In his seventeen years as Potions Professor, Severus Tobias Snape had never seen someone as annoying and irritating as Neville Longbottom.
That blond boy had made him understand that there was always a limit in terms of patience, and that limit itself also had its limit.
Everyone believed that he hated Harry Potter intensely, concentrating only on him.
Potter was perhaps a disaster and a boy who believed that he and his friends could get everything they wanted thanks to some strange invisible law that broke physics and time in their favor, but Longbottom...
Longbottom was another song.
From that first class in which he saw him filled with the potion of furuncles, he knew that his patience was going to suffer a lot during those seven torturous years.
And Severus had not been wrong, not at all.
Each day that passed, the Gryffindor was looking for a way to ruin everything in his classes. And every day, Severus prayed to all the gods (even though he was an atheist) that the boy would graduate as soon as possible.
Over the years, that drama became routine.
Severus would enter classes, dictate the potions that his students would work, sit at his desk, close his eyes and count to six, and then hear an explosion throughout the room. Then he would open his eyes, and see that young man blushed with shame; Severus would swallow air before scolding him brutally, before forcing him to stay up late to clean up the mess, and finally the young man would wipe all the tables and the blackboard under the watchful eye of the master.
Everything was common.
Until that day, before the winter break.
At first everything had happened as usual. But it was Severus who unwittingly changed things.
"You can go, Longbottom," said the master with a nod in his head.
Neville had overturned a full cauldron of frogs on the floor and an almost one liter of cleaning potion.
It is not enough to say that the reprimand of the eldest was quite great.
"I know I should not be surprised, but..." thought the teacher "this must stop".
Longbottom was seventeen years old, that is, he was an adult; he was the heir of the Longbottom family, not to mention that one day he would have to enter in the high society. It was true that perhaps after the death of the boy's parents, he had been quite self-conscious, being raised by a crazy grandfather and a grandmother with a very bad sense of fashion...
He frowned, slightly.
That should not worry him, after all.
He was not a relative or close friend of Longbottom's family, nor was Neville a student of his house, to be worried about a boy who was not his.
Too much Severus had with Draco, which was now changed of personality constantly since he started dating in the sixth year with Potter.
He squinted, thinking of revenge plans against the one who had dared to touch his beloved godson. So enmeshed was he in his thoughts, that he was surprised when he heard Longbottom's voice:
He looked up, to look at the young man.
Neville looked pretty serious, and nervous, very nervous.
Severus arched an eyebrow.
"Is something wrong, Longbottom?"
Neville hesitated for a few seconds but took strength:
"Professor, do you think... that someone... can fall in love with me?"
The Snape looked at him incredulously.
What Longbottom considered it? An expert in couples?
What did he know about love? And above all, why did he just ask him?
He was going to respond with his usual poison, when suddenly an idea came to him.
An idea that worked, he could live in peace for the rest of the school year without Longbottom ending up driving him crazy.
"What can go wrong?" The magician told himself.
"Taking away the fact that I'm not flattered by his choice, and that I do not care in the least about his personal life, Longbottom," Severus began, and the blond saw him. "Let me tell you that in my particular case I would not be interested in you."
"Why?" The blond asked, with bright eyes, something that the teacher did not notice right away.
"Yours grades are very bad in my subject, you shows that you is always afraid of launching projects, you don't know how to pay attention and don't look particularly interesting... Among a few words" it is not that Severus was going to break his self-esteem of the boy, at least not so much "You would be a failed bachelor for forever."
Neville watched him, and the teacher kept his eyes on him. Neville did not seem very affected by his words, but seemed to be analyzing them.
"Thanks, Professor" The blond said, being the first to look away "That was all."
Neville turned around before leaving the classroom, but not before saying "Merry Christmas, Professor".
Dumbledore looked at him with both eyebrows raised, with interest.
"What the hell are you looking at me?" Severus saw him impassive, feeling like a circus animal. "Are you going to tell me why you're watching me, or are you going to keep quiet, Albus?"
The director smiled, with that fatherly smile that sometimes drove him crazy.
"Nothing, nothing, Sev, I'm just thinking about a certain topic, could I have another drink of firewhiskey, my boy?"
Severus leaned back against the chair, holding his glass to his lips.
"Not that you preferred sweets, Albus?"
Albus shrugged slightly.
"It's Christmas, Sev, we have to make some change on these dates."
The professor agreed with him, filling him with a glass of whiskey ice and passing it on.
"Come on. Tell me."
The old man took a sip of the firewhiskey.
"I was thinking about what you said to young Neville Longbottom."
Severus raised an eyebrow, unsurprised.
"Now what does he say that?" thought the black-haired man.
It had been three days since he told Albus about his conversation with Longbottom. He had been waiting for the sermon of the one he considered a Father (although not even drunk would say it aloud), but the days passed and Albus did not touch the subject... until now.
"Before you tell me it's bad to have broken his self-esteem and others shits, let me tell you something, I'm his teacher, and I'm fed up. I've spent more than five thousand galleons in these seven years, buying the cauldrons, ingredients and so on, that Longbottom has taken care of destroy, not even Potter or Weasley is so bad, Albus, and that's a lot to say. "
He took a sip of his glass.
"When he told me that if he could like someone being what he was, I had to goad him... Totally, those kind of idiots never learn."
Albus said nothing, but just smiled.
A smile that irritated the Snape.
"Only the whole thing amuses me, and more your answer."
The Snape took another drink of the whiskey. He did not understand why it was so funny for Albus.
Even though he was still thinking about why Longbottom had just chosen him to ask him, it was not that the matter took away his sleep.
"What girl will it be?" Reasoned the man "It could be Hannah Abbot or Susan Bones, even Lunatic Lovegood... or... Would it be a boy? I've seen as Nott and Zabini look at him, not forgetting that I've caught Weasley watching him during my classes".
Before he knew it, he was frowning at the thought of that.
He shook his head.
"What the fuck was wrong with me?" he tought.
He snorted and took another drink.
"Since when do you think Neville is in love with you, Severus?
The professor spat his drink of the impression, before coughing.
"Did you get madder than before, Albus?" The potions professor growled.
Albus watched him.
"Come on, Severus, I thought you knew." Dumbledore let out a laugh.
Severus glared at him.
"It's... impossible, Albus. Impossible."
And so would his position, he would keep her forever.
"Severus" Albus stopped laughing to look at him seriously "Why of all people, he asked you just that?"
The dark haired man was embarrassed, but tried not to show it.
He was not going to have Albus mocking him the rest of his life if he saw him in his "I do not know everything" mode.
The Dumbledore got up from his seat.
"Whatever you say, this conversation was good but I have to leave."
"Should I remind you that you're vacationing here because you do not have anywhere to go?"
The old man smiled at him, mysterious.
"I'll be back in a while" when seeing the raised, questioning eyebrow of Severus, Albus added "an old man sometimes needs another kind of company... more sexual."
Severus grimaced, disgusted.
"Sneville, it's a good name for a couple, Severus Snape and Neville Longbottom."
When the classes reopened, Severus soon soon realized that his words had a great weight on the blond.
He knew that the young had changed a lot when he entered the classroom the day after vacation.
He looked a couple of inches taller, and seemed to have exercised on vacation or whatever, because he looked more stocky than before; his face was more manly, with features of maturity.
And his eyes, blue as the sea, the first thing they did was to rest in the Professor's eyes.
"Good morning, Professor," the teenager greeted him pleasantly.
Severus felt the hairs on the back of his neck bristle at that smile.
Throughout the day, no disaster occurred as before nor the routine shouting session.
The boy seemed to have studied potions during the holidays, since he handled the ingredients and instruments a little more safely.
At least, in that Severus was right:
The routine was over.
What Severus did not know, until the next day, was that another routine was going to be installed in his life, a routine that would knock down the little peace he had so far.
In the recesses, Longbottom began to come to the dungeons.
The first days, Longbottom entered with a book in his hands, with the excuse that the dungeon was a haven of peace for him.
He read quietly, without disturbing Severus, and Severus did not disturb him.
After two weeks, the boy began to enter into conversations with the teacher.
Initially, the attempts were unsuccessful, but he was soon able to get monosyllabic answers from Severus and, finally, long conversations about potions.
After a month, Neville asked the professor to make him his disciple in the 'wonderful arts of potions'.
And... strangely, moved by who knows what, Severus Snape accepted the proposal.
Every day, from four in the afternoon until six, Neville entered the classroom and greeted with a smile and a 'Good morning, Severus' (yes, the boy had taken a lot of confidence in the 'relationship'); Severus would look at him pretending boredom, avoiding any feelings, before telling him they should start with a new potion.
The months soon passed without him noticing, and when Snape realized it was already June.
He had become used to Neville's presence, even came to appreciate it.
Then... as if by magic... Longbottom did not go to class one day, nor did he go to the dungeons in the break.
He had stayed, as if he were a stupid lover (which obviously was not), waiting for the Longbottom to come, sure Neville could not miss the class.
The next day he did not attend either.
Nor the other.
It was as if that stupid blond had vanished.
"The graduation of seventh graders is just around the corner," Severus said to calm his nerves "He's a teenager, although sometimes you forget about that, Snape, he must be nervous about it... Maybe he got the girl he wanted... finally, I should be happy for him."
But the news did not please him, in the least.
Before, a year ago, he would have given up his soul just to not see Longbottom in his class.
But... now, now that I knew him thoroughly, he was not sure anymore.
"Besides... What the hell were you thinking, Snape?" He leaned back in his seat as he watched a potion book, "He's young, you're twenty years older than him, and you're his Professor over it."
He growled, realizing he was depressed.
Severus closed his eyes, before sighing, tired.
The music of the graduation and the celebrations came to his ears.
It was fortunate that Slughorn was willing to exchange his place as Head of House for today, so that he could be calm for that night.
A squeak, that of the door opening, reached his ears.
"What do you want, Albus?" The man said, without opening his eyes, almost growling.
Since he knew that some students liked to be pranksters (the Weasleys for example), he had put a spell so that only those he allowed to enter could open the door.
There were only two people with such permission.
The Snape jumped from his chair, exalted.
He met Neville Longbottom's semi-smiling face a couple of steps away from him.
His pallid face flushed when the blond was found off guard.
"Great, and now you blush, Snape" he thought.
"It was not my intention to have scared him" Said the student, taking a hand to the nape of his neck, in a nervous attitude.
"What are you doing here? You should be at graduation." The Professor asked him trying to look angry.
He must be angry.
That young man was to blame for his current problems, and desperation... that son of a bitch had completely upset him.
Neville lowered his head, a bit, sighing.
"I do not care about the graduation, Severus," Neville said in that tone that Severus had learned to love "I came here because I need to be honest, even if it's only once, before we see each other again."
The young man began to walk towards him.
The blackhaired man looked at him, suddenly serious.
The distance had shortened between the two, Neville soon being a few centimeters from the Professor.
He backed away, almost without realizing it.
"What are you trying...?"
He could not finish speaking, because at that moment the youngest -although both of them were of the same height- joined his lips against his, stopping him.
It only lasted a few seconds, but for Severus it was hours and hours.
By the time they separated, both were blushing and breathing hard.
"I like you, Severus Snape," Longbottom said in a whisper, against him.
Severus looked at him briefly, brooding. He watched the student's face, and then his lips.
"It's not okay for a teacher to go out with a student," the Professor said in a whisper.
Neville's smile almost took his breath away.
"That's good" said the young man, his arms around the older man's waist "because now I'm legally a graduate of Hogwarts."
The Snape clicked his tongue, looking at him, blushing.
Slowly, unsure, he rolled the boy's neck with his arms.
"Then, shut up, and kiss me, Longbottom," he growled.
Neville's lips returned to join with Severus, now in a much more demanding kiss than before.
Definitely that, the kisses, if they kept repeating, could become a routine.