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The characters and the situations within these fanfiction stories are
not my property. They are the property of J.K. Rowling, Warner
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authorized materials of these owners.
Crazy Man Michael
Pairing: Harry/The Half-Blood Prince
Summary: "O, where is the raven that I struck down dead?"
A/N: Based on the ballad of the same name, lyrics at:
For the 2006 Snarry Olympics Angst Team, prompt "Masquerade." Many
thanks to Cluegirl for beta duty and to all the
members of Team Angst who made suggestions.
Sometimes, in rare moments when he cannot summon the rage to thrust the
thoughts away, Harry allows himself to remember the Half-Blood Prince.
The memories come when he despairs, when he is at his lowest. Not
because the thoughts give him comfort, or because he reaches for the
thoughts to bolster himself. No, they slip in because he has no
resistance to them. The day Hermione shows him the anonymous hate mail
she's received, saying Mudblood scum like her should go back to her own
world and we know where your filthy Muggle parents
live, and neither he nor Ron can stop her tears or her
shaking; when the rumors about a great white phoenix seen in Little
Whinging prove to be no more than that: Death Eater-spread rumors; when
Nymphadora Tonks loses an arm saving twenty-two Muggles from a
booby-trapped underground train, and neither Skele-Gro nor
metamorphmagery can give her back what she's lost; on each of those
days, Harry finds his naked heart laid open to those memories of the
Half-Blood Prince, and can do no more than succumb.
The Half-Blood Prince ages as Harry ages, though Harry's not conscious
of doing that. When Harry first imagined him, the Half-Blood Prince was
sixteen, like him, the expected age to be reading and making notes in a
sixth-year Potions text. When Harry realized the extent of the Prince's
expertise, he didn't age him up, exactly, but something changed--he
became the sort of bloke Dudley would have idolized, all rough edges
and street smarts, unshaven chin and hair longer than his mum would
want him to have it. Jacket of beat-up leather, and probably a
disreputable vehicle. Bit like Sirius, actually.
The most incongruous element in this fantasy--which Harry somehow never
had difficulty getting round--is, for all his sophistication, the
Half-Blood Prince never tells someone like Harry to bugger off and go
bother someone else.
The Half-Blood Prince slouches against a wall, hands in the pockets of
his leather jacket. Harry approaches, and knows not to say hello, or to
say anything at all--that's fatal with someone as casually cool as the
Prince. Instead he copies the slouch, or tries to copy it--even in a
fantasy he acknowledges his limitations. Feels the stones, uneven, on
his shoulderblades, feels himself balanced on his back and on his heels
as he crosses one ankle over the other, locks his knee.
The Prince slips a half-empty pack of fags (of course he smokes) from
his pocket, lights it from the end of the one already burning between
his lips. Hands the newly-lit one to Harry without looking at him.
Harry takes it, and even in the fantasy he coughs as he tries to
imitate the Prince's slow stylish drag upon it.
Half of the Prince's mouth curls up. It's a smile that says
Prat or Wanker without having to
speak, as if Harry's inability to handle the intricacies of nicotine
aren't worth wasting his voice. It's the moment Harry's crafted to
smooth over that incongruity, without realizing it; the Prince's moment
of yes, I let you hang around with me, even though you don't
Harry breaks the silence first. "Sectumsempra," he says, leaving it
open at the end, a question.
"Yeah?" says the Prince. It's more of a grunt.
Harry pauses to put the cigarette back between his lips, drawing on it
carefully so that the smoke doesn't get down his lungs too quickly. "I
used it. On Malfoy."
The Prince doesn't smile, and Harry's glad. He doesn't say anything,
though, and so Harry begins again: "I didn't--" But he can't go on,
because the next word would be think or
know or realize, and the Prince
would scorn that kind of weakness, he knows.
The Prince understands, though. Grunts again, this time a scoffing
noise. "I said it was for enemies, didn't I? Not like I said it was for
your aged granny, or a bit of weekend fun."
The knot in Harry's stomach, tight as a fist since he saw Malfoy lying
in that spray of blood in the girl's lavatory, loosens a little. "Yeah."
It's not the Prince's fault. He labeled the spell. He wasn't writing a
textbook for someone else to follow, either; it wasn’t as if he should
even have had to label it. One could say he did more than was
necessary. It was Harry's choice to use that spell, and at no one's
He doesn't want it to be the Prince's fault.
"That what you came here to say?" says the Prince, inhaling on his
If he says yes maybe he'll be dismissed. If he says
no he'll need something else to say.
"Didn't really come to talk," says Harry, shrugging in a way he thinks
might even be cool enough for the Prince.
The Prince's exhale of the smoke stream is slow and unaccompanied by
any comment, and Harry knows he's passed.
A little flick, and the fag lands on the ground, the Prince uncrossing
his ankles to grind its lit end into the stones with a toe. As he
turns, he takes Harry's cigarette from his hand and stubs that one out
against the wall itself.
He puts his hand to the side of Harry's neck, leans in a little.
Sniffs. "You smell like someone else. That girl."
The way he says girl would make a Zen Buddhist snarl
and go on the defensive.
Harry says, "You going to tell me there hasn't been anyone except me
since the last time?" Harry's learned this is a good answer. The Prince
never answers this question, and Harry can believe in his fantasy a
The Prince growls. His black hair is falling over one eye and he
doesn't bother to shake it back when he fixes Harry with
that look--that look, delivered one-eyed, is still
perfectly intimidating. Harry stands his ground.
The moment doesn't break, and neither of them backs down. The moment
simply becomes the next, when The Prince moves his hand from the wall
at Harry's side to his side, his waist, pulling
Harry's belt open. Harry always has a belt on in these fantasies. It
wouldn't do to look too eager.
There is no kiss. Harry can't imagine the kiss, not at the beginning of
their encounters and probably not at the end, either. A kiss would
require a bed, a more intimate coupling than what's about to happen
here, someone freer with words and gestures of affection. A kiss would
require someone worthy of the Half-Blood Prince, someone who could
inhale cigarette smoke without coughing and earn those little
vulnerabilities from him.
But what Harry gets isn't unsatisfying. The Prince has his belt open,
and Harry waits until about then to reach for the placket of the
Prince's trousers (sometimes he has a belt and sometimes not; it's not
as if he would care if someone thought him eager), as if to show he's
waited for permission. The Prince stares at Harry's face as he slips
his hand into the waist of Harry's pants, but when Harry's own hand is
upon him, that's when his gaze shifts; he groans and his eyes are
looking at the stone wall over Harry's shoulder, or perhaps at Harry's
shoulder. Harry curls his hand about the Prince's cock and tries to see
if he can make him groan again, all the while closing his lips against
his own moans, biting his lip as the Prince's fingers reach under to
cup his balls and lift them free of the bunched-up clothing about his
Harry's fingers, gripping just a little bit harder around that cock
than he himself likes, do earn him another groan, and an "Oh, fuck,
yes..." This is why Harry tries not to say anything himself at first;
he fears the sound of that fuck coming from his own
mouth will sound like he's trying to fake the same audacity, the same
They never call each other by name. Harry wouldn't know what to call
the Prince, and so it doesn't seem right for the Prince to use his.
This is one of the later fantasies. Meaning Harry's moved it past the
handjobs to something more complex, and the Prince pushes Harry back up
against the wall with one hand at the center of his chest, and goes to
his knees. The other hand is still cupping Harry's balls, lifting his
cock with it at the same time. He licks first, licks Harry from the
base of his cock to its tip, uses his tongue on the head with fierce,
messy attention before taking the hard length in his mouth. As Harry is
enveloped, the sound he makes is unguarded and very, very uncool: a
pup's whine, a strangled click in the back of his throat, three little
gasps like he still has the cigarette in his mouth and is trying
The Prince stands back up. This is another feature of the later
fantasies; Harry would have had the two finish each other off with
one-after-the-other blowjobs once upon a time, but in this one the
Prince shoves his own pants further down so that his cock juts free,
black hair marching up to his navel, thicker than Harry's own. No
kissing, no, but he presses forward, his face and mouth not far from
Harry's, fixing Harry's eyes as their cocks make contact and Harry
sucks in breath again, feeling the pulse of the smooth underside of the
cock against his, the heat of it, there at the moment where it doesn't
matter who's more eager.
A shift as the Prince lifts a foot, raises it high enough to catch at
the crotch of Harry's trousers, steps right into the fabric strained
taut between Harry's thighs and shoves them down to his ankles, caught
beneath his foot. Trapped, Harry can't free his feet, nor can he bring
his legs together as that intervening foot angles to shove his feet as
far apart as the trousers will allow. He has his hands free, of course,
but those are already curled about the Prince's shoulders, and God help
him if he's going to let go now.
The angle is awkward, Harry's cock now being stimulated more by the
Prince's thigh, but it's an eager, demanding thigh, and the Prince's
cock is finding enough purchase on Harry's hip to be worth the
thrusting and the Prince himself is softly snarling between clenched
teeth. They rub and thrust and duel against each other, and Harry's
eyes close, only to open when he feels the Prince's hand cup his bare
arse--not merely the caress of a hand, but five impatient fingers,
sliding towards and then down his cleft, spreading him, a single finger
seeking the wrinkled pucker that resists the entrance. The finger
insists. Harry hisses.
There's a sound the Prince makes then, a contented
hunh of noise that isn't related to arousal--it
would be a purr of satisfaction, if the Prince were pretentious enough
to purr. Satisfaction at having forced that sound out of Harry, and the
finger penetrating him twists just so, turning Harry's hiss into
something between a pant and a moan. "Fuck, " Harry says then, and
can't worry how it sounds, the word distorted against the Prince's
shoulder, where Harry's head has come to droop in helpless surrender.
There's hot dampness on Harry's belly that isn't sweat; the Prince is
pressing against him hard, cock dragging at the juncture of Harry's hip
and stomach, marking him with the trails of spunk threading from it. He
hasn't come, but he's getting there, the sounds in his throat growls
now, his forehead pushed against Harry's, still nothing close to a kiss
between them. Harry hasn't let go of his shoulders; he smells the musk
rising off both of them, his own arousal honing as he breathes it in.
He pushes back against the finger in his arse, and the fantasy lets
him, for all that he should be trapped against that wall, caught in his
clothing and bared waist to ankles as his cock and balls bounce against
the thigh spreading his own legs, mercilessly pulling him on towards
Neither throws his head back as he comes. Both pant their orgasms out
face to face, foreheads still touching, Harry's hands still clutching
at the Prince and the Prince's finger still buried deep in Harry's
arse. Harry is aware of everything: the way his cock softens and the
feel of it against the hairs on the Prince's thigh, the throb of his
arse around that finger, his utter lack of an inclination to move, then
It's the Prince who does move at last, starting by lowering his thigh
from between Harry's legs, leaving the finger in Harry's arse until
last. It makes Harry shudder when he slips it free, clutch a little
harder at the Prince's shoulders.
The Prince draws up his trousers with enviable casualness, as if he
could just as easily remove them; one way or the other, doesn't matter,
he'd still walk away without a care. It's he who helps Harry put his
clothing to rights, ignoring any mess smeared on either skin or fabric,
even running his fingers through Harry's hair at the last as if to give
it a quick comb-through. "Fuck off," he says fondly, with a last
hair-ruffle, "I'll see you later."
This, then, is what slips up on Harry when he can't resist it. He
thought the fantasy was killed when he learned the Prince's identity,
killed dead like a man falling from a tower.
But somehow it keeps coming back. It's utterly unfair, that it should
be so powerful. It didn't go away when he began dating Ginny, but that
didn't bother him at the time--he hadn't stopped liking toffee when he
discovered chocolate, he reasoned, and it was only a fantasy after all.
But it shouldn't have survived Snape.
Now when the fantasy comes back, there are little changes--the Prince
still has black hair, but now he'll realize it's slicker, as if with
hair oil. Or the eyes, no longer merely sharp but beetle-black. At
those moments Harry's sure he'll break free, that the fantasy will let
It doesn't. And he hates Snape for so many things, and that is not the
least of them.
Dumbledore's portrait sleeps, or rouses to say hello and ask if there
are any boiled sweets to be had. Queries about horcruxes or Voldemort
are met with confused smiles or enormous yawns. Even Phineas Nigellus
was never so unhelpful, and soon they stop asking.
Slytherin's locket turns out to be purloined not by Mundungus Fletcher,
as Harry had first thought (and spent useless days pursuing), but by
Kreacher. When threats don't work Harry hits Kreacher, more than once,
hard enough to draw elf blood. When he has the locket in hand, Harry
tells himself that Kreacher deserved it and it was necessary. Later he
remembers Lucius Malfoy taking his cane to Dobby, and runs to the
bathroom to be sick.
Gryffindor's relic is not the sword; though it would have made things
so much simpler if it had been that obvious, at least Harry does not
have to destroy that particular token. But the relic is indeed
something associated with Hogwarts. The Room of Requirement proves to
have a key, plain brass but roiling with magic, and when their spells
reduce it to ash Harry feels as if they should have a moment of silence
for the secret piece of Hogwarts that is destroyed with it.
Hufflepuff's cup is the next to last, because they have all forgotten
the rules of hiding something in plain sight. When Hermione asks what
Dumbledore used to drink the potion in Riddle's cave, Harry remembers
Dumbledore seemed to conjure it out of the air, and that it gleamed
like crystal. And when she asks whether they brought it with them when
they left, Harry goes cold.
He does not think he has, after all he has been through, the courage to
go back to that cave and that lake alone and face the Inferi. But he
does not go alone. He takes Kreacher, whom the boat will not recognize
as another wizard. It does not prove necessary for someone to drink the
contents of the basin again--that was for the locket, and the goblet,
gold under the crystal illusion, is lying there on the island where
Harry left it. But he looks at Kreacher as they return in the boat, and
knows that he would have forced Kreacher to drink it to his death if
necessary, and thinks about what kind of man he has become.
And then there is Nagini. Necessarily left 'til last, because to find
the snake means to find Voldemort.
Distance magics prove useless. Moody and McGonagall and Lupin and
Hermione's combined efforts to create a sympathetic doppelganger of the
snake fail. They no longer have spies in Voldemort's inner circle. They
come at last to the conclusion that Harry, cynic that he is, knew was
inevitable: the destruction of Voldemort's last horcrux will take place
in Voldemort's very presence, and Harry must be there.
Harry doesn't tell his idea to Ron or to Hermione. He doesn't tell it
to anyone except for Lupin, who listens without bleating about its
being too dangerous. It's stupidly dangerous. That's the point. Lupin
agrees that Voldemort is unlikely to see through it. That's the other
Harry's messages to Wormtail are magic-borne, on dreams and mirror
charms and rattusspeak. When Wormtail at last
returns the contact and he and Harry arrive at their secret meeting,
Harry's performance is no effort at all to affect. He is too numbed by
now to show fear, or to bollocks the whole thing up with too passionate
a display. He is the very picture of a young man at the end of his
short list of ideas--dully, quietly imploring the conspirator in his
parents' murder to redeem himself, to take the offer of immunity (if
not quite forgiveness) and rejoin the side on which he began. Harry's
insistence that he knows there is still good in Wormtail is said
without any insistence at all, and so bears that glimmer of credibility
he could never have faked had he tried.
And Wormtail betrays him, as Harry and Lupin both knew he would. Hexes
him helpless, strips him of his wand and the back-up wand that was
meant to be found...and takes him to Voldemort.
What Wormtail has failed to find and remove is the tracking charm, and
so Harry is still alive--bleeding and in great, great pain, but
alive--when the first alarms reach Voldemort that something is
happening in the outer perimeters of his lair.
Despite multiple bouts of the Cruciatus Curse and the nearness of his
own death, Harry has been trying to keep Nagini's whereabouts in the
room on the periphery of his awareness. He even manages not to fail at
it when Snape walks in. Snape, ever black-clad, ever sneering, as if no
time has passed from the time Harry was eleven years old.
There's no agreed-upon cue. No signal Harry was waiting for, beyond the
awareness that the Order was making its attack and that he'd soon have
back-up. But when Snape enters--Snape, whose filthy, hateful bat-shape
Harry has not seen except in memory for all these months--the rage
boils away Harry's pain for a moment, and he knows he can act.
And he opens his mouth--they were counting on Voldemort wanting him to
scream, hoping he would not be gagged--and says, "
-nd," completing the stasis-spell that no one told him could
not be created because he didn't bother to ask them before he invented
it. The spell is directed not at Snape but at Wormtail, because
Wormtail's not subtle and Snape, God help him, just might be fast
enough to shield. Wormtail's wand goes flying into Harry's outflung
hand as Accio wand, a spell never spoken by someone
who doesn't already have a wand in hand, crackles in the suffocating
He has to defend himself before he can look to Nagini. Defend himself
he does. Snape had called him unfit for Unforgivables, and Harry hasn't
learned differently in all these months. But he's a duellist now, more
confident of the skills he has earned than if he were drunk on Felix
Felicis. Two Death Eaters go down, out for this round.
Neither of them are Snape. He doesn't see Snape, and he tells himself
he's looking for Snape first and not Nagini because it's fatal if he
misses Snape coming up behind him. And then Snape is
behind him, and Harry catches Snape in his first mistake. Harry sees
and shields and ducks and Snape's hex goes awry--how lucky for Harry
and how unlike Snape, because the bolt of magic slips past Harry to hit
Wormtail full-force. And Harry hears Voldemort
scream; he knows that high-pitched voice and it's a
scream like the Dark Lord is in pain, not just outraged. Harry thinks
flesh, blood, and bone and can't quite sort out
why--why Wormtail's injury (death?) would affect Voldemort but he can't
stop to think longer. Snape missed, Snape is still reacting to the hex
gone wrong and it's the only chance Harry will get, he knows it; he
doesn't need an Unforgivable but the strength of the hatred behind the
spell he does throw would sustain one if he did.
The name of the spell tears Harry's throat and the force of it rocks
his arm as it leaves his wand and the burning light of it catches Snape
just below the heart.
Only then can he see Voldemort. Voldemort has staggered, Voldemort is
standing by his throne and clutching at it as if it's all that's
keeping him upright. And Nagini rises on her coils, rises in front of
her master: a servant, a sentinel, a target.
Later, Harry recognizes many reasons which contributed to his next
mistake: his focus on the horcruxes, exhaustion, loss of blood. They're
no excuse. He should have made sure, before he turned his back on Snape.
Who has reached from where he's fallen on the stones to catch Harry's
ankle and jerk him off-balance.
Harry lands with his knee in Snape's solar plexus, which must hurt, but
only slows Snape for a moment, who reaches up--not for Harry's wand
hand, but for a fistful of Harry's hair. In that moment, there's no
spell on Harry's lips; the one he was preparing for Nagini is made for
the destruction of a horcrux and is useless here. Snape's black gaze
fixes on Harry's, and Harry sees a dying man.
A shout. A sizzle of magic nearby. A voice he knows calling his name.
The Order has broken through.
Snape doesn't react to it. Stares only at Harry.
And with his free hand, reaches up and peels the scar from Harry's
forehead like a bit of apple skin, puts it to his lips, and swallows it
There is light, light that seems to pour directly from Snape, building,
blinding, and then Harry's knees hit the stones hard. Ash whirls all
about him--the same gold-and-black ash that has accompanied the
destruction of each horcrux by spell--and Snape is
Harry doesn't understand it. It's too much. He struggles to his feet,
as the thought Nagini worries at his brain
distantly, like fingers tapping on aquarium glass. It can't seem to
make contact with anything real. He sees Nagini now, still between him
and Voldemort, but he can't seem to keep her in focus--and that's how
he realizes he knows even if he doesn't understand. Harry stands there,
awash in the painless warmth where his scar used to be, and the thought
Dumbledore was wrong seems like blasphemy, though
he's carried that same bitter thought since the night the old man died.
But to have to add the clause Not about Snape--about the last
Horcrux--that is the blasphemy. And it comes to him that it
feels wrong not just because of Snape, but because Harry is still
wrong--that Dumbledore purposely naming Nagini as a horcrux meant she
would be left until last. Because if it would take a death to destroy
the horcrux in Harry's scar, Harry would have seen to it that it was
his own and no other's.
Harry, standing where he is without even his wand raised, does not even
see who sends the hex at Voldemort. A plain red jet of a hex, not an
Unforgivable but no less deadly to a man who has lived many years and
has only one small fragment of soul left to him.
Later Harry does not even ask who cast it.
And of Snape, there is no body left to bury.
Dumbledore is not asleep this time, when Harry goes to his portrait.
"It is over, then. Well done, dear boy," he says with a solemn
upturning of lips that is void of any frivolity, or feigning any
Harry sits on the edge of a chair, his hands pressed together. "You can
tell me now, can't you. About Snape."
"Yes," Dumbledore says, with a sad nod that does not even have the
smile any longer. "I can tell you now."
Harry listens, and when his former headmaster is done, he is able to
say, "Thank you, sir," and leave the room without breaking down.
He wants to scream. He knows the scream is in him, and if he screams he
fears he may never stop. So instead he waits. A day. Two. Waits in his
room until the moment he knows will be upon him does come at last. The
moment that comes when he's at his lowest.
"See, you were right about me in the first place, weren't you," says
the Half-Blood Prince.
And he's able to weep then, weep quietly and long, for the better part
of the day, and by the time he's done, Harry's even accepted that no,
he's not really a murderer, no more than Snape committed murder. They
weren't pawns in Dumbledore's game; they chose the side of the light,
and the rest was just fate. Fate's not a person you can blame. That's
hard, like the rest of it is hard, but it's true.
A portrait's testimony has shaky legal precedence, but Harry is their
war hero, and his insistence gets Severus Snape the posthumous Order of
Merlin. But it's not enough for Harry; a military award is the sort of
thing that gets buried within textbooks, smothered in favor of tastier
slander and debate. He requests, then demands, a statue; he gets it
when he promises two-thirds of the funding for it.
Before the statue is even completed, Harry still isn't satisfied. It's
not as if he needs to work for a living, so he announces his intention
to become a historian of the war--no authorized biographies for him;
he'll do his own telling of the tale. It strikes him that people would
pay to come see him speak, too, so he arranges that, planning a lecture
tour of Wizarding Britain. His ideas get loftier. A Continental tour. A
worldwide lecture series.
It's not unsuccessful, but early on, even the more charitable of his
critics can't ignore the repetitiveness of his agenda. Yes, Severus
Snape was a war hero, not the traitor everyone supposed. Yes, they've
heard it. Yes, it's getting a bit old.
Harry hears the name "Pilgrim Potter" said with some amusement--there
are probably worse being said where he can't hear--but he finishes out
the lecture series, goes on to write his books, creates several Potions
scholarships because it doesn't matter what's being said about him. He
can give Severus Snape nothing now except remembrance and reputation,
and it's paltry, in Harry's eyes.
Especially when the man gave Harry one other--unrealized and
unintentional--gift, there at the end. He gave Harry back the
Half-Blood Prince--memories no longer poisoned with hate.
Only sorrowful and piercing, like a briar in springtime.
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