Watercolour by valkea
Strange or Older. Snape, Ron/Harry. NC-17. - Harry Potter Literotica
Expression is Everything
Strange or Older. Snape, Ron/Harry. NC-17.
For underlucius, who requested voyeurism and cold weather. This does qualify for the Cold Weather Challenge, I hope?

Title: Strange or Older
Author: Jabez
Pairings: Actual Ron/Harry, unrequited Snape/Harry and implied Sirius/Remus. Whew!
Rating: NC-17.
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


1. Strange.

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.


2. Older.

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Snape has caught him emerging at dawn, robes pulled tight against the winter chill, looking sated and yet strangely withdrawn.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.

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.

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16 comments or Leave a comment
underlucius From: underlucius Date: January 1st, 2005 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow. I'll have to read this a few more times to get everything out of it, but the beginning was SO SO stunning.

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

I've been thinking so much about war recently, with writing Transgressions and thinking about Alexander fics. The breath on the chill air as Snape stalks between tents, the flap of canvas - you really weave a sense of an army on the move.

The subharmonic frission of Snape's deliberate maliciousness towards Black and Lupin was just so subtle. Wonderful.

Thank you for posting - it's just lovely. Bloody well done.

(and squee - it's porny enough for Pixies too!)
From: jabez_fics Date: January 1st, 2005 07:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Squee from me too - you like it! It was a rather painstaking effort on my part, because I'm not exactly comfortable with the idea of voyeurism (I mean, it's hot, but I never thought of writing it), so... yeah. :)

subharmonic frission

Oooh. Lovely choice of words, there - you have me melting on my chair, you know that?

Thank you.

And I can post this on Pixies too? Honestly? I thought it was a "challenge" fic...
underlucius From: underlucius Date: January 1st, 2005 07:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm just about to post some "posting guidelines" for the community, as I realise that i've never done it before. I was such a Mod-Novice. :D

I don't ask for exclusivity, even with challenge fics. I am a great believer in PIMPAGE at every available opportunity. As long as you say, "written for: blah blah"

*is melting back*

(Deleted comment)
From: jabez_fics Date: January 1st, 2005 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! (And as for overdoing celebrations, believe me, I sympathise. Although alcohol makes me more effusive than usual.)

prettyclever From: prettyclever Date: January 1st, 2005 10:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. I'm starting to love you, maybe. This was excellent. I love the terseness, the restrained emotions and repression. I love the ending kick. Really well done, and just gorgeous. I see why Liz was gushing about you to me.
From: jabez_fics Date: January 2nd, 2005 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, declarations of love have got to be the highest possible praise! Thank you. :)

And you said "terse" - oh. Yes. Thanks for that... I've been trying very hard (in my original fiction) to trim myself down to a few necessary words, and "terseness" is exactly what I was aiming for. Life isn't flowery, after all; I didn't want to write about it in a flowery way.

Not to mention that Snape = repression. :) One can't not be terse, when writing him.
kylandra From: kylandra Date: January 1st, 2005 10:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Loved this. The cold starkness of it, everything so washed out and tired from the length of the war. And Snape, even in desire so bottled-up and angry. *sigh*

Good job!
From: jabez_fics Date: January 2nd, 2005 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Snape is the sort to remain bottled-up despite everything, isn't he? Perhaps he isn't nearly as worn out as he imagines.

Thank you!
teaspoon14 From: teaspoon14 Date: January 5th, 2005 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh this is wonderful, seeing Harry and Ron through Snape's eyes. Just lovely. The details are so real, you feel like you could touch all of them.
From: jabez_fics Date: January 7th, 2005 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! (And I'm surprised - delighted, yes, but surprised - that you felt you could touch them; Snape always puts a sense of distance into things, at least for me. Well!)
ook From: ook Date: January 7th, 2005 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
This is a really beautifully-written story. I'm surprised there aren't more comments on this fic, but I suspect that not that many people know about this community yet. I look forward to reading more of your stories. Thank you for sharing with us. :)
From: jabez_fics Date: January 7th, 2005 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. I was (and am) deeply uncertain about this story, because I wrote it in such a hurry and couldn't pay attention to structural detail the way I usually like to. :) But - if the readers like it, I'm happy! Thanks so much for reviewing.
jjtaylor From: jjtaylor Date: January 7th, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is - this is - gorgeous. Unusual. Intimate.

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?

You must know phineasjones's All Souls Day, right? Because thinking of that story - the Frances Cornford poem, and Ron and Harry as Remus and Sirius - it's just....it's mind-bending but so very interesting.
From: jabez_fics Date: January 9th, 2005 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thank you! I had qualms about the construction of this story, because I wrote it too fast (I tend to take ages picking out the faults), so. :) Your encouragement means a lot.

I don't know of that author, actually, but I had thought of Sirius/Remus in the context of Conford's poem. In fact, I was kind of surprised that it turned out to be a Snape-centric story... But I still got some S/R in there. :)
phineasjones From: phineasjones Date: January 12th, 2005 07:01 am (UTC) (Link)
your writing is so beautiful. and even the idea of the story - as recced by jjtaylor - made me start to feel the ache of it. and it does ache... so bitterly. you say so much about snape in such a subdued, grey, repressed way.

there's not enough i can say. this is gorgeous.
From: jabez_fics Date: January 12th, 2005 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thank you! For saying such lovely things about what I was afraid was an inadequate story - and for pointing out to me that JJ Taylor had recommended this too. :)
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