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Unnatural Desires

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“It’s okay, Filius! I know we’ll get this all sorted out in no time.”

Severus Snape slowed his steps, listening with growing pleasure to Professor Flitwick’s apologies and Potter’s assurances that everything was alright. Potter had apparently ended up on the wrong side of a Charms experiment.

How delightful.

He leisurely approached the corner that would take him to where they were talking, teasing himself with the countless possibilities of what might have gone wrong. Perhaps Potter had been turned red and gold to match his House’s colors? Or better still, what if his head had ballooned to twice its normal size, finally reflecting his overinflated ego? Or best yet, what if Potter had been somehow incapacitated and could no longer teach at Hogwarts?

Severus’ eyelids lowered as he imagined that blissful scenario.

Ah…to be rid of Potter once and for all…

He smiled.

Unfortunately for him, such flights of fancy could not be entertained for long. The first two conditions he’d imagined could be remedied with a flick of his wand and would not give Filius even a moment’s pause. And since it seemed Potter was capable of walking away on his own, it didn’t appear he’d been injured physically or mentally.

Pity.

He rounded the corner, eyeing the two men ahead of him. Filius looked the same as always, and Potter…to his everlasting disappointment, the younger man did as well. Still of average height with his crow’s nest of hair and spectacles, from so far away, he looked barely different from when he’d left Hogwarts at the age of seventeen. Of course, in the seven years since then, he had grown taller, his face had lost its youthful roundness, and his body had become broader from added muscle, but it was difficult to see any of the changes that time had wrought from this distance.

Severus, to his unending dismay, had been forced to notice these things because Potter was now Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts, which meant he had to see the boy every bloody damn day at meals, at the weekly staff meeting, and whenever Severus’ duties as Head of Slytherin demanded he speak with the Head of Gryffindor.

Wasn’t it enough that he’d been a spy for nigh on seventeen years? Was his suffering never to end?

Of course, he was only viewing the boy’s profile, so perhaps something truly horrendous had happened to his right side.

Greatly cheered by that thought, he continued his stately walk down the corridor.

“Really, Filius, it doesn’t bother me at all! I’m sure no one will even notice.”

That was odd. Underlying Potter’s voice, Severus could swear he heard…hissing.

“Severus!” He arched an eyebrow at Filius’ call. “Do you have a moment? We would appreciate your opinion on a matter.”

“Ah, good afternoon, Professor Snape,” Potter said, obviously forcing himself to be polite as Severus made his way over.

Severus felt no such compunction. “Potter.”

Watching Potter’s lips thin gave him no small amount of satisfaction.

“How may I be of service…Filius?” he asked, blatantly turning his back to Potter.

Filius was wringing his hands. “I wanted to experiment with the Translation Charm and nonhuman languages, and Harry here, dear boy that he is, agreed to help me conduct tests with Parseltongue.” His eyes flashed guiltily toward Potter. “We’ve had a minor…accident.”

Severus smoothly turned back around to survey Potter.

“I never would have believed I’d have the misfortune of telling you this, but say something, Potter.”

Potter glared. “I think Filius just wanted to know if all of this,” he said, gesturing at his mouth and exhibiting his typical inability to express himself with words – something the rest of the human race had accomplished for the past thousands of years, “is very noticeable.”

Fascinating. Potter was actually speaking in Parseltongue, his lips moving along to the sibilant sounds. Overlaying the hissing, however, Severus was able to hear his words in English as well, and in his own voice nonetheless. It was as if there were two Potters speaking simultaneously.

“Keep talking,” he commanded, stepping closer and peering at Potter’s lips.

“What am I supposed to say?”

“Potter,” he said exasperation tingeing his voice. Did the boy not understand the purpose of the exercise? “I am giving you free reign to babble whatever nonsense you desire, as long as you keep talking. Continue!”

“Er, well, uh…Cox had a hard time in class today. He—”

Severus watched as Potter’s lips parted, his teeth pressed gently together as he spoke, the hissing becoming more apparent the longer he concentrated on it, watched as those mobile lips pursed and flexed, as the tip of a wet tongue came out and—

Severus straightened and sniffed disdainfully, once again addressing Filius. “I highly doubt that any of Potter’s avid admirers will be bothered by the phenomenon. Even should word of this spread, I’m sure it will simply contribute to his tragic hero persona.” He ignored the spluttering behind him. “Now, if we are done here, I have more important matters to attend to than whether Potter’s sycophants are distressed by the mere introduction of more s’es to his vocabulary.”

He swept away from the two of them, ignoring Filius’ stammered thanks and Potter’s conspicuous silence. That…had been disconcerting. The longer he had stared at Potter’s lips, watched them shaping his words, the harder it had been to look away. He normally controlled himself better than that.

What would Potter think if he knew his old Potions Professor was enamored of him? Severus had imagined countless scenarios where he confessed, or Potter somehow discovered the humiliating truth and approached him.

Even in his dreams, however, those scenes never ended well.

In the clear light of day, Severus knew Potter would probably break his sides laughing at best, or publicly revile him at worst. Perhaps not the last, he conceded reluctantly, but stutter and stammer about how he couldn’t return the sentiment, pity and shock and disgust in his eyes? No, Severus didn’t want to reveal how his feelings had changed since the end of the war, and he never would. It was far better that Potter believe Severus was the same man from before, that he despised him, that he wanted nothing more than an antagonistic relationship with him, even as they worked side by side. That, at least, was comfortable in its predictability. That, at least, was something Potter could grant him.

He banished the unwanted thoughts. It was only because he’d been staring at Potter’s mouth for an extended period of time that he’d become carried away. Clearly, that wasn’t something he would normally permit himself, so there was no need to worry that there would be a reoccurrence of the incident.

* * * * *

Three days. Three torturous days. Filius had yet to discover a way to cancel the spell he’d used on Potter. Severus had been correct in that many had not perceived the change at all, and for those who had, after the initial surprise, interest had faded. It was extremely vexing, for if Severus had been the one to suddenly start spouting Parseltongue, the uproar would have been momentous, with shouts of “Death Eater” and “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” popping up left and right. Of course, in regards to Potter, when had anything been fair?

Still, the new batch of younglings had been in their nappies when the Dark Lord had been vanquished, and what did they remember of such things? To them, Potter’s hissing was “cool.” Idiots, the lot of them.

So yes, he’d accurately predicted other people’s responses to Potter’s situation. He’d been grossly mistaken in his own reaction, however.

His obsession with Potter’s lips had grown, not diminished. And not only with his lips. More and more, Severus found himself staring at Potter, like a moonstruck cow without an iota of sense in his head.

He’d become increasingly aware of Potter ever since he joined the ranks of Hogwarts instructors, his ready smile, his – grudgingly admitted – quick wit, the breadth of his shoulders, the strength of his hands. How could he not when he’d been forced to interact with him for the past year and a half?

Most people were creatures of habit, and the professors at Hogwarts were no exception to the rule, sitting in their accustomed places at every meal. As the newest addition to the faculty, Potter had taken up the seat that had been vacated by the departure of the old DADA professor, which meant he sat two seats down from Severus. Having been a spy nearly twenty years, conversing and eating while listening in on Potter’s conversations had been simplicity itself.

It had been a way to be part of Potter’s life but still separate, to hear what had happened in his day, what amused him, what frustrated him. It had provided him with events to replay and examine later in the privacy of his own quarters.

And while meals were difficult, knowing he was so close, staff meetings were almost worse, with Potter sitting near Minerva at the other end of the table from Severus. Situated almost directly across from Potter, Severus could look to his heart’s content once a week under the guise of attentively absorbing the Headmistresses’ remarks. He could see the way Potter’s fringe, in desperate need of a trim, fell into his eyes, see Potter begin to fidget with his quill, running it through his fingers or twirling it round and round.

Some days, Severus saw Potter try to adjust non-existent glasses, watched as he corrected himself and awkwardly rubbed his cheek or tucked the hair behind his ear to cover the movement. Potter had finally gotten rid of his round spectacles after they’d been demolished beyond repair when he’d played professional Quidditch. He had replaced them with a more complimentary pair, but he’d also taken to wearing Muggle contacts, which he brought out on days when he was demonstrating something particularly dangerous in class, or when he left Hogwarts to go who knows where.

Severus always enjoyed those days, not only due to how striking Potter’s face was without them, nothing blocking his piercing green eyes or marring the angles of his cheekbones, but also because of how exposed Potter seemed. For all that Severus loved him, he still could take some small pleasure in the moments when Potter wasn’t his normal brash self, but instead seemed slightly self-conscious without the protection of his spectacles.

Nevertheless, Severus’ favorite moments were when Potter was relaxed and animated, when his smile was unfettered and his hands flew about as he tried to relate a story or explain an idea. After the war, Potter had joined the Aurors, but how could he accomplish anything with the press hounding him and his face known to all and sundry? He could have accepted a lesser position, resting on his laurels for the remainder of his days while he filled his hours with hobnobbing and standing behind the Minister, but once Potter had understood that it would be next to impossible for him to achieve anything worthwhile there, he’d left the Aurors and begun playing professional Quidditch instead, throwing himself into the sport with all the frustrated energy of a man denied his dream.

There had been rumors then of drinking and reckless flying, and he’d parted from the Weasley chit and almost from Weasley and Granger as well, but he’d won the Chudley Cannons many a World Cup before finally retiring and disappearing from the public eye. The Potter who had arrived at Hogwarts almost two years later had been a completely different man from the one who’d sullenly glared out of the newspapers, displaying a level of maturity and steadfastness that had shown he’d finally come to terms with his ghosts.

And while the last was admirable – very much so – the times when Potter’s newfound maturity and the shadows of the war and unforeseen disappointments disappeared, when simple happiness lit his face and he seemed carefree and at peace, those were the times Severus cherished, Potter’s joy made all the more powerful because of all that he’d experienced. Those were the times Severus had to turn away, almost blinded by Potter’s radiance.

He would have preferred that Potter had never returned to Hogwarts, so he would never have had this ridiculous change of heart toward him, or that he’d gotten frustrated after one year of trying to pour a pitcher’s worth of knowledge into teacup-sized brains. At least then Severus could have pushed all of his unwanted desires aside, keeping them relegated to the dark corners of his mind to peruse on lonely nights with only a snifter of brandy to keep him company.

But when had Potter ever taken his wishes into account?

And so rather than being able to keep his pride and dignity intact with the occasional lapse of drunken might-have-been, he loved poorly and up close, suffering from the unfortunate choice of his emotions and hating every minute of it – but at least able to say that he never gave away even one hint of his unrequited and unwanted infatuation.

He didn’t know how much longer he would be able to boast that, however.

Severus heard Potter laughing, and he had to lower his head over his plate, his hair falling around his face as he closed his eyes and barely kept from shivering. He could feel his nipples harden and his penis swell as the sultry hisses played along the surface of his skin, as solid as fingers skimming over his flesh.

Could no one else hear them? Or were they simply not affected? And if so, how they could not be?

He mechanically brought a forkful of food to his mouth, chewing slowly and swallowing without registering what it was he’d consumed.

He bit his lip when Potter spoke again, grateful for the hair obscuring his features. The knuckles of his right hand whitened from their tight grip on his fork, while his other hand clenched the cloth of his robes, his whole body tensing.

Severus could still hear the words Potter was speaking – something regarding the upcoming match between the Falmouth Falcons and Puddlemere United – but they made next to no impression on him, his head filled with the underlying murmur of Parseltongue. For all that the Great Hall was filled to capacity with students, the roar of their conversations was nothing in comparison to Potter’s barely there exhalations of air.

He took a deep breath when Potter fell silent at last, swallowing and then licking dry lips, anticipating and dreading the next time Potter opened his mouth. He shifted on his chair, the hard wood almost unbearable as he waited agonized seconds for the torture to continue. His fingers ached with the effort not to grab hold of Potter. He wanted to turn his head and watch Potter’s lips form his reply to whatever was being said, wanted to bask in green eyes that shone brighter than anything in the star-filled night revealed overhead, wanted to have—

“Severus, dear, are you alright?”

He took a moment to steady his breathing, to let the heat recede from his cheeks, to gather the remnants of his composure around himself like a shield before he raised his head to reply to Minerva.

“I seem to still be feeling the effects of the fumes of the latest Potions class debacle. If you will excuse me, Minerva, I believe I shall retire early.”

“Of course, Severus,” she said, her eyes soft with sympathy. “Perhaps you should ask Poppy to—”

“That will be unnecessary,” he replied stiffly. As if he needed her to tell him his condition was not the result of a Potions mishap. “I am certain I will be fully recovered in a few more hours.” All he needed was to be out of Potter’s presence, and he would be fine.

“Very well, but if you aren’t feeling better soon, I hope you will contact Poppy and let her examine you.”

He inclined his head, neither agreeing nor disagreeing, and made his way back to his chambers to try and clear his mind of disturbing thoughts and hopeless desires.

* * * * *

“I cannot believe that this state of affairs has yet to be resolved,” Severus growled between clenched teeth. Filius’ expression was an odd combination of guilt and irritation.

“Severus, no one is as eager to return Harry back to normal as I am—”

Ha!

“—and I’ve tried everything I could think of to end the spell, but nothing is working. As I told you yesterday. And the day before that. Nothing has changed, and nothing will continue to change as long as you keep interrupting me.”

“It has been two weeks, Filius,” he snapped. “Two weeks. I fail to comprehend how you have failed to find a solution to Potter’s condition in all that time!”

“Nothing is working the way it should be!” Filius scowled up at Severus. Their differences in height should have been almost laughable as he loomed over Filius, but the ferocity with which Filius glared back at him took any and all amusement out of the circumstances.

“Most Translation Charms are cast on the listener, not the speaker, so that the language is heard in one’s native tongue. However, when I tried to cast the modified spell on myself, I still could not understand anything Harry said. So we altered it further and cast it on him. As you are aware, it was successful in that anyone could grasp what he was saying. But the spell should have made him speak in English, even though he was pronouncing words in Parseltongue. It should not have created a second voice! And it should not have forced Harry to speak only in Parseltongue! The only thing I can think of that might be the cause behind all of this confusion is that Parseltongue is an innate magical ability, and because of its intrinsic nature, Harry’s own body rebelled against a spell trying to tamper with it. But as I said before, the more time we spend arguing about this, the less time I have to focus on the problem itself! Now, good day!” he said, slamming the door closed.

The look Severus sent the door should have demolished it on the spot. Filius had been decidedly more sympathetic a week ago when he’d first come to enquire on the progress of Potter’s cure, blathering on about ‘of course, how difficult it must be for Severus considering all the time he’d spent as a spy since the only other known person to speak Parseltongue had been the Dark Lord, and what a horrible reminder it must be, etc., etc. ‘

Severus hadn’t had to say much of anything, letting Filius come up with his own conjectures. Although it was a blow to his pride that he’d had to allow a fellow Professor to believe something like this could affect him, it was better than having Filius ask questions in search of the real reason. Apparently, however, his patience had worn thin after several increasingly frustrating visits, but how could Severus be blamed for his desire to speed things along? The situation was becoming desperate!

It was all he could do to resist pouncing on Potter every time he opened his mouth! Severus took some small comfort in the fact that no one else suspected anything. After the first several days, he’d been tempted to avoid meals altogether and have food brought to his rooms so he wouldn’t have to sit within range of Potter and his unintentionally seductive sentences, but that would have been too conspicuous. Missing one meal, or even a few meals in a row, was inconsequential. But missing two weeks worth?

The last thing he wanted was to draw attention to the situation any more than he had to. How would such weakness be taken? And in front of the whole school nonetheless? He might as well start wearing bright pink robes and braiding garlands into his hair – the students would lose every ounce of fear and respect for him that he’d spent so long cultivating in either case.

No. No, it was better to suffer in silence. He’d sat amongst his fellow instructors after returning from meetings with the Dark Lord when he’d been at his worst, when his body still ached with the aftereffects of the Cruciatus Curse. Sitting close enough to Potter to hear and see and almost touch him was nothing in comparison.

Or so he told himself as he headed toward the Great Hall, his back becoming more rigid with each step.

* * * * *

He didn’t know how much longer he could take it. Three weeks. Potter was still speaking in Parseltongue after three weeks.

Three weeks.

Severus rubbed his forehead with the tips of his fingers, noticing vaguely that they were trembling ever so slightly. It was a wonder that the quivering wasn’t more apparent considering how little sleep he’d been getting over the past few days, his dreams haunted by fathomless green eyes and whispers of words that teased him painfully.

He was starting to hear Potter’s voice even when he wasn’t in attendance, could just imagine the light streams of breath against his skin that Potter would create as he pressed against his body, saying disgustingly dirty things as a hot mouth and tongue moved over him—

He gave a small shake of his head, forcing his eyes up to look at Minerva as she spoke about one thing or another. He gratefully felt his erection begin to subside, another problem that had been rearing its head more frequently of late.

He blinked, realizing he’d just made a pun.

Ah, could life get any worse?

“And now, Harry has a proposal he wishes to discuss,” Minerva said, smiling and nodding at Potter to begin.

Of course it could.

It was easy enough to let Potter’s words fade to an indistinct murmur and focus on the hissing, even from across the room. It was everything – the only thing – that Severus heard these days anyway.

He took a deep breath, Potter’s voice rushing over and through him, and he could feel his shoulders and back relax while his erection renewed itself with blurring haste.

He swallowed and leaned forward so his elbows were on the table, his fingers steepled together in front of his face. At least he needn’t try to force his eyes away from Potter for a change. He could look his fill, drinking in each and every detail of his appearance, drowning in his presence.

Severus had to fight to keep from closing his eyes as a sensual languor spread throughout his body, his legs shifting in his chair and spreading open slightly. Potter had a truly beautiful voice. Why had he never fully appreciated it before? Husky and beguiling…it was absolutely mesmerizing.

And his lips…neither too full nor too thin, pink and deliciously lickable. What would he taste like? Would he be sweet and refreshing like a dessert wine, or deep and mellow like a fine brandy? Would his kisses be just as intoxicating?

Yes, Severus decided as Potter’s tongue peeked out while he absently wetted his lips, they would.

He felt his nipples tingle and tighten in arousal, the muscles in his buttocks clenching as his erection twitched, seeking some kind of friction.

He took another deep breath, half-heartedly trying to calm himself down, but it just made him wonder what Potter would smell like up close and personal. Severus never allowed himself to get too close to Potter, not wanting the physical memory of his body heat, knowing once would never be enough and that he would continue to find excuses to get closer and closer to him if he permitted himself even one opportunity.

It was bad enough that he would catch the occasional waft of Potter’s cologne when they sat at the dining table, a clean, tantalizing fragrance that always led to him pausing in his eating so he could fill his lungs with the scent, holding it within, absorbing it into his body for as long as possible.

How much better would it be if it were mingled with the smells of fresh perspiration and sex?

His eyelashes fluttered, and he had to force them open, giving himself a mental shake. He realized in some surprise that his fingers were cramping from the strength with which he’d been mashing them together. Hoping no one had noticed his behavior, he lowered his hands, dropping them onto his lap, and clenched his robes in his fists to keep them from straying inappropriately.

It would be so easy to move one hand closer to his groin, to let Potter’s hisses accompany him as he pressed against his palm, harder and harder, his thumb rubbing circles over the head of his penis. He couldn’t do more than that without giving himself away, and even that much was only feasible because he sat at the end of the table, mostly hidden from the eyes of everyone else.

But it would be more than enough, being able to watch Potter, to listen to Potter as he pressed and rubbed until the proof of his orgasm leaked all the way through his robes.

As mortifying as it was to admit, he’d had to resort to wanking every day, many times a day, especially after every meal when he’d sat close enough to Potter to lean over and touch him. Those sessions had barely curbed the edge of his hunger, whetting rather than satiating it. He needed more.

How much more satisfying would it be to reach fulfillment with Potter in the room?

His fingers dug into cloth until it wrinkled and stretched, until he half expected to tear holes into the fabric, until his fingers pulsed with dull pain and the tremors had begun to inch up his arms.

There were other professors in the room. There was no guarantee he’d be able to remain still and stoic through orgasm. Potter could very well see him as he came since he was facing his direction. Potter could find out. Potter could know.

Severus had rarely been so conscious of the beating of his own heart, of the weight of his robes, of the high collar that seemed to bind his throat. Singly and collectively, none of his reservations were enough to quell his thoughts. It would be so easy.

His penis twitched in agreement, filled with so much blood that even a shift of his jacket was enough to make him momentarily close his eyes. So easy, and no one would be the wiser.

“Thank you all for your time.” Minerva’s dismissal jolted Severus out of his thoughts. How long…when had Potter stopped talking?

He glanced back at Potter, only to see green eyes looking back at him. He wasn’t able to read his eyes from that distance, especially behind his spectacles, but his expression was…

Severus stood up quickly, leaving the room in a flurry of robes. Not for the first time, he was grateful for the layers of cloth that masked his condition. Although even if anyone were to somehow notice his current state, no one would believe it, thinking it a trick of the light or a fold of fabric. It wasn’t as if Professor Snape of all people were human enough to walk around with an erection after all.

If only they knew.

No matter how urgent the situation, long ingrained instincts wouldn’t allow him to do anything until he’d locked the door of his room behind him, reinforcing it with several spells, raised his wards, cast a Silencing Charm, and had summoned a flannel, because he knew he would be in no condition to do so afterwards.

Then he dropped his wand and leaned back against the wall, pushing up his jacket and shirt and undershirt – and damn it all to hell, he needed to stop wearing so many clothes considering how frequently they’d been getting in his way the past few days! His hands fumbled with the buttons on his trousers, and he cursed vociferously and creatively, until finally – finally – his erection, almost wet with the amount of precome flowing down its length, was in his grasp.

He closed his eyes, his hand feverishly pumping while his buttocks thumped against the stone wall as he thrust into each downward stroke.

Potter’s voice, Potter’s face…

His cheeks still lightly pink from speaking in front of everyone…his head tilted inquisitively as he looked at him, one eyebrow faintly arched…mouth slightly parted as if he were preparing to say something, the ends just barely turned down in puzzlement…and then the widening of his eyes, the flick of a nervous tongue against his upper lip, the blooming flush across his cheeks…

Severus’ head turned to the side in the moment of orgasm, a low, choked moan escaping from him, his brows furrowing as his body shuddered helplessly, come shooting out in spurts onto his hand, onto his leg, even onto the floor below. He jerked again and again, every muscle tense, until every last vestige of pleasure had been wrung out.

Finally, his soiled hand fell limp against his thigh, his chest still heaving, the trembling in his legs reminding him of why he normally preferred to do this sitting or lying down. He stared sightlessly at the few droplets on the ground, before closing his eyes, Potter’s expression at the very end of the staff meeting flashing in front of him once again.

Potter knew.

* * * * *

Of course Potter didn’t know. Potter was an imbecile after all. Love hardly made him blind to the other man’s faults.

Severus didn’t understand what had been behind Potter’s change of expression the other day, but apparently, it hadn’t had anything to do with discovering Severus’ unrequited feelings or uncontrollable reactions to hearing Potter speak in Parseltongue. Perhaps he’d simply been embarrassed to be caught looking at him, or one of the others had said something to him. There was no way to know really, nor did he care, but he could find solace in the fact that his secrets were still safe.

After all, if Potter had known or even suspected, his attitude would have changed in the intervening three days. The brat was hardly known for his patience or subterfuge. He was always tearing off full of righteous indignation and thoughtless courage as soon as an idea popped into his head. He was much more likely to confront Severus with his suppositions than keep them bottled up. Especially over something like this.

Potter hadn’t changed his demeanor at all, continuing to stiffly nod at Severus if they passed in the corridor, calmly eating his food and chatting with his neighbors during meals. No, he was proficient at his job and had proved beyond a shadow of doubt that he was a Seeker extraordinaire, but actor was not in his repertoire of skills, thank Merlin.

Some people might have felt a hint of disappointment that they hadn’t been found out, would have dreaded but still taken advantage of the opportunity to admit their feelings, plead their case as it were, but Severus was not such a person. He knew there was too much past between them, too many lies and insults and deeds. He would rather cradle the small hope he harbored, cherish it as the main source of light and joy in his life that it was, rather than let it be tarnished by Potter’s pity or disgust.

“Professor Snape?”

He turned to face Potter, concealing his initial twitch of consternation in the movement. They were in an empty hall, and the students were all abed, which meant the likelihood of them being disturbed was slim to none. Damnation. “Potter,” he replied coolly, as he wondered how long their conversation would take.

“I was hoping to find you here, Professor,” Potter said politely enough as he stepped closer, the dim lights from the sconces casting half his face in shadow, the hissing seeming to echo from the stone walls. “If you have a moment, I would like to talk to you about Prescott and Adams.”

Severus made a mental note to make the two Slytherin students’ lives hell the next time they were unlucky enough to cross paths with him – just as his life was hell at that very moment, his penis stirring at Potter’s proximity and voice. “It’s half past midnight, Potter, and I’m heading to bed. You may speak to me about those two miscreants’ behavior tomorrow during—”

“This will only take a minute,” Potter protested, stepping even closer to Severus as if he thought that would force him to stay.

Severus drew himself up to his not-inconsiderable height, glaring down his nose at Potter for his impertinence. But Potter did not move away.

Tomorrow, Potter!” he commanded, thankful that the low light concealed his body’s disgrace. He’d never been alone with Potter for very long since the spell had gone awry, and it was a dizzying, almost frightening experience to have all Potter’s concentration focused on him. There was real danger here that he would forget himself with nothing and no one to distract him, and he might attempt to throw himself on Potter like some love-addled twit.

He couldn’t help it. When Potter reached out as if to touch him, Severus flinched back.

“Oh. I, uh, I—” Potter stumbled over his words; even the hisses were short and disconnected. His hand hung in the air between them for a moment before dropping his side.

Severus mentally sneered at himself, both for his instinctive recoil and for the desire to wipe that look off Potter’s face. Most times, he rather enjoyed the play of emotions that Potter unknowingly revealed, would purposefully antagonize him in order to brighten his eyes with anger. But to be the cause of this…disappointment… He called himself all kinds of fool, but he folded his arms protectively across his chest and said, “Well? What is it then? If you must impose on my time like this, at least be quick about it.”

Potter’s eyebrows rose sharply as his eyes widened, and loathe though Severus was to admit it, the hint of a hesitant smile that appeared as his features relaxed made Severus wish he had let Potter grab onto his arm.

And he had called Potter an imbecile.

“So, as I was saying,” Potter began, and Severus discovered that the hissing was somehow even more compelling when Potter said “s” words during normal speech as well, the sibilant sounds entwining and becoming all the more potent. His fingers dug into his biceps as he tried to listen to the English and not the Parseltongue version of events.

“—while they were in my class on Tuesday—”

Severus had always known that diction and enunciation were important, that a well-turned phrase spoken clearly could stay in a listener’s mind long after it was heard, that passion could evoke a corresponding rise of emotion. This, however, was ridiculous.

“—sitting next to Collins from Ravenclaw during practice—”

His fingers spasmed. He wanted to touch Potter, to brush back that fringe of hair and pull his face close, to lick and suck on his jaw and neck, to tear off his robes and drop to his knees and taste every last part of him.

“—and I don’t think they meant for it to go as far as it did—”

He could orgasm. Just from this. His erection bobbed, and he shifted his stance minutely, gritting his teeth and hugging his chest against the almost overwhelming urge to reach out. He didn’t know what Potter was nattering on about, but everything about the constant soft hisses – the cadence, the inflections, the timbre – was going to wrest his control and make an utter wreck of him.

“—and I thought as Head of their House that you would want—”

“Potter!” he interrupted. He had to get out of there. It was that or fling himself on Potter like a mad man. He moved forward, dropping his hands as he loomed over Potter, and regretted it instantly. It was habit to use his greater height to his advantage, but Potter had never been one to be intimidated by that, and now they stood a scant two feet apart. Self flagellation would have been kinder to his hyper-sensitized body.

For the longest moment, Severus forgot what he’d planned to say, his tongue quiescent in his mouth, his mind blank. If only…

“Professor?” Potter asked. And was it Severus’ imagination, or did his voice linger over the s’es longer than necessary?

There was something in the tilt of Potter’s head, in the shadows that shifted and clung to his features, that made Severus wonder what he would do if Severus were to take one more step forward.

His whole body tightened at the thought.

He had to leave now.

“You’ve been here for almost two years now, Potter. Do what you think is necessary to fit the offense.” Sacrificing members of his house was a small price to pay to leave the scene with his pride intact. And whatever Potter decided would be far kinder than what he had in store for them. “Goodnight.”

“But—”

He didn’t quite flee the corridor, but it was a close thing. And by the time he arrived at his rooms, he was so far gone that for once, he didn’t do anything more than cast a Silencing Charm before slumping against the door in lieu of locking it. He didn’t even have time to undo his clothes. Squeezing himself just once through his trousers, he climaxed into his hand, Potter’s name on his lips.

* * * * *

Dreamless Sleep and Sleeping Potions were all that were enabling him to be rested enough to function properly. Five weeks, and it was appearing more and more likely that Potter’s condition would never be solved. It was just a matter of time until Severus broke.

He tried to avoid it for as long as possible. He cast a modified Muffliato Spell on himself so he heard nothing but a distant buzzing when he was at meals. It had taken him days, but he had managed to alter it enough that his name alone would reach his ears. Thus, if anyone actually addressed him, he’d be able to dismiss the charm.

He skipped the staff meeting altogether, talking privately to Minerva about any news. He’d finally had to admit to her that being close to Potter made him…uneasy…and while she hadn’t pressed the issue, he’d known she at least didn’t think it was because of his past, which was both welcome and unnerving as he didn’t know what she suspected.

Severus realized that it wasn’t a long-term solution. It wasn’t even a solution that could last for more than a few weeks, but it gave him a chance to collect himself, to bolster the flimsy walls he’d erected against Potter, and he needed that. Desperately.

He once again roamed the corridors of the castle, on the lookout for late-night stragglers. There was comfort in the routine, and peace in the silence. Here, at least, he could relax his guard for a while, confident that he wouldn’t have another run-in with Potter. In the year and a half Potter had been at Hogwarts, he’d only ever run into him once—

“Professor Snape?”

He whirled around, his robes rustling loudly, sorely tempted to pull out his wand. Bloody hell. Of all the times to—

“Potter, what the blazes are you doing in these halls at this time of night? You should be—”

“Well, I, uh, happened to…notice you were up here, and I…well, I thought I’d check to see how you were doing,” he replied, looking at that moment like a student caught doing something he shouldn’t.

 

Severus’s jaw tensed at his body’s predictable response to Potter’s presence and double-layered speech. It was so much worse now. His penis filled with blood at an almost alarming rate. He could feel his cheeks flushing, feel his heart speeding to a restless beat. Rather than strengthening his resistance, the days he’d avoided Potter had made him somehow even more susceptible to his allure. He hadn’t thought such a thing could be possible.

“—seem so preoccupied and out of sorts, and you’ve missed two staff meetings now, and I was worried you were unwell.”

“You waylaid me to ask after my health?” Severus scoffed. His fingers were digging crescents into his palms. Potter had been concerned for him. Would wonders never cease?

Even under the candlelight, he could see Potter’s face turn red. “Look, I know we’ve never really gotten along, but I’d hoped that thing would change while I was here. There’s no reason to—”

He should leave. Discretion was the better part of valor in this instance, and staying in the hall with Potter was practically inviting mischief. His control was already tenuous, and he knew it wouldn’t take much to push him over the edge.

He should leave.

He stepped closer instead.

“What are you saying, Potter? That we should let bygones be bygones?” He sneered. “We have too much history to ever interact with anything but the barest veneer of civility—”

“That’s not true!” Potter’s spectacles flashed from the light as he, too, moved forward. Parseltongue conveyed his indignation and conviction more thoroughly than mere English, the hisses growing louder and more emphatic, until Severus could almost imagine the shadows created by the light were flickering tongues and shifting bodies, until he almost hear the rub of scales against scales. “Why can’t you believe that I respect what you did in the war? We wouldn’t have won if it weren’t for you; I know that!”

Severus wouldn’t be able to stop himself if Potter came much nearer. His sincerity, his passion, they were heady things and threatened to wipe away what little thought remained in his brain.

“And I know it wasn’t easy teaching me either, especially with what you went through with my mum and dad, and so I understand why you were such a bloody arse to me all the time, but that was seven years ago!”

The stone walls bounced Potter’s rising voice back at them, the susurration intensifying, amplifying his hisses until Severus’ body seemed to thrum with them, until they invaded his consciousness, and he couldn’t think, couldn’t understand what Potter was saying, couldn’t do anything but react to the desire that was building to a crescendo inside of him.

“I’ve tried – I’ve tried – to bridge this gap between us! But it’s like you’re purposefully keeping me at arm’s length, no matter what I do! Fuck, I know you can keep a grudge like no one else, but I am not my mother, and I am not my father, and why can’t you see me for someone other than—”

“Potter,” he tried to say, tried to give him some warning, but—

“My name is Harry! Damn it to hell, after two years of teaching together, can’t you at least—”

Potter tasted of fire. Or perhaps Firewhisky was more appropriate, smoky, potent, the flavor burning a trail down to Severus’ stomach and igniting his already aroused senses.

Severus buried his hands in Potter’s hair – coarse and thick but still softer than he’d imagined – and tilted Potter’s head back so he could better savor the delights of his mouth.

Potter was just as intoxicating as Severus had known he would be.

One kiss wasn’t enough. He had to get closer, had to have more. It didn’t matter that Potter had yet to respond either negatively or positively, frozen in apparent shock. If this was to be the only time he was allowed this feast, he would sample every delicacy before they were taken from him.

“Professor Snape!” Potter cried, at last released from his immobility when Severus dropped to his knees in front of him. It made him even more excited, the hisses driving him to a fever pitch. He tore open Potter’s loosely closed sleeping robe and had never been so grateful to see a set of Muggle pajamas, thin and easily taken off.

“Professor!” He sucked on Potter’s flesh through the material, frantic in his need, already rubbing himself through his own robes. One unsteady hand came to rest on his shoulder, and when it made no attempt to push him back, he took it as encouragement, pulling the pajama bottoms down so he could take Potter fully into his mouth.

He moaned at the taste. His hand sped up. Garbled hisses fell on his ears, accompanying the wet slurp of his mouth as he sucked and laved Potter with his tongue.

Shaky fingers pulled at his hair, but he refused to give up his prize and sucked harder, employing a hint of teeth. He grabbed hold of Potter’s buttocks with his free hand, drawing Potter’s penis in deeper. Potter was saying something, but Severus couldn’t hear it over the din of his heartbeat and the enflaming hisses that stole reason and sense. The hand in his hair clamped down, tugging sharply, and the pain made his whole body shudder, driving

Severus to work his own erection with quick, harsh strokes, until he was climaxing in his pants like an untried youth, moaning around Potter’s hard flesh as he jerked and almost swayed from the intensity.

He barely had the presence of mind to swallow instead of choke when Potter let out a few more of those enticing hisses and began to come in Severus’ mouth, his hips thrusting erratically, his stomach pressing against Severus’ nose, his hands holding Severus’ head in place.

His penis made a valiant twitch as he kept swallowing, although he knew there was no way he’d be able to become erect again without some more time. But even with the orgasm, desire still held dominion over his thoughts and actions. Weeks and weeks of almost constant arousal could not be assuaged with wanking while performing fellatio, no matter how pleasurable the activity had been.

Potter, however, was a young man, and Severus idly wondered how long it would take before he’d be ready for another go. Perhaps this time, they could—

The hands that had been keeping him in place finally dropped away, and he pulled back finally, releasing Potter with one last lick before looking up into dazed eyes.

Potter looked absolutely staggered.

What…what had he done?

Severus recoiled, lurching to a stand as the tendrils of lust finally loosed their hold. Wide eyes followed his every movement, Potter’s mouth hanging open.

“I—” Severus didn’t know what to say. What could he say? After everything he’d done to hide his affections, after he’d spent weeks battling his baser instincts, he’d lost complete control and attacked Potter in the hall. For all that he had always prided himself on his courage, on doing the things that needed to be done, he didn’t know if he could even face Potter now. “I—”

They both flinched at the sudden bang, a cackling Peeves zooming past the end of the hall. Potter finally realized his state of dishabille and snatched his robe closed, clutching the edges in his hands, his face blazing red. The childlike gesture made the guilt and horror welling inside of Severus bubble up chaotically, made him want to retch or apologize or explain or somehow make things better, but it could never be better! Not something like this!

Severus swallowed, tasting Potter once again in his mouth, which did nothing for his state of mind or his libido, and matters became even worse when Potter opened his mouth to speak.

“Professor.” Potter cleared his throat, the hisses quieting for a split second, just enough time for Severus to snap out of his haze. If Potter started talking…

He whirled around and ran, ran as if the hounds of Hell pursued him, as they most assuredly did, damnation in the form of one young man whose “Professor?” and “Bloody hell!” were akin to the call of the sirens.

* * * * *

He would never be able to drink Firewhisky again, Severus decided, dashing his glass into the fireplace before closing his eyes and hiding his face in his palms.

One moment of lunacy and he’d lost everything.

He remembered Potter trying to talk, his voice strangled, Potter’s shocked passivity, his fingers yanking at Severus’ hair. If he hadn’t also recalled Potter’s hand on his shoulder, resting and not pushing him away, and the fact that he’d seen Potter’s wand dangling in his sleeping robe’s pocket, he would have believed he’d committed something utterly unforgivable. But Potter was a full-grown man, had undergone Auror training, and he could have forced Severus off him had he so desired.

Severus just didn’t understand why he hadn’t. It would have been well within Potter’s rights to send him crashing into the wall in dire need of a trip to the hospital ward, or at the very least, Stunning him senseless…but he hadn’t.

Perhaps it had simply been that it was difficult to turn down oral gratification when it was on offer. So blatantly on offer. Severus’ cheeks filled with blood, and he could feel the beginnings of a headache. He’d had absolutely no restraint. Whatever Potter would have been willing to do, he would have accepted it and gladly.

He forced himself away from that line of thought, clenching his teeth as he considered the morning. It was too late to go to Minerva. But he would have to face her tomorrow, admit he’d committed a gross transgression at Potter’s expense, and resign. He would lose his position, the respect of one of the few people he considered a friend…and he would lose Potter.

He ran a shaky hand down his face and stumbled to a chair.

He’d always believed that his greatest wish once Potter had started his term at Hogwarts was to have Potter leave so that he would never have to see him again. But now…

To never see Potter again, not the green of his eyes nor the flash of his smile, to never hear his laugh or voice or even that damnable hissing, to never battle wits with him or witness the glint of satisfaction when he managed to hold his own—

Severus’ head jerked up at the knock on his door. Surely not.

He convinced his pounding heart that it was one of his Slytherins, that the last thing Potter would want to do would be to confront him – talk to him, look at him – that not even Potter would feel the need to approach the man who had so rudely performed fellatio on him less than an hour before. A vision of Potter yelling at him, mocking him, perhaps even hexing him ran through Severus’ mind. If Potter were really inclined to curse him, Severus thought grimly, he would stand and allow it.

He opened the door, almost sighing in defeat when he saw Potter in front of him, his eyes narrowed and hard. Knowing it was imprudent, he nonetheless gestured for him to enter. He owed him the truth if nothing else, and the public corridor outside his room was hardly the place for it.

“Do not speak,” he commanded brusquely when Potter looked ready to do just that. He cast his normal spells on the door before turning to him, ignoring the outraged expression on Potter’s face. Better to just get it over with quickly. He drew himself up to his full height, his chin held high. “What happened just now…it was unpardonable. There is no excuse, of course, and I offer none. I can only provide an explanation, feeble though it may be. It would appear that your use of Parseltongue has an,” his lips thinned as he searched for what to say, “unforeseen affect on me, shall we say. Before, it was not my intention to…” He didn’t know quite how to finish that sentence, remembering the feel of Potter in his mouth, his body pressed against his own, the scent of his arousal, the taste of him, the sound—

He barreled on. “I swear that the incident will not be repeated. First thing tomorrow morning, I shall present myself to the Headmistress—”

Accio quill and parchment!”

Severus glared at him, his whole body flinching. After touching Potter, the impact of the Parseltongue was one hundred times stronger. The urge to take advantage of him again was nearly unbearable. Did the boy have absolutely no sense? What need did he have for questions? Severus had already vowed to go to—

Potter shoved the parchment at him, and he narrowed his lips in disapproval but read the messy scrawl anyway.

His face turned bright red. “I said it was because of the Parseltongue, did I not?”

Potter squinted at him, and he took the sheet back.

Severus’ face got even hotter as he read Potter’s next question, something he’d have thought was impossible. “Contrary to popular belief, the Dark Lord did not speak in Parseltongue very frequently! And not that this is any of your business, but I never…reacted…when he did!”

Potter looked decidedly relieved when he grabbed the parchment from his hand once again.

“Are these questions truly necessary?” Severus demanded testily, closing his fingers into fists to resist the temptation to touch Potter’s tousled hair. “I have already admitted the fault is entirely mine and will say as much again to the Headmistress!”

Potter frowned at him and pushed his latest question forward.

Severus scowled, refusing to take it.

Green eyes narrowed at him, and Potter opened his mouth—

“Are you insane, Potter?” Severus exploded, his eyebrows arching up incredulously. “Didn’t I just tell you that—”

Potter shoved the paper at him again.

He bared his teeth before snatching it from his hand.

“How am I to know why I was affected? If I could have found a way to combat it, don’t you think I would have? These past several weeks have been excruciating, and not a day has gone by without—”

Potter seized the parchment from Severus’ clenched hand. He gave him a speculative glance before bending his head once more.

“I already said it was because of the Parseltongue!” Severus exclaimed, almost throwing up his hands in frustration. Potter tapped the paper with the quill briskly, and Severus read the other question written there.

“I don’t know what you’re implying, Potter,” he blustered. “What other reason could I possibly have for such – such reprehensible behavior?” His jaw firmed, and he looked Potter in the eyes. “There is no justification for my actions, no defense. I shall understand if you wish to press charges against me. I will, of course, leave Hogwarts, but if you deem that is not enough—”

Potter hit him with the quill this time and rolled his eyes. He tugged gently on the sheet until Severus released it with a start and began to write again.

Severus didn’t know quite what to make of his response. It had hardly seemed to be appropriate in the circumstances and wasn’t what he expected from a man who’d been molested. Potter obviously believed he was speaking the truth, although why he would simply accept Severus at his word, he didn’t know.

He looked at the proffered parchment. “It is…” he sighed, closing his eyes momentarily, hating that he had to articulate so much, grateful that Potter was permitting him to. Perchance he would at least avoid earning Potter’s complete enmity. He swallowed at the painful thought. “The only thing I can compare it to would be the Imperius Curse. Rational thought becomes almost infeasible, and foremost in one’s mind is the compulsion to give in, to let one’s will be subsumed by an outside desire. I should have made my problem known,” he admitted quietly, his eyes skittering away, “rather than let it get to the point of no return. I regret it more than I can say.”

Pride had always been his downfall. It made him lash out against those would help him, drove him to do things that were foolish and wrong. He’d thought he knew better by now. Pride had always cost him the most important things in his life. And now he could add Potter to the list.

Potter poked him with the paper. Severus blinked. He hadn’t even realized Potter had taken it back.

I don’t regret it.

Severus’ eyes flew to Potter’s. “What—?” he croaked.

“I definitely didn’t expect it,” Potter said quietly, the sibilance wrapping Severus’ mind in a silken grasp. “Not after the way you’ve acted around me, especially recently.” He smiled, a little quirk of his mouth, as if he were more amused with himself than the situation. “But I don’t regret it.”

“Potter, you don’t know what you are doing—” Severus began, his leg twitching as if anxious to get closer to Potter.

“When Minerva first approached for the position of DADA instructor, I agreed, because I was ready to settle down, and it was something I knew I would enjoy. I was a bit worried about coming back here and seeing you again, but I thought we were both grown men, and after everything, the past was the past.” He moved closer. It took every ounce of strength Severus had to take a corresponding step back.

“Foolish brat!” His hands itched to grab hold of Potter’s robe and repeat the scene from the corridor. “Do you not understand what I’ve been—”

“Things obviously didn’t work out the way I thought they would,” Potter continued, ignoring his protest, but at least staying in place. “And I tried to get over it. So we would never be friends. All right. Who wants to be friends with a bloody sarcastic git like you anyway?” Potter’s smile widened, and this time, there was no mistaking that he was mocking himself. “I did. I do.”

The Parseltongue was overtaking the English again. Soon enough, Severus wouldn’t be able to understand his words at all, would only hear the enthralling hisses. “Be silent!” he whispered, shuddering. “Get out!”

“Like I said, I didn’t expect it. But I…I might have hoped for it.”

In the stunned aftermath of Potter’s declaration, Severus couldn’t offer even one word.

Potter continued, “And…and I think this might be about more than the Parseltongue for you, as well.”

“I said, ‘get out!’” Severus roared, finding his voice again out of fear of what Potter was hinting at. He couldn’t know.

“You’ve always been watching me.”

Couldn’t the bloody idiot listen even once? Severus wondered, his eyes too wide, his heart racing as shock, disbelief, anger, panic – too many emotions to decipher – fought for control. And underneath it all, hope fluttered weakly, burning him from the inside out.

“I thought it was because you were waiting for me to screw up. But you’ve been watching me a lot more lately.”

“I told you it was due to—”

“No,” Potter said. The calm assurance in that simple word had Severus looking wildly around for an exit, but Potter stood between him and the door. “I don’t want to pretend it never happened. I don’t want—”

“It’s not about your wants—”

“Why not?” Potter cried, looking as if he wanted to shake Severus, his composure finally shattered. “Why can’t it be? Why can’t I want you?”

Severus froze. He didn’t – that wasn’t – Potter was – he was—

“Why can’t you admit you want me?”

His eyes narrowed. Was that what Potter was waiting for? For Severus to profess his undying love? And for what? So Potter could feel better about himself for giving in to his misplaced lust, so he could rationalize it away afterward as pity or compassion? Bad enough that Severus would have the memory of that one time to haunt him, but to be tormented by further recollections once Potter’s curiosity was satisfied and he was tossed aside? He refused to believe it could be anything more than that, Potter’s pretty words to the contrary. He would not allow Potter to break him further.

“Does your egotism know no bounds?” Severus cried and saw a flicker of doubt cross Potter’s face. He leapt on it like a dying man reaching for his last chance of salvation. “Not every person wants to fall at your feet in slavish adoration! This isn’t real! It’s the consequence of a spell, and if you were to stop speaking in Parseltongue, this unnatural desire would vanish!”

Potter’s eyes narrowed, determination screaming from every line of his body. “Prove it,” he said. Not a hint of hissing could be heard.

“What?” Severus gaped at him for a long second before he snarled and advanced, cutting the distance between them to almost nothing. “You’ve been able to—”

Potter gave as good as he got, his eyes blazing as he growled, “If you had just said something, you stubborn ass, I would have done this for you before! And no, Filius still hasn’t come up with a cure, but if I actually try to talk in Parseltongue, this is what comes out! Talking in bloody Parseltongue isn’t as fucking easy as everyone thinks it is! I have to think about snakes all the sodding time, or it doesn’t work!”

Technically, Potter had a point. There had been no way for him to know how upsetting Severus found the whole affair. That didn’t stop Severus from taking refuge in anger, however, and preparing to deliver a scathing diatribe about the inconsiderate and self-serving nature of certain boy heroes. He was interrupted before he could even begin.

“So say it! Say it was just the Parseltongue, and you don’t have any feelings for me without it!”

“Potter!” Severus snapped, wanting Potter to leave, needing him to leave so he could shore up his defenses, so he could smother the hope before it did even more damage. “I do not, nor will I ever—”

The mashing of their lips could hardly be called a kiss, little better than their first encounter when Potter had been completely unresponsive. Except this time, Potter was the one initiating it, was the one sliding his tongue along Severus’ lips in an effort to gain entry.

It was just as overwhelming without the Parseltongue, damn him.

Potter kissed him until his turbulent emotions quieted, drugged by the feel of Potter’s hard body and firm embrace, kissed him until Severus was pulling him closer and giving in to the longing that was always so near to the surface.

“Even a man of my age can be distracted by physical desire,” he tried nonetheless when they at last parted minutes later, but defeat was heavy in his voice, and Potter clearly heard it if the triumph in his eyes was anything to go by, triumph and something else that made the hope beat its wings madly within his breast.

“Tell me you want me,” Potter ordered, and Severus glared at him, because the hissing was back. But the look was half-hearted at best, arousal making Severus’ thoughts sluggish and slow, and if Potter added to his hunger, then what of it? What was a drop compared to the ocean that was his need?

Still, Severus complained. “Did I not just compare it to the Imperius Curse?” he groused, his arms firmly locked behind Potter’s back and showing no sign of loosening, tightening instead as if he expected Potter to be torn from his grasp. To have Potter holding him, his face flushed with passion and his stormy green eyes reflecting Severus’ own image back at him – it would take a stronger man than Severus to keep resisting, even knowing whatever it was between them had to end sooner rather than later.

“But can it make you do something you don’t want to do?” Potter asked, his lips shiny and red from their kisses, his arms just as securely placed around Severus’ waist.

“No,” Severus sighed at last, powerless to resist any longer, lowering his head in anticipation of Potter’s response to that humiliating admission. “It cannot.” He closed his eyes to shut out the vision of Potter’s smile, filled with victory and joy and a relief that showed Potter hadn’t been as sanguine as he’d wanted to appear. As if Potter really wanted him. As if he couldn’t get anyone he wanted with a snap of his fingers.

Potter kissed him fiercely, his hands already reaching for Severus’ clothes, pushing his robes off his shoulders, plucking at the buttons of his jacket. Severus retained his faculties enough this time to not tear at Potter’s own clothes as he had done before, but only just.

“I thought you still hated me,” Potter gasped, his head arched back as Severus sucked on his Adam’s apple. Severus shivered at the sound, biting down harder than he’d intended, something that Potter didn’t mind at all if the sudden thrust of his hips were any indication. He ignored Potter’s flagrant fishing for compliments – as though anyone wouldn’t want him – but he ground back more insistently, proving that hate was the last thing on his mind.

He stumbled backward, pulling Potter along with him, littering the floor with their clothes as they made their haphazard way to his couch. They made such slow progress as they kissed and fumbled at each other’s clothes that when Severus’ legs hit the cushions, he ended up falling onto the couch, Potter sprawled on top of him, because Potter wouldn’t let Severus go, not even then.

He moaned into the kiss as he felt the weight of Potter, the reality of him, all along his body. Part of him still didn’t quite believe that Potter was with him, that Severus hadn’t driven him away, that Potter might actually reciprocate his feelings. But even his fantasies had never dared to include something as far-fetched as what had just happened, what was happening, and he had to accept it for that reason if nothing else.

Potter was completely naked, Severus having made short work of his pajamas, but Severus was still partially clothed, his pants around his knees, his white shirt and undershirt still on. If he’d remembered to take his wand out of his robes before letting Potter undress him, he would have simply Vanished them at that point, but it was too late for that. If he couldn’t pull away long enough from Potter’s mouth and flesh to look at Potter’s naked form, like hell he was going to stop and look for his wand.

Potter chose that moment to lift his head, and Severus glared his displeasure, getting ready to disabuse Potter of the ridiculous notion that he should stop in the middle of kissing him, when Potter spoke. “So just…how much do you like the Parseltongue?” he asked, his eyes shining wickedly.

“Oh. You,” Potter swallowed, his eyes dilating and hips thrusting down as Severus arched up wildly, fingers digging into his back, the contact with Potter’s naked skin making the effect of his words that much more potent, “you like it a lot.”

Why that insufferable… Severus was never going to hear the end of this, he knew. He found it difficult to be maintain his irritation, however, when Potter began to thrust against him in earnest, whispering hoarse words that lost their meaning as Severus gave himself up to sensation and sound, the hisses sliding over his body in near-tangible caresses.

“I’ve wanted you for so long,” Potter panted, his hands tightening in Severus’ hair as he kissed and nipped and licked. The sincerity in his voice, the pain in it, made Severus surface from his haze, made him stare and question things he had known to be true. “Please, I need to…let me…I have to—”

Potter’s intention was clear as he slid down Severus’ body, even if his words were not, and Severus had a second to marvel that Potter seemed to be apologizing of all things before Potter was licking his erection, long, broad swipes of his tongue from base to tip before swirling around the head.

“Potter!” he gasped, his hands buried in messy black hair. He couldn’t say even that when Potter started to suck, taking him in further and further until Potter’s face was pressed against his abdomen. And when Potter started to swallow around his length, the constriction almost painful in its intensity, Severus couldn’t do anything at all.

If he hadn’t already had one orgasm less than an hour ago, he would have lost control already. But when Potter finally dragged Severus’ pants down and off, when he slipped a finger between Severus’ legs to brush tentatively against his anus as his head continued to bob, that control almost disappeared completely.

“Professor?” Potter asked, pulling off at last, his voice husky, the question obvious. His mouth hovered over Severus’ erection, hot breaths sending shivers up and down Severus’ sides, and he had to fight for restraint as the Parseltongue made its way through him. He closed his eyes momentarily against the sight of Potter, bare centimeters above him, lips wet and swollen.

As if he really needed to ask.

“Yes,” he sighed, bringing his heels up onto the cushions and spreading his legs open so there could be no doubt as to what he wanted.

The choked sound that escaped Potter more than made up for whatever minor embarrassment Severus might have felt.

He closed his eyes as Potter moved up to kiss him, jerking slightly when the first finger was introduced. He’d been sure Potter had left his wand somewhere on the ground in their clumsy journey to the couch, but from the slick feel of Potter’s finger, Severus realized he must have summoned it nonverbally. He quickly stopped speculating on the matter when Potter added another finger and then another.

It had been a long time since he’d needed such preparation, and he distracted himself from the mild burning and feeling of fullness by kissing Potter even harder, his breath hitching as Potter located his prostate, the pleasure flaring red behind his eyelids.

“Enough,” he said, unwilling to come mere seconds before Potter entered him. “Now.”

Potter’s breathless chuckle as he obeyed made Severus glower, both because of the amusement and because the hissing almost ruined his resolve then and there.

Severus held even tighter to Potter, his jaw tensing as Potter began to push inside. It was a minor pain all in all, and it had no impact on the state of his arousal. Truth be told, he welcomed the dull throbbing as Potter moved deeper, proof that everything was real, that Potter somehow wanted him back. Nonetheless, if Potter said something asinine like ‘relax,’ he would—

“Professor,” Potter panted into the curve of Severus’ neck, “you need to relax or I—”

Severus would have taken great enjoyment in telling Potter what he could do with his “relax,” however, the damn Parseltongue made him arch up instead, fingers digging into Potter’s back as he drove himself onto Potter’s erection, the discomfort lost in the fresh surge of desire, in Potter’s shocked moan as he was taken in fully.

“Professor!” Worried green eyes came up, Potter’s face flushed and almost wild looking. “Are you—”

Fuck!” Severus groaned, shuddering uncontrollably, almost knocking Potter off the couch as his hips came up violently once again. “Now, Potter, move!” he demanded, helpless to keep back the rising tide, his hand moving clumsily between their bodies as he reached for his own aching flesh.

“No, let me—” Potter began, pushing Severus’ hand out of the way so his hand could take its place, and did he still not understand what his voice was doing to Severus, how each word out of his mouth enflamed him all the more?

But it was too late to wonder any longer. Potter’s hand, calloused from his years of Quidditch, closed around Severus’ erection, his hips at last beginning to thrust, and that was all Severus needed. He cried out, clutching Potter to him with his arms and legs as tremors shook him and his release painted their stomachs. Potter’s surprised, “Professor!” led to Severus calling out once again as pleasure spiked through him, the Parseltongue making his back curve off the couch as his body produced another ribbon of come. Potter’s thrusts turned forceful, picking up speed until he was ramming into Severus, each stroke against his prostate making Severus convulse, and when Potter began to speak, the panting hisses increased the ecstasy until it was almost unbearable.

Minutes later, when the last shudder of pleasure had passed and Severus had to stop himself from flushing at how quickly he had climaxed, he decided the only consolation to how brief the whole thing had been was that he hadn’t been the only one to lose control, Potter a heavy but satisfying weight on top of him. And Potter didn’t even have the excuse of being influenced by the Parseltongue, Severus thought smugly.

“Do you mind?” he asked acerbically after it became apparent Potter didn’t plan on moving anytime soon. This was all well and good, but he was sticky and sore, and things were beginning to dry and pull on his stomach hairs.

“Right,” Potter said sheepishly, lifting himself up on his arms and separating their bodies. “Sorry about that.”

Severus almost managed to control the quiver that ran down his body at Potter’s words. Almost. How the bloody hell could Potter’s voice still affect him in the wake of orgasm? One would think there would be a refractory period where he would be immune.

Severus narrowed his eyes at Potter’s sudden fiendish smile, and it was too much to hope that Potter hadn’t noticed the effect his words had caused. “Professor…”

“Desist at once!” he commanded.

“But I—”

“Potter—”

“Harry!” Potter stopped smiling and looked down at him seriously. Once again, the hisses were gone. “Call me Harry.”

He scowled. “And I suppose you’ll be wanting to use my given name as well,” he grumbled.

Potter blinked then smiled beatifically. “Severus,” he said, obviously trying it out. “Severus.”

He shivered, pulling Potter down for a kiss to hide his reaction. And he’d thought the Parseltongue was dangerous…