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Snape-Gossford Curse
By Sentinel Cat


Disclaimer: Harry Potter is under copyright with JK Rowling. I don't own the characters. I'm just borrowing them for a while.


30 years ago


"Momma, can you tell me THE story again?" cried the four and a half year old boy who was shimmying all over the bed because he had too much energy to stay still. A cute, and somewhat aristocratic face was peeking out of the long black hair that kept falling into his eyes every time he moved, which was every second at that moment. His black eyes filled with laughter and mischief.


The beautiful black haired woman with same dark, crinkly, mischievous eyes laughed at her son, amusement apparent in her smile, watched him as her son tried to stay still for bedtime.


It wasn't working. Unfortunately for her, he was a handful and was the most curious boy she'd ever have imagined raising. Shaking her head, knowing full well, there was no way he'd be able to get to sleep unless otherwise distracted, she sat down at the edge of the bed, sighing, agreeing to another story. It wasn't really a story but that's what their family called it. She enjoyed telling her son the story of the Snape curse because while she told it, her son lit up and was full of happiness and joy. Besides, it was awfully hard to say no to her imp of a son.


"Well, Severus, as you know, you're a blood Snape. When the time is right, fate will help you find the other half of your soul. Many call them bonded and others call them soul joined. It's all the same thing. That person will be the other half your soul, bonded to you alone. He or she will be the one you talk to, argue with, have fun with, and everything else that living entails. I warn you, Little One, and make sure you remember this, your bonded might not come in a package that you like. Too many Snapes have been disappointed in the package that their bonded came in. I don't ever want that to happen to you. You should always embrace your love because there's only a few who ever find it. The outside isn't near as important as what's on the inside. Severus, when you meet your bonded, you might not be able to get close to the person. There's any number of various reasons. It's also possible that you might dislike the person at first, although that still won't stop you from recognizing your bonded. And age is the last thing that matters. He or she could be years older or years younger than you."


The beautiful woman stopped talking and got her breath together. A minute later, she softly went on to continue the story. "Son, keep in mind, we're human. Like everyone else in a relationship, you'll have to work at it. It may be extremely hard for you. Being soul joined doesn't exclude you from having it easy. Like any other couple, you'll have to get to know each other and you never know what outward obstacles you'll have to pass to be with each other. You're also going to make the same mistakes all the rest of us make when we fall in love and find the one we want to spend the rest of our lives with. There's no getting around that. Truthfully, though, you'll need time and patience to build a healthy relationship."


A smile began spread wider on her face as she remembered when she was first wooed by her husband. Even then, after years of love and marriage, it still amazed her that someone loved her with their whole being. Joy enervating her voice, she went on, "But, son, the day will come when you'll awaken. You'll see your soul joined for the first time and all of a sudden, your body will blaze into life. You'll immediately change inside and emotions will explode within you. You'll be able to feel everything life has to offer, enjoying the experience, even if personal problems interfere. Take pleasure in your joy, son. Do whatever you have to to win your bonded and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Until you meet him or her, follow your instincts, do the best you can to always help others and live the best you can, never giving up on life."


Her son's eyes were glued upon her. He was intelligent for his age and was able to pay attention far longer than anyone else his age. "Severus, I know it'll be hard living with subdued emotions, not able to return someone's feelings, but you can care about them as a person, as a member of society. Use that to live. I hope that you'll find your bonded soon, but that may not happen. It'll come but there's no way of knowing how long it will be. It may take longer than you can imagine."


At his age, Severus was still confused about some of the stuff his mother was telling him. But with a one track mind, he burst out with another facet of the story that his mother had told him before. "Will I get married and have lots of babies?" Severus asked his mother, not quite sure what babies were, just that his mother was having another one and that he could have some in the future. He still didn't know how a baby could be in his mother. She was BIG! It didn't look like a baby to him. He'd kept asking his mother was she sure she wasn't fat.


Chuckling, Vanessa Snape laughed at her son's antics. "You don't even know what babies are yet, Sev. You'll have to wait awhile so I can have this one and then, I guarantee, you'll find out. As for babies, of course. When you find your soulmate, you can have lots of babies. In fact, if your soulmate turns out to be male, you'll still be able to have children." As she said that, she revealed an impish, teasing humor, which came out in her next breath. "Of course, it'll be you who'll be the one who gives birth to them, in that case. If your soulmate is female, she'll have the babies. But, either way, they'll be yours. In fact, I definitely wouldn't mind seeing that. I can just see you running your mate ragged with energy and humor."


Bouncing and jumping up and down on his bottom as he sat in bed, Severus was eager to hear more and demanded, "Momma, do you know who my mate is going to be?"


"No, punkin, but knowing you, it'll take a special someone to be able to keep up with you."


Two years before the first fall of Voldemort, DeathEater's meeting


Severus watched as all of his 'coworkers' fawned and kowtowed to Voldemort. This meeting sucked in the worst possible way. His arm had throbbed where his Dark Mark was, telling him that Voldemort wanted him. It was times like that, he detested Dumbledore. If it hadn't have been for the fact that he was needed as a spy, he'd have been gone before now.


In fact, he was disgusted with the whole situation. It didn't matter that he couldn't feel passion. It didn't stop him from feeling disgust and hatred for his fellow Death Eaters. It might have been limited, but he definitely felt it. Frankly, he was glad he wasn't feeling those emotions to their fullest capacity. If he had, he had a feeling he'd be doing something rash about now. As it was, he still wanted to do it.


It nearly turned his stomach as he watched Lucius fawn all over Voldemort. The other Death Eaters were as bad or worse. He couldn't understand how they could want to hurt anyone. He'd been trying ever since he'd been spying for Voldemort, to figure out why they were doing it. Although it was fairly easy to keep his beliefs and feelings to himself, it was especially hard to do so in this situation because they were talking about hurting people. Hurting someone went against everything he was and to know ahead of time...


Then the discussion finally turned to the ways the Death Eaters were going to get rid of Ministry officials and Dumbledore. Snape carefully took note of all the information that was coming his way, becoming concerned when Lucius had the bright idea to take and brainwash one of the newly accepted Hogwarts students before they had their first day of school. His horror increased as their plans became more and more detailed.


Stuck here at the mansion of one of the Death Eaters for the summer, he'd been trying to figure out a way to stop their plans without betraying his role as a double agent. At the moment, he couldn't see anything he could do to help. He definitely needed to get word to the Phoenix Order but didn't see how right now. As the discussion became more and more gruesome when they started talking about what actions they'd take toward the children, he fought all of his instincts which kept telling him to stop them and protect those children.


It had been bad enough, he'd had to figure out a way to seem to kill without revealing his disgust so that he could seem loyal to Voldemort, but when those actions went against children, he was screaming inside his head. His sanity was pushing the limit of it's control from the role he was having to play.


Clenching his fingers, his nails biting into his skin, making gouge marks, he held himself still when Lucius happened to turn to him, giving him one of those evil, smirking gazes that completely disgusted him. He'd learned a long time ago not to make suggestions or get involved in any of their planning. He'd told Voldemort from the beginning that his abilities were more in carrying out actions than in planning them. Of course, the main reason was that he didn't want anything to go wrong that he could be blamed with. That didn't stop Voldemort from sending the Cruciatus curse his way. If you were a death eater, you couldn't get out of being blamed. It seemed as if that was one of the main rules of evil people.


Still staying silent and still, although it didn't do any good, Snape was cursing Dumbledore at that moment. Granted, he owed the bloody bastard, but did he have to make it seem as if this was all such a noble idea? Times like that, he wanted to knock some sense into Albus for pressuring him into doing this.


If it hadn't of been for Dumbledore, none of this would be possible.


He'd known he'd been getting more unstable the longer he was without his bonded. At that time, taking advantage of his natural gifts from the curse, Albus had come up with what he'd thought as the perfect solution. By working as a spy for the Order of the Phoenix, he now had a chance to protect his society. Otherwise, he'd have continued living and feeling like he was nothing and no good to anyone. He owed the Headmaster to much for the help he'd given to him as a child and knew this was the best way to make up for what he owed his chosen father.


"Hey, Snape, got any good juicys on the Dumbledork?" Lucius, seeing the distant look on his face, snapped at him back to the present to try to get him to pay attention. Luckily, he wasn't so far gone in his thoughts, he couldn't send back a sarcastic answer.


"Lucius, there isn't anything I haven't told you before. If you're having such a difficult time remembering what we say, why don't you try a memory enhancing spell. After all, you don't want to forget anything the master tells you."


Face going red from being stood up to in front of the other Death Eaters and their master Voldemort, the glare that Malfoy sent him would have killed him. It's a good thing that a glare wasn't an action, otherwise he'd have been dead. Voldemort just looked on with amusement at the rivalry between his two subjects, returning to the meeting. Even though Lucius wasn't exactly the most intelligent pea in the pod, he at least knew better than to try and kill the only person who could get close to Dumbledore. It was because of that, they'd been able to infiltrate as far as they had. The Headmaster was just taking advantage of the situation and peoples misconceptions.


Albus was going to really owe him when he returned, though it had been the Headmaster who'd made sure his secret stayed secret from the moment he'd been in school and had even kept it from the other faculty members as well. It was also thanks to Albus that he'd never needed to use the law to protect himself.


He'd been lucky he'd survived the Shrieking Shack incident. Even though he could barely feel, Sirius would have been enough to make him hate everyone. It had taken a lot of convincing by the Headmaster to keep him from not only charging Sirius Black with murder but also as someone who'd interfered with a Snape to their detriment. The Headmaster had then taken steps to make sure that Sirius could never touch him and that he didn't have to activate protocol. His family laws made sure all the Snape children ended up protected. Codicils had been put in place which stated that a Snape could send someone to prison for a short span of two year maximum, although it would most definitely not be Azkaban. If anyone interfered or hurt a Snape family member to the detriment of their process of development, those very protocols could be activated..


He was far more vulnerable than the average witch or wizard and far more susceptible to the debilitating state of depression. When Dumbledore had found him contemplating suicide, he'd stopped him from killing himself and taken measures to make him feel better. He used the idea and need to protect and help others which was in truth, the only thing that made his life worth living, to cheer him up and give him a reason to continue on without his bonded. Knowing he'd just spiral down again into depression, Albus made sure to counteract that by telling giving him a reason for him to feel needed and that the future needed him to live.


It had been after Sirius' attempt at killing him, he'd found an opportunity to get his backbone again. When he'd seen and understood what the threat of Voldemort meant, Albus initiated him into the Order of Phoenix and made sure that the forces of light had someone on the inside. When he'd proposed his plan to Snape, he'd emphasized two advantages that would make him perfect for the role.


The first was that it would be extremely hard for Voldemort to hurt him emotionally. Although it could be done, few knew how to do so. He also wouldn't be nearly as affected if he had to do things he didn't like, even if it required murder.


The second one was even more important. His family had an unusual capacity to be able to withstand most of the Unforgivable Curses. Pain wasn't felt in his family like other families felt it. Since studies showed that emotions were necessary for most of the Unforgivables to work, if one had little feeling, than they couldn't be hurt as badly as others.


They'd even found out they were somewhat immune to the Avada Kadavra Curse. Although it did affect them, it didn't kill them. That gave him a great advantage that Voldemort wouldn't be expecting. He'd just pretended to feel more pain than he did when the Cruciatus and other curses were performed upon him. It had safely made sure that Voldemort felt he was safely under his control.


As he was becoming more and more concerned over the discussions of the meeting, he continued to present an eager but silent appearance of someone wanting to kill. But, as the talk turned to the Potter family, he nearly jumped inside his skin. He'd known that as one of the most ardent enemies against Voldemort, the Potters were going to have to be taken care of by Voldemort's supporters. It was only a matter of time. But he'd thought they'd have more time to plan and counteract anything Voldemort could come up with.


Lucius couldn't stop talking about the Potters and how it was believed that they were the ones in a prophecy that said they would be the saviors of the wizard world. Voldemort had instructed his Death Eaters to kill them, but so far, nothing had worked. They were too well protected.


The only thing that had worked was a curse of infertility on Lily. If they couldn't kill the couple than they most definitely wanted to make sure there wouldn't be any issue.


As the plans continued to unfold at the meeting, Severus listened and tried to figure out a way to get a warning to the Potters and Dumbledore. With half his mind on the meeting, he began to get even more and more twitchy. His nights had been restless and he kept having the strange feeling that something was about to change.


He was now beginning to enter his preparation period and as he hadn't bonded yet, the need within his soul had been growing. Working as it did against the inherent hatred that had been growing against himself for the things he'd done for Voldemort that was against his nature, it was still strong enough to keep him sane. The internal conflict he was having wasn't strong enough to destroy him yet, but it was enough to make him unsure of his choices..


As he listened and participated in a meeting that planned the destruction and death of several people, Severus couldn't stop himself from praying that the savior would come and protect them all. Unconsciously, at the same time he made that wish, he prayed for an end to his family curse, praying to find his bonded.


Destiny grants wishes in a strange way.


Harry Potter's First Year


"Albus, you can't be serious!"


"I most certainly am, Severus. This'll be Potter's first year and we have to protect him. You know that since he hasn't been raised in a wizard environment, he'll have a lot of work trying to catch up with those who've grown up with the natural instruction in their homes."


"But, sir, there's no way I can be lenient on him. Voldemort'll kill me if I try to be his ally. That's not counting what the Slytherins and their parents will do to me if they were to find out. After all, I'm supposed to be your spy."


Nodding his head, Dumbledore agreed with that, but had to continue, "Yes, I know that. Unfortunately, that doesn't change the truth. Harry's going to be needing some help during his first year. You sure there isn't any possible way you could maybe take it easy on him?"


"Not if we don't want the Slytherins to recognize me for what I am. I'm barely patient with my house, let alone trying to play favorites with another house. And besides, sir, what'll we do if he's placed in the Slytherin house. After all, he's heir to both the Slytherin and Gryffindor houses and he has ancestors in both Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw as well. With his heritage, there's no telling what house he'll be placed in."


"That isn't necessarily true, Severus. I've spoken with the sorting hat and it's agreed to place Harry in Gryffindor."


"Isn't that forbidden?"


"No, it isn't. It's not widely known, but one of the old, rare, rules of instructions for a Headmaster is that we have the final say over what house a child is placed. Although the Sorting Hat is the best way to determine the house a child is suited for, there have been times in the past when maybe due to a fierce blood feud or extreme rivalry when a Headmaster can place a child where he wills, to cause less friction in the houses. It's a Headmaster's prerogative right if they so choose. Since I believe that Harry would be best suited in this instance in the Gryffindor house, I've instructed the hat to place him in there. Due to the circumstances, it's the best house for him in this situation. Fortunately, it's also the one where he'll most likely find the most enduring friends."


"I don't know, sir. That just doesn't seem right."


"Well, you never know, Severus. Gryffindor just may be the house he'd be placed into naturally. But, anyway, it doesn't matter in any case. As Headmaster of Hogwarts, I have to do what I think best to protect him. It's all we need for him to make lasting friendships in the Slytherin house, especially since nearly all of their parents are aligned or allied with Voldemort. Their parent's influence on them would be a detriment to not only helping Harry defeat Voldemort, but to cope with his famous reputation as well."


"I understand, Albus. Has there been any word on Sirius?"


"No, and I'm seriously worried. It's not like Sirius to not keep in touch with me."


"Well, sir, he is on the run from the Ministry Aurors. How he got out of Azkaban, I don't have any idea and you know it's only a matter a time before he lands back into it. I just hope you keep in mind that although he's Harry's godfather, he and I don't exactly get along with each other. When he finds out how I'm going to have to treat Harry, he's going to go ballistic."


"Yes, Yes, I know that! He's just going to have to accept it. At least, not if he wants Harry alive. As for the two of you, I'm well aware of your rivalry. Isn't it about time you two got over it?"


"I'm sorry, sir, but I'm afraid not. I can't forgive him, even if he ever does apologize. He hurt me too badly years ago. I can't help what I am. Unfortunately, none of my year mates ever knew what I was going through. No matter how hard I tried, I could never be normal or just fit in. I'm very grateful that my emotions are dulled. Working as your spy, If I'd had to deal with everything at full emotional capacity, I'd most likely be dead. I sure wouldn't be able to survive as a Death Eater without slipping up."

Nodding his head, Dumbledore couldn't say anything to that. It was precisely because of Snape's family curse that he was the perfect infiltrator. Of course, since he entering the beginning of his discovery phase, he also knew it was most likely only a matter of time before Snape found his bonded. The likelihood of the powers letting him escape his destiny, even for the betterment of the society of wizards, was nil.


Realizing how long their conversation had been, Severus Snape suddenly looked down at his timepiece and muttered, "Sorry, sir, but I've got to go. The students'll be here any minute and I need to be at my 'worse' before I get to the table."


Dumbledore agreed and they parted, both getting their presence ready for the mass of Hogwarts students entering the school.


Snape watched at his seat at the teacher's table as all the new first years thundered into the feast hall. He'd had to run and get on his reputed forbidding black wizard robes and make sure his presence was showing his typical sarcastic darkness. He'd just made it to the hall before all the upper years were entering. With his stern mask in place, Severus prepared himself for another dunderheaded year of school. It was going to be a year of hell, what with trying to deal with students who just didn't want to learn, pretend he was upset over not getting the cursed Defense Against the Dark Arts position, although there was something about Quirrell that he detested, and find a way to protect while pretending to detest a famous boy who didn't have a clue about the practical nature of wizardry.


At first sight, it only took one look at the first years to realize that there was another year of the dreaded Weasleys. Weren't they ever going to stop reproducing? Groaning inside at the thought of having to deal with another of the infamous red headed family, he put forth that dreaded dark appearance with his disgusted expression with his hard, smirking, and cruel smile. It was all necessary to increase his dreaded reputation with his students, especially those of his own house.


Then, he got a chance to get a better and closer look at the first years. He didn't notice Harry Potter at first. What he did notice, as another first year girl moved out of the way of his view was a boy, with ruffled black hair, glasses and a thin, almost emaciated face. When the boy was fully exposed to him, it was but seconds later that Severus cried inside. After all this time, his body reacted immediately to the presence of the young boy. For the first time in his life, his body was responding as a sexually mature being. Reacting to a ten year old boy.


The horror of it was enough to make him nearly faint. He'd known the odds of him finding his soul bonded soon was great. After all, he only had another decade of the chance to find his bonded. That discounted the following decade of healthy reproduction after he had to find his bonded. But, to find his soul bonded in a child who was twenty years younger than he, well it wasn't to be born. He WASN'T a MONSTER!!!


So intense were his thoughts that it was moments before he found himself listening to the sorting. He watched as the name Harry Potter was called. While waiting for a look at the boy he was to give his life for, even over his bonded, it gave him a second to reflect on what it would take to figure out his priorities. Not even Dumbledore could offset the need that was in him to place his bonded first before all others. How he was going to deal with his bonded mate's age, the conflict of interest he had concerning his protection of Harry or his bonded and finally, the fear of finally losing what he'd only just found all raced through his head in seconds.


But when the boy his body cried out for stepped up to the sorting hat responded to the name Harry Potter, his heart pounded so hard it was a wonder that he hadn't died on the spot. Fate had an ironic sense of humor sometimes.


As all the students were eating their first feast of the year, Severus quietly finished eating and using a special look he sent Dumbledore, he got up, heading toward's the Headmaster's office. When he got there, he only had to wait but a few minutes before Dumbledore met him there.


As Dumbledore saw the look that was in Severus' eyes, he knew that it must be serious for Severus to worry like that. As soon as they'd entered the office, Severus went over to one of the chairs and collapsed in it with a groan.


"Severus, what's wrong. The look on your face..."


"Sir, we have a very serious problem. Frankly, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it." The frustrated statement coming out of Snape's mouth and the mumble that accompanied it, indicated that things weren't going to be to the Headmaster's liking.


"What is it? Does it have something to do with Harry Potter? I'd noticed that you kept giving him long looks during the feast. Is there something wrong with you not going to be able to protect him?"


"No, sir, it's quite a bit worse than that! Unfortunately, I've just found my soul joined. Of course, the bond isn't complete, which I'm grateful for by the way, but it's the actual bond itself that's going to present difficult problems for me during the upcoming years."


Dumbledore got this expression on his face as he tried to work through the idea of Snape's bonded. He'd known that the odds of it happening soon were great. None of the other Snapes who bonded late ever found their bonded after they'd passed their period of what is usually referred to in their family as the Deadline. Most Snapes found their mate early in life, but of the few who didn't none of them had to make it pass their 45th birthday before they'd found him or her. One of the things the curse itself made certain of. Of course, there were many Snapes, probably nearly all of them in fact who considered the curse a blessing.


Shaking his head, trying to get his thoughts together, it took only a few minutes to process what Snape had told him. If he'd just met his bonded, then it had to be someone he'd never have met before. The only people in the school who were new were the first years.


All of a sudden, Dumbledore realized the difficulty that this was going to present. It was never that he didn't trust Severus. There wasn't anyone more trustworthy than him. No, what concerned him was the fact that certain protocols that had been placed within the Ministry of Magic centuries ago when the curse was placed upon the Snape family. It would basically make Snape immune from any and all actions with concern of his bonded.


It worried him that when Voldemort found out one of his Death Eaters had bonded, what he'd do about it. Although it was one of the most famous curses throughout wizarding history, The Snape family curse was practically unknown in the current Wizardry society. It was doubtful that Voldemort would know of Snape's family history. But, if he had to activate the protocols, then you could bet that Voldemort would take advantage of the fact that Severus' had found his bonded in the same year group as Harry Potter. There was no telling what he'd make Severus do then to keep up his appearance. The last thing they needed was for Dumbledore to realize that he was a spy.


"Before we go any further, do you think I'm going to have to activate Ministry Snape protocols?"


"No!! God, No!! Albus, I'm deadly serious here. If you even attempt to activate the protocols than I can guarantee that Voldemort will have defeated all of us!"


"I don't understand, Severus! I'm assuming since the only new people you haven't met are the first years that it has to be one of them, but there should be a way for you to protect your bonded!"


"Unfortunately, we don't have that luxury. Take a guess who my bonded turns out to be!"


It was minutes before Dumbledore realized exactly what Severus meant. Severus watched as his hint processed and a gasp later, told Severus that Albus had figured it out.


"Tell me it isn't so, Severus!!"


"Afraid not, Albus! Why in the hell that fate had to make sure I found my bonded in Harry Potter, then God forbid what would happen if Voldemort found out!"


"Dear Lord!" Dumbledore reached out and grasped a handful of candy in his hand. Popping them in his mouth, he tried to figure out what they were going to do. This was definitely the worst circumstance that they could find themselves in.


Knowing that the Headmaster had the same concerns as he did, Severus decided to explain the problems as he saw it.


"Sir, first off, with Harry being a first year, and the fact that I can't initiate the protocols established for my family, that under no circumstances can I even attempt to get closer to Harry. That's of course, discounting the fact that I have to keep up appearances to the Slytherin house to protect myself as a spy. Which means that I'll have to be especially mean to Harry, which won't help my chances of my bonding liking me later. Then, sir, there's the fact that Sirius is his godfather. Granted, Harry doesn't know that, and I'm sure it won't be long before Sirius lands back into Azkaban, but the two of us have hated each other from the beginning. Then, there's me having to deal with all the new feelings that right now, it's all that I can do to control them under these conditions. I don't have choice about keeping my love hidden from my bonded, not if I want him protected. I'm sure I'm missing some other things, but for right now, those have got to be the worst of them!" By that point, Severus' voice had raised to a screeching tone and volume, the fear, self hatred, horror, and underlying it all, the relief of finally have his exile over, inundated his emotions that for the first time, were self evident in his voice.


Realizing for the first time, the pain that Severus was going through, Albus got up and went over to the chair his professor was sitting on. The chair magically expanded, allowing him to sit next to the hurting man whom he'd long ago claimed as his child. Taking him in his arms, Severus lost control.


Tears were pouring down his face. For the first time, Severus was feeling everything. Hatred, love, fear, all of it was pouring out of him for the first time in his life. He'd always hated himself for always being different from others. As a child, it was all he could do to anticipate finding his bonded. He'd been looking forward to meeting the one who was his other half.


But growing up, he hadn't found his bonded by the time he entered Hogwarts. The only things he could feel was protectiveness to others, and a distant feeling of liking or dislike. Hatred was only possible for him if his protectiveness instinct was in conflict and even that, couldn't be expressed like normal humans could and it was somewhat distant as well, not passionate in any case.


It had been Albus who'd made sure that Severus couldn't be seriously hurt by the other students. All those days of working as the Headmaster's personal assistant had been to get him out of the other Hogwarts' students' eyes. It had been a way for him to watch and look out for him as well. Of course, he'd known that the other students jealousy would be detrimental to his chances of fitting in but it had been better to be protected than for him to lose what emotional capacity he did have.


Albus, knowing about the curse, as a Headmaster found it was his job to help him. Even though nothing he'd done had worked, it had at least shown him that someone cared for him, especially after the loss of his parents and his baby brother. He'd also known that if it was necessary that he could activate the protocols to protect him, it would have alienated him even more from the others. Severus already seemed different to the other students, so, unfortunately, human nature made them think that what was different was evil.


The only emotions he could remember were those few years of normal growth as a child, where he'd had to feel emotions to develop somewhat normally. Then, it was as if they'd just cut off or been subdued somehow. He didn't even remember when it happened, except that it hadn't been suddenly but a gradual change. Now, it was as if his emotions had been magnified numerous amounts.


What was causing him the most pain, was that his sexuality had awakened. Along with his emotions, his sexual nature had never developed, protecting a Snape until he met his bonded, although that hadn't been the original reason that they'd been cursed with it, but all it did was alienate him. He'd watched as others made friends, learned about life, connected emotionally with one another and have the outlet of sexual expression to show it or to relieve stress. Even masturbating had been beyond him.


He felt worse as he remembered the primary reason he and Sirius hated each other. As a young second year, Sirius had gotten a crush on him. He'd been pursued heavily for nearly two years. He hadn't been able to explain, because he'd known Sirius wouldn't be able to understand. It wasn't possible for him to return his feelings. Sirius had gotten more and more angry when he'd ignored every overture that he'd sent. It had become more and more difficult for him because he knew it wasn't entirely Sirius' fault for their rivalry. Sirius took his treatment of him as a constant brush-off.


One thing he knew for sure, was that when Sirius found out that Harry was his bonded, there would be fight and there was no telling who'd be the winner. Either way, Harry would lose. Of course, that's only if Harry returned his choosing.


There had been only two cases where the bonded Snape had chosen someone who didn't return their feelings. It didn't matter if the two are soulmates. Being soulmates doesn't guarantee happiness. All it does is provide the opportunity to meet their heart. The way he'd have to treat Harry in the future would no doubt inhibit or stop any chance he had of winning his love.


All this and more ran through the Potion's Master's head as he cried on his foster father's shoulder, releasing a fraction of the pain that he'd end up feeling during the next decade.


Harry Potter's Fifth Year


The Revelation


Harry was so excited. It was the middle of his fifth year and lately, he'd been enjoying all of his potion's class. He was running late for Potions and hoped he'd have a good time like he'd been having in the class for the last month. For some strange reason, Snape had actually been nice to him lately. He'd tried to figure out what was wrong with Professor Snape, but wasn't having any luck. Granted, Professor Snape could definitely be a complete git sometimes, but there were those moments when he could swear that he was actually being nice. There had also been those intriguing looks Snape'd been giving him. He'd look up and find those penetrating black eyes on him.

Snape wasn't the only one who was acting differently. He'd felt different as well. Those beautiful eyes of the Professor made him feel a tingling and instant awareness of everything about him. If it wasn't for the fact that he put it off to just hormones the way his body and emotions were reacting, he'd have said he had a crush on Snape.


It felt a lot like what he'd had for Cho a while back. The only problem was that it wasn't always his body that reacted. A lot of times, he found that he wanted to actually be the center of Snape's attention. He tried to stop it. He'd tried different things, tried to get interested in all the various girls, even tentively experimented with Ron for a while and went out with his sister as a date sometimes. But none of it worked.


He kept seeing Severus Snape in a different light. It had always been his way to detest his greasy potion's master. That first year, he'd thought of Snape as his enemy, as the bane to his existence. But lately, knowing now that Snape'd been protecting him, he couldn't help but not begin to see the man and not the nasty teacher who was so hard on everyone, especially him.


He was running, trying to catch up with his next Potion's class and think about what he was feeling at the same time. Already extremely late, he should have just gotten a medical excuse to get out of the class. But, since he was actually enjoying Potions and wanted to understand more about what he was feeling, he didn't want to miss the class or miss participating in the experiment.


They were doing a potion that could help a person concentrate on particular problems one was having. They'd been told that it was basically a concentration potion but with a focus on helping to resolve unknown or known personal difficulties. It was something like what dreams do but it was more conscious in nature. He actually wanted to try the potion, hoping it would help him understand what was happening to him. He'd also hoped it could help him come up with a solution he could give Dumbledore so he wouldn't have to go back to the Dursley's next summer. He'd tried talking with the Headmaster and McGonnagal but neither of them could see any way around him not being sent back. They were his guardians until he turned sixteen.


About to head around the corner, he heard an explosion of sound. Harry was so engrossed in his contemplation that he was caught by the conversation he could hear going on in one of the alcoves looking out to the grounds, as he was passing the main passageway that led to Dumbledore's office.


"Albus, I can't do it! You know full well, I can't do it!"


He stopped and went to peek around the corner. Not seeing them, Harry realized the sound had to be coming from the lower balcony that was near the Headmaster's office. Sneaking quietly, he knew there was a drapery which would hide him while he listened. He also wondered why Snape was there instead of in his class teaching. Since it was obvious he wasn't the only one who'd be late, he slipped behind the drapes and heard a conversation that made him more confused than ever.

"Severus, you know you're going to have to do something soon. You're not going to be able to keep this up much longer. You've had difficulty enough in the last four years. Even I can tell you've just about reached your breaking point."


"I know, but there isn't anything I can do. Voldemort is still a problem for Harry as are the Slytherins, especially Draco Malfoy and his father, Lucius. I can't stop now, sir. If I do, then they can still take advantage of the truth and even though the bonding isn't complete, I won't be able to protect Harry. I Have to do that! You know that, sir!"


"Yes, but Severus, you're only human and you've had to deal with your awakening these last four years. Granted, you have excellent control for someone who's basically going through their adolescence, but you're getting to the point that you're going to hurt yourself if it goes on."


"What else can I do? Harry's already undergoing his adolescent changes. It's been all I could do to be able to accept his experimentation and suppress the jealousy I'm feeling."


"You know about that!"


"Of course, anything that affects me concerning Harry, I'll know, much to my regret."


"I'm sorry, Severus. I didn't realize you'd have to worry about that as well. It must be even worse this year, since all of them are going through adolescence."


"Yeh, well, there isn't much I do to stop it even though I want to scream and rant and rave. I've never experienced jealousy before and frankly, sir, I don't want to experience it again. Unfortunately, I don't have a choice. Besides the fact that Harry's still just a child, I'm not a monster. He's not the one with the curse, I am!"


The next words were the Headmaster's low tones and to his absolute surprise, he heard someone crying. It was later he realized it was Snape who was crying. It had only been recently that he'd been able to see the real Severus for the first time, beginning to like him as a person. But this, he was actually seeing Snape behaving as an emotional being not in that particular cold attitude he had for him and others. Harry knew even the other teachers didn't particularly like him. But to hear him break down like that, it was enough to cause him concern.


Harry also didn't know why his heart was beating so fast and his anger getting stronger by the minute. A second later, he realized to his surprise, it was jealousy he was feeling. As he tried to stop thinking about it and feeling it, all he could do was force himself to keep from racing out onto the balcony and claim Snape's emotions as HIS. He felt it was HIS shoulder that Snape should be crying on.

Slowly backing away, Harry knew he had to get away from them. He was so upset with what he was feeling that a lot of the conversation didn't connect inside him. He missed all of the implications that would have made him even more confused. Instead, he hightailed it out of there, having a lot of thinking and figuring out to do. He missed the rest of their conversation.


"Now that you've gotten some of that off your shoulders, why aren't you teaching?" The stern voice of the Headmaster was gently reprimanding Professor Snape.


"Albus, Harry's just had a fall that broke his bones in Quiddich. With the way I'm feeling now, do you seriously think I'd be able to teach a class?"


Hermione's Curious Findings


Note: This section is in large part as if taken from a book researching curses. This is presented this way due to the fact that there is too much information to try to explain over the course of the story.




Hermione was frustrated with her fellow Gryffindors. Upset with the way Ron had been treating her, and furious that Harry wasn't standing up for her, she had to get away from them. Deciding to go the library and see if she could find the information about the curses she needed for her assignment, she picked up her pass for the restricted section, knowing she'd better go there since that section would have more information. It still didn't stop her from being fed up with Ron and Harry, making her want to scream.


For over a year now, Ron had been constantly harassing her. He'd kept on teasing her and making fun of her for liking Neville. Granted, it had happened so suddenly, but that didn't mean that Ron had to treat her the way he was. She'd had her eyes opened to the way Neville was always courteous to her and always treated her like a female instead of just one of the boys, like Ron and Harry did.


Of course, as far as she was concerned, Harry was just a brother. She'd felt that way from the beginning. Now, Ron, was a different story. He could have become more to her, but not as it was. She had to keep telling herself that Ron was just a complete knucklehead. Unfortunately, that only worked some of the time.


Frankly, his major problem was jealousy. It was obvious he was jealous of Neville. But, since he wasn't treating her any better, it definitely wasn't going to win him any points with her if he was trying to impress her. Frankly, she just wanted to scream and throw things at him, and try to pound his stupidity in his head. It was degrading for a sensible, intelligent person like herself, to have to feel like that. Her temper kept getting hotter and hotter, making her even more furious. She wasn't a physical person but she could definitely get that way if she was angry enough.


Shaking her head, Hermione began to get herself together and concentrate on getting her DADA homework done. She'd decided to do some research on the curse's histories for her class assignment, but since the curses themselves were dangerous if attempted, the books concerning them, even their history, were in the restricted section. She was just grateful she was trusted enough to get into that section.


After finding where the books she wanted were, she had an entire shelf of nothing but curse histories to go through. Excited from having all this knowledge in front of her, she was able to see that with that many books, she was going to have to refine her topic. The only problem was that she wasn't sure where to begin.


About to pick up a book about the history of the Arvada Kadavra Curse and it's development through history, Hermione temporarily lost her balance and found herself grasping the books on the shelf. When she got steady again, her hand had pulled out one of the books. Curious, Hermione looked down and read the title, Famous Family Curses Inherited Throughout the Last Millennia (FFCITLM).


Of course, being the person that she was, she was intensely curious about the book and decided to read this one and see if there was something she wanted to do her topic on. It was a different subject after all. It was also something that as a muggle, there was little she knew about family curses. Flipping the book open, she did as she always did and began to read the table of contents. It was then she found a surprise. It was also one she hadn't been expecting.


The first curse explored in the book was something called the Snape-Gossford Curse. Now, as she read the name Snape and knowing that the professor was from a long line of wizards, she automatically assumed that it was a Snape that had cast some curse on someone in the past. Even more excited than before, Hermione decided to read it and wondered if there was something that could be used against Snape.


Wandering back to the library study, she sat down in one of the big, comfortable chairs and began to read. So intently was she reading that she'd begun to lose her anger over her friends. Her calm focus was an indication that reading was the one thing that relaxed her more than anything else.


"Quoted directly from FFCITLM"


The Snape-Gossford family curse is perhaps one of the most famous curses, possibly the most famous curse, in wizarding society. Multiple studies have been done to try to both destroy it or repeat it in some way. None of the attempts have ever been able to duplicate what is the most complicated and detailed curse to ever have been placed upon a family.


The curse is permanent and passed down from generation to generation. All family members of the direct blood descendency, male or female, of the original Snape cursed, whether carrying the name or not, will inherit the curse. Because of the nature of the curse, many of the Snape family lines have died out although there is no certainty that the curse is responsible. Although few lines remain today, there will hopefully be a few members who reproduce in numbers that will increase the chances of survival for the Snape family.


As of today, the direct legitimate line descendency is with the eldest male, Rutherford Snape. The eldest of three, he and his wife only have one child to date, a male named Severus Snape.


Going back over a thousand years, the Snape family has survived for ages in a world that hates the magical society and the development of new abilities. Many families besides the Snapes have been killed by muggles due to their fear of their magic. The magicless community both fears and doesn't understand others who possess abilities that they don't have. Because of the unusual intricacies of the curse, it is astounding that the Snape lines have survived to this day in the environment of those who hate to see differences in others.


In the year of our Lord, 982 AD, the Snape lord at that time was Sandoval Snape. A contemporary of Salazar Slytherin, one of the original founders of the Slytherin house at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Sandoval Snape was one of the most infamous members of his family, as well as it's leader at that time. Surrounding villages that the Snape's controlled hated the lord. This hatred wasn't limited to just their local community but extended to the royal and noble court as well.


Sandoval Snape did more to incur hatred among the different noble families than any other of his time. This was in large part, due to his treatment of other nobles and not caring for the personal welfare of his peers. That total disregard for other noble families and the general populace continued until he made the greatest mistake of his life which would impact the rest of his blood for the entirety of their existence.


Sandoval Snape was known for his cruelty and hatred toward others and used rape, blackmail, and force as useful methods to get what he wanted from other houses. A daughter or son would be forced into a situation and as a result, due to his power and nobility, the other families could not get back in any way. Many bastards were produced and nearly every noble family and numerous other families had bastard Snapes in their lines. His sons learned from his example and treated others as he did. This continued until he made his famous mistake.


The Gossford family was at that time, another one of the oldest wizarding families and it's members tended to be more powerful than others. It was a power they seldom used or exploited and only to increase their fortunes fairly and honestly. It was rare for a Gossford to be accused of cheating or exploitation of others. Because of their inherited power, Sandoval Snape wanted an alliance with the family. Of course, with their general honor and beliefs, all offers were refused to marry the two families. None of his sons were good enough for the only daughter of the family, Penelope Gossford.


When the countless offers made to Richard Gossford, head of the house and father of Penelope, were refused, Sandoval Snape grew furious, so used to other families bowing down to his demands. He was used to families offering their daughters and sons virginities or fortunes to accede to his family's power. The Gossfords were the first to just blow it off, knowing they were powerful enough in their own right to counter anything the Snape family tried to do.


Unfortunately, the Gossford's were arrogant enough themselves that they didn't worry about Sandoval's probable retaliation. That was their mistake. Using special lures, Sandoval was able to draw out Penelope and after capture, used her so terribly that she was barely alive when the Gossford's found her. It was also their undoing when, as Penelope recovered from her great injuries, it was found she was with child.


Normally, a child of rape would have been aborted. The problem was that the women of their house weren't able to survive if a child was aborted early. Women were protected in their family from the moment they became pregnant because a simple miscarriage was enough to kill their females. Knowing his daughter had no choice but to bear the bastard of the man he called a monster was enough to make him forget the legendary control his family had. It also didn't help that once a Gossford was born, whether the mother or father was married, it would have to be acknowledged. That was part of their family line requirements. This was to prevent illegitimacy of their members. Countless spells for men made sure they were certain of any issue they sired.


Righteous with the anger of a father who's daughter has been raped and impregnated with the rapist's child, as well as being nearly fatally hurt, Richard Gossford decided to make the entire family as well pay for their leader's actions. While this wasn't unusually different, it was the fact that although he hated and detested the family with his entire being, he also knew that the whole family was in part responsible for Sandoval's actions. The sons and brothers were no better than Sandoval Snape. It was common knowledge that female children were killed in the family because they did not approve of females in their line.


Lord Gossford had had enough of the family and decided to rid the world of their superiority. After over a year of research and theorizing, Gossford came up with what was to him the perfect family blood curse. It would both punish the evil doers as well as preventing anyone else in their society from having to go through what he had. It also had some unusual clauses that actually protected the family members who were innocent. The result was what would be called the Snape-Gossford Curse.


An extremely intelligent man, having the mind of a true genius, Gossford knew that if he were to cast a blood curse upon the family, he had to take into consideration the son his daughter had born. Any curse he cast would affect that child as well and the child was now a Gossford. Knowing the child wasn't to blame for the sire's actions, he was careful in all of his considerations. It was mandatory that he find a way to balance all the possibilities of the curse.


What he came up with was the most innovative and comprehensive curse covering a multitude of possibilities, while at the same time ensuring that the wizarding society would never have a repeat of the originator's actions.


The conditions that were placed upon the Snape blood members:


1) All Snapes of the direct blood descendency would inherit the curse whether legitimate or not and become sexually inactive until they meet their bonded or soul joined.


2) For the first few years of development, the curse will be inactive, allowing a child to experience love and learn to care about others. But, by the time of their tenth birthday, those emotions would be gradually dulled until they cannot feel passion, joy, hatred, or love.


3) The ability to fear will be somewhat increased and an artificial emotional condition will emerge in the Snape that impels them to protect others, especially children. A Snape will automatically give his life to anyone who is hurting, but children will be protected above all others. As part of this condition, the ability to care and love children will become automatic. The reason for these artificial conditions is to prevent a Snape who cannot feel emotions from destroying their society because they just don't care about it. It allows for an instant socializing ability which will allow the Snape to be able to exist and survive in society until their bonded is found. Then, when the bonded is found, all emotions and sexual maturation will be unlocked and can develop from then on.


4) Since normally, few ever find their bonded, an artificial condition will be placed upon the family which will ensure that all members will find their bonded. Because their bonded will not have the same curse placed upon them, it is possible that the feelings will not be returned of which there is no guarantee they ever will be. Their bonded will have to make the choice to accept the bond or not, accepting the truth of the family member they're bonded with. If the bonded does not choose to accept the Snape's love, he or she will not truly feel the effects in this life of not choosing because their mind doesn't accept the soul mate condition. In the result of this, the survival of the Snape affected will deteriorate. Death will almost certainly follow.


5) Because of the fact that bonded have no choice over what sex they will be, for same sex pairs, conditions will be placed upon the family to ensure reproduction. The male Snape will be able to change their body to carry children in a same sex pairing and the female Snape will be able to produce male genitalia with working reproduction organs to impregnate their female partner. This ensures that all bonded couples have the opportunity to reproduce if they wish to.


6) Because it cannot be guaranteed that a bonded will be found in childhood, to ensure that a Snape finds their bonded, between the period of age 25 and 35, their unconscious minds will manipulate a portion of fate and actually create the existence of their bonded which will ensure that by the age of 45, their bonded will have been found. Between the ages of 45 and 60, a Snape is at the height of their reproductive cycle, making them extremely fertile and healthy enough for giving birth to children. Their bodies will begin to age more slowly, therefore making sure that there is time for a normal relationship with a bonded much younger than they. This last approximate decade of reproduction is called the Deadline. It is their last chance to find their mate and be awakened.


7) With the formal binding that occurs during sex, the powers that each inheritantly have will merge. If the bonded is powerless, which is possible, than the bonded will develop the same abilities that his or her mate has, therefore equalizing the relationship. If the Snape is powerless, than they are bound by the condition of their soulbonded. If the mate is a wizard or witch than the genetic ability found within the Snape family will activate. If they bond with a muggle, than the ability to bond and be empathetic with their mate will be only abilities that manifest. Any issue from these families will nearly always find their mate in the wizarding world, bringing the magic back into the bloodline.


8) As the possibility that there may be huge age discrepancies in a Snape bonded couple, Ministry protocols were passed. These protect the Snape from the possible repercussions of their actions. Because a Snape has no control over their sexual condition until they are formally bonded, then an adult Snape cannot be penalized from acting within their nature. Since a Snape's inherent ability is to protect children, no harm will ever come to their child bonded. A Snape will be able to maintain control until their bonded is mature enough to make the choice to formally join. The parents of the bonded will have no say over the choice of their child. If the child chooses to join, then even though normally, they are not old enough to marry or bond without consent, the child can make the choice on their own with no gainsay. No sexual conduct punishments can be instigated with any blood Snape because if a Snape makes sexual advances to their bonded, than the Snape had unconsciously decided that the child is no longer a child and therefore old enough to understand and make informed consent.


More conditions follow in detail.


"Unquote"


Hermione put down the book in shock. Snape.....Bonded!! It was enough to flabbergast her. Realizing the significance of the book, she immediately jumped up, running out of the library in search of Ron and Harry. They needed to talk. And if Ron tried one more thing one her.....


As she ran toward the Gryffindor dorms, Hermione, her book in her hand, was still shocked over the circumstances of how she'd found the book and what it had revealed. Reaching the portrait of the Fat Lady, after saying the password, a quick glance of the commons revealed the two boys she'd been searching for.


Harry was looking down at the book he was supposed to reading but the look on his face told her that it was obviously daydreaming. Ron looked up as she entered and as soon as he saw her, blushed heavily. After the chewing out she'd given him, it was apparent he'd at least thought about what she'd yelled. It looked like he was beginning to understand what she'd meant. At least it was one more thing that she wouldn't have to worry about right now.


"Hey, Harry, Ron, you've got to read this!"


Harry snapped out of his dream world and looked up at his fellow year mate. Hermione quickly sat down on the sofa and pulled out the book she'd been carrying. Holding it up so they could see the title, she blurted out, "Guys, you've got to read the first chapter of this thing. You won't believe what I've found out!"

Ron just looked at her in shock, which immediately changed to one of disgust. Of course, once he saw the glare she gave him, it changed to a sheepish look and was enough to keep him from saying something he'd most definitely regret afterwards. She knew he hated reading but he didn't have to act like it was a fate worse than death. Many times, she'd the right of it and was right because of something she'd read in a book. And this was one of those times.


Harry wasn't as upset with her. With all the information she'd found for him that helped him in his battle against Voldemort, knowing that books were quite good sources when one wanted information, he was more curious over what had her so excited.


He couldn't stop thinking about hearing Professor Snape cry. It hurt him even now, to know that something was upsetting him that much. And he couldn't help feeling, especially after what he'd heard that he had something to do with whatever was wrong with Snape. He'd forgotten the whole topic of the conversation and was more concerned with the emotions Severus had shown.


"What did you find, Hermione? I thought you were researching curses for the DADA homework. Did you maybe find a new curse that we could try?"


"No, I found something a lot better. You two won't believe what I've read in here!" She handed over the book to Harry.


He took it, looking at the blank cover, with only the title on it. He wondered what family curse had Hermione so excited. It wasn't like any of their families were cursed. He may have counted as a cursed person, but his case wouldn't be in this book since it had been published before he was born.


His curiosity getting the better of him, he flipped it open, looking at the table of contents. Since it was the first chapter of the book, after reading the title, Harry looked down in shock at the book. It became obvious to him why Hermione was so excited. Glancing up, he saw that she was anticipating as much of his shock as he felt. A smile of amusement glimmered on her face for a moment. It wasn't often that she got the better of them when she was right. Fortunately for him, this was worth the gloating she was undergoing.


"Yes, Harry, it's about Snape's family. Did you know he had a curse placed upon his family over a millennia ago? My god, you wouldn't believe what that book says. It explains so much about Professor Snape. I can't believe that no one knows about it. I mean, it's famous, considered the most famous family curse of all time. Surely someone would have found out by now!"


Ron, confused, reached over and snatched the book out of Harry's hand. Like Harry, he quickly read the title of the first chapter. His gasp was as loud as Harry's had been. Shaking his hand, he looked up at the girl that he was in deep trouble with right now, even though he wanted to be more to her, and commented, "Mione, I know that you know we aren't that good with reading fast. Any chance you could summerize what you've found out?"


Knowing that Ron just wanted to get out of having to read the book, Hermione just sighed. The red head just wasn't going to change. She just hoped she could learn to cope with it. He was cute like that. Giving both of them a stern look and a promise to a later lecture, she agreed mainly because of how excited she was.


"Harry, Ron, did you two know anything about Snape's family?" When both shook their heads no, she went on to explain about Penelope and Sandoval Snape and how Gossford had cursed the family, taking into consideration the new child. "From what I can tell, Gossford thought of everything."


Harry was stunned, frowning by the time she'd told the story. He began to worry that this was what Snape was crying over. It had taken him awhile since he'd overheard the conversation, but he'd fought to control his emotions and hated himself for feeling jealous of Dumbledore of all people. Once he'd finally come to the conclusion that he'd fallen in love with his, greasy, snippy, obnoxious and 'gorgeous' potion master, he was determined to do something about it.


Now, what Hermione was saying was making him feel worse. Unconsciously praying that the curse wasn't life threatening, he didn't know how he'd deal with it if it was. His heart was pounding so hard and his emotions fluctuated strongly. Tears were ready to pour out of him and he wanted to cry and scream.


Finding out he didn't have a chance and had no hope at all was terrible. He wasn't Snape's bonded or he'd know by now. At least before, he could have dreamed, hoped that he could win Severus' love. He didn't remember the topic of Severus' and Dumbledore's conversation.


Immediately getting up and before Ron or Hermione could ask him what was wrong, he made excuses and hightailed it up to his bed. Falling on it, he let the pain escape in his tears, soaking the pillow, before he fell asleep, dreamlessly entering the darkness to lose himself.


Below, in the commons, Hermione and Ron were surprised. They looked at each other, each wondering what was wrong with Harry.


Shaking her head again, Hermione went on, in a confused voice, "But Harry didn't even get to hear the good part."


Ron questioned her, "What good part!"


"That the relationship with a bonded doesn't necessarily mean happy every after. The bonded has to choose to join with the Snape and if the bonded is a child, then the Snape has to wait until he or she is old enough before they can reveal their love or need for their bonded. If the bonded is the same sex, depending on whether the Snape is male or female than they can change their body to either father or carry children."


Hermione stopped there. Something was niggling her in the back of her mind. It finally came to her. Harry had been doing excellent in potions lately, even looking forward to their classes and Snape hadn't been as harsh on him as earlier years. She also remembered witnessing the sneaky looks that Harry kept giving their professor. It was almost as if Harry had a crush on Snape. And those looks were mutual. The professor had been giving just as many looks at Harry when he wasn't looking as Harry had been. Those glances had almost been filled with what she wanted to say need, maybe even love.


But that couldn't be possible. It just couldn't be! Could it?!


"Uh...Ron? You don't think...I mean...Professor Snape and HARRY? You've seen those looks. You don't think they could be....?"


Catching the implications of what Hermione was saying and considering what he'd seen for himself, blurted out, "God, 'Mione, I hope not!"


Waking up about an hour later, a cough brought attention to his two friends, who were waiting for him by his bed. He sat up, trying to get control over himself. It wasn't quite working and he hoped that his friends would leave him alone. He really wanted to sleep right now.


"Uh...guys...I really want to be alone right now. I'm not feeling to good. Can we talk later?"


Hermione decided to be the one who asked what they needed to know. "Harry, Ron and I were talking and we were kinda wondering, well...you ran out of the room without me being able to even finish the rest of the Snape legend. Ron and I couldn't help notice that you've been sending heated looks to the professor lately. It's almost as if you're on fire when you look at him. We just wanted to know if...well, are you in love with Professor Snape?"


Shocked, it was a few minutes before Harry could respond, "'Mione! What do you mean?"


"You know what she means, Harry. We want to know if you're in love with that slimy git. I mean, it's not as if we'd stop being your friends if you do, but we just need to know so we can help you. I may not like him, but even I've got to admit he's a loyal bastard. Doesn't change the fact I can't stand him and want to throw him into a river, but if you love him, at least we know there isn't anyone more likely to be loyal to you."


"What! Ron, you...uh...mean that?"

"Of course he does, Harry! What do you expect, that we'd just turn away from you because we don't approve of your love life? Heck, if we did that, the odds of you getting a consensus between the two of us over possibilities is nil. It's not as if Ron and I have the same tastes or beliefs. We care for you, Harry! You're our friend and I for one, don't turn away from friends. We'll have our friendly arguments, but nothing less than total betrayal could ever turn me away from being your friend and you're the last person to betray us."


Harry was speechless. He'd known that their friendship had grown. He'd been watching as Ron and Hermione began to get closer to each other and could see the fate that linked them. He'd bet anything they'd end up getting married. It did help console him over his problems, but it didn't stop the facts.


"Uh...that still doesn't change the fact that Snape can only ever love his bonded. I'm not his bonded! Surely if I was, I'd have known by now!"


Hermione gave her friend a serious and contemplative look. She'd been thinking about that as she and Ron tried to figure out what to do with him. It hadn't escaped her that the looks and actions that Harry'd had around Snape had been mirrored by Snape.


"Are you sure about that? I don't mean to get your hopes up or anything, and you may be aware of this, Harry, but we've all noticed the Professor acting strange this past year. And the looks you give him, well, they're returned in full measure when you aren't looking. Also, I've been wondering about some other stuff I've seen. If I didn't know better, I'd swear he's going through his adolescence. His face has become all pimply and dry and he's been having some excessive mood swings lately. From what I've read, that can only happen when his bonded is adult or nearly adult. You've been through your adolescent changes this year, so it seems right to me that if you're his bonded, his body's been trying to prepare itself for you. If it was someone older, he'd have already gone through it, and if it was anyone younger, well, he'd only be experiencing the emotions not the physical aspect yet. So, it's got to be someone around our age and since you're the one he's been concentrating on this year, well...you do the math. It looks like you're the one, in my opinion."


"You really mean that!"


Both Hermione and Ron agreed, both knowing that they were seeing the changes Harry had been through from an observer's view. It was obvious to them that the two were in love with each other. They just had to figure out a way to get the stubborn men together. That was a job in itself.


"So, what should I do now? After all, he's my teacher! I don't want to get him in trouble."


"Well, as far as the law goes, you won't have to worry. If true, the professor can just activate his ministry protocols to protect him. As for advice, if I were you, I wouldn't tell him quite yet. What I'd do is court him. After all, you've got to get him to see you as a fully consenting adult. My suggestion is that you act like an adult around him. It'll be hard, especially when he takes points from us, but it's a step in the right direction."


Ron's sensible suggestions surprised both Harry and Hermione. They were both shocked that Ron could be intelligent that way. Harry was looking at his friend with gratefulness in his eyes, taking the suggestion to heart. Hermione was looking at her friend with heat in her eyes. She was about to do a little courting herself.


Severus Snape's Private Rooms


"Bloody Hell!!"


Severus Snape screamed as he woke up. It wouldn't let up! How was he supposed to deal with this at HIS age!


Gingerly getting up off of the bed, he staggered over to his bathroom trying to find a towel to 'mop' up. Finding a clean one, he walked back over to his bed and glared disgustingly at the huge wet spot on his bed.


It was bad enough he was having wet dreams but unfortunately, his body was also adjusting to it's fully adult chemistry. Which meant he was not only ejaculating for the first time, (in great amounts at that) but his morning woody usually indicating he had to pee unfortunately decided that once his ejaculation was through his body had to get rid of the other nuisance.


This was the umpteenth time he'd had to do this and it was beginning to be a hassle in the morning. He was just thankful his students weren't aware of this.


Stretching, his limp black hair falling in his face, he went back into the shower and turned it on. After stepping in, making sure the water was the correct tempeture, he let the heat soak into his body. It was a blessed relief just being able to let go. Looking up into the steamed mirror in his 'tub' he looked at his face, noticing once again all the changes that he was having to hide from everyone.


There were pimples showing up on his smooth skin for the first time as well as red splotches that he'd tried to get rid of with his potions but nothing he'd found so far worked. Knowing it was his hormones, he'd even gotten some muggle books to try to see if they'd had any luck with controlling acne. He'd found they hadn't had any luck either treating it permanently or effectively.


Then there was skin. His skin was drying out at a rapid rate. He'd had to come up with a strong lotion he could use between when his hands and body began to itch. Flakes of dried skin, especially around his genital areas was especially prevalent. Even his PENIS was affected. Looking down, wanting to make sure nothing had changed, he saw flakes of skin just peeling off of his dick.

And his hair...he wasn't sure what he was going to do with his hair. His family was noted for their curly hair. He'd always been thankful that he'd never had to worry about uncontrollable naturally curly hair. Granted, his hair had always been strait and limp, producing more oils than was probably normal, but at least he'd never had to figure out a way to style his hair. He'd never been vain and could never see the need to look great. And hair just took too much time in the morning to worry about.


But this...his hair was constantly springing up into cute little ringlets, all over his head. Fresh out of a shower or in the shower as he was now, he looked like a curly top. Everything he'd tried to use, gels, lotions, oils, sprays, whatever he could find to use, his hair just absorbed all of it. His wizardry nature made sure that those potions and chemicals weren't going to stop his hair from standing straight up when dry.


He'd lately had to resort to a minor glamour to hide his acne, dry skin and curly, fly away hair from his students. There's no way he'd be able to get anyone to take him seriously looking like THAT!


His glare into his shower's mirror would have broken it if he hadn't have looked to cute.


And while he was washing, he felt the stirring between his legs. In disbelief, he looked down at himself, watching as his dick got hard, standing straight up with need. Growling, Severus threw the soap he was using across the tub, yelling, "Dammit, haven't your had enough?! You just exploding came just a few minutes ago and you're wanting another round again! Can't you just leave me alone!?"


His body was stiff with hatred of himself and frustration because he had no idea what to do about it. Taking his cock in his hand, a few quick strokes had him gushing his ejaculate in the tub. Even if he'd wanted to take his time, learning how to pleasure himself, he wouldn't be able to because his body wouldn't let him.


That's not counting what he wanted to do to Harry. His bonded was gorgeous. It had been bad enough when he was eleven, but now that he was sixteen, it was a hundred times worse. In the classroom, it was all he wanted just to throw Harry over his desk, rip his bloody robes off and fuck him into the next year. Just being around him kept him in a constant state of arousal.


And while the other students weren't his bondmate, the pheromones exuded of arousal, attraction, hatred, fear, confusion, all of it was making his sense of smell go haywire. It was as if his senses were hyperactive. He could smell the musk on his student's bodies, he could smell the student's attraction toward one another. If he'd been pressed, he could even have said who was attracted to who.


Standing around that Weasley, it hadn't taken but a moment to smell that every time Granger sidled up next to him, the redhead's musk smell increased, and he could smell the desire coming off of his student.


Draco was another story. As much as he had to simper and favor his Slytherin student, every time Draco was in the presence of his Harry, he smelled the intense want coming from the blond. He could also smell confusion and hatred being emitted, too. Every time he smelled him, he wanted to hall off and send Draco where the sun didn't shine.


How dare he touch his mate. How dare he want Harry when he couldn't have him. Lately, it had gotten a whole lot worse. He'd begun having to make excuses to retreat into his office to jack off.


Snape just prayed that something was going to be done. He couldn't bear knowing that Harry had been experimenting with Seamus and Ron. He could smell their scents on each other and the arousal coming from them. He knew that Harry wanted Draco as well. Fearing he was going to lose his beloved was making him desperate. He prayed to his unconscious for relief and the answer to his needs.


He loved Harry so much and Harry hated him.


Sinking down into the tub, tears again poured out. He cried until he was able to get control of himself and ready himself for another day of hell. Getting out of the tub, Severus, quickly gathered his robes and dressed. He needed to talk to Dumbledore. Things were getting worse and he knew even his role as a spy was in jeopardy now. He'd been slowly trying to be gently and kind to Harry this year, no longer able to act his role out. But lately, it was at the point that he need Harry emotionally, physically, and mentally to survive. Dumbledore wasn't going to have a spy if this kept up. Something had to give. He couldn't take this anymore.


Storming out of his rooms, he headed toward Dumbledore's office. After minutes trying to figure out what sweet the password was this time, he was shocked when the door pulled open and Dumbledore just gave him a peaceful and knowing look in his wise, old eyes. It was almost but not quite enough to make him disgusted with his friend.


Dumbledore watched as his favorite professor sank down in his comfy office chair, groaning and complaining as he did, while reaching for some candy in his bowl. It had become a habit for the past nearly five years. He and Severus would have these daily meetings to discuss anything important happening. Of course, most of what was discussed were the problems Severus was having with his body.


It was funny to watch a grown man like Severus act the way he did. He was constantly throwing things and having temper tantrums along with the sudden mood swings Severus had been experiencing. He'd witnessed things happening weren't normally a part of his professor's daily routine. I was also obvious that Severus wasn't used to the various problem.

Adolescence was hard enough on a teenager and at least they had other peers around them going through the same thing. Severus didn't have that option. There wasn't anyone he could turn to for help except him and he hadn't been able to do much besides consoling him. He had noticed his professor getting more and more irritated and frustrated with the circumstances. It was obvious his friend wanted to sexually possess his bonded, Harry. It was also obvious that the rapid changes his body was going through was driving him insane.


The past year, Dumbledore had seen the acne, dry skin, and the curls springing out on his head appear on Severus. His body was acting as a teenager, Severus had no clue how to handle it. He was always came to him, complaining he was doing this, his body was doing that, he wanted this, he wanted that. If was like dealing with one of his students. It was almost enough to drive him insane. It was a good thing he had plenty of experience with dealing with teenagers because his Potion's master was most certainly one right now.


It hadn't been so bad until the last year. As soon as Harry started to mature, so too, did Severus. Now that Severus was unconsciously beginning to recognize Harry as an adult, his body was changing to what he needed as a full adult. Watching him have to cope with all of it, his feelings for his bonded, teaching and trying to balance everything with his role as a spy, Severus wasn't the only one who was nearly a loose screw. He'd been nearly as bad trying to help his friend deal with it.


He'd paid special attention to Harry this year and had noticed that while Harry was normal in his experimentation with his peers, it had been apparent that Harry was starting to return Severus' feelings. It was a wonder those hot glances they gave each other didn't spontaneously combust. He wasn't the only one who'd seen the heated glances they kept giving each other, especially when they thought the other wasn't looking. Even Harry's friends, Hermione and Ron had noticed the growing intensity lately.


And Severus, well, his complaints were beginning to get to him. He kept complaining about the same thing, such as what was going on now. He was over there rambling and cursing and in general, allowing the first thing out of his head to his mouth.


"want to shove that broomstick up his blond ass...the nerve of him...trying to touch My Harry...can just fly back to his daddy whining for all I care...want to rip his head off...the Gryffindorks as well...need to find that deodorant and drown that Weasley in it...not only for touching My Harry but for the incessant odors he has around that poof headed Granger...Dammit, what are you doing...you can't want another round...it's indecent...you've already done it ten times...isn't that enough...you can't want Albus...it's bad enough that Harry...oh, FUCK...there goes another robe..."


As Severus began to ramble, Albus had noticed the horror and frustration Severus was feeling as the professor kept looking down at the huge erection bulging through his robes. He'd tried to keep control, working up his ability to gently console Severus. But, unfortunately, as Albus watched as his professor's body lose control of itself and saw the look on Severus' face that appeared as soon as he'd said Harry, and noticed that he'd created a huge wet spot on his robe, Albus couldn't take it anymore.


He broke down in hysteria. He couldn't have stopped if his life depended on it. Seeing his professor's horror, disgust and extreme embarrassment continue, Albus just couldn't stop. It wasn't helping that Severus was trying to deny it.


"It isn't FUNNY! It's not a laughing matter! Albus! You can't think I want this? It isn't FUNNY!"


The more that Severus complained and denied it, the funnier it got. It was a long time before Albus could stop laughing at his teacher's embarrassment.


__________________________________________________

Harry, Hermione, and Ron were in the commons, trying to figure out what they needed to do to help Harry bag their potion's master. Hermione had a parchment in front of her, a frustrated look on her face as she chewed her quill. Ron had a disgusted look on his face as Hermione kept turning down or arguing against all his ideas. Harry was caught between laughing hysterically and walking out on them because of their behavior.


Every time one of them would make a suggestion, Harry'd noticed that the Ron and Hermione kept looking at each other, trying to ascertain whether the other liked and approved that thought. Either one or the other would get bright red when they happened to get drawn into each other's gaze. Harry just shook his head, knowing that evidently, he wasn't the only fool for love in the Gryffindors.


"Hermione, come on. We've got potion's in 30 minutes! Surely you can at least think of something I can start doing now. I don't want to wait until I'm a hundred before I attempt to catch him! Heck, I'd have arthritis so bad, wouldn't be able to enjoy anything if I did catch him!"


As Harry said that, after a moment or two, both Ron and Hermione got these bright, red, lobster faces as they figured out what he'd said.


"Eww...jeez, Harry, I do not need that picture in my head! It's bad enough I'm trying to figure out how to help you with Snape, I don't want the picture of you and Snape...eww...that's just gross!" Ron snapped with both embarrassment and revulsion. He might be best friends with Harry but even he had his limits and a nude professor was one of them.


Harry realized that this was an excellent chance to tease his friend. "I don't know...I know I wouldn't want the picture of you and Hermione in my head. I am just not into threesomes." Harry turned his nose up as he said it, giving him a serious, aristocratic presence, although the mischief in his eyes kinda offset his attempt at tormenting his friends.


"HARRY!" Hermione and Ron both gave him this shocked look, their eyes bugged out and mouths wide open.


Hermione caught on, although with a blush still on her face, "Harry, that's NOT nice. It's not good to tease the helpers. After all, Ron and I could just walk out, leaving Snape at your entire tender mercies."


Panicking, Harry exclaimed, "Come on, Hermione, you can't do that! I need your help! I've got to find a way to win Severus."


"Then shut up, quit teasing us, and help us figure out a way to catch your fish."


"Okay, Okay, you don't have to go on about it, Hermione."


Seeing that her friend was serious, she nodded, "That's better. Well, since I can't get a consensus out of any of us, we need to just put our ideas to work, even if the other two don't like them or think they'll work. Agreed?"


Ron and Harry nodded, both of them knowing that they needed to stop their arguing over what would work and just start listing them.


Seeing that she had their attention, Hermione picked up the quill she'd thrown down at the end of their argument, and began to write, advising Harry at the same time. "First off, Harry, you need to make sure that you stay far away from Draco. Every time the two of you are in the same room, something goes wrong and Gryffindor gets the blame. You need to make sure you don't argue back with Snape. You want him to see you as an adult, so you need to make him see that you can act as an adult. Finally, I'd suggest you pick a favorite piece of romantic poetry and send him an anonymous letter, telling him that you love him. Just make sure you don't give him a clue yet. We don't want him sending you to detention yet. Finally, we need to get you to possibly oversee on of his detentions. Volunteer to watch and put to work any of the younger students who get into detention. If he sees you're helpful, then that's all the better to make him see you as an adult."


Harry agreed, shaking his head yes, understanding that everything she'd said made sense. But, since he wanted to at least have one idea of him in on the plan, asked her, "What about sending some flowers along with the letter? I'm assuming that it isn't often that he gets flowers and I don't know many people, even males who don't like flowers. It's also brighten up the gift, making it more romantic."


"That might work, but you'd still have to make sure that you don't go overboard. He might already think it's a joke, we don't need him assuming that someone's making fun of him. Why don't you give him a white rose? I know red is usually the rose for passion, but the white rose indicates purity and that's what you want your relationship to be, pure and real, no falsehood about it. A white rose would also brighten up his dungeons better than a red one would."


Knowing she was right, Harry quickly got up and got one of his favorite poetry books and picked out two poems that he thought told how he felt.

To a Stranger

by Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)


Passing stranger! you do not know

How longingly I look upon you,

You must be he I was seeking,

Or she I was seeking

(It comes to me as a dream)


I have somewhere surely

Lived a life of joy with you,

All is recall'd as we flit by each other,

Fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,


You grew up with me,

Were a boy with me or a girl with me,

I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become

not yours only nor left my body mine only,


You give me the pleasure of your eyes,

face, flesh as we pass,

You take of my beard, breast, hands,

in return,


I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you

when I sit alone or wake at night, alone

I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again

I am to see to it that I do not lose you.


Love's Trinity

by Alfred Austin


Soul, heart, and body, we thus singly name,

Are not in love divisible and distinct,

But each with each inseparably link'd.

One is not honour, and the other shame,

But burn as closely fused as fuel, heat, and flame.


They do not love who give the body and keep

The heart ungiven; nor they who yield the soul,

And guard the body. Love doth give the whole;

Its range being high as heaven, as ocean deep,

Wide as the realms of air or planet's curving sweep


As he quickly copied his poems on a pretty gold parchment he'd conjured and placed a gentle, flowery scent on it that was somewhat masculine in nature. Harry finally cast a final enchantment on the parchment where only Snape would be able to read what was on the scroll. When he'd quickly finished, he looked up and jumped up in shock. He had five minutes to get to class. Snatching up his satchel, he burst out of the commons, flying, and made it to the dungeons with a second to spare before Snape burst into his classroom, just daring anyone to tick him off. His 'talk' with Dumbledore was enough to make sure that he was no mood to take anything from his students.


As he jumped right into their lesson for the day, Harry quietly took his scroll, sealed it, and tried to look for a place he could conjure it to. A minute later, he grinned as he realized the perfect place to send it. It was a but a quick transportation charm and his scroll and a white rose he'd just conjured for the occasion was sent to Severus' office, the place where he'd served many a dreaded detention.


The lesson went well and for the first time, knowing that he was making a concerted effort to get what he wanted for the first time in his life, Harry was ecstatic. His love for his towering potion's master made him strong and willing to do anything to win him. He also had motive to go out of his way to be nice to the him. He ignored Draco, even when he tried his hardest to insult he and his friends. He volunteered to stay after class and clean the professor's cauldron.


Professor Snape gave him a funny look when he'd volunteered. In fact, during the time he'd been cleaning, Harry decided he wanted to see if Hermione and Ron were right. He kept glancing at Severus out of the corner of his eye, and happened to catch quite a few looks thrown his way, where Severus was giving his those heated looks.


Every time he felt one of those glances, his body tightened, and it took every effort he had to keep himself from jumping his teacher and dragging him to the floor, sucking his beloved's cock, making him groan and whine with intense pleasure. He wanted to destroy that infamous control that Snape had, getting rid of all the barriers that turned him cold and hard to others. He wanted to make him lose control, make him scream and cry out as his dick found a home in the tall, lanky body, showing off the muscles he'd earned as a player of Quiddich.


When he'd finished, he gave Snape a heated, desire filled look, hooded with deception from it's intensity. Snape was shocked at that gaze. He was caught in the glazing, green eyes of his bonded, falling into deep pools, where there was no return. Before he had a chance to figure out what Harry was doing, his student gave a quick, teasing bye and darted out the door before he could do anything or question what that look was about. Severus was deeply afraid he was just seeing things, that he was being teased.


Attempting to pull his body together, Snape shot out the classroom, heading toward his office. He had homework to grade and reports to read. He also knew that he was just putting off the inevitable. His body was hard and filled with an extreme desire for his student, a want inside of him making him wish to just throw caution to the winds. He shook his head, trying to get his thoughts together and was about to sit down when he looked down at his desk.

There was a sealed, golden scroll with a beautiful white rose bud next to it. Shocked, Severus gingerly picked up the parchment and opened it. As soon as he read the beautiful poetry, he was caught by the two initials down at the end. HP or Harry Potter. Stunned, he collapsed in his chair. Knowing that Potter wouldn't be deliberately cruel, he also knew that this just couldn't be from him. His belief system was challenged and he wanted to find the little bastard who dared to make fun of his love. Although how they'd found out...he wasn't being THAT obvious.


It was a long time later when he'd realized he'd missed his dinner. The scroll was still in his hand and all he wanted to do was challenge Harry and find out if this was real or not. He also had to figure out what he was going to do. Harry had just thrown the gauntlet in his face. It was now his turn to decide where he wanted this to go. Although his desires were obvious, he never wanted to pressure Harry into something he wasn't ready for. He was an old man who needed to learn about love and having normal conversations with people before he attempted it on his beloved. He didn't want to drive Harry away.


_____________________________________________


"You did WHAT!"


"Come on, Hermione, what was I supposed to do? What good would it do to send an anonymous scroll with romantic poetry on it if I hid who I am? After all, it's me who wants him. I sure don't want him thinking someone else wants him."


"But, Harry! You'll make him mad! Surely, you'll get detention for this. You may be trying to court him, but you're still his student and we don't know for absolute sure it's you he's after."


"Umm, actually, Mione, we do."


Ron and Hermione gave him a startled look, surprised at his answer. It was Ron who finally asked, "Well, you might as well tell us, Harry, we sure aren't letting you leave without telling us how you know. What did professor do? Did he make a pass at you? That'd be one sure way to know he's interested in you."


Harry blushed at that and gave them a sheepish grin, "Well, I kinda found out when I caught some of his looks. I didn't know he blush. I've never seen him do so before. It was in truth, amusing. I walked out of there ecstatic. He didn't say a word when I sorta made a pass at him."


"What! You made a pass at him!" Hermione screeched it loud enough to wake the dead.


"Well, it was only with words, but it's a start. I started to think over all the suggestions we went over yesterday and I think a few of them will work. I plan to start by giving him a present he wouldn't get from anybody else. We leave for Hogsmeade tomorrow, so I'll..." Harry broke off when a large owl swooshed down on top of him, a letter dropping down on his lap. Surprised, he glanced at his friends and they were just as confused as he was.


A quick look at the letter as he picked it up made him recognize the letter from Sirius. Seeing the curiosity in Ron and Hermione, he tore open t he letter and read it.


"Harry,

I'll be in Hogsmeade tomorrow and would like to visit. See you in our place.

RL and Padfoot"


"It looks like Sirius wants to see me tomorrow."


Ron began to be worried as he thought about Sirius. "Uh, Harry, I don't want to remind you, but you do know that Severus and Sirius hate each other? Are you going to tell Sirius tomorrow or are you gonna wait until you've caught Severus?"


A puzzled frown appeared on Harry's face, "I'm not sure. I'll probably have to decide tomorrow. Not sure it'd be the best thing to tell him. I sure don't want him interfering with all of this."


"Well, you'll think of something. Now, I'd better go to bed before the others get up here. Bye, Ron, Harry,"


"Bye!" They both said it at the same time and Hermione bounded out of the room in high spirits.


Seeing that they were alone, Ron decided to question Harry as a friend, "Harry, I, um, know you're probably not the one who can help me, but.."


With a small laugh, Harry broke in before Ron could finish, "Don't tell me, you want my help to win Hermione."


Shocked, Ron didn't say anything until, "You know?"


"Of course! You didn't think that with the glances you've been throwing each other, it wouldn't be obvious? I do have one word of advice, though, Ron. Don't criticize who Hermione sees. If you say anything about Neville or anything or anyone else she likes, then you're going to wish you were dead. I hate to say this, but it's when her temper comes out that you know she's a true Gryffindor. Don't piss her off. Actually, that isn't that bad an idea for me, either."


Ron was quiet as he went over what Harry said. Realizing his friend was right, he nodded silently and went over to his bed, falling asleep thinking of ways to court his fire maiden. Harry was also going to sleep thinking of courting as well, although a lot of his visions had him and Snape doing the horizontal dance naked and squirming.


The next day, Harry left his friends in Hogsmeade and went to see Remus and Sirius. As soon as he'd entered their cave, he was engulfed in a double handful of arms and bodies, giving him the hug of his life. Harry had a smile on his face a mile wide from the affection show him by his Godfather and Remus. After the usual questions of how you're doing and was he upset by Voldemort or the Malfoys again, they all sat down to eat the lunch that the couple had provided for Harry.


"Now, Harry, I know I'm not around and can't say anything about what you do, but Remus and I were wondering if you've gotten interested in girls?"


"Well, Sirius, is it okay if it's boys instead of girls?"


After the powerful glance between the couple, Remus spoke up gently and told him, "Harry, you know better than that. Sirius and I are married and it'd be like the pot calling the petal black if we tried to say otherwise. Why is there anyone interested in you or that you're interested in?"


"Uh..yes, there is, but I don't know how he feels, at least, I don't know for sure. I know he's interested in me but I'm not sure how much that liking entails."


Sirius, with his godson coming out to them, interested in someone, busted out with a question, "Who is it? It's got to be someone good looking and that you like or you wouldn't be Harry."


"I'm sorry, but until I know more about this'll turn out, I don't want to say anything. Really, I don't want to jinx anything."


"We understand, Harry. You can tell us later if you want to." Remus gave his husband a strong, speaking glare, just daring him to ask any further questions. His ability for tact and realizing that something is too embarrassing to talk about with adults had made him realize that it wasn't in Harry's best interest if they said anything. Besides the fact that Remus had enough intelligence to realize that if it was someone who Sirius hated than by Harry telling, an argument would break out that could possibly tear them apart permanently. He'd known that it must be someone that Sirius didn't like or Harry would tell. He didn't want Harry alienated until he'd attempted a relationship without anyone telling him otherwise. Remus also knew that Harry was growing up and had a good head on his shoulders about who to trust. If he trusted someone enough to desire them, then it was someone who couldn't hurt him for the world. That was all that Remus wanted for Harry and although Sirius wouldn't come right out and say it, it was what he wanted as well.


"Thanks, Remus. I'd better go. I need to pick up a gift from Hogsmeade, before I return to Hogswarts." He jumped up and hugged them, running out of the cave in excellent spirits.


When he'd gotten far enough out of their sight, Sirius turned to Remus, "You wanna tell me what that was about?"


"Sirius, I love you, but there are times when it is just not appropriate to ask questions. If Harry had wanted to tell you, he would have. I know what it's like to be that age and having everyone telling you that you shouldn't be involved with someone because you're a werewolf. If you hadn't have gone against you own parents wishes, then I wouldn't have you. If whoever Harry likes is someone you dislike or hate, than I don't want you interfering with a choice that is his to make. He's growing up and whether or not he loves someone is up to him. We don't have any right to tell him what to do. Just wait and see, Sirius, trust that he'll do the right thing and make the right decisions."


Soft, loving eyes met Remus' and before he knew it, he was drawn into a passionate kiss, making him breathless by the time Sirius had pulled back. "You know, love. You're one of the wisest people I know. You have the ability to make uncertain things seem reasonable or necessary. I know I'm not much of a father to Harry, but everything I have learned about fathering, I learned from you. Don't ever change, Remus. I couldn't live without you."


"Oh, Sirius..." Remus' mouth mashed down on his husband's and before they knew it, the afternoon had finished and they were sated and sleepy from the affirmation of the bond.


Harry looked around the petshop. He'd decided to get Severus something that was different. It took him awhile, but after deciding it couldn't be anything to do with potions, he'd passed by the petshop and all of a sudden thought it would be a good idea to get him a pet, hopefully something rare. It's a good thing he had plenty of money. He wasn't hurting for anything and could afford most anything he got.


As he looked at the different owls, cats, dogs, snakes, rats, other assorted birds, he kept looking and just didn't see anything that would suit Severus. He was about to leave and try to figure out something else when his eyes were caught by the pet gift section of the store. A beautiful gold statue of a cat, jewels inset in a collar around the statues neck. It was an Egyptian cat, or at least he thought it was. It was gorgeous.


Before he could change his mind, he grasped the statue and had it at the teller in a heartbeat. The clerk looked down at the statue and smiled. "Oh, I'm glad someone's going to buy this. It comes from one of the Goddess Bast' tomes in Egypt. We got sent this by accident and instead of returning it, decided to see if it would sell. Now, young man, this antique is worth quite a bit. It's 40 galleons."


Harry looked up in shock. "Forty galleons?" The clerk nodded. Looking at the statue again, Harry decided he had to get it no matter what the cost. That was quite a bit. He also knew it could be a whole lot worse. He nodded his head and got the galleons out of his endless pocket. As soon as it was paid for and wrapped, he shot out the door. Instead of meeting up with the others, he wanted to Hogswarts. He couldn't wait to wrap his present and give it to Severus.


He had darted down the trail to Hogswarts, when he stumbled and fall. The statue flew out of his hands and the wrapping came undone. Harry shot back up and over to the statue, dreading he'd broken his gift. He picked it up and as soon as he did, saw that several of the jewels had fallen out. Realizing that his gift was broken, Harry fell down to the ground and began to cry, tears pouring down his face.


So intently was his misery that he didn't notice when the statue began to glow. It was only until the light had gotten so bright that Harry could see it through his tears that looked down at the antiquity in amazement.


Jerking back, the statue again flew out of his arms. But instead of landing on the ground again, the intensity of the light kept increasing until it was too bright for him. The light faded and Harry was stunned at the creature that stood before him.


Dressed in golden plate jewelry and a gown of flowing white glowing material, the woman was covered in a golden fur, claw tipped fingers and a head shaped like a narrow cat's head. Her eyes were a brilliant blue and their golden hue captured his stare. Harry was astounded and flabbergasted at the creature in front of him. She wasn't human and he had no idea what she was.


The woman smiled and said in a musical, fluid tone, "Young Harry, there's no need to be upset. I couldn't help but notice how upset you were from hurting the statue of me. There's no need for tears, young man. It's just a reproduction and I'm honored that you would purchase a statue of me for an important gift like you have."


"You know about that?"


"Of course! I'm a goddess. I know everything that concerns me." She stated that with a simple manner that downplayed the importance of the information she'd just given him.


"A goddess!" Harry couldn't help but parrot the words. He was basically speechless and his tongue had fled his mouth.


An impish light in her eyes, the goddess nodded, "Yes, I've been called various things before, but basically, I'm Bast, goddess of cats, fertility and the dawn."


"Is that why you've got a cat's head?" Harry came out with that before he'd realized what he'd said. When he did, a heated blush appeared on his fair skin and he sat back down with thud. "Sorry, mam, didn't mean to ask that."


"Oh, don't worry. It's actually refreshing in a way. But, since we have the introductions out of the way and since you're a very caring man who has a large destiny to play, I want to help you in my own small way."

"Help?"


"Yes. Harry, with the past you've had, your ability to care about others is amazing. Your capacity to accept others as they are is unequaled. While I know you're trying to start a relationship with your teacher, you're going to run into some pitfalls that will get you into a lot of mess. So, to help you, I've decided to present you a guide."


Bast held out her hand and a golden glow increased until there was a ball of light in front of her. When the light retreated, in front of them was a cat. Black as night, slightly large boned and muscular, the cat was sitting down with a regal bearing. Harry watched as it turned it's stunning copper eyes on him. It was like looking into two copper pennies.


"Harry, I'd like to introduce you to Gift. He's a very wise cat and you'll find you have a lot in common. I've given him knowledge to help you in your endeavors. As long as you love him, he'll protect and care for you as well. He will be needed if you want to win your love. He'll also be needed in your final war with Voldemort. It will be hard for Gift, so be careful how you act around him. I've pulled him from his family and this is the first time he's gone out on his own as an adult. Your statue will return to it's former state when I leave. Take care Gift, and you as well, Harry."


The goddess flashed out with a bright light, leaving the two motionless people.


Harry looked down at the beautiful large cat and was somewhat it awe that he'd just been given a gift by a goddess. The cat's stare was disturbing as well. It was as if he saw everything about him and was judging him. He just hoped he passed muster.


Before anything else could happen, Gift bunched his hindquarters up and leaped straight at him. With the statue in his hand, it was a wonder he was able to pull them up in time to catch the cat. The next thing he knew, the feeling of a prickly tongue was scraping his face, giving him one thorough tongue bath. When Gift was finished, he pulled back and again stared into his eyes.


"Well, young Harry, you going to greet me or not?"


"You talk?"


In his mind, there was a catlike laugh. "Of course, how else do you think I'm going to be able to help you. After all, Bast did tell you she'd given me some knowledge you'd need. I'm not exactly real glad to be here because I had to leave my beloved mistress, but when Bast calls, duty calls. Besides, I wasn't her familiar, so Bast could place me somewhere else."


"Familiar?"


"Yes. I'm actually your familiar. Normally, it takes a cat having to have lived nine lives to be a familiar. Then, if they find they're bonded with someone, they can come back permanently. Because of your need, Bast had to ask me to be willing to give up my other lives to stay with you. I agreed because I'd rather stay with someone who cares about me than to have the uncertainty of being born and not knowing where I'll end up. You'll find that I can enhance your magic. Later on, I can tell you how to perform the spell so that I'm bonded to you permanently. Right now, I can die if something kills me and I won't be able to return. Once I'm your bonded familiar than if something kills me, I can return for you."


"Wow! You do know I'm not very experience with magic?"


"Harry, you're as experienced as the other students at Hogwarts. It's just because you don't think you're good that you put yourself down. I learned the hard way that once you start doubting yourself, then your ability to trust in others leaves as well. You can't have one without the other. Believe in yourself. Bast wouldn't have gifted me to you otherwise, especially someone who'd never owned a cat in their life before."


"Oh. Um...are you a normal cat? I mean, do you need to eat?"


"Of course I'm a normal cat. Well, maybe not so normal because I can speak to you. I can't speak to anyone else. That's one of the unfortunate problems with this type of communication. I'm a normal cat except that I've been given greater intelligence. And you're the only one I can impart that intelligence to."


Without realizing it, Harry was hugging the cat. More tears began to fall from his eyes as Harry finally understood that not only had the Goddess given him a way to fight against Voldemort, but she'd given him a companion who was strictly his companion, one he could talk to and not have anyone tell him he's wrong. Someone who could argue and tell him he was being an ass if he was. Someone who made the gift he was giving even more important now that he knew that he was blessed in both the gift and the relationship he was trying to enter.

_________________________________________________


Note: Gift and the Goddess Bast described are not mine. They are P.M. Griffens, from her short story, "In Bastet's Service" in the Catfantastic I.

_________________________________________________


Severus was worried how Sirius would act when he found out the truth. He'd known that Harry was going to see his godfather and wondered if he'd tell him or not. He'd also been worried about some premonitions he'd been having lately.


Something was going to happen and he wasn't sure what it was. There was one thing he needed to do, though. He wasn't a man who didn't take care of his problems and Sirius was one of them. It was time to make peace with his rival. He wasn't going to make it anymore difficult for his beloved.


Striding toward the Headmaster's office, he heard the usual groans from the students as he passed by. That was another thing he needed to take care of. It was time to break from Voldemort. He wasn't doing any good now as a spy and his bonded was more important. Unconsciously smiling, he scared a good many students as he passed by them, for they thought it wasn't a good thing for their hated professor to be smiling.


After the attempt of trying to figure out the password he'd forgotten, the gargoyle finally moved to the side, letting him into the office. Dumbledore was seated and glanced up at him with an impish smile.


Leaning back, Dumbledore commented, "Well, Severus, what brings you here? Trouble with Harry?"


Nodding, Severus answered him silently, trying to gather his thoughts together to express them correctly. "Albus, I need some advice. We both know that I can't fight the bond any longer. I've thought about things today and realized that I'm going to have to take control of the circumstances I find myself in. First off, I can't endanger Harry's life any longer. I'm going to stop spying on Voldemort, even if it reveals me for who I am. Besides, they're getting suspicious anyway. I'm also going to have to change some things concerning the class. I can't have everyone Harry cares for hating my guts. So, I figured, I needed a whole new appearance, both in looks and attitude. I'm also going to have to ask you to contact the board of govenors. I want you to go ahead and activate protocols. I don't exactly want it out yet, but the time is critical now. I'm not losing my job because of politics. Lastly, and actually, most importantly, I need to contact Sirius privately."


The Headmaster's eyes narrowed, giving his teacher a direct look, finally asking, "Are you sure about that, Severus. He's not going to take it well. You sure you don't want to tell him with Harry?"


Shaking his head, Severus denied that option. "No, I'm not a coward, Albus. Harry's my bondmate and it's time I grew up and faced things instead of just letting others deal for me. The problem has always been between us, not Harry. I need to make peace with him, telling him everything. If he doesn't accept it, it won't be my fault."


Accepting that, Albus agreed and told him, "Well, if you want to speak with him, now would be a good time. He and Remus are at the cave just out of Hogwart's boundaries. You know the one I'm talking about. With Remus there, now is a good time to tell them, since Remus is good at keeping Sirius from doing foolhardy things. Hopefully, Remus can get Sirius keep from attacking you and to listen to you."


Nodding to his boss, Severus turned to go, not able to see anything else that needed to be said or asked.


"I'd better go. Harry's probably already seen them. It would be a good time to see them privately, without Harry knowing, at least not yet, that is."


Severus left the office, went to go get his antique broom, one he hadn't used in years and quietly flew out the school. Quickly, he made it to the cave. Softly going up to the entrance, not wanting them to kill him because they were suddenly suprised, it was a moment before he realized what they were doing. Evidently, they were taking advantage of the relative safety of the cavern, protected because it was close to the school. He waited until he was sure they were through with their lovemaking and entered silently.


He watched as the two lovers hugged themselves and petted each other in the after glow of what had obviously been their lovemaking. A brief, loud, "Uh..Uhmm..." had them scrambling up, Remus quickly casting a charm that had them dressed in seconds. He watched amused as Sirius tried to give him a death glare, but was having a hard time of it since he'd been caught literally with his pants down.


Quickly walking over to a rock portruding from the wall that was just right for sitting down, he waited. He didn't make any sudden moves until they'd both sat down. It was plain that they were trying to understand why he was there.


After a long, consuming look, Severus was the first to speak. "Sirius, Remus, I'm sorry for...uh...interupting you, but I needed to speak with you. Before you ask, Dumbledore knows why I'm here and approves."


Remus had a lot of concern in his look and it was he who said something before his impetuous lover was able to open his mouth and insert his foot. "What are you doing here, Severus? It isn't that time of the month for me, so it can't be because of that!"


"No, it isn't. I'm actually here for another reason that concerns you, Sirius."


"What! Why do you want to talk to me? We have nothing to say to each other."


"Actually, we do. Before you say anything else, this concerns Harry."


An angry glare burst out on his face as well as his words bursting out to reflect his face, Sirius jumped and started to stalk over to him "What do you mean, concerning Harry? What have you done, you bastard?" Remus was able to stop him before he got far and had him sitting down a few moments later.


Severus sat there silently, looked at his beloved's godfather and just shook his head. "I haven't done anything, at least not yet."


Jumping up again, Sirius was about to hurt him, but Remus was able to continue to hold him back until, "Before you get all angry, why don't you try listening to me for a change instead of jumping to conclusions."


Sirius continued to glare but with Remus able to calm him back down, a few minutes later he went on to say, " I don't know what you want, but if you try to hurt Harry..."


"Hurting Harry is the last thing I'd ever do deliberately. I can't hurt him. And since we're on the subject, don't ever tell me I'm using Harry for something, because I'm not."


The two men looked at their rival and both thought it might be prudent to sit down and listen.


Leaning back, Severus said, "Sirius, Remus, there are some things that I need to explain. Do either of you know anything about the Snape-Gossford curse?" When both shook their heads no, he continued, "Centuries ago, my family were about as evil as they come. One of my ancestors did some truly reprehensible things that can't be forgiven for. It came back to haunt my ancestor when one of his victims created and cast a curse that was both truly a curse and also the salvation of my line." He went on to explain the entirety of the curse to them and when he'd finished, he anxiously waited until they said something.


Sirius had listened flabbergastedly at what Snape had said and while he wasn't the smartest person in the world, even he was able to make the connection between what he'd said and his actions both in the past and present. After making sure he was able to comprehend everything his enemy had said, he pulled himself together and finally was able to say something.


"Does that explain your treatment of me in the past?"


Nodding his head, Severus was able to say something that he'd wanted to for a long time, but hadn't really understood why he'd needed to until he'd met Harry, "I'm sorry, Sirius. Because I couldn't feel anything, I never understood why you hated me. I wasn't able to comprehend that you'd had a crush on me, then. And even then, I could only respond to my soulmate and if you'd been it, it would have been obvious because there wouldn't have needed to be any apologies said."


Remus spoke up, understanding something that Sirius hadn't seemed to catch, "You've found your soulmate finally, haven't you?"


"Yes, and I've known about my bond for years now."


Sirius was confused as was Remus. "But you'd be with your soulmate now, wouldn't you?"


"I would if he'd been old enough to form a relationship and two, if I hadn't been a deatheater spy for Dumbledore."


"Wait a minute!!! You're telling me that you've bonded with Harry?" Sirius blurted it out, unbelievingly. He wanted to smash Snape's face in but knew that wasn't possible because if what he'd told them was true then hurting him would hurt Harry.


"Yes, I have." Severus turned his face away from them, closed his eyes and sighed from the exaustion of keeping this a secret for years. "I can't tell either of you the horror of finding out that it was the Boy Who Lived who was my future bondmate. Do either of you know the pain the I felt learning that? Not only did I have to hide the truth from Harry, but I also had to experience emotions for the first time in my life and they had to feelings of hopelessness, pain, longing, hatred, sadness. I really wanted to kill myself then. If it hadn't have been for Albus, I would have. I owed him a lot for protecting me while I was growing up. He kept a lot of unpleasant actions from happening to me and it was because of that eternal gratefulness that I agreed to become a spy. I was perfect because since I couldn't feel emotions, I couldn't show them. It's not hard to hide the truth from Voldemort when a lot of the reasons that made me a favorite of the bastard was real. He just never knew that I could no more betray humanity than I could turn evil. Gossford was intelligent and made sure of that."


"So, I never had a chance at all?"


Shaking his head, Severus gently answered, "No, Sirius, you didn't. I also won't apologize for the way I was. I do apologize for not having informed you when I realized why you hated me the way you did. I didn't deserve it, Black. I'm Slytherin because I've always had great ambition and it's the one that brought satisfaction to me, which was one of the few things that I could feel before I met Harry. You need to start looking at the person within because many times, you can help someone by finding out the truth about a person before you unilaterally hate them."


Remus finally asked, "I understand why you've told us this, but what are you going to do now? I mean, Harry hates you, doesn't he? You aren't going to force him to be with you, are you?"


"No, I could no more do that than I could kill. I'm not exactly sure how Harry feels about me, but I do know that I've got to change outwardly as well as inwardly if I want Harry to both love and respect me." He then did something he'd never have thought he'd ask of Sirius and that was, "Will you help me?"


Shocked, both Marauders were silent until they were able to realize that they needed to answer. After agreeing to help, they all came up with ideas to help. This lasted well until darkness when they all realized that Severus needed to return to the castle.
 

Harry had returned to his dorm and began to wrap the statue, the jewels had been fixed, and Gift kept pawing at it, obviously curious at the thin tissue paper, thinking it was something for him to play with. He was a cat after all.

"Quit that!" Harry reached down and slapped the paw that was trying to tear the paper.

"But's it's so flimsy and see through. You sure it's paper?"

Rolling his eyes, Harry couldn't believe he'd ended up with a cat. The novelty of having a feline companion was quickly wearing off.

"Of course I'm sure! It's called tissue paper and it's used as a decorative wrapping for presents."

"Oh!" Gift paused and looked up at his master, although he really didn't think of Harry as his master, "It's for your beloved?" Harry nodded. "You want me to take it to him?"

"You can do that!"

"Of course, Silly!! Some of my abilities include transport of small items as well as being able to enter any room that is either magically protected or warded. I can even walk through walls if I have to."

Harry had finished wrapping his present and leaned back on the bed. He considered what Gift had just told him. He wanted to woo Severus. He didn't want to scare him away. He also wanted to seem somewhat mysterious and he knew that Severus would wonder how these presents were getting into his room. He gave Gift a thorough look, thinking about the possibilities. Finally, he nodded to Gift and handed over both the present and a card with more poetry in it. He watched as the gift and card disapeared in a flash of light and a minute later, Gift disappeared.

Sighing, he fell back on the bed after clearing the excess trash and tried to map out a plan to win his beloved. He knew he was young. He also knew that with all things that had been happening to him, surviving was a matter of chance. Voldemort was making it hard to form any long term plans. He was worried that he wasn't going to be able to protect his friends and family. The anxious state he'd been in all day finally caught up with him and he fell into a long dreamless sleep. He never noticed as hours later, a plop and then a kneading of the bedspreads, as his new companion settled down to sleep with him.

____________________________________

As soon as he'd disappeared, Gift reappeared in the dungeon hallway. The castle was huge and after having lived in a small apartment for the last three years, the size was breathtaking. He'd been happy with Hannah and if it hadn't have been for her, he'd never have known what it was like to trust a human. She had spent a lot of time to win his heart and was willing to protect him with her life. It was no wonder that Bastet had made her a priestess. Her compassionate caring and love and patience for felines made her perfect for healing abused cats. He'd been her first and he'd always be grateful for the time she spent on him.

But now, it was time to have a life of his own. Hannah had Turtle, her own calico familiar who'd already been through all nine of her lives. He wanted someone of his own. He knew there was a magical core in him that wasn't present in a most cats. It's not true that any cat can make a good familiar. Just like humans, all cats have different personalities and only a few have a magical core that can allow one to be a familiar.

He was one of those. It hadn't been much of a surprise when Bastet had appeared to him and asked him to form a familiar bond with someone who'd need it. He had a warrior heart and had been bored with living in a small apartment and never leaving (except the horrid and hated vet visits). He also wanted someone who was completely his. He knew that if Bastet saw goodness in Harry than that was good enough for him. After all, she'd been the one to place him with Hannah. When he'd met Harry, he'd been able to see a power core that was breathtaking. There wasn't any doubt in his mind that Harry had the potentiality to become a mage.

For one to become a mage, it required many things. First was a powerful, natural magical ability. Then, they needed to be able to see energies in others. Very few wizards could see there own power, let alone other's power. He wasn't referring to aura's. A wizard's aura could be seen by anyone who took the time to look as could a non-magical person. A wizard's core usually couldn't be seen because the magic of the inidividual hides it from others. It takes a lot of training before one can penetrate a magical surface to see the core. Then there's the ability that's learned when one can access the power cores. Not just there own, but other's as well. Once a wizard is able to access there core, they're essentially a mage. A wizard uses only about 10 percent of their magic like humans normally use about ten percent of their brain. Their power output is dramatically increased with the introduction of the rest of the their power.

Although familiars aren't the only way to develop access to power cores, it was a good option when one is to be a mage. There was also the option of the use of a staff, which once a human mastered, they're able to use their power core. Familiars help wizards do that when they bond with their master. They basically serve as a staff and become a stabilizer for the magic that is released when the human becomes master to their ability.

He'd known that Harry had that potential and Bastet had been open about her worry for the wizard world. If Voldemort won, then noone was safe, including her subjects. Harry was the first human that had the full potential to master all requirements of being a mage. He knew that while some were able to gain a partial mastery of their core, such as Dumbledore as he'd been told, there wasn't anyone who had complete mastery. His job was to train Harry after they'd bonded. He also had something to give Harry to help him along with their bond. Bastet had stolen the Staff of Anteros from her rival pantheon's temple so that he may present it to Harry.

Anteros was the god of dark passion and need of the Greek Pantheon. Son of War and Love, Anteros was both a warrior god, as well as a love god. As a faithful student to his adopted father Hephasteus, he learned metal work at an early age as well as the potions and duties of his position. He'd combined all of his nature and talent to create the Staff of Anteros. It can only be held and mastered by one who holds the greatest love as well as war's greatest need. Harry is soul bonded to this Severus which fills the requirement of the greatest love. Nothing is greater than a soul bond. The second requirement is a true need to protect others, as well as themselves, against total war. If Voldemorts desire to conquer the wizard world and destroy the non-magical humans with his ability to draw others to his cause, wasn't considered total war, then he didn't know what would.

When one combines Harry's nature and fate, as well as his shown abilities and unseen potential, Bastet had decided that he needed both a familiar to help him train and a staff that had a nearly unlimited power core of it's own. She didn't want to take any chances that Harry wouldn't be able to control his ability.

He'd been instructed to bond and train Harry in his primary mage requirements. He then had to make sure that his bonding with this Severus was completed, which would not only give him another power core to draw on, but would help stabilize him emotionally. Once those had been completed, he was to give the staff to Harry and get him to master the final component of his magery. If he could do all of that, then there wasn't any doubt Harry would be as powerful or more powerful than Merlin himself. He was just worried that he wouldn't be able to complete all of it, before Voldemort attacked.

He'd been so caught up with his thinking, that he hadn't noticed that he'd reached Severus' rooms. He'd made it to the bedroom and decided to deposit the gift on the bed. He also decided to add a little gift of his own. He had some conjuring powers granted to him and he used them to create a stuffed cat that looked a lot like himself, even down to the copper colored eyes. He couldn't resist leaving something that would remind Severus of himself, especially since they really needed to get along with each other.

He disappeared and wandered around the castle, getting into a fight with a truly reprehensible cat called Mrs Norris, and surprised a lot of students who were traveling the school. It was wonderful that the superstitions concerning black cats was just as big in the wizard world as the muggle world.

When he got tired, he transported himself back to his master's dorm and after seeing that Harry was asleep, jumped up and made himself comfortable snuggling up with the large warm body. He was soon asleep as well.

_________________________________

Severus returned from his talk with Sirius, worried about how he was going to go about making some changes without being considered insane. He knew what the students and other staff believed about him. He wasn't going to be able to do all of this without people thinking he wasn't himself or that he'd been spelled.

Deciding to start tomorrow, he entered his rooms, stretching from the mental exaustion making him tired. He was barely awake when he showered and was about to fall into bed, when he noticed the gifts.

Surprised, he woke up enough to stare wonderingly at the presents. He couldn't help but laugh when he saw the very realistic stuffed black cat on his bed. He'd always loved cats and since he'd already received one gift from Harry, he assumed that these were from him.

After sitting down, he opened up the card first.

Dear Severus,

I know that we have a lot going against us, but I want to tell you that I have come to care a lot for you. I know there's many things that may make a relationship difficult between us, but with trust and committment, I don't think there's anything that's impossible. I know I'm young, but I've experienced more than any child should have to. It's helped me to grow up. I know you might think this is a joke, like the note before but it's not. Noone truly knows the future and I don't want to die and not having known love. I believe that's what could be between the two of us. I'd like your permission to court you and find out who you are inside. I know there's school policy to be considered, but I'd never tell anyone if you agree. Hermione and Ron know about this and they've both promised not to tell anyone. I trust them to keep their promise. Even if you don't agree, know that I truly admire your commitment to humanity and the light. I trust you more than anyone I know, including Sirius and Dumbledore. I have found something that I really think you'll like. I don't know why, but it reminded me of you.

With love,
Harry Potter

P.S. Forgot to mention, I want to talk to you about something the Goddess Bastet presented me. I don't understand what's going on, but I have a feeling because she decided to interfere in this war with Voldermort that there will be some terrible things coming in the future. I have a feeling Voldemort's going to step up his actions. I also have no doubt that you'll be one of the first to pay for this. Take care and protect yourself.

After reading the card, he sat there shocked. It looked as if Harry was already feeling the bond. It looked as if he wasn't going to have to take as much time as he thought he would. He loved Harry and knew that if he wanted Harry to be proud of him, he'd still have to make some changes. It just looked as if now, he wasn't going to running into this blindly.

A moment later after the shock wore off, he opened the gift. Again, he was stunned. The statue was beautiful and while he was fairly sure it wasn't a true antique, it was gorgous enough to make people awed at it's exquisiteness. The jewels sparkled in the candlelight, the flickering flames making the jewels even brighter. It was so beautiful, it was almost glowing.

It took a second, but he suddenly realized that it was glowing. Quickly setting the gold cat on his bedstand, he watched as the glow slowly fading to a pale hue. Shaking his head, he realized that this must have something to do with what he'd mentioned about Bastet. He didn't understand what he was talking about but figured he could find out tomorrow. Besides, while Bastet could be a cruel god, she never presented two faces to people. What she showed to people is what her nature is. He was kind of leary of the fact that Bastet was a fertility god. Many wizard couples prayed to her for children. He was kind of wondering if Harry was trying to tell him something with the statue. He really didn't want to have to worry about children, especially when Harry was still in school.

His mind overloaded with everything he'd experienced lately, mainly today, he took his new stuffed cat and curled up in bed, soon falling asleep dreaming of a marvelous emerald-eyed boy who owned his heart and soul.

Peace settled in the castle and the player in the final outcome were set in place. It was now time to make the moves.

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TBC