- 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:
- Final chapter! The Unicorn. Dumbledore's observations on Harry and Severus' relationship; Ron learns the truth; and lastly... Severus shows Harry exactly what he thinks of Harry cancelling his class.
- Author's Note:
- Thank you everyone for your kind (and detailed!) reviews. Hats off to CLS for a wonderful job on the Beta review. Her observations and comments have been treasured.
The dawn was grey and dim, hushed. It was Harry's last day at Hogwarts. The Hogwarts Express left at noon. Harry hadn't packed yet, but there was plenty of time for that. Harry wanted his brief time with Severus to last just a little bit longer. By this evening he would be back at the Dursleys', who would insist on his finding a job and moving out. He looked forward to informing them that he already had. If he timed it right, he could walk out at that moment. Harry smiled faintly at the thought.
The figure beside him stirred, rustling the sheets. Harry lay there as quietly as he could, holding his breath. Just a little longer, he asked silently.
"You are not fooling me. I know you are awake." Severus' low voice came from the barely discernible pillow. He leaned up on an elbow and the sheets slid to his waist. His face was shadowed and his hair a tumbled dark mess. He could compete with Harry first thing in the morning. Well, not quite. Too many years of Sleek-Eazy never quite seemed to wash out.
Harry let out the breath and stared up at the ceiling, head pillowed on his arms.
"Don't force me to go yet," Harry pleaded.
"It is still early," Severus said softly. He touched Harry's face gently and ran his fingers through Harry's hair. "Do not act the child. It does not become you. Or me, for that matter." His voice was wry. They had worked out the exact difference in their ages the night before and were still slightly appalled. Well, at least it wasn't twenty years. Quite.
"Look at it this way," Harry had shrugged. "If you were Dumbledore's age, there would be a one hundred and forty year age difference. By comparison..."
"An infinitesimal amount," Severus had answered dryly, though he had looked as though he'd had a bit of a shock. He had rolled back onto the pillow with his hand on his forehead. "My God, forty is just around the corner. Have I really been teaching Potions for seventeen years? Those first few years after leaving Hogwarts were so exciting... they do not seem that long ago..."
Harry had blanched at the idea that anyone could refer to being a Death Eater as 'exciting.'
"Well. At least I have something out of you for all my efforts teaching," Severus had smirked fiendishly. Harry had fallen back to the pillow. Severus had a dastardly sense of humour. Their love-making that night had been fierce, intensified by the lost time they both regretted, and the knowledge Harry was due to leave the next day.
Now Harry rolled over into those arms, sleepy as Severus was, and tangled their long legs together. He thought he was taller than Severus by now. Perhaps. As he was swallowed by a wide kiss a sudden thought occurred to Harry. Hermione! Harry had told her he would be back yesterday -! She must be worried sick. A nip on the ear and a slight growl from Severus protested Harry's distraction.
Oh well. Hermione would have to get over it. Harry winced at the lecture he had just earned. Severus hand wrapped around Harry's backside, and Harry gave himself over to a long, slow and surprisingly gentle morning.
Severus leaned on both elbows over Harry, denting the pillow. The sweat beaded still on his forehead. Harry proceeded to kiss the drops off, one by one, feeling Severus' breath on his chin, his neck, and in his hair. Harry settled his arms easily around Severus' firm waist, happily comfortable.
Severus' face was only inches from Harry. "About our summer plans..." he breathed, "you might want to check them with Albus, in case he has other ideas." Severus winced somewhat and paused.
"If you do not mind, I would rather you not mention to anyone your being here this weekend. It is the end of the school year, but I did promise Albus I would no longer... well, that I would back off. At least until you had left Hogwarts." Severus' smile bared his teeth and he ground into Harry deliciously. What a quaint notion, that he would deny himself the one good thing to come out of this disaster. He had agreed, but then, he had been angry with Harry at the time so it had seemed almost plausible. "I haven't quite managed it."
"What? Merlin's arse, did he really? My personal life is none of his business! He had no right!" Harry raised up on his elbows.
"He had every right. To fire me. And he did not. Though he may yet. Let's not give him another reason, shall we?" Severus' lips traced a path along Harry's cheekbone. "Obviously a spectacle at the trains in flagrante delicto is out of the question."
Severus proceeded to give Harry his goodbye kiss in advance, and broke off with a sudden thought. "A pity. I would love a repeat of that look on your Weasley's face.
"Shocking Minerva would be a treat, too," Severus added. "Sometimes the old bags make the mistake of thinking I am one of them, just another professor. Always good to disabuse them of that notion."
"You really don't like Professor McGonagall, do you?" Harry snorted, shaking his head. He was grateful Ron would be spared. Then he remembered he would have to tell Ron. He didn't know how he was going to do that.
"Say that name in these apartments and expect a cold bed, Harry," Severus answered. "No. I do not. This may come as a surprise to you, but I do hold grudges."
Professor Severus Snape stood on the platform to the Hogwarts Express like a silent lurking statue, his arms folded, the sweep of black cloak reaching to the ground. He did not appear to be watching anything or anyone in particular. But Albus Dumbledore knew better. A few of the other professors gave Severus a curious glance. Or two. Severus didn't normally come to watch the trains leave, despite the fact that it was a Hogwarts tradition to wave their students goodbye until the next term. Absurd sentimentality, he called it. 'They'll be back next year, whether we like it or not' was Professor Snape's usual opinion on the matter. Yet here he was. Though of course, Severus did not wave.
Professor Albus Dumbledore shook his head silently to himself at what for Severus Snape was a shameless display. He had chosen to keep Severus', ah, indiscretion to himself. But once word leaked out concerning Harry's 'summer employment,' quick minds in the staff room would draw some conclusions that were unfortunately quite correct. He had not hired any unintelligent professors. Dumbledore mentally prepared himself for a midsummer visit from the very persistent Minerva McGonagall; and he dearly hoped Harry would think to tell Hagrid himself. It was going to be a very trying summer as it was.
Separately, of course, Dumbledore had attempted to talk them out of their foolish plan.
"Give it some time, just a summer," he had urged Harry.
"Give the young man a chance to grow up," he had begged Severus; if there were something there it would withstand a few months' cooling off.
But they were both stubborn in their own ways. Severus was not meeting Dumbledore's eyes; a fact that Albus supposed to mean Severus had not kept his word not to sleep with the young man. Severus was so bitter it was easy to forget how much younger he was than Hogwarts' other professors. Though everything had seemed just fine until the weekend. Dumbledore shook his head. They were not making life easy for themselves.
Watching Severus on that platform, Albus realised he would have had more success if he had thought to plead the suffering they would cause each other. Hindsight was ever perfect. It was a mistake to have expected reason from them in this state. But until this moment, Dumbledore had thought he was merely dealing with a schoolboy crush and a thirty-seven year old's mid-life crisis. An unfortunate combination, yes, but one that could be dealt with by simply separating them for a time. Before they could do each other too much damage. But now there was an underlying Magic, a current Dumbledore could not account for. Something had changed. Considerably. Overnight it seemed. It looked familiar... at the same time Dumbledore couldn't quite recognize it.
Dumbledore's eyes scanned the train. Sure enough, leaning against one of the windows and making even less of an effort to hide his feelings, was Harry. Dumbledore waved to him, and saw Harry wave back. Then Harry returned to his study of Professor Snape.
Oh. There was also Sirius Black's reaction to consider. Dumbledore sighed and waved to Harry once more. It was going to be quite a long summer.
Harry leaned against the compartment window as the final whistle blew for the Hogwarts' Express. He wasn't sure if he had packed everything. He and Severus had once again pushed their timing to the last feasible second. On the platform Severus stared straight ahead sternly, not obviously looking at Harry, of course. Harry had asked him to come. Severus had emphatically refused. But here he was. Harry watched Severus' familiar toss of his head, always trying to shake the hair out of his face. Harry thought he should grow it longer. A strand caught the breeze and Harry wanted to brush it off his face.
The train slowly began to pull away. At the last moment, Severus glanced in Harry's direction. Then he turned away with a casual flick of his wand as he left. Harry smiled.
"He's not good for you, Harry," a voice said behind him. Harry startled slightly and glanced at Hermione. She was looking at Professor Snape. Trust Hermione to guess. Harry wondered how long she'd known.
"He's not good for anyone," Harry answered, hardly missing a beat. He was getting used to being caught off guard. As he should after months of Severus Snape.
Ron bustled between the two of them, cans of pumpkin juice and an armload of treats in his hands. Hermione stepped aside as Ron kicked the compartment door open with his foot.
"Stand aside, coming through..." Ron said. "Whoa, Harry, where'd this come from..."
The door shut behind him.
"Hermione, let me tell Ron," Harry asked her.
"You'll have to. I've been telling him for half the year and he won't believe me," she said, exasperated. "I could show a movie and serve popcorn, and he still wouldn't."
"When did you figure it out?" Harry wondered.
"The note. It had to be from a teacher. No one else could do that enchantment. I just couldn't figure out whom. But when I learned about those Dark Arts classes and realised how much time you two must have spent together; and then all you went through for that spell... well, it was pretty obvious after that," Hermione stated, her arms folded. "Though I would never have imagined you and Snape. That was a good thing you did, Harry, with that spell. But I do hope you know what you're doing."
"That makes two of us," Harry said. He glanced at Ron through the compartment window. Ron had spilled some pumpkin juice and brushed at himself, and awkwardly tried to mop it up. The sun hit his hair and it shone in a kind of red-gold aurora. Harry nodded in Ron's direction. "Can you...?"
"I'll see if I can get us some more napkins," Hermione said, rolling her eyes in fond disgust.
Harry made sure he closed the compartment door firmly behind him.
Ron looked up, immediately aware of the serious note in Harry's voice. He glanced at the door Harry had shut.
Ron stared out the window. Trees jumped past at an alarming rate if you looked too closely. The ones nearest the train moved very fast, while the ones in the distance beyond the little lakes and rivers seemed to almost hold still. It was a strange effect. But everything seemed strange to Ron at the moment. The train car rocked gently. At least the landscape was familiar, one that Ron had seen every year on his way to Hogwarts.
"Is this my fault?" Ron asked Harry finally.
"What -? No. What do you mean?" Harry said.
"Well, I didn't - you know." Ron blushed and turned to Harry. "Harry, I knew. About the Love Potion and all. I knew you lied, about why it didn't work. Well - it was a lot for a guy to take, you - the way you looked at me like I was some kind of pork chop -"
"I did not."
"Yes. You did. And then there was... " Ron lowered his voice and cringed, "what we'd been doing. With the book and all that. I really - I was pretty torn up. It was all so crazy! Everything. With Hermione, I - I guess I was a little anxious... I mean, I sorta wondered about myself, you know?"
"You practically boffed her front of me!" Harry glared.
"It didn't happen like that! I told you! Oh... I - I'm sorry." Ron put his face in his hands. "I know. That was bloody awful.... I just couldn't find anyplace! And I was getting desperate -"
"Couldn't find anyplace! We had a hundred -" Harry began, but Ron interrupted.
"Look, Harry. You don't understand. Girls are different. You don't know." Ron heaved a sigh. "I could walk you all over Hogwarts, and half the school grounds, and you'd still be ready. Hermione... five seconds and she'd changed her mind! Like one of Mum's bloody cakes. One loud noise, one distraction and - bang! - forget it. Girls are just like that, Harry."
Harry listened. It was a fairly abstract subject for him to be sure.
"Anyways, I'm sorry. Maybe I should have... I dunno. But I - I couldn't." Ron sighed and turned away.
"Ron." Harry threw up his hands. "Just... well, you could have been a lot less of a bastard about it, but Severus and I - what happened, everything... it has nothing to do with you."
"Really?" Ron was genuinely surprised.
Harry shrugged and nodded.
"Oh." Ron blinked. "You know, Harry, you were pretty great about me and Hermione. And the advice, and all that. I just... don't know what to say.
"Damn good advice too, by the way. Gave my sex life quite a boost."
"Half of it was from Severus," Harry pointed out. He let Ron take a moment to digest that. "He doesn't just know Potions."
Ron choked. "Maybe he should teach a different class: Sex Ed."
Harry laughed. "He'd be good at it."
"Now that I didn't want to know!" Ron looked appalled. "Promise me something, Harry - no details! I can handle it - I think - but I just don't want to know!"
Harry agreed. He didn't think Severus would want his intimate moments shared with the Weasleys anyway. Though he was vaguely disappointed. He thought Ron would be one of the few people who would understand, at least after his experiences with the Book of Eros.
The train rocked gently for several minutes. Ron had a funny expression on his face. Finally he spoke up.
"Just one thing though. Are you - did he - ?" Ron flushed, and tried again. "Remember that night when Hagrid was gone and we, uh, you know?"
Of course Harry remembered. He waited for Ron to spit it out.
"Do you take it up the bunghole from Snape?"
Harry's jaw fell. "I thought you said no details! You're unbelievable!"
"Well, just this one thing." Ron winced.
"I'm not going to tell you that!" said Harry.
"I just can't imagine it is all."
"For starters, it's often the other way around! Second - it's none of your bloody business!" Harry fumed at him.
"You? Giving it to Snape up the arse?" Ron considered. "Oh, I like that thought much better. Carry on then."
"Do you want me to ask you about Hermione?!"
Ron leaned back proudly, folding his arms behind his head. "Ask me anything you like."
"I'm not interested." Harry sighed. "Dumbledore thinks I'm just attracted to Dark Magic, not Severus..."
"That's crap," Ron said definitively. Harry stared. Ron never criticised Dumbledore. "Well it is -! You hate Dark Magic. You were just in it for the sex."
"Wha - " Harry sputtered, "you're saying I'm easy?"
"Hey, you said it, not me. Look, you panted after me for half the school year. Then who gets you into bed? Snape!"
Harry sighed into his hands. "No one believes that I really like Severus."
"It's weird to hear you call him that," Ron complained. "He's a Snape, Harry! Dark Wizards, the lot of them. Mean ones. Step on a toe and they'll pay you back, double, ten years from now. They're all like that, but he's more Snape-like than the rest."
"You forget jealous..."
"Is he jealous?" Ron asked.
"I'll be explaining this conversation for a week."
"That's 'cause you're easy and he knows - oh, hi Hermione!" Hermione wasn't there of course.
Infuriated, Harry dove for Ron, but with his distraction Ron had made a quick break for the door. It shut automatically between them. Harry struggled and threw the door open and spotted Ron halfway down the aisle. But Ron was never nearly as fast as Harry. Harry tore after him. Too late, they both saw the witch's cart trundle into their path out of a compartment, just as Harry tackled Ron's foot.
Chocolate frogs hopped down the aisles and escaped; Every-Flavour Beans were scattered like marbles everywhere; several Chickadee Biscuits ("light as a feather!") fluttered out the nearest open window. And pumpkin juice dripped from the nose of a very, very irate witch, who was sprawled out on the floor of the train.
Compartments slid open up and down the aisles and the heads of younger students popped out to stare at the two Seventh Years. Harry and Ron sat in the middle of a horrific mess, and laughed.
Harry gave the witch a hand up and offered to pay for the damage, but she brushed him off irritably. He did, however, buy her last two surviving pumpkin juices.
Back in their compartment, Harry opened his pumpkin juice and then calmly dumped it on Ron's head. If Ron thought he was going to get away with his comment he was quite mistaken. Ron licked sticky sweet pumpkin juice from the corner of his mouth.
"Snape is starting to rub off on you." Then he cringed at the mental image. "Alright. I supposed I deserved that," Ron spluttered, "but never mind napkins, I hope Hermione brings a towel! Where is she anyway?"
Harry shrugged. Hermione was certainly giving them plenty of time.
After several minutes of drying off, Ron and Harry leaned back in their seats and sighed. The sun was going down, and they both felt a little cold and damp in the evening breeze. Ron looked thoughtful. Finally, he asked the question Harry had expected from the beginning.
"Harry... are you still -?" Ron began cautiously.
"Am I still in love with you?"
Ron breathed. "Yeah."
Harry bit his lip and phrased his answer very carefully. "I feel exactly the same as I ever have."
Ron could make of that what he liked.
Ron was still looking out the window, thinking, when Hermione returned with a very inadequate number of napkins.
"Ron? What did you do?" Hermione exclaimed as she shut the door behind her.
"Harry did it!"
Hermione looked at Harry. "Did you tell him?" Harry nodded. "You should be the one wearing the pumpkin juice."
"You knew - ?" Ron gaped at Hermione.
"I give up. How many times did I tell you?" Hermione sighed, put down the napkins and pulled out her wand. She pointed it at Ron. "Everriculum!"
The pumpkin juice was suddenly gone. Unfortunately, Ron's robes were also several shades lighter. And they looked somewhat - green?
"I'm sorry about that, but it's a very strong spell," Hermione said, not sounding sorry at all.
"You know, Hermione, when you have kids that's gonna come in real handy," Harry observed.
"Well, it doesn't look I'll be baby-sitting yours anytime soon," Hermione said tartly. Ron rolled his eyes at the reminder.
"Not unless Severus has some big surprises this summer," Harry joked.
"There you go with that first name again. It's just weird, Harry," Ron complained.
"I had the most fascinating conversation with Parvati in the first car," Hermione changed the subject. "Did you know she's going to be learning French over at Beauxbatons? She's hoping that if her French is good enough she will get a Ministry Consulate position in Paris. I'm so impressed that she has her career direction already picked out. I mean, there's so many options it's hard to choose. Have you thought about your career, Ron?"
Ron groaned and buried his head in his arms. "Percy said I could work for him..."
Harry laughed. Working for Percy, well, that was prescription for Hell! "What? Does he need your head for a rung in his ladder to the top?"
"And the worst thing is... I... I might have to." Ron would never be a burden on his family.
"Working for the Ministry is a very solid, stable career, Ron. It's nothing to sneeze at," Hermione said briskly. "What about you, Harry?"
"Yeah, Harry. My Dad says there's a Spell Cataloguing position available at the Ministry, if you like," Ron suggested. "It's kinda dull, I know. But having you there might make Percy bearable."
"Actually, I already have a job. For the summer, in any case."
Ron stared. Hermione looked quite pleased and interested.
"Do tell," she said, glancing at Ron.
"I'll be at Snape Manor for the summer - doing some Reparo Spell-work," Harry added quickly, before they could think anything indecent. Not that some of their ideas wouldn't be true. But their reaction was not at all what Harry expected.
"Are you mad?" Ron was bug-eyed. "Snape Manor?! That place is a death trap!"
"Ron is right, Harry." Hermione nodded. "Repair it? That place ought to be condemned! And it very nearly is. There was a whole article about it this weekend in The Daily Prophet. The Ministry has been trying to condemn the place for years of course, but the Snapes are a very old and powerful wizarding family, and it's been in their family for generations. People are afraid of them and all their Dark Magic. Professor Snape promised to curse the first person to set foot on that property within an inch of their lives. He was very specific in the interview: he said he'd start with the Calamitas Curse, add the Morbis Opisthotonos, then the Weeping Flebilus and after that he listed a whole bunch of curses I'd never even heard of. But the article said none of the Snapes go there anymore. You see, Snape Manor is insane. It's been in mourning for two decades over the death of Professor Snape's grandfather, Eckard Snape."
"A house? Grieving after its owner?" Harry asked.
"It's a wizarding mansion, Harry. An old one. Very magical," Ron pointed out.
"Would the Burrow miss your family if you ever left?" Harry asked curiously.
"The Burrow would collapse if we ever left," Ron muttered. It sort of looked like it would, Harry considered.
"The article said that there's pressure now to have it completely destroyed - " Hermione continued.
"They can't do that! It's over nine-hundred years old! It's a Landmark!" Ron protested.
"They've filed for a Special Exception under the Hazardous Magical Entities Act," Hermione said. "It's expected to pass unanimously this summer. Turns out the Protection Charms broke down and some Muggle teenagers got in there a few months back. It took a long time to find them. Teams of people and Aurors had to be assigned. Of course the Snapes had it hushed up. But one of the Muggle kids is still at St. Mungo's, and none of the Memory Charms will work. Anyhow, a lot of people got a firsthand look at how bad the place is and they want it shut down for good."
"I thought regular people couldn't even see a wizarding mansion, or they would see at something ordinary or something like that," Harry said, puzzled.
"Everything's breaking down, Harry. The magic there has gone crazy. Worst thing is, Eckard Snape put in all kinds of experimental charms and enchantments. Dark Magic, mostly. And there are whole rooms that are exploded, just... blasted to bits."
Harry smiled. Well, he knew who had done that. And with what Spell.
"Strange thing is, the mansion... well, it doesn't like Professor Snape," Hermione said. Ron snorted. "It won't let him through the front door. Spits him out and sends him flying across the yard. They had a picture of that in the article. But he's the one who is fighting to save the place. The rest of the family doesn't seem to care. I can't believe he's sending you to try to fix it."
"I'm sure he was planning to tell me," Harry said, wincing. No wonder Severus had burned his copy of The Daily Prophet.
Ron gave Harry a doubtful look.
"You may be fucking him, Harry, but he's still a Snape. Whatever he's offered to pay you," Ron said, "double it. And be sure to collect in advance. You know he would."
Hermione nodded. "I know you need a job, Harry, and you can't stay with the Dursleys past July, but... Cataloguing Spells at the Ministry does sound a lot safer."
Cataloguing Spells. Suddenly Snape Manor sounded pretty good.
"He did say he was going teach me Advanced Duelling this summer," Harry pointed out.
"Yes, that's called 'On the Job Training' in this case," Ron retorted. "If I were you, I'd bring a tent and sleep off the property."
Harry was beginning to feel that he had been conned. He was already composing a letter to Severus in his mind, to be sent at the first opportunity. Ron spoke up.
"Anyways... when are you gonna open it?"
"The box. I didn't know who it was from before, but now I - I suppose it's a gift from your loving Snape. It appeared right when we pulled out of Hogwarts. Here -
" - sorry. I thought you saw it." Ron handed Harry a small box. "Wow. I think that's real silver. Maybe you should triple his offer. No - quadruple it."
It was a small box, wrapped in textured black satin. The delicate silver ribbon waved attractively in the air. Harry untied it and handed the ribbon to Ron. Ron let the silver coil and uncoil about his hand, fascinated.
In the fluffy white tissue paper, blinking up at Harry, was a tiny glass unicorn. Just like the one Harry had destroyed with the Nova Incendiero Spell, Harry realised with sudden understanding. There was note written in a firm graceful hand:
Try not to break this one.