He watched the other man at his work. Watched his calm, easy movements, his unconscious grace. The object of his fascination had shed the long, dark robes that typically concealed his tall frame and was now dressed in black slacks and a dark silk dress shirt that shone green when the light hit it just right. A silver watch was clasped around the delicate bones of his left wrist, just below the cuff of his shirt. The timepiece had been a gift; not something the man was likely to have picked out himself. Long, slender fingers were smoothing out a roll of parchment, the right hand absently stroking a stray lock of midnight hair back behind his ear. His right leg lifted and draped itself casually over the left as he took a fresh quill and dipped the point into his inkwell. He then hesitated a moment, the quill poised just above the crisp, new surface of the parchment, coal-black eyebrows drawing downward in thought as his lips pursed very slightly. Finally he touched the point to the parchment, the black ink scrawling firmly across the surface in his precise, confident script, bending intently over his work.
His observer released a silent sigh, leaning his head against the doorframe as he watched.
The late afternoon sunlight was slanting through the tall window on the far wall, falling over the man at the desk and sending his dark hair glinting with amber highlights. The silver watch glittered whenever he moved his hand and the silk shirt rippled, revealing tones of emerald and deep forest, feathered with the golden brush of the light.
The man in the doorway felt like he could watch him forever, just like this. Wished he could separate this fragile, perfect moment from the rest of time and preserve it.
It was times like these that made him realize how truly lucky he was. How generously blessed. That this graceful man, this dark and elegant creature had chosen him. That he was willing to share the fiery passion that burned within him, the brilliant depths of his mind, with him alone. It made his heart ache. For he couldn't understand what he had done to earn it, what the other could possibly see in him that made him worthy.
For all the fame and prestige that went with his name, he was really just an ordinary person. Not so terribly exciting or fascinating once you got beneath the surface. But… his partner knew him, really knew all of him. And he still cared, with or without that name.
It had been hard, so hard, to win his trust. To make him see past their differences, to set aside the old hatreds. To lower the walls. But it had been worth it. Worth every effort and more. He never could have imagined he would know such happiness, and in such a way. Love… was truly a funny thing.
His eyes stinging slightly, he watched the man until he had finished his letter and placed it neatly in an envelope, sealing it and setting it to the side to be sent later. Releasing a pent up breath, he walked quietly into the room, his bare feet silent on the thick rug. Pausing a step behind and to the left of the other man's chair, he reached out and gently hooked the strands of hair that had forward again during the man's writing and drew them behind his ear once more, then smoothed his fingers through the silken darkness.
"You're so beautiful," he whispered, unable to stop the words, meaning them from the bottom of his heart.
The other man turned his head, upsetting the hand as he lifted black eyes to look at him. One of the dark eyebrows flared in wry amusement.
"Mmm." The low, rich voice wrapped around him. "I believe you must be seeing me through the proverbial rose tinted glasses. You would be hard pressed to find someone to agree with you on that score, Mr. Potter."
Harry Potter smiled a bit, feeling the foolish stinging in his eyes again and nearly shaking his head at his own sentimentality. Well. It happened from time to time.
He threaded his hand into the inky blackness of the other man's hair again, caressing his head.
"I don't care what they think." He brushed the pad of his thumb over the older man's eye, feeling the fringe of his lashes. "You're beautiful, Severus."
"And what 'proverbial rose tinted glasses?'"
Severus Snape released a faintly exasperated sigh, but his eyes slid half closed as Harry continued stroking his hair.
"It's a Muggle colloquium, 'seeing the world through rose tinted glasses.' In other words, seeing things as better than they really are."
Harry shook his head slightly, amazed as always by how well-read the other man was. Then he smiled a bit, continuing to comb his fingers through Severus' ebony locks. When he spoke, his voice was quiet and sincere.
"I don't think so. I think in this case maybe I'm one of the only people who sees things like they really are."
Severus blinked at him, a look of uncharacteristic surprise touching his normally stoic features. Seizing the opportunity, Harry leaned down and placed a warm, brief kiss on the other man's lips.
"You are a sentimental fool, Potter," Severus said when Harry pulled back, but his voice was soft. Feeling his heart tighten, Harry slid his hand over to cover the other man's, threading their fingers together and tugging gently to urge Severus to his feet.
"Maybe so," he allowed as the other man complied. Once his partner was standing, Harry reached up and caught his face, bringing him down for another kiss, slower this time, a lingering caress of lips and tongue. He made a soft sound as he felt Severus' hands on his shoulders, stroking down his back to rest at his waist. Breaking the kiss, he sighed softly, wrapping his arms around the other man's neck and resting his head on his shoulder. He closed his eyes, settling easily into Severus' embrace, relaxing against the tall, lean form. Severus' hand came up to rub his back, the movement almost cautious.
"Is everything all right, Harry?" The soft, gently melodious voice was tinged with concern.
Harry smiled, his face pressed against Severus' neck, inhaling the other man's scent. The faint aromas of mint and coffee, along with the subtler smells of various potions ingredients. He gently kissed his lover's throat.
"Yes," he murmured quietly, splaying his hands against the Potions master's shoulder blades, rubbing the silk shirt between his fingers. "I've just been thinking about how lucky I am."
He felt Severus relax a bit, the tension leaving him now that Harry had assured him that he was well. His fingers began tracing idle patterns on Harry's back.
"Oh?" Soft lips brushed a kiss against Harry's crown. "What's happened now?"
Harry smiled again, enjoying the warmth of the other man's body pressed against his own. He began to sway a bit, drawing Severus into a slow dance, despite the lack of music. He could clearly picture the amused, indulgent expression his lover was no doubt wearing.
"Nothing in particular," he said softly, his arms tightening around the other man as he moved to his own silent melody, his body melting into Severus'. "I was just thinking about how lucky I am, that you're with me. How incredibly lucky I am to have you… I love you so much."
Severus faltered slightly, his movements falling out of step with Harry's for a brief moment. The hands on Harry's back flexed faintly.
"Harry…I'm not- I am the one who's lucky-"
"Mmm," Harry silenced him, not opening his eyes as he lifted a hand to touch Severus' hair again. "You don't have to say anything, Sev. Just… dance with me."
The other man lapsed into silence, brushing his face into Harry's hair and then resting his chin atop Harry's head. As the moments passed, the silence became something more poignant than words. Severus didn't need to speak, because Harry could practically feel the other man's love in the air surrounding them. He buried his face deeper into Severus' shoulder, blushing a bit as he felt his eyes stinging again. Severus was always teasing him about how emotional he was; they struck him at seemingly random times, these bursts of 'foolish sentimentality'. He took a slow breath, releasing it softly against Severus' shirt. The other man's hand lifted and began gently stroking the nape of his neck, fingers sifting through his hair. Lips grazed along his forehead to his temple, brushed against his ear.
The word was breathed, sighed against him, warm with everything Severus felt for him. All the older man's emotions conveyed in those brief syllables.
He felt himself lose his silent struggle, the tears slipping from his eyes to lose themselves in Severus' silk shirt, even as he smiled. Happiness always brought him tears more easily than pain. There had been a time when he had imagined such a perfect moment would never be his.
He could feel the other man's smile against his hair; smiling at his tears.
Harry released a soft, contented sigh, no longer weeping. The future stretched out ahead of them. How many more perfect moments would there be? There was so much time. And even the end was not the end. He hadn't believed it once, but now… Now the surety wrapped itself around him. He couldn't believe anything else.
He stroked his hands along the clean planes of Severus' back, touching the man for the simple pleasure of it. Felt his lover touching him in return. He gently rubbed his face against Severus' throat.
They had come through so much to be here, sharing this moment of unadulterated happiness. But it really had been worth it. There would be pain to come, and hard times. Anger and sadness. But in this moment, he knew with utter certainty that they would survive it. There was nothing that could break this. There was nothing.
The sunlight was warm through the windows, bathing them as they danced, and Harry held Severus against him with a joy he had never felt. There would be so many moments like this. So many possibilities for this happiness. He had never received such a gift.
This was forever.