Paying the Price
Chapter One- Hesitation
AN- I have absolutly no excuse for not updating for an eternity. This is my first Snarry fic, I hope you all like it!
The picture was grainy, out of focus. Were it not for the caption, it is doubtful that he would have been able to discern who he was looking at. Clearly, it was in Diagon Alley, as the sign positioned in the top right hand corner of the photo pronounced, and it was obviously two people in an alleyway, doing decidedly questionable things with each other. As with all wizarding photographs, the people in the pictures moved, and patrons of nearby stores milled about in front of the camera aimlessly, unaware or uncaring of the two men in the alleyway. The taller of the two turned briefly to face the cameraman, and Severus Snape felt a flash of recognition.
Mikhail Pavel, a Russian potions master just 3 levels below Severus himself, stared briefly into the camera, before diverting his attention back to the man he had pressed against the unforgiving brick. Severus had met just last spring at the annual PC, or Potions Conference, and Severus found him to be a pleasant man, if a tad too arrogant. Pavel had idolized him and, happy to be the object of worship rather than scorn, Severus had tolerated him. What he was doing it London, however, was unknown, as he had set up base in Bulgaria not too long ago.
Flashback- April 9th, 2002
There were at least a thousand people here, milling about, sipping champagne in their best robes, bragging about their latest "breakthrough" or gossiping about who Harry Potter had been seen with last week.
As it was, Harry Potter was with him tonight. His colleague was very interested in hearing his speak on the improvements to the wolfsbane potion, despite the fact that his werewolf friend had been dead for nearly 5 years. Still, that did not explain why the 21 year old Defense teacher had not left his side, but who was he to complain? If Harry wished to stay with Severus instead of mingling about and generally making an idiot of himself, there was certainly no problem with that.
He had been at the conference for perhaps two hours when Mikhail Pavel spotted him in the middle of a speech by a Scottish wizard on the 13th use for dragons blood. He was a tall man, with jet back, shoulder length hair tried back in a neat ponytail. He had an intelligent air about him and was dressed formally for the event. They immediately struck up conversation, debating on a newly released paper of Severus's entitled The effect of Dehydrated Flora in Potions Making. Harry Potter sat by his side, saying nothing, but watching Severus in tensely, as though trying to figure out what they were talking about.
It was admirable of Harry, Severus noted, that he stayed by Severus for a good quarter of an hour, before politely excusing himself to get a drink. Both potions masters watched him leave, before Pavel turned to Severus once more.
"He yours?" He asked bluntly, all illusions of intelligence leaving him.
Severus was mildly taken aback- he had thought that everyone knew of the friendship between himself and Harry. Friendship only, he noted bitterly, nothing more. He conveyed this thought in the politest way he knew how.
Mikhail smiled, obviously pleased. "So you wouldn't mind if I…" he trailed off suddenly as Harry reappeared with drinks.
"I wouldn't advise it Mr. Pavel, I doubt you would like the result of that action"
As if he had ever stood a chance with Harry.
The reason why Mikhail Pavel was in London was answered as the second person, a much shorter young man, leaned forward slightly. As he stole a kiss, he briefly glanced at the camera. Despite the poor quality of the photo, there was an unmistakably flash of green.
With Mikhail Pavel.
In and alleyway.
Severus was suddenly filled with a deep hatred for Mikhail. Hadn't he made himself clear? Apparently not.
He was so angry that he stalked off, leaving the newspaper on his kitchen table, the very table which Harry Potter was to dine at tonight. The very table where Severus Snape was going to ask Harry Potter out. Tonight.
He never even bothered to read the rest of the article.
Golden Boy finds love at long last!
While Severus was sitting angrily at his desk, trying to hate the world, Harry Potter was having lunch with his good friend, Hermione Weasley.
They were seated in the corner of the tiny café, enjoying a simple lunch of bagels and coffee, when Hermione made the decision that certain things had to be talked about amongst friends.
She interrupted Harry in the middle of a particularly interesting story about a first year, a pillion, and a vanishing spell.
"I read the Daily Prophet today."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Hermione, why do you bother reading that garbage? You know that half of what they say is complete bullocks."
Ignoring his comment, she reached into her bag and puller out a copy of the paper, unfolding it to the proper page. She glanced up at Harry briefly.
"May I?" she asked.
Harry made no sound but cocked his head in a permissive way.
Hermione cleared her voice.
"Harry Potter Finds Love at Long Last" She read in and overly dramatic manner.
Then smile vanished from Harry's face, replaced by an unreadable look, perhaps of horror. Hermione didn't notice, as she began to read in the middle of the article.
"…was found in a dark alleyway in a compromising position with one Mikhail Pavel, the 35 year old Russian potions master responsible for extensive research into the effects of blood magic when used in conjunction with potion. And it goes on and on Harry, explaining all the sordid little details of your sex life with this man."
The horrified look did not leave Harry's face. Interpreting the look incorrectly, Hermione continued.
"Now, the picture is very bad quality, and we could perhaps sue for slander if we are able to prove that this isn't you. Where were you on that day?"
Harry swallowed, looking g around nervously.
"Umm….I was in Diagon Alley." He managed to stutter out.
Hermione smiled. "Okay, and who were you with? Anyone who can verify that you weren't in that alleyway?"
"I was with Mikhail Pavel." Harry stated. Hermione looked up from the notebook she had been scribbling in, looking at him with shock in her eyes.
"Harry," she began. "tell me that you are not sleeping with a man twelve years older than you."
Harry smiled. "I'm not sleeping with a man twelve years older than me."
She wanted to believe him, she really did, but there was something in the way he had calmly stated the fact that told her not to trust him at the moment.
"Are you lying to me Harry?" She asked bluntly.
He smiled once again, taking a sip from his coffee before answering.
"Yes Hermione, I am."