Warning (highlight to view): For being thoroughly AU.
Word Count: 1221
Summary: Severus can't stop saving Harry . . . for himself.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from (and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by) the posting of this fan work.
Author's Note: slashpuppy prompted me with Snarry: romance - Slytherin style!
The announcement in the Prophet that Harry Potter would not be marrying Ginevra Weasley came as no surprise to Severus; he had attempted to teach the boy Occlumency, after all. What did surprise him was the furor with which witches and wizards began to pursue him—even unwisely onto the grounds of the Novitiate where Potter was training to be an Auror. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement had their hands full, so much so that an editorial was penned by a retired Auror suggesting that Potter might do well to look for another profession; he was damned as an ungrateful arse by many, including, as it happened, Hogwarts' Headmaster.
"Poor Harry," said Minerva, one afternoon over tea in Severus' office. "No one will leave him alone."
Severus, without looking up from the editorial section, remarked, "They will as soon as he takes up with another young woman."
Severus lowered his paper. "You have something to say?"
"I think we both know why Harry and Ginny didn't . . . ."
"Minerva, it's none of our business, and Potter no longer needs saving."
"You think he likes the attention."
Severus grunted, thinking, I think he probably does need saving, but that was as far as he permitted his thoughts to wander in Minerva's presence.
When a seventh-year Ravenclaw called Bettina Smythe was taken into custody within Novitiate grounds about a month later, however, Severus found himself thoroughly involved in Potter's situation.
"Mr Potter," Severus said, after the distraught Smythe had been led away by Professor Flitwick, "I must apologise for Smythe's behaviour, and for my own failure to keep track of the students."
Potter, with whom Severus had not spoken at all since his recovery from Nagini's attack, appeared stunned. However out of context, Severus liked the look of it on him.
"There's no need for you to apologise, Headmaster Snape, but since we're here, I'd like to say—"
"Your problem, Mr Potter, is that you have allowed yourself to become a target of people's . . . fascination." Potter swallowed, and Severus enjoyed the bob of his Adam's apple before continuing. "Perhaps it would be best for you to begin seeing someone, anyone, really, so that people would understand you were not . . . available."
"But . . . but I am available," Potter replied hoarsely.
"Even with such a rigorous," Severus said, pausing to lick his lips, "training schedule?"
The slight widening of Potter's eyes and parting of his lips made Severus want to shift in his chair, but he refrained from doing so.
Definitely gay, he thought. Definitely interested.
It was precisely what he'd hoped to see in Potter's eyes.
"I'm sorry I left you in the shack, Professor. I thought—"
"We need never discuss that, Mr Potter. The situation was difficult, and you had your duty to perform."
"Yes, but I never got to thank—"
"Do that by not falling afoul of a love potion. The trainers at the Novitiate are no doubt not used to dealing with love-sickened trainees."
"Yes, sir, but—"
"And call me 'Severus', Harry."
Potter abruptly sat down, and Severus smiled.
"Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, that is, wants to see me—publicly!" Harry exclaimed then, all in a rush.
Severus couldn't help but frown. Of course he does. "And you have no desire to be used in that way?"
"What? You mean you think he only wants me because—"
"Of your name and fame? Of course."
"Well, I don't want that."
"I imagine you don't. What do you want?"
Harry blushed. "Just . . . . Honestly? It would be nice to get laid, but life at the Novitiate's not what you'd call private."
This is going to be easier than I thought. "Perhaps, Mr Pot—"
"Harry. You called me Harry, Severus."
"Harry," Severus replied, liking the way he bit his lower lip. "Perhaps, Harry, when your training is complete, you might consider returning to Hogwarts as an Auror-in-Residence to teach Defence? Professors Tonks and Lupin are, I'm in a position to know, interested in moving on to other challenges."
"They've mentioned as much to me before, but . . . but, well, how could I possibly see anyone here?"
Harry swallowed. "I mean, it's not as though any of you, er, any of the professors here ever see people, is it?"
"Harry, several of your old professors are married: Tonks and Lupin, of course, and Professors Vector, Flitwick, and, of late, Hagrid. You would find it quite easy to pursue a social life here, I assure you."
"Do keep the position in mind, and don't let me keep you. I understand how busy you are."
It was a dismissal, but one, Severus well knew, Harry wouldn't accept.
He can't very well stand in his condition, he thought, with a great deal of smugness.
"Are you seeing anyone?" asked Harry, with unexpected boldness. "I mean, er, I know . . . there was Mum, but—"
"Your mother and I were never lovers. We might have been, had I . . . chosen differently, but . . . ."
"I don't blame you for that, not anymore. You . . . you made up for all that, Severus."
"Perhaps. You survived, the Dark Lord did not, but I have no desire to discuss—"
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything." Harry rose. "Don't worry about Smythe. I'm not bringing charges against her."
"I never thought that you were," Severus replied, standing, as well, and resolving, in that moment, to leave off the Slytherin mode of his courtship. Harry was too young to appreciate it, and Severus was old enough to want to get on with things in the clearest possible manner. "Before you go, Harry, I should tell you something."
"I quite enjoyed flirting with you this afternoon."
"You what? We were, you were flirting with me?"
"I was. Being out of practice, perhaps you didn't notice my efforts."
Harry's flush deepened, and he murmured, "I thought you might be."
"And did it," Severus asked, moving to stand in front of his desk before Harry, "disturb you?"
Harry looked him in the eyes. "Not in any unpleasant way."
Severus smiled. "Then perhaps you'd care to accompany me to the Board of Governors' Charity Ball next weekend?"
Harry smiled, as well. "But Severus, people would talk."
"Tongues would positively wag, I imagine."
"Oh," Harry breathed out, "tongues."
Slytherin enough to know when to keep someone wanting more, Severus resumed his crisp demeanor. "Well, then, I shall consider it a date. I'll owl you with the particulars," he said, steering Harry towards the door by the arm.
Harry stopped walking just before the threshold. "I'll, er, I'll look forward to it," he said, with rather strained formality before ducking his head and nipping out the door.
Severus took great pleasure in watching Harry's progress, and when he turn the corner, he mentally added back the one hundred points he'd deducted from Ravenclaw for Smythe's behaviour, which hadn't, of course, been completely her fault. Seventeen was a difficult age, and one's hormones, he well remembered, tended to compel one to all sorts of mischief.
And Smythe would never have been able to leave Hogwarts' grounds without the aid of that thestral, he thought, whistling as he returned to his desk. Terribly careless of me, wasn't it, to have let slip the secret way into the stables?
Of course, Severus forgave himself for that; as Headmaster, it was his duty, after all, to keep Hogwarts fully staffed.