Title: Another Fine Mess
Author: Answer Is Unclear
Word Count: 12,648
Warnings:*AU, teacher/student, underage (teenage) sex, accidental bonding, young bottom!Snape*
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended. JKR owns the Potterverse – I just play in it. No money is made from these amateur works.
Summary: An accident with a Time Turner has unexpected consequences for Severus Snape, especially when Harry comes to his rescue.
A/N: Thanks to my wonderful betas – you are each worth your weight in gold! All remaining mistakes are all mine.
I so hope you like your gift, leela_cat!
Severus Snape Apparated into the familiar alleyway behind
As if all that wasn't enough, Albus had then entrusted him with one of the last Time Turners known to exist after the debacle at the Ministry of Magic. Severus had to return it to Kingsley Shacklebolt after he had checked to make sure Potter's nose didn't need wiping. As unlikely as it seemed to him, only the Dark Lord appeared to have no unreasonable expectations of his time at the moment. No, all the Dark Lord needed was information about Dumbledore's terribly blackened hand and worsening condition, something that would be discovered eventually anyway. At least he wasn't giving Severus menial time-consuming errands to run.
Stepping off the kerb onto
The world exploded in a flash of light, excruciating pain and darkness.
The screeching of tires startled Harry as he crept through the alleyway from
Feeling along the ground, Harry kept blinking his eyes to get rid of the floating spots. Slowly, he was able to see the light from the nearby street lamp just as his fingers brushed the edge of some kind of cloth. Inching closer, his eyes almost back to normal, Harry could make out a pool of dark fabric, with a splash of white in the middle. Frowning, Harry watched as a sparkle of silver outlined the object: a baby who convulsed and grew into a toddler as he watched.
It was like Harry was back in the strange room of clocks and Time Turners in the Department of Mysteries, watching the Death Eater's head in the bell jar. Another flash of lights from a passing car reminded Harry he could be discovered at any moment. Harry knew he'd be in trouble if he was caught sneaking out of the Dursleys' house. The child whimpered in pain, moving as if trying to sit up and Harry made a snap decision. Carefully gathering up what Harry believed were wizard's robes, he wrapped the child in them and cradled it to his chest. This was definitely a magical child, Harry realized that from what he'd witnessed and knew he had to protect the little one.
Trying to not trip over the trailing cloth, wand still in his hand, Harry dodged silently from shadow to shadow, tree to bush, until he slipped into the Dursleys' backyard. Stepping into the kitchen door, the wall-rattling snores of his uncle and cousin told him everything was normal in the household. Avoiding the step that squeaked, Harry made it to his room, gently settling the bundle down on the bed. Pushing the door shut, Harry tugged off his shirt and covered the crack along the bottom of his door. It wouldn't do to have anyone come to see why his light was on at this hour of the night.
A soft whimper from the bed drew his attention and Harry leaned over to turn on the small lamp beside his bed. The dark eyes seemed huge in the small face, a scrape marred one cheek and blood was caked around the bottom of a long nose. The boy looked like he was two or three now and he gave a flinch as Harry reached to untangle him from the robes, something Harry remembered from his own childhood.
"It's alright, I won't hurt you, I promise," Harry whispered. "I just need to get these off so that I can see where you are hurt."
Warily, those eyes followed him as Harry gingerly peeled back the black cloth and the adult sized white button-down shirt under it. Bruising marred the pale skin of the child's right side, and his left arm was still bleeding and raw. The bruising and raw skin continued down to the boy's hip and leg, and so Harry gently pulled the black trousers off by their legs. He didn't know if anything was broken and knew he couldn't use magic to check.
Although Harry couldn't find any pockets in the heavy clothing, he knew they had to be there as he could feel magic radiating off the cloth. There had to be a wand, and, he suspected, a Time Turner in the robes as well. Carefully folding them, Harry tucked them away under the loose floorboard. Moving to his trunk, Harry rummaged around until he found an old tee shirt that no longer fit him, as well as the small pouch Hermione had spelled for him with Wizard Space.
Stepping around the bed, Harry knelt beside it and carefully opened the pouch. Reaching in, he took out a jar of bruise-healing paste, a small vial of pain reliever, and a large flask of Skele-Gro from his most recent stay in the hospital wing. Grief tinged that thought, and Harry firmly pushed it away as he turned his attention to the little boy lying on his bed. To see a child so young that silent was eerie and Harry felt a spurt of anger at whoever would put that kind of fear into a child.
Speaking softly, Harry slowly leaned over the bed. "My name is Harry and I'm a wizard."
The boy studied his face but seemed to relax at his words, using his left hand to point at his own chest. "'M a wid'zard, too."
"Yes," Harry nodded. "I'd rather thought so. Now, I have something I want you to drink, but it tastes pretty bad."
Harry smiled for the first time since he'd found the child. "Yes, a potion. I think your wrist may be broken, so I need you to drink this."
Extending the flask, Harry moved to support the back of the small head and lifted the boy into a sitting position. Without complaint, the child drank about a third of the Skele-Gro before Harry pulled it away and gave him a mouthful of the pain reliever. Easing the boy back down, Harry began to lightly spread the bruise-healing paste along the discoloration on the small cheek, the yellow colour looking ghastly against the bruised skin. Methodically, Harry covered the worst of the injuries, stopping only to reposition the now sleepy child.
Lifting up the legs of the boxers that hung off the small hips, Harry saw the glimmer of silver catch the lamp-light. Bending closer, he pushed up the overlarge pants to see tiny flecks of silver were actually embedded in the child's thigh. As Harry watched, the small body stiffened and convulsed. Harry could feel the skin on the boy's leg seem to stretch slightly as he held on to it. A cry of pain was wrenched from the boy and Harry didn't hesitate to scoop him into his lap, trying to protect his other injuries during the seizure.
After it was over, to his amazement, Harry saw that the bruises had faded
and the boy's skin appeared almost normal. The swelling around the wrist
had also gone down and the only sign that there had been any injury was the
dried blood still on the child's face. There was a very frightened,
confused look on the small face and Harry drew him closer, trying to think of a
way to reassure him. Remembering the way his aunt had held
"Shhh, it's all right, little one, we'll work it out."
Surprisingly, the child clung to him, hands fisted in his shirt despite the suspicion that still burned bright in the dark eyes. Harry almost laughed at the fierce look on the small face, but if this was indeed an adult wizard, as he suspected, then the boy had to be massively confused as to what was going on. The uncontained magic embedded in the silver flecks was as unpredictable as it was powerful and with the element of time thrown in, it would no doubt set its own pace at re-aging the man. As he absently rocked the boy back and forth, Harry could only hope that this wizard was not one of Voldemort's minions sent to kill him.
The boy's stomach growled. It was such a normal sound that it brought
a relieved grin to Harry's face. He shifted the boy back onto the bed
before retrieving the small bundle of food he had left. The last few
slices of bread, a chunk of cheese, and an apple had been under a Keep-fresh
spell since that last morning at Hogwarts and had been his chief diet since
he'd returned to
"Here, you can have these," Harry said as he laid the bundle on the bed. "It's not much, but it should fill you up a bit."
The boy tried to sit up and Harry stretched out one hand to carefully help him sit up. Harry opened the small parcel and pushed the contents toward his small guest. The boy looked down, before glancing up at Harry as if to make sure it was all right. Giving him a little nod, Harry picked up one of the pieces of bread and tore it in half, extending one piece towards the boy, he made a show of biting into the other half. Mimicking his actions, the child took a bite and chewed slowly.
The bread tasted like sawdust in Harry's mouth and his stomach churned as he
tried to swallow it. He hadn't been able to eat much since he'd returned
With a conscious effort, Harry finished the piece of bread in his hand, making sure to smile as he did so. Reaching towards the cheese between them, Harry was startled when the child flinched away again as if expecting Harry to hit him. It was an action all too familiar to Harry. Slowly, Harry picked up the cheese and broke off a piece, holding it out.
"Here's a piece for you. Um, what is your name?"
A small hand reached slowly for the cheese, plucking it quickly out of Harry's hand when it got a hold of the chunk. "Boy."
Taking a deep breath, Harry shook his head. "I used to think that was my name, too, but I know now that my name's Harry. I'd like to know your name, if you remember it?"
The dark eyes narrowed at him for a moment. "Sev'us."
Harry blinked at the odd name. "Alright, Sevus, eat some cheese and then the apple while I try to decide what to do with this stuff on your leg."
Scooting off the bed, Harry knelt down and gently angled the leg so he could get a better look at the flecks of silver. He brushed his thumb over a tiny fleck close to the knee, feeling the magic vibrate up his arm, and was horrified as the child instantly convulsed. Only able to grab Sevus' arm to try and keep him from hurting himself on anything, Harry was thankful that the seizure only lasted a few seconds. Sevus whimpered as Harry moved back up onto the bed beside him.
"Does it hurt when that happens?" Harry asked quietly, searching the small face for signs of how much it might've aged.
"Yes!" Sevus bit out, blinking back tears.
At a loss, Harry retrieved the scattered food and handed Sevus the apple. His small body must be burning up huge amounts of energy every time it went through one of the convulsions. Examining the bruises on the right hand as it held the half-eaten apple, it appeared that all the child's injuries had almost completely healed and now he looked closer to three. If this was the way the Time-Turner flecks where going to work, if might take weeks for the boy to regain his real age. Harry knew that as soon as he had aged enough, as soon as Sevus had figured out what had happened, he'd probably leave, but in the meantime Harry needed to take care of him. And that care included keeping the Dursleys from finding out Harry had a little boy in his room.
Leaning over, Harry reached down to grab his Invisibility Cloak from under the floorboard. It was the best thing he could think of to keep his relatives from finding Sevus. He shook it out and laid it across the bed, Sevus staring at it as the surface took on the appearance of the bedding. He reached out and tentatively stroked it with a finger.
"That's to keep you safe in case my uncle comes in, okay?"
Sevus looked at him. "He's mean?"
Harry nodded once. "He calls me 'Boy'."
Sevus looked down at his hand and Harry watched it disappear under the cloak. "My da, he calls me 'Boy'."
Anything else Sevus might have said was lost in a huge yawn and Harry began to tidy up. Putting away the remainder of the bread and cheese, he wrapped Sevus completely in the cloak and carried him silently to the bathroom.
The boy had proved he knew how to stay quiet, Harry thought, as he tucked them into bed, making sure Sevus was completely covered with the Invisibility Cloak. It was oddly comforting, Harry considered, as the boy's breathing evened out, not to be alone. Surprisingly, his own sleep was without the nightmares he usually suffered that night.
It amazed Harry in the days that followed just how easily he had adapted to the presence of his small companion. Taking care of Sevus helped divert his thoughts from the prophecy and his grief. It gave him purpose and a reason to get up in the morning, despite his desire to hide in the dark. The Dursleys had given him a wide berth this summer, not demanding anything from him as long as he stayed out of their way. The lack of Muggle money made getting an adequate amount of food for both of them hard, and Harry had to depend on what Aunt Petunia allowed him, which he fed to Sevus first before settling for whatever was left.
Sevus continued to have the aging convulsions, or Time seizures as Harry thought of them; sometimes two or three a day. Harry always studied the boy's face when he finished seizing, trying to assess how much he had aged each time, but there seemed to be no pattern to the Time Turner's remnants. But it turned out that all he had to do was ask as Sevus reached the age where he could simply answer the question. Luckily, the boy remembered everything that had happened since his 'accident' and Harry didn't have to keep telling him why he was hidden in a small room with bars on the windows and multiple locks on the door.
It was four days after Harry had found the young wizard that the full gravity of the situation revealed itself. Gently stroking Sevus' hair in the aftermath of a particularly long convulsion, the boy blurrily opened his eyes, leaning into the comforting hand. Harry thought Sevus looked like he'd jumped in age and asked him how old he was. The dark eyes closed again and Sevus didn't answer until after he'd settled his head in Harry's lap.
"I'm seven and a half, Harry, my Da still calls me 'Boy', but my real name is Severus, Severus Snape."
Harry felt his breath freeze in his chest and his throat closed
tightly. His first panicked thought was to run, but there was nowhere to
run to, and the boy in his lap was certainly not the grown-up professor who
loathed Harry so deeply. Snape! The iron grip on his throat eased as
Harry struggled to master the fear inside him. Why would Snape be on
"Harry? What's wrong?"
Sevus, no, Severus' voice sounded frightened and Harry tried to paste a reassuring smile on his face as he looked down into the dark eyes. The small child he had taken in hadn't changed, Harry realized, he was still the same Sevus who shared less than pleasant relatives and who still needed his help. The boy was very bright, Harry had learned, and already able to tell when Harry wasn't being entirely truthful with him.
"I…you are a professor at my school and you really…don't like me very much," Harry told him carefully.
Severus scrambled to his knees and would have flung himself off the bed if Harry hadn't grabbed him.
"Let me go! You don't want me here now that you know who I am, so just let me go!" Severus whispered fiercely, pulling against Harry's hold,
The mutinous scowl on the small face would have been comical if the boy hadn't been so perceptive about Harry's initial reaction. Harry slid down to the floor, kneeling as he maneuvered Severus in front of him. One hand still gripped Severus' hand as Harry used his other to tilt the boy's chin, forcing the dark eyes to meet his.
"I am not going to let go until you listen to me," Harry said quietly, seeing some of the sullen teenager he had witnessed during Occlumency lessons in the strong features in front of him. "We don't get on because my dad was a right bastard to you when you were in school together and I look just like him. And I don't like being treated like scum for stuff I had nothing to do with." Harry took a deep breath. "I'm nothing like my father and I'm certainly not a bully."
He leaned closer to Severus, seeing fear lurking behind the defiance in his eyes. "You aren't that man, Severus, not yet, and maybe you never will be after all we have been through together. I certainly don't hate you and I told you that I would take care of you, didn't I?"
Those eyes searched his face. "You…you would swear it? A Wizard's Oath?"
Harry nodded. He'd heard of Wizard's Oaths but didn't have any idea how to do one. "Yes, Severus, I would."
Relief showed on his face as Severus jumped off the bed and reached for the loose floorboard. "We have to have our wands to do it proper. I do have a wand, don't I?"
Harry lifted the bundle of black cloth out from underneath the bed and set it on the bed, before reaching for his own wand. "I don't know, Severus. I looked when I found you, but I couldn't find it."
Severus snorted softly. "A teacher would have his robes charmed so only he could find his wand in its pocket."
That was something Harry hadn't thought of, but he couldn't argue with the reasoning. Frowning, he wondered if Severus was allowed to cast a spell, being technically an adult, but squashed that idea quickly as he was sure that the Ministry wards on the house were set to detect magic from any source.
"Here it is!" Severus cried, momentarily forgetting the need to be quiet.
Both of them froze for a moment, absolutely silent, until Harry was sure it hadn't been heard. Severus stepped closer so that he stood in front of Harry and held up his wand between them. Still kneeling, Harry gingerly moved his wand so that it was aligned with Severus, whose hand looked incredibly small where it was wrapped around the base. He wrapped his hand around Severus' so that they were both touching the two wands. It made Harry nervous, as he had learned how strong magical oaths could be, and hoped they were doing this right.
"I, Harry Potter, vow that I will always take care of you and protect you, Severus Snape."
Severus studied his face before answering in an oddly formal tone. "I, Severus Snape, vow that I will always care for you and protect you, Harry Potter, now and when I'm grown again."
Harry was surprised when the wands began to gently vibrate and grow warm in their hands. A golden glow enveloped the wands and quickly expanded to surround their hands, arms, and then their bodies. Severus stiffened and Harry could feel his heart begin to pound as the tingle of magic washed over him. Looping his free arm around the boy, Harry pulled him against his chest as they both watched the glow flare brightly before being absorbed into their skin. Severus leaned heavily against him.
"Thank you, Harry."
Smiling but unsettled, Harry hugged Severus, trying not to worry about the flare of magic they had just witnessed. The last thing they needed right now was the attention of the Ministry of Magic, with Severus still in such a vulnerable condition. Harry sighed when after several minutes, no owl had appeared and no one was pounding on the front door. He hugged Severus again before releasing his hand still wrapped around their wands and climbed to his feet. Black spots danced in front of his eyes and Harry sat heavily on the bed as his head began to spin.
Harry knew he had to find them more food, even as Severus' small body leaned against him. Every re-aging spurt took enormous magical energy and Harry had been giving Severus almost all the food that was shoved through the cat-door. There was only one piece of bread left and with the frequency of his seizures Severus would need it more than he would, but Harry couldn’t deny his own hunger for much longer. That would mean another nighttime foraging journey out into Little Whinging.
"Can I keep my wand, Harry?"
Harry rubbed a tired hand through his hair, his eyes still closed against the dizziness. "You're not going to hex me, are you?"
Harry opened one eye to see the boy shake his head vigorously. "I don't see why not then."
Severus smirked in triumph before dissolving into giggles at the fierce look Harry gave him before smiling. He lay back on the bed, only to have Severus smack him lightly on the stomach. Doubling up in reaction, Harry grabbed Severus and began to tickle him. Not a sound escaped either of them as they had both dealt with the consequences of being loud before and didn't want to bring notice to themselves. Somehow, it seemed easier to endure this existence when he was sharing it with someone who knew how it felt.
Harry had been lucky that night, finding a dustbin behind the grocery store filled with ripe fruit and vegetables. They had bruises and discolorations, but were still sweet and juicy. He'd made three trips back to get as much as he could. Severus had been as delighted as Hedwig had, but Harry was careful to make sure they didn’t eat too much at once as he knew it could make them sick. It was a delicious treat for them all and Harry savored the sweetness.
Perhaps it was the energy from the fresh fruit, but Severus' next seizure seemed to last forever and Harry was frightened as he tried to comfort the thrashing child. This time, Harry was able to see the stretch of Severus' skin as it lengthened and grew. When he had finally stopped, Severus seemed to slide into an exhausted sleep and all Harry could do was cradle the boy's head in his lap and stroke his hair reassuringly. Severus' hair brushed his shoulders, soft and silky under Harry's fingers, and he wondered why Snape's hair had always been so lank and greasy.
How long they sat there, Harry had no idea, only realizing that night had slid into day when he heard Vernon's heavy tread in the hallway. Harry quickly lifted Severus' head and shifted it to the pillow, yanking the cloak over the bed, boy, food and all. Knowing that his aunt could be pounding on the door any minute, Harry scrambled to change into a clean shirt and he tried to smooth his hair into some order. It was Friday and Harry wasallowed out to do the lawn work, something he actually looked forward to in this dreary place. Except for this particular Friday.
"Harry!" Petunia's shrill voice gave him only a moment's warning before the door was thrown open and his aunt's eyes searched every corner of the room in the beat of his heart.
"Yes, Aunt Petunia, I'm ready to go out," Harry said stepping forward, because it was what was expected of him.
Cold dark eyes darted to his face before they raked down his body and back up. His aunt never seemed to be able to look him in the eyes these days, Harry thought absently as he waited for her direction.
"I'm taking Dudley shopping this morning and I don't want you outside until we get back," she snapped, looking around the room again. "And you will have this disgusting room cleaned by the time we get back!"
"Yes, Aunt Petunia," Harry told her dutifully even though she had spun on her heel and stormed from the room, slamming the door behind her.
"Sweet Merlin, you're Tuney's nephew?" The tired voice from the bed sounded incredulous.
Surprised, Harry trudged back to Severus, carefully taking off his clean shirt, and setting it aside before pulling back the cloak. Severus' face was still pale and he was curled up, eyes closed as Harry slid into bed beside him. It wasn't until he'd settled beside the boy, eyelids heavy that Severus' words sunk in. Harry propped himself up on an elbow and looked down at Severus.
"You know Aunt Petunia?"
Severus rolled against Harry, meeting his eyes. "When I was nine, I met two girls at a playground and I could tell one of them had magic because she could fly off the highest point of the swing and just float down. Her sister hated me, and she hated that her sister was a witch, too."
"You…you knew my mum?" Harry whispered, pain ripping through his chest. "Why haven't you ever told me?"
Severus put a hand on Harry's chest in a silent plea. "I don't know, Harry, I don't know. I'll remember in time, just as I'll remember that my only friend is dead."
The boy's voice broke and Harry, blinking back his own tears, lay back and held Severus while he cried. It was difficult to reconcile this heartbroken child with the cold, cruel Professor Snape. His mind told him they were the same person and when he was back to his rightful age Severus Snape would once again hate him with a loathing that was palpable. His heart disagreed, telling him that this boy had been given a second chance, of sorts, and the new knowledge he was gaining would have an effect on the man he would be. Right now, however, the important thing was the child he'd sworn to take care of, and Harry tugged the cloak over them before carding his hand through Severus' hair.
"We'll work it out, Severus, I promise, somehow everything will turn out right."
They both fell asleep, waking up several hours later to Hedwig rattling in her cage, laughing as they scrambled to take advantage of the still empty house. Raiding the kitchen, showering, and cleaning Harry's small room, Severus was safely under the Invisibility Cloak when Aunt Petunia again pounded on the door. Despite telling Severus to wait in the room, Harry knew the boy had silently followed him outside. While it had been hard to explain to the younger Severus why he lived with his relatives, Harry was embarrassed for this older version to see how his only blood treated him. Aunt Petunia's cold indifference was at least better than Vernon's open hostility. Dudley had kept his distance, oddly quiet this summer, but at least that meant he hadn't tried to bully Harry.
Sitting back on his heels, Harry squinted up at the sun as he wiped his forehead on his sleeve. He could faintly hear Hedwig rattling her cage, something she only did when he was out of the room for any length of time. The owl had been so patient this summer from the moment Uncle Vernon had padlocked her cage, Hedwig had seemed to resign herself to the situation. Harry wished he could just let her out for long enough to hunt. Owls couldn't live on owl treats and what few odds and ends Harry could slip into her cage.
A rustle nearby reminded him that Severus was there, under the Invisibility Cloak in the hot afternoon sun. The boy couldn't even come out from under it, as the only clothing they had managed to find was an old, faded shirt, and Harry's Hogwarts trousers from first year. Harry moved toward the noise, carrying his yard tools with him. The fear that Severus was suffering from another Time seizure was what Harry was worried about, especially as they seemed to get longer and more painful as the boy got older.
"Are you all right?" Harry asked under his breath as he set the tools down and looked around the yard as if surveying it for what task he needed to do next.
"Yes, I'm fine." Severus' voice was exasperated. "I found some water for you, prat."
Harry snorted as the whisper of sound drew his attention to his left and he could see a white cup sitting on the ground. Crouching down as if he were checking on something, Harry grabbed the cup and greedily drank half the warm water, before replacing it on the ground. His fingers brushed the edge of the cloak and tugged the edge over the cup, before standing again.
"I want you to drink the rest, Severus. I only have to trim the edge of the lawn over here and then we can go back up."
"I'm fine, Harry," the boy snapped. "I don't need to be mollycoddled!"
Smiling as he went back to work, Harry could see what his mum must have liked in the feisty ten-year-old.
It was the following afternoon when the next Time seizure hit Severus. Harry had just finished up the last of his outside chores when he heard the boy gasp and then fall to the ground. Harry scooped him up, holding on to the thrashing child as best he could while he slipped in through the kitchen door and managed to sneak past the doorway into the lounge without being seen. Stepping into the small room, Harry managed to push the door shut behind him. He staggered as the weight in his arms grew suddenly heavier, barely making it to the bed before he lost his grip on Severus.
Unable to stop his momentum, Harry fell onto Severus, feeling the last spasms of movement. Rolling to the side, Harry eased the cloak off, to see a Severus who was close to his own age now, his face longer, and limbs slender in that coltish way of boys entering puberty. Severus' eyes were closed tightly against the pain, and his hands clenched into fists, against something only Severus could know. His stomach dropping, Harry reached for the last vial of pain relieving potion. He knew that this Severus would recognize his face now and dreaded the hatred he knew would be in the dark eyes.
Lifting Severus across his lap, Harry couldn't resist pressing a kiss to the long hair as he tilted Severus' head back. "Here, swallow this; it will make you feel better."
Groaning Severus opened his mouth and swallowed the potion Harry poured in. Setting the vial aside, Harry carded a hand through Severus' hair as he'd done with every seizure, waiting for the inevitable reaction. Staring unseeing at the dust swirling in the beam of afternoon light, Harry replayed in his mind the image he'd seen in Snape's Pensieve.
"You're too right, Harry, your father's is a right bastard!" Severus' weak voice dripped with acid, but the use of his name sent relief flooding through Harry.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, giving Severus an awkward hug before scooting out so that the other teenager could stretch out on the bed.
The dark eyes narrowed at him, but not before Harry saw the sadness in their depths. "You didn't do anything, Harry, you weren't even born yet. I know better than anyone that you can't help who your parents are."
Sitting on the side of the bed, Harry eased the trousers off of Severus, noting that they were now too small for his bigger frame. Severus crooked an eyebrow at him, but Harry ignored him, sliding his hands up the thin thigh, noting the wiry muscles that hadn't been part of the ten-year-old body. The embedded silver flecks were still scattered from mid-thigh to hip, but Harry thought there weren't as many as before. If the aging was produced by a fleck giving off it's Time magic, the irregular sizes would explain the uneven span of years that Severus was gaining. There were several larger flecks, but one in particular seemed extraordinarily large and Harry was concerned about the painful seizure it would cause.
"Do I pass inspection?" Severus' sarcastic drawl illustrated the deepening of his voice.
Lifting his head, Harry masked his worry with a smile. "I think you'll live, but we need to find you some other clothes, you've outgrown these."
Teenaged Severus was more sullen than the child had been and Harry knew it would just get worse as he aged and remembered more of his life. The Slytherin cunning became very apparent, though, as they went out to forage that night and Severus managed not only to bargain for a roast chicken, but led them to the ingredients they needed to brew the pain potion. The Dursleys had conveniently gone out for the evening and they were able to brew it on the stove in the kitchen. Harry learned more helping Severus with the potion than he had during his whole first year in Snape's class.
The small bed they shared seemed even smaller now, especially with Severus almost as tall as Harry was. For the first time since this had started, Harry was excruciatingly aware of the other person lying beside him. Severus was thankfully oblivious, going right to sleep as he snuggled back against Harry. Taking comfort in the warm weight pressed against him, Harry gingerly laid his arm around Severus and drifted off.
Cho Chang walked toward him slowly, her long, black hair swirling in the breeze. Stopping a heartbeat way, she cupped his face and leaned in to kiss him softly. Harry wrapped his arms around her, threading his fingers through the silky hair as he returned the kiss, but he didn't want soft and wet, he wanted hard and hot. Pulling her closer, Harry loved the feel of her firm chest against him, the strong thigh pushing between his, and the hard prick rubbing against his belly. Harry groaned as he bumped noses with Severus as he tried to get even closer, wanting to feel those long fingers stroke his skin, wanting Severus…
Harry woke up with a start, his labored breath harsh in his ears and Severus flush against him, wrapped in his arms. It was the same way they had slept since Severus had arrived, except this time Harry had woken up with an erection and in the midst of the most arousing fantasy he'd ever had. Severus stirred, burrowing his nose into the hollow of Harry's throat before his breathing settled back into an even pattern. Harry's mind whirled with thoughts and snippets of his dream as he tried to slow his breathing. It wasn't Severus that he really wanted, it was Cho, Harry thought desperately. But every time he tried to picture Cho, her features morphed into those of Severus. Was it normal to fantasize about guys if you really liked girls? No girl, not Cho or even Ginny, who he knew liked him, had left Harry hard and aching.
His turbulent thoughts kept him awake for a long time, and Harry finally slid into a restless sleep just before dawn. He had dreaded the morning, but Severus was the same, moodier perhaps and his sarcasm a bit wittier, but Severus, nevertheless. Although, there was a time or two when Harry looked up to find Severus looking at him intently, an assessing gleam in his eye. It sent a not unpleasant shiver down his spine.
The worry was evident in Harry's voice, he knew, but this Time seizure had hit faster and harder that the others, dropping Severus in his tracks as he walked across the bedroom. They had snuck out to shower after the Dursleys had gone to bed and had just gotten back to the room when it hit. Harry had managed to catch the teenager as he fell, but could only cradle Severus' head as he shook. As soon as the spasms stopped, Harry grabbed a vial of the potion they had brewed two nights before, urging the still silent Severus to drink it. Harry sat down on the floor beside him and reached to brush the damp hair back from Severus' face. The dark eyes opened slowly and blinked in the harsh light from the lamp, before Severus tentatively stretched his longer limbs.
"I think I'm all right, but bloody hell, that one hurt," Severus whinged as he flexed his legs.
"Yeah, they seem to be getting more painful as you get older," Harry agreed as he scooted down to take a look.
There was still a fair dusting of silver flecks embedded in the slender thigh Harry cradled between his hands, surprised to find Severus trembling. His thumbs soothed the pale skin absently as Harry glanced up to find the other boy staring at him, eyes hooded and intense as they watched him.
"We've established that you aren't that Potter, and you've explained, repeatedly, how I came to be here with you despite the fact that I do remember, and why you are helping me, but you haven't explained why you are caring for me so well, Harry."
Harry felt his hands begin to shake and he made to pull away when a hand fisted in the front of his baggy shirt. Severus hauled him up slowly until Harry was on his knees between Severus' legs. Shutting his eyes, Harry could only wait, knowing he'd given himself away somehow, knowing that Severus was going to flay him alive for his stupid crush and then leave. He'd seen what Severus had been like as a teenager, when Harry had given in to temptation last spring and violated Snape's Pensieve. He knew that Snape wouldn't take too kindly to another boy fantasizing about him, especially when they shared a tiny bed.
"No answer, Harry?" Severus' voice sent a shiver down his spine. "Well, perhaps I should just…"
Harry's eyes flew open in panic as he felt the warm breath on his cheek, and he was taken completely by surprise when warm lips brushed across his. His vision had been reduced to the edge of that long, hooked nose and one eye as Severus ran the tip of his tongue across the seam of his lips. Gasping, Harry could only feel as Severus took advantage of his parted lips to explore the inside with his tongue. A sharp jolt of arousal went straight to his prick, making it instantly hard and Harry groaned. Kissing Cho hadn't done this to him, not even close!
The kiss went on and on as sensations slammed into Harry, sensations that he'd never felt before. His breath seemed to lock in his chest as his hands found Severus' head and pulled him even closer, knocking his glasses askew. His cock throbbed and Harry couldn't help but whimper as he pressed against Severus, startled to feel him just as hard. Harry lost his sense of time, feeling like he was floating on water, with each surge through his body pushing him towards the crest. Hands slid down his back to cup his arse, pushing him against Severus. Their pricks aligned and Harry gasped as warm fingers slid inside his waistband. A warm hand curved over his cheek and urged him closer; Severus wrapped his legs around Harry's thighs and began to rock his hips slowly. The feel of another hard cock sliding against his, even through their light clothing, swamped Harry with sensations he'd never experienced.
Harry's breath was coming in labored gasps, his body straining towards completion. A finger slid down between his cheeks and brushed across his puckered hole. Arching back at the new feeling, Harry groaned and shuddered, his climax ripping through him with an intensity that took his breath away. In a reversal of recent roles, Harry felt Severus stroking his hair as he held him tightly as his breathing slowed.
Resting his head against Severus' chest, Harry closed his eyes tightly, his insides in a ball. For some reason he felt particularly young at that moment, his body heavy in the aftermath of the intense emotions, yet Harry felt so confused and mortified in a way. What must Severus think of him? Harry had promised to take care of him and protect him; instead he'd…used him! Nothing could justify that!
"You've never done that before, have you?"
Severus' voice was quiet, lacking the smugness that Harry would have expected to hear.
"No, I…I've only kissed one other person, a girl…"
"And now you are regretting…"
Harry pushed himself up, glaring down at the teenager beneath him. "I am a bit confused, yes! I'd never even thought of a boy in that way before I started dream...before now! And I don't regret it, you prat, it felt bloody brilliant!"
A smirk twisted Severus' lips but before Harry could react, he pulled Harry back down and kissed him thoroughly. His body was throbbing again when Severus rolled them on their sides and sat up. He stared at Hedwig, whose amber eyes seemed to narrow at Severus, Harry thought.
"It was Lily, actually, who worked out that I was more physically attracted to other boys than her. I'd tried desperately to fall in love with her, but the summer before our third year, she caught me staring at another boy in the playground and made me face reality."
Severus looked back at him and Harry could see the sadness in his dark eyes. "I so wanted to be in love with her that I think part of the hatred I felt towards James Potter was because she started to pay attention to him."
Harry nodded slowly; he knew all too well how it felt to want desperately to be loved. Studying Severus' face for a moment, Harry put him at about his own age, just about sixteen, and stopped to think about what was happening in the teenager's life then. The Pensieve images struck him again and Harry cringed. It suddenly dawned on Harry that Severus was as fearful of being rejected as he was.
Smiling, Harry stood and extended his hand to Severus. After a long, assessing look, Severus took his hand and a jolt of awareness Harry hadn't felt before shot up his arm. The slender fingers tightened around his and Harry saw Severus' eyes widen. Good, he thought as he pulled Severus to his feet, he wasn't the only one feeling this attraction.
"You want to find something to eat?" Harry asked, before grimacing at the sticky mess at his groin. "After we clean up, that is."
The new awareness between them took a little getting used to, Harry found as they slipped out later to look for food. He was more conscious of Severus' every move and seemed to know where he was at all times. Harry wondered if this was due to the change in their relationship or if it was somehow connected to the oath he had sworn with the seven-year-old incarnation of Severus. Knowing the adult Snape would flay him alive when he reappeared should it be because of the oath; Harry kept his mouth shut as he didn't want to bring Severus' attention to it. It had been Severus Harry had sworn to care for, not the Snape who loathed him, and the man's reemergence from the Severus he had come to care for had him very apprehensive. Harry was certain that once the Potions master regained all his memories, he would summarily reject Harry and the oath made by a terrified little boy.
The low voice sent a shiver down his spine as it woke him up. Harry opened his eyes in the darkness, squinting to see Severus' dark form bending over him. Fingertips trailed down his arm as Severus leaned in and kissed him. They had been practicing the night before and Harry groaned at the way Severus' tongue stroked along his bottom lip.
"Shhh, I want to try something," Severus said as he traced his tongue down Harry's throat. "Will you let me?"
"Yesss," Harry hissed as Severus crawled down his body, sliding Harry's pants off as he went.
Lost in the sensation Severus was creating, Harry gasped and arched up when that tongue tentatively licked the head of his cock. Hands held his hips down as a bare thigh draped across his shoulder and Harry blindly reached for it, turning his upper body. Pushing against Severus, Harry managed to get underneath him and find his prick. Trailing his fingers along its length, Harry was amazed as it jumped to his touch and Severus groaned deeply. Leaning closer, Harry tasted the tip and found it musky and a little bitter, but not as disgusting as he would have thought.
Severus bucked, pressing his cock into Harry's mouth at the same time that he slid Harry's cock into his and Harry jerked forward at the sensation. It was incredible, the feel of the hard, warm flesh in his mouth at the same time as Severus lapped at his erection, sucking it deeper into the heat of his mouth. It was almost too much, the heat and the pull of Severus' mouth, as Harry tried to copy his motions, and he whimpered. Severus stilled and then slowly pulled off, panting harshly as he nuzzled Harry's length. Carefully extracting himself, Severus turned around, lying beside Harry, noses bumping as they shared a rough kiss.
Harry could feel Severus take a deep breath, his hands moving down to cup Harry's arse.
"I want…we could…Harry, I…"
Severus' fingers stroked between his cheeks, the longest circling his most private spot and Harry shivered. He didn't know very much about sex and even less about sex between two blokes, but Severus made him feel so good!
"Yes," Harry gasped as a fingertip pressed against the puckered ring. "Show me, Severus!"
Severus kissed him hard, sitting back on his heels for a moment before reaching for the lotion that Harry used to ease Severus' tight skin after a Time seizure. Moving back down to kneel between his thighs, Harry watched with anticipation as Severus poured lotion into his hand. Spreading his thighs apart, Harry jumped at the first cool touch, but Severus made calming sounds and leaned forward to lick his cock. It diverted his attention for a moment from the finger that slid slowly into him.
The second finger sliding in pulled his attention back, Harry feeling the burning and stretching it caused. Trying to relax, Harry concentrated on the stroke of Severus' tongue up his wilting erection and he wished he could see more clearly what Severus was doing. Suddenly, a jolt of pleasure raced along his nerves and Harry swallowed a cry as he pressed against those moving fingers.
"Ah, yes! Do that again!" Harry gasped as he grabbed at Severus' head.
"If I knew what I'd done," Severus growled, his fingers twisting and seeking.
It happened again and Harry groaned as his hips bucked upwards. It was like a raw flash of incredible pleasure streaking through his body. His prick was hard and throbbing again and Harry moaned as Severus shifted.
"Here, get up on your hands and knees," Severus was panting, his hands running down Harry's legs. "I think it will be easier that way."
Harry scrambled up, getting into the right position while Severus continued to stroke his skin. Holding very still, Harry felt the blunt head of Severus' cock against his entrance and gritted his teeth at the pain as Severus tried to push it inside. He yelped as Severus pushed harder.
"Bloody hell, it won't go in!" Severus rasped, one hand gripping Harry's hip.
Pressing back determinedly, Harry's eyes watered at the burning pain as he felt the muscles give and Severus slipped inside. They both froze for a long moment as the biting, burning sensation lessened and Harry pressed back again. Hands were gripping his hips hard and Harry could feel Severus making shallow thrusts until he was completely inside of him. Harry felt uncomfortably stretched, but the burn and pain slowly faded and he rocked his hips experimentally. If he could just get Severus to hit that spot again...
Severus gasped at his movement and with a hoarse cry, pulled back and slid forward once, twice, and stiffened. Harry could feel the sudden rush of warmth flood his insides, disappointment surging through him when he realized what had happened. He hung his head, waiting for Severus to finish. It didn't hurt as Severus pulled out, aching just a bit, and Harry made to move away, but Severus held him fast.
"I'm sorry, Harry, but you just felt so incredible, hot and tight and…I just lost it," Severus told him as Harry allowed himself to be rearranged on the bed. "It'll be better next time, I'm sure. Now, let me take care of you."
And Severus did. Harry couldn't believe how amazing it felt to have Severus take his cock in his mouth and slowly begin to suck. A long finger slid careful back inside him, making Harry see stars as it found that special spot and stroked over it as Severus moved his mouth up and down on his renewed erection. His own climax slammed into him so fast that Harry could only tug at Severus' hair in warning, his whole body throbbing with his release.
"We'll do better next time," Severus told him sleepily as they spooned together after cleaning up.
Harry smiled, happy that Severus would want to try again.
His aunt's pounding on the door next morning had Harry up before Severus stirred. Stopping by the bed as he headed for the door, Harry stood for a moment feeling awkward, and settled for brushing his fingers through Severus' hair before tugging the cloak up over him. Trudging out, Harry noted a bit of an ache in his nether regions, not enough to really hurt, but definitely enough to remind him of what they had done in the night. The thought of coming back up and doing it again put a bounce in Harry's step as he went to do Aunt Petunia's bidding.
The lawn was easily dealt with, as was the basic clean-up of the outside areas. It seemed that his aunt was entertaining some of the neighbor ladies at tea that afternoon and Harry was glad to be able to get his chores out of the way early. He, of course, was not to be seen at all, which suited Harry's plans well. Wiping his forehead on his sleeve, Harry came in the back door and tiptoed through his aunt's immaculate kitchen. Platters of dainty sandwiches lined the counters and the aroma of baking scones perfumed the air, making Harry's stomach growl. Spotting a pile of trimmed sandwich scraps, Harry deftly scooped half the pile into his shirt and hurried upstairs.
Stepping into the small bedroom, Harry stopped just inside the door. He frowned; it looked the same as it had when he left.
There was no answer and Harry carefully set his bounty on the desk before moving to the bed. Reaching out, he felt for the edge of the cloak and pulled it down. His heart was suddenly in his throat as he saw an older Severus, his bowed body shaking in the grip of a Time seizure. From the look of his pale face and the rate of aging, Severus had been enduring this for some time. Harry dived for a vial of pain potion, grabbed the lotion they'd used the night before and slid onto the bed.
Maneuvering so that he could support Severus' head in his lap, Harry began to speak softly to him as he carded his hand through the long, dark hair. Describing how he'd spent the last two hours, Harry could only hope that the seizure would stop soon even as his worry grew. It was another twenty minutes, however, before Severus gasped and his body went limp. Harry immediately propped Severus' head up and pressed the vial to his lips.
"Please, Severus, drink the potion, it will make you feel better," Harry pleaded quietly.
One eye cracked open and Harry poured as much of the potion into Severus' mouth as he could, his fingers rubbing the slender throat to encourage swallowing. Lowering Severus' head to the pillow, Harry moved down so that he could begin to rub the lotion into the skin around Severus' joints. Studying the sleeping man, Harry guessed that Severus was now in his early twenties, five or six years older, and this time he would remember exactly how his best friend had died. As he picked up Severus' left arm, Harry wasn't surprised to find the ugly mark of Voldemort staining the pale skin.
It was the most aging Harry had seen in one go and he grimly worked his way down the taut skin to Severus' thigh. One of the two largest silver flecks was gone, but the remaining remnant was almost double the size of the fleck that had produced this latest Time seizure. It had been three weeks since he'd found Severus lying next to Wisteria Way and Harry couldn't help but think that someone had to be looking for him. If he'd been sent to check on Harry, then Dumbledore or one of the Order members would surely be looking for him. It was also only a matter of time before Dumbledore sent someone to retrieve Harry, as he'd promised to do before Harry left Hogwarts. If he could just keep Severus safe until then.
Putting away the rest of the potion, Harry put the sandwich scraps into the charmed pouch and climbed into bed with Severus. There would be so many disturbing memories for Severus when he woke this time, Harry knew and he dreaded the pain Severus would be forced to relive, especially the death of his Muggle-born friend. From what little he knew, Harry thought Severus was about the age he'd been when he'd started teaching at Hogwarts, freshly released from Azkaban after Dumbledore had vouched for him in front of the Wizengamot. Truly a turbulent time of the man's life, but fretting wasn't going to help. Curling up alongside Severus, Harry slid his arms around the exhausted man and, despite the worry that nagged at him, he dozed off.
Something woke Harry and he reached automatically for his glasses. He saw that Severus was up and clothed in the black trousers and white shirt that Harry had found him in on the night of the accident. The black over-robes were draped over his trunk, and the afternoon sunlight was pouring through the window. There was a dark, determined expression on the face of the person Harry found he'd come to care for deeply.
The dark head snapped up and Severus turned to look at him as Harry sat up.
"What are you doing?"
"I am leaving, obviously, Potter." Severus' features twisted into an all too familiar sneer. "I can't just sit here any longer, hiding."
Harry's heart twisted painfully in his chest. He'd expected the older Severus to be angry and unsettled, but he hadn't thought that anger would be directed at him. Climbing out of bed, Harry stood by helplessly as Severus shoved his arms into his robes, the clothing hanging loose on his thin body.
"I don't understand, I thought we were getting on…"
"Don't bother to feed me your drivel, boy! I'm much better off left to my own ingenuity and I'll be relieving you of your burden."
A lump in his throat threatened to choke Harry as he watched Severus finish buttoning his robes and pocket his wand, before looking around the room with an expression of intense distaste. Harry swallowed convulsively as the older man turned toward the door.
"Wait!" Harry reached down and grabbed the Invisibility Cloak and the charmed pouch with its prize of scraps and shoved them into Severus' arms. "Vold…the Dark Lord is back and very powerful, he'll kill you if he finds you this way. And I just…you were never a burden, Severus."
Something flashed in the depths of the dark eyes, but whatever it was didn't stop Severus from spinning around and draping the cloak over his head, before the door opened and closed silently. Harry could only stare at it for long minutes, his eyes pricking with hot tears as he felt his hope shrivel inside. Everyone he loved ended up leaving him, proving that maybe he was just unlovable, every bit the freak that his relatives had always said he was.
Harry swallowed hard. At least Severus wasn't dead, and maybe getting away from Harry would keep him alive. Something tugged at his very soul, refusing to give in to utter despair. Yanking his glasses off, Harry threw himself across the bed, to bury his face in the pillow that still smelled of Severus and give in to the maelstrom of emotion, letting hot tears of anger and hurt exhaust him.
A burst of voices and clattering dishes woke Harry and he pried open his gummy eyes and he reached for his glasses. The noise was gone as quickly as it had come and he sat up with a frown. Hedwig rattled her cage as if something had agitated her and Harry could see by the angle of the sun it was late in the afternoon. His aunt's guests must be downstairs, Harry thought, as he swung his legs over the side of the bed and buried his face in his hands.
A whisper of sound next to him brought Harry's head up and he saw Severus slowly materialize from under the cloak. Harry could only stare at the man's grim face as he folded the cloak and laid it on the bed.
"I made it as far as the playground," Severus said in an emotionless voice. "Apparently, the Oath we swore together and the Oath I swore to Albus Dumbledore to protect you when Lily…when you were an infant, have interwoven and formed a bond between us."
Aghast, Harry could only bury his face in his hands once again and wish he could just disappear. It didn't matter what he tried to do, somehow he always managed to mess things up when it came to Severus. The bed dipped beside him and a warm hand brushed hesitantly against his arm.
"I was…unbearably cruel earlier. I can only tell you that the shock of all that information at once was difficult to assimilate and… I may have overreacted."
Harry couldn't help but snort at that and lifted his head, turning to look at Severus. The thin face looked drawn and tired, and Harry knew Severus must be feeling the pain from the re-aging. As much as he wanted to comfort Severus, Harry's heart still ached and he was uncertain of his welcome. As if able to read his mind, Severus reached out and lifted Harry onto his lap, pulling him tightly against his chest.
"I regret my…"
Harry shook his head, not able to bear the words that surely followed. "Just tell me if you are staying or going, please – I don't think I could go through that aga…"
A hand cupped the back of his head as warm lips captured his and his glasses were gently removed. Harry leaned into Severus, pouring his need into the kiss, trying desperately to get closer. Severus slowly lay back and Harry followed him down, almost frantic in his need to be reassured. Hands framed his face, taking control of the kiss and gentling it. Harry whimpered, and suddenly found their positions reversed, Severus' weight pinning him to the bed.
Lifting his head, Severus met his eyes, thumbs tracing Harry's cheekbones and sending shivers of arousal through him. "I will not leave you again, Harry, nor can anyone else separate us, for we are bonded. Accidental or not, a bonded couple cannot be kept from each other."
Harry wasn't sure he understood this bonding thing, but he knew the terrible ache he'd felt while Severus was gone had disappeared. He nodded, blinking rapidly against the moisture he felt well up in his eyes. Leaning down, Severus kissed him again, thoroughly, before slowly setting Harry back on the bed and standing up. Harry watched as those slender fingers began to undo the long row of buttons, before he stood with a grin, pulling off his pants. Reaching over, he began to help with the buttons.
"Under the cloak is the pouch, Harry, if you'll get that."
Harry felt around on the top of his trunk, his fingers closing around the silky fabric of his cloak. Pulling it off, Harry saw the unmistakable box of a pizza, something he'd told a younger Severus that he'd never had before. The lump returned to his throat as he stood there, until a bare arm reached past him to pick up the charmed pouch sitting beside it. Severus opened it and took out a slender vial of golden liquid.
"Pizza is good cold, I hear," Harry said softly, his eyes following the vial.
"Indeed it is," Severus said quietly. "But first, I want to feel you inside me, Harry."
Tugging him back to the bed, Severus quickly showed Harry that he was definitely more experienced at his present age. The vial was filled with a sweet-smelling oil that Harry used to coat his fingers with at Severus' direction. In a husky voice, Severus talked Harry through preparing him; a task Harry enthusiastically applied himself to despite his trembling hands. Fascinated, Harry delighted in the hiss of pleasure Severus made when he managed to find that special spot inside. From his position between the lean thighs, Harry was mesmerized by the emotions that played across Severus' face.
"That's enough, Harry."
Severus tucked a pillow under his hips, spreading his legs even wider as he motioned Harry closer. Nervously, Harry used some of the oil to slick his cock before lining himself up with Severus' entrance. He pushed lightly against it, scared that he might hurt the older man.
Severus' legs encircled Harry's waist, heels pressing against him and urging him closer. Pushing harder, Harry was startled when Severus reached up and pinched his nipples. Yelping at the jolt of arousal that shot right to his prick, Harry jerked forward and found himself balls deep in Severus' arse. The velvety heat gripped him tightly and Harry grabbed onto the slender hips as he tried to keep from utterly embarrassing himself. A fingernail scrapped over one of his pebbled nipples and Harry made what felt like a cross between a gasp and a sob, trying to think of something to divert his attention until his body was under control.
"Kiss me, Harry."
Severus' voice was deeper and Harry bent forward, startled when he felt his bottom lip nipped. Warm hands stroked his back as Harry concentrated on kissing Severus, who slowly began to rock his hips. Harry followed his lead, making shallow thrusts while he tried to coordinate kissing as well. It didn't take long before his balls were tightening and Harry knew he was close. Pushing against Severus' chest, Harry straightened up and braced his hands as he began to thrust deeper. Severus wrapped his hand around his cock, thumb swiping across the head and to Harry the sight was incredibly erotic. With a groan, Harry pulled back and drove his prick as deep as he could into Severus' arse, his climax exploding through him. Locking his arms, he watched as Severus tugged and twisted on his cock several times before he came, hot semen shooting across his abdomen and chest.
Harry managed to collapse to the side, blurrily watching as Severus cleaned them both up before rejoining him on the bed. It was strange that Severus was suddenly a head taller than him, but Harry did like that he could use the broader chest as a pillow as he pressed himself close. Turning his head, Harry kissed the nipple that was conveniently near his mouth, teasing it with the tip of his tongue.
"Rest for a bit first, you oversexed prat," Severus murmured sleepily. "I've had a bit of a trying day."
Harry snickered softly and snuggled closer. Yes, it had been a rather turbulent day at that.
"But, Severus, the rest of the flecks are gone, which means when this last Time seizure hits it's going to age you almost nine years!"
Harry slid several small pieces of rare meat into Hedwig's cage, before turning back to look at the now twenty-six-year-old Severus. It was the day before his birthday and Harry couldn't understand why someone hadn't contacted him yet about leaving Privet Drive. He had thought that this year in particular Dumbledore would have gotten him out of here before now, if for no other reason than to start preparing him to fulfill the Prophecy. A touch of bitterness reared in him as he thought of what had happened at the end of the term, but Harry ruthlessly suppressed it. Wallowing in remorse wouldn't help them at the moment and the two of them had talked the bloody Prophecy to death already.
Harry was more concerned at the moment that the seizure which would age Severus so many years at one time might do more damage than he would be able to deal with. Severus agreed, knowing that there were several potions that could be used to ease the transition and make it easier. Both had agreed that the best place to go through the last re-aging would be Hogwarts, but Harry was leery about leaving the Dursleys before he had heard from the Order. He'd gotten enough people killed by not following instructions and he didn't want to jeopardize anyone else.
"You could go back to Hogwarts by yourself, Severus, and…"
"And we have already had this discussion, Harry," Severus said in a dismissive voice, one that Harry had learned was a sign that the older man was uncomfortable with the conversation.
Harry turned around to see Severus pack the last of their belongings into his trunk, ready for them to leave first thing in the morning. It had been several days since the last Time seizure and Harry was very much afraid that they were running out of time. Severus insisted they wait until his birthday, as his turning sixteen would cement their bond according to wizarding law. Merlin knew they would need everything they could find to convince Dumbledore that they were very serious in their desire not to be separated.
Severus opened his arms and Harry walked into his embrace. He snorted and buried his face into Severus' shoulder as he had the sudden image of Professor Snape's reaction to being hugged like this.
"What depraved thoughts are rattling around in that head of yours?"
Perhaps Severus hadn't changed as much as Harry thought, or maybe he'd become less sensitive to the man's biting sarcasm now that he knew him better. This comment just made him grin, and Harry turned his head to run the tip of his tongue along the top of Severus' collar, loving the quiver that ran through both of them.
"I'm a little nervous about whether you'll still…want me when this is all over," Harry answered truthfully.
Fingers slid into his hair, tugging on it with enough force to make Harry wince. The dark eyes were intense as Harry met them, leaving himself open to the Legilimens.
"Is my impetuous Gryffindor turning tail in the face of adversity?" Severus teased him quietly.
"Hardly," Harry told him emphatically. "I'll stay by your side, Severus, I promise you, unless you tell me to go."
An eyebrow arched upward in disbelief. "You are young, malleable, reasonably attractive, rich and powerful, why ever would I send you away?"
"Git," Harry smirked, feeling his cheeks heat. "And I have a death sentence hanging over my head, as well."
"If what you've told me is accurate, then I am also in mortal danger, so we'll just have to make sure that we prevail in this fight, Harry."
"Well, I know that I have even more reason to fight now," Harry told him.
Severus leaned down, warm lips settling over Harry's in a demanding kiss. The door slamming open and the screech of Dudley's voice had them jumping apart.
"Hey, Harry! There's one of those freaks down-"
They weren't fast enough to get to the Invisibility Cloak and Dudley gaped, his piggy eyes leaping from one to the other before he ran from the room, screaming for his mum at the top of his voice. Harry turned towards Severus just in time to catch him as he stiffened and fell. As the Time seizure took hold, the room around Harry exploded in noise. It was easy to tune out the indignant voice of his aunt and the enraged ranting of his uncle as he loosened Severus' collar and sat on the floor to cradle his head, shielding the older man with his body. Hedwig began to screech, agitated by the level of the disturbance going on around her.
"Harry? What has happened here and who…"
Harry straightened from his protective posture to look up into the tired blue eyes of Albus Dumbledore. Those eyes widened as they glanced down at the wizard he held in his lap.
Dumbledore crouched down next to him and Harry tightened his grip on Severus. He couldn't help but stare as the Headmaster's wand was held in a hand that was blackened and withered.
"Can you tell me what happened, Harry? We've been searching for Professor Snape for weeks."
Harry met the blue eyes without flinching, doing his best to keep Severus from injuring himself further as the powerful waves of Time re-aged his body. "Take us back to Hogwarts, Professor, and I will tell you everything I know."
The blue eyes became shuttered. "I'm afraid that I cannot allow you to accompany Professor Snape to Hogwarts, my boy, especially when your friends are waiting for you at the Burrow."
"Severus and I are bonded, Professor Dumbledore, and in less than an hour I will be sixteen, which gives me the right to go with him." Harry wasn't backing down; he had to get Severus home. "He's this way due to an accident involving a Time Turner that I suspect you gave him."
"I don't think…"
"Professor," Harry interrupted urgently, his magic beginning to swirl around him as he became more frantic. "I will do everything you have asked of me and fulfill your Prophecy or die trying, but only if you will get us back to Hogwarts, now."
"You would value the life of Severus Snape over your own, Harry?" Surprise colored Dumbledore's voice.
Harry found it easy to smile. "In a heartbeat, Professor."
Severus Snape opened his eyes slowly, trying to get his bearings. Although his body ached in so many places that it throbbed with each heartbeat, Severus knew he was safely ensconced in his own bedroom at Hogwarts, in his own large, comfortable bed. The slender arms that held him tightly were a new, but not unwelcome addition to this environment. Warm, even breaths stirred the hair against his neck as memories began to flood his mind. He remembered being sent to check on the Brat Who Lived, the flash of lights and the incredible pain of impact, and then the warm, caring hands and soft voice of his rescuer.
Images tumbled over each other as Severus remembered the care the teenager had given him, comforting the small, scared child; the sacrifices Harry had made to feed him and the patience he'd had shown through Severus' re-aging. Not since he'd had Lily in his life had anyone given so unselfishly to Severus, without thought of anything in return. Even the Oath Harry had sworn to a seven-year-old that had inadvertently bound them, had done so because it was avowed with pure intentions. An Oath that Harry had sworn even after he knew Severus' true identity, and that was something that still amazed Severus.
And when had he come to care so deeply for the sixteen-year-old that Severus knew he would do anything to keep the young man in his life? Somewhere along the way, Severus had fallen in love with Harry bloody Potter. Harry loved him in turn, Severus knew this truth thanks to the bond they shared, the same bond that he would shamelessly exploit to keep Harry with him. It was an awe inspiring feeling to know that someone could love him, despite who and what he was. That the love that Albus so espoused as being Harry's greatest strength had been gifted to him.
There were many more obstacles that they would have to get through before they could get on with living, what with the Dark Lord gaining power, Albus Dumbledore slowly dying, and five outstanding Horcruxes. But with his ingenuity and cunning, and Harry's sheer dumb luck, Severus had confidence that they would prevail.
In the meantime, he thought as Harry stirred behind him, Severus was thoroughly going to enjoy every one of the extracurricular lessons he planned to impart to the young man, as often as he could.