- Harry Potter/Ron Weasley Harry Potter/Severus Snape
- Harry Potter Ron Weasley Severus Snape
- Romance Slash
- Multiple Eras
- Goblet of Fire
Published: 02/02/2003Updated: 04/14/2003Words: 58,873Chapters: 14Hits: 107,447
Primer to the Dark Arts
- Story Summary:
- Harry learns he is to be given private (and secret) tutoring in the Dark Arts to protect himself next time he meets Voldemort. His teacher? Professor Snape. Features ghost cats and cursed harps, spells that are supposed to go wrong and don't, a friendly sociopathic Death Eater... and Snape's very naughty, naughty library.
- Chapter Summary:
- Harry learns he is to be given private (and secret) tutoring in the Dark Arts to protect himself next time he meets Voldemort. His teacher? Professor Snape. Features ghost cats and cursed harps, spells that are supposed to go wrong and don't, a friendly sociopathic Death Eater... and Snape's naughty, naughty library. This chapter: Eerily Yours. Snape's perspective, then Harry's. This is the only time note passing will be okay with Professor Snape.
- Author's Note:
- Thank you to CLS for the beta review, and many interesting comments besides.
Severus Snape returned to his apartments fairly humming, in rare form today for some reason. Oh, there were many reasons.
He had wrung thirty points from Gryffindor - take that, Minerva, he thought - and ten from Ravenclaw. He had even wrangled a few from those stubbornly good Hufflepuffs. In a nearly even exchange, Slytherin had won forty-five points, though not all of those were from him. Severus visualized those points levitating through the air, from their respective houses, to his own. Winning of course was wonderful, but winning while the others lost was particularly satisfying, as he watched that exponential surge into the lead. It was more how it was like in the real Wizarding world. When one wizard won, another almost certainly lost. He had learned that young, and thought it best others did as well. Luckily for him, it was also fun.
It had been most amusing to watch the discomfited Harry attempt to explain his four-day absence without any reference to either his private classes in the Dark Arts, (sworn as he was to secrecy by Dumbledore), or his even more illicit new closeness with his Potions teacher. He was, as ever, a bad liar.
Severus had originally listened so they could keep their stories straight. But the results were a scream. After a half-hour of partially overheard entertainment, he brushed by Harry in the hallway, and muttered the proper incantation. Then with the briefest nudge with his wand up his sleeve, he put the Listening spell on Harry for lunch. It was illegal, of course (though former spies don't bother with such technicalities), and easy to Ward against if one thought to do so. Amazing how many people didn't. The world was a Fool's Paradise for lawbreakers; something else he had learned as a young Death Eater, much to his shock at the time.
Dumbledore would have his head if he saw this Spell employed. But the temptation was just too great.
Severus had trouble keeping a straight face all through lunch. Harry stumbled and contradicted himself, leaving his friends more confused than before he opened his mouth.
Then Harry was even worse than most people at not looking where ought not - dangerous. It forced Severus to make an excuse to scold him under his breath: "Stop making a fool of yourself." Though in fact, Severus felt warmed by his glances, which clearly sought the man under the robes.
Meanwhile he had a wonderful time mock-glaring at Harry, just to enjoy him. He could get away with it. Most would assume it was just his usual dislike for everything 'Potter.'
Severus decided he rather liked the way Harry squared his shoulders when he stood, a habit from Quidditch, he supposed. Quidditch players had that astonishing sense of balance. It gave Harry, who otherwise would have been gawky, a pleasant bit of poise.
Then Harry arrived five minutes late to Potions class. Deliberately. That raised Severus' eyebrows. Bold of Harry. But the show of independence brought a satisfied inward smile.
Keep it up, Harry, Severus thought, and I may just find that I like the man as much as I disliked the boy.
Those were five of the points he took from Gryffindor today, of course. Whatever the reason, no one came late to his class and got away with it.
So Severus was in a rare good mood as he slid back the hidden panel in the back of the third level dungeon, and said: "Heliotrope."
The passage fanned open to reveal the long square block staircase to his quarters. Despite the fact that these particular quarters were capacious, none of the other Professors had wanted them. Too long a walk. He thought the walk would do some of them good: Professor Sprout was getting positively tubby. It was something Severus took seriously. As a Death Eater he had seen many who could have survived their ordeal, if only they had kept in better physical condition. Not every death had been deliberate. Avert. The simple Charm diverted his mind from that line of thought. He knew where it led. His mind returned to the past like a lodestone, and it was not a pretty place to live. Unfortunate, that virtually everything conspired to remind him of it.
When he finally arrived at his quarters, he spelled the door open and pulled off his cape. Severus was mildly annoyed to find the fire unlit on the stone hearth. A wind whistled down the flue. He reflexively checked for harmful spells. There were none. Not that it was likely at Hogwarts, mind.
But where were the house-elves? No matter. "Incendio!"
With a gesture he lit the fire in his sitting room, and the wall sconce torches, and then with a flourish, all the candles in the mantle candelabra for good measure. He was frugal usually, but he felt good today. His tea wasn't on either, he noticed with irritation. He was getting more than annoyed with the elves' unusual inefficiency. It wasn't as though he'd changed his schedule.
Severus tossed his cape generally in the direction of the coat rack. It neatly snaked out and grabbed it, as quick as a frog's tongue. A cat was curled up on the hearth, not Minerva McGonagall, thank goodness. It stretched, and then walked absently into the fire. It was a ghost cat that came and went as it chose, and had come with the apartments. Severus had the fleeting fantasy that he was the visitor, while the apartments belonged to her. Or him. He never bothered to find out which. He put out saucers of milk for it occasionally, which it licked without disturbing the surface. It seemed to appreciate it nonetheless. Ghost animals made good pets. They were very clean.
He stepped into the bathroom to change, and found puddles left on the floor. Harry. As he crossed to the bedroom he noted and picked up his bathrobe, slightly damp, from the duvet.
What plague had infected the house-elves, that they hadn't cleaned up his mess? Then he remembered. The Sealing Spell, of course!
He had Sealed his quarters so no one could come in while Harry was healing. The house-elves must have gone mad trying to do their job, but it was no use. McGonagall wouldn't even be able to break in (though no doubt Dumbledore could; not that he'd be so rude as to try).
Severus took down the spell, and three or four elves tumbled into the room all at once, in the manner of those who had been pushing on a door until it finally sprang open. They scrambled about frantically, putting the tea on, swabbing the bathroom floor with panicked guilty expressions. They did not bob or apologize. He had them trained not to speak to him or otherwise disturb him, and they knew to stay out of his way. They vanished as suddenly as they'd come.
Then he noticed something out of place. Set prominently in the middle of the kitchen table. The sugar bowl. He was about to summon the elves back, when he realized who must have left it.
Severus leaned on the back of a kitchen chair, and stared at it, with a growing warm glow of amusement. The morning came rushing back. Harry's point was taken at once, of course. What cheek, to call one's Potions Master a liar. Particularly when he was one. Severus mentally awarded ten points to Gryffindor.
His familiar quarters seemed rather echoingly empty all of the sudden. Well, Harry had been a handful while he was here, and had somehow managed to take up a lot of space and valuable time. As well as a tendency to sprawl, and take up more than his share of the bed. Severus tried to convince himself he was glad to have his privacy back, but he was too honest to fall for his own lies.
He realised then, he was still holding the damp robe. As he touched it, it smelled faintly of that sweet outdoor musk scent that was Harry.
He summoned the house-elves for dinner in his quarters. It must have looked odd to them (if they had such thoughts) to find the intimidating Severus Snape, firelight playing about the angles of his face, idly stroking a wet bathrobe.
For several days, Severus avoided Harry. The only time Harry saw him was at meals and in Potions class. After a hissed warning to 'be discreet!' Harry stopped glancing at him all the time, though it was hard to stop. He looked so different now. Severus seemed to even walk differently, to Harry's eyes at least. Harry really wondered what on earth was going on in that complicated mind. He had a feeling that the longer this went on, the less likely Harry would ever see him again. Other than in classes, of course.
Unsurprisingly, Harry was not called to any more Dark Arts classes. Harry was relieved on the one hand. Aside from being bad at Dark Magic, he was feeling a little... bruised. Harry was sure that if a Dark Arts book floated into his room, opened itself to a page and showed him a spell for whatever he wanted most in the world - he would walk away.
On the other hand, the Dark Arts class was his only legitimate excuse to be alone with Severus. He suspected that was the real reason the class was on hold. Harry was getting annoyed with the man. And a little discouraged.
Once a week passed, Harry began to comb his mind for discreet ways to contact Severus. So far though, he drew a blank. Hiding it from the other students didn't seem to be too much of a problem. After peppering him with questions and being unsatisfied with his answers, most of the other Gryffindors left him alone and dropped it. But Professor McGonagall suspected about the accident, Harry was sure.
"It is good to see you again. Are you well, Mr. Potter?" she asked him after Transfigurations one afternoon. Her glance was penetrating.
"Uh... um - yeah. I'm fine." Harry blushed, really hoping that glance couldn't see as much as it seemed to.
McGonagall's lips made a firm, thin line.
"I see," she said, and dismissed him. But Harry felt her gaze lingering on his back as he walked down the corridor towards his next class.
None of his friends bought his excuses, and they seemed a little jumbled even to himself. Hermione was giving Harry some definitely odd glances. But Ron had his own suspicions and pulled him aside later.
"It was those Dark Arts classes, wasn't it?" Ron knew him well. Harry sagged and nodded, relieved to be able to tell the truth for once. Or, well - at least part of it.
"That stuff's bloody dangerous! Especially with Snape for a teacher. I dunno, Harry. If it gets bad - you should talk to Dumbledore." Ron nodded at his own suggestion emphatically.
That was probably the last thing Harry wanted to do.
But Ron had given him an idea. Harry began hanging back a little after Potions. If Severus didn't take advantage of that opportunity to talk to him, he was going to make some spectacular trouble in Potions class. Severus would have to give him detention. Harry had already picked out Malfoy as his target, figuring it might as well be someone who deserved it.
Then something happened to change his plans. As Harry walked back from Herbology, he felt someone brush by him. He turned, and met the black eyes of Severus Snape, looking back at him. The eyes heated for moment as they caught Harry's. Then Severus continued on as though nothing had happened.
But later, outside the Library, Harry happened to reach into his pocket. He felt something crinkle there. A letter of some sort. On the outside it read in a flowing script:
"Please open only once you are alone."
Harry couldn't imagine why that would be, so he opened it there in the hallway. He had the immediate impression of warm lips pressed against his own, their touch long, deep and slow. There was a familiar skillful nip at the end marking the note as being from Severus. Harry caught his breath after a moment. Then he realized that Genevieve, a Ravenclaw, had just stepped out of the library. And was staring at him. Harry's lips stopped moving in empty air. A knob from a window, where he had been backed up against the wall, was digging into his back.
"Uh.... hi," Harry said awkwardly, trying to recover himself. She gave him an odd look as she left.
There were a few giggles when he arrived for double Potions later, and Professor Snape made an especial point to remind the class on the importance of following directions.
Wow. Severus certainly had a great way of sending mash notes! Harry decided he just had to learn how to do that. It was untraceable. If you didn't know whose kiss it was - first hand. Brilliant.
Later in his bedroom, Harry opened the note again, hoping it wasn't a one-shot Spell. Wonderfully, it wasn't. And it was better now that he was over the surprise and could enjoy all the subtleties. Harry spent a long time savouring it, adding embellishments to his time with Severus in his mind. He didn't realize he had drifted off to sleep, until he heard Ron come in. Harry didn't see the note still lying out on the blanket.
Ron plucked it off the bed, "What's this?" and opened it.
"Give it back - !" Harry snatched the blank parchment out of Ron's hands, but he was too late.
"Whoa..." Ron breathed, slightly staggered, "who's that from?"
Was Harry imagining it, or was Ron a little jealous? Harry hoped he was jealous. At least a little. He certainly deserved it. Harry glanced at Ron over the edge of the folded note. Could someone tell if they were being kissed by a man? Harry supposed not. Or at least it certainly seemed as if Ron couldn't.
"Who? Who is that?" Ron rolled his eyes and pleaded, "C'mon - just tell me... a little hint?"
Harry blinked. Not on his life.
"At least you know who I'm seeing!"
Harry spluttered, "Oh, yeah - I sure do! First hand." Ron exploded.
"You all think that more happened than really did!" Ron looked around cautiously. "Look, Hermione... we didn't, you know - do anything."
Harry looked at Ron quizzically as that sank in. "Have you ever - you know? Done anything?"
Ron sat on the bed in silent frustration. Harry fell back into his pillow, laughing.
"Oh, Ron... I'm sorry. How long has it been? It's been months and months, hasn't it?"
Ron groaned and fell over on his side. "It's worse than you think. She waits until the last second - then she says no!"
"You should have stuck with me," Harry shook his head. He felt sorry for Ron, though he thought privately that given it was Hermione, he wasn't a bit surprised. He decided not to say so though. Ron looked frustrated enough.
"Would you like to borrow the book?" Harry offered helpfully. He felt suddenly guilty, thinking that, well, it did belong to Severus after all. He should give it back.
"I'd like to borrow whoever sent you that note!"
Harry kind of doubted that, although he had the momentary amusing image of the two of them suddenly face to face, in shock.
"Have you - have you ever... with...?" Ron motioned with his shoulder to the note.
Harry hesitated. He decided to tell Ron the truth, or as much of it as he could anyway.
"I'm gonna kill Hermione!" Ron pounded the pillow. "If I don't completely explode first."
"It's really not a big deal, Ron," Harry told him. But that didn't seem to help at all.
"Have you asked her what she wants?" Harry said, thoughtful, thinking of some of Severus' more embarrassing questions. Sometimes a more experienced perspective.... Severus had made fun of him, declared Harry an 'incurable romantic' - until Harry pointed out his reading choices, particularly the Romance novels. "That's not romanticism, that is sensationalism. To that, I admit, I am incurable. A complete addict for sensation." Harry wished there were something he could send back to surprise Severus.
"She doesn't know what she wants!" Ron fumed, bringing Harry back to the present.
"Oh. Uh - yes. But I'll bet you haven't asked, have you?"
Ron must have told Hermione, because the next day at breakfast over the cheerful noise of the Great Hall, she pounced almost immediately.
"That is a very advanced spell, Harry, to enchant a piece of paper like that," she pointed out. "Who's it from?"
Apparently Ron had not brought up any of the more important advice Harry had given.
"Do you know how to do it?" Harry was suddenly hopeful. Maybe if he could at least find out where this spell came from....
"No. I mean, it's horribly complicated, you see...."
"Oh." Harry turned aside and began picking at his eggs again. "That's too bad."
Harry leaned on an elbow, brushing aside some advertisements. He had really wanted to send one back to Severus. But if even Hermione couldn't do it, it was doubtful he could either. There were definite drawbacks to having a teacher for a... lover? Boyfriend? What did he call him really? Nothing fit. Well... Severus. That fit.
Harry ignored the rest of whatever Ron and Hermione had to say, trying to think of some answer to this letter. They finally gave up on holding his attention.
"He's in love," Ron said with disgust.
The torch flickered in the scull holder in Severus' office in the upstairs teachers' hall. It was very late, past ten o'clock. As usual, Severus Snape was the last to leave. Professor Sprout tended to be the morning type, while Flitwick kept odd hours. Minerva McGonagall you could set your watch by - in at eight, gone by five. Not a minute later. How she did it no one knew. Severus tended to do his paperwork here, while the side chamber to the Potions dungeon he used for his practical research, and the occasional detention victims. (Well, less than occasional. It saved him the bother of scrubbing his own cauldrons to be liberal with detention.) Potions didn't usually mix well with anything that had to be kept clean, and that included homework, unfortunately. Not that some of these couldn't be improved by a little snail's tongue or a drop of Exploding Potion, in his opinion.
It was handy that his scull caused any torch set in it to never go out, Severus thought, considering that he had a never-ending supply of work. Albus Dumbledore had somehow neglected to mention this was a more than full-time job when he offered it to Severus. Not that a former Death Eater had had many options at the time.
Severus glanced over at his diminishing stack of scrolls. Good God, look at the girth of that one. It had to be from Granger. He had asked for fourteen inches, not forty-four. Did she think he had all night to be impressed by her amateur opinions on Expansion Potions? He yawned and was just deciding he wasn't going to finish these tonight, when he caught a movement out of the corner of his eye.
The door to his office slowly edged open, silently, of its own accord. Severus watched, unmoving. His wand ready. Something brushed by the right-hand corner of his desk, nearly knocking a stack of parchment onto the floor. These were quickly caught, and shoved back into place.
Well. He had a well-meaning visitor at least.
Then suddenly Severus felt a pressure against his lips, and he melted into a feverish kiss. It had the boyish enthusiasm and lack of skill he recognized instantly, even if he hadn't already caught a familiar musky outdoor scent. Then the kiss broke. And a disembodied head appeared floating in the air in front of him. Harry... with a most winning, devilish smile. How romantic. Before Severus could think to draw him in for another kiss, he vanished. But not before saying, "Thanks for the note."
The parchment stack stirred again, but seemed to survive Harry's second passing. Then there was muffled voice, "Oh, almost forgot..." and a hand with part of a sleeve appeared, and stuffed a dozen red roses into the scull.
"You need some colour in here," Harry joked.
The door closed softly behind him. Severus stared after it, bemused.
"Cromium Decoratum!" Severus said, pointing his wand at the roses.
They changed to green. Far be it from him to be caught with Gryffindor colours in his office. Particularly not with the scent of a particular Gryffindor clinging about him still. Severus breathed it in, letting his head fall back. Oh. He set down the quill. His concentration was certainly ruined for the night. But he was going to have sweet dreams, that much was sure.
Finis. Next: "Soap and Guacamole."