Snake Charming (Clothing Optional)
Severus woke to unexpected warmth and a naked man in his bed. They were
spooned together, curled in a tangle of limbs, to ward off the dungeon
cold. The stranger's spine was digging into Severus's chest and
stomach, the smooth skin of his arse rubbing against Severus's morning
Severus took a deep breath, breathing in the smell of sweat and skin
and a musty cologne. No memories of the man from the night before
returned to him and he closed his eyes and deepened his breathing, slow
and regular, pretending to be asleep.
The man in his arms slept, his heartbeat strong against Severus's palm,
his stomach smooth and warm. They were entwined, Severus wrapping the
man in a close embrace, their bodies pressed together closer than one
heartbeat and the next.
Feigning sleep, Severus took deep breaths and focused on soothing
thoughts of the spells that he was going to use on the idiot that had
lowered his wards to let a stranger into his chambers.
The man stirred, moving in his sleep and wriggling his arse against
Severus. With a sharp exhalation, Severus bit his lip to stifle a moan.
He opened one eye and took a brief glimpse of the stranger – a young
man perhaps twenty years old, with smooth white skin and a hairless
body, muscular and unfamiliar.
Another movement, and the man's cock brushed against Severus's forearm.
The stranger's soft breathing accelerated with a soft cry, and Severus
felt the pulse jumping in the man's neck. He pulled away from the man
and yanked the blankets to himself in a preemptive gesture.
The stranger woke, blinking and shivering in the cold. He stared at
Severus, his lips parted and the tip of his tongue sticking out of the
corner of his mouth. Whether it was an unconscious gesture or a
provocative one, Severus didn't know, but he would not be enticed.
"Get out," he said. He drew the blanket around him like a billowing
robe as he stood, using his height to intimidate the man.
The stranger stared at him, mouth still agape, making no attempt to
cover his nudity. Severus forced his gaze away from the man's cock, its
elegant curve, glistening with precome at the tip.
He looked instead at the man's face, which was flushed and
uncomprehending, and said, with slow and careful enunciation, "Get out
of my chambers."
"Are you witless or mute?" he asked when the stranger made no move to
go. "I don't know, to be honest, who you are or how you came to be
here, but you are not welcome."
Severus reached for his wand on the bedside table and pointed it at the
man, who reacted at last.
He scrambled out of the bed in an awkward flurry of limbs, and fell
toward Severus. "Nnnn ... " he said.
"Are you mentally incompetent? How did you get in here?"
Noises from his office interrupted his tirade, a girl's scream and a
panicked call for him. He spared one glance for the stranger, tossing
him a robe for modesty, and Transfigured his own blankets into his
teaching robes before hurrying into his office.
"Professor Snape," was called again, loud and strident as though it
might wake him when the previous shriek had failed.
His office door was ajar. Severus paid little attention to the
irregularity until he saw that the snake's cage was empty, the lid
shifted to one side. Standing next to it with a dead rat dangling from
her fingers was his seventh year prefect, Cassiopeia Nott.
"Prof ... Professor Snape," she said. "Pythios is gone."
"I can see that for myself, Miss Nott. Was the door to the corridor
closed when you entered?"
"Yes, sir." She looked faint, swaying and letting the rat drop to the
"It wasn't your fault, Miss Nott," Severus said to reassure her that
she would not suffer his wrath.
She shook her head, one finger coming up to point at the door behind
him, and Severus whirled.
The naked man stood in the doorway, the robe Severus had thrown him
clutched in his hand and covering nothing. His gaze was fixed on Miss
Nott, and Severus raised his wand for a Stunner.
It was too late. The man dashed across the room and threw himself on
the dead rat, making every attempt to devour it whole.
Nott backed away from him until she reached the wall, shaking and
collapsing, her knees giving out.
"Stop," Severus said, orienting his wand on the man again. "Stop."
The man turned toward Severus, the rat's hind legs and tail sticking
out of his mouth, his head tilted to one side.
"Do you understand me? Take the rat out of your mouth."
Blinking, the man obeyed, and stared at the rat with an unhappy
expression. His foot twitched, curling around the rat and covering it,
and he glared up at Severus.
"I believe that we have found our missing snake, Miss Nott. Would you
be so kind as to fetch Professor McGonagall?"
She rose to her feet, clutching at the wall. "But sir," she said,
looking at the naked man.
"He will be clothed by the time you return," he assured her.
Clothing Pythios was not as difficult as Severus had imagined. An
attempt to persuade him to dress himself failed, but he was placid and
unresisting, and allowed Severus to dress him. A flick of Severus's
wand banished the dead rat, and after he was consoled for the loss of
his prey with soft words and a brusque caress on his shoulder, Severus
conjured a pair of boots for him.
Pythios was silent, leaning into Severus's touch as he had as a snake,
skittish of his wand, affectionate and eager to please. Dressed, he
wound around Severus, nuzzling and sniffing him. When he began to
nuzzle his groin, his cheek pressing against Severus's cock and
reawakening its interest, Severus put a stop to it.
"No, Pythios. Sit still – not in my lap – no, no, sit as a human
being." Severus straightened him, arranging his limbs and encouraging
him to straighten his spine and sit upright.
Pythios twisted his neck, cocking his head to one side, and studied
Severus as though he could divine the purpose of his mysterious
"You've absolutely no concept of being a human at all," Severus said.
"Were you always a snake?"
He received no answer other than the gleam in Pythios's bright eyes,
and he sighed.
Severus conjured a comb and began to work the tangles out of Pythios's
unruly hair. It was long and dark, with a tendency to curl. Severus
pushed it out of the way and saw a lightning-bolt shaped scar on his
Frozen, he stood staring down at his snake. Green eyes stared back at
him, unblinking, and Severus swore. "Harry Potter."
The man stuttered and cleared his throat. "Y-Yes?"
Severus reached out to trace the lightning bolt scar with his
fingertip. "You were the one that defeated Voldemort? How did you
become a snake?"
"I ... I don't know," Potter said. "It happens like so."
He shimmered, about to change forms to demonstrate, but Severus put a
hand on his shoulder to stop him. "That isn't necessary."
Potter smiled at him, open and happy, and laid his cheek against
Severus's forearm, the scruff of his beard rough against the smooth
skin. "I've never wanted to be human again since before I met you," he
"Your guardians were upset when you disappeared – they thought you'd
been killed." Severus pulled his arm out of Potter's grasp. "Surely you
wanted to remain human to stay with them."
"Serpente was my friend and he was my guardian."
"My guardian at the zoo," Potter said. "A boa constrictor from Brazil,
he taught me to be a snake."
"Nonetheless, you should have stayed with your guardians instead of
with a snake. They were panicked when they lost you that day, and when
you did not come to Hogwarts, the entire world assumed that you were
dead and that we had no hope in the battle against Voldemort."
"Voldemort?" Potter asked.
Minerva entered, Cassiopeia Nott on her heels, with her wand at the
ready and her boot heels clicking on the stone floor. "What's happened,
A wave of magic swept through the office, the warm protective feeling
lingering on Severus's skin like a slow-dissolving lemon sherbet, and
he yanked his sleeve down to cover his bare forearm. A trio of Aurors,
resplendent in their official robes, burst into the office with a large
cage floating in their wake.
With a covert glance toward Albus's desk, Severus confirmed that all of
the borderline-legal charms and trinkets were hidden by an obscuring
spell before he stood, drawing himself up to his full height. A twitch
of magic gave his robes an impressive billow, and he gave the Aurors
his most intimidating glare. "What is the meaning of this interruption?"
The youngest Auror blushed and stammered, dropping the levitation spell
on the cage, but Mad-Eye Moody returned Severus's glare in full. "We're
here to see the Headmaster with important information. What are you
doing here? What do you know about this?"
Severus refused to back away when Moody stomped toward him, wooden leg
thumping in an irregular beat. "Don't ask ridiculous questions, you
addle-pated Auror. How am I to know what you're referring to?"
The youngest Auror fidgeted and spoke. "P-Professor Snape can't have
known about the trap, sir, or else he would have warned them."
"Trap?" Severus whirled, a spark of magic enough to control the dark
swirl of his robes, and advanced on the young Auror. "What are you
"The – the trap for You-Know-Who," the Auror said, casting a desperate
glance at Albus. "It worked, sir."
When Severus drew his lips together into a thin scowl and looked down
his nose at the Aurors, Moody thumped his wooden leg on the floor.
"You'll be getting away with none of your tricks, you rotten Death
Eater. Now tell me what you know or I'll take you to Azkaban to cool
your heels before we question you."
Albus rose at the threat, drawing power to himself like a magnet. "You
do recall, Alastor, that I have personally vouched for Severus's
commitment to the Light."
Moody grumbled and glared, but Severus strode around him to examine the
cage. The serpent inside twitched and drew its coils closer together,
lethargic in the cold and cramped in the cage. The boa constrictor, its
patterns dull in the artificial light, was long, as thick around as
Severus's thigh, and the most beautiful snake he'd ever seen.
"Aurors, what is the meaning of this? Is cruelty to animals one of your
official duties, or is it a mere hobby?"
Severus enlarged the cage and charmed a miniature sun into existence as
a heat lamp for the snake, and then he turned to face the Aurors. "You
can have no excuse for this cruelty other than sheer witlessness and
unparalleled incompetence. Do you drown kittens for an encore at
children's birthday parties, or do you content yourself with abusing
animals during normal office hours?"
"Severus," Albus said, giving him a stern look.
Moody thumped his cane on the floor. "Keep your pet Death Eater on a
leash, Albus. We are here, not to let one of Voldemort's cronies coddle
a Dark and dangerous serpent, but to ask you, as the Head of the
Wizengamot, to destroy it."
The boa, coiled under the heat lamp, gave a shudder. Tail twitching,
coils undulating, it moved to press against the side of the cage
closest to Severus. The tip of its tail tapped against the glass panel
and its head bobbed in a convoluted pattern.
"Let's not be hasty, Alastor," Albus said as he moved from his desk to
the cage. "What reason do you have for proposing the death of a being
that appears to be intelligent and able to communicate?"
Moody glared. "You would willingly leave that dangerous creature alive?
It killed You-Know-Who and his evil snake as well, and you're willing
to let it go free? You'll probably let it consort with your pet Death
"Severus Snape is no more a Death Eater than I am, Alastor, and he has
my complete trust. Let's not obscure the matter with insults or
accusations. Tell me more about this snake and the fall of Voldemort."
"It's no harmless pet, nothing to be coddled or cosseted. When we found
it, it was coiled around You-Know-Who's body, trying to swallow Nagini
whole. Of course it's the bloody Slytherin House mascot, of course the
Death Eater wants to coddle it out of sympathy for the beast, but it's
dangerous, I tell you."
"That's perfectly natural behavior for a snake," Severus said, glaring
at Moody and moving to interpose himself between the Aurors and the
cage. He spared one quick glance for the snake, defenseless in its
cage. "You've yet to explain your
unnatural behavior, this so-called trap or your inhumane treatment of
an innocent animal."
"I suppose you'll next say that it's perfectly normal for a snake to
deflect all of the curses a top-notch squad of Aurors can cast at it?"
Moody shot past Severus and thumped his wooden leg against the cage.
"This beast is dangerous and needs to be destroyed, I'm warning you
now. There's no telling what harm it will do if you let it live."
"It's true, sir," one of the other Aurors said, peeking around Severus
at the snake. "Some of our best Aurors are still hospitalized from the
hexes that snake deflected back at them."
"The snake was attacked and was defending itself," Severus said. "If it
has defeated Voldemort, as you say, it is an ill way to repay it by
killing it because you are as frightened as a first-year Hufflepuff
crying for home and a mother's familiar comfort."
A whoosh of displaced air echoed through the office and Severus froze,
poised for an attack. A second later, he felt a heavy weight twining
around his legs. The snake, the beautiful pattern of its scales shining
against Severus's dark robes, coiled its way up his body to drape
itself around his shoulders. He stood stock still, careful not to alarm
it, and was reassured by the deft flick of the tail curling around his
wrist. The snake nuzzled him, rubbing its head against his shoulder,
and Severus gripped his wand, raising it against the threatening
"Gentlemen, don't brawl in my office," Albus said. He drew a cloak of
power around himself, the air in the office rippling and hazy.
"Alastor, it is true that you were the one who proposed the trap, is it
Alastor pointed his wand at the snake, glaring at Severus. "It was the
only logical course of action, with You-Know-Who interested in the zoo.
How were we to know that it was a dangerous snake that interested him?
Constant vigilance, the Auror's constant vigilance, is the only reason
why that snake is our prisoner and not You-Know-Who's new familiar."
"You set a trap for the Dark Lord at a Muggle zoo, endangering the
lives of hundreds of innocent animals and countless Muggles? Constant
vigilance, indeed – it was irresponsible and negligent in the extreme,
and exactly the kind of witless behavior I'd expect from the Aurors,"
Severus said. The snake undulated, his tail whipping in frantic motions
in the air, and Severus stroked the snake, comforting him.
"You've a lot of nerve, you filthy Death –"
"If the snake has harmed no one except in self-defense," Albus said,
"the guidelines set by the Wizengamot for dealings with Magical Beasts
and Beings state that you can not under any circumstances kill it."
"But – but that thing killed You-Know-Who," one of the Aurors said.
"Then perhaps you had better file your reports, gentlemen. I'm sure the
Minister will want to reward the destroyer of Voldemort with something
appropriate – perhaps an Order of Merlin, First Class, would be
Moody took the hint, leading the other Aurors out of the office in a
disgruntled, thumping retreat.
Severus, weighted down with the coils of the huge snake, watched the
Headmaster remove the protective magics and obscuring charms that had
masked their investigative efforts. "Here's the answer to our question,
then, though I don't think we could have anticipated finding it in this
"The answer to all of our problems, I imagine," Albus said. He stirred
a spoonful of sugar into a fresh cup of tea and watched Severus unwind
the snake from his shoulders.
It was docile, though it clung to his wrist with its tail when he
lowered it into the cage. He spelled the lid shut and turned back to
Albus, accepting a cup of tea.
"Pythios would be a good name," Albus said, "after Apollo Pythios, who
killed the great serpent. Your friend seems fond of that little sun,
making it doubly appropriate."
"I beg your pardon?"
Albus blinked and took another sip of his tea. "You were planning to
give your new pet a name, weren't you?"
The house elves were frightened into procuring a supply of dead rats,
the floor of Severus's office was cleared of various books and piles of
unmarked essays to make room for the cage, and Severus found himself
with a new pet. He sighed, the sound resonating through his empty
rooms, and turned away from the cage. Sleepy and sated and warm,
Pythios needed nothing more for the evening.
He dimmed the lights in the office before crossing into his rooms. The
house elves had left his dinner under a warming spell, and Albus had
been there as well, leaving a short cheery note and a plate of
desserts. Severus took one of the pastries, and curled up in the
armchair by the fire, ignoring his course plans and marking in favor of
a quiet evening with the latest Potions magazine. Staring into the
fire, the red of the flames a match for the brilliant patterns on
Pythios's tail, Severus let his eyelids drift shut.
Severus groaned, curling into the warmth of his bed, when he felt the
gentle flutter of Albus's summons against his wards. He turned into his
pillow, slipping an arm under it and pulling it closer, and he froze
when he felt it moving.
"I locked your cage last night," he told the snake. Albus's summons
pressed against his wards again, and Severus rolled out of bed.
The heat lamp hovered over his bed, the light of the small sun dimmed
but its heat unabated. Severus scowled at the snake. "I do not sleep
with reptiles, and I do not need my bed warmed. The cold of the
dungeons is rather pleasant."
He groped for his wand on the bedside table, finding it and sending the
heat lamp back to the cage. Pythios traced the graceful arc of the sun
through the air with his tail and then slithered out of the bed,
following the lamp back to his cage.
Albus, cheerful in the early mornings and far more self-satisfied than
he had any right to be, poured two cups of tea. "Would Pythios care for
anything, do you think?"
The snake rose, head poking over Albus's desk, at the mention of his
name. The tip of his tail jabbed at the plate of pastries and then he
turned his head to nudge at Severus's forearm. "I imagine he'd
appreciate a nice plump rat," Severus said.
With a flash of light, Albus Transfigured a sherbet lemon into a dead
rat, throwing it onto the floor, but Pythios prodded it with his tail
and then ignored it, coiling his way up into Severus's lap instead.
"I've heard from the zoo where Pythios was found, as well as receiving
the reports about the incident from the Ministry," Albus said.
"I am not a log or a rock for you to warm yourself on," Severus said,
pushing Pythios out of his lap. He conjured another heat lamp and set
it to float in the corner. "Well? Will the zoo take this menace back?"
Pythios curled his tail around Severus's ankle. Albus smiled. "If the
zoo took him back, the Ministry would only recapture him and execute
him. Judging by their reports, they're terrified that the amount of
power that it took to kill Voldemort was wielded by a snake. Half of
their best Aurors are still in the hospital, recovering from their own
curses, and they've never seen anything like the way he deflects
spells. They'd leap at a chance to kill him. He's much better off here,
"I refuse to nursemaid this scaly, obnoxious pest. He's worse than a
first-year Hufflepuff, always clinging to me, refusing to stay in his
cage – I woke to find him in my bed, Albus."
"Ah, yes. The zookeeper had mentioned that this particular snake is
very intelligent but needs a lot of human contact. He pines away and
refuses to eat when he's kept in isolation, isn't that sad?"
"Albus..." Severus said, and then Pythios crept back into his lap, his
beautiful patterns gleaming in the light, his tail wrapping around
Severus's forearm in a firm caress. "Very well."
"Excellent," Albus said. "I'm sure that Pythios will enjoy attending
your Potions classes."
"Very good, Headmaster. I'll just toddle off with a sherbet lemon or
two and take a dangerous magical eight-foot-long boa constrictor to
class with me. I've always thought that there were too many brainless
"My dear boy, did you want a sherbet lemon? You didn't ask for one, and
I'm afraid I'd given up the hope that you would start to like them."
Albus passed him a packet of sweets and waved him out the door. Just as
Severus was on the threshold, Pythios at his heels, Albus called after
him. "Oh, and Severus? Not the first and second year classes, I think.
I imagine that he can be separated from you for a few hours."
Classes were a disaster, from the third-years who shrieked and cowered
to the Slytherin students who stared at Pythios to the point of
exploding their cauldrons. Through it all, Pythios behaved better than
any of the students. He stayed curled up in his cage and slept under
the heat lamp, tail twitching.
With a suppressed sigh, Severus levitated the cage into the corner and
dimmed the lights there before the seventh year NEWT class, setting a
light concealment spell around that corner of the room. He began
lecturing before they had even set out parchment and quills,
distracting their attention from Pythios. "The reaction of ground
moonstone with phoenix feathers is explosive to the extreme unless
proper precautions are taken. What might those be, Miss Nott?"
"The addition of unicorn tears in dilute solution, sir."
"Ten points to Slytherin. Should you not take care at this step, I will
be forced to console your parents with the knowledge that at least you
were no great loss to the world, though I doubt that the thought of
your incompetence will stop their tears. Now, the unicorn tears are
effective because they balance the polar opposites of the moonstone and
phoenix feathers, but this only occurs with a dilute solution of
The students in the front row had seen the snake at last, and they
pointed and snickered together. "Mr. Baddock and Mr. Pritchard, your
attention. This is not a trivial potion and will likely be a part of
your NEWT examination."
Severus risked a glance at Pythios as the students filed to the supply
cabinet. The snake watched him with an open, unblinking stare, his tail
tapping against the glass. Severus shushed him with a gesture.
The sizzling and bubbling of the cauldrons, the deft addition of
ingredients without a splash, the focused expressions on the students'
faces – Severus stalked up and down the rows. He was at the end of the
classroom, correcting Nott's stirring pattern, when disaster struck.
Baddock froze with his vial of unicorn tears poised over his cauldron.
Pythios was slithering toward him, sinuous coils scraping against the
stone floor. "Pythios, stop," Severus called out to him, but his words
had no effect.
Pythios grasped Baddock's wrist with his tail, pulling the vial away
from the cauldron. Unfrozen, Severus hurried forward, his wand at the
ready. "Back to your cage now, Pythios," he said, and the snake obeyed
without so much as a twitch of his tail.
After berating Baddock for attempting to add undiluted unicorn tears to
his potion, soothing the fears of the students who realized at last the
enormity of the explosion that had almost occurred, and tolerating the
obnoxious clatter and clamor as they cleaned up and left, Severus sank
into his chair. He did not look at Pythios.
"Sir?" It was Cassiopeia Nott standing before his desk. "Your snake is
very brave, sir, to have risked coming close to the explosion like
that. He's beautiful, too, with that lovely pattern on his tail. May I
pet him, please?"
"Between the red coloring and the reckless behavior, Miss Nott, I can't
imagine a more Gryffindor snake."
Severus closed his eyes and rubbed his temples when Pythios again made
the walls of his cage disappear and slithered out to greet them. "Yes,
you may pet him if you like."
The idyllic scene, Nott sitting on the floor with Pythios draped in
content coils over her lap, was interrupted by the Headmaster's
arrival. Pythios slid to the floor and slithered to his cage, Nott
making a hasty exit with the promise of returning to feed him later.
"Ah, Severus, I'm so glad to find you and Pythios here. I need the two
of you to brew a potion for me."
Severus accepted the proffered scroll and stared at Albus. "Pythios is
a snake. He's incapable of brewing a potion."
"Nonsense, nonsense. I heard all about this afternoon's incident. It
sounds as though your Pythios is a natural at potions, Severus. You
must be very proud of him."
"Nonetheless, a snake cannot brew a potion."
Albus smiled. "He can pass you the ingredients or help you stir. I'm
sure that you only need to explain things to him and he'll be happy to
help. I do need this for this afternoon, Severus, and it's vital that
Pythios be involved."
After Albus had left, Severus rebuilt the wards around his room,
strengthening the silencing wards. "Let that be a lesson to you,
Pythios," he said at last. "There's no use whatsoever in denying the
old man when he's made up his mind, and it saves time and grief to
agree with him from the beginning."
With Pythios peering over his shoulder, Severus unrolled the scroll and
weighted its edges down with empty vials. "This shouldn't be
difficult," he told Pythios. The snake tapped the cauldron with the tip
of his tail and Severus nodded.
"That's right, we're going to brew a potion. I don't suppose you can
read the ingredients for me, can you? Perhaps you can stir the potion
if I set up a directional containment spell to keep the liquid from
splashing you. Would you like that, Pythios?"
Severus reached for the left-over ground moonstone and phoenix feathers
from the class supplies, weighing them out with precision. Pythios's
tail curled around the vial of unicorn tears, proffering it to Severus,
but he shook his head.
"No, Pythios, a different reaction occurs in this potion because the
ground moonstone will interact with the powdered amethyst first,
forming a stable crystalline base. We'll add the phoenix feathers
later, along with unicorn hair and dragon scales, to make a powerful
Pythios replaced the vial of unicorn tears on the table, slithering
over to the supply cabinet. He returned with the ingredients that
Severus had named, and was rewarded with a smirk. "So you do
understand, hmm? No wonder those dreadful Aurors were afraid of you,
they can't bear to be outdone by a snake. None of them did half as well
in my class as you do already, Pythios."
Severus set up the containment spell and passed the stirring rod to
Pythios, explaining the stirring pattern to him and helping him grip
the rod with the tip of his tail. Once they had sorted out the
difference between clockwise and counter-clockwise, Pythios proved to
be proficient at his task, and Severus left him to it, chopping the
phoenix feathers and grinding the dragon scales into a fine powder.
The snake draped around his shoulders, Severus added the last
ingredient to the cauldron. The tip of Pythios's tail curled around the
stirring rod, making smooth, adept motions as he stirred. Severus
guided him, set the pace and controlled the last stir, a twirling
figure eight, before he stepped away from the cauldron. A rainbow mist
rose into the air, hovering over the cauldron, and Severus felt Albus's
insistent tapping at his wards.
He shrugged Pythios off his shoulders and answered the door. Albus, his
arms full of twisted, tarnished objects, strode into the room and
commandeered Severus's workspace, spreading his clutter out on the
table. "Excellent, excellent," he said. "I knew I could rely on you,
Severus, and on you, Pythios. This potion will do the trick."
Albus's pointed hat was askew and wobbling in the air as he popped a
sherbet lemon in his mouth, making a sweeping gesture. "Here we are at
last," he said. "Rid of Voldemort for good, and this potion will remove
the last of his threat."
With a clean ladle, Severus transferred the potion to a gleaming
crystal bowl and passed it to Albus, who set it on the table in front
of the row of twisted Horcruxes. Pythios wove between their legs, a low
hiss escaping him as he lifted his head over the edge of the table to
"Get back to your cage, Pythios," Severus said, pushing the snake away
from the opalescent vapors. "You'll only be in the way here."
"Nonsense, don't hurt his feelings, Severus. This dear snake has more
of a right to be here than any of us, after all. You wouldn't deny him
the opportunity to see the final end of all Voldemort's wickedness?"
"None of your games, Headmaster," Severus said, caressing Pythios. The
scales were smooth and soothing to the touch. "I'm sure that you were
involved in the affair – you can't convince me that a mere snake
defeated the Dark Lord."
Pythios curled his tail around Severus's forearm, brushing against the
skin that once bore Voldemort's Mark. Severus pulled away from the
touch and glared at Pythios.
"I think you'll find, Severus, that Pythios is no mere snake. He's
rather special indeed, but this is neither the time nor the place to
discuss it." Turning back to the table, Albus raised the first of the
former Horcruxes over the bowl and lowered it into the potion inch by
inch. The twisted metal of the gold locket burst into a pearly
radiance, erupting from matter into soul and light.
With careful, steady fingers, Albus repeated the ritual six times,
letting each of the Horcruxes dissolve into the purifying potion. The
last one to be immersed was the heavy, blackened ring, and as it
disappeared into the potion, Albus's withered hand was regenerated. He
flexed the muscles and stretched his reborn hand out in the air, then
bent down to stroke Pythios.
"Thank you," Albus said, and he banished the last of the potion with a
complex incantation and a smile. "It gives me great peace to see the
last remnants of Tom Riddle's soul released."
"Albus, your hand..." Severus stopped short when the man tossed him a
sherbet lemon, flipping another one into the air and Transfiguring it
into a rat for Pythios.
"It's of little matter, my dear Severus. Thank you for the potion, and
do let me know if you and Pythios need warmer quarters or anything else
– though perhaps Pythios prefers the dungeons, hmm? I once knew a man
who kept Ashwinders in his basement and swore it was the best place for
Pythios slithered into his cage with an elegant fillip of his tail,
settling himself to bask under the heat lamp. With a sigh, Severus shut
the cage and locked it, admonishing Pythios to stay there for the rest
of the evening. "I don't want to wake up to find you in my bed again,
do you understand?"
Potter flinched every time a wand was pointed at him. Severus moved to
stand behind him and rested a hand on his shoulder while McGonagall
fiddled with her diagnostic spells.
She looked up with a frown. "Don't touch him, you'll interfere with my
Potter whimpered, high and wordless, when Severus stepped away from
"Stop distressing him, you stiff-necked old cat. Check to see if he's
an Animagus and be done with it."
"There are standard procedures to be followed when dealing with an
unknown spell, Severus Snape, as you should know. Now hold your tongue
and let me work." She raised her wand for another spell, and Potter
"Nnn ... nnn ... nno." With a clatter, Minerva's wand dropped from her
fingers and hit the floor an instant before Potter shrank and coiled.
McGonagall gaped at the large snake. "Well, I never."
Potter slithered out of the chair, climbing up Severus to curl around
"Did ... did you see that?" McGonagall asked. "That was the most
unorthodox Animagus transformation I've seen in decades. The ... the
... it isn't supposed to be done like that."
"Minerva," Albus said, entering with Cassiopeia Nott on his heels.
"Good to see that you're here. Now, where is the .... ah, Severus."
Albus stopped short, the twinkle in his eye dimming. "I was given to
understand that your snake had made a most extraordinary
Severus scowled at him, sitting in the chair that Potter had vacated
and soothing the snake. "This useless old biddy frightened him."
"It's all right, Pythios, you're safe here. No one will hurt you."
Nott giggled at his words, and Severus glared at her. "I'm certain that
you have duties elsewhere, Miss Nott. See to them, and if you lack the
ability to be discreet about what you've seen here, Slytherin will be
down a hundred points."
She scurried out of the room, followed by Minerva's protests. "Well,
I've never seen a more unfair system of House discipline in all my
years at Hogwarts, and I..."
"Why don't you leave, then? Go tell your precious Gryffindors about the
unfair slippery snakes lurking in the dungeons. Gossip and moan all you
like, but do it elsewhere. You're frightening Pythios."
She left in a huff, and after the door had slammed shut behind her,
Albus turned to Severus. "You could be kinder to her, Severus. The two
of you have a lot in common. You could be great friends."
"Snakes eat nosy, interfering old cats, don't they, Pythios? You could
swallow that old cat in one gulp, couldn't you?"
Shifting and shimmering, Pythios changed to Potter, and Severus found
himself with a lapful of warm young man. Potter had his arms around
Severus's neck, his face buried in Severus's shoulder, and Severus
glared at Albus's snicker.
"Turn around now, that's right. Let the Headmaster have a look at you."
Severus pried Potter's arms off his neck and turned him around, Potter
wriggling and struggling against him.
"Well, if it isn't Harry Potter," Albus said, the twinkle in his eye
Severus put his arms around the squirming man, holding him still, and
stared at Albus. "You knew."
"I, ah ... I had a suspicion or two."
"How long have you known?"
"Is his scar still there?" Albus asked, leaning forward to brush the
hair away from Potter's forehead. "Ah, so it is. How remarkable."
"Yes, well ... I had thought that he was dead when he disappeared, of
course. His guardians had taken him to visit a zoo for his cousin's
birthday, they said; they swore that he'd been eaten by a snake, a
giant boa constrictor that somehow got loose. He'd disappeared from the
list of students, and I never thought to doubt their story."
Severus's hands tightened on Potter's shoulders until the boy yelped.
He leaned away from Albus and glared at him. "You consulted only that
list, Headmaster? You didn't use more sophisticated tracking devices or
location spells to locate your precious little Potter?"
Albus ignored the interruption. "Of course, ever since the Aurors
brought him here, I suspected. I knew he had to be alive when the Mark
on your arm faded, because only Harry Potter could defeat Voldemort,
and when the Aurors brought the snake in, I ... well, I had a suspicion
that it was him."
"You had a suspicion that it was him? You deliberately arranged for me
to care for the thrice-cursed spawn of James Potter." Severus stood,
dumping Potter on the floor.
"Take care of the precious son of your precious protégé
yourself, old man," he said, flinging a gesture at the door and opening
it with a nonverbal spell. Albus sighed and shook his head at Severus
before bending to help Harry up and pulling him from the room. Severus
glared after them until they were completely out of sight, and slammed
and warded the door shut behind them.
Ignoring the abrupt silence in his quarters, he settled himself before
the fire with a pile of essays to mark. He took out a fresh bottle of
green ink and sharpened his quill. The students were dull, lacking
insight, passion, and the most basic rudiments of grammar, and the
sharp quill gouged the parchment with his scathing remarks.
The silence pressed in around him and with a flick of his wand, he lit
a fire. The pleasant crackle and warmth filled the empty air, and he
Summoned a bottle of Firewhiskey and a glass.
Severus's wards shuddered and then broke, and he abandoned his
Firewhiskey for his wand. "Meddling old man, I told you..."
He stopped short, seeing his office free of human invaders. He was
checking the wards again when he saw Pythios slithering into his cage.
Severus slammed the cage shut. "I don't know how you got in here, and I
hardly care. You aren't wanted here, do you understand me? It's back to
the zoo for you first thing tomorrow."
Pythios tapped his tail against the glass, and Severus spun around,
returning to his sitting room and his tumbler of Firewhiskey.
A tap on his office door roused him from his contemplation of the
patterns in the fire, the red of the fire identical to the color of
Pythios's tail, and he straightened his robe before answering the door.
Nott was standing there, another rat dangling from her fingers. "I'm
sorry to disturb you, sir, but it's dinner time and Pythios hasn't
eaten. I was wondering..."
"That snake is no longer any concern of yours, Miss Nott."
"But, sir..." she protested when he banished the dead rat.
"I will take care of feeding the snake, Miss Nott. Nothing more need
Severus shut the door in her face and turned to the cage in his office.
"Well?" he asked.
The snake tapped its tail against the glass and Severus crossed his
arms over his chest. "I know you can manage well enough on your own."
With a shimmer, the glass disappeared, and Pythios slithered out of his
cage. Severus took a step backward when the snake approached him.
Pythios morphed into Potter, and Severus strode into his sitting room
without looking to see if Potter followed him.
He watched the man wobble, unsteady on his feet, and when the house elf
popped in with a tray of food, Severus gestured for Potter to sit.
His only response was a blink, a flutter of dark eyelashes against his
pale skin. Potter squinted at him, daft and helpless, and Severus
"What are you waiting for?"
Potter blinked again and tried to speak, one hand coming up to touch
his throat. Severus strode forward to grasp his shoulders and guided
him to a chair, while Potter leaned forward, eyes closed, and sniffed.
He was close, radiant with heat, his lips almost brushing Severus's
neck, his shoulders bony under Severus's fingers.
"What are you doing?" Severus took a step back and watched him blink
and flounder, helpless. Relenting, he guided Potter to the nearest
chair, conjuring a pair of glasses for him. "I suppose it was only to
be expected that you're as blind as your father was, but don't expect
these to work as well as a pair of prescription lenses."
Potter raised his hands, tracing the rim of the spectacles, and then he
looked at Severus with an awkward smile. "Th – Thank you."
Severus waved him to the tray of food and regretted it when Potter
began to devour the meal, plunging in face first.
"Stop that, Potter," Severus said. "Potter. Pythios, stop."
Potter lifted his head from the plate of shepherd's pie, creamy
potatoes smeared across his mouth.
"That is perhaps the single most disgusting sight I have been
unfortunate enough to witness. Come here."
Potter clutched at the food, one hand in the shepherd's pie and another
fisted around a handful of green beans.
Summoning a house elf for another tray, Severus banished Potter's mess
to the kitchen before bending to wipe his hands and mouth clean. He
captured Potter's wrists in one hand just as the house elf appeared.
Potter struggled to reach the food, but Severus held him in place.
"Stop that at once, and you'll be fed as soon as you behave. Have you
lost all memory of manners?"
Taking Potter's glasses, Severus wiped them clean and set them back on
his nose. They tilted, adorable when askew, and Severus let his
fingertips linger on Potter's face, tracing the slope of his nose, the
arch of his cheekbones, the swirl of his ears. Potter subsided under
Severus sat on the arm of the chair, still holding Potter's wrists, and
fumbled for the fork, scooping up a bite of shepherd's pie and bringing
it to Potter's mouth. The curved pink lips stayed closed until Severus
prodded them with the fork, and the sound that Potter made as he
swallowed was indecent.
Potter's lips parted for more and Severus froze, the fork halfway to
the plate, watching Potter lick his lips. "S-Severus?"
Nuzzling Severus's forearm with his face as Pythios had, Potter said,
"S-Severus? I'm hungry."
Severus straightened Potter's posture and scooped up another forkful of
mashed potatoes. "Stop lolling about like a snake. Sit and eat like a
Potter licked the fork clean, his pink tongue on the gleaming silver,
and Severus closed his eyes. "You were human for ten years before
living as a snake, Potter. Have you no table manners whatsoever?"
He grasped Potter's hand and wrapped his fingers around the fork,
guiding it from the plate to his mouth. "Hold it steady, thus. No, do
not smell the potatoes. Do not lick the potatoes. Put them in your
mouth, chew, and then swallow. That's right."
Sated and yawning after the demolition of two trays, Potter leaned
against Severus, wrapping an arm around his waist and half-sprawling
across his lap. His weight was warm and not uncomfortable, but his
breath tickled Severus's bare forearm.
"What did you and Albus discuss this afternoon?" Severus asked,
prodding Potter awake.
With a sleepy smile, Potter said, "Oh, he told me about my parents and
some wizard named Voldemort and magic. Can you do magic, S-Severus?"
"Of course I can, you've seen me cast spells often enough."
"You never..." Potter stopped, hesitating.
Potter's hair was soft to the touch, and Severus tangled his fingers in
it, soothing the man's agitation. "I never what?"
"Those sticks – wands? – that the bad men have, I never saw you use
yours. You never tried to hurt me."
"No, of course not. They should not have tried to hurt you either,"
Dozing off in Severus's lap again, Potter shimmered and shifted.
Severus found himself again with a lap full of coils, the beautiful
pattern of Potter's scales gleaming in the light. He stroked the snake,
leaning back into the soft chair.
He blinked his way back to full awareness when Potter, still a snake,
floated the heat lamp into Severus's bedroom and arranged himself in
careful coils on the bed. "No, absolutely not," Severus said. "I do not
sleep with animals, Mr. Potter, and I will not sleep with you. I'll
Transfigure a bed for you in the other room, if you wish to sleep as a
human, or I will put you in your cage if you choose to sleep as a
The tip of Potter's tail twitched, and Severus crossed his arms over
his chest, fingering his wand. "You are not sleeping in this bed, is
Another twitch of his tail, and Potter resumed his human form, crouched
on the bed with his knees pulled up to his chest.
Severus banished the heat lamp and grabbed Potter by the elbow, yanking
him from the bed and into the other room. In short order, he had
conjured a bed, pyjamas, and a toothbrush. He pushed Potter toward them
and scrubbed his hand against his thigh, rubbing away the warmth from
touching Potter's back.
"S-Sir?" Potter asked.
"Yes? You remember how to brush your teeth, I hope. I'm not interested
in the rehabilitation of an inept toddler-turned-snake, you
"I ... I don't understand."
Severus grabbed the toothbrush and steered Potter toward the bathroom.
"Here, you clean your teeth thus. Do not swallow the toothpaste, do not
bite the toothbrush, just use gentle motions to scrub your teeth
Potter stood, staring at Severus in the mirror, the toothbrush dangling
from his hand. The dollop of toothpaste fell off the brush and onto the
counter, and Severus grabbed his own toothbrush. "This is how it's
done, idiot boy," he said, and demonstrated.
"N-no, I remember this."
Severus dropped his toothbrush and spat into the sink, rinsing his
mouth and washing his hands before he guided Potter from the room.
"What don't you understand?"
Potter pointed at the new bed and then at himself. "Is that ... is that
for me? Where am I meant to put it? Where is the c-cupboard, sir?"
"Of course you will sleep here, and there's no need to worry about a
cupboard tonight, not until you have your own clothes to store in one."
Potter sat down on the floor, leaning against the bed. "There must be
some misunderstanding, sir. I ... I'm more than happy to sleep in the
cupboard if you'll show me where it is."
Severus pulled Potter up onto the bed and sat next to him, jerking away
when their thighs brushed together. "I'm tired, Potter, and in no humor
for your incoherent babbling. Let me explain in small words, and don't
ask any more questions. You will sleep here, in this bed, tonight.
There will be no cupboards involved. Now brush your teeth and get
changed for bed."
A warm body settled onto the mattress, curling up next to Severus and
jolting him out of his half-doze, and he rolled over to look at Potter.
"I thought we discussed this," he said, brushing the hair away from
"Please," Potter said. "There are too many n-nightmares in the bed
Severus sighed and rolled over again, turning his back on Potter and
tossing him a blanket and a pillow. "Stay on your own side of the bed."
Potter had kicked off the blankets during the night, and spooned up
behind Severus. The warm, moist breath on Severus's neck, the warm
fingers splayed on his abdomen, the pressure of Potter's hard cock
against his thigh – it was a warmth he'd not allowed himself in years –
and Severus jerked away from Potter, wrapping the blankets around
himself. The blankets billowed, hiding the signs of his reaction to
Potter's touch. "Get out of my bed."
Potter woke, blinking, his eyelashes delicate and dark against his pale
skin, and shivered. He reached toward Severus, his fingers closing on
the blanket. Severus felt the warmth on his upper thigh and jerked
He stood, scrambling over the heaps of discarded blankets on the floor.
"Get out of my bed. There will be no repeat of this distasteful scene,
is that understood? I refuse to be sullied by the touch of James
Potter's witless spawn."
Without a word, Potter rolled out of bed and headed out the door.
"Put on some clothing," Severus called after him, shutting his eyes
against the sight of Potter's bare arse and insolent stride.
Albus arrived in the wake of the house elf who brought breakfast,
helping himself to a cup of tea and ignoring Potter's nudity. Severus
rolled his eyes when Albus selected the sweetest pastry, and smirked at
the startled yelp Potter made when a quick spell conjured clothing for
him, the cloth popping out of thin air. He managed to dress himself
well enough, though he fumbled with the fastenings and needed Severus's
Slytherin green was a suitable color for Potter, Severus decided, and
another flick of his wand tightened the clothing, sizing it down to
fit. Potter still flinched when the wand was pointed at him, and
Severus leaned over to murmur in his ear, "You know that I don't intend
to hurt you. Don't overreact to harmless spells."
Albus set a copy of the Daily Prophet on the table, unfolding it with a
loud crinkle, and Severus turned to glare at him.
"Now, Severus, it is important to keep on top of the news, and reading
"News is hardly the word for it."
"I know your opinion of the Prophet, but Harry here hasn't had a chance
to acquaint himself with current events in the Wizarding world yet, and
given the amount of time that he spent as a snake – ten years, wasn't
it, Harry? – I thought a refresher course in how to read wouldn't be
amiss. Although perhaps you'd prefer to be the one instructing your
Severus turned away from Potter's green eyes and the impossible,
hopeful curve of his lips. "The pleasure is all yours, Headmaster, I'm
afraid. I have exams to mark."
He abandoned his toast and tepid tea, settling near the fire with a
pile of essays and a fresh bottle of green ink.
"Do come here, my boy," Albus said. "I can't teach you when you're
halfway across the room, can I? Sit with me and we'll see if we can
make heads or tails of this newspaper together."
Severus paused in his marking, his quill splattering the parchment with
fat drops of green ink, when he heard Potter's first stumbling attempt
at reading. "S-Secret Keeper Sw-Switched, Black Inno-Innocent."
The drops of green ink ran together into one blob on the parchment.
Severus bent his head, as if in concentration, and scratched his quill
against the parchment in mindless circles.
"What does that mean?" Potter asked.
Severus heard the clink of china and looked up to see Albus pouring
another cup of tea, sweetening it and tasting it before continuing.
"Well, Harry, your parents were under the Fidelius Charm when they were
hiding from Voldemort – do you remember me telling you about that
yesterday? They were betrayed, and after Voldemort killed them, Sirius
Black was put into prison because we all thought he was their betrayer.
He was more loyal than that, though. He's your godfather, and a good,
Severus felt the quill snap between his fingers and he tossed it aside.
"Out. Get out of my quarters, Albus."
"But Severus, surely..."
"No. I'll teach the brat how to read, I'll answer his questions, tell
him about the heroic martyrdom of his parents and cater to his every
spoiled whim, but I will not sit here and let you fill his head with
lies about the nobility of Sirius Black."
Albus stared at the fragments of the quill and sighed, his
disappointment filling the air. Severus only scowled, familiar with all
of his tricks, and crossed his arms.
"Come here, Harry," Severus said after the door closed behind Albus.
"There's no need to be afraid. I'm not angry with you."
Potter sat at Severus's feet, leaning against his legs, and Severus
reached down to ruffle his hair.
"Will you tell me about my parents?"
Harry shifted into Pythios, curling up in Severus's lap, but Severus
eased him over onto the couch. "You're a human, not a snake, Mr.
Potter, and I refuse to have this conversation with an animal."
Changing back into his human form, Harry leaned against Severus again,
his head on Severus's shoulder and his hand curled around Severus's
forearm. "Tell me, please?"
Taking a deep breath and inching away from Potter's warmth, Severus
said, "Your parents loved you enough to die for you. Your mother was a
good woman, and your father ... your father grew up to be a man who was
worthy of her love."
Potter turned Severus's arm over and began to trace the blue veins on
his wrist. "You didn't like them very much," he said.
"No. I did not."
Potter resumed his serpent form then, slithering up the back of the
sofa and draping himself over Severus's shoulders, clinging to the
heat. Severus permitted the contact, summoning a new quill and turning
his attention back to his marking.
Severus was teaching Potter how to read when Black burst into his
chambers, breezing through the wards with Albus in his wake. Black
stopped short, his mouth gaping open, and Severus closed the book that
Harry had been reading.
He tightened his arms around Potter, pulling him closer and regretting
it when the soft curve of Potter's arse was pressed against his groin.
He took a deep breath. "What is the meaning of this interruption,
Black drew his wand and pointed it at them. "If you've put my godson
under Imperius, you'll regret the day you were born, Snivellus."
"Now, Sirius," Albus said, putting a hand on Black's shoulder and
plucking the wand from his fingers. "I did tell you that Harry and
Severus had become quite close."
"Close? You call that close? I call that a pedophile molesting my
godson. Come here, Harry."
Severus tightened his arms around Potter. "I'm impressed that you
learned a three-syllable word while you were in Azkaban, Black. It's a
pity you couldn't have stayed longer – you might have learned what it
"Don't insult my intelligence, you greasy, sniveling bastard, or I'll
tell Harry everything about you, every Dark spell you cast over the
years, every prank you used to humiliate his parents, everything. He
won't cling to you then, not after he knows the truth. What, have you
poisoned my godson's mind against me already, you filthy Slytherin?" he
asked when Harry made no move to come to him.
"Come here, Harry. You don't have to let that greasy git touch you if
it disturbs you, you don't have to live here with him, and you don't
have to put up with his ugly gargoyle face and foul breath."
Harry turned in Severus's lap, putting his arms around Severus's neck.
"Please don't make me leave."
"You may stay here for as long as you like," Severus promised him,
gentling his fear with a soft touch to his shoulder. Potter pressed
closer against him, his heartbeat echoing through Severus's chest.
"Harry," Black said, striding over to the sofa, but Albus restrained
"Sherbet lemon, Sirius? I think you'll find that a spot of tea and a
good night's sleep will give us all some much-needed perspective. You
can talk to Harry later, perhaps after you've seen Remus and the rest
of the old crowd."
"Remus is all right?" Black asked, allowing Albus to pull him out of
Harry picked up the book they had been reading, leaning back against
Severus's chest and draping one of Severus's arms across his stomach.
When they were arranged to his satisfaction, he resumed reading, his
breath warm on Severus's neck, his voice vibrating through Severus's
shoulder as he stumbled on the longer words.
That evening, as Severus tucked Potter in for the night, a ridiculous
ritual that Potter insisted was enough to soothe him and keep the
nightmares away, the quiet acceptance melted away and Potter gave vent
to his curiosity. "What was that man talking about?"
"Hmmm?" Severus smoothed down the covers and sat on the edge of the
bed, ruffling Potter's hair.
"That man Black, who was upset with me. What was he talking about?"
"Black is an idiot and I doubt that even he knows what he was talking
about." Severus bent down to press a kiss on Harry's cheek, and Harry
reached out to capture his wrist, holding him there.
"What's a pedophile, Severus?"
Severus leaned away from Potter, looking for traces of mockery in his
bright green eyes. "A pedophile is a person who sexually molests
children, and before you ask, I am not one."
"Why did that man Black call you a pedophile, then? Why was he upset?"
"He ... ah..." Severus stopped, watching Potter fidget with the
Harry blinked and reached out to touch Severus's lips, his finger
gentle and warm.
"He was upset because he doesn't like me very much and he doesn't want
to see you with me." Severus stood, bending down to straighten Potter's
blankets, ignoring the stab of guilt engendered by Black's wild
"That's enough questions for tonight, Harry. Get some sleep – in your
own bed, if you please. I don't fancy waking up to your cold feet and
It was not unpleasant to fall asleep with Potter curled on the far side
of the bed, his breathing echoing in the silence, his warmth seeping
into the blankets. It was not altogether unpleasant to wake to the
discovery that the space between them had been bridged overnight.
Potter curled around him, arms wrapped around Severus's chest, his legs
twined with Severus's legs, warming the morning chill away from the
Severus shoved the blankets over onto Potter, smirking when he yelped,
and strode barefoot to answer the door, fastening his dressing gown as
"Albus," he said. "It's a surprise to see you here this morning, I
never imagined that you'd be the one to call at the most inconvenient
Nothing perturbed Albus's good humor in the morning, and he ignored
Severus's barb with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes. "Good morning,
Severus. I'm glad to see that the regimen of beauty sleep and stress
relief that you've taken up since Voldemort's defeat is doing a world
of good for your charming personality. Now, where is Harry?"
"Still asleep, I imagine."
Albus's gaze darted over to the Transfigured bed in Severus's sitting
room, the covers rumpled and the pillows thrown onto the floor. "I see.
Do promise me that you'll be careful with the boy, Severus. He hasn't
got very much experience with the world yet."
Potter emerged from the bedroom, yawning, a blanket draped around his
shoulders. "You always talk over me as though I'm still a snake and not
part of the conversation," he said.
Albus smiled. "As a matter of fact, I came here to have a conversation
with you, Harry, about what you want and need."
He snapped his fingers and two house elves appeared, their trays
brimming with tea and breakfast. "Shall we discuss it as we eat?"
Severus intervened, sending Potter to shower and change first. He
refused to be distracted by the blanket slipping down to bare that pale
shoulder, Potter's delicious, rumpled appearance, his tousled hair and
sleep-sated grin. Pouring himself a cup of tea, Severus listened to the
sound of the shower and clenched his free hand into a fist, hidden in
"I wouldn't presume to tell you what to do, Severus," Albus said.
"Harry is an adult, and so are you, but I do think that you should
consider your actions with care. Not only is the Ministry likely to
interfere when they hear of your relationship with the Boy Who Lived,
but Harry's godfather is a force to be reckoned with as well."
"I have no relationship with Potter."
"Severus, be honest with yourself if you will not..."
The door slammed open and Harry rushed to the table, flinging himself
into one of the chairs and grabbing one of the pastries. "Mmm, so
good," he said with his mouth full. "I thought that I'd never like
anything half as well as I like freshly killed rats, but breakfasts
here are just wonderful."
Severus shuddered. "We've discussed inappropriate mealtime conversation
before, Mr. Potter. Do I need to refresh your memory?"
Harry looked up at him, hurt visible in his shining green eyes, and
Severus shook his head. "Not now," he mouthed.
"Well, now, Harry, I must admit that we do take a certain amount of
pride in the food we serve here at Hogwarts. We do try to employ the
very best, the most skilled house elves, and they provide us all with
Harry nodded, reaching for another pastry. "Yes, sir, I can see that."
"So if it would ease your readjustment to the human world, we'd be more
than happy to have you stay here at Hogwarts indefinitely, Harry. You
could enjoy all the benefits of Hogwarts cuisine, the attention of the
professors at Europe's finest school of witchcraft and wizardry, and
moreover, you could take this opportunity to develop your own magical
Harry sprayed crumbs all over the table, coughing. He apologized when
Severus gave him a stern look, but continued to splutter. "You – You
said that I could stay here, Severus. Why would I leave? Do you want me
to leave now?"
"No, of course not," Severus said, not daring to glance at Albus.
"You're welcome to stay here for as long as you like."
"No one was suggesting that you leave, my dear boy. I was merely
suggesting that we formalize your position here."
"I was hoping that you would agree to join the students here for
classes, Harry. After all, we can't have you lolling about Severus's
quarters all day long, and the sooner you get your wild magic under
control, the safer it will be for all of us here."
Blinking and uncertain, Harry looked to Severus for reassurance before
Afternoons were quieter, without Harry reading aloud or Pythios filling
the room with the scrape of his scales against the floor as he
slithered around, dragging the heat lamp through the room with him.
Severus ignored the silence, filling it with the heat of a new fire in
his fireplace, and ignored Harry's absence. Tired of pacing, he settled
in his chair with a new book, opening it to a random page and staring
into the flames.
Severus spluttered, spitting tea onto his book, when Harry bounced into
the room, dropping his bag and asking him, "What does wank mean,
"I beg your pardon?"
"What does wank mean?"
Severus pulled out a handkerchief and mopped up the spilled tea. "No –
No, I heard you the first time. Why do you ask?"
"Dennis was late for Transfiguration, and Minerva asked him why he was
late, and he blushed and then Jimmy said that he was probably wanking.
What does it mean?"
"I..." Severus stopped, looking at the bright-eyed, curious expression
on Harry's face. "It's a slang term that refers to the act of
"Self-pleasure? Like when I'm pleased with myself because you smile at
Severus coughed. "Not quite."
"What is it, then? It sounds nice. Can you show me?"
Severus coughed again, looking away from Potter's smooth skin and
bright eyes. "It isn't normally discussed in public, Harry."
"You're turning red, like Dennis did."
"So I am," Severus said. "Do you have any homework today?"
"Well, I asked Professor Minerva what wanking was, and she told me to
go to the library and look it up, and then Jimmy said he'd help me with
the research, so I guess I'd better go do that."
"No," Severus said. He put his hand on Harry's arm, swallowing to
moisten his throat. "That won't be necessary, Harry. I can explain it
"Can you show it to me? Jimmy said he had a book with pictures, because
it was too complicated to explain without them."
"I ... no, I don't think that a demonstration is necessary. Jimmy was–"
Severus faltered, looking away from Harry. "Wanking is a slang term
used to describe masturbation, as I said, and that's all that it is.
Jimmy was being ... a little crude. It's not normally discussed in
"Why not?" Harry asked, and although Severus stared at him, he detected
no hint of mockery in his expression.
The house elf popped in with a tray for dinner and Severus cleared his
throat, adjusting his trousers. "There are some things that are
private, like using the loo or getting dressed. We've talked about
It had been a hell of a time, teaching Potter that he had to dress
himself in private and couldn't loll around Severus's rooms naked,
shifting from serpent to man whenever he pleased and sunning himself
under the heat lamp in either form. This promised to be even worse –
Severus closed his eyes and stifled a groan when Harry just looked at
him, apparently uncomprehending.
"Let's eat," he said, gesturing at the tray.
Severus was half-hard during the meal, watching Harry's soft lips, his
pink tongue, the tilt of his chin and the sparkle of his eyes. Their
fingers brushed together as they passed dishes, the warmth of Harry's
touch burning an imprint into Severus's skin. He took deep breaths and
closed his eyes, flooding his brain with oxygen in an attempt to
restore self-control. Harry was not meant to be a sexual being – he was
not meant to ask Severus questions about wanking – he was not,
emphatically, not meant to
look that alluring.
Harry put a hand on his shoulder and Severus opened his eyes, his cock
hardening as his attempt to divert blood back to his brain failed. "Are
you all right?" Harry asked, his tongue licking a smear of chocolate
from the corner of his mouth.
"Fine," Severus said, his voice cracking.
"Are you ready to explain this to me now, then?"
"Of course." Severus banished the dishes to the kitchen and stood, his
robes billowing around him to hide his erection. He led Harry to the
sofa, placing a casual hand on his shoulder.
Severus shrugged off his heavy outer robe and rolled up his
shirtsleeves before sitting on the sofa next to Harry. "As I said,
wanking refers to the act of self-pleasure, known more clinically as
Harry blinked. "I still don't understand. Maybe I should ask Jimmy..."
Severus stopped him with a hand on his elbow. "There's no need, Harry.
I'll explain things clearly, but I want to make sure that you have all
the appropriate vocabulary first."
"I want to make sure that everybody's not laughing at me in class like
that again," Harry said, but he settled back onto the sofa, watching
Severus leaned toward him, brushing a fingertip along his jawline and
down his throat to his collarbone. "I'm sorry they laughed at you."
Bright green flashed in Harry's eyes, resolution firming the curve of
his lips. "Then will you make sure that it doesn't happen again?"
Nodding, Severus said, "I'll try. Now stop interrupting, please, and
"There are various different forms of intercourse for humans – most of
them involve one or more partners, but masturbation is autoerotic, and
can be performed alone. Although there's nothing wrong with mutual
masturbation, of course, depending on your choice of partner and
location. It's..." Severus paused, waving a hand in front of Harry's
eyes, which had begun to glaze over. "It's important to make rational,
careful decisions about sex in any form, Harry, masturbation or any
other form of intercourse. There are times and places where it's
inappropriate or unwise–"
"Severus." Harry put a hand on his arm, stopping him. "Can you please tell me what you're talking
"I ... perhaps Madam Pomfrey has some literature on the subject. I'll
just Floo her and ask, shall I?"
"No," Harry said. "You said you'd explain things to me so that the
students don't laugh at me again. You promised."
Severus took a deep breath, closing his eyes again. "It's ...
self-stimulation, Harry. When you touch your penis to achieve an
"Oh." Harry sounded as though he didn't quite understand, and Severus
waited a heartbeat before opening his eyes. "What's an orgasm?"
A talk with Madam Pomfrey was definitely in order. Severus rubbed his
temples, keeping his eyes firmly closed. He couldn't bear to look at
Harry. "A sexual climax," he said.
After waiting, Severus opened his eyes when it seemed that Harry had no
more questions. The sooner this interview was over and Harry was
ushered off to a remedial class with Pomfrey, the better.
Harry had his trousers down around his knees and he was stroking his
cock to full hardness, his eyes closed and his breathing quick. "Like
this?" he asked, when he opened his eyes and saw Severus watching. "Is
Severus closed his eyes as quickly as he had opened them, but he
couldn't shut out the image of Harry with his face flushed and his hand
on his cock. "Yes," he said. "And as I mentioned, there's an
appropriate time and place for actions like that, Harry. Never in
public or where someone might see you."
"But you said that two people could do it together," Harry said. He
reached over and put a hand on Severus's groin, stroking his cock
through his trousers. "Don't you want to? You've looked like this since
we started talking."
"Two people can do it together if they're lovers," Severus said,
batting Harry's hand away. "I'm not – you're – it's inappropriate,
Harry. You're in my charge ... I'm responsible for your well-being,
like your guardian."
"I don't need a guardian," Harry said. He had inched closer until he
was pressed against Severus's side, and he was warm, and Severus could
feel the motions of his arm as he stroked himself. He stifled a groan.
"Nonetheless, I am taking care of you until you are able to join
wizarding society as a fully-functioning wizard."
"I'm of age. Albus told me so."
"You're chronologically of age, but you're neither mentally or
emotionally ready to enter into a sexual relationship, Harry." Severus
had to push his hand away again and force himself to remember that this
was a bad idea, even though
his cock thought otherwise.
"But I want to have a sexual relationship with you. I like you."
At that, Severus opened his eyes and met Harry's gaze. "I don't think
that you're old enough to know what you want."
"I know that you want me. I can tell from the way you smell. And the
way your bed smells after I've slept in it with you. Why won't you
Leaning back, Severus watched Harry fondling himself, his breathing
quick and uneven. He was delicious – debauched – there were too many
reasons for Severus to say no, but somehow he couldn't say anything.
Harry touched Severus's arm, his eyes fluttering shut as he came. "I
want you, too."
He wiped up his semen with a handkerchief from his pocket and tucked
himself back into his trousers, patting Severus on the shoulder as he
stood. "Wanking is very nice," he said. "I will wait until you want to
do it with me ... how did you call it? Mutual masturbation?"
Severus started to splutter, but Harry only nodded, patting him on the
shoulder again. "Yes, I will wait for that."
Severus woke to a cold bed, and he reached out for Harry, his hand
fumbling with the neat blankets and undisturbed pillows on the other
side of the bed. He opened his eyes a crack, and when he was greeted
with the distinct absence of Harry, he rolled over and buried his head
in the pillows.
Damn his dreams and his traitorous body. It wasn't Potter – it was just
that he was sleeping with a warm body – it meant nothing.
"Good morning, Severus," Potter said. "This time I have saved some of
the hot water for you as you asked."
He came around to the other side of the bed, fumbling for his glasses
on the nightstand, and froze. "Oh. You were wanting to sleep late
Dropping to the bed in a graceless sprawl, Potter reached out to touch
Severus's cock. His fingers were gentle, still wet from the shower.
"Perhaps you would like to wank instead? It is still an offer ... I
would like very much to do it with you."
"Enough," Severus said, brushing Potter's hand aside. "Have you no
concept of privacy, no sense of common decency? Have you no classes to
attend? Get out."
Severus banished the come from his sheets and stretched, making his
tired way to the hot shower. The image of Potter's bright, eager
expression and the memory of his gentle touch lingered with him.
Potter was oblivious to Severus's regard, and unlikely to return his
interest – a few brief glances, unguarded intimate touches, it was no
more than an open affectionate nature unused to the norms of society.
Severus sighed, buttoning his formal robes, and resolved to have
another talk with Potter to remind him that his easy affection and
sheer licentiousness made him easy prey. He simply could not go around
offering to masturbate with other people.
Severus's self-control was tested when Albus suggested that Potter have
even more contact with the predatory, harsh world. He set his teacup
down with a distinct, loud clink, and turned to Albus.
"A room of my own? Are you serious?"
Severus took a deep breath and closed his eyes at the look of
unadulterated horror on Potter's face.
"Why yes, of course, my dear Harry. I think you've learned a lot from
having Severus as a mentor during your initial readjustment, and I'm
sure that you're ready to experience the world on your own, without
his, shall I say ... stifling influence?"
Severus's tea was too strong, bitter now that it had cooled. He stalked
over to the tea service, pouring himself a fresh cup.
"Of course, your godfather would be happy if you were to live with him,
and as you're a non-traditional student here you could Floo into
Hogwarts for classes every morning. Otherwise, I can offer you one of
the spare Prefect's rooms here – I think that both the Hufflepuffs and
Gryffindors have rooms that would be suitable, considering your course
schedule and needs."
Potter's needs did not include being near Slytherin territory or a
bitter, stifling mentor. Severus gulped his tea, wishing for something
"My godfather – that man who came here – he's happy, isn't he? Living
with that man Remus?"
"Why yes, I think that he is happy," Albus said. "But..."
"Then I'd like to stay here at Hogwarts, please, sir," Harry said,
reaching for another pastry. "I want to stay with Severus."
"Of course, of course, everything is already arranged..." Albus spat
his sherbet lemon out onto his saucer. "Wait ... what?"
"I said, I want to stay with Severus."
"Nonsense, my dear boy," Albus said. "You'd be much happier without
him. You've only to pack your belongings, and perhaps a last quick trip
to Hogsmeade with Professor Snape if you want anything special for your
new rooms, and you're all set."
"I'm certain that an adult like Potter can handle the ardors of a
Hogsmeade trip without assistance," Severus said. "With your leave,
Headmaster. Mr. Potter."
Stalking out of Albus's office, Severus headed for Hogsmeade himself.
At the rate that Potter drove him to distraction, he needed a new
bottle of Firewhiskey.
Even Firewhiskey was no consolation after Severus watched Potter remove
the cage from his office. Blushing and shy, timid as he'd been that
first day when words had come to him with difficulty, he stuttered
something about needing it "just in case." Severus closed his eyes and
nodded his assent. He had no use for a snake cage in his office, no
need for the branch that Pythios had coiled around or the water bath
that Pythios had loved.
The glass cage scraped against the floor as Potter made a clumsy
attempt to levitate it, and Severus opened his eyes, adding his magic
to the task. With a zip as their powers combined, the cage floated out
of his office, followed by a bashful Potter. Severus retreated to the
silence of his quarters, his Firewhiskey and his books. Enough
Firewhiskey would erase the image of Potter in his rooms, Potter's
voice and warmth and smiles.
He nearly dropped the bottle when he heard a knock at his door. If one
of his Slytherins had–
It was Harry, who slipped through his wards after knocking a second
time and waiting a minute. "S-sir?"
Severus closed his eyes and tossed back the rest of the Firewhiskey in
his glass, swallowing hard against the burn. "What is it?"
"You ... you told me once that you wouldn't make me leave."
Severus's throat still ached from the Firewhiskey. He set down his
glass, keeping his fingers curled around the rim, using the phantom
warmth that still lingered in the glass to steady himself. "Did I?"
"You did." Harry came closer, trailing his fingers up the length of
Severus's arm. "Please don't make me go away. I don't like that room in
the Hufflepuff dorm – it's noisy and the bed is too big. I'd rather
sleep with you."
"It was never inappropriate before."
"It was always inappropriate. You are now my student, and it is doubly
"You said you wouldn't make
me leave. You promised."
Severus jerked his arm away from Potter's touch and stood, wobbling a
little as he strode to the other side of the room. He reached out to
steady himself on the wall, dizzy from the whiskey. "The Headmaster
thinks that it's best for you to stay there, and so it–"
"I will stay as a snake, if you like Pythios better." Harry had darted
across the room and was suddenly pressed against him, his arms flung
around Severus and his head resting on Severus's chest. "Or as a human.
Whichever you want. And I'll remember my table manners, and do all my
homework, even for the boring classes, and stop saying inappropriate
things, and I'll do whatever you say, just please let me stay."
Severus pried Harry away from him and held him at arm's length. "The
Headmaster has said that you should move. Your godfather – who your
parents wanted to take care of you, and who has your best interests at
heart – would want you to live anywhere on this planet except my
chambers, even if it be at the center of an erupting volcano. You
should let them be your guide until you understand the world well
enough to make your own decisions. You may think that you want–"
"I know I want to stay with you," Harry said. "I do."
"You can't," Severus said flatly. With the Firewhiskey hot in his
veins, it took all of Severus's willpower to push Harry away. "You can
cling to that old promise all you like, but you don't even know what
you're clinging to. In spite of your pretty illusions about the world
and about me, I am not a nice
man. I don't keep my promises and I don't intend to keep you now that
there's no advantage for myself in it."
Hurt shone in Harry's eyes, but Severus pushed him away. It was for the
boy's own good – he didn't know his own mind. He didn't deserve to tie
himself to an old Death Eater.
Severus waved Harry silent when he started to speak, and opened the
door with a wave of his hand. "You've stayed here long enough, Mr.
Potter, and taken up my valuable time. Get out."
And when he was gone – well, if Severus's rooms were quiet and cold,
there was always the Firewhiskey to warm them.
Potions class, with Potter in the front row, was torture. Severus
clenched his hands into fists and strode down the aisles, his robes
billowing around him. "Take care not to add the ground moonstone too
soon," he said. "The potion should be a pale blue. Do you call that
blue, Mr. Ackerley? Have you been tested for color blindness?"
Potter sat with the Gryffindors, almost a part of the group but set
apart because of his age. Severus felt a pang of sympathy for the man
attending classes with third years and stifled it before it could
"Wrong consistency, Miss McDonald. Do you consider that an adequate
attempt, Mr. Potter? I trust that you were not relying on your vaunted
celebrity to earn you a passing mark in my class, no matter how blind
and lenient your other professors may be."
In spite of Severus's harsh words, Potter lingered after class, his
eyelashes fluttering as he looked down at the floor. "Mr. Potter, if
there is a foreign substance in your eye, I suggest that you see Madam
Pomfrey about it. If you are not having any medical difficulties, then
go to your next class."
Potter blinked, looking up at him with watery eyes, and Severus
frowned. "Are you well?"
"That's Professor Snape to you, Mr. Potter."
Severus turned away, intent on restocking the supplies for the next
class, and when he looked up again, Potter had gone. A vial of phoenix
feathers fell from his hands, smashing on the floor, and he banished
Sirius Black charged down into the dungeons as if a demon from hell
were after him – or, given his character, an angel from heaven. Severus
smirked and set down his mortar and pestle, turning calmly back to the
supply cupboard and ignoring Black, who had rushed to stand in front of
Severus's desk and was panting like a dog.
"Yes?" Severus asked, not turning around to look at Black. He had his
hand on his wand, hidden in his sleeve, just in case. "Was there
something that you wanted, or did you come here to slobber all over the
"What the hell did you do to my godson, Snape?"
Severus pulled down a vial of moonstone from the top shelf and turned
to set it next to his cauldron. "I've done nothing to him."
Erumpent skin, asphodel, feverfew – he gathered the ingredients and set
them out in order, pretending to be deep in concentration. "Now, if
"If you've done nothing to him, then why is he leaving Hogwarts?"
Suddenly Black was at Severus's side, pressing his wand into Severus's
neck. "If you molested Harry–"
Severus slid his wand out from his sleeve and Disarmed Black with a
simple flick. "Careless," he said with a curl of his lip. "Trust me,
I've done nothing to him. I'd not lower myself to touch Potter's
He flicked his wand threateningly at Black when he moved to protest.
"Not a word. I'll say anything I like about your so-called friends –
Potter made my life miserable at Hogwarts, and doesn't deserve the
respect of a grave, let alone–"
"If you're tormenting Harry in your classes because of what his father
did, then let me tell you–"
"I have treated him as I would treat any other student."
"Then why is he leaving? Harry's a good boy – he wouldn't do something
like that unless – I know you're at the bottom of this, Snivellus. I
know you and your greasy tricks–"
"Gentlemen." Albus entered the room, clapping his hands together. "I
think that's quite enough of that, don't you?"
There was a spell on the tip of Severus's tongue – he was at the point
of cursing Black, and sorely tempted to do so in spite of Albus, but he
lowered his wand. He'd keep peace for Harry's sake at least – Salazar
knew that the boy needed someone
to look after him.
Albus conjured chintz chairs and steaming tea, motioning all of them to
sit. "Now, let's see if we can discuss this rationally, why don't we?"
He looked over his spectacles at both of them. Severus fought the urge
to fidget, and smirked when he saw Black looking like a chastened
schoolboy. Some things never changed.
"Now," Albus said, taking a sip of his tea and breathing out a long
sigh that sent steam puffing in the cool dungeon air, "Harry has agreed
to stay at Hogwarts on one condition."
"Yes!" Black said, his fist raised in the air. "I knew he would–"
"He wants to be allowed to stay in Severus's chambers again."
"No," Severus said immediately, at the same time that Black said,
"Bloody hell, no."
They glared at each other, and then Black said, "I don't want that
greasy pedophile touching my godson."
"Sirius, Severus is not a pedophile – I would hardly employ him here at
Hogwarts if he were – and childish insults do not accomplish anything.
Don't you think–"
"I'll have you know, Black," Severus said, drawing out every word,
"Harry is the one who wanted to touch me, not the other way around."
"What?" Black was out of his chair, his hands halfway to Severus's
throat, before Albus froze him in place with a wave of his wand.
"Really, Severus, that was hardly helpful either. Don't you think that
it's time that you and Sirius came to peace with the past and learned
to work together as adults?"
Sighing, Albus levitated Black back to his chair and released him from
the petrifying spell. "We all want what is best for Harry's welfare,
gentlemen. I think we're all agreed that a Hogwarts education is the
only way for him to regain the future that he has lost, and I think
that we can all work together to make that happen."
"I refuse to work with him.
And I don't want him to touch Harry, ever again."
"Sirius, Severus is one of Harry's professors–"
"Then I want him in another class."
"That's not really an option, Sirius. Potions is a required portion of
our curriculum here."
"A fucking stupid part of the curriculum, if you ask me. Harry will
never need to know how to brew any of those useless potions – if he
ever does need something, he can just get the greasy git to brew them
for him. Snape's gagging to do it, he's so eager–"
Severus stood, pushing back his chair and knocking over his teacup. "I
don't need to listen to this," he said. "Send the boy to Beauxbatons –
let him take up Quidditch or some fool sport that requires no education
– let him live in the zoo as a snake, if he pleases. It has nothing to
do with me."
On that note, he stomped out of his classroom, slamming the door and
smirking when he heard a glass vial teeter to the floor and shatter.
There was a good reason to stock a cupboard full of empty vials next to
the door – it made for the best exits.
Pythios attended Potions class the next day, a miniature heat-lamp
following him around at the flick and beckon of his tail. It hovered
over his cauldron until Severus lost his patience.
"Mr. Potter, you will join the rest of your classmates in human form
for this lesson. The potion is not improved by the addition of external
heat – in fact, you run the risk of blowing up this classroom."
Potter, shifting into human form, blew a raspberry at Severus. "I know
what I'm doing, and I wasn't going to do that."
"You will show some respect for me while I am your professor." Severus
clenched his hands into fists to stop them from shaking. "You may be a
boy with the brain of a snake, but you know full well that that is not
"It's not my fault my godfather made me stay in school."
"No, but it is your fault that you spent half your life as a snake and
have the manners of one. You will behave in my class, Potter, or you
Reaching over his shoulder, he threw a handful of pixie dust into his
cauldron as he left. He had
paid attention as a snake – he knew that the heat lamp would've done
nothing to the potion.
Worse luck, he knew that adding pixie dust would create a flashy but
harmless explosion. Severus glared at the door that had slammed shut
behind Potter and started trying to calm his half-hysterical students.
Detention with Potter was no more pleasant than Severus's cold bed. He
crossed his arms over his chest and glared at him until he scrubbed
cauldrons, sighing and sulking the whole time.
"It doesn't matter that you
knew the explosion would be harmless, Potter. It does matter that you
were disrespectful, that you came to my class as a snake, and that you
exploded your potion. Deliberately exploded it, I might add. What were
Potter only shrugged, looking up at Severus through fluttering lashes.
"Were you worried about me?"
"Hardly. If you manage to kill yourself in a potions explosion, it's
your own damned fault."
"Were you upset when you thought I was going to leave Hogwarts?"
"Pleased at the thought of being rid of you and your pestering,
perhaps." Severus rapped his wand against the rim of the cauldron
Potter was scrubbing, pointing at a dirty spot he'd neglected. "Is that
what this is about? You're acting up in order to get my attention?"
"You sent me away."
"You don't do anything the Headmaster says unless you want to, you stupid old bat. I
heard Sirius say so."
"Charming," Severus said, taking a step away from Potter. "I imagine
that Black is also responsible for the sudden expansion of your
Potter looked stricken, dropping his sponge into the scummy water
floating in the cauldron. "Oh, Severus, I'm so sorry–"
"No need." Severus brushed it away, turning back to his desk and the
stack of papers he had to grade. "I've no interest in your puerile
insults or insincere apologies."
"I am sorry ... whatever it
is that I did to make you send me away ... and for what I said just now
... and for acting so badly in class. Please, Severus, let me come
"You are harbouring an irrational, sentimental attachment to me because
I cared for you as a snake and eased your transition into the wizarding
world. I fed you rats and taught you how to use the loo, and that is
all. Hardly reason for all of this nonsense."
"It's not nonsense." Harry stopped scrubbing altogether and came toward
Severus, shaking dirty water from his fingers and splattering the
floors. "You did so much more than that – and it's not nonsense,
He stopped only when he was leaning over Severus's desk, close enough
for a kiss. "If it's because I'm your student, I'll go to Beauxbatons
or wherever you want. I won't listen to a word Sirius says. I'll wait,
if it's just that I'm too young. I'll be Pythios, if you don't like me
as a man. Whatever it is you want, Severus ... tell me, and I'll do
Severus pushed him away from the desk with a light spell. Potter was
standing too close – too close, too tempting. It was not to be borne.
"You've read too many romance novels in your spare time, Mr. Potter. A
twelve-inch essay on the use of pixie dust in recreational potions, due
to me by next week. Trust me, I'll find ways to fill your time and
empty your brain of that romantic dribble."
"And another essay on the effect of heat on delicate potions, twelve
inches as well. You're dismissed, Mr. Potter."
Severus woke to find Harry naked in his bed. He fumbled for his wand,
igniting the torches on the walls, and scowled at the man. "What are
you doing here?"
"What does it look like I'm doing here?" Harry rocked his hips, his
hard cock brushing against Severus's groin, his fingers coming up to
grasp Severus's shoulders. "I'm convincing you."
Leaning forward, their bare chests pressing together, Harry placed a
trail of kisses along Severus's jaw, from chin to ear. "I liked it
better when you call me Harry," he said, his breath warm and moist
against Severus's chilled skin.
"I liked it better when you didn't break through my wards and invade my
bed." Severus held himself rigid, refusing to yield to the warm
temptation offered by the body undulating against him.
Harry leaned back, but continued to thrust, the tip of his cock hitting
Severus's thigh. Deep breaths did nothing to quell his rising interest,
and he leaned away.
"You never minded sharing your bed with me before," Harry said.
"Please, Severus, I want this. I want you."
"More romantic dribble," Severus said, pulling a blanket over himself.
"You don't know what that means."
Potter grinned. "Oh, but I do. Madam Pince let me into the Restricted
Section and showed me where the books on sexuality were, and I spent
the entire day in the privacy of my new rooms, doing some research. I
know what I want."
"Get out," Severus said.
Bridging the gap between them, Harry kissed Severus's shoulders, his
arms and his neck, soft frantic kisses that did nothing for Severus's
self-control. "Why not? I love you and I think you love me."
Severus put a hand to Potter's mouth, interrupting the flow of kisses.
"You were put in my charge, first as a snake and then as a human, and I
discharged my duty by caring for you, that's all."
Potter's tongue flickered out to caress Severus's fingers. "If it was
just duty, then why were you hurt when I moved into my own quarters?"
Harry grasped Severus's hand and guided it to his breastbone, to the
strong steady pulse there. "You were. And I do love you."
When Harry pulled Severus's head close for a kiss, Severus tasted the
sweet, soft lips that had tormented him. He pushed his tongue past
Harry's defenses and claimed Harry as his own with a long kiss – he
pulled Harry close and wrapped him in an embrace. There was no reason
to resist this, not when it was offered so freely.
"Foolish boy," he said. "You have your whole life ahead of you. You
could do better–"
"This is what I want."
They lay spooned together until Severus felt Harry's breathing slow,
his eyelashes flutter shut, and then he allowed himself to drift off to
sleep. He'd wake up with Harry in his bed again, warm and comfortable
as he always had been, sleeping curled around Severus. He always would
'Back' on your browser to comment
DISCLAIMER: Neither this site nor
any of the authors or artists represented here have made, nor will
make, any attempt to infringe on the copyrights held by the
Corporations or Individuals that are part of Harry Potter. This site is
purely for the enjoyment of the fans and no monetary gain is made from