AN: Thank you to everyone who has read the story, reviewed, shared, or just browsed. I very much appreciate you all, and I love using you as testing grounds to improve my writing. ;) But seriously, thank you all, and I really hope you enjoy this last chapter. And if you're squeamish about sex, there's a few scenes of that in here, so you may wish to skip over it. Also, I can't remember if there's Shark week in the UK. There should be!
Professor Severus Snape,
Attic at the top of the stairs, Alwyne Street, London.
Please find enclosed a list of potions that are required by Friday. Healer Harrison Tetchly will collect you from the administration entrance of St Mungo's at 9 am sharp Monday, and escort you to a private brewing lab at the hospital.
All employment forms are to be completed and submitted at that time.
Healer 1st Class
St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
Dinner was not going to be out in Diagon Alley, Harry had decided. Diagon Alley was wondrous and cramped and packed full of people, and Harry wanted just a regular night out. Actually, what Harry was really craving was curry takeaway from down the street, but he'd offered to take Snape out and he didn't want to go back on his word.
"Well, there's a few fancy restaurants we can go to tonight. We can have steak, or go Italian, or...er, some place with fine wine?"
Snape was giving him a curious look, only partially paying attention as the judges at the front deliberated.
"Harry," Snape stated, in the exact same tone he used to command 'Mr Potter.' "A Tuesday evening with an almost-two year old?"
"Right," Harry said, tapping the wooden ledge in front of them with his knuckles. "There's great curry take-away down the road. We'll walk down with Theo, tire him out, get some beer and watch something stupid on the telly? I think it's shark week."
"Shark week," Snape deadpanned, voicing his scepticism. At the front of the room Kingsley banged a gavel on the table, ready to announce the panel's judgement.
"We have made a judgement based on evidence offered here today by the witnesses and the Ministry of Magic Aurors Division," Kingsley stated, his voice getting louder as he leaned forward to glare at Amos Diggory.
"As Minister of Magic, I pronounce you guilty of all charges and sentence you to eight years in Azkaban."
In the cage, Diggory barely flinched. He didn't lose the arrogant sneer on his face, which Harry had thought he might have once he realized that the lock up was real.
"I would order you to apologize to Mr Potter, Mr Bagman, and Mr Fudge, but I'm quite certain it wouldn't mean a thing."
Kingsley banged the gavel down on the desk, ending the case with a reverberating knock. The cage retreated back into the floor, stones around the hole crumbling as they skittered back into shape to cover the floor.
"Well, I hope I never have to be here again," Harry said with finality, standing up and following Snape out of the courtroom.
Two journalists were outside, one from the Daily Prophet and one from Witch Weekly. Had they not been standing right outside the courtroom door, Harry and Snape would have easily slipped down to the witness apparition point in the Auror office. As it was, the journalists were hot on Harry's heels as they swiftly walked down the hall.
"Mr Potter! What was your role in the court case today?"
"Mr Potter, is it true that Amos Diggory tried to kill you?"
"Professor Snape? Is the job you're starting at St Mungo's part of a probation program?"
"No comment," Harry said, apparating with Snape out of the Ministry before Snape could hex the reporter.
The tiny little park down Canonbury Road was relatively empty as they detoured there, the lone occupants being two seniors out on a walk with their miniature dogs. Theo waved at them from the pram, keeping up his own stream of conversation over the one Harry and Snape was having regarding the hearing.
"I should let him out to walk around a bit," Harry mused, looking down at Theo. "Get him sleepier."
"Did you bring his leash?" Snape asked, sounding completely serious. He'd put on a thin dress jumper over his white dress shirt, and looked like a well-to-do business muggle.
"You know, that's not a bad idea sometimes," Harry grinned, letting Theo out.
Harry played a bit of catch with Theo as Snape sat and wrote more in his book, notes for how to improve some of the stock brews he anticipated St Mungo's needing. They'd gotten back to the house around three in the afternoon, and now that it was five, were stalling a little before fetching dinner.
"Do you think the eight years is fair?" Harry asked, rolling the ball back to where Theo was squatting.
"Ball!" Theo said, jumping up with it.
"In Azkaban, that will be plenty," Snape said. He spoke with the tone of a man who had first-hand experience, which made Harry wonder. From all the memories he'd seen, and from what the headmaster had told him, Snape hadn't been imprisoned as a young death eater.
"Severus? Were you there?"
"Ball!" Theo warned, lobbing the ball in Snape's direction. Snape caught it and rolled it past Theo, causing the toddler to chase after it.
"My mother served three years, for killing a muggle," Snape said, returning to his notes and effectively ending the questioning. Harry didn't need to ask which muggle Eileen Snape had killed.
Snape collected two large plates and two mugs in the kitchen, setting them and some bottles of Runespoor Red beer to float after him down the hall. He heard Theo whining as he approached the living room, and stopped just outside to take in the scene.
"Theodore Jonathan Potter, lay down and let Daddy change you," came Harry's frustrated but stern-sounding voice.
"No no no no no," Theo huffed, squirming to get out of Harry's grasp. He was lying on a changing pad on the floor, toys scattered about him and his trousers flung aside. Naked from the tummy down, Theo was wriggling loose from Harry's grasp, and oddly, was sporting what looked to be a monkey's tail. Neither the baby nor Harry noticed Snape standing in the doorway.
"Yes," Harry growled, reaching blindly for the baby powder.
"Baaaaad," Theo tried again.
Harry muttered something under his breath as Snape stepped forward into the room, directing the food and drinks to the coffee table.
"I believe petrificus totalus is taught in first year?" Snape offered, sounding mock helpful.
"You can't petrify a baby," Harry hissed, turning his head around to glare at Snape. Whatever he'd cast seemed to be working though, as Theo didn't seem to have much purchase to wriggle against the floor.
"And what was that?" Snape asked, crossing his arms.
On the floor, Theo flopped his arms and started to cry, his hair growing out to Snape's length.
"Quicksand spell on the blanket. He's been grumpy since we got back from the walk," Harry said, finishing up and letting Theo crawl away.
Theo toddled over to Snape, standing beside him and doing a fair imitation of Snape's scowl as he looked at Harry.
"What exactly have you been teaching him?" Harry asked, standing up and dusting baby powder off his trousers. The changing pad and supplies wrapped themselves up neatly to be stored away.
"He's learning by superior example," Snape replied, holding his head up. Theo had lost interest though, and went to fetch his juice cup from the coffee table.
"Hmm. Well, keep that superior example from letting him try the curry," Harry said, flopping onto the couch and switching on the telly. A large whale shark appeared on the screen, and Theo's attention was instantly captured. As long as it kept Theo occupied while they ate dinner, Harry didn't mind that he was getting fingerprints all over the TV.
With all the grace of a toddler, Theo fell asleep sprawled out on the living room floor. He was on a foam play mat and surrounded by two stuffed monkeys and a toy train set, which Minerva had charmed to look like the Hogwarts express. His hair, which had been a strong black colour earlier in the evening, had returned to its original dirty brown in his sleep.
"He looks like Remus when he sleeps like that," Harry said, standing up from his chair and stretching. Cartons of curry takeaway were scattered on the coffee table, along with two mugs of mostly empty beer.
"He is Lupin's son," Snape reasoned, looking at the bare strip of midriff skin that was exposed as Harry stretched. "Though yours now as well. I've yet to see him without green eyes."
"I actually took him to a healer about that," Harry said, leaning over to scoop Theo up. "I adopted him when he was two or three months old, and the healer said babies' eyes don't usually get their true colour until they're six months to a year old. Something about melanin in the iris, I'm not really sure. But metamorphmagi have choice in their features, and his eyes were always green like mine when I first brought him home. The healer figures it's permanent now."
Theo pouted a little in Harry's arms, but Harry murmured nonsense to him and he settled. Snape was starting to get that 'you are a curious experiment' look on his face, so Harry cuddled Theo tighter.
"I'll just put him down, then," Harry said, quickly leaving the room.
When he got back to the living room, Snape had replenished the beer, filled a plate with seconds, and found another shark show on the telly. Instead of sitting in his own chair, Harry plunked down beside Snape on the couch and put his feet up.
"If you start requiring snuggling like some sort of teenage girl, the deal is off," Snape warned, permitting the closeness o Harry next to him anyway.
"Severus Snape, mood killer extraordinaire," Harry laughed, nearly snorting his beer.
"You don't have moods," Snape responded, leaning back against the couch, his legs against Harry's.
"Not really, no," Harry agreed good-naturedly. A close up of a shark's snapping jaw around a surfboard flashed on the screen and Harry flinched.
"Ah," Snape smirked knowingly, putting his arm up along the couch behind Harry's head. "Afraid of sharks."
"Shut up," Harry muttered.
Snape lay relaxed on the bed, in his sleep trousers and holding a book. It was another of the mass-market fiction paperbacks from Harry's bedside table. His feet were crossed, the baby monitor was blinking slowly from the table, and the curtains were drawn.
Harry stood at the door to the closet, looking out into the room. Snape had never said when he'd expected reciprocation, but it had been weighing in the back of Harry's mind all day and he wanted to complete the task.
Looking down at his skin-tight boxers, which were trim and flat, Harry nearly decided to abort his plans. He ran his finger along the seam of the doorframe, rubbing against a stray streak of paint that didn't quite match. Snape continued reading in bed, seemingly unaware that Harry was studying him.
Snape's long legs were stretched out on the table, seemingly thinner than the average male's, with surprisingly slender feet. He wasn't wearing a shirt, and even though he was slightly slouched against the headboard of the bed, Snape's stomach was mostly trim. His chest was surprisingly light on chest hair, and he had ordinary brown nipples like Harry. Harry's chest was covered in more hair, including a darker treasure trail than Snape, and he wondered if the larger amount of hair was considered less attractive. Or maybe it was manlier, and maybe Snape preferred that. Harry shook his head, wondering if he could even go through with pleasing the man if Harry didn't feel the slightest arousal from looking at him.
It was funny, Harry reflected, that he could remember quite clearly as a four or five year old, sitting in the Dursleys' car on the motorway and considering himself brilliant for deducing that mothers took a blue tablet when they wanted to have a baby boy, and a pink tablet for a baby girl. That made perfect sense to his child's logic, about as much sense as a few years later thinking that people woke each other up in the middle of the night for sex, instead of doing the act before they went to sleep.
Tapping his finger against the doorframe to shake himself out of stalling, Harry made his decision and walked into the room.
"Severus," Harry said, clearing his throat and trying to appear nonchalant as he walked into his own bedroom in just his pants.
Snape lowered his book slightly, looking at Harry through surprisingly stylish and thin-framed spectacles.
Harry moved to the bed, lightly climbing on it and perching on his knees. He sat back onto his heels, sucking in his stomach reflexively in slight embarrassment. Placing his hand slowly on Snape's thigh, Harry slid his fingers upward, dipping slightly to the inside of Snape's leg.
Snape widened his legs ever so slightly, and keeping eye contact with Harry, closed the book he was reading.
Harry's focus was on his own fingers, though, as he leaned further forward and they moved up Snape's thigh. His forefinger, slightly calloused from working around the house, snagged slightly against Snape's trousers and caused the material to bunch. By the time Harry had reached the junction of Snape's thigh and hip, the material of Snape's trousers had started to shift at the groin.
"I don't think I can go all the way to fellatio tonight," Harry said, his voice slightly louder than a whisper. His hand traced lightly over Snape's stomach, and up the hair trail to Snape's navel. It was quite obvious now that Snape was half hard, and Harry found it rather unbelievable that just the movement of his finger had caused that.
"You'll let me know if I do something wrong?"
Snape's hand reached out, his fingertips touching lightly under Harry's chin and drawing his attention back up to Snape's face.
"With pleasure, as usual," Snape said, his low voice sounding slightly different than normal. Perhaps hormones, Harry thought.
Harry gave a mock amused smirk to Snape, and calling on his courage, indicated for Snape to remove his trousers. They were banished with a flick of Snape's wand, and as Harry blinked at the heavy cock that was now exposed, Snape cast a few cleaning spells on himself.
Harry took a steadying breath, before reaching out and touching Snape again. He was inordinately glad that Snape was male and had the exact same parts as Harry, so Harry had some experience from his own infrequent forays into masturbation for reference. Snape was thicker than Harry though, and while it wasn't enough to fully detract from the experience, it was enough that Harry had to experiment with different grips.
Once he'd gotten accustomed to touching Snape, Harry realized that giving a hand job was really just like masturbating, from a different angle. He relaxed slightly, knowing that he was proficient enough at this to chase away his own orgasms, and would at least do a sufficient job for Snape. He was rather glad to note that Snape seemed to be a silent sexual partner, as Harry was quite certain any desperate words or moans would have likely sent him snickering.
Remembering (rather vividly) the events of the night before, Harry looked down at the glistening bead of pre-come welled up in Snape's foreskin. The rubbing motion Harry was providing seemed to spread it around the head, and Harry became curious to the taste. Noticing that Snape's eyes were closed, and that he'd probably be very receptive to Harry's willingness to try, Harry leaned over and took a tentative lick.
Not a very pleasant taste, saltier than he'd imagined it to be and rather musky. But the way Snape's hips had bucked had told Harry that the blowjob was very much welcome. Deciding that once he'd started that he'd may as well finish, especially if he wanted Snape to seriously consider staying with him, Harry moved over to kneel between Snape's legs.
He knew his technique was rubbish. Harry figured just holding on and licking was pleasant for Snape, but not mind blowing, yet it was the best he could do for his first time. He was rather grateful that he became used to the taste, as it made it easier to try different movements to his tongue. There were less thoughts of 'you're sucking a bloke," running through Harry's head.
After a few minutes, though it felt like twenty for Harry, his hair was lightly pulled and his attention directed towards Snape's dilated eyes and flushed cheeks. Snape didn't say anything, but put Harry's hand in his own, showing him exactly what sort of pressure and direction he liked. Harry kept on, feeling powerful as each stroke he completed seemed to untie Snape a little more. Finally the man stiffened, spurting onto his stomach and Harry's hand.
Snape's semen wasn't as thick as his own, was Harry's first thought as he sat back. Snape's cock had been twitching under his hand, and Harry let go as he remembered that post-orgasm was sometimes very sensitive.
"Not as good as you've likely had before," Harry said, trying to shrug off his performance anxiety. He scratched the side of his arm, fascinated by Snape's softening penis, and the fact that Snape didn't seem to be concerned about the come splattered on his chest.
"Do I appear like the type of man to be receiving a plethora of offers?" Snape asked, sounding sated and pleased.
"I don't think I'm the best judge of that," Harry said, his lips twitching into a smile. He'd brought a wet towel from the washroom after he'd brushed his teeth, and handed it over to Snape. Feeling satisfied with his first performance, as it were, Harry stretched out on his back on the bed.
"That was alright. I think I could do that on a regular basis," Harry said, sounding confident. He turned his head at Snape's snort. "What?"
"Are you aware of what full homosexual intercourse involves?"
"Yes," Harry said, his face tingeing red. "Are you a bottom or a top?"
Snape had a twisted smirk on his face as he sat up to summon some plain black y-fronts.
"An equal opportunist," Snape replied.
"Oh," Harry said. His hand was idly resting on his hip, in the natural crease of his leg. "So, you'll want both."
Snape finished putting his underpants on and slipped back into bed, folding himself into the sheets.
"I have ways of getting you hard enough to accomplish either task," Snape commented, sounding rather sure of himself. After the blowjob the night before, Harry was quite certain Snape wasn't lying.
"Oh, that's err. Good yeah."
Harry threw the wash towel in the general direction of the laundry hamper and wrapped himself in his half of the covers, relieved that Snape didn't seem to want to bring him off again.
"You weren't turned on?" Snape asked, plunging the room into darkness with his wand.
"No," Harry quietly responded. He felt like it was perhaps an insult to Snape that he wasn't, but the evidence in his boxers was rather clear. Or lack of evidence, to be precise.
"You do realise there is nothing wrong with that?" Snape asked.
Harry twisted around on the bed, flipping over to his stomach.
"I thought you'd want to reciprocate," Harry said, talking into his pillow.
"No. I much prefer to be selfish," Snape said, his voice sounding like this was a great personality trait to have. Harry laughed into his pillow.
Harry felt the bed shift, and shortly after felt Snape's warm hand settle on his back. Snape seemed to prefer to sleep in the recovery position, and didn't much like to cuddle.
"There will be no keeping tally in this relationship, Harry," Snape's sleepy voice stated a moment later.
This was only the second night he'd shared a bed with Snape, and Harry quite enjoyed how Snape seemed to put his sarcastic persona aside. It was almost as if the bed was off limits to insults.
"I shall not force you to receive pleasure. The suggested parameters of our agreement are for twice a week, and while I would like you to be involved, it would be rather dutiful to require you to orgasm after more single-focus activities."
Harry reached out and touched Snape's warm arm, scooting himself a bit closer so that he rested against Snape's warm skin.
"I think you're possibly the only person who wouldn't expect anything else."
Harry yawned, snuggling into his pillow and closing his eyes. He could feel Snape's fingers at the bottom of his neck, scratching softly through his hair, and smiled. It was almost as like Snape was a cat. Stubborn, independent, with a distinctive personality during the day, but in want of a calm scratch at night.
"Hey, what was that spell you used to banish your trews?" Harry asked, raising his head sleepily.
"Depulso" Snape responded, a lazy smirk sounding in his voice.
"What? Isn't that just the regular banishing spell?" Harry said, looking blindly in the dark at Snape.
"Ten points," Snape said, nudging Harry's head back down onto the pillow.
"You taught a clothing-banishing spell at a boarding school with teenagers?"
"Teenagers wearing uniforms that cannot be banished," Snape finished, stretching his feet out at the end of the bed.
"…fair play," Harry said, a bit gobsmacked that it had never even occurred to him that Hogwarts uniforms would have such protective charms on them.
"Na na na na na na na na," Theo hummed, carrying a red ball around the kitchen.
"Batman," Harry muttered, under his breath.
Wednesday morning had started sunny, an unexpected and very welcome surprise. Harry was making a morning salad for breakfast, and planned on taking Theo to the Burrow later. One small job had arrived from the Met, a case involving a family disputing over historic monies found in an old safe, and Harry wasn't due into New Scotland Yard until eleven at the earliest.
"Good morning," Harry said, as Snape walked into the kitchen.
"Ball!" Theo called, launching it at Snape. The ball bounced off the wall near Snape's face, seconds after Snape had pulled his wand at the perceived threat. Over by the table, Theo dissolved into giggles.
"There is something wrong with that boy," Snape grumbled, nudging the ball back to Theo with his foot.
"He's sixteen months old," Harry explained, setting toast and the teapot on the table. "Everything is a game."
"Ball!" Theo announced again, aiming the ball at Snape and missing completely.
"Come here, Theodore," Snape grumbled, crooking his finger in a 'come here' action. Theo, for some reason, didn't see Snape as any sort of threat and toddled over. Harry had just finished setting up a bowl of cheerios for Theo when he turned around and stopped. Theo was sitting on Snape's lap, and together they were looking over the Daily Prophet from the day before, Snape scowling at the front page and Theo trying to mimic him.
"Ludovic Bagman," Snape said, pointing at one of the smaller photos under the fold on the front page. "Hufflepuff, beater, reasonably smart before he met the wrong end of a bludger too many times." Theo pointed at the paper as well, trying to poke Ludo's picture into doing something.
"Want to share Severus' salad, Theo?" asked Harry, putting the cheerios beside Snape's plate.
The salad was just spinach mixed with strawberries and almond slivers, something light and healthy that he knew Theo would like. Theo hadn't eaten almonds before, so Harry was sure they'd be ignored, but he knew Snape's strawberries would be stolen.
"Yep!" Theo agreed, holding his hand out for his toddler fork.
Just after Harry had sat down to start his own breakfast, an owl circled above the back garden. Harry waited as the wards checked the delivery, before opening the window to let the paper delivery in.
"Ahh bloody hell," Harry exhaled, covering his mouth with his hand to stop himself from laughing.
"Daddy," Theo pointed across the table, looking up as if to make sure Snape knew who Harry was.
Harry spoke before Snape got the chance, reading directly from the paper.
And Baby Makes Three?
Yesterday at the Ministry of Magic both Harry Potter and Severus Snape were seen exiting Courtroom Nine, where a case against attempted murderer Amos Diggory was heard concerning charges covering an attack on the Chosen One and misuse of muggle artefacts. Diggory's son, Cedric, was killed by a Death Eater at the final competition of Hogwarts' Tri-Wizard tournament in 1995, and he was cited as saying revenge was his reasoning for all of his actions.
Harry Potter, who has made himself rather sparse since the ending of the great wizarding war, was looking older, slightly scruffier, and dressed in a manner that suggest his jeans and t-shirt days are over.
"My t-shirt and jean...I was a bloody teenager," Harry said, in mock outrage.
"Keep reading, no side comments," Snape said, waving his hand to keep Theo from stealing a strawberry.
"Umm," Theo insisted, grabbing for it anyway.
"Oh all right, you're in here too," Harry muttered, looking for the spot he'd stopped at.
After the trial, Mr Potter returned home and then out for a walk with his adopted son in an affluent London neighbourhood, accompanied again by Severus Snape. Potions Master Severus Snape, as many of the younger generation know, is a very strict and nasty tempered former professor and headmaster of Hogwarts, in addition to having a very chequered past as a former Death Eater spy. Nonetheless, and regardless of the fact that Harry Potter once witnessed Professor Snape murder the Headmaster of Hogwarts, the two appeared quite chummy in the park. Professor Snape even played with Potter's son; leading one to wonder just how much time they spend together.
"Dreadful editing," Snape scoffed, holding up a strawberry for Theo to take a bite of. "It was more euthanasia than murder."
"He's going to be very messy," Harry warned, nodding at Theo. "And it's written by Lavender Brown. I don't think you were ever her favourite professor."
Is Harry Potter still single? Nothing conclusive can be made of the photos, and neither Snape nor Potter were overly close in the muggle park. But be warned, fellow witches, your days of winning Harry Potter over just may be numbered!
"Oh, alright, really?" Harry sarcastically said, spreading the paper out on the table to look at the other articles.
"Me! Me me me!" Theo cheered, pointing to the picture of them at the park and smudging strawberry juice all over the print.
Ron showed up at the house just after five, for their customary Wednesday afternoon paintball game. Harry, who'd spent most of the afternoon in a windowless office looking over old money, was rather itching to get out. He had some steam to let off still from Monday night's scuffle, and today was the day that he and Snape would decide on their trial relationship. Harry was a bit nervous about that, as he didn't like the idea of being the only adult again in the house.
"Ron!" Harry yelled, shoving another tub of paintballs into his bag. "Come on, we'll be late!"
"No we won't," Ron scoffed, stepping out the washroom. He was wearing muggle army fatigues, and his paintball gun was on the table.
"You sure you can leave the monkey with Snape?" Ron asked, messing up Theo's dark green hair as Theo tried to open the fridge.
"Trust me, he's fine. Snape resisted the urge to harm me as a student, and Theo actually likes him."
Footsteps sounded from the cellar door just as Ron leaned over to whisper a secret to Theo. "You're crazy if you think you can tame him."
"Why are you still here?" Snape demanded, his face cross, but his lips twitching into a small smile for Theo.
"Yeah, yeah, we're going," Harry said, waving him off. "Meet you there, Ron?"
"You got it," Ron said, disapparating as he finished his sentence.
Harry walked over to kiss Theo on the top of the little boy's head, before standing beside Snape.
"See you later, and thanks for watching him," Harry said, his hand squeezing lightly around Snape's bicep. He leaned up awkwardly, and after a long hesitation, kissed Snape at the side of his neck. It was warm, Snape's hair was down, and his neck was remarkably soft despite the scars.
"Bye," Harry said, fighting his natural inclination to blush
So Ron," Harry said, ducking a neon yellow coloured paintball that seconds later splattered on some corrugated metal sheeting above his head. "Are you doing anything Saturday?"
Ron stood up, raising his head just enough to see over the wooden bunker they were hiding behind.
"Don't think so," Ron answered, firing a shot at a muggle who was darting between bunkers. Harry watched as the blue paintball curved after the player and hit him.
"Did you charm the paintballs?" Harry asked, lowering his aim for a moment.
"I didn't," Ron protested. "They're a new Weasley product. Fred calls 'em Blue Shells."
"'Course he does," Harry muttered. Harry kneeled beside Ron, using the same gap in the bunker to aim his shot from. "How's Ginny liking Wales?"
They both aimed at the same time and took out a player who'd been whooping war cries to unsettle newer paint ballers.
"Loves it so far, and she's dating some bloke on the farm team for the Caerphilly Catapults."
Both Ron and Harry ducked as a barrage of red and orange paintballs headed their way.
"Wanted me to tell you that the photo of you and Snape is cute," Ron added, failing to completely stifle his laughter.
"Balls to that," Harry said. "Lavender Brown sent a reporter after me, and you remember what she's like."
"Maybe, but that cosy little family photo wasn't faked," Ron teased, turning his head to listen to the yelling out in the open arena.
Harry swung his arm around and shot Ron in the thigh.
"OW, dammit Potter!"
"Looks like you're out this round, Weasley," Harry smirked.
Ron used magic to banish the paint though, leaving himself in the game.
"Some friend you are," Ron muttered. Harry figured Ron would likely pay back the shot much later, when Harry wasn't expecting it. "I'll have a bruise for days."
"I'm sure Hermione will take care of you," Harry dryly commented.
"What are you planning for Saturday?" Ron asked, not commenting on Hermione.
"Just a back yard barbecue," Harry shrugged, trying to sound natural about it.
"Snape'll be there?" Ron asked, scrutinizing Harry.
"He lives there," Harry reminded. "And the barbecue is sort of for him."
"Really," Ron said, his eyes widening just the tiniest bit.
"Yeah, well, he starts his new job on Monday, and I don't get the feeling anyone has celebrated any of his accomplishments bef- wipe that look off your face Weasley before we test how fast a paintball bruises your arse," Harry threatened. Instead of sticking around though, Ron disapparated with a laugh.
Harry went through his normal pre-bed routine, walking down the hall to his bedroom in his boxers. It was a bit odd to have Snape already in the room, waiting for him, but Harry found he rather liked the company. After a childhood of sleeping alone in a cupboard, it was almost like having his own personal protection there with him while he slept.
"So, err, all your stuff planned for the job on Monday?"
"Yes," Snape said, giving Harry a funny look. "Tomorrow I have an appointment at Gladrags."
"Oh! That's brilliant, yeah," Harry said, making a mental note to Floo call them and offer to pay for most of Snape's robes. "Maybe something less dark.."
Harry trailed off as he saw the 'You must be stupid look' Snape was giving him.
"Or black. Black's good too."
"About your experiment," Snape started, ignoring the remarks about his wardrobe.
"Yeah, I had...did you enjoy it?"
"I should think you're more the one with the restriction," Snape replied, amused.
"I liked it, yeah. And it wouldn't be permanent, of course, just in case we change our minds much later."
"Why, Harry?" Snape simply stated, sitting back on the bed and observing. He was looking completely at ease in Harry's room, as if it had been partially his all along.
"I told you," Harry said, holding his dress shirt up for inspection. Tomorrow he'd have to return to New Scotland Yard to get further information on his newest case. "I've very little interest in sex, but I still want to have a partner that I can joke with, count on, trust, respect, and lean on when I need to. You're one of the only people, not including Hermione and the Weasleys, who knows nearly everything about me."
Snape gave him a considering look.
"You know me and you've never once gone to press about it. I don't want to have to explain to someone that I'm not broken and I don't want sex all the time. I'm...comfortable with you."
"And you believe I have the same conclusions? That I will have little luck finding my own partner on my own?" Snape asked, his voice emotionless.
"I've no idea," Harry sighed, shaking his head. "Would it be easier to just settle with me? You'd still get some sex, a nice house to live in, and I don't mind funding some potion equipment."
Snape ignored that, or seemed to, and stood up to remove his trousers.
"You're comfortable with me," he repeated, his back to Harry. "Even though you've tried to curse me more than once."
"Oh, don't get me wrong," Harry cheerfully explained, hopping one foot as he shook off his sock. "Some days I want to sell you to the mob. But you've been such a constant in my life; I can't really imagine trusting myself or Theo with anyone else."
Snape turned around and looked at Harry, his black eyes soft and searching. Satisfied with whatever he'd found in Harry's body language, as Harry stood in only boxers and an undershirt, Snape strode forward to stand in front of Harry.
"You will find, Harry Potter," Snape said in a voice that Harry thought was probably meant to be seductive. "That I have similar reasons for choosing this relationship as well."
Snape kissed Harry once, a strong kiss that ended just before Harry became uncomfortable. It was followed by a flop on the bed, and with the exception of Snape's warm arm brushing ever so slightly against Harry's side, no other touching.
"So you're in?" Harry said, talking to the dark.
"Obviously," came Snape's answer, drawn out and in a tone that suggested he was rolling his eyes as well.
Harry was entirely certain he'd not be able to take the smile off his face as he fell asleep. After eight years in a wizarding world where everyone had demanded him to play the hero and fight for them, he was settling with someone who actually respected his private wishes and personal quirks.
Planning the party for Saturday, Harry decided to take Snape with him for groceries on Friday afternoon. He thought this would be smart, as he'd have better odds of purchasing the sort of foods that Snape liked, foods that weren't a necessity as much as a treat. Harry hadn't banked on Snape's running commentary during the entire trip.
"She's been flirting with you for five minutes," Snape said, dropping tinned peas in the shopping cart.
"She what?" Harry asked, whipping his head around to look at a thin blonde girl. "Rubbish, she was talking to Theo."
"Two galleons," Snape said, raising his eyebrow at Harry.
"Fine," Harry challenged back. He furrowed his brows in confusion as Snape took over the trolley, and sent him to get some tomatoes.
"Get ones big enough to fit in the cup of your hand," Snape oddly requested.
"Whatever," Harry said, stalking over to the tomato bin and picking up ones he thought were big enough. He cupped them in his hand, holding them up to see that they fit well. In no time the girl had found her way over to the same section, nudging herself up against the display of green peppers.
"Your little brother is cute," the girl said, reaching across the entire bin of tomatoes for one in the top corner. Harry thought it was rather ridiculous, as there were perfectly good tomatoes at the closer end of the bin.
"That's my son, actually," Harry corrected. He could see Theo sitting in the trolley, jabbering to Snape.
"Really?" the girl said, looking at Harry in surprise. "I didn't think you were that old."
"I'm nineteen," Harry said, with a casual shrug. He had a sinking feeling in his gut that he was out two galleons.
"I'm Polly," the girl responded, flashing Harry a smile full of bright, white, perfectly aligned teeth.
Over by the fresh juice section, Snape leaned onto the push handle of the trolley to whisper conspirationally to Theo. Theo, who still enjoyed grabbing at things, tried to scrunch his fingers through Snape's longer hair.
"Your father is a completely oblivious dunderhead," Snape said, twisting his head to avoid Theo's fingers.
"Dada," Theo giggled, wrapping his arms around himself and grinning.
"Yes, I suppose he is rather endearing," Snape offhandedly remarked, giving a soft look across the produce to Harry. He'd often found the flustered look on Harry Potter's face to be a mixture of exasperating and…something else. Before long, Harry quickly made his way back to the trolley.
"Here's your two bloody galleons," Harry grumbled, digging the coins out his pocket.
"What's that scrap of paper there?" Snape asked, his eyes spotting it easily after years of teaching students who tried to hide notes.
"Just some random numbers."
Friday afternoon saw Harry bored. He'd been through all his work files, written up the beginnings of a report for the forged old money case, and washed all the windows in the kitchen. It was pouring down rain, and he couldn't even go for a walk, because Theo was taking an afternoon nap. Well, he could go for a walk, and just ask Snape to watch Theo, but Harry didn't feel any urge to get soaked.
Deciding he'd go see what Snape was up to, Harry clipped the baby monitor to his back jeans pocket and headed upstairs. Snape was in his front room, sorting through boxes of books that appeared to be a mixture of both muggle and magic.
"Hi," Harry said, plunking himself down and picking up the top book. The cover was a picture of the Vitruvian Man, with the add-on of a tail.
"Bored, Mr Potter?" Snape asked, in his best teaching voice.
"Yes, actually. There's not even lightning to watch," Harry answered, flipping through the book. Some images inside were of rather grotesque partial-transformations. Snape didn't answer him, so Harry looked up after a moment's silence and caught the studying gleam in Snape's eyes. "What?"
"I have an experiment I'd like to conduct," Snape said, replacing the pile of books on his lap to the couch.
"What kind of experiment?" Harry asked, his interest piqued.
"Basic biology," Snape answered immediately. "I have concluded that regardless of your asexuality you can be aroused by touch..."
"Because of it," Harry interrupted.
"Don't interrupt. But I have yet to determine if you can maintain an erection long enough for intercourse."
"I don't, er. That is, I'm a virgin," Harry stuttered, focusing on the book at not looking up at Snape.
"I am aware," Snape responded. His voice held no scorn in it though, and when Harry made eye contact, Snape looked more pleased with the fact than ready to tease Harry about it.
"All right, then," Harry agreed softly.
Harry, feeling incredibly exposed and rather nervous, lay on his stomach on Snape's bed. The bed was softer than his own, slightly smaller, and had the very slight smell of Snape's after-shave still on the pillows. He could hear Snape walking around behind him, and no longer could resist the urge to turn around. Snape was fetching items from the dresser, walking about completely in the nude and seemingly not to care that his bits were on display. Harry turned his head back to the pillow as he felt Snape's hand at the base of his back, and tried to relax as he heard two spells murmured.
"Wait, I thought - "
"It will be me," Snape said, his fingers lightly massaging Harry's backside and his voice very low. "I should like you to experience some of the fun."
Harry was about to reply when he felt his cheeks being spread and his mind going blank. What, exactly, was he supposed to say to his former professor that was looking at him right there? Harry then felt how strong and dexterous Snape's tongue was though, and the point became rather moot.
"Oh, that's so...ooh. Wrong," Harry said, sighing into the pillow. His mind kept screaming at him to be embarrassed and squiggle away, but Harry had never become hard that fast before, not that he could ever remember.
"Why...ahhh," this time Harry did squirm, wriggling slightly up the bed.
"Too close?" Snape asked, and Harry could just hear the smirk in his voice.
"I've never been this hard," Harry confessed, unable to imagine anything that would cause this type of reaction by his body. "You'd better, lie down, or move, or whatever quickly before I lose it."
Harry squirmed again as he felt a strong thumb massaging him, an utterly bizarre feeling but not altogether unwelcome. In as much time as it took Harry to catch his breath, Snape had stretched out on his stomach beside Harry.
"I assume you're at least familiar with condom usage," Snape said, resting his head on his crossed arms as if he were preparing for just a massage.
"Yes," Harry muttered, fumbling open the package. He was glad Snape had provided one, as the idea of sticking his penis in someone's bum wasn't all together appealing. If he didn't think about Snape's own tongue being there, he wouldn't lose the erection he'd gained from the feeling either.
"Now, Harry. I've prepared myself."
"Euw," Harry said, picturing what that involved. He had read a book on gay sex, and was still of the opinion that fingers belonged outside of the body. Snape hadn't lied though, and it only took a medium amount of effort for Harry to nudge in. Nothing he'd read had come close to the feeling that he was experiencing, and Harry's fingers trembled as he tried to remain slowly in control. Snape didn't seem to have the same patience though, and his muscles moved in ways Harry thought ought to have been illegal.
"P-p-pause," Harry said, closing his eyes tightly.
"You get thirty seconds to adjust, Potter," Snape said, his voice strained and jaw clenched. "After that I expect a fucking so hard I see lightning bolts when you come."
Harry blinked his eyes in surprise at Snape's language, his body coming back from the brink of orgasm.
"Is that even poss –"
"Right!" Harry blurted, snapping his hips and pretending he was practising a new quidditch move he'd invented.
Theo's favourite outfit was a pair of storm blue cargo shorts and a forest green shirt with white edged sleeves. It of course had a picture of a monkey on it, and matched his blue monkey bucket hat that Harry had gotten him at the beginning of the summer.
Harry made sure to dress Theo in that outfit on Saturday, including the hat to protect against the sun. The rain hadn't returned, and Theo was gleeful to be playing in the back garden again.
"Your son is eating dirt," Snape informed Harry, sticking his head into the kitchen.
"Don't let him," Harry replied, exasperated as he looked at Snape. Snape, who was still wearing long trousers (grey, instead of black), but had switched out the long sleeved cream shirt for a blue thin striped one with the sleeves rolled up.
Harry was still preparing a salad for dinner, having already set the plate of hamburgers by the barbecue, when his friends arrived.
"Harry!" Hermione greeted, apparating neatly into the kitchen. Ron followed closely behind, carrying a beat up notebook that resembled the science homework that had been due the day before.
"Thanks for the wine, Hermione," Harry said, giving his best friends a one-armed hug.
"It's not for you," Hermione promptly informed him. "Ron brought you beer."
"Yes, yes I did," Ron said, grinning.
"Theo's outside, if you want to go entertain him. I'll be out in a minute," Harry said, crunching on a carrot and feeling content.
Harry stepped out with the bowl of salad a few moments later, watching with amusement as Ron tried to teach Theo how to pick up the ball with his monkey tail.
"A useful skill, if he becomes an animagus," Snape observed, standing by the barbecue.
"Yeah, it would be," Harry considered.
Minerva, who was sitting at the patio table, animated the ball so that it zig-zagged away from Theo.
"That's cheating, that is!" Ron said, trying to keep Theo from tripping on the grass as he chased the ball.
"I'm not sure which one is more entertaining to watch," Harry confessed quietly, catching Snape's smirk out of the corner of his eye.
The hamburgers were finished in short order, and Harry discovered that Snape apparently had a hidden talent as a barbecue griller. He nearly snorted beer out his nose at the face Ron made as Snape was dressing up his lunch. Ron, the man who would eat almost anything at Hogwarts, scrunching his face at Snape's application of peanut butter to the burger.
"It's all in the oils, Mr Weasley," Snape said, making a show of eating his hamburger. Minerva merely shook her head and dabbed at her lips with her napkin, signifying to Harry that Snape's eating habits probably came up often as conversation at the staff dining table.
"Stop making that face, Ron," Hermione admonished. "So what's the celebration then, Harry?"
She'd had quite a bit of her wine, shared with Minerva, and Harry was a bit hesitant and wanting to know what either of them had been talking about.
"If you'll wait a moment – Ron, come help," Harry said, standing up. He nipped into the kitchen, Ron following behind, and tore the invisibility cloak off the cake he'd gotten.
"Congratulations on your job, Severus," Ron read, twisting his head to read all the tiny letters.
"The lady at the shop made me confirm the name three times," Harry said, shaking his head.
"Greasy git wouldn't have fit then, eh?"
"Ron..." Harry warned.
"I'm allowed to tease. Looks like he'll be around for a while," Ron said, crossing his arms and trying to look intimidating. He was also looking at Harry for confirmation, and after letting his shoulders down, Harry gave a small smile. "Yeah, afraid so."
"Thought so," Ron said, smiling like he was about to take checkmate. "Hermione'll be jealous I figured it out first."
"As long as you weren't betting on it," Harry warned, fetching a large knife to cut the cake with.
"Nah, I only bet on the Cannons. What kind of cake?"
"I don't know what it's called, but it's chocolate and has a raspberry jam-like filling in it. Severus said one day that he really liked chocolate and raspberries."
"Too much information," Ron grimaced.
Harry picked up the cake and headed for the door, a confused look on his face.
"What? He was talking about ice cream, what's wrong with that?"
Ron, carrying the plates, forks, and an extra bib, rolled his eyes.
"Nothing, Harry. Nothing at all."
Theo made an absolute mess of the cake. He ended up with chocolate in his hair, jam on his nose, and icing all over his shirt. He was giggling and chattering to everyone though, hamming it up for the camera Hermione had brought. Snape was quieter; sitting at the end of the table and neatly cutting away at his cake, seeming to savour the slice he had. Harry had not missed the look of surprise and appreciation on Snape's face as he brought the cake out, and he vowed to corner Aunt Minerva later to find out when Snape's birthday was.
The weather stayed fairly pleasant, and Harry closed his eyes as he sat back into his deck chair. Theo, to his right, had been let out the high chair and was chasing a butterfly around the garden with Minerva. Ron and Hermione were in a ferocious debate with Snape, over the use of some sort of household cleaner as an animal deterrent for the garden. Ron was pro use, Hermione anti, and Snape seemed to think it should be used on students as well.
Harry heard the muted sound of the phone ringing, coming from the open window of his study. Likely another job, but perhaps for a different bank. Another puzzle for him to be paid to solve.
"Daddy!" Theo shrieked, running up to Harry's chair. He was holding a small grass snake in his hand, which seemed to be lazily enjoying the ride. "Sake!"
Harry noticed that Theo had transformed his tongue into a forked snake one.
"I see! And it's a pretty green one too!" Harry said, relieved that the snake seemed to think Theo was no threat at all. "Don't bite him," Harry hissed in parseltongue.
Theo seemed to think this was funny, and tried hissing at the snake himself.
"Go show Severus what you caught, Theo," Harry suggested.
A grin broke out on Theo's face and he ran awkwardly toward the other end of the deck, holding up his hand.
"Papa!" Theo called, nearly crashing into Snape and thrusting his little green capture forward. "Sake!"
Snape raised his eyebrow at Harry, seemingly slightly uncomfortable to be called Papa in front of Ron, Hermione, and Minerva. Harry lazily waved his arm though; prompting Snape to kneel down and inspect the snake Theo had caught.
Snape still seemed very aware of the others standing by him, but Harry figured he'd have years to get used to being called Papa.