This was his 'ritual', his one indulgence, the one night where he could let it all go, drown his demons and drink himself into oblivion. Tomorrow, he would wake up with the hangover from hell and puke his guts out, but he'd be ready to face another year.
The fact that his 'ritual' coincided with the celebration of Voldemort's demise only made his drinking bout less conspicuous.
Harry shuddered at the shivers that crept up his spine.
"You've had enough for tonight."
Who cared if he had? That voice though ...
"More," he said, not sure whether he meant the whiskey or the voice.
Hands pulled him up, wrapping around him as he nearly fell over.
"No, it's time for you to go home."
Oh, yes, take me home, take me ...
He put up no resistence when the hands pulled him towards the fireplace in the back, until he remembered something.
"Stop," he said, though his body didn't seem to understand it, but the hands kept him from falling over. "Porky."
"No need to insult me, Potter."
Harry shook his head and pulled one arm free from the man's grasp. Where had he put it? It wasn't in his outer pockets and he couldn't feel ...
Oh, right. He grabbed the chain around his neck and held it up, smiling triumphantly. At least he hoped it looked that way.
"Yes, Potter, I'm sure it's a lovely figurine, but what does that have to do ..."
Harry rolled his eyes, a move he had practised while Ron watched to see if it worked. "Porky ... home."
He wished he could get his tongue to work properly. Why couldn't the man get it?
"Porky," he repeated, holding the little crystal troll up. "Grab to go home."
The smile that threatened to break through as the man grabbed his hand and wrapped it around the troll died immediately when he felt something turn in his stomach as soon as the man said, "Home."
He fell to his knees, letting the nausea sweep over him. Fortunately, the contents of his stomach stayed put.
"Pathetic, Potter. I should just leave you here on the floor."
No, no, he couldn't leave now. That was not the plan. Harry pushed himself to his feet, using the man's robes as leverage, and leaned in.
"Bed?" he asked, hoping the man would catch on.
A sigh was all he got before he was roughly pulled up and carried upstairs. He cursed as he was dumped on the bed.
"Please," he pleaded, fumbling with his shoe laces, "want them off."
Another sigh, a muttered spell, and his shoes disappeared, but so did the man.
Fuck subtlety, Harry thought, vexed the man hadn't gotten the idea yet, and he reached out, grabbed what he hoped was the man's sleeve and pulled ... hard.
Oh ... he was ... very hard.
Harry smiled, quite pleased with himself. He let his hands explore and trail up and down the man's back, revelling in the shivers he provoked. The man on top of him was slim, wiry, but strong. Not bad, not bad at all.
He loved that voice, it was like velvet. He wasn't sure he liked the threatening tone though. With a quick motion he turned them around, so he was lying on top, with the man's hands trapped under his.
Harry wasted no time and kissed him, sliding his tongue between the man's lips before he had a chance to close them. Swirling his tongue around, he could taste just a hint of absinthe, mint and something dark. Very addictive. The man's inactivity drove him crazy, but it only made him try harder. Still exploring the man's mouth he moved his hips. The result was electrifying and Harry wished he knew a spell to remove clothing without destroying it. He wanted skin to skin contact, not a clothed parody.
A tongue pushed against his, dominant, demanding, strong and Harry felt himself give in. This was what he was craving. He brushed his fingers along the insides of the man's arms, dragging the sleeves with him as far as possible, and across the shoulders and through the slightly greasy hair. Yes, he could definitely get addicted to this.
Suddenly Harry was on his back again, his tongue chasing its disappearing counterpart, his arms pinned firmly to the bed. Then the tongue was back, sweeping the curves of his ear-shell, and Harry gasped.
"Please," he uttered, though what he was begging for, he didn't know.
"Be careful what you wish for ... Harry."
A shudder ran through him as he heard that voice again. He wished the man would keep talking, but didn't dare ask, afraid the man would stop.
"Please," he tried again.
Yes, he was, very. He wanted more, needed more, wanted ... Oh ...
He shivered as fingernails scratched his arms and a tongue trailed his jaw, while a fully naked body descended on his. He gasped at the contact. Where had his briefs gone?
It didn't matter, nothing mattered. This felt so good. Too good almost.
But his plea turned into a moan as the man began moving his hips, intensifying the contact, driving him absolutely mad with lust. Soon it became too much, too intense, and, gripping the duvet, he dug his heels into the bed, his back arching off it as he burst.
He fell back against the bed, panting, pulling the man with him, even though he hadn't come yet. But Harry had ideas about that, he just needed to get his breath back.
Instinctively, Harry knew the man had left. It was too quiet in the house. Pity, he wouldn't have minded a repeat performance.
He gingerly sat up, expecting a wave of nausea, but his stomach kept quiet. His head felt like it would burst any minute though.
Coffee, he needed coffee, and buckets of it.
His hand automatically reached for his staff on the bedside table ... and came up empty. Oh, bollocks! Where had he left his staff?
Barely had he stuck his hand in the air, when the staff landed in it.
Thank Merlin, he had not left it at the bar then.
"Good morning, Master Harry," Dobby greeted him as he entered the kitchen. "What is you wanting for breakfast?"
A sober up potion, his mind supplied as he asked for toast and tea. He had after all just, finally, puked his guts out.
"Master Snape only had tea and toast as well."
Harry almost choked on his piece of toast. He couldn't have heard that right, could he?
At once, memories of last night flooded his mind, and he cursed himself for not recognising that voice. That velvet voice that had made him instantly hard.
He slept with Snape, had sex with him. But, Merlin, the sex had been good, so good. Who would have thought Snape could be so tender, so giving, so sensuous?
Well, Hermione always insisted there was more to the man, and, boy, had she been right.
It was difficult to distinguish the humming of the spell from the amplified sound of his breathing, but Harry still managed to direct his counter at exactly the right point.
That had taken longer than he had calculated. Then again, he had not expected that third spell at all. He was glad he caught it though; he wouldn't wish a blinding curse on anyone, even if it was only temporary.
His head shot up at a rustle of fabric behind him, but smiled as he turned around.
"Mornin' Hermione," he greeted his guest, knowing she would be annoyed that he heard her coming in, again.
Her sigh confirmed it.
"Morning Harry. Are you busy?"
Business then, and from the sound of it, nothing good.
"All right. It will take a while to explain everything, and I'd like you to hold off the questions until I'm done."
"I'm all ears."
"It all started when Muggles reported the sudden appearance of a castle. Naturally we went to investigate. It turned out all wards on Darkwood Castle had fallen, the unplottable became plottable, visible again. The last seven days we've been taking inventory of the house, most of which is only need to know basis. The reason I'm here is because of the artifacts we've uncovered, hexed, spelled and cursed more intricately than we could have imagined."
"And you came to me?"
"Bill's coming down as well, you two would be working together."
Apparently Hermione had worked it all out, knowing he wouldn't say no to a challenge like this.
He had a feeling there was more though, so he waited, and listened.
Hermione seemed ill at ease.
"Come on, spit it out," he urged her.
"It turns out Darkwood Castle belonged to the Snape family. Inside we found evidence of their involvement in Voldemort's practises and the Death Eaters."
Snape was involved?
Immediately images of their heated encounter entered Harry's mind. Why had Snape been in the Hog's Head?
"When we questioned Professor Snape, he claimed not to have been there since he was eighteen; he was disowned, so the wards would not acknowledge him. We could burn it down, for all he cared."
So, some relation to Snape had died and the wards resolved, that was not unheard of. Why then was Hermione so edgy? If Snape had ... Oh.
"The Ministry still feel Snape is involved, aren't they? Don't tell me the artifacts point in his direction?"
"No! No, Harry. It's not the Ministry. I'm sorry if I gave you that idea. No, the professor was cleared immediately. It's just ..." Hermione sighed. "It's just that rummaging around in his childhood makes me sick."
That, Harry could imagine. He had seen more than his fair share thanks to Occlumency and Legilimency.
"When do I start?"
It was chilling and unpleasant to ...
Strike that, it was downright gruesome to be in Darkwood Castle. Harry didn't need his eyesight to absorb the macabre atmosphere that hung everywhere like a thick cloud. The smells, the sounds, they all threw him back into Snape's mind, Snape's pensieve, enough to make him wish he hadn't said yes to Hermione.
Yet, he returned every day to 'disarm' the bloody Snape trinkets, so the Ministry could destroy them. Well, apart from the more valuable ones, that is. The Ministry sold them under the pretence of covering expenses.
All, destroyed or sold, had been catalogued meticulously.
All but one.
The first day Harry had come across it, or rather them since it was a pair, he couldn't bare having them destroyed, so he kept them with him. It had taken him a week of research to find out they were bonding bands, and intricately made ones at that. Harry couldn't stop fondling them, revelling in the cleverness of the design, made with Celtic influences.
They were simply beautiful.
If his information was right, they weren't Snape legacy, but had belonged to Snape's maternal grandmother. They weren't hexed or cursed either, though they were spelled all the same. Spelled with protective spells, to make sure both wearers would be safe.
Harry doubted Snape was even aware that they were amongst the collection, he may not even know of their existence.
Hearing Bill swear, Harry sighed. It wasn't the first time he heard his former mentor swear. The Snapes had certainly been thorough.
He pocketed the bonding bands.
Somehow he would have to find a way to give them to Snape.
"I met Kingsley in Diagon Alley yesterday. You'll never believe what he told me."
Harry snorted, nestling himself even deeper in the window seat, his favourite spot in Remus' cottage. "Bill has barely mentioned anything else the past few days. And if that is not enough, Kingsley is part of the Castle clean-up team as well. I think both of them need to polish up on their silencing spells."
"You poor thing," Remus said, though his voice was filled with glee.
"Never mind about them. What have you been doing this past week?"
"I've been checking out a couple of new books on the Dark Arts and making lesson plans. School starts in two weeks. You?"
"I've been drowning in trinkets. It's challenging, to say the least."
"Found anything interesting?"
Harry could tell Remus was eager to hear more.
"If you're interested in fertility statues that have hexes on them to turn men impotent."
Remus laughter filled the room, and Harry couldn't help but join him.
"It's a wonder the Snapes even had a child then."
That was one way of looking at it of course, though Harry doubted Snape would see the humour in that.
Ice-cream at Fortescue's. It just wasn't the same without Ron.
"So, when is Ron coming over?"
"Not before October I'm afraid. Apparently he and Charlie are very busy with a couple of newborns."
"I still can't believe he just quit his job and left to work with Charlie."
"He wants me to come over ... permanently. He says they could use someone in research, and if I don't like that, there are plenty of other possibilities."
"Have you packed yet?"
Hermione's sigh made it clear she'd been considering it.
"I miss him, Harry. I know it's barely been two months, but he sounds so much happier than he did when he was an Auror."
It was what Hermione didn't say that grabbed him.
"You're not happy with your work?"
"No ... I mean ... It's not the work," Hermione sputtered. "I just never thought missing him would ... I want to be where he is, even if no job is available for me there."
"Then go," he said as he got up and wrapped his arms around her.
"Yes," she replied, her voice more steady, more determined, "I think I will."
"That's the Hermione I know and love."
Hermione snuggled closer into his arms.
"Do you know the Ministry is contemplating selling Darkwood Castle after the clean-up?"
"They can't sink any lower, can they? First they sell the artifacts, and now this."
"Yes, I couldn't believe it myself. Who would want to live there?"
"I know you said Snape didn't care, but I can't believe he'd go for this. I mean ..."
Hermione squeezed his hand and Harry knew she understood.
"I owled him yesterday, after I heard. He hasn't owled back though. Legally, he can still claim the castle."
And have it destroyed, Harry thought. At least, that's what he would do.
"Right," he said as he finished his ice-cream. "Where would you like to go next?"
"Well, I promised Mrs. Weasley to check up on the twins."
Harry laughed. Mrs. Weasley would never check up on her sons herself, but she had no scruples to send others to spy on them.
"Right, Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes it is then."
It was time, he had told himself, to sit down and contemplate where to go from here. Everywhere he turned, every conversation and every thought in his head seemed to have Snape worm his way into it at one point or another.
He hadn't even met the man since 'that night'. He had planned to, but since the Darkwood Castle job had come up, he had just been too busy and too tired. Being at the castle day in day out hadn't helped matters much. Even if the man hadn't been there in years, the whole castle was permeated with his presence, not to mention the memories that triggered.
Harry took the bonding bands from the table and spun them around in his hands. Had he gone mad?
No. That needed rephrasing. It was insulting towards ...
Oh, Merlin! He was even defending the man, and to himself to boot.
He sighed. He had fallen for Snape. Who would have thought?
Hermione had told him once that he probably wouldn't recognise love if it bit him in the arse. Though she had meant his obliviousness to Neville's feelings towards him.
Both he and Neville had been very embarrassed when he finally clued in to that, and had avoided each other for weeks. In the end they decided their friendship was more important, and Neville set up home quite happily with Blaise Zabini.
Neville with a Slytherin ...
Anyway, it seemed Hermione was right. She'd love to hear that.
But what was next, now that he had recognised his feelings for what they were? What to do?
Unfortunately all Harry could think of was to pay a visit to the dungeons.
Which was easier said than done.
So, here he was, standing in the dungeon halls, about to knock on Snape's door, trembling like a student awaiting detention.
It was a long time since he had felt this nervous about meeting Snape, but sleeping with the man, drunk or not, could do that to a guy.
He made to knock, but stopped short of touching the door. A soft humming reached his ears and there was a slight resistance in the air when he moved his fingers closer. Snape had warded his door, in abundance.
But Harry wasn't a Curse Breaker for nothing. He took his custom-made spelled earplug out of the top of his staff and put it in his ear, listening intently.
Double wards, and linked as well, but clearly only designed to discourage visitors, not to keep them out. He never could resist a challenge.
It took him twelve minutes to break them and two and a half more to open the door.
"What do you think you are doing?" Snape's tone of voice was one of annoyance and surprise at the same time, which only he could pull off.
He had no illusions about Snape not detecting him, but hadn't expected him to be waiting behind the door.
Though a bundle of nerves on the inside, Harry still managed a smile. "Testing your wards, of course. Not bad, though a tad overdone maybe."
"Only a Gryffindor would forget that we are in Slytherin territory."
Yes, a typical Snape answer.
"Care to tell me what it is about my desk you find so appealing, Potter?"
Cursing Snape's ability to move without sound, he used his staff to find a chair. Unless Snape had moved his furniture in the last ten years, which he doubted, that shouldn't pose any problems.
"Stop hovering, Potter, and sit down," Snape grumbled just as Harry found the chair, and he could just imagine the sneer on his face.
So much for gracefulness then.
Just say something, Harry urged himself as he played with the bonding bands hidden in his inner pocket, but he couldn't think of anything. He would only use the bands as a last resort, it wasn't what he had come for.
It would be easier if Snape had something to say, though Harry did realise that Snape probably expected him to speak up. Should he mention Darkwood Castle at all? The man knew he was working there, didn't he?
"I almost thought you wouldn't come."
What? What was he talking about?
"I'm sorry. I don't understand."
"Have you not read my note then?"
The confusion in Snape's voice was clear, but only added to Harry's.
"Note?" was all he managed.
Another silence, and Harry waited.
The rustling of fabric, the shaky breath, thrumming fingers, it could only mean one thing; Snape was nervous.
"What note?" Harry prompted, making sure to keep his voice soft, undemanding.
A sigh. "I ... after we ..."
Harry had never heard Snape so unintelligible.
"I put a note on your bedside table before I left."
Oh, Merlin! Snape actually left him a message? That was ... Wow!
"What kind of spell did you use on it?"
"Why would I need to charm it?"
Why would he need to ... Oh! ... But he always assumed that ...
"He never told you, did he? Fuck! I always thought ... He didn't tell you."
"You are rambling, Potter. What wasn't I told by whom? And, pray tell, what does charming a note have to do with it?"
Harry sighed and shook his head before he began recounting his story, hoping he'd get away with the short version.
Barely two sentences into it, images swirled around in his head, and pretty soon he was caught up in his own memories.
Voldemort didn't look as imposing as he once had. Not now Harry had all the facts. They'd been throwing curses at each other and were both panting, though, Voldemort sounded more like an asthmatic pig. Around him Order members were fighting Death Eaters, but Harry knew better than to pay attention to them. He needed all his concentration. The spell he'd been preparing was in his head, but Voldemort had not given him an opening, yet. He'd have to do it soon though, before he was getting too tired.
Suddenly Voldemort stumbled backwards, and Harry had his opening. In the corner of his eyes he saw black robes sliding past him, which he hoped belonged to Snape. If not, he just stepped into a trap that would cost him his life. He didn't let that stop him though.
He began reciting the spell, paying close attention to Voldemorts movements.
Time seemed to freeze when he saw him raising his wand once more, just as Harry started the last part of the incantation. He was vulnerable now, but there was nothing he could do about that. He planted his feet firmly on the ground and raised his wand, almost shouting the final words.
Something hit him that caused him to look up when he shouldn't have and the bright light his spell spew forth blinded him. He hastily closed his eyes, but it didn't make any difference, it was as if his eyes were burning.
He had been in St. Mungo's for weeks, where they tried spell after spell and potion after potion. Nothing had helped. His sight had been too damaged to be repaired.
Yet, after all was said and done, for some strange reason, Harry had never minded as much. He always knew victory would come with a price, and as prices go, this was cheap.
Half an hour after he finished, Snape had yet to react. The man hadn't even uttered a single sound.
Harry hung his head. Time to go then.
Using his staff, he got up and walked to the door, that easily opened under his whispered command this time. He hesitated, hoping Snape would call him back.
But he didn't.
He could barely believe he found it.
After checking the bedside table, up, under and in, he had searched under the bed and in every corner. He had almost given up hope.
He would never even have thought about looking under the stupid carpet if he hadn't tripped over it. It hurt like hell when he hit the floor, but feeling the neatly folded parchment beneath his fingers, had more than made up for that.
The parchment was slightly dusty, so Harry blew on it and wiped it clean on his robe. His hands trembled as he opened it, pronouncing the familiar charm.
Harry cursed. It had been too much to hope for, really. As yet, a charm that could read out written text, especially the spiky writing of Snape, had to be found, invented even.
Disappointed, he refolded the note and put it in his breast pocket. Now he'd probably never know what the man wrote him. He wasn't going to ask someone else to read it out for him.
So, the only person able to tell him what was in that note was Snape himself. He wasn't going to hold his breath for that to happen.
Bugger it all!
Holding up a hand to keep Bill quiet, Harry concentrated on the pitch of the bleeping emanating from the dagger again. It was the tenth attempt to disarm the damn thing, but he couldn't seem to get his timing right, no matter how he tried.
He put his hands up in defeat and took his earpiece out. "What is it, Bill?"
"Let's take a walk."
The request was non-negotiable, judging by the tone in Bill's voice and Harry suddenly felt like student caught after a prank.
Letting his staff guide him, he followed Bill outside, putting up a silencing spell around them as they sat down on a low wall.
"What's going on, Harry?"
Claiming ignorance was futile; Bill knew him too well. It didn't mean he had to pour his heart out though.
Yet, he did. From the drinking to ending up in bed with Snape, to leaving his dungeons four days ago.
"You had sex with Snape?"
Harry was glad he had thought of the silencing charm.
"Yes, well ..."
"You and Snape had sex."
"I think we just established that, yeah."
"That's ... it's ... you had sex with Snape ... Wow!"
"What?" Harry exclaimed, wondering if Bill was caught by the fall out of a disarmed hex.
"Do you even know how many times I fantasised about that in my seventh year?"
"Oh, come on. You've heard his voice. Sometimes I thought I'd come right there and then."
Harry could only gape. Bill had fancied Snape?
He was right about the voice though, though it had never had that effect on him while he was at Hogwarts.
"So, did you?"
A snort. "Let's just say that, if anything, Snape taught me self-control."
"You're not ..."
"I don't think Kingsley would like it. Besides, it was years ago. No, he's all yours, Harry."
"But, he isn't."
"Snape barely does anything he doesn't want to."
"I was drunk and very persuasive. Scratch that, I was acting like a slut," Harry admitted
"I guess you finally lived up to your reputation then?"
"Ha, ha. Bloody funny!"
It wasn't his fault, Witch Weekly printed every bloody picture of him in female company. It was a wonder his dating men had as yet to be reported.
"You told me he left you a note. Give it to me, and I'll read it for you."
For a moment, Harry was at a loss. Should he give Bill the note, or not? He wasn't sure he wanted Bill to know what was in it. Snape was a very private man. But at the same time, he desperately wanted to know what the note said.
Slowly he took the note out of his inner pocket and stretched his arm, not wanting to let go when he felt Bill take it.
"Trust me, Harry."
He always had.
"Right, this is it," Bill said as Harry heard him unfold the note. "Harry, it says ..."
Harry? Snape had actually called him Harry?
"Harry, See me when you're sober. Severus Snape."
That was it? That was what he'd been so anxious to find out?
See me? What kind of message was that?
"What did you expect, Harry?"
Bill must have noticed his disappointment.
"Romance, a declaration of love maybe? This is Snape we're talking about, Harry. He doesn't do romance. This is probably as close as you'll get to that."
Harry hadn't really thought of it that way, but Bill was right. It was all he could expect from a man like Snape.
"Go see him."
"Go. I'll take care of this dagger."
Thus here he was ... knocking on Remus' door.
Oh, he'd been down to the dungeons, but had decided against that idea at the very last minute. The ball was in Snape's court now.
So, he had turned and gone up to Remus' chambers instead.
"Harry. What a surprise. Come in."
Harry smiled and made his way over to the couch, no staff needed for that, he'd been here often enough.
"Have you and Bill finished at Darkwood Castle yet?"
Harry shook his head. "Unfortunately not."
"Unfortunately? Last time we spoke you thought it was challenging. What has changed?"
"The atmosphere at the castle is very depressing, to say the least."
"I could have told you that, Potter."
Of course, Snape had to choose today of all days to visit Remus.
"Your Wolfsbane, Lupin."
Oh, bollocks. How could he have forgotten about the full moon tonight?
"Thank you, Severus."
Harry could hear Remus gulping down the potion and imagined the sour look on his face. He couldn't blame him, he could smell the stench from where he sat.
"Potter, I need to speak to you about your findings at the castle. See me before you leave."
Harry bit his lip in an attempt not to react. Instead he thought of Bill's words and simply nodded.
"Good. Take care Lupin."
"Go easy on my first years, Severus."
A grunt, which sounded resigned to Harry's ears, was the only answer Remus got before Harry heard the door close.
He stayed a little over an hour, but was too distracted to actually remember everything Remus told him. Well, apart from the latest on Bill and Kingsley, but that wasn't hard to miss, since he saw both men at the castle every day. By now he knew which places to stay clear off during breaks.
With a pang of regret on not becoming an Animagus, Harry hugged Remus goodbye. "Owl me."
He didn't need to ask, Remus always owled him after a transformation.
"Keep and eye on Bill and Kingsley for me, all right?"
"I will. Take care, Remus. See you soon."
Which brought him back to the dungeons, again, trembling and wondering if it was to late to turn around.
"You're late, Potter."
Yes, he was. Too late to hide anyway.
"Well, don't just stand there. Come in."
"Oh, for crying ..."
Harry started when he was grabbed, pulled inside and pushed into a chair.
"No, I don't drink," Harry answered automatically, only realising how strange that might sound as he heard Snape snort. "I ..."
Oh, who was he kidding? Snape wouldn't believe him anyway, so why bother?
Unfortunately he had no idea what else to say, so he waited for Snape to tell him what he wanted.
But Snape stayed eerily silent.
It was becoming oppressive, and Harry wanted to leave, wanted anything but silence. This was not how ...
'This is Snape we're talking about,' Bill's voice echoed in his head.
Right. There was nothing he could expect from Snape. He would have to broach the subject. Snape had invited him, and now it was his turn again. He was starting to understand the rules.
"I found your note," he began. "I'm sober now."
"Well, I don't, but it doesn't bother me," Harry said airily, as he got out of his chair, sank to his knees and crawled in the direction of Snape's voice.
The gasp Snape uttered went straight to his groin.
Another gasp sounded when Harry bumped into the man's thigh, but when Harry ran his hands up Snape's shins, Snape went utterly quiet.
"I get drunk once a year," he started, "to forget, to drown and to remember. It was the only thing I could do, until you showed me it doesn't have to be."
He revelled in the trembling muscles beneath his fingers. He brought his face close to Snape's and kissed him lightly on his lips. "I can't stop thinking about you, and I want to know ..."
The next moment he lay flat on his back with Snape on top of him, lips close to his ear. He couldn't help but smile at the familiar feeling.
"Yes. I want you ... willing, wanton, screaming and begging. I want it all."
This time the gasp was his.
He moved his hands down Snape's back to cup his arse and pull him closer. "I'm all yours."
As long as Snape, no, not Snape, Severus. As long as Severus wanted to.
"Mine!" Severus replied as his hand snaked between their bodies and under Harry's robes, rubbing Harry's erection through his briefs relentlessly.
Harry's breath hitched. If Severus kept this up he ...
"Come for me, Harry."
Damn that voice, was Harry's last thought before he exploded.
Harry wished he could see Severus' expression now. Did he look relaxed?
He would love to touch his face and find out, but he couldn't bring himself to wake the man up. Not when they had been up half the night. Besides, he desperately needed to find the loo.
Sliding out of bed, he barely suppressed a scream when his feet touched the cold floor. Did it have to be so bloody cold in here?
He reached out, grabbed his robes and shuffled to the bathroom door as he put it on. He opened the door he remembered being the bathroom, but realised it had to be Severus' wardrobe when he could feel nothing but clothes.
"As amusing as it is to see you bumbling about like this ... Harry, I'd rather not see you wet my floor. The bathroom is the first door to your right."
Right ... err ... right. That was humiliating. Though Severus calling him Harry was nice.
As he got up from the toilet again, he heard a soft clanging sound. He smiled. The bonding bands. He still carried the bonding bands with him.
Feeling his way around, Harry walked back to the bed, holding out the bonding bands for Severus to see.
"Isn't that a bit presumptuous, Potter?"
Presum ... Harry blushed. He hadn't thought about how it would look.
Shaking his head he got back in bed and put the bands in Severus' hands. "No. These bands are yours. They're pretty old, early nineteenth century, I think. I haven't been able to trace it all the way back, yet. There are multiple protective spells on them and one of the magical signatures led me to your maternal grandmother. I found them in the castle. I thought you'd like to have them."
The deafening silence that followed proved that Harry's instincts had been right and he wrapped his arms around Severus.
"I was eight when nana showed them to me. She told me one day I would fall in love and these would be for me and my betrothed. I looked for the bands after she died, but they had disappeared."
Severus' parents were not mentioned, Harry suspected they never would be. He was surprised Severus told him this much.
"Thank you, Harry."
Just one more hex to go and all would be finished.
Harry sighed. He wasn't sure he was pleased about it. After all, once their work was finished the Ministry could go on with their plans of selling the castle.
He, Bill and Kingsley had tried every trick in the book to delay the inevitability, while Hermione tried to convince Severus. Harry had wisely kept out of that one. No matter how much he would love to see Darkwood Castle destroyed, he was not going to do anything to ruin his still new relationship with Severus. Nor had Severus discussed it with Harry.
"Just one more, Bill ... just one more."
"I just received an owl from Hermione."
"Snape claimed the castle and ordered it destroyed."
There were no suitable words for what Harry was feeling. All he could think of was that he had to get to Severus.
"Would you mind?" he asked Bill, pointing in what he hoped was the direction of his desk.
Bill's sigh sounded fake, and Harry smiled.
"Go ... I'll take care of this ... what in Merlin's name is it, anyway?"
"Fertility statue. Be careful though ... Kingsley won't be pleased if you botch this one up."
Harry took his staff and couldn't stop laughing as he heard Bill's frustrated outcry.
"Oh, bloody hell! Not another impotence hex!"
Harry could almost imagine the towers sinking to the ground as he heard the explosion, and a weird sense of triumph came over him. Though Severus stood ramrod straight next to him, the slight trembling of his hand betrayed his emotions. Harry ran his thumb over the back of Severus' hand in a soothing motion. He had been sceptic when Severus said he wanted to be here, wanted to witness the destruction of his family home, but it was starting to make sense.
Severus needed closure.
Long after the explosions stopped and they were surrounded by silence once more, they Apparated to the outskirts of Hogsmeade, where sounds of joy greeted them as they made their way to their friends. No words were necessary as they exchanged handshakes. They simply enjoyed their mutual silence.
Harry was relieved when Severus finally relaxed.
As the first bang of fireworks could be heard and the others joined the festivities, Severus kept Harry behind.
"Let's go home."
Harry touched the band on his wrist before leaning up to kiss his lover. "I wasn't going to drink, Severus."
"Of course not, but, like you, I never cared much for these celebrations."
He was that obvious then?
"And I distinctly remember you promising me something involving my desk."
Harry's breath hitched as he imagined his lover bent over his desk, Severus' seductive voice making him painfully hard.
Right, then ... home it is, he thought as he grabbed Severus and Apparated them both, ignoring Severus' whispered "Impatient brat."