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Affair of the Heart

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Harry still remembered the first time he sat down beside Severus at the bar. He was still “Snape” then: surly and standoffish, barely giving Harry a glance as he lowered himself to the stool. After nearly a half hour of silent drinking Severus had turned to him and asked why the newly married Savior was at the pub on a Friday night. Harry was still relegated to “Savior” and “Potter”  then. Harry couldn’t remember why he was there. Ginny had been with- a friend, a sister-in-law, not home. It didn’t matter. The house was empty, and Harry still hadn’t liked silence then. There were more evenings they drank “together.” A rough case and Harry needed time to unwind before going home to his newborn baby. The resolution of a case that required celebration with his team.

It was a year of shared drinks before Harry actually saw Severus in the Ministry. He knew the man worked in the potions department, had been given the position after he had decided not to return to Hogwarts. Harry had been surprised at how relatively easy it had been to get the spy exonerated for his supposed war crimes and was happy to see the man moving on with his life. Their growing friendship was a slow process. It took months before Severus openly acknowledged Harry at the ministry, even longer for Harry to coax a smile from the man. The first time Harry touched the man without Severus jerking away was a milestone. As was the first time the man openly laughed at one of Harry’s stories.

It wasn’t as if Harry ignored his other friends in favor of building a friendship with Severus. On the contrary: Harry was still close to Ron and Hermione, still visited the Burrow every week with his wife, and still celebrated with the other Aurors. He simply did his best to incorporate Severus into his life. The first time Harry had motioned for Ron to join him and Severus at the pub had been awkward, but slowly his friends were beginning to realize there was an odd sort of friendship between the once-enemies. They eventually accepted it, even if Severus was still fairly antisocial around them.

Harry hated to admit it, but he thought the problem must have started with… Well, he couldn’t exactly pinpoint the start of the problem. He could say it was his fault: He shouldn’t have had too much to drink. Shouldn’t have agreed to go off with Ginny alone. Perhaps he could have ignored the growing realization that he wasn’t attracted to his wife. Should have pushed his own feelings down more often to give into her demands for more sex. Should have been considerate of her feelings. He could say it was Ginny’s fault. She had known Harry wasn’t ready to commit to marriage. She should have accepted that he needed time to figure himself out after the war. She hadn’t been drinking that night; she should have remembered the contraceptive potion. She should have been more understanding as he tried to work through his issues.

Perhaps they were both to blame. Harry should have tried to work a bit more on their relationship rather than pull away. Ginny shouldn’t have tried to guilt him into having sex so much. Eventually Harry had to admit that perhaps he was a bit more gay than straight, but how could he tell his wife that? Ginny enjoyed being Mrs. Harry Potter. It showed in everything she did. When she took James out, making his hair look messy like Harry’s, and the both of them dressed in the current fashion. When they went to eat in wizarding Britain and she demanded the best table. When she made sure the name Potter was blazing across her new Harpies uniform.

But who could Harry complain to? Ginny was Ron’s sister. Harry knew Hermione was sympathetic to what she knew of their situation, but unless Harry admitted to someone else he had never really found his wife attractive, he didn’t think he could talk to her. Besides, she was Ron’s wife. Harry had no family to turn to: his only family was Ginny’s family. And he wasn’t exactly close to anyone else.

So that left Severus. Severus, who listened intently with a sympathetic ear as Harry bemoaned his lack of attraction to his wife. Severus, who offered a pat on the shoulder when Harry was frustrated with Ginny constantly using his name to get what she wanted. Severus, who gave Harry a tentative side hug when Harry finally said the words out loud. Severus, who whispered quietly to Harry in a back booth that it was okay to be gay because he was as well. Severus, who was turning out to be the best friend Harry had.

Except. Except Harry was afraid he wasn’t a very good friend. Not when he started noticing how enchanting those black eyes were. Or how Severus’s hair had that little flip at the ends that Harry would love to curl around his finger. Not when he started wondering what Severus would do if Harry just leaned forward and pressed a kiss to that adorably long nose. Or lower to those thin, enticing lips. Harry knew he was being a bad friend when he allowed his touch to linger just a tad longer than he should and labeled himself the worst friend in the history of friendship when he closed his eyes as he fucked his wife and had to imagine it was Severus beneath him just to stay hard. But, for the life of him, Harry couldn’t make himself withdraw from the friendship-- let alone end it.

But he should have.

“Potter, you're drunk.” Harry blinked blearily up at the tall figure standing over him. He pushed his lips up in a wide smile.

“Sev! Wha’re you do’on here?”

Severus gave a familiar sigh and lowered himself to the seat beside Harry. He grabbed the full tumbler from Harry’s grasp and downed it. “What’s she done now, Potter?”

Harry frowned, furrowed his brows, and leaned closer to Severus. “Why you callin’ me ‘Potter’?”

Severus rolled his eyes and gently pushed Harry back. “Because you’re an idiot, Potter.”

“Call me ‘Harry’,” Harry pouted.

“You’re being an idiot.”

Harry smiled and leaned his head on Severus’s shoulder. “But I’m your idiot, Sev. No one else puts up with me the way you do.”

“I must be delusional,” Severus mumbled as he wrapped a hand around Harry’s wrist and pulled. “Come on, Harry.”

Harry allowed the man to pull him from the booth and stumbled against the taller man. “Where we goin’, Sev?”

Severus sighed as he steadied Harry. “Back to my place to get you some Sober Up.”

The thought almost immediately sobered Harry. In the nearly five years they had been friends, Harry had never once been to Severus’s place. Though it wasn’t like Severus had ever been to Harry’s place either. Ginny wouldn’t allow it. As soon as they stepped from the pub, Severus pulled Harry close and Disapparated. The moment they landed, Harry’s legs gave out, and he dragged the two of them to the floor. They landed on a soft plush carpet, Harry rolling them on instinct so that he landed under Severus. The breath was knocked from Harry as his back hit the ground, and he gasped sharply, inhaling the arousing scent of Severus which knocked the last vestiges of alcohol fumes from his brain. Time seemed to freeze as black eyes locked with green, and Harry noticed Severus seemed to be having just as much trouble breathing as Harry. Harry didn’t know how his fingers ended up in Severus’s hair or who moved first, but Harry was fairly certain he was beyond sober when he felt Severus’s tongue invade his mouth.

Severus gave no resistance when Harry rolled them over, pinning the older man beneath him. He thanked every wizarding deity he could think of it was a weekend and Severus wore his muggle clothes as he pulled the shirt from the waistband of the slacks. Harry moaned into Severus’s mouth as his fingers slid across warm flesh. He gave a small start as fingers wrapped around his wrist and stopped his movements. Severus wrenched his mouth away.

“Harry, stop. You’re drunk.”

Realization swept through Harry, and he quickly moved off Severus. “Sorry. Fuck. I’m so sorry, Sev,” Harry said as he stood and began pacing. “Such a fucking idiot,” he berated himself.

“Harry,” Severus said, stopping Harry’s pacing by placing steady hands on Harry’s shoulders. “I should be the one apologizing. I should not have taken advantage of you in your inebriated state.”

Harry let out a bark of laughter. “I can assure you I have never been more sober in my life.”

Severus let his hands drop leaving Harry’s shoulders feeling bereft. “Then perhaps we should simply forget that happened. I’ve no wish to cause you anymore problems in your marriage.”

Marriage. Damn. He’d forgotten about Ginny. “Right,” Harry said quickly. “A momentary lapse, that’s all. Um, I should head home,” Harry said reluctantly, making a vague notion towards the door.

“Harry,” Severus’s voice stopped him. “You never did tell me what happened.”

“Oh.” Harry felt himself blushing. “It’s nothing really. Ginny just,” Harry let out a heavy sigh. “She’s started whining about having another child. I don’t know if I can keep it up. Merlin, it’s been six months since I’ve even been able to bring myself to touch her.”

“Harry, you can’t keep this up.”

“I know,” Harry cried. “I just…” Harry let out a sigh. “You know as well as I do divorce isn’t an option. Not with Jamie involved. I should go. I- I’m sorry about…” Harry waved his hand at the floor, indicating the kiss. “I’ll see you around.” He gave a small wave and Disapparated.

Harry was able to put Ginny off the baby thing. He simply pointed out it was too late in the year and if they were to get pregnant now, she’d miss most of next season. This was enough for her to put off attempting to get pregnant, but not to stop trying to seduce Harry into bed. Harry finally gave in and climbed into bed next to his naked wife and began to kiss her. He forced himself to touch her fleshy breasts and rub his hand between her legs. He tried kissing her as he rubbed his half hard cock against her wet pussy but all he could think about was the feeling of Severus beneath him. Harry felt himself getting hard at the memory of Severus’s hardness growing against his thigh, the taste of the man’s lips, the feel of his warm flesh against Harry’s hand. Harry imagined what it would be like to slip into Severus’s hot body and- Ginny gave a high-pitched moan and Harry lost it. His cock deflated before it had fully penetrated Ginny and she gave a growl of frustration. She pushed Harry off of her with a curse and began screaming at him about his incompetence and uselessness.

Harry was still fuming the next day when he ran into Severus coming out of the men’s loo. Severus paused and followed Harry back into the bathroom.

“Harry, what’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong?” Harry hissed. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong. What’s wrong is that selfish bint I married,” Harry screamed.

“Harry,” Severus hissed as he glanced at the door. He quickly threw a locking spell at the door and cast a muffling spell around them.

Harry didn’t seem to notice as he continued to rant. “She says I’m the incompetent one. Did she ever stop to think that maybe she was the reason I couldn’t get it up? That maybe her little tendency to squeal and whine was the reason I can’t keep it up. Perhaps if she’d stop acting like such a girl maybe I’d be able to fuck her once in a while without having to imagine it was someone else’s body I was sliding my dick into. I should fucking show her I’m not useless.”

Harry finally locked his eyes on Severus, and a feral smile pulled at his lips causing Severus to swallow thickly. Harry stalked towards the older man, backing Severus against the wall. Harry pressed a hand against the wall beside Severus’s head and ran his other hand down Severus’s robe over his chest and stomach. “I didn’t have any problems with you, did I, Severus?”

Severus let out a shaky breath. “No.”

Harry licked his lips and let his hand slide down the front of the dark green robe. “I bet I could keep it long enough to come if I had you for inspiration.”

“Harry,” Severus’s voice came out ragged. “Don’t. Don’t make me some sort of experiment.”

Harry let out a harsh bark of laughter. “Experiment. You think it’s just an experiment that I imagine what it would be like to suck you down my throat and make you come? You think it’s just an experiment when I’ve come more times to fantasies of you than I have of fucking my wife in the last year? You think-”

Harry didn’t get to finish because Severus was slamming him against the wall and ravaging his mouth. Harry’s hands desperately worked the man’s robes open as Severus kissed him brutally. Harry gasped for breath as Severus’s mouth moved to lick and suck at Harry’s neck.

“Please,” Harry moaned as his hand slid into Severus’s pants to wrap around the man’s large penis.

“Harry,” Severus moaned raggedly. Harry let his body slide down the bathroom wall as his hand worked to free Severus’s erection. Harry let out a blissful sigh as he finally came face to cock with the beautiful appendage. Severus’s girth was larger than Harry but his length was just a tad shorter. Harry moaned at the beautiful, dark pink color and the winking head already beaded with precome. He licked at the small bead pulling a gasp from Severus. Fingers slid through Harry’s hair, and he slid his tongue up the entire length. He moaned at the delicious taste and swirled his tongue around the twitching cock before wrapping his lips around it. Harry slowly lowered his mouth down Severus’s cock, taking the entire thing into his mouth. Severus moaned, and his fingers curled in Harry’s hair. Harry sucked as he pulled back, and Severus let out a curse. Harry teased the man a few more times with slow sucks, flicking his tongue over the sensitive head.

“God dammit, Harry. I’m on a fucking break. Hurry up.” Harry chuckled low in his throat and began to suck vigorously. It only took another minute before Severus’s fingers were tightening painfully in Harry’s hair, and he was coming down Harry’s throat with a grunt. The feeling of Severus’s cock pulsing in his mouth and the taste of the hot come on his tongue had Harry coming untouched. He licked Severus clean even through the edges of his own orgasm and finally pulled back. Harry looked up to see the man had one arm pressed to the wall with his head resting against it. Harry watched as the man got his breathing under control and, as black eyes fluttered open to meet his, Harry realized what he had just done. He dropped his head in shame.

“Fuck.” He felt Severus grab his arm roughly and pull Harry to his feet. Dark eyes glittered dangerously.

“Don’t you fucking dare apologize.”

Harry shook his head. “No. No, but I shouldn’t have done that. I’m-” Harry’s apology was cut off by Severus’s brutal kiss.

“I said don’t apologize.” Severus stepped back and fixed his robes before casting a cleaning charm over Harry and running his fingers through Harry’s hair. He gave a disdainful look. “Well, I don’t suppose anyone will notice the difference. Now, you have proven that you are capable of not only achieving an erection but of bringing yourself and another to orgasm. Do not allow her words to affect you thus, Harry. You are better than her.” Severus tipped Harry’s head back and gave him a slow lingering kiss that made Harry weak in the knees. Harry was gripping Severus’s arms like a lifeline by the time the man pulled back. He pressed a kiss to Harry’s temple. “Give me five minutes before you come out.”

Harry nodded and allowed Severus to slip from the bathroom after removing the spells. Sometime during those five minutes of waiting Harry remembered he had come to the loo for a reason. The awkward stream of piss that streaked towards the toilet was a firm reminder of his recent orgasm, and Harry had to bite back a smile.

The guilt didn’t come at all that day, not even when he sat across the dinner table from Ginny and told her his day had been nothing unusual. It didn’t come over the following week even as they sat around the large outdoor table at the Burrow among family members. Percy mentioned having seen Severus on Wednesday about some restricted potion ingredient the lab was wanting to experiment with, and there was no room for guilt as Harry’s mind filled with the memory of the man’s taste. When they met at the pub less than a week later for drinks Harry didn’t feel a bit of guilt when Severus whispered about going back to his place. Harry said his goodbyes to Ron, Dean, and some of the other guys, leaving Severus sitting in their usual booth as he went outside. He didn’t feel a bit of guilt as he waited anxiously in the shadows for Severus. Later, as he lay sated in Severus’s bed, the taste of come still fresh on his tongue Harry didn’t even think about worrying when the guilt would finally hit.

They were careful. After that first incident they never acted anything other than professional while at the ministry. To any outsider, nothing in their friendship changed. They still met for the occasional drink; Severus was still stiff around Harry’s friends; they still said hello when they saw each other around the ministry. They almost never met up more than once a week, and Harry always Apparated to Severus’s flat. There was never any penetration but there was enough blowjobs, finger fucking, and frottage for both men to be satisfied.

Hermione was the cause of the guilt. It was another dinner at the Burrow and the two had been relaxing in the swing with their drinks when she made the comment.

“What?” Harry said, trying not to sound like he was choking on his butterbeer.

“I just wondered if you and Ginny were working things out. You seem to be a lot happier these last few months so I figured you were finally talking and working things out.”

“Oh,” Harry said at a loss for words. “Er, she wants to try for another baby,” Harry answered vaguely.

Hermione beamed at him. “Oh, that’s wonderful. I’m sure Jamie would love a little sister or brother.”

“Yeah,” Harry said, staring down into his bottle. The guilt washed over him in crashing waves. Here he’d been fucking and carrying on with Severus for the last few months rather than working on fixing his marriage. His wife wanted another child, he should be focusing on that rather than mentally planning on when he could get away to see Severus again. He was such a monumental bastard. A selfish arsehole. Harry drank down the rest of his butterbeer vowing to have a talk with Severus as soon as he could. They had to stop.

It was almost a week later before Harry got up the nerve to talk to Severus. The man looked up with a wide smile as Harry Apparated into his flat. He closed his newspaper and set it aside as he stood.

“Harry, I wasn’t expecting you tonight.”

Harry held a hand up to stop the man’s approach. “Severus, we need to talk.” Severus’s smile faltered.

“Harry, what’s going on.”

“We can’t do this anymore.”

“What,” Severus said icily.

“I’m married, Severus,” Harry tried to explain.

“I am well aware of that, Harry. That’s why we’ve been meeting secretly.”

Harry winced. “I should have been trying to work on my marriage. Not be unfaithful.”

Anger suffused Severus’s face. “I can’t believe you’re still contemplating trying to save your marriage, Harry. That woman is a Harpy, and I don’t mean the team she plays on. You’ve told me more than once she only married you for your fame.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Harry yelled at the man. “She’s my wife. I owe her-”

“Nothing,” Severus cut him off. “What has she done for you other than bring you misery? I’m the only thing that’s made you happy these last few months.”

“But you shouldn’t have,” Harry cried. “I should find happiness in my marriage. With the woman I chose to marry.”

“You did not choose to marry her,” Severus hissed. “If it wasn’t for Jamie you wouldn’t have married her.”

“That doesn’t-”

“It does matter,” Severus cut him off.

“It’s irrelevant.” Harry tossed out. “The fact is I did marry her.”

“Then divorce her,” Severus said flatly.

Harry gaped at the man. “Divorce. You know I can’t just divorce her. We aren’t muggles. It doesn’t work like that. The only grounds for annulment are domestic abuse and infidelity, and I’m not going to risk losing Jamie.”

Severus’s arms were crossed over his chest as he glared at Harry. “He means that much to you?”

“He’s my son,” Harry pleaded for Severus to understand. Severus turned away from Harry, and Harry felt something inside him begin to break. “Severus,” he croaked out.

“Get out,” Severus said in such icy tones Harry knew it was hopeless for any more conversation to be had that night.

Harry Disapparated home and went straight up to his son’s room. Jamie was already asleep, curled up in his bed, his small body hidden by the covers. Harry dropped to his knees and curled in on himself as pain wracked his body. He thrust his glasses from his face as the tears fell from his eyes. He wanted to scream and cry out. He wanted to rush back to Severus and beg for forgiveness. A rustling sound brought Harry’s attention to the bed, and the sight of his son’s dark brown hair glinting in the moonlight brought Harry the resolve he needed. He reached for his glasses and shoved them back on his face and pulled himself up to his feet. Harry quietly left Jamie’s room and made his way down the hall to his and Ginny’s bedroom.

The room was in near darkness when Harry closed the door, though he could still see the outline of Ginny’s form under the covers. He leaned his head back against the door and sucked in a ragged breath. He pushed a finger under his glasses and wiped at the remaining tears there.

“Harry?” Ginny’s sleepy voice came through the dark.

“Long day. Need a shower,” he said gruffly as he pushed away from the door and made his way to the en suite. Harry quickly stripped and stepped into the shower. The warm water felt good as it sprayed over his body. He tried to convince himself it was best if he and Severus weren’t friends anymore. He didn’t need the temptation their friendship would no doubt cause. Harry needed to focus on Jamie now. His son was the only thing that mattered. Harry switched the water off and dried off before slipping into clean pants and a tee. He stepped from the bathroom and made his way to the bed. He lifted the covers to climb in beside his wife and paused. The sight of his wife’s lilac sleeping gown and her pale shoulder had him physically sick. He shook his head and grabbed up his pillow before backing away from the bed. He had given Severus up to keep their marriage intact but he couldn’t stand the thought of sharing a bed with her. Not now at least. Harry made his way to the guest room and was up and gone early the next morning before Ginny could wake and question him.

Things only became harder for Harry after that. Ginny glared at him from across the table, demanding to know why he had moved into the guest room. Harry had no answer. How could he tell her he hated her? Hated her for making him break Severus’s heart. Hated her for not understanding. Hated her for making him make a decision. Hated her for the pain in his heart every time he saw Severus at work and the man ignored him. Hated her for taking away his happiness.

Harry tried throwing himself into his work, but eventually even Kingsley was telling him to take some time off. Harry had stopped going to the Burrow, unable to face the Weasleys and their happiness, their smiling faces and concerned glances. Hermione tried to talk to him over lunch one day, asking what had happened. Harry refused to answer, snapping that he wasn’t bound to reveal his marital problems with his wife’s sister-in-law. He ignored the hurt look on Hermione’s face and sighed. He apologized but still refused to answer her questions. Ron only shot him worried or suspicious looks as if he knew it was somehow Harry’s fault that Ginny was unhappy. So Harry stopped going to the pub for drinks after work with the guys. Besides, Harry hated that pub, it reminded him too much of Severus.

On a Friday night about two months after his break with Severus, Jamie climbed up into Harry’s lap and asked if they could go to the zoo the next day. Harry wrapped his arms around his only son and hugged him close. This had been the reason he had broken it off with Severus, his only reason for happiness now. So Harry took Jamie to the zoo the next day. And the park the following Saturday. He buried himself in spending time with Jamie, taking the boy to places on the weekends and playing with him each evening. Finally, Harry began to feel a spark of joy come back into his life. Yes, Jamie was his life now.

Reluctantly, life moved on for Harry. Ginny tried to bring up having another baby again, and Harry finally told her no. He admitted he wasn’t sexually attracted to her anymore, but if she wished to file for divorce he would willingly grant it. Harry knew it was a long shot so wasn’t surprised when she vehemently announced she would not be caught having an affair and risk losing her standing in society. Harry knew she really meant she wasn’t willing to give up his name. Harry shrugged and officially moved into the guest room.

Ginny returned to Quidditch in February allowing the tension around the house to ease since she spent most of the time at practice and often fell into bed when she returned home. In June, Harry took Jamie camping once school was out. They spent almost a week sleeping under the stars and swimming in clear lakes. Harry taught Jamie how to roast hotdogs and make s’mores and kept him up late with ghost stories. They returned home the night before the full moon as Harry wasn’t willing to risk his son’s life. In July, Harry took Jamie and Teddy to the beach and built sandcastles on the shore. Jamie showed off his newly acquired swimming skills in the hotel pool, and Teddy spoke excitedly about starting at Hogwarts. Harry promised to go with Teddy to get his school supplies in August, and the trio returned home just in time for Harry’s birthday. Harry had to admit he was a bit surprised Ginny showed up for his party at the Burrow since he had missed two games between the camping trip and the trip to the beach. He wasn’t surprised when she barely said a word to him during her week off. He was relieved she didn’t take it out on Jamie though.

Harry and Jamie went with Andromeda and Teddy to pick out his school supplies. Harry enjoyed watching his godson fingering the quills until he found the perfect one and rejoiced with the boy when he walked out of Ollivander’s with a wand. Harry picked out a few new books for Jamie and himself while they were at Flourish and Blotts, and they ended the day at the ice cream parlor. Harry was walking Andromeda and Teddy to the public Floo when they passed by the small diner that hosted an outside eating area. Harry blinked in surprise when he saw Severus sitting at a table, his dark hair pulled back in a queue to expose his long neck. Harry froze on the spot and his heart began to pound in his chest at the sight of his ex-lover. The dark head moved and dark eyes locked onto Harry. Harry’s chest hurt, and he wanted to cross over, to just speak to the man, to make sure Severus was okay. To know how he had been doing these last few months.

Severus gave a jerky motion and turned to speak to someone. Harry pulled his eyes from Severus to finally notice the man sitting across from him. He was older than Harry with auburn, short cropped hair and a slender form from what Harry could see of him. The man said something to Severus, a welcoming smile on his lips. Harry watched as the man licked his lips and ran his fingers over Severus’s hand. Harry turned away as his gut clenched and fought to keep his breath even as he made to catch up to the others. He numbly told Andromeda and Teddy goodbye, promising to have them over for dinner soon. Harry gave into Jamie’s demands to Floo home since he didn’t really think he could Apparate and Jamie cheered. Once they were home, Harry sent Jamie off to watch the muggle telly they kept for special occasions. Harry made his way upstairs to the bathroom and dropped to his knees before allowing the nausea to overtake him.

Harry had no idea how long he hovered over the toilet vomiting. He figured it must have been some time when he heard Hermione’s soft voice near his head. Harry blinked myopically up at her and realised he must have tossed his glasses away at some point. They were slipped onto his face, and Hermione’s worry-filled face came into focus. She backed away as Harry stood and moved over the sink. He rinsed his mouth out and ran a wet flannel over his face.

“Is Jamie okay?” he asked, his voice devoid of emotions.

“I sent him to the house with Ron and Rosie,” Hermione answered. “He was worried about you, Harry. We all are.”

Harry tossed the rag down. “I didn’t mean to worry him. Can he stay with you and Ron tonight?” Harry asked, moving passed her and out into the hallway. “I need to be by myself right now.”

“Harry?” Harry paused and turned to look at Hermione over his shoulder. “Where are you going?”

He pointed down the hall. “My room.” She blinked in confusion and pointed in the opposite direction to Ginny’s room. Harry shook his head. “Gin and I haven’t shared a room in months.”

Harry continued down the hall and wasn’t surprised when Hermione followed him. “Harry-”

“Can Jamie stay over or not?” he cut her off.

Hermione’s nostrils flared in frustration. “Not until you tell me what’s wrong.”

Harry let out a sigh. “Fine. Just let me change and I’ll go get him.”

“Harry,” she cried. “Please. Just talk to me. You’ve been miserable for months. I can see it. Hell, even Ron can see it. Please,” she begged. “You can tell me.”

Harry let out a bitter bark of laughter. “Right. And have the entire Weasley clan hate me. Go home, Hermione. I’ll be there in a quarter hour to get Jamie.”

“Dammit, Harry.” Hermione fell quiet, and Harry moved over to the wardrobe to pull out clean robes. He jumped at her touch on his shoulder and nearly cried at the tenderness in her voice when she spoke. “I’m here as your friend, Harry. Not Ron’s wife. Not a Weasley. Your friend.”

Harry pulled from her touch and moved away from her. “Can you? Can you really separate the two? Can you listen to what I have to say, my secrets, without judging me as Ginny’s sister-in-law?”

“Yes,” Hermione said, trying to sound reassuring.

Harry scoffed. “Right. You could hide it from Ron if I told you I was gay?” He watched her face closely and saw the flash of shock that crossed her features.

“But…” Her words faltered as she lowered herself to Harry’s bed. “Jamie.”

Harry sighed and pushed his fingers under his glasses to press at his eyes. “I told you I was drunk that night. Plus I hadn’t really had time to figure things out. You know how bad I wanted to just be normal, to belong. I thought I was expected to have sex with women, so I didn’t think otherwise. It wasn’t until after Gin and I were married that I began to realize I was different.” Harry watched his friend closely for several minutes as she tried to process his words. “You should go. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have-”

“No,” she cut him off. “No. I’m your friend, Harry. You should be able to talk to me about things like this without worrying it will get back to Ginny. Or Ron. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this all by yourself. If you thought you couldn’t come to me.”

“I didn’t want to put you in an awkward position,” Harry admitted.

Hermione gave him a wry smile. “Because I’ve never been in the middle of you two before.”

Harry gave her a tentative smile. “This is a bit different, yeah? You and Ron weren’t married when we were in school.”

She gave a small shrug, and the room fell quiet for several minutes. Harry’s head fell back, and he stared up at the ceiling trying to calm the emotions rolling through him. “Harry.” He looked down at Hermione. “What happened today?”

Harry took a deep breath and slowly let it out as he turned to stare sightlessly out the window on the far side of the room. “I realized I was in love with someone.”

“Oh, Harry.”

“Don’t worry, Hermione,” Harry said blandly. “I’m not about to start some torrid love affair and risk losing Jamie.” Not again, he mentally added.

“Who- who is it?” Harry shook his head.

“It doesn’t matter. I’m married, and that’s not about to change. I won’t risk Jamie, and Gin won’t risk losing the Potter name.” Harry held her gaze for several minutes before she finally gave a nod.

“Alright, Harry. Jamie can stay over for tonight. I’ll just tell him you had a bit of a stomach bug.”

“Thank you,” he whispered hoarsely. Hermione stood and crossed to the room.

“If there’s anything-” he shook his head, and she reached over and squeezed his arm. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Harry. Get some rest.”

He nodded and listened as she made her way through the house. Once he heard the tell-tale whoosh of the Floo, Harry made his way to the loo and stripped before stepping under the shower. Seeing Severus again after all this time had brought home just how much he missed the man and longed to be with him. He hadn’t realized just how large the gaping hole in his soul had been until he saw Severus again. Harry spent a long time in the shower trying to convince himself he would be okay. He had Jamie, and now Severus had someone else in his life. Harry swallowed back the pain. As long as Severus was happy, that’s all he wanted. Even if Harry couldn’t have him, he just wanted Severus to be happy. He would continue to stay away from the man, continue to focus on Jamie. Harry took a shuddering breath as he finally turned the water off, a new determination filling him.

Harry’s resolve was tested over and over in the following weeks. It seemed as if that one sighting of Severus had opened a floodgate, and now he saw the man almost everywhere he went. Harry heard through the grapevine Severus had received a promotion and was now in the department that dealt with illegal potions which explained why Harry was seeing the man on the DMLE floor more and more often. Severus still barely acknowledged Harry, but at least he was civil when they were forced to interact professionally.

Harry figured Hermione must have said something to Ron, because he too stopped giving Harry suspicious looks. He even started inviting Harry out for drinks again. Harry eventually accepted, and he started joining the others on occasion. About a month after that day in Diagon Alley Harry was at the pub with Ron and Seamus, the three of them drinking and talking about a case they had recently finished. Out of habit Harry looked up when the pub door opened, and his heart stopped in his chest when he laid eyes on the familiar figure of Severus. The man didn’t see Harry right away as he was looking over his shoulder speaking to someone. Harry’s stomach lurched when he recognized the other man from the Diagon Alley diner.

“Harry?” Harry tore his eyes away at Ron’s questioning look to see his friend glancing over at the two newcomers. Ron turned back and took a swig of his butterbeer. “Hmm. His name’s Blake. He’s the new head of magical creatures division. Heard he and Snape were pretty tight.”

Seamus let out a low whistle. “I’d like to get tight with that.”

Ron laughed at Seamus’s blatant ogling. “I’m afraid you’re going to have to get in line.”

“Hey, Harry,” Seamus leaned forward and hissed. “You and Snape used to be close. Think you can get the man to introduce me?”

“You don’t even know if Blake is gay,” Ron said with a chuckle.

Seamus’s eyes slid over the figure as the two men walked across the pub. “With the way that man dresses, he has to be queer.”

Ron gave a burst of laughter, and Harry immediately tore his eyes away from the couple to stare down into his beer. “Damn, Seamus. You so need to find a man and get laid,” Ron told him. “Don't you agree, Harry?”

Harry gave a small smile at his friend and shrugged. “Listen, I need to go. I promised Jamie I’d take him to the zoo tomorrow, and he wants to get an early start.” Harry pushed himself from the booth.

“Harry?” Ron said anxiously, and Harry waved him off.

“It’s fine. I’m fine,” Harry said, needing desperately to just leave. He rushed from the pub but paused at the door to glance back. Dark eyes were watching him intently, and Harry felt his stomach lurch. He pushed the door open and stepped out into the cool night air. He gulped down the clean air before Apparating home.

Harry was glad he had the weekend to recover and forced his mind to stay on Jamie and not the memory of Severus and Blake. When Jamie wanted ice cream after the zoo, Harry found a muggle ice cream parlor not willing to risk running into the two lovers in Diagon Alley. On Sunday, Harry braved the Burrow so he wouldn’t be forced to go to the Alley for some reason or another. Harry spent most of the day sitting on the swing and holding a half-empty bottle of butterbeer. At one point Hermione brought him a fresh bottle and sat down beside him. She didn’t say anything and he drew strength in her silent comfort.

Harry made it halfway through Monday without running into Severus and felt some measure of relief that he might get his equilibrium back. So it was a shock to Harry when he was coming out of the men’s loo only to be slammed back inside and the door locked. He looked up into Severus’s blazing eyes.

“What the fuck is your problem, Potter?”

“Wha’?” Harry asked in confusion as he was backed against the wall.

“You think I don’t notice the little puppy-dog looks you give me? Then to make such a scene when I’m trying to have a drink with a colleague.”

Harry blinked in surprise at Severus’s word. “A scene?” he cried. “I don’t know what the fuck you’re on about, Severus,” Harry said, pushing against the man so he could put some distance between them. “I left right after you got there.”

Harry was pulled to a stop when Severus’s hand wrapped around his wrist. Severus yanked on him so his mouth was hot against Harry’s ear. “Don’t think I didn’t catch that look of desire you shot me, Potter. You want me.”

Harry yanked his wrist from Severus’s grasp and glared at the man. “Of course I want you, Severus. You think I stopped wanting you just because I ended it? It was never about our feelings.”

“I’m well aware of that,” Severus spat out. “I won’t let you start something you aren’t willing to see through again, Potter.”

“I’m not the one that trapped us in a bathroom, Severus. Just…” Harry waved his hand in frustration, “go back to Blake or whatever his name is.” Harry gasped as he was pulled against Severus. He nearly melted as their bodies touched, as Severus’s scent assaulted his nose.

“Is that what this is about, Harry?” Harry let out a small whimper as Severus whispered his name. “You can’t have me so you don’t want anyone else to have me.”

Harry felt the tears at the corners of his eyes. “I told you to go back to him, didn’t I?” Harry cried as he turned away from Severus’s penetrating eyes.

“You don’t mean it,” Severus hissed in his ear.

“Of course I mean it,” Harry cried, turning back to Severus in frustration. “I want you to be happy. Damn you, Severus. I can’t help that I’m fucking in love with you, but I-”

Harry melted into the kiss, grabbing onto Severus’s robes like a lifeline. It was more wonderful than he remembered. Severus’s mouth was pure heaven and- Harry pushed away.

“Don’t. Please. I- I can’t. My son.”

Severus pulled Harry against him, pressing Harry’s head against his chest and sliding his fingers through Harry’s hair. “I know. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. It’s just, when you said you loved me…”

“I’m sorry,” Harry mumbled. “I shouldn’t have burdened you with that.”

“Don’t,” Severus whispered against Harry’s hair. “Don’t be sorry, love. At least I know I’m not alone in my suffering.”

Harry pulled his head back and looked up into Severus’s dark eyes. “You…” he whispered.

“Are so fucking in love with you, Harry,” Severus whispered, and Harry felt something mend inside him. “I’m going to find a way for us to be together, Harry. A way that won’t cost you your son.”

Harry reached a hand up to cup Severus’s cheek. “If we can’t be lovers, can we at least be friends? I’ve been so lost without you, Sev.”

Severus gave a weak smile. “I’ve missed you as well, Harry. Yes. Friends will do for now. But we must be careful not to let it cross a line.”

Harry nodded. “I know. I just… I need you in my life in some way.”

Severus tipped his head down and pressed a gentle kiss to Harry’s lips. He pulled back and pushed a strand of hair behind Harry’s ear. “I’ll see you around.” Harry nodded and allowed Severus to pull away. He watched the man move over to the door and pause. Dark eyes turned to meet green. “Harry. Blake and I are just friends. I told him a long time ago there would never be anything else between us.” And, as relief washed over Harry, Severus left the bathroom.

It was a slow progression after that. Severus started by acknowledging Harry at the ministry then the pub. Eventually they began drinking together again, then meeting for the occasional lunch, which was new to their friendship. Harry had to constantly keep himself in check when they were out in public, mindful of how he looked at Severus or touched the man. Tension was once again mounting at home now that the Quidditch season was over and Ginny was back home full time, so his time with Severus was even more precious. At the beginning of October Harry found himself standing in Robards office, Robards pacing in front of him.

“As you know, Potter, many of our cases lately have dealt with the use of illegal potions. Because of this, Minister Kingsley has authorized the formation of a specialized task force which will be led by the top agents in each field. You have easily proven that it wasn’t some fluke that got you in our division, Potter, so I have put forth your name to help lead this task force. The position is indefinite, and Kingsley has authorized a private office for your use. Pack your desk up, and the elves will get it moved this afternoon.” Robards held out a file. “In the meantime, here is your first case. You can meet with your new partner in office 2C down the hall. I expect you to do your best to make this arrangement work, Potter.”

Harry took the folder with a nod. “Yes, sir.”

Robards waved him off, and Harry headed back to his desk slightly stunned. Harry found a box waiting by his desk and placed the file on the corner of his desk before he started filling the box.

“Harry, what’s going on?” Ron asked in a rushed voice.

Harry blinked up at his friend as a smile slowly spread over his face. “I’ve been promoted.”

“What?” Dean gasped.

“They’ve created a task force, and I’m apparently co-head. They’ve even given us an office.”

“Who’s your new partner?” Seamus demanded, and Harry blinked at him.

“I… I didn’t think to ask. I was too shocked.” Harry gave a small huff of laughter. “Guess I’ll find out when I get to my new office.”

“Bloody hell, Harry,” Ron gasped. “That’s amazing.”

“Yeah,” Harry answered still half in awe. He placed a picture of Jamie on top of the pile in his box and stepped back. “I guess I’ll see you guys around.”

“Drinks tonight to celebrate,” Ron called as Harry picked up his file. Harry nodded and headed out of the large room. He made his way down the hall in an almost dreamlike state until he came to the door labeled 2C. He reached out to open the door and paused at the feel of the heavy wards. He was almost surprised that he was able to open the door. He stepped into his new office and paused.

Harry vaguely noticed there were desks on either side of the room facing each other with filing cabinets against the back wall as his eyes were locked on the figure that leaned smugly against one of the desks. Harry let the door swing closed behind him as he took in the long, lean legs, the slim waist, and the crossed arms. A smug smile greeted him beneath glittering black eyes. Harry gave a silent gasp as the implications sank in, and he moved forward.

“Severus,” the word fell from Harry’s lips in a whisper, and he crossed the room. He stopped short of throwing himself in the man’s arms and blinked up at him. “How?”

Warm fingers ran down Harry’s cheek. “I told you I would find a way for us to be together.”

Harry glanced nervously behind him at the door. But Severus spoke up once more. “We’re a task force, Harry. We’re allowed to ward our door. Only you and I can open that door. If anyone else wants in we have to personally let them in.” Harry turned into the gentle touch as Severus’s fingers moved to slide through his hair. “No one will question if we work late together or go to each other’s houses.”

Harry forced himself to step back. “Nothing’s changed, Severus. I’m still married. I-”

“I know that, Harry. I’m not saying we have to continue the affair I just-”

“You don’t think what we’re doing is just as bad?” Harry cried. “Just because there’s no sex-”

Severus grabbed Harry’s arm roughly and pulled the younger man against his body. “This is what you wanted, Harry. You wanted us to be together in any way we could.”

“And you think it’s going to be easy for me to be this close to you every fucking day and not want you?” Harry spat out angrily.

“Stop it,” Severus shook his harshly. “Stop this. Damn you, Harry. Make up your fucking mind. Either you want whatever we can give each other, or you give it all up.”

Harry desperately grabbed onto Severus’s robe. “Dammit, you know I can’t give you up. I tried, and it did nothing but make us both miserable. But my son…”

“And now we have a way to be together that no one can question,” Severus said softly against Harry’s ear. “I want to be with you as much as you want to be with me, Harry. This way we don’t have to worry about sneaking around. We’re just friends,” Severus reassured him as his hand slid down Harry’s body, pulling him closer. “Just coworkers that happen to enjoy each others company,” Severus whispered as his mouth moved down Harry’s neck. Harry tilted his head to give Severus access to his neck. He let out a soft moan.

“I think,” Harry said breathlessly, “I’m going to enjoy this new assignment.” He gripped Severus’s robe as Severus’s hand slid over Harry’s arse and pulled him closer. He gasped as their erections pressed together.

“Just think of it as improving interdepartmental relations,” Severus whispered against Harry’s neck as he sucked gently.

“Yes,” Harry moaned as their bodies rubbed against each other. “Sev- mmm.”

Harry melted as Severus’s mouth covered his. It didn’t take long for the slow, easy kiss to become heated and frantic, and the two men rubbed against each other frantically. Harry pressed Severus against the desk and grabbed at his silky smooth hair. Severus moaned as Harry nipped at his lip and in no time at all the older wizard surrendered to Harry’s forceful nature.

Harry pulled his mouth from Severus’s and nipped at his ear. “Come on, love. Come for me.” Severus gave a small grunt, and Harry felt the man’s pulsing cock against his own. With a small moan Harry was spilling his own seed in his pants. He rested his head against Severus’s shoulder as the two men fought to catch their breaths. Harry gave a small laugh as he flicked his wand at them to clean them up.

“Harry?” Severus questioned warily. Harry shook his head.

“You’re horrible for me, Sev. I’m so weak when I’m around you.”

“I promise we won’t get caught, Harry,” Severus said as he reached out to brush his fingers through Harry’s hair.

“You can’t make any such promises, Sev,” Harry said even as he leaned into the touch.

“We can be discreet. No one had a clue last time.”

Harry looked up into the sincere black eyes and smiled trustingly at the man. “I’m going to trust you, Sev. I want this too bad not to.”

Severus nodded and pressed a kiss to Harry’s forehead. “We should at least read through that file.”

“Right,” Harry said, pulling back and kneeling down to gather up the file he had dropped earlier.

Surprisingly they were able to work well together despite the sexual tension that swirled around them. Harry often perched himself on Severus’s desk as they discussed cases, and Severus kept a spot clean for just such a purpose. Harry loved the way Severus rested his hand on Harry’s leg while they talked, his long fingers kneading Harry’s thigh. What surprised Harry the most was how professional they were able to remain. They rarely indulged in more than soft kisses and fleeting touches. Harry chalked it up to just being allowed in the man’s presence, having an excuse to be near the man constantly.

None of Harry’s friends blinked an eye when they found out Severus was Harry’s partner and even occasionally invited the man to join them for drinks. There was one such evening when Harry was already at the pub with Ron and Seamus when Severus and the auburn-haired Blake walked in. Even though Harry knew Severus was his, a bolt of jealousy still shot through him at seeing the two men together. Black eyes immediately locked on Harry, and the two men made their way over to the table.

“Potter. Weasley. Finnigan,” Severus greeted them.

“Hello, Severus,” Harry replied, mindful of the company around them.

“Er, would you like to join us, sir?” Ron offered, and Harry could have kissed him in gratitude.

“I suppose,” Severus said, then turned to his companion. “Do you mind, Blake?”

“Not at all,” the man said in a jovial voice.

“Here. Allow me,” Ron said, quickly jumping up from his seat beside Seamus. “I’ll just go grab a chair.”

Severus quickly took the opportunity to slide into the seat beside Harry. “Have a seat, Blake,” Severus motioned at the booth across from him.

“Yes, please,” Seamus said with an almost predatory smile as he patted the seat beside him.

Ron returned with a chair and place it at the end of the table. He gave Harry a significant look, and Harry simply shrugged, a small smirk on his lips. Ron shook his head and lowered himself to the chair. Harry tried to follow the conversation but the pressure of Severus’s leg pressing against his own was distracting. Harry knew the man knew the effect he was having on Harry because he would occasionally shift in his seat, causing his thigh to rub against Harry’s. After nearly an hour of the sweet torture Harry was ready to explode. He gingerly touched Severus on the arm, pulling the man’s attention.

“Pardon me, Severus, but I have need of the loo.”

Black eyes laughed at him. “Of course.” He slid from the booth, and Harry moved out being careful to hide his erection from the others. He was a few steps from the table when he heard Severus speak. “It seems I have need of the loo myself. Gentlemen, if you will excuse me.”

Harry’s breath caught, and he hurried to the bathroom. He barely made it into a stall before Severus was pushing in behind him. A firm hand pressed against his stomach, hauling Harry back against the firm body. “Silencing spell. Now,” Severus demanded as his other had worked Harry’s trousers open. Harry quickly scrabbled for his wand and cast the spell just as he cried out at Severus’s touch.

“We aren’t… supposed to… ah, do this,” Harry gasped out as Severus stroked him.

“Then imagine it’s your hand.”

“Oh god,” Harry moaned as Severus’s fingers twisted over his cock. “How can I when I always imagine it’s your hand?”

Severus let out a low growl and pressed his erection against Harry’s arse. “Then imagine this is a fantasy,” Severus whispered against Harry’s neck. “Tell me what would happen if this was a fantasy.”

Harry gave a small moan. “I’d grab your wicked hand and pull it off my cock so I could turn you around and bend you over the toilet.” Harry rubbed his arse against Severus’s erection. “Then I’d tongue your tight hole until you were begging for mercy.” Severus’s movements faltered but he kept the steady rhythm on Harry’s cock. “Then I’d slam into your tight arse and fuck you until you came all over the toilet.”

Severus moaned. “Fuck, Harry. You’re such a kinky little shite. How many different ways have you thought of fucking me?”

“So many,” Harry moaned as he gripped Severus’s arms. “Faster. I’m so close.” Severus obeyed, and Harry rewarded him by moving his arse faster over the man’s prick. “That’s it, love. I’m going to have you soon. Going to slide my cock in your tight arse and fuck you ‘til you scream. Can’t wait to have your tight body squeezing my prick until I come in you. Fill you with my come and-”

“Fuck, Harry,” Severus moaned as he pressed his pulsing cock against Harry’s arse. His fist squeezed Harry’s cock and the double sensation was enough to send Harry over the edge. He quickly grabbed his cock and the hand wrapped around it and aimed the spitting head at the toilet.

When they had both caught their breaths Harry cast cleaning charms over them. He stretched his fingers to get the blood flowing from having clenched his wand so tightly during his orgasm. They checked the bathroom for any other occupants before releasing the silencing spell. Harry left the loo first, giving Severus time to compose himself. Harry only stayed at the pub for another half hour before heading home.

 

“Where are you going?” Ginny demanded as Harry slipped his shoes on. He glanced up at her before going back to tying his laces.

“I told you I was working late tonight,” he said, allowing his annoyance to show since Jamie wasn’t home.

“I thought you meant in your office here,” she snapped crossing her arms.

Harry paused and looked up at her. “I didn’t think you wanted Severus here.”

She jerked at his words. “Snape. What’s Snape got to do with this?”

Harry sighed and grabbed his other boot. “He’s my partner, Gin. If I’m working late you can rest assured he is as well.”

“I won’t allow that… Death Eater in my house.”

Harry jumped to his feet and glared at his wife. “He hasn’t been a Death Eater since before you were born, Ginevra. Get over it.”

“You weren’t there that year,” she spat out.

“No. I was out trying to ensure we won the war. We’ve been over this. He had a part to act, and he’s been cleared. Hell, even Neville doesn’t hold it against the man. We head a task force together, so you had best get used to the idea of him possibly coming over here on occasion.” Harry pushed past her. “In the meantime, we’re meeting at his flat to go over a case that’s just come in. Don’t wait up,” he told her as he moved towards the door.

“As if there’s anything to wait up for,” she spat out. Harry shrugged and stepped outside. He Apparatedly directly into Severus’s flat and had to give himself a moment as emotions washed over him. The last time he had been here was the night they’d broken up. He closed his eyes against the emotions and relaxed into the warm arms that surrounded him.

“I was such an idiot,” he whispered.

“Hush,” Severus whispered against his ear. “This hasn’t been easy on either of us.” Warm lips pressed against Harry’s neck just below his ear. “Come on. I’ve ordered curry, and the results of the tests are in.”

Harry nodded and pulled away from Severus. They made their way into the living room where plates of curry were waiting beside open files. They went over the test results from Severus’s lab while they ate and discussed the particulars of what they knew. Once the food was gone they climbed on the couch and Severus found his head in Harry’s lap. Harry’s fingers ran through the thick hair as they threw out theories. Both men suggested who they would like to put on the case, and they argued back and forth on who would be best. Severus finally agreed to allow Seamus on the team, but Harry was reluctant to pull Boot from his current case until Severus pointed out the man was an expert in these types of potions. Harry finalized their list and the two men signed off on it before Severus promised to owl it to Kingsley first thing in the morning. The new team would start on the case first thing Monday.

Once that was done, Severus pushed Harry down to the couch and slid to his knees. Harry was already half hard from being near Severus all evening, and the moment Severus reached for Harry’s zip Harry’s cock filled with blood. Harry clutched at Severus’s hair as the man sucked and licked at him, teasing Harry’s cock just the way he liked. Harry moaned and writhed under the older man’s ministrations. Harry begged Severus not to come as he wished to repay the favor, and Severus moaned around Harry’s cock. Harry spread his legs and let Severus play with his balls as he licked and sucked on Harry. Harry praised his lover and barely warned him before he was coming down the man’s throat. Once Harry recovered from his orgasm he happily repaid the favor, relishing in the taste of his lover. They passed out on Severus’s couch, waking sometime in the early morning. They kissed goodbye, and Harry Apparated directly into his bedroom and climbed into bed, already missing his lover’s warm body.

It wasn’t the last time they met at Severus’s to work, and most of the time they actually did work. On the nights Jamie stayed over at a friend’s Harry didn’t even bother going home, simply Apparating directly to Severus’s. There were a handful of times they didn’t actually have any cases to discuss and spent the evening wrapped in each other’s arms. Harry wasn’t sure why he was reluctant to have full, penetrative sex, but Severus didn’t push or question him, allowing Harry to move at a pace that was comfortable for him.

____

“Potter. Snape.” Harry and Severus both paused in coming out of their office and looked up to see Kingsley heading their way. “I apologize for the last moment’s notice but this just came across my desk.” He held a file out to them, and Harry took it, flipping it open. Severus read over his shoulder as Kingsley continued. “I know it’s the weekend, but I need a team put together and ready to go by Monday morning.”

“No problem,” Severus answered, his fingers sliding over the small of Harry’s back sending shivers down Harry’s spine. Harry felt his cock already filling with blood at the thought of having an excuse to spend the evening with Severus. Kingsley gave them a nod and turned to go. “Potter,” Severus said, keeping his tone level since Kingsley could still hear them, “can you be at my place in a half hour?”

“Sure. I- Shite,” Harry hissed. He turned to Severus. “Gin’s at a showcase tournament in Italy all weekend. I’ve got Jamie.”

Severus’s dark eyes slid over Harry’s face. “Bring him.”

Determination filled Harry. “No. You come over.”

“Harry,” Severus whispered, his voice hoarse. Harry placed a hand on Severus’s arm.

“No. This is perfect. Gin isn’t there, and you know I want you to meet Jamie. This will give us an excuse.”

“I’m horrid with children-”

“He’ll love you,” Harry cut him off. “Just like I do.” Harry smiled at the soft flush that spread over Severus’s cheek.

“Alright. I’ll come meet the mini-Potter.” Harry smiled brightly and pressed the file against Severus’s chest.

“Great. I’ll meet you at my place in a half hour. I have to pick Jamie up from daycare. I’ll see you there.” Severus nodded, and the two men went their separate way.

Harry Apparated to the Diagon Alley child care center and signed Jamie out, taking a moment to speak to his teacher who felt Jamie was adjusting well to the local wizarding primary school. They Apparated home, and Harry had Jamie take his school bag to his room before joining him in the kitchen. Harry made his way up to his room and quickly changed into comfortable jeans and a worn tee he liked wearing around the house. Jamie was already in the kitchen digging into the biscuit tin.

“Just two,” Harry told him. “I’m starting dinner soon.”

“‘K, dad,” Jamie said, closing the tin back up and climbing up to the table. Harry poured his son a glass of milk and took it over to him.

“Jamie, I need you to be good for daddy tonight. I’ve got a friend coming over.” Jamie turned to look up at Harry, his brown eyes lit with interest.

“You do? Is it Uncle Ron?”

“No. It’s a friend from work. We are working on a case together.”

Jamie’s eyes went wide. “Is it the same person you go see when you’re working late?”

“Yes, it is,” Harry answered, only feeling slightly guilty.

“I thought mummy didn’t like him,” Jamie said as he bit into his biscuit.

Harry’s lips thinned as he bit back his retort. “Well, mummy isn’t always right, Jamie. She has her reasons for not liking my friend, but Severus is a good person, and he helps daddy on cases all the time.”

“Is he an Auror too?”

“Kind of,” Harry answered as he moved over to the cold box to see what he could fix for dinner. “He works in the potions department, but he’s been helping daddy out with cases. He’s like an honorary Auror.”

“Cool,” Jamie declared as he stuffed the last bite of his biscuit in his mouth. Harry pulled out a roast and some vegetables as he spoke to his son.

“Anyway, after dinner daddy and Mr. Severus have work to do, so I’m going to need you to find something to keep you busy and try not to interrupt us too much.”

“Can I watch the telly?”

Harry placed several potatoes on the counter. “I suppose it would be alright for an hour or so.”

“Thanks, dad,” Jamie said with a bright smile before gulping his milk down.

“Now, get your practice paper out and write your numbers.”

“Yes, sir,” Jamie answered as he slipped from the chair and stepped over to the cabinet in the kitchen where they kept note paper and pens. Harry’s heart nearly jumped out of his chest when the doorbell rang.

“You stay there,” Harry snapped at his son who had jumped back up. Harry pointed to the table. “Practice.” Jamie let out a sigh and sat back down as Harry went to answer the door. His stomach was filled with butterflies as he pulled the door open to see Severus standing in the fading sunlight. A black brow rose, and Severus’s mouth quirked up in a smile.

“Are you going to invite me in or stand there ogling me all night, Potter?”

Harry smiled. “I might just do both.” He stepped back to allow Severus inside. His heart jumped at the thought that Severus was finally in his house, and all he could think of was getting the man in his bed.

“Harry,” Severus’s voice was ragged in Harry’s ear. “Stop looking at me like that, or I won’t be responsible for what I do next.”

Harry felt his cheeks heat up, and he pulled his gaze away from the man. “Sorry. It’s just the thought of having you in my house. I mean, you being in my house.”

Severus chuckled as he began to unbutton his cloak and hang in on the coat rack. Harry took in the sight of the man in dark trousers and a comfortable-looking Henley. Harry knew the man preferred those types of shirts for their comfort and felt excited that Severus felt he could relax in Harry’s home. “Now, where is this horrid little representation of you that requires so much of your attention?”

Harry chuckled and playfully slapped Severus on the arm. “He’s not horrid. And he’s in the kitchen working on his numbers.”

Harry led Severus through the house until they came to the kitchen. Jamie looked up from his paper, his brown eyes on Severus. “Jamie, this is Mr. Severus.”

“Hello, sir,” Jamie said warily. Severus smiled politely at the boy.

“Hello there, James. Your father has told me quite a lot about you. It’s nice to finally meet you. What is it you’re working on there?”

Harry smiled as Severus lowered himself to a chair and placed the file in his hand on the table. Harry went to fix dinner, glancing up occasionally as Severus and Jamie conversed. Well, it seemed as if Jamie was doing most of the talking, but he clearly had Severus’s full attention. There was a moment as Harry was cutting the carrots that it struck him this could have been their life if things were different. Harry making dinner in the evenings while Severus helped their children with their homework. Harry had to stop at the pain that cut through his chest at the lost opportunity. It took him a moment to recover, and he pushed the maudlin thoughts away. They had this here and now, and it would do. It would have to do. Harry put the roast in the oven and sent Jamie off to watch the telly until dinner was done. Jamie ran off, and Harry leaned over to press a kiss to Severus’s lips.

“You’re so good with him,” Harry whispered before turning away to pull the file closer to them.

“It’s easy,” Severus whispered against Harry’s neck. “He’s a part of you.” Harry shivered at the soft kiss Severus placed there, and they turned their attention to the file.

When the timer for dinner went off, Severus offered to go get Jamie, and Harry gave his lover directions to the sitting room where the telly was located. Harry already had the table set and dinner waiting by the time the two made it back to the kitchen. He smiled at them as they walked in.

“What took you two so long? I thought I was going to have to send out a search party.”

Jamie giggled as he climbed up into his chair and settled down. Severus sat down across from Jamie and next to Harry’s chair at the head of the table. “Tellys have changed quite a bit since I was a boy,” Severus said. “Jamie was showing me all his favorite channels and telling me about the best programs to watch.” Severus cast a smile at the child that had Harry’s stomach doing flips, and Jamie beamed back.

“I told Mr. Sev’rus he could watch the telly with me some time.”

“But not tonight,” Harry said as he placed a slice of roast on Jamie’s plate. “You’ve already watched plenty, and Mr. Severus and I have to work.”

“Yes, sir,” Jamie said, digging into his food. Harry went to add food to Severus’s plate and blushed when the man gave him a knowing smirk.

“Thank you, Harry,” Severus said softly, picking up his utensils. Harry only blushed harder and filled his own plate.

Dinner was relatively quiet as they ate with the occasional comment or question to Jamie from Severus. It thrilled Harry to see his lover attempting to get along with his son. After dinner, Harry sent Jamie to take a bath while he cleaned up. Severus offered to help, but Harry was certain he could have gotten the food put away a lot quicker without the other man’s “help.” Not that he was complaining every time Severus pressed him up against the counter and ran his hands over Harry’s body. They went back to the file after Jamie’s bath, and the boy sat in the living room with them coloring in his book while they discussed who would be best to work the case. Harry was slightly surprised when Severus suggested Ron, but Severus simply explained he thought this case could use a good tactician and he knew Ron was the best. Since Kingsley wanted them ready by Monday morning Harry knew he would have to call the team in on Sunday to brief them. They decided to have the meeting at Harry’s since he would still have Jamie and to make it a small cookout. Severus offered to grill up some burgers for the team, and Harry thought it would be a good idea to have the team meet in a relaxed setting.

Harry tucked Jamie into bed and chuckled when the boy demanded Severus read to him rather than Harry. Once Jamie was safely tucked away under sheets and duvet Harry and Severus headed back downstairs. Severus wrote out a letter to Kingsley for his approval on the suggested team while Harry wrote out the invites to be sent as soon as Kingsley sent his approval. Harry sent Severus’s letter off with his owl knowing it would reach Kingsley first thing in the morning. Harry gathered up the papers and tucked them back into the file. He waved it at Severus.

“I should lock this up in my desk. I don’t want to risk anything happening to it.” He made a small motion with his head and headed out of the living room, Severus following him. Harry made his way upstairs to his office and pressed his palm to the door. “I keep it warded so the kids can’t come in, Jamie, the nieces and nephews or anyone else that happens to drop by.” Harry opened the door and motioned for Severus to step in. He closed the door behind the man and reached out to run a hand down Severus’s arm. “I’d like to add you to the wards.”

Severus turned to face him and studied Harry intently. “Does your wife have access to your office?”

“No,” Harry answered truthfully.

“Then why would I? I’m only your partner. A friend.”

Harry pressed his body up against Severus’s. “Because you’re my partner. If anything should happen to me someone needs access to my office.”

Severus reached up and pushed a strand of hair behind Harry’s ear. “You’ve got it all figured out, haven’t you, Harry?”

“Not all of it,” Harry answered as he pressed his lips to Severus’s neck. Severus let his head fall back and a small moan escaped his lips as Harry suckled gently on his adam’s apple. Harry pulled back. “Come on.” He stepped away from Severus and crossed the room to his desk. He dropped the file into a drawer before placing the missives on his desk. He withdrew his wand and said the incantation that would allow anyone currently in the room to have access to the wards and felt the warm rush of magic flow over him. He saw the slight shudder of Severus’s body and smiled to himself.

“There are no pictures of your wife in here.” Harry looked up from his desk at Severus’s words.

“What?”

Severus waved his hand towards the door. “Down in the living room the mantle is filled with family pictures of you, Jamie, and Ginevra; yet you don’t have a single picture of her in here.”

Harry moved back around his desk. “Why would I? I don’t love her. This is my sanctuary.” Harry saw a look pass over Severus’s face, and he smiled to himself as he crossed over to a shelf filled with photos of Jamie. Harry ran his finger over one of the photos and watched it shimmer and change into a photo of Severus in formal robes from last year’s Ministry Yule celebration. He turned a cheeky smile on Severus. “Is that what you were looking for?”

“Cheeky brat,” Severus said as he pulled Harry into his arms and kissed him. “Why is it disillusioned?” he asked when he pulled away.

“Ron has emergency access to my office,” Harry explained. He stepped back and grabbed Severus’s hand. “Come on, there’s one more thing I want to show you.”

Harry pulled Severus out of his office and closed the door behind them. He flicked his wand out towards the rest of the house activating the security alarms before heading up to the second floor. Severus quietly followed him until they reached Harry’s room and he closed the door.

“Harry, what about Jamie?”

“He’s a heavy sleeper, plus there are wards to alert me if he gets up in the middle of the night.” Harry crossed the room and placed his wand on the bedside table before toeing his shoes off. He crossed back over to Severus and grabbed the man’s shirt, pulling him down. “Watching you with Jamie tonight was such a fucking turn on, Sev.” Harry crashed their lips together and Severus immediately opened for him. Harry moaned as Severus’s hand cupped his arse and pulled him closer.

Harry pulled back long enough to pull Severus’s shirt off and toss it to the floor. He ran his hands over the familiar flesh and pinched the hardened nipples. Severus let out a moan as his hands squeezed Harry’s arse. Harry slid his hands over Severus’s body as he worked the man’s trousers open. Severus wasted no time in getting in on the act, and Harry soon found himself shirtless and his own jeans making their way down his legs. Harry walked Severus backwards until the man fell on the bed, and Harry climbed over him. Harry straddled his lover and moved up onto his knees to look down on the man. Harry moved gently, rubbing their erections together through their pants. Severus’s fingers dug into Harry’s hips as he thrust up into Harry’s movements.

“What do you want, Harry?” Severus moaned.

Harry took his glasses off and placed them on the table as he bent over to kiss his lover gently on the lips. “You, Severus. I want you, and I’m going to take you. Here. Tonight. In my bed. I’m finally going to claim this body.”

Severus’s fingers dug into Harry’s skin as he groaned. “Yes. Please.”

Harry was slow, worshipping Severus’s body with his hands, his mouth. He teased every inch of his lover as he worked their pants off. He licked at the leaking erection as he pushed finger after finger into his lover’s body. Harry relished in Severus’s cries of passion as he urged Harry on. Harry finally felt Severus was ready and moved up to press a kiss to the man’s lips. He pushed his cock against the tight entrance as his eyes locked on Severus’s.

“You’re my first,” Harry told the man just as he pushed in. Severus cried out and tugged Harry’s head down to crash their lips together. Severus kissed him fiercely, and Harry reveled in finally being in his lover’s body. Severus felt so good, so tight and hot, clenching Harry’s sensitive cock in the fleshy channel. Harry didn’t even realize they were moving until Severus’s breath grew ragged and a litany of “please, please, yes” fell from Severus’s lips. Harry rocked into his lover as he claimed the man’s body. Severus’s legs wrapped around Harry’s hip, and he cried out when Harry found his prostate. “Oh, fuck. I love you, Sev,” Harry gasped out as he thrust into Severus. “Love you. Love you. Love you.”

Severus writhed beneath Harry, pushing up to meet his thrusts. “Yes. Yes. Oh, Harry. Fuck. I love you too. Oh, yes. Right there. Harry!”

Harry pounded into his lover wondering why he had waited so long for this glorious experience. He knew he could never be satisfied with anyone else. Harry dropped his head to press a kiss to Severus’s temple. “I love you,” he whispered as he continued his steady thrusting. “Fuck, I love you so much. I’d fucking marry you in a heartbeat, baby. Want to make you mine. Want the world to know you belong to me. Mine. All mine. Mine!” Harry growled out, and Severus arched up, screaming his agreement as his cock pulsed between them, covering their bellies with come. Harry gasped at the feel of Severus’s body clenching around him. He thrust in once more and felt his own orgasm explode through his body as he emptied himself into Severus’s still clenching tunnel.

“Fuck!” Harry gasped as he pulled from Severus and collapsed beside him. Harry draped an arm across his lover’s chest and pulled the man against him. “You were fucking incredible, love.”

Severus chuckled as he rolled to face Harry. He slid a leg between Harry’s, and Harry adjusted his position to accept the welcome intruder. “Me? You’re the one that did all the work.”

“Mmm,” Harry said, summoning the duvet that rested at the foot of his bed. It landed over them, and Harry tucked his head under Severus’s chin. “But you have such an incredible body it makes it easy work.” Harry placed a lazy kiss to Severus’s shoulder. “Don’t let me wait so long next time.”

Severus chuckled as he ran his fingers up and down Harry’s back. “Have no fear on that front, Auror Potter. I have no intention of allowing you to go more than a few weeks without giving me such a wonderful treat again.”

“Good,” Harry said with a yawn. “Get some sleep. My alarm is set to go off before Jamie wakes. Love you.”

“Love you too, Harry.” Harry fell asleep, content in the arms of his lover.

_____

Kingsley approved their choices, and Harry sent out the invites Saturday morning. He took Jamie to the skate park, and Jamie chattered about how much he enjoyed Severus’s company the entire time. Harry’s heart filled to near bursting when Jamie asked when Severus would be able to come over and play. Harry told him Severus would be over on Sunday, but it would be for work again. Jamie shook his head and simply said he would have to invite Mr. Severus over to play himself if his daddy wouldn’t. Ron arrived early on Sunday, and gave Harry a surprised look when Jamie began telling his uncle all about his new friend. Harry simply shrugged and went to make sure the grill was clean. Ron eventually pulled Harry to the side and told him Ginny wouldn’t like it when she found out Severus had been here. Harry told him he had already informed Ginny that eventually the man would be over since they were partners. Ron gave a small shrug of concession knowing his sister was unreasonable in her dislike of the former professor. Harry had a hard time keeping his eyes off Severus as he worked over the grill but somehow managed to act normal as he talked and laughed with the others.

After they ate, the group gathered in Harry’s living room while Harry sent Jamie off to the telly room. The group was there long after Jamie went to bed as they discussed particulars of the case and the best way to approach it. Harry thought Kingsley would approve at how easily this particular team worked together. At one point Harry motioned for Severus to join him in the kitchen, and Harry noticed Ron glance up at them as they slipped from the room. Harry made sure to keep plenty of space between his lover and himself as they talked, knowing anyone could walk in.

“I think we made a good team out there, Sev,” Harry said as he pulled out more crisps.

“You might be right, Harry. I was skeptical about putting Finnigan and Donaldson on the same team.”

“Their styles are different,” Harry agreed as he handed Severus a butterbeer. “But I think they tend to compliment each other rather than work against each other.”

Severus nodded. “Listen, let’s take these out to the team and go up to your office. I dropped a file off there earlier I wanted your opinion on.”

“Sure,” Harry agreed. They made their way out of the kitchen and placed the snacks on the table before heading upstairs. Severus somehow ended up in the lead, and Harry let his lover unward the door before they stepped inside. The moment the door closed Harry pulled Severus into a fierce kiss.

“Harry,” Severus gasped when Harry finally let him free. “That’s not what I meant.”

Harry chuckled and pulled away. “I know. But I couldn’t resist.” Severus rolled his eyes as Harry sauntered past him and went to grab up the folder on his desk. He settled himself on his desk while Severus sat in the chair. Out of habit, Severus’s hand went to rest on Harry’s thigh as Harry read through the file. It was on an ongoing case so he read through the latest report.

“It was on your desk when I stopped by the office today to pick up those other files for the new case,” Severus explained, talking about the known associates files they kept in their office. Harry nodded. He placed the open file on the desk and pointed to a particular section of the report.

“This part bothers me.” Severus read over the pertinent section and nodded. “It seems a little too sketchy.”

Severus sat back, his hand sliding from Harry’s leg as he laced his fingers together. “Do you think we ought to call Simpson back in?”

“I don’t know,” Harry debated. “He’s really good at what he does. Is he having any personal problems that might interfere in his work?”

“I don’t know,” Severus sighed and leaned forward, resting his elbows on the desk. “Maybe a talk is in order. I’ve never known his reports to be less than exact.” Severus tapped the paper. “This isn’t like him.”

“Fine. Set up a meeting with him. Something inconspicuous of course. We can use the twins’ shop again if we need to-” Harry and Severus looked up at the knock on his office door. Harry waved his wand to let the person in and was surprised to see Ron standing there. His friend looked surprised as well.

“Harry. There you are.” Ron stepped into the office. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

“It’s fine,” Harry said, closing up the file and pushing it towards Severus. “Let me know what you find out,” he told Severus as he slid from the desk. Severus gave a nod and stood, tucking the file into his pocket. Harry watched it disappear before turning back to Ron. “Did you need something, Ron?”

“We’re heading out for the night, Harry. Some of the guys want an early start.”

“Makes sense,” Harry said. “Alright, we’ll join you in a minute.”

“Sure thing, Harry,” Ron said, heading out of the office.

“I’m leaving with the others,” Severus whispered in Harry’s ear once Ron was gone. “It’s going to be a busy day tomorrow and we both need our rest.” Harry agreed reluctantly.

“Gin comes home on Tuesday,” Harry told him softly. “I’ll come by later this week.”

Severus nodded and headed out of the office, leaving Harry to re-ward the room.

_____

Ginny did indeed throw a fit when she found out Severus had been at “her” house. Harry was quick to remind her that the house in Godric’s Hollow had been his parents’ home and was, therefore, technically “his.” He also reminded her he had warned her that Severus might have to come over for business. When Ginny tried to tell Jamie he wasn’t allowed to spend time with Severus, the boy threw a fit until Ginny threw up her arms in frustration and stalked away. Harry tried not to rub it in her face so didn’t mention Severus for several weeks, though that didn’t stop him from “working” late. Severus was true to his word and teased Harry relentlessly until they found themselves in Severus’s bed, Harry pounding into his lover. Harry loved being inside Severus, loved watching his lover fall apart beneath him as they made love. Severus was almost a different man in bed; his gruff exterior melting away to reveal a touch-starved kitten, and Harry loved to “pet” him. Severus reacted to Harry’s touch in ways Gin never had, welcoming anything and everything Harry did to the man’s body. He loved exploring Severus with his hand, lips, and tongue, and he loved letting Severus return the favor.

Jamie eventually demanded Harry bring Severus back for a playdate, and Harry relented with a chuckle. They planned a Saturday at the zoo, and Harry enjoyed spending the day with his two favorite people. Harry didn’t care that he didn’t get a moment alone with Severus or that Jamie took the man’s attention most of the day. He enjoyed watching his lover and son interact. It was clear Jamie liked the man, and Harry thought Jamie didn’t annoy Severus too much. They had a late lunch at a small cafe but it was still too cold for ice cream, in Harry’s opinion, no matter how much Jamie begged.

Ginny had another tournament in early May, so Severus found himself back at Harry’s house. There was no excuse to work that time, but the three spent the evening watching a movie and playing some sort of muggle child’s board game. Harry was fairly certain Severus was helping Jamie cheat after the boy won the third game in a row, and he admonished the pair. Later, after Jamie was asleep, Harry welcomed Severus into his bed once more. Severus hadn’t been in Harry’s bed since their first time because of Ginny’s fit, so Harry made sure his lover knew exactly whom he preferred in his bed. Despite that, Severus was gone by the time Jamie woke up, and Harry once again woke up alone.

Harry had to admit that he was happier in his relationship with Severus now that he knew Jamie accepted the man and vice versa. There was no lingering guilt about his affair though he did regret he could not offer Severus more. Severus reassured him he was happy with the way things were and understood why things couldn’t change. One evening, after an afternoon spent with Jamie, Severus admitted he wouldn’t want Harry to lose his son over their affair as he was coming to love the boy as well. The months wore on and the trio seemed to grow into their own little, secret family in Harry’s eyes. He knew Jamie adored Severus, and he made no qualms about how he felt when talking to Ginny or any of the other Weasleys. Molly even commented that she was happy to see Jamie getting along so well with such a venerable man as Severus, and Arthur agreed.

As the weather warmed, Jamie started hinting about returning to the beach. Harry asked if he didn’t want to go camping, but Jamie said he much preferred the beach as long as Teddy was with them. When Severus was over one weekend to read through a backlog of files with Harry, Jamie asked if he was going to the beach with them. Harry and Severus exchanged a look before the older wizard answered that he couldn’t this year, but maybe next. Jamie seemed satisfied with the answer and went back to coloring. Later, when both lovers were fully sated, Harry commented that he wished Severus could join them just once. Severus pressed a kiss to Harry’s temple with the promise of “eventually.”

They decided on the first two weeks of July for their trip to the beach, so Harry spent the last week of June making sure all his paperwork was caught up. Severus assured Harry he would be able to handle anything that came in while he was gone, and, if it was a serious case, he would owl Harry the details or floo him since Harry made sure the beach house he was renting had floo access. Ginny had long since stopped showing any emotions when Harry missed one of her games, finally having learned that she didn’t always come first. Not that she still didn’t stomp her foot metaphorically when she found out Harry would be missing a game. He knew she had hoped to have him at the game against the Falmouth Falcons because anytime Harry was seen in public with Jamie and Teddy it was always positive publicity for the Potters. So, while Ginny was none too happy about missing the opportunity, Harry could live just fine without it.

The day before Harry was to leave for vacation he and Severus took off with the excuse they needed to do some research and spent the day at Severus’s flat. They spent the day cuddled up in Severus’s bed with the occasional foray into sex but spent the time mostly just holding each other and talking. There was even a bit of work discussed. They returned to the office an hour before quitting time to find no emergencies or new cases. Severus wished Harry a happy vacation and promised to hold the fort until the man returned.

Jamie and Teddy were both bouncing off the walls when Andromeda dropped them off Friday evening. Harry wasn’t surprised he had a hard time getting the boys to bed that night, but at least he had no trouble getting them awake the next morning. Harry ignored Ginny’s icy looks as he fed the boys breakfast and made sure they had everything. Once their bags were safely stowed in Harry’s pockets they Apparated to Diagon Alley and made their way to Gringotts. Harry withdrew enough funds to last them the two weeks they would be gone and converted most of it to muggle money. He stuffed the currency into a protective pouch which went into the breast pocket of his shirt and seemed to disappear. Harry normally kept about fifty dollars of muggle cash in his wallet so he wouldn’t have to pull the money pouch out in public, and, since fifty dollars was only a few Galleons, Harry knew he wouldn’t miss it should his wallet get stolen.

From Gringotts they made their way to the Ministry building to collect their portkey. As they were making their way through the atrium Jamie cried out.

“Daddy. Daddy, it’s Mr. Sev’us. Can we go say hello?” Before Harry could answer, Jamie was pulling him towards the lifts. “Mr. Sev’us. Mr. Sev’us.”

Harry smiled to himself at the look of surprise on Severus’s face when he turned to see them heading his way. Severus smiled down at Jamie. “Jamie. I thought you and your dad would be gone by now.” He flicked his eyes at Harry.

“Portkey’s at ten,” Harry explained, and Severus nodded before turning back to Jamie.

“This is my godbrother, Teddy. Teddy this is Mr. Sev’us. He’s way cool, Teddy,” Jamie said excitedly.

Severus held his hand out to the young wizard. “Hello, Teddy. It’s nice to meet you. Jamie says you just had your first year at Hogwarts. Did you enjoy it?”

Teddy shook the offered hand. “It was brilliant, sir. I was sorted Hufflepuff like my mum, and Professor Sprout is awesome. She grows the most exotic plants.”

Severus nodded. “Yes. I remember, she always did have some interesting specimens. I should let you boys go so you don’t miss your portkey.” Severus turned his dark eyes on Harry. “Take care, Harry. I’ll see you when you get back.”

Harry gave the man a small smile. “Owl me if anything comes up.”

“I will,” Severus promised.

Harry nodded and pulled the boys into a lift as they waved goodbye to Severus.

The next few days seemed to fly by. The beach house was spacious and came stocked with a wide variety of groceries. They spent most afternoons at the carnival on the local boardwalk and the early evenings on the beach. There was a local muggle cinema that showed old movies during the afternoons, and Harry dragged the boys to a few of those. They spent an afternoon at the local wizarding mall which the boys enjoyed, and Harry allowed them to swim in the pool after dinner. He didn’t fully understand why a beach house had a pool since it was already so close to the water, but he figured it was a muggle thing. They spent many evenings curled up around the large fireplace in the sitting room roasting marshmallows, and, more than once, the boys fell asleep there on the living room floor. One evening Harry let them sleep outside on the porch, and Jamie proclaimed it was just like camping, only better.

Nearly a week into their vacation, Harry took the boys to the cinema followed by pizza and ice cream in the small town. When they returned to the beach house Harry paused momentarily in shock to see his two best friends waiting on the porch for them. He greeted them with a wide smile.

“Well, hello. I didn’t expect you guys. Hey there, Rosebud,” Harry greeted his goddaughter. Harry looked up to see a worried look on Hermione’s face and guilt written across Ron’s. Had they somehow found out about Severus? Were they here to confront him? “Um, let’s get inside.” Harry unlocked the door and let the small group inside.

“Dad, can we go swimming?” Jamie immediately jumped in.

“Er, sure. Why don’t you take Rosie too? I’m sure she’d love to try out the pool. Just keep an eye on her.”

“We promise, Uncle Harry,” Teddy swore, taking the little girl’s hand and leading her into the bedroom to help her into the swimsuit Hermione had transfigured from an extra shirt.

Harry went to the kitchen to fix the adults something to drink as he tried to calm his racing heart. He didn’t have a clue what was about to happen, and all he could think about was losing Jamie and Severus. Eventually he heard the children head outside and moved into the living room with the tea tray. He placed the tray on the table and sat down on the couch. Ron and Hermione warily took seats as if Harry were the one about to go feral.

“What’s happened?” Harry asked, not even giving them time to prevaricate.

“Harry,” Hermione started hesitantly.

“I’m so sorry, Harry,” Ron burst out, dragging his hand over his face. Sensing there was something major going on and perhaps he was wrong to fear his secret was out, Harry summoned the bottle of whiskey that was in the small study. He poured the alcohol into the teacups and even Hermione, clearly far enough along in her pregnancy a small amount of alcohol wouldn’t harm the baby, took the cup and drank it down.

“Just tell me,” Harry demanded. Ron pulled something from his back pocket and unfolded it to reveal a newspaper. He laid it out flat on the table for Harry to clearly see his wife’s near-naked body, only the man on top of her was preserving her dignity. Harry gaped as he watched the man moving erotically over his wife and her mouth fall open in a shout of ecstasy. Harry didn’t recognize the man but the headline told him all he needed to know. HARPIE’S POTTER CAUGHT WITH FALMOUTH’S DAVIS. IS POTTER MARRIAGE OVER?

“That came out last night,” Hermione explained.

“Son of a bitch,” Harry gasped. The last thing he needed was for Jamie to see this.

“Harry,” Ron gasped out. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. Gin always made it seem like it was your fault the marriage wasn’t working out.”

Harry glared at his friend then sighed and shook his head. “She might have been right.”

“Harry,” Hermione said, her tone indicating she knew what he meant.

“No. It’s fine. I’m probably to blame for all this anyway.”

“How can you say that, Harry?” Ron cried. “Look at her. She’s… she’s…”

“I’m gay, Ron.” Ron tore his gaze away from the paper to gape at Harry. “I’ve known for some time. That’s why we don’t share a room. I’m probably to blame for all this. I’m sure she was just feeling lonely. I-”

“Harry,” Hermione cut him off. He looked over at her to see her pulling out another paper. “This was delivered this morning.” She handed it over to him, folded open to show a picture of Ginny and Jamie. Harry knew Jamie was only about six months old in the photo because he wore the little outfit Molly had given him for Christmas with the red overalls and fluttering snitch. Ginny’s attention was clearly on the man who had his tongue down her throat. Anger surged through Harry. He hadn’t even truly begun questioning his sexuality until Jamie was nearly a year old, but what bothered him the most was that she had exposed his son to this trash. At least when he had Severus over they waited until Jamie was asleep before they even thought about sex. But here she was clearly halfway in the man’s bed with Jamie playing in his pram.

“That bitch!” Harry spat out as he jumped to his feet and tossed the paper to the table. “Threatening to take my son if I ever even dared act on my urges with another man and here she’s clearly spreading her legs for some stranger with MY SON right there.”

“Harry,” Hermione said, standing up and wrapping a hand around his arm. “Don’t be rash.”

Harry knew she was right, but as he nodded his agreement his eyes fell to the paper. He picked up the paper and unfolded it. There was picture after picture of Ginny with different men over the years. How had she been able to hide this for so long? How had he not known? Harry clenched the paper in his fist. “Call my lawyer,” he hissed. “I want her and her stuff out of my house by the time Jamie and I get home.”

“Bill is already there packing her stuff,” Ron informed Harry.

“Thank you. She can keep her earnings from the Harpies but tell her she had best not even think about asking for alimony or I’ll strip every last piece of jewelry from her as well. And inform her manager she is no longer allowed to use the Potter name.”

“We’ll take care of it, Harry,” Hermione assured him. Harry refilled his cup and downed the whiskey. He waved his hand at the papers now sitting on the table, and Ron jerked back as they burst into flames.

“Sorry,” Harry mumbled. “You staying for dinner?” Harry glanced at the wary looks on his friends’ faces and chuckled. “Look, I’m fine. Or I will be. You might as well stay for dinner, let Rosie enjoy the pool. There’s a grill, we can cook up some hotdogs.”

“Alright, Harry,” Hermione answered. Harry smiled brightly at his friends.

“Better yet, let’s go down to the beach. I’ll gather up some stuff, and we can have a little cookout on the beach.”

“Wicked!” Ron exclaimed as he jumped to his feet.

Harry chuckled. “I’ve got some extra board shorts you can change into,” he told Ron, and the redhead hurried off to the room Harry had indicated. “Are you going to change?”

“Nah. I won’t get in the water too far past my ankles. I’ll just roll my trousers up,” Hermione answered.

“Alright. Let me get changed real quick.” Harry stepped into the bathroom where he had hung his swim shorts to dry the day before and changed into them, leaving his t-shirt on. Hermione was waiting for him when he stepped back out.

“I sent Ron on ahead with the kids. Teddy assured me he knew where we could set up.” Harry nodded in agreement and headed to the kitchen to gather supplies for a cookout. “I thought I could help since I’m slow as it is,” Hermione said with a smile as she patted her belly.

Harry chuckled. “Great. Summon that picnic basket from on top of the fridge.”

Hermione did as requested, and they spent the next few minutes gathering everything they would need including the makings for s’mores. Harry finally took the basket and motioned for Hermione to lead the way.

“The steps down the back porch lead to a trail that will take us right to the beach. The boys should be easy to spot once we reach the beach.”

Hermione nodded, and Harry stayed close by her side as she waddled down the steps. Once they reached the path they strolled at a leisurely pace.

“Harry.”

“Mmm?”

“How long will you wait before you officially start dating Severus?”

Harry almost dropped the basket but hurried to cover his shock. “Um… er… I-”

Hermione let out a sigh. “Harry, I figured out months ago that Severus was the one you were in love with. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the two of you were already involved in an affair.”

Harry did stop then and turned to gape at his friend. “Are you calling me out then?” Harry asked softly. “For my reaction to Ginny’s affairs.”

Hermione shook her head, her bushy hair coming loosed from it’s bun. “No. It’s obvious Ginny has been conducting her affairs almost from the very beginning. I know you tried to make it work, even if she did trick you into marriage.” Hermione slipped her arm through Harry’s and pulled him towards the beach. “Besides, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so happy before. Once you two started working together on this new task force it became apparent, at least to me, that he was the one you were talking about. I just wanted you to be happy, Harry. And Jamie likes him, that much is obvious. Just,” she hesitated for a moment. “Just make sure you wait a decent amount of time so as not to draw suspicion.”

Harry leaned his head against her shoulder. “I promise.”

They enjoyed the evening on the beach before Ron, Hermione, and Rosie headed home. Harry pushed the events occuring back home to the back of his mind and concentrated on making the rest of the vacation pleasant. The night before they were to return, Harry sat the boys down and explained that Ginny had moved out because she was ready to live on her own. He told them that she wasn’t happy being Harry’s wife anymore though she still wanted to be Jamie’s mum. Harry explained that the boys might hear some bad things about Ginny, but they should just ignore them along with all the reporters that would be following them around for some time.

The portkey dropped them off in a side room in the ministry, and Harry immediately Apparated them to Grimmauld Place. They rarely used the old townhouse, but Harry made sure the maintenance stayed up on the place. Harry had already owled Hermione so the kitchen was stocked with food and two bedrooms had been aired out for their use. Harry explained to the boys they would be staying in the house for a few weeks until all the To Do died down. Despite how much he longed to reach out to Severus, Harry’s first order of business was to contact his lawyer and Andromeda.

Andromeda arrived first and set about fixing lunch as she listened to the boys talk about their vacation. Harry’s lawyer arrived just as she was setting lunch out for the boys, so Harry took the man into the library so they could talk. Harry wasn’t surprised to learn Ginny was none too happy about having to give up the Potter name but hadn’t asked for alimony. Harry did learn that the photos had been taken by the Prophet’s photographer but the man hadn’t published them simply because he was using them to blackmail Ginny into sleeping with him. Harry didn’t feel sorry for his soon-to-be ex-wife since she had created the mess herself. At least Harry and Severus had been discreet. Ginny had already gone to the Prophet with the outcry that Harry was gay, and she had only been seeking comfort, but the photo with Jamie as an infant had cost her any possible sympathy. It seemed the wizarding world might condone discreet affairs as long as the children weren’t exposed to it. The only thing Ginny requested was to be able to keep the last name of Potter, but, since her obsession with being Mrs. Potter had brought them to this point to begin with, Harry denied that which left Ginny with getting nothing out of the divorce. Harry did agree she could see Jamie with the understanding that he was not to be used for publicity purposes. Harry had no doubt eventually she would find a way around the proviso but he hoped Jamie would be old enough to see around her manipulations by then.

By the time the lawyer left with the divorce contract Andromeda had the boys fed and occupied with a game of exploding snap. She offered to take them back to her place for a few days so Harry could take care of what he needed to do. Harry thanked her profusely and helped Jamie pack an overnight bag. Jamie didn’t mind the extra time with Teddy and happily waved goodbye to his father. Harry went to change out of his jeans and tee into casual robes before Apparating to the Burrow. He knew Ginny had been benched and wasn’t allowed to play, but she was still required to attend the games, therefore she would be in Germany for the match tomorrow and not at her parents’ house. Harry was glad to see there weren’t any reporters staking out the Weasleys, and he made his way up to the back door. He knocked gently, and a moment later the door swung open.

Molly stood staring at him in shock for several seconds before she let out a cry of distress and pulled Harry into her arms. He cut off her words of apology and asked if Arthur was home. Not only was Arthur home but Bill, Fleur, and the twins were there as well. They assured Harry Angelina was watching the shop before pulling him down on the couch between them. Harry let them know he didn’t blame any of them and wanted to reassure them that he had no intention of keeping Jamie from them. He also confirmed that he was indeed gay but hadn’t come to that realization until after he and Ginny had been married for more than a year. Molly and Fleur fussed over him for a while before Molly asked if he was staying for dinner. Harry thanked her for the invitation but declined, saying he really just needed some time to process everything before returning to work tomorrow. He finally said his goodbyes, getting hugs from the women and handshakes from the Weasley men.

Harry’s next stop was Gringotts, and Molly was happy to allow him the use of their Floo. He immediately spoke to a goblin about revoking Ginny’s key. The goblin assured him they had placed a freeze on her key the moment they had seen the paper. Harry thanked them before going down into the vault. He did a quick survey to make sure nothing important was missing and grabbed a small box he had set aside months ago. Harry informed the goblin that the family jewels Ginny had taken out to wear on special occasions would be returned as soon as possible, and the goblin thanked him. Harry cast a Disillusionment on himself before stepping out into Diagon Alley. He heard his name several times as he walked down the street towards the designated Apparition spot; it was almost as bad as when he had defeated Riddle. He breathed a sigh of relief when he reached the Apparition spot without anyone seeing through his spell and Disapparated.

Harry Apparated into the familiar flat and allowed his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He inhaled deeply and sighed at the comforting scent. He gave a small flick of his wrist and the fireplace roared to life followed by several sconces. Harry made his way to the small kitchen and began pulling food from the cold box. An hour later he had a pudding cooling on the counter and two plates of fettuccini on the table. He placed the bowls of salad beside the dinner plates and poured out two glasses of Severus’s favorite wine. He smiled to himself when he felt the figure move up behind him. Strong arms wrapped around him and soft lips pressed against his neck.

“I could get used to coming home to this,” Severus whispered as he nibbled on Harry’s neck.

“Might be a bit difficult since we work together,” Harry said as he turned in Severus’s arms. He threw his arms around the man’s neck and pulled him down. “Missed you,” he mumbled against Severus’s lips before claiming them. The kiss was slow and welcoming as the men reacquainted themselves with each other, hands moving over bodies. Severus finally pulled back.

“Where’s Jamie?”

“Andromeda took the boys for a few days.” Lust and desire flashed in Severus’s eyes, and Harry smiled. “Are you hungry?”

Severus’s dark eyes raked down Harry’s body causing his blood to rush downwards. “Yes,” Severus growled and pulled Harry closer.

Harry chuckled. “Dinner first. Plus I made dessert.”

Severus nipped gently at Harry’s neck. “I thought you were dessert.”

Harry moaned as Severus pressed his erection against his own. “Sev,” he moaned.

It was Severus’s turn to chuckle. “Alright, love. I wouldn’t want your welcome home dinner to get cold. Let’s eat.”

Harry beamed at his lover as they sat down to eat. Harry could hardly keep his hands off Severus, constantly touching him as they talked and ate. Severus caught him up on the office gossip and informed him of a case that had come in. He has assigned it to Finnegan and Donaldson since they had worked so well on the previous case, and Harry gave a nod of approval. He asked Harry about their vacation, and Harry told him how much the boys had enjoyed it and several funny anecdotes including Rosie’s frustration at having her sand castle destroyed by the incoming waves. Severus didn’t ask why Rosie had been there, and Harry wasn’t ready to bring up Ginny yet. Once they finished eating, Severus made Harry sit while he cleared the dishes away and cut them a slice of cake. Harry refilled their wine glasses and carried them to the living room while Severus followed with the plate of cake and a fork. Harry kicked his shoes off, and they cuddled on the couch feeding each other cake and sipping their wine.

They barely made it halfway through the cake before Harry was pressing Severus down onto the couch. Harry moaned at the taste of chocolate and wine on his lover’s tongue and suckled gently. Severus grabbed Harry’s arse, pulling him closer so their erections pressed together. Severus tore his mouth from Harry’s long enough to demand “bedroom,” and Harry complied by Apparating them directly onto the bed. Their movements became desperate after that, each man tearing at his own clothes as well as those of his lover as they rushed to undress. Harry barely had two fingers in Severus before the man was demanding for Harry to get inside him. They both sighed in ecstasy as Harry slid into Severus. Their movements finally slowed as Harry kissed Severus languidly and slid his hands over the lithe form beneath him. Severus repaid the favor by gently scratching his nails down Harry’s back and sliding his legs up and down Harry’s. Severus wrapped his legs around Harry’s waist as Harry began to move with more determination, pushing into his lover’s welcoming body. Harry whispered words of love and promises in his lover’s ear as he pushed the man closer and closer to orgasm. Severus writhed beneath him, drinking in Harry’s words as he cried out in accord. The moment Severus’s orgasm hit him, Harry’s own was pulled from him as well.

Once the two men were cuddled under the blanket and recovered, Harry rested his head on Severus’s shoulder. He turned his head to press a kiss to his lover’s sweat-dampened skin. “How did you do it?”

Severus’s fingers trailed up and down Harry’s arm. “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about, Potter.” Harry gave a chuckle. “However,” Severus continued, “I am aware that Blaize Zabini recently started working at The Daily Prophet. Did you know he was engaged to Pansy Parkinson their seventh year?” Harry listened intently to his lover, trying to put the pieces together. “His mother had given much of her savings to the Dark Lord, and Blaize had hopes of starting his own fashion journal with the Parkinson fortune. I believe he held you responsible for that money slipping through his fingers. Greed can make a man do many things, even attempt to ruin a marriage on the off chance it will humiliate his enemy.”

Harry buried his smile in Severus’s shoulder. “And when did you become aware of Zabini’s diabolical plan?”

“Once again, Potter, I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. But if Draco had spilled Blaise's plans to me over yuletide nog I would have counseled him to tell Blaise to wait until the opportune time. I imagine Draco must have somehow found out you would be out of town and unable to intercept or put a stop to such a damning publication.” Harry moved to press a kiss to Severus’s lips. Somehow his lover had timed the news to come out so Jamie wouldn’t be exposed to it and would give Harry time to get things under control before he was thrust into the limelight. Harry pulled back to look into his lover’s eyes and smiled as he reached up to brush a strand of hair back.

“I love you so much, Severus.”

“I love you too, Harry. And you’re a fool if you thought for a moment I wouldn’t do everything within my powers to make you mine once you admitted you loved me.”

“You must know I feel the same, Sev. Which is why I picked this up today.” Harry summoned the box from his robe and flipped it open before showing Severus the silver band that rested inside. The emerald eyes of the onyx snake resting against the silver arm cuff twinkled in the candlelight as Severus lifted the jewelry from its blue velvet bed. “It’s a bonding cuff,” Harry explained as Severus sat up to examine the band better.

“I know what it is, Harry.”

Harry pushed himself up as well. “I saw it several years ago and had Hermione research it for me because I didn’t know what it was. She explained it was traditional engagement jewelry for a same sex marriage. I set it aside months ago knowing one day I would give it to you. I had originally wanted to wait for your birthday but…” Harry took a deep breath, and Severus looked over at him. “I want you to wear it now. Please. I’ll get you a proper engagement ring once the divorce is final but that’s another six months away and- Mmph.”

Harry found himself on his back as Severus ravaged his mouth. He melted into the kiss and slid his fingers through the soft hair of his lover. He almost wished they hadn’t just had sex because he would dearly love to taste his lover and have the man come down his throat. Later. Harry smiled to himself knowing that this time there would be many “laters” to come. He had no doubt Ginny would fight the divorce as much as she could but the evidence against her was still being printed in the Prophet, and she would eventually have to concede. Harry and Severus would have to be careful how they played the next few months, not allowing their relationship to come out until after the divorce was final. But Harry had every intention of moving back into the master suite and making sure there was plenty of room for Severus’s things. It would be easy to say their friendship had progressed while Severus was helping Harry deal with the fallout of the divorce and being a comfort to his friend. Harry wondered how long they would have to wait before they could get married. What would be an acceptable time frame? He couldn’t wait to make Severus his husband and to be able to kiss him in public, or even just hold his hand. There would be Christmases and birthdays they could celebrate together rather than have to sneak around for. And next year Severus could go to the beach with them. Just like Jamie had wanted.

Just like Harry wanted. Forever and Always.