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Advanced Lunacy

 

" [The Quibbler] has returned to its usual condition of advanced lunacy, and is appreciated for its unintentional humour. "

J. K. Rowling on the Quibbler after the defeat of Voldemort (Harry Potter Wiki)

 

“There will be a storm tonight, you better take cover.” 

“I can’t. The air is too crisp, too soft. The wind makes my nightmares go away. 

… and I miss you.” (Anonymus)

 

 

1

Grimmauld Place, sunlit kitchen, morning tea. Harry Potter in a chair, Quibbler, Prophet on the table. 

Grimmauld Place, jam on toast, abandoned, only a bite missing. Ginny Weasley at the sink. 

Silence.

 

-1

 

The nightmares don't stop. Harry still dreams about that night in the Shack, the snake striking, the blood. 

Snape is gone, but he is alive at night, in Harry’s mind, cooking dinner, listening to music, flying away without a broom into the sunset, a black mark on a clean sky. Harry dreams about Fred, Remus and Dobby too, but it’s different. 

 

2

 

“You read?” Ron asks. 

Harry nods, Neville shrugs, Draco snorts. Exchanged glances. 

“Do you believe that twaddle?”

“I don’t read that… thing.”

“It’s not like it’s names , it could mean anything.”

“Or you just need to read between the lines.”

 

-2

 

At first Harry thinks it’s memories, something leftover of the memories in the Pensive, or wishful thinking perhaps of a Snape injured and curled up on a bed and smiling and running on a meadow with Lily laughing and falling and getting up again. Something that makes him weep in the mornings, images he literally cannot voice for months. He doesn’t have the time for it, never a right moment, besides, how does one bring up Every time I remember my dreams, Snape is in them in some way or another? It’s nonsense, and weird and Harry just knows what kind of face Ron and Hermione would pull, and Merlin help him if Ginny found out.  

 

3

 

“Everybody’s talking about it,” Ron says, playing with the condensation on his pint-glass. “Hermione says it’s bollocks, but she also went to the library and brought home half of it, so...” 

“Are you reminding her to eat?” 

Ron winks at him. 

“I cook, and it hasn’t been terrible enough yet to make her look up.” 

They share a laugh, and Harry thinks of Hogwarts, of sitting at the table and seeing Hermione absentmindedly chewing something while reading a book, and then looking away, catching Snape staring at him in suspicion. 

“Doesn’t it bother you?” 

“The cooking?”

“That she… her absence.” 

Ron shrugs. He takes a sip, thinks about it for a few seconds. Harry notes how his face softens, his shoulders relax, his mouth curls into a smile. 

“You know how she gets. The hair, the pencil, the blinking, all her focus going into it. Sometimes I wait for her to come to bed and she will start to explain what she found out, and she’s so smart, and infuriating, and I have to either kiss her after a while or fall asleep to her voice, and…” 

 

Ginny reads before bed too, but doesn’t share much beside the genre and the title most times. When they have sex, it’s usually morning, or late-afternoon, just after coming home from work. Harry thinks it’s probably him who doesn’t like to cuddle at night, who can’t fall asleep with someone else touching him, and it’s awfully lonely and still a thing he cannot bear to change. He is always alone in the evenings until

 

-3 

 

Snape. Snape used to ignore him, in the beginning. Even after the months passed and Hogwarts stood tall and secure again, after the funerals and trials concluded and the plaques and statues were placed in Diagon Alley. 

Now there isn’t even a twitch, or a frown or the steadfast disregard when he tried so hard to pretend that Harry wasn’t even there, let alone able to communicate with him. 

“Terrible weather.”

“Hmmm.” Harry disagrees. “The wind usually makes my nightmares go away.” 

“Yet I’m still here.” 

“You are not a nightmare.” 

Snape seems surprised. Harry likes how they seem to move steadily away from the shouting and arguing and the snarls. 

“You haven’t been, not for a long time now.” 

 

4

 

“I knew you wouldn’t, so I went to Luna. The Soul Connection, the Mark, the Lovegood-Conspiracy, whatever they are calling it today, it’s real .” 

Beat, beat. His heart. 

“Can you hear me, Harry? The soulmark thing, it’s real.”

The soulmark thing, it’s real. 

 

The soulmark thing, it’s real. 

 

The soulmark thing, it’s real. 

 

So what does yours say, Ginny? ” Harry winces at her tone but looks up at her finally - she seems angry, tired, sad. 

“Must we do this?” He whispers. Nothing like the high pitched imitation Ginny used to lie. As if he would need her words to know. Ginny huffs. It’s been like that, now, for a while. Impatience. 

“Does it matter, Gin? … if it isn’t mine?” 

Ginny sits and the anger seems to leave her as her legs collapse. Harry holds out a hand without thinking, and she grabs it just as instinctively - they’ve been together three years.  

“You knew?” 

“I suspected it for a while.” 

Sigh. Sadness wins. Harry wishes he could chase it away. 

“Sorry.” 

“It’s not your fault.” 

They sit, watching their hands, still holding onto each other. 

“For what it’s worth… it’s not your fault either.” 

Deep sigh. 

“How about I take some of my stuff now, and come back for another one in a week?”

“Okay.”

 

*

“We heard,” Ron says simply, shrugging off his coat. “She’s getting hers tonight, did she tell you? Luna is crazy busy, but she squeezed us in too, after the official hours.” 

He shows off the pile of books representing Hermione. It’s small, located right next to a freckle on his shoulder, and not moving as much as magical pictures, but it’s so very, undoubtedly a symbol of Hermione that they all smile involuntarily while looking at it. 

Hermione has a chess-piece, she explains, but doesn’t reveal it. Too cold, it’s on her thigh, another time.

“So how was the research, then?” Harry asks, exchanging a look with Ron. 

“Fascinating, actually,” Hermione answers eagerly. “It has history too, but the practice of it stopped so far before the goblin wars that the texts are all incomplete or they’ve been destroyed or are written in an old Centanourian dialect barely anyone can read today. Luna stumbled upon it by accident as far as I understood, and although it’s a spell she created, there has to be some sort of other element to it, because nobody else is able to use that spell, you know how many tried?” She leaned closer. “My working theory, and please keep this a secret, but I think it has to do with the accident Luna’s mum had. Trying to find out what potion she was working on.”

“Why is it a secret?” 

Hermione glanced at Ron. 

“Oh, you didn’t tell him yet? I’m writing a paper on it for the New Magical Discoveries of the Year.” She rolled her eyes at Harry’s clueless face. “It’s an anthology. Very prestigious. So Luna agreed to give me a few interviews, and a few journalists have already approached me about a book-deal as well, because the topic is sparking so much interest at the moment.” 

Yeah, figuring out that you could actually get a clue about who fit the best to your soul was a pretty big and interesting discovery. Harry just fretted that his would be really terrible, because his soul was once attached to a piece of the Dark Wizard of their Century. Or that he simply didn’t have one, or that Voldemort was His, and in that case Harry didn’t really want to live with a mark that reminded him of… oh wait, what if he already… okay, but it was completely different having the lightning bolt that Harry grew up with and had seen even before he had any idea what it really meant, and another kind of shitfuckery to have a… snake? a horcrux? a dead body? a black hole? representing that bastard on his skin. 

“Do you have any idea who yours could be?” Hermione, cautious. 

“No,” Harry lies. “Is there a way to know, instead of, you know, getting that… tattoo?”

“It’s not a tattoo,” Hermione corrects him immediately, but Ron touches her arm gently, and she changes gears, “I mean, people have been reporting all sorts of things. Sometimes it’s expected, like your lifelong best friend or your partner, other times the couples are completely gobsmacked. It’s all so new there is no conclusive data yet. I tried quizzing Luna, but, well, she is Luna, so…” 

“Be kind,” Harry reminds her gently. 

“I don’t mean it in a bad way,” Hermione murmurs, chastised but righteous. “I just have a hard time understanding how she thinks is all. Did you know that she is doing the whole thing completely free? It didn’t even occur to her to ask for any money, Ginny and Neville are bringing her food most days, and she had to postpone working on the Quibbler because so many people line up in front of her office who want to know.” 

“We could put out a box,” Ron volunteers. “Something like - remember when we went to that museum, Hermione? Admission is free, but the donations are used to…”

“Improve the Quibbler?” Harry winces even as he says it - not the best choice of words.

“Support,” Hermione recommends. “Support Miss Lovegood’s Current and Future Projects.” 

 

*

Interestingly, since Ginny moved out, Harry developed a growing fondness for going to bed. He buys new sheets, a decadent purple color, made of silk, because, well, he went shopping alone and in a Muggle neighbourhood and why not? He rolls into the middle of the bed and feels free and guilty and eager, and falls asleep easier than usual. 

Snape is grumpy that night, which happens from time to time, but much less than Harry would have thought. Imaginary Snape is a touch softer and less… jumpy than he was in real life, but Harry is still occasionally impressed with how accurately his mind can recreate Snape’s moods

He hovers around until Snape barks at him. 

What are you staring at?” 

“Something went wrong with a potion?” Harry guesses. They are in his library at Grimmauld Place, and Snape paces up and down in front of the bookcases. He doesn’t answer, which usually means “yes”. “Do you want to tell me? Or just talk about something totally different to get your mind off of it? I could… I mean, I don’t mind.” 

When Snape is not shouting or dismissive, he tends to take a long time, in total silence, to contemplate his answer. Harry has no idea why, but he got better at waiting it out. The Snape-dreams work differently than others, there is rarely any sudden scenery-change, or some action suddenly merging into another one. Harry always feels like he’s awake, can think and remember and move and probably could punch Snape in the arm when he is being a prat (although he has never tried) but then again, all dreams feel like that while you were in them. 

After another few beats of quiet, Snape plucks a book off the shelf labelled “Self-Defence”, and gives it to Harry. He then stalks to the sofa furthest from where Harry’s sitting, and lowers himself down gingerly, not looking at him. 

“Read!” He orders.

“Maybe say ‘please’?” Harry shoots back. 

“You offered to help!” Snape argues. They hold each other’s eyes for a long moment, and just as Harry sighs, annoyed, but opening up the book, he quietly murmurs: “Please.” 

Harry smiles down at the first page, but it quickly turns into a horrified gasp. 

“Blood sacrifices of the innocents in 1576? Why the hell would you--”

“I chose it at random!” Snape protests, and they both pretend not to laugh about it as Harry goes to collect a nicer bedtime story. 

 

*

The charity box works, Ginny tells him a week later, when she is popping over to visit. It is not strange to see her back again, but its a bit awkward to greet her with a hug instead of the short peck of lips they got used to over the years. Ginny seems determined to not let it faze her though, so Harry tries to be cool too. 

“How you doing?” 

“...Not too bad. You?” 

Ginny shrugs, and they move to the kitchen to make tea. 

“I went to Mum’s, bawled like a child for two days, slept for an entire day after and ate a whole chocolate cake on my own.”

“You don’t even like chocolate cake.” 

“Wasn’t any ice cream, and Mum refused to bake me any other kind, because “now that I’m back on the market, I need to look after my figure again”. So of course I didn’t leave any , on principle.” 

“You ate a whole cake out of spite?” 

“You know me. Bill wasn’t too happy when I puked on his shoes, but the point is, my dear Harry Potter, I have taken large steps to move on, and I’m doing… well, I wouldn’t say okay.” Ginny’s eyes lost their impish sparkle. “I keep turning around to tell you something, or expecting to find your toothbrush next to mine, and…” 

“I miss you too,” Harry says, swallowing past the tension in his throat, the prickle in his eyes. Ginny takes his hand, and leans closer to kiss his forehead softly. Harry’s tears start to fall as he smells her, familiar and fresh, like lime and a spring morning. 

“We will always be friends,” Ginny vows, squeezing his hand and not letting go. “And family too, in a way. Just not the way we planned.” And that’s the worst part of it, letting go of that perfect picture of a family, that image of having children and finally belonging to someone.

“But Mum made me swear to tell you that you are always welcome, and you should go and cry for two days to her too and listen to nonsense about your changed societal status now that we’re breaking up.” 

Harry sniffs. 

“I bought new sheets,” he says, and Ginny laughs. 

 

5

 

Because he figures it doesn’t matter how much he shares with an imitation of an otherwise dead Snape, Harry tells him all about the breakup. 

Perhaps because this is a big leap for his own mind to make up, Snape doesn’t give him any relationship advice. He looks at him though, long and hard and a bit too deeply and although it’s not logical to be afraid of the opinion of a figment of your own imagination, Harry still feels like swallowing and looking away. 

 

*

In the end, it’s Luna who comes to him. It’s too much money, she explains, and the Quibbler is supported by a strong and loyal subscriber-base, and it really is a lot, and she needs Harry’s help choosing which charity to give the excess of it to.

Luna knows a lot about the magical social work system, or the pathetic attempts of one lone small group that existed eight years ago anyways. The one that tried to take her away from her father while the investigations about her mother’s death lasted. 

“Thinking back, I guess people thought that my dad might have had something to do with the accident. People tend to think of my family as odd, but I had a nice childhood.” 

“But there must be a lot of kids in actual need of real help though, right? I mean what about the children of the Death Eaters who got a larger sentence?” 

Luna bounces on her feet, her carrot-earrings dangling back and forth with her motion. 

“I knew you could help,” Luna beams, “that’s a very good place to start, actually.” 

Harry stares at her, eyes widening when he realises what she means by that. 

“You think I should start a… some sort of a…?”

Luna is nodding eagerly. 

“That’s a wonderful idea, Harry! It would be a good way to invest this money into something meaningful at least? And who better than you? You know how hard it is to grow up without a parent.” 

Harry blinks. He had forgotten how straightforward Luna could be at times. 

“Let’s have a cup of tea,” he suggests, and she accepts with a smile. 

They talk for hours, and Harry feels exhilarated for the first time since quitting the Auror Academy. The ideas and possibilities swirl in his head like busy bees, and he can’t wait to talk to Hermione and Ron about them. 

“I hate that I have to leave, Harry, but I have to feed my Chischerias, and I’ve got an early start tomorrow…” 

Harry wonders if he should ask. Mmm, better not.  

“Soulthing business going well then,” he comments awkwardly as he walks Luna out. At least Luna doesn’t correct him every time when he doesn’t use the current scientific name for it, like Hermione does. 

“Oh, yes, it’s lovely to see so many happy faces! People are really excited about finding out who their soul is connected to.” 

Harry hums. Well, he sure isn’t, but isn’t rude enough to say so. He opens the door to her. 

“Thanks for coming over, and the whole… conversation. The idea. I’ll definitely think about it some more. Good nigh--”

“Do you want the mark, Harry?” Luna asks suddenly. “It’s only a small spell, it doesn’t hurt and it only takes five minutes to develop.” 

Harry closes the door. Swallows. Feels like a coward looking into Luna’s bright, kind eyes. 

“Don’t take this the wrong way, please… but I’d rather… I mean, it’s just. Well.” 

Luna shrugs, but her gaze slips past Harry, and flickers around the walls and the doorway. 

“Ah, I knew it was something. You have an absolute swarm of Pifgarties there!” She points at a section above in one corner. Harry looks to check - there is nothing there. 

“I’m sure you don’t know about it, because we didn’t really learn about the magical insects of our world that much, but Pifgarties are actually not that useful to have around, not in large quantities. They tend to give wizards a lot of negative ideas about the future. There was a French woman in the 13th century who actually died because she became too afraid to step out of her house. Turns out her lodgings were absolutely stuffed full with Pifgarties. Thankfully you only have about one wee hive. For now.” 

Harry sighs. He’s pretty sure Pifgarties don’t exist, or if they do, not on Earth. 

“I’m worried it’s going to be Voldemort,” he mutters. 

“Yeah… that would be unfortunate,” Luna agrees dreamily, but once again focused on him. “Well, there is always a way to get rid of it.” 

“There is?”

“Yup, there is a potion that makes it go away. Interesting story, actually… but maybe for another day. I do have to leave soon.” 

Harry frets. Wouldn’t it be better to know than to worry about it forever? Especially if he can make it disappear?

“So you can break the bond?” 

Luna furrows her brows. 

“Well, not the connection, but the image goes away when you use the potion. So you don’t have to be reminded of it all the time. I don’t know how it works, Harry, nobody asked me this before.”

Luna pats his arm, friendly as always. 

“Consider it, Harry. I have a good feeling about you. Oh, and don’t forget to get rid of the Pifgarties!” 

 

*

Snape stiffens when Harry asks him what he thinks he should do. A shame, really. He has been almost friendly recently. 

“You barely got out alive last time, and you already want to get involved in another prophecy? Do you need the spiritual… the parental guidance so desperately?” 

“Oi! We agreed not to bring up each other’s parents.” 

“Just because you demand something multiple times, Potter, doesn’t make it an agreement.” 

“Sod off.”

“I really wish I could,” Snape shoots back, and the scenery changes around them from Harry’s bedroom to a pristine laboratory. Loads of disgusting things on shelves all around. It’s very Snape. What is not very Snape is the way that the professor steps closer to a cabinet and ignores Harry even when he loudly starts touching things. 

He wakes up really frustrated. 

 

*

So it’s mostly out of spite that Harry seeks Luna out the very next day, but nobody needs to know that. Nobody needs to know either that his mood is rotten because he keeps dreaming about Severus Snape and they had a fight for the first time in Merlin knows how long. 

“Do you want me to be with you when you find out?” Luna asks with surprising tact. 

Harry shakes his head. He squeezes Luna’s hand in thanks. 

“But maybe stay close?” 

“Course. I’ll brew us some tea.” 

 

*

It’s a tiny black cauldron because of course it is. 

 

*

“It’s slightly better than Voldemort,” Harry tells his reflection in the mirror that night. He spelled it still to avoid its comments, and he is very busy ranting at it. “I don’t know what I was expecting really, I mean his Patronus is a DOE, while mine is a STAG. Or the fact that my subconscious apparently misses him and makes me dream of him almost every night?  You know the worst thing though? I bloody should have listened to Dream Snape. I hate when he is right.” 

He searches all his bathroom cabinets frantically, and finds a half-empty Dreamless Sleep phial. 

When he carefully puts a few drops into his evening glass of water, he realizes the biggest injustice of it all is not whoever his soulmate turned out to be… but that he’s dead. 

 

*

It takes him five days to run out of the Dreamless Sleep, and Harry makes the very adult decision not to go out and buy himself more. 

“Where the hell were you?!” Snape demands after jumping high into the air as Harry appears next to him. 

“Calm the fuck down,” Harry tells him morosely.

“Wh--? Excuse me?!” Snape gapes at him, and he reminds him so much of McGonagall that Harry has to bite back a smile. 

“You are excused,” he waves his hand feigning nonchalance, knowing it will just provoke him even more, but not quite capable of caring. Not like Snape could hurt him in a dream

He does try to glare at him hard enough that Harry is sure in real life his hair would already be on fire - and he has a strange intuition staring back into his eyes determined not to be the first one to blink - that Snape is trying to take points of Gryffindor nonverbally. 

Interestingly, Snape looks away first, and sulkily throws himself off onto a sofa just to get back up again immediately, staring at Harry wide-eyed and pale. 

“What’s that?” 

Harry brings a hand to his neck. He has not stopped touching it since he first felt it form, spent so long staring at it he could draw it from memory by now. 

He turns away, not wanting to see Snape’s reaction. 

“The tattoo you told me not to get,” Harry tells the opposite wall quietly. His heart hammers in his chest, and Snape is getting closer, close enough to be able to take in all the small details. The silver handle, the engraved pattern on the black bulk of it, the green potion bubbling up (most of them don’t move this much, Luna said), the colour so similar to Harry’s eyes. So very intricate, so very Snape. It’s quite beautiful, Harry has to admit. 

He turns his head slightly, just enough to be able to glance at Snape’s gobsmacked expression. It’s extremely funny, as much as it is tragic too. 

“What a shame, right?” 

Snape goes rigid next to him. 

“I would have liked to find out what you’d have.” 

He inhales strangely, too controlled, too slow. Harry takes a step back, faces him. 

“Use the salve,” Snape tells him, stern and serious beyond measure, “and start taking potions to keep me out of your dreams. We can’t keep meeting like this, Harry.” 

“Harry?” Harry echoes, incredulous. “Meeting? What? You think you have any say in this?” 

Snape presses his lips together. He is furious and afraid, Harry can see it in his eyes. 

“I’m done discussing this topic. Go, wake up, live your life, forget about me. It’s you who makes your own future, not some mark on your skin.” 

Harry scoffs, pulls his hair aside to give Snape a clear view of the scar on his forehead, dares him with his eyes to say something. 

“Do not dare to compare those things!” Snape snaps at him, but seems to reconsider it, and starts... no, that can’t be. Pleading? “ Listen to what I say, just this once! It is not the same. Trelawney's Prophecy was binding only because He had believed it to be, and didn’t stop until it came true. This one doesn’t mean anything if you disregard it! You can go on, find a nice witch, have three children, name them something stupid for all I care! I am letting you go.

“How generous! And did it occur to you, you prick, that I might not be ready to let you go?” He pants, should have not said that, it’s too deep, hurts, no, too deep, hurts him. It’s true. “If I let you go, absolutely nothing will remain of you! No body, no tombstone, no place to pray for your soul!” He has started crying, which is fine, at least he can’t see Snape’s expression, and because it’s all too much, it hurts, too deep, the truth. “The only way you are close to being alive is my dreams, and I am not ready to give that up!” 

He is kneeling on the ground, sobbing, and Snape is touching his hands, trying to draw them away from his face. 

“I always underestimate how incredibly stupid you are,” Snape murmurs, and his voice is so gentle, so fond that Harry has a hard time understanding what’s going on. “All this time you believed me to be dead?” 

And then he says something else, something that turns Harry’s stomach, heart and mind, and wakes him up immediately. 

 

*

The thing about miracles is that Harry used to believe in them. And then his parents did not come to take him from the Dursleys, no matter how much he wished for it. 

Then he believed miracles must exist as Hermione and Ron exchanged their addresses with him on the train back to London at the end of their first year, promising to write. 

The concept of miracles slowly crumbled to dust after not receiving a single letter for 2 months. And there it went, on and off. After a while, around discovering Regulus’s Horcrux to be fake, he learned to become cautious of the rising hope in his chest, the little voice singing in his head (‘miracles have to exist, despite all evidence to the contrary, they gotta, they gotta’). 

 

So he doesn’t believe in miracles for the first minute while he hurriedly changes his pajamas and closes his door. 

He squashes the hope brutally on the way over, freezing on his broom because he remembered to write a note to Hermione and Ron, but not to bring a jacket. He doesn’t as the cottage comes to life in front of his very eyes while he whispers the words Snape told him.  

Doesn’t when he spots the dark silhouette at the window, waiting for him. Doesn’t when he arrives running on the porch and Snape is opening the door with an -  

“Are you out of your mind, flying over like this, where is your goddamned coat?”

Fuck my coat, Harry thinks, vibrating out of his skin, drawing Snape into a quick and hard embrace. You are my coat. 

 

*

“You u-utter f-ffuck!!” Harry rasps at him as Snape wraps him in blankets, once again questioning his intelligence in soothing tones, “Why didn’t you tell me?” 

“Why, so you can keep sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong?” Snape gives him a weird look. “It wasn’t against you , not specifically, I just wanted a clean cut.” 

Harry stops to think. He is gently pushed into an armchair by the fire. 

“A new life,” he understands, the wanting a fresh start, that is. “So why did you stay?”

Severus glares at him. He seems younger by the firelight, not so pale and skinny as Harry is used to.  

“It took some time until I had healed completely, and then a certain someone started infiltrating my dreams.”

Harry sees that’s not all. 

“The country was in an uproar about the trials, about you forcing that mercy out of the Ministry, and then Miss Lovegood had a scientific breakthrough that involved need for new potions! Do I really need to recount the last five years for you?” 

“Okay, stop it with the fucking sarcasm, okay?” 

“Okay, I’ll try, okay?” Snape mocks, high pitched.

“Shit, I want to punch you so much sometimes, you know?” 

Severus laughs darkly. He sits and relaxes back into his own chair, raises a single eyebrow at Harry. “That feeling is mutual, I assure you. Although I’d prefer hexes over fists.” 

Harry bares his teeth at him, but Snape only shrugs and Aaccios them floating teacups out of what must be the kitchen. It smells heavenly, but Harry is not fooled for a minute. Snape very performatively sips his own drink. He even keeps his pinky away from the fine china, a thing Harry’s only ever seen in Aunt Petunia’s movies before. 

“Good soulmates, we are.” Harry says, still eyeing his cup suspiciously. 

Snape lets out a very, very dramatic sigh, and Harry almost smiles despite himself. 

“You never listen to what I say! I told you, we don’t have to be . Ignoring, my salve, a few charms, you get another magical tattoo, no one will be able to tell the difference. You choose a bouquet and all the girls in our world will fall to your feet to be your flower.”

The idea sits so badly with Harry, and he can’t help but glance down at his hand - I must not tell lies. This is more than that, though. 

“Oh yes, I’m sure you know all about what girls like.” 

Snape chokes on a sip of tea for two very embarrassing seconds. Harry feels like he’s won a prize.

“Was that a jab at my sexuality, Mr Potter?” he is asked very, very darkly. Harry grins at him like an idiot with no fear for his life. 

“Why, sir? Do you have one?” 

Snape’s face becomes so red, so angry that Harry is sure he has to duck behind the armchair quickly before he pulls out his wand and makes good on his threat. He is a Gryffindor, he stays. 

Instead of an attack, there is just a bit of ominous silence, the eye of the storm, and then… Snape swings his teacup in Harry’s direction, the lukewarm tea spilling over his blanket, his furniture, and most importantly... Harry’s face. 

Harry sputters, laughing in surprise, befuddlement. 

“Wha--Why?” 

Severus shrugs nonchalantly, but there is a hint of a smile on his face as well. 

“I’ve been taking anger management classes. Mx Jones would be so proud of me right now.” 

Harry has no idea if he’s lying or not, but he does take his own tea, and drowns it in one go. 

 

*

It takes almost an hour to bully Snape into showing him his mark, and getting him to tell how he managed to get it without Luna finding out. 

“It’s a bit on the nose, isn’t it?” Snape mutters, showing him the Golden Snitch on his ankle. It has a lightning bolt across it. It also has dark hair just above, and Snape’s entire leg, up close. A scar too. Harry reaches out to touch it without thinking. 

“Is this where Fluffy bit you?” he wonders aloud. Snape pulls his leg back. “Hey, why is it that Magical Creatures always bite you? I mean Fluffy is one thing, but Nagini…” 

Snape rolls his eyes. “Please just shut up.” 

Harry doesn’t, of course, and they keep bickering for another hour before he starts yawning. 

“I’ll bring you some linen, you may sleep on the sofa tonight.” 

The thing it, it’s been so fun, arguing and winding each other up with Snape, that it just slips out. 

“Really? You’re not gonna invite me to your bed?” 

Snape freezes in his doorway, and Harry thinks: shit

“Are you this easy?” Severus asks, not turning back, and his voice is dangerous , and Harry is well on his way to popping a very untimely erection. “Not even a date, and you ask to be taken?”

Harry knows he should back down, say something, anything that breaks the mood. But damn it, his blood sings like never before. 

“Are you offering?” he counters, swallowing. He is hard now, and hopes it doesn’t show. 

“What I offered,” Severus turns around finally and stalks back to him. Harry raises his head to stare back at him, not willing to lose this fight. “Was a chance to leave, two times now. Three, if you are counting this: stop, Harry. You don’t actually want this.” 

Harry’s gaze slides lower, to his lips. He wets his own. 

“You don’t know what I want.” 

Severus growls, leaning closer. It’s as if they’re magnets, slowly gravitating towards each other milliseconds before the final clasp. 

“Be careful, because I might not offer again.” 

Harry hums, and closes the distance between them. For one second, it’s still and dry and a surprised gasp, and what feels like only a blink later they are kissing hungrily against the wall, Severus pressing Harry to it before he spins them around. It’s almost too good to be true. 

Snape’s hands are slim and spider like, running up his sides, his chest, touching his throat, circling his arse. Harry is holding onto his waist, too distracted by the way Severus kisses to reciprocate the touches. His skin is too hot, too tight, the mouth claiming his again and again is so much better than anything he knew before. Snape pulls his body close, takes his lips away just to bite into his neck and Harry is burning up from the inside. He whines as Snape drags his nails down his back, under his shirt, just enough to be on the edge of pain. The sensation takes Harry’s breath away, and when Severus lifts a hand up to his hair and pulls him back by it to seal their lips together again, he bucks his hips against Snape’s robes, and Severus apparently doesn’t mind the frantic grinding because he hums into his mouth, brings his hand out from under his shirt and smooths it lower, wriggling it under his pants and grabbing his bottom and pulling on his hair and kissing him under the ear and Harry just moans and thrusts and then it’s over.  

He comes down from his orgasm draped all over Severus, nose in his sweaty neck, whole body pressed into his. He knows the wall is the only thing keeping them up, and Severus, of course, holding him steady with one arm, petting his hair silently. He is hard against Harry’s thigh, impossibly so, but makes no move to bother Harry during his afterglow. Just strokes his hair, his neck, his ears, wherever his thumb reaches without stopping his hand cradling Harry’s head.

He clears his throat. 

“Would you like to come too?” 

Severus laughs, and it’s not even sarcastic this time. 

“No, I want to stand against this wall until eternity.” 

It’s a strange moment to realize that Harry actually wants noone but him as a Soulmate, but it’s not like his life has never taken unpredictable turns before. 

“Come on, then. Show me how you bring yourself off.” 

 

*

They only leave Snape’s bed to eat and shower for the following four days, but then they have an huge enough fight that Harry flies back home. 

Their sexual chemistry is off the charts, yes, but their personality-chemistry leaves a lot to be desired. Lots of explosions. Their problem-solving, talk-it-out-quietly chemistry may be non-existent. 

But Harry is only back in his old life for twelve hours when he has to admit to himself that he misses Snape. The way he makes him angry, the way he challenges him constantly, never a dull moment, the way he kisses down his stomach...

So he flies out again, and they make very passionate love right next to Snape’s front door, and the only reason Harry is not calling it hate-sex is because he wants to embarrass Severus later with it (and maybe because when someone kisses your wrist so gently, hate cannot be the only thing there is). 

He dreams with Severus too, and they have a halfway decent conversation sitting next to each other, holding hands and discussing the future. 

“Think about how annoying it will be,” Harry says, not really believing a word he says, just wanting to kiss him again, “every fight we have, there is no way to take a break, because we will always be together, day and night.” 

“That’s an awfully early assumption about letting you move in, don’t you think?” 

“Oh, so you’d rather have dream sex than real, actual sex?” 

Severus rolls his eyes. 

“Take your brain out of your cock for a second, Harry. If it’s possible.” 

Harry will never tell him (or at least not for a few years) just how warm he feels when Severus calls him Harry. 

“Hmm, yes?” 

“I’ve been working on a solution for the dreams, in fact.”

“Oh? How is it going?” 

“Not very well, as you can see.” 

“Wonder why,” Harry slips a hand under his robes, “is your young lover keeping you busy? Do you shag away all your energy nowadays?” 

“I have no idea what you mean, that’s not a phrase, and it’s simply a case of an unfortunate Gryffindor infestation in my bed.” 

“Better take points from Gryffindor then,” Harry jokes, and grins when Severus pushes him away to stare at him. “What? I bet it gets you even more hot and bothered than me going down on you.” 

Severus blushes and Harry can’t help his roaring laughter. 

“Are you kidding me?!” 

Snape pouts, and the expression looks really weird on his face. “If you don’t stop, I’m waking up.” 

“I’m lying right next to you, do you think you can get away?” 

“I’m starting to think I won’t,” Severus admits, stroking over the tiny cauldron on Harry’s neck. 

“Good.” Harry says, and beams at Severus until he kisses his smile away.