The Substitute


It was forbidden by the Ministry, but Severus made a point of going to watch "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" in London, in the first week of exhibition. Who was that Muggle who was going to play his role? Alan Rickman - a handsome but old and plump man, from what Severus could see in the posters. What were those Muggles thinking? And why had the Ministry of Magic given those Muggles permission to tell their story in a book, and worse, to show it at those hideous theatres?

It was all part of the new policy of the Ministry of Magic, which was trying to sell the wizards' image to the Muggles and, at the same time, kept forbidding the wizards from any contact with the Muggles. Severus was starting to regret having helped to defeat Voldemort. Perhaps the Dark Lord had been right about the Muggles, after all.

The film started, and he let himself be seduced by its atmosphere. Not that that had anything to do with the real Hogwarts and its inhabitants. But it was not a complete disaster.

When Alan appeared on screen, however, Severus felt a chill go down his spine. And when his deep and silky voice filled the theatre, Severus shivered. He had been hooked.

After the end of the film, Severus returned to Hogwarts and his dungeons. But he couldn't forget that voice.

~* ~* ~

A year later, Severus went to see "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". He hated the film. They had cut all the scenes where he appeared. The duel scene was impressive, though. And even if Alan didn't seem well physically, Severus's heart beat stronger every time he showed up.

~* ~* ~

A few months later - Alan was working on another film with Emma Thompson - Severus received some news that left him a little apprehensive: Harry Potter had abandoned his Auror career and was returning to Hogwarts to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts, replacing Alexius Asperon, who had suffered a fatal accident with a Quintaped in the Isle of Drear on his Christmas holidays.

For some reason Potter's return left Severus uneasy. During the war, Severus and Potter had developed a distant but respectful relationship. Could it be because Potter had been appointed the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher? The truth was that Severus had changed his mind about wanting that post a long time ago. Maybe he felt it was too painful that the post had been given to Potter's son? But, no. Severus had came to know the son; if it was true that there was a lot of James in Harry, it was also true that the life Harry had led had made him a more mature person than his father had ever been.

The more he thought about it, the less he could understand why exactly Potter's return was troubling him so much.

~* ~* ~

Potter arrived and treated him politely, keeping his distance. Severus should be feeling relieved, but the presence of the boy - no, he wasn't a boy any more, but Severus couldn't help thinking of him as such - made him uneasy.

~* ~* ~

His apprehension was justified when, on a certain evening, Severus was caught red-handed at the Staff Room table by Harry Potter, of all people. Severus lifted his eyes slowly from the Alan Rickman photo he had in his hand, and confirmed his suspicions that the presence he was sensing at his side was Potter, indeed. Oh, Salazar. Severus felt himself blushing, and clenched his fists.

"Er... I'm sorry. I'm... I'm a Rickman fan too."

Of all the things he might have expected to come out of the boy's mouth, that was the most unlikely. Severus didn't know what to say. He narrowed his eyes and tried to look threatening.

"He's so cheerful in this photo," Potter commented. "His naughty smile is killer!"

"Potter, don't you have anything better to do with your time than plague me?"

"Er, to tell you the truth, I don't," the boy replied, a shy smile on his face. "I've just finished my last class and you know how it is, there's not much to do here. I was just thinking of watching one of Alan's films on my... er... on a special... machine."

Too many absurd things in just two sentences. That was a record, even for Potter. Severus couldn't absorb it all.

"Speak English, Potter."

A long silence followed as Potter seemed to ponder on what he was going to say.

"Now that I know you're a Rickman fan, I thought that maybe you would like to... watch one of his films on my... er... machine. I've just downloaded 'Die Hard', but if you prefer we can watch another one."

Die Hard! Severus had never seen any film in which Rickman had worked before "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone", because the Muggle appliances didn't work at Hogwarts. He knew Rickman's filmography by heart, from magazines, but he had only been able to see the more recent films - the first and the second from the Harry Potter series.

"What sort of machine is that? It seems illegal to me."

Potter sat by his side at the table.

"Shh. It is illegal. Working as an Auror, sometimes we come across magically modified Muggle objects. I should have warned Mr Weasley... you know that he works in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office... but I thought that he would end... please don't tell anyone that I've said this... I thought he would want to keep it to himself, and then he could get in trouble."

"Ah, I see. You wanted to spare him from future troubles. You don't expect me to believe this fairy tale, do you?"

Potter shrugged.

"Do you want to see the film or not?"

~* ~* ~

And that's how their bizarre partnership began. Harry - yes, now he was "Harry" - would arrive in the dungeons every evening with his magical laptop, and they would watch Rickman films: "Die Hard", "Truly, Madly, Deeply", "Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves", "Mesmer", "Dogma", "Galaxy Quest". The dance scene of "Rasputin" made them swoon, but their favourite, the one they had watched three times in the first two weeks, was "Sense and Sensibility". The scene when Colonel Brandon leans on the oak panelled door, in despair ("Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad"), and the scene when he recites Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene were replayed many times in a row, accompanied by sighs.

As the laptop screen was not very big, they would put it on a table in front of the sofa, where they sat side by side. In the first evenings, they had limited themselves to comments focusing on the quality of Alan's acting. With time, however, they had lost all inhibitions, and started to express their appreciation for Alan in every aspect: his voice, hands, gestures, hair, nose, smile... even the pudge, and the occasional bulge in his trousers...

"Ahhhh. I need to download 'Dark Harbour', Severus. But I haven't been able to find it on Kazaa."

"Have you already seen it?"

"No, I've seen only some screencaps where he was stark naked. Oh, Merlin."

Severus looked at Harry, amused.

"Such enthusiasm. He's too old for you, Harry. He's old enough to be your grandfather."

"Oh, now you're exaggerating!"

"No, I'm not! How old you are, 22? He's 57."

"And so what? He's hot as hell."

As for that, Severus couldn't agree more.

~* ~* ~

Two weeks later Harry found and downloaded 'Dark Harbour'. Severus opened a bottle of Ogden's Old for the occasion, and they sat on the sofa.

Neither of them said a word during all the film. But when David Weinberg and the Young Man kissed, at the end, Severus turned to Harry and, at the same time, Harry turned to him. The look they exchanged spoke a thousand words.

Harry cheered and clapped at the end. They rewound the film to see again the scene when David takes off his clothes and jumps into the river, and let it play again until the final kiss.

Then Severus leant back on the sofa, and caught Harry observing him.

"Severus, have you ever thought of... Forget it."

"Spit it out."

"What if we pretend that they... are us? After all, Alan plays your role in the films."

Severus's heart began to pound faster and stronger.

"What, exactly, are your ideas?"

"I made a Polyjuice Potion. I took a hair out of Alan's coat, a month ago, at the opening party of a night club in London," Harry revealed. "Would you agree to..."

Severus stood up, turning his back to Harry. That was... weird. But seductive. In a sudden impulse, he turned back to Harry.

"I agree."

Oh, no! Why the devil had he agreed? He felt lost. However, Harry had already stood up and, producing a bottle from a pocket in his robes, handed it to him.

Severus smelt the potion. It was indeed Polyjuice. He breathed deeply before drinking the dose necessary to the transformation.

He started to change immediately. He felt every inch of his body swelling and stretching. Alan was bigger and taller than him. His shoulders stretched, his chest broadened. Fortunately, his robes were loose and his underwear was elastic, otherwise they would have been ripped off. He felt heavy and less agile. Older.

He looked at his hands. Graceful and flexible, but not as deft and slender as his own.

The voice? Strangely, he didn't want to try his voice.

Harry was staring at him in awe. Severus approached and held him by the shoulders. Closing his eyes, he leant to seal his lips to Harry's.

Harry. His lips were supple and sweet. Severus rested his hand behind the young man's head, twining his fingers through the dishevelled hair. Oh, that was madness. His own lips tasted different, moved differently, and only gradually he learnt to control them. Their tongues met, twisting together. They moaned in unison. Alan's voice was as deep as his own, but it had a different tone. Severus wrapped his arms around Harry's waist and pulled him tight; Harry rubbed his hips into Severus's groin, sending waves of desire through his entire body.

When Severus broke the kiss to catch his breath, he stared intently at Harry, and lost himself in his own feelings. Harry's voice awakened him from his daze.

"Wow. That was amazing, Alan."


Severus felt very confused and wrong. Perhaps with time he could get used to it. He leant to kiss the young man one more time.

~* ~* ~

On the second evening, Harry offered to drink the potion in Severus's place, but Severus said he preferred to be Alan himself. He didn't want Harry to see him as he was, his skinny, scarred body...

At night, alone in his bed, he liked to fantasise about being Alan, even without the Polyjuice, and making love to an imaginary Harry. Before Harry's returning to Hogwarts, it was only Alan, and if Severus were to be honest with himself, he would have to admit it had become a little boring. After all, Alan was an unattainable object of desire. While Harry, Harry was there, every single day, near him. Fantasising about Harry added an element of challenge: a taste of the forbidden and the thrill of reality. It was amazing. His libido had increased vertiginously.

But it wasn't only sex that Severus wanted from Harry. Severus shuddered at the mere thought; he was being seduced by that strange blend of power and innocence that Harry radiated. How could anyone who had seen what Harry had seen and learnt what Harry had learnt still have that innocent sparkle in his eyes, that flare of life that shone out from every part of his being?

Every night, Alan's films became only the prelude to the kisses and caresses exchanged after Severus's transformation into Alan.

"Alan... Take me to bed."

Severus complied and made love to him for the first time. The emotion he was feeling for being with Harry mixed with the guilt and frustration of not being able to do it with his own body. But Harry was so responsive to his touches, and Severus was so bewitched, that guilt and frustration were relegated to a second place.

"Speak to me, Alan. You know what your voice does to me..."

"I'm deep inside you, Harry. You're so tight, so warm. It feels so good. I want to make you come, and I want you to say my name when you do."

"Ahhhh... Alan!"

Severus felt weird coming with Alan's body. He embraced Harry strongly and tried not to think about it.

~* ~* ~

More and more, Severus liked the moments before the transformation, when he and Harry talked, not only about Alan and his films, but sometimes about other subjects derived from the films. Sometimes Severus even forgot why Harry was there, believing it was because Harry liked his company.

Although it was only after the transformation that Severus could touch Harry, after the first times he didn't look forward to that moment as intensely as before.

And every night after they shagged, Severus wished that Harry would stay with him until he transformed back, and after. But that never happened.

~* ~* ~

One evening Harry arrived bringing "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". They laughed a lot, commenting about the film, noticing how certain things had not happened as the film showed them.

At the end, Harry looked at him, contemplative.

"There is a thing between Snape and Harry in the film, isn't there?"

"A thing?"

"Oh, you know... Have you read Michael Bronski review of the "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" book? When he speaks about Alan's interpretation, and says that Snape stares at Harry as if fighting down a very untoward urge? I agree with him. As for Harry, he's afraid, but at the same time he challenges Snape all the time, as if he wanted to provoke him, or to find out what Snape can... do to him."

Severus sneered. "And that never happened between us."

"Yeah, that's right. There was never anything between us. Well, after all, you're not Alan Rickman," said Harry, in a mocking tone.

Something seemed to die inside Severus. And his sorrow must have shown on his face, because Harry approached him, sitting by his side, and put his hand on Severus's shoulder. Severus shrugged him off and stood up abruptly.

"Go away. The game is over."

"I'm sorry, Severus! You got it wrong. I didn't mean to..."

"Go away, before I make you."

Harry widened his eyes, then looked down. Still with his eyes lowered and shoulders hunched, Harry stood up and left.

Severus closed the door behind him and buried his face in his hands.

~* ~* ~

So that was the raw and naked truth. He wasn't Alan Rickman; he was ugly and repulsive. He was the greasy bat. How could there ever be something between him and Harry Potter? Harry was only using him to enact his torrid fantasies about his idol. In the beginning, the game had satisfied Severus - not completely, but what could he expect? As himself, he would never have Harry. But now... it was too painful.

He started to avoid Harry Potter, to run away from him like he was the devil. And his own fantasies about Alan Rickman were buried forever, because he couldn't stand remembering what he had shared with Harry.

~* ~* ~

Harry was knocking on his door again, as he did every afternoon. Severus never answered. He knew it was Harry. He always knew when Harry was near. The only time he hadn't noticed that Harry was around had been that evening, in the Staff Room, when Harry had caught him ogling a photo of Rickman.

One week had passed, and Severus had managed to avoid him. He wouldn't be caught off-guard now.

Suddenly, however, a strong noise, like a clap of thunder, resounded through his chambers. Severus knew what that meant: his protection spells were being broken. A second later, Harry Potter invaded his rooms with the fury of Thor.

Severus had forgotten he was dealing with the most powerful wizard in the world.

"What do you want, Potter?"


Severus stared at him, with a look of utter bewilderment and disbelief.

"What are you saying?"

"I want you. Just that. You misunderstood me before. What I meant was that you are... impossible. Alan Rickman is easy, compared to you. You're inaccessible. At least that was what I thought. I... used Rickman to get close to you."

"What? Have you gone mad? Are you implying... that you have never been an Alan Rickman's fan?"

"Oh, Alan is one of the sexiest men in the world, and I'm not immune to his charms. I've never lied to you about that. But since the beginning it was you that I wanted. I came back to Hogwarts because of you, if you want to know."

Harry was so near now, and the warmth of his body troubled Severus's reasoning processes.

Severus still could ask, "Why?"

"Why? Well... when I was a child, I wanted sweet things. You were everything that I didn't want. Then the war began, and I fulfilled the damn prophecy, becoming a murderer. I tasted the worst kind of bitterness, and I thought I would never be able to taste anything sweet again. You were there, with me. That was when I started to pay attention to you. I realised that what I found bitter in you wasn't really bitter, compared to all the horror I'd seen around me, and worst, inside myself."

"You've done what you had to do."

"I know. But instead of trying to reorganise my life and go after you, I decided to be an Auror to punish myself. It took me five years to realise I couldn't live that way. When I decided to change my life, your image appeared in front of me, larger than life. And finally I decided to accept the post Dumbledore had offered me. Er... I think I haven't answered your question..."

Severus framed Harry's face with his hands.

"It doesn't matter. I'll never understand. And I couldn't care less."

It wasn't really true, but it wasn't a lie either.

"Okay, Severus. Can you kiss me now? I've been waiting for this moment for about five years now."

"But we have already kissed many times since we..."

"I know, but it was always Alan. I couldn't take it any more."

"Were you jealous of Alan or me?"

"Oh, every time you told me how sexy he was, I wanted to strangle him with my own hands. Every time Hans Gruber fell out of the window of that skyscraper, I felt as if it had been me who had pushed him."

Severus brushed his lips on Harry's, teasing him.

"Tonight, there will be just you and I. And that's how it will be, from now on. I won't allow anyone else in our bed, not even 'The Voice of God'."

"Ah... If you want to know the truth, Severus, your voice arouses me much more than his."

Harry might be a dreadful judge, but Severus was flattered. That was one of the best compliments he had ever received.

He let Harry pull him onto bed and start to unfasten his endless buttons.

"Harry, I'm not..."

"What is it? Tell me."

"I'm not a handsome man. I'm not like Alan."

"Haven't you said you didn't want him in our bed? I don't want any Alan. I want you."


Harry covered his lips with his own and kept unfastening his buttons. When the kiss came to an end, Severus was already without his robes, only in underwear, and Harry stared at him with eyes full of desire. Soon, skilful fingers started to stroke Severus's scarred body, and soft lips brushed his skin, spreading kisses all over him.

"I want you, I want every piece of you," said Harry, between kisses and light bites.

Only then Severus realised he was holding his breath, and let it go.

Harry licked his navel and lowered his boxers, making him bite his own lip not to moan aloud. Severus toed off his shoes and reached out to embrace Harry.

"Wait a minute," said the younger wizard.

Harry knelt by his side and began exploring Severus's thighs with lips and tongue, occasionally brushing Severus's erect cock with his smooth face. Finally, he curled his fingers around Severus's cock and stroked it.

Severus panted.

"Oh, Harry... Come here... Not like this... I want to touch you too. Take off your clothes."

Harry complied, getting rid of his clothes and putting his glasses on the bedside table before lying on top of his lover. Severus let his hands roam all over Harry, touching his ribs, chest, back, shoulders, cupping his firm arse and pressing it against his own body.

"All this time, Harry... I wanted to touch you with my own body, not his. It was torture."

"I'm sorry. I didn't know. I thought you found it arousing to be him. Do you remember when I offered to drink the potion in your place? You told me you didn't want it because you found it more exciting to be Alan than to be with him. But... do we really have to keep talking about him?"

Harry rubbed his arousal against Severus's. "Severus... I want you inside me."

Severus inverted their positions and pressed Harry against the mattress, kissing him fiercely. Then he reached out to open the bedside table drawer and produce a phial of lube. Opening it, he scooped out some lotion. He separated Harry's legs and, almost reverently, touched his puckered entrance with his fingertip. Leaning to kiss him, Severus pushed his finger slowly inside. He slid his finger in and out while deepening the kiss, his tongue lustfully exploring the younger wizard's mouth. Harry moaned in pleasure, and started to play with Severus's nipples.

Feeling his own cock throbbing, Severus inserted a second finger. Gradually, he felt Harry relaxing around his fingers, and curved them gently.

"Oh!" Harry moaned. "It's good. So good."

Severus knew Harry was ready. He removed his fingers, spread the lube over the entire length of his cock and lifted Harry's legs. Trying to find the best angle, Severus touched Harry's tight entrance with just the tip of his cock.

"Ooooh, Severus, you're so mean," Harry complained, and Severus had to smile seeing how the young wizard was writhing beneath him, his cock head already wet and glistening, oozing pre-come.

"So impatient. I could torture you longer, if I wanted, but I'll be merciful," Severus murmured in a hoarse voice.

That was a lie. Severus wouldn't be able to stand it much longer: he was so hard that he ached. He pressed his cock into Harry's hole and thrust in.

Harry responded immediately, thrusting back towards him, and almost made Severus lose control wrapping his legs around Severus's waist. Severus tried to thrust as slowly as he could, but it wasn't easy. For the first time, he was inside the man he had desired madly for the last weeks, the man he had only been able to have with the body of another man. For the first time, he could feel pleasure as himself. He was completely enveloped in Harry's warmth; Harry was so responsive, and clung to him so tightly. With his flushed face, hair more dishevelled than ever, lips swollen from their kisses, body sweating and panting, Harry was so beautiful. Severus leant and kissed him tenderly, cupping the young man's cock with his hand. Harry moaned and jerked his hips upward. Severus thrust harder and faster, pumping Harry's cock and running his thumb over the glistening head.

"Severus," Harry murmured, before coming into Severus's hand, arching up his entire body convulsively. Severus had never seen anything so beautiful. That vision was enough to make him climax, spurting his seed inside Harry and collapsing, exhausted and sated, on top of him.

A few minutes later, Severus rolled to his side, keeping Harry clasped to him. They stayed snuggled for a long time.


"What is it?"

"I explained to you, or tried to explain, why I want you. But you never told me why you want me," Harry complained.

"Because you're the most Slytherin of all Gryffindors? Because you've managed to destroy all my defences?" Severus looked at Harry intently. "I see. That's not what you wanted to hear. Unfortunately, I don't know any romantic... Oh." Severus had a sudden inspiration, and leant to whisper in Harry's ear. "Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments. Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds, / Or bends with the remover to remove: / Oh no, it is an ever-fixed mark / That looks upon tempests and is never shaken."

Harry seemed mesmerised. "You do have the sexiest voice ever."

Severus couldn't help smiling smugly. He had to thank Alan; if Severus hadn't watched "Sense and Sensibility" so many times, he would never have learnt a Shakespeare sonnet by heart.


The End


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Ptyx, February 2005