Disclaimer: Harry Potter, Severus Snape and all associated characters from the Harry Potter universe are the property of J.K. Rowling. The author is making no profit by this story.
"Severus, I am off to meet Hermione. Wanna join?"
Severus didn't even bother to look up from his work. Harry was leaning at the door observing him.
"Would I like to listen endless hours of inane chatter and mindless frolicking? Look at countless pictures of Weasley babies? Endure Mrs. Granger-Weasley's questions about Hair Straightening Potions?" Severus paused his knife in a mock-pensive gesture. "Let me think about it. Tempting, but ... no."
His knife came down like a guillotine on the writhing flobberworms.
"A simple 'No' would have been enough, Severus." chided Harry softly. He came over and kissed Severus on his cheek. "I'll be in Diagon Alley, pretty much the whole day. Do you need anything?"
"I shall be there myself to purchase some ingredients. You need not to worry about it."
"I can get them for you." offered Harry cheerfully.
"Of course you could, but you would buy the wrong ones and let some cheating shop owner overcharge you and ..."
"I get it. As your potion ingredient shopper I am useless." Harry said hastily and kissed him again before Severus could work himself into a fit. "I can only hope I am more useful in other departments."
He slapped Severus soundly on his bum.
"Don't do that while I am wielding a knife." hissed Severus, his cheeks suddenly red. "Imbecile."
"You are the sunshine of my life, Severus." laughed Harry. He grabbed a scone from the breakfast table and his cloak and darted off before Severus could retaliate with some well-worded but nonetheless scathing remark.
Grumbling Severus continued to cut and chop particularly rebellious flobberworms.
Being with Harry was not a good influence on him at all. Lately he realized it was harder and harder to come up with insulting retorts to Harry's bubbly endearments. Only a week before Minerva had congratulated him on his mellow temper and although he had felt a nearly irresistible urge to throw a tantrum at her words he had found he just couldn't work up his infamous rage.
Confused he had left the staff room and fled down to his dungeons.
He peered down and to his dismay saw that even flobberworms had little faces.
Enough was enough.
Angrily he chopped the heads off and gathered them into his jar. His brain was turning into mush and it was all Harry's fault. He would make him pay for that tonight.
He would not succumb to Harry's influence.
On his way to the new apothecary, just on the corner to Knockturn Alley Severus recognized a familiar silhouette in Madam Malkin's shop.
There between robes and cloaks and other shoppers was Harry, playing with the fabric of a wool cloak, a frown on his face.
He entered the store silently, as a young shop assistant took Harry's arm and led him away from the other customers to a corner that was partly separated from the rest of the room with two floor-length mirrors.
He ran his hand over Harry's shoulder and smiled into the mirror, then put the heavy wool cloak over him, in an almost reverent way.
Standing close behind him the man said: "It's a very fine cloak, made for formidable men like you."
He dropped his voice to a whisper and Severus had to struggle to hear what was said. "The silk lining is exquisite. You can wear this cloak on your naked skin."
As if to emphasize his words he caressed Harry's back.
Severus felt something cold in his insides. He clutched the door frame.
The shop assistant was tall and good looking, and above all ... so very young. He must be Harry's age. His long, blond hair was tied together but some locks fell into his angelic face. It was dark in the store but the man looked as if the sun was shining on him, light playing on his golden cheeks and in his blue eyes.
"We have other choices ... in the back of the store. I would be more than happy to show them to you." the man purred, his hands still on Harry's shoulders. "You know you look amazing in this cloak."
Harry turned around to the shop assistant and smiled at him.
Of course he would.
Severus had never told Harry that he looked amazing no matter how often he thought so. He had never smiled at Harry so openly and undisguised, full of longing and lust, but now he saw clearly that he had been a fool to believe that Harry didn't need this. Everybody needed to feel wanted, and Severus had never ever made an effort. He had taken Harry and his devotion for granted and now Harry would take what was offered so graciously to him.
Severus couldn't even blame him. It was his own fault. Now Harry would see that he didn't need to burden himself with a grouchy, aging potion master who was cutting flobberworms in his spare time and disliked his friends.
"I am seeing someone, so ... thank you, but I'll have to decline your offer." said Harry casually and looked pointedly at the shop assistants hands.
Severus heart pounded so loud in this moment he was astonished that the other customers in the room didn't turn to look at him.
"Oh, you mean ... isn't he a bit old for you? He won't be as ... flexible as I am." said the man. He smiled and revealed white, immaculate teeth. "And he doesn't need to know."
Severus took one step forward.
Then suddenly as if pulled by strings and very, very slowly the shop assistant lifted his hands from Harry's shoulder and waist and stepped back. Although Severus could only see his profile the fear in his features was unmistakable.
Then he saw the wand Harry dug into the man's throat, right into the jugular.
"If you say anything derisive about the man I love I will hurt you. If you ever touch me again like this I will hex you so badly your own mother won't recognize you." hissed Harry. With his left hand he threw the cloak off and pushed it into the man's hands. "The cloak is five inches too short - it isn't for me. It's a Christmas present."
The man nodded numbly, bunching the fabric in his hands.
"I apologize for my forwardness, Sir." he said to Harry who already turned his back on him and examined other robes and cloaks.
Severus left the store silently. Outside he shut his eyes leaning against the wall. The December sun was almost blinding him when he opened them again. Very briefly he lifted his head and let his face be warmed and caressed by the friendly light. Through the window he saw that Madame Malkin herself attended to Harry while the shop assistant took over her customers.
Severus strode towards the apothecary, his mind still reeling. He replayed the image of Harry defending him again and again.
Then, without even thinking he passed the apothecary and instead headed to the jewelry store behind Gringotts.
A/N: This ficlet was originally written for Torina Archelda on SeverusSighs who wanted romance :)