The note disappeared with a poof, as it had promised. But
was no comfort.
And every word of it was ingrained in Harry's mind.
He sprinted for the door of the dormitory, each word ringing in his
like mocking laughter:
"We know you won't be any part of this, since it's YOUR misery
talking about here, so it looks like it's up to the rest of us to
"Snape's been an absolute prick about the number of detentions
been giving you--"
Down the stairs to the common room. No, no, NO...!
"-- and the REASONS! God, did the greasy bugger piss off a
in his room, or what? What is his PROBLEM? It's gone two continents
the usual that's-SO-not-fair typical Snapeiness of his tiff with
in general and The Boy Who Lived in particular--"
Common room door. The fat lady squeaked, "Well! Of all the--" as he
the portrait aside, but he didn't stop to apologize.
", so we've decided, if we can't make him stop, we're going to
him good and sorry he DIDN'T.
"Remember the story Sirius told us about how the Slytherins did a
on their Head of House back in 1972? And made it look like the
did it? Well, we figure they just might be devious enough to try the
thing twice, assuming no one'd think they'd dare... at least, that's
we're counting on everyone to believe!
"So we've been planning this for a week--"
The bloody staircase was moving! Fuck, why NOW? Come on, come on--
"--and all we've needed is the right moment, and tonight we had
perfect excuse; that wanker Malfoy bitched about feeling off-color at
and went to bed early--"
No, NO, NO--
"--and we've got our hands on one of his spare robes from the
and when they see all the Gryffindor things that were 'planted' about
room, it's going to be a piece of THAT they're going to find wedged on
convenient nail by the door-- at least we're betting they do! Snape'll
sure to find it, after, and he's too suspicious by half to be taken in
the fake evidence-- I mean, the FAKE fake evidence-- oh, you
The staircase finally made a connection he could cross, but it was
to take him five bloody minutes out of his way; should he wait for the
"So this time, it'll look exactly the way it did back then: full
evidence it was Gryffindor, but we're counting on it to look too
because of the history, and they'll all be looking for other clues, and
they'll have Malfoy, whose whereabouts no one'll be able to verify! Not
Malfoy! Oh, Ron, you prick! Dumbledore, you conniving PILLOCK! WHY
you let me tell any of them?
"Just wish you could be there with us, Harry-mate. But you're off
that detention with Filch, and truth be told, you'd stop us from doing
one anyway. Just like we had to keep it from Hermione; she wouldn't
it funny by half. But it's going to serve the git right, it will. HIS
for teaching us about invisibility potions this term, ha ha!
"Oh, and don't worry about us leaving this letter for you to find
you get back-- it's spelled so that if anybody but you tries to read
it self-destructs. And as soon as YOU'VE finished reading it, it'll do
"Creevey's getting a picture, don't worry! See you later--
"Ron & Conspirators. Five, four, three, two, one..." Poof.
A suit of armor lifted its visor in surprise as Harry barreled past
saying, "Are we having a fire drill?" in a rather high-pitched,
voice. He didn't answer, already halfway down the corridor.
Why, WHY had Dumbledore insisted his training sessions had to be
secret? From even his best friends! They could have HELPED him! It was
bloody HARD having no one to share these secrets with! Oh, right,
knew. Lupin knew. Snape knew, because they were the ones giving
the separate tutoring. And of course, Malfoy, but he didn't bloody
You couldn't talk to Malfoy.
And Snape was the one giving Harry the bloody excuse of detention at
twice a week, so that he could spend the hours with one of the
professors without his friends growing suspicious.
Malfoy didn't need such a complicated excuse, but then, he didn't
friends. He had minions, and if he wanted to tell them to
for a few hours, or give them some lame excuse like feeling under the
that was all he needed to do.
Harry still couldn't believe that Dumbledore had decided that Malfoy
redeemable. Harry didn't care how powerful Malfoy was proving
his only redeeming factor, in Harry's opinion, was one with which he hoped
Dumbledore had no experience.
Because that was just too revolting to contemplate.
And he and Malfoy had both been with Lupin tonight (not, as his
had stated, Filch), refining their responses to higher-order hexes.
Which Snape knew, of course.
Ron, you hapless, well-meaning WANKER!
The dungeons. Almost there.
He should have told them anyway. Told Dumbledore the secrecy thing
bollocks, he needed someone else to vent his fears with. And no,
and Malfoy never talked about any such thing when they were alone
Malfoy didn't use his mouth for talking much during those times
So, since he couldn't talk to the boy he was... practicing physical
with (yeah, that was a good way of putting it), and he couldn't talk to
and Hermione kept trying to take up a lot of Lupin's spare time
said it was for extra credit work; yeah, he'd just bet. Funny
she kept getting crushes on Dark Arts teachers. Well, okay, not Moody
Quirell. Just half of them, then.), that had left Snape.
And you couldn't talk to Snape either.
Oh, you could get talked at. Snape talked at him a
About how he didn't deserve this kind of special treatment.
appreciate it. Still expected everything to be handed to him like a
Special treatment his arse.
Harry had learned, very early on, that trying to explain (mouthing
off, Snape called it) didn't make the tirade stop. It earned him
of the same.
Which didn't mean that Harry had chosen to curb that mouth of his.
No, Snape didn't like him.
But that didn't mean he deserved the kind of treatment "Ron and
It can't be too late, Harry thought. I can stop them. I HAVE to stop
Snape knows Malfoy couldn't have done it! And that'll mean...
The door to the potions classroom, behind which room lay Snape's
was slightly ajar. Harry didn't bother to knock.
Belatedly he realized that he could have brought his Invisibility
If he WAS too late, he could simply leave without anyone realizing he'd
there. Too late to worry about that now. He threw the door open.
Yes, he DEFINITELY should have remembered to wear the invisibility
Harry spared a moment to be impressed, despite himself, at how
the Gryffindors had recreated the prank Sirius had described.
And then all such thoughts crumbled. Oh, they were doomed. Snape was
to figure it out. Surely he'd already figured it out.
Certainly, Harry thought, Snape's brain was working just FINE, what
all the blood that had to be rushing to it in that position.
"Professor?" he croaked. Never, never again going ANYWHERE without
Snape just looked at him.
He didn't even waste a glare on him.
It was remarkable how much Snape could communicate with just a cool
even with the lower half of his face obscured by a gag, and that stare
from an upside-down position, dangling, as he was, from the chandelier.
Oh, they were in SUCH trouble.
Now, some of it, Snape just might be able to understand, in the name
school house pranks.
Tied up, hanging upside-down from the ceiling was fairly standard
for loathed professors. Stripped to his socks? Only to be expected.
argyle Tommy Hilfiger socks, Harry noted with just a bit of surprise.
had no idea.) The red-and-gold paint, spelling out GRYFFINDORS RULE on
chest, well, that was nothing personal. (Harry remembered asking Ron
the hell he was doing with two-toned edible flavored body paints, the
night. Ron had muttered and not given him an answer.)
He might even forgive them the goat in the corner, wearing a
sort of jacket reading SPAWN OF SNAPE, chewing on Snape's costly supply
But the graffiti on his desk.
Snape's antique commemorative polished cherrywood desk.
In Neon-Magik (TM) pink paint.
That read, "I'M SECRETLY IN LOVE WITH HARRY POTTER."
No. That, Snape wasn't ever going to forgive.
Terrified to approach, yet more terrified to run away (Voldemort had
on a Snape in full wrath), Harry crossed the room (avoiding the goat)
gingerly pulled the gag away from Snape's mouth.
"You--" he choked as though he'd been the one gagged-- "you
Snape still kept giving him that cool stare. "Perfect. Couldn't be
"Do you know," Snape said, "that I've always been curious about what
would like to be a bat. In fact, if I'd studied to be an animagus, I
I might have liked to have had a bat form. Now, however, I find my
Oh, god. How was he supposed to pretend that he had nothing to do
all this after charging in here like a ferret on crack? Maybe there was
way to salvage what had happened, try to make Ron's plan work after
"Did-- did you see who did this?" Just like a solicitor, as Snape
had told him, you never ask a witness the question unless you're quite
that you already know the answer. Ron had said they'd used the
"Oh, I know who did it."
Um. That hadn't been his question.
"Believe me, Potter, I know."
"Oh, you don't mean the-- the Gryffindors Rule thing? That's...
maybe a little obvious, don't you think?"
"Ah. Is that what that says. It's a bit hard to read. When it's
down. And you're upside down. Hanging FROM THE CEILING. And it's
ON YOUR CHEST."
"Um...was that a hint?" Harry bleated.
Snape rolled his eyes. "Oh, for fuck's sake."
Hearing profanity coming from Snape like that made Harry bleat
"Right, I suppose I should just... get you down, right? I mean, that
be the... best thing to do... Okay, I've... got my wand, and I think I
use the... the spell Dumbledore taught me to release bonds... but-- oh,
you, if you fall from there, that wouldn't be... wouldn't be good, I'll
maybe I should just... Um, I'm babbling, aren't I?"
Snape's _expression had remained quite fixed during this. "Potter, I
the suspicion I shall have a pleasanter night if you leave now. At
I will be merely hanging here, and not hanging here while I have to
to your idiot ramblings."
"Right. I mean, no, not right, I mean, I'll-- go about
you down, properly, then shall I?"
"And this is the hope of the Wizarding World," Snape side to no one
particular. "This, and that nitwit Malfoy. Kill me now, someone,
It'll be quicker."
Harry was determined not to wince this time. "Look, just-- give it a
for a moment! This is a little odd to see, okay?" Absurdly, Harry
he was blushing. He'd been trying very hard to appear to be paying no
to that portion of Snape's anatomy; of course, trying not to
at your naked professor's most naked bits was rather like telling
you weren't going to think of a house-elf's tea cozy; tea cozies then
all you could think of. Similarly, he'd had a rather graphic gawk at
Snape. All of naked Snape.
"Let me get something to keep you from falling..." He set about
it the menial way. Despite all the training the three wizards had been
Malfoy and him, Harry found his ability to think of a single spell that
cushion Snape's fall had left him.
He decided to push the desk the necessary few feet forward that it
take to put it just below Snape's head, which at least would give the
a shorter distance to be lowered, and would allow Harry to reach most
the way to the chandelier. He winced again as he realized he'd just put
neon-pink Harry-fancying graffiti within even shorter range of Snape's
Not that he doubted Snape had missed it the first time.
The goat bleated. Harry remembered something about how goats will
anything, and worried that it was going to start on something else
of Snape's in the room... and that made him remember the planted
Ron had written of. Pretending he'd just noticed it, he pulled the
swatch of torn fabric away from where it was stuck, next to the door.
"Oh, my," he said, aware that it was probably going to be horribly
but appalled to realize that it had come out as a sort of yelp. "Look
this. On a nail. Piece of someone's cloak, I ... do believe. Must have
torn from the perpetrator as he fled. Surely you can... oh, god,"
he broke down, "you're not going to buy a word of this, are you?"
"Not. One. Single. Word."
"B-but this is a Slytherin classic!" Harry knew it was too
yet something wouldn't let him give up completely. "They did it just
way, back in the 70's, trying to make it look like it was Gryffindor!"
"Potter, your friends were doomed before you showed up. Even
they hadn't the cleverness to remember that every Hogwarts house has
own unique password into the Potions Classroom. I'm quite sure that was
Weasley's voice I heard shouting 'Wollstonecraft' just before that wave
invisible schoolboys crashed into here like some toffee-breathed lynch
Harry sat down miserably and put his head in his hands. "They didn't
They didn't know the detentions were all an excuse! Dumbledore wouldn't
me tell them! Oh, god...!"
Snape didn't answer. Harry knew any other protests would only seem
and more pathetic. "You're..." He stopped, gulped. "You're going to
off a lot of points from Gryffindor for this, aren't you?"
"ALL of them."
Another wince, despite his resolve. "All of them?"
"All of them. Every single point Gryffindor HAS. Every single point
could possibly EARN. PROACTIVELY. For the REST OF THE YEAR."
Harry turned, aghast. "Can you-- DO that?"
Snape fixed him with a baleful eye.
"Right. Stupid question."
"And don't think you can make me change my mind about it, Potter. I
care if you leave me here all night, and I know you're still too
to do anything to me that's truly despicable, while I'm in this
Harry stood. "How do YOU know?" he said, affronted and not quite
Again, that look.
Again, Harry's wince.
And then, a thought.
Harry gulped against a throat suddenly gone dry. No. He couldn't...
Yes, he bloody well could. He was never going to get a chance like
How long had he waited for a chance like this?
He focused on looking as pathetic as possible. (He figured he didn't
far to go.)
"Professor... there's really no way to change your mind on that?
going to take every point from Gryffindor?"
"Believe it, Potter."
"Oh, I do believe you. It's just..."
He walked the few steps necessary to bring him face-to-face with the
Snape. And the height of Snape's suspension meant they were, exactly,
"It's just if you mean it... then I guess I finally have nothing to
And Harry kissed him, full on the mouth.
He had a moment, before Snape demonstrated that he'd processed what
going on, to assess how it felt. He'd imagined it would feel electric,
it was nothing of the sort. It was soft and irresistible and made his
want to buckle in a way that felt more like a warm fuzzy blanket had
thrown over his head, rather than because of any zinging nerve
Harry pulled back. "Oh. Oh, my. That... Professor, I think I'm going
have to do that again."
"Don't you even think ab-- MMMMPPPPHHH!"
Harry was in a state of supreme bliss. He no longer cared about
about the exhaustion of the extra training, or about the goat, which
indeed, trying to eat the scrap of torn cloak he'd dropped on the
He was kissing Snape, at last.
Oh, there had been plenty of reasons to be provoking the man, over
years. Pity that the provocation had never gone quite the way
wanted it to.
He'd just have to make up for lost time.
He'd never known how...interesting it was to kiss someone
down. Both partners got to suck on the other's lower lip at the same
how perfect was that?
Though Snape wasn't sucking anything just at the moment.
But at least he wasn't biting. Harry broke the kiss again to see the
on his face.
It was impressive. And this was Snape he was talking about.
"What in the seven hells are you...DOING, Potter?"
"Well," and Harry grinned for the first time that night, "right now,
kissing you. I'd say that was a real pity, wouldn't you?"
"Are you COMPLETELY insane?"
"For having a crush on you for years? Probably."
"Oh, I get it." Snape's _expression suddenly became an extreme
of his famous sneer. Sort of like sneer-on-Pepper-Up-Potion. "This is
product of your limited little mind to come up with something to appall
yes? Well, it's NOT going to work, Potter."
Then laughed. "You know, Professor, I guess I AM completely dim.
right. Completely, utterly right. I am an idiot." He leaned closer.
that idea never even crossed my mind."
He leaned in and kissed Snape again, this time taking advantage of
professor's slightly open-mouth gape to slide his tongue inside. Oh...
was very odd, though not at all unpleasant: feeling the weight of
tongue falling onto his by virtue of gravity, before Snape quite
what was happening and tried to pull it away in indignation, but Harry
care; he kept exploring the depths of the other man's mouth as if this
a much better way of asking what a person had last eaten: sesame
and chocolate, if Harry was any judge.
This time, when Harry gave him his mouth back, Snape finally got
to spluttering. "You have gone completely around the bend, Potter."
"Probably." He brushed his lips over Snape's cheekbone in a light
kiss. "Chalk it up to being a hormonal teenager."
"My ARSE! You're getting enough from that rutting little pretty boy
I should think!"
"Malfoy?" Harry shook his head, not caring that Snape knew about
but caring very much that he understood how things stood between Draco
him. "Malfoy's a boy. His idea of foreplay is to say, 'Sorry, was that
fast?' while he's picking pubic hairs out of his teeth. He's got no
of art at all. And he's a total bottom. What I want is a man."
He licked Snape's mouth. "A man like you."
Snape made a gagging noise, and Harry could tell it had nothing to
with the lick. "Oh, PLEASE."
"Don't tell me you have no idea," Harry said, and he was surprised
find that he could sneer as disdainfully as Snape, when he had the
"I've had six years of this. Six years of 'How dare you display such
Mr. Potter.' 'You're a pathetic excuse for a wizard, Mr. Potter.'
Mr. Potter would like to tell the class what he finds so amusing. Five
from Gryffindor for such disrespectful behavior.'" Harry got his eyes
on Snape's topsy-turvy gaze. "All delivered in a sultry bedroom
that has gotten me hard from the first day I heard it. Believe
Snape, it's your fault that I'm like this."
"The nerve of you! How dare you imply--"
"Oh, that's good, Snape. That's just the way I like it." He kissed
angry mouth, quickly. "Call me insolent brat."
Once again, completely out of character for him, Snape had been
speechless by Harry. Then: "No!"
"All right, then, call me treacle-tart sugar plum."
Snape made a noise like he'd just swallowed a quaffle.
Harry kissed the tip of Snape's long nose. "No, you couldn't say that,
could you? And that's fine. That's just the way I like it."
Not waiting for a response, Harry crawled up onto the desk, not
if the paint on it was still wet or not. He got on his hands and knees
in front of Snape's dangling form.
"Would you like me in this position, Professor?" Harry smirked. "All
talk of Filch's about 'proper punishment, back in the good old days'...
you know how desperately the thought of that drives me inSANE?"
slightly so he could still look Snape in the eye, he said, "I'll bet it
you too. You'd like that, wouldn't you, giving me some old-fashioned
What would you use, Professor, instead of these silly house point
and wussy little detentions?"
"You have become completely demented."
"What would you use?" Harry repeated softly.
"Stop this RIGHT NOW, Potter."
"Goddammit, Potter, I'm going to thrash you within an inch of--"
Snape stopped. Harry smiled.
"I knew you wouldn't disappoint me, Professor."
Harry got up from his crouch and set his tongue on the red R in the
RULE painted upon Snape's chest. He started licking. Mmm, currant.
"'M sure," he said between licks, as he started to work on the
slogan, "that you've had just as many fantasies as I have about that
of thing. Was I in them, Professor? Is that why you think it's such fun
scream at me?" The gold paint had the flavor of buttered toast, oddly.
you ever have something specific in mind? Me bent over your desk, for
Snape might have been ready to say something, but just at that
Harry had begun to tongue his nipple, and now it was his turn to bleat.
sighed and nuzzled more firmly. "I'd do it, you know, " he murmured.
for whatever you decided to pull out of your desk drawer-- I'm thinking
switch or a ruler, what do you say?-- sick with the anticipation,
you're going to count the number of whatever it is you're going to
on me just so I can hear that incredible voice of yours. Wouldn't you
to do that to me?"
Snape inhaled in a hiss, but still didn't grace Harry's narration
"Don't you think I deserve it? Haven't you always? For this... let's
what would you call it...brazen act, if not anything else? Come
tell me you want to." He'd almost completely licked the slogan away.
Harry wanted to believe he didn't hear real conviction in that word.
"Would you ENJOY it?" Snape said between clenched teeth.
"But I could pretend NOT to. I could beg and plead, or I could bite
lip and cry and look like I was sucking it up and taking it, like a
"Why, precisely, would a 'good' little schoolboy need disciplining?"
"You're dis-CUSS-ing it!" Harry singsonged joyously. "Oh, good, I
I was on the right track! Speaking of which..." Rising up on his knees,
clasped his arms about Snape's waist and licked up the man's breastbone
past the pointed end of it to come within an inch of Snape's navel with
tongue. And in this position, that wasn't far at all from...
Oh, he wasn't going to stop now. No way.
"You know something, Professor, I always imagined--"
"So help me, Potter," Snape snarled, "if you make ONE pun involving
word 'hung,' not only will I scream rape so loud that it'll bring half
castle, but as soon as I get the chance I will jam that broomstick of
so far up your fundament that even Accio won't get it out!"
Oh. "So. You mean you... weren't planning to scream rape
said Harry happily.
"I most certainly--"
Snape didn't get farther than that with that sentence. And Harry
had nothing further to say just at that moment, as he showed Snape that
did, after all, understand some Latin terms quite well.
Snape, in turn, showed Harry that his use of profanity wasn't that
a thing after all. "Fuck...!"
Harry hummed contentedly, mouth around six inches of Snape's
flesh. Yes, this was quite different in this position as well.
couldn't use his tongue quite so easily on the underside. So he
as best he could.
Snape got back a little more articulation. "Of all the
You presumptuous--! Son of a BITCH!" he degenerated again.
you ballsy little fuck, I'll have you drawn and quartered for
Harry didn't answer. Unless rapid little licks counted as an answer.
Snape tried again: "Do you honestly think I'll let you get AWAY with
And a minute later: "I shan't forget this, OR forgive!"
And a minute later: "You lamentable numbskull, haven't you EVER done
And a minute later: "Mind the TEETH!"
And yet a minute more, said very hoarsely, "Dear god, DON'T stop
"ALL of them?" squealed Ron in dismay.
"All of them," said Harry morosely.
"B-but the cloak! The-the obviousness of the Gryffindor theme! Snape
"Oh, sod off, Ron." Harry said. "It was a STUPID plan. And you cost
the House Cup for it. We can win all the Quidditch matches we have, and
and I and Hermione can whip Voldemort's arse at the end of the year again
and have Dumbledore try to single us out for it-- which, if you think
it, is really perverse: 'Nice job at not being killed, kids,
a bunch of points'-- and it won't make any bloody difference.
total House points at the end of the year will stand at zero."
Ron looked at Harry with the sort of large-eyed, small-mouthed
he hadn't made since he was twelve. "I'm sorry, Harry. We-- I
just trying to stick up for you. Well... and get Snape. Bugger deserved
Harry exhaled heavily, ran a hand through his hair. "I know, Ron.
let's just not talk about it anymore."
"You still going to talk to me?"
"Don't be a git."
Ron exhaled in the same heavy way.
"So," he said after a few moments of silence. "You want to study
me and Hermione tonight."
"Can't," Harry said. "Detention."
"Wh-- from Snape?" said Ron, eyes wide.
"Yup. The first of a series."
"B-but that's not fair! You didn't do anything! It was--"
"Ron." Ron stopped at the hardness of Harry's tone. "Don't."
After a moment, Ron swallowed, and nodded. "Who with?"
"Who do you think?"
"Aw, hell, Harry, I-- I'm sorry."
Harry had to bite back the Don't be that wanted to escape.
never looked forward to anything so much in his life.
Particularly since Snape had promised him that a ruler and a switch would be only the beginning.