Author : Helen C.
Rating : R
Summary : How it all began. A Harry/Snape slash fic.
Spoilers : To be safe, all five book are considered fair game.
Disclaimer : The characters and the universe were created and are owned by JKRowling, Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and WarnerBros., Inc, among others. No money is being made and no copyright or trademarkinfringement is intended.
Acknowledgements : Many thanks to my beta, Emily.
It was supposed to be a one night stand.
That's what Severus kept telling himself, when he felt lost.
That's what Harry kept saying to his friends, or to Remus, when they said, notalways politely, "You know, I just don't get the two of you."
Severus had expected Harry (Professor Potter, but that didn't seem quite right)to be talkative, but he wasn't. Yet another proof that the years had changedhim - as they had changed everyone.
It seemed cliché to say that times were dark, and that people died, but itdidn't make it any less true. Those who survived tried to find comfort whereverthey could.
It said a lot about Harry's lifestyle and his own, Severus thought glumly, thatthey were now sharing a bed.
They had been drunk, the first time. How else could it have happened?
Severus couldn't remember a thing.
Harry claimed he didn't either, but Severus had his doubts.
Still… stranger things had happened.
Like Harry coming back, the following night, wet, and muddy, and red eyed. Deadon his feet. "If you want to turn me down," he'd said, "Do ittomorrow."
Severus had glared, refusing to grant him entrance.
Then he had looked at Harry, really looked.
He had stepped back, gestured for him to enter.
He hadn't asked what had happened. He knew more than he had ever wished to knowabout the need for warmth after a day spent fighting.
He overheard Granger (Professor Granger, now) talking to Harry, once - abouttwo weeks after the first time.
"But you've spent most of your life loathing him, Harry."
"So? So? Harry, this is hardly healthy."
There had been a crack, and Severus knew that a glass had exploded somewhere inthe room. Harry lost control more often, these days.
"If you must know, what I find unhealthy is this… this… war, if you canstill call it that."
"Harry - "
"For God's sake, 'Mione, two weeks ago I saw a seven-year-old girl beingskinned alive. And you're worried about Snape fucking me?"
There was a tense silence. Then, Granger, who apparently would never learn howto quit, had insisted softly. "There are other people who would be willingto - "
"No. They'd… He knows me. Knows what it's like to duel a Death Eater,knows what I need to do every day. They don't. They read the newspaper, butwords can't…" A shaky breath, then, "Besides, it's none of anyone'sbusiness who I spend my nights with."
Severus left then.
That was probably the most he had heard Harry say in all the time they'd beentogether.
"Miss Granger is right, you know," he said that night.
Harry didn't seem surprised, but then he never seemed surprised these days."Eavesdropper."
"The door was open."
"Why not spend my nights with someone nice, who'll make me tea, and holdmy hand, and be accepted by all my friends?"
Harry stared at the ceiling for a while before answering, his tone flat,"Because last time I dated someone nice, I came home early and found himfucking a friend of mine on the couch."
That ended the discussion quite efficiently.
"I could ask you the same thing," Harry said the following night, asif the conversation had never been interrupted.
"Why am I sleeping with you instead of being with someone nice?"
A snort answered him. "Why?" Harry insisted.
He half expected Harry to push the matter, but that didn't happen.
And that was the end of their meaningful conversations for a while.
In fact, for a week, all Harry said was, "Damn, you're good." A fewtimes.
And, once, "I'm not a great catch, actually."
Definitely quieter than he had been when he was a teenager.
One night, it occurred to Severus. "I'm still not sure I understand.Someone betrayed you, so you just sleep with someone you know you won't end upliking?"
A soft sigh, then, "You don't lie. As a rule. You know what it's like outthere, really like, not the propaganda they publish in the Daily Prophet.They don't get how bad it is. I'm bored with nice people, honestly. They're so…Optimistic"
"Something I'll never be accused of."
And Harry snuggled closer.
The war ended, in a rather anti climatic way.
Harry killed Voldemort, as Trelawney had predicted (the second most puzzlingthing to come out of this mess), the Death Eaters either died in the battle orwere arrested. Or fled the country, in Malfoy's case.
And when Harry spent a week in the hospital wing, refusing to wake up no matterwhat, Severus told himself that it wasn't concern he felt.
"You should go. See the world."
Harry leaned on an elbow, watching Severus. "Why?"
"Because you're free to do so. You won us the war, you should get more outof it than sleeping with me."
Harry pondered that for a while, then said, "You could come with me."
"England is not the only place in the world where former Death Eaters arenot welcomed with open arms."
Two months later, Severus still wasn't used to the empty bed.
He had thought Harry didn't say much, and perhaps that was true, but he was nowlearning that there was a difference between the silence one causes when he'squiet and the silence that occupies loneliness.
There was a knock on the door, and he opened it.
"That's bullshit," Harry said by way of hello, stepping inside theroom with barely a glance at Severus.
"What you said to make me leave. That I should see the world."
"I never wanted to see the world alone."
"I assumed you'd take a friend with you," Severus pointed out, as ifHarry was still a student who needed to have the properties of dragon skinexplained to him.
"My friends are dead or busy living their lives."
"That's hardly - "
"Shut up." Harry faced him, and Severus was surprised to realize thatthey were almost the same height. "I… And I know fully well how ridiculousthat sounds, but I like you."
Severus blinked. "Why?"
Harry shrugged. "No idea."
There was really not much Severus could answer to that.
"So," Harry went on, "I guess either you like me too, and we goon - and did I mention that you're great in bed, by the way? - or you don'tand… I'll go, I guess."
He could end it then. One word, and Harry would go, never to bother him again.Then the last two months came back to mind, and he said, "I have foundyour presence… tolerable."
"You know, I'm fairly certain the drinks were supposed to be alcohol freethat night," Serverus said, five months later.
Albus had died two days earlier, they had buried him in the morning, and bothhe and Harry had been hit hard by the loss of their mentor.
A long suffering sigh, and Harry tensed. "Oh. That night."
"Yes. I think Minerva was worried that it would degenerate into a fight,like last time all the teachers had gathered and had ended the evening…inebriated."
"I never heard the story behind that one."
"You never will," Severus assured.
"Did anyone but us get drunk?"
"Hum. I did notice Albus watching us closely."
"You think he… spiced our drinks?"
Harry shrugged. "Wasn't he embarked in a crusade to make the two of us getalong better, then?"
Harry snorted. "He always did like to have the last word, didn't he?"