TITLE: Catching Fire
RATING: Pretty smutty, not too graphic.
DISCLAIMER: Belongs to J.K. Rowling, etc.
SUMMARY: During the war, Harry and Severus look for a secret place to relieve their tension. 532 words. Slash.

Catching Fire

There is nowhere safe. There is nowhere private. There is nowhere that they can be together, not like this. Hogwarts has eyes. The portraits have eyes, the suits of armour have eyes, the house elves have eyes, and Harry is always, always watched. Anywhere inside of the school, they would be found and punished. Anywhere outside of the school, Harry would not be safe.

So Severus searched—the grounds, the passages, the rooms, and his own thoughts—until he discovered this place.

The fire.

The Floo network.

They are not in the castle, technically, but they are not beyond its walls, either. It is…a compromise.

They are safe, here. There is little space, but they have learned to make due, as they always have. Life has taught that lesson to them both.

Harry is braced against the coarse surface of the stones, his hands clawing through the soot, and Severus is behind, legs bent awkwardly, nearly wrapped around the youth. Their bodies writhe and thrust and contort themselves within the flames.

The heat is excruciating. The fire licks at their forms, flickering olive against sallow skin, drawing a flush from the youth, and causing both men to drip with sweat. It is too bright, the glare blinding, the flames biting cold against their faces, and they keep their eyes tightly shut. The logs beneath their feet crackle and snap, and all the while the Floo roars, forming a background noise to Harry's sharp breaths, Snape's guttural groans.

Finally, finally, when the blaze becomes too much to bear, when Snape's grip is too constrictive around his throbbing length, when the man's teeth graze his shoulder, drawing a drop of blood, Harry comes. He cries out, bucking back, begging for more, begging for Snape to keep it from ever having to end.

It is not the movement of Harry's body, or the pulsing tension that makes Snape follow. It is the young man's words, the desperate need, the admission that Snape craves. His voice is muted as he floods Harry's channel, giving what succour, he can, assuring the youth that he, too, never wants it to end.

When it is all over, when the whirling and rushing have stopped, they stumble out, exhausted. They straighten their clothing, and try not to look one another in the eye. Not a word is said, because one word would be too many. One word could end it all.

Instead they go their separate ways, dealing with the war the best they can, and keeping up appearances. When next they when next they speak, it will be to rail and belittle and accuse. When next they meet, it will be as enemies with a common enemy to overcome. The war goes on, and life goes on, and each day is taken moment by moment.

When it all becomes too much to bear, they will find themselves here again, before Snape's fireplace, with a vial of lubricant and a pocket of Floo powder. They will feed the flames, and the flames will return the favour. Harry wishes things were different.

For now, he hopes it will be enough. For now, it will have to. This fire is all he has.