Ann (asnowyowl) wrote,
Ann
asnowyowl

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Snarry fic for slytherinstyle3. Climbing the Stairway

Author: asnowyowl
Title: Climbing the Stairway
Pairing: Severus/Harry
Summary: Comfort can be found where least expected.
Warnings: Harry is 17. AU in that the war is over and Snape lived. Harry cries a bit and Snape probably isn't wholly in character.
Rating: Hard PG13, or light R
Beta: bk7brokemybrain. Thanks so much, hun!
Notes: Written for slytherinstyle3 who prompted me months ago to write a Snarry with reference to the difference between classical music and rock. Thanks for being so patient, girl!
Word count: 5764



Climbing the Stairway


He'd been overly optimistic to believe that once the Dark Lord was finally gone, once Harry Potter and the side of the Light had defeated the maniac, he’d finally be able to sleep peacefully. Optimistic and foolish.

The war was over, another school year had begun, but still Severus spent the majority of the seconds that ticked away the night strolling the corridors of Hogwarts. It wasn’t as if he was looking for rule-breakers, regardless of what the rumormongers might say. It was only that he couldn’t stomach being holed up in his dungeon rooms, trapped in the oppressive silence. It was too reminiscent of a tomb.

Of course, if he did happen upon the occasional student out of bounds after curfew, he liberally took points and unleashed scathing comments.

On this winter’s night, Yule and New Year already past and gladly forgotten, Severus climbed more staircases than was his wont. His Cruciatus-tortured body normally wanted to go no higher than the third floor, but every once in a while he forced himself to break routine and take the path less traveled.

The fourth floor was quiet, the fifth held nothing more than a creaking set of armor. On the sixth he stepped loudly enough to warn off two students he could clearly see ensconced in an alcove. From the silhouette, he believed at least one to be Slytherin, and he had no stomach for bellowing at his own kind this evening.

That brought him to the seventh floor. As soon as he had ascended to the top of the staircase, he heard noise. The sounds were too low for Severus to puzzle out what they might be, but as he followed them, and they got louder and more distinct, he recognized music: a well-played rendition of Brahms Symphony Number Four, to be precise. It wasn’t a personal favorite, but a pleasant surprise, nonetheless. He followed the soothing notes to a hallway, but the very spot from where the music seemed to be emanating had no manner of entry. So Severus circled. He walked ahead, turned left and then left again. Now he was on the other side of where he supposed the music was flowing from, but here, in this corridor, he could barely recognize a single strain.

Perplexed, Severus retraced his steps and stopped where the music was loudest. He listened for several minutes, head cocked to one side, hair pushed behind his ear. The music almost lulled him into inactivity, but the question of where it was coming from pushed him to tap his wand against the stone and incant every revealing and unlocking spell he knew. None worked.

Finally, the cold draft of the castle proved too much and he descended back to the dungeons, back to a bed that would see even less slumber than the two or three hours a night it usually witnessed.

HP~~SS~~HP~~SS


The next day, Severus pondered that corridor often. He checked all his resources, but found no mention of what was behind that particular wall. So, that night he wended his way back up, strolling through odd corridors, wondering what other mysteries the castle held close to its bosom.

The seventh floor again brought the strains of classical music. The music was so beguiling, in fact, that Severus stood and enjoyed the impromptu concert until the chill of night sent him back to bed. The mystery would have to wait for another night to be solved.

After that, every nightly walk ended on the seventh floor where Severus would listen to the music drifting from the walls of the castle. It was an odd pastime to be sure, but still a better alternative than being alone in the bowels of the castle. In fact, when he allowed the notes to wash over him, Severus was soothed in a way he couldn't describe. The knots in his shoulders relaxed, his stomach unclenched, and he felt a peace that had eluded him for nearly as long as he could remember.

A week in, however, he was met not by the swell of Beethoven, but jarred by the thrum of rock music. He almost didn’t stop to listen. The incongruousness of the primal beat pulsing through the otherwise quiet night was unsettling. But just as he was about to walk away (and in a much fouler mood), Severus recognized the song and stopped.

More than the classical fare ever could, this music brought back memories. These were the songs of his teens — of that time when he was still free of the Dark Mark, but beginning on a road of rebellion. His father hated rock music, so Severus embraced it. Holidays would find him alone in his tiny room on Spinner’s End, huge Muggle earphones snuggled against his head, bass banging in his ears.

He’d even begged money from him mum and sneaked away from home when he was sixteen to attend a concert where they had played this exact song.

Severus might not be nostalgic for his childhood, it had been too harsh to remember fondly, but it was sad to look back on the boy who was still so innocent, even in his rebellion.

HP~~SS~~HP~~SS


He found himself distracted the next day, pondering why the castle was playing such music for him. Why those certain songs? Why now? Why the seventh floor corridor? He came up with no answers on his own, but a note slipped to him at the end of Seventh-Year Potions put most of Severus’s questions to rest.


Professor Snape,

I know you stop and listen to the music most nights. If you’d like to come in the Room of Requirement and listen to it with me, this is how you can: walk past the solid wall three times, concentrating on finding me, and a door will appear. I’ll make sure the Room knows you’re invited. I know we've never gotten along, but it'd be nice to have someone to listen with.

Harry Potter



Severus sat at his desk for several minutes, at a loss as to how he should feel about this turn of events. Since the defeat of Voldemort, he hadn’t been forced to spend extra time with Potter, hadn’t been cajoled into giving the boy extra lessons. In fact, other than Potions class and meals, they barely glimpsed each other. So why did the prospect of spending time with Potter seem somewhat enticing? Perhaps he really was spending far too much time alone.

He spent the remainder of the day alternately thinking of reasons why he shouldn’t join Potter in the room, and why he should. Neither side seemed to possess a convincing argument.

Finally, it was the music and its soothing effect, and not the offered company, that brought Severus back to the hallway. He hesitated for several minutes, trying to decide if he should indeed perform the simple ritual that would allow him entry, or stand and listen as he had in the past.

Tonight's fare was Grieg. Haunting strands of music tickling at Severus’s senses, playing with his emotions. He found himself wanting to hear more, but the cold of the hallway was creeping in, making listening uncomfortable. With a sigh, he strode, turned, strode, turned, strode, and then watched as a door materialized in front of him.

He rather gingerly pushed through it.

Potter was sitting on one end of a brown sofa, a piece of parchment clutched in one hand. He looked up when Severus entered, grinned, and then tapped the parchment with his wand and let it drift to the floor. “There’s wine if you want some. The Room must have known you were coming, there’s never been wine before.”

Severus glanced around the room, taking in the plain stone walls, crackling fire, and soft torchlight. The room was in the middle of the castle, no windows, and no other door for entrance or egress. Inexplicably, the music seemed quieter here than it had in the hall. He searched the room for any type of player that might be emitting the sounds, but none was apparent. Indeed the notes wafting on the air seemed to come from the walls themselves.

Finally, Severus dragged his gaze to a small table situated next to the sofa. A full bottle of butterbeer sat next to an empty one, a bottle of red wine and a glass sat next to those. For lack of a better plan, Severus strode to the table and examined the label — it was an elf-made vintage he’d heard of, but never tasted. He opened the bottle and poured a glass. “I would offer you some,” he said to Potter, “but it appears there’s only one goblet.”

Potter smirked and reached for the unopened butterbeer. “That’s okay. This is my drink of choice. Have a seat if you’d like. That’s pretty much all I do, sit here and listen to the music until I nod off."

Since the Room had no furniture other than the table and sofa, Severus sat on the opposite end of the couch, ramrod straight, wondering what the hell he was doing alone with Harry Potter.

Potter seemed to notice his discomfort. “Don’t worry. No one even knows I come here, they certainly won’t find out we’re spending time together. Just relax and listen to the music. Merlin knows, if there’s anyone else in this school that needs a bit of relaxation, it’s you.”

Severus couldn’t argue the point, so he only nodded and sipped his wine. It was really quite good. After several minutes of the music washing over him and the wine working its wonders from within, Severus began to relax. He leaned back into the embrace of the fluffy sofa and dared dart a glance toward Potter.

The boy was wearing muggle clothes, denims and a t-shirt, his feet covered only in socks, shoes dropped haphazardly to the floor. It made Severus feel a bit overdressed in his heavy outer robe fastened over teaching robes, but informality had never come easily for him.

Potter was sprawled on his end of the couch, legs wide, one hand in his lap, clutching the half-empty butterbeer bottle, the other resting on the sofa, fingers slightly curved. His eyes were closed, his head tilted back, and a small smile played across his lips. For perhaps the first time in all the years Severus had known the boy, this was the most carefree he’d ever seen him. Even when Potter was sitting a broom, engaged in a Quidditch match, he was all determination and control.

Whether it was from the wine, the music, or his companion, Severus finally felt the last hard coil of tension unwind within him and he closed his eyes. For the first time since he was a teenager, he let the strains of music carry him away into oblivion.

He wasn’t sure how many hours had passed when he awoke, still sitting on the couch, but slouched low. What he was sure of, however, was the persistent weight pressed against the outside of his right thigh. Severus squinted his eyes open just enough to see that Potter was lying on the sofa, head on one arm, feet stretched across to Severus, toes digging into Severus’s leg.

Severus jumped up and moved several paces from the couch. He never let his guard down in front of anyone enough to fall asleep! And he most certainly didn’t allow such familiarity as bodily contact with a student.

Although, he did feel more rested than he had in… well… probably since he was a fifth-year in this very institution.

He strode from the Room before Potter woke up, desiring to avoid strained conversation with the boy. He was surprised to enter the corridor beyond the secret room to find the light of a sunrise peeking through the tall windows.

When was the last time he’d slept through the night?

HP~~SS~~HP~~SS


Since Seventh-Years didn’t have Potions that day, Severus wouldn’t have to face Potter for more than twenty-four hours (except at meals, which didn't really count). For he surely would not visit that bewitching Room on the seventh floor again, not when it seemed to rob him of what vigilance he had carried over from his years at war.

When he returned to his rooms after dinner, Severus found a note wedged under his door. He sighed. What was it to be tonight? A prank gone wrong? Problems in the Slytherin House? He unfolded the parchment, and, for a heartbeat or two wished it had been one of those offenses, instead of this:


Professor,

Thanks for joining me last night. I haven’t slept like that in a long time. I’m not sure why I slept so well when you were in the Room, but I do appreciate whatever it was. Are you coming again tonight? Because you're welcome any time.”

HP



Severus was certainly not joining Potter tonight or any other night. It had been far too disconcerting to let his guard down so completely as to have slept the night away in the presence of another person.

The rub was, that by four in the morning, Severus realized that without joining Potter in the Room of Requirement, he wasn't going to sleep. In the past, he could have at least counted on two or three hours of slumber, but not this night. Indeed, every time he closed his eyes, he heard the faint ghost of someone else breathing and felt the reminiscence of warm pressure against his leg.

The fact that Potter almost fell asleep in Potions the next day was certainly no consolation. It only made him wish his life could be so easy as to not need the presence of another broken soul to soothe his own. Or for that broken one to be soothed by his.

He avoided Potter and that dratted Room for two more nights. But try as he might (and oh, how he tried) sleep eluded him completely. Even under the influence of various potions, slumber could not find him.

And he didn’t seem to be the only one. By the looks of him, Potter could hardly keep his eyes open.

So, on the fourth night, Severus finally climbed back up through the castle, his heart lightening with each step upward, until he heard the strains of piano and stringed instruments. He wasted no time in invoking the door and entering the Room. “You have not been sleeping, Potter.”

The boy, who was lounging on the sofa, smiled softly. “Not a minute since the last time you were here.” He shrugged. “I don’t believe you’ve slept either, sir. Do you think we’ve been cursed or something?”

“Cursed by the events of our lives, perhaps, but nothing more.”

Potter nodded. “Are you staying?”

“If it means sleep, then yes.”

Severus remembered little more of that night. He recalled settling onto the sofa and stretching his legs in front of him. He knew he glanced once at Potter, who again had his eyes closed and a small smile on his lips. But after that, he remembered nothing.

When morning came, Severus blinked open his sleep-heavy eyes and took in his surroundings. He was still in the Room, still with Potter. He was still sitting mostly upright, but angled sideways, both legs stretched down the length of the sofa. Potter was curled up along Severus’s legs, head cushioned on a bony shin, legs curled, knees pressed against Severus's hip.

Severus’s instinct was to once again leap from the sofa and escape such intimacy, but he fought that first urge and forced himself to calm. Instead of fleeing, he slapped Potter’s hip. “It’s morning, Potter. Time to return to your dormitory before they realize you’re missing.”

Potter shifted, his hand coming to rest much nearer Severus’s groin than was wholly comfortable. After a moment or two, Potter’s eyes flew open. He jerked his hand back and then bolted upright, nearly dislodging Severus’s legs from the couch. “I… I’m sorry, sir!”

Severus waved his hand. “I will not hold you accountable for what you do in your sleep, Mr. Potter. But take such liberties while we are both awake, and there will be consequences to pay.”

Potter grinned. "I've never thought of taking such liberties with you, but now that you've planted the seed…"

"Impertinent." Severus stood and strode from the Room.


HP~~SS~~HP~~SS



The next night, Severus didn't berate himself one bit for climbing the stairs to the seventh floor. If it meant a good night's sleep, he would willingly share space with Potter. And really, the boy wasn't so bad after all, was he?

He was dismayed to reach the correct hallway only to be met by the sound of blaring rock music. While he didn't mind listening to the beat of his teen years, it certainly wasn't conducive to sleep. He conjured the door and then burst into the Room, ready to insist on a change of tune. But the sight of Harry Potter stopped the tirade he'd been formulating.

Potter was stood in the middle of the Room, soft couch seemingly forgotten. His posture was stiff, his arms wrapped protectively around his middle, and his head was bowed. As Severus watched, Potter's thin shoulders shook as if he were laughing… or sobbing.

Severus perched on the edge of the sofa and kept a keen eye on the boy. Every once in a while, he would say, "Potter," or, "Why don't you come sit down," but Potter never reacted.

Finally, an hour in, just as Severus was thinking it might be prudent to make his way back to the dungeons (He might as well stay up all night there than here. At least there he could inventory ingredients), the music ceased and Potter turned. His face was pale, his eyes red-rimmed. He gave Severus a small smile, mumbled, "Sorry," and collapsed onto the couch. He was asleep before Severus could even ask what the display had been all about.

It took Severus some time to fall asleep and morning came too soon for his liking. And he wouldn't admit, even if he were tortured, that he missed having part of Potter plastered up against him when he woke. Indeed, the boy was nowhere to be seen.

Severus straightened his clothing and marched out of the Room. He kept a sharp eye on Potter during meals and in class that day, but Potter seemed no different.

After class, Potter waited until his peers had left the room before he approached Severus's desk. He glanced around before whispering, "I'm sorry about last night. I don't get in that mood often, but when I do, the Room plays the music I need. I hope it doesn't put you off coming back."

"We will discuss it tonight."

Potter nodded and left, turning at the door to smile and give a half-hearted wave.


HP~~SS~~HP~~SS



As it turned out, they didn't talk that night. After overseeing a late detention, Severus found Potter nearly asleep when he arrived at the Room. The music playing was soft, lulling.

"I'm glad you're here. I'm really tired," Potter said, just before closing his eyes.

Severus sighed and took his usual place on the couch. Really, he should see about getting a bed in here. If this was to be where he spent his nights, he may as well be comfortable. Severus had no more than formed the passing thought when a large bed materialized in one corner of the Room. He stood and looked uncertainly down at the sleeping teen. On one hand, he sorely wished to use that bed. On the other, he wondered if the sharing of the sofa was what brought him sleep. Only one way to find out. He strode to the bed, shed his outer robes, loosened his teaching robes, toed off his shoes, and slipped under the covers.

Before he fell asleep, Severus had the niggling concern that he'd miss waking up with some part of Potter pressing against him.

He needn't have worried. When he woke in what he assumed was morning, Potter was plastered to Severus's side. It was… intriguing. Severus took several shallow breaths, not sure how he should proceed. He was a teacher, in bed with a student. And though the student was of age, Severus couldn't imagine such an occurrence would be looked on generously by anyone. He'd been a fool to wish for a bed. Where did he think it would take them if not to this very place? He knew from prior experience that Potter seemed to thrive on bodily contact.

Severus shifted a little, wondering if he could extricate himself without waking the boy. The bit of movement, however, produced an unlooked for effect. Potter grunted once and then snaked an arm around Severus's stomach. Said stomach fluttered and an appendage a bit south of his stomach took an interest.

"Potter!"

Potter snuffled and rubbed his nose into Severus's shoulder.

"Don't wipe your snotty nose on me."

Potter's eyes slowly opened. He blinked up at Severus. "Sorry, sir." But he didn't move. In fact he snuggled closer.

"Potter. Either unhand me or I will dump you off this bed."

"Wanna sleep a little longer. It's Saturday. No classes," Potter mumbled.

Severus had had enough. If Potter got much closer, he'd surely feel just how much Severus had. Careful to keep his groin out of the contact zone, Severus sat up and quickly scooped the boy into his arms and deposited him on the floor.

He hit with a satisfying "Oomph."


HP~~SS~~HP~~SS



It took all of two nights before Severus willingly let Potter — Harry — into the bed as soon as they were both tired. There was no sense denying the boy, as he would only wait for Severus to fall asleep and then climb in anyway. Harry kept a respectful distance while they were awake, but by morning, they'd be a tangle of sweaty limbs. And if Severus was halfway across the bed, well, who could blame him for wanting a little comfort, really?

He made sure not to mention to Potter that he believed another bed could easily be conjured. After all, they probably slept better when closer anyway.


HP~~SS~~HP~~SS



Their days and nights fell into a rhythm. During daytime hours, they treated each other much like they always had, though perhaps without any of the true rancor that had defined their previous relationship.

At night they met in the Room of Requirement and listened, silently, to music before retiring to bed. Severus even relaxed enough to begin wearing sturdy pyjamas under his outer robes. Potter began opting for something he called a sweat suit to sleep in (horrendously ugly thing, really).

After a month of this new schedule, Severus noted two things of importance. Firstly, twice within that time, the music was deafening rock. It took all of Severus's self control not to interfere with whatever emotions took over Harry at those times. But he grew to hate those nights, not only for the emotional upheaval they produced in his bedmate, but also for the fact that after each of those particular nights, Harry was always gone before Severus awoke in the morning.

The second observation was that three times during the month, on mornings after lovely classical music had played, Severus awoke to feel the unmistakable undulations of a man frotting against his hip. He'd been shocked at first. After all, Harry Potter might rely on him for some sort of twisted comfort, but he showed no outward sign that he was otherwise attracted to Severus. Upon opening his eyes, Severus saw Harry was sleeping, dreaming of sex with a woman, most likely. It had been a bit of a blow, as Severus had had that one moment of thinking maybe, eventually, this relationship might grow into something more. He quickly extricated himself from the boy and the bed.

The fourth time, just as Severus shifted to make his escape, Potter's eyes flew open. His shocked embarrassment indicated his realization of just what he'd been doing. Severus felt his cheeks heat, he moved over in the bed, putting distance between their bodies. He was grasping about for what to say when Harry jumped from bed and fairly ran from the Room, his shoes dancing a trail behind him.

Severus had to keep reminding himself throughout that morning that he'd done no wrong, that he had nothing to be embarrassed about. But for some odd reason, he felt as if he'd done something that might spell the end of his nighttimes with Harry. With those thoughts, the problem that had been plaguing his mind for days now came back full force. What would he do when Harry moved on?

The boy would leave Hogwarts in a little over three months. Whatever tenuous bond they'd formed (and Severus had begun to truly cherish that bond) would be forever severed, if it hadn't been already. Would Harry's realization that he'd been frotting against Severus be the end to their time together? Severus fervently hoped it would not.

As the last class of the day filed from Severus's room, Harry arrived, fighting against the tide to enter as the others scrambled to leave. He kept his head down as he approached Severus's desk.

"Have I done that before?"

"A time or two."

Harry's eyes darted up to meet Severus's and then flicked back away. "I'm sorry."

A knot of tension in Severus's chest loosened a fraction. "As I told you before, I will not hold you accountable for what you do during slumber."

A small smile played on Harry's lips as he lifted his head to again meet Severus's gaze. "So you won't stop this…" He waved his hands in the air ineffectually, but Severus couldn't fault him. He'd have no easier time categorizing their strange relationship than this boy half his age did.

"I won't stop this."

"Brilliant. I'll see you in a few hours, then." Harry strode to the door, his body held straighter, a spring in his step that hadn't been there when he'd arrived. He grasped the handle and looked over his shoulder, a blush darkening his cheeks. "I wouldn’t want my feelings for you to ruin what we have."

Severus was caught off guard.

Harry hovered in the doorway for a moment, as if waiting to see if an answer was forthcoming, but Severus couldn't have spoken even if everything he held dear were at stake.

When the door closed, leaving Severus alone, he realized everything he held dear might very well be at stake, because really, his heart held nothing closer to its emotional center than Harry Potter. The boy had somehow, inexplicably, wormed his way in.

It was hard going that night to make the climb to the seventh floor. Severus felt weighed down with want, with need, with guilt, with memories, with hope. What course would it set them on if he confessed to returning Harry's affection? Surely nothing good could come from such a dalliance. They might spend time together for a few month and then Harry would leave and Severus would stay, and he'd be all the lonelier for what he had finally found.

Even as he topped the stairs for the seventh floor, Severus hadn't come to any decisions. But the pounding of rock music assured him that no decision would be needed this night. Harry, it seemed, was in a mood.

Severus let himself into the Room. Harry was standing in the middle, as usual. His shoulders shook with the sobs that wracked his body. Severus wondered if it was only his imagination that the boy's sorrow seemed sharper tonight.

For a quarter hour, Severus leaned against the closed door and just watched. Harry's words from earlier echoed in his head. He knew he hadn't misunderstood what feelings Harry was referring to. You didn't sleep each night wrapped around another if you hated him. Finally, Severus could stand by no longer. He strode up behind Harry and, after just a moment's hesitation, wrapped the thin boy in his arms.

Harry stiffened for a moment, but then relaxed. He leaned his back against Severus's chest, passing the shudder of his sobs from his body to Severus's.

If Severus could sponge up the boy's anguish as easily as his body soaked up the movement, he'd gladly do it. He wrapped his arms tighter around Harry and rubbed a hand up and down one of Harry's arms. "Tell me what causes you such pain." The question was silly, really. After all, Severus's own mind was frequently haunted by those who'd been lost to the war.

When Harry didn't answer, Severus said, "Don't put yourself through this, Harry. Have the Room change the music. Come sit with me on the sofa. Lie with me in bed."

Harry shook his head, but remained silent. At least, Severus noted, he wasn't crying as hard.

Severus wanted nothing more than to hear Harry's voice. Just hearing him talk would be reassurance that he wasn't completely shattered. In a whisper, he asked, "What is it? What's the difference in the types of music? Why do you get so agitated when it's rock?"

Harry pulled in a long, shuddering breath. He tipped his head back to rest on Severus's shoulder. "Colin was raised by Muggles. His parents liked to listen to rock music, so Colin did, too."

"The Creevey boy?"

Harry nodded. "Sometimes when I was feeling down, I'd go to his dorm room and listen with him. We'd pretend to play guitars and sing as loudly as we could." He chuckled and then sniffed. "I suppose I'm lucky he didn't sneak some photos of me doing that."

Severus tried to imagine Harry letting go like that, it seemed a stretch. The boy had been made to grow up far too fast. He silently thanked the Creevey boy for giving Harry a bit of mindless, juvenile fun.

"It seems like we were so young, then. But now he's dead and I feel old." Harry turned, so his back was no longer to Severus. He wrapped his arms around Severus's waist and rested his head on his chest. "I don't think I'll ever listen to rock music again without thinking of Colin. Then when I think about Colin, I remember Fred, and Remus, and Sirius, and Tonks, and Hedwig, and even Dobby. So many are gone."

Severus knew Dobby was an elf, and the name Hedwig tickled at his memory, although he couldn't quite place who she was, but regardless, he got the point. Harry was still grieving. He doubted the boy knew how to get past the misery. He rubbed circles on Harry's back, waiting to see if Harry had anything more to say, wondering if he could think of anything to answer in return.

After several moments of quiet, Harry said, "I listen to classical music because it soothes me, helps me forget. I listen to rock when I need to remember."

Severus cleared his throat, but it didn't get rid of the lump that was forming. "You can remember the dead without allowing those memories to destroy you. It took me many years to realize that. I hope it takes you less."

"I'm not as bad when you're around. Used to be I'd suffer the whole night…"

Severus just stopped himself from blurting something stupid, such as, Then I suppose I'll have to keep you. Instead he changed the subject, saying, "For many people, rock music is the catalyst of revolution and freedom. In fact — and I expect you to keep this confidence strictly to yourself — the very first time I had sex, it was to Led Zeppelin."

Harry snorted. "You? Listening to Zeppelin?"

"I'll have you know that the increasing pace of Stairway to Heaven closely mimics the buildup of sexual tension. You begin slowly kissing in the beginning, and then up your own tempo as the beat quickens and the song plays for many, many minutes." Holding Harry like this and talking sex was having an immediate effect. The way they were wrapped in each other, Severus was sure Harry couldn't miss the hardness pressing against him.

The music changed. What had been War Pigs gave way to Stairway to Heaven.

Harry tipped his head back, looking into Severus's eyes. "Show me."

"Are you certain?"

Harry slipped from Severus's arms and, grasping one of his hands, pulled him to the bed.

Severus hesitated, feeling stiff and unsure, as Harry bared himself and lay down. If he took this last leap, if he allowed Harry Potter so far into his life, he would surely be ruined when the boy left. How could he put himself through that?

As if he'd actually learned Legilimency, Harry said, "This isn't just for tonight. Just so you know. I think this is probably for forever."

Severus nodded. His fingers fumbled over buttons, he nearly tripped as he tried to free his feet from his shoes. He swore at himself for wearing so many layers, but finally he was as naked as Harry. He lowered himself down onto the boy just as the song reached its first tempo change.

At the first feel of Harry's heated skin beneath him, Severus knew this encounter couldn't possibly last long, but he was also sure that it was only the precursor of so much more to come. This was an unlooked for gift, one that, as recently as a few weeks ago, he'd never have believed he wanted. But at this moment, the press of his body against Harry's, the boy's sweet moans as Severus rocked his hips, and the raw emotions that coursed through his veins, seemed to be the very thing his life had been leading up to. He'd always tried to protect Harry, but from now on it would be at a more intimate level.

Their lips met, their arms held, their hips rocked, and while it wasn't intercourse in the strictest sense of the word, for there was no penetration, they brought each other to completion with hands and mouths, with slick bodies sliding in tandem, writhing to the primal sounds of wailing guitar and pounding drum.

And it was how it was meant to be. Severus believed the castle itself had known their destiny and its music had led them on this merry dance.

In that first coupling, the course of the song outlasted their lovemaking, but their love, in the end, outlived anything mortal.

And it took a while, but Harry finally learned how to remember the fallen without losing himself in grief.


End notes:
**The song Severus recognizes the first time he hears rock coming from the RoR is "AC/DC's High Voltage". They played several concerts in London in August of 1976.

**Yes, I know there's nothing in canon about Harry listening to rock with Colin, but it happened. It really did.

** "Brahms Symphony No. 4"

**"Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven". It's over ten minutes long, but yeah, I know, that's not that long for sex, but our boys were pretty desperate when they started.

Finally, "Black Sabbath's War Pigs"
Tags: fic, giftfic, r, snarry
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