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Title: Suffocate Me
Author: Deirdre Riordan
Rating: PG
Pairing: Snarry
Disclaimer: Uh, see that lady with all the money? Yeah, they're hers. I'm just borrowing them.
Summary: Harry returns to Hogwarts, but his reasons aren't what he thought. Written in 42 minutes for the [info]contrelamontre "Air" challenge.
Feedback: deirdre.riordan @ (remove spaces)

Suffocate Me
by Deirdre Riordan

There had always been something about the Dungeons that made it hard for Harry to breathe. As a student, the air in these forbidding reaches of the castle had always felt thick in his lungs, pressed down on his chest and threatened to crush it. It could have been fear, apprehension, discomfort, excitement-- anywhere at all on an endless gamut of emotions he in his still-near-innocence could not fathom then. Even now, three years and considerable emotional distance later, he still felt stifled, suffocated, as he descended the last staircase into the dark and windowless illusion of night. He was not winded from his quick pace walking up from Hogsmeade, nor from the myriad twists and turns of the Hogwarts corridors, but as he stood before the door of the Potions Master's office, he found himself struggling for breath. His heart raced as he raised his hand to knock. The deep, silky voice on the other side of the door that bid him enter left him more breathless still.

When he touched the handle, the door swung open, and he was not entirely sure if he was even still breathing at all. He wasn't even sure what he was doing back here, now that he thought about it, speechless and holding his breath before Severus Snape's desk. Of course, he needed advice about the antidote to a deadly potion that had been handed to the Ministry by an informant, but Snape was certainly not the only Potions Master in the country, and the Potions Master on staff in the Ministry certainly could have handled it. But something had brought him here nonetheless. Maybe he had been breathing too freely of late. Maybe he needed to step into these damp corridors one more time to remind himself of what it was to inhale and exhale without that weight on his chest. Maybe… well, maybe it had nothing at all to do with potions or breathing, and everything to do with the inhabitant of these particular chambers. This mental acknowledgement came in a split second, the same second in which Severus Snape raised his head from his work and spoke his name without any of the malice or contempt he had used during Harry's years at school.


"Professor Snape." No, he wasn't breathing. He willed his lungs to inflate with the musty air.

"Albus said I should expect you."

Albus. Then Albus had told him. Of course Albus had told him. Why would Albus not tell him? This was no surprise visit. Snape had prepared himself for this meeting, resigned himself to it. Albus had probably told him to be nice. Harry coughed, nearly choking on his… disappointment? "Yes, well," he said, trying to sound like the high-ranking Unspeakable he was and not a terrified first-year. "Thank you for seeing me."

Snape pinched the bridge of his nose. "I've no time for eggshell-walking or pleasantries, Potter. Just tell me what it is you need from me and this annoying little encounter can be done with."

Harry's breath caught in his throat at the passion-or-hatred that burned in Snape's eyes. What he needed. What he needed. He needed someone to help him breathe. "What I need? I'll show you what I need." The confidence (insanity?) came out of nowhere as he crossed the space between them in two swift steps and pulled the Potions Master out of his chair by the high collar of his robes. He hesitated only one more instant before crushing his lips to his former professor's in a suffocating kiss.

For a moment he felt only unmoving shock beneath his lips, Snape being perhaps as breathless as Harry himself had been when he stepped onto the Hogwarts grounds. He felt a hand push at his chest briefly, but he stood his ground. Snape's hand melted away to snake around Harry's waist, and his mouth began to respond. Harry realised, locked in this embrace, that this was the kind of breathing he'd needed all along.


©2004 by Deirdre Riordan.

Email comments to deirdre.riordan @ gmail . com (remove spaces)

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