|Title: Suffocate Me
Author: Deirdre Riordan
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 contrelamontre
Feedback: deirdre.riordan @ gmail.com (remove spaces)
by Deirdre Riordan
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
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."
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."
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."
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.
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.
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