"Harry fucking Potter."
Bent over behind the bar, Harry froze.
"Everywhere I go."
Shit shit shit. Someone, despite all his efforts, someone had seen through his glamour.
"I can't get away from the bastard."
Quietly panicking, he inched his hand toward his wand. When was the last time he'd had to Obliviate someone? He couldn't remember. Stifling a giggle at that, he listened furiously as one stool, then another, scraped across the floor of The Bottoms Up Public House.
"You'll never have to see him again," another man spoke - and Harry shivered to recognize the bleak disdainful tone. Snape. Severus S. Sonofabitchsexy Snape himself. "Why upset yourself?"
A rustling slap of newspaper and a snort made Harry realize the mention of his name had been more along the lines of a curse than recognition, and he risked a glance over his shoulder to see Draco Malfoy, almost the spitting (scratching, clawing, bitch of a primadonna) image of his father, slide onto a stool and adjust his flowing ebon and burgundy attire. Beside him sat Snape, same as ever, pale in his dusty-black robes, back straight as he swept a distasteful glance about the bar. Harry bristled to see it; he'd poured a lot of galleons into making this place a classy joint, the nicest in Diagon Alley from his biased perspective.
Grabbing a glass, a towel and his courage, Harry straightened up and nodded casually at the two men, meeting their eyes for only a second, as befit the bartender he was. He glanced at the newspaper. The top headline read HARRY POTTER STILL MISSING 8 MONTHS AFTER KILLING VOLDEMORT.
Too fucking right, he thought, and said, "What can I get you gentlemen?"
Gazing about the bar, Draco said, "The old days," in creditable imitation of his late father. Snape curled his lip but said nothing. He looked pale, greasy and displeased. Same as ever, Harry thought fondly.
He allowed himself to smile a little. If they were going to see through the glamour they'd have done so immediately. Their dismissal of him reassured him he still looked like nothing more than a young man who bore a sort of passing resemblance, if you squinted, to that Boy Who Lived, Killed Lord Thingy and then Disappeared From the Face of the Wizarding World.
"Sorry," he said, wiping the glass. "Sold the last bottle of that half an hour ago."
Draco sighed. Harry noted as he turned back to face Snape that Malfoy had let his hair grow as long as his father's. It shimmered as he swung 'round to lock eyes with a slightly startled Snape.
"My treat, sir," he oozed at Snape. "Or may I call you ... Sev?" His voice dropped an octave on the word, and Harry nearly dropped the glass.
What the hell?
"Certainly. If you wish to see your late and unlamented father in the seventh circle of hell somewhat sooner than expected," Snape said through his wolfish teeth. "Why are we here, anyway? Surely this little reunion could have taken place more conveniently at Hogwarts, or even in Hogsmeade."
Draco undulated his stool a little closer and Harry realized, from the droopy-lidded expression of ham-handed seduction on the man's face, that at least one of them knew the bar's reputation. So little Draco has the hots for his nasty former teacher.
And Harry wouldn't be the man he was - not that, at the moment, he was the man he was - if he didn't throw a magical spanner into those works.
"Um, pardon me, gentlemen," he began delicately, "But you do know ... what sort of ... er ... place this is?"
"What do you mean?" Snape asked quickly.
Draco, head upraised, said, "I hate this song."
The enchanted jukebox was playing The Weird Sisters' "Didn't Your Mother Teach You Not To Play With Your Wand?"
Harry, who agreed, frankly, leaned a little across the counter. Snape ran his black gaze up and down Harry suspiciously and didn't shift from his almost prim, upright posture on the stool.
"It's a ..." Harry nodded significantly toward the booths along the far wall, few of which were occupied at this early afternoon hour. "Er ... a meeting place for ... wizards and witches of ..." He waited for Snape to notice that all the couples in the place were either witch-witch, or wizard-wizard.
Mind you, there was the witch-wizard-werewolf in the corner, but he didn't bring that little arrangement to Snape's increasingly narrow-eyed attention.
"Of ... er ... unusual persuasions, sir." Harry almost bit his tongue at the automatic honorific. You're not supposed to know either of these men, idiot.
Impossibly, Snape stiffened even further, his dark eyes shifting from Harry to Draco, who made a great show of delicately plucking imaginary lint from his sumptuous outer robe before raising his crystalline eyes languidly to Snape's face.
"Malfoy..." Snape began.
"Yes, professor?" His tone said so can we fuck now? Or what?
Harry almost bit through his tongue when Malfoy batted his eyelids.
Snape turned the exact color, and probably temperature, of a glacier. "May I make so bold as to inquire what in the name of the Founders and their misbegotten mascots made you imagine it would in any way be appropriate for me to meet you in a -" He spat the words - "gay bar?"
Harry put away the glass and continued wiping the gleaming wood of the bar, moving away far enough that they'd think he was not listening avidly.
Draco's voice dropped, more oil-slick than honey. "You know I've found you incredibly sexy for years, Severus. I thought it was time we moved past pretending it isn't mutual--"
Though the words weren't shouted, the tenor made even Harry start. He glanced back to see Snape leaning toward Draco, looking down his prodigious nose at his former favorite student.
"The only mutuality between us is our tenure at Hogwarts and our dislike of your melodramatic, power-hungry queen of a sire."
Draco held on to his smarmy coolness. "So you're saying..."
"That I would sooner Crucio my own balls off--"
Draco winced. Harry did too, though Snape saying the word balls sort of made up for the gruesome image.
"--than engage in any sort of carnal relations with any member of your family - least of all a fey little coward such as yourself."
"Coward!" Draco whined.
"Do you think I don't know where you were when the rest of us were facing down The Dark Lord and his followers?" Snape leaned closer, and, though his voice dropped, if Draco didn't leave here speckled in spit, Harry knew it would be through pure good luck. "I know, Malfoy. Your father warned you and you sneaked away from Hogwarts in the dead of night to hide in that gilded mausoleum you call a home. Whilst the rest of us were fighting - whilst some of us died - you were hiding under your bed. Shaking in your custom-made boots. Pissing in your skintight dragonhide pants." His contemptuous glance raked Draco's body, and Malfoy flushed. "You're a spoilt, spineless sybarite, and a shame on the house of Slytherin. I wouldn't touch you to throw you into the rubbish bin."
Harry resisted the urge to applaud.
Draco fell off his stool, scrambling awkwardly to remain upright under the weight of his own robes and Snape's assault. He stared at Snape in dumbfounded silence until the potions master arched an eyebrow.
"What part of no are you having difficulty understanding, Mr. Malfoy?"
Draco's mouth opened. Snapped shut. He spun about - lost his balance and had to set a hand to the bar for a moment - then flounced furiously to the door.
Harry watched him go, said, without looking at Snape, "So. Not your type, I take it?"
He risked a sidelong glance and saw Snape's face shift from cold fury to cold resignation.
Then - surprisingly - he sighed. "I've nothing against the idea in principle, just not ..."
Harry filed that away without letting his expression change, said, with a nod toward Draco's back, "Just not with that poncy, arrant little git?" He bent to pull out a bottle of Laphroaig from under the bar and observed, as he set it down, "Looks like he'd cry if he broke a nail."
Snape snorted a laugh and glanced appraisingly at Harry. Harry steeled himself - he's looking you over, not looking you over - and tilted the bottle toward Snape. "Can I buy you a drink?"
Snape nodded, an elegant little tilt of the head, and Harry gathered a couple of the good glasses, pouring them each a shot. The jukebox pixies chose that moment to start playing "Keep Your Balls in the Air" by The Jinxed Jugglers.
Snape scooted his stool closer to the bar and picked up the proferred glass. He sampled the scotch and Harry avidly watched his adam's apple.
Swallow it. That's it ... swallow it all.
He barely realized Snape was talking.
"... last time I was here, this place was about to be closed down."
Harry mentally crowed. That ineffable instinct he'd had since his fifth year - that Snape was queer as a plastic knut - was proved right. He'd been here before, despite his faked surprise with Draco.
"I bought it six months ago," he said. "We reopened last month."
Snape glanced toward the stairs. "Rooms by the hour?"
"Actually we charge by the minute," Harry simpered.
Snape gave him a look; Harry pouted it into submission.
"But for you..." Harry smiled as Snape's feathers ruffled. "Joking. This isn't a whorehouse, Mr ..."
"Mr. Snape. It's just a place for people to meet. What they do after that is up to them, and the house gets no cut of any profits that might be made from those matches that have nothing to do with love."
Snape eyed him narrowly. "You're a romantic, Mr...?"
"You can call me Jimmy," Harry said.
"Jimmy," Snape repeated with barely concealed distaste, draining his scotch.
"Not a romantic," Harry lied. "But I'm not a pimp either."
"The way you're dressed makes that painfully evident," Snape said, managing to make it an insult.
"And your expertise in pimp attire was acquired how?" Harry asked sweetly.
"I'm long acquainted with the Malfoy family," Snape said, almost - almost - as if he were not answering Harry's question.
Harry laughed, nodded toward the bottle. "Another glass, Mr. Snape?" Another glass or three, perhaps dinner, some mad intensive shagging?
Snape tilted his head. Harry barely had time to decide whether he should be offended that the scotch, rather than his company, was the temptation, before Snape set down the glass. A group of loudly dressed wizards and witches crashed through the doors and gracelessly laid claim to a couple of tables; it would probably be a busy night.
"I really must be off," Snape decided. "Thank you for the drink. Jimmy."
"You say it like it hurts," Harry said.
"The thanks, or your name?" Snape replied, sliding off the stool. Harry grinned.
"Both. You're welcome. Come back some time. I'll buy you another."
Again Snape gave him a once over, this one a few degrees less frigid than the first. Harry held his smile. Don't shiver. Don't blush. Don't reach over the bar, grab him by the lapels, and lick him 'til he screams...
"Perhaps," Snape said, and glided from the bar without a backward glance.
Harry got back to work, grinning.
Perhaps, from Snape, was practically flirting.
* * *
The next night the place was full, bustling and rowdy. Harry refused to admit to himself he was watching for Snape. It was pure coincidence that every time the doors swung open, he looked up; that every dark-haired man in black made him jump; that his waitresses asked him half a dozen bloody times who he was watching for, or that he got more than half his drinks orders wrong because less than half his mind was on what he was doing.
Around 11 o'clock the doors swung open for about the thousandth time, and Harry, for about the 999th time, looked up, saw a man in black, jumped, then realized it couldn't possibly be Snape. Not in tight black jeans and a black silk shirt, with long black hair tied back from a pale, arrogant ... oh my fucking god it's him!
"Jimmy?" A finger prodded him.
He tore his gaping eyes away from Snape, who'd paused rather dramatically in the doorway, to glance at one of his waitresses.
"What?" His eyes returned, magnetized, to Snape. It couldn't possibly be him. But it was. Christ on a carousel. Merlin on a merry-go-round. He looked like a walking advertisement for sin - and he wasn't even walking.
"You're not breathing," his waitress observed. "Although you are drooling a bit. You all right?"
He nodded, gathered his chin up from the floor, and waved her away as Snape glided across the floor, caressed by appreciative glances from several of the wizards whose paths he crossed.
Harry fumbled under the counter for the Laphroaig and moved along the bar to where Snape had just slid one hip onto the only buttless stool in the place. Forcing his eyes up from the general vicinity of that hip, its partner, and the tightly denim-bound region in between, Harry met Snape's smirking stare and felt his body temperature skyrocket while his ability to form words plummeted.
The jukebox roared to life again, giving him a much needed moment to renew communication between his brain and his mouth.
He clumsily poured a shot of scotch and slid it in front of Snape, then shouted, "Hi!" over The Broomsticks' latest hit, "Spells Like Teen Spirits."
Snape nodded at him.
"I didn't expect to see you back," Harry said, waving away Snape's attempt to pay for the drink. And I sure didn't expect to see you like this anywhere except in my fantasies. Good lord, where does he keep his wand in pants that tight?
Snape raised the glass in supple fingers and savored a sip.
When the song ended, he said, "The idea grew less distasteful with its metaphorical distance from the young man who introduced me to it."
Harry leaned against the bar, breathing shallowly until he thought he could speak without excessive salivation. He reached up automatically to adjust his glasses, caught himself halfway (he still wasn't used to not wearing them any more) and dropped his hand, surveying the lively room.
"Well, you have an excellent selection tonight," he said - adding with a grin, "The special is half a dozen young and rowdy wizards who mistakenly believe they can hold their liquor." He nodded toward the table in question, glancing at Snape to see his former teacher's mouth quirk.
"I think not." He took another sip of scotch.
"Something more seasoned?" Harry suggested. "More sophisticated?" More me?
Snape tilted his head at Harry. "Are you trying to matchmake?"
Harry grinned. "I wouldn't dream of presuming, Mr. Snape. I don't know you well enough to guess what you'd like. But I do pay fairly close attention to my clientele, so if you'd like to give me some parameters to work with..." I'll fit myself inside your parameters anytime.
"It's professor," Snape observed, still looking around the room.
"It's Professor Snape."
Wickedly, Harry said, "Schoolboy fantasies, is it, then? I know for certain there're at least two young men here who go in for the whole half-knotted-tie, shag-over-the-desk, fingers-in-the-inkwell scenario." But they'll have to get past me first.
"No thank you. After months surrounded by squealing jam-faced infants, the last thing I'm looking for on my holidays is a gourmless twerp in short pants."
"Well, if you see something you like..." Harry looked about again, found his eye caught by a big blond man in blue jeans striding through the doors like John Wayne into a western bar. He was well muscled and tanned, built like a Beater, with professionally tousled hair and a shirt strategically unbuttoned to about, in Harry's estimation, an inch above his navel.
"Looks as though you've seen something you like," Snape remarked coldly.
Flustered, Harry shrugged and smiled. "What's not to like?" He fumbled for a smooth way to explain that, while blond and muscly and tanned and handsome was all very well, he much preferred skinny pasty greasy cranky dark men, especially when they doffed those damn' musty robes for some nice tight black pants ...
Then Harry realized Snape and the blond Beater boy had locked gazes across the crowded bar. Fuck fuck fuck.
"Er..." he attempted a clever distraction.
"You may be right," Snape purred, collecting his glass and sliding off the stool with a subtle thrust of the hips that made Harry bite his tongue.
No no no. Bad bad bad.
Snape slithered off through the crowd toward the smiling blond Beater boy. Harry, bursting with intent though absolutely without a plan, started after him, only to be blocked by one of his waitresses. Even though she had trays loaded with pints in both hands, she looked like her fists were planted on her hips.
"Jimmy! I've called you three times now."
He blinked resentfully at her, and when he looked up again, he'd lost Snape and Beater-boy. Fuck fuck fuck.
"We need a hand out there. We're up to our eyebrows in orders and people are getting pissy. Come on!"
Harry gritted his teeth, fondled a few Unforgivables inside his mind, and got back to work.
He stayed busy after that, and despite his frequent and increasingly anxious efforts didn't get even a passing glimpse of Snape and his bloody blond booty boy until nearly closing time. As the bar began slowly to empty to the mournful strains of Nine Inch Coffin Nails' "Bell, Book and Condom," Harry spotted the two men at a small corner table. He used the pretext of wiping down the entire counter to work his way toward them.
"... usually say this sort of thing, but bloody 'ell, you've the most beautiful I've eyes ever..." The burly blond man blinked and shook his head - losing his balance at the unwise motion - and caught himself against the table, too far gone in liquor and lust to perceive the clear message of Snape's posture, head cocked, arms crossed over his chest, fingers tapping impatiently against his own silk-clad biceps, radiating contempt.
"Eyes," Blondie clarified. "Eyes. I've. Most beautiful eyes I've ever seen. Dark. Hot. Like the inside of a volcano."
"Have you ever in fact seen the inside of a volcano?" Snape asked icily, as the muscle-bound hunk of drunk leaned closer, breathing fumes of desire and booze all over the sensitive potions master's skin.
"I'd be happy to rectify that," Snape said.
"I know how you could make me happy," the man slurred.
"I cannot imagine a situation in which I might feel the least desire to do so," Snape said. The man leaned closer, wavering, reaching to stroke Snape's arm. His aim was severely off, which, in Harry's opinion, saved his life.
"I am approximately two seconds away from drawing my wand," Snape said, not raising his voice.
Beater-boy's flushed face lit up. "I knew it! You read my mind." His half-lidded stare inched along Snape's chest to a part of his body where it was very unlikely he might comfortably be carrying his wand. "Whip it out, then." He clutched clumsily for Snape, who slid his chair back quickly and stood up.
Beater-boy lost his balance and consciousness simultaneously. As Snape and Harry watched, he sprawled - slowly, considering his bulk and blood-alcohol level - onto the bar floor, face down, passed out cold.
Snape stood over him a moment, sneering in satisfaction, then brushed lightly at his clothes as if the man had contaminated him.
"So," Harry said brightly from behind the safety of the bar. "No go on this one after all, then?"
Snape shut his eyes and sighed. The last customers, a trio of gaily clad and terminally intoxicated witches, departed noisily.
"Sorry," Harry lied. "Can I buy you a drink to wash away the ... er ... disappointment?"
Snape opened his eyes, rolled them, glanced toward the door. "I should be going."
Harry, pulling out the Laphroaig, caught Snape's uncertain eye and said, "One for the road?"
* * *
"...and there she was, lying in Kent Old Road with her feet in the air, shrieking to high heaven about the trials of being pregnant with Voldemort's child and the bastard never called or even sent her flowers--"
Harry sprayed scotch as he burst out laughing. Snape waved his half-empty glass in a graceful gesture.
"So we watched the Aurors cover her with a cloak and haul her away, wailing away about love's dream gone sour, and she was damned if Voldemort was going to leave her to change little Tommy junior's nappies--"
"Stop," Harry choked out. He coughed for a moment, then looked over at Snape accusingly. "You're making this up." It was hard to maintain his stern expression at the vision of Snape sprawled elegantly in a chair, his booted feet up on another, slightly disheveled, flushed with drink, so sexy it made Harry's teeth ache.
Arch, Snape said, "There are many madmen and women in this world, Jimmy my friend. I've learnt this intimately."
"You were one of Voldemort's followers," Harry said carefully. They'd both had a few (and then some), so he knew he had to be extra cautious in not blurting out anything that wasn't common knowledge about Snape. Or Voldemort, for that matter. Remembering not to blurt that was easier than remembering not to blurt the exact sort of proposition for which Snape had smacked Draco down yesterday.
"I was," Snape admitted. "Once."
"But you fought on our - I mean, against him - a year ago," Harry went on. "It was in all the papers."
"Yes..." Snape let the word draw out into a tired sigh. "I became a knight in shining armor. Helped to save the world. And this ..." He gestured with his glass around the empty bar, the chairs stacked on the tables in stern statement that there'd be no more fun here tonight. "This is my reward."
"I'll have you know that's damn' expensive scotch," Harry muttered. "And there are those who consider my company to be reasonably tolerable."
Snape snorted, turned somewhat bleary eyes on Harry. "Evidently I may count myself among them, as I ought to have left three hours ago, yet plainly have not."
"Are you sober enough to apparate?" Harry asked. "Or do you want to stay here?"
Something in Snape's eyes - a door Harry hadn't realized was open - snapped shut, and he added hastily:
"I mean, I have empty rooms upstairs, if you wished to use one. I wasn't propositioning you." But god I want to.
"No?" Snape set his glass down with elaborate care, stood up, and said, "Good night, Jimmy."
Harry watched him move carefully to the door and, without apparent difficulty, Apparate.
He drained his glass, dropping it onto the table next to the empty scotch bottle. "Good night, Severus."
* * *
Harry glanced up from his letter and waved as his waitresses, wrapped to their eyebrows due to the weather, left the bar, locking the front door behind them. Then the place was empty but for him and his monthly missive to Ron and Hermione.
Even though he'd taken a holiday from being Harry Potter, he'd kept in regular contact (via a bewildering arrangement of strange owls, secrecy spells and various drop sites) with his closest friends so they wouldn't worry. It reassured them he was alive, and reassured him that they were well, but his secrecy meant he couldn't really share his current dilemma with them.
Not that he'd quite have known how to do that anyway.
Ron. Hermione. Snape's been coming into my pub every night for a week and spending hours flirting with the hottest guy he can find.
He could just see Ron's face screwing up into horror. He could hear Hermione's matter-of-fact, "And?"
And it's pissing me off!
Harry sighed and finished his short note with "Everything's fine here. Write soon. Love, Harry."
He really didn't know what was weirder: that Snape was strutting around here like some kind of Byronic Romeo or that it was really getting on Harry's tits.
Why did Snape have to do it in front of him, as if he were rubbing his nose in it? True, Snape would delight in making Harry miserable, but he didn't even know it was Harry, and even if he did, who would ever have guessed that a flirting Snape could make Harry miserable?
He didn't even leave with the men he flirted with - Harry would have noticed. He always greeted Harry when he came in (alone) and said good night when he left (alone). But that was bound to change as soon as he met someone he liked.
Merlin, Harry wanted that someone to be him.
Trouble was, at the moment, he wasn't him. The idea that Snape might prefer him as not-him was irritating. And, Harry had to admit to himself, a trifle confusing.
Snape hadn't been in tonight. Ratlike thoughts nibbled the back of Harry's mind, wondering where Snape'd spent the evening and with whom, if he'd at last found someone he liked, and if so, how difficult it would be for Harry to kill that person and hide the body.
He sealed his letter and took it to the counter; he'd mail it in the morning via an anonymous owl from the postal shop on the next street over. Hedwig wasn't very happy with her enforced inactivity, but Harry couldn't risk using her.
The jukebox kicked in with They Might Be Giants' cover of the Muggle song "Respect" and Harry smirked. Dumbledore's campaign to gain civil rights for nonhuman races had had some unforeseen consequences.
"Shut it," he told the box. "We're closed."
The song gurgled to a halt, followed by the quiet grumbling of the pixies inside.
Harry turned to go upstairs - then was startled almost out of his boots by a heavy pounding at the door. He went to the door, leaned his ear against it, wincing when the pounding resumed, three solid blows.
"We're closed," he called out.
"Most excellent," a voice called back. "Now let me in."
Harry quickly unlocked the door and let in Snape, a heavy cloak, and a gust of snowflake laden air.
Harry glanced at the clock - 2:30 a.m. - then back as Snape swirled his damp cloak off his shoulders and onto a hook by the door.
"What are you doing here?"
Snape turned and Harry saw he was holding a bottle of scotch. He also saw, from the flush on Snape's face and the blurred glimmer in his eyes, that the man had already gone a few rounds with alcohol tonight.
"Buying," Snape said. He gestured toward the table Harry'd written his letter at. "Shall we?"
Harry grinned. "Why not?"
* * *
"I was surprised not to see you tonight," Harry said as they both sampled their first glass. "I mean, earlier."
Snape tossed back the scotch like a professional. "I've had the sort of day that would make Gandalf the Grey retire and take up fishing. The latest Defense Against the Dark Arts moron decided to give a practical demonstration of fire hexes to a first-year class of Hufflepuffs and Slytherins."
Before Harry could determine how much of that he was supposed to understand, Snape went on.
"I've spent the entire day making burn salves and comforting children. Have you any idea how odious I find that?"
Grinning, Harry said, "The salves or the kindness?"
Snape made a gargoyle face. "Shut up and pour, bartender."
Harry listened for a while in contented silence to Snape's bitching about his colleagues and his work, learning that the latest disaster was the reason Snape hadn't been in all evening.
"Why did you come now?" Harry asked. "Not that I'm not happy to see you, but it's pretty late. And it's not as if you needed my scotch."
"I needed a sympathetic ear," Snape said, and it was impossible to tell if he was being sarcastic. Harry, true to his Gryffindor heritage, chose to take the statement as truth.
"You're welcome," he said, and Snape grunted.
Harry asked, "So you really are a professor? Where?"
"Hogwarts," Snape said.
"You work for Albus Dumbledore," Harry eased closer to his goal.
Snape nodded, drained his drink and refilled both their glasses.
"And you taught Harry Potter."
Snape's lip curled like a piece of paper thrown onto a fire.
"I taught him." He took a drink, looked at Harry for a piercing moment. "I'd better go."
He got up as though he'd just got a learner's permit for his body and was still a bit unsure how it all worked. Harry got up as well and followed Snape across the floor, ready to catch him if he fell although vaguely aware that if that happened he'd probably be more hindrance than help.
As they passed the jukebox it kicked back into life with I. F. Newt's "Cauldron of Love," the sort of slow, simmering song people usually danced to plastered against one another before hastily renting one of the rooms upstairs.
Harry cursed softly and flushed, and Snape gave him a curious look. Mortified, Harry thwacked the jukebox into silence.
"Jukebox pixies get kind of ... er ... frisky sometimes." He glared down at the box to see a tiny piece of paper being pressed up to the glass from the inside. It read, in sloppy, hastily written letters, "HELP!"
Harry thwacked the box again. The paper, and no doubt the pixy holding it, tumbled back down into the workings of the machine.
The two men continued their unsteady path to the door, Snape leaning heavily against the wall as Harry opened it and peeked out.
"It's snowing." Harry stood aside to let him see. The snow was already 6 inches deep on the long-untraveled path, and fat flakes filled the darkness.
Snape hesitated, rocking a little on his feet.
"You can stay," Harry said. "You're welcome. It's not an imposition..."
Snape laughed sourly. "Of course it's not an imposition. You run an inn." He swayed, and Harry realized that Snape's clarity of thought and speech was remarkable considering he could hardly stand up.
Snape moved carefully back to the table and collected the bottle and their glasses, then returned to Harry, standing slightly canted to the left.
Harry happily flopped a rubbery arm across Snape's shoulders and guided the miraculously compliant man upstairs, past the 12 rooms he rented out, through an invisible warded barrier and to the door of his own rooms, numbered 13.
"Where are we?" Snape asked when they stopped.
"My place." Harry opened the door and maneuvered them both inside.
"We were already at your place," Snape remarked.
Harry kicked the door shut behind them and poured Snape onto his couch, deftly seizing the bottle before Snape could drop it. The potions master flowed the length of the couch, head lolling against the cushioned arm. He licked his lips and Harry gulped down the urge to help.
"My glass," Snape observed, waving said receptacle in the air, "appears to be empty."
Harry rectified that, sitting cross-legged on the floor far enough away that if Snape spilled, which looked increasingly inevitable, it wouldn't hit him. He set the bottle out of the way, took a swig from his own glass of courage, and seized his chance.
"So. You knew that Harry Potter bloke."
Snape eased his glass onto the floor and rolled over toward Harry, eyes slitted.
"Mpsblllfk." It was a trifle difficult to make out precisely what he was saying with his face mashed into the side of Harry's couch.
Harry said, "Beg pardon?"
Snape lifted his head an inch, not opening his eyes. "Impossible. Little. Prick." He let his head down.
"So you really hated him, eh?" Harry tried not to sound devastated.
"Universally. Unabashedly. Microscopically."
"I get the picture," Harry snapped.
Snape turned over on the couch and stared at the ceiling, one hand trailing on the floor like a blind drunk searching for his dropped bottle.
"Left a bit," Harry said.
When the backs of his fingers hit the glass, Snape said:
"I will admit that the prat wasn't completely without merit." He collected his glass with dextrous fingers.
Harry blinked. "Sorry?"
"Potter." Snape spat the word delicately, as if it were a bug that had flown into his mouth. He raised his glass and poured the remainder of the scotch mostly into his mouth. "He was brave. If thoughtlessly so."
Harry bit the edge of his glass to silence a protest, at the same time fighting down bitter jealousy of the golden fluid flowing hot over Snape's tongue and down his working throat.
"And powerful," Snape went on. "Though undisciplined."
"I--"" Harry flinched, bit the glass again.
Snape turned to give him a rather smolderingly bleary glance.
Harry blurted, "Refill?" He climbed to his hands and knees to crawl to the bottle, refilling the proferred glass with extremely drunk precision. He then made the tactical error of looking up. Snape's face was less than a foot away, in reasonable focus all things considered - and his aura overwhelmed Harry abruptly, a blanket of living heat. An electric blanket of lust on the highest setting.
"Something is funny?" Snape purred.
Harry shook his head, sat back on the floor. "Imagery isn't my strong suit, that's all."
"What is your strong suit ... Jimmy?" Snape twisted a little so he was looking at Harry from a less severe angle.
"Surviving," Harry said automatically.
Snape lifted his glass. It wobbled like a fake UFO on a string.
Harry groped hastily for his own glass, splashed the last of the scotch in its general vicinity, and clinked rims with Snape.
"Potter was a survivor," Snape said unexpectedly then. He drained his scotch. "Is, I presume, though where he survives I don't know."
"Or care, right?" Harry said with a horrible fake smile.
"He did," Snape began speculatively, "have a particularly exquisite arse."
Harry set a world record for scotch spitting. "What? When ... You saw his arse?"
"Under extenuating circumstances," Snape admitted.
"Wait a minute." Harry caught himself. Remember, you're Jimmy. "Harry Potter? We're talking about Harry Potter? Harry Potter's arse? Is that what we're talking about?"
Snape smiled in fond reminiscence. "Cheeks like ripe peaches. Firm, rounded ... he also possessed an exquisite mouth, a truly, legendarily fuckable mouth."
Harry sputtered, mortified and ecstatic at once.
"So you ... er ... thought he was ... hot, then?"
"Incandescent," Snape said.
"Bloody buggerin' 'ell," Harry approved deliriously. "So you fancied him."
"Fancied?" Snape scorned the word. "Don't be ridiculous."
"I'd've fucked him stupid," Snape clarified, reinflating Harry instantly. "Which admittedly would've taken very little fucking --"
Harry's delighted smile turned to a pout.
"-- had he not been a student of mine," Snape concluded.
Harry said, "So you didn't actually hate him."
Snape snorted. "Define hate."
Harry considered. It took a while, through the alcoholic stupor. "Not wanting to fuck him."
Another drunken snort of laughter burst from Snape's nose. "Then no, I didn't hate him."
At that instant, a devil and an angel - both drunk - began an argument in Harry's unfocused brain.
He wants you.
He wants Harry Potter. You're Jimmy.
No buts. He doesn't want you.
He's here with you. With Jimmy.
No buts. Get over there and make him forget all about Harry Potter.
But I AM Harry Potter.
But ... but ...
Sod it. Kiss him before you lose your nerve. Or your consciousness.
Unsure and uncaring whether devil or angel had won, Harry crawled to the couch. It seemed to take rather a while, but at last he leaned slowly over Snape's peaceful face, felt the warmth of Snape's gentle exhalation against his skin ... and realized the man had fallen asleep.
Harry groaned and commenced the long climb to his feet. He drew his wand - rather badly - erased it and drew it again. Pointing it more or less at the oblivious potions master, he turned the man into, in sequence, a fish ("Mobilicarpus!"), a ski jacket ("Mobiliparkus!"), an eyeball ("Mobiliorbus!") and a pig ("Mobiliporcus!") before finally, by process of elimination more than anything else, hitting on the correct collection of syllables. He levitated Snape to his bed, laid him gently on one side, and covered him with a blanket, then flopped onto the other side of the bed and passed out.
* * *
Harry awoke wrapped in wiry arms, with his face pressed into a warm neck smelling of a combination of things so variously manly and tempting that he instinctively started to suck.
The arms squeezed and a still-asleep hum of pleasure yanked his eyes open.
I'm not ... he isn't ... we didn't ...
Harry moved a little, less than a wiggle, testing his proximity to death, but it seemed Snape was still asleep. Harry lifted his head and took advantage to look the man over, careful not to move too suddenly.
He chuckled mentally to see the object of his desires was not at his best asleep after a late night of drinking: pale, disheveled, stubbly, his mouth slightly open and his breath something best not dwelt on in vivid detail.
At least he doesn't snore. Harry stroked Snape's still-clad chest idly - then focused on the back of his own hand in horror.
I must not tell lies.
Harry went cold.
Shit. The glamour had worn off. Shit shit shit...
Under other circumstances Harry would've concluded it worth at least the Order of Merlin second class that he managed to slither out of Snape's arms without waking him - indeed, without, as far as he could later determine, moving so much as a millimeter. He slithered down and out and flowed off the bed, got up from the floor to see Snape shift and turn on his side, and high-tailed it into his bathroom.
Locking and warding the bathroom door, Harry glanced at himself in the mirror - yup, Potter again - before plunging into the shower and turning it on full. It didn't matter if Snape woke up now; he'd simply assume "Jimmy" was taking care of morning ablutions.
Harry washed and wanked (waking in Snape's arms had had an entirely predictable effect on Harry's body) and dried off, recasting his glamour as he had to do every morning and realizing somewhat sadly that this was an inconvenience he'd not yet had to think about, due to having slept alone since he'd begun his life in sort-of exile.
He brushed his teeth and gave himself a thoughtful once-over in the mirror.
"So it's back to Jimmy," he muttered to his tidy-brown-haired, brown-eyed, average-looking self.
Why would Snape want you? You're totally ordinary.
That's what you wanted, you idiot. You didn't want to be Harry Potter any more.
That was before I found out Snape wanted me.
I am him.
"Stop it!" Harry snapped aloud. Apparently his devil and angel, slightly the worse for hangovers, hadn't abandoned him.
He wrapped a towel around his hips, wrenched open the bathroom door and came face to face with a barely awake, terminally hungover Snape.
Snape flinched, hissed, "Not so loudly, if you please."
"Oh." Harry adjusted his towel with suddenly useless fingers. "Sorry."
Leaning one-handed on the wall, Snape squinted at him.
"Good morning." Harry beamed.
Snape cleared his throat, evidently calling in heavy equipment to do so.
"Did we..?" He half-glanced, half-gestured toward the bed.
A blush exploded all over Harry's skin. "No."
Snape's eyebrows rose to the occasion.
Harry smiled. "You were pretty drunk. I wouldn't take advantage."
Snape huffed mildly. "May I?" He gestured toward the bathroom.
"Oh." Harry, occupied with the idea that Snape was offended, somehow, that they hadn't shagged, blinked. "Of course." He wanted to? He wanted to!
Snape moved to slide past Harry, who didn't shift - who in fact found his hand reaching out to briefly squeeze one wiry potions master buttock.
Snape jumped a creditable distance for a hungover man, glaring, more in surprise than offense, at Harry.
Harry grinned. "Well, you're not drunk now."
Snape leaned back against the doorjamb, arms crossed. He really looked a mess; Harry was captivated.
"A man willing to engage in carnal relations with someone who smells as I smell," Snape snarled slowly, "must be deeply in love. Or deeply deranged."
He looked Harry up and down and Harry felt his towel shift.
"How about both?" he asked, moving closer.
Thud. Thud thud thud.
Both men started and looked at the door.
"Jimmy! Wake up! Come on, love, what's the problem?"
Harry deflated. "Fucking waitresses." He glanced at the clock and realized it was noon. "Fuck!"
"One-track mind," Snape said. "May I?" This time the question was fairly pointed.
Harry got out of Snape's way, flustered. The man probably had to piss like nobody's business.
Thud thud thud. "Jimmy!"
"Of course. Make yourself at home. If you need--"
Harry sighed at the firmly shut door and grabbed his clothes.
Thud thud thud. "JimMEE!"
"I'm coming!" Or not. Fuck.
* * *
"...and then by the time I could get away from work, he'd already gone."
Harry took a sip of his approximately 47th cup of coffee of the day and sighed, slumping back in the chair that was the majority of the furniture in the quiet little garret room above the pub.
"So I don't know what to do. I used to just, you know, fancy him in a devilish shag in the dungeons kind of way, but we've talked a few times, now, and ... now I quite fancy him. I mean, I like him. And it seems he likes me. But the thing is, he likes me me. That is, Harry me. But it also seems as if he likes me this way." Harry indicated his glamoured self.
"So I can, you know, go after him like this, as Jimmy, but -" He shook his head violently. "But I don't fucking want to. I want him as me, not as someone else. But if I tell him who I really am ..."
A quiet shift of position from his confessor was the only reaction, but Harry nodded.
"I know, I know. He'll kill me first and ask questions later. And I wouldn't fucking blame him. He'd never trust me again. That's no way to start off a relationship." He paused, laughed at himself. "And that's what I want. Not a shag. I want him." He dumped his forehead into a palm and rubbed it. "Christ. I'm doomed. Jimmy's doomed, I'm doomed, we're both doomed."
He looked up. "So what the hell do I do now?"
Hedwig hooted softly and wisely offered him no advice.
* * *
About 11 o'clock, Snape came in with a tall man - or very tall woman - whose features were completely hidden under a long cloak and drooping hood.
"Dating Dementors now, I see," Harry said through gritted teeth. Another night of impotent jealousy stared him in the face as he watched Snape and his companion - a man, probably, from the stride and heaviness of the boots peeping out from under the cloak - cross to a booth near the stairs.
Harry grabbed a bottle of scotch and two glasses, stomped around the bar, ploughed through the startled crowd and thudded the bottle down on their table. Snape and the hood turned toward him.
"The usual, sir?" he shouted over the racket of "I Got A Quid-Itch For You" by Sam the Seeker and the Keepers of Rhythm.
If Snape answered, Harry was too busy slamming the glasses down on the table and stomping away to hear.
* * *
"You keep grindin' yer teeth, love, and you'll be pickin' them up off the floor with a dustbroom."
Harry turned his stare from the corner table under the stairs to his waitress. She nodded toward the object of his attention.
"Whyn't y'just tell the big greasy bloke y'fancy 'im?" she asked with lamentable perceptivity.
Harry boggled. He opened his mouth. Thought better of it. Tried again. "How'd you..?"
She rolled her eyes. "Yer so obvious, Jimmy. Yer prick's been pointin' at 'im like a dowsing rod ever since the first night 'e came in 'ere. Does 'e know y'fancy 'im?"
"No," Harry said. Then remembered the night before. "Yes. Maybe. I don't know..."
Again the eyes swiveled back. "Thanks fer clearin' that up."
"Waitress!" The call from down the bar drew her attention and she turned to go, saying over her shoulder, "Tell 'im, y'prat."
Harry took a deep breath. Right. Tell him. Right.
He turned toward the corner table and squared his shoulders, wishing he knew the arithmancy necessary to cube them (he was still pretty skinny, really). He again plunged across the dance floor, but his demand to speak to Snape privately was cut off when Snape looked up and said:
"Bar--" Harry gulped down the rest of his outraged shout. It roiled in his stomach. Bartender. Bartender. I'll give you bartender, you arrogant son of a ...
"My friend and I would like a room for the night," Snape continued. The man had to be colorblind -- it was the only excuse for him not to have noticed the various and alarming shades Harry's face was turning.
"Certainly," Harry snarled through clenched teeth. "Sir. Right. This. Way."
The two men got up and followed him upstairs.
"We're almost full up," he lied as they passed rooms one through eleven, digging a key out of his pockets as he stomped. "You're lucky we have one left," he lied, and opened the door to the comfortable room right next to his hidden chambers.
"I hope this will suit," he lied, gesturing at the cheerful bedchamber.
Snape and the hooded man - easily as tall as Snape and, Harry could tell, broader through the shoulders - stopped in the doorway, almost touching.
"I trust you'll have a pleasant night here," Harry lied, flinging the key like rodent droppings into Snape's outstretched hand.
"I'm sure we shall," Snape said.
Then his companion pushed his hood back and let the cloak fall from his body - and Harry found himself staring into a mirror.
He gulped, speechless.
Only about six inches taller, and far more muscular, and wearing a tight black t-shirt and leather trousers that fit so close the cow would have been jealous.
Snape passed Harry and stopped in the middle of the room, then turned to his companion with an astounding smile.
"Come in, Harry, won't you?"
The impostor grinned and brushed past the real Harry, who bodily retrieved his jaw from the floor and his brain from the planet Pluto.
The tall muscular impostor turned, smiled. "Yes. It's me, Harry Potter."
Harry snapped his mouth shut.
"Don't tell anyone, will you?" the impostor said, moving to slide an arm around Snape's shoulders, so familiar Harry felt fury burn in his stomach. "Sevvie and I want our privacy."
"S--s--seh--" Harry tried again, then shook his head as if to settle his brain back into its proper place.
"Good," the impostor said, reaching out to press a sickle into Harry's hand. "Thanks for showing us up." He turned to Snape, who faced him with an absolutely alien expression of adoration on his face.
Leaving, Harry slammed the door so hard it was a wonder the wall didn't collapse.
* * *
It was hard to pace up and down in frantic fury, Harry soon learned, with one's ear pressed hard against one's bedroom wall.
So far he hadn't heard a sound. He didn't know whether to be encouraged or horrified.
What the hell were they doing in there? After all, it'd been ... he glanced at his clock.
Four minutes. Christ. Anything could happen in four minutes.
Ablaze with embarrassment, jealousy and determination, Harry stormed out of his hidden rooms, stormed to Number 12 - drizzled a moment in hesitant fear - then hammered on the door.
"Room service!" He lied, giving Snape a reasonable three-quarters of a second before hammering on the door again. "Room service!"
He heard some muffled sounds near the door, then it opened to reveal Snape, outer robes removed and shirt half unbuttoned, with that fucking fake fucking Harry draped around his shoulders and nuzzling his ear from behind.
Fucker. Harry gritted his teeth again.
"Yes?" Snape said, as cool as if he were in his office at Hogwarts. "We didn't order room service."
The fake Harry licked Snape's neck. Snape didn't react at all, but Harry felt his inner temperature shoot through the roof.
"May I speak with you outside a moment, sir?" he insisted in his best landlord voice, trying not to let any of the steam inside him escape into his tone.
Snape's lips compressed, a gesture of annoyance. "Very well." He waved the fake Harry off of him.
"Hold that thought, Harry dear," he said, without self-consciousness, and stepped into the corridor.
Harry grabbed the doorhandle and slammed the door in the fake's smirking face, then spun about to glare at Snape.
One brow arched. "Yes?"
Harry forced himself to breathe, to raise his own brows and lower his tone when what he wanted to do was strangle some sense into the man standing so infuriatingly calm and edible before him.
"Are you well, Professor Snape?"
"Feeling quite all right?"
"You're sure?" Harry pressed.
"Not a little under the weather?"
"Not, for instance, gibberingly out of your bloody fucking mind?"
Snape blinked in surprise.
Harry flung his hand toward the door.
"You don't really believe that's Harry Potter?"
Snape simply looked at him. "What I believe, and who he is or is not, are matters neither of which should concern you in the slightest."
Harry shouted, "He's some fake using Polyjuice or something!"
Like you, his conscience prodded him.
"Lower your voice," Snape said.
Harry grabbed Snape's sleeve and pulled the unprotesting potions master farther down the hall, into the alcove leading to his hidden rooms.
"Don't tell me you're falling for it," he went on. "You can't really think that's Harry Potter. Can you?"
Snape crossed his arms over his chest, looking satisfied. "When did that become your business?"
Harry pinched his eyes shut and ground what was left of his teeth. "Sorry. You're right. It's absolutely none of my business what you do or with whom."
"Thank you," Snape smugged.
"Now answer the bloody question!"
Snape's eyes narrowed, and Harry felt his fury run a little colder. "You're jealous."
"Only in the sense that ... that if you're going to have sex with anyone pretending to be Harry Potter, it'd better bloody well be me," Harry said. Blinked. Blushed. "Oh."
Snape crossed his arms over his chest, and Harry had a sneaking suspicion he did it because he knew it would make his half-unbuttoned shirt gape farther, showing a tantalizing hint of black hair tickling a pale chest.
"Are you offering to ... fulfill my fantasies ... Jimmy?"
Harry waved at the door to Number 13, and it opened.
"I can be Harry Potter," he said, knowing as he said it that it was a phenomenally stupid move. "If that's what you want me to be."
He held out a hand, ushering Snape into his darkened rooms, and after a still moment, Snape turned on his heel and marched inside.
Harry followed, torn between raging lust and a tiny voice (the angel, maybe, or the devil) saying wrong wrong wrong in his ear.
He said lumos, shutting the door when the lamps flared. Warding it, he turned to face Snape and, with a whispered word, dropped the glamour.
Something flickered in Snape's face, only for a second.
"Mr. Potter," he said. "What a surprise."
Harry never knew, afterward, what suicidal impulse drove him, but the spark was that look in Snape's black eyes, a look of amusement if not contempt. A look that said, "You don't have the balls."
A look that called him bartender.
Three steps and he was upon a slightly taken aback potions master. The fourth step bore Snape backward onto Harry's bed, where he lay spreadeagled, pinned by Harry's palms against his biceps, hair sprayed out black against Harry's green duvet.
Snape blinked. "You--"
Harry said, "Coruscatiovesto."
He'd done the spell on himself once, so he knew the weird, tingly-hot, fabulous feeling of his clothes turning to fire, burning themselves to ash in the blink of an eye.
Snape shuddered under the sensation, glanced down the length of his body to see the result, and cocked his head at Harry, who was also looking at his body. And his length. And a lot more than glancing.
"Where on earth--"
Harry dove for Snape's open mouth and set up camp, planting his flag and thoroughly reconnoitring every corner of his newly claimed territory.
Snape made a mumbled sound that might have been protest.
Harry backed off an inch. "I was taught you don't talk with your mouth full." He dove back in, delighted when Snape's tongue joined the camping trip, showing much enthusiasm for reciprocal exploration.
Finally Harry had to break camp, gasping, his forehead resting against Snape's collarbone. He felt Snape's hot breath over his ear and Snape's hard-on nudging his own - through his pants. Damn pants.
He whispered the clothes-burning spell again, shivered, then draped his now-naked length against Snape's, wriggling. His little devil and his little angel were both cheering him on. Snape made a noise that sounded like pleasure. Or stomach ache.
His voice was impossibly deep and velvety. "Do you--"
"Oh yeah." Harry took the words as invitation and ran with them, lifting himself up to suck a wet and noisy path down Snape's body. He was particularly pleased with Snape's response to having his nipples placed in oral detention, as it were, and made some effort to demonstrate he'd learned discipline from a master.
Snape squeaked like a mouse; then bounced like a ferret when Harry engulfed his cock to the root and hoovered for all he was worth (1,017,048 galleons, 8 sickles and 3 knuts, at last estimate).
"Ah ... Christ ..." Snape writhed under Harry, who drew back, grinning and licking his chops; the man tasted of cloves and cinnamon, not unlike a Christmas cookie.
"Wrong again," he said, pushing himself upright. "But closer. Fundussursum!"
Snape rose into the air, turned over like a hotcake on a spatula, and sank back onto the bed.
"What -" Whatever he was about to ask was, in all likelihood, forgotten when Harry pushed his thighs apart with two strong hands and strategically positioned himself to deliver further discipline in the form of a tongue lashing.
Punishment for your cheek, Harry thought. And chuckled. His puns were getting better.
Though he attempted no further questions, Snape was not silent during Harry's assault. Definitely not a stomach ache sort of groan, Harry decided, after considering a few more examples of the noise.
After a bit, Snape, incredibly, managed to form words. "If I might ... be permitted - oh god in heaven -" He gasped, trembled, growled out, "To finish a sentence?"
Harry raised his head briefly. "If you can, I'm not doing this right." He lowered it.
"Mr. Pot - oh, Christ ... ohh ..." Snape let his face drop into the duvet and surrendered.
After a time deemed sufficient to turn Snape into butter, Harry got up, bent over him and said in his ear, "At least now I know how to shut you up."
Snape lifted his head and Harry smacked the burgeoning protest down with a kiss.
He held out a hand. "Accio labiunguero." He slid down Snape's body 'til he'd landed on his feet again at the foot of the bed, gazing at the white curve of Snape's ass as he scooped out a palmful of slick stuff.
Snape squirmed on the bed and glanced back in impatient curiosity.
"What are you doing, Potter, checking the textbook?"
Harry smirked and slapped Snape on the rump, sliding the lube down his happy cock with the other hand. "Come on. Knees up, Mother Brown."
Snape jumped and his head snapped around. "What the hell do you think -"
Grabbing Snape's hips, Harry explained himself in words of one - or fewer - syllables.
Snape's head flew back and his body arched as the Boy Who Lived slid into home base. "Oh ... fuck ..." Snape's body bucked and shuddered under him like a jalopy on a dirt road, but Harry had little thought left for metaphor as he drove into Snape's tight, clutching body.
"Oh ... fuck ..." He dimly realized he was quoting. "Oh ... Severus ... god, you feel ... fucking ... god ..."
"More," Snape demanded. Harry obliged. Or at least he thought he was obliging.
"More," Snape groaned. "More, Potter, you -"
Harry downshifted and put his pedal to the metal. He unclamped one hand from Snape's hip and slid it round to piston the man's rock-hard rod. Snape made a gurgling sound deep in his throat - carburetor trouble, perhaps - and hissed, "Yes! Yes - Harry - yes!"
And their engines blew.
Harry's brain checked out for an unmeasured time. When it stopped back by, it discovered his body slumped over Snape's back, both of them shaking, still panting, wet and sticky in all sorts of anatomically interesting places.
Ever the gentleman, Harry crawled onto the bed and bodily pulled the limp sweating form of his former teacher up next to him.
One black eye half-opened to look blurrily at him, and Harry grinned.
"Good," he carefully articulated his pleasure and satisfaction. Snape vented a long, low hum that Harry took to be agreement, and he let his own eyes fall shut.
* * *
Harry awoke wrapped in wiry arms. It felt strangely familiar.
He opened his eyes, blinked a few times, got a close-up view of a lightly haired pale chest and a nipple. Harry grinned against Snape's side, bared his teeth and slithered in that direction.
"Do it and I shall hex you to the moon."
Harry stopped. Snape shifted against him and groaned softly. "I'm still sore all over."
Harry resumed grinning, lifting himself up to look down at the ravaged field of pale nakedness that was Snape.
Snape let Harry loose from his hold, ran his hands over his face, and looked up at the Boy Who Lived.
"Still Harry Potter, I see."
Harry froze like a year-old popsicle.
"Why don't you change back to yourself?" Snape purred up at him. "Fantasy is all very well, but I prefer your real appearance."
Harry's stomach dropped through the floor. Snape wanted Jimmy. Not Harry Potter. Fuck fuck fuck. Bad bad bad ... now what the hell do I do?
Snape stared flatly at him for what felt like no more than sixty or seventy decades before snorting a laugh and letting the corners of his mouth curl upward.
"I should let you dangle there a while, in payment for your audacity in attempting to trick me, of all people."
Harry's misery shifted to puzzlement. "Wh...?"
"Fortunately for you I'm feeling oddly ... merciful this morning."
Harry gaped. "Wh..?"
Snape rolled his eyes. "Do you imagine for one moment I would fail to recognize the scrawny, balls-out terror who was the bane of my existence for seven years? That I would not know the way you walk, the cadences of your speech, the ridiculous way you constantly adjust your spectacles, even when you aren't wearing any?"
Harry blinked, started to reach up, stopped. Flushed radish red.
"You knew the whole time?"
"Practically." Snape bitch-slapped Harry with his trademark smirk. "Come now, Mr. Potter. We've done naked sweaty things together. It is far too late for you to blush."
Slowly - wanting to be absolutely sure he was absolutely clear on absolutely everything - Harry said, "You knew it was me before I changed into me? That is, back into me? I mean--"
Snape huffed impatiently. "I know what you mean. Yes."
"And you don't mind?"
"Mind what, exactly?"
"That I was ... that I wasn't who I said I was."
Snape sat up, propped himself against the headboard and crossed his arms. "The Slytherin hasn't been born who holds a grudge over a trick he's seen through and turned to his own advantage, Mr. Potter."
Astounded and relieved, Harry flopped back onto the bed next to him.
"Will you for fuck's sake call me Harry? So ... " Ramifications built up like a sneeze inside his head. "So you knew, and ... you kept coming back here ... why?"
"You did all that on purpose!" Harry realized.
"I do everything on purpose," Snape averred. His eyes narrowed. "Well, I'll own that one or two of my exclamations last night might have been ... inadvertent."
"Thanks." Harry basked a moment - then sat up again. "Then ... that ... that ..." He gestured angrily toward the next room. Snape glanced that way.
"Ah. You're referring to my bait?"
"I'd like to sink a hook into him," Harry agreed. "Will he still be there waiting for you?"
Snape chuckled. "I seriously doubt it, as I paid him in Knockturn Alley before I arrived and after I'd transformed him. He's no doubt long gone."
"Paid him? He's a ... a prostitute?"
Snape shrugged, one naked shoulder moving up and down in a smooth and tempting arc. Harry resisted the urge to rest his mouth there for a while; they had issues to work through first.
"An actor, let us say. When I got tired of waiting for you to end this ridiculous charade and come to me as yourself, I arranged the little one-act play you witnessed yesterday evening. Obviously you needed a little ..." He sneered. "Prodding."
"I guess you did too," Harry muttered. How could a person feel proud and humiliated at the same time? No one but Snape had ever been able to generate such disparate emotions inside him; perhaps it was a potions-mixing skill.
"Don't be so modest, Mr. Potter," Snape cooed sarcastically. "I wouldn't call you little. Not where it counts."
Aroused and embarrassed (he did it again!), Harry asked, "How'd you do it?"
"A variant of Polyjuice. I stole a hair from your comb yesterday morning while using your facilities."
Harry shook his head in wonder. "You're good."
"Why, thank you," the man smirked maddeningly. Harry's blood immediately decided that his cock was the place to be. "I decided to create a ... shall we say slightly larger than life version of you in the hope it would push your obvious jealousy and wholly understandable desire for me over the edge."
"Conceited ..." Harry swallowed down the rest of the insult; he'd tasted worse. After all, the man was dead on. "What would you have done if I hadn't interrupted you two?"
Snape smiled. "Probably have got my money's worth via a rollicking good fuck with a well-muscled, gorgeous and sexually multitalented young man." Then, infuriatingly straightfaced, "Thank God you saved me, Mr. Potter."
"You are such a fucking prat," Harry observed, pulling the blankets down from Snape's lower body.
"And you are without doubt the most idiotic reasonably intelligent young person I have ever had the misfortune to fall--"
"To fall in love with?" Harry ventured, delighted, letting his fingers do the walking across the field of Snape's chest. And stomach. And ...
"I was about to say `fall foul of,'" Snape said pointedly.
"Liar." Harry scooted closer, still stroking Snape's ... well, everything. "I ... er ... don't want the world to know where I am. Not yet."
Eyes on Harry's meandering fingers, Snape said, "I think I can be relied upon to keep a secret. Jimmy." He laid back, stretching out, his hands behind his head.
"Don't call me that. Not in bed."
"Or ... or ... I'll ... I'll glamour myself into Draco."
Snape shuddered melodramatically. "Truly a fate worse than death."
Harry looked up at him, smiling. "Do you know when you do that your cock does a little dance?" He wrapped his fingers loosely around the erection in question.
"Are you accusing me of foolish wand-waving, Mr. Potter?"
Harry's grin broadened. "Can you cast spells with it?"
Snape actually smiled. "I can indeed. Accio Harry's mouth."
And because he'd been taught you don't talk with your mouth full, Harry shut up.