He can't imagine Snape as a magician; he can't imagine him as anything else. All day, doggedly, he walks the streets of the Quarter, asking everyone he passes. By late afternoon he's run out of strangers, out of streets, and out of hope. He staggers back to where he began and sinks down on the curb. He sits there for a long time, staring at the ground, thinking how much he'd like a shower and an air-conditioned hotel room. Someone passes behind him, and he sees, out of the corner of his eye, the edge of a black robe, the shadow of a beak-like nose.
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By the time he scrambles to his feet, Snape is at the corner, and a dozen people surround him. Harry recognizes all their faces, but not the expressions of wonder they wear. The things Snape does are not tricks. They are wandless magic. Harry stands at the back of the crowd and watches, horrified, as Snape creates light and dismisses it, sets pavement on fire, transfigures a handkerchief into a bird that flies away. No one else realizes what they're seeing; they think he's exceptionally good at sleight of hand. Only Harry knows the truth.
When Snape finishes, people drop things in the hat at his feet.
Coins, but folded bills, too, and a bottle of water, and a box of Pop Tarts. Snape nods at each of them, like an emperor receiving tribute. Death, or the proximity of death, has done nothing to reduce his arrogance.
Eventually, only Harry is left, and Snape nods to him, too, and picks up his props and turns to go. Harry catches his wrist. It's narrower than he expected. He has never touched Snape before, and he is surprised to find him so delicate.
But the skin under his fingers is warm and soft over the bone, and he can feel the beat of Snape's heart in the pulse. Potter," Snape says. Manhandling is not. It's a good thing, because Harry is furious, angry enough to draw on him where they are and try to kill him.
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Which might be enough to get the trigger happy locals involved. They turn the corner and Snape pulls away from Harry and moves smoothly in front of him. Harry's fist clenches on his wand, but Snape takes him up a wrought iron staircase to the third floor of a tiny, dilapidated house. The flat is very small, though still much bigger than it should be.
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There are almost no furnishings: a bed, a pile of books, a table and two chairs that don't match. Harry sits down, gratefully, and fishes his water out of his bag and drinks. After a moment Snape sits across from him, elbows on the table, relaxed as a cat. He is not dead, but he does not seem precisely alive, either. Somehow, ten minutes with Snape has caused him to regress to an angry, bitter thirteen year old. While he struggles to get his temper under control, Snape stands and shrugs his robes off, dropping them on the bed.
Underneath, he wears a close fitting black coat, and he takes that off as well. His shirt is starched, very white, buttoned to the top and cuffed at the wrists. He undoes the top two buttons, rolls his sleeves up, and sits again. Harry stares him, and Snape tilts his head to better reveal his ruined throat, his marked arm. He is beautiful in the way the city is beautiful, in the way ugly, broken things are beautiful, scars in plain sight on fair skin.
Harry hates him, hates New Orleans, for their secrets and their lies and their pride. He owes Snape his life, and that's the last thing he wants. Snape has the grace to look startled.
Surely you owe me that much? Snape smiles again, and this time there is honest amusement in the twist of his lip.
Redemption may be what you need, Potter. I haven't done anything wrong. You did things No one's going to give you House points for your self-righteousness. Harry gathers his things and turns to go. As he crosses the room there's the sound of a chair scraping the floor, and then Snape is on him. Harry almost hexes him, in that first second when Snape's hand closes on his shoulder.
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- The Last Hunt in Early County.
- Conjure Man by Conejo on Apple Music.
- San Judas Tadeo: El apóstol de la misericorida de Cristo (Santos. Amigos de Dios) (Spanish Edition)?
- The Conjure-Man Dies!
- More stuff.
- Ritter der Erdnuss (German Edition)!
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