The Balm of Gilead

There are many poultices he can make, but only one ingredient he needs to cure

This work depicts same-sex romance between two characters (HP/SS).
This story is complete.


2. Part 2



The Balm of Gilead – Part 2

by Lucius Complex




You’ve asked me what the lobster is weaving

 there with his golden feet?

I reply, the oceans knows this.

You say, what is the ascidia waiting for

in its transparent bell? What is it waiting for?

I tell you it is waiting for time, like you.




There is a part of Severus that bitterly resents it, being saddled once again with the job of being nanny to Harry Potter; especially when he’s not Severus Snape anymore. To know that there was no place in which he could hide from the past, and no matter the reincarnation, this fetter would follow and find him.

There is a part of Severus that bitterly resents it.


‘So. Are you ever going to tell me your name?’ Harry asks for the umpteenth time since moving in, elbow deep in soapy water and purposely ignoring the older man’s warning glare.


He waits for a minute, and continues to speak cheerfully to himself. ‘I guess it’s going to be ‘Pastryman’ for the foreseeable future then. Don’t you ever get tired of having everyone call you that? Pastryman. Heh, sounds almost like a superhero. I think that could be a good line to call some of the new stuff – catchy. Something for the kids.’ He stops scrubbing. ‘I think I’ll call you… Mr P. How ‘bout that? It’s a cool name; I saw this character on telly once, and his name was Mr P—‘


Severus used to pitch a fit whenever Harry gave him a new nickname, but after realizing that the brat will change his mind and bequeath a new one upon him every few days, he stops caring.


Besides, he’s seen the Mr P on muggle television that Harry was referring to, and it’s almost.. flattering.



‘So the, erm, foamy triangle thing’s sort of wilted, again.’

Exasperated, Severus points at the bowl.

‘Er, did I used the wrong bowl? Or… maybe I let the bowl get too warm?’

Severus nods curtly, and snaps his fingers.

‘Speed, yes, yes. Do everything faster.’

Potter has a tendency to grin like an idiot whenever Severus nods his acquiesces.


He tries not to grimace when Potter veritably flounces into the kitchen.

‘Guess who just persuaded old Mister Smyth to double his orders of Easter Cakes three weeks ahead of time?’ the younger man announces with a smarminess that could give any of the Malfoy’s serious competition.

Severus claps politely.

‘The Potter touch, ladies and gentleman. Clearly haven’t lost it.’

Severus crosses over to the new duty roster- a huge thing filled with colourful scribbles and criss-crosses --  to pick up the fattest red marker he could find.

‘Hey, you aren’t thinking-‘ Harry scurries over to peer at the extra duties being filed under his name in dismay. ‘But, I thought we were going to make those orders together. I’ll be up all night if I do it all alone…’

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, Severus smugly writes in big red letters.


‘Would you mind if I asked – why you never used considered using an artificial voice?’

Severus cocks an eyebrow over his afternoon papers.

‘I mean. I’ve been reading up –’

Severus rolls his eyes to show what he thinks of that.

‘Look I do read. Just because I don’t go through your toffee-nosed stuff, doesn’t mean – hey!’

The (frankly quite perfect) folds of delicate green icing that Harry has been working on crumbles instantly on the impact of mug knocking on table.

‘Mature yeah, that was real mature,’ Harry said, glaring from a sink-hole wreckage of mint-tinted cream. ‘Do you know how long it took me to get to this stage?’

Severus feigns innocence.


They do not always have a ball. Severus is a minute man, a man obsessed with ruthlessly breaking down and curating even the smallest actions that makes up the details of his daily life. He is obsessed with making sure that every day is calculated to be perfect. He’s obsessed by his own, infinitely more superior laws of how the universe, his universe, is supposed to behave. And Potter is too rough, too primitive, too bloody presumptuous.

Living with the man made it painfully obvious to Severus that whilst Potter has been raised to kill Death Eaters and Vanquish All The Bleeding Evil In The World, nobody has taught the boy to grow up. Or be a person. Hence the brat’s inability to find his own corner of the world to belong to (and stay out of his). Hence Potter’s inability to cotton on to basic ideas of personal privacy.

Even Potter’s personal care has huge, appalling gaps, and whilst Severus knows that Potter has been brought up with little breeding, his continuing lack of awareness confounds Severus, who even caught him using his toothbrush on his ears one day. An experience that subsequently lead to the very humiliating experience of Teaching Potter How To Take A Proper Shower.

Severus would find the whole affair disgusting if he didn’t also find so wretched. He would kick the boy out on his arse, if he isn’t so aware of a quiet part of his own mind that had once wasted a youth, secretly  wondering what other people knew growing up, that he didn’t; what worldly knowledge he lacked that renders Severus so strange, set him thus apart.

It is extraordinary and disquieting, seeing the most uncomfortable parts of himself in Harry Potter, of all people.  

And then, there are the small tense moments where eyes would meet in the middle of a (one sided) discussion about oven output versus efficiency, and the words and numbers would suddenly come to an abrupt stop; important points of conversation scattering as if they were old leafs blown away by a passing breeze. As if they cover something else, something with a pulse.

Those have a tendency of happening more frequently now.


It’s Potter who first thinks of making a creation imbued with a dose of the Felix Felicis. Once exposed, he has a surprising enthusiasm for making money, though luckily nobody has really taught him how to spend it yet.

Even Severus has to admit it is a particularly inspired idea.

They argue and discuss, discuss and experiment with models, eventually settling on the form of a frosted phoenix. Things come to a head when it’s discovered that out of the handful of people out there who has the expertise in producing the potion- the best of them is dead, the good ones unaffordable, and mediocre ones downright dangerous. Harry begins to spend more time waxing on about ‘the brilliant but misunderstood Potions Master’ he studied under in Hogwarts; there’s a catch in his voice that Severus ignores. (Ah, Severus my boy. You could have been anything, if only you could convince yourself you deserved it…) Instead, he digs another hole and buries another secret, digs another hole and hides another piece of his past.

Harry tries to brew his own Felex Felis and Severus watches him fail four times, and his silence endures.

He is not having any of it. Severus has toiled in the world too long, building things for other people. Potter is not going to take his castle away, even if happens to be spun out of cane sugar.


Like a shipwreck we die going into ourselves,
as though we were drowning inside our hearts,
as though we lived falling out of the skin into the soul.


He has not touched a cauldron in years, and did not want to start again. But Severus is used (and trained, trained like a circus dog) to doing what he loaths. And that is how Harry catches him, making one of the world’s most valuable potions surreptitious, in the shadows. Like he is ashamed.

‘Who are you,’ Potter whispers, but Severus knows its not a question, not really.

‘Finite Incantatem,’ Potter says, and nothing happens. They both stand blinking at each other, the remnants of his wand’s magical discharge crackling and electric between them.

Harry draws his wand out and points it at his chest. His mouth is tight, knuckles clenched. ‘Who. The hell. Are you?’

Severus opens his mouth, but nothing comes out.

‘Legilimens,’ Potter whispers, and Severus is impaled, trussed up and hung for dissection. He feels his skin stripping, the goblin magic that caged his flesh for so long, melting like wax from his body. He staggers, trying to erect his shields- and just as abruptly gives up and lets them come crashing down.

Let Potter see. He’s always known it wouldn’t last.

When they both come out of the spell, Severus stumbles before catching himself. He clenches his teeth as bones popped and his height readjusts, pulling him up and in, as his hands turns back into white claws, as his throat tightens into a tourniquet and his lips shrivel up into his mouth, his eyes darken with remembered hates until they became black holes.

And finally it’s Severus Snape who stands in the bakery. The now ridiculous bakery, with the giant time tables and the mint and sea blue walls. His shadows falls over Potter, reaches into the corners and devour all the light.


Potter is white, is shaking with every hiss that escapes his lips. Potter cannot even say his name, so much did he loath it.


Why? How dare the brat even ask that, when it should be him, it should be him

Severus slams his open palms on the table, the walls, the bloody measuring cups, laying his proprietorship on everything. This is mine. And this, this is mine. These are all mine, mine. MINE. He tears the charts off the walls, smashes all the glasses, sweep the trays to the ground. He wants to throttle the arrogant idiot and scream, scream that that they were having this argument in HIS HOUSE; and it’s ALL HIS, it’s HIS LIFE that was on the line-  you god damn usurping little shit-

He staggers backwards when a body slams against him, shoving him into a shelf.

‘I’ve built a home here too!’ Harry shouts into his face. ‘You goddamn selfish bastard, you aren’t the only one.’

He does the only thing he can do; the only thing a creature such as him is allowed to do: Accio Harry’s suitcase and dump it out in the rain. Grabs his ex-student by the collar and wrestles him out of the house. His own goddamn home.

Harry collects himself and his suitcase and stands there for long moments in the downpour, just looking at him. All the fight seems to have seeped from him, washed away by the steadily beating rain. His body shrinks.

‘How could you give me everything and then yank it away?’ Harry asks, almost to himself, before turning to gaze steadily at Severus. ‘Hadn’t we both lived through enough of that? With Dumbledore?’

Severus reels as if he’d been slapped. Truth was pain, he’s always known that, but he has not felt so crushed by someone else in years, not since Dumbledore with his surgical precision and scalpel-thin words, not since Lily and the flashing fishing-hooks she sunk into his heart, hooks that made him flinch with every curve of her smile, every toss of her hair.

Long after Harry Apparates away, he remains under in the rain. There is nowhere to go.

There are no May flowers.


It’s hard after that, going back into a vacuum. It’s more difficult than he ever anticipated. Some days, Severus wants to die from the insurmountable greyness of it all. And some days, the world was so beautiful, so beautiful, he thinks his heart would break from trying to hold in all in. Both instances make him weep.  Once upon a time he had the might of Hogwarts, and the wonders of goblin medicine. Who will heal him this time, his desiccated life; his desiccated heart?

If only the students could see their dreary potions master now. An idiot. A child.

Summer moves on and Severus bakes, filling orders and loading up the cartons for pick-ups mechanically.  He continues to brew the Felix Felicis, because he doesn’t know what else to do. Stores them in rows and rows of tiny vials that sit on the shelf and break whatever sunlight they catch into a spectrum of shattered rainbows on the walls.

He does not resurrect the façade that the goblins have given him. Let the world see, Severus does not care, and to his relief neither does anyone else. Life resumes, if a little more lonely; with a little less colour than before. Sunsets come and go. Sometimes he sits in the garden, sipping strawberry beer. It is lovely, when paired with the strucchi.

Softly, quietly, he learns to let go; slowly, he learns to let baker and potions master merge. It didn’t kill him.

As summer approaches it last legs he resuscitates all his favourite subscriptions and takes long rambling walks with his overcoat stuffed with cheese bridies and the latest potion journal. He falls asleep under the trees and wake up cursing the ants that crawled over his tunic. He feeds the birds with the swept up crumbs from his kitchens; one day he’ll think about building a bird bath for the little featherbrains. It will make a good project for the colder months.

Finally, on one unremarkable evening, when the murmuring wind wakes Severus up just in time to catch the first falling leaf, and he looks up and realises how chilly it’s getting, realises also for the first time in a very real way that he, Severus Snape, a man who thinks he has no good reason for his own existence… He would be all right.

Walking home, it’s the first time he regrets his inability to whistle.

When he arrives at his gate, it is to find it wide open and tracked with muddy footprints, and someone trying to eat his house. Or rather, the profiteroles framing his front door. And Potter turns around with a mouthful of smeared vanilla cream, looking vaguely guilty and awkward and absolutely child-safe like the most harmless of dolls (though he isn’t, not by a long shot). Severus is reminded that this is how trouble has a penchant for finding him, by turning up at his front door and sometimes eating it.

Potter looks at him, and looks at him, and finally his hands drop and he takes a step forward and mouths something that Severus can barely see, but perhaps its ‘I’m sorry.’

Perhaps this is the final step.

Severus hesitates. He doesn’t want – he’s grown comfortable…

Once, he dreamt of glossy, patient rivers that quietly poured themselves into the ocean. Once he dreamt of the self-sufficiency of trees. Potter is none of these things. Potter is all brittle glass and self-contained hunger; loneliness trickling out of hairlines cracks. Potter is all desperate eyes and stupid spectacles, something no wizard actually even needs to wear, and Severus has never been so afraid. Because Harry Potter is-

Harry Potter is … a bridge.

Harry… is a bridge. Harry is a foreign country, a language he doesn’t speak but has somehow learnt to understand. In Harry he sees continuum, the connection (perhaps reconnection) of past and present. Harry has become both responsibility and exoneration, and also none of these. And somewhere in there and almost inaudible, he brings with him the sweet, whispering possibility of a future.

Severus Snape has nothing and everything to lose; and he closes his eyes, to take in a deep breath.

And he goes home.



Perhaps not to be is to be without your being
without your going, that cuts noon light
like a blue flower,

Without the torch you lift in your hand
that others may not see as golden,

Without, in the end, your being, your coming
suddenly, inspiringly, to know my life,
blaze of the rose-tree, wheat of the breeze:

And it follows that I am, because you are:
It follows from ‘you are’, that I am, and we:
and, because of love, you will, I will,
We will, come to be. 


All poetry featured from Pablo Naruda 

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...