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FIC: Afterthought
sev
ellipsical
Title: Afterthought
Pairing: SS/HP
Rating: R-plus?
Disclaimer: Still broke. Still not mine.
Summary: Harry reflects on the end of an affair.
Notes: For everyone who wanted a fluffy ending to "Forethought," ummm . . . sorry? Another exercise in writing angst. Made changes post-beta, so if you see any goofs, feel free to knock me upside the head and point them out :D



Harry knew that what he had with Severus would end as it began - without warning, but without rancor. As the days stretched and Severus returned again and again, Harry allowed himself to be surprised, but he didn't dare hope that it meant anything other than that Snape enjoyed having a regular shag. Harry's visions of Voldemort had been replaced with others that indicated that he would soon be alone again.

And the end had come as Harry had known it would. Their little affair had been over for more than a week now, and Harry, brooding over a tumbler of firewhiskey in his empty flat, had time to reflect. He marked Severus' departure with the same sort of vague dissatisfaction and twinge of guilt as he'd done with past lovers. But there was one thing that made this parting a little more bittersweet than others had been: With Snape, he'd felt - he'd hoped -

No. Just stop it. Harry downed the rest of his drink with an impatient toss of his head. No use to think about that. Not now. It was over, and he was fine. Thank Merlin he'd been prepared for this.

*

Harry had never flattered himself that he had anything to offer Severus except a willing mouth and arse and a cock that sprang to hardness with a single touch. But Snape was different than all the casual shags Harry had ever had in two very important ways.

For one, Snape was not a grasping sort, looking to cling to Harry's robes while Harry reveled in the dual-godhood of Wizarding World Savior and professional Quidditch standout. As such, Harry knew Snape wouldn't be like the legions of others who'd be satisfied to simply caress his fading scar and allow himself to be buggered. For Snape, Harry had humbled himself, allowed himself to be taken, entered. He'd enjoyed it, too, without ever feeling as if he were giving up something of himself. It was almost refreshing, Harry thought, to be conquered in that way.

And then there was the second difference: No one, not even the Dark Lord, had dared to assume that they knew the potion master's mind. Harry had seen the man's mind, tasted his thoughts, but those he could decipher meant very little to him. Snape was one of the best Occulmens in the wizarding world. He allowed those who ventured in his mind to see only what he wanted them to see.

Severus Snape had not survived his time at Voldemort's feet or as a spy for the Order or as one of the hundreds who fought in the final battle only to fall in love with a person he likely still believed wanted to do him harm of some sort.

Harry had understood this from the start, so now he could be philosophical about it, ignoring his broken heart.

*

Harry could not say precisely when his feelings toward Snape changed. He was sure he had hated the man once, just as he was sure that he loved Severus now. Around sixth year, as the realities of Sirius' death and the coming war sunk in, Harry had developed a grudging respect for Snape, but he'd never had a thought as to what he might look like out of his robes. Or what his lips might feel like pursed around his aching erection. Or how his breath hitched and then left him in a whoosh as he came.

No, Harry had never had such thoughts before the war - of course he hadn't. But after seventh year, when war preparations were at their highest and Harry began noting his rising attraction to Snape, he was dimly aware that he was neither very surprised nor alarmed.

*

Harry's memory of that first night was clear. Another day, another boring Ministry function, another invitation. But he was the guest of honor, so it wouldn't have been good form to refuse. He'd attended, but he'd glowered for the better part of an hour, refusing to play the part of the carefree, magnanimous hero - they'd asked him to come, and he'd come. If anything more had been expected of him, then that was too bloody bad.

He'd sat across the hall from Snape, watching the man, admiring the close fit of his frock coat and the casual disdain Snape exhibited to those seated around him. Later, Severus would tell him that he'd noticed him staring, but Harry wasn't sure how that could be; he'd never once seen those eyes look his way, even though he'd been expecting - hoping, perhaps - that Snape would look at him and gift him with one of his elegant sneers.

After Fudge had finished boring everyone with one of his interminable speeches, Harry had found himself rushing to Snape's side to avoid being pulled into meaningless conversation. It was cruel of him to think it, but Harry was sure that no one would approach him while he stood with Snape. Order of Merlin or no, there were many in that hall convinced of Snape's perfidy and there were still more who had accepted that Snape had been on the side of the Light, but they feared him all the same.

Fine liquor had flowed like water at the feast, but Harry had not touched a drop of it. Therefore, when after an hour's talk, Harry had leaned close and asked Severus to leave with him, he couldn’t rationalize his boldness with the convenient excuse of being just this side of rat-arsed.

He'd expected Snape to draw himself up and hiss "idiotic Gryffindor" or some such and stalk away in a whirl of robes. Harry had resolved, in that case, to get really and truly pissed as quickly as possible to blot out the embarrassment and mortification he'd surely feel at having propositioned - and been turned down by - his greasy old potions professor.

As it turned out, nothing of the sort occurred. After a moment's hesitation, Severus had led him by the elbow to some secluded spot outside the hall, and with a small nod, allowed Harry to apparate them both to his flat.

Severus left before dawn, and Harry lay in bed alone and pleasantly sore, wondering if he should have asked the potions master to stay. After a moment, Harry shook the thought away. Severus did not strike him as the type who needed to be asked anything; he did as he pleased. And it had pleased him to leave.

In the bath that day, Harry began to count the days until it was over.

*

Severus had not been amazing in bed. Now, to be sure, Harry had never enjoyed sex more with anyone than he had with Snape, but it was not perfect. Snape gasped almost painfully and looked older than his years, sometimes, as he thrust his way to orgasm, and he was not exactly the most flexible man in the world. His cock required quite a bit of coaxing before it was ready, and their early snogs had been a bit strange. Harry had often thought that Snape kissed as if he were stealing something from him and had to be quick about it.

Snape was no virgin - of this Harry had no doubt - but neither was he the type of lover Harry expected, considering how learned and worldly the man was.

For all that, however, Harry had never been disappointed. In fact, he'd felt refreshed by the realness of their encounters. Many of his previous lovers had performed like automatons, all of them wanting to prove that they could do something that Harry could not - outlast him, outscream him, outwank him, take more of him in their mouths than seemed possible or advisable . . . Harry believed it was less like making love than like a contest that, ultimately, no one ever won.

Not with Snape, though. Even knowing his shortcomings, Severus fucked him with all the vigor and enthusiasm he could muster, and if that was not perfection in and of itself, Harry was not sure what was.

*

Early on, Harry decided that they would converse as little as possible. He did well with those types of relationships - a nice shag could be ruined by idle talk, and he had no desire to drive Severus away before their liaison came to its natural end.

That's not to say that they did not talk at all. Severus was, despite the common belief, a gentleman, and so there were times that he awkwardly enquired as to Harry's interests, his profession, other small things.

Harry was not fooled. He knew the man could not have cared less about Quidditch or the Muggles he'd befriended when he'd moved into this neighborhood, or what he did with his mates after a good match, and he relieved Severus of the burden of pretending to care by getting down to the serious business of fucking as soon as possible. It was, after all, why Severus kept coming back to his flat, wasn't it? Of course it was. But there had been one or two times that Harry had wondered . . .

*

Once, Severus issued what seemed suspiciously like an invitation to dinner. Harry, pleasantly shocked, had nearly rushed for the door, but then thought better of it. He couldn’t imagine dragging Severus to any of the Muggle haunts he frequented, and to go to a wizarding restaurant would have been an unmitigated disaster for them both.

Deciding that Severus was either jesting with him or testing him, Harry opted to distract the man with his cock. It had worked; Severus did not bring up dinner again, though Harry wondered what it would have been like to go on a proper date with Severus Snape.

When, afterward, he’d drifted to sleep, Harry thought back on the night and on Severus’ questions and wondered if, perhaps, he should have called the man’s bluff. The thought of sitting across the table from Snape in some dimly lit Muggle diner was strangely appealing. Harry resolved to cook Severus breakfast in the morning – that is, if he stayed the night. It wouldn't be the same, but perhaps gazing at Snape from across his breakfast table would hold the same amount of intimacy. More, even.

When Harry woke up in the morning and found himself alone, he’d almost convinced himself that it was just as well. There was hardly any food in the flat anyway.

*

There was another one night when Harry came dangerously close to confessing his growing feelings. Undone by an hour of simple snogging and touching, Harry felt he had a glimpse into what romance was. In the past, he’d had lovers whose only desire was to claim a part of The-Boy-Who-Lived. Harry pretended not to care or notice, assuring himself that for the moment, he was just having fun, getting shagged silly, and real romance would come later on.

On one rainy night with Severus, Harry had believed that 'later on' had arrived. They’d kissed like lovers in the true sense, caressing each other over their clothes and twining their fingers through each other’s hair.

Harry had put a stop to it, however. Severus was not some star-eyed ingénue who’d be satisfied with snogs and haphazard groping and whispers of love. To continue on this way was to risk angering Severus, Harry was sure; he was there just for a shag, wasn’t he? So Harry had mastered himself and held his tongue, drawing Severus toward the bedroom and berating himself for wasting so much time.

But then, something very odd had happened. At the door, Severus had stopped him, asking something about the game against the Wasps that day. Though he’d caught the snitch, Harry hadn’t given the match as much thought as he had to seeing Severus that night. Even as the man attempted to offer awkward congratulations, Harry had been pawing him, eager to get Severus out of his clothing and into bed.

That night, Harry wanted Severus to take him in a different way – from behind, perhaps, instead of their usual belly-to-belly position. Harry always kept his eyes closed when they shagged that way, knowing that it would put Severus off to gaze into eyes he’d always in some way associate with people who were long dead – people Severus still considered his enemies.

He’d been just about to suggest they shag standing up, just for the novelty of it, when Severus had enquired about attending one of Harry’s games. Harry’s head reeled. Snape? At one of his matches? The idea was both preposterous and appealing, and Harry resolved to explore it seriously, if Severus were to bring it up again.

Snape never spoke of it again, of course.

*

The evening that would be their last together, Harry had been a bit out of sorts. Earlier, there had been a match that resulted in another victory for Puddlemere. Harry had played well, but had emerged from the pitch vaguely dissatisfied. Hermione and Ron had come to watch him, and they’d met him afterward, all smiles and jokes and with their arms wrapped around each other.

They’d all gone for a drink, and for the first time in quite some time, Harry let himself daydream a little. What if . . . Severus had been serious about attending a game? What if he’d come that day?

In his mind’s eye, as clear as if he were looking into a pensieve, Harry saw it all: Severus would have come just after the anthems were sung, of course, to avoid being jostled by the crowd. He’d remain seated at all times, as was proper, and would only clap politely whenever a good play was made, ignoring the wild cries and cheers of those around him. He'd have waited at the honored guests entrance with Ron and Hermione, ignoring the flashbulbs of the Daily Prophet and engaging Hermione in some discussion of why those currently in charge of the potions sector of the Department of Mysteries needed to be sent either to Azkaban or the mental maladies ward of St. Mungo's.

Severus would be sitting next to him now at the pub, shaking his head at the décor of the little grimy wizarding bar right outside the little town. There would be light conversation that Harry would not follow because Severus would be fondling him under the table, wanking him even as he sneered at every word that came out of Ron’s mouth.

In his mind, Harry flipped through the catalog of excuses he would give to Hermione and Ron as he and Severus prepared to leave - because they’d have to leave, wouldn’t they, before he burst then and there. He’d fool no one; Hermione’s expression would be mischievous, Ron’s a little nauseated, and Severus' insufferably smug, but Harry would not care, and anyway, it wasn't as if Hermione's hands had been above the table, either. Ron would be distracted again soon enough.

Harry smiled when he imagined Severus sitting up in bed, naked, watching silently as he hurriedly undressed. Harry pictured himself climbing in only to be embraced tightly by Severus, who would call him his 'Sumptuous Seeker,' among other ridiculous things, and murmur treacly endearments against his skin as they prepared to make love.

*

Harry left the pub soon after his daydream had played out, more than a little randy and much more than a little sad. Hermione and Ron had been too wrapped up in each other to barely offer a goodbye, and Harry forced himself to smile and act as if he were quite all right with returning to an empty flat.

*

That night, when Severus arrived, Harry pretended not to notice that he wouldn’t quite meet his gaze and that the conversation was even more sparse than usual. Harry had attempted to speak about the game earlier that day, but it became quite clear that Severus was not listening to him.

Harry went quiet then, allowing Severus to lead him into the bedroom, hardly believing that it was all ending at the moment that Harry finally realized that he didn't want it to. What finally brought Harry round was Severus’ refusal to touch him before they were both naked. That night, Severus removed his own clothing instead of letting Harry do it for him, and that’s when the young wizard knew their time together in this way had run its course.

*

Harry kept his eyes open that night, wanting to remember the planes and angles of Snape’s face, wanting to satisfy his curiosity about whether his eyes darkened or lightened as he approached orgasm. Harry had hooked his ankles round Snape’s waist and pressed the palms of his hands into Snape’s back, drawing the man down onto him, clinging to him like a lifeline. Harry found snogging with eyes open to be impolite, but he knew he had to do it this final time.

He was sure he’d be able to move on if he could just see the man’s eyes. The coldness and the distance Harry knew he’d find there would allow him closure, but, drat the man, he wouldn’t look at him. As if he didn’t want to give Harry the satisfaction of a clean ending. As if he knew that if that Harry would now lay awake nights and wonder what could have been. Harry could have hexed Severus for it, but soon, too soon, he was coming and it was wonderful and nothing else entered his mind except how good it felt and that he would miss it and he loved Severus, drat the man, and now Severus had grown bored and was leaving and there wasn’t a bloody thing to be done about it, and. . .

And then it was over. Snape was pulling away, murmuring beneath his breath, and Harry felt the tingle on his skin that took away the stickiness that had existed there moments before. The ache in his lower back was eased, as well. Severus had obliterated almost all physical traces of their coupling, as he did after each of their sessions. As a gentleman wizard would do with his whore. So, it was all over then. Erased.

*

Harry lay on his side in the darkness, watching as bits of Snape disappeared under the heavy clothing he wore. Harry knew it was useless to ask what he’d done to drive him away. He’d done nothing except be himself – and he’d known from the beginning that would never be enough for Snape. It was humourous in a way – simply being himself had been enough to rally the side of the Light. It had been enough to defeat Voldemort. But it apparently had not been and never would be enough to move one man’s heart. Odd, that.

A voice at that back of his mind whispered that he might have tried a bit harder, but Harry was convinced that Snape had it all planned out from the beginning. He’d done what Harry had known he would do – taken without giving – and he'd had done so without remorse. If, Harry reasoned, he'd been expecting Snape to act just as he had, and he'd fallen in love with the man anyway, then it was his own bloody fault. Snape couldn't very well be blamed, could he?

“Severus?” It felt strange that it would end this way, so suddenly, without even a word between them. It just . . . it seemed wrong somehow. All of it seemed wrong, now, but Harry had no clue how to make it right – or if he could at all.

“I . . . thank you.” Let him go, you sod. Just . . . let him go. Have some sort of dignity. “Goodnight.”

*

As he recounted the whole affair in his head, Harry recalled the final moments Snape spent in his flat. For some reason, quite a few minutes lapsed between his quiet farewell to Severus and the slight pop that indicated Severus had gone. Harry could not fathom why Severus had lingered there without his mind jumping to several conclusions that could not and would not be substantiated. Upon further consideration, Harry thought it as well to just forget about those last minutes altogether. Maybe Severus hadn't lingered at all. Maybe it had been in his imagination . . . or a dream.

With steady hands, Harry poured himself another drink. In an hour or so, the very nice young mediwizard he'd met in a Muggle club in London would be dropping in, and Harry wanted his mind clear for the encounter. And, if in order to drive all thoughts of Snape away, even for a few hours, he had to drink a whole bottle of firewhiskey, then that's how it had to be. He was sure that his mediwizard admirer, whose name Harry couldn't readily recall, wouldn't be able to tell that anything was amiss.

the end

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Re: It can't just end there

No. I do not accept a world that Severus and Harry do not live happily ever after. I can't. It is so sad that they both want the same thing and assume the other doesn't. :( I hope against all hope that they can reconcile. Make Harry get off his lazy arse and go to Severus.

I hear you loud and clear. For me, Snarry = Severus and Harry together at the end. I'm going to do my best to bring it about, and maybe it will be Harry that'll need to get his arse in gear. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

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