Title: Fire on Darkness
Summary: What if…? Or: The young man sighed, looked into the bowl and promptly fainted.
Rating: R Pairing: HP/SS Warnings: Harry's straight. He really is.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all of the other characters belong to J.K. Rowling; I am making no profit with this and no copyright infringement is intended.
"Severus, I'm home!" Harry called out as he stepped out of the floo and dusted himself off.
"I'm in the kitchen," came his lover's reply, and as Harry crossed the threshold from the living room to the kitchen, a familiar sight greeted him: Whereas all the counters were clean, the large windows gleaming and left open to admit the slight breeze of spring and the floor completely free of clutter, the kitchen table in the middle of the room was a mess: books were stacked in quite a hazardous way – some of them open and overturned – nearly covering the entire surface, together with scraps of parchment, scrolls and mangled quills; a wand was poking out of what Harry recognized as a Muggle dictionary. A steaming cup of tea stood next to a large pot of ink. Amidst all this chaos sat Severus, scribbling away with a Muggle ballpoint pen.
Now he looked up and smiled at Harry. "You're home early; I didn't expect you before dinner."
Harry shrugged and sat down on the only other chair in the room, a rickety construction that he'd conjured himself when he'd moved in. He was quite proud of it not having collapsed yet. He stretched languidly and yawned.
"Practice ended early, is all. Nobody felt like giving their best if they're not certain that we're going to be able to play. And I feel horrible, zooming around on a broom while everybody else is… Well, making themselves useful."
"What you do is useful, Harry," Severus said gently as he put down his pen. "Not in a very heroic manner, I admit. But we can't all be heroes and spies and such, and watching you zoom around on a broom gives people a sense of normalcy that's quite hard to come by these days. If it bothers you so much, you could always volunteer to do more work for the Order."
Harry snorted and got up to make himself a cup of tea; they'd had this particular discussion before.
"Spend more time trying to avoid Sirius and Mum? Thanks, I think I'll pass."
He rummaged for his favourite blend of tea and promised silently to put everything back into its place later, because he knew that cupboards that were less than immaculately in order annoyed Severus to no end.
"Have you seen the strawberry blend?"
"Why you drink that vile concoction shall forever remain a mystery to me," Severus muttered as he shut the book he'd been taking notes out of. "It's right where you left it, I'm sure. And if it makes you feel better, I don't feel particularly useful, myself. Researching obscure magical objects might pay the bills but the heroic value is zero, I'm afraid."
"What are you working on, anyway?" Harry asked his lover, dropping the last remaining tea bag into a cup before pouring boiling water over it. While he waited for his tea, he wandered over to embrace Severus from behind, peering over his shoulder.
He squinted at the page; after a year of living with the man, he still couldn't decipher his handwriting properly. "The bowl of… shadows?"
Severus nodded. "Despite the less than attractive title it's quite fascinating, actually. Here…" He shifted some of the books and retrieved a wooden bowl from the middle of the table. It was rather small and very plain. To Harry it didn't look magical at all, more like something to eat his porridge out of.
"It does look like an ordinary bowl," Severus explained, "And it's not even very old. I'd say it's about sixty years old, dating back to Grindelwald's reign. If you fill it with water, however, or any other liquid, you start seeing shadows. It's similar to a pensieve or a scrying mirror, but not quite. Fill it with water and I'll show you."
In another dimension, a rather small, bespectacled young man drummed his fingers on the counter of a dingy Yorkshire shop. The shopkeeper scuttled excitedly out of the back room, bearing a small bowl which he set down carefully on the counter.
"Been in here for ages," he said, "Nobody's much interest in cups and bowls these days, you see. Take a good look, I've already filled it up for you."
The young man sighed, looked into the bowl and promptly fainted.
And the shopkeeper's hoarse exclamation of "Now, there!" coincided neatly with Severus crying "Harry? Harry!" a thousand possibilities away.