A wave of frigid January air entered the warm Starbucks along with the tall red-headed man. Even if it hadn’t been the slowest time of the day—that short lull after lunch—the barista might have noticed him. He was very handsome, built like an athlete, dressed with casual elegance and exuding quiet self-confidence. She observed him as he walked to the counter and looked at the coffee menu. That was unusual. Most people knew exactly what they wanted. He let out a self-deprecating chortle and noticed she was looking at him. He gave her an utterly charming grin and asked, “What would you think I would order, if you had to guess?”
She smiled. “You look like a double short latte to me,” she answered, after a moment’s reflection.
“All right, then. A double short latte, please.”
She pointed to the girl at the cash register. “You have to tell Cassie, over there, and pay. Then I’ll make it and you’ll pick it up right here.”
He glanced towards Cassie, then gave the barista another grin. “Riiiight.”
He did as he’d been told and she started working on his drink. Her hands were going through the motions of her job with the precision of three years of experience. Wow. How many people had actually never been to a Starbucks before?
He was back, his height making it possible for him to lean on the high counter used to hold the finished drinks.
“It smells great in here,” he commented.
“I know. You never get tired of it, either.”
She handed him his cup. He gave the insulating cardboard ring a funny look.
“That’s so it’s not too hot to hold.”
He nodded in comprehension.
“The sugar and things are behind you, by the window,” she added.
He looked over, then smiled at her again. “Thanks.” He had really nice blue eyes. She liked his smile and his crow’s feet. She wasn’t one for freckles, but his suited him. There had been a gold band on the ring finger of the hand holding the cup, of course. She sighed. Wasn’t there always?
She had the espresso machine cleaned and ready to go again in an instant. Just in time too, Cassie had another customer. Wow. Even taller than the red-head. Six-five, maybe? He looked like the new Dr. Who, Christopher something, except (and wasn’t that saying something?) more intense…
“Coffee, if you please,” he said to Cassie. And it was quite obvious he was not joking.
Cassie was staring at the man with her big blue eyes, clueless as to how to proceed. “Uh…” she said.
The barista had to try hard not to laugh, especially when “The Doctor” raised an eyebrow at Cassie and the silly bint looked like she was going to pee herself.
Taking pity on her co-worker, the barista leaned over and said “Cass, a triple shot Americano.”
“Oh. OK.” She looked so relieved. It took her three tries to correctly enter the order in the register under the icy glare of the intimidating man. The barista made up the drink and handed it to “The Doctor”. He looked at it as if the paper cup was a personal insult, but nodded a curt thank-you to her. She was quite positive he did not need to know where the sugar was. ‘Sweet’ did not belong in that man’s universe. Why was she not surprised when he went straight to the table where the red-head sat? Two Starbucks neophytes. Birds of a feather sit together…
“Weasley.” Severus took in Weasley’s appearance. In his dark blue wool overcoat, well cut suit, white shirt and tasteful tie he looked like a successful businessman. He was working undercover, and his case was taking him to the heart of corporate London, following the trail of some illegal imports of rare magical artifacts. Severus had let him pick a place at his convenience for their encounter, since Weasley was doing him the favor of meeting with him.
“Hello, Professor. I like the leather trench coat. Intimidating. You make a very good Muggle,” remarked the Auror.
“I was raised as a Muggle, if you recall, and on the wrong side of the tracks,” Severus reminded him.
“Seeing you in our world, it’s easy to forget.”
Considering how hard Severus had worked to hide his roots from his fellow Slytherins, he should hope so.
“So, Snape, what’s on your mind?” asked the younger man.
Severus took a tentative sip of his drink as a delaying tactic. He loved Harry, loved him to distraction actually, but even though this man was Harry’s best friend, he was still reluctant to expose the extent of his devotion. Oh, well. Necessity dictates… He went straight to the point.
“Harry is disappointed that you and I are no more than acquaintances. He feels that I only suffer the times we spend together with you and your wife as a favor to him. He wishes I would enjoy our weekly gatherings for my sake, and not his own,” he explained.
“Is he right?”
Severus shrugged. “Not entirely. Contrary to what he thinks, I do take great pleasure in our meals together. You have acceptable taste in wine, your wife is a decent conversationalist, but most important, Harry enjoys himself.”
“You’ve got it bad, Snape…” said Weasley, smiling.
Severus reminded himself that Weasley’s remark was not made to mock his feelings. The man did not consider loving someone a weakness.
“Indeed, though I do not imagine my attachment to Harry to be any greater than yours to Mrs. Weasley, nor my desire to see to his happiness greater than yours to see to hers.”
Weasley was teasing, not mocking, Severus reminded himself again. This was the type of interaction with Weasley that Severus had learned to tolerate for Harry’s sake. Why could that not be enough?
“I have tried to explain to Harry that I am perfectly satisfied with the level of familiarity you and I have achieved. However he does not think the lack of animosity and insults in our exchanges is enough. He means for us to become … friends.”
Weasley’s next answer was mercifully serious. “Yes. I know. He’s on my case about it, too. I keep telling him that I like you just fine but that you and I just don’t have that much in common but well, he’s Harry.” He shrugged, then added, “So… is that why you wanted to see me? Did you actually buy his theory that if we spent some quality time together and got to know each other better, we’d be sure to bond?”
Severus hoped that a roll of the eyes showed Weasley exactly what he thought of that notion. He took another sip of his drink. It was surprisingly good, though the coffee beans might have been slightly over-roasted. He commented further on Harry’s wish for Weasley and him to spend time with each other.
“You work undercover. I was a spy for longer than I care to remember. We both have proven acting skills. So… let’s not, and say we did.”
Ron guffawed. “Snape! How… underhanded!”
“Might I remind you who you are speaking with? Though I understand Harry’s ingrained yearning for universal peace and harmony, I believe that in this instance, contrary to what he believes, it will best be achieved by less interaction between us, not more. I can take your… humor in finite quantity, and I am sure a small dose of my sarcasm goes a long way, as far as you are concerned.”
“Well, we’re in agreement on that, as is Hermione. She’s tried to talk to him too, but there’s no convincing Harry, is there? We could pretend, as you propose, but you know, I’m afraid the more time you and I supposedly spend together without killing each other, the more he will expect us to do together. It’s a no-win situation.”
Severus just stared at him with a raised eyebrow. Weasley smirked. “But of course you’ve considered that. So, what do you propose?”
“The juxtaposition of the sweet tartness of the candied orange… the earthy heat of the ground black pepper… the crunch of the wafer and the delicate smoothness of the whipped cream… Inspired, Mrs. Weasley.” She really was an excellent cook; not unexpected, considering her gift for Potions.
Harry licked the last of the elaborate dessert off his fork tines. Severus breathed deeply. The constant baseline arousal Severus felt around Harry turned his most benign actions into pornography. He was… gorgeous. Even more so now that, thanks to Severus brewing the complex Prefectum Occularum potion for him, he no longer wore glasses.
“Yeah. Dessert was really good, Hermione. The rest of the meal, too. Thanks.” Harry rubbed his stomach, grinning. “I need a walk now, though. I overdid it, I think.”
“I really enjoy cooking for the two of you,” replied Hermione, pleased. “I can be creative.” She smirked. “Ron here thinks balsamic vinegar is exotic.”
Weasley defended himself. “Hey! I like traditional English food better, but I enjoyed this. I thought that spinach and peanut butter thingy was all right, and I ate the chicken on a stick, didn’t I?”
“That was vegetarian Praram and chicken Satay, Ron,” she answered with an indulgent smile for her husband of nearly five years. “But thank you. I could use a walk on the grounds too; what do you think, Ron?”
“Nah… I’ll stay in. It’s too cold out there. But you three go ahead.”
Well, time to implement their plan.
“Do you mind company, Mr. Weasley?” asked Severus. “I was out several hours this morning collecting ingredients. I’ve had enough fresh air for one day.” It was true. He’d been traipsing in the patchy snow deep in the Forbidden Forest at dawn, collecting sprouting snowdrop bulbs for a cold remedy.
“Uh… Sure,” answered Ron, looking as if he regretted not having acquiesced to the walk, and as if desperately wondering how he would entertain Severus. “Uh… Chess?” he offered, hopefully.
Harry’s sweat-slicked body weighing on his back, Harry’s spent cock still deep inside him, Harry’s come-filled hand still loosely wrapped around his cock and caught underneath their bodies, Severus was in heaven. Harry licked his neck and whispered, “Someday, I’m going to lose myself in you… I love you, Severus. I love fucking you.”
He slipped out of Severus, dribbling come on his inner thigh, and they rearranged their bodies to lie face to face, still pressed against each other, relishing the melding of sweat, come and spit on their skin, the unique scent of their mixed musk a most potent aphrodisiac. Harry pulled Severus’s thigh on top of his hip, and reached around his arse to slide his fingers down his crack and then deep inside him, exploring, never doubting his welcome. Severus shivered, relishing his lover’s complete lack of sexual inhibition. Harry kissed him deeply, his tongue echoing the motions of his fingers.
Severus felt owned, cherished, open. He moaned, as much an expression of his complete emotional surrender as that of pleasure. The green eyes met his, a satisfied smile on the wicked mouth that could make him cry and beg.
“I’m going to fuck you again,” Harry warned, pressing his nascent erection against Severus’s hip. “Do you want me again Severus?”
“Always.” (Was that even his voice?) Yes, he wanted that cock inside him again, Harry to take him again, their mating to go on forever.
Harry rolled him onto his back, still lying on him, and coaxed his thighs up. His sperm-slicked hand helped his wet cock back inside Severus, sliding it in the relaxed and moist passage easily.
“Yesss,” hissed Severus. “Back where you belong.” It was his turn to reach over Harry’s firm arse, and slide down between the cheeks to his tight pucker. He rubbed and teased the gathered folds as Harry started rolling his hips, driving his cock in and out of Severus.
“Fuuuck. I love this, I love you…”
Severus put both his hands under Harry’s arse and pulled him in deeper, then wrapped both his legs and arms around his lover, their bodies rocking in perfect harmony. Harry's ear was right there. He nibbled on the lobe and licked the inside, getting a strangled groan out of Harry. He sucked at the nearby neck as Harry moved faster. His own cock, caught between their bodies, was slowly getting hard again. His rim burned from the repeated assault but the fullness of Harry’s cock in his body was worth it.
“You’re mine, Severus, mine!” Harry was pounding into him now, chasing his orgasm. He shamelessly wanted Severus, wanted to possess him, to mark him with his come, needed it desperately. Severus basked in that passion, in that desire.
“Ah! Fuck yeah! Mine!” Harry was shivering in climax. He was an amazing lover. His last push hit Severus’s prostate, and a short but deep orgasm wrenched a few more drops of come out of Severus’s semi-hard cock, utterly satisfying.
“Severus… Severus… I love you…” Speaking softly against his neck, Harry sounded almost pleading.
Severus knew what the younger man needed to hear. “I love you too, Harry. So much.”
Harry sighed deeply, emotionally and physically sated, and nuzzled Severus’s neck. He fell asleep in the time of a breath, his cock slowly slipping out of Severus. Severus rolled him off. Harry fell on the bed like a rag doll, deep in slumber.
Chuckling, the older man reached under the pillow for his wand, and cast cleaning charms on both their bodies and on the tangled bedding. He rearranged the sheets, shaking the top one out to drape it properly, and accioed the duvet from the floor. Once they were nestled in the blankets, he opened the window wide, a twirl of his wand replacing the moist, sex scented air of their bedroom with the crisp dry air of the Scottish January night.
The window closed, the candles snuffed, the fire banked, he pulled his lover’s body close. In his sleep, Harry burrowed against him, curled in his protective embrace. Spooning the man he loved more than life itself, Severus sighed and fell asleep.
They woke up in the exact same position. Severus took a deep breath and stretched his long legs. Harry turned in his arms and faced him, smiling sleepily. He did that wandless mouth freshening charm he was so proud of, that he’d researched when, months ago, as they first started spending nights together, Severus had used their morning breaths as an excuse to beg off of morning cuddles. They had made him feel vulnerable, showing there was more to his and Harry’s budding relationship than great sex.
Harry, of course had no such qualms. He’d told Severus he was in love with him after their first kiss, before falling to his knees and giving Severus a blowjob right in the middle of the sidewalk in front of the Leaky Cauldron, hidden by nothing more than a strong “Notice-me-not” charm. Severus hadn’t been sure if he was going to die of pleasure or of embarrassment at letting Harry do such a thing.
Severus was eternally grateful to Shacklebolt, who had threatened to kick Harry out of the Aurors unless he got his eyesight permanently fixed. Twice his extreme myopia had almost cost him his life. Once when he’d lost his glasses during a chase and had stepped off a roof, saved by an opened awning, and once when Amycus Carrow had accioed them right off his nose during a fight, effectively blinding him.
Harry pushed a wayward strand of Severus’s long hair behind his ear. “You enjoyed playing chess with Ron yesterday, didn’t you?” They had played three games in a row, two of them after Harry and Hermione had returned from their stroll, forcing them to stay later than usual.
“I did. He is a very challenging opponent.” Ron had won two games to one. They had talked about playing again sometime.
Harry smiled. “I’m glad.”
The next time they all got together, it was Harry’s turn to cook, and they ate a delicious cottage pie with carrots and peas in the renovated kitchen at Grimmauld Place. Harry and Severus had been a couple for almost eight months now, and spent most weekends in the London house together. As time went by, Harry also found his way to the dungeons on weeknights more and more often.
Severus, though he still brewed for the infirmary, taught DADA now and, following his involvement with Harry, had passed the responsibilities of Head of Slytherin on to Septima Vector, to be able to have more time for a personal life.
After playing chess (a three-games-to-two Severus victory, this time), Ron and Severus started discussing strategy, and Severus was amused when Harry smiled knowingly at Hermione. He was buying their act. So far, so good.
As soon as they got together for their next shared meal, back again in Ron and Hermione’s Hogwarts’ residence, Ron and Severus started an involved discussion and analysis of The Art of War, which Severus had loaned to Ron the week before.
After a delicious elf-prepared Italian meal (Hermione had two patients in the hospital wing and had had no time to cook), the two of them did not play chess, but looked at map representations of the battle of Austerlitz, the apogee of Napoleon's strategic genius. They apparently shared an interest in field-of-battle reconstruction. Back home again, Severus apologized for monopolizing Weasley all afternoon.
“I guess you’ll have to make it up to me,” answered Harry, with a sexy grin.
Severus smiled back, astonished that eight months of fucking each other ravenously only seemed to have increased their need for one another. He proceeded to earn Harry’s pardon with his mouth and fingers, twice, loving the man’s scent, the taste of his come, his unabashed cries of pleasure, before Harry let him know he was forgiven by fucking him into the mattress.
Harry was thrilled when Severus asked him, would he mind were Weasley and he to spend a Sunday afternoon at the Imperial War Museum, to see the “Battle of the Somme” exhibit? It would encroach on their weekend, but… Harry would not mind at all. He was really glad they enjoyed each other’s company.
Ron and Hermione actually spent that day together and Severus brewed several batches of potions for the infirmary that afternoon. He sent his Patronus to Harry in the early evening to explain he was having fish and chips with Ron for dinner, since they were both starved. In reality, he had a quick bite in his quarters, then marked the first-years’ essays on shielding. He did not get back to Harry until close to nine, admitting to having had a pleasant day.
Harry had caught up with overdue reports. He was appreciative of Severus’s effort to get to know Ron, but was thrilled to have him back. Though Severus felt a twinge of guilt at his prevarication, they had an extremely enjoyable evening… It was hard to leave Harry’s sated body and warm bed to go back to Hogwarts at two o’clock in the morning.
Ron stopped by Harry’s cubicle one late afternoon. He handed Harry a double latte and sat down in the visitor’s chair.
“What’s that?” asked Harry, looking doubtfully at the paper cup.
“Coffee. It’s a lot better than it looks. It comes from the coffee shop across from my fake office in Southwark.” It was his second latte of the afternoon, since he’d briefly met Snape earlier to plan their next moves.
Harry took a tentative sip. “Hey! That is pretty good. How’s the case going?”
Argh. That case had Ron utterly frustrated. “It’s not. I’m chasing my own tail. I can’t seem to get an in with Brougham. He is really good. He doesn’t have much magic, but just enough to bamboozle the Muggle customs. I just can’t catch him at it. And a lot of his import business is legit, so it’s complicated. I’m going to have to try a different angle, I think. But anyway, how are you doing?”
“Just solved the Bateman case.” Harry was a brilliant Auror. He handled the cases that reeked of dark magic. He was one of the very few who had the knowledge, the intuition, and the magical strength to handle them. “It was a progressive weakening curse, in the doorframe of the backroom of his shop. Sneaky. Dark as hell, too. His wife did it, of course. It turns out she’d done her uncle in the same way, ten years ago. She was only fourteen at the time. Very lovely lady, otherwise…”
Ron chuckled. “I just bet. Anyway... You know how you wish Sev was more into Quidditch?”
Harry coughed and almost spewed coffee out of his nose. “Sev?” He repeated.
“Yeah, well. The ‘Mr. Weasleys’ and ‘Professors’ were getting old. We decided to use first names,” Ron explained.
“His first name is Severus!” said Harry, putting down his drink rather abruptly.
“Severus, Sev… Same dif.” Ron shrugged dismissively.
Snape had been right. Harry was pissed. He was doing a very good job at hiding it but Ron could tell because he’d known him so long. Apparently, Harry had tried calling Snape ‘Sev’ once, and Snape had made it clear that it was not an option.
“So, we were talking, and I told him he was looking at Quidditch all wrong,” continued Ron, the picture of innocence, “that it was all about strategy. If you don’t mind, maybe he could use your ticket to the Puddlemere-Cannon game on Sunday, and he and I could go together. Once he looks at it from the strategy angle, I bet you he’ll get hooked.”
“You want to go to the game with Severus?” asked Harry, nonplussed.
Ron shrugged. “I just thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. He and I would spend some more time together so we can get to know each other better, as per your suggestion, and he might get to like the sport, which would be a plus, yeah?” He smiled winningly.
Ron could tell that, predictably, the idea did not sit well at all with Harry but that the poor boy couldn’t find a reason to object.
“Well, yeah… Sure, that sounds good.” Harry obviously decided to make the best of it. “Maybe I’ll do something with Hermione.”
Harry was such a good guy. “She’ll like that, I’m sure. See you Friday for dinner. Sev’s cooking, right?”
“Yes. That’s right. It’s Severus’s turn to cook.” Harry looked tense. Very tense. Ron felt a right bastard enjoying it so much. Snape was a bad influence.
‘Sev’ cooked Japanese food and introduced Ron to Go, the Japanese strategy game. Near eleven, Hermione went home without Ron, and around midnight, Harry fell asleep on the couch reading a book from Severus’s extensive Dark Arts collection. Not a moment too soon. They packed in the game and Ron departed shortly thereafter. The DADA teacher was about to pick up the open book from Harry’s chest when he recognized its cover with trepidation.
He had never been able to even hold the book long enough to open it, a dark self-loathing spell having overwhelmed him anytime he picked it up, the feeling alleviating only once the book was securely placed back on the shelf. He had never known anyone who could read it, and both Dumbledore and the Dark Lord had tried.
Harry had obviously found a way to disarm the spell, his sleep not even troubled. Severus reached for it but his hand had not yet made contact with its spine when he already felt like clawing his eyes out with the shame of being who he was. He nudged Harry on the shoulder instead.
Harry opened his eyes and smiled, reaching for Severus, evidently hoping to pull him down for a kiss.
“Harry, the book…”
Harry looked at him, puzzled.
“I am affected by the spell on that book.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Harry snapped the book shut, got up in a fluid motion and pushed it back in its slot on the shelf.
“How did you neutralize it?” asked Severus, who had tried in vain, many times.
“Fiducia Conplexus” mumbled Harry, blushing.
“I’ve never heard of it. Security? Reliance? Connection…” Snape’s Latin, though near perfect, was failing him.
“Uh… It works a bit like a Patronus. A spell and a… state of mind. This is a book detailing how to create Dementors, did you know? Frighteningly easy, if you are evil enough… A good thing it’s well warded. I thought the effect of the spell protecting it was similar to the effect of the presence of Dementors… So I used a counter-spell similar to Expecto Patromum”
“What is Fiducia Conplexus usually used for?”
“Uh… It’s not. I… I just made it up. It seemed a logical way to counteract a spell of self-loathing. To protect myself with the knowledge that I am worthy of love… ‘Confident in love’s embrace’, is what I was trying for.”
“Potter, your Latin is appalling! What did you use as a memory to crystallize your intent?”
Harry’s blush was so bright he was almost glowing with it. He could not make eye contact with Severus.
When the green eyes met his, they were begging for understanding. “Not a memory… Just the feeling I have… when we make love, the way you look at me… I feel so loved when you look at me then…”
Severus pulled Harry into his arms. “You are loved. Infinitely…” He was undone, humbled by the knowledge that Harry should derive such strength from the love he showed freely in the heat of passion, that his feelings should be of such import to his lover. He held Harry tightly.
Their lovemaking that night was slow and deliberate, and they reach their climax together, Harry deep inside Severus’s body, their fingers entwined, their eyes connecting their souls.
Ron actually went to the Quidditch game with Hermione’s dad, who’d always wanted to see how Quidditch was played.
Harry helped Hermione organize the potion closet at the infirmary and entertained a couple of first years who had wizard flu while she tended a fourth year Slytherin who’d run afoul of a Gryffindor’s miscast “Steleus” hex and had been sneezing for four hours straight.
Severus had worked all afternoon on his research in modifying Dreamless Sleep so it would not only prevent nightmares but allow the patient to dream normal dreams, therefore allowing for longer treatment. He occasionally turned on the wireless to catch the game he was supposedly attending. It was over by five o’clock, mercifully only lasting a bit over six hours, with a Cannon victory.
Even accounting for a celebratory drink or two, Severus could safely head to Grimmauld around seven. He missed Harry. This was the second Sunday they’d spent apart. Hopefully this nonsense would end soon. He chuckled when he remembered Harry’s expression when Severus had not even flinched at Weasley calling him Sev.
He used his office floo to get to Grimmauld, after making sure to down a shot of firewhisky for verisimilitude. Harry was pacing in front of the fireplace.
Harry hugged him as soon as he stepped out of the floo. “Where have you been? The game was over two hours ago!”
“Oh…” He pretended to titter a bit. “Yes, well, Ron wanted to celebrate. We went and had a couple of drinks.” He shrugged apologetically. “You usually do that, too, when the Cannons win.”
“You could both have come and celebrated here! I… Oh, never mind. So, how was it?” Harry looked up at him expectantly, his arms still wrapped around Severus’s middle.
“Ron is right. Strategy is the key, really. A fascinating way to look at the game. He said the next game, against the Pride of Portree, will be even more strategy-intense, since the Cannons and Portree are so close in the rankings. I am looking forward to it.“
“You are going to the next game with Ron?” asked a deflated Harry.
“You don’t mind, do you?” said Severus lightly. He kissed Harry a bit sloppily, hoping the younger man had had his fill of his lover and his best friend squeezing him out of both relationships and that he would say so. It was too much to hope for, evidently. Soon enough, Harry’s tense body relaxed against his, and Harry kissed him back.
Severus was not surprised, however, that Harry fucked him within an inch of his life that night.
His young lover bound him magically to the bed, kissing, licking, sucking, biting and caressing him close to insanity, bringing him on the edge of orgasm with the most uninhibited rimming he’d ever received, then again with one of his usual mind-altering blowjobs, and slowing his motions while fucking him so as to keep Severus in that free-falling zone of ecstasy that precedes orgasm until he thought his heart would stop.
When Harry finally let him reach completion, his pleasure was so intense and his orgasm so complete he lost himself for a while. The slow motions of Harry’s cock in and out of his body brought him back. He opened his eyes and met his lover’s burning gaze. Harry’s whole body was trembling, and beads of sweat were rolling off his lean muscles.
“You are mine, Severus. Mine.” Harry pulled out of him, and, never breaking eye contact, ejaculated all over Severus’s chest, neck and face. “Mine,” he said again, spreading a drop of come across Severus’s lips with his thumb. Severus opened his mouth and sucked it in. Harry released his bonds, and Severus, after sliding his knees off his lover’s shoulders, took him in his arms and held him tightly against his body.
“Yours,” he confirmed.
They kissed for a long time, then Harry got up and went to the bath, returning with a wet, warm flannel. He gave Severus a sponge bath, refreshing the flannel with a spell again and again. Transfiguring it into a warm towel, he dried him carefully. Severus felt loved beyond words.
Harry fell asleep with his head on Severus’s chest as if listening to his heart and Severus, not wanting to wake him, did not return to Hogwarts until Monday morning.
In the next few weeks, there were many games of chess and games of Go, pretend visits to battle re-enactments and Go tournaments, pretend attendance at Quidditch games, and even a pretend visit to the beaches of Normandy.
Severus was caught up with grading; the infirmary fully stocked, he had written two scientific articles and peer-reviewed several others and he had spent as much time on his research as he could bear. At first, he was able to spend more weeknights with Harry than ever before as a happy consequence of his extra work at the weekend; however, it came to naught when one of Harry’s cases occupied him on many evenings for nearly three weeks. Severus was bored, and frustrated, and he missed his lover more than he had ever thought possible.
Both he and Ron saw signs of Harry’s jealousy, but the man’s generous nature seemed boundless and he never expressed his desire to have both his partner and his best friend focusing more on him again, and less on each other.
They were having cheese fondue in the tiny dining room of the Weasleys' residence in the hospital wing. The infirmary was blessedly empty of students, so Hermione was relaxed, wearing jeans, her hair in a ponytail, unlikely to have to be called back to duty on a Wednesday night.
Severus did not pay much attention to the conversation. He could not take his eyes off Harry, who was dressed in jeans as well and wore a sweatshirt with the sleeves pushed up his arms. It was very faded and might have been dark blue at one time, but its color made Harry’s eyes even more intensely green.
Harry, sensing his gaze, met his eyes and his slow smile made Severus’s trousers uncomfortably tight. Harry was sleeping in the dungeons tonight. How early was too early to get away?
Weasley kicked Severus under the table. Oh… right.
“So, any progress in your case since Monday?” he asked Ron.
Harry looked a bit puzzled. As they had hoped, he was wondering when Severus and Ron had had the occasion to talk on Monday. They had been pretending to be close friends for weeks now, but had never ‘met’ without Harry knowing about it.
Aside from the fact that they had not seen or talked to each other that Monday, it was true that Weasley was bogged down by his case at the moment.
“None whatsoever. I did find out Brougham belongs to a social club in Soho and I thought that could be a way to actually make contact directly with the man, but it turns out to be a gay club. I’m a good undercover Auror, but I don’t think I can pull gay off, at least not alone. I asked Rivers (you know Harry, Smithson’s partner?), if he would come with me and help me out. He’s gay, but he’s never done undercover work and he’s never been to a Muggle gay club so he wasn’t comfortable with the idea. Obviously I thought of you, Harry, but Kingsley nixed that…”
Severus lost track of what Weasley was saying for a moment. Obviously Weasley had thought of Harry? Obviously? What did that mean? Had Harry been a frequent patron of Muggle gay clubs? Severus recognized that, really, Harry could not go to wizards' gay clubs. They had anti-glamour wards, and fucking while polyjuiced was, well, weird, really. Unsatisfactory. As if the body you wore were not giving you the sensations you craved.
But still. Gay Muggles went to clubs to hook up. They even often had backrooms so the clientele could fuck on the premises. Just how often had Harry patronized them?
“…You’d have to wear a glamour or use polyjuice, because Brougham’s bound to know your face, and Kingsley said he needs you on Mardsten. That Mardsten guy sounds really dangerous, by the way. You’re being careful, right?”
Really dangerous? Harry’s cases were always dangerous. What made this Mardsten really dangerous? And why had Harry not mentioned it? Perhaps because he had not had the occasion to, admitted Severus to himself. With all of his and Weasley’s supposed activities, Severus and Harry had had so little time together lately, they hardly ever talked.
“Perhaps Professor Snape could accompany you,” suggested Hermione.
If the undercover work had been with Harry, Severus would have jumped on the opportunity. It could be exciting. But he had no interest in spending any of evenings he could be sharing with Harry going clubbing with Weasley. He did not have time to object, though. Harry did.
“Are you out of your mind!” he cried, looking daggers at Hermione.
“Well, it’s not a bad idea,” said Weasley, thoughtfully. “You’ve been to Muggle clubs, haven’t you Sev?”
“I have, in my youth, but…”
“No way. Severus is not going to any gay clubs with you, Ron. Just… no.” Harry’s eyes were blazing. It looked like he had finally reached the end of his tolerance for his partner and best friend’s a-bit-too-close friendship. At last! And they had not even planned this!
“Why not, Harry? It’s a great idea, actually!” exclaimed Weasley, seriously.
Severus realized Weasley was only thinking of his case and was forgetting all the evenings and weekend days Snape and he had pretended to spend together. He did not see that that the idea of Severus and him working together was the last straw.
Severus returned the kick Weasley had given him earlier, hoping to clue him in. Weasley looked up at him and Severus could see when the realization dawned on him.
“Severus… uh… Severus hasn’t been trained for undercover work!” answered Harry, flustered, not wanting to admit his real objection.
“Nah, no undercover experience at all! Sev only spied on Voldemort for half his life,” replied Weasley, sarcastically, upping the ante.
“He has a job! He can’t be traipsing around Soho all night and teach in the morning!” Severus sat back, watching his lover grasping at straws, trying not to smirk. A jealous Harry was very attractive, and quite forceful as well. It was endearing.
Hermione was looking at her best friend with a knowing smile and, putting salt on the wound, added, “Well, Professor Snape does not teach on Tuesday or Thursday mornings...”
“But… But it’s too dangerous! You can’t expect untrained civilians to do the Aurors' job!”
“Harry, do be serious. Untrained? Sev? He teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts! I think…”
Suddenly Harry was out of his chair, almost upsetting the cheese-filled fondue pot from its stand in the middle of the table, cutting off Weasley.
“Damn it, Ron! His name is Severus! Sev-e-rus! And I don’t care if he’s the perfect man for the job! Chess, museums, battle re-enactments, Quidditch! Enough already! He’s not going to work with you too! I wanted you to be friends! Not to become fused at the hip! And if he’s going to go clubbing, it will be with me!”
Inside, Severus cheered. Finally! Success! But Harry was not finished. He turned his ire on Severus. “I realize you need to spend time with people with broader interests than mine, and that when it comes to intellectual pursuits, I fall woefully short of what you need, but if you want to spend the night mindlessly grinding crotches with someone to techno music, I would appreciate if it were with me, and not some Muggle boytoy! Or have I failed in satisfying you in the physical realm as well?”
The windowpanes were rattling and a glass shattered, spilling wine all over the table. All four of them seemed frozen for a moment, then Harry turned on his heel and walked out of the flat, the door slamming behind him.
“Fuck!” said Weasley, contrite. “That’s not good.” He got up as if to follow Harry. Hermione had already placed a restraining hand on his arm when Severus stood up.
“It seems I grossly miscalculated the impact of our shenanigans. My mistake to correct, Weasley. Excuse me,” he added automatically in Hermione’s direction. He put down his napkin and rushed after his lover.
He got out in time to see Harry turn down the corridor towards the main staircase and, not caring one iota about his professorial dignity, took after him at a run, robes flying.
“Harry!” he called, but Harry had already started down the steps and he didn’t stop.
Heedless of the very real possibility of breaking his neck in a spill, Severus dashed down the staircase two steps at a time and, having caught up with Harry, grasped his arm, continuing down one step more and turning to face him. They were eye to eye, the stairs compensating for their height difference.
As usual, Harry’s emotions were written on his face. Embarrassment, hurt, anger, humiliation… Severus’s heart squeezed painfully. What had he done?
“Oh, Harry… I’m so sorry.” He looked in the eyes of the man he loved and decided he had no right to hang on to his pride after pushing him to expose his feelings to all and sundry.
“I always find I can speak with you of anything, and know I can count on your intelligence and your natural curiosity to make you share even my most esoteric interests. I enjoy your conversation above any other. You fulfill my every need, and you are everything I want. Had I my preference, I would spend every free moment I have in your company.”
Harry shook his head. “You and Ron…”
“Were playing a very stupid game,” Severus said, interrupting him. It was time to fess up; he’d been so unthinkingly cruel. “We were satisfied with our limited amity, but you wanted us to be friends. We thought if we pretended to live in each other’s pocket for a while you might be relieved when we returned to the status quo. We have not been spending any time together without you and Granger except for a couple of meetings at a café where we planned our prevarications. None. It was a terrible abuse of your trust, Harry. Please, forgive me.”
Harry frowned in confusion. He distractedly sat down on the stairs. Severus followed suit, uncaring of his dignity, his hand still on Harry’s wrist.
“You’ve been lying to me every time you were supposedly with him?”
“Yes. My misguided idea, not Weasley’s. The stupidest I have ever had, with consequences I had not foreseen. I never meant for you to think I was not fulfilled in our relationship, Harry. Nothing could be further from the truth.” He shook his head in disbelief at his own actions. “Nor did I consider what a breach of faith it represented.”
Amazingly, Harry did not seem angry, just curious. “What were you doing all this time?”
“Brewing, grading papers but mostly… Missing you.”
How could Harry be so surprised? Had Severus been so remiss in letting him know how much he valued his company?
“I do. Every moment we are apart. Which is why I would never even consider helping Weasley with his assignment. Any free time, I want to be able to spend with you, if you wish it.”
“It’s more than the sex, then…”
Dear God! How could he possibly believe… “It is the sex, and the cuddling, and the quiet nights by the fire, and our talks, and watching you play Quidditch with the Aurors' team, and sharing an evening with your best friends, and even watching you sleep. It is everything, Harry. You are everything.” Never had Severus let anyone see so much of himself.
Harry’s eyes glowed with warmth. He put his fingers on Severus’s cheek, his touch light but reaching deep inside Severus. “Why didn’t you say before…” he asked softly.
“Because I was afraid to admit it.” Severus could not withstand the eye contact. He looked at the sculpted stone balustrade instead.
“And now?” asked Harry.
His eyes returned to Harry’s. “I am much more afraid of losing you than of losing my pride. I love you, Harry. I… love you.”
Harry’s mouth was on his and his demanding tongue parted Severus’s lips. The hand behind his neck held him in place as he was conquered by a forceful kiss. He shivered with arousal. Harry released him and asked, the green eyes searching his, “Are you mine, Severus?”
Harry had never asked before. During sex, he had stated it as a fact many times, and Severus had acquiesced more than once, but Harry had never asked that question point blank.
“Indubitably,” Severus answered without hesitation. “Body and soul.”
Harry kissed him again, deeply. He took Severus’s hand and placed it on the placket of his jeans, stretched by an impressive hard-on. “I need you,” he said softly.
Severus shivered again, his body answering with a need of its own. Still…
“Weasley and Granger were upset. Do you want to go back and put their minds at ease?” he asked as they got up.
“No! I’m really pissed off at them. Ron should have known better. So should Hermione!” Harry did sound angry.
“I should have too, and it was my concept, not theirs,” Severus pointed out, gently.
Harry gave him a little smile. “You are a Slytherin. What’s their excuse?”
“I have irresistible charisma?” Severus was glad to see Harry smirk at that.
“You do. Don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll have forgiven them by tomorrow. Until then, though, let them stew.”
He got up from the cold stone step, as did Severus. They stood eye to eye once more. Harry stared at Severus’s lips, then met his glance. A fire was burning in his green eyes.
He said softly, “Let’s go to the dungeons, please.”
Not even caring that they might meet a stray student in the corridors, Severus grasped Harry’s hand as they made their way to his rooms.
“I’m sorry, Severus. Ron and you both told me to leave well enough alone, and I kept pushing,” admitted Harry, honest to a fault.
“I do find him a challenging chess and Go opponent. I will enjoy an occasional game. But Harry, I, by nature, am an introvert. I have no need for gregariousness. I do not view solitude as a burden, and have never had close friends.”
He noticed how heavy with meaning Harry’s silence was and squeezed his hand. “You are the first person whose company I never grow tired of.” He continued. “Before you came and asked me to brew that eyesight-correcting potion for you, I was mostly alone. After spending the evening when I brewed your first dose with you, suddenly, when you were not around, I was not just alone… I was lonely. But if I cannot be with you, my preference is for my own company while I wait for you to return to me…”
They had reached his door. Harry turned to him and placed a hand behind his neck as he got on his toes to kiss him sensuously. Severus pressed their bodies together and slid his hand onto Harry’s arse. Two seventh year Slytherin boys appeared from around the corner and walked by, never losing their countenance, not even slowing down. They entered their common room without a backward glance.
“Ten points to Slytherin,” granted Severus, proud of his snakes’ lack of reaction at one of their professors' less than professional behavior.
“Sorry, Severus. I should have waited until we were inside. Will they gossip?”
“And squander such excellent potential blackmail material? Surely you jest.” Severus smirked.
Harry just had to chuckle. “Well, let’s not give them any more material. Seeing me blow you in this corridor might be too much, even for Slytherins.”
Snape took out his wand to cancel his wards and unlock his door, inquiring, his cock as interested as he was by the answer, “Would you really do that?” He moved aside to let Harry enter.
“What? Drop to my knees in the middle of the corridor, open your robes and your trousers, take out your soft cock, suck on the head and take it all in to feel it swell on my tongue and then let you fuck my mouth as you hold my head in your beautiful hands until you come down my throat? That?”
Oh, Merlin! What that man did to him… Severus recalled the first blowjob Harry had given him. Yes, of course he would suck him right in the corridor… But right now Severus wanted more. “Demoveo Vestimentum,” he whispered with a wave of his wand as he closed his door behind him with his foot. Another wave of his wand and the door was locked and warded more securely than a Gringotts vault.
They stood face to face, both naked and hard, smiling at each other.
“Magic is so convenient,” commented Harry. He summoned his wand out of the seam of the jeans that were now folded neatly at his feet, and cast “Resolvisti et lubricus” at Severus, a spell that, though convenient, Harry hardly ever used, because there was such pleasure to be had in doing what it did without magic. It sent a wave of very pleasant warmth in and around Severus’s entrance.
“So it is,” Severus drawled, even more aroused than before. He walked unhurriedly to his bedroom, sending a come-hither look to Harry over his shoulder, knowing Harry would be staring at his retreating form. He always said he loved the way Severus moved. He lay down on his side across the bed, smiling at his lover.
Harry lowered the lights and walked around the bed to Severus’s other side. Before Severus could turn around, Harry was on the bed, sliding skin on skin up his body, and Harry’s cock sliding inside of him, without any fuss. He moved one of Severus’s legs, folding his knee, and pushed himself in deeper. Severus loved the matter-of-fact way Harry could take possession of him, never questioning his right to do so.
Once tucked inside Severus as far as he could go, Harry reached around for his cock and started caressing him, almost idly, his own motions slow and sinuous. As usual, Severus’s body responded to Harry’s touch, with a shiver that peaked his nipples, a wave of warmth pooling in his abdomen, pleasure flowing over him like an enveloping caress.
“Would you like us to live together?” asked Harry, his warm breath between Severus’s shoulder blade. Harry’s hand stopped, as if he waited for his answer to resume, though the motion of his hips continued. He was licking the skin his breath had warmed, sucking it, kissing it. It felt good.
“I would. Very much,” answered Severus, his heart suddenly beating very hard. Living with Harry. Waking up with him every morning. A commitment. Oh, yes! He wanted it. Did Harry? The pleasure was building inside him, as if spurred on by the staccato of his heart.
Suddenly, Harry pulled out. “I want to see you,” he said and Severus rolled onto his back. Harry slipped a cushion under him, placed himself between his knees and, his gaze hot, ran the tip of his very hard and slippery cock up and down Severus’s crack. He stopped at his loosened entrance and, with a quick thrust, he pushed himself back in. He hissed in pleasure, his muscles trembling.
“Oh, fuck… I love your body, Severus.” He grinned sheepishly. “Don’t move, or I swear I’ll come. It’s embarrassing, but I’m that close.”
Harry was gorgeous, the slight pink flush of his cheeks making his green eyes glow, his white teeth worrying his lower lip. There was a deep scar bisecting his left pectoral, right through the lower part of his areola, its circle now imperfect. A quick emergency healing spell cast in the field by Kingsley Shacklebolt, in the midst of a hard fight, had allowed Harry to continue using his dominant left hand to cast spells and had probably saved both their lives, but had marked him forever.
Back at the Auror headquarters’ infirmary, one of the MLE medi-wizards had tried to talk Harry into letting him reopen the wound and reseal it, reducing the scar to a hardly noticeable line. According to Kingsley, Harry had shrugged his shoulder, windmilled his arm and, noticing neither pain nor limitation of movement had dismissed the idea with a “Nah. It’s all good.”
There was no fat whatever beneath the smooth skin covering his well-defined muscles, and not a hair to be seen on its golden expense except for a slight treasure trail. His shoulders were broad, his neck strong, the lines of his jaw, his cheekbones, and his brows perfectly symmetrical. Their eyes met.
“I love the way you look at me,” admitted Harry. “You make me feel beautiful.”
Severus was candid. “You are beautiful. Magnificent.” His body was humming with desire, the pause in their fucking driving him crazy. “Move,” he said. He wrapped his long legs around Harry’s back, pushing on his tailbone with his heel. “I don’t care if you come quickly. Just… I want to feel you move inside me.”
Harry smiled at his impatience. He loved to see him undone. “Touch yourself, Severus. I want to watch you.” He pulled out slightly and pushed back in, biting his lip. “Oh, fuck. I’m really close...” Severus licked his palm and took himself in hand, fisting himself slowly and tightly. He bucked his hips, forcing Harry’s cock deeper and back out again. Harry closed his eyes, hissing in his effort to hold back, and Severus saw goose bumps appear all over his skin. He was close. It was so rare for Harry not to be in complete control, this was an amazing turn on.
“Move Harry. Let go. Please.” Severus wanted to watch him fall off the cliff. He sped up his hand.
“Oh, fuck it. There’s really nothing I can do.” Harry backed out almost all the way and plunged back in, and again, moaning, the head of his cock hitting Severus just right, making him hope Harry could last at least a few more thrusts. Harry growled low as he found a desperate rhythm. Oh, god! Yes. It was so good.
Harry opened his eyes again, and looked at Severus, lost, panting, holding off his climax by an unraveling thread. Severus’s pleasure coiled in his tailbone and peaked, ecstasy rushing out of him in long, heavenly spurts. Harry howled in relief. Severus felt the sudden slickness of Harry’s come inside and was overwhelmed by his feelings for him.
Harry collapsed on top of him, chuckling a little, and Severus could feel his lover’s heartbeats echoing his own and the heat of his fast breath against his neck. He wrapped his arms around the lean torso and said softly, his lips on a sweaty temple, “Mine. You are mine, Harry.”
Harry raised his head, met his eyes. He smiled and seemed to be lit from within with intense joy. Severus realized that the one thing Harry wanted above all else in the world was to truly belong somewhere, to someone, and he was infinitely gratified to have inadvertently said the words his lover most needed to hear.
The cleaning spells were cast, the candles snuffed, the fire the only remaining illumination. Harry’s head was on Severus’s shoulder. Though his breathing was slow and even, Severus knew Harry was not asleep, that he was looking at the remnants of the fire. When he blinked, Severus could feel the sweep of his eyelashes on his skin.
“I’m going to sell the house, then,” Harry said, suddenly, as if continuing a conversation.
To Severus, the remark seemed rather random, but for what it was worth, he approved, though it was not his place to say. Grimmauld was ridiculously huge. Most of the other houses around the square had been divided in up to eight flats each. It was also filled with less than happy memories, and melancholy seemed to seep out of its very foundation.
“And I love it here, but I don’t really want to live here either,” Harry added. “I mean, I like your quarters but these will always be your rooms, you know?”
Oh. Harry was continuing a conversation. His question about whether or not Severus wanted them to live together had not been idle. Severus had answered positively, and so Harry was thinking of the practicalities. Severus suddenly felt buoyant, his whole being swept over by a wave of… happiness? Yes. Happiness. He smiled as its warmth spread through him and wondered if he, too, seemed lit from within at this moment. His cock was swelling again. He wanted, needed that connection. Was it too soon?
“Harry…” He placed one of Harry’s hands on his erection. “I want… Can you…?”
“Fuck yeah…” Harry kissed him, his hands suddenly everywhere, his own hard cock pressing on Severus's thigh. He’d been aroused too, but holding back, for whatever reason. Why? He had never before hidden his raging libido and Severus always enthusiastically accepted his advances.
Severus chuckled as Harry, tangled in the sheets a little in his eagerness to work down Severus’s body, sent the bed covering flying with an “Off!” and a wave of unfocussed magic. Harry’s laugh joined his, and he admitted self-deprecatingly, “I want you so much, Severus… It’s embarrassing. You feel so fucking good. Half the time I don’t even think, I take what I want and I’m already balls deep inside you, or swallowing your come when I realize I just took it for granted that you wanted me, too.”
He nuzzled Severus’s cock. “Your scent, your taste…” He ran his slightly callused palm along Severus’s flank. “Your soft skin, the velvet inside you… You have been so accommodating. I am trying to show more restraint, but when you actually initiate it…”
“Harry! I am not accommodating. I…” God. It was difficult to express, to admit… “I love that you take what you want, that you… claim me as we fuck, that you act as if you own my mouth, my arse, my body… Harry, I love that you… Own me. Never show restraint. Blow me, fuck me, anywhere, anytime, anyway you want… Please.”
He would have never been able to say this had it not been so dark, had Harry been looking at him. His heart was drumming in his chest, and he knew he was probably blushing from the roots of his hair down to his toes.
Harry worked his way up his body and searched his eyes in the low light. “Severus… Oh, fuck, Severus. I…” He took Severus’s mouth in a desperate kiss. “Thank you for telling me this… I love you.”
Their love making for the rest of the night was the most passionate they had ever known. Their bodies came together, again and again, and in between, they talked, all fear gone, secure in each other’s love.
They would start looking for a house in Hogsmeade, one that would be both of theirs. Harry could easily Apparate to London. Severus could handle that distance as well, but not so effortlessly that he could then teach a whole day’s worth of classes. Harry would accept Severus’s solitary ways, but also that Severus loved being with Harry and his friends because Harry loved it. And they would go to a Muggle club in London soon, and grind on each other all evening before Harry sucked Severus off in the backroom, because the thought of it turned Severus on so fucking much.
It was a very good thing that Severus did not teach on Thursday morning, and that Harry was not prone to malingering so that Kingsley did not question it when Harry’s Patronus told him his favorite Auror would not be in until after lunch. At five in the morning, right before he and Severus went to sleep, Harry called in Kreacher, whom he knew was always up by then, lighting the fires at Grimmauld. He sent him to Ron and Hermione’s with a note, inviting them to dinner Saturday night, instructing him to Apparate immediately, as loudly as possible, right in their bedroom. It was very juvenile, but he didn’t care, giggling about it as he burrowed in Severus’s embrace.
Ron and Hermione stepped out of the kitchen floo of 12, Grimmauld Place at six o’clock that Saturday, welcomed by the heavenly aromas of butter chicken, okra massala and matar panir, and the delicious smell of the fresh-baked Naan Severus was taking off the baking stone.
“Mr. Weasley! Mrs. Weasley! Right on time,” said Severus, smiling.
“Hi guys,” said Harry, placing raita on the table.
“Yum, it smells good in here!” said Granger.
“Hey, Harry. Hello… Professor.”
Harry grinned at Ron, who smiled back gratefully and added, “I brought a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir. Probably not the best with Indian.”
“Not to worry, Mr. Weasley. We’ll have it next time…”