Written for Kinky_kneazle at the HP_valensmut community on LJ. Many thanks to my betas! Disclaimer: I am not even close to looking, acting, or being like that woman who brings in 1.6 million every three days from the Harry Potter empire. Hence, I don't get a penny/bob/Knut/tiddler/sixpence in return, nor do I claim that the characters are mine. MAJOR SLASH LEMONS!
"You owe me, Severus."
"I have not given you permission to use my first name." Snape turned back to the vat of toffee and dipped the third rack of apples into it before placing them in the window to set. "And I don't believe owing you translates into giving you free run of my business, especially not in my busiest season."
Severus' gaze didn't even turn in Harry's direction, but remained strictly on the next batch of toffee apples – a staple of February and one of the main profit turners for Sweets Galore. The business owner, chief confectioner and sole employee carefully spiked wooden skewers into the next batch of apples and moved them gently around in the sink of clean water, rinsing off any straw or sawdust which might have clung to them.
Amongst the bobbing fruit, Severus found a bruised apple and tossed it into a bin designated For Hagrid's Beasts. "What in Merlin's name possessed you, Potter, to promise home-made delicacies for the Weasley wedding, hmm?" He glanced up at Harry, who had the decency to look abashed. "A hundred sets of fruit jellies? Multi-coloured toffees? Someone might think you were trying to impress Mrs. Weasley with your ability to provide for the whole family."
"Maybe," Harry muttered sheepishly, avoiding Severus' penetrating gaze.
The last set of apples coated in silky-smooth toffee, Severus set them on the windowsill, then pulled a basket of purple grapes out of a Muggle-made refrigerator at the side of the workroom and commenced stripping the small dark globes from their stems. "What experience do you have in making confectionery?"
Harry looked nonplussed. "None. Aunt Petunia only required me to cook breakfast or lunch. I wasn't allowed sweets."
Severus curled his upper lip into a sneer as he tossed the grapes into a cloth-lined bowl to dry. Of course Petunia would forbid the boy anything remotely resembling pleasure. Finished, Severus took a moment to wipe his hands off before turning to face Harry directly. "No."
"But –" Harry began.
Severus' stern glare cut him off. "No, I will not make the entire order for you. I cannot. I have other customers, other orders, other commitments."
"Sev – Snape, I can't let Mrs. Weasley down. She's been like a mother to me and –" Harry's alarmed look and babbling speech halted when Severus laid a finger across Harry's lips.
"I did not say I would not help."
Harry's eyes widened, but his mouth turned up in a smile underneath Severus' digit.
Severus removed his finger from Harry's tempting cupid-bow lips and returned to the grapes. "I have a thousand grape-flavoured hearts and a hundred individually-inscribed chocolate monstrosities to finish before Valentine's Day. Which, for some unfortunate reason, falls on a Saturday this year." He noticed Harry licking his lips where Severus had touched them. "But I will teach you, Potter, to make the delicacies you have so foolishly committed to providing, and you will make them here, in my workshop, beside me and with my assistance." Harry's eyes lit up and he was obviously about to blurt out a grateful 'thank you', but Severus waved him off. "And when you have learned these skills, which I have been told are as easy as falling off a broom, you will have the basis of a career in confectionery, should you desire one. Does this meet your requirements?"
Harry nodded dumbly. Severus smiled a little at the gratitude in the young man's eyes. "I shall expect you tomorrow then. Seven o'clock. Sharp."
"Tomorrow," Harry repeated and turned to walk out of the shop. As the door closed behind him, Severus saw him glance over his shoulder through the multi-paned window and give a pointed look as he licked his lips once more.
Severus idly wondered if Harry's mouth tasted of toffee and grapes.
Thermos of tea in hand, Severus walked towards his modest shop the next morning, contemplating the last three years of his life. Though he had been vehemently exonerated by none other than Potter himself after the final battle, Severus found he lacked the stomach to deal with the wizarding world on a daily basis. Oh, he ventured near the fringes of the rapidly changing society ever so often, but he did not linger nor did he miss it all that much. Twenty plus years at the beck and call of two masters of manipulation will do that to a person.
With the money he had accumulated during his tenure at Hogwarts, he had purchased a shop front in Muggle London, near the Leaky Cauldron. It was a convenient, centralised location that would allow him to serve both Muggle and wizard kind. He had briefly considered resuming his potions research and development, but the massive doses of snake antivenin he'd had to take after being handed over to the Dark Lord's wretched pet serpent had left his hands with a slight but permanent tremor. A dozen delicate potions spoiled by too much of one ingredient or another and three melted cauldrons persuaded him to rethink that course of action, so he had decided against it. If one were to find the silver lining in that scenario, one could say the miniscule tremors made sifting flour and other dry goods quite easy.
Since word had spread of the delicacies originating from his sweet shop, he'd rarely had a lull in business. And the more exotic the item, the more popular it became. He had even once had an order for chocolate-covered ants, from a witch who was originally from Guatemala but lived in London. He shuddered at the memory of rounding up the insects, but his savings register reflected the hefty sum she had paid for his services. Severus had been pleased at this evidence that higher prices could be charged to those select few who required 'special' attention.
Which brought him to Potter… who was currently propped against the steps leading to his shop, dozing. The young wizard looked as if he'd spent the night on the cold pavement. Apparently, the boy was serious about learning, though Severus had to stifle a laugh at the outlandish clothing Harry was kitted out in.
"Potter, pray tell, what is that you're wearing?"
Harry blinked his eyes lazily and focused his attention once he realised who addressed him. He scrambled to his feet, nearly upending himself over the wrought-iron hand rail off to his left. "Sorry, Sir. Just didn't want to be late."
"You didn't answer my question." Severus withdrew his wand from his sleeve and pointed it at three spots on his door. Locks clicked and slid somewhere inside the panels and the door opened wide. "What are you wearing?"
"Isn't this what chefs wear?" Harry asked. He looked down at his white double-breasted jacket and chequered trousers. A white toque topped the ensemble. Severus smirked and Harry rolled his eyes. "Too much, right?"
"The last time I was graced with so much white, I was a patient in St Mungo's, staring at the ceiling." Severus thought about asking him to remove the getup, but he found Potter rather fetching in it.
Potter tugged at the jacket, discomfited. "What do you wear?"
Severus arched a brow before opening his travelling cloak to reveal his customary black trousers, grey linen shirt, and a black military-style waistcoat with silver braiding and silver buttons down the middle. The waistcoat had a high-necked collar to hide his scars, and the braiding was done in such a way as to resemble scroll-work icing on chocolates.
A whistle issued from Potter's lips. "Wow! Even if I didn't like chocolate, I'd buy some from your shop if I got to see you in that every day." The bold boy must have realised what he'd blurted, for the tips of his ears became red. "Sorry."
"Indeed," Severus said in a neutral tone. He ushered Potter into the storefront and directed him to the kitchen. "Besides the fruit-jellies and toffees, was there anything else you foolishly promised Mrs. Weasley?"
Harry bit his lip and fiddled with the hem of his jacket, his actions revealing the answer before he said, "Erm, yes?"
Severus muttered something under his breath about impetuous Gryffindors as he removed his cloak and hung it on a peg. "Dare I ask what impossible item this might be?"
"Keep in mind, you're helpingme make these," Harry prefaced, obviously trying to soften the blow, "but Hermione said she wanted something called croak and bush, and scotch mints, and then Ron wanted a groom's cake."
Severus felt his mouth quirk involuntarily as he suppressed a laugh. "Croak and bush? You mean croquembouche?"
"Yes! That's it."
"Potter, your arrogance knows no bounds, if you told them that I would fill an order such as –"
"I said Iwould! You just need to teach me, remember?"
Severus pinched the bridge of his nose, counted to twenty and grabbed the ridiculous toque off Harry's head. He refused to instruct the boy with that damned hat in the way. For the fifth time that morning, he questioned his motives for allowing Harry to place him in such a position. It wasn't as though he were receiving any benefit – other than the possible humiliation of Potter when he produced a subpar product. But then, it would niggle at his conscience that others would be, in essence, eating something made by his shop that wasn't up to his high standards, no matter that it hadn't actually been Severus doing the cooking. If nothing else, he had his pride to uphold. Well then, so be it.
Wand in hand, Severus spelled a list of ingredients onto a piece of parchment and handed it to Harry. "First, you will acquaint yourself with the location of these items within the kitchen. Then, you will correctly measure each ingredient into separate mixing bowls. I will know if the measurement is wrong, so pay attention. The slightest difference can determine success or failure."
Harry nodded, took the parchment and scurried off to various locations about the room. Since the Weasley wedding was in two days, Severus felt confident that they could complete the groom's cake that day and concentrate on the other delicacies the next day. The croquembouche of course could not be made until the day of the ceremony – the confection would harden and dry out if not immediately consumed. Stasis Charms tended to make his creations stale, so the cake was the only thing they could feasibly work on. He hoped Harry had an idea of what shape Ron would like the cake to have. If he didn't, and counted solely on Severus' input, he'd make sure the thing looked like the back end of a Thestral.
Two hours, several cake pans and one chocolaty mess later, Harry proudly pronounced that the cakes for the Quidditch Hoops were done.
Severus eyed the three Bundt-like rings on the metal sheet in front of him. "Let us see if your culinary capabilities exceed those of your potions making endeavours." He ignored the scathing look Harry gave him and inserted a toothpick into the nearest cake. Or, at least, he tried to. The wooden stick splintered the moment it tried to breach the surface.
"Damn," Harry muttered.
"It wasn't supposed to do that."
"Obviously." Severus tried another cake. This time the toothpick sank easily into the surface. The cake then proceeded to deflate and collapse in on itself in a gooey mess.
"Fuck," Harry moaned, and buried his face in his hands.
Severus was trying too hard to stifle a snigger to reprimand Harry on his language. "Third one's a charm." Instead of inserting a toothpick, Severus carved a sliver of the cake and hesitantly popped it in his mouth. He immediately spat it back out. "By the gods…"
"Yes, exactly!" Severus downed a glass of water. "Why didn't you follow the directions I gave you?"
"I did!" Harry retrieved the parchment and went over the list carefully. "I used everything as you said."
"Then why does your concoction taste like a salt lick?"
"Salt?" Harry glanced at the ingredients beside his mixing bowls. The recipe had called for a pinch of salt and just under a kilogram of sugar. He dipped his finger in the jar that contained the sugar, brought it to his mouth and quickly spat in the sink. "Salt," he groaned.
Severus turned the jar around and arched a brow. Saltwas very clearly written on the crockery.
"Don't say it," Harry said, as the words 'Did you even read the label?' were forming in Severus' mouth.
Severus banished the atrocious morass of ingredients with a brusque Evanescoand placed the correct jar in front of Harry, pointedly turning it so that the label faced him. "Again."
Harry nodded and sighed. He murmured a Cleansing Charm on his utensils and began once more.
Throughout the ensuing hours Severus kept a surreptitious eye on Harry's progress, knowing the boy would learn only by doing, not by being told. Being thrown in the proverbial deep end of the pool without any of the knowledge he needed had served Harry well in the past, Severus reflected, so this was no different. Though it was on the tip of his tongue to point out several miniscule mistakes along the way, Severus remained silent as he went about his own tasks for his other customers. He poured grape-flavoured syrup into heart-shaped trays. He dipped what seemed like hundreds of bon-bons in chocolate glaze. He assembled and frosted six dozen petit fours. By the end of the afternoon, although he was delayed due to Harry's earlier debacle, he felt relatively on schedule.
Just as Severus started piping M & C onto one of the petit fours, Harry tentatively announced that he was done… though he sounded more hopeful than certain. Severus finished the Cand then moved to examine Harry's new efforts.
The cakes were acceptable, though their aesthetic quality left much to be desired. "These will chill overnight and I will add the fondant in the morning."
"Why not now?"
"Because, Potter, fondant is a temperamental substance."
Severus glared at the young wizard's audacity. "Cheek will find you unable to fulfil your promise to Mrs. Weasley." Harry's only response was a smirk. Irritated, Severus had the distinct impression that Potter was winding him up on purpose, thought he had no idea as to why. "As I was saying, fondant is a temperamental substance. It must be shaped by hand to retain its elasticity, then cut accordingly."
"Why by hand?"
"If the temperature is too high, the fondant melts. Too cold, and it is not malleable. The warmth of your skin keeps it from falling apart or breaking in a less-than-optimal place."
"So you're going to decorate Ron's cake?"
Severus ignored the amusement evident in Harry's voice. "Did I not just say as much? Really, Potter, it's a wonder you retained any of my teachings." He picked up his icing bag and resumed writing on thepetit fours. "Have you given any thought as to what flavour of crème you would like to use in the croquembouche?"
Harry leaned over the counter to study Severus' piping technique. "Hermione likes strawberry. Is that possible?"
Severus glanced up and found himself practically nose-to-nose with Harry, who had a dark chocolate smudge on his right cheek. "Almost anything is possible, Potter." Was that his voice rasping in a low tone? Severus cleared his throat and moved away. "Is there a reason for your looming?"
"Do I loom?" Harry asked in a mischievous tone. "I thought only you were capable of such a thing."
"Since we are now nearly equal in height, I would venture that you are just as capable of adopting an intimidating stance, though I strongly suspect the effect would not be the same as you are not known to wear black. It is difficult to loom properly in, say, red and gold," he added, unable to resist the dig at Gryffindor.
"Yes, I suppose so. But it's nice to know you noticed how tall I am."
Was the brat flirting with him? Impossible. "I could hardly miss it, when you had to duck to enter the cellar. Had you retained your stunted stature, this would not have been an issue."
"There's nothing stunted about me. At least, not anymore." Harry moved around the counter and sidled up to Severus. "Can I try writing on one of those?"
"May I." Severus stopped, selected a rather diminutive petit fourand handed Harry the icing bag. "Think about the lettering before you begin and squeeze gently."
Tongue at the corner of his lips, Harry was the picture of concentration as he wrote Forever Mineon the tiny surface. When he was done, he looked to Severus. "Well?"
Severus wanted to say it was completely unacceptable. He wanted to throw the brat out of his kitchen and bar him from entering ever again. He was... unsettling. But Harry's writing was much better than his own tight script, though it galled Severus to admit it, so instead he waved at the three remaining racks of petit foursand said, "Continue."
Harry acted as if he'd been given a Christmas present. "Really? You won't mind? I always loved watching you write; I wouldn't want you to stop."
Severus ignored the fluttering in his chest at Harry's words. It would not do to dwell on things he could not have, and Harry was certainly one of those things. For Merlin's sake, the boy was involved with Ginevra Weasley, if the rumours he had heard were true. Severus swallowed. "I have other things that need tending to. Follow the instructions for the wording and try to keep your workspace clean."
Harry laid his hand on Severus' arm and squeezed. "Thank you. For everything."
Severus stared at the calloused hand gripping his shirt. "Don't thank me yet, Potter. The day is not over. Once you're done with the petit fours, you'll be making toffee and shelling hazelnuts. Without magic." Severus removed himself from the kitchen and walked out into the storefront, smiling at Harry's grumbling.
Severus was in a foul mood the next morning. He'd barely slept and, when at last he had, he'd awoken with an erection the likes of which he hadn't had in years. He'd taken care of it during his shower, snarling imprecations about Harry's presence in his life the entire time he stroked the hard shaft. When he had finally reached the pinnacle, it left him oddly unsatisfied. Damn Potter and his beguiling charm. Damn the way the brat refused to give up until he'd completed the tasks set before him. Damn himself for secretly wanting to lick that smudge of chocolate from Harry's cheek.
Based on the unmistakable tingling in his spine at the sound of Harry's greeting, Severus knew he was well and truly fucked. Gritting his teeth, he said coldly, "I still haven't give you permission to use my first name, Potter." At least Harry was dressed rationally, not that it made Severus' libido any easier to deal with: Muggle jeans and a t-shirt fitted to Harry's body showed every line of the young man's muscles.
Damn Potter for slowly torturing him to death.
"We've baked together. I'd say that puts us on a first-name basis."
"Is that so?" Severus unlocked the shop door, moved inside, and headed straight for the walk-in refrigerator. "Pardon me if I don't feel the same."
Harry leaned against the work counter. "What would it take, then?"
"Catering a banquet fit for a Malfoy." There. Let the presumptuous snot think on that for a while. "And since Draco has already been married off to Miss Greengrass, I don't anticipate that event for many years to come."
"It may be sooner than you think. I heard she's up the duff and that's why Lucius demanded Draco marry her."
Severus paused in washing his hands. "I was not aware of that rumour." This was disconcerting. First Harry subtly flirting with him, and now previously unknown information regarding Lucius and Draco privy to Potter's ears. It made Severus uneasy. "No matter. The child – whenever it appears – will not marry in the foreseeable future, so the point is moot."
"Not if I secured the catering for the baby shower," Harry sing-songed, adding a wink.
Severus stared at him. "You wouldn't dare."
Harry gave him a slow, sensual smile that sent heat washing through Severus. The younger wizard sifted through his cloak pocket and withdrew a thick sheaf of parchment. "Already done. I spoke with Hermione last night. She works with Draco at the Ministry. One thing led to another and when Draco found out that you ran the catering company, he was practically begging me to sign the contract." He laid out the parchment on the table for Severus to peruse. "Why don't you tell more people about this place?" he added curiously.
Severus skimmed through the requests listed in the contract, only half-listening. "The only way to maintain the quality of my product is to produce it on a small scale. I only operate the storefront to dispose of my less-than-perfect items."
Harry disappeared briefly into the storefront, evidently curious what Severus considered imperfect. He returned, shaking his head. "If those are the rejects, it's no wonder you work alone. No one could live up to your standards."
"My point exactly." Severus folded the document and narrowed his eyes at Harry. "I should eject you from my store and my sight. This impudence is beyond my tolerance limit."
Harry moved closer and grasped Severus' wrist. "Don't. Please?" His cheeks reddened. "I thought... well, I thought that if I got the deal, you could hire me, at least part-time."
Severus raised an eyebrow. Always the Gryffindor, he thought, barrelling into situations without the remotest care for what others thought. Or wanted. "What about your Auror duties?"
"Not working out," Harry said evasively. "I'm also looking for a place to stay."
"What about the Weasleys? Could you not stay with them?"
"Erm, no. I'd rather be on my own, thanks."
Severus studied the flushed youth. "What aren't you telling me?"
Harry released his grip on Severus' wrist and stepped away, running his fingers through his already-tousled hair. "Do you know why I wanted you to make the sweets for Hermione and Ron's wedding?"
"I haven't the foggiest." In fact, Severus had been surprised to find that Harry even knew he ran a sweet shop.
Harry hesitated, then said in a rush, "I thought that if I got the good stuff, Molly won't want to hack off my bollocks when I told her I don't want to marry Ginny." He sighed. "I'm hoping she'll be too busy gushing over the food to realise that Ginny and I just aren't suited."
Severus snorted. "You want to use my confections to soften the blow."
"Something like that."
"I am not sure if I should be offended or complimented. It takes a great deal to deflect the rage of a Weasley."
"Oh, yes," Harry agreed ruefully. "Yes indeed."
"And what is it you found lacking in Miss Weasley? In what way do you feel she does not suit you?" Severus refused to acknowledge the nervous anticipation he felt waiting for Harry's answer.
"The fact that she doesn't have a cock," Harry said matter-of-factly.
Severus felt as though Fiendfyre had roared to life right in front of him, but he contented himself with an arched brow. It wouldn't do to let Potter suspect the effect of his words. "There are always enhancements."
"No offense, Severus, but that would be like shagging Ron, and that's just a bit on the incestuous side for me."
"From what I've read in the Daily Prophetyou've had no problem snogging Miss Weasley, so shagging her couldn't be that much of an ordeal."
"Stop right there." Harry's tone held a decidedly harsh bite. "I've never touched Ginny that way."
Severus gave him a sly look. "Perhaps that is the problem."
Harry's face reddened even more, if that were possible. "I knowthat's the problem. And so does Ginny. We've talked about it, and we thought telling Molly during the wedding reception that we're no longer interested in each other was the best route. She'll be too worried about Hermione, Ron and the sweets, and less likely to make a scene."
"Should I lace the toffees with a Calming Draught as a precaution?"
Harry bit his lip, then grinned. "Can you do that? I mean, and not get in trouble?"
Severus smirked. "I may have stopped brewing for financial gain, Potter, but once a Potions master, always a Potions master. I would not have offered to do so if I thought there was any possibility of being caught."
"Of course." Harry rolled his eyes. "So… what are we working on today?"
"Youare working on preparing the strawberries for the crème and other fruit for the jellies. I am decorating your miscreant friend's cake."
"Can I watch?"
"So, not only are you queer, you're a voyeur as well?" Severus quirked a brow at Harry's obvious discomfiture. "My, my, Potter. The things I've learned about you in the past two days could earn me enough income from the Prophetthat I would never again have to work a day in my life."
Harry's lips thinned and he narrowed his eyes. "You won't say a word about me and you know it."
Arms crossed, Severus returned the young man's glare. "What makes you so sure?"
"Because you care for me."
Of all the responses Harry could have given, this was the last Severus had expected to hear. Had he been that transparent? "Of all the impertinent –"
"Oh, come off it, Severus. Deny it if you want, but you'll never convince me otherwise."
Severus wanted to slap the knowing look off Harry's face. He even clenched his fists a few times in preparation. Or was that to calm his own temper? In the end, it didn't matter. He turned and left, slamming the door that separated the storefront from the kitchen, leaving the younger wizard to fend for himself.
Several hours passed before there was a tentative knock on the door behind Severus. He pointedly ignored it and continued waiting on the customer across the counter.
He still ignored the brat. Just because Harry had retained Draco's signature on the damned contract – despite the admittedly large number of decimal places involved in the final total – didn't mean he would allow Harry to use his given name.
"I need help." A frantic tone edged Harry's his voice. "I've tried Episkey, but it won't stop –"
Severus dropped the bag of toffees he had been holding, unlocked the door and opened it to find Harry's left hand bleeding profusely. A gasp and murmur from the counter behind him told him that the customers had seen it as well. "The shop is closed," he said, turning back to the counter. "Please return tomorrow." He quickly ushered everyone outside, locked the door and cast a Silencing Charm, then returned to the kitchen area. "What have you done?"
Harry swayed a little, his face pale. "I accidently sliced through my hand when I was prepping the strawberries. I tried healing it, but I think the cut's too deep."
'Too deep' was an understatement. The towel wrapped around his hand was saturated with red. Severus manoeuvred Harry towards a chair and gently uncovered the wound, grimacing when he saw the tendons on display. "What kind of knife were you using?" Severus asked. A paring blade wouldn't cause this much damage.
"The only one I could find." Harry pointed at a large chef's knife lying on the counter.
"Idiot boy," Severus murmured. He retrieved his wand and started weaving it slowly back and forth above the wound, softly singing a melodic tune with focused concentration.
"That's the spell you used to heal Draco," Harry whispered.
Severus could feel the young man's unyielding stare, and while it unnerved him a bit, he didn't falter in his healing song. Once the wound was closed as much as it could be, Severus rose, fetched a dittany-soaked cloth and placed it on Harry's hand. "It will leave a scar, but you will still have the use of your hand."
Harry smiled lopsidedly. "I've got plenty of scars on this hand. One more won't hurt."
"What do you mean?"
Harry's smile faltered, and he withdrew his hand. "Nothing. Thanks."
Severus grasped Harry's wrist and brought the injured hand closer. Frowning, he inspected the red, jagged line on the palm. He turned it over and gasped at the scarification on the otherwise smooth skin.
I must not tell lies.
"Who did this to you?" Severus whispered harshly, looking into Harry's anguished eyes.
"I did." Harry tried to withdraw his hand again, but Severus' grip held firm. "Umbridge made me write lines with a Blood Quill in fifth year."
"The sadistic bitch!" Over and over, the lines had been written in Harry's pilfered blood, the sentence permanently etched into his flesh. "How often?"
"Four or five nights, during detention."
Severus removed the cloth from the injured palm, satisfied that the now-pink line wouldn't trouble Harry overmuch. He returned his attention to the welted skin on the back of Harry's hand. For a moment, guilt nudged its way into Severus' conscience with the recollection that he could've stood against the obnoxious hag. But no – he had been walking a precarious line at the time, and the guilt morphed into something akin to anger.
"It's okay; it doesn't bother me much," Harry assured him quietly. "Except on rainy days. My finger joints tend to ache a bit then."
"I have an ointment for that," Severus said without thinking. He couldn't seem to stop tracing the letters.
"I'd like that."
Harry's soft words made Severus' chest ache. With no thought as to what Harry might think of him, he raised Harry's hand to his lips and placed a reverent kiss upon the markings. "I'm sorry."
Gentle fingers tangled themselves through Severus' long, black hair and rubbed at his scalp. "It's not your fault, Severus. I never blamed you for that."
Head bowed, Severus remained bent over Harry's hand. "Perhaps you should have."
"Perhaps you should kiss me and make it better."
The words sank into Severus' mind like the dittany he'd used on Harry's wound, like a soothing balm into tired muscles. He raised his head, letting Harry's hand fall from his hair to cup his cheek. "Is that so?" The look in Harry's eyes overwhelmed him. It also made him pause. Why was this happening? Why had Harry suddenly shown up at his shop and begged him for sweets to deflect the famous Weasley matriarch's temper? It made him apprehensive.
Slowly, Severus withdrew from Harry's touch and stood, uncomfortable with Harry's hurt expression. Holding his gaze, Severus muttered, "I am not sure how you discovered my inclinations, Potter, but I will not be your experimental foray into pleasures of the flesh." With that, he exited the kitchen and closed the door behind him.
Severus was surprised to see Harry waiting for him on Saturday morning, especially after the way things had been left between them the day before. Severus knew he had been foolish to kiss Potter's hand in the first place, but what really irritated him was that he hadn't been mindful of the possibility that Potter had an ulterior motive. Not that he was about to give the youth a chance to refute the idea. Nothing was said as Severus opened up the shop, leaving the door open should Potter wish to follow him inside. When he caught a flash of skin peeking from beneath Harry's shirt, Severus clamped down on the visceral urge to touch and stroke. He refused to give in to his desires, not matter how appealing the boy was.
"I haven't finished the strawberries," Harry murmured as he donned an apron.
Severus glanced at the mess left on the counter from the day before and sneered. "I told you to keep your work space clean, Potter."
"Yes, sir." Harry began swiping the damaged fruit into a rubbish bin.
Severus watched him for several moments before his frustration and curiosity became too much to contain. "Why are you really here, Potter? And don't tell me it's some pathetic attempt to gain Molly Weasley's blessing so that you may save your precious anatomy."
Harry paused in his clean-up efforts, twisting the red-stained rag between his hands. "It doesn't matter anymore," he said, his tone decidedly resigned. He resumed the disposal of spoiled strawberries.
Severus placed his hand on Harry's arm, stopping him. "It matters. Tell me."
Instead of answering, Harry reached out his hand and cupped Severus cheek, lightly stroking his face with his thumb.
Breathless, yet unable to help himself, Severus turned and nuzzled the warm palm, pressing a kiss to the centre. "You taste like strawberries."
Harry's smile could have lit the room. "Hazards of cleaning up fruit, I expect. Would you like a proper taste?"
In for a penny, in for a pound, Severus thought, a bit dizzily. Not answering, he pulled Harry close. "Merely a taste?" he murmured, his nose buried in Harry's hair. He closed his eyes when Harry's arms enveloped him, clutching at his back, feeling a distinct bulge pressing against his hip.
"Is that all you want?" Harry asked, his voice muffled against Severus' chest.
Severus turned Harry and backed him towards the work counter. Once firmly pressed against it, he brushed everything to the side and lifted Harry up to set him upon the flat surface, spreading the other wizard's thighs wide and insinuating himself between them. "Why settle for a taste when I can have the full-course meal?" he purred, punctuating the question with a stroke to Harry's denim-covered erection.
"You can definitely feast on that anytime you want." Harry locked his ankles behind Severus and tugged him closer. "Do you have any whipped cream already made?"
Severus smiled wickedly. "Acciowhipped cream." There was a loud rattle in the refrigerator as the steel door opened and a moment later a metal bowl full of white, thick fluff landed in Severus' ready hand. "Will this do, Potter?"
"Harry," the young man said, wrapping his arms around Severus' neck. "I did, after all, secure the catering contract with Draco."
Severus' long, nimble finger dipped into the cream and plopped a dollop on Harry's mouth. "That was only enough to earn the use of myname." He leaned forward and licked at the sweet substance, swiping at Harry's lips in the process.
"And what… oh gods, yes… would it take… just right there… for you to say… oh, fuck… my name?"
Severus threaded his fingers through Harry's messy hair and slowly twisted the strands around his fist, tilting the boy's head back and baring his neck so he could place a languorous lick along the corded muscle of the pale column. "I'd have to be filling your arse with my come."
Harry whimpered and dug his fingernails into the skin of Severus' nape. "Will you scream my name when you do it?"
"Is that what you want?" Severus whispered in his ear.
"More than anything…"
"Even more than you want your sweets?"
Harry nipped Severus on the jaw then soothed the slight hurt with a kiss. "You're voice alone is more seductive than any chocolate. I've always loved listening to you speak."
Severus snorted. "I have a hard time believing that, especially when I have verbally eviscerated you on most every occasion."
"Then I won't tell you about the dreams I had. Ones where you compelled me to –"
Severus laid a finger over Harry's lips and pulled back, studying the young wizard sitting on the table before him. "You planned this. The whole ridiculous appeal for confections was nothing but a ruse."
A devious smile slowly grew on Harry's face. "A little, though Hermione isstill expecting the croquembouche. The rest?" The boy shrugged, clearly unrepentant. "Do you know how long it took me to find your shop and then think of a way to actually see you? You wouldn't have let me stay if I'd just blurted out that I –"
"That you what, Potter?"
Harry made no answer at first, just gazed at him meaningfully with those green eyes. "Harry," he finally said. "It's Harry. Say my name. Please?"
Severus pulled Harry close, their lips nearly touching, breath warm and moist. "You know my stipulation for saying your name." He cupped the noticeable erection, his fingers outlining the thickness underneath the denim. With deft movements he flicked open the topmost rivet and lowered the zip, revealing dark green boxers, a telling wet spot near the waistband. "Is that for me?" he asked Harry languidly.
Harry removed the apron, tugged up the hem of his tee and, leaning back on his elbows, snagged a generous helping of the whipped cream and deposited it on his stomach. "All yours."
Severus bit the inside of his cheek to keep from coming in his pants like a sodding teenager at the sight Harry presented. The young man looked sinfully delicious – decadent even. Severus shed his waistcoat and linen shirt, leaving himself in a black undershirt. He pushed Harry down onto the table, until he was lying flat on his back, and yanked the shoes from Harry's dangling feet.
Harry did as instructed and watched as Severus pulled down his boxers and jeans, leaving him bare from the waist down. When he let his arse drop back on the table, he hissed his discomfort. "Fucking cold!"
"We'll soon heat it up," Severus promised. He hauled Harry to the edge of the counter and raised his knees, bending them back and spreading his thighs at the same time, revealing that dark pucker. He licked his lips and bent over Harry to run his tongue straight through the middle of the now-melting sweetness on Harry's stomach, dipping to twirl around his navel, tasting Harry and cream in one swipe. "Hand me the whipped cream."
Bowl in hand, Severus drew back a little and placed a healthy portion on Harry's balls, delighting in the strangled cry the other made at the cool contact. He set the bowl off to the side, grabbed a strawberry and dipped it in the fluff. Severus swirled the fruit around Harry's stiff cock, lazily running the small red fruit up and down Harry's shaft, loving the way the cream slowly melted, making milky rivulets onto the ruched sac and further down to Harry's anus.
"If you're going… bloody hell… for death by slow torture… Merlin, fuck me… I'll be dead in… yes, use your tongue right there… in two minutes," Harry spluttered, as Severus traced the path the strawberry had taken with his tongue.
"We wouldn't want that now, would we?" Severus purred. He popped the strawberry in his mouth, chewed and swallowed. Spreading Harry's legs wider, he knelt on the floor and began licking at the sweet substance that coated Harry's skin.
Severus ran his hands along the backs of Harry's thighs, thrilling in the crisp hairs that covered them. His hands made their way down to firm arse cheeks and massaged the muscles, stretching them apart until he had a clear view of Harry's dark opening. Angling his nose, Severus nuzzled the tender skin, his tongue darting out to taste that mixture of musk and cream. He circled Harry's hole several times, teasing the centre just enough to earn a strangled yelp when he bypassed it completely. When Severus finally delivered wet stabs with his tongue to that aching flesh, Harry raised his head a little and watched him intently, his fingers clenched in a white-knuckle grip on the edge of the table.
Indulging Harry this once, Severus thrust his tongue past the tight muscle and twisted it.
"Fuck me, yes!" Harry arched up into the teasing plunges.
In tandem with his assault on Harry's arse, Severus reached up and wrapped his hand around the younger wizard's hot length. He began leisurely stroking up and down. The silky glide of foreskin over the thick cock was exquisite.
Harry panted and wound his fingers in Severus' long hair. When Severus' strokes became harder and faster, Harry's fingers clenched, uneven nails dug into the dark head below him. "More!"
Severus stopped his ministrations and slipped his mouth onto the tip of Harry's rigid cock, descending as far as his throat would allow. The girth was impressive, so he used his hand to grip the base.
Hips thrusting frantically, Harry sobbed his pleasure. "Going to come…"
Letting his throat relax, Severus swallowed deeply, the tip of his tongue swirling around the edge of the fraenulum. One last powerful suck and Harry was gone. "Sweet, holy fuck!" Thick spurts of come flooded Severus' throat; some even dribbled out the side and onto his lips.
By the time Harry's cock stopped twitching, Severus had shed the rest of his clothes. His own cock was heavy with expectation, and seeing a thoroughly spent Harry spread wide and waiting made him frantic with need. He moved closer and let his cock slide between Harry's arsecheeks with an unhurried thrust. Beads of pre-come gathered at the head, and he rubbed the slippery fluid around the tight hole he'd just recently had the pleasure of tasting.
"Last chance, Potter." Severus resisted the urge to simply thrust himself inside the youth.
"You promised to call me Harry. I expect you to keep your promise." Harry hooked his right ankle behind Severus and pulled him closer.
Severus smirked before retrieving his wand with a wordless Accio. Pointing the tip at Harry's backside, Severus muttered a lubrication spell that liberally coated the puckered hole on display, as well as stretching the muscles. He tossed his wand on the table and ran one hand up to grasp Harry's hip while the other lined up his cock with Harry's arse and slowly pressed inside. Harry groaned wantonly as Severus buried himself to the hilt.
Severus withdrew and thrust fully inside once again, delicious heat surrounding him as his cock was consumed by Harry's perfect arse. He pulled out almost immediately before slamming back in, shoving the other wizard into the table's hard surface.
"Think you can play coy and beat a Slytherin at his own game, Potter?" Severus ground out, pumping repeatedly into the tight channel. His hips smacked Harry's arse, the speed and force rattling what little equipment remained on the table. Their skin was sticky with sweat, sugar and dribbles of Harry's come. "Think you can offer up your delectable arse to the greasy git and not expect it be thoroughly used?"
Harry moaned and grabbed the back of his knees, pulling them into his chest and allowing Severus to plunge deeper. "Wanted this for ages! Harder!" he pleaded gruffly.
Severus obliged. Grasping Harry's waist in a punishing grip, Severus pounded into the young man beneath him. The table groaned with their combined weight and, fearing collapse, Severus withdrew, lifted Harry from the table, turned him and bent him over the flat surface. He quickly buried himself in Harry's arse again and dipped his free hand below to take hold of Harry's cock.
Severus shifted himself slightly to change the angle, and drove his cock deeper while speeding up his strokes to Harry's shaft. Harry's moans became louder, until his voice broke and he shouted Severus' name. Hot, sticky fluid covered Severus' hand in copious amounts.
The internal spasms brought on Severus' own orgasm. And just as he'd promised, he screamed, "Harry!" and spurted deep into the body beneath him, biting Harry's shoulder as his hips jerked until he completely emptied himself.
Both men were left panting and clutching at each other for several minutes before either could breathe normally. After a few moments Severus let his deflated cock slide from Harry's arse and gathered him in a close embrace.
"We'll need to get new strawberries," Harry murmured from where he was tucked under Severus' chin.
Severus looked over Harry's shoulder and grimaced. What fruit remained was strewn about the table in a red, pulpy mess. Some of it decorated the left side of Harry's body. Severus swiped a finger on Harry's bicep, his finger coming away coated with bits of strawberry. He sucked it into his mouth and smiled crookedly. "You still taste divine."
Harry twisted in Severus' arms until they were face to face, and gave a shy smile in exchange. "My turn now. What shall we try next?"
"With so many culinary delights awaiting us, it may take quite a while to experience them all."
Harry tucked a sticky strand of hair behind Severus' ear and feigned a sigh. "Well then, it looks as if I have my work cut out for me."
Severus grabbed Harry's hand and sucked a digit between his lips. "You do indeed."
Hermione never did get her croquembouche.