Word Count: 4395
Warnings: Implied death..
Summary: Harry finds a home...
A/N: Written when I saw this art done by lemondropseven, I was bit by a bunny.. and this is what I came up with.. enjoy! beta by accio_kilt
Disclaimer:: JK Rowling owns them all, I just play with them from time to time. Lemon drop anyone?
Catching the Masterpiece
Harry had fallen in love with the area the first time he'd seen it from the road he'd been hiking. He saw the ruins and climbed the mountain road to the plateau it sat upon overlooking the valley. An old monastery that just so happened to be for sale.
Harry Potter, twenty years old, who up and disappeared from Hogwarts one day with a backpack spelled with Wizard's Space, had just spent the better part of two years backpacking throughout Europe and Asia. Now, amazingly, he stood in the middle of these abandoned ruins, and felt like he had finally come home.
Harry wanted it.
The Gringotts Goblins just looked at him and shrugged. If the boy wanted it, who were they to argue? He had more than enough money to buy it and a hundred others.
So he worked hard to restore it with the help of the locals. Harry found that the area was truly magical, being filled with generations of Squibs and Magical Folk, among the Muggles.
The Goblins came and warded, and then builders and stonemasons who knew the ancient ways of setting stone, rebuilding it from the ground up. Harry hired more locals when he found the abandoned vineyards and orchards. They were overgrown and needed love to bring them back to the glory they once had. To produce the fruit and wine the monks of this monastery had been known for.
Dobby had even found a grove of elfin berries.
Each day he spent here, was another day to find another jewel.
When they finally stabilized the structure, and began work on the upper levels, Harry found his room, his sanctuary. A place to relax. A place where he could finally pull out all his paints and brushes. Just let himself go in his very own studio.
Now it wasn't a life without it's bumps. If Harry Potter had a carefree life, something was wrong. He still had his days.
His friends from England thought he had lost his mind, until they came to see what he had found. Hermione loved it. Ron saw the serene beauty of the countryside and place to put a Quidditch pitch.
Harry shook his head and walked away from Ron, "I'm not building a Quidditch Pitch, Ron!"
Ginny finally came when Molly and Arthur decided to visit and stay for awhile. Molly brought quilts and knitting to make his new home, more like home. She made curtains and rugs. Harry even gave her a pouch with money to go shopping for things he had yet to buy for the home with Giada.
As he watched them disappear, Harry shuddered. Two women on a shopping spree. Goddess help the shopkeepers.
Harry didn't even mind when Ginny asked to stay for a few more days. He told her when she asked that he would be busy out in the fields and with rebuilding the winery and cellar. He wouldn't have a lot of time to be a proper host, just as he had been when she arrived.
She just smiled, and said that was fine. She was just looking for some relaxing time to herself. She didn't need a minder.
He minded when she tried to insert herself as the Lady of the Manor. Especially since she was only a guest.
And then, she tried to fire his cook, Giada, or at least attempted to. Dobby, not a happy house elf, immediately searched him out and informed him of the 'bad Wheezy girl'. Harry sent her packing.
Lucius and Remus came with Teddy and stayed, when Harry insisted. So he could be near his godson and adopted Father, Remus. Of course, Lucius fell in love with the place. And his knowledge of wine helped Harry decide which types of wine he was going to produce.
Each of his friends came to visit, and each stayed a while, Draco with Charlie, and Neville with Bill.
Neville would get up in the morning and follow Harry down to the Orchards and vineyards adding his own expertise in the growing of all things and Bill would grumble about his partner leaving their bed way too early, since they were supposed to be on holiday.
Of course Neville would find a rare plant growing in an abundance on one of the surrounding hills. Not only one, but three plants. A rare fig thought to have died out three centuries ago. Rumors had it that they could still be found in a less populated regions of Italy. Here they were, a grove of them growing hidden and undisturbed.
They found Olive trees as well, which Neville asked, "When did these Monks find time to pray with all of these vineyards and orchards to care for?"
Harry snorted and off they went.
If anything showed Harry that he was meant to live here. One day while he was out and about with his sketch pad he found a large patch of White Lilies, a large stag standing in the midst of them. He stood there stunned, before he was overcome, falling to his knees in tears and whispered, "Prongs...Dad... Mum..."
He had finally come home. And it was blessed by the two people who loved him the most.
It was five years later, while he and Marco were at the markets selling wine and fruit from the Orchards and Giada's baked goods, that he heard a voice. A deep velvet purr that washed over him in the midday sun and brought chills to his body. A voice that brought to mind the taste of a deep dark chocolate laced with an aged whiskey.
Harry searched out the owner of the voice when he was stopped in his tracks, for there across the plaza, stood a man. A tall man with dark hair brushing the collar of the dark blue shirt he wore. Dark trousers encased his long legs. His sleeves were rolled half way up his arms, revealing lean muscled forearms. A most pleasing sight for the eyes.
But it was not the man who stopped him. Instead, it was the one standing beside him; Albus Dumbledore. A much more distinguished-looking gentleman than when he was Headmaster of Hogwarts. His hair and beard were short and nicely trimmed. The older man was dressed in grey trousers and a matching jacket appropriate for the summer day.
Albus turned as if feeling Harry's eyes on him and began walking towards his stall, his friend following behind him.
"Harry," he said in greeting.
No one said anything for a moment until Albus cleared his throat, "Severus, I would like you to meet, Harry Potter. This is the son of Lily Evans. You remember her?"
Harry's world tilted and shifted. He felt betrayed and anger. "Marco. Please watch the stall. Lucinda will be here for her order soon."
"Yes, Master Harry."
The three men weaved themselves around the people attending the days market at the piazza to a street side cafe. Giada's sister, Olympia came out and fussed over Harry, as she always did. Not even asking what they wanted, she delivered pastries and coffee. "Eat good. Much too skinny."
"Giada feeds me, Olympia!"
When the woman swept away, the three men sat and stared at the other. Harry reached out to the coffee urn and poured out three cups. His with heavy cream and sugar. Taking a fortifying drink, "Someone care to explain? First, why Severus is so much younger? Why he does not remember me? AND, why everyone thinks that the both of you are dead, when you are obviously not?"
Harry ran a hand down his face and then through his messy hair. After the loss of both the Headmaster and Severus, he had wandered so long after the war, after Hogwarts. Praying to anyone that could hear his pleas, to help him find his place in this world.
Someone had heard and Harry had found this place. A place to call home. The only downfall was he was alone. He had his friends but still he was alone. He'd thought he had lost his lover to the war. But here he sat, right as rain; alive.
The world had seemed to stop spinning that day in Hogwarts, when Harry kissed Snape. They had been dueling, fighting Muggle style with swords. Harry had finally backed Severus to the wall, his sword across the older wizard's throat. Both were breathing heavily from the exertion of the duel. He remembered staring at those lips, then looked into those dark eyes. Harry could feel the passion and lust rolling off the man. But it was the eyes. Deep pools of dark obsidian. He found himself lost in those eyes as he leaned forward and brushed a soft kiss across the pale lips.
"Is that all you've got, Potter," Snape had growled.
Harry glared at the older man. Tossing his sword to the side, he grabbed Severus' shirt, wrenched him forward, and dropped Severus to the mats, following him down to straddle his body. Like a predator, he followed Severus, as he tried unsuccessfully to slide away from him.
"I've got more. I've got a lot more," Harry purred as he pulled his sweaty shirt over his head and tossed it away.
Severus took a deep breath. It was like seeing Potter for the first time--as Harry; a man, instead of an irritating student. He was a man--all man. The smattering of hair across his toned chest met the deeper trail that let the eye straight down over cut abs to disappear inside low-riding jeans. An abundance of inspiration for Severus' imagination. His mouth went dry as he watched Harry lick his red lips as would a predator contemplating a delicious kill.
He purred again, leaning down, almost nose-to-nose with him, Harry purred again in a husky voice. "Then show me."
Harry shook his head, clearing it before he sunk down too far into the memories. "Would you care to explain?"
Albus took a sip of the coffee and set the cup back down. He looked at both men. One glaring. One questioning. "I found Severus after he'd been bitten by Nagini. He had already taken the anti-venom before hand, but had also been hit with a couple of stray hexes and curses. He was having convulsions and bleeding profusely. I had to act quickly. Fudge and his minions, along with Dolores were walking the battlefield, destroying bodies as they went. You had just stepped in front of Remus when Dolores aimed her wand at him. I did the only thing I could think of. I took Severus and Apparated away. I nursed Severus back to health but, oddly, over the course, he de-aged. The Medi-wizard thinks he's lost 14 or 15 years. He remembers some, but not a lot of his time at Hogwarts. He has partial amnesia at best we can tell. The Medi-wizard tried to identify the spells Severus was hit with."
"A letter would have done wonders, Headmaster."
"The Goblins knew that I lived and they knew about Severus as well. The Wizarding World needed to learn to walk and to fight... and move on... without me."
"Well I wasn't ready! Everyone looked to me. When Dolores aimed her wand at me, Kingsley stepped up and asked her if she was ready to raise a wand to the man who just taken down the darkest wizard in a century." Harry took a deep breath. "I was so scared. Tonks lay dead not far from Remus, who was wounded and dying. All I could think of was that another child was going to grow up an orphan. Then... then, my magic went crazy when she threatened Teddy. That he was an abomination. That he--he would be put down like an animal! I wanted Severus so badly at that moment."
Severus' eyes widened at that for a moment. But just, then his expression became passive again as he continued to listen intently.
"What happened?" Albus asked.
Harry frowned. "You don't know?"
"I know who died and who lived, but that was all. Severus was hanging on the brink between life and death, and I could spare no time for the details."
Harry raised his hands, "Here we are right outside the doors of Hogwarts. Wands were raised against Fudge and his group. I mean, who walks a bloody battlefield where people have died and or lay dying, like they were the victors surveying their spoils of war? Hermione, ever the voice of reason, spoke up, and made Fudge realize that his moment of glory was over and so would his world, if he let his pet toad raise a wand to the very people who just saved his arse, as well as the rest of the Wizarding World's!"
Harry paused, trying to compose himself, calm himself. When he looked up, Severus was staring at him, intently, his brow creased in concentration. Albus followed Harry's gaze, and held his breath.
"I called you mio povero." Severus' deep baritone began, quietly. "Sometimes, Darling. My own. My Harry. But always mio povero. My little pauper. il mio piccolo povero..."
Harry's breath caught at hearing the term of endearment.
Dark eyes were looking straight at Harry as if he was seeing him again after a long time away. He frowned, as he was trying to remember a faded memory. A memory that seem to be just out of reach.
"We would meet in a cottage by the sea. I remember the sea. The crashing waves at night. In the early morning. You would make breakfast while I slept. Bring it to the bed. You would tend my wounds. As I did the same for you." He gazed out to the side before looking back at Harry. "You would carry a small bag with pencils and paints. Brushes. I would watch you as you put colors and life to paper. You always said you wanted to catch a masterpiece."
"I caught it Severus." Harry blinked, and a tear rolled down his face.
"I want to see. Tell me, mio povero."
Harry swallowed the lump in his throat. "He was beside me. He slept next to me. Gave me warmth in the cold of the night. Walked with me. He was beautiful. He was perfect. To me."
"On the outside?" Severus questioned.
"And the inside. He was strong. He was loving. He was and still is, my hero. My rock in a raging storm. Again when the whole world has gone off it's rocker."
This younger Severus studied Harry's face for a silent moment. He seemed to be remembering something.
"Could you trade one face for another? One that hasn't felt the ravages of war?"
"It wasn't your face that drew me. It was your eyes. Your voice. Your soul."
"Do you still see what you once saw?"
"Yes... and no," Harry answered truthfully, as he studied the man sitting in front of him.
He could still see his Severus, though the lines in his face, the ravages of a hard life, were gone. His complexion smooth, and his hair looked soft and fine. He looked relaxed... and healthy. Harry shook his head, and took a deep breath to ease the tightness in his chest. Noticing the look of discomfort in Severus' eyes, he decided to change the subject--for now.
"Do you still brew?"
"I have begun brewing again. My things from my previous life were boxed up by the Goblins and sent here to Italy."
Harry looked at both men. "Where in Italy do you live?"
"We live in Rome. I have a villa there. Been in the Dumbledore Family for generations."
"He means," Severus began, "Since the Roman times. It's old. It took the house elves three months to clean it before we could live there properly."
Harry fiddled with his cup lost in thought. "What are you doing in the area?"
"We haven't done any traveling or venturing past Rome since we came to live here. Severus obtained his permit two years ago, so we decided to take a drive around the country. It's been quite lovely and interesting."
"Have you been gathering ingredients?"
"I have some. But mostly I have enjoyed the quiet and the pleasant atmosphere. Italians are a very boisterous bunch. Wine and cheese and good food."
"Yes! Lots of good food!" Albus added. "And this wonderful Limoncello."
Harry laughed. "Yes, Italy is abundant with good food and drink, as well as many other wonderful things."
"Harry," Severus began, "What are you selling here at the markets? I didn't really look at your offerings."
"I have orchards and vineyards, as well as a large garden planted by Giada. I sell wine to a few of the shops here in town, as well as a few of the restaurants."
Something passed over Severus face but disappeared. "Who is Giada?"
"My cook. House Elves are fine doing all the work, but I have a lot of respect for this woman. She cooks with love. I mean LOVE. If I didn't work outside as much as I do, I would be fat!"
"I find that hard to believe, Harry," Severus hummed in approval. He had a good look at the man before him. Comparing him to the memories he had. "You have grown. I think you had a growth spurt?"
Harry laughed again. "Giada's cooking, I'm sure! I needed to use sizing spells on all my clothing three months after I arrived here." He looked up when Olympia came walking out with a large tray and set it down on their table. "See what I mean?"
"Little Master needs more meat on his bones!"
Albus eyed the fresh breads and cheese along with the two bottles of wine. "A lady after my own heart!"
Olympia smiled as she pointed to the older man, "And you are a charmer! Now eat!!"
"OH bless the Goddess! I love that woman and her sister! She made roasted beets!" Harry placed a small mound on his plate and took a bite. He hummed then moaned. "English food has nothing on this!"
The three men ate in silence for a few moments before Harry picked up his napkin and wiped his mouth, before taking a sip of his wine. "Do you have anywhere you need to be?" He asked. "I mean what's next on your itinerary?"
Albus looked to his companion. "We had thought of staying in the area for a bit before moving on."
"Then I invite you stay at my villa. Its a converted abandoned Monastery. I saw it from the road when I was backpacking through the area, fell in love with it, and had to buy it."
"We accept, Mr. Potter."
"Harry. My name is Harry."
Albus and Severus were enjoying the Villa. Severus, in the afternoons, would walk with Harry out to the Orchards while Albus would sit out in the courtyard reading a book.
Since it was Autumn, the trees and landscape were filled with the colors of the season; reds, yellows and browns. The breeze had the faintest of a nippy scent to it; a harbinger of things to come. Crunching leaves underfoot, the sun still a bit warm on their skin.
"This is the second year we will be producing Ice Wine. The vineyard that is on the side of the mountain is our crop this year to produce. My winemaster says that those should bring us a good yield this year."
"Ice wine? Isn't that vintage one of the more expensive ones?"
"Yes and the more exclusive as well. I have a chocolaiter in France who bought ten cases last season and made chocolates with it. She sent me a case of them. They were wonderful."
"You have none left?"
"Remus and Lucius live here a good part of the year. They both have a sweet tooth and a chocolate cravings you wouldn't believe. Actually they are due back next week." Harry turned and looked at Severus, "Do you remember Lucius Malfoy?"
Severus frowned, "Long blonde hair? Pompous? Spends too much time in front of a mirror?"
Harry laughed. "Yes, that's him."
"Hasn't changed much then."
"He's changed. He's much more laid back now. He likes to lay out in the courtyard in his pajamas. A lot."
"Hmmm... doesn't sound to me that he's changed all that much." Severus smirked.
"He lost the attitude and Pureblood superiority nonsense. That's what matters most."
"Then miracles truly do exist."
"I think Remus helps a lot in that retrospect. He keeps him grounded and Lucius makes Remus happy."
"Are you still painting?"
"I'll show you around my studio this evening, if you'd like?" Harry said as they continued to walk.
"I would very much enjoy that, Harry."
Harry was in his studio pulling out paintings and sketches to show to Severus when he heard a knock behind him.
"Come in." He called.
The door opened to reveal Severus, who entered the room smoothly. Harry watched with interest, noting even as a younger man, he must have had that signature walk. Severus looked around the room and liked what he saw. A large mahogany desk surrounded by shelves of books sat on one side of the large room with a fireplace nearby. Another wall was nothing but windows to let in the sunlight and a spectacular view of the mountains that dotted the area around the Villa. There was a large balcony added when they remodeled the room so he could set up outside to enjoy the day or just open the doors to let in the cool breezes.
Only at night, would Harry close the windows, except in the winter or during storms. The first winter in Italy he spent hours in this room; since he'd been missing Severus terribly.
Looking at his work now, he smiled. Hermione and Lucius thought he needed to display his art in a gallery in Peidmont or Rome. And then, there was the fact that Percy was a Fine Art Dealer in Paris. It still blows him away to think the prat who quoted the Ministry left and right was now living and working in Paris with his wife, living an almost Bohemian lifestyle. Well, being married to Luna would do that.
Percy said the genre of Fantasy was rising, and the ones he had done of Dragons and other magical creatures would sell well and be very popular. Even his other works would do well of the local landscapes and mountains. The vineyards and orchards in full bloom.
Then, there were his other paintings. One was of two dark-haired lovers, bodies intertwined, wrapped loosely in a green blanket. No faces; just the illusion of love. Percy had offered to buy it on the spot, more than once. But he had refused him.
Harry watched as Severus made his way around the room, looking at each of the frames. He came to a complete stop at one he called Disappearance. It showed a hand reaching out in desperation to disappearing black robes, just out of reach of the questing fingers.
He looked at the other paintings gathered around him. Some were of Hogwarts castle. A white owl in flight. The same white owl sitting on a nest with owlets peeking out from under her feathers. There were dragons in flight. Unicorns running in the Forbidden Forest. Centaurs in battle.
They were all magnificent. Beautiful. But Disappearance kept calling him back. Along with memories of his past.
Harry came up behind the other man, "Severus?"
"This one," he whispered. "Its you and I."
Harry closed his eyes for a moment, before answering. He had forgotten it was among his works. "Yes."
Reaching out towards the painting with long fingers, "I hurt you when I disappeared."
"I understand now, Severus. Some things are just out of our control. But all I do know is that I still love you. I haven't gone a day without thinking of you. Without wanting to share something with you. Especially when I found this place. This past week I've done a lot of thinking, and Hermione is right about one thing. That life goes full circle. If we are meant to be together, then we would find each other again, whether in this life or the next."
Severus turned around to face his young companion. "Then fate led me here to you. Ever since I awakened I've always felt incomplete. Lost at times. Even when I slept.. I sometimes felt myself reaching out for someone in my bed. But no one was ever there."
"I'm here now."
Severus took a deep breath, he knew in his soul that his next words would either set him on the path of was right or to another road away from this man. And he knew that was the road he did not want.
"Yes. You are."
He turned around and faced his future. "What shall we do now, Mr. Potter?"
Harry smiled through tears, "I thought you would never ask!" he said as he stepped forward and captured Severus lips in a gentle kiss, his hand resting on the taller man's shoulder for balance.
"More," Severus whispered as he drew his arms around the smaller man and brought him closer. "I'm not afraid of the boy who lived," he whispered. "But maybe just a little of the man--Harry--just Harry."
Harry leaned away from Severus. Words only Severus would know. Words spoken when they first began their relationship. "And, why may I ask, are you afraid of him?"
"That if I look away for a moment, he will be gone. Snatched away from me..." Severus held him tighter.
"I'm never gone as long as I live in your soul. In your heart."
"Then I am a very blessed man indeed."
"I have finally caught my Masterpiece. Forever?"
"Forever...," he whispered as he pulled Harry back to him for another of the wonderful kisses he had missed so much.
Six months later, when Harry finally gave in to Percy's pleas, all his work was on display. But with one exception, a very personal portrait that hung at home in their, his and Severus', bedroom.
Life couldn't be any better for either man, since life had finally come full circle.
But the rest of their story... well that's for another time.
~finis... but is it ever? Never...