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Protection from Age

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Harry was getting ready for his weekly Thursday night dinner with Severus when he found himself reaching for what Hermione called his fuck me jeans.

"They show off your arse nicely," she said when he modeled them in the Muggle shop she had dragged him to. "And... well, it makes you look especially nice. Everyone needs something sexy like that."

Harry had blushed at the idea but bought them anyway.

He had worn them once, on a disastrous blind date that Hermione had set up for him, where -- what was his name? Mark? Mac? Mike? Anyway, something with an 'M' -- assumed that the fuck me jeans meant that Harry had said 'yes' to sex before the question was even asked. It took a wandless stinging hex and a right to the chin before the bloke would even back off. He took the firmly stated 'no' less graciously before slinking off into the night, leaving Harry with the dinner bill.

Harry had given up dating.

Besides, he had decided he was too old for dating. After thirty years with the Aurors, Harry was looking forward to leaving the field to the newer -- and younger -- recruits, giving him some time to himself. He had recently taken a step away from full-time Auror duties but had agreed to do some training for those younger Aurors. He knew they'd like more, but he was figuring that monthly sessions would have to be enough.

Time spent with the Auror over the years had him crossing paths on a regular basis with Severus Snape. Snape -- Severus now -- had essentially rescued himself from the Shrieking Shack, and had been recruited to the Ministry by Kingsley Shacklebolt for his skills with potions.

Harry had been proud to testify on Severus' behalf when some idiot insisted that anyone marked with Voldemort's brand be brought to justice. Having both Harry Potter and the Minister for Magic testify had forcefully shut down anyone who opposed Severus' freedom.

Their initial meetings at the Ministry had been stiff and awkward. Harry had gathered his Gryffindor courage and asked to meet with Severus outside the Ministry to "just talk." That first meeting had been filled with painful silences on both sides, but Harry had persisted and they had ended up becoming friends. Which then turned into weekly dinners, to keep in touch even as their busy lives spun around them.

They were meeting at a restaurant in Muggle London. They took turns selecting a place to meet, and Harry gravitated to locations where he would have the least chance of being recognized. Harry had picked an upscale pub where his jeans wouldn't be out of place, and he had heard good things about the food.

Severus was waiting outside the restaurant. Harry thought Severus looked good in his Muggle clothes -- a leather jacket, dark slacks, white shirt open at the collar, and dragon-hide boots that would be appropriate almost anywhere. His dark hair had a hint of silver that Harry thought made Severus look distinguished, cut shorter than it had been during their time at Hogwarts.

"You are looking especially good tonight," Severus said. "Going somewhere after dinner?"

Harry shook his head. "No! Hermione made me buy these jeans and they've been hanging in the back of my closet forever. I figured tonight was the time to finally wear them."

"Well, they make you look particularly... nice," Severus admitted.

They went inside and were seated at a table. The waitress took their drink order and left them to look over the menu.

Harry grinned. "I call them my fuck me jeans," Harry admitted.

Severus coughed at that.

Harry laughed. "See? I knew it was silly. Who would want to have me at my age?"

"Oh, I don't know," Severus drawled. "You're not that old, for a Wizard, all that Auror business kept you pretty fit, and, well, you have enough money to attract anyone."

Harry waved a hand. "I'm not all that special," he demurred.

The waitress brought their drinks at that point. She took their orders and promised to bring the starters shortly.

"Here's to my fuck me jeans," Harry made a toast.

Severus clinked his glass against Harry's.

"You are not giving yourself credit for your good qualities," Severus pointed out.

"Ah! High praise indeed!" Harry replied. "We have come a long way since Hogwarts."

"Harry, Hogwarts was over thirty years ago," Severus replied seriously. "You and I both had roles to play in that war. We've had that discussion."

"I know, I know," Harry said, waving a hand. "It's just, well, I don't think of myself that way."

The waitress brought their soups -- tomato soup with cheese and marmite toast.

"You really should, after all this time," Severus said. "You're still on the most eligible bachelor list in Witch's Weekly."

"That's just embarrassing," Harry protested.

"And if they got a picture of you in those jeans, you'd be back at number one on the list," Severus replied. "Even I would vote for you."

Harry felt himself blush. "Really?"

Severus nodded. "Really."

Harry sat back for a moment. It was like his whole world shifted with that simple declaration. Or, maybe it wasn't so simple.

"Eat up," Severus said. "Our meals will be coming shortly."

They ate their soup in silence. It wasn't uncomfortable, but it was... Harry wasn't sure what it was. He watched Severus calmly finish his starter.

"Your dinners will be out in a moment," the waitress announced as she took their plates away. "Would you like another round of drinks?"

Harry shook his head. "Not for me," he replied. "Can I get some water?"

"I'd also like some water," Severus added.

"Certainly," she nodded.

She brought glasses of water. It was only a short wait before she brought Harry's steak and kidney pie, and Severus' Beef Wellington.

Harry cut into his pie, hesitated, and then put his fork and knife down.

"Do you fancy me?" Harry asked. He carefully watched Severus.

Severus cut into his beef and took a small bite.

"Yes," Severus answered.

"But... why now?" Harry asked, puzzled.

Severus shrugged. "I enjoy your friendship. You never seemed inclined to more, so I did not want to assume anything." He pointed his fork at Harry. "And you never asked."

"Huh." Harry ate some of his pie. "This is very good," he added, nodding at his dinner.

"This is nicely done, also," Severus replied. "This was a good choice, we should come back here again."

"We can do that," Harry agreed.

Harry asked about a paper Severus was working on for one of the Potions journals. That carried the conversation until they were finished with their meal.

"Would you like any sweets?" the waitress asked. "We have Banoffee pie, as a special tonight."

"Oh, I'd love some of that!" Harry replied.

At Severus' frown, Harry laughed. "You know perfectly well I have a sweet tooth."

"I don't know why your teeth haven't rotted and fallen out of your head," Severus said. He turned to the waitress. "I'll just have whatever fruit pie you might have."

"Cherry pie?" the waitress asked.

"That will be fine," Severus agreed.

"Would you like any clotted cream with that?"

"No, plain is fine," Severus said.

"Coffee," Harry looked at Severus, who nodded, "for both of us."

"Be just a moment," she said, clearing the table for them.

Coffee came first, in elegant but sturdy mugs. Harry added a generous dollop of cream and a heaping spoon of sugar to his, while Severus added just a touch of cream and skipped the sugar entirely.

Their desserts followed quickly, Harry digging into his confection eagerly.

"Want a taste?" Harry offered, with a grin.

"No, thank you," Severus demurred.

They settled up the tab and they soon found themselves on the street.

"Like to come back to my place for a bit?" Harry offered.

"Are you sure you want to do that?" Severus asked, serious.

Harry considered for a moment. "I... I'd like to talk, if just for a bit. If you don't mind," Harry finally replied.

"Then, I'd be glad to come with you," Severus agreed.

They walked to the nearest Apparition point and traveled to Harry's home. He had long ago given Grimmauld place over to Teddy, finding a different home in another part of London. This was a home with no memories to keep him awake at night -- time had tamed some of those nightmares.

"Come in," Harry invited. "Hang your jacket, if you'd like."

Harry toed off his shoes and went off to the kitchen. Severus followed.

"Drink? Tea, coffee. Something harder?" Harry offered.

"Tea will be fine," Severus answered. "I've had enough coffee for today."

"Won't be a moment." Harry got busy setting up tea for both of them. He got out a packet of digestive biscuits and put them on a plate.

"Here? Or the den?" Harry suggested.

"Here is fine," Severus sat at the table.

Harry liked using a cooker, although he could hurry the water up with a spell, if he needed. There was something soothing about setting out the tea service and putting things on the table.

When the tea was ready, he poured them each a generous mug and they fixed their tea. The mundane actions gave Harry a chance to think.

He sat across from Severus and looked at the other man.

"So. You fancy me?" Harry asked.

Severus nodded. "As you say, you're still good looking and your money doesn't harm your attraction. But I've learned you have a good heart, and are hard working. You've more than earned your way as an Auror, you avoided favoritism -- sometimes to your own detriment. If you put yourself to it, you could become the Minister for Magic."

"Whoa. Okay, first of all, that's an awful job and there's not enough money in Gringotts for me to even think about that Minister job," Harry exclaimed.

"Granted. But, you could do it. You have the standing and the political clout to get that position," Severus pointed out.

"Okay, but back to us. Why now?" Harry asked.

Severus shrugged. "You asked. If nothing else, we've been honest with one another."

Harry sat back and took a sip of his tea. "But... would you have said anything if I hadn't asked?"

Severus shook his head. "Probably not. It's my problem and not yours. And I have your friendship, which is more than sufficient."

"Is it enough?" Harry asked softly.

"I will admit to wanting more, but I'm not going to risk losing your friendship," Severus repeated himself calmly.

Harry stood and went around the table. "Kiss me."

"Are you sure about this?" Severus replied, without moving.

"If there's no chemistry, well, then, we'll be awkward for a bit and then figure out how to go on," Harry reasoned. "If there's chemistry, then, well, we'd be fools to ignore that."

"Why now?" Severus turned the question around on Harry.

"You're my best friend, well, next to Hermione, and you're good for me, and I do like you, very much," Harry said gently. "And now that I've had a moment to think about it, I'd like to see if maybe we can become more."

Severus stood and moved closer to Harry. He put a warm hand on Harry's waist and drew him close. He placed his other hand on the side of Harry's head and leaned in for a soft kiss. He started to move back when Harry snugged himself into Severus and drew Severus in for a longer kiss.

Not letting go, Harry breathed, "Okay, that's good." He licked his lips. "Very good."

Severus kissed Harry again, longer and deeper.

"That's brilliant!" Harry grinned

Severus nodded, eyes crinkling in pleasure.

"If it's not too forward," Harry lowered his voice, "would you like to spend the night?"

Severus frowned for a moment. "There's no awkward getting over that," Severus replied gently.

Harry breathed for a long moment. "I know, but, well, I want to try."

"I can still be a bastard sometimes," Severus warned. "You've not seen the bad side of me in a long time, and it's still there."

"I don't always sleep well -- nightmares and such," Harry admitted. "And we're both used to being alone. But this house is big enough for us to have our own space. If it's not, we'll find a new home."

"Together?" Severus said.

"Together." Harry promised.