by Kass

Thanks to Smaragd Gruen for the beta.
The characters aren't mine; the words are.

Every errand's a fool's errand
if we run it because
I'm a fool to want you
and you're a fool to agree

’—David Lehman, from "April 1"

I've always enjoyed the first of April. Only the most moronic of students dare try to play tricks on me, and the day offers tantalizing opportunities for embarrassing my charges. More than usual, that is.

The pranks of the First- and Second-years are the same each spring: chocolate frogs that taste of mud, embarrassing Howlers and Shriekers. Exceptionally unoriginal. The older students generally find more creative ways of celebrating the holiday: enchanted quills, a rash of temporary donkey's ears and tails. Little hexes. One year everyone in Hufflepuff spent the entire day singing, every time they opened their mouths. I knew who was responsible, but it was entertaining enough to watch that I didn't let on.

Technically faculty members turn a blind eye, unless someone is in danger. Albus claims it's "all in good fun," and I have learned not to argue. We don't stop them, but neither do we join them. We stay out of the festivities, except to mend and undo pranks gone awry. I have always maintained that I am well within the letter of that law; if some of the potions I teach that day have unpleasant side effects, surely that makes the day no different than any other?

I might have predicted that the spring after Voldemort's defeat would be a riotous one at Hogwarts. There are the natural effects of spring on a campus crammed with teen hormones; that year the mayhem was heightened because fears of his reign had weighed the wizarding world down like an Ice Age. I suspected a kind of interpersonal alchemy: all of the nervous energy that had gone into working to defeat him all winter turned sexual.

Adults at least had the sense to cast silencing charms before going at it; students, generally speaking, didn't. I can't remember the last time I handed out so many detentions for snogging in inappropriate places.

Of course, I took some pleasure in seeking out these odd assignations in the Quidditch broom shed, atop the astrology tower, all the nooks and crannies they somehow thought we'd never think to search. Nothing quite like watching their faces when they realized the shadow cast over them was mine. House point totals were dropping like flies.

The prevailing energy didn't seem to affect me. My dreams were perhaps more vivid than usual, but I am unaccustomed to romance, and saw no reason to change that fact. The energy would shift by summer, and they'd all be embarrassed by their bizarre liaisons, and I would still be beyond reproach.

Perhaps the only thing as entertaining as watching the students eye each other as potential sexual prospects was watching them try to trick each other on April Fool’—indeed, watching how the two forms of deception merged.

This year my gift to myself was teaching Amorph Potion. I hadn't taught it in at least ten years, which meant none of them was likely to suspect it. I saved it for my last class of the day, the Seventh-Years.

The potion itself isn't especially complicated, but it takes the better part of an hour to prepare, and requires some slightly esoteric ingredients. A quick trip to Knockturn Alley had taken care of those, however, and everything necessary had been filed alphabetically along with the rest of my stores.

About five minutes in, Granger asked what they were making. Ordinarily I would have given the name (it's not something students would have reason to recognize), but I wouldn't put it past Granger to divine the potion's uses via etymology. I folded my hands inside my sleeves and smiled at her as meanly as I could. She blanched and went back to chopping.

Midway through the class I distributed slate tiles. During the necessary ninety-second waiting period (the crushed ladybug shells needed time to settle, else they'd react badly with any kind of blood) I instructed them to cast Reflexus on the slates. Even the most inept witch or wizard ought to be able to make mirrors by Seventh-year.

As the end of the period approached, I checked one last time to make sure that the liquid in everyone's cauldron was a vibrant purple, with a faint scent of ripe cherries. Longbottom's, predictably, was a sickly blue-green. I told him to drink half of somebody else's. They decanted, carefully, and cast cleaning spells on their cauldrons while their purple vials cooled.

And then I instructed them all to drink. At the same time.

And kept my laughter to myself as their faces started to change. Amorph is a simple glamour, but with a catch; it temporarily transforms the aspect of its drinker into the aspect of the person he or she most desires. Last time I'd assigned it there had been some rather entertaining repercussions: Lucinda Bellevue and Andrew Greenbone, who'd been dating for nearly two years, didn't turn into each other. Or rather, she took on Andrew's face; he transformed into the likeness of Frank Quinn, the captain of that year's Ravenclaw quidditch team.

I expected similar amusement this year.

Granger turned into Weasley, and vice versa. Could have predicted that.

Crabbe turned into Malfoy. No real surprise there; in the last year no one had mistaken his fawning for anything other than a crush, Malfoy included. Even so, it was startling to see the late Malfoy's likeness in my classroom again. Such potential, wasted.

For a moment they stood there, dumb, obviously waiting for some effect they could feel. Then Weasley turned to the side and noticed the change in his benchmate. "Hermione!"

Then they were all turning to each other, confused, and holding up their mirrored tiles. I steepled my fingers and waited for the pattern to become clear.

"You've given us Amorph!" Granger's indignant squeak, coming from the apparent head of Mr Weasley.

"Strictly speaking, you've all given it to yourselves." Hah.

"I don't’—" "What's the’—" "I've never’—" A building jumble of student confusion.

"Don't you get it? We've’—" Granger turned around, caught sight of one of her compatriots and froze.

I supposed I would have to divulge the secret myself. "You've turned into whomever you most fancy," I said, smoothly.

There were gasps and muffled groans coming from all over the room as people's dirty little secrets were uncovered. But not a sound from Harry Potter, who was hiding behind his mirror.

I was quite curious (in a purely disinterested, academic way, of course) to know which way he swung. And how could I resist the opportunity to see what desire had him cowering behind a shiny piece of slate?

"Mr Potter, surely you've no reason to hide," I drawled. Slowly he lowered the tile and I discovered what had caused Granger's quite unusual speechlessness.

Never in a million years had I expected the sight of mortified embarrassment on what appeared to be my own face.

Word got out almost instantly. Albus patted my shoulder in a sympathetic way the next time he brushed past me in the hall.

Student crushes are one of the more predictable and annoying (if harmless) hazards of teaching teenagers, wizards or no. Last time I'd taught Amorph one of the Hufflepuffs’—Kensington; went on to a Ministry career, if memory serves’—had spent an hour hiding from Minerva for this very reason. But I hadn't expected any of the current students to be concealing a prurient interest in me, Potter least of all.

I'm sure some of my colleagues were amused (I'm not sure I can remember the last time a student mooned over me) but had the forebearance to not say so.

Naturally, of course, over the following weeks I was as nasty to Potter as possible. It wasn't hard; he really doesn't have a head for Potions, and it's easy to make him redden. And squirm. And bite his lip, apparently trying to keep his petty retorts from slipping through. I paid special attention, to make sure he was suitably embarrassed at least once in each class.

I'm sure people said I was cruel, treating the boy so when surely he only meant well. Meant well. I hate that phrase, and the notion behind it. If there is anything my years in service to the Dark Lord taught me, it is that "meaning well" gets one nowhere.

I'm sure others, including Potter's merry band of friends, said one couldn't expect any better of nasty old Snape.

What no one knew, and I was determined no one should ever know, was the secondary purpose I made his humiliations serve. How I transposed the mental images, at night in my chambers alone, into Potter flushed with arousal, incoherent with desire, squirming beneath me as I prepared him with my fingers to be fucked into an even more brainless puddle than he already was. Biting his lip and gasping as my cock slid into him. When he was on his hands and knees, how far would that blush spread?

It is the nature of schoolboy crushes to last a few weeks. At most, a season. I told myself I was actually lessening the period of anguish for both of us, by ensuring that he would cease his interest in me all the sooner.

It is true that I am a cruel man.

I am cruelest to myself.

The last day of the term was the last time I should ever have to see Harry Potter. With Voldemort gone, we would never again battle together; assuming he had passed all of his exams, which seemed reasonably likely (who would hold back the Boy Who Lived, after all?) he would never darken my classroom again.

I was glad of it, of course. Glad to be shed of him. Until it turned out I wasn't, quite; he cornered me in an otherwise empty hallway.


Potter was glaring at me, practically from eye level. Even after all these years of teaching, I can be taken unawares by how they shoot up as they approach eighteen. Like weeds.

"Aren't you going to say congratulations?" His arms folded, chin thrust just slightly out in what I'm sure he would deny was a sulk. If I were to ask. Which I wouldn't.

"Congratulations." As dry a tone as I could muster. I turned to walk past but he grabbed my arm.

"That's it?"

"What were you expecting, Potter? Declarations of undying love?"

He flushed, and let go of my sleeve, but didn't back away. "'It's been a pleasure working with you' would have sufficed."

"Yes, well, it hasn't been. So congratulations and good riddance."

"Merlin." Under his breath, but not so soft that I wouldn't hear. "Can't imagine what I was thinking..."

"I knew it wouldn't last." I pivoted and walked away.

I was three paces down the hall when his voice stopped me. "Knew what wouldn't last." Quiet now, and measured.

"Your little schoolboy crush." I turned to see the effects of my words on his face, which had predictably whitened. His scar, jutting from beneath his unruly hair, looked angry against the backdrop of his skin.

"" He stopped. "You've been testing me." Voice losing its flatness, starting to rise.

Part of me wanted this conversation over. Another part of me was rising to the occasion, spoiling for a fight. Wanting to crush his impetuous little ego once and for all.

"Not at all." Pleasing, how sardonic I can sound, when I try. "Merely hastening the inevitable."

"You're cruel. You're vindictive. You're not fit to teach. You fucking bastard." He moved towards me; I stood my ground. Would he hit me? Attempt to bespell me? Try to, heavens forfend, kiss me?

"Gentlemen!" The cat who was Minerva had pattered down the hall; she rose to human height almost between us. We both flickered a glance at her. As though nothing were wrong, she smiled broadly. "You're almost late for the Leaving Feast."

As I turned to accompany her to the great hall, my hands were clenched to fists inside my sleeves. I refused to spare a moment's energy to thinking about why.

I don't make a habit of fantasizing about my students. Period.

I don't make a habit of fantasizing about anyone, but if I did, my students would not be on the list.

And yet my nasty nighttime visions were losing none of their appeal.

That Harry Potter was now technically an alumnus of this institution, and had hardly been an ordinary boy even when he *was* a boy, assuaged my conscience not at all.

It was small consolation that the fantasies were, at least, entirely private. That no one would ever know they were there. And that I would likely not see the boy again for years: surely that would help.

Some mornings when I awoke to find my sheets unpleasantly sticky with the residue of my dreams, I went for punishing swims in the lake, which even at the height of summer remains glacially-cold.

I told myself the fascination would fade. His surely had, long before now.

Aghast. That's the only word for it. Barely seven in the morning; trapped in a faculty meeting that had started far too close to dawn, with far too little caffeine to serve as sustenance; and now this?

"You're what?" Perhaps I had mis-heard. One could only hope.

Albus beamed, looking even more avuncular than usual, which didn't seem like a good sign.

"Expecting," Cynthia said, again.

No, not avuncular: grandfatherly. I stifled a groan.

"Who...who's the lucky..." Hagrid was fumbling for words.

"None of your business." Sharp as ever. Motherhood wasn't likely to mellow Cynthia Hooch.

Hagrid reddened, which was vaguely entertaining. Though not entertaining enough to quell the vague worry which was beginning to nibble at my consciousness.

"The term starts in less than a week," Minerva said. She sounded concerned. "Who will replace her? We haven't had an assistant coach in years."

Albus twinkled at her and suddenly I had a very, very bad feeling about what was about to come out of his mouth.

I resisted the urge to bury my head in my hands. Whatever horrible deeds I had done in my life, and surely I have committed more than my share, were they reprehensible enough to warrant this?

"I've just gotten an owl back from Harry," he said brightly. "Under the circumstances, he's willing to forego this year's try-outs for the Glastonbury Gremlins and spend the year with us."

When the knock came at my door, I almost jumped out of my skin. I had been simultaneously craving, and dreading, the confrontation I knew would come. And here it was.


Potter, sure enough. He looked different: tanner, hair so short it was almost a buzz. Would undoubtedly be velvety to the touch, were I to touch it. Which I wouldn't.

I didn't rise from my chair, nor did I put down my book. "Yes?"

Very quickly he had crossed the distance from threshhold to fireplace, and was sitting down on my ottoman. I resisted the temptation to outright glare.

"Look." He waited until I glanced up from the page. "I'm...sorry."

I made a noncommital sound. Surely he could do better than that?

"The things I said at end-of-term were uncalled-for and I shouldn't have said them."

"I note you haven't disclaimed their truth."

His lips tightened briefly. "You are a bastard. And I don't like you. But that doesn't mean we can't be civil."

Hmm. "Apology accepted." I looked back down at my book.

"See you in hall," he said, and rose.

I could handle his presence just fine.

I did not watch him leave.

"Master Potter!"

I was leaving my classroom when the call shot down the hall. Patsy Wandskellar, if I didn't miss my guess. Gryffindor, Fourth-year. It crossed my mind, not for the first time, that "master" sounded far more sexual than "madam" ever had, even in dulcet student tones.

Dulcet. Hah. Shrill, more like it.

Potter rounded the corner, an expression oddly akin to panic transmuting to relief as he burst into my space. "Snape! Just the man I was looking for." He grabbed my arm. "I've been meaning’—"

I narrowed my eyes at him. It's harder to muster the I'm-going-to-crush-you-like-a-bug look with someone my height and brawnier, but I could at least look disdainful. "Potter, what the hell do you think you're’—"

Wandskellar came skidding around the corner, evidently in hot pursuit, but stopped instantly when she saw me, her face freezing in a momentary revelation of dismay. I do love striking fear into their little hearts.

"--to continue that conversation. Care for a pint?"

I didn't know what he was on about, but it had been a long day, and a pint didn't sound bad, even if it were with Potter. "Why not." Grudgingly.

The girl muttered something and fled. Potter let go of my arm, ducking his head slightly.

"Sorry about that. She's been following me all afternoon."

Understanding dawned. "I see." A student crush’—somebody else's’—had just propelled Potter into asking me out for a pint. Fairly amusing, if I stepped back and looked at it from a distance.

There was a pause.

"Well?" Was he waiting for me to suggest something?

"I won't trouble you further. Thanks for Good night." Potter turned and headed in the other direction.

I told myself I wasn't disappointed that the offer had been rescinded.

The first night of the Christmas holiday. The campus was, mercifully, almost deserted: only a few sad orphans remained, sitting clustered together at one end of one table in hall, house affiliations forgotten or ignored in the pitiful need for holiday company.

Reminded me of Potter and his insufferable Weasley, although I'm not sure they were ever that pathetic.

It really was a blessing to have the halls quiet. Free of the constant bustle of student chatter, the gossip and laughter, the stamping of snowy boots.

At dinner there were only four faculty members, and Minerva was embroiled in conversation with Albus, so I was stuck attempting to converse with Potter. Who, it turned out, was beginning to crave intellectual stimulation. Apparently the life of a Hogwarts Quidditch coach is not much of a life of the mind.

I feigned surprise that he even had a mind, just to needle him, but over the course of the meal he asked some halfway-decent questions about Potions research, and at dinner's end he walked with me back towards my chambers. After securing several promises that he wouldn't bend or crinkle so much as a single page of any of my books, I offered to lend him some of the texts the library wouldn't have.

As I was pulling them from the shelf, he bespelled a fire and sat beside it, in the second wing-backed chair which so rarely sees use. I poured myself a drink; then, after a moment's deliberation, poured one for him. Even the companionship of a half-idiot Quidditch coach was dimly preferable to drinking alone, at least for a while.

And if I was honest with myself, I had to admit that he wasn't an idiot. No idiot would be borrowing D'arcy's treatise on purifying for light reading.

"Quiet without the students," Potter commented.

I hate small talk. "I prefer it so." That ought to shut him up.

To my surprise, he nodded. "I think I do too."

"You were one, just last year."

He snorted. "As if I needed reminding. It's bizarre being back so soon, actually. After a summer away’—"

"You always spend summers away." Thank God; I don't think I could handle having you here twelve months out of the year.

"There's a difference, when you don't think you're coming back."

Fair point. I sipped my whisky.

"The First-years aren't so bad, but everyone else knew me last year. They act like I'm still a student, sometimes. Makes me crazy."

There was a pause.

"At least Wandskellar's finally leaving me alone."

"Student crushes do fade." The irony of the conversation had not escaped me; I wondered whether it had occurred to him.

"True," Potter said, reflectively. "Quite temporary, really."

Although I had been telling myself just that for some months now, I found that I hadn't adequately prepared myself for the impact of hearing it from him. Despite the roaring fire, I felt cold, and somewhat...tired.

Apparently I had not succeeded in convincing myself of my own disinterest. Damn and blast.

In that moment, I hated Harry Potter. Wanted him to finish his drink and get the hell out of my lounge.

"Of course, I've never been prone to them, myself."

I glanced up just in time to see him tip back the contents of his snifter, swallowing them in one gulp.

"I want you. Still."

"What?" Flabbergasted. Horrified. My hands, to my endless mortification, threatening to shake. "That's the whisky talking."

"No, it's me talking. The whisky was to give me some way to salvage my ego if you threw me out of here on my ear." He rose; for the hundredth time I was startled by his height. "But you haven't. And I think I know why not."

There was nervousness in his eyes, but he was hiding it well.

"I don't like you." As close to a sneer as I could manage.

He spread his palms in a half-shrug. "You don't have to."

"What, precisely, is it you propose?" I couldn't bear looking up at him; I stood to match his height. We were closer together than I was entirely comfortable with, but I would not back down. Not from him.

"I want to suck you." His voice low and throaty.

"And what do you suggest I do for you in return?"

"Anything you want."

I could take advantage of his offer and then throw him out on his ear. That's what I told myself, over and over, unwilling to admit even to myself that I was stripping off my robes to reveal my body to Harry bloody Potter.

I half-believed it, until the moment when I placed a hand on his bare chest to move him to one side and he closed his eyes for an instant and sighed. The sound was so exquisitely needy, so freighted with longing, that I was undone.

Sex had never been hard to find, not even (or especially) during my years of Dark service. But when was the last time it had been like this? Naked on my own bed, two sets of clothes strewn across my floor, with someone who so obviously craved my touch?

He pushed me onto my back and took my cock in one hand and suckled at it with a kind of reverence.

Oh, god, that mouth. He had his House's damnable thoroughness, yes, but he'd always had access to a serpent's tongue.

I was not throwing him out on his ear. I was going to give him everything. And then some. The fool didn't know what he was in for.

Harry Potter, on his hands and knees. Head hanging as though there were no volition left in his neck. Gasping as I reached beneath him to palm his cock and balls, emitting hoarse little sighs as I pulled, gauging what he could stand.

He was less predictable in reality than in fantasy, but the pale expanse of his back was as I had imagined.

I wet one finger in my mouth, then pushed inside him. Impossible heat: how did he keep from combusting? How would I?

He inhaled hard, almost the opposite of a whimper.

"You like that." My voice was lower than usual’—a predictable byproduct of my inadvertant groans while his mouth was fastened onto my cock’—and he quivered, whether at the sound or the words I cannot say.

"Mmm. Yes." Then, more desperately, "Please." It seemed I had unknowingly released a flood of begging. "Ohhh, god, please," squirming into my hands. His voice cracked with urgency.

I found I liked the sound of his pleas. More than, perhaps, I ought to admit.

I stilled my motions: just the slightest repeated pulse at the base of his erection, the merest rhythmic pressure into his arse. "You think I should let you come."

He groaned, his whole body tensing, but held himself back from release. Good. "God, I...want it," he gritted, "wanted it long..."

I let my hands move ever-so-slightly faster, deeper, harder. "You want release, is that it?"

"" A murmur, but it set me aflame. Perhaps he was playing me for a fool, but in that instant I couldn't believe so. Not when he was trembling, groaning half-phrases that might be prayers and might be curses, beneath my fingers.

I don't know what perverse impulse led me to it, but I leaned over his back and hissed "say my name."

He hitched a gasp and sighed "Severus," sibilant, as he splashed under my hand.

We had gone directly from Potter's proposition to bed. We had not kissed: it had seemed too intimate for men who disliked each other as much as we.

That boundary seemed ridiculous to me in the aftermath, given where my hands and his mouth had just been. We kissed for a long time, casual and slow. Potter's body was soft and pliable and post-coital and strangely satisfying alongside mine.

Just as I was beginning to remember that I don't sleep well with another body in the bed, he broke away and fumbled by the bedside.

"Can't find my glasses," he murmured. "Could use some light. D'you mind?"

"Lumos." My chambers respond to tone of voice; a low light rose around the bedframe, just enough to illumine this end of the room.

Potter rose, groped for his glasses and his wand, cast a gentle cleaning spell on both of us. And then he stepped back into his underclothes and robe.

In the light, as his body was slowly veiled, I was conscious of my my bare skin. I didn't move to cover myself; it would have felt like stepping back, like admitting vulnerability, and I would not. Not in front of him.

He straightened his robe and came back to sit at the edge of the bed. I steeled myself for something sappy, some misplaced second thoughts, but all he said was, "You suppose you could be convinced to spend the whole holiday just lounging there like that so I can look at you?"

I was warmed by his approbation, though I tried not to show it. "I'd exact a high toll."

The smile was only in his eyes, but I saw it anyway. "I should hope so."

He moved as if to rise and something in me blurted out, "Harry." He stopped, trying to look nonchalant, though I knew he was startled by my unusual use of his first name. "I'm not a nice man."

He chuckled a little. "I know that. Do you take me for a fool?"

I had the forebearance not to answer. He stood, murmured "Nox," and glided out of the room in the dark.

"If you think I'm drinking that, you're crazy."

Potter flashed me a grin. "What: don't trust my Potions skills?"

I glared at him, which seemed to do nothing to dampen his mood. Suck a man's cock now and again and you completely lose power to daunt him with a raised eyebrow. "That's not why, and you know it."

"Afraid I've upped the dosage and you'll be stuck looking like me all day?"

"A fate worse than death," I murmured, though I didn't mean it, and I suspect he could tell.

He set the vial down on the table, where it cast a faint purple glow on the scrolls and parchment nearby.

"Afraid you'll look like someone else, then." His tone was light but I heard the faint worry concealed there.

"No, that's what you're afraid of, not me." No point in coddling that kind of shite.

His cheekbones pinked. Hah: bullseye.

"Potter, it's been almost four months, and have you ever known me to express interest in anyone else? Don't be an idiot."

"I thought my idiocy was innate." Vaguely sulky, reminding me briefly of the boy he had been.

"I used to think so, too, but you've shown remarkable taste in paramours, so maybe there's hope for you." That got a chuckle, and I had to fight not to smile back.

"I thought it'd be funny," he said after a moment. "Get everyone thinking I'm teaching Potions for the day."

I rose. "This conversation is over; I'm about to be late."

I could see his disappointment, but he just nodded and stepped aside to let me pass.

I was about to open the door when he said, "Will you drink some tonight? Late?"

He had followed, and when I turned was right in front of me, one arm going over my shoulder to brace himself against the door. Leaning quite suggestively almost against my body. Hmm.

"That's a bit narcissistic of you, isn't it?"

His thigh slid between mine. "I'll share it with you. C'mon. We'd make a pretty pair, wouldn't we?"

Some minutes and a long kiss later, I had to acknowledge that I supposed we would. A pretty pair of fools indeed.

The End