Title: Strange or Older
Pairings: Actual Ron/Harry, unrequited Snape/Harry and implied Sirius/Remus. Whew!
Summary: Old habits are hard to break. Especially if self-deceit is one of them.
My love came back to me
Under the November tree
Shelterless and dim.
He put his hand upon my shoulder,
He did not think me strange or older,
Nor I, him.
- Frances Cornford, All Souls' Night
War wears down more than men. The sky itself becomes grey, distant; the trees silent, as though keeping watch. Snape wakes up to them each morning - tall, dark sentinels whispering overhead - he wakes up to the rustle of leaves outside his tent, quiet as Potter's feet used to be at school.
Snape's tired of war. There are moments when the rage resurfaces, sharp as a knife - but mostly Snape's calm, weary, worn smooth like a roadside stone. Many years have walked over him. Ground him into the dust.
Potter, too, has achieved some semblance of maturity - well, if exhaustion and maturity are the same thing, which they probably are. He doesn't throw insults at the drop of a hat anymore; he saves up his wrath as though it were a precious thing, so that every curse he throws in battle is stronger for it. No sense in fighting allies. No sense in fighting Snape.
At least, that's the reason Snape accords to Potter's change of behaviour towards him. It makes him uncomfortable to imagine anything else - and with so much discomfort around them, thin mattresses on hard ground and thin rain on scouting missions, it's no wonder that Snape settles for comfortable thoughts instead.
It doesn't take long to discover that Potter and Weasley are lovers. Snape feels a strange, dull bite of anger at that - why, he doesn't know. It isn't as if Potter has been hiding anything. Misleading anyone. It has simply become more obvious, as they move from camp to camp, that some of Weasley's visits to Potter's tent don't end at sunset: Snape has caught him emerging at dawn, robes pulled tight against the winter chill, looking sated and yet strangely withdrawn. Shacklebolt and the others already seem to know; there isn't a flicker of surprise on anyone's face when Potter places a hand on Weasley's shoulder during a meeting, and Weasley relaxes into it as though it's more than the touch of a friend.
But who is Snape, after all, to say what should be or should not? His manner grows colder with Potter as the weeks progress - his words sharper, as though he can visit upon Potter the cut he himself has felt. That he has no right to feel. Potter only watches him carefully throughout, his fingers careful when he hands Snape a scroll or lifts the flap of Snape's tent to deliver a message; Weasley, in his turn, watches them both, his face unreadable.
Snape keeps to his potions and his books - the battles are few and far between now, with Voldemort's defeat leaving fewer Death Eaters to fight. On the rare occasion that one of the Order is injured, Snape brews them salves tailored to their wounds; this week he has Potter to tend to, Potter whose skin is finally whole after a duel with Malfoy two nights ago, although he's still too tired to move.
Obligation. Snape is obliged, yet again, to inconvenience himself for the Boy Who Lived; he trudges to Potter's tent in the low evening light, vial cold and glassy in his hand. No wards or spells are allowed on camp today, the better to hide them from distant scans - Snape can hear quiet conversations, the crackling of warm fires, as he walks past each dusty tent.
He hears nothing from Potter's, and takes this as a sign to enter - the sight that greets him when he nudges the flap of Potter's tent, however, is not one that he is prepared for. Not in the least.
The sight of Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley. Fucking.
He nearly drops the vial.
Considers leaving, before they see him, but his feet refuse to move.
He only stands there, letting the flap fall back into place, keeping just a little bit of it open with a lift of his finger. Just enough to see. Even though he doesn't want to. Even though he shouldn't.
They aren't making any noise. Strange, Snape thinks, until he realises that they might've been fucking since Hogwarts - fucking each other in their dormitory - and the thought of that brings back the burn again, part rage and part disgruntled lust, leaving Snape to catch his breath.
No. They don't make any noise. They're silent. Potter's on his back, still pale from his injuries, legs lifted and calves resting on Weasley's shoulders - his hair dark against the mattress, mouth open and gasping silently in time with Weasley's thrusts. One of his hands curls in the sheets, not too tight, as if the stretch of Weasley's cock in him isn't foreign, isn't painful at all - and the other rests on Weasley's back, stroking it, soothing it, as though Weasley's the injured one.
Quiet, Snape thinks, quiet - and he looks at Weasley's face too, the flex of Weasley's scarred and freckled back, the way his sweat-darkened hair clings to his temples, the way his breath shudders as he enters Potter time and again. His expression isn't tender, although his movements are; he's only watching Potter's face, strangely intent, as though no gesture Potter makes should escape him. Vigilance. His thrusts increase in depth rather than speed, Potter arching to meet them all - and Weasley slides one hand down Potter's thigh, carefully, before taking Potter's cock in hand.
Potter's eyes fly open. He takes a startled, quiet breath - and it's only then, with Potter looking back at him, that Weasley begins stroking. The rhythm is still relatively slow, smooth, even - but it seems to be enough for Potter, whose muscles ripple under sweat-sheened skin, hips lifting, until he lets out a low, sharp cry and comes.
Weasley's fingers milk him, slipping in the come on Potter's softening cock, as Weasley himself makes a few short, frantic thrusts - and Snape knows that Weasley's come only because Weasley closes his eyes, finally, his hand clenching and then sliding off Potter's cock.
Snape doesn't stay to watch the rest.
He doesn't stay to watch Potter and Weasley exchange words, curl around each other after whispering cleaning spells - Snape's hard and he hates it, hates what he's seen and that he cared to see it at all. What he saw was beautiful, so beautiful that it was ugly - as ugly as Black and Lupin had been years ago, moving against each other and moaning - as ugly as they had been when Snape had ruined them, broken them, by following Black to the Shrieking Shack one night. Lupin had never touched Black after that. Not even when Black had returned from Azkaban.
Snape wonders, briefly, which one of these boys - men - is Lupin, and which one is Black. Who will be the first to go? The first to betray the other?
But no, Snape thinks, no - he's too tired to play with spite now, although he isn't too tired to feel it. He feels grey, withered, wrathful - and when he returns to his tent he throws the vial onto his bed and jerks himself off over his steel hand-basin, closing his eyes so that he only hears the dull splash of his semen against metal when he comes.
He gives Weasley the vial later, at that night's meeting, and doesn't look at Weasley as he does.
Feedback is appreciated.