So this is it.
We sit in the Great Hall, surrounded by cheering, laughing and – melancholy. It is end of the term, of the last term, to be precise. I think that I am the one suffering most since this castle was not only some kind of home to me, it WAS my home.
Dumbledore is like my grandfather. I admit quite a strange one, but I love him just the way he was.
He was not the only one I learned to love over the last years. Dumbledore was like a member of my family, someone I could talk to, seek advice and learn from. He protected me during the outbreak of the war against the Dark Lord and I saw a hint of hurt on Albus face, when I killed that thing.
They were very close friends once. Nearly like we are now.
When I learned something during my time at Hogwarts, it was not only Transfiguration, History of Magic or the proper Care of Magical Creatures. It was about the strength of friendship, about people who change, hate, and about love. And this was my biggest problem, sitting here, one year after the war, in my eighth term.
Who would have thought of teaching or learning while battling Death Eaters en mas?!
No one. Of course.
So they'd decided to give us another years worth of work, exams and detentions. It was the right decision, though none of us would even admit that. It was in that strange year of fights and losses, when something unusual happened. Draco began to wear his hair differently and try jeans out.
Hermione started to live instead of learning and lecturing us the whole time.
Snape was beginning to show emotions. Sometimes. A bit.
And I allowed myself to feel the anguish and pain and insecurities I had been hiding the whole time.
Even though the war was over, its effects were still being felt by everyone, especially me. So many people died...Pansy, Percy, Fudge...people I barely knew and several others whom I dare to call my friends. Even if we haven't been that close, I was being sucked into the darkness left by the dead and wounded surrounding me.
When I finally got out of the swamp of depression, I realised that I had changed, too. I was older and stronger, not only physically, but I also longed for peace and someone to hold and comfort me in the nights I woke up, crying silent tears for the lost ones and those who couldn't cry anymore.
Ron was there, but only in a way friends are. He patted my back, hushed, and tried to calm me down. Most times it worked, but it was beyond his strength to do this four nights a week. Waking up and patting me.
I didn't blame him, how could I? He did so much for me, and I tried my best to do everything for him when Percy died. I was being strong, trying not to think about loosing more people, maybe even losing Ron. I was trying to tell him what his brother would have liked him to do.
We both cried, comforting each other somehow. Even if I felt guilty sometimes, because it was not only Percy I was crying for. I cried for all the others who had died so far, those who would die and myself, the miserable excuse for a childhood I lived and my foreseen timely death. I cried with him because I had to be strong the rest of the day.
I think Ron might have noticed but he got over his grief and started to fight even harder for all he wanted and dreamt of. Percy might have been an asshole but he was still his brother and some kind of role model.
Hermione was luckier because her parents weren't wizards; they couldn't fight and I was grateful for it. I cannot imagine what I would have said to her if she'd lost them.
I could have said everything heals with time or some patronizing nonsense people who know nothing of loss would say, but it would have been a lie...it hurts and doesn't get better because of the guilt that washes over you after you forget.
Here we are, in the Great Hall waiting for Dumbledore to hand us our graduation papers and I gaze around. Stupidly, I guess.
A dark figure catches my eye. He is lightly bent over his table, looking at some papers. Obviously every head of house has already gotten their papers.
I look at him, still trying to figure out exactly what changed between us...what would cause me to feel as if snitches were flying around in my stomach when he directed his glare towards me?
I suppose it was his change in behaviour. It was not obviously.
In the middle of sixth year I noticed subtle changes in him. The pressure lying on him, being a spy was a lot to bear. This did not explain why his glare was still dangerous but far from intimidating. I met his gaze during potion classes and wondered. The biggest change however, took place during the war.
We spoke once in a while...as in actually had a conversation. I was anxious when I first had to spend my evening in one room with him but it worked out to be very calm and calming. When the Order had to do some "Order Work," I was not allowed to come along and he had to maintain his double identity.
I started to like the dungeons; they made me appreciate the shadows after a while. It was quiet and dark, and I could hide in some dark corner, where I'm sure not even that bastard Moldy-Voldy would have found me.
After the war broke, I recognized the change in his behaviour. I noticed his eyes on me on every occasion – he told me once it was to "make sure that the precious Golden Boy would come home in one piece", but I had the feeling that this was not the complete truth.
We had a very tense friendship during those days. Even if I was trying to be friendly, he stayed his grumpy and snarky self, loving to berate me for everything I was worth.
But I did trust him and I was not disappointed in the end. Maybe he even saved my life but I cannot properly remember what happened after the killing curse and Godric's sword thrust through Voldy's paper-thin skin and crackly bones. I do not even know if maybe Snape helped a bit to drive it the whole way through. Afterwards I awoke with a splitting headache. He gave me a potion and because I trusted him I drank it without hesitation soon recovered.
This year he changed even more. He shouted at me every time I blamed myself for not having done enough to save lives. He was my support, brought me out of the dungeons again, and out of my small, very dark corners. I am more grateful to him than anybody could imagine. When he found me in that corner, my face was covered in tears and my eyes were red and swollen. I must have looked disgusting but he ignored it and looked at me with that dangerous glare shouting "Mister famous golden boy plays hide and seek as if he is the only one who is in mourning, as if everyone else cannot mourn. Too many lives were sacrificed for us to be here in this castle alive and well. You are NOT fucking responsible for anything except giving us seventeen more years to prepare for this fight and being the one who finally killed that thing. You are the most self-doubting person I ever knew. So come out of that hole and start celebrating just like everybody else !"
He was right.
My recovery to the light started that day and it was work for me to return to the living, but I did.
Soon after I recognized the way our relationship and Snapes snarkiness began to change.
When I was back in the Great Hall to eat again, I ate more than I had in months.
I grinned broadly when Ron hugged me in tears.
In that moment, our eyes met. His deep black eyes sent tremors down my spine. I gazed at him for a minute and smiled. It was replete with gratitude and was as warm as I could manage.
He smiled back and it nearly made my heart tremble. I had never ever seen him smile, not in the seven years I had known him. The shocked expression on Mme Hooch's face assured me that this was an event worth being marked in my agenda. The smile soon faded but Ron had seen it, Hermione had seen it, damn, nearly the whole hall had seen it.
I blushed...there was no reason to do so, but I blushed helplessly. The snitches appeared then, on that night, the night he smiled at me.
I started noticing more minor changes on him. He let his hair grow, just to cut it at chin length and he seemed to have changed something in his hair care because it was shiny and looked soft...with one exception; his hair would be straggly and moist after having hovered over his cauldrons the entire day. His fingertips and nails would also be tainted by some evil substance like newt eye jelly. They are horrible because the green colour isn't removed until days later .
He gave me that glare the one that sends a tickle down my spine. One by one stupid questions and even more ridiculous answers appeared in my head. They just popped out of nothing while sitting in potions class and doing some assignment.
Why did he care for his look by now? What did he do to his hair? Why did he glare at me intensely (not dangerously) when I asked a question? Was it something I did? Was there something he wanted to say to me? I even noticed that he was wearing new robes tailored to look a little – different. It was better, definitely.
There was a dark green hem and the rest looked expensive and black. I guess I would have been terrified if he had begun wearing colours. He would wear them closed at his throat. Sometimes he left the last closings open, so that a little of his white neck was exposed, sometimes he even left it open completely. At first I gaped at him in disbelief. Where was Snape? Who was that man in front of the class, leaning on his desk, arms crossed over his chest, the white shirt slightly crinkling?
Another day I was hanging over my cauldron, making a disgusted face because my until then perfect potion had turned into a completely ugly colour that was definitely not described in the list of side effects.
I was perspiring as I watched the potion turn darker and darker until it had a night blue colour with many green spots in it.
I sighed unnerved and gave my potions teacher a helpless look. I know he hates me doing so but I needed help. And he came over to me, gliding with that suspicious glare he gave me so many times when he'd expected me to turn everything into a disaster.
"I need you. Desperately." I said and pointed at my potion.
His look made me recognize my words and I blushed slightly. He gave me an amused smirk.
I blushed harder.
He bent over my cauldron and raised one of his eyebrows, one of these black lines on his pale skin. My thoughts were no longer on the potion, but his skin was...to me it was perfect.
"Too much, Potter. You dropped too many chicken feather flowers. Now add a pinch of ground Asphodel. You should get by with your meagre knowledge by now." he said and looked at me, waiting for something.
He stood next to me, on the other side of the cauldron, half a head taller than me. I looked up and for the first time really got lost into that black depths... the snitches were back and seemed to be everywhere; my face was burning and my chest aching. It was surprising somehow. His eyes were beautiful and I longed to touch that pale skin just once.
We must have stared at each other at least one minute when Ron coughed beside me, a low, excusing cough. "Sir, could you have a look at mine as well, please?" he asked slowly, as he recognized that Snape didn't turn to him.
I turned my eyes down. My knees had gone weak within a minute. 'Impressive' I thought with a smile. Snape seemed to notice my smile because he shot me that glare again. Not evil, just intense. I looked at Ron who seemed to have a big question mark printed directly onto his face.
It was not often we had those moments, just staring at each other, but it was an amazing change. All the years until sixth year I had hated potions, but now I didn't mind them, and that last year I actually liked them.
And now I miss them.
I miss him.
I feel my chest tighten, and suddenly the noise of the Great Hall breaks through the mist of thoughts and memories that surrounded me a few seconds ago.
He is hovering over the papers of his house...HIS house. It gives him this strange authority I like about him. He is head of Slytherin house.
He embodies every inch of the traditional meaning of Slytherin, and I like it actually.
I like the way his hand unconsciously tucks his soft hair behind his ear, only to fall a moment later. I like his dignity. I love the gleam in his eyes when he shoots a glare through the hall across at someone disturbing him.
I would love to touch his white skin just once, and the urge to just touch him becomes unbearable within seconds. I stared at my then sweating hands. It was then I realised it was love...sure I loved his eyes and longed to caress his skin, but I loved him. Of course it was, I knew that already, but refused to acknowledge it.
The snitches were back, but this time there was a stinging pain in my chest. It hurt to know that it was the last time I would see him, my last chance to touch his skin even if he would probably kill me for it.
My last chance.
It's Graduation Day. He sits at his house table, tall, even if not as tall as me or Albus, but still tall, slender, the robe not quite closed enough to hide his collarbone, the golden skin, these green eyes flickering up on me occasionally.
How could you appear in my life? Everything was perfect until this year. When I found you in the dungeons, in that cave you chose for yourself to hide away your wounds I never expected the result would be this. I told you off like I always did and it worked and I saw you eating and laughing and you smiled at me, this one grateful smile. Now there is always something missing. My dungeon once was great, now it is solitude.
When you first came here you were a child, nothing more, but now you've grown up. In a few months you will be nineteen. A Delicious nineteen.
Today, you will leave again, leave this castle and my life, but I do not want you to. This frightens me, all these feelings burning in my chest by now, your eyes meeting mine, insecure, probing. You don't know what you do to me. I see you chuckle, I love that chuckle.
I love your eyes, your gleaming green eyes flying up on me again by now. Your look is so intense as if you wish to tell me something.
That's the problem, I want to tell you something, everything, but it's over now, before it really could begin. I love your eyes. I love the way your hair falls, the exact opposite of mine.
I love your voice, deepened, warm. I love your ways, you nosy Gryffindor.
I love you.
I must have a worrying look on my face because Albus touches my shoulder and asks me if everything is okay. It's the first time that I do not lie and tell him that everything is just fine.
I shake my head softly.
His eyebrows rise. "What is it?" he asks.
"Nothing you could help, Albus." I say and look at my papers again.
He makes a small clicking noise and grins slightly. "I noticed a change, Severus. In you. Perhaps we could talk after the dismissal?"
I shake my head softly again and snap: "It won't change anything. And my 'change' has almost nothing to do with me being in a very bad mood at this particular event."
He frowns. Oh, I hate that. I'm sure he'll scan the room and find Harry staring at me and make conclusions and ... why is that old fool so damn clever?
But he just passes on, smiling. He says nothing to encourage me or keep me from doing what's forming in my head. This is a completely stupid idea, but I don't know if I'll ever see him again. I hope I'm too coward to do it.
We get our papers and pass the teachers, one by one, shaking hands. Minerva looks at me with tears in her eyes, as does Mme Hooch. They are so cute...their tears are there only because I am their fallen-off-the-sky-Quidditch-love. Then there is Albus, standing in the middle, twinkling at me with his deep blue eyes and whispering: "You can come back anytime, my boy."
I smile at him gratefully. "Thank you Albus. That means very much to me."
He nods gracefully.
You stand at the end of the line and my knees start to get weak again. I came to the conclusion that I love you only a few moments ago. What shall I say? What shall I do? Why me? Why you? I want to cry in agony from the pain in my chest, but nothing changes. I pass on, smiling, you come closer until I shake hands with you.
I touch your warm hands, soft, warm hands, and accidentally stroke the smooth skin of your palm.
Was that hurt in your eyes? This gleam? What does it mean?
But in the next second, you slip the mask back on and say: "Good job, Harry."
I flinch. Wait – you addressed me by my first name. This is new. This is not the usual way. I mentally plead with you...please don't make it worse I think. I don't want to leave. I want you to know.
You pass me and my hand tickles where you touched it. My palm burns of this accidental movement. I am tempted to grab you somehow and pull you in my arms. When you leave, you are gone, maybe forever.
I feel you shifting uncomfortably under my glare and I am sorry to make you nervous. But at the same time I really like it.
The rest of the students pass, I shake hands, nod, give rare compliments, but the only one that meant something to me was the one I passed to you. You noticed that I called you by your first name and that I complimented your work. You noticed and were delighted. I would love to see that spark in your eyes again.
But I feel the bonds tying us together are loosening. You will leave.
The row of students finishes, the teachers talk to each other, Albus holds a speech of moderate length and nice words. I would have loved to hear those words from him when I graduated.
I watch you.
You watch me.
Our eyes lock.
I love you, I try to say through my glare. I know this will never work. You slightly blush and look down.
Why are you watching me? Why are you giving me that glare? I want to go over to you, pull you in my arms, feel your warmth, and smell the scent of the dungeons on you and the herbs, the potions and your skin.
I must be staring at you again, because Ron gives me a small knock at my ribs and I knock back. He leans over and whispers: "You're not flirting with Snape, are you?"
I nod absent-minded.
He gets louder: "You are?"
I hush him again. Albus ends his speech and everyone frantically claps. It was a beautiful speech even if I only listened half. Now it's over. This means, we can go.
We grab our hats, these ridiculous Wizarding hats, pointed at the end.
Dumbledore lets his eyes wander around and gives us a last twinkling eye of farewell, then he says: "Class of this year, you are dismissed!"
Loud, cheering shouts are heard and I throw my hat as high as I can...I wish I could throw it to the clouds of the Great Hall. A cloud of hats rains down on us and the staff. Dumbledore laughs freely, like most of the teachers do. I say: "Accio Harry Potters Hat." and a few seconds later it's in my hand again.
Ron hugs me, I hug back, Hermione hugs us both until nearly the whole Gryffindor-table is a bunch of hugging people and I go down. Ten Gryffindors on me, that's too much.
I enjoy this moment, but the searing pain in my chest is getting even worse, because I know that all these foolish promises like: "We never forget each other." "We keep contact." and so on are for no good. This never works.
Herm and Ron will stay my friends forever, as will Dean and Seamus, but others won't and I know.
I look back on the staff dais and I feel torn. I see you looking at me. You do not try to hide that you are looking at me but you pretend that you are aware of what the other teachers tell you.
You just stand there and nod and watch me putting my hat back and celebrating with the others.
They all cheer and you cheer with them. I love you doing this.
You throw your hat and cast a spell to get it back instead of seeking it like the others. I love you for that. You grin and are hugged to suffocation by the bunch of friends you have.
You attract me with your innocent look and your smile that's not so innocent anymore.
Hooch is talking to me but I can hardly listen to what she says because the level of foolish love and hormones has reached another climax. I can do nothing but watch you and struggle against the pain and fear that awaits me, when these doors close behind you and you are gone.
Your friends start going, the Hufflepuffs want to go home, most of the Ravenclaws follow. The Slytherins seem to wait for my command. I smirk at them and nod. They jump up and leave. Stupid. I'm not their teacher anymore. Somehow, they are less snakes but dogs. They always need to command or be commanded and are loyal to a fault.
I watch your friends drag you towards the doors. My heart starts pounding.
You turn around and make eye contact. I have goosebumps running down my spine and feel like a trapped animal.
I can't think coherent except one thing: I don't want you to go.
You stand still on the dais. The other teachers are waving hands or turning around already. Only you and Albus are still there, just watching. I feel my eyes burn. I don't want to go. I don't want to leave this place and I don't want to leave you. Do something. Please.
I give you a last glance, Ron pulls me towards the doors and I follow. I ask myself if I should have done more, if I should have gone to you and told you. Ron pulls me out of the door and it closes behind me.
Ron looks at me and frowns. "Are you okay?"
I shake my head. No I'm not. I'm not not not. All I want is inside this castle and I have to leave. I give him a watery look and freeze where I am standing. I can't go.
"Harry?" he asks carefully. I want to cry.
"Harry!" I heard your voice, shouting my name. My knees get so weak I can hardly stand. Ron gasps and stares behind me.
I turn around and there you are, fixating me with these black depths. Something about you is unusual, but striking. Is it that look of pain and hope on your face after you hardly displayed any emotions? Is it the way you are standing there, the whole school facing you and you don't care? Your eyes are only on me.
I have to smile. A watery smile while my chest explodes. You don't stay where you are so I won't either. You stride towards me, hasty and I guess that this is your dignified and elegant way of running.
I am running.
We meet under the portal of Hogwarts, I am breathing heavily from running up the hill and my eyes are still burning. You don't stop before me, you just drag me in your arms and press me against you and I hear the fast beating of your heart and I can smell your scent that wraps me and makes my heart pound even harder. I feel your warmth and your breathing at my neck. I shiver and lean closer.
You tighten the embrace and I can't keep some tears from running down my face. I wanted this so much to happen and now it did. You came to me. You hold me. As if you would never let me go. I feel your lips brush my hair and you loosen the embrace a bit, to look into my eyes. There they are again, damn snitches, but I smile in spite of it.
"I'm sorry." you whisper and I frown a little: "What for?"
You shoot a glance over my shoulder and I turn around. Nearly the whole school is watching.
"So what?" I say and grin. You raise one eyebrow and smile a tiny smile. I bend forward, until our foreheads and noses touch and I can feel your breath on my face. Your smile broadens, even if I can hear you pull in an expectant sigh. You are nervous. That's tempting and beautiful and – I kiss you. I brush our lips together and this moment sends an explosion of feelings through my body. Instead of pulling away, you come after me and kiss me yourself, soft and sweet, delicately until I deepen the kiss and your arms pull me closer again. My eyes fall shut and I sink against you, wrap my arms around your neck.
I hear Hermione shriek and Ron gasp and a few other similar reactions, but all that's important now is you. The feeling that my knees won't carry me one moment longer, that your arms are as much security as there can be, that this kiss is the most wonderful experience I ever shared. After an eternity you carefully pull back and my eyes flutter open, meeting yours and all I can read in them is love.
This is crazy and queer and the happiest moment of my life.
I hear Dumbledore's paces in the hallway and an alarmed: "Severus! You'll be sorry if you do something – goodness! Severus! Harry!" He shouts but it doesn't sound angry, only surprised.
We separate a little, so that you can turn to face Albus.
He comes up to us, glaring at you and then at me and suddenly the twinkle in his eyes reappears. "Does that mean you are staying here for the holidays?" He asks.
I look at you und you stare back at Dumbledore.
No tirade, no "how could you!" no, "you are a teacher!" and everything, just this simple question. I give a small nod.
You smile and pull me closer. A happy smile and suddenly life returns to those around us and the chatting starts. I feel someone moving besides me and turn. It's Ron who glares at me angrily. "Why didn't you tell anyone that you had a relationship with the greasy old git?"
You turn and stare back at Ron. It's a mad stare. "Mister Weasley, as far as I am concerned with this matter, Harry did not have any relationship to me until this very moment. And I would appreciate you not gaping at me like some disturbed animal. Would you please shut your mouth?!"
Ron's mouth shuts with an audible sound. I chuckle.
My best friend suddenly looks quite confused. "But – you, Harry! Say something! What happened here?!"
I look on my feet and smile when I reply: "I had the feeling that I couldn't go. I don't know when it happened, but I obviously fell in love."
I look at him shyly. I wonder how he is going to take it. The confession, that this was our very first touch, our very first kiss.
Hermione stands besides him and looks at me as unbelieving as he does. And I know they will work it out, when he finds his voice, shrugs and says something like: "Well, till later then. We await you at least at your birthday."
You give him a suspicious look and your voice is soft as you speak: "I hope greasy old gits are allowed in the burrow."
Ron shrugs again, but with a tiny smile on his face: "We'll see. I'll ask Mum." He waves at me as does Hermione and some others. I know I'll see them on my birthday.
Then I turn to look at you. You grab my hand and we follow Albus, back into the castle of Hogwarts, my home, and you.
This was my first attempt at writing fanfiction in English as I am German, but it was beta'd by the skilled and wonderful Kris, also known as GryffHuffSlythendor. ;) Thank you again!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of this exept for the plot! I'd be rich, if I did.
This disregards the events of the Half Blood Prince!!!!