This is the final chapter. I hope you have all enjoyed it as much as me. Thank you!
It took a month before Severus could go a whole day without a nap. Sirius stayed at Hogwarts so the two could share the class-load for the remainder of the year. Harry, Draco, Hermione, and Ron managed to finish their schooling and sit their NEWTs. Ron was accepted into the Auror training program with a full scholarship. Hermione was still sorting through all the offers she had received. Draco was enjoying the freedom of his parents' incarceration. For all that Lucius' last warning was helpful, he and Narcissa had been on the side of the dark for too long. Sirius and Remus had proposed to their young lover and there was another wedding on the horizon. Everything had come together.
'Where have you put my quill?' Severus called.
'I didn't touch it,' Harry shouted from the other room.
'Well you must have, it isn't here now.'
'I told you I bloody didn't. Are you sure your nose isn't obscuring your view of the desk?'
Severus could hear stomping coming down the hall and then Harry's face appeared in the doorway.
'Eloquent as always, Snape.'
'I was merely pandering to your inability to comprehend words longer than two syllables.'
Harry curled his lip before pushing past Severus to get to the door. He was dressing in his mint green apprentice robes and was running late for training at the hospital. As he passed, Severus snagged his sleeve.
'Where are you going?'
'Training. I told you I stared early on Fridays now, or have you forgotten already, old man?'
'Childish as ever, Potter. Aren't you forgetting something?'
Harry frowned for a moment before rolling his eyes. With a quick sigh he leaned up on his toes and pressed his lips to Severus'. As soon as he was close enough, Severus snaked his arms around Harry's waist and pulled their bodies together.
'I love you, too.'
After Harry was gone, Severus went about tidying up the kitchen before he began to brew. After about two hours he was unsurprised to receive an owl from Harry.
I'm sorry about this morning. I bloody hate these early starts especially with how often they make me stay late. I hardly see you and when I do I'm so snappy we always fight. I mean, it's not all on me, you could occasionally try and have a little consideration Mr. I-Work-From-Home-Three-Days-A-Week, but I don't help the matter.
I love you. You know that, right? I fucking love you. And I hate when we fight even though I know we always will. We're both far too short-tempered, full of spit and vinegar as Hermione's grandmother would say, but I'd rather have it out with you every morning than have everything come so easily with someone else. You're the only one for me, you big git. Sorry again.
All my love, always,
Severus smiled when he read the letter. As always, he read it twice, folded it once and tucked it into a locked chest he kept in his potions lab. He had quite a collection, but he didn't mind. For all they represented how often he and Harry fought, they were a balm for his anxieties whenever Harry met yet another handsome young man or had to politely decline yet another suitor. Harry would always tell him, Severus would laugh and then, that night, Severus would go down to his lab and read through the notes, reminding himself that Harry loved him, wanted him. He had never told Harry and the younger man had never asked, but Severus was sure he knew.
When he'd finished his little ritual, Severus jotted down his own note.
I am equally sorry. Try to come home early today, I promise to make it worth your while.
He smirked before turning back to his potion, he had a few hours before he would need to prepare.
By the time Harry managed to get home, Severus had been in position for almost an hour and was growing restless. When he heard the floo crackle, he smoothed down his dress robes and tucked his hair behind his ear. Harry walked into their bedroom, scanned it, and spotted Severus. His hands rose to his mouth.
'What are you-'
'Harry Potter, will you do me the honour of becoming my husband?'
Severus nodded and held out the ring. Harry took a step closer, still not within reach, and frowned.
'Really? You want to marry me?'
Severus rolled his eyes and got off his knee. As he strode towards the slightly stunned young man, he pulled the simple ring from the box. When his chest touched Harry's, he continued walking, pushing them both up against the door.
Severus leaned down and claimed Harry's mouth with his own. Harry relaxed into the familiar motions and barely noticed when Severus slid the ring onto his finger. It wasn't until they pulled back that Harry looked down.
'You really want to?'
'Then we are of an agreement.'
Harry grinned for a moment before his smile turned sly. He straightened his spine and began pushing Severus back onto the bed. A quick spell took care of their clothes and Harry settled naturally between Severus' parted legs. They kissed and petted and slowly, sweetly made love.
As Severus drew Harry into his body time and time again Harry thought he might finally know what love was. When he watched that proud, fragile man come to pieces under his hands, Harry thought he knew how lust felt. But when he saw those dark eyes, swimming with tears borne of too much sensation, gaze up at him, imploring that he put Severus back together again, Harry was sure he knew what trust was.
They lay together, in the afterglow. After a long moment, when they started sticking together, Harry clambered to the edge of the mattress and grabbed his wand. He cast a cleaning charm, kissed Severus and moved over to his side of the bed. He knew Severus didn't like the heat and stuffiness of trying to fall asleep cuddled together, although they would invariably wake up that way.
Almost as soon as he was settled, Severus scooted over, resting his back against Harry's chest. When he was comfortable, Severus reached back for one of Harry's hands and drew it over his chest.
'Severus, are you-'
'Just for tonight, Harry.'
Harry smiled and kissed Severus' nape before burying his nose in the fine hairs there. As he dozed off, he felt Severus lift his left hand and kiss the ring.
'I love you, Harry.'
'Love you, Sev'rus.'