Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Rating: PG for now; probably NC17 eventually, if Snape and Harry have their way.

Notes: This is *extremely* AU. It's set in Harry and Company's seventh year, and it assumes that Voldemort has been defeated entirely at this point. An "Oh, brilliant, it only took half a year to kill him for good, so we've got the rest of the year off from Battling Utter Evil" sort of thing. Sirius has been exonerated, and he's the DADA teacher for the year.

Text appearing in single quotes ' ' within double quotes " " indicates dialogue quoted directly from the orignal play. Lines have been cut and/or edited for clarity or brevity in places, but otherwise, all dialogue is verbatim.

Too Wise To Woo Peaceably

Chapter Three

By JayKay


"'I, with your two helps, will so practice on Benedick that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach'--"

Harry jerked his head up at hearing the word, a dull flush suffusing his cheeks as he quickly glanced around to see if anyone had noticed his startled reaction. Nobody, it seemed, had. Ron was in the scene being rehearsed, and everyone else was either busy or not paying attention to him, for which he was grateful.

Sirius finished his lines, declaring with smug certainty that he, along with Leonato, Claudio, and Hero, would successfully make Benedick and Beatrice fall madly in love with each other. With that, they departed; Harry glanced backstage and saw Parvati whisk Sirius, Ron, Colin and Dumbldore to the dressing rooms that were serving duty as fitting rooms at present. Everyone was getting their measurements taken, but no one knew what the costumes would actually look like.

"We were going to make them historically accurate according to Elizabethan fashion," Parvati had said, giving Snape a censorious look. "But Professor Snape wouldn't have it, so we're moving the designs up a couple of hundred years or so."

"As strange as it feels to say it, I agree with Snape," Ron had leaned over to Harry and whispered. "I didn't want to wear those puffy trousers and tights either."

Other than that, the cast knew nothing of what to expect, either in design, color, or choice of fabric. Harry wasn't particularly concerned; if the new designs were meant to keep Snape from objecting, then chances are, they weren't going to compromise anyone's dignity. For once, he thought with a silent chuckle, Snape's over-blown sense of decorum and penchant for being uncompromisingly opinionated were coming in handy.

Onstage, Malfoy, Kurt and Adam took their places, preparing to plot even more mischief. This time, they were formulating a plan to set up Claudio, using Borachio's relationship with a servant to make it seem as if Borachio were actually involved with Hero. Not only would Claudio be wildly jealous, but he would likely call off the wedding as well, and Don John would have his revenge on the young man who had gained favor in Don Pedro's eyes, despite Don John's own schemes of usurpation had been what led to his fall from his brother's grace.

They ran through the brief scene two or three times, Hermione stopping them at intervals to change the blocking or make a suggestion for line delivery, but it wasn't long before things were settled to everyone's satisfaction, and they exited the stage.

There was a moment's break while Hermione consulted with some of the stagehands, and Harry took the opportunity to stand up, stretch a bit, and wander down to the seats, where he could get an unobstructed view. He couldn't remember what scene was next -- and his blood drained from the upper part of his body, treacherously pooling in the lower regions when Hermione beckoned to someone offstage, and Snape appeared in response to the summons.

Harry slid down in his seat as if to hide, fixing his gaze resolutely on Snape's face, forcing himself not to let it drift lower. He would not remember what he'd seen. He would not remember what he'd seen. He would not--

Snape took possession of center stage, striking a far more casual stance than his students ever saw him use, and when he spoke, his tone was conversational, tinged with a mixture of disdain and amazement.

"'I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by failing in love'." He paused and shook his head disapprovingly. "'And such a man is Claudio. May I be so converted and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool'."

He began to pace back and forth, ticking off points on his long, thin fingers as he spoke, and Harry tried very hard not to stare at them. He'd never before noticed what attractive hands Snape had, elegant and graceful.

"'One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all graces be in one woman'," he continued, hid tone growing more decisive. "'One woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her'."

Harry felt another blush creep into his cheeks. His Beatrice might well be a virtuous maid, but Harry certainly wasn't, and his thoughts were far from innocent at the moment, no matter how hard he tried to concentrate on the scene rather than his sudden, inexplicable desire to see what else Snape was hiding under those black robes.

"'Fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come not near me'."

Harry chuckled. That supposedly left Beatrice out of the running, but poor Benedick was going to end up eating those words before it was all said and done.

"'Of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it please God'." Suddenly, snape glanced offstage. "'Ha! the prince and Monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbour'." With that, he hurried to take cover behind a chair that was currently serving as shrubbery until the set designers provided something a little more realistic.

Sirius walked onstage again, accompanied by Ron and Dumbledore, and all three of them had affected the air of conspirators.

"'Come hither, Leonato'," Sirius said, pitching his voice loudly so that even in his hiding place, Snape would be certain to hear the conversation and be deceived by it. "'What was it you told me of today, that your niece Beatrice was in love with Signior Benedick'?"

Behind the makeshift "bush," Snape gasped, appearing astonished, and he tried to edge as close to the other men as his hiding place would allow.

"'I did never think that lady would have loved any man'," Ron declared, and Dumbledore nodded agreement.

"'No, nor I neither; but most wonderful that she should so dote on Signior Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor'," the Headmaster said, and Harry shifted uncomfortably.

He had spent the better part of seven years despising Severus Snape, considering the Potions Master one of the chief banes of his existence, but now, just because he'd caught a peek at the man's bare skin, he was as flustered as the two he was as flustered as the two It didn't make any sense! How could he possibly go from hatred to desire so quickly?


Unless the adage about hate being the flip side of--


It was just too much even to consider. It was just... just a softening of his former antagonism because of all he'd seen Snape do in the war with Voldemort. Too many beloved friends had perished, and while Snape was hardly in that category, he was a survivor, and he had shown true heroism. Harry's opinion of him had, naturally, adjusted accordingly, and that's what accounted for the difference now.

There could be no other reason.

"'Maybe she doth but counterfeit'," Sirius suggested, but Dumbledore scoffed, dismissing that idea vehemently.

"'O God, counterfeit! There was never counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion as she discovers it'."

They continued in that manner, piling exaggeration upon exaggeration to create the illusion of Beatrice suffering unrequited love for an unworthy Benedick, who would, they supposed, scorn her if he knew of her affections. At last, they wound down, and, assuming the bait had been taken just as they had wanted it to be, they left together to get ready for dinner.

Snape moved from behind the chair slowly, his expression a mixture of wonder and sadness as he moved to the front of the stage until he stood alone in center stage once more, a solitary, remote, forbidding figure, the darkness of his clothes only heightening the sense of isolation surrounding him. He stared straight ahead, his hands slowly curling into fists at his sides.

"'I hear how I am censured'."

The words were slow and measured, each one laden, not with accusation, but simple acknowledgment of a known fact. Snape bowed his head slightly and said nothing. Moments drew out, and in the wings, there came the sound of shuffling feet from those for whom the words paralleled reality all too closely. Snape was censured, on a daily basis, by most of his students. How foolish to believe he wouldn't know, Harry thought absently. Snape brought it on himself with his snide remarks and relentless badgering, but still...

Snape's head snapped up, and he drew himself up to his full height and lifted his chin. "They say I will bear myself proudly'." It was a challenge, flung in the teeth of unseen opponents. "'They say too that she will rather die than give any sign of affection'." He lifted both fists and held them pressed just over his heart. "'I did never think to marry: I must not seem proud: happy are they that hear their detractions and can put them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis so, I cannot reprove it. "And wise..." He gave a wry, self-deprecating little smile. "But for loving me."

He dropped his hands, unclenched, to his sides. "'By my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her'."

An air of melancholy seemed to surround him, despite the words of love he spoke. It should have been joyous, Harry thought. It should be a happy occasion to realize you're in love. But no matter that the feelings awakened by the conspirators' words were obviously real, they were also not a source of joy or celebration. This love was painful.

It was just a play, Harry reminded himself sharply. It was just words, just acting.

So why did Harry feel the sudden, nearly overwhelming urge to run onstage and comfort Snape?




The flow of Diagon Alley shoppers swirled around them as Harry and Hermione strolled down the street at their leisure. Despite it was a Wednesday, they had the entire day off, thanks to Hermione. True to her word, she had arranged everything, having first sent an owl to her parents, asking them to make an appointment with her own optometrist in London on Harry's behalf. Once that had been settled, she had spoken to the Headmaster, explaining what they needed to do and why, and Dumbledore had excused them from classes for the day. They had both arranged to get the assignments they would miss from their instructors, and they would simply make up the work over the weekend. After that, it was just a matter of walking to Hogsmeade and traveling by Floo Powder to Diagon Alley, where Hermione immediately steered him towards Gringott's.

"How much money do you have with you?" Hermione asked, and Harry riffled through his pockets quickly and gave her the total. "Hhm... I think you'll need to make a withdrawal to be on the safe side."

One hair-raising ride to his vault and back later, Harry had considerably more galleons and knuts, which he handed over to Hermione at her request, and she marched up to the nearest free teller.

"I'd like to exchange this, please."

The goblin teller nodded politely, took the money, opened a drawer, consulted a chart, and proceeded to count out stacks of pound notes in different denominations. Harry laughed and shook his head, amazed at his own obliviousness.

"It never once occurred to me to do that!" he exclaimed, and Hermione gave him a fondly exasperated look.

"Really, Harry, how did you think wizards manage in the Muggle world?"

The goblin slid the paper money across the counter to her, and she handed it to Harry, who stuffed it in his pockets.

"That should be enough. Come on, your appointment's in an hour, and we've still got to get there."

That part proved simple enough as well; once they stepped out of Diagon Alley and into the Muggle-bustle of London, they found a taxi, and within five minutes, they were off, headed to the optometrist's office.

Dr. Chapman was a convivial man who seemed fond of Hermione, and he welcomed Harry warmly when she introduced them. The examination itself was relatively quick, and at the end of it, Dr. Chapman assured Harry he could wear contacts, and, in fact, the office had some in stock in Harry's prescription strength. After a short demonstration of how to put them in, the doctor had provided the new contacts, and, after a bit of fumbling and poking, Harry managed to get them in.

"Here now," Hermione said, holding up a large hand mirror in front of him. "Have a look."

Harry looked -- and stared at the reflection he saw staring back at him. For the first time, he saw a face whose fine-boned features weren't overpowered by thick, heavy glasses.

"We can also fit you up with some new glasses, if you like," he suggested. "You'd be amazed at how thin and lightweight lenses can be these days, and you can choose new frames as well."

Harry had jumped at the chance, picking out a pair of frames that worked with his face instead of against it, and which allowed the wide beauty of his eyes to show through, although he felt himself blushing when Hermione described the effect his new look had on his eyes in those terms. He was able to take the contacts with him, and they arranged for the new glasses to be sent to Hermione's parents, who would then forward them via owl to Hogwarts; the bill was astronomical, but Harry paid it with a smile, feeling the money well spent indeed.

Afterward, he treated Hermione to lunch, insisting on paying since she had made all the arrangements for the day, and after a little protest, she agreed, and they decided to splurge a little, foregoing the lure of the fast food chains in favor of a small Italian restaurant that lured them in with the scent of fresh lasagne with hot, gooey melting cheese slathering all over the top.

"By the way," Hermione said casually after their meals had been served. "You're not still upset about that kissing scene at the end of the play, are you?"

"What?" Harry shook his head. "No, of course not," he said reassuringly. "Snape said we could fake it, and that's what I intend to do."

"Have you practiced?" She gave him a piercing look, and Harry focused on his lasagne as if it was the most fascinating thing in the world.

"No..." he admitted.


A moment of silence hung between them, and then she smoothly introduced another topic, but Harry's mind had already taken her casual words and run with them, reminding him that he had quite recently had naughty thoughts about his leading man. Given such developments, perhaps a little kiss for the sake of art wouldn't be so bad after all.

"Y'know..." Hermione mused, swirling her spoon in the hot fudge sauce of her dessert, and Harry stopped scarfing the cinnamon raisin muffin he was having for his own dessert long enough to pay attention to her. "We don't have to rush back to Hogwarts, and so I was thinking perhaps while we're here, you might want to go shopping as well."

"Shopping?" He stared at her blankly. "For what?"

"Muggle clothes," she stated bluntly. "Isn't it about time you had something to wear other than your hideous cousin's hideous hand-me-downs?"

Harry let his muffin drop back onto the plate as he considered this. Before today, buying his own clothes hadn't seemed like an option. But he still had some money left over from the optometrist's, more than enough to buy himself a few clothes, and he had to admit it would be nice to wear something that fit for a change.

"All right," he agreed. "Where do you suggest?"

Three hours later, Harry was staggering back to Diagon Alley under the weight of countless bags, some of them Hermione's, but most of them his. She had taken him to a store that was popular among young Muggles, and once there, she had outfitted him from top to bottom, sending a continual stream of garments into his fitting room for him to try on until he had completely lost track of everything he'd seen and worn.

Finally, he'd called a halt.

"Look," he had said, exasperated enough to ignore the amused look the salesclerk gave him as he marched out of the fitting room dressed only in a tee shirt and his cotton boxers. "Just tell me what looks best, and I'll buy that, all right? I don't need a whole closet full of clothes right away. I can always come back, you know."

"Oh, all right," Hermione had sighed, and proceeded to weed through the pile of clothes, stacking the accepted garments in his waiting arms and leaving the rejects behind.

He had still ended up with far more than he felt he needed: new jeans, a pair of khaki trousers, undergarments, pullover shirts, button-up shirts, socks, and shoes. But before they left the store, Hermione had made him stop and look in a full-length mirror, and the sight that greeted his eyes had stunned him.

For the first time, he wore jeans that he didn't have to roll up or cinch with a belt so that he didn't feel as if they were going to fall off; the new jeans fit his waist and hips snugly, and the length was perfect. Nor did his shirt sleeves need rolling up, and the shirt itself wasn't so large that it seemed to swallow his slender frame. For the first time, he felt he looked tidy and well put-together instead of sloppy; he didn't look as nearly as scrawny in these clothes, and the hunter green pullover shirt enhanced the color of his eyes.

"What do you think?" Hermione had stood behind him, peering at his reflection over his shoulder.

"Much better," he had said, catching her eyes in the mirror and smiling. "Thank you."

She had smiled back, and blushed a little. "What are friends for?" she asked quietly -- and then piled all the bags in his arms so they could return to Hogwarts at last.




Rehearsal went smoothly that night; everyone seemed to notice Harry's lack of glasses, and almost everyone commented on the change and how much they liked it, Snape being the noticeable exception, which didn't surprise Harry in the least. With Hermione's question still echoing in his mind, Harry had resolved to settle the matter of their stage kiss, and when the rehearsal was over, he strode purposefully up to Snape and confronted him.

"What do you want, Potter?" Snape looked down his nose at him, in much the same way he would look at a fascinating new species of bug.

Harry took a deep, steadying breath and looked up to meet Snape's eyes. "I think it's time we started working on that fake kiss."

Snape arched one dark eyebrow at him. "So soon?"

"I don't want to leave it for the last minute," he replied. "It's got to be realistic, so I thought we should have plenty of time to practice."

"I see."

There was an interminable moment of silence, and then Snape lifted his hand and beckoned for Harry to follow him back to his quarters. Harry's stomach clenched, but whether in apprehention or anticipation, he wasn't quite sure as they wound their ways through the halls, down to the dungeon. Snape swept into his quarters without looking to see if Harry followed; Harry followed, then pushed the door shut behind himself and turned to see Snape standing near the fireplace, watching him with an unreadable expression.

"Come here." Snape held out his arms, but Harry couldn't move; he was frozen by the sight of Snape waiting for him, arms open and welcoming., and Snape gave an impatient snort, obviously misunderstanding the reason for his hesitation. "Come here, Potter. We can't very well fake a believable kiss from across the room."

Slowly, Harry crossed the floor and stood in front of Snape, feeling at a distinct disadvantage thanks to the differences in their respective heights.

"Now what?" he asked, his voice barely above a whisper; he didn't trust it not to betray him with a crack at higher volumes.

"I regret to inform you that, as distasteful as it may be, we will have to endure some amount of physical contact."

"Yeah, well... Whatever makes it look good," he muttered, trying to control his breathing, which had accelerated once he had drawn near to Snape; he felt as if he was burning up, and it wasn't only because of the flames burning on the hearth.

"Of course."

Snape's eyes were completely shuttered as he slid his arm around Harry's shoulders, pulling him close, so close that their bodies were almost -- but not quite -- touching. Harry longed to see something, anything, in that inscrutable face revealing how Snape felt about this, but there was nothing. The man was adept at keeping his feelings well hidden, or perhaps in this case, he didn't feel anything at all, and that thought was as sobering as a bucket of ice water. He felt Snape's other arm wrap around his waist, but still Snape kept a few inches between them, and Harry didn't move to close the distance.

"What should I do?" he asked, trying to sound nonchalant.

"Put your arms around me... Yes, like that." Snape nodded approvingly when Harry wrapped both arms around Snape's chest, feeling the silken smoothness of Snape's robes sliding beneath his palms as he did. "Now then, turn your face towards me."

Harry followed instructions, his breath catching in his throat when Snape lowered his head so that their mouths were scant centimeters apart. He found himself staring into Snape's eyes as if he was mesmerized, his lips parting as he tried to take in more air. The heat shimmering between them was almost unbearable. Snape was so near... so near... all it would take would be one swift movement, and they would be kissing in earnest, and Harry wanted that. Oh, God, how he wanted to know how Snape kissed, if his lips were warm and soft, how he tasted...

"When we're like this, with your back to the audience, it appears that we are, in fact, kissing," Snape said. Was it Harry's imagination, or was his voice a little huskier than usual? "The illusion will only be obvious to those sitting on the far sides of the theater, since they will view the stage at an angle."

"Oh..." Harry continued to stare at Snape, at the dance of shadows across the older man's face. The merry crackling of the fire was the only sound in the room, except, perhaps, the pounding of Harry's own heart, although he hoped that was audible only to him.

Part of him was still stunned that he wanted this -- wanted Snape -- at all, but for the most part, he didn't care. He was filled with longing, yet there was nothing resembling permission in the face so close to his own.

"So is that it, then?" he asked softly, and Snape nodded.

"It's that simple."


It probably should have been a cue for him to pull away, but Harry remained right where he was, vaguely aware that he was running his hands up and down Snape's back in a slow, languid caress. He was quite aware, however, that Snape wasn't leaping to the other side of the room to get away from him either.

"You smell like mint," he murmured, breathing deeply of the cool scent wafting from Snape's clothes, or his hair, or perhaps just him.

"I often use mint in the potions I make for the infirmary to help cut the taste. The scent tends to cling."

"Oh..." How many times had he said that in the last five minutes? Too many, but how was he supposed to remain coherent with Snape in his arms? And still neither of them made any move to retreat. Snape's expression was as neutral as ever, but Harry knew if he'd been disgusted by the contact, he would have pushed Harry away by now. That he hadn't... Well, it said quite a bit that Harry wanted to hear.

"Maybe we should actually kiss." He hardly recognized the soft, purring voice as his own.

Snape blinked at him, looking stunned. "You... want to kiss?"

"Yes. For the good of the play, of course."

Harry discovered that his hand had slid of its own accord into Snape's hair, which felt soft and very thick, and not at all greasy.

"Of course."

Snape's arm tightened around his waist, and Harry found himself pressed deliciously close against that long, lithe body; it was all he could do not to wind himself around the man in a desperate attempt to relieve the ache within him.

"I mean, Dumbledore wants a good show, right?"

"It would be a shame to disappoint him."

"Yes, and if part of the audience can tell we're not really kissing, that'll blow the illusion, so maybe we'd better do it for real."

He was babbling, and he didn't care; Snape was holding him, Snape was looking at him with eyes that were no longer remote but smoldering, burning with dark embers that were catching fire within Harry.

"Is that what you really want to do?"

There were times when the usefulness of words ran out, and actions were needed. This, Harry decided, was one of those times.

Using the hand anchored on the back of Snape's head, he pulled Snape down, into a kiss. The entire world hung, suspended, and Harry felt a knot of apprehension in his stomach at the lack of response from Snape...

... And then Snape's lips parted, and the world was swept away in a rush of wet heat and desire as Harry found himself crushed in Snape's embrace. He gave himself over to need, arching against Snape, straining for contact as their tongues met for the first time. He felt light-headed, aroused to aching hardness by Snape's thorough exploration of his mouth, and he eagerly let Snape draw in his own tongue, more than ready to do some exploring of his own.

The initial wave of desire crested and ebbed, settling into a slow, steady throb; Harry slowed his pace, wanting to take the time to enjoy these heady new sensations. He'd felt passion before, certainly, with his other lovers, but nothing like this, and he wondered if it was because Snape was older and more experienced, or because this kiss was forbidden fruit in more ways than one.

Whatever the reason, Harry had never wanted anyone more in his life, never wanted to taste and to touch anyone as much. He wanted to feast on Snape, to memorize every inch of skin with his fingers, lips and tongue.

Still the kiss continued, warm and slow. Their tongues slid against each other, diving in and out of each other's mouths until Harry felt as if he had Snape's taste permanently imprinted on his tongue, and he didn't mind that idea one bit.

He didn't know how long they stood there, bodies all but melded together as their hands mirrored the slow, thorough exploration of their tongues. Finally, Snape pulled away, his sallow cheeks flushed, his lips bitten and sucked to a rosy hue, and Harry felt certain his own lips looked exactly the same.

"Well." The Potions Master drew in a deep breath and, carefully untangling himself from Harry's arms, took a step back. "That would indeed be a show-stopper."

"Wouldn't it just," Harry agreed, dazed.

Silence fell, and Harry took the opportunity to straighten his robes. To his surprise, he was feeling remarkably unembarrassed. He should have been mortified; he'd practically thrown himself at a teacher, after all, and said teacher was Snape no less. This should have been the single most humiliating moment of his entire life, but he couldn't seem to work up any embarrassment when his entire body was still tingling, and he thought he could still taste Snape on his lips.

"I believe we will need to resort to the illusion of kissing, after all," Snape said at last, in a low voice, and Harry darted a startled glance at him.

"Why? Don't try to tell me you didn't like it."

Snape waved dismissively. "Whether either of us liked it or not is beside the point. We cannot do that again."

"Whyever not?" Harry stared at him, puzzled.

"Teacher." Snape tapped his forefinger against his own chest. "Student." He tapped his forefinger against Harry's chest.

Harry made a scoffing noise. "In less than three months, I won't be your student any longer. We can do whatever we like then."

"There's also the age difference. I'm not a young man, Harry."

He smiled, knowing Snape had given away more than he'd intended with that accidental slip, and he found he quite liked the way Snape said his name.

"You're young. Your entire life is ahead of you. You've much to do and see in the world, and no doubt you will fall in and out of lust twenty times within the next month, as most normal boys your age do. You don't need any ties right now, and I..." Snape's dignity swirled around him like a well-worn cloak. "I have no patience for brief dalliances."

So that's how it is, is it? Harry mused.

"You're forgetting one thing."

"Oh, really. And what's that?"

"I'm not normal." He fixed Snape with a steady, somber gaze. "I've never been normal. I was attacked by Voldemort as an infant and survived. I spent the next ten years of my life being neglected and emotionally abused by my own aunt and uncle. Then I came here and spent six years being hunted by the most powerful Dark Wizard our world has ever known. I've seen and done more in seventeen years than most normal people see or do in a lifetime. If nothing else, I'd say that's probably had a maturing effect on me."

"All very true," Snape agreed softly. "But you're no longer living under a dark pall, and you should be free to enjoy it."

Harry nodded slowly, his eyes never leaving Snape's. He understood what Snape was saying, and he thought he had a pretty good handle on what Snape wasn't saying as well. If he was honest, he had to admit he wasn't ready to rush into anything except bed. These reactions to Snape were still too new for him to understand completely, and if they stemmed from nothing more than teen hormones, it would hardly be fair to wheedle Snape into bed, then waltz away when the passion had burned itself out. He need time to think and to sort through his feelings before he could know of a certainty what they were and whether they were ephemeral... or something potentially more lasting.

"All right," he said, still favoring Snape with an unflinching gaze. "We'll do it your way. No more kissing."

"Good." Snape folded his arms and mustered a glare. "Now I suggest you hurry along. It's late, and you have classes tomorrow."

"Right." Harry turned and headed for the door, but he stopped and looked back once. "See you at rehearsal."

"Yes. Of course."

With that, Harry let himself out and wandered to the Gryffindor dormitory, remaining deep in thought every step of the way. He had many questions, but only time would provide the answers, and he knew patience wasn't his strong point. In this case, however, it was necessary for Snape, and for himself, and for whatever they might end up being to each other.

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