Disclaimer: Characters and places in this story, which appear in the Harry Potter novels, belong to JK Rowling, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros. and Scholastic. I don't make, or intend to make money out of them. They just wouldn't leave me alone.

Thank you: My Beloved Cindy Lou, Accompaniment from Trent and Ozzy. Unending Gratitude to Betas Kyohaku Celestiale Vespertina, Maruchina, Bettyblue, and Olivia Lupin - I couldn't have done it without you.

Author's Notes: Random lyrics shamelessly stolen from Nine Inch Nails' "Pretty Hate Machine." References to Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Rappachini's Daughter." Influenced more than I realized by two lovely fics, Accio Snape's "Something to Live For" and Cybele's "Le Lien des Beaux RÍves."

Archiving: Please ask.

Virulentus Somnium

Part 4

By Salix


10 AM, Day 3


Several hours later, the light seeping in through the dungeon windows dappled the two sleepers. Both had shifted in their sleep, the smaller figure now wrapped around the larger one.

Images began to float through Harry's head, the first images to enter his sleeping mind since he drank the potion. Vague, unfocused images, more sense-feelings than visual pictures, feelings of warm skin, a hot mouth on his neck, a tongue licking his lips gently, his body melting and warming with desire. The images began to tumble together in his mind, faster and faster: hands holding him close, skin against his own, another body pressing into his.

Still asleep, Harry shifted in the bed, closer to the body in his arms, burrowing his face between shoulder blades, tucking his knees up into firm thighs, shifting his erection into the warm backside, wrapping his arms tighter around a lean chest. He breathed in the other's scent, the images of the dream seeming both less ephemeral and yet somehow slipping away from him. As the man in his arms shifted and pushed back into his embrace, Harry began to wake up.

Slowly he realized that parts of the dream were still continuing; there was a warm body in his arms, pressed up against him; his body was heavy with sleep but throbbing with arousal. The potion. It worked. I didn't have bad dreams. Slowly it occurred to Harry that it was Snape he was holding. Wow, I should move... but he's still asleep. Is he having... that dream? Images flashed through his mind again. About another man? I should move. But... I don't want to.

Harry relaxed back into a semi-dreaming state, relishing the novelty of holding someone, of having sexual feelings that weren't overwhelmed with guilt, of touching someone. Snape shifted back into his body again, pushing against Harry's forgotten erection, waking him entirely. Oh no! What if he wakes up and feels it? What if he knows I saw part of his dream? What if--

Harry's worries were cut short by a low, deep moan, the most erotic noise Harry had ever heard. From Snape, clearly still asleep. He froze and listened with fascination as the other man's breathing quickened, and Snape began to just barely rock his hips back into Harry's erection. Slowly Snape shifted his arm and he reached up and took the hand that Harry was resting on his chest. Harry completely stopped thinking at all as the hand holding his slowly moved it down Snape's stomach, between his thighs, and wrapped his now sweating hand around Snape's own erection. Still holding Harry's hand under his, Snape began to move their hands together, stroking his cock, once, twice, and arching forward on the third time as he gasped and came. He shuddered and sighed with deep satisfaction, then let go of Harry's hand and rolled onto his stomach. Still asleep.

Harry was most definitely awake.


Severus woke up with his face pressed into the pillow, an unusual feeling of peace and contentment spreading throughout his body. I haven't slept so well in years, he thought as he stretched. Pleasant dreams, relaxed body, the whole thing. The potion worked.

The potion... But wait... I wasn't supposed to be dreaming, pleasant or otherwise. And... where's Harry?

He cautiously sent one hand out to feel for the other wizard, but encountered nothing; he seemed to be alone in the bed. He relaxed back into the curious feeling of contentment and... satiation? Slowly it occurred to him that he felt exceptionally wonderful, more so than perhaps simply a decent night's sleep once a decade would justify.

Pleasant dreams? About what? He tried to remember. Slowly, teasingly, a few vague images floated through his head. Vague, but undeniably sexual. Oh gods. Was Harry still sharing my dreams at that point? Where the hell is he anyway?

Unfortunately, as Severus shifted around to roll over, the rest of his body came fully awake and passed a note up to his brain that his crotch seemed exceptionally moist. His currently full bladder eliminated one possibility, while a suddenly clear flash of his dream suggested another. Combined with the wonderful sensation still pervading his body (although rapidly being obliterated with each passing second of panic), his brain came to a conclusion.

Oh shit. Oh no. No, no, no! Oh gods, no. This can't be happening. This can't have happened. I'm not a hormonal teenager anymore! I know it's been years since I had sex, but... is this even possible? I'm a grown man.

He took a deep breath to calm himself, as parts of the dream flashed through his mind again.

It seemed so real, felt so real, though. Like there really was someone touching me, holding me. Wanting me. I know it was just a dream, but... I felt it. Can still feel it... A warm spot on my chest where someone's hand had rested.

And where the hell is Harry? Was he here when this happened? Did he share that dream? Was he in bed with me still?

He wanted to call out for Harry, see where he was, but thought better of it before he opened his mouth. Best get out of bed and cleaned up first. And then what? Pretend nothing happened?

He carefully opened his eyes as he rolled over, half expecting Harry to be watching him. The panic in his blood was turning into guilt and hopes of not getting caught as Severus silently slid out of bed and darted into the bathroom, grabbing his wand and murmuring a spell to clean the sheets on his way.

What am I going to do? he thought as he stepped into the shower. What can I do? "Excuse me Harry, did you happen to still be under the influence of the dream sharing potion while I was having a wet dream? Or were you up and gone by then? You weren't by any chance... touching me at all, were you? No, I thought not. So sorry to have suggested it." Gods. There's nothing I can do except hope Harry knows nothing about it.

I can only try to see if he acts differently or looks embarrassed. He'll never bring it up or ask about it. But he looks embarrassed so damn often anyway, how am I to tell if he knows anything? He certainly looked uncomfortable last night. Not simply afraid of the potion or going to sleep... Afraid of getting in bed. Almost painfully embarrassed.

Too embarrassed, said the reasonable voice in his head. There's something more to that, not just awkwardness at having to be close to a former professor for a spell to work. Something about it being in bed. Or me...

And the way he was looking at me in the classroom...

Maybe he could actually have been touching me? he wondered incredulously.

Of course not; don't be ridiculous. What would beautiful, young Harry Potter be touching you for? hissed a snide voice in his head out of nowhere, the one he liked to think of as his "greasy bastard" voice.

Beautiful? Are you daft? The little brat is certainly not beautiful; he looks like his father! Suddenly there were way too many voices in his head, bickering and throwing insults around like darts.

But he is beautiful. And all I want to do is take care of him. Help him. See him happy.

See him happy? Sap. You sappy, disgusting pouf!/

Oh, shut it! Enough already! he yelled at the voices.

Severus finished brushing his teeth and slammed the cabinet door shut. Taking a deep breath, he tied the belt of his dressing gown, and opened the door to go and look for Harry.

Who was sitting on the freshly made bed, dressed, hair wet from a shower, a slight flush staining his cheeks and an awkward smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.

Oh shit, thought Severus. He knows.


Harry withdrew from the bed as quickly and silently as possible, gathered up his robes, and sprinted down the hall to his rooms. He made it under the hot shower before he allowed the panicked jumble of thoughts and feelings in his head to translate into words.

Oh dear gods. Oh no.

So wonderful.

No! So wrong.

But so good, felt so wonderful. First time I've ever touched anyone, first sex in my life! Fantastic!

But with Snape! And he was asleep! Hardly counts.

Of course it counts.

But he was asleep; he didn't even want to! Didn't even know I was there. That it was me. But it wasn't me, it was the dream.

But it felt so good. Intoxicatingly good, luxurious crimson hot velvet fire in my veins. Holding him. The way his hand held mine, how his body felt pressed against me, yes, the glorious noises he made.

But Snape!

Yes, Snape, not my professor, but my colleague, my friend, helping me. Caring for me. Severus.

No, no, no! Greasy mean nasty Potions Professor Snape!

With soft, silky, inky black hair and smooth warm skin. Firm body. Oh yes. Severus, with secrets and darkness and weakness and strength. Who understands me, maybe. Who felt so wonderful, like birthdays and Christmases all rolled together. So fantastic, holding him, yes, crushed against him. Touching him, him rocking against me. Harder! Want that. Want more. Need it. More! Oh Yes! Yes, more!

"Oh gods, yes! Severus!" he shouted as he climaxed, the hot water raining down on his head. He hadn't even realized what his hands were doing, so lost was he in his thoughts.

Oh gods. That was wonderful, he thought a few moments later, catching his breath as the final shudders ran through his body.

Oh gods. What have I done? as the hot water washed all evidence away. A strong feeling of guilt and horror and impending doom began to claw its way into his conscious mind, but he successfully squelched it down for the moment. I haven't done anything that hurt anyone. And gods, that was the most brilliant orgasm of my life... Not that there have been many to compare it to...

Harry knew he had a lot that he needed to think about and sort through, and that he'd be battling his guilt quite shortly. Mostly though, he wanted to see Snape. Even if I can't say or do anything, I just want to see him... Severus. See how he feels. See if he's awake yet. I wonder what he's thinking about...

He finished up his shower, got dressed, and headed back to Snape's rooms. He kept failing to choke down the glee threatening to spread over his face; the euphoric afterglow was making him light-headed. The door to Snape's rooms was still ajar from when he left, and he was somewhat relieved that Snape was out of bed and apparently in the shower when he reached the bedroom. While he waited, he decided to make the bed, on the off-chance that Snape hadn't noticed the wet spot, and to save him from any embarrassment. Harry couldn't even begin to decide what Snape's reaction might be if he knew what had happened.

He was surprised to find that the sheets were clean and dry, and no evidence remained. Doubt nibbled at his mind as he finished making the bed. Perhaps it was all entirely a dream? That doesn't seem possible, though. Maybe there's a charm to clean up... That would be useful to learn. Not that I've had need for one very often...

The door to the bathroom burst open with more force than seemed strictly necessary, and Harry felt his face flush as he struggled not to burst into a huge grin. Snape froze in the doorway, clearly startled.

"Good morning... Severus," Harry said awkwardly. "Did you sleep well? I'm sorry to have left before you woke up, but I, er, needed a shower."

Snape cleared his throat, searching his face intently as the flush stained Harry's cheeks further. "Yes, I noticed you were gone," he replied blandly. "I slept well, thank you. How about you?"

Harry lost the battle for control of his features as a huge grin spread over his face. "I've never slept better."

Snape blinked at the unexpectedly enthusiastic response and cleared his throat again. He seemed awkward and Harry could only think of one reason why, but it was still disconcerting to see Snape look so self-conscious. "Yes, well, good to hear. Um, perhaps we'll talk later about the upcoming night?" he said as he began to pull clothes out of the dresser and wardrobe, clearly dismissing him.

"OK, I'll see you at meals, then," Harry said cheerfully, as he left the bedroom and went off to begin his day, a smile still tugging at the corners of his lips.


2 PM, Day 3


Harry went about his day feeling better than he'd ever felt before. Since it was the holidays, and he had few responsibilities, he took a walk around the frozen lake, thinking the exercise would do him good. Also, far away from any witnesses, he could let his face break into a grin any time he wanted. He felt elated and giddy any time he thought about the events of that morning. Which was pretty much all the time, until he approached the edges of the Forbidden Forest, and his thoughts began to take a gloomier shape and his delight faded away, as horrible memories began to tug at him.

That was wonderful, this morning. Amazing. I've never felt anything like that. But... What now? What's going to happen the next time I see him? What does he think of it all? Does he even know I was touching him? What if he's disgusted by it? What if he's not really even gay, that it was just some weird dream? You can't control your dreams; if anyone knows that, it's me. What if he freaks out? Or worse...

What if something bad happens to him? What if... What if I've somehow done it again, like with Malfoy? Harry shuddered at the memory, and quickly clamped down on that train of thought. No, that can't happen; Voldemort is dead now. It can't happen again. It has to be ok. He has to be fine.

But I didn't see him at lunch... Where was he? Was he hiding in his office? Or... gone?

Panic began to bloom as the past and present began to confuse his mind. He abruptly turned and ran back to the castle as fast as he could, determined to find Snape. Desperate to find him. To prove that he was fine, that nothing bad had happened to him; Harry's touch hadn't cursed him yet. With every stride, the dread rose in him, until he was nearly frantic by the time he reached the castle.

Harry tore down the hallways to the dungeons, not paying any attention to where he was as he ran blindly. A few twists and turns in the labyrinthine passages and he was hopelessly lost; despite living here for two years, still sometimes the dungeons ensnared him. He was lost. He'd been lost before of course, but his need to find Snape, to reassure himself that he was fine, was so overwhelming that that was all he could concentrate on. He came to a halt, almost in tears with frustration, and kicked the stone wall instead.

Stone door, actually. Which opened a moment later.

Snape looked down at him expectantly. "Yes? Is there a reason you kicked the door rather than knocked? And what are you doing in the Slytherin storage area anyway?"

"I was just... lost. I was looking for you. To see if you were all right. You weren't at lunch. And I... I was worried," Harry stumbled awkwardly, relief flooding through him. To his dismay he noticed that he was trembling violently, and his knees started to buckle. Snape quickly grabbed his elbow and helped ease him down against the wall into a sitting position.

"Well, you found me. I'm fine; why wouldn't I be?"

Harry closed his eyes as he felt them begin to prick with tears, of relief or embarrassment he wasn't sure. Adrenaline washed through his body, leaving him nauseated.

"Harry, are you all right? You're freezing cold." Snape took Harry's hands and began to gently chafe them between his.

"I just... I was so scared," he whispered brokenly, pulling his hands away from Snape to cover his face as tears he was too exhausted to fight off began rolling down his cheeks.

Snape leaned forward to pull him into his arms as Harry's quiet tears turned into full sobs. "Scared of what?" he asked gently, stroking Harry's hair.

"Sacred of it happening again," he choked out between sobs. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean for it to happen. It's all my fault. I'm sorry."

"Harry, what are you talking about? What happening again? What are you sorry about? You haven't done anything."

"I-- It's just-- Last night-- This morning I-- It's all-- Sex," he choked out.

Every muscle in Snape's body tensed as Harry whispered the final word, and he jerked back from him. He tried to sound calm, in the face of his worst fears being realized. "Harry... I... this morning... I'm sorry." He took a deep breath. "Whatever possessed my subconscious to have that sort of dream... I'm beyond sorry. I know how inappropriate it was, and how much it must have disturbed you to share such a... foreign... dream. I hope you know I would never have intended such a thing. I'm sorry to have made you so uncomfortable."

Harry looked up through his wet eyelashes, confused. "But... I'm not. I... liked it," he whispered. "I'm sorry, I just woke up. Like that. Holding you. I meant to move away, but... didn't."

Snape blinked at him for a few moments. Harry had been holding him? During that dream? The one that felt so real? He consciously made an effort to lower his eyebrows from where they had frozen in shock. He was holding me. Harry was holding me resounded in his head.

He had avoided Harry all afternoon, afraid of an awkward scene, afraid that what had happened would keep Harry from wanting his help resolving whatever curse was responsible for Harry's nightmares. He'd never imagined that the other wizard wouldn't be repulsed or disgusted, at the very least recoil from his touch.

But Harry hadn't.

When Snape reached out to him in concern, took his hands, pulled Harry into his arms to comfort him when his panic had turned into tears, he hadn't pulled away. Harry had buried his head in Snape's shoulder, relieved that he was all right.

But what does this panic attack and fear have to do with this morning's erotic dream or Harry's nightmares? Or sex in general?

"Harry, will you tell me what's going on? I'm afraid I'm completely lost." After a moment Harry nodded, so Snape suggested, "Not here though, let's go back to my rooms for some privacy," pulling them both up.

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