The Only Witchcraft
Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises?
As in slow motion, Severus, who was running in Potter's direction, saw him casting Avada Kedavra. Severus had to stop for a fraction of a second, dazzled by the green light and disturbed to the core by the sudden magical discharge.
When everything seemed to calm down and the green glow subsided, Severus glimpsed Potter fallen on the ground, and ran to him.
The boy's pale, skinny body seemed lifeless. In despair, Severus knelt by his side and held him in his arms.
"Alieno Vis," Severus murmured, and the world started to fade slowly around him.
~* ~* ~
Severus had lost his magic powers. In the first days, he had tried not to think about it. He would recover them with time, he told himself. He kept prowling the infirmary in search of news from Harry. The boy's life wasn't in danger, but he was still unconscious.
Three days after the final battle, Albus Dumbledore's head popped up in his fireplace and announced that Harry Potter had recovered consciousness.
Severus breathed deeply, relieved.
~* ~* ~
Once the concerns about Potter's condition were appeased, the first days without his magic turned out to be pure torture. Over and over Severus cast spells and nothing happened: "Accio!" and the object didn't move; "Lumos!" and the candle stayed unlit; "Incendio!" and the fire refused to flare.
Amid blasphemies and curses, he had to purchase and get used to each one of those damned Muggle things: matches, soaps, buckets...
He also had to acquire patience to walk to get the things he needed.
Worst of all: he couldn't do potions.
Classes would start in September - now the students were taking their OWLs and NEWTs. If Severus didn't recover his powers by September, he didn't know how he would be able to teach. He had become not only a Squib, but a completely worthless person.
But there was another thing disturbing him.
He had used Alieno Vis, and it had worked! Severus couldn't stop finding that amazing. Formidable, awesome, frightening. Now Severus had to acknowledge it hadn't been his hate for the boy or his concerns with the survival of the Wizarding World that had made him so obsessed about Harry Potter. Having lived for so long on his own and totally oblivious to that kind of feeling, Severus hadn't even recognised it in himself. That had been a revelation.
And Harry Potter was taking his NEWTs. Soon, the Golden Boy would be free to leave Hogwarts once and for all.
There were moments when Severus thought about giving up. He still knew too well the effects of every poison on his shelves...
~* ~* ~
A day after the end of the NEWTs, Severus heard a knock on his office door. He opened it and saw Harry Potter, his hair more unruly than ever and a determined look on his pale face.
"Professor. I... don't know what to say."
"So don't say anything, Potter, and leave me alone. I have work to do."
"How... how do you manage to do potions if..."
"I don't," Severus replied dryly.
"Er... That's what I came to talk to you about."
Severus narrowed his eyes at him. "I don't have any interest in discussing this subject with you, Potter."
"Listen, let me in, please. I came to make you an offer. I'd like to be your apprentice."
Severus narrowed his eyes further, in complete astonishment. Taking advantage of his moment of distraction, Potter entered and sat in front of his desk.
Turning on his heels, Severus circled the desk and loomed over Potter. "I'm not taking apprentices."
"Hermione told me about the Alieno Vis. She said that if you managed to transfer your magic to me, it's because..."
"Enough, Mr Potter. I didn't give you permission to..."
Potter stood up, clearly exasperated. "If you didn't feel very deeply for me, the Alieno Vis wouldn't have worked. This is a fact."
"And why does it matter?"
"Do you think you did me a great favour saving my life? Then let me tell you something: I wish I'd never woken up. I knew I'd be acclaimed as a hero, and that's exactly what happened. But the truth is that I feel dirty, rotten. I'm a murderer. No one understands me. Not even my friends. Not even Dumbledore. None of them have ever cast an Unforgivable."
"As usual, you are not being coherent, Mr Potter."
"Listen, don't be an idiot. You've lost your powers. How are you going to prepare potions? You're one of the few Potions Masters in the Wizarding World, and your knowledge is priceless. It would be such a waste not to use it." Potter stared at him with such a determined look that he was left motionless, as if at the mercy of a divine thunderbolt. Like Albus in his best moments, Potter exuded magic. "I know I'm terrible at Potions, but I've finished my studies and my magic is powerful. You can teach me, and I can help you."
"I don't need your help, Mr Potter. And I might not be your teacher any more, but I demand that you respect me."
Potter rolled his eyes. "I respect you, when you're not being pathetic," he snapped, standing up and leaving the professor's office with the speed and fury of a lightning bolt.
~* ~* ~
"Severus, I think you should accept Harry as your apprentice."
"What? Headmaster, you can't force me to accept this arrogant brat, who has never respected me. It would be utterly absurd, he loathes Potions!"
"The boy is so lost now that Tom Riddle doesn't threaten his life any more. He has bought a flat in Hogsmeade and lives alone. His friends have told me he's drinking every night and, since you didn't accept him as an apprentice, he's determined not to do anything, except spend his inheritance to the last Knut. We can't let him waste his life this way, Severus. Harry struggled hard to fulfil his destiny. He's a powerful wizard, and he deserves a chance."
"So you think it's a good idea to put him in my dungeons? It would be like an unending wizarding duel. Until one of us kills the other."
Albus Dumbledore flashed the most annoying of his smiles. "At least neither of you will be able to complain of boredom."
"Boredom? When have I ever complained of boredom? All I want is to live in peace, now that Riddle's gone."
"Now, now, Severus. Harry is a good boy. And he needs you."
A shiver ran through Snape's spine, and he just sighed, in dismay.
~* ~* ~
Now that he was getting used to the feeling of not having his magic, he would have to deal with... Potter. Indeed, the gods had decided he would never have peace.
It would have been difficult to stand the boy's presence when he still had all his powers. As it was, it would be the tortures of Tantalus.
~* ~* ~
Potter had arrived and installed himself in a study near Severus's rooms in the dungeons. It was the beginning of August, and classes would start in the next month.
The first days were spent in endless battles. Potter kept stumbling on him all the time and in all senses of the word. Severus would mercilessly whip him with his sharp words, call him an incompetent, useless, idiotic boy. Potter would pay him back in the same coin, calling him pathetic, stubborn, control freak, greasy git, giant bat... all those endearments they had cultivated in seven years of mutual hatred.
What a cruel irony his life was, Severus used to think at those times.
But when rage subsided and frustration threatened to engulf him, he would see Potter taking refuge in his work. Severus would do the same and, almost always, everything ended up rather well.
~* ~* ~
A few days before classes started, Severus called Potter for a talk and instructed him as to how he should behave as his "Teaching Assistant" in class. Potter should watch the students to prevent any disasters that might occur if a potion went wrong. He should call Snape "Master", follow his Master's orders and never contradict him in front of the students, no matter how unfair he might judge his Master's punishments.
Severus never expected that Potter would be able to do it. But Potter surprised him, obeying him in every detail.
Potter didn't react even when, one day, Severus took ten points from a Gryffindor student for having retaliated against a Slytherin who had hexed him - needless to say, the Slytherin boy remained unpunished.
Severus smiled to himself. He had done it on purpose. He hadn't expected Potter to resist the drive to challenge him. But the boy had resisted.
Potter didn't talk to him for two days after that. No matter how much Severus provoked him, he received only monosyllabic replies. At first, Severus gave as good as he got, not wanting to be the one to give in. But he finally tired of the game.
"Potter, if you're going to sulk forever, this isn't going to work. We're wasting our time."
"I didn't know that to be your apprentice I needed to be cheerful. Don't you think it's very unfair to demand that, when you yourself are the king of..."
Severus interrupted him. "You knew my methods and my demands before you applied for the position. If you can't stand..."
"How can you be so authoritarian to the point of wanting to dictate my mood?"
Furious, Potter dropped the knife and the scales he had been scraping off a snakeskin and went to his own quarters.
A few hours later he came back and resumed work.
~* ~* ~
The easier potions gave place to those of moderate difficulty, and soon they started to venture onto more dangerous ground.
It was unbelievable; gradually Severus was regaining contact with the things he cherished the most: his potions. Through Potter, Severus could see the product of his knowledge take shape again.
~* ~* ~
"Potter, why are you here?" Severus snapped one day when he couldn't restrain his curiosity. "Do you think you need to repay me because..."
Severus didn't know how to say that.
"Because you saved my life, is that what you mean?" Potter suggested. "Do you think that I'm trying to compensate you for what you lost, or for what you did for me?"
Severus nodded. "Are you trying to get back at me?" he insisted. "Or is it out of pity that you're doing this?"
"Pity? No! I don't... After the... the Avada Kedavra... It was horrible. I completely lost the will to live." Severus sighed, and Potter went on. "Yes, I know, it's awfully ironic. You lost your powers in order to save me, but I didn't want to live any more... I couldn't look at myself in the mirror, I couldn't accept that I was a murderer."
"Potter, you did what had to be done. There is no reason to..."
"Please, don't give me that. That's what everybody keeps telling me, but not you. Because you're the only one who knows. The only one who knows the power of an Unforgivable, and the way it can affect us."
Severus shuddered. "You're so young... I can imagine, Harry."
It had been involuntary. The word had escaped him. In a moment of weakness, he had called the boy Harry. Now there was no return.
Harry stared at him, surprised and... oh Merlin.
The boy breathed deeply as if trying to keep control. Severus didn't know very well over what he was trying to keep control, but something seemed about to explode somewhere.
"When they told me what you did..." the boy tried, uncertain. Severus felt his face flushing and placed both hands on his desk. Harry ran a hand through the unruly hair, in a gesture that reminded Severus of James Potter, but didn't make him less charming because of that. "After they told me, I couldn't stop thinking about it."
"There's nothing to think about," Severus snapped, trying to retake control of the situation. "It was instinctive, and you don't owe me anything for that."
Who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out?
Harry blinked. "Instinctive... Your first impulse was to give me all your magic? That's amazing, unbelievable."
Severus shrugged, straining to keep his head up.
"Well, I couldn't stop thinking about that," Harry insisted. "About you. And the only moments when I felt alive were... when I thought about you. About what you did. And about your magic flowing through my veins."
"It... it's n-not like that," Severus countered, shivering when he realised he was stammering. "I've only transferred to you my magic potential. As soon as my magic... entered your body... it became yours."
"It doesn't matter. Maybe it's just a fantasy of mine, that I can feel your magic inside me. But this fantasy makes me feel good. And when I remember that you considered my life worthy of such a sacrifice as losing your magic, it's only then that I feel my life has some value. Because you saw value in it, even after I had already killed Voldemort."
Severus could have insisted that he had acted merely by instinct, but his words died when he gazed at the boy's green eyes. "She loved me for the dangers I had passed, and I loved her that she did pity them. This only is the witchcraft I have used."
"It's a quote from Othello, by Shakespeare. A Muggle playwright."
Harry frowned, seeming to ponder. "And what does it mean?"
Severus was floundering, and didn't know what to say. "Let's go back to work, Potter. It's late, and Pomfrey needed this potion yesterday."
~* ~* ~
"Potter, we need to go to Hagrid's hut and gather a few herbs and roots."
Harry dropped the book Severus had asked him to read, about mind-altering potions, and followed him through the dungeon corridors, then upstairs. They crossed the Great Hall and went out of the castle.
The sun was shining brightly and creating colourful reflections over the lake.
"What are we going to gather?" Harry asked.
"Echinacea... Can you tell me its uses?"
He wasn't expecting a sensible reply. However, his apprentice surprised him once more. "Echinacea is used in potions to counter infections and to enhance the body's resistance to disease."
Severus arched an eyebrow. "Not bad. But your answer is not complete."
"Er... It serves also as an aphrodisiac."
"Ah-hah. Precisely. Now, we're also going to gather some Belladonna roots and leaves. Belladonna or, if you prefer to call it by its more poetical name, 'Nightshade'."
"It's a poisonous plant, but it also has antiseptic properties, in small dosages. And it's the main ingredient in the Silencing Potion."
"Er, are you planning to prepare a Silencing Potion?" asked Harry, the cool breeze blowing through his unruly hair.
"It's not a bad idea, Potter. You should take a goblet every morning."
Harry rolled his eyes heavenward and the bright sun dazed him, preventing him from seeing the smile hovering on Severus's lips.
"Let's harvest a few daisy roots too."
"For the Shrinking Solution, that you taught me in my third year."
"Oh, you remember this one quite well, don't you?"
"Of course. You ordered Ron to cut up Malfoy's roots and me to skin his shrivelfig, because the git was pretending to be injured."
"Pretending! He was attacked by an hippogriff!"
Harry sighed loudly, and Severus had to fight the urge to... choke him? Slap him? Whip him? Throw him to the ground and take him?
They had arrived at the hut. Severus guided his apprentice to the back garden, where there was a bed of herbs guarded by a closed but unlocked gate.
Severus gave Harry instructions about how to harvest every plant, how not to hurt the leaves, not to damage the roots, and explained the particularities and idiosyncrasies of each plant.
Severus showed Harry the deep purplish-blue flowers of the Scabius, also known as 'Devil's bit', the plant that, according to the legend, the devil had found in Paradise, but, envying the good it might do to the human race, bit away a part of the root to destroy it. The devil didn't succeed, and the Scabius still flourishes, in spite of its stumped root.
"Potter, in the next full moon I'll have to ask you to come here and plant a few seeds. And you have to be... er... you have to be naked."
Harry widened his eyes. Severus couldn't help imagining that pale, slim body sliding through that bed, at night. Body, bed, night... the meaning of the words started to blend in Severus's mind. The moonlight bathing the boy's curves and... He swallowed hard and cleaned his throat.
"It's part of the ritual, Potter. Certain plants have... weird preferences. The asphodel, for instance, has to be cultivated near tombs. That's why there is no asphodel here. We cultivate them... elsewhere. You know, Potter, there are many hidden mysteries in this castle," Severus murmured in a low voice.
The green eyes shone. "I would like to see a few of these mysteries... Would you show them to me?"
"I will show you everything that might be of interest to your learning," Severus replied, trying to sound professional.
~* ~* ~
While Potter worked to replenish Pomfrey's stock, preparing simple potions that didn't require the attention of his Master, Severus occupied himself with the writing of a Potions manual. Since he couldn't create anything new, he could at least put on parchment some of the findings of his lifetime studies. It was a way to distract himself from his powerlessness, from his feelings of uselessness and from his impossible fantasies about the boy.
The boy's enthusiastic cry interrupted his thoughts. "Master! Come here, I want to show you something! As we didn't have any basilisk fangs left, I used tarantula legs and it seems that, instead of obtaining a Blood-Replenishing potion, now I have a Human-Tissues-Restorative potion!"
"Are you insane, Potter? Did you rub an unknown potion on your hand? On an exposed wound?"
"I know, I know. But I knew it would work! And look, my skin - which I bruised yesterday, cutting porcupine quills - is now perfect! Wicked, don't you think?"
Severus looked at Potter's face, surprised. The boy exuded enthusiasm. The only person Severus knew that could get so excited because of a potion was... himself, when he was Harry's age.
Harry was changing. Where would that lead them? Severus was getting accustomed to the exasperating boy. He couldn't indulge in such feelings of dependence. After all, he was a Squib, and Harry was a powerful wizard. He couldn't bind Harry to himself, he couldn't hinder his development.
"What is it?" Harry held his shoulder, squeezing it lightly. "Is there something bothering you? Do you need anything?"
His skin seemed to burn where the boy was touching him. Severus shrugged Harry's hand off. "I don't need anything, Potter."
"Why... why do you run from me?"
"Clearly you, in all your arrogance, expect everyone to kneel at your feet."
Even as he was speaking, Severus flushed at the double meaning of his words.
Harry blinked. "What? Why are you being such a...? I thought we had already overcome this stage."
"Can... can you imagine how it feels when you lose all your magic?"
Harry widened his eyes, then dropped his head. "No. I'm sorry." Then he raised his head again. "But I don't respect you less because you lost your powers. You're still a strong and brave man. I don't feel I'm better than you because..."
"Enough, Potter. This talk isn't going anywhere, and I'm tired."
~* ~* ~
A few days later, Severus realised he couldn't postpone it anymore: Potter would have to learn to prepare the Wolfsbane, because Lupin had already consumed all the stock.
First things first: there were certain herbs that Potter wouldn't find without his help.
"Potter, this morning I'm going to show you one of the hidden mysteries of this castle," he announced as soon as his apprentice arrived in the laboratory.
Severus led him to the fourth floor and moved a mirror. Behind it, there was a passage.
"But this passage is blocked," said Harry.
"Only for those who doesn't know the secret words," Severus replied smugly. "This passage has been blocked because some nosy students were using it to go to Hogsmeade. But it's not only to Hogsmeade that this passage leads. The spell is Tumulus Rubeus Petra, Potter."
"Tumulus Rubeus Petra."
The stones that blocked the passage dissolved, letting them enter, and solidified again soon after them.
They followed through the dark sinuous tunnels, the slimy walls surrounding them. Suddenly, the low sound of their cautious steps was broken by a sliding sound and a choked cry. Severus turned around quickly and felt his way until he found Potter fallen on the ground.
"I'm all right. Don't worry."
The boy tried to stand up leaning on the slimy walls. Severus stretched his hand to him.
They continued their journey. Suddenly, Severus stopped and dislodged some stones in the wall, revealing a staircase. A thousand dilapidated steps led them to a trapdoor and finally, out of the castle, to a lawn where there wasn't anything except a majestic tomb in red stones.
Harry approached the tomb, probably curious to read the gravestone.
"Godric Gryffindor!" he exclaimed, turning to Severus with an interrogative look.
Severus merely nodded.
"And what does 'Nunc non micat in tenebris' mean?
"'He no longer shines in the dark'."
"He must have been a very powerful wizard."
Like you, Severus couldn't help thinking. The boy was covered in brown and green moss, but his magic was shining more than ever.
Severus started to gather the herbs around the tomb. "Look, Potter, this is the Asphodel."
"I know. And you're also harvesting Star anise. How can you cultivate it here, with this climate?"
You have changed, Harry Potter. Severus was more and more surprised with his apprentice. Apparently he had been reading even Herbology books. "The seeds were enchanted."
Harry nodded. He looked around and turned to Severus again. "And the other founders, where are their tombs?"
"Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw were buried inside the castle, in a crypt. As for Slytherin, he didn't die in Hogwarts, and nobody has ever found his body."
"In my fifth year, the Hat song said that they had been great friends, Gryffindor and Slytherin. I don't know why, but I like to imagine them as very close friends. Or rather... as lovers."
The green eyes met his, and seemed to burn him. He tried to break the spell by sounding professional. "The attraction of opposites is very important in Alchemy."
"Do you really think Gryffindor and Slytherin are opposites? I... I don't feel like that. I mean, speaking in a general way."
"That's because nobody is purely a Gryffindor or a Slytherin."
"I know. The Sorting Hat told me, in the Sorting Ceremony, that I have many Slytherin traits."
Severus arched an eyebrow. "Obnoxious Hat. To me it said I possessed many Gryffindor traits."
"Well, you're one of the bravest wizards I've ever known."
Severus felt himself blush and decided to change the subject. "Let's go back. We already have all the herbs we need."
~* ~* ~
They spent many days taking care of the meticulous details of the complex potion. Many times they had to start again from scratch, because the potion didn't allow even the tiniest error. However, at the end of a week of hard work, Severus examined the potion and... nodded.
Harry flashed a dazzling smile and threw himself at Severus's arms.
Severus wrapped his arms around the young wizard's waist.
Surprised by himself, Severus dreaded to spoil the magic of the moment. They broke apart without saying anything.
~* ~* ~
It was getting very hard to resist Harry's proximity. Severus was always in a state of semi-arousal.
The fact that he masturbated every night and every morning murmuring Harry's name, his voice choked by the pillow, didn't make his situation any better.
~* ~* ~
Severus had learned to make tea the Muggle way. It was a good distraction. At teatime, he would call Harry, they would sit at the table and talk.
The Headmaster had the kitchen built for him in his private quarters, at the back of the laboratory.
Now, for the first time, Severus was making a cake. A chocolate cake. Because he and Harry had that in common: a passion for chocolate.
When the cake was ready, Severus turned off the oven, boiled a kettle of water, prepared tea and went back to the laboratory, leaving the door to his quarters open.
"What a delicious smell!" Harry exclaimed.
Severus didn't say a word and saw Harry resuming his work, stirring another one of those basic healing potions. The Master wandered around his laboratory. Everything was in the right place, and the potion didn't demand much attention. They could very well extinguish the fire and resume the work later.
"Let's have a break for a cup of tea, Potter."
Harry lifted his head and beamed.
Harry always seemed to content himself with such simple things. How did he manage?
Afterwards, at the table, the boy commented, in a matter-of-fact tone, that when his aunt made a cake, he wasn't allowed to eat it.
Severus, who was cutting a slice of cake, stopped. A mixture of hate, guilt and affection filled his heart. Trying to choke down those complex, confused feelings, he handed out a slice of cake to Harry and sat down in front of him.
He sipped his tea, while Harry savoured the cake with a delighted look.
"Hmm, delicious. Much better than the house-elves' cakes."
Severus kept drinking his tea, trying to dislodge the knot in his throat and that voice inside him that kept saying: I'll never deny you anything. Everything that's mine is yours too. The cake, the tea, the potions, my stupid life. Pity I have so little to share with you.
He realised he was daydreaming and staring at his apprentice like a fool.
"What is it?" the boy asked, touching his shoulder softly. "Why are you so sad?"
"Oh. You share your cake with me, but not your problems," Harry complained.
Severus swallowed hard. "If... if I don't recover my powers in less than a month, the Ministry is going to force my retirement for health incapacity. And I will be completely worthless. I won't even be able to be your Master any more."
Harry's face darkened. "They can't do that! Not after everything you've done in the war!"
"Oh, they will give me a good pension, as a war-disabled wizard."
"So we can, well, we can open a private laboratory!"
"In a year or two, you won't need me any more. You'll have learned everything I know, and you'll be able to run the laboratory on your own."
"So in a year or two we'll see what we're going to do."
We. Since when was there a "we"?
~* ~* ~
"The Headmaster has just told me that the Ministry sent us invitations. There will be a celebration, and we'll receive the Order of Merlin, first class, for what we did in the war," Potter announced.
"A bunch of useless hypocrites. Judging from the time they took, probably there was a civil war to decide to whom they would give their bloody medals and to whom they would not. Anyway, I won't go."
"So I won't go either."
"Of course you will. You're the Great Hero."
"If you won't go, I won't either."
"Nobody will give a damn if I don't go. They will be relieved, if nothing else, for not having to award a former Death Eater. But you will have to go; they won't leave you alone."
"They won't find me. Where are you planning to hide?"
Severus quirked one of his sardonic smiles. "Why would I tell you such a thing?"
~* ~* ~
Notwithstanding, on the night of the great celebration for the Wizarding World, Harry Potter followed his Master to the Room of Requirement...
Severus felt like a teenager playing truant and hiding in a secret place with that special mate he had a crush on. Except that this had never happened to him when he was a student at Hogwarts. It was too amazing to be true.
Severus had just wanted a refuge - or at least that was what he thought he had wanted. But the Room had taken the shape of a bedroom, with a double four poster bed, a fireplace and luxuriously thick wool rugs.
"Potter, did you require this?" Severus pointed to their surroundings.
"I don't know. Maybe this is our combined desires."
"Just one bed? I don't think so."
"You can wish what you want. Just do it," said Potter.
Severus tried to concentrate, but nothing changed, except for the appearance of a table with a magnificent dinner, including a bottle of wine and candles.
They sat and devoured the roast beef and potatoes. The wine helped them to relax.
The boy's green eyes sparkled even more under the candlelight.
"I've taken Othello from the Library... There's a whole section of Muggle books there, you know. I've read the whole play and I think I finally understood the meaning of that quote," the boy said.
"Yeah. Othello is saying he loves Desdemona because she loves him. And I... at least in the beginning, I think... that was what happened to me. But now... now I don't know. Now I can only think of you."
Something warm began to stir in Severus's heart, and below. "As you found out, the story didn't end well..."
Harry smiled. "Our story will be different."
Perhaps it was the wine, perhaps the Room... The fact was that suddenly Severus found himself taking Harry's hand between his. "Potter... Do you really know what you want?"
"Call me Harry, please."
"Is this all that you want... Harry?"
Harry flashed him a most seductive smile. "I also want to call you Severus."
"Nothing else?" Severus asked in a hoarse voice that he couldn't even recognise as his own.
"You're so nice tonight. If I'd known the wine would do this to you, I'd have tried before."
"Tried what, P... Harry?"
"Well, I'm not very good at this. I'm trying to seduce you, Severus. I want to go to bed with you."
Severus had dreamed so many times of those impossible words that he couldn't believe he was really listening to them. But Harry was already pulling him by the hand towards the four poster bed, two steps away.
They fell on the bed together with their arms around each other, and Harry pulled him on top of his body. As soon as he felt the boy beneath himself, Severus got fully hard. He breathed heavily. Harry was panting too, even before their lips met.
Ah. Severus had forgotten how it felt. It had been a long time ago, the last time. And it had never been like that. Never like Harry, never someone he had desired for so long... He couldn't even tell since when. It was a ridiculous cliché, but Harry's lips were pliant and soft and warm, and the flavour of wine blending with Harry's flavour was intoxicating.
Harry moaned and shifted so that Severus fitted between his legs. The way he had reciprocated the kiss revealed he wasn't totally inexperienced.
Severus lodged his head in the curve of the boy's neck, and whispered in his ear, "I want you. Have you done this before?"
Harry nodded. "On my holidays. It was... painful."
Harry looked embarrassed. "I don't know."
"You'll have to tell me. Was it with a man?"
"He was on top and he didn't prepare you well enough?"
"I don't remember. I was drunk. All I know is that it hurt a lot."
"Do I know this bastard?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't think so. I met him at the Three Broomsticks."
"Don't worry about anything," said Severus, capturing his lips again.
The kiss lasted, tongues whirling around, dancing around each other, intertwining and separating, in movements that simulated an even more intimate caress.
"Hmmmggg," said Harry, and Severus broke the kiss to look at him.
"Are you all right?"
"No! I'm horny as hell. Let's take these bloody clothes off."
A crooked smile curved Severus's lips when he saw the Room had left them naked in a blink. Even Harry's glasses had disappeared. "Beware what you wish, Mr Potter."
Harry made a gesture as if to protest against that 'Mr Potter', but suddenly the reality of the new situation seemed to dawn on him. "Oh."
Severus ran his eyes over Harry's body. It was sculpted to perfection. The pale, smooth skin, the fine trail of dark hair that widened into a coarse tuft at the top of his thighs, the slender, jaunty cock fully erect, like a monument to pleasure. Severus felt his throat dry immediately, and his own cock throbbed. He wanted to devour him head to toe, but he knew that it wouldn't be enough. What was it about that boy that enthralled him so completely? That made him want to protect him, even when he hated him?
Harry's voice startled him. "Severus, you're so beautiful."
Severus almost choked. Thank Merlin the boy was so shortsighted.
"It's true." Harry ran his spread-out hand over Severus's chest. "I never got hard like this for anyone."
Severus pushed him against the mattress and felt Harry's hands going down to his hips, then cupping his buttocks, pressing them closer to his body. Severus started to lick him thoroughly: the earlobe, the sensitive area beneath his chin... When he got to the nipples, Harry arched wildly beneath him. Severus pretended to ignore his own aching hardness, and spent a long time playing with those delightful rosy peaks, moistening, rolling, pinching them.
It had been a long time since he had had a lover, but everything seemed to be going surprisingly well.
He wouldn't be able to explore Harry's body much longer, though. Both were too excited to last long.
"Harry, let's lie side-by-side, facing each other. It will be easier this way," said Severus, sliding off his body and pulling Harry against him.
Then Severus moved his hand down the side of Harry's body and finally reached between his legs to hold his cock gently.
"Ah," Harry gasped.
"You're so smooth," Severus purred, searching for the best position, spreading his hand further and rubbing their cocks against each other. Slowly, he started to pump them. Harry hugged him fiercely, flinging a leg over his hip.
It didn't take long for Harry to come, sheathing Severus's cock with his hot seed. The warm feeling around his cock and the emotion of hearing Harry's pleasured cry made Severus follow him soon afterwards.
When their spasms subsided, Severus asked the Room to clean the bed and their bodies and lay on his side of the bed. But Harry gazed up at him with such a forlorn expression that he turned to his lover again and took him in his arms.
"Thanks," Harry whispered.
"Because of everything. For not having... you know..."
"Oh, that. I had my own selfish reasons for that, don't worry."
"I won't tell you."
"Well, it was... amazing."
Severus couldn't help smiling smugly. "You see, there are many different roads to pleasure."
"I hope you've been so nice because you want to do this with me again. Many times. In many different ways," Harry murmured in a sleepy tone.
Oh, Merlin. Severus knew that dream couldn't last. After all, he was nothing but a Squib. When the hormones had subsided and the novelty had worn off, what would a young and powerful wizard like Harry want with him?
~* ~* ~
On the next morning, waking in someone's arms, Severus startled. If he still had his magic, perhaps he would have cast a spell on the intruder. Then he remembered the night before and relaxed. He wrapped a possessive arm around the boy's chest. Harry was going to leave him one day; the best thing Severus could do was be happy now. Carpe diem.
He fell asleep again and, when he woke up for the second time, a hard cock was rocking rhythmically against his hips. "Er... Potter..."
"Harry, don't you think you're taking too many liberties with my body?"
"Well... uh... You know, you wouldn't wake up, so..."
Noticing that his cock was taking a great interest in those developments, Severus groaned.
Surrendering, he took the boy's lips in a teasing kiss, flicking out his tongue to taste him but then pulling it away, nipping softly at his lower lip. Perhaps in revenge, Harry grabbed his buttocks firmly and squeezed them.
A green vial appeared in Severus's hand. Severus showed it to his lover.
"This is the secret for a completely painless shag. As I know you don't trust me, you will be the first to try."
Harry's eyes revealed perplexity. "It's not true that I..."
Severus opened the vial, spread the oily substance on his fingers and, under Harry's mesmerised gaze, started preparing himself.
"Observe how I do it. Slowly. Circling my entrance, thrusting my finger in and pulling it out. Now a second finger... Yes. Would you like to try?"
Severus removed his fingers and handed out the vial to Harry.
Harry halted, hesitating. Then Severus took the vial from his hands, opened it himself and spread the substance over Harry's fingers. He led the boy's forefinger to his entrance.
"It's all right, Harry. Just do as I was doing."
Harry put his forefinger in. It felt so good. The boy seemed to relax, and started to move it in and out.
"You can... put another one in," Severus murmured.
The second finger slid easily into him. Harry still inserted a third one before Severus declared himself ready.
Severus stacked a couple of pillows beneath himself so that Harry could take him from behind. Harry was trembling a little when he penetrated him, Severus could feel it. Oh, he would have liked to see Harry's expression at that moment... But this was the best position, both for Harry, who was a first-timer, and himself, who hadn't bottomed (or topped, for that matter) for... sixteen years.
The potion eliminated the pain, but there was a certain initial discomfort. Gradually, however, that discomfort was overcome by a feeling of intimacy so intense that Severus felt a tear well up in his eye.
And feeling Harry coming inside him was something still more intimate.
Harry leaned over his back, his now flaccid cock sliding out of him. Severus turned around and held his lover.
Harry stroked his hair. "Now it's your turn."
"It's not necessary."
"But I want you. I want to feel you inside me," Harry insisted.
His whole body shaking, Severus framed the boy's face and kissed him thoroughly. Then he explored meticulously every inch of his lover's body, with lips, tongue, teeth, hands. He pinched the rosy nipples, swirled his tongue into Harry's navel, rubbed the long nose in his pubic hair. He massaged his balls delicately and circled the sensitive area behind them. Harry was already panting when he spread the lubricant potion over his fingers and around the boy's entrance.
Severus took ages to prepare his lover. The long fingers rubbing the tight hole, stretching it languidly. When the tip of a finger touched the boy's most sensitive spot, Harry moaned, rock hard again.
Snape turned him around, positioned himself, spread Harry's cheeks apart and entered him slowly, inch by inch. He felt Harry holding his breath, then relaxing. Going deeper, Severus started to impose a steady, slow pace, and Harry started to match his rhythm, thrusting back at him. Then Severus bent over his back and reached out to hold one of Harry's hands, interweaving their fingers.
"Severus, I'm melting. How... how do you do... aaaaah... this?"
Harry's movements and words made him lose control for a moment, and he plunged to the root, his cock completely sheathed by his lover's wet and warm channel, their bodies fitting perfectly, moving as one. As Harry continued to move, Severus reached out to hold his cock and started to pump it in the same languid pace.
"Let's come together, Harry."
Severus plunged in again until his balls pressed against Harry's arse. Harry cried out, his cock pulsing in Severus's hand, spurting hot semen. Feeling Harry's cock throbbing in his hand, Severus surrendered to the pleasure that spiralled through him. Severus held Harry tightly, trying to milk his climax completely, to squeeze the last drop of pleasure from his body.
He stayed inside Harry for a long time, not wanting to break the connection between their bodies.
~* ~* ~
Over the next week, they made love in every possible position and in
every possible place: on Severus's desk, on Severus's worktable, on Severus's
bed, on Harry's bed, by the lakeside, in the Forbidden Forest, in the
They hardly could work, unable to keep their hands off each other.
One day they were almost caught with their pants off (luckily they had their robes on) by Dumbledore's head in the fireplace. It was a close call - they were out of Dumbledore's vision range; Severus collected himself quickly enough and went to talk to him.
The Headmaster gave him the disturbing news that the Ministry was requesting his presence at the MediWizard Department for examinations.
When Dumbledore's head disappeared amidst the flames, Harry approached Severus with an inquisitive look.
Severus shrugged. "It had to happen, sooner or later. It's the end of my career."
"Be calm, Severus. Maybe they will give you more time."
"Don't hold your breath."
"Bastards. But you don't need them. We can open that lab, as I've told you, and..."
"Harry, I'm a hunted wizard. The remaining Death Eaters want my head. Without my magic, I don't stand a chance against them. As soon as I leave the castle, I'll be dead. "
Harry shook his head. "No! I'm not going to let them."
A sad smile ghosted over Severus's lips. "Luck has always been on your side, but this privilege is not extended to your beloved ones," he stated bitterly.
A shadow of pain flashed across Harry's face, and a tear shone in each green eye. He dropped his head.
Severus lifted his chin gently. "It wasn't your fault. You couldn't have prevented anything that happened."
Severus brushed his lips against Harry's. Feeling the salty taste of the only tear that insisted on trickling down his cheek, the older wizard kissed him with a tenderness he didn't know he possessed.
Finally the rendition was complete, and he accepted the full extension of his feelings. That was a too powerful monster, one he would never be able to defeat. The best strategy was to surrender. After all, wasn't it common knowledge that cunning, and not bravery, was the main trait of Slytherin? However, perhaps it took more courage to surrender than to fight that basilisk that had slithered into his soul.
"Don't worry, foolish boy," he whispered in his executioner's ear. "I won't be defeated by them. I'm going to live. Even if it's the last thing that I do," he finished, and could hear Harry's choked laugh.
~* ~* ~
Another never-welcome interruption was every time they had to give Remedial Potions to walking disasters like Nicholas Feith, a Hufflepuff, whom Severus had ordered to prepare a very simple Restorative Draft, but who seemed unable to understand the most basic principles of potion making.
Everything happened too fast. Harry was standing beside the cauldron, supervising the younger boy's work when, without any warning or reason, Feith threw Gillyweed powder inside the cauldron instead of moth wings, as the instructions said. And that meant, Severus knew very well, that the whole cauldron was going to blow up in five seconds, carrying Harry and Feith with it.
Panic and sixteen years of career were stronger than the memory of not having his powers, and Severus took out his wand - which he still kept in one of his robe's pockets, near his heart - and shouted, "Evanesco!"
The potion disappeared immediately.
Nicholas Feith paled and gaped. Harry lifted his eyes to Severus, and his face lightened in a broad smile.
Severus became speechless.
"Severus! You've recovered your magic!" Before he could react, Harry was in his arms.
"Ahem." Severus held Harry's hand and pushed him away. "Mr Feith, you are dismissed. I'm going to decide about your punishment. There are moments when I agree with Filch that the old punishments shouldn't have been banned."
But the truth was that he was so happy he could have given ten thousand points to Hufflepuff.
The boy left, still shocked and terrified.
Severus searched for Harry's eyes, and suddenly Harry's smile faded away.
"Now... now you won't need me any more," Harry said.
Severus arched an eyebrow. Then understanding dawned on him, and he felt a chill in his stomach. "So... you... you stayed with me to pay your debt. And now you think that..."
"No! It's not that."
"Don't 'Potter' me. Why are you doing that? Or... maybe it's you who have been using me, while you didn't have powers, and now you think you don't need me any more and want to send me away?"
Severus glared daggers at him and, in a fit of rage, pushed him against the wall. "Five minutes ago I almost died of fright because of you. If you had gone because of that potion, I wouldn't have wanted to stay alive. If you want, I can say the same under Veritaserum. Go and fetch a bottle," Severus said between clenched teeth, but didn't let the boy go.
Then Harry embraced him and pressed his hips enticingly against Severus's. "I had forgotten how seductive you are when you're angry. You know, Severus, there are many things that we do together and that I wouldn't be able to do alone... And I'm not referring to your delicious cakes."
"We cannot built a relationship based only on cakes. Or sex."
"Who said I was referring to sex? Not that we don't have wonderful sex..."
"What else you can't do by yourself? Torment me with your obnoxiousness to the point of making me lose control?"
Harry chuckled. "Now that you've recovered your magic, it will be even more exciting."
"Yes. We can have duels of Unforgivables."
"Oh, come on, you know we'd never hurt each other for real."
"Well, I've invested too much in you to want to damage my hard work."
"Ha! Do you know even your sarcasm makes me feel all tingly?" Then Harry's expression became more serious and concentrated. "All right. Let's talk seriously. Severus, you've taught me so much. You've made me understand the subtle science and exact art of potion-making. You've made me love the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron... You have yet to teach me how to stopper death, don't think that I've forgotten..."
"If you didn't keep distracting yourself with foolish wand-waving, perhaps you would have learned it already," Severus replied, with a smirk.
"Now, Severus, however enjoyable this..." Harry pulled Severus's arse suggestively against his body "...may be, we both know very well that it's not just sex that we have. Can you imagine how many amazing potions we'll be able to create together?" Harry rubbed his semi-erect cock against Severus's, which gave an interested twitch. "There are some potions with very interesting effects that we could try..."
Severus moaned. "I've created a monster."
Severus crushed Harry's lips against his, and a tiny gleam of hope lit in his dark soul. Maybe there was a tiny chance that they could be... happy... together. Just maybe.
Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises?
Ptyx, January 2005