Actions

Work Header

Courting Disaster

Chapter Text

"Fine. The damn position is yours."

Harry bit back a smirk, knowing the Headmaster wouldn't appreciate it. "Language, Professor," he whispered quietly as the rest of the Board of Governors filed out of the room. Severus Snape merely sneered at him and Harry sighed. "Oh, come on, Snape. You know I’m the most qualified."

"Why," the man growled as his eyes roamed over Harry, sending a thrill down the younger man's spine, "because you defeated the Dark Lord?"

Harry shrugged. "Or maybe because I've been an Auror for the last ten years."

"Seven, Potter," the man corrected. "You took a year off to help rebuild the castle, and the Auror training program is two years long."

Harry shrugged and wondered how he was going to put up with this man for the next several years. Snape stood and turned his back on Harry and Harry sighed mentally. Oh, yes. That was how. He bit his lip to hold back the groan as his eyes eagerly soaked up the retreating figure. As if those billowing robes could erase the memory of what was underneath. Harry shuddered at the memory of seeing Severus Snape in muggle clothes, the tight black jeans that had hugged the firm arse and button down that showed off the wide shoulders and hinted at defined abs. He'd been down to Hogsmeade to visit Neville two summers back when the Headmaster had returned from a meeting with a muggle-born's family, and the sight had fed Harry's fantasies ever since. Harry had long been thinking he'd had enough of chasing dark wizards, so when the position for D.A.D.A. professor came open he had submitted his résumé and crossed his fingers.

"See you in two weeks for the first staff meeting, Professor Potter."

Harry smiled up at his old head of house. "I look forward to it, Professor."

Her cat-like eyes twinkled, "You're one of us now, Harry. It's Minerva."

He bowed his head politely. "I look forward to working with you, Minerva."

"Again," she added.

He nodded, remembering how well she had protected him and the other students that night, so many years ago, when they'd still thought Snape was a traitor. "Again," he agreed.

 

"So, you'll help with training the team, Harry?"

Harry looked up into hopeful blue eyes, "Well, I'm not really head of Gryffindor, Nev. But I will come give some pointers as long as you understand I'll have to do the same for the other houses, if they ask."

A broad smile crossed Neville's face. "If they ask, huh? You're starting to sound a little Slytherin there, Harry."

Harry shrugged as he stood up and let the long king snake slide over his shoulders. He levitated the now empty terrarium onto the long cabinet behind his new desk and rubbed the small head nestling against his neck. "Shall we go check out our new home, Albus?" The snake answered with an indeterminate hiss and Harry turned to Neville. "I'm always a little Slytherin, Nev," he told his longtime friend with a wink. "Albus and I are going to check out our new rooms. You coming?"

Neville shook his head. "Nah, I got a new batch of Mimbletonia coming in for my fifth years, and if I'm not there to accept the order they might try to leave me the half dead ones."

Harry chuckled.  "Alright. See you at the mandatory staff dinner then."

Neville gave him a quick wave before heading off in the opposite direction. Harry turned to go up to his new quarters and waved merrily as he passed Sir Cadogan having tea with Damara Dodderidge in a painting of a heavily laden banquet table. He reached the room Minerva had shown him to less than an hour ago and pressed his hand to the newly warded door. It swung open, and Harry saw the familiar house elf leisurely unpacking books from a trunk. He turned slowly as Harry entered and closed the door behind him.

"Master Harry brung the snake," the elf said drolly.

Harry rolled his eyes. "Of course I brought Albus, Kreacher. You didn't expect me to leave him at Grimmauld Place to rot did you?"

"One has hope, Master Harry," the elf intoned. Albus hissed his displeasure at the tiny non-human.

"Stop it. Both of you."  He eyed Kreacher as well, knowing the elf had long since learned Parseltongue.

Kreacher turned back to the bookshelf and continued filling it with Harry's books. Harry sighed, hoping the two wouldn't have another turf war like they'd engaged in the previous summer. He headed to his new bedroom, anxious to get his things unpacked and settled in. He stepped into the dark room and with a soft whisper the fire roared to life and the sconces flared. He wrinkled his nose; he was definitely going have to do something about the awful chartreuse walls.

"What do you think, Albus? A nice blue to match your coloring?"

The snake nodded his head in agreement and Harry flicked his wrist. The colors changed instantly to the soft blue that had drawn Harry to the snake in the first place. He glanced over at the bed and watched as the curtains shimmered and turned a deep ebony. He sighed in contentment and crossed over to pull the curtains open.

"Now this I can live-" He paused at the sight of a single red rose on the now black duvet. His wand slid into his hand and he carefully waved it over the flower and single white envelope that rested beneath it. When the scan came back clean he reached for the envelope and flower, allowing Albus to slither onto the bed. He pulled the small card from the envelope and flipped it over to see three gold words shimmering on the white cardstock. "Welcome home, Harry."

Harry felt a rush of warmth flow through him, much the same as when he'd received his yearly letters inviting him to return to Hogwarts all those years ago. He sat down on the edge of the bed and studied the words. One look told him the words were written by a dicta-quill, but why would someone wish to hide their handwriting? Harry glanced at the rose. Wait. Weren't roses usually reserved for lovers? He remembered the time he'd received a dozen red roses at the office and the guys had teased him for weeks, telling him it meant someone intended to propose. He wondered if this was another courtship ritual thing. Damn. He needed to speak with Hermione. He checked the clock and told Albus not to slither away. With barely a pop, Harry was gone from his room.

"Dammit don't do that, Harry James," Hermione screeched when she nearly jabbed herself with the knitting needle.

He blushed. "Sorry, love."

Ron walked into the living room, munching on an apple. "Hey, mate. What are you doing here? I thought you were moving into Hogwarts today."

Harry's blush deepened. "Oh, Harry. Tell me you didn't Disapparate through Hogwart's wards?"

He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "Umm…"

She sighed. "At least tell me no one saw you."

"Oh, yeah. I was in my rooms. But it's really important, Hermione."

She sighed, "What did you do now?"

He smiled at his best friend, she had changed so very little in the last ten years, despite being Head of the Creature Division and fast on her way to Minister. "I need to know if there's any significance to a single red rose."

"Well, for muggles it means I love you. For wizards it's a sign of friendship or desire to form a friendship."

Harry relaxed at her words.

"Unless it came with a white card or was placed on your bed," Ron said as he bit into the apple.

Harry swallowed. "What if it was both?"

Ron stopped chewing, his mouth gaping open and Hermione squeaked and threw her hands up to cover her mouth. Harry looked back and forth between his friends. He really should get a book on Wizarding customs. Ron closed his mouth and swallowed the apple.

"What part of the bed was it on?"

Harry furrowed his brows. "The blanket."

Ron rolled his eyes. "The pillow or the middle of the bed?"

Harry thought back to when he had found the rose. "Definitely the middle."

Hermione squeaked behind her hands, and Harry turned to see her eyes glistening with glee. He lowered himself to the couch and dropped his head into his hands. "Okay. What have I gotten myself into now?"

"Well, the good thing is he wants to court you," Ron said in his best consoling tone, which with Ron wasn't much different from his I Am Definitely Laughing At Your Discomfort voice.

Harry looked up at his friend in shock. "What? And how do you know it's a guy?"

"Because," Hermione said, cutting her husband off, "if it had been a witch interested in courtship, she would have had a mutual friend approach you with a suitable gift, not flowers. Probably a pen knife or some such. But the rose indicates it's a male gifter and the white card indicates the desire for courtship."

Harry's eyes widened. "That's why you had Ginny give Ron that chess set."

Hermione smiled smugly. "Yes. I wasn't about to wait another five years for him to decide to formally court me."

"Oi," Ron said around another bite of apple. "I was going to offer you a rose on our anniversary. Know-it-all spoil sport," he mumbled as he plopped down beside Harry on the couch.

"Okay, so what does the rose being on my bed mean?"

Hermione blushed and averted her eyes but turned to glare at her husband's giggle. "It means he wants to court you but he also wants to-" it was Ron's turn to falter for a lack of words, "share your bed," he finished lamely.

Harry processed his words. "So he wants to court me which could possible lead to marriage but he's okay with just fucking?"

"God, Harry. Blunt much?" Hermione gasped.

Harry rolled his eyes. "Okay, but why does it matter where on the bed the rose was?"

Both his friends were bright red, but it was Hermione who spoke. "If you were a woman being courted by a man, the rose would be on the pillow, at the head of the bed."

"But I'm not. So because I'm gay, being courted by a man the rose goes in the middle?"

Hermione sighed in frustration. "No, Harry. Listen to me. When the person doing the courting wishes to- make love to his- desired mate the rose goes at the top of the bed. If he wished his desired mate to make love to him the rose goes in the middle or near the bottom of the bed."

Harry's eyes widen in comprehension. "Oh, my god. I'm being courted by a bottom?" A smile bloomed across his face. "Sweet Merlin's beard that's fucking awesome. A bottom that's not afraid to take control. Do you know how hot that is?"

Hermione's face hadn't been this red since she'd caught Harry in bed with his ex-lover.

"I have an idea," Ron mumbled and Hermione gasped at her husband's wink.

Harry laughed, suddenly feeling a hundred times better.

"So who was the rose from?"

Harry blinked at Hermione. "Umm, the card didn't say."

She gaped at him. "A secret admirer? Nice, Harry."

"Well, this ought to be fun to watch," Ron chuckled, and Harry turned to glare at him, his eye catching the clock on their mantle.

"Crap! Is that the time? I gotta go. I'm due for the welcome back staff diner in a quarter hour."

"Well, at least try to figure out who sent the rose," Hermione demanded.

"How am I supposed to do that? It could have been anyone."

"Well, obviously it's a professor," Ron snorted, "as they're the only ones that know you've been hired, and it has to be someone with access to the castle. I bet someone had a house elf deliver it."

"You're right, Ron." Hermione turned to Harry. "Look around the staff tonight and see who it could be, and we'll try to narrow down the possibilities when you come by for tea next Saturday."

Harry nodded. "Right. I'll see you then. I really need to go."

"Harry, the wards," Hermione called in a reminder, but he was already gone.

"Kreacher," Harry called as he pulled a robe from his wardrobe.

"Yes, Master Harry," the little elf said as he appeared in the doorway.

"Do you know who left that on my bed?" Harry asked pointing to the rose and card he'd left on the bedside table.

Kreacher eyed the flower and turned a knowing gaze on his master. "No, Master Harry. Which part of the bed, Master Harry?"

Harry held his arm out for Albus and the snake slithered up it. "None of your business," Harry said as he pushed past the elf and made his way out of his room and down the corridor towards the Great Hall. He ran into Neville just outside the doors and smiled. "Get your Mimbletonia?"

Neville reached over and scratched Albus under his jaw and the snake gave an appreciative hiss as they entered the Great Hall. "Oh, yes. Perfect specimens, all of them."

"Well, good," Harry said as they moved up to the long table set up in the middle of the hall, reminding Harry of the many Christmases he'd spent here.

"Nice of you to join us, Potter, Longbottom."

Harry looked up at the silky voice and grinned, knowing it would irritate the man. "Headmaster. Lovely to see you in such a chipper mood."

There was a choked snort and Harry glanced over to see a tall good-looking black man standing near the Headmaster. "This ought to be an interesting year," the man said in a smooth baritone that had Harry taking notice.

Snape turned to the man. "I do not believe your input is necessary, Mr. Zabini."

Harry's eyes widened in recognition, "Zabini?"

The dark man smiled at him and stepped forward. "Of course. I wasn't sure if you would remember me or not, Potter."

Harry beamed back and held his hand out. "Please, call me Harry. Of course I remember you. I almost didn't recognize you," he noticed the warmth of the man's smooth skin as they shook hands, and Harry eyed the lean man. His eyes rose to meet assessing brown.

"Blaise, please. And may I welcome you to the staff, Harry?"

Harry liked the way his name sounded in that smooth tone. "You are a professor?"

"Yes. Yes," Snape said irritably as he pushed through the linked hands. "Zabini has been our potions professor for the last five years. Do stay up, Potter. If no one objects, could we get this blasted dinner over with?"

He pulled out a chair and sat down and the others followed suit.

"The students aren't even here, Severus," Minerva admonished the headmaster. "Do try to relax a bit longer."

He growled at her and turned to the other professors as they settled in around the table. "Welcome back. Hope you all enjoyed your vacation from the brats and their annoying parents." There were a few titters but Snape ignored them. "In case you haven't been made aware of such, Potter has graciously decided to bless the school with his continued existence by becoming our new D.A.D.A. professor."

"Oh, Harry. Hello dear." He waved politely to the mediwitch.

Snape growled at him. "I'm sure you'll all get a chance to lavish him with welcoming praise over the next two weeks. And then we'll get to watch the children drool in adolescent adulation for the remainder of the year. Enjoy your dinners."

Harry felt his face heat up as he watched his plate fill with food.

"I think Blaise is right," Neville said softly beside him and Harry turned questioning eyes on his friend. Blue eyes twinkled back, "It's going to be an interesting year."

"Harry," he turned at the smooth voice and noticed Blaise's eyes were on his neck. "I couldn't help but notice your, um, friend."

Harry smiled, “Oh, you mean Albus?”

There was a choked sound and Harry turned to see Snape covering his mouth with a napkin.

“Um, Albus?” Minerva asked hesitantly.

Harry shrugged. “Well, there’s no denying Dumbledore could be a bit Slytherin sometimes, and he always had interesting fashion choices.”

The other professors laughed at Harry’s truths.

“I trust your friend will remain in quarters at the opening feast?” Snape drawled. “No sense in scaring the children off before they’ve had a decent night’s sleep.”

Harry bit his lip at Minerva’s soft snort. “Er, yes, Headmaster. He’ll remain in my rooms, but the terrarium hasn’t been warded yet.”

“Warded,” Blaise said in alarm. “But, he’s not poisonous is he?”

Snape snorted. “He is a common Thamnophis sirtalis, Mr. Zabini.”

Brown eyes darted from the headmaster to Harry, and Harry chuckled softly and shook his head. “He is harmless.”

“And quite friendly,” Neville added as he tickled Albus’s “chin”

“Then why does his terrarium need warding?”

Harry felt the heat rise in his cheeks at the memory of Kreacher trying to fill the tank with water last summer. “He and, um, my house elf don’t really get along.”

“You brought your house elf?”

Harry looked over at the man next to Professor Flitwick. He was several years older than Harry but his blond locks hung around his face giving him a youthful appearance. “Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t believe we’ve been introduced.”

“Harry, this is the Michael Purvis, our Magical Theory professor,” Minerva volunteered.

Harry nodded politely, “Nice to meet you. Purvis. The name sounds familiar.”

“I think there was a Hufflepuff a few years below us,” Neville said.

The man nodded, blond curls bobbing. “My younger sister. I am also head of Hufflepuff.”

Harry smiled. “Splendid. I wondered who took over after Sprout retired. Oh, and no I did not bring my house elf. He works here during the school year.”

“Interesting,” the man said disinterestedly.

Harry shrugged and turned back to Neville to ask about the Venomous Tentacula Harry wanted to borrow for his deadly plants review.

“Harry,” Minerva cornered him on his way up to his rooms later. He turned to see her coming towards him, a thin muscular brunette by her side.

He smiled brightly, “Minerva. Is there something I can do for you?”

“I wanted to introduce you to our Muggle Studies professor. Harry, this is Andrew Martin, he joined the staff last year. Andrew, this is Harry Potter.”

Harry’s smile faltered as the man’s hazel eyes flashed to his forehead. It was nearly imperceptible, but Harry was trained to notice the small movement. “Lovely to meet you, Professor Martin.”

The man shook his hand with an overly bright smile. “Please call me Andy. I can’t help but admire your familiar, Mr. Potter.”

“You can call me Harry. His name is Albus. Did you want to pet him?”

Something flashed in the man’s eyes but he covered it quickly. “Oh, yes. That would be lovely.” He reached a hand out and slid a finger tentatively over the space between the snake’s eyes. The snake’s tongue flashed out and Andy pulled his hand back. “Wonderful creatures, snakes.”

“This one wants to mate with you, snaketalker.”

Harry felt his cheeks heat up. “Yes, Albus. I got that. Go back to sleep.” He looked up at the other two and saw Andy’s eyes wide. “Sorry, he can be a bit rude.”

“W-what did he say? What did you say?” Andy asked eagerly.

“Oh, just that he was too tired to meet new people and I told him to go to sleep.” Harry waved his hand “Snakes aren’t very good conversationalists.”

“So you don’t talk to them much?” The man asked with a tone of disappointment.

Harry shrugged. “Depends.” Albus rubbed his head against Harry’s neck with a soft hiss. “I should really get him home and get his terrarium ready. It was nice meeting you, Andy. I’ll see you around.”

The brunette smiled and Harry turned to continue on to his quarters.

 

“So?”

Harry sighed. He’d barely settled in with his tea before Hermione looked eagerly at him. “So, what?”

She glared at him and he had to bite back a grin. “Harry James.”

“Hermione Jean.”

Harry noticed Ron quickly stuff a biscuit in his mouth and snickered. “Fine.” He held his fingers up and started ticking off names. “There are actually a few professors here under the age of fifty. I figured that was a good cut off age since that’s still considered the Prime of Youth,” Harry said with air quotes, “for wizards. Plus I figure anything more than twenty years age difference is a bit much for me.”

Ron rolled his eyes. “My grandparents were nearly thirty years apart.”

“Yes, well. I have standards,” Harry said and glared at Hermione as she snorted. He held up one finger, “He was one mistake, Hermione.”

“Not to mention you were pissed off your arse,” Ron mumbled around the biscuit.

It was Harry’s turn to glare at the red head. “Anyway! There’s Neville, Blaise Zabini, and the new Muggle Studies teacher Andy Martin.”

“Zabini,” Ron exclaimed. "He teaches here?”

Harry nodded, “Potions. And if the way he was checking me out is any indication, I’m pretty sure he’s gay.”

“And the Muggle Studies guy?” Hermione asked taking a sip of her tea.

Harry wrinkled his nose. “Albus smelled pheromones on him and informed me the man wanted to mate.”

Ron spit his tea out as he guffawed. Harry glared at him and Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Do you think it could be Nev?" Ron asked, grabbing a biscuit with strawberry jam in the middle.

Harry shrugged. "I don't know. I doubt it."

"But you guys dated," Hermione argued.

"That was one time several years ago," Harry pointed out. "We never even had sex."

"Maybe he's decided he wants to give it a go again," Ron said.

Harry only shrugged and took a sip of his tea. "We really didn't suit all that well. I hope it's not him, I much prefer just being friends."

"You just like someone to go to the bar with," Hermione snorted.

"What's wrong with that? I'm still single and Neville doesn't mind the muggle clubs. And I am not about to go trolling at a wizarding club." He shuddered at the memory of the one time he had attempted an evening at a wizarding club. No thanks. Ron chuckled at the memory and Harry glared at him. He was beginning to think he needed new friends.

"Okay, so it could actually be any of the three of them," Ron said

"What about Snape?" Hermione cut in.

Ron gaped at his wife. "Snape?"

Harry's ears perked up. "Snape? Is he even gay?" Please say yes. Please say yes. Wait! How would she know?

Hermione swallowed guiltily and shifted her eyes away from her two best friends. "Oh, um, never mind."

"Hermione," Harry said warningly.

She blushed and huffed. "Fine. Devon from the Vamp Division may have mentioned running into an ex-boyfriend of a certain ex-potions professor but I was sworn to not say a word. Apparently said Slytherin is very private about his personal relationships."

A thrill of excitement shot through Harry and he leaned forward. "So what I hear you saying is that there is a slight possibility that some of my fantasies could come true?"

A loud moan issued from the chair across from Harry, and he glanced over to see his best mate's head resting in his open palms. "Merlin's beard, Hermione, you had to go and give him hope. Isn't it bad enough I have to listen to him dissertate on the man every time he gets drunk? Now I'll have to hear about every little thing Harry perceives as gay and what it could possibly mean."

"Shut it," Harry told his best friend with no avarice, as he knew the man was right. He couldn't help it if he was totally infatuated with the tall, sexy Slytherin.

Hermione chuckled. "So I guess we can add him to the list of possibilities."

"Oh yes, please," Harry said eagerly.

"Oh," Hermione said, her face falling slightly.

"What?" Harry asked cautiously.

"Well, we're assuming it's someone in the school. What if it's someone that knows someone in the school who is willing to help them?"

Harry groaned and tossed his head back against his couch. "Hermione, have I told you lately how much I hate you and your logic?"

Her snort was lost in the sound of the knock coming from the door. Harry waved his hand and the door swung open.

"Enter," he called and looked up as a petite blonde woman stepped inside cautiously. Harry smiled welcomingly at her. "Amanda, welcome. What brings you down to the third floor?"

She gave him a soft smile. "I have a small problem and the headmaster said you might be of help."

Harry stood and the others followed suit. He motioned for her to enter as the door closed behind her. "Come in. Come in. Let me introduce you to my two best friends. This is Hermione Granger-Weasley and her husband Ron."

The blonde smiled politely and nodded her head. "Hello, Minister. Mr. Weasley."

The three friends gave her an odd look. "Minister?" Hermione asked.

The woman closed her eyes a second. "Sorry. It's not 2015 yet. So sorry."

Harry chuckled at the look on Hermione's face. "Guys, this is Amanda Cayce our Divinations Professor."

Hermione's face turned stony, and Harry turned to the blonde. "You'll have to forgive Hermione; she's not one for Divination."

The blonde waved her hand. "It's fine. I know some people just don't care for it. To each their own."

Harry smirked at Hermione's gaping jaw, remembering how condescending Trelawney had been to those who didn’t "have the gift". "So what did you need, Amanda?"

"There is a small mouse residing in my classroom and I was hoping you could persuade your snake to have a small snack. I have tried to humanely capture it to set it free but he eludes the traps."

"Sure. No problem. I'll just go get him for you." Harry headed to his room and tapped on Albus's terrarium. "Albus. Time to wake up. I have a treat for you."

"A treat, Snaketalker?"

"Yes, there is a small mouse in one of the classrooms. Would you like him?"

The snake's tongue shot out excitedly. "Yes. I miss the chase sometimes."

"I'm going to let you go with one of the professors. When you are done she will bring you back."

The red head bobbed its understanding and Harry headed back to the sitting area.

"So you're a Seer?" He heard Hermione ask snidely.

"If you mean do I have visions the answer is no, I just know things. But I have studied many muggle divination techniques such as tea leaves, tarot cards, and Astrology."

"What? No crystal ball gazing?" Harry rolled his eyes at her snooty tone.

"Oh no. There are so few with the power of prophesy I don't like to waste class time on it. I usually spend about a week in class but I do offer independent study for those that wish to pursue it further. But it's mostly a matter of interpretation isn't it?" Amanda said softly, unperturbed by Hermione's coldness. "I mean I can sit here and say I see children in your future, but what does that really mean? Does that mean you will have many children? Or will you become a teacher? Or maybe it simply means Mr. Weasley's brothers and sister will have several children and you will spend Christmas morning with them. Then again, if I were to say the child you are carrying is a girl, that's very precise."

Hermione clutched her stomach. "I- I don't-" Her eyes looked around the room frantically. "What about Harry? Who will he marry?" She asked desperately as if trying to change the subject or stump the woman.

Amanda smiled vaguely, reminding Harry of Luna. "Ah, well, Mr. Potter makes his own destiny, doesn't he?"

Hermione crossed her arms and smiled smugly. "So you don't know?"

The blonde shook her head. "Not even the Oracle of Delphi herself would be able to determine Mr. Potter's fate. His magic blinds us to his future. I suspect fifteen years ago I would not have been able to discern even your fate, future minister, so entwined with Harry's as it was."

Harry could tell by the slightly widening of Hermione's eyes that the woman had thrown her off. She narrowed her eyes then bit her bottom lip as if trying to decide on something. The Divination professor turned her smiling eyes on Harry.

"Ah, this must be the infamous Albus." Harry held the snake out and she took it easily, not even jumping when the thin tongue flickered out. "Come along, Mr. Albus. I have a treat for you." She thanked Harry and nodded her goodbye to the other two before heading out.

"Is it?" Hermione called as Amanda reached the door. The teacher turned and gazed at Hermione.

"Is it what, future Minister?"

Hermione blushed and glanced at Ron. "Is the baby a girl?"

Harry felt the smile light his face and held back a chuckle at Ron's gaping mouth.

"No. And before you ask, he's very healthy." She turned and left the room, muttering sweetly to the snake.

Harry crossed the room to his friend and wrapped her in a hug. "Congratulations, 'Mione. Rose will be excited."

She pulled back and turned hesitantly to her husband. "I didn't want to say anything until I'd seen a mediwitch."

Her words broke the spell over Ron and he reached out and pulled her into a desperate hug. Harry watched happily as his two friends hugged, forgetting for the moment about being courted by an anonymous stranger.

 

At least until the following Sunday when Harry was putting the finishing touches on his classroom and a small elf popped in holding a small brown package. Harry smiled at the elf warmly.

"Hello there."

Her eyes widened at the welcoming tone and Harry chuckled. "L-Lolly must deliver this to Mister Professor Potter sir."

Harry nodded sagely. "And you are Lolly?" She nodded vigorously, her large ears flapping. "And I am Professor Potter." He held out his hand and she placed the package in it. He noticed the familiar white envelope tucked under the dark brown parcel string tied around the brown package. "Lolly, do you work for Hogwarts or are you a personal elf?"

"Lolly bes a Hogwarts elf, Professor Sir."

Harry nodded. "And who told you to bring this to me?"

Her eyes widened and he noticed the unmistakable signs of elf-distress. "Lolly isn't allowed to be saying Professor Sir."

Harry held a soothing hand up. "I understand, Lolly. It's okay. I was just curious. You may go now, I'm sure you and the other elves are quite busy preparing for tomorrow."

Her large eyes filled with tears. "Professor Sir is so kind. Lolly and the other elves are being happy that Kreacher's master has come back."

Harry smiled kindly at the elf and placed the package on his desk. He sat down and stared at the package for several minutes before finally pulling his wand out and running a scan on it. He wasn't surprised that nothing showed up, still, one couldn't be too careful. He slid the card out and pulled it from the envelope. It was the same white cardstock with the same gold lettering. For the late nights and the student-induced headaches. Good luck on your first year, Harry. I know you can do this. Harry was touched by the note and quickly untied the string to reveal a small wooden box. He lifted the lid to reveal vials of potions tucked in lined slots. He pulled several out and noticed they were either Pepper-up or Headache relief. So did this mean his secret admirer was Blaise? Although, the bottles didn't look like the standard vials he remembered from his school days. Not that that meant anything. He supposed anyone could have gone and bought potions and had them delivered. Only these didn't look like the standard store bought potions either. Harry sighed. He was no closer to figuring out who the man was and it was giving him a headache. He smirked, well, he did happen to have plenty of headache cure at the moment. He pulled a blue vial out and pulled the cork and tossed it back. He blinked at the slightly sweet taste of the potion. No this was definitely not store bought. He eyed the bottle, wondering who could have made the potion. Perhaps Hermione would like a little side project.

"It will not refill itself no matter how much you stare at it, Potter."

Harry jerked at the sneered words. "Headmaster." He placed the vial back in its slot and closed the box before sliding the small card in his shirt pocket. He stood and looked back up at the man. "Was there something you needed?"

The man was eyeing the box on Harry's desk. "Is there something wrong with the standard school potions, Potter? I seem to recall you having an affinity for them when you were here before."

Harry felt his cheeks warm. "Ah, no, sir. Just a good luck gift from a friend."

One dark brow rose. "And which friend had the shrewd foresight to gift you with headache cure?"

Harry wasn't quite sure he was ready to reveal his secret courtship to Snape. "I don't think that's any of your business, sir. Was there a reason you sought me out?"

Snape had opened his mouth to say something but snapped it shut. He glared at Harry for a moment. "There is a mandatory staff meeting in twenty minutes. Apparently Minerva forgot to inform you."

With that, Snape turned on his heels and swept from the room. Harry sighed in frustration. The man was so infuriating. Sometimes Harry wanted to crush their bodies together and kiss the man senseless. Other times, like now, he wanted to throw the man against the wall and rip his clothes off and drive him mad with lust. Harry groaned and dropped into his chair. Merlin he was pathetic. He had twenty minutes to calm his roiling blood and get to- Crap! Where was he supposed to go? Harry jumped out of his chair and raced after the man, hoping to catch him or another teacher on the way to the meeting.

Chapter Text

Harry watched the first years file in and smiled to himself as they gazed at the enchanted ceiling and looked in wonder at the floating candles. He watched as the hat sang its song and the students were sorted. He noticed, regardless of sorting, each student was applauded as they made their way to their new House table. Once the last student was seated, the headmaster stood and the entire hall went silent. Harry bit his lip at the display of power the man had. Merlin what he wouldn't give to hold that power in his hands, watch the man beg for mercy while Harry teased the lithe body. He shook the mental image from his mind and concentrated on the man's words.

"To the returning students, welcome back to Hogwarts," he began in a voice that Harry had rarely heard. There was no sneering condescension or snapping irritation, only the tone of a strict professor who expected certain standards and would be highly disappointed if you failed. "To the new students, welcome and we hope you enjoy the educational opportunity which has been afforded you. First, a few rules. No hexing, cursing, or malicious use of magic in the corridors. Mr. Filch once again requests I remind you that Weasley products are still among the forbidden objects list available for all to peruse at your leisure in his office. The Forbidden Forest is just that, forbidden to all students as well as Hogsmeade to all students under third year or those without signed consent. Please see your Heads of House for Quidditch tryouts. Game schedule and Hogsmeade weekends are listed on your common room boards. And finally," he added in a tone of voice that said he had been dreading this part, "as many of you are aware, Professor McDaniels was offered a position at Ilvermorny which left us with the need for a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. This year I am... pleased to announce that Professor Potter, a highly qualified former Auror, has agreed to fill the position."

Snape turned to him and Harry locked eyes with the devastating man. Snape's eyebrow rose and Harry realized the students were clapping for him. With a slight blush he stood and gave a quick bow before returning to his seat. As soon as the man gave the command for dinner the hall erupted with a wave of noise.

"Bit intimidating, isn't it?"

Harry glanced over to the brunette and gave the Muggle Studies professor a halfhearted smile. "I'd almost forgotten what having the entire school's attention felt like. Well, at least next year I'll be old news."

The man laid a reassuring hand over Harry's. "You will never be old news, Harry."

Harry felt a wave of revulsion for the man and jerked his hand away, which took a bit of work as Andrew had quite a grip on it. "Well, one can hope," Harry said between gritted teeth. He reached for his goblet and scanned the hall, his eyes landing on a scowling Snape when they passed over the staff table. He took a quick drink of his juice and turned to Hagrid to speak to his first friend about what his plans were for the upcoming year. He was pleased to know his friend had toned down his classes, finally realizing not every student was as enamored of dragons and acromantulas as he was. Harry waited for several minutes after the last student had gone before leaving the hall, hoping to not run into too many students on his way to his quarters. He wanted to have an early night and get a full night's sleep; he had Slytherin and Gryffindor seventh years first thing in the morning. He would need to be at the top of his game.

 

Harry sat on the edge of his desk, Albus curling around his bicep under his robe as he hissed in glee about all the new smells. He watched silently as the older students slowly began to trickle in, their eyes going slightly wide at the sight of him as if, even after being told he would be their professor the night before, they still couldn't believe he was there. He watched many of them attempt to subtly check his forehead, knowing they couldn't see the scar beneath the thick fringe. He smirked internally but paused as a group of boys entered the room and Albus's tongue tickled his arm violently. Harry stood from his desk and the entire room froze, even the students walking through the doors. He turned to address the quartet that had just entered.

"Whichever one of you has attempted to bring a small rodent into my class had best take it back to their dorm." The boys glanced among each other nervously, one boy's face going red. Harry stared into the brown eyes. "You have five minutes. Go."

The boy nodded tersely and shot from the room. Harry noticed the other students gaping or whispering fiercely as he settled back on his desk. He didn't say another word until the bell sounded the beginning of class and the Gryffindor he had sent off earlier came panting back into the classroom and dropped into an empty chair. Harry stood and moved to the side of his desk, angling his arm down.

"Number one rule in my class, for the safety of your pets, no frogs, toads, lizards rodents, etc. are to be brought into my classroom. Down." Albus hissed back in annoyance, always preferring the warmth of Harry's skin to a cold surface. The class gasped as the snake slid down his arm and out onto the table. "Say hello, Albus." Harry silently snickered at the shocked gasps of the students. Albus hissed out his welcome along with a long diatribe about the disregard of one's familiar's comfort. Harry rolled his eyes and turned to the class. "This is Albus. He is not poisonous and does not bite. That is not to say, he will not attack if provoked. You have all been warned." He held his arm out and allowed Albus to slither back up. This time he chose to rest around Harry's neck. "Rule number two, any malicious magic performed with intent against another student, in my class or outside it, will be cause for Saturday detention, regardless of Quidditch or Hogsmeade. You have been warned. Three, if you wish to ask me a question not related to Defense you must achieve an E or an O on your weekly essay." There was a slight groan, and Harry was sure it was in reference to the weekly part as opposed to the grade standard. "How many of you are here in hopes of continuing on to the Auror Corp?" Several hands went up. "And for the apprenticeship at St. Mungo's?" Other hands raised. "You should be aware that both require in-depth knowledge of the Dark Arts, though different forms. Therefore, we will study, not only the defense, but also the causes of certain magics. Knowing the cause can sometimes help to Defend against, as well as heal or protect." A hand shot up. "Yes, Ms…?"

"Angela Watchford, Professor. Why?" the Gryffindor said.

"What is a Dementor, Ms. Watchford?"

She furrowed her brows, "A soulless being that once guarded the prisoners of Azkaban and can literally suck one's soul from their body."

Harry nodded. "And do you know how to tell when a Dementor is near?"

"Umm, no sir."

Harry looked around the class. "Anyone?" Several pairs of eyes shifted away and others bowed their heads. "There is no shame in not knowing," he told them. "It starts slowly, like the weather is turning," several students shivered and glanced around as if they'd felt a cold breeze. "It gets colder and you start to think that maybe something's wrong with you." Several students crossed their arms to warm themselves from the cold chill that permeated the room. "And if you're lucky, you start to think about the times you lied to your parents or intentionally hurt your sibling. Even as your breath turns to ice right in front of you, all you can think about is what a horrible person you are and how everyone you love has suffered because of you." Several eyes widened in alarm as their breaths fogged in front of them, "and by the time the sky begins to darken it's. Too. Late." The lights in the room had slowly dimmed as he spoke. "Because once a Dementor has you, it won't let you go." He clapped his hands and every student jumped as the lights flared back up and the air returned to normal.

"S-sir?" a trembling voice spoke up.

"Yes?" He eyed the brave Slytherin.

"You said 'if you're lucky'. What do you think about if you aren't lucky?"

Harry blinked at the boy. "Then you get to hear the screams of your dying parents. Now, who knows how to defend against Dementors?" He hid his chuckle, knowing he had shocked the seventh years. "Come on. Ms. Watchford, tell them what spell to use to defend against a Dementor."

She blinked and swallowed.  "A- a Patronus, Sir."

Harry clapped, startling the class once more. He rolled his eyes. "Excellent. And how do you conjure a Patronus?" He heard a soft mumble from the boy that had tried to sneak in the rodent. He turned his green gaze on the muggle born. "And what is your name, sir?"

The boy blushed. "Jamie Scalon, sir."

"Now please repeat what you just said, Mr. Scalon. Loud enough for the class to hear."

The blush deepened. "I said by being Peter Pan."

Several of the Slytherins snickered thinking the boy was about to get in trouble. Harry simply smiled encouragingly. "Absolutely correct, Mr. Scalon. Five points to Gryffindor for bringing a bit of Muggle to my class. Now, explain to the rest of the wizarding world what that means."

The boy sat up a little straighter, prideful of having earned the first house points for Gryffindor from Harry Potter. "It means to think happy thoughts."

"Exactly. Now, how do we treat exposure to a Dementor?" A hand shot up in the back. "Yes, Ms?"

"Leila Long," the Slytherin replied. "With chocolate, Sir."

"Why?" Eyes shifted around once more. "Muggle science has taught us that pure chocolate creates Endorphins, which is what tells our brains we are happy. And that is the Why, Ms. Watchford. Happy thoughts not only defend against Dementors, they also treat exposure to said beings. And all without pixie dust," he added with a sly wink to Mr. Scalon. Several of the Gryffindors laughed. "Now, one more very important thing about my class. When you graduate, IF you graduate, and you are out in the real world there is none of this," He pointed between the clearly defined sets of students. "Therefore, when we practice, you will partner up with someone of a different house." He bit back a smile at the mass of groans, then pointed to the two girls in opposite colors but with the same features. "Except you two." Twin smirks faded fast. "You may pair up no more than once a month." He let a shiver race down his body. "Merlin you two must be worse than the Weasley twins, A Slytherin and a Gryffindor. Your poor parents." Several students snickered. Harry pointed to two of the Gryffindors and a Slytherin. "You, You, and You. Up front now." The three boys scrambled to the front of the classroom. "If I remember correctly you all wished to be Aurors, correct?" All three nodded. He pointed to one of the Gryffindors.

"Eric Vander," the boy supplied.

"Mr. Vander, let's say I'm Head Auror and I inform you your current partner has taken medical leave and you must choose between these two highly competent Aurors as your newest partner. Whom do you choose?"

The boy automatically pointed to his fellow Gryffindor. "David, Sir."

Harry nodded. "And why is that?"

Vander glanced nervously at the Slytherin. "Er, cause I trust him."

Harry's eyes widened in surprise. "Oh. You and- David are good friends then?"

"Well, I mean, not really, sir."

"Then why not Mr.-" he looked questioningly at the Slytherin.

"Chris Fellows."

"Mr. Fellows?"

"Cause he's, er, Slytherin, sir," the boy's face flushed a pale pink.

"Hmm. Go sit down." The three boys returned to their chairs and Harry leaned against the desk. "I bet all you kids grew up on stories about the war and the great Harry Potter, didn't you? Come on, don't be shy." The students nodded their heads. "How the brave Gryffindor saved the world?" More nods. He eyed the Gryffindor side of the room. "How many of you wanted to be Gryffindor because of those stories?" Several hands went up. "How many of you are aware that just before the last battle it was a Slytherin that saved my life?" He smirked at the outraged gasps from the Gryffindors. He looked at the Slytherin side. "Do not let anyone tell you the Slytherins hid from the war. Gryffindors and Slytherins fought on both sides."

"What?" an outraged Gryffindor gasped.

Harry turned green eyes on him. "How do you think Riddle found my parents? How do you think he was able to return? It was no Slytherin that performed the rebirth ritual, but a Gryffindor. Do not presume to think you are better than someone else simply because the hat said you had more gumption than forethought. Mr. Fellows, I have assigned you to partner Mr. Vander whose last partner is on medical leave after taking a curse meant for Vander and upon his return he will be partnered with a Superior Auror in training for his new promotion. Do you accept?"

"Yes," the boy said without hesitating. Several Gryffindors gaped at the Slytherin.

"Why?"

"Because, Sir. I wish to prove my reliability to you and since Mr. Vander's partner is up for promotion it is most likely not the first time he has caught a curse for his partner which tells me Mr. Vander is a bit reckless. Which possibly means he is not afraid to follow even the tiniest lead that could help us to crack a huge case. I would rather follow someone who takes risks than someone who sits on the sidelines."

"And there you have it. I had four partners during my time in the corp and two of them were Slytherins. I trusted them with my life." He felt Albus wake from his nap and slither down his body, several eyes followed the movement. "I want 12 to 14 inches on Inferi for next Tuesday. Any more than 14 inches and I start to deduct points. I want a definition, origination, defense, and treatment. You can get a head start by reading chapter 8 and taking notes during the rest of class." He followed Albus with his eyes as the snake slithered between the rows of desks. He stopped at Scalon's desk and hissed appreciatively at the lingering odor of rodent. "Stop that," Harry hissed at the snake. Albus skulked further down the aisle and stopped at Fellows’s desk. The boy didn't even twitch when the snake twined his way up his leg.

“Mr. Fellows,” Harry called to the Slytherin as the students began to file out. The boy stepped up to his desk and Harry held his hand out. The hand slipped into his pocket and pulled the sleeping snake out carefully and passed it over to the professor. “Thank you.” The boy shuffled out and Harry closed the door behind him with a wave of his hand. “Ever the Slytherin, Professor.”

Harry didn’t even bother looking up at the wave of magic that dissipated, revealing the headmaster. “And you love to put on a show, Potter.”

Harry stood and lifted Albus from the desk. “It’s what they expect.”

“And you always do what people expect,” Snape said in a disbelieving tone.

Harry placed the snake in the terrarium and turned to face the man. He gave the man a saucy smile, “You know how much I adore shocking people, Professor. There’s a reason people underestimate me.”

“I would never make that mistake, Potter. Not when it comes to what you’re capable of.”

Harry smirked at the man. "You have no idea what I'm capable of, Headmaster." And with those words he strode from the room.

 

Harry slipped into his office with a soft sigh. He knew exactly what he needed at this moment and crossed over to his desk, mind already unwarding the drawer where the small potion's box was kept. He paused as he stepped up to his desk and slid his wand out. There was only a small For Your Eyes Only spell on the brown parcel, which Harry removed easily before sitting in his chair. First things first, he pulled the box out and flipped it open. He sighed, he was already a quarter of the way through the Pepper-up and it was only the second week of school. He didn't know how the other professors did it. He downed another vial and put the box away as the potion took effect immediately. Feeling better, Harry slid the small envelope from the package and proceeded to pull out the card. I thought you might appreciate a different perspective, since your own school days were a bit… unusual. Harry snorted at the understatement and pulled at the string, allowing the brown paper to fall from the package. He blinked at the two books laying there and picked up the top one. Under the Enchanted Ceiling: My Time at Hogwarts as a Muggle Born. Harry raised his brows in surprise. That sounded interesting. He flipped the book open. 

The first time I met the stern looking woman she was standing in my parlor, a tartan shawl wrapped tightly around her shoulders over her black dress, which I later discovered was not a dress at all. It would take a few years before I realized this woman was the cat I had seen roaming around my neighborhood the summer before my eleventh birthday…

Harry grinned. This was definitely something he would enjoy. He closed the book and set it aside before looking at the other book. Through the Eyes of My Child: A Muggle Parent's Perspective. Harry thought that one would be a lovely read also. He wondered if Hermione would enjoy reading them as well. It would be interesting to read them and discuss the differences from their own tumultuous years. Harry sighed. Well, as thoughtful as the gifts were, he was still no closer to narrowing down the list of suspects. They all knew his years at the school had been "unusual" and, just because he didn't like the man, didn't mean Andrew could be excluded from the list. Harry fingered the first book and thought about when he'd be able to get a chance to read it. He frowned. With the way things were going, most likely not until summer holidays.

"Knock knock."

Harry looked up as Neville stepped into the room. "Hey, Nev."

The blond smiled sympathetically. "Feeling better?"

Harry groaned, "Was it that obvious?"

Neville nodded, "Yeah. Afraid so. Come on, you need some fresh air."

Harry stuffed the books in the drawer with the potion box and stood to follow Neville out of his classroom. "Your sudden offer to accompany me for fresh air wouldn't have anything to do with the Gryffindor quidditch try outs today would it?" He asked his friend slyly.

Neville gaped wide eyed at him as they headed down the stairs. "Is that today? I completely forgot. While we're out do you mind if I stop by? I mean, as Head of House I should really show a little support."

Harry chuckled. "Neville, that is very nearly Slytherin of you."

"If you would refrain from insulting my house, Potter, that would be lovely."

Harry turned at the silky drawl. "Headmaster. And where are you heading to this fine Saturday?"

The man's black eyes roamed over Neville. "Same as you, I imagine."

Harry looked curiously at him. "The tryouts? Spying for Slytherin still, Professor?"

The man glared at him. "I take an interest in all the teams, with no special consideration for any house. As Headmaster I make it my job to know which students are involved in extra-curricular activities."

"Snape is quite knowledgeable about Quidditch, Harry," Neville added. "He has even come to a few practices and given the students excellent advice."

Harry looked at the man in surprise. "Have you? I hope I won't be stepping on any toes then." Snape raised a brow questioningly. "Neville has asked me to give a few pointers to the team. I agreed, of course, with the understanding that I would do the same for the other teams as well. But if you-"

Snape cut him off with a raised hand. "Not at all, Mr. Potter. I am sure the students will appreciate anything you have to say. Fresh perspective and all that." They stepped out into the bright sunlight and Harry blinked rapidly. "Gentlemen, I will see you at the Pitch."

They watched as he strode off at a brisk pace as the two Gryffindors made their way a bit more leisurely. "So tell me how you do it," Harry said as they neared the pitch a few minutes later.

"Do what?" Neville asked distractedly as he watched two students fly around the Pitch.

"Not go crazy overworking yourself. I barely get any sleep these days." They made their way onto the pitch, placing themselves near the stands. Harry saw a dark figure sitting a few rows up and tried to concentrate on watching the students on the field. "I had a stock of Pepper-up at the beginning of the year and I'm nearly half through it already."

Neville laughed. "Strategy, Harry. First of all, and I say this as your friend, the whole weekly essay thing was a bit stupid. You have now locked yourself into reading at least fifty essays a week, and that's only from your NEWT classes. And trust me when I tell you, the younger students are terrible essay writers and the older ones have learned how to become cleverly redundant." Harry cringed at the truth of Neville's words, as he'd already begun to figure this out for himself. "What you need is to organize yourself, put yourself on a schedule or timetable. I know, terribly Ravenclaw-ish, but it works. And I know how horrible you are at deadlines so set yourself up some sort of reward system."

Harry looked thoughtfully at his friend. "A reward system?" He asked, thinking about the man sitting only a few rows behind him.

"Yes. Go down to Honeyduke's and buy yourself a box of chocolates but don't allow yourself to open it until you've graded your essays. Or make yourself work until a specific time and then celebrate by going for a fly. Something like that."

Harry nodded, thinking of his latest courting gifts. If he made himself finish his grading by Saturday then he could spend Saturday evenings reading a few chapters in his books. "A planner."

Neville glanced over at him. "What?"

"Hmm?" Harry said, not realizing until that second he'd spoken aloud. "Oh, I said what I need is a planner. You know, like those revision schedules Hermione always gave us, to help me figure out a grading schedule."

Neville snorted. "Did you even use those things?"

Harry felt himself blush but pointed to the boy guarding the hoops. "Your Keeper is going to cost you your games if your captain chooses Ms. Blonde ringlets for a Chaser."

Neville nodded his agreement and stepped out onto the field.

"Giving Gryffindor an unfair advantage, Professor Potter?"

Harry turned to find the blond Magical Theory professor standing over him. Harry had to look up and blinked as he was nearly blinded by the sun behind the man. "Just offering bits of advice. I'd be happy to offer my services to Hufflepuff as well, Michael. Unless you are perfectly content with the Headmaster's input, which I'm told is just as good as mine."

Harry ignored the soft snort from the man himself and maintained eye contact with the blond, waiting his answer. "Perhaps I will take you up on that offer, Harry. Our tryouts are next Saturday; will you be able to make it?"

Harry nodded. "Before or after Slytherin? Mr. Fellows has already asked for my aide so I will be here anyway."

"After. See you then." He turned to face the Headmaster. "Snape, I wondered if I could have a moment of your time after dinner this evening?"

Harry tuned the conversation out and turned back to see Neville heading back to him. The blond smiled, "It seems Ms. Everly wasn't a viable option anyway. Mr. Bairs flew exceptionally well earlier and Mr. Erics was only going through the motions of continuing the tryouts."

Harry nodded. "Good. I'd hate to see Gryffindor lose because some fifteen year old boy couldn't keep his eyes on the balls."

Neville narrowed his eyes at Harry. "Mmm. Yes, because you never had that problem." Harry glared at his friend. "What was that guy's name from Improper Use?"

"You best hush your mouth, Auror Longbottom," Harry glared menacingly at his friend.

Neville chuckled. "Doorman? Dorget?"

"I'm leaving. You get no more advice from me today." Harry turned and headed off the quidditch pitch at Neville's jovial laughter.

"Oh, yes. Dorneget," he called after him.

Harry stopped and turned to face his friend with a smirk. "Well, he was a hell of a lot better kisser than you." Harry caught the playful two fingered gesture that Neville flashed him.

"If you two are done being childish," they looked up at the imposing figure that was exiting the stands and Harry blushed, having forgotten the man was there, "I believe you have duties to attend." Snape turned towards Neville. "And really, Professor Longbottom, I should take points from Gryffindor simply for lack of taste in choosing one's partner." He swept past them and Harry glared at the retreating back. Git.

 

"Well, really, Harry. I think we all know what you need to do."

Harry looked up at his friend. "And what is that, Hermione?"

She sighed and rolled her eyes before taking a sip of her butterbeer. "Go on dates with all of them."

Harry nearly choked on his butterbeer. "Hermione, you do realize we are all professors at a boarding school? I think dating might be a little complicated. What? Should I invite them out on a Hogsmeade weekend?" He looked pointedly at the bustling inn that was crowded with students enjoying the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year.

"Okay, well maybe not a typical date, but there's other options. You could join one of them on their night time patrol or sit together at a quidditch game. There's nothing wrong with two professors getting to know each other."

Harry thought about what his friend was saying and decided it might not be a bad idea. His face scrunched up in disgust. "I suppose I have to include Andrew in that list?"

She gave him a knowing look. "Yes, Harry. You really should get to know the man before you completely disregard his courtship."

Harry rolled his eyes. "We don't even know it's him."

"But it could be any of them and you can't disregard any of them."

He sighed, knowing the truth of her words. If it was Andrew, he at least owed the man a chance after the thoughtful gifts. Since the last set of books he had received a large box of Honeyduke's chocolates and a daily planner. He had thought then the courter might be Neville but she had pointed out that Snape and the other teacher had been within hearing distance of the conversation as well. And though it might not be either of them, they could have mentioned it in passing to another professor within hearing distance of his courter. Harry sighed, it was all so complicated. He felt a tug on his robes and looked down to see a familiar elf.

"Lolly," he said surprised.

Her large eyes widened in surprise. "Professor Sir remembers Lolly?"

Harry smiled brightly at her. "Of course I do. Did you need something, Lolly?"

She held her hands out and a brown package appeared. Harry ignored Hermione's soft gasp and reached into his robe. He had been expecting/hoping to see the elf this weekend. It had been two weeks since his last gift and they seemed to be on a two week schedule.

"For Professor Sir."

Harry didn't dare take the gift yet, knowing the elf was likely to disappear the second he did. "Lolly, I know you can't tell me who the gifts are from, but are you allowed to deliver a message if I promise there is no trace magic on it?"

The elf seemed to think for a minute before her lips curled in a smile. "Lolly was not told she could not deliver any messages from Professor Potter Sir."

Harry smiled. "Excellent." He slid the envelope in her waiting hand before taking the package. As expected, she popped away the second the package had been delivered. Harry moved the package to the table, scanned it, and slid the envelope free. He read the gold inscription then gaped up at his friend. A worried frown creased her brow.

"What?" she asked, sitting up straighter.

"He knows I'm here with you. And, Hermione, I think we can narrow the list down a bit."

She furrowed her brow. "What? Why?" He held the card out for her and she took it gingerly. "Just a bit of light reading," she read aloud and gaped at him. She eyed the package eagerly. "Open it up, Harry."

Harry quickly untied the package to reveal two more books. He snatched them up and read the titles. Relatively Magical: Beyond Theory and Practically Animagus. He handed the books to Hermione and she gasped at the titles.

"Harry, whoever he is, he knows you. I mean really knows you."

Harry nodded. "But who, Hermione? Not even the rest of the Weasleys know I'm working on my animagus form."

She thought for a minute before carefully placing the books on the table. "Maybe they don't know." He looked at her skeptically. "No, listen. What if they just know how much you admired your father and Sirius? I mean, it's no secret now that they were unregistered Animagi. Perhaps whoever he is, just thought it might be something you would be interested in."

He nodded distractedly, his thoughts running in circles in his mind. "Okay," he said slowly. He picked up the card from atop the books. "But this? Surely it proves it was someone we went to school with?"

"Or someone who knew someone we went to school with." Harry groaned and sat back against the booth. "What if he's just been waiting for the right moment to deliver these? I mean, everyone knows Ron and I come to visit you all the time. What if he's had these gifts waiting until he knew I was visiting you? Or…"

Harry waited expectantly. "Or what?" he finally begged.

She bit her bottom lip. "Or the wording could just be a coincidence."

Harry snorted. Somehow he doubted that.

Chapter Text

He should not have been surprised when the small elf popped back into his office. She silently held a cream envelope out and he recognized it immediately as standard issue Hogwarts official stationary, provided for all staff in their offices. He shook his head; he should have known the man would try something. He'd almost forgotten how Slytherin the Gryffindor Golden Boy could be. He took the letter from the elf's hand and she popped away immediately. He tore open the envelope, greedy to read what the man had to say. 

First I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this. Secondly let me say how honored I am that you have chosen to court me in the traditional way. Well, mostly traditional. I must admit that the secrecy does add a bit to it. Perhaps you are a Slytherin, which is intriguing. I would like to get to know you, but I'm not sure how, since you wish to remain anonymous for the time being. I am hoping I can get Lolly to deliver this letter to you, which, if you are reading this then I have been successful. I appreciate the gifts. The potions have been wonderful, though I wouldn't mind knowing where you purchased them so I might obtain more. (The man snorted) The books have given me a delightful insight into the kind of experience I might have had at school had I been anyone else, thank you for that. The planner has been quite helpful in keeping me on track and I do not feel quite so overwhelmed as I did a mere month ago. The chocolates too have been a lovely treat. I wish I knew you better so I might return the favor. Since you have accepted this letter, perhaps you might be open to accepting gifts from me as well. Though I have no idea of what you might be interested in. Do you like Quidditch? What is your favorite candy? Do you have any hobbies? Once again, thank you for the honor you bestow upon me. - Harry

He sat back in his chair. So the man wanted to know more about him? Could he tell him things without giving away his secret? He glanced at the letter again and thought he might be able to get away with answering a few innocuous questions. He opened his desk drawer and pulled out a familiar white card, blue Dicta-Quill, and a bottle of gold ink.

 

"Mr. Fellows," Harry called to the Slytherin across the Pitch. The boy looked up at him as the gold snitch fluttered in his hand. "I realize that you are a seventh year and have therefore most likely been playing for a few years, but if you hope to win, you had best spend more time looking for the snitch and less time trying to impress Ms. Ballinger." The boy blushed as his teammates snickered. "I can guarantee she will be more impressed with a gentleman that does not spend his school days in the hospital." The boy nodded shyly and turned back to his teammates with a fierce growl at them.

"Is that why you never had a girlfriend, Potter?"

Harry turned at the silky voice and he felt his cock twitch at the sight of the man standing within touching distance. He smirked. "I had girlfriends, Professor. But if I had been paying attention to my hormones, I would have realized I much preferred to have a boyfriend." He turned back to the field of Slytherins. "At least I figured it out before it was too late."

"Hmm." The man said noncommittally.

Harry was trying avidly to ignore the man beside him and concentrate on the students. There was a small pop and Harry jumped. He looked down at the small elf. "Lolly," he said surprised to see the elf.

Her large eyes got wider when she saw the headmaster beside Harry and she looked between the men nervously.

"Well?" The headmaster snapped. The elf blinked nervously and held a white envelope out to Harry and he took it, blinking in shock as it had only been a week since he'd received his last gift. Only there was no gift with this one. Lolly popped away and Harry made to tuck the envelope in his pocket. "Oh, please," Snape said with a wave of his hand. "Don't let me stop you from reading your correspondence. But I am curious as to why a school elf is sending you love letters."

Harry glared at the man. "No one said it was a love letter. It could simply be Hagrid asking me for tea."

Snape rolled his eyes. "Open it or not, Potter. I don't really give a damn."

Harry turned away from him and stuffed the letter in his pocket. "Language, Professor," he said before walking off onto the Pitch. He spent the next half hour giving the Slytherins pointers before moving back to the stands to let them run some plays. He noticed Snape hadn't moved from his spot, but Harry wasn't about to go stand next to the man. He watched the players for several minutes before finally pulling the note out of his pocket and reading the familiar gold ink. How very Slytherin, Harry. (Though I won’t tell if I am one or not) I must admit I was a bit surprised to get your letter, but I am glad to know you are enjoying the gifts. I might be willing to tell you a few things about myself that won't give away too much. Such as that yes, I do enjoy a bit of Quidditch, though I did not play on a team in school. (Well, that wasn't very helpful) Or I might let slip that I quite adore the smoothness of dark chocolate but am not averse to the way milk chocolate has a way of melting deliciously in one's mouth if one allows oneself to savor it appropriately. I wonder, Harry, if anyone has taken the time to properly savor you. I would. -Me. Harry's breath caught and his jeans became a tad tight at the man's words. He felt his cheeks grow hot and was suddenly thankful for the cool November breeze.

"Good news?"

Harry glanced up, startled by the smooth voice. He smiled politely at the Head of Slytherin. "Hello, Blaise. Come to watch your team? I'm afraid you've almost missed them."

The man moved beside Harry as he tucked the note back into his pocket. "I was just heading down to Hogsmeade to pick up some ingredients that require special handling, so I thought I'd get your opinion on them,” he said, indicating the team on the field.

Harry shrugged, "Well, I've admonished Mr. Fellows about showing off for his fellow teammates so you might at least have a chance against Gryffindor next week. But I won't place any bets on that," he added cheekily.

Blaise laughed, a full rich sound and Harry decided he quite liked it. “Well, I never was one for betting so I think we are safe on that front. I should head out if I’m to make it back in time for dinner. Thank you for helping the team out, Harry.” He reached out and squeezed Harry’s bicep affectionately, “it means a lot to the kids.”

Harry smiled warmly at the Slytherin. “I enjoy passing along my knowledge. It is interesting to watch the different houses interpret my advice to suit their personalities.”

Blaise laughed again. “That is a unique way of putting it, Harry. I’ll see you at dinner.”

Harry waved the man off and headed back to the school, passing Snape and the Magical Theory professor conversing near the stands.

 

Harry was savoring the tension in the air as he sat at the breakfast table. There was something about Quidditch Saturdays that seemed to fill the Great Hall with a certain buzz, and the first game of the season always gave it that extra sense of excitement.

“It’s something else isn’t it, Harry?”

Harry smiled over at Neville as the man slid into the chair beside him and began filling his plate. “Yes. I don’t think I ever realized what a buzz it was before games. I was always so intent on analyzing the other players for future games or worrying about not falling from my broom.”

“Who was that captain you guys had that everyone accused of caring more about the cup than your health?” Blaise asked from several chairs down.

Harry chuckled and rolled his eyes. “Oliver Wood. And I guarantee his first concern was definitely that cup.”

“Wood?” Michael Purvis asked from the other side of Madam Hooch. “He always was a bit Quidditch mad. Isn’t he with Puddlemere now?”

Harry nodded. “Yes. And doing amazing. Took them all the way to third place last year. They’re in talks with Ginny, but you didn’t hear it from me,” Harry told them with a wink.

“Ginny Weasley and Oliver Wood?” Andrew said as he slipped into the seat beside Harry. Harry smiled uncomfortably but merely nodded. “And you know them?”

“Know them?” Neville asked incredulously. "He dated both of them.”

Harry turned a horrified gaze on Neville. “Neville, I did not date Oliver. We met over dinner a few times to discuss Quidditch. That’s it.”

“So you played Quidditch then?” Andrew asked.

 “A bit, yeah.”

There was a harsh snort behind him and Harry felt his cheeks heat up. He ignored the Headmaster as the man slid into his chair on the other side of Neville. “Go on, Mr. Potter. Inform Professor Martin what all of England is already aware of.”

Harry turned slowly to eye the man. He blinked slowly. “And what would that be, Headmaster?” He said quietly so the students couldn’t hear. “That you are an utter arse? I think he’s most likely figured that out by now.”

“Mister. Potter,” Snape snapped but was interrupted by the flutter of wings as the mail owls entered.

Harry sat back and let his blood cool from the near-argument with Snape. There was no doubt in his mind there would be retribution but it had been worth it. He was pulled from his musings as Neville elbowed him and nodded to the small elf that had appeared. He sat up and reached into his robe.

“Lolly.”

“Professor Sir.” She held out her empty hand and Harry smiled, placing the wrapped package and cream envelope in her palm. She returned the smile and held out the bright yellow box in her other. Harry’s cheeks burned hotly at the sight of the box. He didn’t have to read the label to know what it said. Honeyduke’s finest slow melting milk chocolate. He squeezed his thighs together uncomfortably and quickly stuffed the box in his robe. By the time he dared look up the elf was gone but several of the professors were watching him.

“Who was that from, Harry?”

Harry looked up at his old Head of House. “Just a friend who knows how much I enjoy candy.”

“Who doesn’t know how much you enjoy chocolates, Potter?”

Harry’s head turned swiftly at the familiar voice he hadn’t heard in months. “Malfoy, what are you doing here?”

The platinum blond smirked. “Come to watch Slytherin pound Gryffindor, of course. House loyalties, you know.” He turned to glance at Blaise. “Zabini, I believe I was promised a personal introduction to this year’s crop?”

The current potions professor nodded and stood from the table. “See you all at the game. Good luck, Longbottom. Come along, Malfoy.”

The two men disappeared through the side door and Harry went back to his breakfast, his mind on the chocolate in his pocket and the small elf that had disappeared with his own present. It occurred then that all his current suspects had been in the hall so either his courter was someone else or the man had expected a gift and had made arrangements with the elf. Harry sighed and wondered if he’d ever figure it out.

 

He hadn’t been surprised to find the package and letter sitting on the desk in his bedroom, just as he’d ordered the little elf to do. He went to warm himself by the fire before seeing to the little gift. The game had lasted almost two hours and the skies had opened up just minutes after the snitch had been caught. No doubt the Slytherins were congratulating each other with commandeered butterbeer while the Gryffindors consoled and plotted over warm cocoa. The thought of hot chocolate reminded him of this morning’s pleasant experience. Watching the man’s face fill with the enticing blush had been enough to make him squirm in his seat. Thankfully no one had noticed as all eyes had been on the blushing man. And now he was a bit too warm. He stepped away from the fire and picked up the package. He tore the paper from the small box and laughed at the box of assorted chocolates, the rich sound echoing around his room. He picked up the cream envelope and settled on the edge of his bed. 

 I hope the team you are rooting for wins today. How can I possibly know you will get this on Quidditch Saturday? I think I know you well enough to at least say you wouldn’t allow a mere game to interrupt your delivery schedule. I for one will be rooting for Gryffindor but hold little hope. Mr. Fellows is a fine Seeker and shows exceptional skill. Slytherin will find it hard to replace him next year. I too am a fan of chocolate but I suddenly find myself with the urge to purchase a hundred Galleon’s worth of chocolate just to watch you savor it. I wonder, do you eat it slowly and let it melt on your fingertips so you can lick it off? Or do you hold it in your mouth and let it melt on your tongue. I for one am too impatient to let it melt. Once chocolate touches my lips I eagerly devour it. You did not mention any hobbies. Or are you too absorbed in your grading and other duties? Hermione had an idea and I wondered if you might be open to it. I understand if you want no part of it but know that I plan on going forward regardless. You see, I have a list of potential candidates I think you might be, and Hermione has suggested I try to get to know them, so that when you finally reveal yourself (Which I hope you plan to do at some point) I might have some idea of whether or not we suit. Do you think you might be willing to accept my overture of friendship, even if I am unaware it is you? –Harry

He sat back, thoughtfully, and stared into the fire. He liked the idea that the man thought enough to attempt to figure out who he was. He wondered if he’d even made the list of potential candidates. If the man even knew he was an option. Well, there was only one way to know. He opened his desk drawer and pulled out a familiar white card, blue Dicta-Quill, and a bottle of gold ink.

 

Harry slipped another piece of chocolate into his mouth, still remembering the instructions on the small white card. Let it melt against your tongue and savor it, My Harry. And slid further into the bathtub. He had decided to forgo his usual reading reward for a luxurious bubble bath this weekend. He needed it after this week. His body needed his attention and he had every intention of rewarding it for its patience. It had started last weekend after the quidditch game. He’d been congratulating Blaise on his house’s win when the skies had opened up, dousing them in cold rainwater. Harry hadn’t minded too much, especially as he had gotten a quick look at a soaked Snape just before the man cast an Impervius and stormed off to the castle. Harry had admired the way the man’s robes clung to his frame, wrapping around his legs as he walked quickly. The image had barely faded from his mind when, on Tuesday, he had gone to see Neville about the Tentacula and had gone to greenhouse two, where Minerva had said she’d last seen the man. Except he’d found a dirt-covered headmaster in old jeans and mud covered tee, elbow deep in soil, his hair pulled back and sweat dripping from his forehead. Merlin the man had looked completely and utterly fuckable. And dirty. Harry had wanted to drag the man to his chambers and toss him into this very tub and wash every inch of that body. To pour water over the man’s head and lather his silken strands in soap and watch the suds slide down his body as he rinsed him clean. Harry’s hand was slowly sliding up and down his length, imagining the feel of his hands on Snape’s body. Every time he’d looked at the man that week he’d instantly gotten rock hard. But being in a school around hormonal teenagers was an excellent deterrent and Harry had been unable to attend to his needs as they’d… come up. So he’d set aside tonight to take a relaxing bath and relive each and every fantasy he’d had of his one-time professor that week.

Harry indeed took his time, bringing himself near completion several times only to pull himself back and imagine an entirely new scenario in his head. He did this over and over until he could no longer stop the impending orgasm and had come hard with the man’s name on his lips. He’d banished the mess and languished in the warm water as he sucked on another piece of chocolate before finally pulling himself out of the water, fingers and toes white and wrinkled. He toweled himself off and stretched, pulling his muscles tight. He grabbed the green silk boxers and lounge pants he’d brought into the bathroom with him and slid them on before heading out to grab a snack from his kitchen. He paused as he entered his sitting area and his eyes landed on the small white envelope placed on his otherwise bare coffee table. Snack forgotten he rushed over and snatched the envelope up, dropping to the couch as he pulled out, not the crisp white card he expected but a folded piece of parchment. 

I must say it was quite delicious to watch the blush spread across your perfect skin when you received my gift. Dare I hope you were thinking of my previous note? I can’t help but wonder how far down your blush goes. I hope to one day find out. To make you blush deeply and peel your clothes from your body as I follow the pink tone of your tanned skin, kissing my way down. My fingers long to dance their way down your body. I wonder which taut muscles are from flying and which are from your days as an Auror. I spend too many nights with these thoughts running through my mind, Harry. Does that scare you? I hope not. I hope I made my intentions clear with the courting rose. I have admired you from afar, longer than I should have and have often wondered if I even stood a chance with you. I would not be averse to spending time getting to know you; even if you are unaware it is I. I find it quite adorable how you assume I am a fellow professor. Is this because of the elf that delivers your gifts? Or because you only started receiving them when you arrived? Surely your friend has pointed out that I could be anyone with access to the school, including a former student with friends who now teach with you? Have I properly intrigued you, Harry? And to preserve your dignity so you will not have to ask a third time, yes, I have hobbies. I enjoy gardening and playing the piano. I am quite adept with my hands, which I hope you will discover some day. I enjoy reading, mostly informative texts but I have been known to pick up the occasional muggle mystery or criminal novel. And you are correct. Mr. Fellows has exceptional flying ability, not unlike yourself at that age. Sweet dreams, My Harry. –Me.

Harry dropped his head back as he finished the letter after the third re-read. The man dropped hints left and right, but he still gave no real clue as to who he could be. Harry sighed and pushed himself off the couch, dropping to his hands and knees and crawling to the fireplace. He grabbed a handful of Floo powder and tossed it into the roaring flames.

“The Grange.” He stuck his head into the green fire and listened carefully at the empty sitting room. He could hear the unmistakable sound of his goddaughter splashing in the bathtub across the hall and Ron’s deep laughter. “’Mione,” Harry called.

“Hey, Harry,” Ron called from the bathroom.

“Ronnie, I need ‘Mione.”

“I’m coming,” the witch called from down the hallway. She stepped into the sitting room cradling a pint of ice cream. She waved a spoon at Harry’s head. “This child takes after his father. He won’t stop eating. What do you need, Harry?” She plopped down on the couch and dug the spoon into the ice cream. Harry smiled fondly at her.

“I am so fucked, ‘Mione. He sent another letter, and he keeps dropping all these hints but they don’t tell me anything. Only I’m pretty sure I can rule out Andrew.”

“Are we back on him again, Harry?” She asked shoveling a spoonful of green goop into her mouth.

“Well he referenced my flying ability from when I was in school. And I doubt Andrew has seen me fly.”

“Unless he’s going on conjecture by what others have said, Harry,” Ron said as he lugged a towel-wrapped, wriggling toddler into the room.

Harry glared at his best mate. “I hate you, Ronald Weasley.”

“Unca ‘Arry. Unca ‘Arry,” the towel squealed delightfully.

“Hello, my little pumpkin,” he called back cheerfully.

Ron gently tossed the toddler on the couch beside Hermione and she giggled as she bounced. He knelt down beside her and proceeded to wrap her bare bottom in a diaper.

“Well, I’m just trying to point out the obvious, Harry,” Ron defended himself. “I don’t think you should rule anyone out at the moment. Hermione told me her idea about getting to know each of the potential candidates, and I think it’s an excellent idea.”

“He’s agreed to do it,” Harry told them and they looked at him in surprise. He blushed. “I kinda told him about the list and how I was going to try to get to know everyone a little bit, and he thought it was a good idea and agreed to befriend me when I approached him.”

“Well, there you go,” Hermione said with a big grin. “You know it’s one of the men that say yes. If you attempt to befriend any of the options and they say no, you know it’s not him.”

Harry glared at her. “You know, Hermione, your logic goes to shite when you’re hormonal.”

She glared back and shoved a spoonful of Pistachio ice cream in her mouth.

“Stay here with mummy. Daddy is going to go get your bottle and then it’s time for bed.”

Bouncy red curls swung back and forth. “No bed.” She pointed to the fireplace. “Unca ‘Arry.”

“Not tonight, Rosie.” Ron told his daughter. “Sit here with mummy.”

“No bed. No bed.” She called out as her father left the room.

“Crap,” Harry looked over at Hermione who had suddenly turned almost the same color as her ice cream. The pint fell on the floor as she raced from the room. Harry turned to his goddaughter.

“Mummy sick.” Rosie nodded and giggled as she rolled over onto her tummy and slid from the couch. “No, Rosie. You stay right there. Daddy be right back.” Harry winced at the sudden sound of retching coming from across the hall.

“Unca ‘Arry. Unca ‘Arry.”

Harry looked up just in time to see the toddler come barreling towards him. “Rosie, no.” But it was too late. Her little legs had gotten enough momentum to fling her into the Floo and they landed on Harry’s sitting room carpet as the Floo closed with a Whoosh. Harry wrapped his arms around the little girl’s waist to keep her from running off and pulled himself to his feet. “We are both going to be in so much trouble.” He sighed and shifted the toddler on his hip knowing his friends would be by as soon as Hermione was done throwing up. “That’ll teach mummy to eat ice cream so late won’t it?” The red curls bobbed up and down and he kissed her freckled nose. He looked up in confusion at the knock on his door. “Let’s go see who that is, shall we, my little pumpkin?” He crossed over to the door and pulled it open. He froze as the headmaster stood staring at him, an odd light entering the man’s eyes as he took in the toddler on Harry’s hip.

“Send her back, Potter. She still has at least seven more years before we can do anything with her.”

Harry bit back a grin and stepped aside. “Would you like to come in, Headmaster?”

The man stepped past Harry, still eyeing the child. “I was unaware you had any children, Potter.”

Harry closed the door behind him and stepped into the room. “I don’t. At least not that I’m aware of. I’m just unexpectedly babysitting for the moment." The Floo flared to life behind Harry. “Ah, there would be the worried parent now.” He turned as Ron stepped through the Floo.

“Lily Rose Granger-Weasley, what did I tell you?”

The girl struggled in Harry’s arms but he held her fast as Ron crossed the room. “No bed. No bed. Unca ‘Arry. Unca ‘Arry.”

Harry reached up and gently grabbed her chin to force her to look at him. “Rosie baby, Look at Uncle Harry.” She stopped her struggle and looked at him, eyes bright with tears and bottom lip pushed out. “Uncle Harry promises to come see you very soon okay? But right now you have to go home with daddy and go to bed like a big girl. Can you do that for Uncle Harry?” She nodded her bouncing curls. “Thank you,” he said, drawing the words out in exaggeration. “Kisses.” He turned his head for her sloppy kiss. “Hugs.” Her tiny arms squeezed around his neck. “High fives.” He held his hand up and she slapped her tiny palm against it. “Alright. Now go to daddy.” He passed the girl over to her father. “’Mione okay?”

Ron nodded as he pulled the yawning child onto his hip. “Yeah. Guess ice cream doesn’t go with curry.” Harry scrunched his nose up. “You’ll let us know if you learn anything?”

Harry rolled his eyes. “As if Hermione wouldn’t bug me to death. I’ll Floo you later.”

“A’right.” He stepped towards the fireplace and grabbed a handful of powder. “Good evening, Professor.” He called over his shoulder and Harry turned startled eyes on the man, having forgotten he was there. “The Grange,” Ron called out tossing the powder. “And, Harry, put a shirt on.” He disappeared into the green flames.

“Um,” Harry felt his cheeks burn as the man raised an eyebrow. “Just a minute.” Harry raced from the room and grabbed a shirt off the pile on his dresser. He pulled it on over his head as he stepped back into the sitting room. Snape had moved closer to the couch and his head was tilted at an odd angle. Harry’s eyes widened as he realized the letter was still lying on the couch where he had dropped it before firecalling Hermione. “Was there something you needed, Headmaster?” He moved leisurely across the room as the man’s head shot up. Yes, he had definitely been trying to read the letter. Or perhaps trying to figure out if Harry had already read it?

“It is my understanding that you have developed something of a relationship with Mr. Fellows.”

Harry nodded as he casually reached down and picked up the letter refolding it as he spoke. “He is smart and talented. Not just in quidditch but defense as well. He will make a good Auror. I plan to recommend him to the Auror Corp if he does as well on his N.E.W.T.s as I believe he will.”

Snape barely hid his surprise. “Are you aware his parents were Death Eaters?”

Harry snapped up from leaning down to grab the envelope, surprise clear on his face. “They were? He is an orphan?”

Snape shrugged. “He was raised by a squib aunt. He has worked hard to overcome the stigma of his parents.”

Harry nodded and pushed the parchment into the envelope. “Has he talked to Malfoy? I know they have met but has Malfoy actually talked to the boy?”

He summoned his whiskey and two tumblers and motioned for Snape to have a seat. The two men sat and Harry noticed Snape eyeing the white envelope he had placed back on the table as he poured them drinks. He handed one to the headmaster. He nodded his thanks. “He has. I believe it was Mr. Malfoy who encouraged Mr. Fellows to pursue the Auror field.”

Harry nodded and took a sip of his whiskey. He furrowed his brow. “The Fellows, how did they-? I mean, did I-?”

Snape shook his head. “No. They were murdered by the Dark Lord himself a year before the final battle even took place, Mr. Potter. It was nothing you did.” The man winced. “In fact, I believe the Dark Lord was enraged at the knowledge of learning he had, how did he put it? Nursed a traitor at his bosom.”

Harry nodded at the reference. “When you fled with Draco after Dumbledore died. When the curse took him instead of giving Draco the chance to kill him.”

Snape nodded. “It didn’t matter that Dumbledore was dead, only that Draco had not done as ordered.”

Harry took another sip and watched through slitted eyes as the man eyed the envelope again. “So what particularly about Mr. Fellows brings you to my quarters on a Saturday night?”

“Ah, yes. It seems Mr. Fellows’s aunt is quite sick and is not expected to survive much longer. He has requested to leave the school to visit her one last time tomorrow. I thought he should be accompanied, preferably by someone he respects.”

Harry felt himself blush at the implied compliment. “I would consider it an honor to escort Mr. Fellows to aunt’s side. Is she in St. Mungo’s or a muggle hospital?”

“St. Mary’s in Paddington,” Snape offered.

Harry nodded. “Please inform Mr. Fellows I will meet him outside the Great Hall at ten in muggle clothes. Just out of curiosity, why isn’t his Head of House taking him?”

Snape adjusted his robes and shifted uncomfortably. “As I said, someone he respects.”

Harry furrowed his brow but let the matter drop for now. “Very well. Ten o’clock.”

Chapter Text

Harry made his way up the stone steps after giving the gargoyle the correct password. He really should have expected the summons. He and the boy had returned well after dinner as Harry had accompanied the Slytherin to his aunt's house to retrieve items of a personal nature. The boy had spent almost an hour in what Harry assumed was his room. He hadn't pried, giving the boy the opportunity to give into the grief he wouldn't be allowed to express once he was back among his own house. Realizing the time as they had locked up the house, Harry had stopped in muggle London for a quick bite to eat. Almost as soon as he had escorted the boy back to his common room a small elf had appeared with a message from the headmaster.

Harry knocked on the door and waited for a few minutes before it was pulled open. Harry swallowed thickly at the sight of Snape in black pants and a snug-fitting tee.

"I had almost despaired of you returning, Potter."

"Should I come back in the morning?"

The man shook his head and stepped back. "I am still awake and you are here. Might as well come in."

Harry stepped inside the large office and waited for Snape to close the door. He followed the man, expecting him to settle near the fireplace. Instead he continued on to a disillusioned door and motioned for Harry to enter. Harry stepped into the cozy sitting room; it was set up much like his own with a small kitchen and a large sitting area lined with shelves of books. He followed Snape over to the sitting area and sat down in one of the green leather wingbacks. He looked up as Snape held a glass of whiskey out to him. He took it with a murmured thanks and Snape settled into the matching chair.

"Mr. Fellows was able to say his goodbyes?"

Harry nodded. "Yes. I think she must have been sick for a while as he was not very surprised at her condition."

Snape nodded as if he himself had suspected as much. "And what took so long? I had expected you to return by dinner at least."

"Mr. Fellows wished to visit his aunt's home to retrieve a few things."

Snape nodded understandingly. "And you gave him the time to collect his… things?"

Harry nodded and took a sip of the whiskey. He let the smooth drink slide down his throat. It was very fine malt, not that he should have been surprised. Only the best for Severus Snape. "Yes. But by the time he was done it was late so we stopped for dinner."

"The school will reimburse you of course, as you were technically on school business."

Harry waved his hand. "I had an ulterior motive." Snape simply raised an eyebrow. "I had the opportunity to become better acquainted with Mr. Fellows today. As I believe I mentioned he is quite bright. He also blends in well with the muggle world. I also mentioned a possibility of writing him a recommendation. During today's foray I had the opportunity to witness Mr. Fellows in the muggle world, and I believe he would do well in the Muggle Undercover Division. Blake is forever bemoaning the lack of suitable Aurors and I think Mr. Fellows would do well there and the chance for advancement is great. I have no doubts he will rise fast."

Snape nodded. "And Blake is another of your boyfriends, I presume."

Harry snorted. "Firstly, I think Cecilia would greatly be offended to be referred to as a man as she is very proud to be of the female persuasion. Secondly, I do not think her husband of fifty-odd years would like it if I attempted to engage his wife in anything more than friendship." He smirked into his glass as Snape coughed through his embarrassment. "Do you know how his grades are in Transfiguration?"

"I believe he received an O on his O.W.L. Potions as well."

Harry nodded. "That's good." Harry's voice trailed off as he became lost in thought. He was brought back by the sound of Snape's cough. "Oh, sorry. If there's nothing else I will leave you to your evening."

Snape waved his hand. "Stay and finish your drink. It's excellent quality and should not be rushed."

Harry blinked at the man. Well, Snape was one of the names on his list and Hermione had said to get to know them. Oh, who was he kidding? He didn't need an excuse to stay and learn more about the man that had fascinated him for years. He relaxed back against his chair. "Thank you. It is quite exquisite." He took another sip as if to demonstrate.

Snape nodded tersely and took a sip of his own. "The, er, child you had last evening. Your goddaughter?"

Harry nodded. "Rosie. She belongs to Ron and Hermione."

Snape nodded. "I had figured as much. Is she your only godchild?"

Harry shook his head. "No. I have a godson as well."

"Ah, yes. The Lupin boy. I had nearly forgotten. He will be starting next year won't he? He was born just before the final battle if I remember correctly."

Harry nodded. "That's correct. He'll be eleven in April."

"Another Gryffindor, no doubt."

Harry snorted again. "No. Pure Hufflepuff that one."

Snape raised his eyebrow in surprise. "So he does not take after his father then?"

Harry smiled fondly. "A bit. But he is too much like his mother. Quite loyal with an unseemly amount of patience." Harry watched as the man forced back a smile. "So I have a question for you. There was always a rumor about that Draco was your godson. Is he?"

Snape snorted. "No. If he was, I can guarantee he would not have had such an arrogant demeanor as a child. I would have knocked some sense into him long ago."

Harry chuckled and took another sip of his whiskey. He frowned when he realized the glass was empty. He held it up. "I suppose I should go. I have classes tomorrow and it was a long day."

Snape nodded and rose with Harry. He showed him to the door and let him out. Harry turned to the man. "If Mr. Fellows should require my assistance again, I would be more than willing to lend him my time."

Snape nodded. "Thank you, Potter. I will let him know."

Harry nodded and left the headmaster's office.

 

Harry decided to put his plan into action the following week. He knew Lolly would be bringing him another gift some time next weekend and he wished to have a few more clues as to who his courter might be. He knew Neville quite well, and though he could not definitively say it wasn't Neville, he felt fairly confident that he would be able to figure out if it was the man. He still felt an aversion to the Muggle Studies professor so decided to spend some time with Blaise and get to know the man. He made an effort to arrive at breakfast a little earlier since the man was an early riser and took the opportunity to discover more about his one-time year mate.

Blaise had a subtle sense of humor but Harry noticed it could turn cruel at times. Harry thought the man might have been trying too hard. Blaise was intelligent, if a bit condescending at times. Harry wondered if it was a potion's master thing or a Slytherin thing. There was no doubt the wizard was good looking, unfortunately he knew it all too well. And while Harry could appreciate beauty as well as the next man there was something to be said about understated elegance. Harry also got the impression that Blaise was not quite out of his wild partying phase, but at least the man saved it for when he was away from the school and Hogsmeade, or so Harry assumed from some of his stories.

By the end of the week, Harry wasn't sure if he wanted it to be Blaise or not. He could see himself dating Blaise, could definitely see himself fucking the man, but he wasn't sure if Blaise was the kind of man he wanted to marry. There was also the distinct impression he got the Blaise was a top, or at least preferred that position. But, people often assumed he was a bottom because of his more effeminate frame and he wasn't afraid to play submissive. Hermione had once jokingly called him a submissive dominate and he had secretly liked the term. He didn't understand why people found it so hard to understand that he enjoyed taking control in the bed but didn't mind letting his partner be a bit controlling. He had once heard someone call it a bossy bottom and he'd added that term to his list of favorites as well. So there was still a slight possibility Blaise could be his courter.

Saturday morning found him behind his desk scanning through the last of the sixth year essays and vowing to do away with this little torture device next year. Of course, he'd have to continue it with the seventh years since he'd started it with them as sixth years. But perhaps next year's sixths would have to find another way to satisfy their curiosity about him. Of course, by then he would probably be old news, which suited him just fine. He sighed and tossed down his quill. At this rate he would not be getting his reward tonight, he would need the extra time to catch up on his grading. There was a small pop and he looked up to see Lolly smiling at him. He beamed back.

"A welcome interruption, Lolly. Good morning."

Her grey cheeks filled with a blush. "Good morning Professor Sir."

Harry reached into his robe pocket and pulled out the package there. He eyed it warily for a minute wondering if the man would appreciate it. Well, if not at least the man would know he was trying. He held the package out and the small elf exchanged it for the one she had before popping out. He eagerly pulled the card from its envelope. Because Hermione won't always be around to memorize Hogwarts: A History for you. Harry unwrapped the package to find a thick leather bound tome. He read the gold etching across the top. A Traditional Wizard: Your Everyday Guide to Wizarding Traditions. Harry thought that, despite the intimidating size of the book he might like to read it. He knew there was still so much he didn't know about this world he had adopted at the age of eleven. He set the book aside and determinedly went back to his grading. His motivation had just increased ten-fold.

 

He knew it bordered on obsession to sit here, waiting for the elf's return, but he couldn't stop himself. He had hoped to court the man, intrigue him a little into giving him a chance when he finally revealed himself. Never had he thought the man might take the initiative to reciprocate. He'd expected an interrogation of the elf and he thought he'd covered everything. Leave it to the man to find the one loophole he hadn't been expecting. Not that he minded. He enjoyed the letters from the man. They were polite but not very intimate, as his own replies had been. But it made sense. How could one write intimately when they had no idea to whom they were writing to? At least the man was willing to give him a chance. He glanced up at the clock and smiled to himself as the elf popped in and laid the package on the desk in front of him. He nodded his thanks and she was gone a second later. He took the cream envelope and pulled the parchment from it. His fingers trailed over the familiar writing and the messy scrawl at the bottom of the page before he actually read it.  

  I don't think I will tell you where my blush ends, my dear sir. You must earn the right to discover that for yourself. The same goes for my muscles, though I should mention that there is more to me than flying and chasing dark magic. I must ask though, if we do decide to explore this courtship further once we have met, is the journey of discovery reciprocal? Will I be allowed to map your body as well? To learn your curves, your muscles? Will you tell me the story behind your scars? Do you have scars? Did you fight in the war? I am merely curious; my acceptance of our continued correspondence does not rely on your answer. I enjoy these letters, I like knowing that you think of me, no it does not scare me off. I am not so dense as to not realize I am most likely fantasy material for many witches and homosexual wizards out there. I do not mean to come off as arrogant, but if you truly know me, then you know of my past and how helpless I am to control public opinion. I am often seen as "public property" and therefore must let you know a very important fact before we continue forward. If you hope to gain fame by being with me it will not work. I am a very private person and even my personal property is warded against any form of journalist. With that said, if you wish to move forward I am more than willing. I wonder how long you have admired me. Should I expect to find a wall of photos bearing my likeness with all other occupants crossed off? (I jest) I cannot answer the question of whether you stand a chance with me as I truly do not know you yet. I will tell you that from our correspondence I find you intriguing and I wish to know you better. I try to think of what to ask that will allow me to get to know you without revealing too much. Perhaps I shall assign you an essay; though I have decided essays are just as much a punishment to the teacher as they are the student, so perhaps I'll not punish us both in this fashion. I myself have never played an instrument but have done quite a bit of gardening and I enjoy cooking as well. I am not much into informative reading, though lately you seem to be changing my mind about that. I have included a book I have enjoyed quite often. The authoress is from an earlier time and I find the style of writing to be soothing while keeping you on your toes. I hope you enjoy the book. -Harry

He re-read the letter again, closing his eyes and imagining the man's callused hands sliding over his body, touching him, stretching him. He could almost see those green eyes shining down on him as the man pushed into him, over and over, their sweat slicked bodies sliding against each other as his lover whispered words of want, need, love. His entire body shivered as his essence spilled from between fingers he hadn't even realized had found their way down his body. He banished the mess and picked up the package, carefully unwrapping it. He was surprised at the book as it was not one he thought the man would like. He had never read this particular book, but he had read one or two others by this author. Intrigued, he settled back and flipped the book open.

 

Harry tied the red and gold scarf snugly around Rosie's neck and kissed her forehead before standing back up.

"Can we go now?" Harry grinned up at the, well, whatever color his hair was today, boy.

"Teddy, when you are impatient you can be the most annoying brat to walk the earth."

"Nu-uh," the little boy said as he pulled the door open and stepped from Harry's quarter. "Uncle Percy is. Uncle George said so."

"Well, he's not wrong," Ron said as he followed the boy out.

Harry rolled his eyes as he waited for Hermione to waddle through the doorway and closed it behind her. They made their way down the corridor and towards the front entrance. He smiled politely to the students and rolled his eyes when he heard a far off squeal of "Ohmygod, Leila. It's the Golden Trio". Hermione snorted and Ron beamed. Teddy continued to skip ahead and run back at random intervals, trying to get the adults to hurry. Harry was berating him for running in the halls when the boy ran smack into the headmaster. The man turned to see which student had been running in the halls and took in the yellow and black ski cap.

"Five points from Hufflepuff for running in the halls."

Teddy pulled himself to his feet. “You can't take house points from me," Teddy demanded indignantly. “I don't even go to school here. Yet."

Snape then noticed the little tableau of warmly dressed Gryffindors and glanced back down at the boy. "Well, then, Mr. Lupin. I suppose I will just have to hold on to them until next year," he drawled. "I suggest you be extremely well behaved next year."

The boy gaped at him then turned worried eyes on his godfather. How had the man known his name? Harry had to bite back a laugh. "This is Headmaster Snape, Teddy. And trust me when I say he never misses a chance to dock points."

"Not when they are well earned, Professor Potter." He eyed the child once again nestled on Harry's hip. "Well, at least she's wearing clothes this time. Good day, Weasley, Granger." He turned and strode off and Harry felt his jeans tighten at the sight of those long legs. Thank Merlin for voluminous robes. He glared at Hermione's snicker.

"Come on," he growled. "Let's get these kids outside so they can enjoy the snow for a bit."

"Yay," Teddy called as he once more ran forward, already forgetting his brush with trouble.

He and Rosie built a snowman while Ron and Teddy tossed snowballs at each other. They were soon joined by Neville and three or four other students. It didn't take them long to drag their Defense teacher into the fight and Hermione erected a large wall of snow to protect her and Rosie as the fight quickly got out of hand with the addition of several more students. Soon the three adults were considering surrender when Harry spotted a tree filled with snow and summoned the white powder to land perfectly on the group of students. The three men stood laughing as the students gaped at him.

"Well, that wasn't fair," a Hufflepuff cried.

"Fairs are for tourist, Mr. Johnson," Harry replied "No one fights fair in the real world. Come on. Into the Great Hall for some warm cocoa." He led the chattering students and his adopted family into the Great Hall where Kreacher was already setting out steaming mugs of cocoa at the Gryffindor table. Harry and the other adults joined the students.

"This brings back memories," Ron said as they sipped their cocoa.

"You're Ron Weasley," one of the third years piped up. "I have your card." Ron beamed at the boy and pulled his wand out to fill the boy's cup with marshmallows. The boy then proceeded to ask Ron questions about the war and the others soon joined in with questions about the Trio’s time at Hogwarts. Harry sat back and let Ron answer with the occasional side comment or clarification from Hermione. He pulled a sleeping Rose into his lap and passed Teddy a gingerbread cookie when Kreacher delivered a tray full of them. Other students wondered over and others filtered off.

“Actually,” Ron was saying, “That was Har-er, Professor Potter. I never saw the Basilisk.”

“Was it huge, Professor?” A second year Ravenclaw asked in awe.

“I bet it was the biggest snake Professor Potter ever saw,” a seventh year Gryffindor whispered and his nearby friends snickered.

Harry rolled his eyes at the adolescent behavior. “Actually, Mr. Vander. Basilisks and snakes are quite different. As a NEWT level Defense Against the Dark Arts student one would hope you would know that by now. Perhaps if you were to write me fifteen inches on the differences between the two it might help you to remember when it is appropriate to talk about snakes and when it is inappropriate. You can hand it in at the beginning of class Thursday.” The boy moaned and stormed off grumbling under his breath. “And as for your question, Ms. Calper, it was indeed quite large”

“Reliving your glory days, Potter?”

Harry looked up at the annoying voice but Ron spoke first. “Malfoy. What are you doing here?”

The blond eyed the red head. “I could ask the same, Weasel.”

“None of your business,” Ron sneered.

“And my answer would be the same,” the blond retorted.

“Draco,” a smooth voice said and Harry didn’t have to turn to know who had spoken. The blond looked over at Blaise. “I asked you not to make a scene,” the man said quietly. “You know how the headmaster feels about that. Keep it up and he’ll find someone else for this week.”

Harry looked up at Draco. “You’re staying for a week?”

The blond looked down at him and nodded. “I am,” the harshness now gone from his voice. “I often come down the first week of December to teach a Wizarding Tradition section for the Intro to Magical Theory’s first years.”

Harry nodded but his mind was spinning. He pushed the growing suspicion to the back of his mind and smiled politely. “That’s unexpected.” He caught movement out of the corner of his eye and turned to see Snape and Mr. Fellows making their way over to them. “’Mione,” he said softly and she turned to take the sleeping toddler as he stood.

“Gentlemen,” Snape greeted them as he and the student approached. Dark eyes landed on Harry. “A word, Potter.”

Harry nodded and followed the headmaster several steps away. “Is there a problem, sir?”

Snape glanced over at the small crowd then back to Harry. “Would it be possible for you to escort Mr. Fellows to his aunt’s funeral on Wednesday?”

Harry glanced over at the boy. “I told you I was available if he had need of another escort. I won’t back out now. I’ll need someone to cover my afternoon class. I can cancel the morning sixth years.”

Snape nodded. “I can cover.”

Harry smirked up at the man. “Oh, excellent. I was just thinking it was time my third years learned how to spot a werewolf.”

Harry watched as the headmaster’s lips twitched. “Will you never grow out of your cheek, Potter?”

“What would be the fun in that, Professor?” He turned and left the man standing there. Mr. Fellows was still standing among the crowd but Harry noticed he had moved away from his Head of House and Malfoy. He smiled reassuringly at the boy as he approached. “Mr. Fellows,” he saw the boy flinch and wondered if he feared Harry would spill his secret. “Let me introduce you to my friend Mr. Weasley. Ron, this is Mr. Fellows.”

Ron stood and smiled brightly at the boy, shaking the proffered hand. “So this is the Slytherin you were telling me about?” Harry nodded and Ron turned to the boy. “H- Professor Potter speaks highly of you, Mr. Fellows. He seems to think you’ll make a fine addition to the Corp.” Harry watched as the boy’s cheeks pinkened.

“Thank you, sir. Professor Potter says he’s certain I’ll pass the evaluations no problem.”

“Harry,” Hermione said softly, “we should really head home.”

He nodded. “Right, love. Come on then. Ron, say goodbye to your fan club.” The students laughed as Ron bowed dramatically and they said farewell to the students and Neville and headed back to Harry’s quarters so they could Floo home, a sleepy Teddy hanging onto Harry’s hand. They stepped out of the Great Hall and Harry groaned silently.

“Harry,” the brunette turned from his conversation partner to smile brightly at the small group.

Harry gritted his teeth. “Andrew.” He nodded politely to the blond. “Purvis, I understand you have a guest speaker this week.”

The blond nodded. “Mr. Malfoy was gracious enough to once again speak to my first years.” His eyes flicked to the other two.

“Allow me to introduce my friends,” Harry volunteered. “Hermione Granger-Weasley, Ron Weasley, their daughter Rose and my godson Teddy.”

“Pleasure to-“

“Weasley? Any relation to Ginny with Puddlemere?”

Harry saw Hermione role her eyes and chuckled. “She’s my sister,” Ron said flatly.

The brunette beamed. “Oh. Do you think-“

“No,” Ron said as he walked off towards the stairs.

Harry chuckled. “Gotta get the kiddos home,” and chased off after Ron and Hermione.

“Oh, Harry,” Hermione said when they had reached the second floor, “you were right. He’s absolutely horrible. I truly hope he’s not the one courting you. I only needed thirty seconds to see that.”

Harry nodded and sighed. “I still think I have to at least try. It’s only fair.”

She nodded wisely if a little sympathetically. “Yes, you can’t turn him down if it turns out to be him if you haven’t even made an effort.”

He nodded and reached for his door to let them through. Once Hermione and Rose stepped through the Floo Ron lifted a nearly sleeping Teddy and took him through to Andromeda before heading to his own home. Harry plopped down on the couch and quickly passed out.

 

Harry stretched himself awake with a wide yawn and scratched at his stomach. He blinked around the dim room and noticed the sun was no longer shining through the window over his desk. He glanced over at the clock and realized he had missed dinner. Damn, he hadn’t meant to sleep so long, now he’d be up half the night. He sighed and decided to take a relaxing shower before having Kreacher bring him a light dinner. The shower did a world of good, and he felt much more refreshed as he stepped into clean shorts and warm lounge pants. He pulled a tee shirt on over his head and called for Kreacher as he stepped into the sitting room. He paused at the sight of the white envelope on his table. Kreacher had to kick him before Harry finally tore his eyes away from the envelope long enough to order dinner. He made his way over to the table and lowered himself on the couch, his stomach inexplicably in knots. He picked up the envelope and stared at it until after Kreacher had delivered a tray of meats and cheeses. Harry finally pulled the parchment out and unfolded it, the familiar gold script blinking in the firelight. 

  When I spied you today in the Great Hall with your godchildren, I think I fell in love just a little bit more. I probably should have refrained from such a declaration but I feel my intentions should have already given you some hint as to my affections. I watched you for several minutes as you held your sleeping goddaughter and I can’t help but wonder if you might like a child of your own someday. For you, I would be willing to bear the discomfort of such a joyous burden, as I believe your magic is strong enough that even the simplest PregWiz potion would be enough. But that is a topic, I believe, for a later date. Harry, I want you to know that I truly know you are more than the star seeker for Gryffindor or even The Boy Who Lived or whatever title they choose to give you in tomorrow’s paper. Please know that I too prefer my privacy and have no wish to “ride your coattails” into fame. You may rest assured that there are no red Xs on any pictures I might have on any of my walls, whether they include you or not. (I too can have a sense of humor, my good sir) And while I agree with you on the topic of essays I imagine they have their purpose such as putting certain Gryffindors in their place when they make inappropriate comments around young children. I believe I have reached what the muggles refer to as “stalker status” (See there? Two jokes in the same letter. I am a veritable Weasley of entertainment.) I wanted to thank you for the book, I am indeed enjoying it. I have read one or two of her Poroit novels and enjoyed them. I had hoped to purchase more but they are hard to find due to the age of the original publication. I am glad to know that you are finding my gifts interesting as well. I hope you will find my next gift just as useful and timely, I have peaked your curiosity, I know, but you will have to wait until next weekend, though you never were one for patience. I find my own curiosity peaked and wonder what kind of foods you enjoy cooking. Though I did not mention it, as I do not consider it a hobby, I too enjoy the crafting of culinary delights, though I lean more towards the confectionery arts. The war. I will simply say this: yes, I have scars from the war. Any more than that could give away my secret before I am ready. As far as the exploration of your body I am determined to undertake, yes, I look forward to the reciprocation. You are, for me, the only fantasy material I need. I won’t hesitate to admit that I have often thought of your hands on my body, touching me, playing me like an instrument (fear not, My Harry, I will teach you the workings of this instrument) Sometimes I find myself watching you converse and wonder what your lips would feel like as they move over my body. Will you ply your tongue to the task of teasing my dark nipples? They are anxious to feel your hot breath on them. Will you allow your lips to ghost over my warm skin? I shiver with anticipation. Will you taste me? I leak with arousal. Already my body wishes to lay itself open for your exploration, ready to accept your thrusting member. I long to hear your sigh of satisfaction as you fill me. Will you allow me to beg for release or will I have to work for it? Shall I moan for you, utter your name repeatedly with every thrust? Tell you what I want? How much I need you? These are the things that keep me awake at night, as I lay in bed wishing to be curled around your lithe frame, your essence leaking between my legs because I will never Banish that which I have worked so hard to obtain. I do not hesitate to say, I want you, Harry. With every fiber of my being I want you, body and soul. All my love. –Me.

Harry groaned as he pressed his palm against his tented pants. Oh, fuck. This man knew just how to reel him in. First talking about giving him a child. Harry had known it was possible. Hell, the first time Hermione had found out he had slept with a man she had given him an hour long lecture on the importance of him using protection. He was just too powerful to risk it. Ever since she had tossed that bucket of cold water in his face he had carried around at least two condoms in his wallet. He didn’t need some wizard sneaking a potion and ending up with the Famous Harry Potter’s progeny. Not that Harry didn’t want kids, but he had every intention of choosing the father of his children and marrying the man first. No bastards for him. And this man was offering to be that person. He had quite a sense of humor as well, Harry thought with a small smile. His eyes flicked over to the small pile of books he had ready to wrap for the man if he had received a positive response like this. At least they would have something to talk about should they ever run out of idle chatter. Harry closed his eyes and pictured himself in the kitchen, working alongside this faceless stranger as they cooked. Harry making a delicious casserole while the man whipped up a pudding. They seemed to complement each other on so many levels. Even the man’s fantasies were the things of Harry’s dreams. As if the man knew exactly what Harry wanted to do to him. Harry reread the last part of the letter, closing his eyes to visualize the dark haired man beneath him, moaning, clutching at the sheets as Harry pounded into him. Snape’s familiar growl turned to groans of ecstasy, his barked “Potter” turned to a litany of Harry Harry Harry as he moved ever closer to the edge until Harry pulled back making the man scream with frustration. Yes, Harry wanted to hear him beg for more, for harder, for release. He wanted to make those dark eyes flare with passion and uncontrolled lust as he finally arched against Harry, spilling his seed without even being touched. Harry fisted himself hard with the desperate need to come and he arched off the couch as his body spilled its release over his hand.

“Sev’rus,” Harry cried out with a strangled gasp.

It was several minutes later that Harry realized somewhere along the way he had begun to desperately hope the writer of the letters was Severus.

“’Mione, I’m in so much trouble.”

She blinked blearily at her friend. “Get another letter last night?”

He nodded as he crawled through the Floo and dropped to the rug in front of their fireplace. “It was so spectacular. Merlin I’m going to wank to that letter for weeks.”

She scrunched up her nose and took a sip of her morning tea to calm her stomach. “Really, Harry. I’m on Ron with this one. Some things are just too much detail. Any idea who it could be yet?”

He lolled his head over to stare at her. “Well, I’m fairly certain I can finally rule out Andrew, thank Merlin. He said he fought in the war but refused to give any details as it might give away his secret. Which tells me he must have done something fairly conspicuous.”

She glanced down at him over the rim of her cup. “That pretty much counts out Blaise as well doesn’t it? I mean he didn’t really do anything except run with a bunch of other Slytherins.”

Harry nodded. “Yes. And I’m kind of glad. I don’t know, Hermione, there’s something off about the guy.”

She glanced at him curiously, her morning tea finally kicking in. “What do you mean?”

He shrugged, or as best as one can when one shoulder is buried in a rug. “I don’t know. Just a feeling I have.”

She nodded consideringly. “So then that only leaves Snape and Neville right?”

Harry sighed. Here came the kicker. “Not really.”

She lowered her cup. “What do you mean not really? I thought you hadn’t figured it out?”

“I haven’t. But I realized after last night’s letter, I have to include Draco in the list.”

“Malfoy,” she said, disgust evident in her tone. “Why?”

Harry sighed. “Well it’s like you said. I have to consider those that might have access to someone in the school willing to pass the gifts along for him, and he and Blaise are still pretty close.”

“Okay, but why are you so sure we can’t discount him?”

“Because two of the letters made reference to something that happened in the Great Hall and he was there both times. And now he’s conveniently at school after my,” Harry waved his hand around searchingly, “secret admirer agrees to allow me the opportunity to get to know him.”

Her face dropped. “Oh.” She bit her bottom lip. “Ron’s not going to like this.”

Harry nodded. “And the worst part, ‘Mione,” Harry rolled over onto his stomach, “last night when I was… thinking about what he had written,” Harry felt his face heat up, “I called out Snape’s name. Like I actually said ‘Severus’.”

She sighed, “Oh, Harry.”

He nodded and dropped his head against the rug. He was fucked.

 

“What are you doing here, Potter? Don’t you have a class to get to?”

Harry looked up to see Malfoy making his way down the stairs. The hall was empty, most of the students having already made their way to their next class. Harry wanted to snap at the blond that it was none of his damn business, but he had been trying to be friendly to the man on the off chance that he was indeed his courter. Malfoy no longer treated him with the disdain he’d shown the Gryffindor in school but Harry still barely tolerated the man.

“I have canceled my morning class, Malfoy.”

The blond took in Harry’s appearance, the dark slacks and deep blue turtleneck showing off his lean body. “Hot date in muggle land then?”

Harry rolled his eyes. Just then he saw movement and looked over to see Mr. Fellows coming up from the dungeons. “Excuse me.” He pushed past the blond and went to greet his student. The boy looked up, blue eyes sparkling with moisture. Harry squeezed the boy’s arm in comfort. “There is no need to hurry back, Chris. We can take our time if you like. Return to the house.”

The boy nodded. “Thank you, sir. I- I do not wish the others to think me weak.”

Harry felt a surge of annoyance and shook the boy’s arm. “You listen to me, Mr. Fellows. Do not allow anyone to tell you you are weak simply because you choose to show emotions. You have lost a very important person in your life, it is acceptable to grieve. But I understand your concerns. If you find yourself in need of escape, know that my office is always open to you.”

The boy took a deep breath and nodded. “Thank you, sir.”

Harry nodded. “Are you ready? Have you got your cloak? I’ve no idea what the weather is like in London.”

The boy’s eyes widened in alarm. “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll just go get it.”

Harry nodded and the boy turned back. “Hurry up, Mr. Fellows. We need to leave.”

Harry watched the boy disappear down the stairs and shook out his own cloak to wrap it around his shoulders. He was interrupted when he was shoved against the wall. He tamped down the sudden rush of fear and looked calmly at the glaring blond. “Problem, Malfoy?”

Grey eyes pierced him. “You leave that boy alone. I won’t have him toyed with again.”

Harry eyed him coldly. “What exactly do you think I am doing with Mr. Fellows, Malfoy?” He snarled menacingly. “Do you seriously think I would take advantage of a student? What kind of person do you take me for?” Malfoy blinked at him and Harry pushed the man back. “I am escorting Mr. Fellows to a relative’s funeral. And what do you mean toyed with again?”

The blond swallowed thickly and Harry watched his eyes dart around. Several things began to click in Harry’s mind and he reached out to grab Malfoy’s wrist. “What did Zabini do to him?” Malfoy shook his head but Harry’s hand tightened around his wrist. “Answer me, Malfoy. Should that man even be allowed to be teaching here? Around these children.”

“It’s not like that. Blaise would never engage in a relationship with a student.” Malfoy swallowed. “But he doesn’t like the idea that he’s getting older, even if that doesn’t mean much in the Wizarding world. So sometimes he’ll try to befriend the students, hang out with them in the common room. Apparently, Mr. Fellows developed a bit of a crush on Blaise a few years ago and instead of sitting the boy down and re-establishing the lines he let the boy’s crush fester.”

Harry snorted. “You mean he encouraged it.”

Malfoy nodded sadly. “When I figured out what was going on I called Blaise on it, told him he needed to put a stop it or I would go to Snape. It was then that I established a mentoring relationship with Mr. Fellows, to make sure Blaise didn’t cross the line.”

Harry nodded and released Malfoy’s wrist. “That was very commendable, Malfoy. I can assure you that I only have Mr. Fellows’s best interest at heart. I am simply here for moral support today.”

Malfoy’s grey eyes narrowed at him. “And the future?”

“If things go the way I see them going, I plan on writing a glowing recommendation to one of the heads of departments at the DMLE. I have a very good idea exactly which division will suit Mr. Fellows’s ambitions.”

There was a soft gasp and both men turned to see the boy they were discussing standing there, clutching his cloak. “Truly, Professor?”

Harry sighed. “Yes. Though I had not planned on telling you just yet. I was waiting to see how you did on your N.E.W.T.s.”

The boy beamed. “I promise to study extra hard, sir. A recommendation from you would look splendid in my file.”

Harry chuckled. “A true Slytherin. Come along, Mr. Fellows. We will discuss this at a later date. Right now we must not be late.”

He nodded and threw his cloak around his shoulders. “Yes, Professor.”

Chapter Text

 

 I have the feeling that you are trying to teach me patience. I regret to inform you that you are failing miserably. I have come to consider you my weekend indulgence and find myself rushing through my grading on Friday nights so that I am prepared to accept whatever gift you have delivered to me and spend the day re-reading your letters as I wait. Shall I tell you what I do while I re-read your letters or can you figure it out? Shall I describe in detail how my hand seems to find its way down my body? The way my fingers glide along turgid flesh, hot and aching to be sliding inside you. How I want to wrap my tongue around you, taste you, suck you deep into my throat? I too am bombarded by these fantasies, but I have no frame of reference to guide my thoughts, nor a name to let fall from my lips as I seek my release. I suppose that is the hardest part in this. Not knowing who I am coming to regard in such a fashion. You have shown me you are intelligent and witty and I believe you must have a loving heart to offer your body for the use of my progeny. You do not know how that offer alone affects me. Yes, I would like children some day, but, as Hermione has often warned me, I must be careful who I choose as my child’s father. So, yes, if we decide to pursue this, we will discuss it. I am glad you are enjoying the novel. And Then There Were None has always been a quaint little read for me and it holds a special place in my heart. I hope you will enjoy the others I have sent you. I think it must say something about us that our gifts exchanged are mostly books, though yours are more informative and mine lean towards the entertainment side. I feel it evens us out. Perhaps you will be the stern task master and I the recalcitrant apprentice. But only until I turn the tables and force you on your knees so I might have my wicked way with your willing body. Already I shiver with anticipation. I apologize, I should not speak of such things when I am still unsure of who I write to. I have only the words on these pieces of parchment to go by and, like me, I am sure you spend an inordinate amount of time searching for the right phrasing to show yourself in a positive light. I must trust that in your attempt to woo me you are being honest to us both and putting your true self in these missives. As I mentioned before, I am attempting to get to know those whom I feel are possibilities and, though I won’t name names, I feel I have already ruled out a few potentials as I know I could not be with them. If you are any of those individuals then I am sorry to continue leading you on, for when we meet I will have to reject you immediately. But, let us not think of that at this moment. We will, as they say, cross that bridge when we come to it. May I say that it eases my mind to know that you understand I am more than what others label me? Only my very closest friends know my truest self, perhaps one day you will number among them. I feel I should caution you against falling in love with me; I am not the person others think they see. I still fight demons from my past and do not wish to be a burden to others. But your regard is flattering and I hope to one day truly earn it. In answer to your question, I enjoy cooking the more savory dishes. I enjoy sweets of course but I find I do not have the knack for them that I do for meat and vegetables. Perhaps between the two of us we can prepare an entire meal? A date? I am eager to taste your… sweet offerings. In the mean time I will wait anxiously for your next gift and enjoy your past letters. –Harry.

He glanced over at the small stack of books and felt a happy warmth spread through him that the man had put together several of the Poirot novels simply as a gift for him. He took a sip of his whiskey and leaned his head back against his bed frame. He wondered who it was the man had ruled out as potential candidates. He noticed the man’s budding friendship with Zabini had cooled considerably over the last week. He snorted, as if Zabini had ever truly been a contender. The man was nowhere near ready to settle down, he clung too tightly to his youth, the incident with Mr. Fellows had shown that. He wondered how much longer he would be able to keep this anonymous courtship up, even now he longed to make his way to the man’s quarters and lay himself out for the man. He shivered and dragged a finger over the man’s words. He wondered if the man truly did fantasize about a nameless, faceless entity when he read the letters or if he saw someone when he closed his eyes. Did he already know whose body he imagined under his own? Was there already a name that fell from those pink lips as his body arched with release? And if so, whose was it? Was it someone the man could be persuaded to forget? Someone he could easily replace? Because he had no hopes that he was already that imagined form or spoken name. There was no reason the man would have ever considered him as a potential mate before. He just hoped he would be able to easily slip into that role.

 

Harry flipped open the box of potions and sighed happily. His dear courter had been correct. He had indeed welcomed and relished his previous gift. A refill on the potions with a small note proclaiming Because the holidays are right around the corner and I’m sure the students will need extra handling. The man had been right. Harry had had to threaten several detentions over the last week as that was the only thing keeping the students in line. It was the last Hogsmeade weekend before the holidays and the following week would be mid-year exams to see how the students were progressing before they were loaded on the train and sent home. Harry pulled out a red vial and downed the Pepper-up before replacing the box. He looked up at the knock on his door.

“Come in.” His office door opened and a small group of students walked in. He eyed them skeptically, “Shouldn’t you be heading into Hogsmeade by now?”

Apparently the unofficial spokesperson of the group, Chris Fellows spoke up. “We wondered if you were going to Hogsmeade, Professor. And if so, if you would like to join us for a butterbeer?”

Harry eyed the small group of students. “Now why would I want to spend my free time with a group of students sipping butterbeer when I could lock myself in my quarters and down an entire bottle of whiskey all by myself?” He asked, not unkindly.

The students seemed to eye each other uncomfortably until one of the Gryffindors spoke. “Surely we are better company than an empty apartment, Professor.”

Harry snorted and let his lips twitch. He watched the other students visibly relax. “Alright, Mr. Scalon. I will cede to your greater wisdom this once. Let me grab my cloak.”

The students all broke out in smiles and the two Gryffindors gave each other high fives. Harry chuckled and shook his head as he pulled his cloak from the hook and slipped it on. A quarter hour later Harry was settled at a table with two Slytherins, a Hufflepuff, and two Gryffindors. He eyed the odd little group.

“Now, who would like to tell me the real reason for this little meeting?” The five students eyed each other unsurely. Harry mentally rolled his eyes. “Let’s see if I can guess. Mr. Fellows needs help asking Ms. Ballinger out.” The Slytherin spluttered and his friends laughed at him. “No? Well, if I were you, I’d do it soon. I think Mr. Colton has his eye on her as well. And I would not underestimate him just because he is a Ravenclaw.” He leaned in closer as if to impart a secret. “Perhaps you wish to know the location of the secret room I used to train the D.A.” Several eyes widened in excitement. Harry sat back. “But alas, that too shall remain a secret.” They groaned.

Suddenly two girls appeared in front of them, eyes eager and wide. “Did you ask him?”

“Did he say yes?”

“Ah. The Misses Everlys. Please join us.” The two girls immediately pulled up chairs and sat down. “Now,” he looked at them, “as your House mates have not seen fit to work up the courage to ask me, I have said yes to nothing. Other than helping Mr. Fellows to gain the admiration of Ms. Ballinger, which he has refused.”

One set of blue eyes widened in surprise and turned on her House mate. “Carol? You have a crush on Carol, Chris?” The boy’s bright blush was answer enough. She chuckled. “Oh, you owe me, Fellows.” And before anyone could discern her intentions she stood from the table and turned around. “Carol,” she called out across the inn and a petite dark haired girl waved and crossed over to them.

“Hey, Lisha. Did you need something?”

“Nope. Sit down.” She pulled another chair over and placed it between her and Mr. Fellows. The blonde noticed the boy she would be sitting next to and blushed. She mumbled a soft greeting as she sat down.

Harry rolled his eyes, “Sweet Merlin, be a Gryffindor for a whole minute.” Mr. Fellows blushed and looked down into his mug. “Would someone like to explain why I was pulled from my warm office for a cold walk and tepid butterbeer?”

It was the Gryffindor Everly that finally spoke up. “Some of us were wondering, well, everyone knows Professor Purvis has Mr. Malfoy come in to guest lecture for his first years and we wondered if you would ever have guest lecturers.”

“I mean you must know tons of Aurors and maybe some Healers as well, so it might be a good idea to let them speak to the NEWT classes. Just in case we had questions or something.” The Slytherin Everly added.

Her twin nodded. “Not that we can’t ask you about Auroring and stuff but maybe a different perspective.”

Harry smirked. “Hmm. That is worth considering. Was there anyone in particular you thought might make an excellent speaker?”

“Well, what about one of your old partners?” Scalon answered immediately.

Oh, they were not subtle at all. “Ah, well, as I said before I had a few partners. Was there one specific partner you had in mind?”

“Ah, well,” Scalon rubbed the back of his neck.

“Oh for the love of-“ the other Gryffindor finally spoke. “Weasley. Mr. Weasley, Professor.”

“You do realize, Mr. Erics, there are at least five Mr-“

“Professor,” Mr. Johnson whined, “Please. Will you ask Mr. Ron Weasley to guest lecture?”

Harry looked around at the small group and laughed. He held up a hand to indicate that he meant them no offense as he let the laughter roll off him. He finally sucked in several breaths of air. “You mean to tell me, you are Mr. Weasley’s little fan club?”

“If you are trying to intimate that Mr. Weasley in undeserving-“

Harry held a hand up to cut off the indignant Slytherin. “You misunderstand me, Ms. Long. Ron is my very best mate and I love him greatly. He has my upmost respect, as does his wife. No, I laugh because you do not know how happy it would make him if I were to tell him he has his very own fan club. How ecstatic he would be to know several students personally asked for him to come guest lecture.”

“So does that mean you think he’ll do it?” Scalon asked eagerly.

Harry once more laughed heartily. “There is no doubt in my mind he will say yes, Mr. Scalon. But,” he said over the cheering students, “I have to get the headmaster’s permission first. And he and Mr. Weasley are not on the best of terms.”

“But you’ll try?”

Harry sighed. “Yes. I will speak to Headmaster Snape about it.”

“When?” Ms. Long demanded.

“I am free now, Professor Potter.” All heads turned to look up at the imposing figure, and Harry’s mouth went dry at the sight of the man in front of him.

Harry took a large sip of his butterbeer. “Now it is, then.” He stood from the table and looked down at the Gryffindor beside him. “Next time, Mr. Scalon, not even your wisdom will persuade me away from mine own whiskey.”

The boy blushed. “Yes, Professor.”

Harry moved around the table and motioned for Snape to lead the way. His eyes dropped to where he knew the man’s robes hid a tightly curved arse and licked his lips appreciatively as they made their way out of the inn. Harry moved to walk beside him as they stepped out into the cold December air.

“I only stopped in to deliver something to Madam Rosmerta, Potter. I still have need to stop by Scrivenshaft’s. Do you mind?”

Harry shook his head. “No. I should pick up a few things while I’m there as well.”

They made their way down the street. “Will you be staying at the school for the holidays, Mr. Potter?”

Harry glanced over at the man and nodded. “I am. Neville mentioned there would be quite a few students staying behind this year and we thought to do something special for them.”

The man turned questioning eyes on him. “Not planning on starting another dueling club are you?”

Harry laughed. “No. No, I’ll leave that to you. We thought perhaps a game tournament or something. Something muggle, since most of the students staying behind are muggle borns.”

“I always enjoyed Scrabble.”

Harry smiled at the man. “Why does that not surprise me? I imagine you were exceptional at it as well.”

Dark eyes turned to assess him, as if wondering if there was hidden malice in the words. Harry sighed. “I meant it, Snape. You’re an intelligent man; you always seem to have the most obscure word to say just what you want to say. You leave your opponent wondering if he should be insulted or flattered and by the time he realizes he should be offended you are long gone.”

The man turned back around and Harry could have sworn the man’s cheeks were pink, but that could have been from the cold air. They reached the small shop and stepped inside. They separated and Harry made his way over to the quills and grabbed several Anti-cheating quills before heading to the ink selections. He was carefully looking over the ink trying to find the right color of green ink that Teddy liked to doodle with when he saw a row of bright gold ink. He picked up a bottle and eyed the gold liquid floating inside.

“Courting someone, Potter?”

He quickly replaced the ink and grabbed the green before turning to face the man. “I had never seen gold ink before. I didn’t realize it was used.”

Harry made his way to the counter and the headmaster followed. “It is typically used for courting when written on white cardstock. I believe a new trend has emerged to use it on black parchment for formal invitations, that is why it can be found in greater quantity these days. Whereas before, one would have to special order it.”

Harry nodded as he paid for his purchases and the clerk placed his things in a bag. The clerk looked up at Snape as he stepped up to the Counter. “Headmaster, I have the box of Dicta-quills you ordered.”

“Excellent. I will take those now as well please.”

Harry watched as the man placed the box with Snape’s other purchases, his heart beating erratically. Was this his answer then? Had Snape planned this? For Harry to be here when he picked the Dicta-quills up? But how could he have known Harry would be in Hogsmeade? Unless he really was stalking Harry and had used the opportunity to his advantage. Or maybe he hadn’t realized Harry had figured out a Dicta-quill was used to write the notes. But how could he not? He knew Harry was an Auror, had been trained to spot things like that. Snape took the bag from the clerk and Harry followed him back up the street to the castle.

“What do you need so many Dicta-quills for? Surely you don’t go through that many?” Harry could have slapped his forehead. “Sorry, I’m being rude.”

“Nonsense,” Snape said. “It is a logical question. You are correct, but I do give them as gifts. Mr. Zabini uses them when he is doing potion experiments, as do I. Mr. Longbottom I believe uses them to make notes regarding his plants when he is elbows deep in soil. Narcissa enjoys them for her correspondence. The same for Minerva. I myself find them quite useful as well. Do you not use them, Mr. Potter?”

Harry shook his head. “I never really thought about it. I don’t think I have much use for them. Though, my own correspondents probably wouldn’t mind if I started using them for my letter writing.”

“I can’t imagine your handwriting has gotten worse since your schooling, Potter.”

Harry laughed. “Oh, it has. Writing reports is very tedious and I used to speed through them. Hermione refuses to read my letters and says anything I have to say I can just tell her in person. I think at one point she threatened to hire a personal secretary for me.”

“If she finds one, Potter, and you still refuse to use them, send the person my way.”

Harry smiled at the man. “Why, headmaster, was that a jest?”

The man glanced over at him, “I have been known to have a sense of humor occasionally, Potter.”

“Really? I never would have thought. I’m joking. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing you smile on occasion.”

The man turned startled eyes on him. “Why?”

Harry shrugged. “Why not?”

“Would you even know what to do if you saw me smile, Potter?”

Harry chuckled. “Probably not. Mark it on my calendar. Commit it to memory because I doubt I’d ever see it again. Are you ticklish, Professor?”

The man turned and growled at him. “If you even attempt it, Potter, I shall make you wish you were back in front of the Dark Lord.”

Harry laughed. “Yes, sir.”

They continued on to the castle, each man lost in their thoughts.

“Tea?” Snape asked once they were warmly ensconced in his office.

“That would be delightful. Thanks.”

Snape poured out the tea and they settled back in the leather wingbacks. Snape took a tentative sip of his tea. “Now, tell me, Professor, what your students were so eager for you to ask me about they had to drag you off to a secluded spot at the Broomsticks.”

Harry blew across his tea and took a sip. “Ah, yes. Well, it seems several of the students are quite interested in me bringing in a guest lecturer.”

Snape raised an eyebrow. “I assume they already had a potential candidate in mind?”

Harry nodded. “They do.”

“Are you going to elaborate or shall I guess?”

Harry chuckled. “Hmm. If I make you guess and you guess correctly do I get to reward you?”

Harry watched in amusement as Snape took a long sip of tea. The man finally looked up with a glare. “If I have to guess, Mr. Potter, the answer is no.”

Harry chuckled. “Very well. It is Ron.”

“Weasley?”

Harry shrugged. “He’s the only one I know.”

Snape glared at him. “And what could Mr. Weasley possibly bring to the classroom that you can’t?”

“Ron’s an excellent strategist, Snape. You know me. I don’t plan; I just jump in and hope for the best. I make it up as I go. Ron’s the chess player. He could have gone far in the tactical division if he hadn’t gotten sick of chasing dark wizards.”

Snape studied him for several long moments before speaking. “IF I agree to this, the students may only ask questions that you and I have both pre-approved and there will be no class time used for autographs.”

Harry nodded quickly. “Absolutely, sir. I agree. I would hate to see what kind of questions those kids could come up with if we didn’t regulate them. My NEWT levels have double classes on Thursdays and Fridays, You wouldn’t need to open any rooms for Ron he can just crash on my couch. But if we were to do this it would most likely need to happen before the end of February due to Hermione’s pregnancy.”

Snape nodded. “Okay. I will allow a trial run this year, Mr. Potter. Assuming all goes well, we will discuss a renewal of this tradition for the following years.”

Harry beamed at Snape. “Brilliant, Severus. Thank you.”

The dark head snapped up but Harry refused to apologize for his slip. They locked eyes for several minutes before Snape looked down into his teacup. “More tea… Harry?”

Harry had to suppress the shiver of delight as he held his cup out. “Please.”

 

Harry knew he was bouncing and he didn’t give one. Bloody. Fucking. Damn. Severus was calling him Harry and they had just spent a pleasant hour in the man’s office talking, and that didn’t include their walk through Hogsmeade. Harry whistled softly as he made his way through the corridors to his quarters. He would Floo Ron when he got back to his office to give the man the good news and figure out when a good time would be. Ron would be just as high as Harry was at this moment when he learned of his own little fan club. Harry still chuckled at that. He couldn’t wait to see the man’s face, it would probably be the same face Ron had made the first time he’d seen his face on a frog card. Or maybe when they had first been approached to appear on the cards. Ron had been speechless for an hour after the agent had firecalled them. Harry stepped into his quarters and warded the door. There was still an hour till dinner but he had decided to dine with Ron and Hermione after delivering the good news. His plan to take a quick shower and change was put on hold when he spotted the white envelope on his coffee table. He detoured and dropped onto the couch, tossing his cloak across the back. His heart jumped at the familiar gold script even though he knew it was only Dicta-quill font. Severus’s news that half the teachers in the school used Dicta-quills had been a bit daunting but Harry shrugged it off and spread the letter out. 

 Let me start by reassuring you I do not present myself in any other light than who I truly am, whether in writing or our face to face interactions. I will say that you may not recognize me in my letters as I can be a bit reserved in our dealings as I am unsure of your true feelings of me. But both facets are truly me, Harry. I will also say that I hope I am not one of those who have, as they say, not made the cut, but I appreciate your honesty and will respect your decision if that is the case. As far as my regard goes, you have truly long since earned it. You do not know, Harry, all those weeks ago when I said I have admired you longer than I should have, how much I meant it. I will say this, I knew you when you were still a student. So I can honestly say I know something of your struggles and your fortitude has often amazed me. Luck, Love, and Friendship were your mantra and kept you safe. You are strong and brave and I only hope I might one day be worthy of such regard and to know you more intimately than any other. I too carry my own burdens from the war, perhaps we can be there for each other as we continue to face the nightmares and fight the demons. Or perhaps we are each other’s cure, preventative measures taken each night to ensure we see nothing but pleasant dreams or the dreamless sleep brought on by sheer exhaustion. I will do this for you if you allow it, to bury yourself in my body to drive away the nightmares as I kiss the worry from your face. I too wish I was brave enough to give you my name. The thought of you whispering my name into the darkness of your bedroom fills me with desire like nothing else. But, alas, in this I find I am a coward. A while longer, My Harry, as I figure out how to protect my heart should you reject it. In the mean time, I am glad you appreciate my gifts as I appreciate yours. As I mentioned, I have searched for more on this series and have come up empty handed. I hope you have not sacrificed your own collection on my behalf. The small stack you have provided me will help me pass the holidays and I look forward to the small indulgence. I will be honest and tell you that at the moment I have no gift prepared for you for next week. I blush to say I am torn, for the gift I truly wish to give you would reveal myself completely but anything else seems so very impersonal. Perhaps I will purchase a book of my favorite recipes and you may learn them for our “date.” Though, again, I must be honest and admit were I to get you in the kitchen I fear we would not get much cooking done. To see you once again cutting and chopping ingredients over a steaming vessel might push me over the edge. I have long had a fantasy of watching you in just such an environment and approaching you from behind to lick the dripping sweat from the nape of your neck. To watch you fumble with the knife as I press my hardened member against your firm arse and slide my questing hand down your lithe frame to seek out your own rising erection. I can almost hear your soft moans as I nibble on your ear and press my palm to that which I ache for. I wonder how much teasing you can take before you give in and turn on me, switching our positions so it is I that is pressed against the table being teased and tortured by your hands and lips. What will you do to me once you have me at your mercy? Shall I drop to my knees and welcome your cock into my waiting mouth, lips eager to surround you, tongue desperate to taste? Will you fill my mouth with your come as I try desperately to keep the glorious essence from spilling from my lips? Or will you be so far down my throat I have no choice but to take every last drop? Or perhaps you will merely bend me over the table and use the nearest thing at hand to coat my waiting hole before sheathing yourself fully and completely inside me. Your every wish is my desire, my Harry. I will give you whatever you want. I lay myself bare to you, not just in the physical sense. My soul is yours to take; my body, yours to command. All I want is your happiness, whether that includes a future with me or not. But I will save such maudlin thoughts for a time they are needed. Good evening, my sweet Harry. All my love – Me.

Harry groaned. As if he didn’t already imagine his anonymous courter as Severus, now the man talked about fantasies in potions class, or near enough. He really needed that shower now, and there was no way in hell it was going to be a cold one. The man had just as much said he could deep throat and Harry almost came at the mental image of Severus on his knees, dark eyes boring into Harry as Harry pounded into his mouth. Harry could almost see the slender neck working as he hurried to swallow Harry’s pulsing release quick enough he didn’t choke. It was the image of a satisfied Severus, long tongue licking the remaining white thickness from his lips that had Harry coming without even touching himself.

“Fuck,” he gasped into the empty apartment. He took a moment to catch his breath before pulling himself from the couch and making his way to the shower.

A half hour later he stepped through the Floo and nearly fell back as a ball of red curls slammed into him with a squeal.

Ron appeared a minute later, calling over his shoulder, “You were right, “Mione. Harry’s here.”

“Staying for dinner?” Harry heard his friend call from the kitchen.

“Absolutely,” he called out, inhaling the delicious aromas wafting through the air. He chuckled to himself at the memory of Hermione’s determination to learn how to cook and dragging him along to the muggle cooking class. Their time on the run had shown just how inept they were, and Hermione had vowed to be at least a decent cook before marrying Ron. The classes had been fun and relaxing, even with Hermione’s resolute perseverance. The two friends had bonded over the shared discovery of a love of cooking and Ron had reveled in the abundance of practice they had insisted on. He followed Ron into the kitchen and ducked under a floating tray as he settled into his usual seat. He strapped Rosie into her chair beside him and Hermione appeared with a basket of rolls that she placed in the middle of the table as she sat down. They filled their plates and were several bites in before anyone spoke.

“How’s the shop?” Harry asked Ron.

“Good, good. George put the Christmas Crackers out last week for the holiday season and they seem to be doing well.”

Harry nodded. “Yes, today was the last Hogsmeade weekend and I went into the village. I saw the display. I was going to stop in and say hi to Angelina but the store was crowded so I thought I’d leave it ‘til the students returned home and they weren’t so swamped.”

Ron nodded and Harry reached over and took a spoonful of mashed carrots from Rosie’s plate as Hermione filled her own with squash. “Have you heard anything on the Goblin front, Hermione?”

She shook her head. Hermione was trying to get a proper accounting of the Goblin rebellions and had sent out several letters to tribe leaders to see if they had accurate historians or records. “Not really. But I have been in contact with a descendant of Urg the Unclean. I have a meeting set up with him for after the New Year to review some family records.”

Harry beamed at her as he added more sweet peas to Rosie’s plate and took her squash. “That’s wonderful, Hermione.”

She glared at her daughter’s plate then looked up at her longtime friend. “So what brings you over here tonight? Not that we don’t love having you, it’s just unusual for you to pop in unexpected, well unless you’re having an emotional crisis over one of those damn letters.” Harry bit his bottom lip and poked at his roast. Hermione sighed. “Another letter? Really, Harry. I think you are becoming too emotionally invested in the man.”

Harry looked up at her. “But isn’t that the point? I mean, if his intention is to draw me in and entice me, I’d say he’s quite succeeded.”

Hermione nodded thoughtfully. “So what does this mean for you and Snape?”

Harry groaned. “I don’t know, ‘Mione. I mean, six months ago, I would have given up on Severus and concentrated on this guy, you know. But, well, we’ve talked a few times and I really feel like we’re developing something like a friendship. Am I an idiot for holding on? Sometimes, I think I should put my all into this courtship and just forget about Severus, but then he goes and does things like call me Harry instead of Potter or Professor and I just melt. And I begin to daydream that they are one and the same and I have to pinch myself because there’s no way Severus could be having those kinds of thoughts about me.” Harry sighed audibly. “And then I get another letter like today and he mentions things about seeing my in potions class.”

Hermione gaped at him. “So we’re back to Snape, Neville, and Malfoy?”

There was a choked sound from Ron’s end of the table and Harry glanced at his red-faced friend. “Yeah.”

“So what would you do if it were the prat?” Ron asked.

Harry shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t know.” Ron spluttered but Harry cut him off. “No, listen. I think there must be a whole other side to Malfoy we don’t know about. Obviously if it were him I wouldn’t just jump right into bed with him. But I don’t think I could just disregard him all together. The letter said that whoever he is, he feels sometimes he puts on a face with me because he’s not sure how I truly feel about him. Wouldn’t I owe it to Malfoy to get to know him? I mean, at least give him the opportunity to prove he’s grown up a bit? I don’t think I could ever fall in love with someone like Malfoy but maybe a friendship.” Harry shrugged on a sigh and stabbed at his squash.

“What about Neville? I mean, I don’t think it is him because Neville doesn’t really have to put on a mask around you,” Hermione pointed out.

“Doesn’t he?” Harry asked. “Mr. Anonymous has already said he loves me and I was the one to break it off with Neville.”

“I thought you said it was mutual?” Ron asked around a mouthful of peas.

“Well yeah. At the time. But that was years ago. If he’s fallen in love with me since then, who’s to say he doesn’t feel like he has to hide it. It’s all so confusing.”

“Well,” Hermione said in her definitive tone, “I say you don’t have to make a decision until the man reveals himself or you and Snape decide to pursue a relationship, if it comes to that.”

“You don’t think I’m leading this man on?” Harry asked uncertainly.

“Not at all, mate,” Ron reassured. “You’ve been very up front with the bloke from what you’ve told us.”

Harry nodded, “I tried. But I know sometimes I get lost when I’m writing my letters and I write as if they are for Severus. Sometimes I wonder if the man thinks two separate people are writing to him or if I’m really as wishy washy as the Prophet has so often proclaimed.”

Hermione snorted. “Harry, if that man believes anything the Prophet says about you, you don’t need him in your life. The last thing you need is another Sebastian.”

“Who?” Harry looked up at his friend.

She rolled her eyes. “Sebastian. You dated him for about a week about five years ago. It was when that article came out about your supposed sighting at the muggle gay strip club. The two of you got into a fight about it and you told him that if he didn’t trust you over the ramblings of a desperate rag then you weren’t going to be with him.”

Harry gaped at her. “You remember that?”

“Of course I do. You were pissed for a week that someone dared to glamour themselves to look like you and take those pictures. That’s probably why you don’t remember Sebastian, plus you never slept with the man.”

Ron barked with laughter and Harry glared at him. “I’ll have you know, I dated plenty of men I never slept with and I remember their names. I’m not a slut, Hermione.”

She laughed. “I never said you were, Harry. But you do enjoy sex.”

“Meaningful sex,” he defended. “I don’t just jump into bed with anyone. Nev and I never had sex.”

“I bet you’d plow into Snape the second he showed interest,” Ron mumbled and Harry blushed.

“That’s different,” he said as he stuffed a forkful of roast into his mouth.

“Of course he is, Harry,” Hermione said sympathetically. “Snape would never be just another lay for you. You respect him too much for that.”

“His own personal Creevey,” Ron teased.

“Oh,” Harry said perking up. “Speaking of fan clubs. Someone at this table, not me, has a fan club among the current batch of sixth and seventh years,” he said mysteriously.

“What?” Hermione gasped. “Who?”

Harry smiled smugly, “I don’t think I want to tell you after insinuating I was a slut.”

Ron guffawed loudly and Rosie giggled with glee and clapped her hands, smashed peas flying everywhere. Hermione rolled her eyes and cleaned the table with a wave of her wand. “I did not call you a slut, Harry James. Now tell us.”

He chuckled and turned to his goddaughter. “Mommy’s awful demanding isn’t she?” Rosie giggled and nodded her head to match Harry’s own movements. “Which is probably why daddy has his own fan club, huh?” Rosie banged her spoon on the tray in agreement. Harry turned twinkling eyes at the gaping Ron.

“Me?” Ron finally gasped out.

Harry nodded with a chuckle. “Yup. In fact that’s the real reason I came by tonight. Several of the students asked if you might be able to come by for a guest lecture after the New Year.”

“Me?”

“Of course I had to get Snape’s approval,” Harry continued, “And he said that we had to pre-approve any questions the students were allowed to ask. Oh, and no autographing during class time.”

“Me?”

Hermione chuckled. “Any idea what he should talk about, Harry? I’ll have to write up a speech for him, of course.”

Harry shrugged. “We’ll go over my syllabus for the first of the year and see what we can adapt to fit him and go from there.”

She nodded. “Sounds like a plan. Now, are you coming over to the Burrow for Christmas day or just Boxing day?”

“Oh, just Boxing day. Neville and I are wanting to do something special for the students left behind. Some sort of game tournament or something. Severus had suggested Scrabble. But I’m not quite sure how we would do that.”

“Ooh. You could have bonus words for each round. Like how each letter is worth so many points but if they use a spell or magical creature they get X amount of bonus points. Or have a strictly muggle round where if they use a magical term they lose X amount.”

Harry laughed. “Hermione, you are, as usual, a genius. I’ll talk to Neville, though I suppose we’ll have to get a muggle Scrabble game so we can duplicate it into however many we will need.”

“Oh,” She said jumping up.”

“Really?” Harry laughed as she ran from the room. “Why am I not surprised?” He turned to the still gaping Ron.

“Me?”

Chapter Text

He wondered if the man liked the novel Kiss the Cook apron he had found in Muggle London and variety of cook books. His fingers traced over the gift the small elf had delivered in return, a true crime novel about Agatha Christie’s 1926 December disappearance. He looked forward to reading it. His fingers moved over to the cream envelope and he snatched it up, eagerly pulling the parchment from it.  

Rest assured that my own collection remains intact. You may read on and enjoy your holidays with a clear conscience. As you can see, I had no problem in finding a present for you (please accept this as a Christmas present) as I have no doubt you will eventually settle on an appropriately identity-concealing gift. I do like the idea of the cookbook, though. I would like to know what foods you enjoy and promise to practice my cooking skills for you whenever you reveal yourself. Even if we do end up with you on your knees, for I believe I would enjoy watching your lips wrapped around me, my essence glistening on your swollen lips as I slip from their greedy capture, flaccid and sated from your ministrations. But, once again, I fear I have passed a boundary that should not be mine to pass. I find myself torn, as I enjoy your letters but I also know there is a possibility that there can be nothing between us. I do not wish to hurt you because I have come to appreciate the person you present on parchment but, if you are someone I find I cannot move forward with, I beg your forgiveness. The vague reference to past potions classes intrigues me, though it does not diminish my list of potentials as those I had considered had ample opportunity to observe me in that particular environment. Does that mean you are one I have already considered?  Let us hope so, for they all stand a chance at earning my regard. Though at the moment, I can promise nothing more than the opportunity for friendship. I hope I am not ruining your holidays with my words but I need to know I have not led you on in any regard. I wish you would not hide from me any longer. I wish to get to know the real you. To learn if I can be attracted to more than words on a page. Have I begun to sound desperate yet? I fear I may be. But I will wait patiently for your decision. –Harry

Was he ready? The man had all but reassured him his friendship at the very least would be welcome. Perhaps they could go from there? Once the man knew of his true feelings there would be no going back. It would be out there, for both of them to deal with and their current tentative friendship might not survive. But wasn’t it better to know? He tossed back his glass of whiskey and let the harsh liquor burn down his throat. He needed to make a decision. He would force a decision at the New Year. It wasn’t right to make the man torment himself with guilt. They both needed to know if this could go anywhere. Making his decision he rose from his couch and went to get ready for dinner.

 

Harry raised his glass in a salute to his fireplace. Or maybe it was the cards and letters spread out on the table in front of it. He took another sip and his mind wondered back to the conversation that had taken place that evening in the staff lounge. The last student going home for the holidays had been ushered onto the train hours earlier and the remaining students were safely ensconced in their dorms so the staff had gathered for their (supposedly) annual holiday celebration, a small party held in the staff lounge. Occasionally a ghost would glide in with a report that all was well with the students while the professors relaxed with nog and cider and an assortment of Christmas sweets. Minerva had mentioned a casserole that her sister was fond of and Harry had replied that Hermione’s version was quite delicious.

“I thought I distinctly remember you and Mr. Weasley teasing her about her lack of cooking skills while the three of you were on the run,” She said with a teasing smile.

Harry laughed. “Yes, and that is why she insisted I join her for cooking classes. Though, I must admit it led to a love of cooking and quite improved my personal potion making skills.”

“It’s a pity she didn’t push you into those classes when we were children then,” Blaise teased. Harry merely smiled at the man.

Minerva gave the man an odd look and turned back to Harry. “What kind of foods do you like to cook, Harry?”

“I like the diversity of Indian cuisine but nothing beats the comfort of British tradition. Although recently I acquired a book of Greek recipes I am eager to try.”

“I have never had Greek food,” Minerva said. “Perhaps you will have to make enough for us all to try. Don’t you agree, Severus?”

Harry looked up as the dark headmaster appeared beside his deputy. He raised an eyebrow. “With what, Minerva?”

“That Harry should bring some dishes for us to try. He said he was thinking of trying out some recipes from a Greek cookbook. Don’t you think that would be interesting?”

The man shrugged. “I wouldn’t know. I have never tried Greek cuisine.”

“According to Malfoy it is delicious,” Blaise volunteered with a smile at Harry.

Harry had to force his smile to stay in place. Until that moment he hadn’t realized how much he wanted his anonymous courter to be Severus. He didn’t want it to be Malfoy. He hadn’t lied, he would offer the man friendship, but that was all he could offer. Severus had his heart, even as it broke into a thousand pieces, Harry could admit the man held every piece in his hand. Harry had stayed at the party another quarter hour before admitting defeat and slinking away to his quarters. He had proceeded to pull out the letters and re-read them with Malfoy in mind and found he just couldn’t do it. He didn’t want it to be Malfoy and he didn’t give a damn how petulant he sounded. He would have to write the man a letter tomorrow when he was sober and just be up front. There was nothing to it. He wanted Severus and he was tired of hiding it. Could he risk putting it all on the line? He eyed the letters. Malfoy was willing to. But, dammit, he didn’t want Malfoy. Harry knocked back his drink and slammed the glass on the table, causing some of the papers to flutter.

Twenty minutes later Severus opened the door to Harry’s furious knocking.

“What is it, Potter? It’s almost midnight.”

Harry stormed into the man’s office. “I don’t care if it’s you or not. I’ve made my decision.”

“Potter, what the hell are you talking about?”

Harry turned to face Severus. The man’s hair was wild, as if he’d been running his fingers through it and his clothes were rumpled from lounging around. Harry’s heart skipped several beats and his breath caught in his chest. He was so far in love with this man he couldn’t think straight.

“I don’t want it to be Malfoy,” Harry mumbled to himself before crossing over to the man, grabbing him by the neck, and crashing their lips together.

Merlin, the man tasted good, his scent filled Harry’s nose as he moved his lips over the taller man’s. It took Harry a second to realize Severus wasn’t responding back. Damn. He felt his heart break a little more and wondered how the hell he was going to face the man after this. He began to pull away and Severus reacted quickly, as if being woken from a trance. His hands grabbed Harry’s waist and pulled him tight against him as he opened his mouth to Harry’s questing tongue. Harry felt Severus’s whimper as he pushed the taller man against the wall and kissed him hard, pouring his want and need into the kiss. His tongue traced Severus’s lips and dipped inside the waiting mouth to taste the man’s whiskey that lingered on his tongue. He sucked the muscle into his mouth and scraped his teeth on it. He felt Severus shudder against him. Harry nipped at the man’s lip and moved his mouth to kiss along the scruffy jawline. Harry slid his hand up the man’s neck and shivered as his long hair feathered through his fingers. His lips and tongue made their way to Severus’s neck and Severus gasped, moving his head to give Harry better access.

“Severus,” Harry whispered as he nibbled on the man’s ear.

Severus whimpered as Harry pressed his erection against the answering hardness. “Harry. Harry, are you drunk?”

“Not anymore,” Harry whispered as his tongue swept along the shell of Severus’s ear.

Severus moaned. “Harry, wait.”

Harry pulled back at the desperate plea and stepped back. “Fuck. I’m sorry, Severus.” He covered his face with his hands and took a deep breath. “I’ll just go.”

He headed for the door but Severus reached out and grabbed his arm. Harry looked up into fiercely glaring eyes. “No. You will not come into my office and kiss me like that. Do those things to me and then just waltz out like it doesn’t mean anything.”

Harry glared back. “Waltz out! Does it look like I’m waltzing anywhere? I’m sorry I subjected you to my unwanted attentions, Professor. I- I wasn’t thinking clear.”

The man snorted. “Obviously not if you’re kissing me.”

Anger flared in Harry. “Don’t say that. Like I’d have to be out of my mind to want to kiss you.”

“Well, you would,” the man snapped.

Harry glared at him. “Then I must be out of my mind every fucking second of the day because that’s all I want to do.”

Snape blinked at him. “What?” He asked softly.

Harry ran a hand down his face. “You are so dense, Severus. I like you. I have for years. I respect you and admire you and I think you are sexy as hell and I would give anything to have a chance with you.”

Snape gaped at him. “W-what?”

Harry rolled his eyes. “Why do you think I took this job? I mean, yeah, I wanted out of the Auror Corp and I liked the idea of teaching, but you were really the deciding factor. All I really wanted was to see if we could be friends. I’m sorry if I’ve ruined that.”

It was Severus’s turn to grab Harry and pull him in for a kiss. “You haven’t,” he whispered before their lips met.

The kiss was long and slow. Harry relished every movement of their lips as they slid against each other. His tongue slid along Severus’s as they danced and thrust into each others mouths. Harry’s hands slid up Severus’s chest and worked at the buttons on the man’s robe until he could slide his hand along the pale skin. Severus shivered beneath his touch. He moved his lips to the exposed skin and sucked at the defined collarbone.

“Harry,” Severus gasped, “is this- is this a one off thing?”

“Not if I have any say in it,” Harry murmured against his skin.

Severus groaned as Harry’s hand slid down to cup his arse. “Harry, please. I need you in me.”

“Yes,” Harry gasped. “Sweet Merlin, yes. God Severus, I want you.”

Harry worked at more buttons on Severus’s robe and ran a palm over his dusky nipple. “Harry, the portraits.”

Harry pulled back and twisted his head to look at the portraits that lined Severus’s office. A few looked to be asleep but most were openly watching the display, especially a white haired wizard with a twinkle in his blue eyes. Harry turned back to Severus and, blocking the view from the portraits, re-buttoned Severus’s robe. He pressed a quick kiss to Severus’s cheek and chuckled softly when the man blushed.

“Will you take me to your rooms?”

Severus nodded and reached out to take Harry’s hand, pulling him through his office and the glamoured door to the sitting room. They continued through another door and Harry took in the large room that looked almost identical to Harry’s own bedroom except for the green and black color scheme. He tightened his hand around Severus’s and pulled the man to a stop.

“Harry?” The man turned uncertain dark eyes on him.

Harry smiled reassuringly and pulled the man closer. He cupped the scruffy jaw and ran the pad of his thumb over the thin cheek. His lips ghosted across Severus’s in an almost kiss. “I can’t believe I’m here,” he whispered against Severus’s lips.

He watched as Severus swallowed and blinked slowly. “Me either.”

“How long has it been?” Harry asked gently as his other hand stroked Severus’s hair.

The man lowered his eyelids. “A while.”

“I’ll go slow,” Harry reassured him.

Black eyes popped open. “Not too slow, I hope, Mr. Potter,” Severus said in the voice Harry was used to. “I said it’s been a while, not never. I’m no virgin that doesn’t know what is about to happen.” He reached down and grabbed Harry’s hard member. “Perhaps we should suck each other off real quick to take the edge off. Hmm?” His eyes dropped to where his hand held Harry. “I know I’ve dreamed of having you in my mouth for a while now.”

Harry swallowed thickly. “Have you?” he asked breathlessly.

Severus licked his lips. “Oh, yes.”

“Fuck. Me too,” Harry said as he stepped back just enough to get his hands on Severus’s robe. He made quick work of the buttons, his hands only leaving the fabric when Severus pulled his tee shirt over his head and to toss his glasses on the bedside table. He pushed Severus’s robe from his shoulders and watched the fabric slither to the floor, exposing the man’s black shorts that did little to hide his raging erection. Harry dragged his fingers along the tented fabric and Severus hissed. He reached for Harry’s jeans and was quickly pushing them from Harry’s hips. Harry toed his shoes off and kicked the pants from his ankles. He grabbed Severus and crashed their lips together in a desperate hungry kiss. He grabbed the dark hair and pulled the man’s head back to open his throat for Harry’s hungry mouth. “How do you want to do this?” Harry pressed their erections together and Severus’s breath faltered in Harry’s ear.

“I want to watch you suck me and then I want you to fuck my mouth.” His hand was once again on Harry’s cock. “I want this deep in my throat.”

Harry groaned. “Fuck, Severus.” He stepped back and pushed gently on the man’s chest. “Get on the bed.”

Severus moved and was soon reclining on a pile of pillows. He reached for his shorts and Harry moved quickly and straddled the man, pinning his arms to the bed. He leaned over and nipped at Severus’s bottom lip. “Tonight, I get that pleasure.”

Severus arched up against him. “Then get on with it, Potter.”

Harry chuckled and pressed a kiss to each of Severus’s nipples. “So impatient, My Severus.”

Severus arched up again. “Harry.”

Harry moved down Severus’s body, kissing the scars and marks from a history fraught with conflict. He reached the waistband of the shorts and pulled them down the long legs, exposing the large cock nestled in black curls. Harry placed a kiss on the purpling head and tossed Severus’s shorts on the floor. He ran a hand down a muscled thigh. “Open up for me, Severus.”

The long legs split and Harry moved between them placing a kiss on one thigh and kissing his way up as Severus’s legs moved further apart to accommodate his questing lips. He moved to the other thigh and worked his way up, placing kisses along the inner thigh of the man he loved. He paused at the juncture where thighs met and sucked hard on the tender skin.

“Harry,” Severus’s strangled voice urged him on. He licked his way up the leaking shaft and circled the head with his tongue. Severus panted above him and fought against Harry’s firm grip on his hips.

“Patience, my Severus,” Harry said. Severus let out a huff of breath and moaned as Harry wrapped his lips around the throbbing head. Harry took him in deep and Severus whimpered as the head of his cock hit the back of Harry’s throat. He let the soft head stroke his throat several more times as Severus whimpered and moaned desperately. He pulled off the cock and looked up at Severus, black eyes, though clouded with lust, watched him intently. Harry gave the man a slow smile before darting his tongue out to lick at the weeping opening. Severus bit his lip and Harry slowly circled the purpling head. Severus’s mouth dropped open and he was visibly panting as he watched Harry’s slow teasing. Harry wrapped his lips around the cock and kept his eyes locked with Severus’s as he went down, taking the man deeply. Severus’s eyes fluttered but he fought their closing and kept eye contact with Harry as his mouth slid up and down the cock. Harry pulled him in deep, circled his tongue, and sucked. Severus let out a long groan and Harry moaned his appreciation when the cock slid deep in his throat. He felt Severus tense beneath him and began to increase his pace. Sucking, pulling him in deep, he slid a hand up to tease at Severus’s balls and the man began panting audibly. He let one finger slid back to tease at the man’s hole.

“Harry,” Severus cried desperately. Harry moistened his finger and rubbed at Severus’s hole. He bucked against Harry’s restraining hold. “Harry. I- I.” Harry slid the tip of his finger in Severus’s hole and the man screamed as his cock pulsed in Harry’s mouth. Harry quickly drank down the offering as Severus bucked beneath him to a litany of “Yes. Yes. Harry. Harry.”

Harry reached down and removed his own shorts as he licked Severus clean. He moved up, straddling Severus’s waist. He looked down at the sated man and stroked his cheek. Severus turned into the touch and pressed a kiss to Harry’s palm. He turned and looked up at Harry.

“Can you slide down a bit?”

Severus nodded and slid down so Harry would have room between his head and the headboard. He stuffed two pillows under his head and Harry settled over his chest, his large cock swaying in front of Severus.

“Are you comfortable?” But Severus didn’t answer him as his eyes were locked on the mesmerizing cock. He reached out with his tongue and licked at Harry’s cock. Harry shivered at the touch. “Severus.” Dark eyes finally tore themselves away to look at him. Harry smiled down at him and traced a line down the cheek. “You’re beautiful.”

Severus closed his eyes. “Harry-“

Harry placed a finger over Severus’s mouth and dark eyes opened to look into his. “You are. And my opinion is all that matters.”

One eyebrow rose high. “That’s a bit arrogant isn’t it, Mr. Potter?”

Harry frowned at him. “When we are like this, my opinion is the only one that matters.” Harry raised himself up and grabbed his cock, running the moist tip along Severus’s lip. “Understand?”

Severus’s tongue slid out to taste at the wet trail Harry had left. “Yes,” he gasped as he grabbed Harry’s hips and pulled him closer in order to get a better taste of Harry. Harry sighed as Severus licked him like a lollipop before taking him between his lips. Harry moaned at the moist heat and the way Severus’s tongue played along his length. He took Harry in deep, slowly showing him how far he could take Harry.

“Fuck,” Harry gasped as Severus’s throat contracted around his prick. Severus moaned, sending vibrations through Harry’s cock and the sensation caused Harry to thrust forward automatically. Afraid he may have gone too far, Harry tried to pull back but Severus’s hands were holding his hips and he swallowed around Harry. “Fuck.” Harry pulled back and looked down as his cock slid from Severus’s lips, a strand of saliva connecting them. “That was okay?” Severus merely nodded. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“I told you I wanted you to fuck my mouth, Harry. I want to feel you in my throat tomorrow every time I try to speak. Come back.”

Harry shivered as Severus grabbed his cock and wrapped his lips around it once more. He kept his hands on Harry’s hips as Harry moved over him, slow and careful at first and Harry set a steady tempo. He braced one hand against the headboard as he slowly slid in and out of Severus’s mouth, letting Severus’s tongue slide along the underside of his cock while the tip brushed against the back of the man’s throat. Severus kept his hands resting on Harry’s hips, ready to grab on if Harry got too rough. Harry increased his tempo slightly and one of Severus’s hands slid up his waist and followed the line of his free arm. He grabbed Harry’s hand and guided it to his head before going back to Harry’s waist. Taking the invitation, Harry grabbed the man’s hair and pulled his head back, opening the man’s throat. Severus groaned as Harry slid in deeply. Harry shuddered and began to thrust faster, his cock sliding into the welcome heat of Severus’s mouth. Harry looked down at the man and black eyes were focused on Harry’s disappearing cock. Harry thrust faster, deeper and Severus swallowed around him.

“Fuck, Severus. God yes. Take it. Is that what you wanted?” He felt the man nod. “You want more?” Severus’s hands tightened on Harry’s hips and pushed him forward. Harry thrust faster, harder. “Take it. Swallow it. Fuck. You’re so fucking incredible. I’m almost there, Severus. Relax and let me do it.” He felt Severus relax beneath him and he fucked into the man’s mouth hard and fast. “Yes. Yes. Severus. Fuck yes. Sev’rus” Harry moaned as he emptied himself down the man’s throat. Severus’s hands had tightened on Harry’s hips to hold him in place until the man had swallowed every last bit of Harry’s release.

Harry finally slid from Severus’s lips and slithered down his body to cover Severus’s mouth with his own. He moaned at their mingled taste. He pulled back to collapse beside Severus, his head on the older man’s chest. “That was incredible.”

He felt Severus sigh. “Yes, it most definitely took the edge off.” Severus’s voice came out harsh and Harry looked up at him.

“You okay? I didn’t hurt you?”

The man shook his head. “Like you said, Harry. It was incredible.” He ran long fingers through messy hair. “I never dreamed I would get the chance to take you like that. Next time I will give you the courtesy of choosing the positions.”

Harry laughed. “I’m not worried, Severus. Like I said, if I have any say in this it’s not a one off. In fact, I’d like to make it a long term thing. But we’ll talk about that in the morning.” Severus closed his mouth on whatever he had been about to say and nodded. “Right now, I think a small nap is in order and when we wake I’d like to explore that little hole I found.” He lifted his head and slid up Severus’s body to press his lips to Severus’s ear. “Shall we see which you like in there more? My cock, my fingers, or my tongue.” He felt Severus shiver beside him and smiled. “For now we rest.”

 

Harry woke to the memory of Severus’s whimpers in his ears and the taste of him still on his tongue. If the curses that had fallen from the man’s lips were any indication, he liked Harry’s tongue just as much as he’d liked his cock. He’d had no trouble finding the man’s prostate and had fucked him until Severus was begging for release, which Harry had gladly given him. Harry smiled to himself and rolled over. He wasn’t all that surprised to feel Severus’s side of the bed empty, even during the holidays the man had things to do.

“By that self-satisfied smile, I can only deduce that you have finally woken up.” Harry blinked his eyes open and turned to see a blurry shape in the doorway. He summoned his glasses and slid them on.

Severus stood cradling a tea cup in his hands and crossed over to the bed. Harry pulled himself to a sitting position and smiled at the man. “Morning.” Severus smiled softly and Harry reached out to trace the lips. “See, I knew you’d look tons better with a smile.”

The man rolled his eyes and held the cup out for Harry. He took it and sipped the warm beverage. “No regrets, Harry?”

Harry leaned forward and pressed a chaste kiss to the soft lips. “Not a single one? Well, maybe that I waited so long. You?”

Severus shook his head. “Not at all.”

“Good.” Harry furrowed his brow. “Would you- I mean, how public are you willing to take this?”

“Well, we won’t be snogging in the Great Hall if that’s what you’re asking.”

Harry laughed. “No. I- would you be willing to go to the Burrow with me for Boxing Day? If you’re not ready that’s fine. I just-“

“Harry,” Severus interrupted him. “I would love to spend Boxing Day with you and your family. If you think it won’t be a problem with me being there.”

Harry snorted. “Are you kidding? They’ll probably just be relieved they won’t have to listen to me whine about you.”

Severus’s eyes widened, “Whine about me?”

Harry chuckled. “I told you, I’ve liked you for a while.”

There was a chime sound and Severus looked up. “That’s my office alarm, I have some things I need to take care of this morning. You can use the shower to clean up but you’ll need to use the Floo in my sitting room to get back to your rooms. I can’t have my DADA professor walking the halls in last night’s clothes.”

Harry chuckled. “Yes, sir. Will I see you later, alone?”

Severus nodded. “Yes. We have some things to discuss and I believe you said something about getting me on my knees. I’m curious to see how that plays out.”

Harry laughed and took a sip of his tea. “Alright, Severus. Go take care of business and I’ll see you later.”

Severus nodded and stood. “Oh, there is toast and jam on the table if you are hungry.”

“Thanks,” Harry called after him as he disappeared. He heard the door close and placed his cup on the small bedside table before summoning his shorts and sliding into them. He picked his cup up and made his way into the sitting room and over to the dining table. He read through the Prophet while he munched on toast and finally went to take a hot shower. He slipped into last night’s clothes before finally Flooing back to his own sitting room. His first stop was his bedroom where he quickly changed into clean clothes then he moved back to the Floo. He tossed in a handful of powder and called for the Grange.

“Harry,” Hermione beamed at him as he stuck his head into her sitting room.

“Hey, ‘Mione. Where’s Ron?”

“Putting Rosie down for her morning nap. What’s going on?”

“I wondered if, when you and Ron head over to the Burrow for Christmas tomorrow, you could tell Molly I’ll be bringing a guest.”

Her eyes widened in delight. “Oh, Harry. What happened? Did you and Snape have sex?”

“Snape and sex are not my two favorite words to hear in such close proximity,” Ron said as he entered the room. He took one look at Harry’s beaming smile and groaned. “But I guess I need to get used to it.”

He plopped down next to his wife and she glared at him for a second before turning back to Harry. “So spill.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure my anonymous courter is Malfoy and it was kind of depressing when I figured that out so I kinda got a little tipsy.”

“Oh, dear,” Hermione mumbled.

“Yeah, well, I decided in my infinitely drunken wisdom to tell Severus I didn’t want it to be Malfoy; I wanted it to be him. Though now that I think about it, I don’t think I ever told him that. Anyway, one thing led to another and we kissed and I told him I’ve liked him for years. Only I suppose I should really tell him I love him, except, I think I need to let Malfoy down first before I go declaring my love. Don’t you think that’s best, so Severus doesn’t think I was stringing Malfoy along while dangling after him?”

Hermione sighed. “Yes. Definitely let Malfoy off first. If you send him an owl this morning then he’ll know by this evening and you’ll be clear to vow your undying love to the headmaster.”

Harry chuckled at her tone. “But I can’t send an owl. Malfoy never said it was him, I just kinda figured it out from something Zabini said. I’ll use the house elf, that’s how we usually communicate.” Harry bit his lip. “Surely she’s allowed to deliver anytime, not just on our usual Saturday. I really don’t want to have to wait a whole week.”

“Well, you won’t know until you try, mate.”

He nodded at Ron. “Yeah. I’d better go get that letter written. I’ll- we’ll see everyone on Boxing Day. Early Happy Christmas.”

“You too, Harry,” Hermione called.

“Yeah. You too mate,” Ron said. “Wait, did he say we?”

Harry chuckled as he pulled his head from the Floo and went to his desk. 

 

 I know this is probably horrible timing, but I feel I must be honest with you. I do not feel it is appropriate to continue our communications in the vein in which they have been occurring. The fact is, I am in love with someone, I have been for a while and had all but given up on him returning my affections, which is why I encouraged your courtship. I was trying to move on, as I felt my feelings for him would never be reciprocated. I learned differently last night which is why I am sending this to you this morning. I do not want you wasting time on useless endeavors, I respect you too much for that. If you would like to continue as friends know that I am available. However, I am aware you may choose to never reveal yourself to me and I understand, but know that if you do, I will keep your secret. The choice is yours and I respect it. I am sorry for hurting you in this way and I hope one day you will find someone worthy of your love. I hope one day you will forgive me. –Harry.

Harry read through the missive one more time and hoped he had clearly stated his regrets. Harry called for Lolly and the small elf appeared. He smiled encouragingly at her.

“Lolly, are you forbidden from deliveries on other days other than our usual Saturday?”

“Oh. No, Professor Sir. Lolly can deliver letters whenever Professor Sir needs her to.”

Harry smiled in relief. “Great.” He looked up at the knock on his door, his heart giving a little leap in the hope that it might be Severus. He held out the cream envelope to the elf. “Can you see he gets this as soon as possible? It’s very important he read it right away.”

She took the envelope and nodded vigorously. “Lolly will deliver Professor Sir’s letter immediately.”

“Thank you, Lolly.”

The little elf popped away just as Harry pulled the door open and grinned up at Severus. “Hey,” he said softly.

The man glared at him but before he could say anything a small elf appeared in the corridor.

“Lolly,” Harry said in surprise. “Is there a problem?”

Her small eyes went wide as she looked from Harry to Severus. Harry heard Severus sigh and watched as he held his hand out. Harry watched in morbid terror as Severus took the letter meant for Malfoy. He put a hand out to intercept the letter.

“No, that’s not-“

Severus glared at him. “I assure you, Mr. Potter, were it not intended for me, Lolly would not have it.”

Harry glanced from Lolly to Severus. He shook his head. “No, it’s- I mean, you’re not-“ Harry looked curiously at the elf. “Lolly?”

The small elf thrust the letter into Severus’s hands with a small Eep and disappeared. Harry blinked at his lover. Severus held up the cream envelope. “What am I going to find in here, Potter?”

Severus stepped inside Harry’s quarters and Harry closed the door, gaping at the man. “I- you’re not-“

“Articulate as usual, I see,” Severus said as he flipped the envelope over and pulled the missive out. He smirked up at Harry. “Well, that’s not quite true. You were quite loquacious last night, even if your vocabulary was limited to a few delightful phrases.” Harry felt himself blush as Severus unfolded the note and began to read. Severus frowned. “You’re rejecting my courtship,” he asked tonelessly as he continued to read. His lips curled up in a soft smile and Harry felt his heart jump. “We’ll that’s alright then.” Severus finished the note quickly and looked at Harry. “Who were you sending this to?”

“Malfoy, I thought.”

Severus furrowed his brow, “Malfoy? He played Quidditch and I distinctly remember writing that I was never on a team.” Harry winced and felt like an idiot. That small tidbit had slipped his mind when he’d mistakenly thought the blonde was an option. How could he forget his biggest rival for three years?  “Was I even an option?” Severus asked and Harry thought he could hear the uncertainty in the man’s voice.

He crossed over to Severus and grabbed his wrist. “You were my number one option. Until last night. You said you’d never tried Greek.”

Severus smiled in understanding. “Ah. But Zabini interrupted me before I could add that I had always wanted to.”

Harry smiled up at him and slid his hand down to pluck the missive from his fingers. “Let’s just get rid of this one then, shall we?”

Severus grabbed the note back. “Absolutely not. It’s the only evidence I have that you’re in love with me.”

Harry danced his fingers up Severus’s chest. “What if I told you, everyday, for the rest of my life? And I could show you how much I love you. In all sorts of ways,” Harry added with a purr.

Severus slipped the note into his pocket and pulled Harry close. “You could start by doing that thing with your tongue that I adore.”

Harry looked thoughtfully at him. “Is that the one where you were yelling Fuck Harry yes? Or the one where you were screaming obscenities and questioning the legalities of my parent’s marriage?”

Severus ran the tip of his nose along Harry’s ear and a shiver raced up his spine. “Why don’t we do both and decide later?”