Title: Propositions of Love
Pairing: Harry Potter/Severus Snape
Word Count: 3574 words
Warning(s): None, other than it's Pre-Snarry.
Summary: Harry has finally confessed his feelings to the object of his affections... Somewhat.
Disclaimer: JKR owns HP. I borrow it from time to time.
Author's Notes: Unbeta-ed. Cheesy title for a cheesy story. Also, this happens after Harry used the Half-Blood Prince's book. Dumbledore's death does not occur and Voldemort is no more.
"I LOVE SEVERUS SNAPE!"
There, Harry Potter said it. He admitted his feelings for the dour ex-Death Eater and Resident Potions Master of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry loud and clear at the top of his lungs, never once faltering or stuttering.
…Well he did, aside from the fact that he was at the Room of Requirement at the middle of the night with no one else but the crackling of the fire in the grate as a response.
"I really am a coward."
Harry was currently contemplating on professing his love to the object of his unhealthy affection on Valentine's Day, which was two and a half weeks away. He was a 7th year, he defeated Voldemort and ended the war, faced the media and testified for Severus Snape's true allegiance in the war but he could not for all his Gryffindor bravery muster up the courage to say his true feelings to the man without cowering in fear of rejection. Nowadays he was even lucky if he did not stutter in the Head of Slytherin's presence. He was that pathetic and very much in love.
'Even if I was able to confess, I'm sure he'd think that I'm lying and playing a prank on him. How can I make him notice me?' Harry groused, running a hand through his messy nest of a hair as he plopped down on the lone couch, the only other furniture in the otherwise sparse room. For the life of him he could not even remember the exact time or day he fell cavernously in love with the man. He just did.
'And I can't believe I bloody blushed at just the way he called my name to hand over my potion this morning! …But I got to admit he does have an extremely seductive voice… Oh Merlin! I got side-tracked again.' Harry sighed, stretching out his legs as he lied down with his arms folded under his head. 'For sure Ron and 'Mione will have my arse if I don't procure a date for myself before Valentine's. I just got to get off my arse and confess to him.' At that, Harry chuckled in spite of himself. 'Maybe chocolates and roses will sway him. It surely doesn't involve me actually telling him I love him to face. Though if he knew Harry bloodyPotter sent them Gryffindor'll surely be down by many points; still I suppose compared to before it wouldn't be as much. He has become somewhat lax. If I give him a book of poetry maybe he'll deduct a point for each piece instead of each letter?' His chuckling stopped short at that train of thought.
"Book? Hmm… I wonder? But maybe… It could just work!"
Harry Potter just had a brilliant idea. The brilliancy might just be lost on the person it was intended for though.
"He'll never know what hit him."
Despite popular belief, Severus Snape is a morning person. Aside from Charms Professor Filius Flitwick, he was usually the first one in the Great Hall for breakfast, alert and sipping tea while reading Potions Weekly. Due to this fact, he had a lot of time to just gaze at the people in the Hall when most was situated to delve in their meals, bleary-eyed and yawning.
'A typical morning… or is it?'
Severus could not help but notice that the Potter boy, who has grown up to be a decent enough young man he reluctantly adds, was not sneaking obvious glances at him this morning as was his wont for the last couple of months. Potter was actually eating his normally and chatting with his friends, if not a little tense in the shoulders. The scene was even more peculiar for Potter was only eating with one hand while his other was clutching a big wad of rolled parchment by his side.
'I wonder what he's up to?' Severus thought, eyeing the Gryffindor suspiciously.
It was true that Severus Snape became lenient ever since Voldemort was defeated by the Boy-Who-Lived during the boy's 6th year in a surprisingly anticlimactic battle. With a Polyjuice potion, a Felix Felicis potion and a very handy spell, the Dark Lord was no more, all in time for Potter's class the next day. With no over-bearing evil master to follow, no role to play and a clean name, the Potions Master became more decent to the people around him. He was no longer biased with the Slytherins, dealt more reasonable deductions and carried out fewer detentions. He taught more fairly, thus more people respected and consequently learnt from him.
'Potter certainly excelled more in Potions.' He thought. 'But that's also no Potions essay he's holding.'
The Head of Slytherin narrowed his eyes on the boy, a sense of dread washing over him when his scrutinizing was yielded with Potter turning around as if sensing his gaze, then avoiding his eyes as soon as the boy noticed him watching.
Oh yes, despite his new disposition, Severus was still a spy and it was in his nature to be paranoid. And his paranoia was telling him that Potter was up to no good, which was proven by the boy's next move.
Potter stood up abruptly from his seat, attracting everyone's attention as he walked towards the Hall's double doors only to stop in front of it. With many eyes upon him, he turned about and slowly unfurled the parchment he held the whole morning.
HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, I HAVE YOUR BOOK.
IF YOU WANT IT BACK,
Silence met the bold words in Potter's parchment for a few seconds. It was no wonder; Severus was certainly speechless as well. While the whole Hall erupted in catcalls and fervent chattering on who this Half-Blood Prince that got the elusive Saviour of the Wizarding World interested in dating, the man in question only had one thought in his mind.
'Is he serious?'
"Harry! Are you serious? You want to date Sna- I mean the Half-Blood Prince?" Ron whispered aghast as soon as he was able to reach his friend in the hallway, which was certainly no easy task when the bespectacled teen was walking fast and smarmed by their fellow students.
"Harry! Harry! I'm the Half-Blood Prince! Please date me!" A girl squealed.
"No I'm the Half-Blood Prince! I am a boy and you are certainly not!" A boy retorted.
"She's isn't, but I am! I am a half-blood, and I just used Prince to appear mysterious to Harry! Date me, Harry!" Another female voice twittered.
"Yes, Ron! And we've been through this before! I want him." Harry replied just as soft, his last statement uttered heatedly and still heard over the din of the students. Ron looked about to argue but the hard smack upside the head dealt by his girlfriend halted him.
"Ow! What'd you do that for, 'Mione?" Ron grumbled, massaging his head.
"This is hardly the place to discuss this." Hermione lectured fiercely, slightly out of breath. Grabbing both boys' arms in each hand, the bushy haired female rounded them in a corner away from the horde and tucked them in a dark alcove, simultaneously casting Disillusionment and Muffling charms in their immediate area. They watched unmoving as the flock that constantly followed Harry ever since his bold declaration in breakfast passed by. Hermione let out a sigh of relief.
Rounding on her boyfriend, Hermione reprimanded him as she put her hands on her hips. "Honestly, Ronald. Couldn't you wait until later when no one can hear you when you question Harry unfairly?" Turning, she said to her other best friend, her ire still present only a little toned down. "Harry, as I've said before, I support you. I just can't see why you had to proposition him at breakfast, in that way, in front of the whole school!"
Harry raked a hand through his head, a sheepish smile on his lips. "I couldn't think of any other way, 'Mione. I can't say I love him to his face without embarrassing myself. Even if I did it, he wouldn't believe me because it's done in private. This way he'll know I'm serious and that I'm not afraid of the public's opinions, while the others will be none the wiser. I'm almost convinced he, you, Ron and I are the only ones who know who the Half-Blood Prince is. I just wish I have something more substantial as leverage." He sighed.
"Seriously! You can't make him fall in love with you by blackmail! Show him the real you, Harry. You don't need to force him to go out with you!" Hermione said.
"If only it were that easy, 'Mione." He sighed again. Seeing that the corridor was almost deserted, Harry removed the charms with a wave of his wand. "Come on, guys. It's time for Potions. Don't want to be late."
As they walked, Harry could not help but feel a little hopeful that the message came across to the man and just maybe, maybe he'll consider it.
Potions class was abysmally normal at first. The three came in time before class officially started and no rebuke greeted them as what usually happened now in Snape's class. Only if one was really late and with no good reason did he give detentions and took points. Taking a seat, Harry anticipated what the older man would do in face with his proposition.
At first, the 7th year watched like the other man like a hawk waiting for the slightest indication that the Slytherin was contemplating his offer. Halfway through the lesson Harry almost gave up hope.
'He doesn't look at me, or berate me or even acknowledge that the display before was for him. It's like he's entirely unaffected!' Harry fumed, the drumming of his fingers on his desk getting incessantly louder.
"Problem, Mr. Potter?" The object of his thoughts inquired coolly, quirking an eyebrow at the noisy teen. Harry would have been embarrassed if he did not notice the wary and assessing gleam he caught in his professor's eyes. As it was he was too happy at finding out that the man knew, that he just gave a polite grin and apologized for his tapping, his eyes shining triumphantly.
'Only time would tell what his answer is.' Harry thought, the euphoria dying out at the prospect that he could be rejected. 'But at least I tried?' He saddened at the thought.
The students slowly filed out of the classroom as NEWT Potions class ended. Harry lagged a little behind, edging at a snail's pace towards the door.
'Here it comes. His decision…' Harry thought, his emotions in turmoil as he looked behind his shoulder to face the Potions Master. "Yes, Professor?"
"Please refrain from creating noises unnecessary during class again. It is disruptive and annoying. That is all. Dismissed." Then the man turned away and went to the storage cupboard to do who knows what. Harry could only gape.
Severus Snape, unknown to many, was a very patient man. It was what made him brilliant in potions, for he could wait at an intermittent amount of time just to procure great results. And it was what he was now employing in Potter's case. Why could Dumbledore, the jolly old coot, not see that?
"Severus, my boy. When are you and Harry having your date?" And the Headmaster had the gall to twinkle his eyes at him!
"What made you think I would take Potter up in his delirious concession, Headmaster? And I would not even ask you how you came to the knowledge of the Half-Blood Prince being myself. I would not bother anymore." Severus sighed and leant back in his chair, the daily visits with his old friend exasperating him as always. The man had the most unfeasible ideas.
"Now, now, Severus. It is only we in this room. Cease with the titles. And I was with the notion that you respect and care for Harry. Am I not right? Why not pursue a relationship with him? He is of age, you know." Albus said, popping a lemon drop in his mouth after his tirade.
"I am aware of that." Severus answered. Regardless of the topic of their discussion, Severus always anticipates his talks with Albus. He found it pleasant and calming. And this was the reason that the man found himself confessing his true reasons to one of his true friends.
"Albus, I will not pursue a relationship with Potter for various reasons. First, his status as a well-known figure in the wizarding world does not appeal to me. I do not want to be flocked constantly by reporters out for a story or admirers in search of photographs because we went shopping or some other such nonsense." Well, 'confessing his true reasons' might be a tad too much. Stating reasons would be more appropriate. Albus just gave him a look that said, 'really?' Severus tried a different tactic.
"Second, while I do care for the boy, he is too young and inexperienced to establish a relationship with someone as old as myself. He should first seek out other connections with other people and be absolutely sure he wants to pursue one with me." Albus just rolled his eyes. Severus cracked at that.
"Oh alright. I am not sure if I want to purse a relationship with him. He might not even be serious. Who knows if he is sincere in his offer? To even go to such lengths as to proposition me, he has got to be playing a prank." There, he said what was truly bothering him.
"Don't you think he goes to such lengths because he wants to date you, Severus?" Albus chuckled. Severus was silent for a moment.
"Point taken. But I will decide what course of action to take as I see fit, and at the moment I decide to wait and see what he will do next."
"Be careful, then. You are dealing with Harry Potter here. He is a very stubborn boy."
"We will see about that."
Hours of class periods turned to days until it became a week and Severus Snape still acted like he did not know anything about what Harry implied during his public display of suggesting, or more like compromising a date from the man. The student body and staff's gossip about who the mystery man was finally died down due to lack of fuel for their tittle-tattle, and they moved on to the topic of Valentine's Day which was in three days. Harry was not the topic of conversation in the common rooms anymore; he should be glad. At the moment though, he was anything but.
'That man is driving me insane with all this waiting! This calls for drastic measures.'
With that thought in Harry's mind, it was the next morning at breakfast that the Hall was faced with another one of Harry's infamous banners of declaration, now emblazoned with the words:
HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, I KNOW YOUR SECRET.
IF YOU DON'T WANT IT TO GO PUBLIC,
Severus could not help but groan and pinch the bridge of his nose. Albus however just laughed heartily to the confusion of the staff at the table and the students near enough to hear him.
"I wonder what exciting secret it is you're hiding, Severus."
"Shut up, you sadistic old coot. You take too much pleasure from my suffering." Severus whispered fiercely to the still chuckling Albus.
"That I am. But I would not dub it as 'suffering' in your part, Severus. This may just be the prelude to your happiness." With that said, the Headmaster smiled benignly and returned to his breakfast. Severus found himself considering the other man's cryptic message.
'Could it? Maybe I should talk to Potter.'
"Class dismissed. Mr. Potter, please stay behind."
'Finally! I knew that proposition would work!' Harry thought happily while at the same time nervously as he approached his Potions Professor's desk, his classmates slowly leaving the room.
"See you later, Harry." Hermione called out, dragging her boyfriend away. Harry waved back absent-mindedly, his attention solely on the broad back of the other man as he sorted some things at the shelf behind him.
With the last of the students out of the room, Severus slowly turned around and faced his student, his face completely unfathomable. A wave of his wand locked the door and silenced the room. Harry grew inexplicably excited and anxious.
"Professor?" He squeaked. 'Oh Merlin, of all the times to sound like a bloody girl, it has to be when I'm about to have my answer!'
"Mr. Potter, it has come to my attention, as well as the whole student body, that you are… asking for a date with an individual who calls himself 'Half-Blood Prince.'" Severus neutrally said.
"Yes…?" Harry, due to his nerves, ended his sentence in a question.
"Are you not sure?" There was still no distinctive expression on the face of the Potions Master.
"No! Uh, yes! I'm sure!" Harry said with conviction. Bowing his head a fraction, Harry peeked up at the other man through his fringe, his stance shy and unsure. "So, what is your decision?"
"Pardon?" Severus inquired.
"Are… Are you w-willing to take up on m-my offer?" Harry whispered, stuttering. 'No use stopping now. To hell with stuttering.'
If the 7th year Gryffindor was looking up at the face of the Head of Slytherin instead of ducking his head in embarrassment, he would have seen the flash of warmth then playfulness that passed through the eyes of the other man. But he was not, so he was caught completely off guard at the question uttered.
"What offer?" Harry whipped his head up, his eyes incredulous.
"I was with the notion that the proposal you are extending is only for the Half-Blood Prince. Am I mistaken?"
"But you are the Half-Blood Prince!" Harry exclaimed, exasperated.
"Whoever gave you that information? And if ever I was the Half-Blood Prince, who said I am a homosexual, open to a relationship with someone who is almost half my age, or willing to be subjected to the exposure that goes hand in hand with your fame?" Severus said, his face remaining impassive throughout his explanation. Sitting down behind his desk, he observed his student, his eyes scrutinizing.
"…Oh." Harry was speechless. He never thought of those scenarios before. His shoulders slumping, he excused himself and left the room in a hurry, his face set in thought.
Severus' calm façade finally broke and he sighed in resignation. That answered his question.
'He is not willing to push through with courting me in face of his doubts. He does not want this enough. I knew it, but why do I feel disappointed?'
Harry was deep in thought. What he heard from the object of his affections certainly rattled his shackles. Pacing the common room late that night, he contemplated his next course of action.
'Severus is not homosexual. He is not interested in me, or my fame. But I'm sure he's the Half-Blood Prince.' Thinking back on the conversation that happened a few hours ago, he pondered everything that was said in that short amount of time he conversed with his Potions Professor.
'I should be heartbroken because I don't have a chance with him, but I have a feeling that I'm missing something important…'
After a few strides, he stopped short and his eyes grew wide, the answer dawning on him.
'Of course! When he phrased his objections, they were in the form of questions! There's a possibility that he may not really feel that way and that he is a homosexual. This calls for a change in tactic…'
Summoning a long roll of parchment, a quill and a bottle of ink, Harry Potter set to work on the biggest proposition he has ever made to date.
Everyone in the Great Hall was alternating on talking about the possibility of the Half-Blood Prince walking up to Harry Potter and accepting his date proposal, wondering what the Half-Blood Prince's secret was, voicing out the chance that the Half-Blood Prince would not show up again and chattering about their dresses, robes and hair for the midnight Valentine's Ball on the 13th. Harry was such a nervous wreck that he did not even touch his treacle tart. Keeping a vice-like grip on the parchment he held in his lap, he made to stand up when a hand shot to grab his arm.
"Harry?" Hermione inquired, her eyes showing her worry and support. Harry briefed her and Ron before breakfast on his next move to woo Severus and they were fully encouraging of him, if not a little concerned. Harry gave a shakily smile in assurance.
"Here goes nothing."
Taking a deep breath, Harry walked up to the double doors of the hall yet again, turning around and unrolling the parchment he held to expose the boldly written words:
HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU.
IF YOU DON'T WANT TO DATE ME YET,
WOULD YOU BE MY VALENTINE INSTEAD?
Shocked gasps were heard throughout the tables as well as cat whistles and applause here and there. Harry heard all of these, but all his attention was on the man who unwittingly held his gaze.
Severus Snape, only for the eyes of one Harry Potter, smiled genuinely. With his eyes crinkling at the eyes, he mouthed simply one word.