Harry scratched his head and took a deep breath before knocking on Snape's door. Ever since the war was over, he and Snape had managed to bury the old disagreements and establish a semi-civilized kind-of-almost-something-like-friendship. Well, as much as you could be friends with someone who never missed an opportunity to berate you, needle you, and point out your flaws, Harry thought ruefully.
And Snape certainly did. He seemed to take a special delight in pointing out Harry's failings as a DADA professor and as a human being. But Harry didn't mind. Much. He mostly learned to take it in stride, reasoning that it was his penance for the years of mouthing off to Snape.
Feeling slightly guilty over the short end of the stick Snape got as far as human connections were concerned during the years of the war, Harry really went out of his way to invite Snape to as many social functions as possible. Snape, of course, declined most offers, from attending Quidditch matches to drinking nights at Three Broomsticks. In fact, the only regular thing that he'd grudgingly consented to do with Harry was play chess, and probably, only so that he could gloat.
That was one thing Harry had learned to accept. Snape wasn't a very gracious winner. Or loser. More to the point, Snape wasn't a very gracious anything. The man may have gotten the short end of the proverbial stick, but he never missed the opportunity to poke Harry with it, either.
Harry let a deep breath through his mouth and knocked on the door.
"Enter, Potter," Snape said in that silky, ever-so-gentle, sinister voice bordered on hypnotic. Say what you will about Snape's manners, the man's voice was quite sexy, in a deadly sort of way.
Habitually dismissing those random thoughts (that were more and more frequent these days), Harry entered Snape's quarters, and took his place at the table, where the chess set was waiting for them.
"Color?" Snape's voice asked from somewhere deep in the room.
"White," Harry said, just barely containing his shock that Snape actually asked for his preference for something. "And thank you."
"You're welcome, Potter," Snape's drawl had just the tiniest note of contempt. "Probably a good idea for you to play with white pieces."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Harry snapped, sensing a put down. He wasn't sure whether he was more upset by the put-down, or by the fact that for some unfathomable reason he found that even delivering insults, Snape's voice still sounded sexy.
"Only that statistically speaking, white pieces win more frequently," Severus informed him pleasantly, sitting down across the table from him. "And heaven knows, you need all the advantage you can get."
"Thanks," Harry said sourly, tapping a White Pawn with his finger. "So how was school today?"
"The usual, Potter. Hopeless idiots, all of them."
"Just like me, ey? Pawn to E4."
The small white figure strode out into the square designated for it and looked around. Harry could swear he heard a heavy sigh from the tiny chess piece.
"Well, I wouldn't go that far," Snape said dryly. "Nobody could be as bad as you. Pawn to D6."
The black pawn walked to the mentioned square and stared ahead intently. Harry shivered slightly. He'd always found wizard's chess a little... creepy, but playing with Snape, somehow, was doubly so. Especially with this new set, that seemed a little too life-like for Harry's comfort.
"Where did you get this chess set?" Harry asked.
"Hermione Granger gave it to me for my birthday," Snape said.
"That's weird," Harry mumbled, contemplating his next move.
"What?" Snape hissed. "That I'd have a birthday? Or that anyone would care?"
"Well, that too," Harry smirked, "but it's weird that Hermione would give you a wizard's chess set. She doesn't approve of wizard's chess. She says it's too... barbaric."
Snape shook his head tiredly. "She would. How someone so wretchedly sentimental could ever finish school in the wizarding world is truly beyond my comprehension."
Harry chuckled. "Pawn to D4. Anyway, yes, that's Hermione, all right. She really doesn't like the wizard's chess. Says it makes her head hurt watching the pieces go at each other like that."
"Knight to F6. I am surprised she didn't start a movement for the liberation of the peppermint toads, who jump in your belly after you eat them," Snape said quietly, as his Knight galloped to the the square one space away from the first pawn.
"Knight to C3," Harry said, not to be outdone. "Look, Professor..."
"I haven't been your professor for over four years, Potter," Snape said in a strangely inflected voice.
"All right, Sir -"
To his surprise, Snape issued a dry, hoarse bark of a laugh.
"What's funny?" Harry demanded.
"Nothing. Pawn to G6."
"Pawn to F3," Harry said. "Anyway, as I said, Sir, it's weird that Hermione will give you the chess set. Seeing that she disapproves of the game as such. I bet you're the only one she'd make this sort of exception for, anyway."
"Hmm," Snape mused quietly.
Harry lifted his eyes, and to his shock, realized that Snape expression was surprisingly unguarded. His features, usually harsh and stern, looked stunningly soft in the dusk of the room.
"You're staring at me, Potter," Snape said.
"Sorry, Sir," Harry muttered. "Your move."
"Bishop to G7," Snape muttered. "And you're still staring."
"Does it really bother you that much? Bishop to E3."
"Frankly? Yes, to the point where I'm tempted to conjure a blindfold just for you," Snape said dryly.
Harry bit his lip, suddenly finding himself short of breath, as he found himself picturing himself sitting just like this, in Snape's rooms, only blindfolded, not knowing what Snape was about to do, but hoping that...
"Your move, Mr. Potter," Snape's voice interrupted his ruminations.
"Huh? Oh, shit. What did you do?"
"I moved my pawn to C6. Honestly, Potter, unless you bloody focus, I don't see the point of the game..."
Oh, he was focused all right, except the focus was entirely elsewhere. He did his best to avoid staring at Snape's face, except now Harry's gaze was lingering on Snape's hands, which was of course absolutely inappropriate, because this was just Snape... Snape, with his long, elegant fingers...
"Queen to D2!" Harry cried out desperately.
"A brilliant move," Snape said sardonically.
"What? What did I do wrong?"
"Nothing. Pawn to B5."
"You're just baiting me. Trying to undermine my confidence," Harry said grimly. "Knight to E2."
The little figure galloped to the square and positioned itself next to Harry's Queen.
"How did it do that?" Snape asked, staring at the game board intently.
"What do you mean?" Harry muttered.
"What I mean is that you didn't specify which knight you wanted to move to E2."
"Huh?" Harry rubbed his eyes and stared at the board, realizing belatedly that Snape was accurate. "Huh."
"You see, either one of your knights could have moved to that square," Snape pointed out. "How did the game know which one to move?"
"I don't know," Harry admitted. "Maybe it's charmed to respond to our thoughts as well?"
"Maybe," Snape muttered, and Harry had the distinct impression that Snape shivered uncomfortably. Not that Harry could blame him. The idea of a game set responding to one's thoughts was unsettling, to say the least. "Hmm. Let's take a look at this then. Knight to D7."
Harry watched as one of Snape's knights galloped to D7.
"Was that the one you meant to sent there?" Harry asked.
"Yes," Snape confirmed with a scowl.
"That's some spell," Harry whispered. "It's creepy..."
"Quite," Snape agreed. "It's bordering on Dark Magic."
"Oh, and you'd know all about that, wouldn't you?" Harry snapped, instantly affronted by what seemed like an accusation aimed at Hermione.
"So would you," Snape said sharply, "you and that bloody Marauder's map of yours..."
"Oh, sod off! The map is harmless!"
Snape leaned back in the chair and folded his arms on his chest. "It called me an ugly git," he said in a rather unforgiving way.
"You're taking it the wrong way," Harry protested.
"How could I possibly take it the wrong way?" Snape inquired.
Put that way, Harry had to admit, Snape had a point.
"Well," Harry said softly, "What I mean is... since it's obviously not true, what the map said, I mean, you should just ignore it, and pass it off as a stupid joke... I mean, you really are quite... dashing." Harry concluded weakly, feeling his cheeks flame up as he spoke. He shivered in his chair slightly, fully expecting Snape to pull out his wand and hex him straight to hell. To his shock, Snape simply offered a brief nod. "Your move, I believe," Snape said in an oddly quiet voice that carried something like an undercurrent of challenge in it.
"Bishop to H6," Harry said, and the white figure of a cleric glared at him with disgust before striding in a resigned kind of way to its destination.
Snape smirked gleefully. "Bishop takes Bishop at H6," Snape said, clearly pleased.
The Black Bishop marched towards the white one. What happened next was almost too bizarre for words.
Both Harry and Snape stared blankly with their mouths hanging wide open, while the Black Bishop produced a long rope and proceeded to bind the White Bishop in a rather skilled, masterful, albeit exceedingly complicated way.
"What the fuck is he doing?" Harry asked quietly.
"I believe that's Japanese rope bondage," Snape said nonchalantly, staring at the tiny players.
"How would you know about that?" Harry demanded.
"I read books," Snape said impassively, his eyes following the white little figure being marched off the chess board in disgrace.
"Books, huh," Harry whispered hoarsely, suddenly wishing nothing more than to be the little White Bishop being tied up and marched off somewhere... but only if the Black Bishop was.....
"Potter!" Snape barked. "Your move."
"Right," Harry muttered. "Sorry, Sir. Queen takes Bishop at H6."
The White Queen marched along the chess board, and stopped right in front of the Black Bishop, looking at him appraisingly.
"Go on," Harry urged her. "You can do it... that's a girl."
The White Queen dropped to her knees in front of the Black bishop in a position that was clearly suggestive of fellatio.
Harry shook his head. "No," he whispered.
The queen's head moved back and forth. The Black Bishop looked like he was enjoying himself. Utterly mortified, Harry scratched his sweaty palms idly and finally dared to lift his eyes to meet Snape's gaze. Snape was staring directly at him, smirking.
"Potter, that's a nice sentiment, but..."
"Don't start!" Harry snapped. The humiliation was beyond unbearable. His face was burning. His ears were ringing. He wondered briefly if his Legilimency training was good enough to Oblivate Snape...
The Black Bishop issued a loud cry and collapsed at the White Queen's feet in exhaustion. The White Queen dragged the Black Bishop off the board, and assumed the square that he'd formerly occupied.
Harry shuddered slightly and glanced at Snape, who looked like he was about to say something snide.
Harry glared at him. "Not. A fucking. Word. About this."
"Very well, Mr. Potter," Snape said silkily.
Fuck. Of course Snape will tell everyone, Harry thought, as despair began to set in.
For a few minutes they played in silence that was only disrupted by the orders given to the game pieces and the piece movements.
Maybe he'd just resign, Harry thought bitterly as the game continued to unfold. Move to Bulgaria. Teach at Durmstrang. Herd Hyppogriffs in Australia. Go to Antarctica.
Soon enough, a White Pawn took a Black Pawn, or rather, the White Pawn offered up its arse to be shagged. The Black Pawn proceeded to fuck the player vigorously and enthusiastically, then passed out with a loud snore. The White Pawn carried him off the board and assumed the square with a triumphant cry.
"Well, fuck," Harry muttered.
"Yes," Snape agreed, staring at him intently. "Is there something you want to say, Potter?"
Harry licked his lips, and searched his brain for a plausible explanation for the behavior of his pawn. Nothing was coming to mind. Absolutely nothing.
"Your move," he finally croaked. He didn't mean to sound quite so pitiful.
"Pawn to E5," Snape said calmly.
The Black Pawn strode towards the White Pawn and grabbed him by the hair, pushing him down. The White Pawn yielded eagerly and enthusiastically. With a small whip, the Black Pawn proceeded to drive the White Pawn off the board, before assuming the square it had previously occupied.
Harry twitched slightly. "So whips and ropes are your thing, huh?" he looked at Snape with a tiny smirk.
"I thought you didn't want to talk about this," Snape said indifferently.
"I don't!" Harry said quickly. "I just... this is very awkward. Maybe we should call it a night."
"If you're willing to concede defeat," Snape said smiling.
"Well, we could call it a draw," Harry said.
"We could, but you're clearly losing."
"In your dreams," Harry snapped. "I'm going to have your arse."
"Interesting choice of words, Potter, especially given how the game is going so far," Snape said nonchalantly.
"It doesn't mean anything!" Harry protested weakly.
"Of course not," Snape said with a small nod. "It's a pure coincidence I'm sure, that your pieces expressed the desire to assume a sexually submissive position."
"Yeah," Harry said uncomfortably. "A coincidence."
It didn't help much that something stirred between his legs as soon as Snape's silky, pleasant voice mentioned sexual submission.
"Your move," Snape said.
"Move," Harry murmured, blinking rapidly. His thoughts were fuzzy and blurred. He focused his attention on the remaining game pieces.
He made a mental note to kill Hermione when he got around to it. Leave it to her to come up with a spell that would charm the pieces to respond to his thoughts... their thoughts... gods, but – Snape's pieces shagged his pieces, did that mean that...
"Well?" Snape prodded him.
"I, uh, um - Sir..."
"You really had better vocabulary back in first grade," Snape said, but not in an accusing way.
Harry winced slightly.
"Your move, Harry," Snape said in an unusually tender voice.
Snape called him Harry.
Snape never called him Harry.
Harry didn't say anything. He couldn't. He simply watched numbly as the White King rose up to his feet, and walked across the chess board towards the Black King.
Harry blinked again.
The White King knelt before the Black King, assuming the posture of abject surrender.
Snape stared at him calculatingly.
"I believe this is against the rules of the game," Snape softly said.
Harry shut his eyes as his world came crashing down.
"I believe I don't care," he said resignedly.
Snape gave him a small nod, inviting him to continue.
"Look - I can't help how I feel, but I know this is ridiculous," Harry said tiredly. "You've made it clear you don't like me much, and you don't like to spend time with me socially, and all that – and well, you probably have herds of of eager young witches lining up to be put in Japanese rope bondage, you know, with you being a war hero and all, and I'm quite happy to just be friends – really, if not for Hermione and her bloody charmed chess pieces, you'd have never known how I felt, all right? I really didn't mean for this to happen." His voice trailed off, and he glanced at Snape miserably.
"I believe you," Snape said very quietly.
"Well, good," Harry issued a sigh of genuine relief. "We can forget the entire thing then, right? As a very strange, weird, horrible misunderstanding, and..."
Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw the Black King rest his hands on the kneeling White King's shoulders.
Slowly, Harry lifted his head and saw that Snape was looking at him with an unusually tender expression on his face.
"Your move," he said with the tiniest, but genuine smile on his lips.
Feeling like he was losing his mind, Harry peeled himself off the chair wand walked to Snape.
It took him an eternity to cross the distance between them.
Or maybe longer.
Random thoughts were buzzing through his head.
Japanese Rope bondage.
White Queen fellating Black Bishop.
Resign from Hogwarts.
Black Pawn shagging White Pawn.
But all those thoughts took flight and vanished without a trace when Harry finally sank to his knees and buried his face in Snape's lap.
He sensed Snape's hands playing with his hair, undoubtedly making a dreadful mess of it. It felt wonderfully good. He had never felt so accepted, so welcome in anyone's hands. More to the point, he had never felt more at peace and more at home.
Fully convinced that this was some sort of surreal dream, Harry rubbed his cheek against Snape's thighs.
"Your move, I think," Harry couldn't resist teasing slightly.
Snape's hand grasped his hair tightly, and pulled his head back. Harry stared up, to realize that Snape was leaning towards him, and their faces were perfectly positioned for a kiss. A moment later, their lips crashed together. Harry shut his eyes, threw his hands around the man's neck, and started kissing back for all he was worth.
Sometime later, when they broke the kiss to get some air, Harry realized that Snape had somehow ended up on the floor next to him. His face looked pleasantly flushed.
Their hands reached for the buttons of each other's robes at the same time.
"That was some chess game," Snape said. His voice was thick with amusement and... affection.
Harry grinned, feeling the urge to tease again. "Game over," he said, proceeding to undo the irritating, numerous button's on Snape's robe one by one. "Checkmate."
The game was based on a real chess game, Pavel Blatny vs B Belloti, Groningen 1984
If you liked, please drop me a review : )