patolozka: (Long Stories)
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Title: My Love Is Like Smoke

Author: Patolozka

Beta-read: Suite Samba, Badgerlady

Word Count: 3094

Snarry-A-Thorn Prompt: 83. Both Severus and Harry were killed in battle during the third wizarding war. A close friend finds a series of letters between Severus and Harry which reveal secrets, trust and a love and history that ran far deeper than anyone had ever realised.

Rating(s): M

Warning: Chan, character death

Disclamer: Don't own the characters. No profit is being made from this story.

A/N: When I saw the prompt I immediately imagined the story behind it. Thank you for the idea, I enjoyed writing this very much.

 

ooOoo

My Love Is Like Smoke

 

“You´re going there again, aren´t you?” Ron asked in a quite irritable voice.

“Yes.”

“But, ´Mione, you´re pregnant!”

The witch in question crossed her arms and stared at her husband. “And what? I´m a healthy young woman who is expecting our first healthy baby, Ronald Weasley, not some old woman on the verge of death.”

“You´re sensitive now and vulnerable and that house is evil!”

She withered him with her look. “It was Harry´s house!”

Ron sharply breathed in. His memories seemed as alive as if he’d experienced them yesterday.

There was a long silence between them before they blurted at once. “I´m sorry, Ron.” “Forgive me, ´Mione...”

She smiled and he smiled back. This was his stubborn wife and he would never want to change her.

“I have to do it, Ron, I have to have closure...”

“All right,” he agreed finally, “but you’ll contact me by Floo every other hour.”

She rolled her eyes. “You´ll be at work, Ron, the Aurors won´t be keen on it and besides – you know the Floo isn’t good for our baby. I´ll send my Patronus at noon.”

Ron sighed. “I wish mum and dad were here. Mum would surely talk you out of it or she´d go with you...”

“Their holiday in Egypt is good for them, they deserve to have time to themselves,” she reminded him gently.

“Yeah, I know,” he answered, lifting his head. “So. When are you going?”

“Right after you.”

Ron just nodded and finished his breakfast.

ooOoo

The house was both calm and menacing when she arrived, the portrait of Madam Black covered by heavy dark curtains and silenced. She entered the kitchen and put down her winter coat and bag. Her steps echoed through the house. She was alone but she wouldn´t let herself be afraid. This old house belonged to Harry and he had asked her to do it for him - to take everything valuable, sell it and give the proceeds to war orphans, children without home, kids without parents, souls with no hope for the future.

Harry´s will wasn’t discovered until three months after his death. No one knew why. It was a mystery. The funeral took place right after the war, two days after the moment when everyone saw him die - in the middle of the battlefield, his green eyes shining with a flare of victory. When he fell, after the defeat of the Dark Lord, everyone thought he was only exhausted from all the fighting. But his heart was silent and his breathing stopped. Hermione couldn´t believe it, Ron couldn´t, nor could anyone else. But they had to - they saw it with their own eyes.

And then, three months after Harry Potter´s death, the will appeared at the Burrow, delivered by Fawkes. Harry wrote it just before the Final Battle - his handwriting seemed a little trembly and fast - and separate letters for his friends and family were included along with a list of possessions and properties he owned.

Hermione got her letter too, not short, not too long, just a few words for a dear friend. She had to read it again and again. And then there was the request. Harry asked her for help and there was no way she would decline it.

So here she was, in this strange old house, trying to fulfil the last wish of her best friend, so he could rest in peace.

ooOoo

Hermione was standing by the window. The snow was falling on the streets of London; the winter was ending but the weather was still cold. She had just sent her Patronus to Ron and now she was thinking about making something to eat or at least hot tea. She had made a list of things from the parlor, library and guest rooms but she couldn´t force herself to enter Harry´s bedroom - too much pain, too many memories... She felt as if she was disturbing the privacy of her dead friend.

She sighed and headed to the stairs. She had just passed Harry´s door when she noticed that it was open. She would never have left the door open! She stopped and hesitated for a moment. But then she shook her head and pushed in, crossing the threshold resolutely.

There was a large wine-coloured canopy bed in the centre, a night table, a carven wardrobe, a table and a chair beside it, all made in dark wood, but the walls were white and the room looked fresh and pleasant. She couldn´t resist - she walked to the night table, sat on the bed and picked up the photo of Harry´s parents. They were dancing and smiling at her, not knowing their only child was dead.

She replaced the photograph on the table and tried the drawers. There were presents, small things that friends had given him for Christmas or other occasions. He loved them; Hermione could remember his smile every time he received the small trifles. He loved them all. She could see the cards she sent him during the summers or holidays she had been at home. The small figurine of a Quidditch player was there too – Ron gave it to him on his last birthday. Harry liked it and carried it with him for good luck.

Oh my... Hermione closed her eyes, for a long moment only breathing. There had been a future for him, yes, it was predestined and he only had to choose the right path. He could be alive and happy and with them if only... If only he hadn´t made a certain decision.

She closed the drawer and started to stand up but then she heard a peculiar sound – as if something dropped on the floor. She bent down and looked under the night table. There was a parcel, a small parcel carefully tied up with a red ribbon. She picked it up so she could look at it. And then she had to sit again, holding in her arms a collection of parchments. Harry´s collection. There, behind the red ribbon were his personal letters...

ooOoo

Snape, there was a time I should have hated you. I should have and I should feel it now too. So why am I the only one I hate?

*

Potter, I don´t have time for this folly of yours. Don´t disturb me again.

*

Yes, of course, you have your precious experiments, your brilliant snake students. Who am I to disturb you, eh?

*

Potter, I will say it only once and never again: What do you want?

*

The truth, sir, I want the truth. You are the only one who can tell me. I want to know just one thing – how can I defeat him when no one else around me could manage it? Not even Dumbledore?

*

Training, studying, practicing, Potter, and your infernal dumb luck...

*

Teach me.

*

No.

*

What?! Why? How am I supposed to do it alone? I need your skills, your methods, your mercilessness...

*

Don´t play this game with me, Potter. Games are for Slytherins; you are a bloody brave and foolish Gryffindor. Use your own head.

*

Teach me, Snape. You were right, I don´t need to be you but I need to know what I am fighting against. You know him, you know his methods, you probably even know his mind. Teach me how to not feel fear. Teach me.

*

I left you “The Dark Arts of the Middle Ages” in your room. Read it, memorize it and then I may consider it.

ooOoo

Hermione put down the first pile of parchments. They had to have written them during the summer after Sirius´ death. Harry then, from the beginning of their sixth term, started to receive a huge number of detentions with Snape even though he wasn´t so bad in Defence Against the Dark Arts. Snape must have been teaching him during that time. Hermione shook her head. Harry had never mentioned it, but from that time forward, he hadn´t said a single bad word about their nasty professor deliberately. Except on one occasion - that creepy evening in the bathroom.

ooOoo

Snape, damn it, where had you been? I was waiting for you all night in front of the door.

*

That was unwise, Potter, you know I have some obligations...

*

Obligations? And what about your obligations to me? You promised me! Only the magic of two could... You know what I mean. So what are you playing at?

*

Don´t act like a snotty child, Potter. Any of your friends could do it as well. You don´t need me. So calm down and be properly prepared for our next encounter.

*

Are you sending them to their death, Snape? Just like that? I can die, I´m prepared for that alternative, but not them!

*

And what about me? You are not interested in letting me live long and prosper?

*

Snape, I don´t... I just... You told me that... Bloody hell! You´re such a bastard! You calmly went to every one of Voldemort´s meetings where you could have died any moment and now you’re making me feel guilty. I hate you!

*

Potter, calm yourself and just come to our lesson. I´m busy now and very tired.

ooOoo

The day before, Defence was cancelled and Snape didn´t show up at dinner. Ron was joking about it but Harry was as pale as a sheet the whole evening. She, Harry and Ron went to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom and Harry exploded as soon as they got there and argued with Ron about Snape. After that Harry was nowhere to be seen until breakfast. But while Ron felt hurt, Hermione was worried about Harry. It had to be one of the Death Eater’s meetings, she realized now. Harry didn´t agree. He was worried about his professor for he´d finally found somebody who could understand him.

ooOoo

Snape, I´m really sorry.

*

Accepted. Take a bar of chocolate with you.

*

You eat chocolate?

*

No, I need it for a midnight potion along with three drops of a virgin’s blood and one very sharp vampire tooth.

Of course I eat chocolate! It´s the only way to survive all you dunderheads. If you paid more attention, you would have known it.

*

What else don´t I know?

*

Figure it out yourself.

ooOoo

The next crumpled and folded parchment was a list. Quite a long one. Hermione couldn´t help but smile when she read the first lines.

ooOoo

  • Snape arrives at 7:03, drinks black coffee and leaves at exactly 7:15 except one day when Dumbledore stopped him with an emergency occasion or maybe just for his fun; one never knows with that old coot.
  • Snape doesn´t like chicken; he prefers beef and pork, and when there is no other choice he eats vegetables and quickly leaves the hall.
  • He despises pudding if it´s not vanilla ice cream or chocolate cake.
  • Once I saw him drink something that looked like a banana cocktail. But it had to be a trick of the light.
  • He always uses a fork and a knife; he never eats with his hands. Perhaps he thinks it´s rude or perhaps it has something to do with his potions and their fumes.
  • When he drinks his morning coffee, he closes his eyes a little in ecstasy. It´s so subtle you might not notice it, but I saw him eat the renowned chocolate from Honeydukes and I know the expression well.
  • He has steady hands, strong and elegant. When they shake, he is stressed or exhausted, but he never lets it show except in his hands.
  • He has nice eyes. I thought they are black but after one of our lessons I realized they are dark brown in colour. However, nothing changes the fact that he could kill with his glare alone, black eyes or brown.
  • His nose was broken twice. The first time it was his drunk father, the second was me. But he didn´t murder me when it happened, so I think he likes me a little. Oh – nonsense! But Dumbledore wouldn´t be pleased and McGonagall either... He just didn´t want to be bothered by them.
  • He has silky hair. I touched it once, even though I don´t know how it happened. He stood there, I turned suddenly, looked at him and my hand moved up to his head. The dark eyes widened in pure shock but the man froze in place and I didn’t stop. And then it happened. Just like that...
  • His touches are gentle, I know it now. His kisses are slow and careful, his hugs fragile and his eyes full of confusion, but it doesn´t matter. I know the man now, I know him almost completely and I want all of him.

ooOoo

Hermione folded the paper and stared at the wall, analyzing every smile, every dreamy expression on Harry´s face before she realized it - her friend had been in love with Severus Snape for quite a long time and no one knew...

ooOoo

Severus, why are you avoiding me?

*

I am not. You’re only imagining it.

*

I´ve been waiting for you in the corridor. When you saw me, you turned around and ran away.

*

I forgot the staff meeting.

*

At 10 a.m.?

*

Of course.

*

Severus, I need to understand. You don´t want me?

*

Harry...

This conversation is pointless. Stop it.

*

Really? I´ll tell you something, Severus Snape! I know you want me; I could see it in your eyes even before you kissed me. I´ve never felt anything like that in all my life and I want it back.

There isn’t much time left for us. Not when the end of this war is so close. So if you want me, I´m here, right behind you. Don’t think about my age, about our situation, or anything else. Just take me and let us enjoy the time we have left. Just one turn will do...

ooOoo

Hermione needed to stop here; she didn´t see the words written in Harry´s furious handwriting. Her eyes were shiny, one hand pressed to her lips.

“Why didn´t you say anything, Harry? Why?”

But her friend couldn´t answer. Not aloud. She could only go on reading...

ooOoo

Nothing changed, Potter. I only wanted you to know.

*

Of course, nothing changed.

Do you miss me?

*

You were here only half an hour ago.

*

I know I was.

Do you miss me?

*

You will wear out that bird of yours because of this conversation and it will die of fatigue.

*

Hedwig likes this kind of activity; she always wanted to be useful.

Do you miss me?

*

No.

*

OK, I´ll be there at nine. Be prepared for a long night.

ooOoo

He was so stubborn when he had the chance. Hermione knew it from the beginning of their friendship. He fought trolls, dragons, evil, even the public and the press. He had never wanted to be famous; he desired a simple life with someone who loved him. Hermione could not give it to him, nor could Ginny; they were like sisters to him, not partners. And then there was the second part of his personality. Harry was too complicated, his life was difficult and he had too many bad memories in his head... But Snape could handle it, he was the same – he’d lost too much, he’d gone through too much. Everyone in the Wizarding world knew his story now. But Harry had figured it out sooner and found something for which he could fight.

Hermione picked up the last few parchments and started to read again.

ooOoo

Tomorrow. Dumbledore foresaw that the battle will be tomorrow. You must be ready to complete the bond ritual, Harry. Our connections to the Dark Lord will weaken as our joint power strengthens. He will not be prepared for that and then you will be able to end his life even though it will most likely mean that... he takes us with him.

*

Good, we´ve been waiting too long for our peace. I know you don´t need to, you can be anywhere else for the rite to work, but... will you be there with me? Till the end?

*

Always...

ooOoo

Hermione bit into her lower lip when she saw the final word. Yes, always. Snape was there and fell at the same moment as Harry, his eyes on the man who was his partner in life and death. How unfair it was for them...

She turned the paper, finding out that this last note was different from the others. It looked like an old notepaper – soft, smooth, with a tiny drawing of a flower on the edge. And then she saw it, the sentences written in Snape´s spider handwriting. The last lines of his note.

My love is like smoke

in a time when I awoke.

My vow is like a peace

in my soul when you said: ´Please,

be with me and never leave.´

So I stayed without any grief.

 

 

 

The End?

Oh, no, there is the final part of our story...

 

“It was madness, Potter. Why did you do it? Why did you collect our letters and then show them to her?” Severus could not believe his eyes when Harry forced him to watch Granger at Grimmauld Place from high above today.

“I wanted her to know.” Harry shrugged simply and stood up from the cloud on which he had been lying.

The older man pointed to the ground and then made a sulky gesture. “She will hate you, do you want this?”

“No, she won´t, don´t you see?”

Severus frowned and concentrated on Hermione´s face. “She is crying, her pregnancy is influencing her ability to...”

“No!” Harry exclaimed cheerfully. “It´s a woman’s display of emotion - she is happy, she is smiling through her tears, Severus. She is... she is as happy for us as I am.”

Severus saw the shine in Harry’s green eyes, the beloved lips curled in a tender smile. He tilted his head and whispered in Harry´s ear: “Death is only a beginning, do you think she knows about it?”

Harry smiled, sparks of wickedness in his eyes. “Oh, she´s clever enough, but I wrote it in my will, just in case...”

Severus only raised his eyebrow, his own words echoing in his mind:

My love is like smoke

in a time when I awoke...

without you.

 

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