Say we are fucking by water. The idea appeals to me on many levels (I need to be clean; you need to be cleansed of me). You are eighteen -- twenty -- twenty five, for safety's sake. While you are still given to bursts of childish anger, you never turn on me. Your face has changed little, but your body is fuller, stronger (You are twenty five). I preach the merits of us, and you are thankful for my time. We are not wild when we make love (no, I have curbed that impulsiveness on you, there is a stare I give you that makes you remember your place), and it is a -- the word is contented -- endeavor. I am pleased with you. You are pleased with me.
I say we are fucking by water and perhaps in water, perhaps waist deep, perhaps to our necks in it. I say we wallow in the shallows (The water is chilly. Your mouth is warm.) and we give and take, we take and give, and, upon rising, discover we have left a perfect impression of our bodies in the sand, like snow-angels. The water fills it. We fill the water and I say something amusing to you. It takes you as awfully funny and we laugh together -- no.
This is serious, deadly serious. We fuck and we stand up and we put on our clothes. We do not indulge in the playful (idiotic) bickering and joking of other couples. I do not like being laughed at, and you respect this. Say we walk along the sand in silence, broken only by you remarking on the shape of a particular shell; holding a conch to your ear you hear echoes of the ocean and say, 'Professor Sna-'
You are twenty five.
We meet in a bar and are attracted to each other; we go to my place and fuck. It is raw and passionate without being emotional (I am never good at maintaining ties). I fuck you and you fuck me. We test limits. We find few. I wake up first and go to work. When I return you have gone, which is easiest for both of us. It becomes habit: to meet, to fuck, to disappear. The simple routine is pleasing to me. We schedule. It means nothing and never will.
Say we find a common interest and become friends. One night, whilst discussing the various advantages of -- of the subject at hand -- you sense something in my bearing (perhaps it is the way I hold my glass, or the crook of my arm, or the way I have positioned my knees so that they surround yours) and press yourself upon me. Wordless, now, we kiss; your hand sliding inevitably to my fly and (You are twenty five, and there is no harm in this.) perhaps I protest, but you giddily (drunk?) proclaim your love, and so we fuc-- no. We make love.
At daybreak we breakfast on cereal. You smile and pass the milk before I can ask.
What bothered Snape afterwards was the pathos of it all, the simple and terrible fact of his own dramatics. Although he'd never made a fool of himself in public (Thank Merlin for small mercies), he'd felt like a fool regardless. The addled poetry he'd scrawled in his diary (imagining himself a romantic, whilst attempting to recall an appropriate rhyme for cock); the love potions he'd created, then thrown shamefully away (What are you thinking, he berated himself later. Who do you think you are, Severus Snape?); and finally, the lists, the pages and pages numerating pros and cons, a fruitless search for reason amidst the idiocy.
ProConSexGetting caughtEyesRidiculous glassesRevengeGuiltFreshVirgin (probably)
In retrospect it was both laughable and perverse. But he had survived it; that, surely, was the main thing. There were rumours, certainly, amongst the ranks of the older staff members, and those pointed looks Albus shot him -- oh, Albus was sweetness and light even the worst of times, but at the suggestion a certain Professor might have (How could he term it? How could he possibly term it?) impure thoughts about a pupil, he became a tyrant.
But why can't I, Dumbledore? Snape imagined himself whining. The answer was clear enough. Because Hogwarts is a respectable school, because Hogwarts has a reputation, because Hogwarts staff do not, do you hear me Snape, do not fuck (molest / fondle / grope / manipulate / shag / make love to ) the students... Not that Dumbledore had said it aloud. Perhaps he felt he hadn't needed to, knowing all too well that Snape's self-hatred would form a far better deterrent than a lecture would (I hate myself; I hate myself for him; I hate myself on his behalf).
As a lecher he was a failure (as a lecher, as a teacher, and, almost certainly, as a man). At the base of it, beneath the veneer of disdain, he was a moral man, a righteous man. The mirror showed a pale, slim bachelor, well groomed; his wardrobe was extensive and tasteful; his eyes were bright and intelligent; he had a job; he could offer astute commentary on most subjects; his quirks (so he felt) were charming, rather than annoying. With his natural cynicism in check he could be quite personable. He had self-set standards to live up to, an obligation to be good (to himself, to Albus, to everyone), an attitude which found itself painfully at odds with those fleeting bursts of (desire) worry that overcame him every time he looked at the
And worry inevitably manifest in anger. Sounds like a personal problem, Lucius liked to say, in his snide drawl. Sounds like a very, very personal problem, Mr. Snape.
It was late November when they last spoke, shooting barbs at each other through the grate in Lucius' cell wall. Lucius dragged his fingers across the metal and the raw sound sent a seismic quake down Snape's spine.
"You love the boy who put me here; you love the son of the man who degraded you, destroyed you. You love a boy who is a student. You love a boy who is, let me remind you, a boy. Your masochism never ceases to amaze me. You always want what you know you cannot have. You'd find him far less attractive if he were attainable. I think you actually enjoy playing the martyr, Mr. Snape."
"Remind me again how the food is in here. I hear they do remarkable things with gruel."
"Remind me again why you come here. I hear you can count the number of friends you have on one hand. Perhaps, one finger. I'm the only person who could ever stand to suffer your witless blather. I'm the only person who's ever really known you. Do you masturbate over school yearbooks, Mr. Snape? Do you wear thick robes to class to guise your erection? Do you bully him, do you sneer, do you scowl, do you tease, do you taunt, do you make --"
"I'm leaving, Lucius."
Lucius' voice simpered down the corridor in his wake: "Such a fucking romantic."
Lately he'd been writing more lists, jotting his thoughts in a precise, delicate script; it was obsessive, compulsive, and perhaps spoke of even deeper insecurities (I am dysfunctional, he wrote, completing the y with a series of curlicues). The categories of Pros and Cons were replaced with Places and Reasons. The boy would be nineteen now, (Legal!), and most of the cons had revolved around getting caught (embarrassingly putting lie to the being good theory).
PlacesReasonsBeachSummer excursionHogwartsSchool reunionQuiddich World CupEvidentKettle and TongAccident
This, too, was laughable and perverse. Old habits died hard (an adage Lucius favoured, for obvious reasons). I am an angry shadow of the man I might have been, Snape often told himself. Was Potter (His name spoken, for the first time. A weight off his mind.) a symptom of his self-hatred? A subconscious reminder that, for all his best intentions, he remained the turncoat he was; his redemption was partial, not total?
"Who needs redemption," Lucius had said, jabbing the grate. "I'd settle for a quick fuck any day."
Athe five-year school reunion Potter skulked in the background with Granger and Weasley and refused to dance, drink, or talk. He left at precisely ten o'clock, one and a half hours after the event officially began. For no reason other than to get a breath of fresh air, Snape exited the Great Hall, and found Potter kicking pebbles against the wall outside.
"What are you looking at?" Potter hissed at him, fists wedged in his pockets, looking all of sixteen and not, by any stretch of the imagination, twenty two. "Leave me alone. You had enough fun picking on me in school, now bugger off."
"My, we have extended our vocabulary," said Snape.
"I hate this. I hate going back to this. I don't even know why I came."
He turned back to the wall, glowered at it. In the dim lantern light his jeans perfectly molded the shape of his buttocks; a gasp of pale skin flirted beneath the ends of his shirt. His arms were slim, lightly muscled as they had been in youth -- the jeans (and they were tight, naturally, to best permit an aesthetic judgment) clung to his calves and to long, sinewy thighs that hinted at an unrealised flexibility -- it occurred to Snape then that this was almost certainly his last chance -- say, a stop-gap of heated breathing, a furious exchange -- lunging at each other and then --
-- then they are in Snape's room, and Harry is undressing, one hand against the wall for balance. A slender, sylph-like anatomy (but he is twenty two) and he breathes -- Snape is mesmerised by each motion, he stands there spellbound and disbelieving (how can he credit his luck with this?) until Harry, in a gesture of infinite mercy, gathers Snape's hands in his and kisses them, settles them on his hips.
He says, "Snape, I've been waiting for this."
"Call me Severus."
"If you call me Harry."
They are lip-locked and stumbling and beneath the covers Harry crawls, eagerly, one hand fumbling across Snape's thighs; his bum (naked, now) bounces before Snape's eyes; Harry's mouth is warm (The air is cold.) and Snape tenses instinctively. The lights go out. His cock is sucked. His fingers knead Harry's buttocks, almost reflexively. His cock is sucked. He fucks Harry's mouth. Harry moans. He fucks him harder until Harry gags and spits and Snape realises, belatedly, that he has come. This scene is full of dissociation and anomalies of time. The night is young. They stand up. Harry is by the chest of drawers. He bends over. He stretches his wiry, pale arms in a cattish yawn. He moves his bum, this way, that way. He sashays.
He drawls, "How do you want me, Mr. Snape."
Snape fucks him anyway. Harry moans the way Lucius did. He spits and sneers and later he digs his nails into Snape's face and Snape wrests him down, holding the boy's small hands above his head -- no. He is twenty two. Holding the man's hands above his head, Snape bites him, a warning bite, a commanding bite, just below the navel. Harry whimpers. Harry realises he has lost control. Snape licks the sore spot affectionately. Harry tastes like salt. They are at the beach and Snape teaches Harry how to hold his breath underwater the hard way. Snape is cruel. Snape is a bad man. Harry is so innocent. They hug afterwards, which makes it okay.
Lucius says through the grate, "You should be committed. St Mungos has an entire wing dedicated to people like you."
Snape growls, "Thanks for your help."
He agonised over the lists; they told him nothing he did not already know. In desperation he attempted sketches -- the lines were unclear and suggested a lack of boundaries (Lucius, the budding psychologist); the genitalia he drew was foggy and mashed, overwhelmed by a veritable forest of pubic hair. Lucius, hair tucked behind an ear, examined his best efforts and offered this critique: "Shave the kid before you venture in there, Mr. Snape, you intrepid explorer."
"I can't draw it," said Snape weakly.
"Draw it?" Lucius scoffed. "You can't even say it."
But he could write it. His fantasies over spilled his mind and swamped the pages of his journal; they lacked sequence (I fuck him here, I fuck him there, I fuck Harry Potter everywhere.) and were united only in the object of their desire.
Say we fuck in the tavern again, you and I, perhaps finding an empty stall and burying ourselves in each other there; you act like a whore and I am ready to play that game. I press a sickle into your hand when we are done and you look at me as if I am heartless (Am I?) and pout, forcing out your lower lip so far it conceals the upper. You look ridiculous. I say as much. You swear.
Back in the bar we flirt shamelessly and my hand nests in your lap, stroking intermittently. You order expensive wine and expect me to pay. I do not mind. You roll your body forward, aligning yourself to my forearm, and we make a pretty spectacle, you panting and red-faced and me smiling my smug smile and sipping my drink as if this is perfectly normal. As if I had expected this eventuality the moment I walked in the door -- (which is true, I have, I have plotted this, from start to finish). And the finish? We make love -- no play acting this time, no exchange of money -- you say, "You've made a man of me," and I say --
I have no answer.
"Your prose lacks a certain something," said Lucius.
Say we are at the Quiddich final. Say the grounds are filled with a bustle of people. I have come, not because I want to be here, but whimsically in search of you (It is my only hobby; it consumes all others). There is a woman selling candyfloss. I buy some (whimsically. It is the word of the moment.) and unwind strands of sticky pink fluff, rolling them between my fingers. Across a scape of heads and shoulders I view the field --
"Professor Snape? Is that you?" Harry Potter, a newspaper raised to shade his face, grinned down at him. His nose peeled sunburn. "Haven't seen you in years. Still teaching?"
Words failed him. "Yes -- I. Yes." The candyfloss glued to his hands.
"Bloody good game, this should be," Potter said. (You are... twenty five?) "Been waiting all year for it, so it'd better be good. Cripes. It's funny to see you like this, if you don't mind me saying - can I ask you a question? Just in case we never cross paths again. I gotta jet in a moment, I'm meeting people, but if you've got the time... Not to put you on the spot, or anything --"
He spoke too fast (Oh. Fuck. Help.). Snape rubbed the sugar from his fingers. "Ah. I -- what is the question?"
Potter's smile took on a rueful cast. "I was wondering why you hated me in school," he said. "I understood it through the first years. I hated you, too. But I got over it. What was it? My father hating you, and you hating him, I know you never liked the Gryffindors. But in sixth year, seventh year, I was on my best behaviour, and you still hated me. I did a lot of growing up then. Didn't think you noticed, but I did -- and -- well." He fanned himself with the paper. "Cripes, it's hot. Sorry. The question. Why did you hate me?"
ProConFinally telling the truth.Getting ridiculed.N/ALosing job (potentially).N/ABeing 'outed' (Was there a more pathetic term?)N/ALucius' laughter.N/AEverything. Everything.
"You were a despicable, unruly child," said Snape. "I couldn't tolerate it in my classroom. You consistently disobeyed orders. You were a lousy student. You remained a lousy student all the way into sixth and seventh year, despite your --"
"Thank goodness for that," said Potter. "I always thought it was because you'd worked out I had a crush on you." He yawned deliberately. "Lack of father figures in my life, I suppose it was. Bit silly, in retrospect. I suppose every pupil gets a crush on their teacher at some point. Anyway, must be off. Perhaps I'll see you round."
He walked away.
Say -- we fucked.
Say -- we might have fucked.
"You should kill yourself," said Lucius. "It would be the decent thing to do. It would be merciful. Get me out of here, and I'll do it myself. Then again, I never know with you. I don't know where reality begins and your fantasies end. I -- good grief, Mr. Snape. Pull yourself together. Anyone would think someone had bloody died."
It was too much (too little, too late), and that night, trembling, drunk, he wrote his final list.
The beginning. The end.