"Bets & Consequences"

Summary: Hogwarts staff have made a bet over whether Severus and Harry are in a relationship. What happens when the Potions and DADA professors find out about this bet? Will their friendship be strained or develop into something more?

Warnings: Snarry! Don't like, don't read.

Disclaimer: Whatever you recognize, I don't own.

Thank you to everyone who has reviewed or favorited or is following this story! I really appreciate the support and wish I had time to give personal responses to everyone. Thank you!

Chapter Four

Sunday, the next day

The next morning Severus woke up feeling happy. He hummed to himself and thought happily of the night before as he showered and dressed. After dressing, he made a list of tasks for the day. He then left his quarters and strode through the halls, still humming and unaware of the small smile on his lips. It wasn't until he was halfway to the Great Hall for breakfast that he became aware of himself and realized that he should be more careful.

Breakfast was agonizing. Severus was glad to be in Harry's presence, but his enjoyment was shadowed by his worry and ongoing analysis over every little thing. Severus felt pretty certain that their greetings (a bright "Morning, Severus!" from Harry and a simple nod and "Harry" from Severus in response) didn't deviate from their normal routine, but he did wonder if young man had always smiled so when greeting him, or if this was something new. Severus stiffened when Harry placed a blueberry scone on his plate and again when he refilled his tea when it ran low. He wondered if Harry chattered on more than usual and if his tone was too friendly. As for himself, he avoided looking at the young man and stuck to short responses.

Severus was grateful when the post arrived. He immediately opened The Daily Prophet and began to read (or rather, pretended to read) and hoped it was enough to deter Harry from talking to him. It was enough, at least on Harry's end, but it didn't stop Albus from making a few comments. Finally Severus gave up on the charade and folded up the Prophet. Immediately Harry asked what his plans were for the day.

"Gather a few roots from the Forest and brew some potions," he replied.

"I'm available to help. What time should I come?"

Severus could hear the smile in Harry's voice. He was so pleased that Harry wanted to spend time with him that it didn't occur to him to chide the young man for inviting himself. But for the sake of their colleagues sitting nearby he didn't want to appear too eager. "Ten sharp, my labs. Don't be late," he answered curtly. Then he stood up and left the Great Hall without a glance.

The Forbidden Forest offered much relief to the Potions Master. As soon as he was surrounded by the towering trees and out of sight of the castle he felt his body begin to relax. He made his way through the Forest in search of the plants whose roots he needed. Other than the occasional bird song and rustling leaves, the Forest was quiet. Severus found himself daydreaming about his evening with Harry. By the time he reached his destination, he had become as content and happy feeling as he felt when he had first woken up. He was even humming and smiling again. He continued to do so as he cut and packed away the roots and head back, only stopping when he was once again in sight of the castle.

Just before 10 o'clock Severus started to pull out jars of ingredients. He heard the door open and close.

"What was that all about?" Harry demanded, as he came into view. "Did I do something wrong or did you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed?"

Severus stared, shocked by the accusation. Finally he found his voice. "Surely you are mistaken. I don't know what you are talking about. But since we are on the subject of breakfast, you were entirely inappropriate, pouring me tea and putting food on my plate-"

Harry blinked. "You're kidding, right? Bloody hell, Sev, you haven't been that cold towards me since last year! Finally in January you gave up on dismissing me with one-word responses and started talking with me. And I've been refilling your tea since March and putting blueberry scones - your favorite - since June." The tone was harsh but Harry's eyes didn't flash with anger. They seemed… hurt.

Severus stared.

"You were your normal self yesterday and the night before. You talked to me. You even smiled!" Harry added, frowning.

Severus looked into the pained eyes and felt his chest tighten uncomfortably. He remembered. He had indeed conversed with Harry in front of their colleagues in an easy, friendly manner, and if Harry said he smiled, he believed him. What a fool he was. He didn't want to push away or hurt someone who had become a friend… someone who was interested in more than friendship… someone whose kisses make him feel warm inside.

He looked down, knowing it would be too difficult to say the words and look in those eyes. "I'm sorry. You're right. I had overreacted."

Severus waited in agony for what must have been just a few seconds of silence but felt much, much longer.

"Why?" asked Harry softly.

Severus hesitated. It was the one thing he hated to admit, hated to be accused of. "I was afraid," he whispered. "Afraid that everyone would know… that something has occurred between us, that I…" He closed his eyes tightly. "Forgive me?" he pleaded.

"Yes," Harry answered.

Relieved and grateful, Severus murmured a "thank you" and then looked up to see Harry smiling.

He cocked his head slightly and squinted his eyes, wondering why Harry was beaming so brightly.

"You… apologized," Harry marveled.

Severus shrugged uncomfortably. "Yes, well, I am human and therefore capable of feeling emotion, including remorse," he stated stiffly.

Harry slowly closed the distance between them and gently grasped Severus' hands. "I'm sorry, too." He sighed. "Honestly it hadn't occurred to me to consider my interactions with you in front of others, especially now that we…" He gave a crooked smile and shrugged his shoulders as if not sure of what to say. His face then grew more serious. "So… um… Should I tone it down, back off?" he asked.

Severus thought about it. "No," he said firmly. "Everyone will wonder why. We should continue to act as we have been."

Harry nodded. "I agree. I think that's best for now." He then looked away and bit his lip.

Severus felt Harry's hands get a bit warmer and slightly clammy. "Sev, if things work out between us,… if it becomes serious…" he trailed off.

"Harry, I haven't thought that far ahead, I'm just taking this one day at a time."

Harry nodded and tried to smile. Severus hesitated and then gave him a kiss on the forehead. "Come on, we have a potion to make."

Harry looked up at him, his smile growing and becoming more relaxed. Harry kissed him on the lips gently, lingering longer than usual. Just as they pulled apart Severus impulsively leaned in for another kiss, and rejoiced as he felt Harry pressing back as firmly as he. Harry's kisses were becoming quite addictive. As they chopped ingredients and brewed Severus found his mind wondering how soon he could get away with stealing another kiss from the young man.

By the time they bottled the finished potions it was time for lunch. On their way towards the door, Severus thanked Harry for his help.

Harry stopped at the door and turned around. "Thanks for letting me help. I enjoy spending time with you."

Severus' chest was warm from Harry's words and smile. He moved in close. "Likewise," he replied softly. Satisfied that it appeared that Harry would welcome another kiss so soon, he moved in closer, cupped Harry's cheek, and leaned down to kiss him. Despite his hunger for more, he limited himself to the one and then suggested to Harry he go on to the Great Hall ahead of him. Harry argued that they have arrived to the Great Hall together many times before, but Severus insisted.

Lunch and dinner were both rather difficult for Severus. The entire time he was hyper-aware of everything Harry did and said and whether it was noticed by their colleagues around them and the students down in front of them. He was relieved that Harry didn't put food on his plate. Harry kept his goblet filled, but Severus didn't mind that much. He noticed that sometimes Harry touched him casually and wondered whether that was something Harry normally did. They talked a bit throughout the meal and Severus made a point to talk to another professor every so often so that he wouldn't be seen only conversing with Harry. He tried to relax and trust that Harry acted no differently than he had a few days prior, but he was still on edge despite his efforts.

He already knew that Harry had tutoring appointments with students in the afternoon. As for himself he had a stack of essays that he had been putting off grading. Since the Staff Meeting on Friday there had been quite a lot on his mind. In fact, Severus was still so distracted by thoughts of Harry that it took twice the amount of time as it normally did to mark papers. Towards the end of dinner, Harry asked if he fancied a couple rounds of chess, but Severus had to reluctantly turn him down, as he had a few more essays left.

When the last essay was read and marked, Severus gratefully retired to bed. He hugged his pillow and reflected on the turn his life had taken over the past few days. He pondered his thoughts and feelings towards Harry. He desired him. That was clear. But now it was so much more than before. He never before thought that a simple kiss could bring so much pleasure. It did concern him a bit. If such a kiss could be so addictive, would anything more intimate downright destroy him? It was a practical concern. How could he effectively plan, teach, mark papers, and perform his other duties if his thoughts continued to be so preoccupied? And what did Harry want? Harry didn't seem to be as worried as he over what the staff knew or thought. He seemed to be interested in something "more serious," but Severus wasn't entirely confident what that meant exactly. Harry had talked about children and asked him what he thought. Did Harry desire marriage and children? Did Harry really think that such a thing was possible with him? And did he himself want that? Severus wasn't a fool. He knew he wasn't much to look at and didn't know why on earth Harry would turn his eye toward him. And he knew he wasn't the most pleasant of company. He probably wouldn't be easy to live with. The idea of sharing a life, a home, and a family with someone was beyond what he had previously thought possible. Now that there was someone who might want that with him… it gave Severus a lot to think about. Severus wasn't sure at the moment what he wanted. Besides kisses, of course. And a roll in the sack every so often would be lovely.

As mentally and emotionally exhausted as he was, Severus knew he needed a little help falling asleep. He touched his lips and remembered what kisses with Harry felt like. He let his hand wander down. He brushed his fingers over his nipples until they were erect. He pressed his palm down his stomach and hip flexor, avoiding his cock. He teased his inner thighs and cupped his balls. He let his hands wander over his body for a whole minute before finally giving in and touching his aching cock. Forgoing his usual quick-and-efficient approach to self-pleasuring, he instead took things much slower, savoring each tiny touch and prolonging his release as long as he could stand it.

And for the entire time, he imagined that it was Harry he was touching.