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Harry looked at the sleeping body next to him. His arse was still sore from last night, but it was a good kind of sore, he smirked. He wasn't too bothered by the fact that the sleeping body was Severus Snape, and had anyone saw them like this they would have a heart attach. Flashbacks of the last night surfaced. Drunk kisses, tattoos and cum.
He tried to leave the bed, but felt something pulling him back. Snape groaned. Harry tried again, but to no avail.
"Stop pulling my hand, Potter." He groaned. Harry, looked back, to where his hand was resting. A handcuff was closed on his wrist.
He didn't remember any kinky stuff from last night, apart from Snape's voice.
He lifted his hand, dragging Snape's out of the blanket. Much to his horror, Snape's hand was cuffed to his.
He didn't feel the cuff, but he could see it. He had no idea when or how it got there, or how he didn't notice it earlier.
Must be the blanket, he sighed.
He summoned his wand and tried several spells, mild to powerful, in order to get the cuff to open.
"What are you up to?" Snape groaned, finally opening his eyes.
"Potter, would you kindly explain this situation?" He asked irritably.
"I would if I knew. Did we use handcuffs last night? I wasn't that drunk."
"It's not my thing." Snape said, examining his cuff.
His wand flew to his hand and he cast an array of spells on the cuffs, that refused to react.
"Maybe Hermione can help."
"Great." Severus groaned.
"Well, it can't last for too long, can it?"
"You never know with magic."
"Well, I really have to use the loo, so can you please -"
Snape groaned.
"Make it quick."
While Harry relieved himself, Snape brushed his teeth, then Harry waited until Snape finished relieving himself in order to brush his teeth.
They cooked breakfast together, having little other choice, and sat to eat, silently.
Snape showed no resistance to hide under the invisibility cloak until they got to Hermione's office.
Snape had to grip his arm in order to keep their walking even. Hary found he rather liked it.
Thanks to Harry's robe, only those who looked up his sleeve would see one small chain.
Had Snape been the visible one, the cuff was surely visible as he wore tight sleeves, luckily, Harry had two non-formal sets of large sleeved robes.
They entered Hermione's office without knocking, she looked up at him with a smile.
"What are you doing here? Kingsley sent you home."
Harry locked the door and took pulled the cloak off Snape, who rolled his eyes.
"Help." Harry said, putting his hand up, allowing the sleeve to slide back and reveal the cuff.
"It will go off after Christmas." She said casually.
"What?!" They both exclaimed.
"Mrs Weasley, I demand you will remove those at once."
"Sorry, no can do. It has a timer. Nothing can set you apart until it goes off."
"May I ask, how do you know?" Snape asked.
"I set them for Harry."
"You did what?"
"You clearly have been seeing someone for the past two months, and you refused to tell us. After Kingsley sent you home we knew we might not see you for a week. But you will never dare skip Christmas at the Burrow, so we knew we will see you at Christmas. They were set to activate the first time either of you will try and move more than arm's length from the other since you first kissed that day."
"Guess what, Hermione? I wasn't dating anyone!" Harry said, irritated. "That's disgusting and unfair to both sides."
"Then why did you always run away when we were sitting together?"
"Either I was the third wheel, or I was tired, or I decided I'd rather have sex and left. You know, not everyone has a steady love life like you do."
"Well, I'm sorry, but that's unremovable."
"Fucking marvellous." Snape snorted. "Come, Potter. We have six days to burn and it's too early for alcohol." He groaned, covering himself in the cloak. When they were back in Harry's flat, they fell on the couch.
"What now?" Harry asked.
"We have four hours to lunch."
Making a sudden decision, Harry straddled Snape and began kissing his neck and jawline.
"I know how we can burn some time." He muttered into Snape's ear. To his surprise, Snape didn't throw him away.
They woke up half an hour after lunchtime, spelt their clothes back on and began making lunch. Much to their surprise, they managed to function better in the kitchen together than anywhere else.
"You don't seem much older than I remembered you."
"The poison damaged my magic, what created problems in some minor aspects of my biology. Though I cannot complain. I had luck."
"What happened?"
"My eyes got a little lighter in colour, my skin lost a little of the yellowish tone, I age slower but need more hours of sleep. And my hair grows faster."
"It's also not greasy."
"My hair isn't naturally greasy. It was when I was younger as I rarely washed it, and it was naturally greasy, making the situation worse. As a teacher I put a certain potion in it in order to keep any stray hairs that might fall into a cauldron in place. I might be bad about a ruined potion, but I will never sabotage a student's potion."
"Do you still grease it when you brew?"
"It isn't grease. It makes it look greasy." Snape rolled his eyes. "I brew with a bun. I find it much nicer than the potion."
"I would have given everything to see you in a bun." Harry laughed.
Snape muttered something, and suddenly his hair shaped itself into a bun.
"I will decide about payment later. It's always good to have a Head Auror owe you something."
"I like it."
Snape nodded curtly and kept eating.
"I never noticed you were left handed." Harry said.
"I'm not."
"So how can you use your left hand so good? Mine is like... an emergency hand or a paper weight of something."
"Practice. I can use both hands about the same."
"Is there anything you can't do?"
"Right choices and sex with women." He said casually, ignoring Harry's smile.
"Do you have music here?"
"I usually put on MTV on my telly and roll with what they give me."
"So no good music."
"Hey, it's not that bad."
"They have one song in a hundred and fifty that doesn't make me want to bang my head into a wall."
"So no pop for you."
"What you do listen to?"
"Not pop."
"What genre? There are so many, like jazz and -"
"Metal. I like rock and metal."
"Unexpected." Harry snorted.
"I can do with different genres, but never give me a woman in her underwear talking nonsense while humphing a stranger with her annoying baby voice."
"Well, we'll have to find a solution to this situation. Another situation to take care of: what if one of us has to 'go'?"
"Go where?"
"You know, number two."
"Do you even shit?" Harry sighed.
"I do defecate, I'm only human."
"'defecate'? Merlin, did you swallow a dictionary or anything?"
Snape rolled his eyes at that. "I think we should create a wall between the toilet and the sink. We can have a cut line at a certain height for us to put the chains in, so we can each take a side, much less embarrassing than doing it with a hand hanging from a hole in the wall. I also suggest a set of charms in order to isolate the user from the surroundings. As for showers, I see no reason for us to bother doing so separately, as we had seen each other naked multiple times by now."
"You are so calm about the whole deal."
"Will it help if I was horribly annoyed?"
"I bet you wouldn't have reacted that way if you got cuffed to me right after the war."
"Obviously. But you have grown, and that makes all the difference. I also changed, but it's mostly you. Food is good, sex is good, we have magic, you're not as ignorant as you were, I dare say it could have been worse."
"I'm flattered."
"You should be. So, why did Shacklebolt send you home?"
"Said I'm overworking myself and that I can come back on January second."
"Overworking Potter. The first in generations."
"Probably." Harry laughed. "My dad didn't seem to be the one to put much effort into anything that wasn't my mum or Quidditch."
"Rather accurate."
"Do you watch Doctor Who?"
"Still can't maintain a subject of conversation, Potter. And no, I do not. I have heard about it but I do not own a television."
"We should watch that. If you don't have work to do."
"I do, actually. And I have to feed my cat."
"You have a cat?"
"I believe I just said so."
"Well, you can bring it here for the week."
"I will. It's him, by the way."
"What's his name?"
"Black one?"
"And white."
"No, he's black and white."
After cleaning up, they apparated to Snape's place. The place was designed in shades of blue and cream, different than everything Harry imagined. The man even had a computer!
Harry saw a black and white cat resting on a navy blue wingback chair, blinking lazily.
Snape knelt down next to the cat, forcing Harry to go down with him. He watched as Snape caressed the lazy cat, who purred in response.
"Food." Snape said and stood up, taking Harry with him to the kitchen. He filled the cat bowl with food, and much to Harry's surprise, Odysseus was right behind them. He waited until Snape will finish refilling his water before approaching the food.
"Clever cat."
"He is indeed. Now I have some work to do, which will require you to be silent."
"What are you making?"
"Felix Felicis."
"That's it?"
"It's for a couple I provided female pregnancy potion." He said as they descended to the basement.
"So it's a fertility potion?"
"No, a fertility potion is called fertility potion, male fertility or female fertility. Female pregnancy potion allows a couple of women to have a child. Guess how the male version is called."
"Male pregnancy potion?"
"Five points to Gryffindor. The inventors were lazy with the names." He said while waving his wand. Harry watched as Snape's robes changed to special brewing robes, his hair collected into a bun and cauldrons and ingredients flew to the working station in the darkness of the room. Harry felt his robes changing and a net being put on his hair.
"As we are cuffed, you will have to wear those too." Snape said, gesturing at the robes.
He waved his wand and the room lit up, revealing the lab. Harry would have never imagined Snape's lab to be so... empty.
There were a long desk and few boiling stations, the air was unusually fresh for a basement, and that was basically it. Except for the doors. Three sets of double doors had been placed, one behind them, one to the right and one to the left.
"That's it?"
"Aren't you supposed to be like, the top Potions Master in Europe or something?"
"I value order, when it comes to my lab."
"What's behind those doors?"
"Equipment and ingredients."
"Can I see?"
"While it's boiling, now shut up and don't move." He said, summoning a dagger.
Harry watched the skilled hands work for an hour and a half, by the clock on the wall in front of them.
Snape had the loveliest hands. Long and elegant fingers moving in swift motion.
The messy bun was a turn on for Harry, no doubt. He watched the concentrating man work in silence. A small lock of hair fell out of his bun on the side of his face, and after few minutes, climbed back into the bun.
He examined the man's nose for several minutes. It was true, what people say about men with big noses. Snape's nose wasn't little nor cute, but in Harry's opinion, it wasn't too big or ugly either.
A little longer than average and hooked, there was no denying, but Harry had seen worse. He had seen people with hooked noses that looked like beaks, arching down towards their mouths, and although he didn't have a problem with anyone's appearance, it just wasn't his type.
He wondered how Snape would react had Harry kissed him on the tip of the nose. He would probably huff at him or push him away.
Suddenly, Harry had the urge to touch Snape's cheekbones, to caress them with his thumb.
"Stop staring at me, Potter."
"But you're so lovely." Harry blurted. It was too late to take it back, so he had to go on with it.
Snape didn't reply, and perhaps it was just Harry's imagination, but he thought he had seen faint blush rising to Snape's cheeks.
After few more minutes, Snape cast few charms and sighed.
"Twenty-one minutes untouched." He said, moving away.
"Can I see your storage?"
Snape led him to the door behind them.
"Ingredients." He said, revealing a giant room packed with shelves. Jars of all sizes were resting there, labeled.
"Any particular order?"
"Reaction. If two ingredients have a bad reaction, they're far from each other." Snape explained and closed the doors. He led Harry to the door next to the one they came through and opened it, revealing cauldrons at many colours and sizes, glass pipes, funny things Harry hadn't a clue where they might come in handy and many more tools Harry had seen, or never thought might exist.
"So many stuff."
"Different materials."
"What are those cauldrons?" Harry asked, pointing at cauldrons in colours he had never seen in the potions store.
"Brass, copper, cast iron, platinum, stainless steel, gold, silver and bronze." He said, pointing to each pile of cauldrons at a time. They were stacked one on the other by colour. Snape closed the doors and headed to the next door. Harry almost gasped as hundreds of phials shined together in the gentle lighting like diamonds. Below the racks of phials, there were few other funky tools that Harry didn't even bother looking at for longer than a few seconds.
"So many..." he muttered.
"Sorted by price and rarity. At the top, I have few made of pure diamond. The lower prices are shaped geodes and metals like gold and silver, below that, few qualities of glass, from cheap to expensive. The pick depends on the type of potion. Some cannot be contained in phials that are anything other than quartz, for example."
"What was the most expensive potion you brewed?"
"Without research, twelve hundred galleons, with research it has come to four thousand galleons."
"Indeed." He said, closing the doors. They sat on the floor, as Snape only had one chair and refused to leave the potion or summon another into the room.
"I've never heard on stainless steel cauldrons before." Harry said as they sat.
"They have very little use at the moment, but sometimes they are needed."
They sat against the wall for fifteen minutes before Snape got up and began chopping few more ingredients.
An hour later, the potion was bottled and they ascended to Snape's study. Harry found a small tawny owl sitting on the window den. Snape wrapped the phial carefully and tied it to the owl's leg, and the owl took off.
"Now we go to my house and watch Doctor Who." Harry said. Snape assembled a bag with few waves of his hand and put it on Harry's shoulder. Snape himself took the cat, Odysseus, and they disapparated.
While Odysseus wandered around the flat, meowing at random things, they sat and began watching the first episode of the new version of Doctor Who.
"This is ridiculous." Snape snorted as the episode ended.
"Didn't like it then?"
"It was nice. Put another one on."
As the sun went down, Harry found himself pressed against Severus' chest, watching their fourth episode in a row.
They kept watching until past midnight, and then went to bed.
"It wasn't so bad." Harry sighed.
"I had a rather enjoyable day with you. A true surprise."
Harry rolled his eyes at that.
"Good night, Severus."
"Good night, Harry."
The next day passed idly. The rain was knocking on the windows and winds swirled outside. Harry didn't have a fireplace like Severus did, but he turned on the heating, and with tea, soup, blankets and a cat, they passed the day watching Doctor Who.
"Your tomato soup is heavenly." Harry moaned.
"The small pieces of toast in it were a very nice addition." Severus said.
"I think you're the only person who can look good in a turtleneck."
Harry would have sworn he saw a light blush.
"I do not think I look good. At all."
"But I do, and you're not shagging yourself, are you?"
"I have tried and miserably failed."
Harry almost sprayed the tomato soup at Severus.
After he calmed down a little, Severus spoke again.
"So, does it count as a kind of relationship? 'Shagging'?"
"I don't think so. But we're doing it, and for now, we haven't much other choice."
"To choice." Snape said, raising his wine glass a little before drinking.
"Is it so bad you toast for a choice?" Harry asked, trying to act as if he wasn't insulted.
"Does it matter? After Christmas we will never see each other again."
Harry felt a slight pinch in his heart. "Yeah." He said, remaining silent for the rest of the dinner.
He had grown fond of Snape in the past forty-eight hours, and was saddened a little when the man stated it is all about to end soon.
On the third day Ginny came to visit. She threw an experiment and gave them thirty-six questions to answer to each other, and a few moments in silence, but other than Ginny's visit, the day had been uneventful.
On the fourth day they talked for hours.
"What does the tattoo on your shoulder mean? I'm not good in Latin."
"Ne timeas obscurum. Don't be afraid of the darkness."
"I like it. And the snake on your upper arm. How it goes around... makes me want to get a tattoo."
"What, a lion?"
"It's okay for you to have three snake tattoos and I can't have a lion? Hypocrite."
"My apologies."
"But no, not a lion."
"Just don't make it a tramp stamp."
"This Starbucks thing is nice."
"It is. Can't believe you never had it."
"Big deal."
"Maybe not, but I'm glad I get to introduce you to it. If I get a tattoo, will you come with me?"
"Suddenly not brave enough?"
"Oh, please. I would just like you to be there. You are my inspiration to getting a tattoo."
"Fine, I'll join you."
"On another subject, what are we going to do at the Burrow? How we're going to act?" Harry asked.
"Do we have to go?"
"Yes! Maybe we can act like a couple, that will scare the life out of Ron."
"I haven't been in a relationship for years-"
"We can practice."
"We must practice." Severus agreed.
"I have to ask, how was your first relationship?"
"Horribly awkward." Severus laughed. "After every kiss I started to blush and mumble, after the first time we had sex I was already picking my clothes to go home when he told me it's not like that in a relationship. I made almost no eye contact. It was terrible. Luckily, I have changed."
"This sounds adorable!" Harry exclaimed.
"It wasn't. Not at all."
That afternoon they practised being a couple, from hugs to kisses to sex. They got a little carried away, as when they were undressing, Harry's digital clock said one in the morning, and they knew they will not go to sleep for another forty minutes at least.
The next day at the Burrow, no one seemed surprised to see them shackled, but the reaction to their hand holding was different. Ron paled and Ginny grinned, George couldn't seem to stop winking at Harry.
When they put things in their room, Harry looked out the window, watching the rain.
At first, Severus sat on the bed, but not late after, Harry felt two arms wrapping around him from behind and a warm face nuzzling his neck, the lips planting small kisses where they met Harry's skin.
"You can stop acting now, no one's watching."
"Practice makes perfect." Severus murmured in his ear.
Harry leant into the hug, allowing Severus to pull him closer.
"What are you thinking about?" Severus asked.
Harry felt his muscles relaxing as he inhaled Severus' scent. "This is our last night together."
"Is that bad?"
"I don't know. Let's go back downstairs."
Everything went as usual, except for Ron's confused faces.
Harry found that Severus could make him laugh more easily than he imagined.
That night, at bed, they looked at the clock and noticed they spent the last twenty minutes making out. Harry, who was now on top of Severus, with his hands pulling Severus' hair away from his face, flattening it against his skull, pressed a kiss on Severus' forehead before moving aside and closing his eyes. Severus spooned him and they soon fell asleep.
On the next day after breakfast, everyone went to the living room. Harry and Severus were left alone and about to join them when a sudden click caught their attention.
The cuffs fell from their hands and disappeared before hitting the floor.
They both stared at their hands for a quiet, long moment. Harry felt tears stinging his eyes, and looked up to draw them back.
"This is it, then." Harry said.
"It wasn't so bad."
They looked at each other quietly for a moment. All of Harry's instincts told him to kiss the man and keep him near, but he made no move.
Severus offered him his hand for a shake, and Harry took it. They shook hands and with a small smile, Severus said: "Merry Christmas, Harry."
"Merry Christmas, Severus." Harry replied. A small bag then flew into Severus' hand and he disappeared.
Harry returned to the living room and sat with everyone.
"Where's Snape?" Ginny asked.
"Returned home."
"Why? I thought you were a couple." Hermione asked.
"We only did it to scare Ron."
"Seemed to come very naturally." Ron muttered.
"We work well together." Harry said.
That night, he had a hard time falling asleep. His bed was big and empty without Severus, and Odysseus on the edge.
He switched the pillows, inhaling Severus' scent one last time, as it will soon fade away.
At last, he fell asleep.
He woke up the next morning, wrapped in a familiar scent, in a pair of familiar arms.
He turned to see Severus, who was just waking up, in his new black jumper with a big, green S in the middle.
"What are you doing here?" Harry asked sleepily.
"I missed you." Severus said, and Harry thought he saw the faint blush reappearing on the man's pale cheeks.
Harry's heart was rushing. He was no longer sleepy at all.
"You missed me?"
Severus hummed in confirmation.
"So why did you keep talking about 'choice'?" Harry asked, remembering the small pain in his chest every time Severus said the word in the past week.
Severus muttered something and pulled Harry close. Harry felt a minty wave of flavour in his mouth.
"Can I choose you?"
"You can." Harry said with a smile. And though they had kissed many times before, this kiss was the best.