A/N: Oh finally this chapter is done! I'm sorry to have made you guys wait so long for this, but I hope the wait was worth it. There was a heart-stopping moment earlier when I thought I forgot to save my work, but thank God I managed to find the right file. I'm as much a scatter-brain as Harry is! Enjoy the chapter, and don't forget to review!
Harry briefly considered taking as long as humanly possible in the bathroom, but he ruefully concluded that it would not help him solve his problem in any way. Two guys, one of whom was a close friend; another was a romantic suitor, and technically, both were rivals for his affection. And they were sitting together in the same room!
This thought made him complete his ablutions quickly, and he dressed and brushed his hair in record time. Then he took a deep breath.
He knew what he had to do.
When he entered the sitting room, he was relieved to see both Julian and Severus (and his furniture!) unharmed. Julian threw glares at Severus from time to time, while the potions master was pointedly ignoring the other man.
"Erm, Julian, could I speak to you in the kitchen for a moment, please?"
In the kitchen, Harry threw up a couple of silencing spells. Julian plopped himself down on a kitchen stool, and watched Harry pace for a moment.
"Harry, what is that man doing there in your room? I thought we had an arrangement for today."
"Julian, please treat my friend with some respect please."
The man shrugged his broad shoulders.
"And yes, I know we had an appointment today…"
"So great! Can we go now? There's this new great restaurant I want to bring you to that serves some of the best seafood around. We can go try the food, and maybe you can steal some of the recipes?" He winked.
"Julian, now's not really a good time…"
"Harry, are we done here? Your….friend…is still sitting in your living room, and I think it's time we should leave. We got ourselves a real tight schedule today."
"Is that so?"
"Yeah, we still gotta drop by my place. I need to pick up a couple of files for a business meeting I have tonight. Maybe we could go over them together…?"
"Sorry, I think I must have mis-heard you. Did you say you wanted to go over some files with me?"
"Yeah mate. We got a lot of things to sort out if we want to expand our business and have a new store this time next year. What do you say?"
"Julian, why in the world did you schedule a business meeting on the same day you're supposedly taking me out?"
Julian sighed. "Harry, business waits for no one. This was the best time I could get so that all parties could meet. I really want to expand the business, and you should be there too, as my business partner. See, I am spending the whole day with you, just in different contexts at certain times."
"You know what, I don't think this date is such a good idea anymore. Please leave, Julian."
Unknown to both of them, Severus had grown tired of waiting in the living room, and was browsing Harry's bookshelves.
Which were set next to the kitchen door. And Severus was particularly good at hearing through Harry's notoriously weak silencing charms.
* * * * * *
"Julian, please just go. I don't particularly want to talk to you right now."
"What's wrong with you, Harry? Stop playing hard-to-get now. We have a lot of things to do today, and there are some things I want to go through with you."
"I am not playing hard-to-get. I think you should leave. Our date today is over."
Julian's eyes narrowed. Harry moved towards the door.
"It's that Snape bloke, isn't it? You're interested in him, aren't you?"
Harry's hand paused, hovering above the door knob.
"That's none of your business, Julian."
"I'm right, aren't I? You want an older bloke, when you have a young handsome stud like me going after you? What a joke!"
Harry was growing angry at the insults directed at him and Severus. "Julian, if I hear another insult come out of your mouth, I won't be sorry for the consequences."
Julian stood up from his stool, and moved closer to Harry. In instinctive response, Harry backed away from the door. But Julian continued to move closer to him. Harry was beginning to feel stalked. Very soon, Harry had trapped himself between the stove and an approaching Julian, with no where to escape to.
Julian had moved in so close now, he was almost pressing his body onto Harry's. "Julian, I'm warning you. Get away from me!"
"You want to be with an older bloke, don't you? Why don't I show you what you're missing out on?" He moved in for the kill, and pressed his mouth roughly down on Harry's.
Momentarily stunned, Harry stood passively before he began to struggle.
"Mmphfff!" His hands pushed as hard as they could against the shoulders, but Harry was scrawny compared to other men of his age, and he was no match against the bulk of muscle.
Then the kitchen door burst open.
* * * * * *
Severus really didn't mean to eavesdrop. OK, he couldn't help but eavesdrop. Really, the Boy Wonder's silencing spells were shoddy. Maybe I should give him a little revision on basic spells. Did he sleep through all his Charms classes, by any chance?
When he heard that Harry had scheduled appointments to meet both himself and Smithson on the same day and the same time, anger flooded his body. "That brat's not treating me with respect again!" He whirled around in preparation to leave.
Then he paused.
'If I want Harry to stay by me always, then should I not go in to fight for what is mine? Even if he is a horrible brat.'
Severus knew that while Harry's silencing charms were shoddy, his locking spells were top-notch. So he prepared himself to blast through the locking spells, mentally flicking through his impressive array of spells. At least he thought Harry had locking spells on; after all no sane person would have a private conversation with only a couple of silencing spells as a barrier!
But obviously Harry Potter was insane. When Severus cast a powerful unlocking charm at the kitchen door, there was no 'click' like he expected. Instead the kitchen door blew backwards and crashed against the wall.
What met his eyes was something he never expected would make his stomach contract and heart sink. Harry and Smithson were kissing near the kitchen sink.
His Harry and Smithson were kissing.
No hope then…
Wait a minute.
Smithson was KISSING HIS HARRY!!!!
With a snarl of rage, Severus rushed forward and pulled sharply at Smithson's shoulder. The younger man spun round, and Severus met him with a well-placed uppercut to the jaw. Smithson reeled at the blow, and Severus took the opportunity to jab him in the stomach. While the former staggered away to recover his breath, Severus whirled around to face Harry.
Harry, once free of Julian's embrace, scrubbed furiously at his mouth. He reached for his mug and gargled with water, to wash away the foul kiss. When done, he realised Severus was looking at him, a wild look in his black eyes.
In the meantime, Julian recognized he was out-numbered in the kitchen. When he had recovered most of his breath back, he crept out of the kitchen, took his coat from the rack, and left Harry's rooms and Hogwarts as quickly and quietly as he could.
In the kitchen, there was pure silence. Harry and Severus looked at each other, not knowing what to say. Finally, unable to bear the silence further, Harry spoke up.
"Sev…I can explain what happened here—"
"Save it, Harry. I don't want to hear what passes as an explanation; neither do I think I want to hear it anytime in the near future."
Severus took a deep breath and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, the wild look was gone from his eyes, and he looked calm again.
"If you're ready then, brat. We have furniture shopping to do".
He turned away and left the kitchen.
Harry leant his head against the kitchen cabinet, his thoughts in a whirl. He didn't know what to make of Sev's behaviour. He also felt violated by the unwelcome kiss from Julian.
'I don't know if I can work there anymore'.
He sank onto the floor and placed his head in his hands.
'Did I just ruin everything between Sev and I? Idiot! He's probably never gonna speak to me again, and I don't blame him.'
* * * * * *
When Harry had not exited the kitchen after five minutes, Severus decided to go in and see what was keeping the brat. Sev had spent the time in question taking deep breaths and fighting not to reach for the firewhisky Harry kept on his bookshelf.
He found Harry in the position mentioned above. He hovered at the entrance, unsure what to do.
'I'm supposed to comfort the brat, right? OK, I can do this…HOW do I comfort someone? I've never done it before!'
Severus crouched down before Harry.
"Brat. What in Merlin's good name are you doing here. Come on, ge—" Before he finished, Harry looked up, saw him, and threw himself into a startled potions master's arms.
Severus was sure he looked utterly ridiculous. Harry had buried his face in Sev's shoulder, and seemed to be settling there for a while. Severus flapped his arms by his side, lost as to what to do with them.
'Comfort Harry, you idiot! Right. Albus always patted me on the back, and it did feel nice (not that I'll ever say so to the old man). That should work.'
Severus raised a hand and gingerly patted Harry on the back. This had the effect of causing Harry to snuggle(!) in deeper into the older man's robes. Since it worked to some degree, Severus continued to pat Harry on the back.
The patting motion having worked, Severus now turned his attention to his own knees. He was not a young and spry man any more (though he could hardly claim to be Dumbledore), and his knee joints were protesting the crouch forced on them for the past 10 minutes.
"Harry. I understand if you would like to continue smothering yourself in my robes, but if your majesty pleases could we move to a more…comfortable position?"
Harry made no sign of having heard the request, but shifted his body slightly so that Severus could seat himself on the kitchen floor.
'Oh damn it, not the floor!'
Severus mentally grumbled, but sat on the cold kitchen floor, and allowed Harry to clamber into his arms, and continue smothering himself.
A moment later…
"Are you mad at me, Sev?"
A brief silence.
"No, brat. I'm not mad at you."
"I'm sorry, Sev. I honestly didn't mean to…"
"Hush, you scatter-brain. There's nothing to forgive."
Harry raised his head, and pressed a kiss to Severus' cheek, then laid his cheek on his Sev's shoulder.
'When did Sev turn into MY Sev?'
"Harry, I warn you that I will deign to remain in my current position for the next two minutes. After that , I will stand up and dump you on the floor, whether you like it or not."
The next five minutes passed in silence and light breathing.