not much point in leaving just one undone. With careful hands, he undid the last three shiny black buttons. He slid his index finger under the neck of Harry’s robe and pulled the fabric away from flushed skin. Severus let his lips run a small, damp trail down the front of that slender throat. Harry whimpered.
He felt hands groping at his own neck now, searching in vain for buttons. For all his initial boldness it appeared that Potter was following his lead. He wondered vaguely if the young man expected a grade for this. Leaving one sallow hand to rub the back of the boy’s neck, he guided Harry to the damnably small hooks that had been the style when he’d bought his robes at least fifteen years ago. My clothes are nearly as old as he is. Severus, you’ve turned into a filthy old man. The thought was appealing in a strange sort of way. It took all three of their hands for Harry to manage to get the hooks open. He tried to tug the worn black cloth over Severus’ head. He was still firmly attached to his teacher’s waist. "You’ll have to move if you want to do that."
"I’m happy here," Harry murmured into his neck. He felt hands pluck at the black cloth, at the shirt he wore under his robes to hold back some of the perpetual cold of the dungeon. Gently, he dislodged his student with only a few small noises of complaint. They were both on their knees now. Harry’s robe had slid down to reveal a patch of shiny flesh with dark, curly hairs here and there. Severus pulled him close once again and licked his lower lip. The young man moaned. He yanked at the slim black robe once again. He needs to learn patience. Snape stopped him and untangled the robe from under his knees. He pressed his lips softly to Harry’s and, very slowly, allowed him to work the robe up to his chest. He never let him break the kiss until his arms were out and the fabric hung around his neck. Severus gathered it in one hand and, in less than a second, had it over his head. He kissed his student once more, gently, quickly. The robe fell to the floor in a useless heap.
Harry giggled. Severus raised an eyebrow at him. "We can stop this right now, Potter, and I can put you to work cutting up frog hearts if you find me that amusing." The young man shook his head, one hand over his mouth. He pointed to Snape’s boxer shorts.
"I didn’t even know you could get those." Severus looked down at his Bott’s Beans underwear. With a hot flush of embarrassment he read the slogan printed over and over: A Risk With Every Mouthful.
"They do come off, you know." He glared. "If I’d known I’d be teaching sex education this afternoon I would have worn something sensible." Harry blanched. He looked as though the reality of the situation had suddenly come crashing home.
"S-so you do this a lot, then."
"No, never." Some of the abrupt tension drained from Harry’s quivering muscles. He looked very young and fragile, indeed, in the unsteady light of the fireplace. Severus stroked the boy’s cheek with his thumb, fingers buried in thick, unruly hair. "Do you want to stop?" Harry shook his head wildly.
"No. I’ve just never… I mean, in the locker room, and the dormitory, yeah, but…"
"Is there anything in particular I should know about your pants before attempting to get into them?" Oh, my. That’s a rather Gryffindor shade of red. I wonder if he does gold, too?
"They’ve got the Chudley Cannons logo across the arse," he whispered.
"Would you like to trade?" Harry stared at him for a moment. He clapped both hands over his mouth and giggled wildly. His eyes flashed behind his glasses.
"I thought the point was to get rid of them."
Severus shrugged. "Suit yourself." He stuck his hands into the waist of his boxers and started to slip them down his legs. Harry grabbed his wrists before he could move them much below his navel.
"At least let me get part of my kit off first!" Snape almost cringed to realise it but he was actually having… fun. In his pants, with Harry Potter, about to do something that yesterday would have made that vein in his temple twitch like a worm on a hook. He slid his hands around Harry’s waist and covered his mouth with his own. With not insignificant help from the wearer he managed to get the black student robe bunched in his hands. He lifted it off Harry’s head and arms, setting his glasses askew and making his hair stand up even more. Snape let his palms slide down that sleek Seeker’s body, so slender and toned, the kind of body he’d always wanted. A fine patch of black hair in the middle of his chest trickled down his flat stomach in a thin line that disappeared into his orange pants. He certainly has grown. Harry’s eyes were closed, his pink lips puckered and quivering in anticipation. Severus ran the sides of his hands just along the waistband of his Y-fronts but slid them around the young man’s back before he could do anything blatant. Subtlety is everything, you see. "You bloody tease…"
"Hmm?" He ran his tongue up the side of Harry’s neck; Harry cried out. "You need to learn patience." Then, simply because he couldn’t resist, "I told you at your first Potions lesson that there would be no excessive wand-waving here." He smirked wryly.
"Ooh, you—" Harry tackled him to the floor. He looked surprised to find himself on top of his teacher. In all honesty, Severus was a little surprised himself. His hands were still wrapped around his student’s waist. One of Harry’s strong legs was pressed firmly between his. He squeezed his eyes shut and opened them wide. The baggy Bott’s Beans shorts were suddenly quite snug. Harry seemed to be in a similar state, having straddled Severus’ skinny hip on impact. He propped himself up on his hands. Tiny beads of sweat shone on his upper lip. He panted. They stared into each other’s eyes for a long moment. "So, um, what happens now?"
"What do you think happens now?" Harry bit his lower lip, eyes darting over Severus’ face in nervousness, in curiosity, in desire. Snape reached up and gently removed his glasses. He’s turned into rather a good-looking bloke. It must be his mother’s influence. Severus was suddenly very conscious of the thin lines around his own haunted eyes, the shadows under his cheekbones that hadn’t been there five years ago. He knew that he’d never been what most people would consider terribly attractive, but next to this handsome man he truly felt ugly. Harry leaned his head forward and kissed Severus’ narrow lips. He returned it, eyes half-closed, grateful at some level that they had already passed all judgments on each other. He took his student’s hand. "Are you certain you want to do this with your ugly, old Potions Master?"
"You’re not old, or ugly." Severus smiled. "I mean, it’s not like Witch’s Weekly is going to get you to do their cover or anything—"
"Prat!" Snape tried to keep from laughing as he smacked Harry on the arse. Harry squeaked again, this time with mirth, and rolled to Severus’ side. "So what you’re saying is you’d rather do this with Lockhart, is that it?" His scowl was ruined by a grin struggling to get out.
"Eww, no. He might try to set up a photo shoot." They both broke down in wicked giggles. How long had it been since he’d giggled, twenty years? Thirty? Their lips met yet again, fingers tangled together. "Y’know, you’re not such a sadistic prick when you’re in your pants."
"You’re not such an annoying little brat when you don’t have your glasses."
"I can stop wearing them." He let his eyes cross and groped up and down Severus’ body blindly. Snape laughed, full and rich and loud. The unfamiliar sound nearly shocked him to tears but he hid it thoroughly. Don’t scare him; don’t show him how nervous you really are. He took Harry’s hand and held it tight to his chest.
"You can if you want, but I think Professor Dumbledore would have a few words if I started showing up to teach in my underwear." Harry fought a smirk of pure evil. He finally pressed his face against Severus’ neck and laughed to tears. "What?"
"’A Risk With Every Classful.’" Snape broke down yet again. He hugged his student tight, hoping his thick hair muffled what must have been a howl of laughter. Harry smelled of warm sun and Spring air and the soil from the Quidditch pitch. Beneath it all was a sweet musk that bound everything together. He stroked Harry’s back with his free hand. Their bodies were close, so close. He felt a soft, pink tongue lick his neck in short, slow strokes. Severus whimpered. One of his hands explored the silky skin on Harry’s back; the other crept slowly down and stroked the taut fabric covering his arse.
Harry’s strong hands had been on his shoulder blades. Now he slid them under Severus’ faded T-shirt and gradually worked it up over his hairless torso. He let Snape pull the arm that was on the young man’s back out of its sleeve, then over his head. He wouldn’t let the other arm move, though, not until he’d slid the piece of cloth all the way down to his wrist. As soon as it lay in a crumpled heap on the floor he pressed Severus’ hand against his bum again. Snape shivered in quiet pleasure at the invitation. Their nearly naked bodies rubbed together as they kissed again, a long, slow, probing touch that triggered a series of tingling nerves all over his body. Severus’ breathing grew ragged. Harry’s soft sounds did nothing to calm him. He was hardly surprised when insistent fingers locked on the waistband of his shorts and tried to send them south. The elastic band hooked onto his erection and he cried out. Harry let go, looking panicked. "Oh, god, I’m sorry. Did I hurt you?"
Severus blinked at Harry. His eyes wouldn’t quite focus. "Only when you stopped." He placed Harry’s hands firmly back in place. Snape then slid his own hand into his shorts and pressed himself against his abdomen as the younger man pulled the Bott’s shorts down as far as he could. Harry started to sit up; Severus pulled him into a passionate play of tongues and kicked off the shorts. One hand haltingly moved down his back. It paused at his hip, but slowly came to rest lightly at the place where his arse and his thigh melted into each other. He felt both his student’s building excitement and nervous hesitation in the vibration of muscles against his sallow skin. "Scared?" Harry nodded, eyes down. "Are you absolutely, completely certain this is what you want? If you want to stop—" The student shook his head.
"I’m sure." Snape kissed him, letting the tip of his tongue rest against Harry’s.
"I’ll be right back." He got to his feet and trotted to one of the many cabinets packed into the office. The lock came open at his touch. The multi-shelved cabinet was packed with everything he’d confiscated from students over the years. Near the far back on the top shelf was a small vial. It contained an excessively effective lubricating potion that a seventh year had made on a dare. He knew it had been a good batch to start with – he’d slipped on the stuff. Will it still be good after five years? Severus groped and found the dust-coated vial and pulled it from the shelf. Its contents were clear, and faintly straw-coloured. He looked at it, then glanced back at Harry. The young man squinted at him quizzically, glasses still on the floor. There’s only one way to find out. He closed the cabinet quietly and set the lock.
As soon as Severus had stretched out again, Harry wrapped his arms around his teacher. Snape returned the embrace, stroking his back with gentle fingers. He set the vial on the floor where he could reach it easily. Harry looked at him with large, nervous, trusting eyes. He is an adult, but not by much. Severus, you really have become quite the filthy old man. He pressed his lips to Harry’s forehead. "Ready?" His student nodded. With careful hands he slipped the blinding orange Y-fronts down to Harry’s knees, making sure not to do anything that might startle him. Severus eased himself from Harry’s tight grasp and finished pulling them off. He wasn’t kidding. Still, I’d rather have a cannonball than a disclaimer across my bum. Quickly, he lay back down and pulled the slim, lithe body to his. He gave Harry one last, soft, reassuring kiss. "Turn on your other side." He obeyed quickly. His muscles moved like liquid under his skin.
"Will it hurt?"
"Some. I’ll be as gentle as I can." He hugged him from behind, feeling the rapid rise and fall of his chest. Quickly, before his nerve could falter, Severus grabbed the vial and dribbled some of the liquid on his fingers. When he rubbed it his thumb ricocheted off. It’s still good, then. He wrapped his other arm around Harry’s slender, muscular chest, rest his cheek in his dark hair. "Tell me if I need to stop." Gingerly, he let his wrist run down the young man’s side, slid the back of his hand over his smooth rear. "Relax as much as you can." With his eyes screwed shut he slipped one long, narrow finger inside. Harry made a small noise, something between a moan and a whine. Making sure there was a thin layer of the potion on his entire finger he began to slide it slowly in and out. The younger man made small keening sounds as he did and Severus managed to slide a second and, eventually, a third finger inside him. "How are you doing?"
"Don’t stop." His mouth twisted into a smile. He opened his hand just a little bit; Harry whimpered. He teased the young man for quite a while, opening his fingers a bit wider than last time, stroking smooth membranes, nearly removing them completely before coming back fast. The incoherent moans and whispers turned to pleas for more. He found himself enjoying this far more than he’d expected. The slender body jerked. The pleas turned to begging so strong in emotion, if not in literacy, that he knew it would be cruel not to do what the young man asked. "Please… now? Please… please…?"
"Give me your hand." Weak, trembling fingers groped for his. He grasped them, held them against the soft patch of sparse fur on Harry’s chest. Gently, he placed his lips to his student’s cheek. At the same time he withdrew his fingers and flexed them. The joints had stiffened considerably. You’re getting old, Severus, and you’re not even forty. It may be time to start getting out of the dungeon more often. He stroked himself for a moment, taking advantage of the potent lubricant that had seeped onto his palm. Severus had to bite his lip to control himself. Quidditch, Quidditch, think of Quidditch. No, don’t think of Seekers. Oh, bloody Hell! He breathed slowly for a few seconds. The urge to drive himself into Harry and be done with it dimmed and faded. He positioned himself with his free hand.
The lubricant was a bit more effective than he’d anticipated. He gasped in sudden pleasure as he slid all the way in, Harry crying out in what could have been either pleasure or pain. For a moment he rest there, hugging the young man tight. He lay his free hand on that flat Seeker’s stomach. Severus was surprised when Harry picked it up and clutched it around his own member, guiding him in a slow rhythm. He matched it. He felt dizzy. The soft moans and noises and utterances by his ear acted like a drug. That smooth back (with three moles on the upper right-hand side, he remembered vaguely) pressed against his chest and slipped on the thin layer of sweat covering both of them. Harry moved their hands faster, and Severus worked to keep up. The soft sounds grew louder, heavier, wetter. He realised that many of them were his. Harry pressed back, begging quietly, "Don’t stop… please don’t stop…"
Suddenly he gave a sharp cry. Severus felt him jerk and writhe, inside and out, and fat globs of hot liquid rained over his hand. He hissed through his teeth as Harry’s loud whimpers and incoherent words brought him closer to his own release. He moved very gently and slowly despite the insistence of his own body. Harry went limp, his breathing slow and deep. Severus held his weak, warm hands. "You’ll have to give me a minute." The reply was unintelligible. Small tears formed in the corners of his eyes as he slid in and out of the sleek, limp form in his arms. He bit his lip, hard, this time not in resistance but in sheer need. It didn’t take long for the sudden rush of inevitability to wash over him, followed by that instant of oblivion. The world exploded. He shouted, or perhaps he only moaned, but all concept of reality had left him. Pleasure, contentment, serenity filled him for the first time in longer than he knew. Harry squeezed his fingers gently, murmuring something he couldn’t understand. Severus lay panting, clutching the person he hated most in the world, and knew peace.
He teased Harry’s hair, brushing from his forehead a few strands that had dried there with sweat. The young man wore Severus’ Slytherin Quidditch Cup Champions T-shirt – he complained, but Severus made him put it on since he wasn’t used to the cold and the damp. He’d tucked their robes around them like blankets. Harry’s head rested on his shoulder. "Where did you find Bott’s Beans boxers, anyway?"
"Huh?" He lifted his dark head and peered at Snape.
"They were, erm, a birthday present from Professor McGonagall."
"You’ve got to be kidding me." Severus kissed his nose. It was cold. He snuggled Harry’s slender body closer.
"I’m not. She swore she didn’t think they were obscene when she bought them."
"You don’t believe her, huh?"
"Not a chance." The feeling of contentment had lingered for quite a while now, neither of them really knew how long, but Snape was starting to suspect they’d missed dinner. Something dawned on him. "My Mark doesn’t hurt anymore." He looked at the scabbed and swollen flesh on his left forearm. Harry reached over and stroked it with tender fingers.
"How did that happen?"
He frowned. "It’s probably just psychological." They were quiet, holding each other in the dimly lit room. For the second time that day, something came back to Severus from his Muggle Studies courses. "According to legend, when the soldiers of ancient Sparta went to war, they marched in twos. Every one of them was permanently paired with another soldier from the time he was recruited. They trained together, camped together… slept together." He looked at Harry. "They also fought together, and took the other’s safety personally. They were formidable opponents."
Harry looked pensive. "What happened if one of them was killed?"
"Then the other was responsible for avenging his death." They stared at each other for a long moment. Finally, Harry lay on Severus’ shoulder again. Severus turned his head to watch the dancing flames. He didn’t want to think about that right now.
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