The next morning, Harry stumbled out of bed and into his bathroom. He downed a pepper-up potion and, stripping down, stepped into a hot shower, hoping to erase every trace of last night.
It hadn’t started out a disaster. He’d held his own in the duel fairly well, especially when he’d got the brilliant idea to make Severus chase him on a broom. When Severus had vanished from the broom chase and broken into Harry’s flat, setting off the wards, Harry had been expecting a trap. Calling Kreacher, he’d guarded the place until Severus had emerged. Harry hadn’t counted on him stealing the Invisibility Cloak, nor pretending that he’d forgotten that the Cloak didn’t work on the owner of the Elder Wand. Harry had gone swooping in for an easy victory, only to be shot in the back. The figure under the Cloak had been nothing but an illusion.
Losing hadn’t bothered him. After all, he’d wanted Severus to have control of the Elder Wand, and he’d lasted until pink appeared at the edges of the horizon. A good fight. One that proved he could hold his own against Severus. It was what happened afterwards that made him clutch his head and wish he’d had a bit less to drink the night before.
”Cheers!” Harry knocked his glass against Severus’s and downed it in one shot.
Severus did likewise, his expression completely bland as though the goblin ale didn’t burn his throat one bit. He poured two more shots and Harry held his breath before following.
“Bloody hell,” Harry choked out as he slammed his glass against the kitchen table. “That is foul.”
Severus smiled, his eyes dancing. “I should’ve had you to take the shots before the duel.”
“The more I drink, the better I fight,” Harry lied. “Instinct and all of that.” He wrapped his Invisibility Cloak around his shoulders. “You aren’t bad for being out of practice, although I still maintain that the use of potions during a wand fight is cheating.”
“You agreed to no restrictions,” Severus reminded him, his voice low. He wore Dimitri’s face, but that smile, and those eyes were all Severus Snape.
“On spells,” said Harry, although he knew he’d been foolish not to specify. The ale burned in his chest and left him daring. He stepped forward, stopping just inside Severus’s reach. “What do you want?”
“Want?” Severus’s brow pricked in confusion.
“You won,” Harry reminded him.
Severus stiffened slightly, a strange look passing over his face. He gave a slight smile, but it didn’t fully reach his eyes. “If I had known you intended to place a wager on the outcome, I would have done so at the beginning. I doubt mutually agreeable terms can be reached after the fact.”
Puzzled by the sudden distance between them, Harry assured him, “I’m not worried you’re going to try to make me do something I don’t want to. Just tell me what you want.”
“I don’t want anything from you.” Turning away, Severus returned the dwarf ale to the cupboard and set the glasses in the sink.
Severus had disappeared into the guest room shortly after, and Harry hadn’t dared followed him. Instead, Harry’d gone to his room, completely embarrassed by the firm rejection. Had he completely misread Severus? If he hadn’t, then why was Severus so cold surrounding issues involving Harry’s sexuality? Did he still see him as that raped child?
“Idiot,” Harry whispered into the hot water. He’d known this would happen. If Severus had been capable of or interested in a relationship, he would’ve stayed. Once again, Harry had rushed headlong into a situation that could’ve been easily avoided by a clearer mind. He’d been burned in the past, yet upon seeing the flames, he’d been unable resist them.
Harry chewed on his thumb. Maybe he wasn’t completely over his past. Logic and reason warned him to stay the hell away from Severus Snape, yet here he was, eager to return to a relationship that had been unhealthy.
Severus ripped his arm away from Harry’s grasp. “Merlin, Harry, did you forget the details of our relationship or shall I remind you? Shall I pin you against the wall and smack you until you remember?”
Maybe Severus feared his temper. Maybe he was incapable of a relationship not built on obsession. Sighing to himself, Harry stepped out of the shower and dressed. Even though last night he’d sent Meph to the Ministry with a note stating that he’d be staying home for the day, he had to get out of the house. Presumably, Severus had returned to his own home, but if not, Harry didn’t want to risk running into him.
He hurried through his morning routine, trying but failing to distract himself. As he walked to the door of his bedroom, he noticed a note pinned near the doorknob.
I’ve gone to work.
Severus worked? Where?
Yet another fucking puzzle; proof that Harry didn’t know the former Death Eater all that well. His stomach too knotted to attempt to eat, Harry didn’t bother with breakfast. He glanced at his broom, but the last thing he needed was time to think. He needed to find a confusing case and bury himself in it.
He Apparated and took the Floo in. As he walked towards his office, he passed by Seamus, who gave him a puzzled glance. “I thought I just saw you going to your office.”
I’ve gone to work. Bloody hell. Harry managed a smile. “Oops. We’re working on a new form of Polyjuice. I’m running a bit late. Will you pretend you never saw me?”
“Sure.” Seamus headed off and Harry took a deep breath. Fucking Severus. Always doing what he wanted with no regard for Harry’s privacy.
Clenching his hands into fists, Harry marched up to his office. He paused outside the door long enough to set up wards, then stormed in.
Severus, disguised as Harry, sat behind Harry’s desk, sorting through papers.
“Get out of my body.” Harry marched over to the desk and grabbed the papers out of Severus’s hands. “You have no right to be in my body or my office.”
“Those are my files,” said Severus, arching a disapproving eyebrow at Harry. Harry balled his fists, ready for a fight, but before he could explode, Severus produced a bottle and took a swig. As Harry watched, his features changed back into Dimitri’s. Pulling off Harry’s glasses, he tossed them on the desk. “I was testing the security of Ministry, which is rather lacking. If-”
“No.” Harry held up a hand for silence, trying to ignore the heat pounding in his head. “I don’t want to hear it. I don’t care why you are here. I’m sick of you invading my privacy.”
Severus leaned back in his chair and arched his eyebrow even higher. “After you broke into my room?”
“You broke into my flat.”
“After you arrived in a city full of Death Eaters disguised as another man, prompting rumours to swirl about a possible attack on you,” Severus said smoothly.
“That still gives you no right to invade my home.” Anger bubbled in his throat and he closed his eyes, forcing himself to take a deep breath before looking at Severus again. “Why are you even here? Why don’t you just go find some Death Eaters to kill somewhere?”
“With the Knights of Walpurgis-”
So Severus didn’t think he could do his job? Harry stood up straighter, his jaw firm. “I can handle them. I did fine before you showed up, and I’ll do fine long after you leave again. I don’t know why you feel the need to bother me and act as though we are intimate when you have no interest in a relationship-”
“I have no interest?”
Harry’s rant died on his tongue. For a second he blinked at Severus stupidly. Severus was interested in a relationship? Then why had he turned down Harry the night before? Why hadn’t he said anything? Bloody hell. Harry was sick of these games. Trying to ignore the burning in his chest, Harry spat out, “You left. Everything else I could forgive because it could have been forced. You had to play the perfect little Death Eater or we would’ve both been killed. But you chose to fake your death. You left a note, but you didn’t bother to write in it that you lived. You let me think you dead. If you-”
Severus stood. “You told me you wanted a family. A wife. Children. As far as I knew, you were a straight boy forced by potion into lust. I had no desire to stand by and watch you fall in love. Over time, I became aware of your bisexuality, but that didn’t mean it was a natural inclination. It certainly didn’t mean that you desired me as a partner.”
“I didn’t just need a partner. I needed a friend. Someone who understood. After everything-” Harry stared at his hands, trying to ignore the rush of haunted memories threatening to overwhelm him. “Everything that happened, I was alone. I’ve never been able to tell anyone about- about all the details.” Sudden tears stung his eyes and he clenched his fists, refusing to let them fall. “You were the only one who understood how it was. Why I did what I did.”
In a low, soft voice, Severus said, “You have no idea how much I drugged and manipulated you. I treated you as an object. A pet. The ‘training’ was all a ruse designed to keep you occupied. The Dark Lord knew of it from the very beginning. I hurt you-”
Harry met his eyes. The pain in Severus’s face twisted his own heart, but he forced himself to keep his gaze steady. “You didn’t only cause me pain. I know you. You couldn’t have faked it all. You wouldn’t have been able to cast the Sacred Bond of Thebes if you hadn’t loved me then.”
Severus gave a small flick of his head as if dismissing the charges. “Yet, I had a plan to kidnap you and keep you by my side until I could be certain that you would face the Dark Lord without dying. I didn’t care if it required a memory wipe or if you would rather die than live in hiding. I nearly destroyed you. You know I have a temper, Harry. I can’t guarantee that I won’t hurt you again.”
He might. He had before and he wasn’t exactly known for his kindness. All logic, all rational thought led Harry to the conclusion that involving himself with Severus Snape was a dangerous mistake. Yet, as he looked into the face-
Harry saw someone he didn’t recognise. “Can you change your face? I can’t have a serious conversation with you when you look so- so- ugly.”
Severus raised an eyebrow as he fetched his wand. “You have to be the only person in the world who would prefer the old me.”
“It’s real,” said Harry as he watched the nose enlarge and the wrinkles increase. “The hair?” he prompted, when that remained unchanged. Severus conjured a mirror and grew his hair until it brushed past his shoulders.
Walking around the desk, Harry paused within reach of Severus. He reached out and ran his finger down one long, soft strand.
“Don’t,” warned Severus. He grabbed Harry’s wrist tightly, his eyes fierce.
“Why not?” Harry couldn’t help but ask, even though he’d already given himself a million good reasons.
Severus’s strong grip didn’t falter. “You don’t know-”
“I’m not naive,” said Harry scornfully, pressing closer. “I know you did what you thought you had to do. As did I.”
“You don’t know all that I did.” Severus released Harry’s wrist, taking a half-step back. “I’ll give you back your memories. That is - if you want them.”
Startled, Harry asked, “Won’t that damage me? The last time you tried-”
“I caused that reaction on purpose,” he said evenly. “I didn’t want you to ask too many questions. I can separate out the memories of your capture from the ones I took later; the ones that only involve the two of us.”
Harry saw no reason why he shouldn’t have them. If Severus had done horrible things, then he’d rather know than be in the dark. “Then give them back.”
A grim look settled over Severus’s features. He took Harry’s shoulders in firm hands and pressed his hook nose so close his black eyes were mere inches from Harry’s.
Harry stamped down his natural impulse to repel the intrusion and let his body and mind go limp. One second he was standing in his office and the next he was back in the prison, watching Severus die in front of him. Before he had time to adjust, he was in a closet with Kreacher, then tied to a chair, now a bed. He couldn’t move as Snape pushed his fingers into him.
He had to kill him.
Harry swung his fist only to have Snape grab his wrists. “Stop it, Harry!”
“SHUT UP! SHUT UP!” Although his magic was contained, Harry threw everything he had at Snape. “DON’T SPEAK TO ME, BASTARD!” A deafening bang filled the room and a burst of light blinded Harry. Something hard and cold smacked into the back of his head.
The next thing he knew, he was lying facedown on a carpet. He blinked his eyes and lifted his head to find himself in his office. Severus knelt in a mess of papers on the other end, his wand in his hand. He was casting something, but his words were too soft for Harry to even guess at the spell.
“Don’t move,” said Severus sharply. He raised his wand with a flourish and the room brightened as a low humming disappeared.
“You idiot. Don’t move.” Severus hurried to Harry’s side and placed his hand on the back of Harry’s head.
Blinking several times, Harry shifted to stand, only to be held firmly in place by Severus. “What did I just tell you?”
“When have I ever listened to you?” Harry pointed out.
Severus snorted and shot Harry a look that was equal parts frustration and reverence.
He loves me. What was it that the Horcrux had told him? Something about Severus enjoying a challenge. Harry felt magic surge through him as Severus muttered under his breath. Harry asked, “What happened?”
“I’m not quite sure.” The words were spit out as though the shape of them had fouled Severus’s mouth. “I managed to stop it from leaving your office.”
“The spell,” he ground out as if Harry had asked a stupid question. “Are you blind or just oblivious to the state of your office?”
Harry glanced around to find his desk thrown into the wall, file cabinets flipped over, and papers and office supplies scattered everywhere.
Severus flipped Harry over and held a red-stained hand over Harry’s chest as he prodded Harry with magic.
“You’re bleeding.” Harry caught Severus’s wrist.
“It isn’t mine,” said Severus with a glare. “You hit your head on the filing cabinet.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose,” Harry assured him, a bit amused by Severus’s worry.
“I should hope not.” His tone was a professor chastising a wayward student, but the look Severus gave Harry was full of intrigue and . . . respect. It wasn’t an emotion he often saw openly from Severus and Harry couldn’t help but smirk.
Misunderstanding the reason for the smirk, Severus glared. “You’re a fool.”
Harry sat up. “I’m not the one who gets hard at the sight of a powerful wizard,” he teased.
Severus was not in the mood for games. “Powerful wizards control their magic. You could’ve killed- yourself.”
Harry didn’t miss the second of hesitation. “Or you.” He had to say.
Severus gave an exasperated sigh. “Hardly an improvement.”.
That Severus didn’t try to deny it impressed Harry. Closing his eyes, he chased after the memories he’d just regained, trying to pull them to the surface to examine them closely. They didn’t feel like his other memories, but phantoms, easily escaping into the recesses of his mind. A moment ago he had been living them, but now he felt as though he’d watched them through a Pensieve. “You raped me.”
“Yes,” said Severus evenly.
Harry opened his eyes and met Severus’s pained gaze. Logic told him that statement should damn their relationship. How could anything healthy be built on ashes?
Yet, those moments of violation weren’t what kept popping up in his mind.
“Do you know how much I enjoyed sucking your cock, Harry?”
Not nearly as much as Harry had enjoyed having it sucked.
“You don’t want to come in my mouth?”
Tell me how you want it. Hard and fast? Soft and slow? Harry shook his head, trying to clear it of memories. He couldn’t have a serious conversation with his cock getting in the way.
Severus misunderstood the reason for the headshake and stood, his face closing behind a mask.
“Wait.” Harry stood and reached out for him.
“Don’t.” Severus held up a warning hand.
“I want you,” he spat out. “Every single day since we parted I thought of you. When I left, I thought that if I fulfilled my every heart’s desire the memory of you would finally burn to ash. If anything, it has only consumed me more. After everything I’ve had. Everything I’ve done. I still want more.”
Oh god. He’d forgot what it felt like to be the centre of Severus’s intense focus. He’d forgot how it felt to feel so needed as if Severus might die should Harry slip away. “And what’s wrong with having more?” Harry pressed.
“I need to be sure,” Severus said, his face twisted with longing and pain. “I need to know this is what you really want.”
“How do we know what we really want?” Harry echoed. “The only way I can know is if I try. If we end up fighting, then we’ll know it’s a mistake. If you hurt me, if you lie to me or try to manipulate me, I’ll tell the Ministry the truth and what you’ve done. It wouldn’t be safe for you anywhere in England.”
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Severus assured him. “I have a temper. I’ve hurt you before and you forgave me then. You forgive too easily.”
“You don’t forgive enough.” Harry clasped Severus’s hand and held it against his chest. “Let’s try. Just for a week. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll part for good. At least give me a chance. You owe me that much.”
Severus clutched the back of Harry’s neck, his grip firm and his fingers trembling. “I owe you my life.” He captured Harry’s mouth in a desperate kiss.
The scent, the taste, the feel of his lips, it was somehow exactly what Harry had remembered, but even better. He shuddered from the force of it and the memories tearing through him. He’d been afraid that the painful ones would return in this moment as well, but only pleasures filled him. Oh, Merlin, the pleasures! No one else’s kisses had sent pulses of electricity through his entire body, curling his toes. No one else had ever left him feeling impossibly hungry, each beat of his heart screaming for more.
He threw his arms around Severus’s shoulders as Severus tightly pulled him to his chest. Although several layers of cloth separated their bodies, Harry couldn’t remember the last time he’d had such an intimate embrace.
It wasn’t enough. He needed more. Harry pulled back from Severus’s body enough to slip his hands down to Severus’s groin. Severus caught him before he managed to reach it.
“Not here,” said Severus, his breath ragged.
“I can’t wait.” Harry tried to pull his hands out of Severus’s grasp, but Severus held him firmly.
“Anyone could walk in-”
“I’ve set up wards.”
“We can still be interrupted,” Severus pointed out, “and it will look suspicious. Look at the state of your office.”
“I don’t have any appointments-” At least, he didn’t think he did.
“Harry,” said Severus firmly, his voice in Professor mode, “think of what would happen if someone were to walk in to find me fucking you.”
“Then I’ll just be on top.”
Severus grinned at Harry’s persistence, but he still held Harry firmly at bay. “That wouldn’t change the fact that I have breached the Ministry’s defenses. Even if I can convince them that I am Dimitri, they will be very suspicious of me. Besides, I have dreamt of this moment since we parted all those years ago. I don’t want it to be a quick tumble subject to sudden interruption. I want to savour you.”
Oh god. Warmth shot down Harry’s spine. He remembered exactly how it felt to be savoured.
“I’ll turn back into you and go to your home. Wait a few hours, restore your office, then leave as Ben.”
“A few hours?” He doubted he’d be able to wait minutes.
“You weren’t supposed to come to work today at all,” Severus reminded him. “I had to deflect suspicion when I arrived.” His eyes sharpened. “And I need time to prepare.”
Only Severus would need time to prepare for sex. Reluctantly pulling back, Harry said, “I’ll be home in an hour. I’m not waiting any longer.”
“In an hour,” agreed Severus. He fetched a bottle from his robes. “Your hair?”
Harry cut off a little bit to add to the potion. Severus gulped it down, then transformed. He picked up Harry’s spare glasses from the desk and slid them on.
Seeing himself instead of Severus was enough to cool some of Harry’s fire. Although, truth be told, he would’ve fucked Severus no matter the form he was wearing.
Severus gave him a determined kiss before disappearing out the door.