Warnings: A bit of meta and a bit of a bastard Severus. Spoilers for Rosemary's Baby, Halloween, and the Exorcist.
Notes: This was written for the SeverusSighs com for last year's Halloween. I just finished the next chapter of P&C (it's in beta, for those that are reading) and I didn't have time to write something for this year. Hope you all enjoy this tiny little thing.
"I don't know why you enjoy those—those things so much."
"They're just films, Severus," Harry said with a laugh. "And besides, sometimes it's fun to be afraid for a little while."
Severus walked into their sitting room and hung up his cloak. "After everything we've been through in our lives, I would have thought you'd had enough of being afraid and would settle for a quiet evening in."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Well, this isn't real. I mean, none of the things that happen in these films could ever really happen. There's no such things as..." He paused and seemed to consider his words, then said, "Well, not those kinds of ghosts."
Severus sniffed. "I should hope not. The Bloody Baron may not be the happiest individual, but I can say with absolute certainty he's never massacred a horde of teenage Slytherins whilst having a slumber party."
Harry chuckled and threw himself on their sofa, toeing his shoes off before putting his feet up.
"Well, I like being a bit scared. It's fiction, Severus."
He picked up Harry's feet and placed them on his lap thoughtfully, absent-mindedly playing with Harry's big toe as he considered a way to stop Harry from dragging him to dull horror films every October. Really, all he wanted to do tonight was have a quiet evening in holding Harry here on the sofa. Failing that, he would settle for a relaxing one; one that didn't involve fake blood and high-pitched screaming.
"You know, Howards End is going to be playing in the old theater next week."
"Howards End?" Harry asked, confused.
"Yes," Severus responded. "It has Emma Thompson. You like her."
Tilting his head to the side, Harry squinted as he thought. "Yeah, but it also has Helena Bonham Carter. I don't like her."
"Oh? I think she's a wonderful actress. Why don't you like her?"
"She reminds me of Bellatrix."
"Oh," Severus said, confused. "Well, Thompson reminds me of Trelawney, but I don't hold it against her."
Harry stared at him for a minute, then shook his head of the image. "Severus. It's Halloween, and Halloween means scary—cushion-in-front-of-face scary."
Severus scoffed. "But those films aren't even truly frightening," he said softly, holding Harry's foot down as he tried to pull away.
"Not frightening? You half jumped out of your seat when you saw the demon's face in The Exorcist!"
"Cheap thrills," Severus said.
"Or the end of Rosemary's Baby when all the Satanists gather 'round the crib at the end."
"I could have told you all children are the spawn of Satan. We didn't need Roman Polanski to tell us that."
Harry laughed and tried one last time. "Halloween. When Michael Myers sits up at the very end..."
"Why does the female lead in all these films have to be so very stupid?" Severus asked, exasperated. "They should be running out the door, but instead it's 'oh, let's run to the attic or the basement.' Oh, yes," Severus huffed, "nothing could possibly be waiting for you up there."
Harry laughed and then looked at Severus curiously.
"Can you do better?"
Cocking an eyebrow, Severus asked, "Do what better exactly?"
"Tell a horror story. Come on then," Harry said jumping up a bit so he was sitting on his knees on the sofa. "Scare me."
With a smirk, Severus thought for a moment, calculating exactly how he could best frighten Harry. Reality, he thought, or a different version of reality might do the trick. After all, Harry said fiction didn't frighten him.
Cleaning his throat, Severus began, "It was a dark and stormy night—"
"'A dark and stormy night'?" Harry asked in a mocking tone. "Really? Is that really the best you can do?"
"Quiet, brat, and allow me to tell the story." He cleared his throat again and continued, "It was a dark and stormy night... The wind blew so strongly it had no trouble making its way to our heroes."
"Our heroes who were currently facing an evil monster inside an abandoned shack."
Harry narrowed his eyes.
"Our first hero, Stephen, lay wounded on the floor, his life's blood seeping from his wounds after failing to stop the monster's slippery familiar from sinking its teeth into his throat..."
"I don't like where this is going."
"The idiot chit with the bushy hair, who was one of Herbert's, the second hero, side-kicks, fumbled in her pockets. But to Herbert's horror, she hadn't thought to carry the crucial healing potions that would have sustained Stephen's life for the time it would have taken help to arrive—"
"Stop it, Severus, this isn't funny."
"Without any potions, all hope was lost. Distraught, Herbert leaned over Stephen's rapidly cooling body and wept as he lay dying."
Harry's eyes went wide.
"Slowly, and in great pain, the light in Stephen's dark eyes faded and he died."
Harry looked horrified, then made an odd sort of sobbing sound.
"The long years passed and Herbert grew up...and got married." Severus loomed closer to Harry and lowered his voice menacingly. "Got married to...Ginevra Weasley!"
"Ahh!" Harry screamed, flew across the sofa into Severus' arms. "Oh, God, no!"
Chuckling, Severus held on tight as Harry tried to squeeze the life out of him.
"Harry, I have to breathe at some point."
"Sorry," he said, his voice muffled by Severus' robes. His death grip loosened somewhat, but he still didn't let go. "That wasn't funny."
"It was supposed to be frightening."
"Well it was!" Harry growled, picking his face up and leaning back a bit. "Don't ever say something like that! I don't know what I'd have done if you'd died. And marrying Ginny..." he trailed off, then made a 'yuck' sound.
Severus ran a hand through Harry's hair and stroked it until the panting and trembling had eased. "Alright, now?"
Harry sighed and nestled into Severus' arms again. "Yeah, I don't think I want to be scared anymore for a while."
Severus smiled to himself. "Do you still want to go out?"
"After that? No, just here with you, please."
Feeling a bit contrite, Severus placed a kiss on his forehead, and whispered, "It was only a story. I'm here." Harry nodded against him and Severus felt his body relax a fraction, melting more into the embrace.
Mentally congratulating himself, Severus held Harry closer and spent the rest of the evening exactly as he'd wished: just him and Harry and a sofa.