Title: All For Wand And
Wand For All
Genres: Romance, Humor.
Word Count: ~16,200
A/N: It would be easier to say who didn’t help me on this story. First of all, a huge thank you to jynx709, mordyn4, sansa1970, empathic_siren, iulia_linnea and Team Wartime member, eeyore9990, all of whom held my hand throughout this process. There would be no fic (and probably no Alisanne), had it not been for them. Thank you to my beta readers: sevfan and verdenia, who pulled all sorts of long hours getting this back to me in time, and finally, a huge thank you to Team Postwar. A more talented, supportive and generous group of people I have yet to meet.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.
Summary: Malfunctioning wands take Harry and Severus on an interesting journey of discovery.
All For Wand And Wand For All
Harry’s eyes fluttered open as his hand encountered long, tapered fingers. A thumb was rhythmically stroking his wrist, and Harry sighed, his pulse and breathing speeding up in response to that sensual touch.
Harry smiled ruefully in the dark. “Yes, I am, as are you.”
“I can hardly sleep... what with you breathing so loudly over there.”
“You’re the one touching me,” Harry reminded him.
“I am touching the wand,” Severus clarified.
“And the thumb stroking -- is that necessary?”
“Go to sleep, Harry.”
Harry smiled as he drifted off. Sleeping in the same bed with Severus was proving to be quite interesting.
Three weeks earlier...
Aiming his wand at the rock cluster, Harry muttered another counter-curse. This time a solid blue light shot from his wand and enveloped the mound before fading away.
Well, at least something happened that time... Looking down at his hands, Harry gasped when he realized his skin was blue.
Cursing under his breath, Harry shook the wand firmly. It emitted a series of sparks that shocked his (now blue) hand, making him drop it.
“What the...? Shite! Look out, Harry!”
Harry dropped on the ground and rolled, only just avoiding the rebound spell that hit where he’d been standing.
“Thanks, Bill,” he called back. “That was too close.”
Bill grunted and directed another counter-curse at the rock. This time a green-yellow light struck it and it split, a black liquid oozing from inside.
“Looks like that got it,” Bill called out, relief evident in his voice.
Harry, still on the ground, nodded. “Looks like you got it, you mean,” he muttered under his breath.
As Bill cleaned up some of the rubble, Harry picked himself up off the ground and reclaiming his wand, brushed it off.
Harry closed his eyes. Here it comes!
“What’s going on with your wand?” Bill asked. “That’s the fourth time you’ve had a problem with an anti-curse this week. I think it’s getting worse. You need that wand seen to, or this job will quickly become too dangerous for you.”
Harry sighed. “I dunno what’s wrong with it,” he said, frustration etched on his face. “It’s been acting weird ever since that final battle with Voldemort. I just... I don’t know what to do.”
Bill clapped him on the shoulder. “That thing is a menace. You have got to get it fixed. I’m sorry, Harry, but you’re a danger to yourself and us with that thing. Take some time off, go to Ollivander’s. He’ll know what to do. And Harry?”
Harry looked up. “Yeah?”
“Go check in with the mediwizard before you go. Blue is not your colour.”
Harry blushed, turning an even more unbecoming shade of purple. Ollivander’s it was.
Severus sighed and glared at his workstation. He knew he had lingered over his morning tea long enough. His empty cauldrons stood in mute accusation in the corner, speaking eloquently of the errand he needed to perform today.
His sensitive nose could still detect the stench of burnt sapweed root, and he scowled.
Yesterday had been an utter disaster, the likes of which he’d not seen since his own days as a student, and even then, it had always been other people’s cauldrons exploding, not his.
He ground his teeth as he recalled the look on Peter Parkinson’s face. There was another customer gone... In what had to be the worst timing ever, Parkinson had been there as he’d been brewing and disaster had struck. Severus could scarcely afford another day like that. When the batch of Veritaserum had exploded, it had been all he could do to put up a shield and not allow Parkinson or himself to get injured.
Groaning, Severus pinched the bridge of his nose. It was clear what he had to do, much as he was dreading it.
Who knew brewing was so tied to wand function?
With a decisive click, he placed his cup down onto the table and stood up, gathering his robes about him like armor. Grasping his wand gingerly and concentrating, he Apparated to his destination.
Fortunately, he arrived without incident. Exhaling with relief, he looked about. Diagon Alley hadn’t changed at all, despite the war, and he easily located his goal, starting towards it with purposeful steps.
Ollivander’s appeared deserted, as he’d hoped it would be at this time of the day. Narrowing his eyes, he tried to see in through the windows to be certain, finally giving up and entering.
A young woman greeted him, smiling. “Hello, sir. How may I help you?”
“Obviously, I am in need of a wand,” he said.
She blushed. “Oh... Of course. I knew that. It’s just... do you need a first wand or is it a spare wand, perhaps? You seem sort of old to never have had a wand...”
“Who’s there, Rebecca?” a querulous voice asked from the corner.
The voice sounded familiar, and Severus looked over to see who it was.
Ollivander looked much as he had those many years ago, his pale eyes lighting up eagerly, yet the war had clearly taken its toll. He had some difficulty standing up, and the young woman, with an apologetic look to Severus, hurried over to him.
“Grandfather, you should be resting...” she scolded gently.
“Pish posh,” the old man said, his eyes still as piercing as they had been years ago. “Someone’s here and we need to help him.”
Shuffling over, he peered up into Severus’ face.
“Ah, welcome,” he said, leaning on the counter. A look of surprise passed over his features. “Well! I remember you, Severus Snape. Yew, rigid, thirteen inches, unicorn hair core.” Ollivander’s eyes sharpened more. “It was an interesting wand that chose you. What happened to it?”
Severus raised his eyebrow. He had counted on this man’s prodigious memory, but not his curiosity. “Indeed, yes, that is my wand, however, it is... malfunctioning at the moment. In any case, I need to purchase a new one. What do you have available?”
“Not much,” the girl muttered under her breath.
Severus threw her a sharp glance.
Ollivander tapped his chin thoughtfully. “True enough, my dear. Still, I suspect that we can help you. I was surprised that you ended up with that wand in the first place, Mr. Snape,” he said. “Yew is... unusual. Are you sure you won’t need an entirely new type of wand?”
“I am sure yew will be fine,” Severus said with a frown. “Why should I need a different one?”
Ollivander shrugged. “War changes people... Very well, we’ll look for another yew to replace it, then. Do you have your wand with you?”
Severus nodded curtly.
“May I see it?”
Severus withdrew it from his robes carefully. Gingerly, he handed it over to Ollivander, who examined it closely.
“Mmmm, this seems fine,” he said after a few moments. “What appears to be wrong with it?”
Severus smiled grimly. Retrieving the wand, he aimed it at a parchment on the counter. “Wingardium Leviosa,” he intoned calmly, swishing and flicking very carefully.
The parchment glowed brightly and wafted upward. Then, in a sudden movement that made both Ollivander and his granddaughter gasp, it shot towards the wall and buried itself with a thud deep in the wooden paneling.
Ollivander shook his head. “I see what you mean,” he said, eyeing the wand with new respect. “It is a shame that there’s no call these days for killer flying parchment, unless, perhaps, you have recalcitrant customers...” He smiled faintly, and Severus snorted.
“We shall have to see what we have in stock.” Ollivander smiled apologetically. “The war has made restocking difficult.”
Muttering to herself, Rebecca turned away, then, pausing, she turned back towards Severus. “Put that away, please,” she requested, pointing at the wand.
With a smirk, Severus did so, and only then did she bustle into the back to search. Ollivander, in the meantime, began looking up at the stacks of wand boxes piled behind the counter, thoughtfully tapping his finger against his chin.
Severus tapped his foot impatiently and surveyed the shop. It hadn’t changed much from what he remembered. Still dark, it was crammed with row upon row of what he presumed were now empty boxes piled high to the ceiling.
Rebecca Ollivander returned, a box in her hand. “There’s this one.” As she handed it to Severus she added, “It’s the only yew in stock at the moment.”
Taking a deep breath, Severus opened it to look it over as Ollivander kept up a running commentary.
“I shouldn’t be surprised if it reacts a bit differently than your first one did,” he said softly, watching as Severus fingered the wood. “I often think that people ought to get refitted for wands when they reach their majority. The teens are such formative years...”
“I suppose it’s possible that I may need a different wand,” Severus replied curtly, making it clear that he had no desire for continued discussion of the topic. He fondled the wand as he waited for the rush of magic to flow through him. After a moment, he looked up at both Ollivanders.
“This does not appear to be suitable,” he said.
Ollivander smiled, appearing unsurprised. “As I said, people change. It is not surprising that yew might not be suitable anymore. Perhaps...” He turned away once more, this time whispering to his granddaughter as they both looked over the available wands.
Severus rolled his eyes. This was turning into more of a project than he’d thought it would be. He pondered all the back orders of potions that he owed his customers. He would be in serious debt if he could not begin producing potions for sale soon. He was so caught up in his own thoughts that he didn’t hear someone enter the shop.
Severus jumped as someone spoke from behind him.
Rebecca looked up and beamed.
“Yes, may I help...? Oh, Mr. Potter, you’re back,” she said, smoothing back her hair and smiling flirtatiously. “Did any of those wands we sent you home with yesterday work out?”
Potter? Severus spun. When had he come in? Why wasn’t there a warning bell on the door? Was Potter following him? And why did he have a bluish tinge to his skin?
“Erm, well, not exactly,” Harry said, blushing a bit. “I did take these wands home to try as you suggested, but none of them work either, I’m afraid,” he said. Glancing at Severus, he did a double take. “Snape?”
“Indeed. You still have stellar observational skills I see,” Severus snapped, again cursing his luck. Of course, on the very day he’d decided to shop for a wand, Potter had to be there as well, looking disturbingly handsome, if a bit blue...
Harry blinked and looked up, surprised. “Erm, wow, haven’t seen you in a while. Are you buying a wand, too?”
“Why else would I be in a wand shop?” Severus sneered.
Harry rolled his eyes. “I was just trying to make polite conversation,” he snapped. “Never mind.”
Severus narrowed his eyes. “Polite? You?” He barked a laugh. “And you expect me to believe that this is a coincidence? You probably followed me, you miscreant. I knew the Ministry couldn’t resist having me followed.”
“Why in Merlin’s name would I be following you...?” Harry stopped mid-sentence, clearly biting back angry words. “Whatever.”
Severus narrowed his eyes as he heard Harry mutter “paranoid git” before he pushed past him to lean over the counter.
“Erm, look, as I said, I tried all these wands, but none of them work for me.” Harry held out his hand, several wands resting in his palm.
Ollivander stepped up and blinked at him. “Ah, Mr. Potter. Yes, you were difficult to match the first time, too. Odd, you seem to have a very similar problem as Mr. Snape does.”
Harry frowned, clearly not liking the thought that he had anything in common with Snape. “I do? Right, well, what can you do for me? My wand is useless!”
“Not just your wand,” Severus murmured, smirking when Harry clenched his fists hard in an effort to ignore him.
“Yes, very similar to Mr. Snape’s wand problems,” Ollivander continued, seemingly oblivious to the by-play. “Were you both in the final battle together?”
Harry’s eyes darted towards Severus’ for a moment. “I believe we were, yes,” he said.
Severus simply nodded curtly.
“Well, that may explain it, then,” Ollivander said. “Perhaps you were struck by the same curse?” He paused, but, as neither man responded, he continued. “Anyway... So, Mr. Potter, since you have your wand with you today, would you demonstrate what it does, please?”
Harry sighed and, pulling it out, pointed it at Rebecca. “Don’t be nervous,” he said.
Her eyes widened, but before she could say anything, he said, “Stupefy!”
Severus raised an eyebrow as he looked at the girl, expecting her to fall over, but she appeared to be unaffected.
Harry shrugged. “See?” he said. “None of my spells work the way I plan.”
“That’s about normal for you,” Severus murmured.
Harry resolutely ignored him. “So that is the problem,” he continued. “My wand power is erratic and seems to be weakened.”
Rebecca smiled slowly. “Well, maybe not! I think that you cured my headache.”
“Interesting... And, Rebecca, if you are developing headaches, perhaps you should go and rest, my dear,” Ollivander suggested. “I’ll help these gentlemen.”
Rebecca, with one last lingering look at Harry, nodded and went into the back room.
Scratching his chin, Ollivander said, “That is an interesting effect.” Glancing between Harry and Severus speculatively, he continued. “It seems as if it’s the opposite problem of Mr. Snape’s, but actually, I will wager that the cause is the same.”
Ollivander’s eyes sharpened as he warmed to his topic. “Mr. Snape’s wand malfunction is probably related to core rot. The incorrect focussing of magic through the unicorn hair core, combined with a power leak, would most certainly affect your brewing. And Mr. Potter, your core is also malfunctioning, but in your case, because it is a phoenix feather, the connection is fraying, and the power is not leaving the wand at all.”
Looking up, Ollivander smiled at the glazed over looks in their eyes. “Let me demonstrate. Mr. Snape, do you mind?”
Severus raised an eyebrow.
Holding his hand out towards Severus, Ollivander said, “May I see your wand once more?”
Severus handed it over, muttering all the while.
Ollivander placed it on the counter. “Mr. Potter, I’ll need yours as well,” he said.
Harry shrugged and handed it over.
Placing it next to Severus’, Ollivander reached under the counter and pulled out some twine, which he wound around the two wands, binding them together.
“Let’s see what this does,” he said. “Mr. Snape, if you will? Recast your spell, please.”
Severus grasped the makeshift wand and pointed it to another parchment. “Wingardium Leviosa.”
The parchment simply sat there.
“Mr. Potter, if you will touch the wand as well,” Ollivander suggested.
Making a face, Harry placed the tip of his finger on the shaft of his wand as far from Severus’ hand as possible. As soon as he touched it, however, the parchment gently wafted up in the air, where it hovered for a long moment before drifting back down slowly.
“Well,” Ollivander said, smiling. “That appears to solve the problem! It seems that between the two of you, you now have a functioning wand. This confirms a wand core problem. However, this way of combining your wand power will not last too long. For the moment this will help, however.”
Severus looked horrified. “Well, that is just... unacceptable! I must have my own wand,” he insisted.
“At the moment it appears that your wand only works in conjunction with Mr. Potter’s,” Ollivander said soothingly. “Perhaps you can negotiate something. Share, perhaps...”
“I cannot possibly be expected to share anything with this... this...”
“You know my name, Snape,” Harry snapped. “You used to yell it often enough when you gave me all those detentions.”
“Which you fully deserved, you spoiled, egotistical...”
They both looked back at Ollivander, who shook his head and, forcibly prying the two wands away from Severus, placed them on the counter once more.
“No arguing while you hold a volatile wand,” he scolded. “Now, I suggest that you consider cooperating. Supplies are limited at the moment, as I’ve said, and you both have quite specific wand needs. It will be quite a while before we get in enough supplies to make you both the replacement wands that you require.”
“How long?” Severus asked.
Ollivander sighed heavily. “The way things have been going, possibly several weeks.”
“Impossible! I cannot wait another few weeks to get back to brewing. I have things on back order that I have to complete... I’ll just take both these wands. Potter is no doubt lounging around his home counting his money all day. I doubt he even really needs a wand.”
Harry turned pale with anger. “Look, you bitter old git, I do so need a wand! I am not just sitting around, I’m a curse-breaker, and I can’t function without a wand. You and your bloody potions can just wait...”
“Still think you’re so special, don’t you?” Severus spat. “People certainly treat you as if you are!” Directing a sharp look at Ollivander, Severus continued. “Well, my work is just as important, if not more so,” he said. “And you are not going to interfere...”
“Mr. Potter, Mr. Snape!” Ollivander appeared upset. “This is unseemly, and it’s disruptive.”
Harry looked sheepish. “Sorry, you’re right,” he said. “It’s just... I really need a wand. It’s important for my job, too. And I still have Dark items in my home that I need to decontaminate.”
Severus sneered. “Indeed? So, in other words, you need the wand for home renovations. And you call yourself a curse-breaker?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “Look, Mrs. Black’s portrait is still in Grimmauld Place and she’s driving me mad. I have to have a wand!”
Severus scowled. “Well, unlike you, I have to work for a living; I don’t have time to dither about with portraits. My job is not a hobby, I didn't inherit everything, and I don’t have spare time for home decorating...”
“Spare time? Oh yes, I have tons of spare time, tracking down cursed objects!” Harry replied sarcastically, his voice going up in volume once more. “And yes, I have an inheritance. Get over it! To get it, people I loved had to die! You think I wouldn’t trade it all in to have my parents and Sirius back?”
“Your dogfather made his own choices, one of which was to make you the Black heir. I don’t have the option of living off two healthy inheritances as you do, thus...”
“But you were exonerated, so you have all your property,” Harry interrupted. “Isn’t there a Prince estate?”
Severus stared at him for a moment before pulling himself up to full height. “If you recall, Potter,” he spat, “all of the Prince inheritance, despite the fact that I have been exonerated, went to the Ministry to pay for war reparations. As the last member of the Prince family, I would have inherited, but your testimony about how I killed Albus placed that in jeopardy, thus costing me any inheritance...”
“But you did kill him, I saw you myself. And yes, I know he told you to, and I told them that as well, so it’s not my fault that they...”
“Do not pretend that you have any concern for me,” Severus hissed. “I know the truth. I am sure you had a laugh over me losing everything.”
“You’re just trying to make me feel bad because I have some money, but it won’t work...”
“Feel bad? Oh, please...”
“Enough! You are disrupting the wands! They can be very sensitive to emotions.” Ollivander looked almost angry, and Harry and Severus jumped, both having forgotten that he was even there.
“Please be careful,” Ollivander said more softly, pointing toward some of the wand boxes. “Now, as fascinating as this all is, gentlemen, I think you shall have work out some arrangement between the two of you,” he continued. “Because it appears that your wands balance each other’s out.”
Severus took a deep breath. “That is simply not possible... I shall return in a week to see if the supply situation has changed,” he said. “For now, please give me back my wand.”
Ollivander nodded and reached for the two wands. Pausing, he stared at the counter.
“Oh dear,” he whispered.
Both Harry and Severus stopped glaring at each other and turned towards him.
“What is it now?” Severus growled.
“It appears that all your arguing has caused the wands to... fuse,” Ollivander choked out. “I’ve never... Oh my.”
“Fuse?” Harry echoed, eyes widening.
“Our arguing?” Severus said disbelievingly.
All three men clustered around the counter, staring down. Where there had previously been two wands bound together, there was now just one, the twine loose around it.
Ollivander picked it up, inspecting it carefully. “Amazing,” he breathed. “Look here! There are streaks of both yew and holly, you can see the separate grains just here... I wonder what the core looks like?”
“How could this have happened?” Severus asked, reaching for the wand.
Ollivander was clearly puzzled. “I have never seen this before,” he admitted. “Perhaps it is the damaged cores, or there’s some ancient magic at work...”
“Ancient magic? Absurd.” Severus rolled the wand through his fingers as he spoke. “This is some trick of Potter’s.”
“I had nothing to do with this, you paranoid git!” Harry said, exasperated. “Look, I was standing here, just like you were, when it happened.”
Ollivander reclaimed the wand, placing it back on the counter. “This appears to be a spontaneous phenomenon, I’m afraid. Either that, or there was some need for your wands to combine. I have no explanation.”
Severus huffed and crossed his arms. “This is simply ridiculous! There has to be a way to separate them.”
Ollivander shook his head. “I do not know how,” he said. “This is beyond anything that I’ve ever seen. In my experience, wands just do not fuse with other wands.”
“Well, I require a functioning wand, so I suppose I’ll take this one and Potter can fend for himself...”
Harry was already shaking his head. “No way! That’s as much my wand as it is yours. There is no way you’re taking it.”
Severus glared at Harry. “Listen, I clearly have the greater claim here, you...”
Ollivander cleared his throat. “Actually, I think you both have valid claims. However, circumstances being as they are, you have only one choice, gentlemen,” he said. “You must share this wand.”
Harry groaned. “Share? With him? There is no way...”
Severus was drawing breath to argue, when he was interrupted by Ollivander’s laughter. “And what is so amusing?” he snapped.
Ollivander was still chuckling. “The two of you bicker like an old married couple,” he said.
As both Harry and Severus blinked at him in shock, he sobered a bit. “Sorry. Anyway, I believe your choice is clear,” he continued softly. “You must set aside your differences long enough to come to some sort of arrangement. You are both adults, I’m sure you can work something out.”
Severus crossed his arms. “Well, I have got to complete my potions,” he said. “My livelihood depends on it.”
“And I have to get back to my job and break the curse on Mrs. Black’s portrait,” Harry said.
“Perhaps you can work out a schedule,” Ollivander suggested. “Since the wand appears to need both of you to function correctly anyway, you may even have to consider cohabiting for a while...”
“You mean live together?” Harry asked, clearly horrified.
“That is the definition of cohabitation, Potter,” Severus snapped.
Harry glared at him, then shrugged. “All right. It could be worse, I suppose.”
Severus glared back at him, as if asking how.
“What other choice do we have?” Harry said. “We both need the wand, and we both have to be touching the wand to use it, so it won’t work for just one of us. We have to live in the same house. Are you prepared to be without access to a wand for a while?”
Severus sighed and Harry smiled grimly. “Exactly. So, you can move in with me. The place is big enough, and perhaps you could help me to get rid of Mrs. Black while you’re at it.”
“I’ll consider it. Are you prepared to assist me with potions?” Severus shot back.
Harry smirked. “As long as you don’t give me detention.”
Severus rolled his eyes. “Don’t tempt me.”
Ollivander clapped is hands together. “Excellent! I knew you could come to an agreement eventually. Now, if you both return in about a week, I may have a better idea of when I can have your new wands ready for you.”
Grumbling, Severus reluctantly agreed, as did Harry, and after a bit of wrangling, Severus finally pocketed the wand, leading the way out of the shop. The street was all but deserted. Severus started for the Apparation point.
“Wait, where are you going?” Harry asked, hurrying after him.
“I must retrieve my things,” Severus said stiffly.
Harry nodded. “Do you want me to come with you or...?”
Severus sighed exasperatedly. “As it is necessary that you be touching the wand for it to function, I believe you will need to accompany me, yes.”
When they got to the Apparation point, Severus grasped Harry’s arm and without warning, Apparated them both to a deserted street. Upon arrival, he immediately released Harry and began striding up the road.
Harry looked about, noting the disrepair of most of the red brick houses on the street. Severus was walking towards a particularly decrepit one.
“Well, are you coming?” he called back.
Harry scrambled after him.
“This is Spinner’s End?” he asked when they got to the door.
Severus shot a bitter look at him. “Indeed. Not up to your lofty standards, I imagine...”
Harry shook his head. “That’s not what I was getting at,” he said, exasperated. “I was just surprised, that’s all.”
“Whatever. Do make yourself useful and help me to pack,” Severus said. “The sooner we start, the sooner we can be gone. I shall need all of my cauldrons, my ingredients, and some clothing. We’ll start in this room with a Shrinking Spell.”
Taking out the wand, Severus held it as far from his body as possible. “Well?” he snapped. “Assist me.”
Harry blinked, then, realizing what he had to do, touched the wand, and together they intoned the necessary spells.
“Decrescere!” Severus cried, while Harry said, “Minuere!”
Severus closed his eyes. “Potter,” he ground out. “Do keep your mouth shut. I shall say the correct spell. Just touch the wand and say nothing.”
“My spell should have worked,” Harry said.
“But it didn’t. Now, just stop talking. I have forgotten more spells than you will ever know!”
“It probably didn’t work because they canceled each other out...”
“Potter, stop. This is important, so I will do it my way. Do not argue with me,” Severus snapped. “These are my things. I shall use the Shrinking Spell I am familiar with.”
Harry ground his teeth and said nothing while Severus repeated the spell, shrinking all the items uniformly.
One of Severus’ iron cauldrons did fall, and Harry’s cough was the only thing that made Severus look and cast a quick Cushioning Charm to prevent it breaking. After that, the atmosphere lightened considerably, and the rest of the packing proceeded without incident.
The silence began to get a bit oppressive, and Harry started fidgeting. Severus shot him a quelling look.
“Fidgeting. You’ll adversely affect the wand function.”
Harry glared at him. “You don’t know that!”
“It’s possible,” Severus said. “Just stay still and silent. Are you capable of that?”
“I am not a child who’s supposed to be seen and not heard,” Harry retorted. “This is ridiculous. Look, we’re going to be living in the same house. We may as well be polite to each other or it’s going to be a long week.”
Severus sighed deeply. “Indeed, that much is true,” he allowed. “Very well, I daresay I can manage to be polite if you can.”
Harry grinned. “Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?”
Severus shot a sardonic look Harry’s way. “In interests of remaining polite, I shall not answer that.”
Harry laughed. “Right, well, so... erm, so, how long have you lived here, then?”
“Oh, very well! I have lived here, on and off, for perhaps twenty years. Usually, I came here in the summers, when Hogwarts was closed, and I returned to the school in the autumn.”
“So, is this place a part of the Prince estate?”
Severus shot a cool glance at him before answering. “This place belonged to the Muggle side of my family, Potter. The Princes have no claim on it.”
“In the interests of being polite, perhaps we should start using each other’s given names,” Harry said.
“I do not see why that’s necessary,” Severus said.
“It’ll counteract the adverse affect that all my fidgeting had on the wand function,” Harry deadpanned.
Severus almost cracked a smile. “Indeed,” he said, his voice silky. “Very interesting theory. Do you have evidence to support it, Harry?”
“As much evidence as you have for your fidgeting theory, Severus,” Harry shot back.
Severus made a sound that was suspiciously like a snort before resuming his packing.
The wand did seem to function a bit better from then on, and Harry hid his smile. As he watched Severus it occurred to him that he really knew very little about the man. His memories of Severus were clouded by their relationship in school, but now that he was an adult, Harry realized Severus was a bit of a mystery. Harry vowed in that moment to get to know him better.
As he packed, Severus said nothing, but as they continued and it went smoothly, his grumbling grew less and less and they became more efficient. Soon, Severus’ entire workroom was ready to go. He even allowed Harry to speak the Levitation Spell on his potions ingredients, a major concession as far as Harry was concerned.
Cauldrons, stirring sticks, and several shrunken cases packed to the brim with books were finally floated onto a table, and Severus first slid them gently into his palm and from there into one of the pockets of his robes upon which he had cast a strong Cushioning Charm.
Leading Harry to the bedroom, Severus began packing his clothes, making short work of his wardrobe. Harry couldn’t help but notice the sad state of his things. Many of the robes hanging there were threadbare, and that, more than anything, told Harry of Severus’ circumstances.
Even with the use of magic, and a more cooperative spirit, it took them a couple of hours to get everything packed and ready, and by the time they exited the house, it was dusk.
Harry held his hand out. “My turn for the wand,” he said.
With a low mutter and only a slight hesitation, Severus handed it over.
Accepting it with one hand, Harry grasped Severus’ arm with the other and with a crack the two Disapparated, appearing in front of Grimmauld Place seconds later.
“I had thought never to see this place again,” Severus said. “Is it still under the Fidelius Charm?”
Harry nodded. “Yes, but I’m the Secret Keeper now,” he said, leading the way to the front door.
Severus followed with some trepidation. His last time in this house had not been particularly auspicious, and the place held many memories.
After letting Severus in, Harry closed the door softly behind him.
Severus glanced about, noting that the place appeared unchanged. “You said the portrait is still...?”
Before he could finish his sentence, a shrill voice rang out.
“Mudbloods and blood traitors! I can hear you breathing! Do not hope to sneak past me, you sorry excuses for wizards...!”
Harry silently gestured towards a door and Severus followed quickly. Even as the door shut he could still hear the bitter old portrait screaming invectives into the empty hallway.
“I see some things never change,” he muttered. “She’s as pleasant a portrait as she was in life.”
Chuckling, Harry walked over to the sideboard, opening the cabinet and pulling out a glass. Turning towards Severus, he asked, “Firewhisky?”
“It appears so, yes. Astute as ever I see.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “I meant, would you like a Firewhisky, Severus?”
Severus inclined his head. “Well, if you’re offering, then yes,” he said.
Harry poured two glasses, handing one to Severus before sitting down and taking a long sip. “As I said in Ollivander’s, she’s my biggest project,” he said, nodding towards the hallway.
Severus raised a brow. “What have you been doing here all this time, Pot... Harry?” he asked, savoring the liquor as it slid down his throat. Ogden’s was far better than he could afford at the moment. “I’d have thought that you could have rid yourself of that thing by now.”
Harry shrugged and sat back in his chair. “She’s proven to be the most stubborn Dark artifact I have ever encountered. And with my wand malfunctioning... Well, I think I need some assistance. So, will you help me?”
Severus tipped back his drink, holding his glass out for a refill. Harry sighed and, getting up, fetched the bottle of Ogden’s, pouring him another glass.
Severus sipped, closing his eyes as the fine liquor slid over his tongue.
“Look, Snape, yes or no...?”
Severus interrupted. “Yes, Potter, I already said that I would assist you in your attempt to rid this place of that menace. And I thought we agreed on first names?”
“Sorry. We did, Severus. And thank you,” Harry said.
“Mmm. Now, where shall I set up my potions laboratory?” Severus asked.
So much for being polite... “I thought it might be best to put it in the basement,” Harry said. “It’s cooler down there, and there are several unused rooms available.”
Severus nodded. “That should be sufficient, and I suppose I can sleep there, too,” he said.
Harry nodded and tipping his own glass back, drained his Firewhisky. “All right, then, I’ll show you where to put your things...”
They tiptoed out of the room, carefully making their way past the still muttering portrait and down some stairs at the end of the hallway.
“I shall need the wand back to put everything together properly,” Severus said when they got down the stairs.
Harry handed it over reluctantly, and after emptying his pockets onto a table, Severus pointed it, waiting for Harry’s touch to begin his reactivation spells.
It took only a few minutes to get everything back to normal size and arranged to Severus’ satisfaction.
“Well, that’s that, I guess,” Harry said. “I’m knackered, so I’ll just take the wand and head up to bed, yeah?”
Severus stared at him. “Oh no. I shall be keeping the wand,” he declared.
Harry’s mouth fell open. “What? Oh no you don’t,” he said. “I sleep with my wand under my pillow. There is no way I’m leaving it down here. I have to have it for quick access in the middle of the night.”
“And what will you do with it?” Severus snapped. “In case you’ve forgotten, it doesn’t work unless both of us are touching it.”
“Well I still have to have it!” Harry sounded slightly panicked.
Severus crossed his arms. “I have been sleeping with my wand under my pillow for more years than you have been alive, you...”
Harry held up a hand. “Yeah, you’re older than I am, I get it, all right? It’s just... I need to sleep with the wand, too, so what can we do about this?”
Severus pinched his nose with his fingers, trying to stave off an impending headache. “I suppose there is only one solution,” he said. “We take turns with the wand. You have it one night, and I have it the next, not that it will work for either of us alone...”
Harry nodded. “Yeah, I guess it’s still a bit of a... security blanket for me, you know?”
Severus shook his head. “No, I do NOT know, nor do I wish to. Still, as I am a guest in your home, and I know that the wards on this building are sufficient, you may have the wand tonight.”
Harry took the proffered piece of wood eagerly. “Thanks,” he muttered.
“Mmm, yes, well, I shall expect you down here, with that wand and ready to work at seven a.m. sharp,” Severus continued. “I have several potions on back order to brew.”
“Why are we starting with potions?” Harry asked. “I have projects, too, you know.”
Severus rolled his eyes. “Bring the curse-breaking books down here with you and we can discuss them as we wait for the potions to brew,” he said.
Harry nodded. That was actually reasonable.
“Right, well goodnight, Sn... Severus,” Harry said, heading for the stairs.
“Remember, seven sharp,” Severus called in reply.
Harry sighed as he climbed the stairs. Some things never changed.
A loud thud brought Severus out of a sound sleep. Before he was even truly awake, he was reaching for his wand, cursing under his breath as he remembered that Harry had it.
“Dratted prat,” he muttered. It figured that Severus would need a wand and it would be two floors away, uselessly lying beneath Potter’s pillow.
It sounded as if someone was rummaging about in the kitchen just above where Severus was, and making quite a noise while doing it, too. Severus pulled on a sleeping robe and, picking up one of his heavier cauldrons, began up the stairs.
If they were being attacked he needed to assess the situation and see who was providing the threat...
Peering into the kitchen, Severus scanned carefully. Dishes were flying about, ingredients mixing together as a spoon stirred a pot full of some bubbling substance.
Severus frowned. Someone had broken in to cook for them?
“Severus, what’s going on...?
Severus spun and almost smacked Harry in the head with the cauldron. “Merlin! Do not sneak about like that,” he hissed. “I could have hit you.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “It’s my house, I can sneak about if I want to.”
“Fine, then you go and defend us with the non-working wand and I’ll go back to bed,” Severus snapped.
Harry scowled. “I see you’re no nicer in the middle of the night.”
Severus snarled. “I am a guest in your house, and I am only up because of some misguided intention of helping to defend the place. I thought it the only polite thing to do. Your behaviour had been less than polite, however, you obnoxious...”
Another loud crash in the kitchen silenced them.
“See?” Severus hissed. “You’ve probably alerted the attackers.”
“Me? You’re the one who was yelling,” Harry snapped back. Then, sighing, he said, “The thing is, I don’t think this is an attack.”
“Perhaps not, but then, who is puttering about your kitchen at this time of night? And why?”
“Master Harry Potter!” Both men jumped as a diminutive form materialized in the hallway just outside the kitchen. “Dobby has found Harry Potter!”
Harry groaned. Just what he needed, an overeager elf. He lowered the wand he’d reflexively raised. “Merlin, Dobby! Don’t do that! You surprised us.”
Dobby looked at him, his big eyes tearing up. “Dobby make Harry Potter angry? Bad Dobby!” The elf began beating its head against the floor in contrition.
“You know this creature?” Severus asked. “Why am I not surprised?”
Harry sighed. “He’s a house-elf that I freed a few years ago.” Turning back to the elf, he said, “Dobby, stop that. I’m not angry, I’m just surprised. I thought you were going to stay with Winky at Hogwarts.”
Dobby looked up. “Winky agrees to come with Dobby to serve Harry Potter! We is now here!”
Severus shook his head. “Lovely. I have moved in with a menagerie,” he muttered.
“Winky’s here too?” Harry asked faintly. Hermione was going to kill him.
“Dobby remembers Severus Snape likes tea,” Dobby said. Popping away, he was back in about five seconds, holding a steaming cup which he handed to Severus.
Severus accepted it, sniffing it suspiciously before taking a little sip. His small, satisfied smile did not go unnoticed. Harry looked away, oddly disturbed at how much the smile transformed the dour man’s face.
“Well, I’ll leave you to your domestic problems,” Severus said, turning away and cradling his precious tea. “And next time you think we’re being attacked, you may want to wear some clothing.”
Harry glanced down at his loose sleep pants. “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”
Severus shook his head. “If I have to tell you, then there is no point,” he said. “Although, even you should be aware that it’s been proven that duelling bare-chested leaves you ninety percent more susceptible to attack charms.”
Harry stared at him. “What? You just made that up,” he said.
“I do not make things up,” Severus declared. “Just... wear clothing next time.”
“I suppose a proper wizard would wear a dress like you are?” Harry shot back.
Severus raised an eyebrow. “A nightshirt is not a dress,” he said. “And yes, this is proper wizard sleeping attire.”
“I am not sleeping in that,” Harry declared. “No matter how proper it is or how nice it may make your legs look.” His eyes widened when he realized what he’d said.
Severus frowned, suspicious. “What does that mean?”
Dobby, having popped away again, returned, this time with a plate of biscuits. “Gingersnaps, Severus Snape?
Severus blinked at him, distracted. “Oh for... No. It’s still the middle of the night. Perhaps in a few hours.” Stomping towards his stairs, he said, “And when you come downstairs at seven, Potter, just... wear some clothes. I will just have eaten breakfast.”
Harry made a face at Severus’ back, tucking the wand into the waist of his pants. As Dobby offered him the plate, Harry shook his head. “No thanks, Dobby.” He sighed. “And how did you get past the wards, anyway?”
“Wards is to keep out bad wizards. Dobby is good elf.”
Harry blinked, puzzled. “All right, well, please be quiet from now on, yeah? Severus and I both need our sleep.”
“Dobby makes cake, helps Harry Potter sleep...”
Dobby looked upset, and Harry sighed. “Food won’t solve this problem,” he said, eyeing Severus’ retreat. “I just want this to be over so I can get back to breaking curses again.”
With that, he went back upstairs. He would deal with having house-elves later.
Dobby, still standing in front of the kitchen holding the biscuits, looked back and forth between the two retreating figures speculatively.
Seven in the morning came too soon as far as Harry was concerned. He had only just fallen back asleep when the buzz of the charm he’d placed on the bed woke him. Rubbing sleepy eyes, Harry padded to the bathroom, turning on the water and stepping under it. His eyes flew open as the liquid hit him and he groaned in relief as his muscles warmed. He wasn’t sure what the day would be like, but he imagined there would be some stress, given who he would be working with.
He again cursed himself for blurting out the bit about Severus’ nice legs. But they are nice, Harry thought as he dried himself off. Still, Severus may not have wanted to hear that from Harry. As far as he knew, Severus wasn’t gay...
Harry made sure to dress in traditional wizarding robes before going downstairs, remembering Severus’ admonishment from the night before.
Walking by a room on the way down, Harry paused as a feeling of foreboding came over him. Glancing at the door he’d just passed, he frowned, gripping the wand he carried tightly. A distant, scraping noise was coming from inside the room.
What the hell...? He shrugged, reaching for the door, then pausing. Was it a curse? If it was, what would he do without a working wand? Harry sighed. Just what he needed, another problem.
Severus was sitting in the kitchen by the time he got downstairs, having already been up for some time by the look of it. Harry braced himself for snide comments. Surprisingly, however, none were forthcoming. Severus appeared to be caught up in reading the Prophet and sipping his tea.
Dobby quickly produced breakfast for Harry, then retreated. Winky was barely visible as she whizzed about in the back of the kitchen.
As he ate, Harry considered bringing up the cursed room, but decided that Severus was less than approachable at the moment. Maybe once they had made some of his potions he would be more agreeable...
After about ten minutes of silence, Severus dropped the paper and stood up. “Shall we go?” he said.
Grabbing his tea and a roll, Harry followed him down the stairs, impressed to see several cauldrons already set up and ready for brewing.
“What are you brewing?” Harry asked.
“We are brewing Veritaserum, Dreamless Sleep and Headache Potion,” Severus said. “All of the ingredients are here, and I shall simply require you to be present, with the wand in reach.”
Harry nodded, removing the wand from his robes and placing it on a table. “How can we both be touching it and brewing at the same time?” he asked.
“I do not usually use my wand actively whilst brewing, but I suspect that my potions will be normal now that a working wand is in the vicinity. It should cut down on the explosions at any rate.”
“Indeed. Did you imagine that brewing is a harmless activity? You do recall why Longbottom was a menace in my class?”
“He had a hard time because you terrified him,” Harry said defensively.
“That was not his problem,” Severus said. “His problem was that he was too timid. And, interestingly enough, he also had wand problems if I recall correctly... Anyway, he’s over that as I understand it. He has done well enough for himself now.” As he spoke, Severus continued to stir his cauldron carefully. “I read that he is the first full-time Herbologist to be employed by Gringotts.”
Harry nodded, surprised that Severus had kept up on Neville’s career. “He is,” he confirmed. “He’s very good and he does a lot of work with me as a curse-breaker.”
“Indeed,” Severus said. “It sounds as if you are quite the Longbottom advocate.”
“Well, he’s my friend, and yeah, I really... admire him,” Harry said, not seeing the sharp look Severus directed towards him.
They worked silently for the rest of the morning, and surprisingly, Harry discovered that he remembered far more about potions than he’d realized. Severus didn’t have to instruct him in technique, and he managed a batch of Dreamless Sleep with no help.
“Surprisingly adequate job,” Severus said.
Harry had noticed him watching, and had been prepared for derision, so his mouth dropped open in shock at the compliment.
Towards the end of the morning, Severus wordlessly helped Harry ladle the colorless liquid into individual vials. By the noon, they had a full batch of all three potions completed and ready for delivery. Severus placed a Stasis Spell on the vials, and Harry, holding the wand with him as he did so, also learned the spell.
To his amazement, Harry found that brewing was oddly soothing. Without Severus sniping at him every few minutes, or trying to trip him up, Harry found he enjoyed the activity, and by lunchtime the headache that had been threatening from that morning was gone.
After lunch, Harry, having collected together his books on Dark Arts theory, brought them downstairs with him when they went back down for the afternoon.
This time they were making Shrinking Solution, and Harry, after a few minutes, opened the first of the books and began reading. Soon he was engrossed and muttering to himself as he read.
“If you have a question, you will need to state it aloud,” Severus said. “I am an expert Legilimens, but I suspect you do not wish to communicate with me that way...”
Harry looked up. “Oh, right,” he said. “It’s just... didn’t want to bother you. You aren’t exactly pleasant when disturbed.”
“Your muttering is more disturbing,” Severus replied. “The potion has to brew for seventy minutes, so this is a good time to see what your books say about the thorny problem of Walburga Black.”
Harry nodded. “All right. Well, this text talks about most portraits being imbued with very few innate powers, unless some specific charms are performed before the death of the subject.”
“Yes, I am familiar with that process,” Severus said. “Many powerful pureblood wizards do that before death so that they can retain some of the magical abilities they had during life.”
“Would that process have allowed Mrs. Black to retain the power to protect herself from being removed from the wall, though?”
“Well, she has done it, so it must be possible. There must also be a way to reverse it.”
“Oh, there’s another thing,” Harry said, suddenly recalling the incident from that morning. “As I was coming downstairs today, I passed a room that had a bad feeling coming from it. I think it’s been cursed, and I know it was cleared of Dark magic before. So what could that mean?”
“It could mean you have quite the imagination,” Severus said.
Harry rolled his eyes. “This was not my imagination. I’m a curse-breaker, remember? I know Dark magic when I feel it.”
“Very well, let’s say you are right and segments of the house are being re-cursed.” Severus’ expression made it clear he wasn’t sure whether to believe that or not. “Who could be doing that? It is under the Fidelius.”
“That’s why I’m asking you. You’re the Dark magic expert.”
Severus smiled grimly. “Indeed, I am. All right, let us consider the possibilities. I repeat once more, could you be mistaken?”
Harry shook his head. “I’m not mistaken. I’ll show you later if you like.” He frowned. “Do you think they’re connected? Could Mrs. Black’s portrait somehow be responsible for some of the curses on this place having returned?”
Severus leaned forward. “That would be unheard of. Are you sure this place you are sensing Dark magic from now was cleared in the first place? Could it just have been missed?”
“Absolutely not,” Harry said. “It was cleared. I’ve been doing some research, but I can’t find anything to explain or help with this problem, unless the portrait’s somehow doing it.”
Severus shook his head. “Not without the help of someone who is currently living,” he said.
“So someone is helping her, then,” Harry said thoughtfully.
“If she is responsible, then yes, it would appear so,” Severus said. “The question is, who?”
They discussed Harry’s enemies, of which, unfortunately, there were several.
“Maybe there’s still a Death Eater out there somewhere who’s cursing me?” Harry said.
Severus shook his head. “Not with the place being under the Fidelius,” he reminded Harry. “There is no way they would be able to locate it to cast curses.”
“So Mrs. Black couldn’t somehow be communicating with someone outside?”
“If she could, I have no doubt that she would have done so during the war, when it might have made a difference in the outcome of the conflict,” Severus said, beginning to decant the Shrinking Solution.
Harry sighed. That was the conclusion he had come to as well.
By late afternoon Harry was tired and even Severus seemed to be moving slower. Severus mumbled something about being ahead of schedule, and seemed very pleased as he sent several potion vials out by owl.
Harry took Severus by the room where he’d sensed the Dark magic, and Severus quickly agreed that something was wrong, but with both of them tired, they decided to leave it until the next day to tackle.
Dobby and Winky produced a delicious dinner of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes and green beans, and when they finished, Harry and Severus retired to the library once more.
Harry again offered Severus more Ogden’s, but this time he refused. “I think I could use a cocktail. Would you like me to make you one as well?”
“Yeah, okay,” Harry said, preoccupied and clearly still worried about who his mysterious enemy could be. “You know,” he said as Severus began mixing drinks. “If someone is out there trying to curse this house, they may attack. We really need working wands, and soon.”
Severus scowled. “I am well aware of that. What have I been saying this entire time? We are both quite vulnerable, although the Fidelius and the wards on this place do afford us some protection.”
“Maybe we should visit Ollivander again soon,” Harry suggested. “See if there have been any changes in supplies.”
“Perhaps,” Severus allowed. “There is nothing we can do about it tonight, however. Try this.” He handed Harry a goblet filled with an amber mixture.
“What is it?” Harry asked, looking into the goblet and sniffing it.
Severus sipped his, closing his eyes in pleasure. “It’s a concoction I came up with several years ago. It’s quite... relaxing.”
“You’re not trying to poison me, are you?”
Severus smirked. “That would be very impolite, Harry.”
“Mmm, I notice you didn’t deny it, though.” Harry sipped cautiously, smiling as the smooth blend of alcohol slipped down his throat. “Oh, that is good!”
“There are easier ways to poison people,” Severus said. “And I would never waste perfectly good liquor to do so.”
“I’ll remember that,” Harry chuckled.
After his drink, Harry did feel a lot more relaxed, so when Severus rose to go to bed, it took him a while to realize what that would mean.
“Well, Harry, I am tired. It’s been a long, if productive, day. Please give me the wand as it’s my turn to have it.”
Harry blinked up at Severus, the liquor in his system slowing his reactions. “Erm, the wand? Yeah, um, look, Severus I was thinking...”
“Thinking? Doubtful.” At Harry’s look, he smirked. “Very well. What were you thinking?”
Harry took a deep breath. “If there’s danger of someone attacking, shouldn’t we both have access to the wand?”
“What are you suggesting?” Severus asked.
“Um, maybe we could find a way to both have it?”
Severus pursed his lips. “Well, there is only one way to do that. We will both need to sleep within reach of the wand.”
“You mean in the same...” Harry trailed off, hesitating.
“In the same room, possibly the same bed, yes,” Severus confirmed. “Preferably with you wearing clothes.”
Harry snorted. “Or you could dress comfortably like I do. What’s the matter, Severus? Afraid to be too comfortable?”
“My sleeping attire is quite comfortable, thank you,” Severus replied, crossing his arms.
“You should try showing more skin,” Harry said, grinning. “It might make you more popular...”
Severus’ eyes became chips of black ice. “I know that I am not attractive, Potter,” he said. “There is no need for mockery.”
“Oh, but I wasn’t...”
Holding up a hand, Severus interrupted him. “Stop. This is pointless. Hand over the wand so that I may retire.”
Harry sighed. “Severus, I was not mocking you. It’s called making a joke. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it... Anyway, we’re adults. I think we can manage to sleep in the same bed, there’s no need for either of us to be uncomfortable. And it is best for defence.”
Severus’ expression didn’t change, but something about his body language made Harry think he’d relaxed once more. “Very well,” he said after a long pause. “It is the most practical arrangement, especially if we are to have any chance at defending ourselves in case of an attack, or if more house-elves arrive.”
Harry laughed and stood up, aware that he was a bit tipsy as a result of the cocktail Severus had prepared. “Erm, right, well, follow me, then,” he said, trying hard not to slur his words.
“I have to retrieve some things from downstairs,” Severus said. “I’ll be up in a few minutes.”
“Right,” Harry said. “I’ll just be, um, waiting, then.”
When Severus left, Harry rolled his eyes, cursing himself for sounding like an idiot. This is ridiculous. It’s not a date or a one-off, it’s just so that we can defend ourselves if we need to. Something weird is definitely going on and we need to be prepared.
Having shut up his inner critic, Harry began up the stairs, somehow making it without stumbling. He rushed through his preparations for bed, wanting to be ready when Severus arrived, and he was even careful to wear a tee shirt, remembering Severus’ instructions about wearing clothes.
When the knock came, it startled Harry, despite the fact that he’d been waiting for it.
“Come in,” he called, standing up.
Severus walked in, wearing the same robe from the night before, his nightshirt peeking out from beneath it.
Stalking over to the bed he asked, “Do you have a preference for which side you sleep on?”
Harry shook his head.
“Fine. I prefer the left side; you may have the right since you do not care.”
Severus then sat down, undoing his robe and slipping under the covers.
Harry nodded and, walking around to the other side, pulled back the sheets in preparation to get into to the bed.
He placed the wand in the center of the bed as Severus watched, then said, “Help me turn out the lights, please?”
In answer, Severus grasped the end of the wand, as Harry said, “Nox.”
As Harry lay there in the dark listening to Severus breathe, all he could think about was how surprising it was that Severus actually did have really very nice legs.
Severus inhaled deeply, something silky soft tickling his nose. He’d been half awake for a few minutes, but he’d felt warm and hadn’t wanted to move. Until his blanket shifted and he tried to follow it.
Wait, his blanket had moved?
His eyes sprung open, and he sat up, or tried to. Something heavy was sprawled on top of him pushing him down...
Harry, his eyes still closed, was stretched out on top of Severus, his mouth slightly open as he snored gently.
Severus’ body stiffened as Harry shifted and buried his face in his neck, emitting a low hum. Unfortunately, the exactly wrong part of Severus decided to become the stiffest at that very moment.
Closing his eyes, Severus tried to will his erection down, at least until he could pry Harry off him and make it into the bathroom and take care of it.
To Severus’ chagrin, Harry chose that moment to wake up. It was mid way through a yawn that Harry seemed to become aware of his position, his eyes flying open and up to meet Severus’.
“Oh, sorry,” he mumbled, pulling away, a deep flush suffusing his face. “I... erm... wow, this is embarrassing...”
Severus cleared his throat, fighting hard to seem relaxed. “Indeed, well, at least you did not drool, Merlin be praised.”
Harry blushed brighter, and Severus looked away. “In any case, such things do happen,” he continued. “I am more concerned about the fact that we both somehow managed to oversleep.”
Harry glanced at the clock on his bedside table, eyes widening when he saw the time. “Eight-thirty? Bloody hell. I guess we did oversleep a bit...”
When he turned back, Severus was already out of the bed, his robe half on. “I shall see you downstairs in fifteen minutes,” he said. “We have a difficult potion to brew today.”
“Erm, yeah, sure” Harry said, still blinking sleepily, but he was speaking to empty space; Severus was already gone.
Flopping back onto his pillow, Harry sighed. Way to go! I think I scared him by sleeping on top of him. Still, he’s not a bad bed. Grinning at that thought, Harry got up to take his shower. And as he had his morning wank, he tried hard to ignore the fact that a tall, dark-haired, sardonic man featured prominently in his shower fantasy.
In the meantime, Severus was having his own personal crisis. Walking was a proving to be a bit uncomfortable given his body’s state of arousal, yet Severus somehow managed to make it downstairs.
When he was finally back in the basement, he breathed a sigh of relief. That had been close. He really needed to get back to his normal life. As he relieved his tension in the shower, stroking himself to a quick orgasm, it was to the mental vision of Harry’s sleepy eyes and tousled hair. Sighing, he exited the bath and he dried himself off. It would all be too easy for his body to get accustomed to waking up next to someone. I need my wand back.
Both men were quiet when they met in the kitchen. Breakfast was fast, especially since neither man would look at the other.
Harry wondered if he looked as if he’d just wanked himself raw. Waking up wrapped around Severus had been inspiring, to say the least. He really hoped that his cock hadn’t been poking Severus as he’d lain on top of him. He assumed not, since the man hadn’t run screaming.
Unless, of course, he actually is gay...
“So, um, what are we making today?” Harry asked.
“I have several orders for Invigoration Draught.”
Harry smirked. “Well, I know I can make that,” he said, remembering the class when they’d be taught to brew it.
Severus had the grace to look abashed for a moment. “Yes, I imagine you can,” he muttered. “Do be careful not to break the vial you put it in, though.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “I’ll try.”
They worked side by side, and Severus watched Harry out of the corner of his eye for any change in his behavior. Harry did seem to be looking at him more closely... Severus began to feel a bit self-conscious, wondering if he had something on his face or hanging from his nose. Or perhaps he noticed my arousal from this morning...? Severus almost panicked, until he realized that Harry wasn’t really acting that differently. He relaxed a bit.
Once they had successfully finished brewing the Invigoration Draught, Harry suggested it was time to tackle the cursed area of the house.
Severus agreed, interested to see Harry’s curse-breaking abilities at work, and so, that afternoon, they climbed the stairs together. As they walked, Harry outlined his strategy.
“I’ll open the door, then I’ll need you to keep your hand on the wand while I cast a counter-curse.”
“Very well.” Severus frowned as they approached the door. “Do you know the nature of this curse?”
“I think it’s a Chaining Curse,” Harry said. “I heard chains dragging about inside. Not fatal, but annoying.”
Severus nodded. “As you are the curse-breaker, I trust you’ll take care of it.”
“I’ll handle it, just don’t let go of the wand,” Harry said.
Grasping the doorknob, he threw open the door, pointing the wand ahead of him. “Confractum!” he said just as chains began barreling towards them.
A few of the chains broke, but more followed, and Harry had to repeat the spell several times to get all the chains.
One chain wrapped itself around Severus’ leg, pulling him off balance and making his fingers slip from the wand and onto Harry’s hand, but his spell casting still worked fine, the chains continuing to break up into small pieces which fell to the floor with loud clanking. Severus’ leg was released seconds later.
“Oh, I thought we were in trouble when your hand slipped,” Harry finally said once all the chains were in separate links on the floor.
Severus, his hand still wrapped around Harry’s wrist, pulled away. “I did, too, but it appears that the wand only requires bodily contact, not necessarily wand contact by both of us.”
“That’s useful,” Harry said. “I wonder if it will work if we’re just touching each other’s clothes?”
“It is a worthy experiment,” Severus said, still panting. “And it appears that you are an adequate curse-breaker.”
Harry grinned. “Want to go look for some more curses?” he asked. “There may be some in the attic.”
Severus raised an eyebrow. “Oh, goody, curse-breaking with a Gryffindor, just what I wanted to do with the afternoon.”
Laughing, Harry led the way, and despite his complaining, Severus actually seemed to enjoy watching Harry search for hexes. He asked several questions as they went, and he seemed satisfied with Harry’s answers.
By the time they were done for the afternoon, Severus had an appreciation for Harry’s curse-breaking abilities, and most of the house had been explored. They didn’t find any more cursed areas, and Harry felt a bit better about their safety. “I just need to figure out how that Chaining Curse was cast,” he said.
“Perhaps it was one that was simply missed.”
Harry sighed. “I don’t think so, but you could be right. Still, thanks for helping me sweep the house for Dark magic.”
“It is what I agreed to,” Severus said.
Harry smiled. “It’s only polite to say thank you.”
“It appears that someone has taught you manners,” Severus observed.
Harry shook his head.
A loud chime startled both of them.
“Oh, that’s the Floo, I’ll be right back.”
As he watched Harry leave, Severus ruminated on the turn his life had taken. It was quite the domestic scene they presented with them working over hot cauldrons together every day. Despite his own prediction, they hadn’t killed each other, and had managed to work out a mutually satisfying arrangement.
It had been a full week since they had been to Ollivander’s that first time, and they were planning to return that day, just as soon as Severus got his order for the Draught of Peace, which had come in that morning, completed.
Severus checked his watch. He was virtually done and, his curiosity getting the best of him, he decided to go upstairs. As silently as he could, he crept up to the library door. Perhaps a bit of eavesdropping would not be amiss and might give him a bit of insight. Harry had clearly changed, and Severus needed to know more about the new Harry Potter.
“... so I think I’ll need to be off at least another week, Bill. Sorry.”
Severus peered around the corner to see Harry kneeling before the fireplace. Facing him was one of the Weasleys; Bill, evidently, who Severus assumed Harry worked with in his curse-breaker job.
“Well, we miss you, Harry,” Bill said. “I do especially. And not just because of the work.”
Severus frowned. Was Weasley flirting...?
His theory was confirmed when Harry leaned forward and pressed a light kiss to the redhead’s lips. Pulling away, he whispered, “I miss you, too. Although, I thought you and Neville might be getting along well together...”
Harry was a pouf? Severus considered this new information.
“Neville is... I like him,” Bill admitted. “I just didn’t want you to be upset if we...”
Harry snorted. “Bill, I love you, but more like a brother at this point, and although we had a lot of fun together you should see what happens with Neville. He’s a great guy, you two would be perfect together.”
Hmm, it appears they’re not serious about each other. Severus wondered why that thought elicited a feeling of relief. Surely he wasn’t under the delusion that he had a real chance with Harry...?
“So, you’re actually living with Snape? How’s that going?”
Severus tilted his ear closer.
“Surprisingly, he’s not been too bad,” Harry said. “I was worried he’d be a git, but he’s not been awful or anything. He helped me remove a curse, and we’re working on the portrait, and he’s letting me help him with his potions. It’s actually been... fun.”
Bill grinned. “Snape’s not being a git? Brilliant! Actually, Harry...” Bill paused, then continued. “I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve always thought Snape was sexy bastard. I fancied him in school.”
Harry laughed weakly. “Really?” he said, looking away.
Bill’s eyes widened. “Harry Potter! I know that look! You have a crush on...”
At that moment, Walburga decided to begin her daily diatribe.
“Traitors and Mudbloods!” she yelled. “You all deserve to die!”
Severus cursed under his breath as Harry’s head snapped up. “Shite, she’s awake,” he heard Harry say. “I have to go, Bill. And you’re wrong about...”
He strained to try to hear what Weasley said in reply, but all Severus could make out was, “...run, but you can’t hide. We’ll talk about this later.”
Stepping away from the door, Severus moved back just in time for Harry to come out of the library.
“Oh, Severus, I didn’t know you were done,” Harry said, looking a bit guilty.
Severus felt obscurely pleased. “The potion is completed, so it is time to return to Ollivander’s, if you have completed your Floo call.”
Harry nodded. “Yes, I’m done,” he said. “Let’s go.”
Ollivander greeted them with a smile when they entered the shop.
“Welcome back, gentlemen. How is the fused wand working out?”
“We are managing for the moment,” Severus said. “But we each need new wands of our own, and soon. What is the status of the supplies?”
Ollivander nodded. “Yes, I realize, Mr. Snape,” he said. “And supplies are beginning to trickle in, but I am still a few weeks behind in wood and cores.”
Harry looked around the shop. “It looks like you have a few more wands, though,” he said, staring up at the stacked boxes behind the counter.
“We have had some success at getting a few wands in. And I have taken the liberty of ordering mahogany for both of you, based on the last time you were in. I think that wood will serve you both better.”
“Based on what?” Severus asked.
Ollivander smiled mysteriously. “Trust me, Mr. Snape. I have fitted many wands to wizards over the years. Yew is not for you anymore. You are both mahogany men.”
Severus seemed about to argue until Harry interrupted. “What about the cores?” he asked. “How long until you get them?”
“The phoenix that gave the feather for your wand has gone missing, Mr. Potter. They are rare animals, so I’m not sure when we’ll get another. As for Mr. Snape’s unicorn hair... I think his core shall change as well. I have another idea for him.” Ollivander looked positively gleeful.
“Is there any way to speed up obtaining the ingredients?” Severus asked.
“Short of you going out and getting them yourself, no.”
“Well, what would that involve?” Severus’ eyes were narrowed, and he was clearly holding on to his temper with difficulty.
“For you, I believe we need a dragon heartstring, and for Mr. Potter, a phoenix feather, as I said. I have people searching, but both of these are relatively rare cores...”
“A dragon heartstring?” Severus leaned forward. “What makes you think that core would suit me?”
“Your courageous spirit,” Ollivander said, looking up at Severus calmly. Severus was the first one to look away.
“Erm, I can try to Floo Charlie,” Harry said, looking back and forth between them. “He may have access to dragon heartstrings. I don’t know where we would find Fawkes, though.”
Severus huffed. “Since it’s obvious that I shall have to do all the work myself, I will find him,” he said.
Ollivander smiled. “Excellent! And I should have your wands ready within a week of you bringing me the core ingredients.”
Nodding decisively, Severus turned away, robes flaring behind him. “Very well. Come, Harry. We have some ingredients to obtain. Your curse-breaking abilities may yet be useful.”
“Wait, what? Where are we going...?” Harry was arguing furiously with Severus as they walked out.
“Hmmm, more and more like a married couple every time I see them,” Ollivander murmured before turning away.
“So where exactly are we going to look for Fawkes?” Harry was still asking as opened the door to Grimmauld Place.
“I had thought that we could...” Severus paused. “Were there always bats in this hallway that I was unaware of?”
Harry looked up at the ceiling. “Um, no,” he said, gaping at the ceiling, which was covered with writhing flying rodents.
As they watched, the bats began swooping down. Grasping the wand, Harry cried, “Help me!”
Severus pulled Harry close. “Cast,” he said, his hand grasping the back of Harry’s head and holding it to his chest while he buried his own face in Harry’s neck.
Harry held his arm aloft, wand pointing upwards. His counter-curse was muffled but effective, the bats dissolving into a mist, transported elsewhere.
They stayed in that position for a long moment before separating, Severus yanking his robes sharply to straighten them out. “Well, that was... interesting,” he said. “It seems that you are indeed right about the reappearing curses.”
“We have got to get to the bottom of this,” Harry said, still fingering the wand. “I can’t live this way. And I told you so!”
Severus rolled his eyes. “When you guess about everything, you are bound to be right at some point in your life.”
Harry’s mouth dropped open. “Why you...”
“Anyway, you have the money to move,” Severus interrupted. “Why don’t you? Why live here under these conditions?”
“Just stubborn, I guess,” Harry replied with a sigh, deciding to let the previous comment go. Leading the way to the library, he said, “I think I need a drink after that.”
“And I suppose I’m making it?” Severus said, walking over to the cabinet.
Harry, already collapsed in a chair, waved his hand airily. “Well, you’re better at cocktails than I am,” he said.
“Careful, I can still poison you,” Severus said, smirking.
Harry chuckled, watching him through slitted eyes. Severus’ deft fingers and sure movements made Harry shift uncomfortably in his chair as his body reacted to the stimulus.
Totally normal reaction to stress, he told himself.
He accepted the proffered drink with a grateful smile.
“Is there something wrong with my robes?” Severus asked as he settled into his own chair.
Harry sipped his drink, sighing happily. “No, why do you ask?”
“You have been staring at me since we came in here. Did a bat defecate on me, by any chance?”
As Harry laughed, Severus sipped his own drink, glad of the generous fit of his robes. He probably has no idea what he’s doing... Severus almost groaned aloud when Harry licked his lips.
“So, do you have any idea how someone is doing this?” Harry asked after a few minutes of contemplative silence.
“The only way I am aware that this can be done is by someone who lives here, but since you and I are the only ones here...” Severus paused, a thoughtful look on his face.
Harry nodded glumly, not noticing Severus’ sudden silence. He had come to the same conclusion, and he was out of ideas.
“It will take both of us, each with our own wands, to uncover who is behind this,” Severus continued after a moment. “So, as soon as possible, we need to locate Fawkes.”
“You know where he is?” Harry asked.
Severus smiled. “Indeed, I believe I do.”
“Why are we here? I thought it was called the Forbidden Forest for a reason,” Harry griped as they tromped through thick underbrush.
“That never seemed to stop you when you were a student,” Severus returned over his shoulder.
Giving in to a childish impulse, Harry stuck his tongue out at Severus’ back.
They had been walking for at least an hour, and there had been no sign of Fawkes or any other living creature for that matter. Harry was ready to give up, but Severus seemed very sure that the phoenix would be here, so even as Harry grumbled, he continued to follow. At least Severus was letting him carry the wand.
Suddenly, Severus stopped directly in front of Harry, making Harry run smack into the back of him.
Spinning, Severus clamped a hand over Harry’s mouth. “Centaurs,” he whispered. “Follow my lead.”
When Harry nodded, Severus removed his hand and replaced it with his mouth, pressing Harry’s back against a strategically placed tree as he leaned in.
Harry struggled momentarily, then, as Severus’ tongue firmly stroked the seam of his lips, he gasped, heat coiling in his belly, and Severus was in.
After only a moment, Harry’s arms came up and wound around Severus’ neck and he began to kiss back, his mouth opening wider to allow Severus’ tongue more room to explore.
Dimly, he registered voices, and before he knew it, Severus was moving away. Harry tried to follow, but an amusement laced voice stopped him.
“I see that you return to your roots, Severus Snape. And you bring... a mate.”
Blinking, Harry looked up into Firenze’s face. “Firenze?”
“Greetings, Harry Potter. You and your mate may pass. This forest has always been a haven for lovers.”
“Lovers?” Harry went bright red, his eyes widening. “We’re not exactly...”
“We read intent, young Harry, not earthly events.”
With that mysterious comment, Firenze, accompanied by at least ten other centaurs, continued on his way. Once they were gone, Harry, still dazed, turned towards Severus.
“Why did you...?”
“The centaurs allow safe passage within the forest to certain groups of people,” Severus said, beginning to push through the underbrush once more. “We could not pass unless we fell into a protected group.”
“But, you... you kissed me!”
“Yes, Harry. Indeed, I did. Apparently your powers of observation are improving. It must be your continued association with me.”
Harry growled, and Severus smiled. “It was necessary to pretend to be... close in order to get safe passage, and you did not seem to object at the time,” he explained. “Now come on.”
Turning away, Severus continued on the path, leaving Harry standing there.
Harry opened his mouth to argue, but shut it immediately. Did he really want to argue the point, or did he want to think of a reason for Severus to kiss him again? Harry tripped and almost stumbled at that thought. Wait, he wanted Severus to kiss him?
Yes, stupid, his subconscious said. You have for some time now.
Contemplating this revelation, Harry shambled after Severus, thinking back over all the clues he had ignored up until now. I am an idiot! He was so distracted that he almost missed it when Severus stepped into a clearing, stumbling ungracefully after him.
“Pay attention!” Severus snapped, and Harry looked abashed.
“I believe this is it,” Severus finally said, looking around. “Fawkes should respond if we call him here.”
“Why here?” Harry asked, stepping close.
“Albus would come here sometimes with Fawkes,” Severus said, a distant look on his face. “I suspect that he sometimes returns here.”
Severus closed his eyes in exasperation. “No, Harry. Fawkes.”
“Oh, right.” Harry blushed hotly. He really needed to concentrate on the problem at hand, but that distracting kiss was making it difficult.
Severus made a sound that was suspiciously like a chuckle before closing his eyes and turning his face towards the sky.
Harry watched, surprised as a peaceful expression stole across Severus’ face. He looked serene, as if he were praying...
A shimmer above Severus’ head made Harry gasp. With a shower of sparks, Fawkes appeared, hovering above Severus for a moment before allowing a single, diamond drop of a tear to fall directly onto Severus’ upturned face.
Severus’ eyes flew open, and he smiled by far the most open smile Harry had ever seen on his face.
“Fawkes,” he whispered. “Good to see you.”
Fawkes trilled an answer, his phoenix song filling Harry with joy for a moment. Shaking his tail, Fawkes allowed a feather to fall directly into Severus’ open palm before looking at Harry.
Before he knew it, Fawkes was shedding a tear onto Harry’s upturned face as well. Harry gasped as it hit him, feeling tension he’d not been aware of leave him. His knees buckled, and strong arms came around him.
Fawkes trilled a farewell before popping out of sight.
“Are you all right?” Severus asked, his breath caressing the hair at the nape of Harry’s neck. Harry closed his eyes and leaned back.
“Yeah, I’m all right,” he said. “That was... wow.”
Severus nodded, keeping his arms around Harry. “Undiluted phoenix tears can be powerful, having an almost euphoric effect. Are you able to stand on your own now?”
Harry nodded, albeit reluctantly, and Severus stepped away.
“How did Fawkes know what we wanted?” Harry asked after a moment.
Severus shrugged. “Who can know? As soon as I stepped into the clearing I knew that he would come, however.”
Harry stepped close. “You miss him, don’t you?”
Severus raised an eyebrow. “Fawkes?”
Harry smiled gently. “No, Severus. Dumbledore.”
Severus compressed his lips. “More than you can imagine,” he whispered. Then, blinking, he said, “We need to return now. The sooner we get back to Grimmauld Place, the sooner we can collect the rest of the ingredients Ollivander specified. Then, he can begin making our replacement wands so that life may return to normal.”
Harry sighed, wondering why that thought suddenly had such little appeal.
Charlie looked much the same as he had the last time Harry had seen him. Tanned, cheerful and just a bit wild. He grinned cheekily through the Floo connection.
“Did Ollivander say what kind of dragon heartstring he needed?” he asked.
Harry shook his head. “Does it matter?”
Charlie winked. “Hell if I know, Harry, but, tell you what. I’ll get as many different types as I can, yeah? I’ll let you know when I’ve got them so I can arrange delivery. Should only take me a week or so.”
“That long?” Harry tried hard to conceal his relief. Severus wouldn’t be leaving immediately, then.
Charlie smirked knowingly. “So how is living with Snape?” he asked, lowering his voice.
“Erm, okay.” Harry tried hard not to blush.
“Bill said he had an interesting talk with you a while back.”
Harry looked away. “What? Erm, no...”
“Look, Harry. You and Snape are two of a kind. You both had terrible childhoods, and you’ve been alone a long time. You should just take the bull by the horns and shag him. He’s probably good in the sack...”
Harry choked. “Charlie!”
Shrugging, Charlie backed off. “Relax,” he said. “Just a suggestion, and if it’s any consolation, I think you and Snape would be good pair. Think about it, yeah?”
Sighing, Harry shook his head. “He’s a great kisser, but I don’t know about doing more than that with him...”
Charlie grinned. “Oh ho! Great, hm? Do tell.”
Charlie’s eyes widened. “He calls you Harry? It must be lo...”
Harry blanched. “Gotta go, Charlie. Let me know when you have the heartstrings, yeah?”
Harry closed the connection to the sound of Charlie’s knowing laughter.
Severus walked in just in time to see Harry straightening up from the Floo. He made it a point not to stare at his arse. “Were you able to contact Weasley?”
Harry nodded. “Just now. He said it would probably take him a week to get them to us.”
“Another week?” Severus frowned, then sighed. “Oh for... very well, not much can be done about that now. It will give me time to finish some more potions, I suppose. Speaking of which...”
Harry smiled as he followed Severus to the lab. Another week sounded fine to him.
Severus checked his orders again to be sure. Yes, it appeared that he was now ahead. Harry had actually been invaluable to him, working diligently day after day to help him brew, and now he had not only made up his previous shortfall, but he could begin taking new orders again.
On the curse-breaking front things were the same, however. For every curse they broke, a new one popped up the next day. Severus could not explain it.
The wand was working better and better, and now either one of them could cast an effective spell as long as they were standing in the same room.
Their evenings were spent talking, or reading or, sometimes, playing chess. Harry was a decent player, and even Severus was prepared to admit that his friendship with Ronald Weasley had resulted in one good thing.
And at night... Severus closed his eyes and leaned against his work table. They were sleeping together every night, and every night it got harder to stay on his side of the bed. He had an idea that Harry was having similar difficulties, but wasn’t sure, and without confirmation, he wasn’t about to take that risk.
He kissed you back, his mind reminded him. And he seemed to enjoy it... You certainly did.
Severus blinked. Enough woolgathering. “Yes?”
“You have an owl.”
Curious, Severus advanced up the stairs, pausing at the top when he saw Harry, an owl on his shoulder, waiting for him.
Harry nodded and the owl, tossing its head haughtily, held its foot out.
“Wouldn’t let me take it,” Harry said, eyes alight with curiosity and perhaps something more.
Severus unrolled the parchment, reading the letter with something akin to shock. After what felt like an eternity, he raised his eyes to look at Harry. The owl was long gone.
“They have reinstated my inheritance,” he whispered. “How...?”
Harry smiled, stepping close. “I wasn’t sure they would,” he said. “But I had to try. Congratulations.”
“You did this?” Severus’ voice sounded strangled to his own ears.
Nodding, Harry stammered a bit. “I... yes. I got Hermione to help me. She... she’s an Auror, and she has the Minister’s ear...”
“You used your influence to help me?”
“Why would you do that? I have been nothing but a thorn in your side.”
“When I was your student, yes.” Harry looked earnest. “But lately... Anyway, that doesn’t matter. It wasn’t right what they did, and it needed to be fixed.”
Severus nodded slowly. “I see. Well, I... It is... appreciated.”
Harry nodded. “You’re welcome. Now, how about dinner, and after, I’m beating you at chess.”
Still in shock, Severus followed Harry into the dining room, and as he ate and drank and replied in monosyllables to Harry’s conversation, he came to the slow realization that he had to leave soon. It would be all too easy to get used to having someone care about him. It was too dangerous. He needed his wand back
There were actually people in Ollivanders the next time they visited. As Severus waited for the old man to finish with his customers, Harry looked about, noticing for the first time that the wand that had been on display in the front window for as long as he could remember was gone.
Smiling, he recalled his first time in this shop, how new and overwhelming the wizarding world had appeared to him at eleven.
That seemed a very long time ago.
Harry started towards the counter where Severus and Ollivander were in discussion. “Yes?”
“I should like to see the wand,” Ollivander said. “You did bring it?”
Harry nodded, handing it over.
Ollivander inspected it closely, shaking his head and stroking it. “Incredible. Such a wonderful meld of the two former wands. Is it still functioning normally?”
Severus nodded. “It seems to be. And I have had no difficulty with my potions. Now, how about our replacements?”
Tearing his eyes away from the wand with difficulty, Ollivander looked up at Severus. “Well, you have furnished me with excellent potential cores,” he said, patting the phoenix feather reverently.
“And did we provide enough different types of dragon heartstrings?”
Harry bit back a laugh at the sarcastic tone in Severus’ voice.
Ollivander appeared oblivious. “Oh yes, they are lovely. I should be able to have the wands ready for you in five days.”
Rolling his eyes, Severus said, “Another five days?” He sighed. “I do not know why I am surprised. At least it’s not an entire week.”
“It’ll give us a chance to figure out who is resetting the curses on the house,” Harry said softly.
“Yes, I suppose it will,” Severus said, a determined look on his face. “Although, I have a theory. We should test it when we get back.”
Dobby popped into the library and looked around carefully. Seeing no one there, he giggled and pointed his finger at the ceiling, muttering under his breath all the while.
“What are you doing?” a deep voice asked, and Dobby squeaked and jumped.
“Severus Snape! Can Dobby get you biscuits?”
Severus narrowed his eyes. “No, you can tell me what you’re doing.”
Dobby looked down. “Dobby is making Harry Potter happy.”
Dobby began wringing his hands. “Harry Potter wants to break curses.”
Severus narrowed his eyes. “And?”
“Dobby makes curses for Harry Potter.”
“You...” Severus paused. “Oh for... You have been doing this? Putting up new curses every time we take the old ones down? Why would you do that?”
“Harry Potter wants to break curses. Harry Potter wants to stay here with Severus Snape. Dobby gives him both.”
Severus raised an eyebrow. “You’re saying Potter planned this?” he asked softly.
Dobby’s eyes grew wide. “Oh no! Harry Potter knows not! Dobby surprises him, keeps Harry Potter happy...”
“So you did this to keep Potter happy?”
“Dobby knows Harry Potter likes Severus Snape to be here, and Severus Snape helps Harry Potter break curses, so Dobby makes curses.”
Severus narrowed his eyes. “Why you little...”
“What’s going on?”
Severus looked up to see Harry walk in. “I have found the origin of your curses,” he said.
Harry looked back and forth between Dobby and Severus. “Dobby?”
Dobby began pounding his head against the floor. “Dobby makes Harry Potter angry!”
Harry rolled his eyes. “Dobby, stop! What are you talking about?”
As Severus explained, Dobby’s eyes got bigger, beginning to brim with tears as Harry’s eyebrows went up. Finally turning to the house-elf, Harry asked, “Is this true?”
Dobby sobbed. “Dobby just wants Harry Potter and Severus Snape to be happy.”
Harry squatted down to be on eye level with the elf. “Dobby, stop putting up more curses on the house. If you really want to make me happy you can stop Mrs. Black’s portrait from yelling. Please.”
Dobby blinked. “This makes Harry Potter happy?” he asked hopefully.
Harry nodded. “Yes, it does. I mean it will. I mean... Yes.”
Dobby smiled and popped away, and Harry looked at Severus. “Do you think he’ll be able to...?”
A muffled shriek in the hallway made both men look at the door, and walking over, Harry, closely followed by Severus, was just in time to see Walburga Black’s face contorted in a rictus of rage as she was whisked away in a swirling black hole. Dobby was left standing there beaming.
“Dobby, where did you send her?” Harry asked.
Dobby bowed. “Portrait is where I stores things,” he said proudly. “I brings her back when Harry Potter asks.”
“Brilliant,” Harry said, grinning.
“Well, that’s that,” Severus said. “Now, all I need is my wand back.”
As they got ready to for bed, Harry wracked his brain to think of a reason for Severus to stay. The mystery of the curses had been solved, they had made enough potions to keep Severus in supplies for weeks, and Harry had even restored Severus’ inheritance to him. Why would he stay?
Crawling into the bed, Harry placed the wand between them as he always did, closing his eyes to try to sleep. Tomorrow was the day that Ollivander should have their new wands ready. Harry couldn’t put it off any longer. Severus would leave if he didn’t say anything...
“Are you asleep?” Harry touched Severus’ wrist softly.
“Not now.” Severus’ voice was soft, despite his words.
“Are you going to leave tomorrow when you get your wand?” Harry stroked Severus’ thumb, smiling at the sharp intake of breath.
“It would be the thing to do as I have no reason to remain here.”
“It would be a shame to lose the lab in the basement.” Harry boldly reached his leg over towards Severus, his foot encountering a bare, hairy calf.
“Well, it is an ideal space to work in.” Severus’ free hand stroked Harry’s face, his thumb brushing back and forth over his lower lip.
“Mmm.” Harry sucked the thumb into his mouth, smiling at the sound Severus made. “Especially now that it’s quiet. No more obnoxious yelling by insane portraits.”
Severus’ breath hitched. “Well, someone will need to watch those errant house-elves of yours as you are clearly not capable of keeping them in line,” he ground out, hauling Harry against him. “They may decide that it will make ‘Harry Potter happy’ to grow man-eating plants or something.”
“We can’t have that,” Harry whispered against Severus’ lips. “Any man eating around here should be done by me...”
“Or me,” Severus finished several long moments later.
They shifted, clothing going by the wayside, until Severus settled into the cradle of Harry’s thighs. Grasping the wand firmly, he whispered a spell under his breath. “It’s been a long time since I had to use that charm,” he murmured.
Harry moaned as slickness spread through him. “Glad you didn’t forget it,” he gasped.
“This is important, and I don’t forget important spells, remember?” Severus gasped as his cock nudged the entrance to Harry’s body. And with Severus enfolded in slick heat, and Harry filled with pulsing steel, there was no more talking for a long time.
“Well, there they are!”
Ollivander seemed excited, and Harry smiled as picked up his finally completed wand. He closed his eyes as the rush of focused magic filled him, making his hair stand on end.
“Perfect,” he breathed.
Severus accepted the box from the old man, opening it and grasping the slim piece of polished mahogany. He, too, looked transported as magic rushed through him.
“It is satisfactory,” he said, slipping it into his robes.
Ollivander smiled. “Well then, I have a bit of a favor to ask you gentlemen.”
Severus raised an inquiring eyebrow. “Indeed?”
“May I have the fused wand?”
Harry frowned. “You want to sell it?” he asked.
Ollivander shook his head, appearing shocked. “Oh, no! I would never. It is quite unusual, so I wish to display it in the window. It will never be sold.”
Harry and Severus looked at each other for a long moment, clearly communicating wordlessly. Ollivander hid a smile.
“Very well,” Severus finally said. Slipping a hand into his robes, he withdrew the old wand they had shared, handing it over. “Now, what do we owe you for these new wands?”
Shaking his head, Ollivander stroked the wand, humming happily. “I will accept this as payment,” he said.
“But...” Harry began to protest.
“If you wish,” Severus interrupted. “We shall just be on our way, then.”
“But we can’t...”
“Shut up, Harry. You are clearly not the negotiator here...”
As they bickered, Ollivander shook his head and hobbled away from the counter. They finally left, still arguing the entire time.
Ollivander sighed happily, reverently placing the wand on the velvet pillow in his window. “Not since the time of the founders has such a thing happened,” he murmured.
“Did you ever find out why those wands fused, Grandfather?”
Ollivander turned to smile at Rebecca. “I believe so, my dear,” he said. “In some old memoirs of the Ollivander who lived at the time of the founders, he mentions an interesting phenomenon that happened.
“Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin started out as enemies, but when they founded Hogwarts they ended up working together, becoming quite close. They encountered a lot of opposition to the school, even engaging others in a war over it.
“Their magic was powerful and it became entwined in the conflict, and their wands, sensing that they needed to be united for the good of the wizarding world, took steps to make it happen. They... fused. Soon after, the men became... lovers and the magical balance was restored.”
Rebecca smiled. “What a lovely legend,” she said. “I love those old stories. So romantic. Their wands did it, hm?”
As she turned and wandered away chuckling, Ollivander shook his head.
Looking up, he watched through the window as Severus Snape and Harry Potter strode away from the shop. “Yes, the wands always know.”
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