Disclaimer: These characters are not mine and I make no profit from this story.
A/N: Betaed by Torina and written for the SeverusSighs 'write your own canon!Severus' challenge. Thanks to WhiteCotton for the original plot bunny.
"Can you at least wait until we're inside before you start accusing me of things!" Harry shouted as he slammed the door behind him. "What is it this time? Did I smile too long at the waiter? Or did I shake Kingsley's hand in some sordid way when he handed me my Order of Merlin?"
Severus sneered at Harry's tone but would not back down. Not when evidence of what he'd known all along had been paraded in front of him all night. "You know exactly what you did, what you were doing for an hour!"
Harry rolled his eyes and tossed off his cloak. "What? Will you please tell me, because I have no idea."
Thoughts of the two of them—whoever he was—played across his mind as he recalled Harry's slip at the Ministry Ball. It wasn't as if he hadn't seen this coming. He had, and had only been wondering when exactly it would happen. That it had taken over two years to get to this point was the only surprise.
"You and that...that man!"
Harry's eyebrows rose and his face went from exasperated to shocked. "John? That Auror I was talking to for fifteen minutes?"
So the bastard's name was John.
"If you desire other company, Potter—"
"For the love of God, Severus!" Harry turned around, frustrated, and ran a hand through his hair. Severus found it endearing and irritating at the same time.
"When are you going to learn to trust me?" he asked, his voice low and a sharp contrast to what it had been a moment before. "When are you going to believe me when I say I love you? That I want you, just you?"
'Never,' Severus thought, but would not voice his objection; not when he had every reason to believe Harry was looking elsewhere.
"Don't try to tell me you haven't thought about it, not with all these...people clinging to you everywhere you go. Order of Merlin recipient, Boy-Who-Lived, defeater of Voldemort—"
"Harry!" he shouted. "Just Harry! Do you think anything else matters when we're together? 'Harry and Severus,' that's it!" He paused and looked at him and Severus turned away, not wanting to be subjected to such criticism, not when the best thing that had ever happened to him was ending.
At once Harry deflated, sinking into his chair, his face twisted in pain, and Severus hated that it had to be this way.
"I think I'm going to go away for a little while," Harry said plainly, as though he wasn't ripping Severus' heart from his chest. "I think you need some time to...to think."
Severus set his features into a sneer and hissed out, "Don't call this anything other than what it is. Finally realized you can do better, have you Potter?"
But Harry just shook his head sadly. "No, Severus, but I can't do this anymore. I want you; all of you. I deserve that and you deserve...some peace. To not always be thinking that I'm sleeping with anyone who speaks to me."
He went into the bedroom and came out a few moments later with an overnight bag. Severus sat down in the chair Harry had occupied and held his breath. The most wonderful thing that had ever happened to him was leaving...and he wasn't the least bit surprised.
"Here," Harry said, handing him his Order of Merlin. "You keep this and give it back to me when you're ready to trust me. When you see it and everything you think I am for what they really are."
Shocked, Severus took the medal automatically, barely feeling it when Harry pecked him on the lips, only looking up as the door closed. And just like that, Harry was gone.
Severus stared into his breakfast at the Head Table the next morning, but it was sadly without knowledge on how to live his life alone. He'd been alone his entire life, never taking a lover until Harry had decided he loved him, so surely this shouldn't be so hard! He tried not to let his hair fall into his eggs, lest it become even more odd-looking and grimaced when Remus Lupin sat down next to him.
"Good morning, Severus," he said with far more cheer than any person should have so early in the day.
"Mmm," he said, taking a sip of his tea. "What are you doing here, Lupin? Finally crawl out of...whatever hole you're living in these days?"
Lupin smiled, ignoring the jibe at his financial status, and sat down next to Severus. "I love Hogwarts, Severus, but I actually did come up for a reason."
"Reason? I wouldn't—"
"Yes, you're very clever," he cut him off with a wave of his hand. "Harry showed up on my doorstep last night, Severus. He was very upset."
He paled at hearing Harry's name and at the knowledge of where he'd gone the minute he'd left home. He'd have preferred to be kept in the dark than to know where he'd run to. Or to whom he had run.
"Well, I'm sure you're very happy he's finally through with me."
"Not at all, actually. And Harry is miserable and, by the look of you, you're no better."
Severus flicked the hair out of his eyes and glared. "Now look here—"
"Understand this, Severus. Harry is the most trustworthy, most kind soul I've ever known and for some reason, he's decided he loves you." Lupin put up a hand to hold him off, but Severus wasn't planned on objecting to anything he'd said. He knew exactly how good Harry was.
"Do you not trust him, Severus?"
"It's not him I worry about. All those...people, his legions of fans—"
"And they're just that to him, Severus. Fans." With a sigh, Lupin turned to get an apple out of a fruit bowl and stood up.
"Decide if you can trust him, Severus, and soon. Harry's a patient man, but he's not an idiot."
And with that Lupin walked away, leaving Severus to stare once again into his eggs, but they still weren't giving him any answers. He sighed and decided to return to the dungeons to nurse his wounds in private.
It was a bit gaudy, Severus thought, holding Harry's Order of Merlin. Gaudy and...not like Harry at all. Harry was very simple. He liked simple things like scrambled eggs and pumpkin juice or plain white t-shirts and the sports section of the Daily Prophet.
This was...not simple. This was flashy. All of those people who always tried to get Harry's attention were flashy, with their unnaturally white teeth and pretty...
Harry wasn't like that, Severus realized, holding the damn thing, the fire making it shine even brighter.
No, shiny things had never held much sway with Harry. Much like Severus himself, he reasoned.
He chucked the thing on their sofa and put his face in his hands.
The very idea of Harry... It was too much to fathom, the idea of there being a 'forever' for them.
And yet Severus wanted to trust Harry, wanted to know what that would feel like. He'd never trusted anyone, least of all with his heart. He'd been alone all his life... It would stand to reason that he wouldn't know what to do with happiness when it dropped itself into his lap.
Was it even possible for him to accept a new life? To allow himself to...what? Truly be with someone, in a way that went beyond sharing a home and a bed?
He groaned at his own melodrama and poured himself a drink. Perhaps one more and he'd see Harry for himself.
Lupin opened the door and gave him a wide smile, ignoring the roll of Severus' eyes. Not waiting for an invitation inside, he merely pushed his way through and into the sitting room where Harry was sitting by the fire.
Looking up from the book he was reading, Harry's face lit up in happiness that he couldn't seem to hide.
Slowly, he walked into the room, watching Harry's eyes as he went, the Order of Merlin in his pocket.
He took it out and watched Harry smile as he hadn't in a long time.
"This..." he started slowly, picking his words carefully, "is a very silly thing. Inconsequential. It doesn't really mean anything."
Harry looked at him curiously, then seemed to understand. "Yes," he nodded his head. "I agree. Very silly."
"You are a hero, but no more today than yesterday."
Harry beamed and Severus was once again amazed that he had such power over him.
With a nod, he continued, "If I were to throw it away..."
"It wouldn't matter in the least," Harry said, supplying the answer joyfully.
"Harry," he whispered. "Just 'Harry and Severus.'"
"'Harry and Severus,'" he said, letting the phrase roll around his tongue. He liked the sound of it.
"I think you should put it in the box under the bed," he said tossing it to Harry. "The one with all your Quidditch trophies."
Harry made a happy little moan and nodded, his smile growing impossibly wider. "Silly, shiny things belong together."
Paying no mind to where Lupin could be lurking, Severus replied, "As well as us ones in between."
Harry really knew how to have an entire room at his feet, Severus thought while sitting at a table at yet another Ministry Gala. Having finally pushed the last of his anger and fear aside, he was able to enjoy watching the idiots as they gazed at Harry. The women whispered and giggled before walking over to him, their hips swaying and artificial breezes stirring their hair. The men were no better with the way they brushed against him, only slightly less annoying.
He didn't even try to quell the thought that Harry was all his and no one else's. Not when the same was true of himself to Harry.
When he looked over towards their table and smile, Severus felt apart of something grand for the first time in his life. He'd not felt this way as a member of the Order, as a professor, or as a potions master, and certainly not as a Death Eater.
Allowing himself to relax, he hid his smile behind his glass of wine as he watched Harry walk over to him.
"God, these people are idiots. Can we go home yet?"
"Done with the masses, Potter?"
They walked towards the Floos and arrived back home in under a minute, Harry pulling Severus towards him and giving him that infectious smile he adored.
"I wonder how long it'll take for those idiots to realize I'm yours."
Pulling Harry close to him, thanking whatever god was listening for his good fortune, Severus sighed and rubbed his nose into Harry's hair.
"Don't be so impatient. It took me two years, and I was paying attention."
Pulling back, Harry kissed him sweetly, lips slowly moving over one another before he looked up into his face.
"You got it in the end though. Yours," he said, relaxing into Severus' embrace.
"Yes," Severus said, holding him tighter. "Mine."