-CHAPTER SEVEN: Good Intentions-
It was late afternoon that Severus was disturbed by a knock on the hospital door. He was groggy from the morphine and in pain, which was to be expected, but he was thoroughly milking it while he could. Harry was asleep by his bedside, slumped half out of the chair and snoring softly. Aside from a slight concussion and a nasty wound in the form of 'naughty boy' on his tummy he was in good health. Severus' blood had burned when he had seen the wound. The bitch had carved the words into Harry's flesh.
"Come in," he said quietly, flicking his gaze to Harry. The boy hadn't woken.
"Ah – Mr. Snape, It's good to finally meet you." Severus' heart leaped into his throat and morphine forgotten his body was wide awake as he stared at the police officer in the doorway. The man was smiling at him, which inevitably put him off. "I come bearing news of Hestia Tinkleburn." The officer elaborated. Severus nodded.
"– got to get the elves home, Santa."
Both men looked to Harry as he mumbled vocally before snorting and resuming his snoring once more. "How are you feeling?" the man asked, taking it upon himself to perch on the edge of the bed. He held a clipboard to his chest and watched Severus expectantly.
"Like I've been broken and repaired with glue and tape, but otherwise fine. You said you have news?"
"Ah, yes," the man gave an impish smile and looked to his clipboard, "I'm Officer Reynolds, by the way. You've had quite the rough few days by the looks of things." Reynolds gave a chuckle to himself and Severus held back his sigh. He wished the man would start with the information.
"Hestia has been detained at an inpatient treatment facility for the mentally unstable. She is being charged with first degree murder, for her husband and battery and attempted murder for you and Mr. Potter. In relation to the harm she has inflicted upon the pair of you she will be trailed in a Court of Law and sentenced the maximum sentence."
Severus just nodded, not really sure he wanted to know what was to happen to the old woman. "And Harry and I?" Reynolds looked confused for a brief second.
"What do you mean?" he inquired and pushed aside his thick bangs.
Severus pinched the bridge of his nose, "are we in trouble?" he said simply. The officer chuckled loudly and Harry snorted again.
"Of course not. You are the victims here, Mr. Snape. The police department done everything they could to warn you after the armed-robber escaped from the café, we thought perhaps he was coming after you,"
"You were chasing us." Severus deadpanned as if the piece of information was commonsense.
"No, you left. We got the story straighten out by Mr. Berkin's, he said you fought for the weapon –"
"I shot a police officer." Reynolds nodded his agreement.
"Yes, but he had protection in the form of a bullet-proof jacket. We understand that our initial thought on you being one of the robbers was incorrect. You fled the scene too quickly for us to get the story from you."
"You came to my house, broke down my door." Severus was sitting up now, it hurt his stomach but he managed it.
"Constable Linda did, yes, she was checking in on you,"
"One of the robbers escaped as mentioned, we chased him, however, he got away. We had to take every precaution possible; he is an infamous robber and has been known for battery. We feared he might try and track you down."
"So the police at my house were trying to protect me?"
Officer Reynolds smiled, "I supposed we all had it a bit backwards. Had you known we were not after you, and indeed looking for you to make sure you were safe, this whole scenario could have been avoided." He gave an ironic chuckle and shook his head.
"So let me get this straight," Severus and Reynolds both startled and looked over at a very much awake Harry, "the police make a mistake by identifying Sev as a robber, the people in the café straighten this notion out, but by then we have already fled in fear of being punished. Linda shows up at Severus' house, didn't bother to ring, but it was all in good grace, she wanted to know if Severus was safe and to straighten everything out. Then we run, get caught up with a loony old lady, almost get offed and then you tell us – oops, sorry, it was all some misunderstanding? We almost died! Severus almost died!"
Severus hushed Harry softly, reaching out and smoothing his palm across Harry's flushed cheek. Harry set his jaw but allowed the physical contact. It was sometime before Officer Reynolds spoke.
"It was a misfortunate series of events, Mr. Potter. Both sides made faults. And you are right, it would have been simpler to call. Under the circumstances, however, we had to be certain that Severus was not in danger." Reynolds was watching Harry calmly and Harry huffed and slumped back into his seat.
"This is fucked up."
Severus glowered at Harry's use of language until Reynolds laughed.
"That it is, Mr. Potter. On behalf of the police department I would like to offer an apology. We really are not a bunch of baffling baboons, however it may appear. All the best gentlemen. I hope your future dealings with our police division are not as unpleasant as this one, or as complicated."
The man got to his feet, sent a smile at each occupant and left with a little, modest bow in their direction.
"They're covering their asses, that's all there is to it. Amisfortunateseriesofevents? Cut the crap, they messed up big time. We could sue."
Severus rested back against his pillows, mentally drained from the conversation but relieved regardless, "Harry," he said softly.
"Be quiet, love. We made it through and we got an apology, that's good enough for me."
"You almost died, Sev." Harry whispered and Severus was startled by the sound of tears blocking the boy's throat. He rolled his head to look at Harry, who was trying to cover up his crying behind his hands.
"Harry, don't cry, babe." It was a new pet-name, Severus didn't notice he had said it but the title got Harry's attention and he blushed fitfully. Peeking coy little glances at Severus from underneath his lashes. "C'mere," said the author, holding out his arm and waiting for Harry to come over. Harry did so quickly, ducking into Severus' embrace with a hiccough.
"I'm sorry – it's just that I was so scared, and – and you were asleep for so long…"
Severus kissed the top of Harry's messy hair, murmuring sweet endearment into his ear comfortingly. Harry shifted until he was lying on the mattress next to Severus, cuddling as close to the older man as possible.
"There's nothing to be sorry about, Harry. You can cry, you've had a rough week, we both have. Let it out, love. Don't hold back the tears; it will make you feel worse if you do."
"Why aren't you crying?" Harry asked and his breath tickled Severus' neck. Warm and wet against his skin, making his body hum with tingles.
"Because I'm with you, and that makes me happy." It wasn't meant to sound so sappy or cheesy, but it spilled from his lips before he could self-censor. Harry gave a wet chuckle and sniffled, nuzzling his cheek into Severus' neck. It was an affectionate gesture, an intimate one.
"Thought you didn't need anyone. Thought you were celibate." Harry said with a stifled inlet of laughter. Severus rolled his eyes.
"I'm not celibate, and I've decided life is far too short – and highly unpredictable to spend alone."
"I wish I could be with you." Uttered Harry breathily, his arms cuddled Severus closer, mindful of the man's wounds. Severus took a deep breath, inhaling the sweet smell of Harry and the clean, bland smell of the hospital.
"You are with me. We're on a lumpy hospital bed, lying together."
Harry was silent for a moment, "I wish I was your boyfriend."
Severus' heart clamored against his ribs, beating so intensely that he felt it might burst from his chest. Harry's tentative omission made his skin flush with an array of emotions. Fear, unease, want, happiness, hesitance – every emotion silenced him, it didn't matter, he had no words spare to speak anyhow. Blowing away a defiant strand of ebony hair Severus gripped Harry's smooth chin in his fingers, tilting the boy's face upwards.
"Too complicated," he said shortly, staring into Harry's wide, over bright eyes, "you are only visiting." Harry gave him a look that plainly said he was ruining everything. Severus had to be the one who saw sense, seems as how Harry had taken the job of daydreaming about absurd possibilities.
"I want you so bad, Severus," Harry said and the words left warm breath fluttering against the author's lips. "We could work something out. It doesn't have to be complicated."
"It is though, Harry."
The room was quiet for a few slow passing minutes.
"I know." Harry conceded softly, finally. Snuggling into the older man's embrace he tucked his head under Severus' chin and sighed.
"You promised a new book by December, Severus,"
"No, you made that promise." Severus said to his mobile sternly. It had been all of one week since he had been released from the hospital and allowed to go home, his injuries were still tender and delicate but he was feeling livelier. His publisher, however, was starting to make him weary.
The other end of the line was silent for a second and Severus could hear shuffling papers, "I know what you have been through, a terrible event if there ever was one," the woman said, "you must understand my position here though Severus, that we had a deadline –"
"You had a deadline." Severus corrected and held the mobile to his ear using his shoulder as he poured himself some whiskey. The amber liquid smelt strong and bitter, Severus took an immediate sip. The woman audibly sighed and Severus smirked to himself. At least he wasn't the only one exasperated by this conversation.
"Any book, Severus," she pleaded quietly, "have you written any manuscript at all, no matter how rough it is. I need something." Severus dropped his empty glass to the counter and ambled into the living room. The sofa reminded him of a sleeping Harry and he pursed his lips. The boy had been busy sorting things out with his school and no doubt had many assignments to catch up on. Severus hadn't seen or heard from him for going on a week now.
"I have one." He replied, his voice barely above a whisper.
The woman gave a cheer, "I need the title," she exclaimed and Severus could imagine her readying her pen and paper.
"It's untitled. Let's call it – Muse." He said pensively.
"A wonderful title," congratulated his publisher, Severus hated her when she was on his case, but her chipper mood was just as bad. "Is the manuscript finished?" she questioned.
"Yes, I finished it while in the hospital." Replied the author as he swiped a hand through his long hair. He wasn't certain he wanted to share Muse with anyone, it was a personal story, a written account of what Harry and himself had gone through. The ordeal, the banter, the eventual attraction – well, the attraction had been there from the get-go, but it had definitely grown stronger the more time he spent around the boy.
Severus couldn't restrain the smile that touched his lips at the memory of Harry's soft, warm lips touching his for the first, hesitant and wholly inexperienced kiss they shared. After Harry had confessed he wanted to be Severus' boyfriend they had kept at a distance, and while Harry had visited him when ever possible at the hospital, Severus made it clear nothing further would happen. It hurt him to have Harry so close, it tested his self-control with such a beautiful boy beside him, but he had managed.
"And in a few days he will be leaving anyway."
"What was that, Severus?" inquired his publisher. Severus shook his head, berating himself for speaking his thoughts out loud.
"Nothing, Camille. I'll post out the manuscript first thing tomorrow morning if that is alright by you?"
The shuffling of more paper could be heard on the line and absently Severus wondered just how much paper Camille was surrounded by. Finally she cleared her throat and answered. "That's fine, Severus. I look forward to reading your latest piece. All are wonderful of course. Is this erotica like the rest?"
Severus sat down on the sofa, "no, it's a romance one this time." He responded. Camille was quiet for a few seconds before tittering quietly.
"Not a genre you normally delve into. I thought erotica was raw and pure, and romance sappy and fake." She quipped and Severus would have glared at her if he hadn't been conversing over the phone with her.
"Call it a sudden burst of inspiration. My muse just couldn't escape it."
"I'll let you know when it arrives. Have a good evening, Severus."
"You too, Camille."
The line went dead quickly and Severus heaved a long suffering sigh. He flicked his gaze to the innocently sitting notebook on the coffee table and chewed his cheek. The notebook held his story, roughly written down over the past few weeks, it was a story close to Severus, and nothing he had previously written had been so meaningful to him. It shocked him how he could get sentimental over a few pages of writing. But he did, and he couldn't help the wistful frown that graced his lips as he thought of Harry.
Before he could dwell any longer the front door was knocked upon. Three hesitant taps. Severus got up, furrowing his brows, not many people called in on him. In fact he had very few friends at all. Curious the author went to the door.
"What ever you're selling I'm not remotely interested." Severus said sternly as he pulled open the door. His eyes widened when he spotted Harry. The boy was standing awkwardly, fiddling with the thick overcoat he was wearing. A novelty beanie was on his head, making his messy hair sit flat. Severus was lost for words and it appeared Harry was also. They stood in silence for a good minute until Harry cleared his throat.
"Um – hi, I thought I'd drop by. See how you're doing and all. So, how are you doing?" Harry said timidly, Severus huffed laughter and shook his head.
"Nervous around me now, Harry?" he asked and smirked at the boy, Harry blushed under the dark gaze, "bashful, perhaps. And I'm am fine, as good as to be expected." Harry nodded and licked his lips.
"Good, that's good," he sent Severus his customary lopsided smile and Severus' stomach flared with butterflies. He could pretend all he wanted that there was nothing between Harry and himself, but he'd be a lair if he did so. "It's cold, isn't it?" Harry's attempt at small talk was shamelessly obvious.
Severus leaned against the doorframe, he probably should have invited Harry inside, "it's winter, I'd be shocked if it was hot. What's with the bear hat?" he questioned and looked at the eared-brown beanie. Harry shrugged his shoulders, biting his bottom lip.
"I like it and it's warm."
Severus nodded, "fair enough. It's cute."
Harry covered his mouth with his hand and stared at Severus, his eyes as wide as saucers. Severus didn't allow the surprise he felt to show on his face and instead he raised his eyebrows. "You fail at flirting, kid." Severus said gruffly.
Harry sighed and crossed his arms over his chest, "you fail at hospitality. Do I need to freeze my bollocks off out here or are you going to invite me in?" he snapped and sniffed disdainfully. Severus smirked to cover his desire to smile.
"There's the boy I'm use to." He commented dryly and stepped aside, allowing a shivering Harry inside. Severus thought the boy must be making a show, considering it really wasn't all that cold outside. It was a tact to get inside, the older man wasn't dense, he knew that. He allowed Harry his small victory.
Severus followed Harry into the living room, "do you want something, tea? Coffee?" he asked while watching Harry flop down onto the sofa like he had lived in Severus' apartment for years. Harry shrugged and adjusted his beanie.
"I only want one thing, Severus." He replied and looked directly at the tall man, his green eyes wide. Severus looked away and busied himself with tidying up a stack of magazines on the coffee table, dutifully ignoring the obvious fact they were already neatly stacked and perfectly ordered. He just needed to keep his hands busy.
"No need to sound so solemn, Harry. It's only a choice between tea and coffee."
Harry shook his head in annoyance and crossed his legs; it was only then that Severus noticed the tight black pants the boy was wearing. The very same pair he had brought him in the over-heated shop. They looked fantastic and clung to Harry's slim legs and hips.
"I don't want neither." Harry stated loudly, Severus bit the inside of his cheek and continued to fuss over the magazines. "Would you look at me, please?" Harry exclaimed and the note of pleading in his voice made Severus snap his head up. He hated staring into Harry's eyes. He loved it also. He could always read the emotions that clouded the emerald green. It was times like this however, that he wished he couldn't. Not when such innocent, wide eyes held hurt.
"So no drink then." Responded Severus under his breath. Harry caught it and made an odd noise in the back of his throat, somewhere between a groan and a scream.
"Just stop avoiding the subject. I want you. Can't we just talk like two adults?"
"It's not happening, Harry."
"Well not when you act childish and refuse to meet my gaze."
"Not the acting like adults part, boy. The – relationship, or whatever it is you want."
Harry stood up so abruptly it made Severus flinch, for a moment he thought the boy was going to storm out and leave, that is until Harry crossed the room and stood inches apart from him. He was breathing heavily and glaring. Severus' nostrils flared when the scent of mint and aniseed caught his senses. Why did Harry have to smell so good?
"I want to be with you. Why is that such a laughable notion? I like you, Severus. I have done for a while, although it took some crazed necrophiliac to make me accept my feelings."
Severus took a step backwards, away from Harry. "I don't like you Harry and I don't want to be with you." The confused and conflicted emotion that passed over Harry's youthful face almost broke Severus' defiance. Harry nibbled on his lip and stared at the ground for a long moment before speaking.
"You kissed me –"
"It meant nothing."
"You called me 'love'." Harry said boldly and lifted his over bright eyes to stare up at Severus. Harry looked so small, so pitiful standing with his bear-beanie on and tears dancing in his eyes. Severus frowned and then let out a growl of frustration, turning away from Harry he stalked out of the room. He could hear the boy following close behind and hurriedly wiped away the few tears he had let fall.
"Leave me be, Harry." He said when the dark-haired boy approached the doorway to his bedroom. Severus sat heavily on the mattress, pointedly not looking at Harry. Harry didn't make a move to leave and Severus buried his face in his hands. "I'm not accustomed to breaking boy's hearts, especially not pretty little things such as you. But you must understand that this won't work between us. A relationship is out of the question. I'm far too old for you –"
"You're only thirty two!"
"You are young and have your whole life to find someone special. And I need not mention that you are only here with your school. What happens when you leave? This wont work."
The mattress dipped slightly as Harry sat down next to Severus, his warm body lightly brushing against Severus' arm. "Are you afraid?" Harry asked quietly, Severus lifted his head and looked at the boy. "It's alright if you are. I am too, I've never been with a man before, but this isn't some passing fancy or a means to sate my curiosity. You – you are attractive and kind, if a little snarky," Severus scowled at the jibe, "and you always keep me entertained and – and, I don't know. I just really like you."
Staring unseeingly at the wall Severus considered the implications. He could send Harry away, upset and turned down, but better off for it. Or he could admit his feelings for the brat, keep him for himself and be selfish.
"And if you find out this was a mistake?"
Harry shook his head and reached out to touch the older man's thigh, caressing Severus through the material of his pants. "I won't." he promised and Severus had reason to believe he was telling the truth, Harry stared earnestly into Severus' eyes, so fixedly. "I'm close to finishing school, and once I do I can rent an apartment here. It would work, I'd try my best."
"Do you have any idea how much it would cost to move here and rent an apartment, Harry?"
"Not really. I could always visit on holidays." Harry said thoughtfully.
Severus shifted to face Harry and took a long breath. "We would be insane to even attempt such a relationship." He finally said and Harry's brows pinched.
"More insane then say, running from the police and taking out a corpse infatuated old lady?" Harry deadpanned and kept his face completely staid. Severus turned away. "Please give me a chance. I might be clumsy when it comes to relationship stuff, and I know I'm not very experienced at kissing and the likes, but I don't want to just forget about you when I go home." Small, gentle hands cupped Severus' face and he jumped slightly but allowed Harry to move his head around.
"I like you. Please let me have you as my boyfriend." Whispered Harry before closing the gap between them and touching his lips against Severus', it was a brief, brush of mouths and over too quickly. Leaning forward the author snaked one arm around Harry's neck and tugged the youth closer. With sure lips he kissed Harry thoroughly, sliding his tongue into the warm, wet cavern of the boy's mouth and lapping at his cheeks and tongue and teeth until Harry was a wriggling, moaning, lustful mess in his arms. Severus showed the boy how proper kissing was done.
They broke apart when the need for air overpowered their desire. Gasping in a mouthful of air Severus released Harry. "You want to be my boyfriend?" he asked huskily and Harry nodded shyly, a glimmer of hope dancing in his green eyes. Severus sighed from his nose. "Give me your number."
Harry pulled a face, "what? Why?" he inquired. Severus rolled his eyes heavenwards.
"So I can ring you once you return home. How else am I to keep in touch with my boyfriend?" the title was foreign on his lips and it felt strange saying it out loud, but Severus couldn't deny it was wonderful to be able to claim Harry as his own.
Harry gaped at him for a moment, resembling a guppy entirely too much. "Are you serious?" he uttered breathlessly.
"Yes, however, if you do not wish to be together then that's fine."
"What? I never said that!"
"Didn't give me your number either."
"I'm having my moment of joy, let me enjoy this moment." Harry snapped and tapped Severus lightly on the jaw. Severus growled in what was meant to be in warning, but it came out playful. Harry smiled cheekily.
"Don't hit me." Severus said shortly.
"I'll tie you up and have my wicked way with you!" It was an idle threat, one that Severus quite liked the sound of, it got the reaction he was aiming for however and he watched with pleasure when Harry flushed, the pink staining his nose and cheeks.
"Or you could kiss me?" Harry added with a rakish wink, recovering quickly from his embarrassment. Severus also liked the sound of that idea and obliged his little lover with an openmouthed kiss, sweet and soft. "I like the way you kiss me." Harry muttered when they had broken apart.
"I like you."
And it was. As difficult as the coming weeks would be Severus knew that they would overcome the obstacles in their way. Hell, they had taken on a mad-woman and lived to tell the tale. A long-distance relationship would be easy in comparison.
Smiling contently he reached out and dragged a pliable Harry back into his arms for another thorough snog.
I am terrible at endings. *shrugs* Hope you enjoyed!