Title: The World Without
Warning (highlight to view): For Harry never having had bollocks, and, therefore, an AU fic—which includes Deathly Hallows spoilers.
Word Count: 2445
Summary: Harry needs Snape to come back.
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: Written for rhiandra. Thank you, flowing_fire, fodirteg and jadzia7667, for beta'ing.
When Harry got to Snape's side, he clutched her robes and drew her towards him. Harry stared at him numbly while her hands moved to cover the gaping wound in his neck; Hermione collected the memories streaming from Snape; and Ron, no doubt moved by Harry's example, produced the phial of Dittany and put it to use—but it seemed as though it was too late by the time Voldemort's voice thundered through the air. Still, they did what they could.
"Blood's stopped," Ron said, as it fell quiet again.
"So has he, I think," Hermione whispered, gently pulling Harry's hands away from Snape's throat and spelling them clean.
No one said anything after that—Hermione and Ron knew better than to discuss Snape with Harry anymore—but, as if they'd agreed, they pulled Snape's body into the tunnel behind them, Harry shucking off her robes and covering Snape before hurrying to the castle: it just seemed like the proper thing to do.
After viewing Snape's memories in the Pensieve, Harry felt it was the very least they could have done—and she thought that she finally understood a little better why Snape had always behaved towards her the way he had—but she couldn't dwell on these thoughts long, for there was simply no time.
Events rushed by faster and yet faster, and then Harry, died, as well.
It wasn't until after Luna had helped her slip away unnoticed from the Great Hall and she'd eaten that Harry felt up to the task of reclaiming Snape, and, despite her exhaustion—and further certain that she was being followed, for she'd seen the flash of feline eyes in the darkness of Hogwarts' corridors—she made her way back to where they'd left him.
He wasn't there.
Oddly, something not entirely unlike hope welled up within her and she forgot about the cat. She knew that the Aurors wouldn't have removed a body they didn't know was there; in all the excitement, she'd forgotten to say where she, Hermione, and Ron had left Snape's body. Of course, it wasn't outside the realm of possibility that the Aurors—or others—could have figured out where he was on their own, but Harry doubted that anyone had thought of it.
That made her angry.
"You deserved better," she murmured, staring at the tunnel's entrance in consternation. "People shouldn't forget you."
"What a nauseatingly typical feminine sentiment."
Harry started and turned. "Snape!" she exclaimed, shocked to discover him slumped in a corner of the room—clutching her robes.
He didn't reply but rose unsteadily to his feet and thrust the garment towards her.
Without thinking about it, Harry stepped forward to take her robes, not sure what to say to the man before her but surprised to hear herself speaking, anyway. "I'm sorry. I didn't know. If I had—"
"You would have caused more trouble, I've no doubt."
Harry glared at Snape; he snorted at her.
"I guess it was too much to hope for."
"What?" Snape asked, one eyebrow arching.
"That you'd be decent when it was all right to be."
"Potter, if you're labouring under the misapprehension that my beha—"
"I saw your memories. I know—"
"What I wanted you to," Snape snapped, turning his back on Harry. "What you needed to know."
"You think I needed to know that you loved my mother in order to get me to accept the memories that showed me I'd have to die to defeat Voldemort?"
"Perhaps that's true," Harry continued, "but I didn't need to know that other bit."
"Which bit?" Snape whispered.
"You know which—the bit where Dumbledore accused you of transferring—how did he put it? Oh, right—your 'sick obsession' from Mum to me."
Snape rounded on her, the knuckles of his fists white with tension, and Harry wished she hadn't been so sarcastic.
"How dare you?"
"I don't believe it!" Harry insisted quickly. "But I do think you care about me, at least, enough to have kept me safe, even if only for Mum's sake. I do know you're not who you pretended to be."
Snape opened his fists, and then he ran a hand through his hair as if in impatience. "You know nothing at all, Potter. Nothing. . . . Why are you here?"
"Why d'you think? To get my robes back?" Harry snapped, feeling annoyed, and not a little bit confused.
She honestly didn't know why she was there; she only knew that she'd felt utterly empty to see the light leave Snape's eyes and never wanted to feel that way again. She found, however, that she had to look away from him because he was regarding her in a Legilimentic manner.
"Spoken like a poor Occlumens."
"Spoken like a pathetic Occlumency instructor," Harry retorted, only to find herself pushed roughly into the wall behind her.
"If I hadn't have had so much to protect you from, you'd have learnt more quickly, you insolent wretch," he hissed, his mouth almost touching one of her ears.
His breath against her skin made Harry shudder; everything she'd every tried not to think about during Remedial Potions came flooding back into her mind, and she moaned.
"Afraid? Good," Snape said, moving backward far enough to look her in the eye. "You should be. I'm not a nice ma—"
Harry swallowed, hard, to see the expression on Snape's face alter from anger to desire—and realised that she was feeling it, as well.
"You . . . you're too young to know what you're feeling," Snape spat, thrusting himself away from her, obviously having seen something of her thoughts. "Go back to your friends. I don't want you."
Her heart hammering, Harry retorted, "That's not true. If it were, you wouldn't have waited here for me to come back."
Snape went rigid.
"I'm not stupid. I know—"
"Better than to continue this line of conversation," he replied, his voice hoarse.
Harry's mind raced, and she hit upon the memory of Snape's anger at having found her viewing his Pensieve before he'd refused to continue training her in Occlumency. He'd pulled her out of it just after she'd seen her father hang him upside down and before she'd heard for whom he was calling as she'd inadvertently spied him alone in his quarters.
"It wasn't my mother. You put that memory in the Pensieve because you didn't want me to know you were thinking about me while you—"
"—you were touching yourself," Harry continued, feeling more surprised than, in hindsight, she thought she should be feeling. "You want me, and I . . . I want—"
"No! You're too young. I've protected you this long. I won't stop now."
Wizards usually flustered Harry—it wasn't as if she'd ever truly had time to do more than kiss Cedric that one time, and she'd never got up enough nerve to kiss anyone after he'd been murdered—but dispatching a dark lord put things in perspective. It was also hard to fear his rejection when she knew that Snape had wanked to her. With these things in mind and determined not to let the man use protection of her as an excuse not to do what they both wanted, she launched herself at his mouth.
It was almost a surprise when he caught her up and kissed her back; she'd expected him to continue his protests a bit longer, but she was glad that he hadn't as his tongue pushed into her mouth and caressed her own.
It wasn't like kissing Cedric; it wasn't wet: it was why she'd come.
Their kiss lasted a long time, but, given Snape's loss of blood and their mutual exhaustion, they'd ended up curled into each other's bodies in a huddle on the floor, falling asleep upon Harry's Transfigured robes.
It was Hermione who found them the following morning.
"Harry?" she was whispering, as Harry woke up. "Harry, is . . . is he all right?"
"Youcan'ttellanyone! I don't think he wants anyone to—"
"Stop talking about me as if I weren't here."
Hermione snickered. "You're fine, aren't you?"
"Miss Granger, go back to the castle. Harry will join you shortly."
"Don't talk about my doing things as if you knew what I was going to do," she shot back. With raised eyebrows, Hermione backed away and left them as Harry continued, "You called me 'Harry'."
"This is surprising, why?"
"Are you all right, Severus? Someone should probably look at that," Harry said, gesturing at his throat. "It looks awful."
"I don't wish to return to the castle. I can't imagine that I'd be welcome there."
"I'd welcome you—besides, how can you say that when you saw how Hermione didn't try to hex you?"
"Harry . . . ."
Stretching, she yawned and stood up. "I want you to come back with me. I told you, everyone knows, now, and shouldn't Dumbledore have left something to prove that you—"
"He did. That doesn't alter the fact that—"
"You kissed me."
"It was not a marriage proposal."
Harry snorted, and then she laughed because her snort had sounded Snape-like. "Who said anything about marriage? I just thought we might, well, shag—after some more kissing, obviously."
"'Obviously'?" Snape asked, looking for a fleeting moment more alarmed than he had when standing before Voldemort the last time. "Just because you've fantasised about me in the past is no reason to believe that one kiss means—"
"You know, it's not decent of you to throw in my face everything you learned about me during our lessons."
"Who said I was decent?" Severus retorted, rising from the floor.
"It's not nice to loom, either."
Severus Transfigured the cushion upon which they'd slept back into Harry's robes and sent them flying at her with a flick of his wand. "I don't loom."
"Right," Harry said, catching her robes. "'Loom' was invented to describe you."
"Spoken like a short person," Severus replied, smirking—and then he swayed.
Harry rushed forward to support him. "You need to see Madam Pomfrey. You're coming back to the castle with me."
"I am no—"
"You're going to be seen to, eat something, rest, and then we're going to . . . talk, understand?"
"Both my masters are dead. I'm not having a mistress in their place."
Harry blinked. "Oh. I . . . I wasn't trying to—Merlin! Can't you tell when someone's concerned? Stop being such a—please come back to the castle with me?"
Severus looked at her, his eyes more tired than inscrutable, and he sighed again. "Have it your way—but I need a slash first, and no, you are not going to help me with that."
Harry snorted again as she allowed Severus to shrug off her support and walk towards the door. Before he could leave, however, she said, "Speaking of masters, you're still technically in charge of the school, I'd imagine, so you might remember that you're needed before you contemplate not coming back with me."
Severus stopped. "Suppose I'm . . . done with being 'needed'?"
"Is everything so simple to you?"
Harry moved to stand behind Severus and placed a hand on his arm. "Did I mention that I was a Horcrux, died, and then came back? Coming back's not so bad—at least it won't be Voldemort you'll have to deal with."
"No, only Minerva."
Harry smiled proudly. "You should have seen her in battle, she—"
"I should have been in the battle."
"You were. For years."
Severus looked at her, his expression unreadable. "Harry, whatever you're expecting from me, you shouldn't. I'll only . . . disappoint you."
"Why don't we just agree not to tell each other what to do or how to feel, and then figure the rest of it out as we go along?" Harry asked, hoping he'd agree; she didn't want Severus to leave—too many people had . . . left.
Harry started as she felt Severus wiping away tears she didn't know she was crying.
"Who died?" he asked quietly.
"Remus, T—Tonks, Fred—a lot of people. When . . . I thought you might not have, I h—had to come here. I . . . ."
Severus' arms were warm, and his voice almost was when he replied, "I'll come back, Harry. I'm coming back, but it can't be . . . we can't . . . ."
"Don't worry. I'm not going to tell anyone. I have enough questions to answer as it is—and you're right: one kiss doesn't mean anything. I know that. Of course," she continued, sniffling and looking up at him, "that doesn't mean I don't want to do it again."
Severus smirked. "You won't if I piss all over you, so let me go."
Harry let go. "Um, you have to let go, as well."
"I . . . I don't want to," he murmured, before bending down to kiss her for a second time.
When Severus eventually did leave, Harry whispered, "I know you're there," even though she wasn't entirely certain anyone was; the cat might not have followed her all the way to the Shrieking Shack, and, if it had, it might have just been a cat—but she wanted to be sure.
The sound of movement drew her attention to a darkened corner of the room.
"—mreost improper, Miss Potter," Professor McGonagall replied, bristling off her fur and looking red in the face as she Transfigured herself from feline to human form.
"How much did you hear?"
"Everything. I've been here all night."
"That was rude."
"You're just a girl."
For some reason, hearing that made Harry grin. "I am, now, aren't I? Just a girl."
"Tell me that he was never, that he never behaved improperly towards you while—"
"No! I mean, of course he didn't!"
"Well," McGonagall said, patting her bun, "I had to ask. I'm not sure what it is you think you're doing with Severus, but—"
"I think that's my business, not yours," Harry said flatly, despite the fact the she understood older witch's concern for her.
"You're right, but you can't expect the people who care about you not to."
"Nor should you, Deputy Headmistress," Severus said, returning.
"Headmaster," McGonagall replied primly. "You're needed at the school."
"So I've heard."
Harry didn't want to, but she thought it best to give the two of them their privacy. "I'll just wait for you in the Infirmary," she said to Severus, before ducking past McGonagall.
It was reassuring when Severus reached for her hand and squeezed it before allowing her to pass; more than that, it felt like a promise, and, unspoken though it was, it gave Harry the strength to steel herself against what she would find at Hogwarts. There were still the destruction and the death with which to deal, but knowing that Severus was going to be dealing with them, as well, knowing that he was coming back, made Harry feel better.
"Because I can't imagine the world without him in it."