Title: Playing at Love
Word Count: 5000
Summary: Harry wants to know why he's staring.
Warnings (Highlight to view): For AU, cross-gen, and minor HBP spoilers.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling; various publishers, including, but not limited to: Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books; and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: Thank you, stasia, for the title suggestion. Thank you, eaivalefay and stasia, for beta'ing. Dedicated to rhiandra.
There were lots of reasons why what she was about to do was a bad idea, but Harry didn't care. She'd seen him staring at her, felt the weight of him in her mind, and one way or another, she was going to find out what he was playing at. The Pensieve, well, using it was a way of letting him get some of his own back, and at least it was more discreet than writing him a letter. Still, she was a little worried about her plan, and more than a little worried about why it had suddenly become so important for her to know why Professor Snape couldn't stop staring at her.
Hermione said that it was "only natural" for the professor to be staring.
"Everyone," she had told Harry, while glaring pointedly at Ron's frozen gaze at Harry's breasts that morning at breakfast, "is staring."
Harry had elbowed Ron then—again—and he had then had the good sense not to say anything before looking away. He had been looking away for two months. She knew that he'd be looking away at least until Hermione and he shagged.
"Which won't be until they're officially engaged, I'd imagine," she whispered, as she pulled the borrowed silver bowl from its red velvet pouch.
It had been easy to get Professor Dumbledore to lend her the device.
"I just . . . need to sort some stuff out," she'd told him.
The old wizard had found her "reason" perfectly understandable. After all, it wasn't every day that one of the students in his charge was cursed with Tiresias' Choice. Harry now had seven months to decide if she wanted to remain as she was, or if it would be better to allow the painful change back into the sex of her birth when the curse wore off. She wished she had seven years to make her decision.
"That's what Tiresias had," Harry muttered, thinking again about how the curse's reverse could be halted. A sex magic component. Why'd there have to be a sex magic component?
Her reasons to kill Bellatrix Lestrange numbered two.
The bitch had escaped after cursing Sirius through the Veil, but not before she had turned and cast one more malicious hex at Harry as Remus held her back from following her godfather. That the spell hadn't affected Remus had to do with his lycanthropy, she'd been told. She felt no better for knowing it. For the entire summer, in fact, she'd felt nothing but numb and vaguely disoriented. The disorientation stemmed from the potions Snape had been feeding her; the numbness, well, who wouldn't be numb after losing the man who had promised to make her a home.
Every time his name rose in her mind, it was followed by the image of his shocked face disappearing into darkness.
Harry had no desire to follow him into it, however, that much she had realized in the past five months. No, her desires had become bent on revenge, as she'd slowly thrown off the effects of Snape's calming draughts and "woken up" to the world around her again. She felt things more, now, sensations that hummed through her body so strongly that she thought she'd never be still again. And the professor, well, he was responsible for that, Harry knew.
But she didn't know why he was staring at her all the time, and she was going to find out. It was knowledge she wanted, knowledge she could get, knowledge that had nothing to do with what had happened to Sirius or to herself or to the Order's plans to keep her safe until she was needed.
Harry had learned manipulation from the master of the craft, and she was tired of being worked upon. She suspected that Snape felt the same way; certainly the conversations she'd overheard that summer as she huddled on her cot in the infirmary seemed to confirm this. Snape had wanted to explain matters fully to her, but Dumbledore had objected that it was not yet time.
He had said, "The child is too confused after what has happened, too emotional. We must protect her, Severus, not add to her burdens."
Sod Dumbledore, she thought, placing the Pensieve on the stone floor of the Chamber of Secrets, which had been easy to unseal, and the only place in which she could find any privacy of late. Sod his protection! I've lost my bollocks, not my mind.
Sure, Dumbledore had always kept things from her, but she'd noticed that everyone seemed to treat her differently since she'd developed breasts. Sexism was alive and well in the Wizarding world, but that didn't mean that Harry had to accept it. She was the . . . person in the prophecy, after all, and she was going to find a way to end things with Voldemort on her own.
Once I find out why he's staring at me.
Harry thought it was reasonable to assume that Snape, so very isolated and bitter and controlled, might lose a bit of it if he were given a discreet method by which to do so.
If he were given encouragement, she mused, contemplating how much of an arse Ron had been since "Lav-Lav" had first stuck her tongue down his throat. Snape knows something about me that Dumbledore won't let him tell me, but if Ron's idiocy is anything to go by, following Lavender around like a puppy, doing whatever she wants, well, maybe it's the same for Potions masters.
With this in mind, she drew her wand and placed it to her temple to draw out the memory that she'd hoped Snape might find in her mind when her lessons with him resumed, lessons that, thanks to Dumbledore, had been suspended for the time being; hence, Harry had acquired the Pensieve.
He won't be able to help himself. I know that much. He wants to look.
His eyes were accusatory when she entered his office later that evening, and she could feel his gaze like hands upon her skin; it made her shiver, and she did nothing to hide that fact.
"Potter, you can't be serious."
"I am, Sir."
"The Headmaster has for—"
"Professor Dumbledore only said that we couldn't do anything until I was feeling up to it. I'm better, now. I want to keep training."
"Don't interrupt me, girl," Snape growled, spitting out his final word as if it were an insult as he rose from behind his desk, "and get out of my office."
"Won't you at least let me keep it here?" Harry pleaded, nodding at the Pensieve and allowing her lower lip to tremble in a Lavender-like manner. "I can't keep it in the dormitory. One of the others might—"
"Fine. Leave it. I'll take . . . the matter of your continued lessons up with the Headmaster as soon as it's convenient."
"Thank you, Sir," she told him, gratitude lacing her tremulous tone.
She turned to go, feigning reluctance by the slowness of her movements, and his voice stopped her before she could cross the threshold.
Harry formed her lips into a puzzled moue and glanced up at Snape through her fringe.
"Why ask me? Why not ask the Headmaster to teach you himself?"
She looked down, allowing an expression of confusion to play over her features. "Because . . . because I trust you, Sir. You're the only one who ever tells me what's going on."
That said, Harry rushed from the Potions master's office, as if she'd admitted something quite damning, indeed.
Harry knew she had Snape the next morning at breakfast; he arrived late for the meal, and, instead of entering the Great Hall by the professors' entrance behind the High Table, he came striding into the room from the main door to sidle past where she was sitting with Hermione. He stopped and stared at her for a moment before saying, "My office, seven sharp this evening, Potter. I need another blood sample."
The table broke into a susurrous of whispering as Snape continued to his seat, and Ron, pulling his attention away from Lavender, asked, "Don't you usually go to the infirmary for that sort of thing?"
Lying easily, Harry replied, "Uh, Professor Dumbledore thinks that Snape might be better able to find a cure for me than Madam Pomfrey."
"Good luck with that, Harry," Neville told her, watching her face intently as he reached across the table to give her hand a squeeze.
She allowed it, even though it felt weird, and saw that Snape had noted the gesture. Blushing, she pulled her hand back and picked up a piece of toast.
Hermione was staring, too, but her friend didn't say anything. Most everyone was trying their best not to say anything at all about what had happened, and Harry was glad. She was relieved when Ron merely shrugged and turned back to his girlfriend, and tried not to worry about how upset his doing so made Hermione.
She wasn't sure if she meant Ron, Draco—who was always watching her now—or Snape, but it felt good to think it of all of them.
She was almost late to Snape's office that evening because Professor Slughorn had stopped her in the corridor to invite her, again, to one of his gatherings. She knew she'd have to go; Dumbledore needed her to, and it was probably the only way she'd be able to talk to Ginny without having matters become awkward between them. Ginny hadn't taken Harry's new condition well at all, but Harry was so preoccupied about other things that she couldn't even feel guilty about it.
Snape's door opened before she could knock upon it.
"Don't just stand there, Potter," he snapped.
That he was obviously agitated—he had been pacing before his desk and went immediately to sit behind it, as if to use it as a shield when she entered—pleased her; it made her feel less nervous, as well, but she didn't allow herself to appear calm. Instead, she walked into the office and stood, fiddling with her fingers, in front of him, her head bowed, making a show of "daring" to peek through her fringe at the wizard.
She could see how hard it was for him to look at her, and that made her smile.
"What are you playing at?"
"Sir?" she asked, raising her head as if startled.
Snape's hands were holding on to the lip of his desk so tightly that his knuckles were white.
"What is it that you want, Potter?"
"I . . . I don't understand, Professor."
Turning sharp eyes to her own watery ones, the wizard demanded, "Don't play the innocent with me. I know you placed a compulsion charm on that Pensieve!"
Harry filled her mind with a stream of innocuous images meant to illustrate to Snape how very much afraid of discovery she was and said, "Co—compulsion charm? Oh, oh, no. Oh, Sir, I . . . I meant to—you saw?—it was supposed to be a spell of repulsion! Oh, God," she continued, openly crying, "I—you weren't meant to—I—I have to leave!"
Snape was at the door and barring her way before she reached it, just as she'd planned. Surprisingly warm hands landed on her shoulders to prevent her progress, and Harry struggled.
"Let me go! Let go of me! You weren't supposed to see!" she protested, her sobbing becoming so violent that it forced Snape to wind his arms around her to control her desperate flailing. "Please let me go, please—"
And then there they were—Snape's lips pressed firmly against her own, his mouth working against hers gently and inexorably, his tongue wrapping serpentine around hers as he coaxed her into a deep, searching kiss. Harry gave into it, gave it back to him, snaked her arms around his waist and clung to him as if to a lifeline, and couldn't repress the surge of triumph that ripped through her mind as she brought forth the image of herself—when she was a he—biting her lower lip despite the silencing charm on her bed curtains as she pulled her cock in time to Snape's imagined hands bringing her off one night—so many nights—the previous term in her dormitory.
Snape gasped against her mouth, pulled away, said, "You want me. You've wanted me for—"
She did not allow him to dwell on it. Instead, she forced their mouths together again and reached down between their bodies to stroke his turgid prick through his robes with the flat of her hand.
So big, she thought—as loudly and as wonderingly as she could.
It helped that she really did want to suck him into her mouth and keep sucking until he was spilling down her throat, until she had nursed him dry. Harry let Snape see that, too.
His knees almost buckled.
"Please," she whispered, her teasing hand pressing harder, her fingers attempting to encircle his cock in spite of the clothing that prevented it.
She was almost shocked when the man drew her up into her arms with a rough tenderness and carried her through his office into the corridor beyond it, kicking open another door in his haste and laying her carefully down on a bed.
Snape's bed, Harry thought, her attention rapt on the man's hands as they frantically pulled at the buttons of his trousers.
One of them popped off as he had opened enough of them to push his trousers down and step out of them, and she giggled nervously, pushed herself up on her elbows, while Snape moved to kneel above her body and present himself to her, his hands splayed upon the high headboard for support.
She didn't like how he wouldn't look at her, so she made no move to touch the thick, bobbing cock that swung invitingly over her mouth, instead contenting herself to breathe in deeply the scent of male musk that emanated from Snape's impatient prick.
"What are you waiting for?" he hissed. "This is what you want. I know it."
"Not like this. I want you to watch. I . . . I like it when you stare."
Snape made a sound like a whining groan and threw himself backward to land between Harry's legs on the bed. She moved, as well.
"Do it. Do anything you want. Just—fuck."
Harry had slipped off her shoes while Snape was flinging himself to the bed, and had begun running her heels lightly up his inner thighs. His hips bucked, and she suppressed another giggle, ordering him, "Sit up and swing your legs over the side of the bed. I want . . . I want to kneel."
And that had been the right thing to say, she knew, as Snape's breath caught in his throat and he obeyed her at once.
Can it really be this easy?
Harry slid off the bed and rose up from the floor, placing her hands on Snape's thighs and staring at him.
"I'm going to suck you now," she breathed on the head of his prick, and then without further preamble, even though she wasn't completely sure what she ought to do, she drew the flat of her tongue up the underside of Snape's cock from base to head, and then took as much of his length as she could into her mouth, down her relaxed throat, and began to bob.
Up, down, up, down—teeth covered—suck a bit—let him move into you, she thought, feeling grateful for that chat with Luna. In, out, let your mouth widen, taste him, she told herself, swiping her tongue tip over his leaking head and taking that opportunity to breathe.
Harry liked it. She liked how Snape tasted, liked his fingers twisting in her hair, liked how tense his hips felt as she grasped them for purchase, liked how he moaned. It wasn't at all as difficult as she'd imagined it would be. In fact, it was better than anything she'd ever wanted, the feeling of power she had as she sucked off her professor.
Severus, she thought, speeding up her progress, wanting to feel him come inside her mouth, needing to hear him cry out.
When he did, it was closer to an exclamation of pain than of pleasure, but Harry didn't dwell on that because she was too busy greedily swallowing the result of her experiment.
"N—not so . . . bitter," she said, kneeling back and clutching his knees as she gasped from her exertions. "You . . . you . . . taste so good, Sir."
The widening of his eyes was proof enough that she had him even more firmly than she'd first thought. "Sir." She could see how he flinched at the mark of respect coming from the mouth that had just been wrapped around his prick, the mouth that belonged to his student.
"Potter. Harry, I . . . I'm so—"
"Would it be all right to kiss you again?" she interrupted him with practiced guilelessness. "I liked kissing you, too."
Snape reached for her then and pulled her up into a desperate embrace, his mouth finding her own. He kissed her to stifle his sob, but Harry could feel the tears coursing down both their cheeks.
Whatever the circumstances, it felt good to be held, even if it was Snape who was doing the holding. But she did feel a bit guilty.
You're so lonely, she thought at him. Oh, you're so lonely, and so am I.
Despite the game she was playing, nothing could have been more true. It frightened her to know it, terrified her to realize that she wanted him to hold her, to keep holding her.
His arms tightened around her, and she knew he'd "heard," that he understood.
"Do you want to come?" he asked, with an endearing uncertainty that was so far from what she'd expected it made her stiffen. "No—don't. Don't be scared, Harry. I won't hurt you," he said, readjusting her position so that she was sitting comfortably in his lap and cradling her head on one of his shoulders; he even rocked her a little.
Harry felt a hand soothingly card her hair and said, "I'm not afraid of you, Se—Severus."
"Are you sure of that?" he breathed into her hair, his voice low and husky.
Harry had never heard anyone sound the same. She shivered.
"Here, lie back," Snape instructed, and Harry followed his body down to the bed and didn't protest as one of the wizard's legs moved in between her own.
Enveloped in the warmth of Snape's body, feeling the light kisses he placed along her neck, she found it more difficult to focus. Her body seemed to throb with need.
"I'm so . . . wet," she admitted, feeling foolish. "Is that supposed to happen?"
Snape chuckled. "Surely you've . . . explored your new body in the months since . . . ."
It was a lie—and if Snape had looked into the Pensieve as she knew he must have done, he'd know it was one—but Harry was suddenly embarrassed and uncertain.
What am I doing?
"No?" Snape asked, his tone that of disbelief as he traced a path from the hollow of her throat, over one peaking nipple, down her belly to her mons, and cupping her there. "No?" he asked again, as if waiting for something.
When she didn't respond, Snape removed his hand and rolled up to lean over and stare down at her.
"Harry, I know you're lying to me. You know I know you're lying. You wanted me to look. You wanted this. The compulsion charm?" he asked.
And rather smugly, too, or so Harry thought. But Luna had said that was how men were after orgasm: smug. "It makes them think they own you, a little," Luna had told her, and it seemed to Harry that Snape's behavior was proof enough of that theory.
I can still taste you on my tongue.
"Good. Because I'm going to know your taste, as well."
Somehow, the indulgent expression on Snape's face as he ran one finger up her leg, under her skirt, and slid it inside of her knickers was not as comforting as she'd imagined it. She thought she would be in control the entire time; obviously, Snape felt he had her in his power. It was unsettling.
But as soon as his questing finger slid between her folds and began to rub her clit, Harry didn't mind. She forgot all about her concerns. She couldn't think of anything but the tension coiling in her belly.
"Like that, do you?" he asked silkily, moving to position himself between her thighs. "I know you do. I know you want me."
And that was true, too.
Everything became sensation without thought then, and Harry lost track of the time for awhile in her writhing. It was a surprise when she realized that she was nude, that cool air was dancing over her skin even as Snape's hot tongue was lapping at her cunt. It had never felt so hers before, either—not even when she'd been making the memory that she'd left for him to find in the Pensieve. When he began to suck on her clit in sharp, teasing slurps while pushing fingers inside of her body and rubbing them over a rough patch of skin that made her squeeze her eyes shut and keen utter nonsense, any pretense she'd had of knowing what she was doing, of being able to control what she needed to be doing to Snape, fled her mind with the last vestiges of her conscious thought.
He was doing it to her, now. He was the manipulator. He had her.
But Harry didn't care; all she could do was need and beg and scream.
"Severus, Severus, Severus!"
When she regained consciousness, she found herself floating in Severus' arms—in a great bathtub filled with scented water and bubbles. She could feel the slightly nubby texture of a woolen flannel rubbing over her breasts, and a hardness pressing up into her buttocks.
"I'm not fond of cleaning charms for all occasions," Snape murmured, continuing to massage her with the flannel. "Brava, Harry. You were inspired."
Something in Snape's tone made her feel cold, despite the warmth of the water.
"Wh—what do you mean?"
"Did you truly believe that you could coax me into committing an indiscretion by offering me your body?"
"But I—but you—"
"Yes, we did, but that isn't the 'indiscretion' to which I was referring," Snape told her, tossing aside the flannel and turning Harry so that she was lying against him chest to chest before kissing her.
This time, his kiss was bruising, angry, but Harry didn't fight him; she liked it too much to fight him.
When he broke their embrace, Snape didn't look as furious as his mouth had felt. "It wasn't a poor plan, not with the . . . suppositions you made about me. Therein lay your mistake."
"What are you talking about?" Harry demanded, becoming irritated.
Snape reached up to tweak one of her nipples—none too gently—and replied, "You forgot. You don't know me, and you are the inexperienced virgin, Potter, not I."
The matter-of-fact way in which Snape had the gall to speak to her made Harry furious. She pushed against his chest with both hands in an attempt to free herself from his grasp, but it didn't work—and Snape laughed.
Harry stared and stopped her struggling. She'd never seen Snape laugh before, nor even truly smile, and the alteration it caused in his features made it impossible to look away.
"You have no idea," he told her, his voice low and caressing, "how very much I was hoping you'd try this route, my route, me, for information."
"That's true enough, though I think you'd have found my father rather more objectionable than my mother," Snape mocked, pulling Harry back toward him for another kiss.
Harry bit his lower lip hard enough to draw blood.
His reaction was to thrust up one leg between hers and rub his knee against her sex, and Harry felt as if she'd become boneless. She melted into his arms again and let him touch her, thrusting her hips downward in search of more friction.
"Such a slut, you are," Snape hissed against her mouth, capturing it again and muffling her cries as she came once more. "I knew you'd be magnificent," he murmured, once her shuddering had ceased.
Harry wasn't sure how she felt about Snape's 'compliment', so she just lay gasping against his chest, hating herself for liking what he had just done to her—but thinking, Do that again.
"Oh, I think I can promise you that I will, Potter."
"Don't call me that," Harry protested, jerking up her head to glare at Snape.
"No? So be it. Harry," he breathed against her lips. "Harry," he said again, before kissing her.
This time, his kiss was soft, needful, almost kind, and Harry didn't struggle.
Sometime later, she told him, "I just wanted to know."
"Why I was staring?"
"More than that."
"Then I expect," Snape told her while wrapping her in a large towel, "that you should try questioning me directly."
Harry gaped at him. "You mean, you'd tell me things?"
"Tell you, teach you, show you—Harry, I assure you that after tonight, I'll be more than willing to share many things with you. Now come to bed. You're as exhausted as I am."
Harry followed Snape without a second thought. It felt right, getting into his bed. It felt perfect, being held by him. And she knew why he'd been staring now, so at least that much of her plan had gone as she'd hoped. She fell asleep thinking that perhaps things would work out all right, after all.
Still more than a little aroused, Severus held Harry, listening to her sleeping sighs and repressing his desire to wake her while thinking about what he'd done. He felt no guilt for having "allowed" her to seduce him, nor any regrets. He'd never touched a student before receiving Potter's rather graphic invitation to do so in the Pensieve—which he would have investigated, compulsion charm, or no—and when he considered how very much Albus was asking him to give up, it seemed fair that he should take something for himself.
And I've been staring at Potter's mouth and wanting to make use of it since he was fourteen.
It amused him that the boy cum girl had been staring at his for just as long—longer, in fact—staring at it and imagining that its owner wouldn't know what to do with it.
Severus smiled at that thought. The girl was foolish, though she closer now to a woman than a child, and he loved her for making the arrogant assumptions of a true innocent. He had always found it so much easier to work his machinations upon an innocent than to manipulate the expectations of the jaded individuals with whom he more often interacted. Of course, in his role as spy, he could handle either sort of person. He had to know how; it was his job to control people, to make them tell him things even as they came to him for information.
Harry needs to be controlled. If I cannot accomplish this as her professor, than I shall succeed in the task as her lover. She's more lonely, more desperate, than she knows. She needs to be loved, and I need the comfort of pretending to give it. That mouth . . . .
He knew then that he'd have to wake the brat early; he wanted her mouth again before she left him. But there would still be time, after he'd had it, for other lessons.
Perhaps she'll even permit me to cure her, he thought, his cock twitching in optimistic approval of the idea.
But it didn't matter to Severus whether Harry Potter came to him as a girl or a boy; he only knew that he wanted the brat, had for some time, and now he knew that he did have the Gryffindor—in a way that neither of his masters could take from him.
He fell asleep pleased for the first time in many years that he had been sorted into Slytherin.
"All sorted out, Harry?" Albus asked the girl when she returned his Pensieve to him much sooner than he'd thought she would.
"Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir. Are we having another lesson soon?"
"Have you spoken to Professor Slughorn?"
"Uh, not yet, but—"
"I expect you to try," Albus admonished. "No, Harry. I'm afraid I'm rather too tired today," he continued, cradling his wounded hand.
The guilt that flickered across the girl's face was not precisely welcome, but it would serve.
There is so much to be done, and so little time in which to achieve it.
Albus returned the Pensieve to its niche after Harry had gone and smiled, certain that he had found a way to deal with at least one of his problems—two of them, as the case was—for he had known of Harry's intentions when she had come to him for the device, just as he had known how Severus would react to those intentions.
Albus did a good bit of staring, himself.
All young people believe that they can play at love without falling into it, he mused, charmed by delightful inexperience of his two favorite people. Let them fall, then. They'll more easily rise to meet the challenges of the future together if they do.
As he took himself to his bedchamber and fell into his own, cold bed—alone, as always—he didn't scruple to wonder if the events which he had set in motion were bad ideas; to do so would be a weakness, a failure, that those who relied upon him could not afford. His self-confidence was both pragmatic and expedient; for if he, the architect of all the Orders' plans, could not himself hope for the future, why then, that future would not come. Albus closed his eyes then, and allowed his dreams of those later days he'd never see lull him to sleep in their warm embrace.