When Cordelia V and Painless J announced their Snape is Straight challenge I thought "Well, I can see Snape as straight with selected female characters, so maybe I could write this, but...if he's straight, then how am I getting him together with Harry or Remus?" and, being in a lazy mood, promptly abandoned the idea of the challenge. For a few hours. Then I opened a new file and wrote a story that was *still* a failure at keeping to the rules of their challenge, because for one thing, it's only 1188 words. For another, well . . .
You're mental, that's what you are, mate. You expect me to believe you really want to shag that greasy git?"
"Could you stop calling him that?"
Ron rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Bad enough when we were still at school and only Hermione was defending that bastard," he muttered, "but fine, whatever. I just can't believe you're serious about wanting to shag him."
What Harry really wanted was for Snape to shag him, but he'd just sat through five minutes of Ron's impression of "Guy Puking Up Giant Slugs" and he didn't know if he could hold onto his temper if Ron decided to stage a repeat performance.
He'd known it was a bad idea to try and talk about this with Ron, but who else was there to talk to, what with Hermione out of the country and not reachable for the time being on the Floo Network? It wasn't as if he'd kept in close contact with any of his other friends from school - at least not close enough to tell them something like this.
There was always Remus, of course, but . . . no. Remus was usually a pretty understanding guy about most things, but in the years since Sirius' death, he'd become absolutely unreasonable about anything related to Snape. He'd barely been able to choke out a thanks when Snape saved Harry's life during the final showdown with Voldemort.
The Dursley's? Hah! His former teachers? Not a chance. His Auror colleagues? Right, he'd love to have a heart to heart chat with Alastor Moody about the man Moody still thought should be in a cell in Azkaban. No, Ron was the only one he could talk to, and the conversation was turning out to be just about as uncomfortable as he'd thought it would be.
" . . . and besides," Ron was saying, "even if old Snape was a poofter - no offense, mate - he's not exactly fanciable, is he?"
Well, yes, Harry thought. He was, and Harry did fancy Snape - quite a lot, actually.
But yeah, he got why Ron thought he was out of his mind. Really he did. In fact . . . he couldn't remember just why he'd started to fancy Snape himself.
He knew when it was, though.
It was that night he had to sit through that excruciatingly embarrassing dinner at the Weasley's, listening to all of them say how supportive they were of Harry's decision to come out as . . . one of those. Mrs. Weasley kept patting his hand and even the twins were looking at him with earnest expressions (which usually meant they were up to something, but not this time).
Then Percy had wiped his hands on his serviette and said, "I'm sure this is just a phase Harry, Just make sure it doesn't last too long. You don't want to end up like Severus Snape."
Mr. Weasley frowned at his son, but Harry was intrigued.
"What about Snape?"
"Well," Percy said slowly, drawing out the word until everyone had turned to listen to him. "Word around the Ministry is that everyone believed Snape to be homosexual when He Who Should Still Not Be Named was first in power. Of course, most of Voldemort's inner circle were . . . like that. Then Auror Moody was sent out to gather information by. . . " he glanced at Ginny, then turned back to Harry. "Well, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. In any case, Snape turned Moody down flat. Mildred Kentwhistle says she heard he was practically in tears. Well, obviously he must have been straight to turn Moody down. After all, how many offers would Snape ever have had, even then, I mean to say?"
Harry thought privately that maybe Alastor - even back when he was a little more intact - wouldn't have been the most obvious choice to try and seduce secrets out of a Death Eater, but he said nothing.
"But of course, by that point, the damage was done," Percy said. "Almost everyone in the Wizarding World had started to think that Snape was . . . well, there wasn't much of a chance after that news started circulating that he'd be able to find a wife, was there?"
Mrs Weasley pursed her lips. "Now I'm not one to listen to gossip, Percy, but the truth is that there were quite a number of women who expressed interest in Severus when they believed he was . . . .that way."
"Why, for heaven's sake?" asked Percy.
"Stands to reason, doesn't it?" Fred said.
"More of a challenge, isn't he?" said George.
"Course, once everyone knew the truth . . ."
" . . . that he was straight."
"There was no challenge."
"So no one was interested anymore."
No one but Harry. He was interested.
And if he was perfectly honest with himself (in other words, if he didn't mind thinking of himself as no better than those women Mrs Weasley mentioned who were only interested in Snape when they thought he was queer), he'd have to admit that part of the reason he was interested was the challenge. Not that there wouldn't have been enough challenge in getting a shag from someone who'd disliked him for most of his life, but there was a little added excitement in thinking he might be the first to get Snape to think about men that way. One man. Him, specifically.
It was shortly after that dinner - and the ensuing conversation with Ron - that Harry began his campaign to attract the attention of his former Potions instructor.
He started with gifts: a heavy silk robe brought back from a trip to Japan, rare (and borderline illegal) potions ingredients; a gift certificate for a lifetime's supply of red ink. Each of these gifts was sent anonymously, but Harry made sure that his magical signature lingered just the slightest bit on each item. After all, what was the point of sending gifts if Snape never knew who they were from?
The gift giving stage was followed by none-too-casual encounters in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, 'spontaneous' drinks and dinner invitations, work-related conversations that Harry made sure didn't remain work-related.
After weeks of planning and strategising, Snape finally agreed to spend the night at Harry's home - and Harry was thrilled with his success, to say nothing of ecstatic after spending hours engaging in the kind of sex he'd only read about before in Muggle magazines.
As he smiled sleepily at his hard-won lover, he couldn't help but feel a little smug about how easily he'd been able to seduce the consummate Slytherin.
Harry needn't have felt quite so smug.
Snape had never credited Mildred Kentwhistle with possessing much subtlety back when they were fellow Slytherins, but clearly she'd been able to hone her skills over the intervening years - and particularly since taking a position in Percy Weasley's department at the Ministry. It certainly hadn't taken long for her red-headed colleague to start passing the information Snape had asked her to "let slip" on to Potter.
As Snape lay in Potter's bed, pleasantly exhausted by the first really excellent night of shagging he'd had in years, he thought he really should thank Mildred. And he would. Assuming he could ever bring himself to leave this bed.