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The busy café was humming with noise. The many dwellers were chattering avidly to one another about pointless issues. The noise bothered the man who sat huddled in a corner booth of the café, his elbows resting on the polished surface of the table and dark curtains of hair falling into his face. It was to be expected, he supposed, it was often that schools from around the world would visit his home. France was considered a place of beauty and education. The man snorted sarcastic laughter and looked down at his notebook in front of him. It was empty, completely devoid of any ink. The page glared back at him and he sighed. His publisher was expecting another book soon, one to kick off the New Year. It was currently November and he had yet to even outline a plot.

"Alright there, Severus?" Looking up from his mocking piece of paper the man nodded curtly at the balding man who stood beside his table. He was dressed smartly in black slacks and a crisp white button down shirt. He was a waiter; one Severus had begrudgingly come to like. "Looks like you could do with a refill? On the house." The man said and motioned to the empty coffee cup by Severus' wrist. He nodded his thanks and watched as black, steaming coffee was poured into his cup, right up to the brim.

"Got to keep your wits about you with so many teenagers running about." The man joked, his small eyes flicked to the many tables taken up by a class of adolescents. Severus sniffed disdainfully and took a sip of the rich brew; it was hot against his tongue and flavoursome.

"They always seem to be drawn to this café. Perhaps I should find myself a quieter dwelling." He said lowly as a young girl burst into laughter and slapped her hands against the tabletop; the waiter next to Severus gave a chuckle and shook his head.

Juggling the coffee pot and a small pad he gave Severus a grin. "This place is apparently the most awesome-est ever," he said dryly, clearly copying a teenager's statement, Severus resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Teens these days were all the same. A stupid gathering of idiots trying to stand out and fit in all at once. "Have a good one, Severus. Don't work too hard." The waiter laughed and flashed a look at the empty paper. Severus sneered. He hated his muse when it got slack on him.

His table was bumped suddenly and his coffee spilled over the cup, running trails of dark liquid onto his notebook. Severus pinched the bridge of his nose to quell the oncoming headache, slowly he looked up. Bright green eyes were wide with apprehension and full lips were open in a silent gasp. Severus appraised the boy in front of him with a sweeping gaze. Messy black hair, slim hips and a slender frame met his eyes and a smirk twisted the man's mouth.

"I am so sorry, sir – I didn't mean to run into your table, it's just that I was knocked by someone and then I sort of lost my balance and – well, I'm sorry, I'll buy you another coffee." The boy said in a rush of breath, Severus watched the flush that climbed the teen's cheeks, decorating the boy's straight nose prettily in a blush.

"I think I'm more inclined towards a new notebook," he replied silkily and watched as the boy realized he had just ruined the man's property.

Grabbing a napkin, the boy started dabbing at the paper fervently. "Fuck, sorry, sorry…" he said under his breath, the curse word deliciously hissed. Severus raised his eyebrows and watched the boy's small hands try to clean up the mess. He only succeeded in smearing the dark stain further over the page. Severus reached out and stopped the cleaning by grabbing the boy's wrists, they were thin and he easily closed his fingers around the soft skin.

"I hadn't written anything, it's not a matter," he stated and pushed the hands away. "And you shouldn't swear, it's unbecoming."

The reprimanded boy blushed once more and nibbled on his lower lip, the pink flesh was wet and shiny and despite his best efforts Severus couldn't keep his groin from stirring awake. His mind ticked over and a plot started to form. The beautiful boy stammered out another quiet apology and Severus's fingers twitched with the need to write.

"Well, are you going to continue to stare at me like a paralysed guppy or are you going to be off?" Severus snapped crisply and watched in satisfaction when the boy straightened up, mumbled yet another 'sorry' and scuttled away to a table not far off. It really was too easy to play with little adolescent boys.

Severus smirked to himself and stood up, making sure to leave a small tip for his coffee, despite it being hardly touched. With hurried strides the man made for the nearest office supply store, he needed fresh paper – his muse was back and crowded his head with sinful images of green eyes and ebony hair. It wasn't strange for the author to get inspiration from everyday life or people, however, this inspiration burned at his stomach. He just had to write about such a gorgeous creature.

Leaving the busy café Severus didn't see the wide emerald green eyes fixed on him, nor the worried furrow of brows.

-SSHP-

The following morning Severus was back at the little café. A fresh notebook laid over the surface of the table and elegant scrawl was covering the lined paper. His eyes were narrowed and his neck bent downwards as he hurried to get every piece of inspiration onto the paper. His pen worked back and forth rhythmically and a smirk played at the corners of his lips. This idea would be his best yet and it was all thanks to –

"Harry Potter," Severus stopped writing and looked up sharply at the light voice, his pen was poised over the paper, its tip making a mark. The boy from yesterday stood at the table and was holding his hand outstretched towards Severus, "I'm Harry," he elaborated when all the author did was gawk at him. Severus mentally shook himself and placed his pen down.

"Severus Snape," he replied shortly and took the proffered hand. Harry's skin was warm and soft, so unlike many men's and his palm was slightly sweaty, a sure sign he wasn't half as confident as he made out to be. "What brings you back here?" Severus questioned and Harry took it as an invitation to sit down opposite him. The older man watched as the boy slumped in his seat, the picture of youth.

"I ruined your book," Harry said simply and shame threatened to turn his pale cheeks pink, "I felt bad so I brought you another one," Severus studied Harry as he dug through his satchel and pulled out a thick notebook. "It's nothing special but – well, here." He finished quietly and shoved the book across the table.

"Cute and a sense of respect," Severus mused under his breath. He took the book and ran his fingers over the simple opaque blue cover; it was a hard-covered notebook and must have cost a bit. Especially for a student who was with his school visiting. "You're holidaying here?" asked Severus abruptly and the boy shrugged. Severus frowned at that.

"It's not really a holiday when you're stuck with your teachers and studying the history of France and such. It sucks." Harry replied, his lips pouted and Severus had to look away, the sight really was attractive. "It's a cool place though, even if it's huge. I swear I'd be lost if I was left alone here." A small, quiet chuckle escaped from the boy's lips and Severus smiled, before quickly frowning. Since when did he smile at adolescent boys who he hardly knew?

Shifting in his seat and tucking his notebook artfully under his arm to hide his scribbles Severus leaned forward, debating whether to continue the conversation or dismiss the boy. One look at the round, green eyes and slim body had Severus's mind made up. He could always use a bit of information to flesh out his character, and since his character was based on the boy it seemed only fitting that he used him for it.

"What do you study in school?" he questioned and the boy's form perked up, a bright smile on his lips.

"I study English and History, it's fun. I'm here with my history class to learn more about France's history. I always thought learning about the past would be boring but really it's quite fascinating." Harry said ardently and leant closer over the tabletop. Severus caught sight of golden specks amongst the emerald green and caught his breath in his chest. The boy's eyes were damn sexy. Of course he was only noticing this because he would be writing a character based on the kid, not because he felt anything – least of all sexual – towards Harry.

"You write?" Harry asked and fiddled with the salt and pepper shakers that were on the table. His eyes peeked up through his messy fringe.

Severus tucked his own hair behind his ears. "Do I write," he corrected absently. "And yes I do, I'm an author." The boy's mouth dropped open and he gawked at Severus, the expression was comical and Severus smirked wryly at Harry.

"You're an author?" said Harry breathily. "Oh, wow, I've always wanted to meet an author. Have you got any books published?" Severus nodded and the boy wriggled in his seat in excitement. "What kind? Horror? You seem like the gory type." Severus snorted at this before regaining his composure.

"Do I now?" he drawled, "I have written a few horror pieces however my main genre is erotica." He didn't see any shame in it and very rarely hid his desire to write such novels. To his astonishment Harry bounced up and down in his seat, if possible he appeared more excited than before. Well, he supposed he should have expected such a reaction from a teenage boy whose only thoughts were centered on the thing between his legs.

"That's awesome, I've never written erotica. I write romance though – although it's different in many aspects." He conceded softly. Severus nodded.

The boy was right. Erotica was more primal, raw and gratifying. It didn't sugar-coat anything and left nothing to the reader's imagination. It was dirty and fulfilling. Romance wasn't a genre Severus had delved into often, it was too tacky and artsy for his liking. He enjoyed being blunt and forward with his readers, and really showing them what erotica meant.

Harry shifted in his seat and flicked his eyes nervously at the large café front window, Severus noticed the few kids out on the sidewalk, and it appeared his class was hanging around. The boy seemed to shrug off a thought and turned back to the older man.

"So what kind of erotica do you write?" he asked casually and leaned over the table, his untidy hair was falling into his eyes and Severus had the whim to push it aside. He mentally shook himself and let the thought slip.

Wondering towards the reaction he would receive when he told the boy Severus leaned back in his seat, resting casually with a slow grin tugging his lips, "I write male erotica." The boy blanched and then blushed furiously before opening his mouth to speak, he closed it a moment later and squeaked out a small sound. Severus watched stoically.

"Oh," Harry finally managed and ducked his head to study the tabletop. "Like gay stuff? Boy's and boy's?" he questioned quietly. The reaction was amusing and Severus nodded his head.

"Man and man, Harry." He corrected and crossed his legs. Harry nodded but the colour still staining his skin told Severus all he needed to know. "I take it you're straight." It was a prompt and blunt question. Severus saw no reason not to get to the point.

"Well, yeah – I guess so. I mean, I never really thought about it," Harry said and smoothed his hand over the tabletop, he was uncomfortable and Severus couldn't help but watch the thick swallow that rippled the boy's throat. "How'd you get into writing – ah, male erotica?"

"A run of terrible, unsatisfying relationships got me wanting to write something that was fulfilling." In truth Severus had been involved in many boring relationships. Perhaps it was his desire for constant vivaciousness. That combined with his insatiable sexual appetite. He left this part out of course; he didn't really want to scare the boy. "That and I love to write rough, lustful sex." This statement made another rippling swallow in Harry throat and Severus licked his lips. He had a weak spot for necks and collarbones.

"I see." Harry was quiet for a minute and then looked up shyly from underneath his long lashes. "So you're practically writing porn then?" he said quietly with a lopsided smile. The kid was joking with Severus. It was something the man wasn't use to. Not many people could get passed his cold exterior, let alone try and joke with him.

"I write relationships around a delicate plot, Mr. Potter. I assure you it is not porn." He snipped and lifted his chin. The cheeky smile he received made his lips twitch, but he didn't smile.

Harry stretched luxuriously in his seat, his hands ruffling through his hair, messing it thoroughly. "Sure, sure," he said and his eyes were bright with jest, "I'm sure the sex stuff is secondary to the plot." Severus made to reply but was cut short when a young female waitress swayed over, rolling her hips seductively. Harry noticed the older man's adverted attention and twisted in his seat to watch the woman's approach.

"Hi, anything I can get you two?" she said pleasantly enough and flicked her long golden hair over her shoulder. Severus was about to dismiss her when his companion spoke up.

"A hot chocolate, please," Harry gave a rakish wink towards Severus and the man realized he was going to be stuck with his little beauty for a while longer. Not that he minded much. "And a coffee – no sugar or milk, thanks." Severus looked up sharply at the order just as the waitress smiled and swayed away.

"I never said I wanted anything." He stated somewhat unnecessarily. Harry shrugged his slim shoulders and brushed his fringe aside, the glossy bangs just fell back into his eyes.

"If it's any consolidation I'm paying." Severus grunted and nodded, about to mutter a begrudging 'thank you' before the sharp, caustic sound of glass breaking sounded throughout the small café. On impulse the man reached over to Harry and dragged the boy to the ground, the few other morning café goers mimicked the action and dropped from their seats to the ground. The front window of the café was shattered and gaped like the angry mouth of a monster. It'd been shot out.

-SSHP-

"What the fuck –?" Harry whispered breathlessly and clung to the strong arms that were around his shoulders. Dark hair fell into his face and he realized it was Severus's not his own. A scream from a few of the people caught Harry's awareness and he looked to the doorway where two masked men were striding into the café. In their hands were held silver handguns. It was a hoist.

Scuttling and trying to disentangle himself from Severus, Harry tried to reach for his bag, he needed his mobile to call for help. A sharp, low voice growled in his ear and he was forcefully pulled back into the man's embrace and dragged closer to the small table.

The men walked confidently towards the counter and pointed their weapons at the shaking middle-aged woman who was holding her hands unsteadily in the air. Her chin quivered from fear and her large eyes were over bright. Wispy strands of grey hair fell about her cheeks, coming loose from the bun on top of her head. Harry turned and faced Severus, nose to nose with the older man.

"We have to call someone, the police!" Harry whispered fervently and strong hands came up to grip at his biceps, squeezing tightly in caveat. "Severus…" a rough palm covered his mouth and the man's dark eyes flashed. Harry meekly appealed to the man with his eyes.

"This café has an alarm system, now hush and stay down."

"Everyone SHUT UP." Harry flinched at the yelled command and pressed his body closer to the bigger man. Severus allowed him his frightened gesture and wrapped his arms around Harry's middle, holding him securely. If the situation hadn't been so extensive Harry doubted he would have been so comfortable to curl up in another man's arms. The chinking sound of the till being opened was loud within the muted café. Harry wondered absently when the police would arrive.

A gun cocked and the sound sent shivers to dance down Harry's spine, "No one move." A deep voice ordered and Harry saw out of the corner of his eyes a young mother cradling her infant close to her chest, the woman looked to be in her late teens. Her bright eyes caught his and she sent an appealing look at Harry. What she was pleading for Harry didn't know. But he did know he had to do something before things got out of hand.

"Give me your bag." The tallest man grunted at an elderly gentleman and he hurriedly passed over his bag with shaking fingers, Harry's eyes widened in fear when he realized they were going around the café and taking things from people.

Shifting he made a grab for his bag, ripping it open he dived his hand in for his phone, a cold press of metal to his temple and Severus's hitched breath made him freeze. "Drop it and give me the bag, kid." Harry's bottle green eyes opened wider and he looked up at the gun that was touching his skin, causing his flesh to prickle with goose bumps. The masked man nudged the mouth of the gun harder against Harry's temple in warning.

Summoning up his courage and hoping his voice didn't break or depart him he held tightly to his mobile, "Fuck off." It was the wrong two words and the worst possible thing he could have said, however, he had said it loudly and was thankful when all he received was a sharp backhand to his cheek. It stung like a bitch but at least he didn't have a bullet lodged in his brain. Severus sprang into action and grabbed at the man's wrist, a scuffle insured and then a gun shot rang out. Harry gasped along with many other people as plaster and debris fell from the ceiling – thankfully the man had only shot the roof.

"Back off," he growled at Severus and then turned his attention and the gun back to Harry. The boy stifled the desire to tremble and glared up at the bandit. "Give me the bag and everything will work out fine."

"I have my school work and personal things in here, so no." Again, Harry wasn't sure why he was being so brazen when all he wanted to do was curl up into the foetal position and cry. A large hand on his shoulder made him jump and then Severus was trying to take his bag from his hands. Having none of it Harry ripped to bag closer to his chest and shook his head. "Don't." he warned and Severus' eyes flashed dangerously, Harry noticed it wasn't at him and turned when the sing of the gun deafened him. He screamed as the metal bullet shot straight into his leg, tearing through the skin and muscle until blood spurted from the wound.

He'd been shot.

"You bloody bastard!" Harry yelled and it was only the adrenalin that made him jump to his feet and throw a fist at the man. Consequences be damned.

"You are a fucking arsehole…" Harry's breathing was choppy and his lungs burned with the amount of air it took for him to continue hitting at the man. To his credit the man was a head taller and bulky so when the large fist came out of nowhere and knocked him to the ground it was no wonder the small teenager groaned once before falling unconscious. His blood began forming a puddle on the shiny café flooring.

-SSHP-

The boy was a complete idiot Severus denounced and hurriedly wrapped his arms around Harry's slim waist, tugging the boy closer to his chest and holding him secure. The man in the mask was breathing heavily and the gun was unwaveringly pointed at Harry's limp figure. "Give me his bag." The bandit said lowly and motioned to the satchel. Severus picked it up, ignoring the blood that was seeping across the floor, dark crimson against the white titles. It was vivid and made Severus's heart leap into his throat.

"Come on man, we need to flee, you fucking shot the kid." This time it was the short, stumpy one and Severus sneered at him, hearing the faint wail of police sirens. The other dwellers in the café were silent and staring either at the hurt Harry or the men as they argued in fierce whispers. Finally, with a bag full of cash and jewellery the men made for the door. Reaching for the handle until –

"Bloody weak pieces of shit, can't even stand up to the police, what are you running away now?" Severus squeezed the boy in his arms tight in hopes of shutting him up. It would seem that indignant anger and blood loss was not a good combination and Harry spoke up once again, panting deeply with the effort. "Pair of fuckers, the pair of you." The tallest man growled out a curse word and advanced on Severus and the rather incoherent Harry.

"He's not with it, you shot him, he's in shock and possibly delirious." Severus exclaimed firmly, ignoring how his stomach roiled with dread when the bandit's gun hand twitched. Harry groaned and shook his head.

"Not – not delisors – selirious, just think they're jackasses." He mumbled. The sloppy taunt was enough to set off the bandit's short fuse and he kicked out at Harry, right in the boy's shot leg. Severus hissed in annoyance and made for the man, dropping Harry's top half to the floor in his haste to protect the clearly dazed kid. Fisting handfuls of the man's black jacket Severus bared his teeth, the sounds of sirens were getting louder and it was only a matter of minutes until the police arrived.

"You've got what you wanted, now leave and be done here."

A shuffling to his right made him snap his attention to a young woman. She was holding a small baby in her arms, her lips were open and she was mouthing something. It was Harry who caught on and whisper-shouted it to Severus. "Hold him, 'til they come." Only just realizing his current position and power Severus held tighter to the man's jacket and rammed him backwards into the display cabinet, the glass cracked from the force but didn't break. Brown eyes narrowed and the bandit fought against Severus, kicking out at the taller man's legs.

"Someone get the other," a crotchety voice spoke up and Severus was startled when the old man jumped in to assist him and hold the struggling thief immobile. He silently thanked the elderly man with a quick glance. Shouts and loud thuds could be heard from the café but Severus held tight to the man in his grip and refused to be distracted. Even if the other café goers didn't get the short one it wouldn't matter, the scoundrel he held would probably rat him out anyway.

Grunting with the effort of restraining the writhing man Severus looked around, hoping to see the flash of red and blue. He saw a group of middle aged men holding the second bandit down on the ground. "Severus," he looked around to Harry who was still on the ground, blood was everywhere and it made the older man's stomach twist unpleasantly. "His gun…" Harry's eyes were drooping closed and he pointed weakly at the gun that the bandit was holding. How hadn't Severus seen that?

Twisting the man's arm up awkwardly and battling for the gun Severus gnashed his teeth. The old man by his side tried to help but was knocked aside as the two younger men tangled for the weapon. A few women were shouting for him to kick below the belt but Severus couldn't untangle himself enough to do so. Instead he stood, locked against the man, holding the bottom half of the gun and tugging for its possession.

The trigger snapped and locked and Severus snarled, the barrel of the gun was touching his neck. Far be it from him to be shot in the blasted neck. Growling and throwing his weight against the shorter man he made one last effort the get the gun.

Hasty breaths.

Hands slick with sweat.

The sound of the door opening.

"Police, put the weapon on the ground and hands above your head."

A shared look of rage with the bandit and a moment of scuffling and then –

BANG!

"Officer down – requesting back up. Two gun men, one masked the other dark haired and Caucasian. Another male restrained and in custody."

"No, he was helping…" a slurred, faint voice.

Oh shit.

Chapter Text

It was perhaps the most brainless thing he had ever decided to do. Running from the law was something Severus had no intention of ever doing, and yet here he was running flat out down the morning washed streets of France. His wrist being held tightly by the diminutive Harry. The sound of police was loud even through the haze of deep breathing and screaming thoughts.

Whatthebloodyfuckweretheydoing?

"Quick down here," Harry panted and pulled Severus behind him into a closed off side street. The morning sun didn't reach far across the ground and it was chilly and dim, the perfect hiding place. "We'll hide behind here." Harry was saying decisively and crouched himself down behind a large rubbish bin, his small frame curled low, Severus scooted down beside him and held his breath. This was bad.

"You know if we had just explained the situation to the police everything would have been fine. As it is I am now on the bloody run."

Harry rolled those emerald eyes and huffed quietly. "Firstly, we are on the run – seems as how I am a partner in helping you escape. You shot an officer in case that has slipped your mind." Severus growled low at the boy in annoyance, flicking his eyes to the still bleeding wound, Harry was running on adrenalin once more just as he was, when the boy crashed he would be in bad shape.

"I didn't shoot him on purpose. I didn't lock the trigger." Severus stated quietly as footfalls sounded outside in the busy street. Hopefully no one had seen them dash into the side street. "If I had just explained that, it would have been resolved."

The boy was silent and Severus was just about to continue when a group of police officers rounded the corner, guns out stretched from their bodies and eyes scouting the dimly lit area. Harry shifted closer to Severus and he could smell the faint aroma of mint and apple. It must have been the kid's shampoo. Soft, silky strands brushed against Severus's chin when Harry turned to him, lips parted and throat jumping with his racing pulse.

Raising his finger across his lips Severus told Harry to be quiet, not that it needed to be said, or gestured as it were. Both men were frozen and it seemed like an eternity had passed before a patent voice rang out. "Clear." The procession of officers left the side street and a shaky breath puffed against Severus's neck. Harry shivered against him and instinctively Severus reached out and wrapped a comforting hand around the slender back.

"Okay, we are going to collect ourselves and then get you fixed up. Then we are going straight to the police station and fixing this pandemonium. I will not be seen as a criminal." He thought that sounded like a reasonable plan, Harry's lips twisted and his eyes were sceptical.

"What if things go askew and you end up in jail – or worse I end up in jail." Severus resisted the urge to comment deprecatingly on Harry being pure jailbait but instead shifted and sat on his bottom, his thighs were burning like hell from his forced stillness. "The police believe you shot one of their men, that is a big offence anywhere."

Severus breathed steadily through his nose, attempting to find some inner calm. This situation was fucked. Really it was.

"Harry, I'm the adult here, I think what I say goes." It wasn't the best argument, considering Harry wasn't the most juvenile person he had ever met, but his ideas on running from the law was just credulous. Harry's jaw was working furiously and his hands balled into fists.

"I'm eighteen, thank you very much –"

"I'm thirty-two," interjected Severus with a smirk. Harry's face flushed in anger. The kid really did let his anger get the better of him – hence their current position. Severus wouldn’t blame him, however, it had been his own choice to fight for possession of the gun, and subsequently him who had hit the trigger, no matter how accidentally it might have been, he had shot a police officer. And now the police force was under the wrong impression of him.

"I don't fucking care, I don't want to go anywhere near them when I helped a killer escape." Killer was a bit harsh considering Severus was positive the man he had shot was perfectly alright, minus the bullet wound of course. Harry gasped suddenly and reached down to touch his leg. Severus immediately took hold of Harry's shoulders and pushed him back, getting a better look at the leg. The wound was stained with blood so he could see very little, if the bullet was still in there he'd have to get it out or no healing would be happening. Sighing and feeling the pinch of a headache at his temples Severus made his mind up quickly.

Drop the boy off at the hospital and go down to the police station – risk being wrongly accused and locked up until a court date. Or take the boy back to his flat and patch up his leg, successfully putting himself on the most wanted list. Slight exaggeration there.

Running a soothing hand across the slender back beside him Severus huffed, "Come on, let's get you up." He grunted under the weight of Harry and was forced to take most of the kid's body weight; Harry just leaned over his shoulder and moaned in pain pitifully.

"Where are we going?" asked Harry softly and his breath tickled Severus's ear. He hoisted the petite body closer and wrapped his arm around the thin waist.

"My place."

Goodbye trouble-free, law abiding life. Hello life on the run with a boy he'd only just met. Fan-fucking-tastic.

-SSHP-

Severus's flat was impressive; it was obvious the man was loaded with money. The flat itself was reasonably spacious. It had two bedrooms with a large living space that housed soft leather chairs and a large sofa. The kitchen was also big with stainless steel and granite complimenting one another. The floors were wood floorboards and soft, red carpet. In short the place was beautiful.

"You have a nice place, Severus." Harry knew his words were slightly slurred and he licked his lips, his head was beginning to spin and he hoped he could sink into one of the soft looking chairs. He knew he had lost a lot of blood, which was probably to explain his queasy stomach. His muscles were beginning to tremble with the residing adrenalin.

The man holding him up grunted in response and dragged him over to a chair, Harry thanked the heavens as he flopped down, groaning when his leg throbbed excruciatingly. "I'm going to get the medical kit." Severus informed him. Harry grinned at that.

"Gunna stick a band aid over it for me? I'm sure that'll fix it." He said cheekily. The older man fixed him with an obstinate gaze and he shut his mouth. Severus shuffled from the living room slipping out of his coat as he did so.

"I'm going to remove the bullet, so no band aid just yet," Harry's face drained of colour at the man's retort and he dropped his head back against the cushions. "Now sit back and stay still while I do this." Severus was saying as he re-entered the room, his black button down shirt was unbuttoned a ways at the top, showing a peeking of skin, and the sleeves were rolled up to the man's elbows. Fine dark hairs scattered on his arms.

Harry hummed and wriggled in his seat, getting as comfortable as one can when they have a piece of metal in their leg. "I can't believe he shot me, that bastard," Harry mused out loud; he flinched when strong hands peeled back the leg of his jeans. "That hurts." He hissed at Severus and glared. The man paid no mind and continued rolling up the pant leg.

Reaching for a wet towel Severus dabbed it gently to the wound, Harry squeaked and jumped in the chair. "Of course it hurts, you foolish child, you've been shot. Now hold still while I clean it, then I'll remove the bullet. It didn't come out."

"Oh joy, I look forward to the moment you rip my bloody leg open to get it out!" Harry said loudly and was slapped lightly on the thigh for his trouble. "And don't call me a child. I'm eighteen." He remarked and lifted his chin. Severus snorted dully.

"One could be mistaken with your lack of self-restraint."

"What do you mean –?"

"You give into your emotions easily, you let them ride you. Take control of them and maybe you wouldn't end up shot." Severus said simply and continued to go about his task, wiping away the drying blood.

"Or end up on the run…" Harry added with an exhale of breath. Severus ignored him but the firm press directly over the wound made Harry bite his bottom lip and he whined pathetically, flashing the man a kicked puppy look. His head felt light as he watched Severus steadily clean the leg, the injury itself was small and neat, all Harry's blood made things look ten times worse. He was aware of his leg starting to shake and he clutched his knee, trying to still the movement.

Severus looked up briefly, his dark eyes hard to read. "Bear with me for a moment, Harry. This is going to hurt." He said and then grabbed a bottle of pure alcohol; Harry winced when he realized what was coming and held his breath. Thankfully Severus made quick work of it and poured over the liquid, not stopping even when Harry cursed loudly and thumped his head back against the cushions a few times.

"Fuck – that hurt like a bitch!"

A smirked from the older man was all Harry got. He got the impression Severus was amused by the whole situation and was enjoying taking revenge on Harry. This made the boy cross his arms over his chest and sulk, green eyes watching as his leg was dried off. It wasn't bleeding as bad now and he was thankful the bullet had missed any important blood vessels.

"I'm going to get the bullet out now, bite down on this." Harry was handed a dry towel, he put it in his mouth and bit down as directed.

"I'll bite you in a minute." He grumbled and his words were muffled by the fabric, a whack to his thigh told him Severus had caught his words. He took a calming breath and got ready for a few minutes of complete hell – and that was putting it positively.

"Ready?"

"Mmmff…"

-SSHP-

Severus held his whiskey glass between his fingers, resting back into his chair as he watched the boy in front of him. Harry had been out cold, sleeping, for the last thirty minutes. Severus supposed it was a given when one had been shot and was on the run. He was surprised the kid hadn't passed out sooner. The dim light of the living room sent long shadows to stretch up the walls, climbing on the ceiling and distorting. Taking a sip of his bitter drink the man studied his sleeping guest. The boy really was beautiful.

Long, thick lashes rested on the boy's flushed cheeks and full lips pouted in sleep. Harry's thin belly rose and dropped with each deep breath he took. Severus resisted a smile when Harry moaned softly and snorted in his sleep, bunching his fists under his chin and rubbing his cheek against the arm of the sofa. It had been a long morning and was now stretching into late afternoon.

Running his free hand through his shoulder length hair Severus huffed out a mouthful of air. He was thankful he had gotten the bullet out of Harry's leg, it wouldn't have done any good to leave it in, and it would only have brought on an infection. The last thing he needed was a sickly adolescent with him. Harry had taken it well, considering he had had tweezers inside his leg. Aside from a few screams and grunts the boy had been silent and stayed conscious the whole way through. It would seem odd if Severus admitted he was proud of the kid, but it was true. Despite the fucked up situation, Harry was handling things maturely.

Tipping his head back and downing the rest of his drink Severus stood up, it was rarely he would drink of an afternoon, however he thought today was as good a day as any to have a glass or two of whiskey. Pouring himself another quarter glass full he grabbed his notebook and went back to the chair. Deciding to busy himself with writing until Harry woke up. What else was he to do?

His pen hovered over the first line of the clean paper and he paused, flicking his gaze up to watch the sleeping teen. Where to start his story? Clucking his tongue he pushed the pen to the paper and forced down the first opening line.

The busy café was humming with noise, the many dwellers chattering avidly to one another about pointless issues.

What better place to start then with where it had all begun? A smile played over his lips as the author recounted the first meeting he had had with the fiery Harry. This would be his best book yet – if he didn't end up behind bars of course.

"What are you writing?" Severus looked up at the sleepy voice; he very nearly smiled at the half-awake look that twisted Harry's soft features into a crooked squint. He placed down his notebook, tucking his pen inside.

"Just an idea that has come to me, is all." Harry laughed then, a warm sound that made Severus's stomach do happy flips. He'd think that over some other time.

"See, what's better than a good old cop-shooting to get your muse going?" The joke itself wasn't entirely laugh-worthy; however, the huge faux-innocent grin Harry plastered on his face made Severus grunt laughter and stand up. He crouched down next to the sofa, touching Harry's shoulder; it must have been his imagination when Harry leaned closer into his touch. He was still stuck in his new book. "Thanks for fixing up my leg, I kind of passed out on you after you had finished and didn't say so. It feels so much better now."

Running his gaze over the bandaged leg Severus nodded. "Good, are you hungry?" Harry perked up and grinned, that damned lopsided grin of his that done strange things the Severus's groin, and nodded enthusiastically. "I'll make something up, you rest." Severus pointed at the sofa to reinforce his order and swept into the kitchen. Harry's voice trailed after him.

"Should I be worried about getting food poisoning, or are you a decent cook?" Severus very nearly rolled his eyes.

"They only thing you should be worrying about is resting that leg of yours." He would have said something far wittier and catching but couldn't think through the fuzzy haze the whiskey had created in his head. It was pleasant and calmed him somewhat. He set about making up some pasta and vegetables, hoping the boy would eat a decent amount. He would need his energy to heal properly.

"Water?" He asked casually.

"No, it's Harry; old age is getting to you, Severus." Called back Harry with a chuckle, it didn't amuse the older man and he made a point of pointing out he was only thirty-two. "Do you want some help?" Harry asked after tutting at Severus's response.

"No, do you want any water?" he retaliated and shuffled around the kitchen, the water was beginning to boil in the pot.

"No, I'm not thirsty."

"Too bad you're having some."

A beat passed and the sound of leather creaking could be heard.

"Why ask me then if you're only going to order me to have some?" Harry asked and Severus could hear him trying to get to his feet. His sighed inwardly and started on the pasta sauce.

"Stay on the couch or so help me." He warned and the creaking of leather went silent. Good, at least Harry had sense enough to heed his warning.

-SSHP-

The spicy smell of pasta sauce lingered in the tepid air of the kitchen. Severus and Harry sat at the small square table, plates empty but for smudges of paste. Harry fiddled with the edge of his plate, tapping his thumb nail against the white dishware; he was conscientiously watching the man opposite him. Severus was sipping his coffee; the warm brew smelt rich and thin lips rested against the rim of the mug and dark, unreadable eyes were staring into the hot liquid. Harry let a smile play over his lips when Severus mumbled something to himself and placed the coffee cup down with a clunk. The man had a habit of talking to himself and it amused Harry greatly.

"Having a good conversation over there with yourself?" Harry quipped and got a glare in return. He flashed the man a grin and made a show of trailing his finger through the leftover sauce, bringing it to his lips he sucked on the tip. Severus adverted his eyes, something Harry wondered about. "You make good pasta sauce." He commented idly. He had realized Severus didn't take too fondly to compliments and the older man's uneasy reactions were entertaining to Harry.

Severus pushed away his own plate and took a draught of his coffee; Harry looked petulantly at his glass of water, he wasn't even thirsty. "It was a recipe of my mothers." Harry nodded at the stiff answer. Couldn't the man just say thank you? Severus was peculiar.

"So," breathed Harry, "Do you have a boyfriend?" Severus stilled and placed down his cup a little more roughly then he had meant to, his eyes narrowed at Harry. "Just making small talk, is all." Harry clarified and shrugged.

"I live alone. Do you see anyone else in the house?"

"Clearly not one to talk about your personal life –"

Severus shifted in his seat. "At least not with teenage boy's such as yourself." He remarked stiffly and Harry sighed.

"I helped you –"

"I don't want to talk about the events of today." Severus snapped and stood up, he left the kitchen in favour of the living room, which was being warmed by a small gas fire. It mimicked what a real fireplace would look like, but saved the hassle of buying firewood and cleaning up ash. Harry dragged his body from the chair and limped after the snarky man.

"Okay, we won't then," he said easily and flopped down on to the sofa next to Severus. "Tell me about your last boyfriend." Severus was silent for a moment and Harry took the time to study the man's profile. From side on Harry could discern the man's sharp jaw line and long nose, it was a handsome look in a nonconformity way. Black hair fell to Severus's shoulder in straight curtains and looked thick. Harry wanted to touch it to see if it was soft.

"My last boyfriend was five years back. How do you expect me to remember much about him?" Harry raised his eyebrows and twisted his lips in thought. Severus didn't turn to observe him, he just continued to watch the fake flames dance.

"So you're celibate?" Harry denounced quietly, more to himself then to Severus.

A soft snort and barely restrained eye roll was Harry's only answer. The man didn't comment and Harry's inquisitiveness was piqued.

"You are aren't you?" Harry smiled widely; "Is that why you like writing gay sex?" he said loudly and smiled at Severus's sardonic expression.

Finally the man gave Harry his full attention and turned to face him, "I already stated I wrote it because I desired –"

"To write something that was fulfilling…I know, I remember. I do listen you know?" A mouthed 'really' was silently said and Harry resisted the urged to poke his tongue out. "You said you had many unsatisfactory relationships, is that why you're celibate?" Harry watched as Severus pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed heavily as if Harry's very presence made him weary. It probably did.

"I'm. Not. Celibate." Severus gritted through his clenched jaw. Sitting up straighter Harry spread his palms wide out in front of his body.

"Well, why didn't you just say that in the first place?"

Burying his head in his palm Severus sighed. "I like you better when you are sleeping."

"Don't avoid the question, I want to know." Harry said and slumped back against the soft cushions, his leg throbbed achingly when he moved it and he winced. His fault for getting shot; but really, why did it have to hurt so much?

Severus was chuckling under his breath and Harry snapped his attention off his leg and onto the man beside him. "So you wish to hear about my homosexual relationship?" he asked quietly and Harry bobbed his head in agreement.

"I never said I was against that sort of thing, y'know." He crossed his arms and pouted at Severus who just huffed and turned his attention back to the fireplace. Harry didn't like not being the main object of the man's focus and nudged him in the arm with his elbow. "Tell me? I'm bored and you're interesting." Severus slapped lightly at Harry's elbow in retribution. Harry fitfully ignored him. Severus was tactile in an overly violent way.

"I'm not your babysitter and I will not entertain you with a story. Go find something to do and leave me to rid myself of this blasted headache." In spite of the glower Harry was receiving Severus's words had been hushed. Harry frowned and then pushed up from the sofa, he didn't let on to how much the action hurt his leg and scowled down at the sitting man.

"Fine, be that way mister-always-in-a-foul-mood." Harry decided to pay no attention to the cynical raise of Severus's brows and stormed from the living room as best he could on his sore leg. If Severus refused to entertain him, he would go raid the man's room to keep himself occupied.

-SSHP-

Breathing deeply and allowing his lungs to empty fully Severus relaxed his posture and rested back into the sofa. In truth he had no headache to speak of. Sure Harry was annoying and too damn curious for his own good, not to mention nosy, but the boy hadn't been bad company. Severus just didn't want to discuss his relationships. Not one of them had turned out for the best. Sooner or later the men would move on and leave Severus a year older and alone. It was a depressing cycle and one he had decided never to repeat. He could live out his fantasies through his books and that was enough.

Watching the fake flames twist and shimmer Severus closed his eyes. "Thank goodness today is coming to a close." He whispered to the room. He didn't want to deal with being on the run or having shot a police officer. He just wanted to go to bed and find out this was all a very, very disturbing dream. A clamour came from down the short hallway and the man heaved a weary lungful of air. It appeared he wouldn't be getting much rest this evening. Harry was worse than a toddler that had learnt to walk.

"What have you gotten into now, Harry?" he questioned with a drawl and got up off the sofa in search of the energetic teenager.

He found Harry in his room, sitting on the thick carpet awkwardly with stacks of paper that had been disturbed fluttering around the boy's shaggy hair. Slowly Harry looked up and gave Severus a tiny, crooked grin. A sheet of paper fluttered down against Harry's ear and he shrugged. The boy always shrugged.

Twisting his hands into his hair and trying desperately to compose his beating heart Severus closed his eyes. "Is there a reason you are in my bedroom, Harry?" he asked very quietly. He didn't need to open his eyes to know the boy was spluttering, the sounds of choked breath and unfinished words were clue enough. When Severus realized he would be getting no straight answer he snapped his eyes open, Harry looked meekly up at him. "That was a manuscript for a book I was outlining. Do you have any idea how long it will take to put it back into order?"

"Hours?" was the hesitant reply. Severus flicked his hair out of his eyes.

"Correct. Get to it or you'll get no sleep tonight." Amidst Harry's infuriated gasps and disjointed shouts Severus retreated from his bedroom. Now he really did have a headache. Time for a shower and then another coffee.

Tonight would be a long night, thought Severus with a fatigued frown and the first night in five years he would be spending in the company of a young man – or rather a boy, with a childish attitude. Oh joy.

Chapter Text

Harry sighed for the umpteenth time that night and placed the last sheaf of papers onto the carefully stacked pile. It was a quarter past eleven, or so the wall clock said. Blinking his gritty eyes Harry got to his feet, grimacing when his leg protested to the quick movement. He was at last finished with organizing the manuscript and was a little bit pleased with himself for stacking it so neatly. Chewing on the inside of his cheek Harry suppressed a smile. Wondering what exactly Severus's writing was like he bent to retrieve the first page.

Chapter one – Hearts of Lust.

His racing heart beat sang in time with the forceful thrusts the tanned man above him was giving. Sweat slicked his skin and the salty tang was almost sweet on his lips…

Harry's cheeks blushed pink and he hurriedly dropped the piece of paper to the stack. That was far too explicit for his liking. It amazed him Severus had enough emotion to write such things. The man did seem rather stoic and snarky. It was difficult to image him dreaming up such vivid scenes of homoerotic sex. Flushing brightly Harry wiped his palms over his thighs, wondering why he was sweating over a few inked words.

Swallowing a thick mouthful of saliva, the boy left the room, sending a quick reproachful glance back at the innocently stacked papers. "Bloody satyriasis," he muttered to himself.

The living room was dark save for the fake fire that sent soft, orange light across the leather armchairs and sofa. The kitchen light was off and Harry realized Severus must have gone to bed. Nibbling his lip, Harry was unsure about where he was to sleep. The obvious thought was to take the spare room, however what if Severus used it for a study. Shrugging to the empty room Harry lowered his tired body down onto the sofa. It was comfortable enough and he wouldn't get into trouble.

After a few minutes of blearily watching the fire Harry's breathing evened out and he fell asleep.

-SSHP-

It would seem that Harry had a thing for his sofa. The boy was curled up in a tight ball, hugging his body with his arms and drooling all over the cushions. Severus frowned and ran a hand through his hair. He had just woken up, at the early time of six in the morning, his chest was bare and he wore a pair of pyjama bottoms that hung low on his hips. Deciding to let the boy be, the older man went into the kitchen to fix a strong brew of coffee and fetch some breakfast.

A slice of toast slathered with strawberry jam held in one hand and a cup of fragrant coffee in the other Severus made his amble back into the living room, Harry had sprawled out now and was hanging half off the sofa, his dark hair hid his face but Severus could make out the straight nose and delicate chin. The sight was almost endearing. Shaking away the thought Severus sat down and took a bite of his toast, the sweet jam clashed with the bitter coffee.

He sat for a few minutes, crunching his toast and listening to the shallow breathing from the boy on his sofa. It wasn't until Harry keened softly and wriggled around that inspiration crawled up Severus's spine and niggled at his mind. Quickly he fetched his notebook and begun scribbling out more of his chapter. "Perhaps a hold up." He mused and smiled to himself. The events he had gone through upon meeting Harry made for excellent insight.

The men walked confidently towards the counter and pointed their weapons at the shaking middle-aged woman…

Halfway through his fervent writing a barely audible moan caught the authors attention, pausing his pen he looked up at Harry. His lips twitched at the corners when the boy shifted and rubbed against the sofa. A morning erection was obviously common in someone of eighteen years old, it didn't mean Severus was going to dismiss it and he watched with a raised eyebrow as Harry breathed out another little moan and massaged his groin into the cushions. Harry's cheeks were flushed delectably pink and his lips were pouting. Severus wondered what he was dreaming about.

Harry stilled after a few more sighs and Severus, fitfully ignoring the twitch of his groin, went back to his writing, distracted slightly and finding it hard to stay on track. A good five minutes went by tediously and no more words were added to the paper, finally he threw down his pen in exasperation and shot the sleeping Harry a glare, as if his distraction had been all the kid's fault. And really it had.

Pacing the living room and willing his lust to subside Severus heaved a breathy sigh. Since when did he find annoying, unlawful, little boy's attractive? Harry breathed loudly and keened; Severus snapped and stormed back to his armchair, throwing himself down onto the soft cushions. He would not allow his attraction to go any further. It was too bigger age difference, not to mention they were complete opposites. Running a palm down his face Severus gathered his composure. He'd deal with his giddy emotions surrounding the boy later – for now he had to deal with the events of yesterday.

A heavy thump got his attention and he turned to find a disgruntled Harry lying on the floor. Clearly having rolled over a smidgen too far, his green eyes were glassy and his hair sleep-mused.

"Good morning, Harry." Said Severus with a smirk on his lips, Harry yawned and stretched his T-shirt riding up to show a peeking of smooth flesh, Severus idly wondered what it would feel like, soft he imagined. "Sleep well?" he asked, trying not to give away his inner thoughts.

"Yeah, I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to sleep in the room or out here." Severus raised one eyebrow. Harry bent over self-consciously and Severus chuckled inwardly, erections were a bitch sometimes.

"I'm not a sadist; I do allow my guest to sleep in a bed." Harry flashed him a smile, lopsided and sleepy. It made butterflies erupt in his chest and he frowned at such a feeling. It had been far too long since anyone had elicited a response like that from him. He wasn't sure he was comfortable with knowing his body reacted so strongly to the kid. "Are you hungry?"

Harry shrugged and pushed off the floor, perching on the edge of the sofa, his jeans were wrinkled and Severus mentally decided he would have to get the boy into some cleaner clothes. No tent in the boy's jeans, Harry must have done some quick thinking about old ladies or whatever helped the hard-on subside. "I guess, are you?" Mocking Harry and shrugging exaggeratedly the older man got to his feet, thankful his own half-erection had subsided also.

"I've already ate, do you want me to make you something?"

Harry's expression was laughable, "I do know how to make myself food, you can trust me in your kitchen." He stated and scratched his hair, making it stick up at the back. Severus just nodded and gestured to the kitchen. He watched Harry hobble through the doorway and hoped the kid wouldn't burn down the entire flat. With Harry he couldn't be sure what to expect next. A knock at the door had Severus also getting up.

Looking through the window next to the front door Severus wondered absently when he had become so paranoid. He couldn't see anyone for a moment and then a formally dressed woman entered his vision, her hair was tied back into a tight bun and her face was thin and serious. "Police," he whispered and crouched a little lower, his heart raced and he hoped the woman would leave. She didn't. When the next knock came Harry wandered out, he was holding a slice of toast with butter smeared across the surface.

"Who's here –" with speed he didn't know he had Severus dived forward and clamped Harry's mouth shut with his palm. The boy's eyes bulged with incredulity and he slapped at Severus's hand, trying to tug it away from his mouth, he froze and paled when a firm voice spoke from outside.

"Mr. Snape? It's the police, open up now," Wincing and closing his eyes tightly until white spots danced across his vision Severus cursed under his breath. He let his hand fall away from the warm, soft lips and Harry immediately gripped his biceps hard.

"Maybe they will go if they don't think you're in?" He queried hopefully.

Another sharp, quick rap at the door. "We know you're home, now open the door." Harry continued to hold on to Severus's arms even when the man tried to go for the door, a small, awkward fracas insured when Harry refused to allow the man freedom.

Pushing Harry up against the wall Severus growled in admonition, he didn't like to be pushed around, especially not from someone younger and smaller then himself. "Don't be daft, if I don't answer the door I will be in more trouble." He said and shook the boy for good measure. Harry glared and bunched handful of the tall man's pyjama pants in his hands. "Let go of me." Severus said lowly.

"No," whispered Harry fervently, pulling Severus closer, the man's naked chest pressed forcefully against Harry's, a sizzle of desire skipped through Severus's veins at the warm press of their bodies. "She sounds pissed, if you go out there she will arrest you on the spot. Do you want that?" Harry's voice was so hasty and worried that fear spiked in Severus's bones. He didn't want any more trouble, and despite the fact it would take a while to work out this whole mess he knew it was better to open the door. Before he could move Harry was wrapping his arms around his waist and pulling him along, into the spare bedroom.

Severus crossed his arms over his chest. "What do you –?"

"We can climb out the window and escape." The front door pounded and Severus could hear the woman officer calling for back up on her two-way radio. Harry's green eyes pleaded with him and he gave a quiet scream. This was not a good situation to be in.

"Let me get dressed." He exclaimed and dashed from the room, Harry followed hot on his heels.

"So we're going out the window?" the boy asked and openly stared at Severus's body as he slipped on a button down shirt and a pair of slacks. He shot Harry a look and sneered.

"Didn't your mother ever teach you not to stare?" he quipped and swept from the room. He caught sight of the flush that climbed Harry's neck and stained his cheeks. Apparently the kid wasn't aware he had been gawking at another man's body so intently. Severus hadn't really minded, although knowing such a beauty was staring at his body made his groin react and he didn't need to be harbouring a hard-on while trying to escape the police.

Once back in the spare bedroom Severus got busy with opening the window, it stuck slightly and Harry had to push with him to get it moving. Finally, with a loud scratching, scrapping sound the window unstuck. Both men winced at the noise. "Think they heard?" hushed Harry.

A loud clamour at the front door told Severus the police were breaking in. "Quick before more arrive." He said and hoisted himself bodily up onto the window ledge, the drop was a good meter and a half and he prayed he wouldn't sprain his ankle. Jumping like a frog the man landed heavily with a dull thud. The wet grass under his palms squelched.

"Help me," Harry hissed down at him and Severus stood up, watching the boy awkwardly climb up on to the ledge, he favoured his damaged leg. "It's going to hurt when I land." Harry warned and bit his bottom lip. Severus could still hear the police working on the front door. Widening his stance and looking back up at the scared boy he gave a small smile, hoping it was comforting and encouraging.

"I'll catch you as best I can, just hurry or I'll leave without you." He wouldn't of course but the threat knocked Harry into gear and before Severus was ready the boy jumped, leaping from the window with his eyes shut tightly. Readying his muscles Severus caught a hold of Harry's middle, pulling the small body close to his. The momentum of the jump combined with the force of their collision sent the pair to the ground, Harry lying on top of the scowling man.

Breathing deeply Harry raised his torso and opened his eyes, Severus was scowling fiercely and his dark eyes gleamed with vexation. "Sorry," Harry mumbled sheepishly and allowed Severus to help him to his feet. "Thanks for catching me." he added and gently placed his weight on his bad leg. It hadn't been jarred from his jump; thankfully Severus had caught him even before his feet had hit the ground. Surely that had been an effort for the man.

"Come on, follow me." Said Severus briskly and grasped Harry's wrist tightly, he dragged the boy behind him as he set off at a sprint, fleeing from the police who were besieging his home.

-SSHP-

The dreary trail of rain droplets cried down the glass of the bus window, leaving wet lines in their wake. Harry sat with his forehead pressed against the cold glass, watching the outside world blur by in hurried hues of green and grey. The sight made his head spin. Sighing he turned to the man next to him, Severus was pointedly not giving Harry his attention.

"You know this time it was your decision to run from the police?" supplied Harry helpfully and nudged his thigh against the warm, slack covered one next to him. He ignored the glaring fact that he had in fact insisted they climb out the window. Severus grunted but didn't move away his leg. The bus's engine rumbled and a gear change jerked them lightly in their seat. "We're lucky it's early, not many people catch the bus this early." Harry mused. Dark eyes narrowed in his direction.

"Lucky?" Severus said scornfully. "Lucky that we are fugitives?" he sighed heavily from his nose and Harry shrugged – the man could be a bit of a drama queen when he wanted. It really was one big tangle of misunderstandings, however, that had led them to be sitting on the bus, heading to goodness knows where, and taking out their dismay on one another. Harry's head spun even more, this time from exasperation.

"This is fucked up." He huffed and leaned his head against the back of the seat, groaning lightly. A gentle hand patting his knee made him look up into coal black eyes. Severus was watching him carefully with an expression Harry hadn't seen the man wear before – was it pity? Concern? He wasn't sure. But it burned bright in those pitch-black eyes.

Removing his hand the older man ran his finger through his wind tousled hair. "This situation is extremely fucked up, Harry. I'm so glad I met you." The last part was said sarcastically but Harry decided to ignore that little detail, sitting up straighter he leaned over and rested his head on Severus's shoulder. The man stiffened at the gesture.

"I'm glad I met you to, Sev." Harry said in a sugary sweet voice, he was pushed away a moment later and could hear the sniggers from the teenage girl who sat two seats behind him. He shot her a glance and she quieted, playing idly with her phone. A palm slapped at Harry's jaw and he jumped. Severus smirked.

"You call me that once more and I'll tip you over my knee and spank you."

Harry's mouth dropped open and he stared at his companion. "We're on a bus!" he exclaimed.

"Very observant of you." Severus replied dryly and turned back to watching out the front window. Harry took a deep breath and flopped back into his seat. The bus shuddered as it pulled up at a bus stop; a few more strangers joined them.

"Where are we going?" asked Harry as he watched a mother struggle to fit her child's stroller on board. They had been on the bus for well over half an hour now, since running from Severus's flat, and he was curious as to where they were indeed heading.

"I have no clue." Was the quiet reply Harry received.

"What?"

"We'll go as far as the bus takes us."

The stroller clacked as it was pulled up against a seat. Harry frowned.

"That could be anywhere! We could end up lost." Severus nodded and smiled, actually smiled – not a smirk, Harry's chest tingled and he gave the man a goofy smile in return. He was such a dork sometimes.

"Lost is good. We can't be found if we are lost."

The man was insane, Harry decided. But he must also be insane if he was willing to go along with it.

-SSHP-

The café was busy and alive with sound, Harry sighed and rested his elbows on the shiny tabletop, the smell of pastries and coffee was appetizing and he watched Severus order some food at the counter eagerly. His breakfast had been somewhat ruined by the police swarming the flat, so the boy was glad that they had decided to get off the bus at its last stop. Where they were was anyone's guess. It was a small rustic countryside, a far cry from the beautiful sights of France. It was charming in its own right however and Harry was more than happy to allow his companion to find a place to stay for when night fell.

Severus came over with his hands full of plates and a coffee cup handle held by his little finger, "I got you some pastries, I didn't know what you'd like." Severus explained and placed the white plate full of hot, savoury smelling food in front of Harry. Harry took a huge sniff and almost moaned, his stomach grumbled at him and he wasted no time. Grabbing a large sausage roll he stuffed it into his mouth.

"I eat anything." He muttered through his tongue-burning mouthful, Severus shot him a disgusted look when flakes of pastry sprayed from his mouth and landed on the tabletop. Harry just shrugged and continued eating.

"I've found us a place to stay for the night," the man said conversationally and took a bite of a small, round pie, Harry nodded and made a sound of question in his throat, his mouth still busy with chewing his food. "It's at a ranch just down the road from here. I'm paying a woman to allow us to stay in her empty room. There are no hotels around here." Harry laughed then subsequently choked on his food. Severus watched with a raised eyebrow as the boy coughed – he made no move to help Harry, and Harry decided a good hard kick under the table was well deserved.

Severus jumped and immediately kicked Harry back, flippantly however, and without much force. "What was that for? Your incredulity about our residence or because you were embarrassed about choking on your absurdly big mouthful?" asked Severus and took a long draught of his coffee, his eyes never left Harry's flushed face however. It made butterflies flutter in his chest and Harry wasn't sure that was a good thing.

"Shut up, I was hungry," Harry said defensively. "And I don't mind where we stay the night so long as I can sleep in a bed." Severus nodded, continuing to eat his own plateful. A comfortable silence fell around the two.

"How much for the night?"

Severus looked up, "I don't engage in prostitution, Harry." It was a dry joke.

Harry gave a blank stare and crossed arms over his chest, willing his lips not to twitch. "I meant for the room, you pervert." Severus shrugged and Harry noticed duly that he hadn't actually seen the man shrug without it being mocking. Perhaps the man had picked up the habit from Harry. It was to be expected, they had spent a lot of forced time together since first meeting. It was odd how two individuals could spend so much time together within a couple of days and not know much about one another. Harry made a mental note to find out more about his companion.

"Sixty-five Euros –"

"Oh, that's not so bad…"

"Per-person."

Harry's face dropped into a frown and he sighed, "I only have a little bit on me." he admitted and tapped his front pocket where his wallet sat. Severus sipped his coffee and waved his hand expansively.

"Doesn't matter I've paid already, I have the address here," he slipped a small piece of paper out from his shirt pocket and showed Harry, "We will go to the ranch after we finish eating, unless you want to have a look around that is?"

Harry picked at the golden pastry of his pie, lifting a small, melt-in-the-mouth slither to his lips, "s'not much to see but trees and fields." He commented around his food. "Plus I could use some sleep." He added and stifled an involuntary yawn. Severus shook his head.

"Is eating and sleeping the only two skills you have?" he said sardonically, Harry poked his tongue out and made a 'nerr-ing' sound. "Watch it or I'll chase that tongue back into your mouth with my own." If the older man was startled by his own words he gave no slight towards it. Harry's cheeks heated in a blush and he cleared his throat noisily. The words made his blood run cold, but what made Harry uncomfortable was that he actually quite liked having Severus talk to him in such a silky, suggestive voice.

After a pause where it was entirely too hushed within the café Harry gave a chortle, then snorted laughter, his thoughts tickling him. "Really, here we are, fugitives running from the law, one snarky, evocative author and a student who is having a gay-crisis." Again Harry swore his blood turned to ice. He hadn't meant to say the last part about himself aloud. Biting his lip he stared at his scraps of pastry, watching the plate with such intent he was surprised it didn't spontaneously combust. "It'd make a good book." He added weakly and willed his blush to disappear.

Harry heard Severus take a noisy gulp of his coffee and then place down the mug with a clatter, "A gay-crisis?" he said slowly and Harry didn't need to be looking at the man to know that he was smirking widely. Sometimes Harry wished he had the ability to become invisible. Now would be a perfect time to use such a power. "And yes, I suppose it would make a good book. Will you excuse me, Harry, I have something to do."

Harry jerked his head up when Severus got up from his seat. "Where are you going?" he inquired and also stood up, unsure why the man was departing so suddenly.

"I need to go to the shop, there's one not far from here. If you want you can go to the house," the paper was handed over to him, Severus's callous fingers brushed against Harry's smooth ones and he shivered when tingles flamed on his skin. "I'll meet up with you in a couple of hours; don't go getting into any trouble." Dark eyes gave him a stern look and Harry glared half-heartedly. Had he upset Severus with something he said?

Sighing and watching the tall man leave Harry unfolded the scrap of paper, in scratchy scrawl that was undeniably Severus's read;

Little Greenstead Cottage

19 Cane Drive

It sounded like an old lady's home, Harry decided and tucked away the paper – now came the hard part of actually finding his way to Greenstead Cottage. It would have to be a fair way away; the scenery was remote. Harry just hoped he could keep his mind off his twisting emotions that surrounded Severus. He hadn't known where his gay-crisis comment had come from – he wasn't aware he was having one, but…

"Fuck, I need some air."

Storming out of the little café Harry marched into the gravel-paved street. The smell of grass and livestock hit him with a breath of wind and he huffed. His life was beginning to get very confusing. Little did he know it was about to get a whole lot eventful.

Chapter Text

"Fucking hell…" Harry exclaimed and looked around at the cottage before him. It was homey – but overly so. Long, twisting vines were crawling up the outside walls, attached to latticework. A bed of roses stood on either side of the front door, which was a deep purple colour and had little glass panels in a semicircle at the top. The grass of the front lawn was lush and green and a budding willow tree was newly planted near the letterbox. In short it was the ultimate old lady home.

"Now that's not very nice language for a young man to be using," Harry gasped and spun around when the croaky, high-pitched voice startled him. An elderly lady stood not three feet away, her dress dirtied with soil and large gardening gloves covering her hands. Harry floundered for words and stuttered out an apology.

The lady smiled a toothless grin. "Not to worry, dear. I'll have you polite and proper in no time." She cooed and brushed passed him, Harry watched her amble up the pavestone garden path to the purple door. "Well, lad, are you coming or do you plan to stand there all day watching the grass grow?" Harry straightened up and rushed behind her.

If the outside of the house had been overly homey the inside was ultra-homey. Harry could smell the thick, sweet scent of strawberry pie and he had trouble following the lady into the kitchen because of all the ornaments and rugs.

"I hope you like pie, lad. I've been baking a few today." Harry smiled even though she couldn't see him; dodging a large, knee-high lion statue the boy entered the kitchen. It was brightly lit and smelled delicious. "I normally bake pie in winter, tastes all the better when it's hot and the weathers cold. Keeps you warm too." She added with a rakish wink, Harry smiled broader. He wasn't normally a fan of little old ladies, but this one seemed alright – probably because she was offering freshly baked pie.

The lady spent some time riffling through her kitchen cupboards before jumping and exclaiming loudly. Harry jerked in surprise. "I forgot," she muttered and rushed forward, holding out her hand, "Introductions," she elaborated and Harry shook her hand gently, "I'm Mrs. Tinkleburn."

Quelling the childish part of him that wanted to laugh at such a name Harry instead nodded and introduced himself.

It was late afternoon by the time Harry had had his fill of pie and tea and he had spent the hours talking with Mrs. Tinkleburn and hearing all about her late-husband, Orwald – or something similar. Harry had listened patiently, commenting in all the right spots. Mrs. Tinkleburn was quite pleasant company but a part of him wondered why Severus was taking so long at the shop. What could he possibly be buying?

-SSHP-

Another sharp, quick rap at the door, "We know you're home, now open the door…"

Severus worked over his small notepad, scribbling down his words hastily. He had been sitting at the small improvised park, that consisted of a homemade see-saw and a rickety slide that was sun-bleached and rusting, for the past hour. After stopping at a nearby shop he had taken his newly brought pen and pad someplace quiet. He had been writing ever since and was lost in thought.

"Need to have a conflict in the story, something for the characters to bond over…maybe a fight of some sort – already had a hold-up, what else…?" the man tapped the end of the pen against his lips, thinking about what conflict could be useful. Harry had unknowingly brought Severus's muse to the forefront of his mind with his little quip about gay-crisis and making their eventful few days into a book. He had already been doing that, however he had been having trouble with his character, the one based on Harry, he couldn't quite figure out how to get the character interested in men – or in the very least, realize he was interested in men. A gay-crisis was a brilliant opening for him to explain more and continue the story.

A breeze picked up the pages of his pad and ruffled them lightly, it was getting on in the day and Severus knew he must have been out for quite some time. Deciding to come back to his chapter the man stood up, stretching the kinks out of his back and yawning. A day of bus travel and café food really took it out of him.

Tucking his pad and pen close to his chest he made for the address, hoping the old lady he had spoken with before had become a little less annoying.

His hopes were quickly dashed when he arrived at the cottage.

"Ah, Severus – isn't it? Good to see you, I was just telling young Harry about my late-husbands talents with an axe. He could chop the sturdiest of wood." Severus flicked his eyes over the pair, both were sitting near a small willow tree. Harry was holding a watering can in his hands and tipping it gently to let a flow of water sprinkle the soil. "Are you hungry?" Mrs. Tinkleburn asked and got to her feet slowly, grunting as she did so.

"No, I've not long ate." It was a lie of course, he hadn't had anything since early afternoon, but he really wasn't in the mood to deal with the old lady. The few minutes he had to spend with her back at the café were enough to last a lifetime, plus he wanted some time with Harry. He watched Harry stand elegantly to his feet, his slender body stretching.

"Where did you end up? You said you'd be a couple of hours and it's been almost three." Severus smiled at Harry's hands-on-hips stance and the I'm-angry-at-you expression that was on his delicate features. "You missed out on pie." The boy added as if this would gravely hurt Severus and leave him feeling guilty. It did neither.

"I got busy writing is all, Harry. Shame about the pie." He said with a smirk, Mrs. Tinkleburn was muttering something and then stood up tall – which really wasn't very high, she reached barely to Severus's elbow. Even Harry, in all his shortness, was taller than her.

"I must tend to something, lads, make yourself at home, Severus." She supplied and dashed off inside. When Severus looked back to Harry the kid was twisting his lips in thought, his green eyes bright in the sunlight.

"She's been doing that all afternoon." He muttered and Severus frowned.

"Doing what?"

Harry placed the watering can down into the ground. "Tending to something…"

Severus shrugged then caught himself and dropped his shoulders; he really was picking up Harry's bad habit. "She probably grows plants or feeds the birds. She's old, let her have her foibles." Harry was shaking his head and staring at Severus. Those emerald eyes made his stomach drop and then spin giddily. He resisted the urge to ask why he was being studied like a sheet of Math's homework.

"Why are you always so mocking?"

Severus tapped the soft, smooth jaw in front of him, Harry didn't flinch away – apparently the boy was getting use to his touch. "Why are you always so exasperating?"

Harry gave him a big grin. "Because it's fun, and that way I can make you get all brooding and –" Severus's lips quirked when Harry stopped suddenly midsentence.

"And what…?" he prompted and Harry shut his mouth, blushing pink. "Sexy – perhaps?" supplied Severus calmly, the corners of his mouth twitched in a faint smile. Harry's face simultaneously paled and flushed and Severus couldn't help the laugh that left his throat. It had been a jest, but obviously he was closer to the point then he had thought.

"No! I was going to say quiet." Indignantly Harry lifted his chin and studied Severus through his lashes, as if daring the man to contradict him. Severus stoically watched the kid for a moment then turned on his heel, heading for inside.

"I'm sure." He said silkily earning a squeak from an embarrassed Harry. Teasing the boy was just too much fun.

-SSHP-

"You smell that?" Harry asked as the pair ascended the creaky staircase leading to the top level of the cottage. Severus ran his palm over the smooth, varnish handrail.

"The smell of pie?" Harry turned and stopped on the stair above Severus, at such a close distance the boy's eyes were gorgeous and the emerald was flecked with golden specks, it served to make Severus's stomach squirm with attraction. Something he frowned at and pushed away.

Harry huffed and shot the man a feeble glare. "No, not the smell of pie – I don't know what it is."

Quirking a smirk onto his lips Severus prodded Harry into moving. "It's a sweet, savoury desert –" Harry spun around and whacked lightly at the older man's shoulder, once again stopping. Severus stared at him.

"I meant the smell I can smell, it's…odd." Severus was about to make another witty comeback when the scent hit his senses. It was old and stale, like aged meat, mangy and thick in the air. Resisting the urge to gag he steered Harry up the remaining stairs by his slim shoulders. Harry for the most part allowed the bodily action.

"It's probably nothing."

"Oh sure, what if there's something dead up here, like a squirrel?" Harry said and made for the very end door Mrs. Tinkleburn had directed them to. "Or what if it's asbestos? We could get seriously sick!"

Resisting the temptation to cuff the kid's head Severus sighed, pushing open the bedroom door. "You have an overactive imagination, Harry." He commented. Harry rolled his eyes and stuck his tongue out. Harry really was juvenile, Severus denounced, but something about his naivety was charming – almost endearing.

"I'm only pointing out possible scenarios…oh."

"What's oh? – oh."

Severus stopped in the middle of the small room, the thick yellow carpet and white walls making it seem strangely bright in the evening sun. The room itself was fine. Clean and warm with soft coloured furnishings. The only problem –

"Only one bed." Harry said and nibbled on his bottom lip. The solitary bed that was positioned under a large window glared at the two men. It was of course thinkable that Mrs. Tinkleburn didn't have thoughts of taking in two strangers that were in need of a bed, so she hadn't thought to adorn her spare bedroom with two beds.

"Yes, I can see that." Snapped Severus huffily.

Harry turned to him, his hands on his hips. "No need to get snippy with me. It's not a problem; I don't mind sharing with you."

"Yes, well, I mind sharing with you."

"Oh, ouch, way to make a guy hurt." Harry said and crossed his arms defensively over his chest. Severus's hard frown lessened and he shook his head.

"It's not you, Harry. I'm just not use to sleeping with another person." Harry was giving him a disbelieving look, the boy raised his eyebrows.

"I find that hard to believe. You write gay erotica for goodness sake, you must have slept in the same bed as another guy before. Are you even gay?" The last question threw Severus off guard and he laughed, mainly at Harry's suspicious face that reminded him of his own sardonic stare.

"Yes, I am very much gay. I enjoy fucking boys and hearing them moan for me." Harry's cheeks flushed brightly with a blush and he shifted slightly, shuffling his feet on the carpet. "And I've never been one for sharing a bed, I'll fuck in bed with another person, but I'm not a fan of sharing a bed to sleep."

"I'm not sleeping with you."

"No, you're standing in front of me – wonderful observation skills, Harry. Bravo." Harry flicked his hair out of his face, his expression was completely staid despite the little, barely-there smile that danced about his eyes.

"You know what I mean. I'm not going to – ah – fuck with you."

"I don't want to sleep with you, either. Good to know we're on the same page." It was a complete and utter lie; Severus knew it and his body definitely did. He would jump at the chance to touch Harry's tight, slim body. It was a startling thought for the older man to comprehend. He had never been with a barely legal boy before, let alone a virgin – which Harry would have to be, at least concerning fucking men that is. The kid was attractive enough to have had girlfriends.

"Anything the problem, dears?" Severus turned at the soft voice to see Mrs. Tinkleburn in the doorway, her hands smoothing out creases in her apron. Her greying hair was curling into her face but she didn't seem to mind.

"Actually, I was curious if I could have a separate room?" Harry's annoyed exhale caught Severus's attention but he paid no mind to the kid. If Harry had any self-preservation, he would allow Severus to change rooms. Severus wasn't a randy teenager, he could control his lust, but damn it was hard when Harry did little things like biting his lip, or messing his silky hair.

Mrs. Tinkleburn adjusted the straps of the pink apron. "Is it a bother to share a bed with young Harry?" she asked innocently. Severus opened his mouth to reply, Harry interrupted however.

"It's no problem at all, Mrs. Tinkleburn. We don't mind at all, do we, Sev?" Severus's eyes narrowed at the nickname, Harry took a step closer and ran his hand down the older man's forearm, to Mrs. Tinkleburn it probably looked like a friendly caress, it wasn't, Harry squeezed just a bit too firmly, the heat of his hand warming Severus's skin. "Right, Sevvie?" Severus forced a thin smile.

"Absolutely. Would you excuse us for a few minutes, Mrs. Tinkleburn?" Severus said through a clenched jaw, if the little old lady noticed anything off about his behaviour she didn't say a word and left the room with a sweet smile on her lips.

Waiting until he couldn't hear the woman's footsteps on the stairs Severus slapped Harry's hand away before making a move to close the door. Harry bristled and Severus could practically hear the kid's heartbeat race. Severus knew he was an imposing man when angered or annoyed – sometimes he scared himself, which was a worthy feat.

"Um – what are you doing?" questioned Harry quietly and Severus whirled around to face the adolescent, his dark hair falling into his face. He made no move to brush it aside, instead he stared at Harry.

Taking a step toward Harry the author was pleased to see the boy take one backward. "Want to remind me what I said I'd do to you if you called me 'Sev' again?" he inquired, his voice was low and menacing. Harry's lips twitched and then he smiled.

"You're not serious?"

"Oh, I'm dead serious, Harry."

"You can't!"

"I can, and believe me, I will."

Harry shook his head and bumped back into the bed, he sat heavily and stared up at Severus. Their height difference even larger now. "It's considered abuse if you spank someone against their will you know?" he said matter-of-factly.

"It's not abuse if you like it." Retorted Severus with a smirk, Harry's skin flushed delectably and his eyes widened. "If you apologise I'll forget all about it." Severus added. Harry stared at him and then snorted; pushing himself to his feet he made to brush passed Severus.

"I'm not apologising for something so small, Severus." He stated. Severus growled and snatched Harry's wrist, pulling the boy closer before he could reach the door. Harry gave a startled shout and fought to get away. Severus would have none of that and slapped the smooth cheek in admonishment, none too lightly.

"Let me go –" Harry said in a strangled voice, Severus couldn't help but enjoy the warm, small body twisting and writhing against his own. Harry was warm and firm and far too arousing. Deciding if he was going to keep his composure he would have to finish this quickly, Severus whirled Harry around in his arms, pressing the boy's back flush against his chest and stomach; Harry's wayward hair tickled his chin.

"Three, that's all." Promised Severus and then strictly pushed Harry forward, bending the boy over the mattress so that he was kneeling on the ground, his stomach and chest resting on the bed. Harry squirmed and made a keening noise in his throat that had Severus's groin reacting sinfully. Stilling Harry's movements with a palm to the kid's back he braced himself. Harry keened again and then Severus let loose. Swinging his arm back he dropped it heavily, smacking the jean-covered backside firmly.

"Ow, you bastard!" Harry hissed and doubled his attempts at escaping. Severus bunched a handful of the shirt under his hand and pressed down, holding Harry stuck in place. Another hard smack had Harry's small body jerking forward, the sound of muffled clapping satisfying to Severus.

With surprising tenderness, the author stroked Harry's back, running his fingertips over the boy's spine. "One more, love." He said.

THWHACK!

-SSHP-

Harry's backside tingled and he wriggled under the covers, careful not to bump into Severus, who was right on the edge of the mattress. "Bloody drama queen." Harry whispered to the dark room. It had been an awkward evening, and that was an understatement. Severus had practically ignored Harry after spanking him in a little old lady's spare bedroom. The two of them had gone down stairs after a few minutes of silence. Dinner had been quiet for the most part. Mrs. Tinkleburn chatted avidly about her late-husband and Harry wondered if that was all she talked about. After they had eaten their share of roast lamb Harry had left the adults alone and went up to the room. Severus had come in not five minutes later.

Lying in the squashy, comfy bed with a man he had just met three days previous was a surreal experience, not to mention said man had spanked him earlier. Harry squeezed his eyes shut and a blush touched his cheeks and nose. Severus had been so – commanding and rough. It was a far cry from the usually stoic, composed author Harry had come to know. It scared Harry slightly and yet a bigger part of him, a part he tried his best to ignore, liked how Severus had manhandled him and forced his submission.

"Fuck, I'm so messed up." Finding a forced spanking hot was definitely not something Harry thought would ever happen to him. Finding a goddamn man attractive was something he'd never thought he'd do. And yet here he was, painfully hard from the sensations in his arse and wishing Severus would roll over just a bit closer so he could feel the man's body against his. And oh dear God he had to stop that trail of thought.

Slowly sitting up the boy slipped from under the warm covers, carefully standing up and trying not to jostle the mattress too much, when Severus's deep breathing didn't change Harry let out a breath of relief and tiptoed from the room. He needed some fresh air.

Thankful the bedroom door wasn't squeaky Harry left the room, sparing one last glance back at the man sleeping peacefully. Severus's dark eyebrows were relaxed and his lips gaped open just slightly. He looked so calm and serene. Harry wasn't sure why he enjoyed the sight of Severus in such a vulnerable state.

The sound of a door clicking shut made Harry jump and just about shout in surprise, consciously tugging at his shirt he tried to hide his still half-hard erection. Peering into the dark, dimly lit hallway Harry crept forward. Had it been Mrs. Tinkleburn using the bathroom perhaps? No, her bedroom was downstairs. Why would she need to come up to the second floor? Another noise sharpened in Harry's ears and he squinted, as if such an action would help him hear better.

"– you're always so sleepy, my dear." It was unmistakably the croaky, high-pitched voice of Mrs. Tinkleburn and Harry's curiosity was spiked. Who could she possibly be talking to? Unless she was housing more strangers in her tiny home there was no one to be talking to at such a time at night. Swallowing thickly and wincing at the loud noise of the action Harry snuck towards the voice, his bare feet patting softly at the carpet.

Again Mrs. Tinkleburn spoke but Harry couldn't catch onto the words, she was whispering so quietly. The only other bedroom on the second level had been locked before but now the door stood ajar, a pale band of light stretched from the room. Frowning Harry crept closer and stopped just by the doorframe. He gagged when the stench of decaying meat assaulted his nose and just stifled a dry retch. It would do no good to be vomiting all over the floor right now.

"Such a pretty man you are; I have another pretty one here also. He's a treat for the eyes, so small and lively. You'll have to meet him sometime, Orwald."

Harry's eyes widened when a warm, callous palm covered his lips and he was tugged into a firm chest. The smell of leather and oak made his beating heart calm somewhat when he realized it was Severus. When Harry had stilled the hand was removed and he twisted in the strong arms to face the older man.

Severus's eyes were even darker in the night, shadowy and unreadable. His lips were a thin line and his hair mussed from sleep. "What do you think you are doing?" he hissed out and Harry shushed him with a flap of his hands. Severus gripped Harry's thin wrists and placed them by the boy's sides.

"I'm listening and you're hurting me." Harry stated and nodded to his wrist that were still in the man's hold. Severus grunted and dropped his arms. "She's insane, Sev."

"Don't call me that."

Harry glared up at the handsome face, watching the shadows play across the pronounced nose and cheek bones, "I'm serious – she was –" A shuffling sound from within the room made Harry and Severus freeze, their eyes wide like deer's caught in headlights. Mrs. Tinkleburn cleared her throat with a small 'ahem' and the two men shared a look before bolting back toward their bedroom, arms flailing and gripping at the other in haste to be the first hidden behind their door.

Stumbling behind Severus Harry pushed at the man's back, sending Severus tripping over to the bed. Harry shut the door as quietly as possible and then dived for the bed. "Quick, act asleep!" he whispered fanatically and scuttled under the covers, after sparing the boy an unbelieving glance Severus got under the covers just as the door opened.

"Is everything alright, dears? I thought I heard some noise."

Harry's breath caught in his throat and he tried to keep his eyes from fluttering. Severus made a fake snore and shifted closer to Harry, flinging his arm over Harry's chest, it was heavy and comforting. Harry's body jerked somewhat in surprise but he managed to disguise the flinch as him turning over to cuddle Severus back. He could hear Mrs. Tinkleburn titter and then the door closed with a snap.

Both men let out huffs of relief in unison. Severus opened his eyes and stared down at Harry. He didn't remove his arm. "Care to explain why you were spying on an old lady?" Harry shifted and sat up a little.

"I wasn't spying. I was listening without her knowing. And I found out something disturbing."

"More disturbing then you enjoying a spanking?" Severus asked innocently and lifted his body up so that he looked down at Harry. Harry opened his mouth and attempted to smother the blush that was heating his nose and cheeks. "It's nothing to be ashamed of." Severus added.

"I didn't like it." Harry refuted scathingly, his reply was a raised eyebrow and disbelieving expression from Severus. "I didn't!" he insisted petulantly.

"If you hadn't enjoyed it you would have cursed me and called me a perverted old man. Instead you sent me coy little looks all night."

"You're not perverted and I'm not coy." Harry said and then sighed, groaning as he did so. "And anyway, my gay-crisis isn't the point, I heard her talking." Said Harry with a serious press of his lips, he watched as Severus feigned an astounded gasp.

"No?" the author said and leaned closer, "You heard her talking? Oh dear lord, call in the authorities!" Harry poked Severus in his chest with his finger.

"Would you keep your voice down?" he hissed and glared, Severus returned the glower but was quiet. "She was talking to her husband." Harry announced and was somewhat disappointed when all Severus did was snort laughter and roll his eyes. "I'm serious, Severus." Harry deadpanned.

The man above him shook with silent laughter. "You need a goodnight's rest, Harry. I think my spanking knocked something out of place up here." He said and tapped his fingers against Harry's temple. Harry turned his head away in annoyance. "Her husband is deceased, and unless she has another lover hiding in the room I would say you misheard her."

Harry sat up in aggravation, narrowly missing hitting his forehead against Severus's, "I'm totally serious, Severus. I know what I heard. She was telling her husband he would have to meet someone. I'm not making this up, she's a nutcase!" Harry was startled when Severus' eyes softened and his lips curved into a weary smile. A rough, warm palm cupped Harry's cheek and Severus leant closer, his breath brushing over Harry's skin.

"Go to sleep, Harry. I'm sorry for making you confused with the spanking; I shouldn't have been so forceful." Harry stared blankly at the author as Severus pulled away and then turned over, curling up to go to sleep. Severus thought he was a mess of confused emotions after being spanked – which was true, but he hadn't made up or misheard what Mrs. Tinkleburn had said.

"I'm not lying." Harry said quietly.

"Go to sleep, love."

There was that word again. Love. Severus had used it when spanking him and Harry's body had gone to mush upon hearing it. Severus's deep, thick voice rumbling with the word was just too arousing. Why did the man call him that? Was it an endearment or did Severus call everybody it? Harry hadn't heard the man speak to anyone like that. It perplexed him. Severus perplexed him. This whole situation perplexed him. Cursing softly Harry shut his eyes. He'd talk to Severus in the morning; he'd make him see sense.

Mrs. Tinkleburn wasn't everything she made out to be. Harry was positive of that.

Chapter Text

The next morning dawned cold and miserable. Snow had fallen through the night and covered the ground with thin sheets of white. It would have been a beautiful sight to behold if Harry hadn't been so disturbed and on edge. He sat in the bedroom, having told Mrs. Tinkleburn he wasn't hungry for breakfast, the bed was unmade and winkled from being slept in. Harry couldn't be bothered to make it; he was having a subconscious battle with his brain. Go and look in the room – don't go in and forget last night. It wasn't like they were staying for another night.

He had replayed the words she had uttered over and over some more until he was convinced she had actually been talking to her husband. It didn't make any sense however, he was dead. She had told Harry the story of Orwald having an unfortunate run in with an axe; apparently he had tripped and fell heart over the blade. It was gruesome and part of Harry didn't believe it was wholly an accident. Even old men didn't just suddenly lose their balance when around sharp axes.

"I know you're hungry," Harry looked up, tearing his mind away from his thoughts. Severus stood in the doorway, resting nonchalantly against the white-painted frame. His hair was neat around his shoulders and his eyes were indecipherable. Harry shrugged. "Don't shrug at me, Harry. Tell me what's bothering you." Severus came into the room and pushed the door halfway closed.

"I already told you last night, but you didn't believe me." Severus quirked an eyebrow and moved to sit next to Harry on the end of the bed.

"About Mrs. Tinkleburn's husband?" he asked and Harry nodded mutely. "Harry, I asked her about him over breakfast," Harry's head snapped up and he stared at Severus's face. "She told me the story of how he died, she said it happened a year ago. He was buried at a private funeral, he's not alive, and she couldn't have been talking to him. Maybe she was talking to his picture, perhaps that is his old room?"

Severus was making far too much sense but Harry wouldn't have any of it and shook his head, his hair fell into his eyes and he pouted. "How do you explain the smell?" he queried and peeked up at the man next to him from under his lashes. Severus smiled – one of those rare, true smiles that made Harry's heart flutter and his insides turn to water.

"A dead rat in the ceiling perhaps?" he replied and reached up to tuck Harry's awry bangs behind his ears. Harry allowed the contact, hating how his chest tingled and his skin desired more touching. "We are leaving here soon, this evening I reckon. We need a few things from the shop."

"Like what?" Harry said and scratched at his hair. They had enough money on them – or at least Severus did. Harry had very little considering his school had been paying for most of the costs. He'd have to deal with his school at some point. If anyone actually noticed him missing, that is.

"Fresh clothes."

"Can't we wash them here?" Harry asked, his eyebrows furrowed – sometimes Severus overlooked the simple answers.

"And what would we wear while they got clean and dried off?"

Harry face fell. Alright, so it was him who normally didn't think things through properly. "Oh, right." He said quietly. Severus sniffed superiorly and stood up from the bed.

"Oh, right, is correct. I'm going down to the shop, do you want to come?"

"Mm, let's see…stay here with an old lady who could possibly be insane or go out with a snarky git…choices, choices. Decisions, decisions."

Severus cuffed Harry on the back of the head, Harry cried out indignantly in reproach. "Yes or no, smart-ass?" Harry rolled his shoulders. He could use a walk to clear his head of his thoughts, and if he was honest he was quite inclined towards spending some time with Severus.

"Yes."

"Good boy."

-SSHP-

The small clothing shop was stiflingly balmy; the elderly man behind the counter had an electric heater blasting on full heat. Harry sent a glare at his shiny, bald head. Severus had insisted they get some new clothes, at least a pair of pants each so they could wash their other clothes. Harry was well aware he didn't smell like roses and was content to go along with the idea.

"What do you want, Harry?" Asked Severus from in front of him, the author was flicking through a clothes rack of button down shirts. Harry shrugged and ran his hand over the silk-like material.

"World peace, a huge bowl of chocolate ice-cream, to be able to dance the tango." He replied and bit his lip when Severus sighed. Severus looked good when he was wound up, his jaw pulsed and his expression was always so stern. It made Harry's stomach tingle and jitter with butterflies.

"Clothes wise, Harry." Deadpanned the older man and pulled out a dark forest-green shirt, it looked silky and Harry reckoned it would fit Severus perfectly. It would show off the man's strong torso and flat stomach. Harry grinned a little at the image of Severus wearing only the green shirt. Gods he shouldn't be thinking that, but it was hard not to, especially with those obstinate eyes watching him.

"Anything, so long as it's not old man clothes."

"Jeans and a jacket good enough?" Harry nodded and was dragged bodily over to a stand that had many pairs of men's jeans on top. "Pick a pair and then try them on." Harry frowned and dropped his shoulders into a hunch.

"Why do I have to try them on?" He whined. He hated trying on clothes before buying them. He was one of these people who brought a pair of pants and hoped they would fit when he got home. It made him uncomfortable to undress in public, shielded by a lousy piece of fabric and two walls. Dressing rooms were stupid. He didn't get a voiced reply but the cuff of a large hand on the back of his head was answer enough.

Sighing out a loud exhale Harry sorted through the pants, trying to find a pair that was around his size. Jeans were always hard to decipher the right size. Every jean was different. Picking out a pair of black jeans that looked about his size Harry held them up and Severus nodded, poking him in the back toward the dressing rooms. Harry wriggled away and slipped inside a booth, pulling the curtain along its beam with a 'shhkk'.

-SSHP-

Severus tapped his foot against the tiled floor, Harry had been hidden behind the curtain for the past five minutes and Severus was getting suspicious. Crossing his arms and idly watching a mother steering her hyperactive child through the shops tinkling front door he ruffled the curtain to get Harry's attention.

"Don't come in!" Harry yelled out politely. Severus smirked.

"It's me, Harry. How long does it take to put on a pair of jeans?" Asked the author, he could see the outline of Harry moving behind the curtain and then the boy's messy head of hair peeped out from one side.

"I've got a pair of skinny jeans and I'm having trouble getting them over the bandage on my leg." Harry explained and Severus could see the blush that sprinkled the kid's cheeks clearly. He resisted the desire to touch Harry's cheek, just to see if the flush was heating his skin.

"Do you want me to get you another pair? What's your size?"

When Harry just grinned stupidly Severus raised his eyebrows in silent question. "Actually, I've sort of got them on – kind of, um – could you help me?" Severus very nearly gawked at the boy. He'd never once been asked to help someone get dressed before. He'd undressed plenty of people in his thirty-two years, but dressing someone – biting the inside of his cheek to quell his smile he nodded sharply. Harry's face relaxed with relief and he ushered Severus behind the curtain.

The dressing room was small and had a body-length mirror on the wall, a few hooks on either side of the booth were to hold any clothing. Severus frowned at his appearance in the long mirror; he didn't much fancy staring at his reflection. Dismissing his pale face he turned to face Harry, the boy was standing awkwardly and self-consciously against one of the walls, his thin arms were wrapped around his middle, which was naked. His T-shirt was on the floor.

"There are hooks to hang your clothing on, you know?" commented Severus with a smirk. Harry stuck his tongue out and then shifted, drawing Severus's attention downwards. Harry had one leg in the jeans and the other bare. He was wearing a pair of black boxers, Severus smiled unreservedly and raked his eyes over the smooth abdomen and fine scatter hairs that lead downward, someplace that Severus had an itch to explore. When Harry cleared his throat the author jumped and shook himself.

"Can you help me get my leg in?" Harry looked so unsure and completely childlike and yet something inside of Severus was stretching so taunt like a rubber band, stretching so far he was sure it would snap any moment now. He knew he shouldn't act on his attraction. Harry was only eighteen, barely legal and nothing could come of it. The kid was only on holiday. His rational side gave in to his lustful wanting and the rubber band snapped.

"You'll have to give me something in return." If it hadn't been for his silky, deep voice, Severus was sure Harry would have been affronted. As it was the kid's throat worked around a thick swallow and he nodded. "Good." Severus said, staring at Harry's sun-kissed skin and wide emerald eyes.

"Good." Harry echoed.

Moving closer Severus flashed Harry a small smile before getting down on his knees in front of the boy. Harry's breath noticeably hitched and he fiddled with the waistband of his boxers nervously. Severus bent to get a look at the bandaged leg, the white linen around the knee was clean save for the faint red stain that was drying to a reddish brown. The wound was more than likely scabbing over by now, but just to make sure Severus started working on unravelling the bandage. Harry hissed when the fabric tugged at his wound but otherwise stayed quiet.

"If it's healed enough you might not need the bandage anymore, some breathing space will do it good and help it heal fully." Severus informed, he knew his breath tickled Harry's thigh with each word and he attempted not to smile, forcing his lips down into a serious frown. The bandage came off a second later and Harry winced, groaning as he did so. The groan was one of pain, but had the effect of stirring Severus's groin.

"It looks bad," whispered Harry and Severus looked up to see those big eyes watching him intently. Something about Harry's eyes made Severus weak at the knees, it might have been their colour or the way every emotion Harry felt would dance within the green and gold. Whatever it was, Severus was glad he was already on his knees, because he doubted he'd be able to stand upright for long when such a naïve, beautiful stare was upon him. "I'm going to be feeling this for a long time aren't I?"

Severus let the bandage fall to the ground and cupped the back of Harry's knee, the skin there was warm and soft. "The bullet tore your muscle and most probably hit your bone. The shot was fired from a small distance, you're lucky the bone didn't fracture." Narrowing his eyes Severus used his free hand to touch the skin around the small wound, feeling for any swelling. Harry hissed and sucked in a deep breath. "Sorry, love."

"Is it better enough? The bandage keeps making my leg itchy." Severus laughed and dropped his hands to his own knees.

"It's healing well; you can go without the bandage."

"Hallelujah." Chanted Harry under his breath.

Severus laughed again and stood up, watching as Harry shuffled into his jeans with ease now that the hindering bandage had been removed. The black denim fitted to the boy's backside snuggly and was just tight enough around his slim hips. Severus let out a low whistle and watched with satisfaction as Harry studied the floor and nibbled on his lip.

"Are you always so bashful?" he asked Harry with a simper. Harry peeked up at him, his ebony hair was mussed and falling about his delicate cheeks.

"Are you always so depraved?"

Severus made a show of being highly affronted, despite the fact he found Harry's twitching lips amusing. Running a hand through his long hair he sighed melodramatically.

"And here I thought I had found someone who overlooked my faults."

Harry was grinning now and looking at Severus directly, "Who said it's a fault?" Severus didn't know what to do when Harry sent him a jaunty wink and the colour that climbed his neck was definitely not welcomed. Harry gave a bay of mirth and then pushed at Severus's arm.

"Go out so I can change back and pay for these." Severus allowed the hands-on contact and was shoved from the small booth.

Ignoring the anomalous look he was receiving from the man behind the counter he called out to Harry, "Make sure after you pay for them you put them back on."

The curtain ruffled and a small hand appeared and smacked at Severus's shoulder.

-SSHP-

There was something satisfying about eating a messy hamburger. Harry decided he quite liked the way the mayonnaise dribbled down his hands and how the tomato slices kept falling out on to the paper wrapping, and he especially loved the way Severus sent him dirty looks of disgust each time the burger juices dripped off his chin. The man was so uptight sometimes. Harry thought it a good time to mention this.

"You know," he said through a mouthful of meat, tomato, lettuce and bacon. Severus turned his head in Harry's direction but didn't look at him; Harry didn't like it when Severus didn't give him his complete attention. "You know something?" he repeated after swallowing noisily, Severus grunted and Harry took is as a 'go on'. "Sometimes you can be an uptight prick." Severus' shoulders stiffened and Harry chuckled. "No offence meant. I just think you could be a little easier going."

"I'm on the run from the law, I have spent the night sleeping in a bed with a teenage boy, who snores by the way," Harry shrugged at that. "And I am in a town I have never heard of. But oh, yes, I'm uptight." Harry laughed outright at the older man's incredulous expression. "What's so funny, Harry?" asked Severus wearily.

Wiping the back of his hand over his lips Harry grinned. "You just look funny when you're annoyed is all." He answered. Severus sighed and muttered something that sounded very much like 'give me strength'.

"What is in that sandwich of yours? You're acting strange." Severus joked weakly. Harry took another huge bite and crunched a crispy piece of bacon.

"First of all, it's a hamburger and secondly, I'm only making conversation."

"By insulting me?"

"If you don't want to talk to me just say so."

Severus stood up abruptly and Harry watched as he started to pace. "You're absolutely exasperating, Harry. Out of all the people I could have ended up on the run with, it had to be you." Harry wasn't fazed by the man's pacing or his words.

"You could have ended up with someone worse." Harry commented idly, at Severus's un-amused stare he elaborated, "Like some big-breasted, slutty blonde." Harry thought he saw the author shiver but couldn't be certain. Severus sat back down, making the wooden seat shake slightly.

"You're right. At least I ended up with a fairly attractive male." Harry bristled at the words.

"Fairly attractive? Fairly? I'm a damn sight better than some people, Y'know."

Laughing Severus shifted to face Harry directly, his lips were smiling but Harry refused to smile back, he crossed his arms tightly and lifted his chin. "You know; you are quite cute for a boy." Severus said pensively and touched Harry lightly on his chin, tracing the smooth flesh there with a fingertip. Harry trembled and hoped Severus would put it down to the cold weather and not his stroke.

"Thank you –?" Harry quietly said, uncertainly.

"Yes." Severus replied.

He'd just been complemented? By Severus? Harry bit his lower lip hard to stifle the huge grin that tugged at his lips. Ducking his head he went back to eating his hamburger, in a much more dignified, clean manner. Severus's breathing fogged in the air and he leaned back, watching his smaller companion finish his meal.

-SSHP-

"I still think something odd is going on."

"Harry, she's a sweet, old lady whose only crime is baking an absurd amount of pies."

Harry stopped by the mailbox, turning around to face the taller man. "But they're good pies." He opined before shaking his head, sending his messy hair into his face."Pie isn't the point here. I have a gut feeling she's not all she pretends to be. And I vow to find out what's in the spare bedroom."

Severus brushed by Harry, making sure to sweep his body close to the boy's, Harry stilled his sudden inclination to lean into the caress. "Alright then Mr. Detective, when you are done with your little game come help me tidy the bedroom. We'll be leaving shortly." Harry folded his arms across his chest.

"This isn't a silly game, Sev, I'm serious." If his pout had any effect on the author no response was shown. Severus gnashed his teeth at the nickname however, and reached out to clout Harry's cheek lightly; Harry allowed the action but scowled up into dark eyes. "You always hit me." he accused.

"You always need it." Said Severus with a satisfied smirk. "And I'm not hitting you, I'm tapping you." He amended before swiftly turning and walking away in one smooth motion. Harry huffed. If Severus didn't want to help him investigate then Harry would have to do it by himself.

Pushing inside the purple door Harry sent a glance at Severus, who was sitting in the kitchen, Mrs. Tinkleburn wasn't with him. Skipping up the stairs two at a time Harry slowed when he neared the bedroom door. It stood innocently within the hallway, the wood smooth and polished. Harry frowned heavily and wondered when he had come to find a simple door ominous. Rolling his eyes at his hesitation Harry walked up and twisted the door handle, to his surprise –

"It opened…" Harry breathed out and then slapped a hand over his mouth and nose, the stench that lingered on the top level of the cottage nearly bowled him over. It was a foul smell, like mould and blood and faeces and something – dead. Harry swallowed and could almost taste the sickening odour. His senses were alert and he caught the sound of the front door opening and the croaky voice that followed.

"Ah, Severus – it'll be a shame to see you leave." Harry didn't know why, Mrs. Tinkleburn had hardly been around the man; Harry had a sneaking suspicion that Severus done his utmost best to avoid the woman. Hovering with his hand on the door handle and the bedroom door cracked open just slightly Harry panicked. He was about to shut the door and race downstairs until Severus's deep voice rumbled a reply and Mrs. Tinkleburn gave a gruff, frog-like laugh. He had time to take a look. He'd only get a peek and if it was just a picture or shrine of her late-husband then Harry would concede he had been over dramatic regarding the whole situation.

With wide eyes and a shaking hand on the knob the boy pushed open the door and slipped inside the room. Mrs. Tinkleburn and Severus were still talking downstairs. Smothering a cough with his palm Harry held his breath. If the stench had been overpowering before it was nothing compared to what he could smell now. Staring at the dull, fluffy grey carpet that decorated the bedroom floor Harry attempted to get his breathing in order.

A quick and shallow breath in – a huge exhale out – an even quicker breath in, try not to smell anything – and a rushed breath out. Don't gag, don't gag.

Lifting his watering eyes Harry startled and jumped, inhaling quickly through his nose, for on the bed in front on him was a person sleeping; hidden under thick covers from head to toe but unmistakably human. The room was dark and heavy drapes hung over the large window, they were black velvet and stifling any winter sun that tried to enter the room. Aside from the bed the bedroom was empty. Harry furrowed his brows and took an apprehensive step forward, hoping he didn't tread on a squeaky floorboard and wake the sleeping form.

"Hello –?" he said softly and quietly, afraid to scare the sleeping figure. When the room stayed silent save for his heavy breathing Harry approached the bed quicker. "Oh my god," he retched and very nearly vomited from the smell. It was solid in the air and wave after wave of putrefying meat odour hit him. Concerned that the person could sleep under such conditions the boy reached out and lifted the edge of the blanket back.

Harry's stomach seemingly dropped out of his pelvis and his head spun in fast circles, making his vision swim. Gaping and trying to not make a sound the boy stumbled backward, tripping over his feet in his haste to get away. His skin was instantaneously colourless and clammy and his stomach heaved violently. Before he could exercise any self-restraint he had vomited on the grey carpet.

Gasping in a lungful of air Harry sobbed passed the burn of bile in his throat and looked back to the bed. His chin quivered with the threat of hot tears, but he firmly shut his teeth and held them back

On the small, single bed laid a man, covers now up to his mid torso. His eyes were clouded and cobwebbed with milky-white; they were unseeing as they stared sunken from his eye sockets. His lips were pulled emaciated and insipid against his teeth and his hair was scraggly and thinning. It was a corpse. It was a fucking dead man.

Harry tried to make a sound, a scream or shout for help. It felt like the bile had burned away his vocal cords and all he could manage was a choked whimper. He tried to run from the room, but he couldn't move. His entire body was frozen, bones locked in place and muscles stiff from fear. All he could do was stare into the lifeless eyes of the corpse. He heard the sound of glass breaking and a muffled groan somewhere in the back of his mind, but he couldn't focus on it, and then came the sound of footsteps on the stairs, and still Harry stood stationary.

"I see you've met my husband, dear. I do hope you two will get along." Harry spun around, his head lurched and he fell to the floor on his hands and knees. Mrs. Tinkleburn was in the doorway, her grey hair mussed and untidy and her lips a thin line of solemnity.

"No, he died over a year ago – he fell on an axe." Harry didn't know why he was telling her this, maybe it was because he himself couldn't believe such a thing could be in this room. Maybe he wanted her to smile her sweet-old-lady-smile and tell him it was all a prank. Just one fucked up hoax. She didn't. Instead she took one step closer and cocked her head to the side, staring at Harry with ice-blue eyes that looked far too empty.

"I twisted things a little, lad. He died three months ago, by an axe wound to his heart. He never fell though." Harry's gut sank even though he had known this was more than a grieving wife trying to keep her husband close by. This wasn't so simple. She was keeping Orwald's body in her spare bedroom. Harry's mind was having trouble keeping up and he wanted to look over to the corpse. Some sick part of him was fascinated by the stretched, waxy skin that was turning a sickly yellow.

"Why did you do it?"

It was odd to be in the same room as a killer, to be directly opposite a person who had intentionally taken a human life. Harry's skin was cold and sweat slicked. Mrs. Tinkleburn moved another step closer, Harry attempted to stand but his legs were as unsteady as jelly and he couldn't bring his body up from the carpet.

"Well, you see, there was nothing wrong with Orwald when he was living; he was a lovely man, quite charming actually. However, he had a penchant for younger women, women with firm breasts and tight bodies. Don't you think it's easier to live with someone when they don't answer back? When they don't question you? When they can't leave you for some slut? I like him better this way. He's mine forever and he will never leave me. There's nothing wrong with wanting a partner who will always be with you. I'm not a fanatical old lady, Harry. I just want someone to love."

Harry wasn't buying any of it. "You are keeping his corpse in your spare bedroom, if that's not fanatical I don't know what is." Mrs. Tinkleburn took a prowling step closer and it was only then that Harry noticed the handle of a large kitchen knife being held in a white-knuckled grip by the woman. His stomach churned at the sight of scarlet marring the sharp edge of the blade.

"Where's Severus?" he questioned sharply. It surprised him that his voice was steady. He felt he might faint at any given moment.

The ice-blue eyes widened innocently and Mrs. Tinkleburn used her free hand to brush her hair out of her eyes, "Oh, never mind about him, dear. He's just taking a – rest – shall we say." Harry narrowed his eyes in a glare and bared his teeth.

"Where is he?"

"On the kitchen floor last I checked." Mrs. Tinkleburn said sweetly. Harry gritted his teeth, his heart raced in his chest, pounding painfully against his ribs. He flinched when the old lady perked up and exclaimed a loud noise. She trained her eyes on the corpse and then back to Harry. "Orwald says he would like to meet you, properly." Holding up the knife she grinned, a toothless, manic grin that made Harry's skin flush ice-cold. "I've always wanted a son." She said and advanced promptly on the terrified boy.

Chapter Text

The shards of glass that littered the floor like dangerous diamonds sparkled in Severus's blurry vision. His hands gripped at his middle and he breathed in shallow, hasty breaths. For a few moments he wasn't entirely sure why he was on the floor and why his stomach hurt like it was ripped in two. Then he remembered. Mrs. Tinkleburn had stabbed him. Right into his abdomen with one swift and surprisingly strong movement.

Loosening his hands that lay over his wound the man groaned. Wet, slippery blood was coating his palms and dribbling down his fingers. It wasn't so much the pain from the stab wound, for his adrenalin was kicking in and masking it, it was the dawning terror of where exactly Mrs. Tinkleburn had gone. Swallowing down another groan of pain Severus attempted to sit up. His abdomen gave a sudden twinge of discomfort and he fell back down onto his back. The sharp fragments of his broken glass stuck into his exposed skin like needle points.

The beige kitchen ceiling swam before his eyes, fading dark and then brightening again. Severus was no doctor but he knew he wasn't in a good state of health. The sound of voices from upstairs caught his attention and he rocked his head back and forth, trying to catch the words. He couldn't, but the voices were definitely that of Mrs. Tinkleburn and Harry.

Fighting away the desire to close his eyes and succumb to the edging darkness Severus took in a deep breath, wincing when the movement caused his stomach to ache. Despite his wound and dizzy head, the man managed to sit up, his body slumped forward heavily and his breathing shallow. It hurt to breathe, hurt to move, but it hurt more to know Harry was in danger and so Severus lurched his body forward and caught himself on hands and knees. It was an effort to crawl, however, it would have been harder to stand and walk.

Copious drops of scarlet bled from his stab wound and marred the kitchen floor with trails of blood. Gritting his teeth against the agony Severus forced his protesting body to keep moving, toward the stairs. Just a few more feet and he would reach them.

A disjointed cry from upstairs and a subsequent crash of something heavy made Severus's heart jump into his mouth, he gasped and clutched at his stomach while shuffling on his knees the last small distance to the stairs. He wanted to call for Harry, to tell him not to panic, that he would be there in a moment. His throat was dry and felt obstructed by fear and pain. So instead the bleeding man made one last attempt at focusing his remaining strength and consciousness and dragged his body up, using the railing for leverage.

"Come on…" he growled when his knees shook and his head spun in wishy-washy circles. Taking quick breaths Severus moved his legs, slowly at first, one small, heavy step after another. Then he began picking up the pace, sweating with the exertion of climbing the many stairs. By the time he had reached the top he was puffing as though he had just run a marathon and his temples dripped beads of perspiration.

His vision was almost black and yet he ran the remaining distance, stumbling through his blind-panic. He reached the door and didn't bother to slow, he just barrelled right on through, slamming his body powerfully against the wood. It was irrational, he dimly admitted, crashing into the room in a desperate frenzy, however, his mind was zany and blood loss made his body heavy. He landed inelegantly on the floor and before his vision could clear the consuming smell of festering flesh hit his senses, he gagged and it hurt to do so, pulling his stomach tight and making the wound cry out in discomfort.

"So nice of you to join us, Severus. I didn't expect you to be anywhere near as lively as you are, guess I misjudged my aim." Severus sneered, pulling back his lips to reveal his teeth. Mrs. Tinkleburn was standing over him, her face cast in shadows from the mutedly lit room. Her silvery hair was loose about her face and her lips were drawn into a thin smile.

Severus held his stomach, hoping to stall the flow of blood, "Where's Harry?" he managed to say, his voice was guttural and quiet. He glared at the woman above him and swallowed thickly, startled when the taste of blood was bitter on his tongue. Mrs. Tinkleburn gave a titter of laughter and wrung her hands together.

"He's right behind me, dear," she said and stepped aside, "Although he isn't in the best of health. Orwald is waiting to meet him." Severus couldn't take his eyes away from her twisted smirk, her eyes were empty, void of any human emotion, and it made his insides feel like melting ice. Cold and unsettled. Then the soft sound of Harry's moaning caught his attention and he ripped his gaze away from the woman.

Harry lay not a meter away, his body prone and lax on the floor, sprawled out – if it wasn't for the deep gash above the boy's left temple Severus would have thought he could have been simply sleeping. Harry tended to take up as much space as possible when sleeping. Harry was moaning. Quietly and continuously, and Severus was unsure whether he was unconscious or not.

"He got to be a bit of a handful, and I really didn't want to off him so quickly so I just gave him a reprimanding tap on the head." Severus snapped his head around to Mrs. Tinkleburn who was caressing a candlestick holder, his throat tightened when he saw the wet blood staining the end. Harry's blood.

"You bitch," he said and made to get to his feet, Mrs. Tinkleburn moved quickly and kicked out at Severus, hitting him squarely in the stomach. It hurt like nothing before and even the initial stabbing paled in comparison. Groaning and coughing simultaneously Severus doubled over. "You're insane –" he breathed in a whisper, swallowing the thick copper liquid that coated his teeth and tongue. Mrs. Tinkleburn smiled at him sweetly and cocked her head to one side.

"Do you like tea parties, Severus dear?" she inquired nonchalantly, Severus stared incredulously up at her, his dark eyes pained. When he didn't answer she tsked, "I suppose I'll have to find out." She said decisively and lifted the candlestick holder above her head, Severus had but a second to realize what was coming before a sharp, blunt pain bloomed over his skull, sending dancing black dots to haze his eyesight.

-SSHP-

When Severus came around he noticed the room was lighter, filled with evening sunshine. It was pleasant and warm against his skin and for a moment he relaxed and allowed the warmth to caress him. Then his senses and memories caught up and he opened his eyes only to find that he was back in the small kitchen, sitting in one of the dinner table chairs. His wrists were tied to the armrests by duct tape and his legs were similarly bound to the chair legs. His abdomen burned with pain and his weak limbs were a testament to how much blood he had lost.

Lifting his heavy head Severus surveyed the room, it was empty of anyone else and long lines of sunlight stretched across the counter and floor. Twisting his wrists, the author attempted freedom, the tape held tight and after a minute of furious twisting he gave up and deemed the bonds far too strong to be broken. A scraping sound from the living room made Severus look around, trying to get sight of what was causing the noise, he only had to wait a few seconds before he got his answer.

Mrs. Tinkleburn appeared, her back facing Severus, she was straining over something, panting heavily and muttering under her breath. It wasn't until she was a good way into the kitchen that Severus could see what she was dragging. It was another dinning chair, and bound in much the same manner as himself was Harry. Severus's heart beat faster when he noticed that the boy was awake.

After dragging Harry's chair into place, directly opposite Severus, Mrs. Tinkleburn grinned at the both of them and flicked her eyes to her right. Severus furrowed his brows and followed her gaze. Propped up in a chair, slumped slightly and staring unseeingly at the pair of them was the corpse of Orwald. Severus had been too out of it earlier to take note of the body, but now he could see every terrifying detail. The milky eyes, thinning hair and wan features made his gut churn.

"Orwald will be joining us for our tea party," tittered Mrs. Tinkleburn and smiled at her husband. "He is very excited to get to know you Harry; he says you will make a fine son." Severus wasn't certain he knew what she meant and turned questioning eyes toward Harry. The boy was gaping at the old lady and his green eyes were wide.

"Fuck you, I'm not going to play this messed up game of yours any longer. Let us go."

Severus winced when Mrs. Tinkleburn backhanded Harry's cheek sharply. Harry kept his head turned to the left and breathed deeply. "Now that isn't any way to speak to your mother, now is it dear?" Severus willed Harry to look at him, wished the boy would just glance in his direction so that he could silently communicate to him that they would get out of this mess. Although Severus wasn't certain they would, his body was tingling with pins and needles, a sure sign his haemorrhaging wound was bleeding his last litres of blood.

Taking Harry's chin in her hands the lady turned his head to look at her. "Say you're sorry and we'll forget about your discourtesy." Severus felt his face blanch when Harry shook his head stubbornly. Why couldn't he just play along? "Fine," Mrs. Tinkleburn snapped. "Then let me get an apology from you by force." Severus didn't like the sound of that and watched in concern as the woman moved over to the cupboard and started riffling through it.

Harry's breathing was laboured and Severus caught his gaze and held it. Harry mouthed something, words that Severus couldn't make out, he kept mouthing the same words over and over until the small form of Mrs. Tinkleburn cut off their eye contact. She stood in front of Harry and Severus's throat went dry when he saw the pliers she held.

"W-what are you going to do?" Harry's voice sounded so young, so childlike, it ripped at Severus's chest until his lungs hurt. He couldn't see Harry's expression but knew that the boy was positively petrified, and with good reason.

"Just a little procedure to get my apology, dear, that's all. Scream nice and pretty for me won't you?"

Severus jerked in his seat, an in vain attempt to move closer, to stop the approaching pain of Harry, his chair rocked briefly then stilled. He hadn't the strength to do much more. Mrs. Tinkleburn shifted and moved to the side, giving Severus full view of Harry. The boy was close to tears and his bottom lip was bitten and bleeding from the force of it.

"Now watch closely, Severus, it won't be long until you exsanguinate, and I want you to see this." Severus sneered at the woman with venom and she smiled sweetly back.

Getting a better hold on the pliers she leant forward and gripped the end of Harry's thumb nail, Harry caught on to what was happening and closed his fingers into a fist. Mrs. Tinkleburn heaved a suffering sigh and forced him to open his palm, holding it open as much as she could.

"Please," Harry sobbed breathlessly and Severus unconsciously leaned forwards, wishing he could help the boy, wishing he could do something – anything. "Please don't do that – I'm sorry, I'm sorry –" the heartbreaking sobs made Severus choke back his own tears.

"It's too little, too late, my dear. Now hold still." Forcefully and without preamble Mrs. Tinkleburn ripped back the pliers, grunting as she did so. It was a second after the sound of something tearing and coming unstuck that Harry's scream deafened Severus and he screamed along, shouting profanities at the chuckling woman, cursing her for daring to hurt his Harry. She ignored the both of them and moved on to the index finger, getting a firm grip and grunting again as she pulled back. Harry didn't stop screaming and wet tracks of his tears lined his pale face.

"How about one of your pretty teeth now? They are always much more enjoyable to pull out." Harry was crying brokenly and he mouthed words to Severus again, whether because he couldn't talk from screaming so much or because he was exhausted Severus didn't know, but this time he caught on to the silent words.

Help, while she is busy, get help.

When Severus nodded to show Harry he understood Harry fixed his eyes on something behind Severus's head. Craning his neck painfully to see the older man caught sight of a telephone, it was old and an odd olive-yellow colour, but it was their one hope. Harry wanted him to call the police while Mrs. Tinkleburn was busy fussing over her torture. There was only one problem.

He was bound to a chair,

And he was close to losing consciousness.

-SSHP-

Harry's fingers ached and bled, the sight of his missing nails was sickening and he wished Mrs. Tinkleburn would leave him alone. She was fussing over which tooth to pull out, trying to get him to open up his mouth, he refused to and clenched his teeth together tightly. Severus was staring off into space, completely out of it, it appeared. He was pallid and sweaty. Harry's body ached with the need to scream at him and tell him to get help, but he knew if he did Mrs. Tinkleburn would catch on to their plan and thwart it.

"Perhaps a molar, they are nice and painful when they come out." The pliers were pressed against his jaw, cold metal against his heated skin. Harry swallowed nervously and flicked his gaze back to Severus, the authors head was bowed and his dark hair fell about his cheeks, hiding his face. Harry's blood drained from his face when he realized the man was unconscious. Clearly having seen his look of dread Mrs. Tinkleburn turned around, she laughed lightly a moment later.

"He's finally succumbed to exsanguination," she stated gleefully and something inside of Harry clawed at his chest and made him utter a sob. Severus couldn't be dead, not now, not when he needed him so badly. Harry knew the man wasn't in a good way, but he didn't think it'd happen so quickly. "At least he won't be in the way now." Harry was shaking his head and blinking back his tears silently, his breathing hitching and catching in his chest.

"Not now, please not now…Severus, please wake up – don't be dead, you can't, I need you, please –"

Fingers twisting in his hair stopped Harry's pleading and he gasped when Mrs. Tinkleburn pulled his head backwards at an odd and painful angle. "Open wide and say ahh," the old lady chuckled at her own words and her eyes crinkled, Harry stared into her eyes and begged silently for her to let him go. She tipped his head back further and his jaw unclenched when pain shot down his neck, she exclaimed loudly and forced the end of the pliers inside his mouth.

"Don't," Harry tried to talk but his words were muffled by the object in his mouth. The hand in his hair kept a firm hold and Harry felt warm tears leaking from the corners of his eyes, tickling his neck as they wept. He wasn't entirely sure why he was crying, was it because he was in pain, because he feared what was about to happen, because Severus was lifeless in the chair opposite him? It was probably a combination of the lot, and self-restraint and dignity forgotten the boy cried openly.

"Stop your snivelling, this will only take a second." Harry could feel the end of the pliers gripping one of his teeth and fear spiked in his veins, burning his blood until his body trembled and he desperately bit down hard. Mrs. Tinkleburn yelled and drew back her hand, dropping the pliers. Harry could taste blood and he knew he had gotten the woman good. It was only when she bent to retrieve the pliers that Harry caught sight of Severus's right arm twisting frantically. The authors head was still bowed, yet he worked quickly to escape. He had only been playing dead! He was the least of Mrs. Tinkleburn's concern now, and as long as she was busy with Harry, he could get to the phone.

Stilling his courage and taking a large breath Harry resigned himself to the woman's insane torture. Only until Severus calls for help, he told himself over and over. Like a mantra.

"I'm going to have to punish you extra for that, Harry," claimed Mrs. Tinkleburn as she straightened up, she shook her head and studied the bite mark that wept crimson. "Naughty boy, I think I'll write you a reminder of how naughty you've been." Harry didn't know what was coming next; he only hoped that he could bare it and that Severus got free of the tape soon. Mrs. Tinkleburn swiftly went over to the counter and Harry noticed Severus went lax once more.

"What have you been?" Harry's eyebrows knitted together and he frowned.

"Excuse me?" He said and his voice cracked, making his throat hurt. The old lady rolled her eyes and leant closer to Harry, hiding something behind her back.

"What have you been? A…"

"Naughty boy?" Harry hedged timidly and got a sugary-sweet smile in return.

"Exactly," said Mrs. Tinkleburn and revealed a kitchen knife, it was a different one than the knife she had used on Severus, this knife was smaller and had a wickedly sharp blade. "I'm going to make sure you remember what a bad boy you were." She promised and lifted the hem of Harry's shirt up to reveal his stomach. The muscles under his skin twitched and jumped under her scrutiny. She grinned and sucked her teeth with excitement.

Slowly, as if in slow motion, she leaned the knife in and touched the very tip to Harry's skin. "What have you been?" she demanded, she was so close that Harry could see her pupils dilate with pleasure. "Answer me, boy." she snapped and Harry took a quick breath, he was afraid.

"A naughty boy –"

"Yes," she hissed, draping her body over Harry's right side. Harry shivered, keeping his attention on the blade. "A very, very naughty boy," she repeated quietly and then dragged the tip of the blade across Harry's sensitive skin. It hurt, more than he had thought it would. He closed his eyes, holding back the tears and making sure he didn't make a sound. He wouldn't give the bitch the pleasure of screaming.

Mrs. Tinkleburn was slumped so far down Harry could feel her hot, wet breath against his abdomen. His insides recoiled at such a sensation, it was almost worse than the knife tip that trailed against his skin, digging in deeply. Harry knew there would have to be a lot of blood, the woman wasn't just scratching the surface, she was splitting the skin inches deep. Ignoring her panting breaths Harry opened his eyes and look at Severus – only Severus wasn't there. The empty chair sent hope to wash over his body and he gave a sudden bay of laughter, the sound was at odds with the situation and Mrs. Tinkleburn stood up abruptly.

"Why are you laughing?" She growled and something in her demeanour snapped, "I want you to scream!" she yelled and then slashed the knife at Harry's face. Harry could feel his cheek split open, like his skin was coming unstitched, and he could feel the warm rush of blood that ran down his face. He didn't feel the pain, not when his stomach was so raw with hurt. Not when he could see Severus fumbling with the phone with blood slicked hands. He shouldn't have stared at the author; he should have looked away, because Mrs. Tinkleburn saw his distraction and turned to see what he was staring at.

Harry struggled and writhed in his seat, throwing his body hopelessly this way and that before screaming to Severus, warning him of the old lady's approach. It was all happening so quickly, Mrs. Tinkleburn literally ran over to the older man, knife still held in her hand. Harry panicked and forced his aching body to fight against the bonds. Why wasn't Severus moving – why was he still speaking hurriedly into the phone?

-SSHP-

"– please hurry,"

"Sir, I need to know your location."

"Little Greenstead Cottage, 19 Cane Drive – hurry, come quick."

Severus dropped the phone just as Mrs. Tinkleburn advanced on him, he dodged quickly and managed to escape the woman's fierce stab, she got the wall instead, making a hole in the plaster and paint.

"You idiot!" Mrs. Tinkleburn was screaming at him, thrashing the knife wildly through the air in anger. "You absolute stupid fool! What have you done? What have you done?" Severus's chest hurt from exertion and his head was so light that he felt it might float away.

Mrs. Tinkleburn cornered him against the wall, her eyes were wide and frenzied, and Severus feared her so strongly that his body shook with tremors. "You have ruined everything!" she shouted and pulled back her hand, the knife glinted in the dying light, red and silver, a breath of a second later she had forced it deep into Severus's chest, breaking past muscle and bone until the tip of the blade caught his lung and he lost his breath – lost his fight.

With shaky legs the man lowered his limp body to the floor, absently noting the shards of glass under his palms. His head was heavy now, so heavy he thought his neck might break from the strain of holding it up. His hands shook and his jaw quivered, making his teeth chatter, an action he hadn't the strength to stop. The figure of the little old lady above him was just a shadow to him, he couldn't focus on what she was saying, all he knew was that the knife in his chest still laid embedded in his lung and his throat was wet with something that tasted like pennies. Was it blood? It was thick and profuse.

Faintly Severus heard a lot of screaming, angry screaming – loud, crying, screaming. It sounded distant, but he lifted his head slowly and blinked through the blurry blackness to see the small, childlike form of Harry. His wrists had torn pieces of duct tape clinging to them and the boy was getting up from the floor, where a chair lay broken. He was the one screaming, angry tears were washing down his cheeks and Severus wanted to hush the child and tell him not to worry, that help was on its way.

He couldn't summon the strength to talk, however, and instead watched dazedly as Harry charged at Mrs. Tinkleburn. It surprised Severus that Harry tackled the woman to the ground, hitting and yelling at her. Despite all the commotion and noise Severus picked up on the wail of a siren, the sound took him back to the café, it reminded him of robbers and helpful old men – and Harry bleeding on the floor, so brave yet so young.

Harry was helping him now, fighting off his attacker just as Severus had done for him. It made Severus's stomach tingle with butterflies, just the thought that Harry would protect him, it was touching and made a smile stretch his lips just as he fell into the pit of darkness. His body felt healed and his head spun quickly before stopping.

Chapter Text

"– I mean, she was insane. They took her away, and not in the police van-thingy, but actually away to some inpatient treatment facility. I don't really remember much of what happened after that, I guess I was in shock. You were out of it; the paramedics thought you were dead for a moment. I was so scared. You looked so pale and – lifeless. Still do really."

Severus took a deep breath and concentrated on opening his eyes. It was no easy feat, for he was dosed with a lot of morphine. Harry's inane chatter was somewhat of a comfort. "Not good etiquette to insult a sick man, Harry. Bad manners." He croaked out, managing to open his eyes enough to see the wide smile Harry directed at him.

"You're awake!" The boy exclaimed breathily and bounced in the hospital chair excitedly. Severus resisted rolling his eyes and instead studied the needle in his hand and the many wires attached to his chest. Heart rate monitors and the likes. "They're to monitor you and stuff." Harry added and plucked at an awry wire, Severus scowled.

"I know what they're for. I have been to a hospital before. Keep your hands to yourself." He reprimanded, he received a glare from his trouble and Harry pouted, fitfully sulking. "What happened?" Severus questioned after a moment of silence.

Harry shrugged. "You don't remember?" he asked tentatively, Severus sighed and shook his head. "Nothing?" Harry coaxed.

It was all rather hazy for Severus, what he did remember was being stabbed. "I crawled to the stairs," he said out loud, furrowing his eyebrows in thought, Harry leaned closer, his expression solemn. "I got up the stairs and I remember she had hurt you,"

"Hit me over the head with a candlestick holder." Harry said hotly, he pointed to the gauze over his temple, Severus winced in sympathy and reached out to stroke the boy's soft cheek, and Harry blatantly leaned into the touch and closed his eyes. Severus supposed the boy was in need of some comfort. It was understandable.

"I was coughing up blood. Then we were down stairs, tied up. She hurt you – fingernails, she pulled them out." Severus said, his eyes shifting to stare at the bandaged fingers. "Hurt?" he asked Harry quietly and touched the clean, white bandage, Harry shook his head and smiled.

"Not really, but I've been stealing some of your pain relief." It was a joke, or so Severus hoped, however, he couldn't bring himself to smile. He settled for giving Harry's small hand a quick squeeze. "Remember anything else?"

"Pain. She got me in the chest, stabbed me again. Bitch." Severus mumbled angrily. Harry chuckled and the sound was loud in the small hospital room, even in spite of the beeping machines.

"I think you called her that when she was ripping out my nails," Harry casually said; although the line between his eyebrows was evidence enough that he was troubled. "You don't remember calling the police?" Severus frowned and shook his head. "You got out of the tape and called them, they came not long after you had passed out – I – I thought you had died. It was horrible. I jumped Mrs. Tinkleburn."

Severus raised one eyebrow. "Strange situation to try having relations with an old lady, Harry." He replied dryly. Harry's lips twitched but he stilled his mirth.

"I attacked her, I should say. She got knocked out and I waited with you until the ambulance and police arrived. They were quick to come. If it hadn't been for you I don't think we'd have gotten out of there."

Severus did roll his eyes this time. "Sentimental much, Harry?"

"I'm being serious!" Harry exclaimed, "Sev, you really saved us." He whispered and leaned closer, Severus could feel the heat from the boy's breath ghosting across his lips. Harry's eyes were searching in their gaze, staring into Severus's eyes with such intent. Severus allowed the prolonged staring and calmly watched Harry right back. "Can I?" Harry asked finally, so quietly Severus almost missed it.

"Can you what?" Severus questioned back, staring into the green-gold eyes, trapped in the soft, delicate features of the boy. Harry licked his lips, and Severus mirrored him, licking his own. Suddenly his mouth was very dry.

"Can I kiss you?" Breathed out Harry, it was almost a plea and Severus couldn't say no to such a beautiful creature. He bobbed his head once. Harry's small, lopsided smile made Severus's chest ache with butterflies and he leaned in, toward that delicious mouth. Harry's breathing hitched just once before the boy summoned enough courage to close the tiny gap.

The kiss was chaste, just a brush of inexperienced lips against his own; soft and hesitant but wholly satisfying. Harry held his breath and lingered a little longer, holding the kiss steady before pulling away. Severus instantly licked his lips, tasting Harry, if only faintly. "Have you never kissed anyone before?" he asked gently. Harry's cheeks were tinted pink and he chewed on his lip.

"Um – girls, well, a girl. Why, was it bad? Did I do it wrong?"

Severus smiled lazily at the panic and reached out to caress Harry's jaw. "You did it beautifully, love. I was just curious is all." Harry grinned and then swallowed noisily.

"Can I try again?" he asked politely and Severus had to restrain his laugh. His middle felt tight and a little sore, he mightn't be up for laughing but he was definitely up for kissing. "I'll be better." Harry promised as an afterthought.

"I will kiss you," said Severus and a smirk quirked his lips. "Can I?" he asked and when Harry nodded eagerly Severus gripped a handful of the boy's shirt and pulled him down. Despite his injuries Severus was still in charge and dominate over Harry.

He crashed his lips against Harry's, hard enough to make the boy moan but with enough gentleness so not to hurt either of them. Harry's lips were clumsy, soft and quivering under Severus's and the older man smiled into the kiss, opening his lips to suck on the plump bottom lip offered to him, this made Harry mewl and he pressed closer, making the hospital bed creak as he did so. Severus muffled his own moan when Harry bit softly at his lips – the boy was brazen. But something about the unpredictable kid made Severus feel lightheaded and wanton.

Tugging at Harry's shirt he tilted his head to get a better angle, Harry's hands were in his hair, pulling almost painfully. He didn't mind, his world was centered down to lips-on-lips and tongue-against-tongue. He teased Harry's shy tongue, flicking against it with his own and then leaving Harry's mouth empty, until Harry hesitantly joined in the game and chased Severus's tongue back. It was a guilty, messy, fervent kiss and Severus wasn't sure whether it would have happened had they not been through hell the past few days. It didn't matter. Not really. Not when he had an armful of beautiful boy and a clumsy tongue demanding attention.

The kiss was interrupted by the sound of voices outside the door, Severus was the first to pull away, albeit reluctantly. "Keep kissing –?" muttered Harry somewhat loudly, Severus brushed a quick kiss over the boy's swollen lips and gestured to the door.

"Someone's coming."

Harry frowned, leaning back in, "Quick kiss then?" he asked cheekily and bit Severus's bottom lip playfully. Mock-glaring Severus clouted the boy's elbow, none too gently either. "Meany."

The door opened and both of them turned their attention on the elderly male at the doorway, behind him stood a busty young woman who smiled kindly at the both of them when she noticed them staring. "Mr. Snape, how are you feeling? It's good to see you've come around." The white haired man said, his voice was raspy as though he had been coughing a lot. Severus gave him a tight smile.

"I feel fine, Doctor –?"

"Sorass." Severus noticed Harry was stifling giggles, and shot the boy a glare. "You've had Harry here at your bedside for the past few days, never left you once." The doctor smiled at Harry and then moved fully into the room. The nurse followed his every step closely.

"How long have I been here, Doctor Sorass?" inquired Severus.

"Four days now, we've kept your dosage of morphine high. You weren't in the best of health when you arrived." He stated matter-of-factly, "I'll take a look at you, make sure everything's healing okay and then you can rest." Severus nodded stiffly and allowed the nurse and doctor to go about checking his wounds. The stab wound in the chest was bad and it hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. His abdomen wasn't as severe although the doctor made sure Severus promised to only do light duties once he was released.

"You know," Harry said idly once the pair had left the room, and finally left a grumpy Severus alone, "His name sounds like sore-ass." Severus pursed his lips and stared at Harry, the boy gazed back at him gravely.

"Are you always so childish?"

"You're smiling!"

"I am not, don't be silly."

"Sev, I can see you smiling."

"Don't call me that."

-SSHP-

It was late afternoon that Severus was disturbed by a knock on the hospital door. He was groggy from the morphine and in pain, which was to be expected, but he was thoroughly milking it while he could. Harry was asleep by his bedside, slumped half out of the chair and snoring softly. Aside from a slight concussion and a nasty wound in the form of 'naughty boy' on his stomach he was in good health. Severus's blood had burned when he had seen the wound. The bitch had carved the words into Harry's flesh.

"Come in," he said quietly, flicking his gaze to Harry. The boy hadn't woken.

"Ah – Mr. Snape, it’s good to finally meet you." Severus's heart leaped into his throat and, morphine forgotten, his body was wide awake as he stared at the police officer in the doorway. The man was smiling at him, which inevitably put him off. "I come bearing news of Hestia Tinkleburn." The officer elaborated. Severus nodded.

"– got to get the elves home, Santa."

Both men looked to Harry as he mumbled vocally before snorting and resuming his snoring once more. "How are you feeling?" the man asked, taking it upon himself to perch on the edge of the bed. He held a clipboard to his chest and watched Severus expectantly.

"Like I've been broken and repaired with glue and tape, but otherwise fine. You said you have news?"

"Ah, yes," the man gave an impish smile and looked to his clipboard, "I'm Officer Reynolds, by the way. You've had quite the rough few days by the looks of things." Reynolds gave a chuckle to himself and Severus held back his sigh. He wished the man would start with the information.

"Hestia has been detained at an inpatient treatment facility for the mentally unstable. She is being charged with first degree murder, for her husband, and battery and attempted murder for you and Mr. Potter. In relation to the harm she has inflicted upon the pair of you she will be trailed in a Court of Law and sentenced the maximum sentence."

Severus just nodded, not really sure he wanted to know what was to happen to the old woman. "And Harry and I?" Reynolds looked confused for a brief second.

"What do you mean?" he inquired and pushed aside his thick bangs.

Severus pinched the bridge of his nose, "Are we in trouble?" he said simply. The officer chuckled loudly and Harry snorted again.

"Of course not. You are the victims here, Mr. Snape. The police department done everything they could to warn you after the armed-robber escaped from the café, we thought perhaps he was coming after you,"

"You were chasing us." Severus deadpanned as if the piece of information was common-sense.

"No, you left. We got the story straighten out by Mr. Berkin's, he said you fought for the weapon –"

"I shot a police officer." Reynolds nodded his agreement.

"Yes, but he had protection in the form of a bullet-proof jacket. We understand that our initial thought on you being one of the robbers was incorrect. You fled the scene too quickly for us to get the story from you."

"You came to my house, broke down my door." Severus was sitting up now, it hurt his stomach but he managed it.

"Constable Linda did, yes, she was checking in on you,"

"Why?"

"One of the robbers escaped as mentioned, we chased him, however, he got away. We had to take every precaution possible; he is an infamous robber and has been known for battery. We feared he might try and track you down."

"So the police at my house were trying to protect me?"

Officer Reynolds smiled, "I supposed we all had it a bit backwards. Had you known we were not after you, and indeed looking for you to make sure you were safe, this whole scenario could have been avoided." He gave an ironic chuckle and shook his head.

"So let me get this straight," Severus and Reynolds both startled and looked over at a very much awake Harry. "The police make a mistake by identifying Sev as a robber, the people in the café straighten this notion out, but by then we have already fled in fear of being punished. Linda shows up at Severus's house, didn't bother to ring, but it was all in good grace, she wanted to know if Severus was safe and to straighten everything out. Then we run, get caught up with a loony old lady, almost get offed and then you tell us – oops, sorry, it was all some misunderstanding? We almost died! Severus almost died!"

Severus hushed Harry softly, reaching out and smoothing his palm across Harry's flushed cheek. Harry set his jaw but allowed the physical contact. It was sometime before Officer Reynolds spoke.

"It was a misfortunate series of events, Mr. Potter. Both sides made faults. And you are right, it would have been simpler to call. Under the circumstances, however, we had to be certain that Severus was not in danger." Reynolds was watching Harry calmly and Harry huffed and slumped back into his seat.

"This is fucked up."

Severus glowered at Harry's use of language until Reynolds laughed.

"That it is, Mr. Potter. On behalf of the police department I would like to offer an apology. We really are not a bunch of baffling baboons; however it may appear. All the best gentlemen. I hope your future dealings with our police division are not as unpleasant as this one, or as complicated."

The man got to his feet, sent a smile at each occupant and left with a little, modest bow in their direction.

"They're covering their asses, that's all there is to it. A misfortunate series of events? Cut the crap, they messed up big time. We could sue."

Severus rested back against his pillows, mentally drained from the conversation but relieved regardless, "Harry," he said softly.

"Mmm?"

"Be quiet, love. We made it through and we got an apology, that's good enough for me."

"You almost died, Sev." Harry whispered and Severus was startled by the sound of tears blocking the boy's throat. He rolled his head to look at Harry, who was trying to cover up his crying behind his hands.

"Harry, don't cry, babe." It was a new pet-name, Severus didn't notice he had said it but the title got Harry's attention and he blushed fitfully. Peeking coy little glances at Severus from underneath his lashes. "C'mere," said the author, holding out his arm and waiting for Harry to come over. Harry did so quickly, ducking into Severus's embrace with a hiccough.

"I'm sorry – it's just that I was so scared, and – and you were asleep for so long…"

Severus kissed the top of Harry's messy hair, murmuring sweet endearment into his ear comfortingly. Harry shifted until he was lying on the mattress next to Severus, cuddling as close to the older man as possible.

"There's nothing to be sorry about, Harry. You can cry, you've had a rough week, we both have. Let it out, love. Don't hold back the tears; it will make you feel worse if you do."

"Why aren't you crying?" Harry asked and his breath tickled Severus's neck. Warm and wet against his skin, making his body hum with tingles.

"Because I'm with you, and that makes me happy." It wasn't meant to sound so sappy or cheesy, but it spilled from his lips before he could self-censor. Harry gave a wet chuckle and sniffled, nuzzling his cheek into Severus's neck. It was an affectionate gesture, an intimate one.

"Thought you didn't need anyone. Thought you were celibate." Harry said with a stifled inlet of laughter. Severus rolled his eyes.

"I'm not celibate, and I've decided life is far too short – and highly unpredictable to spend alone."

"I wish I could be with you." Uttered Harry breathily, his arms cuddled Severus closer, mindful of the man's wounds. Severus took a deep breath, inhaling the sweet smell of Harry and the clean, bland smell of the hospital.

"You are with me. We're on a lumpy hospital bed, lying together."

Harry was silent for a moment, "I wish I was your boyfriend."

Severus's heart clamoured against his ribs, beating so intensely that he felt it might burst from his chest. Harry's tentative omission made his skin flush with an array of emotions. Fear, unease, want, happiness, hesitance – every emotion silenced him, it didn't matter, he had no words spare to speak anyhow. Blowing away a defiant strand of ebony hair Severus gripped Harry's smooth chin in his fingers, tilting the boy's face upwards.

"Too complicated," he said shortly, staring into Harry's wide, over bright eyes, "You are only visiting." Harry gave him a look that plainly said he was ruining everything. Severus had to be the one who saw sense, seems as how Harry had taken the job of daydreaming about absurd possibilities.

"I want you so bad, Severus," Harry said and the words left warm breath fluttering against the author's lips. "We could work something out. It doesn't have to be complicated."

"It is though, Harry."

The room was quiet for a few slow passing minutes.

"I know." Harry conceded softly, finally. Snuggling into the older man's embrace he tucked his head under Severus's chin and sighed.

-SSHP-

"You promised a new book by December, Severus,"

"No, you made that promise." Severus said to his mobile sternly. It had been all of one week since he had been released from the hospital and allowed to go home, his injuries were still tender and delicate but he was feeling livelier. His publisher, however, was starting to make him weary.

The other end of the line was silent for a second and Severus could hear shuffling papers, "I know what you have been through, a terrible event if there ever was one," the woman said, "you must understand my position here though Severus, that we had a deadline –"

"You had a deadline." Severus corrected and held the mobile to his ear using his shoulder as he poured himself some whiskey. The amber liquid smelt strong and bitter, Severus took an immediate sip. The woman audibly sighed and Severus smirked to himself. At least he wasn't the only one exasperated by this conversation.

"Any book, Severus," she pleaded quietly. "Have you written any manuscript at all, no matter how rough it is. I need something." Severus dropped his empty glass to the counter and ambled into the living room. The sofa reminded him of a sleeping Harry and he pursed his lips. The boy had been busy sorting things out with his school and no doubt had many assignments to catch up on. Severus hadn't seen or heard from him for going on a week now.

"Severus…?"

"I have one." He replied, his voice barely above a whisper.

The woman gave a cheer, "I need the title," she exclaimed and Severus could imagine her readying her pen and paper.

"It's untitled. Let's call it – Muse." He said pensively.

"A wonderful title," congratulated his publisher, Severus hated her when she was on his case, but her chipper mood was just as bad. "Is the manuscript finished?" she questioned.

"Yes, I finished it while in the hospital." Replied the author as he swiped a hand through his long hair. He wasn't certain he wanted to share Muse with anyone, it was a personal story, a written account of what Harry and himself had gone through. The ordeal, the banter, the eventual attraction – well, the attraction had been there from the get-go, but it had definitely grown stronger the more time he spent around the boy.

Severus couldn't restrain the smile that touched his lips at the memory of Harry's soft, warm lips touching his for the first, hesitant and wholly inexperienced kiss they shared. After Harry had confessed he wanted to be Severus's boyfriend they had kept at a distance, and while Harry had visited him whenever possible at the hospital, Severus made it clear nothing further would happen. It hurt him to have Harry so close, it tested his self-control with such a beautiful boy beside him, but he had managed.

"And in a few days he will be leaving anyway."

"What was that, Severus?" inquired his publisher. Severus shook his head, berating himself for speaking his thoughts out loud.

"Nothing, Camille. I'll post out the manuscript first thing tomorrow morning if that is alright by you?"

The shuffling of more paper could be heard on the line and absently Severus wondered just how much paper Camille was surrounded by. Finally, she cleared her throat and answered. "That's fine, Severus. I look forward to reading your latest piece. All are wonderful of course. Is this erotica like the rest?"

Severus sat down on the sofa. "No, it's a romance one this time." He responded. Camille was quiet for a few seconds before tittering quietly.

"Not a genre you normally delve into. I thought erotica was raw and pure, and romance sappy and fake." She quipped and Severus would have glared at her if he hadn't been conversing over the phone with her.

"Call it a sudden burst of inspiration. My muse just couldn't escape it."

"I'll let you know when it arrives. Have a good evening, Severus."

"You too, Camille."

The line went dead quickly and Severus heaved a long suffering sigh. He flicked his gaze to the innocently sitting notebook on the coffee table and chewed his cheek. The notebook held his story, roughly written down over the past few weeks, it was a story close to Severus, and nothing he had previously written had been so meaningful to him. It shocked him how he could get sentimental over a few pages of writing. But he did, and he couldn't help the wistful frown that graced his lips as he thought of Harry.

Before he could dwell any longer the front door was knocked upon. Three hesitant taps. Severus got up, furrowing his brows, not many people called in on him. In fact he had very few friends at all. Curious the author went to the door.

"Whatever you're selling I'm not remotely interested." Severus said sternly as he pulled open the door. His eyes widened when he spotted Harry. The boy was standing awkwardly, fiddling with the thick overcoat he was wearing. A novelty beanie was on his head, making his messy hair sit flat. Severus was lost for words and it appeared Harry was also. They stood in silence for a good minute until Harry cleared his throat.

"Um – hi, I thought I'd drop by. See how you're doing and all. So, how are you doing?" Harry said timidly, Severus huffed laughter and shook his head.

"Nervous around me now, Harry?" he asked and smirked at the boy, Harry blushed under the dark gaze. "Bashful, perhaps. And I'm am fine, as good as to be expected." Harry nodded and licked his lips.

"Good, that's good," he sent Severus his customary lopsided smile and Severus's stomach flared with butterflies. He could pretend all he wanted that there was nothing between Harry and himself, but he'd be a lair if he did so. "It's cold, isn't it?" Harry's attempt at small talk was shamelessly obvious.

Severus leaned against the doorframe, he probably should have invited Harry inside. "It's winter, I'd be shocked if it was hot. What's with the bear hat?" he questioned and looked at the brown-eared beanie. Harry shrugged his shoulders, biting his bottom lip.

"I like it and it's warm."

Severus nodded, "Fair enough. It's cute."

"You're cute."

Harry covered his mouth with his hand and stared at Severus, his eyes as wide as saucers. Severus didn't allow the surprise he felt to show on his face and instead he raised his eyebrows. "You fail at flirting, kid." Severus said gruffly.

Harry sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. "You fail at hospitality. Do I need to freeze my bollocks off out here or are you going to invite me in?" he snapped and sniffed disdainfully. Severus smirked to cover his desire to smile.

"There's the boy I'm used to." He commented dryly and stepped aside, allowing a shivering Harry inside. Severus thought the boy must be making a show, considering it really wasn't all that cold outside. It was a tact to get inside, the older man wasn't dense, he knew that. He allowed Harry his small victory.

Severus followed Harry into the living room. "Do you want something, tea? Coffee?" he asked while watching Harry flop down onto the sofa like he had lived in Severus's apartment for years. Harry shrugged and adjusted his beanie.

"I only want one thing, Severus." He replied and looked directly at the tall man, his green eyes wide. Severus looked away and busied himself with tidying up a stack of magazines on the coffee table, dutifully ignoring the obvious fact they were already neatly stacked and perfectly ordered. He just needed to keep his hands busy.

"No need to sound so solemn, Harry. It's only a choice between tea and coffee."

Harry shook his head in annoyance and crossed his legs; it was only then that Severus noticed the tight black pants the boy was wearing. The very same pair he had brought him in the over-heated shop. They looked fantastic and clung to Harry's slim legs and hips.

"I don't want neither." Harry stated loudly, Severus bit the inside of his cheek and continued to fuss over the magazines. "Would you look at me, please?" Harry exclaimed and the note of pleading in his voice made Severus snap his head up. He hated staring into Harry's eyes. He loved it also. He could always read the emotions that clouded the emerald green. It was times like this however, that he wished he couldn't. Not when such innocent, wide eyes held hurt.

"So, no drink then." Responded Severus under his breath. Harry caught it and made an odd noise in the back of his throat, somewhere between a groan and a scream.

"Just stop avoiding the subject. I want you. Can't we just talk like two adults?"

"It's not happening, Harry."

"Well not when you act childish and refuse to meet my gaze."

"Not the acting like adult’s part, boy. The – relationship, or whatever it is you want."

Harry stood up so abruptly it made Severus flinch, for a moment he thought the boy was going to storm out and leave, that is until Harry crossed the room and stood inches apart from him. He was breathing heavily and glaring. Severus's nostrils flared when the scent of mint and aniseed caught his senses. Why did Harry have to smell so good?

"I want to be with you. Why is that such a laughable notion? I like you, Severus. I have done for a while, although it took some crazed necrophiliac to make me accept my feelings."

Severus took a step backwards, away from Harry. "I don't like you Harry and I don't want to be with you." The confused and conflicted emotion that passed over Harry's youthful face almost broke Severus's defiance. Harry nibbled on his lip and stared at the ground for a long moment before speaking.

"You kissed me –"

"It meant nothing."

"You called me 'love'." Harry said boldly and lifted his over bright eyes to stare up at Severus. Harry looked so small, so pitiful standing with his bear-beanie on and tears dancing in his eyes. Severus frowned and then let out a growl of frustration, turning away from Harry he stalked out of the room. He could hear the boy following close behind and hurriedly wiped away the few tears he had let fall.

-SSHP-

"Leave me be, Harry." He said when the dark-haired boy approached the doorway to his bedroom. Severus sat heavily on the mattress, pointedly not looking at Harry. Harry didn't make a move to leave and Severus buried his face in his hands. "I'm not accustomed to breaking boy's hearts, especially not pretty little things such as you. But you must understand that this won't work between us. A relationship is out of the question. I'm far too old for you –"

"You're only thirty-two!"

"You are young and have your whole life to find someone special. And I need not mention that you are only here with your school. What happens when you leave? This won’t work."

The mattress dipped slightly as Harry sat down next to Severus, his warm body lightly brushing against Severus's arm. "Are you afraid?" Harry asked quietly, Severus lifted his head and looked at the boy. "It's alright if you are. I am too, I've never been with a man before, but this isn't some passing fancy or a means to sate my curiosity. You – you are attractive and kind, if a little snarky," Severus scowled at the jibe. "And you always keep me entertained and – and, I don't know. I just really like you."

Staring unseeingly at the wall Severus considered the implications. He could send Harry away, upset and turned down, but better off for it. Or he could admit his feelings for the brat, keep him for himself and be selfish.

"And if you find out this was a mistake?"

Harry shook his head and reached out to touch the older man's thigh, caressing Severus through the material of his pants. "I won't." he promised and Severus had reason to believe he was telling the truth, Harry stared earnestly into Severus's eyes, so fixedly. "I'm close to finishing school, and once I do I can rent an apartment here. It would work, I'd try my best."

"Do you have any idea how much it would cost to move here and rent an apartment, Harry?"

"Not really. I could always visit on holidays." Harry said thoughtfully.

Severus shifted to face Harry and took a long breath. "We would be insane to even attempt such a relationship." He finally said and Harry's brows pinched.

"More insane then say, running from the police and taking out a corpse infatuated old lady?" Harry deadpanned and kept his face completely staid. Severus turned away. "Please give me a chance. I might be clumsy when it comes to relationship stuff, and I know I'm not very experienced at kissing and the likes, but I don't want to just forget about you when I go home." Small, gentle hands cupped Severus's face and he jumped slightly but allowed Harry to move his head around.

"I like you. Please let me have you as my boyfriend." Whispered Harry before closing the gap between them and touching his lips against Severus's, it was a brief, brush of mouths and over too quickly. Leaning forward the author snaked one arm around Harry's neck and tugged the youth closer. With sure lips he kissed Harry thoroughly, sliding his tongue into the warm, wet cavern of the boy's mouth and lapping at his cheeks and tongue and teeth until Harry was a wriggling, moaning, lustful mess in his arms. Severus showed the boy how proper kissing was done.

They broke apart when the need for air overpowered their desire. Gasping in a mouthful of air Severus released Harry. "You want to be my boyfriend?" he asked huskily and Harry nodded shyly, a glimmer of hope dancing in his green eyes. Severus sighed from his nose. "Give me your number."

Harry pulled a face. "What? Why?" he inquired. Severus rolled his eyes heavenwards.

"So I can ring you once you return home. How else am I to keep in touch with my boyfriend?" the title was foreign on his lips and it felt strange saying it out loud, but Severus couldn't deny it was wonderful to be able to claim Harry as his own.

Harry gaped at him for a moment, resembling a guppy entirely too much. "Are you serious?" he uttered breathlessly.

"Yes, however, if you do not wish to be together then that's fine."

"What? I never said that!"

"Didn't give me your number either."

"I'm having my moment of joy, let me enjoy this moment." Harry snapped and tapped Severus lightly on the jaw. Severus growled in what was meant to be in warning, but it came out playful. Harry smiled cheekily.

"Don't hit me." Severus said shortly.

"Or what?"

"I'll tie you up and have my wicked way with you!" It was an idle threat, one that Severus quite liked the sound of, it got the reaction he was aiming for however and he watched with pleasure when Harry flushed, the pink staining his nose and cheeks.

"Or you could kiss me?" Harry added with a rakish wink, recovering quickly from his embarrassment. Severus also liked the sound of that idea and obliged his little lover with an open-mouthed kiss, sweet and soft. "I like the way you kiss me." Harry muttered when they had broken apart.

"I like you."

"Good."

And it was. As difficult as the coming weeks would be Severus knew that they would overcome the obstacles in their way. Hell, they had taken on a mad-woman and lived to tell the tale. A long-distance relationship would be easy in comparison.

Smiling contently, he reached out and dragged a pliable Harry back into his arms for another thorough snog.

-The End-

Chapter Text

The smooth surface of the table seemed like the perfect place to keep his forehead against for the rest of his life. Perhaps banging his head against the wood might knock an idea loose in his brain and help him conquer his writing block.

Severus had spent the last two hours staring blankly at his empty pad, watching the ruled lines taunt him. He was at a standstill, his muse was on vacation and nothing he wrote read any good. In fact, his entire brain was a pile of mush that refused to do any work in thinking up creative story ideas. In short, his mood was sour and the deep scowl that pulled at his lips was growing surlier.

The kitchen was quiet, strangely enough. Harry had been spending most his time over at Severus's apartment, he was due to leave with his school in a few days. The thought of having the boy gone was almost as gut twisting as the thought of having him messing up his organized home.

"You know, if you keep banging your head like that you'll hurt yourself." Severus sneered at the table top, refusing to look up at Harry. He hadn't heard the boy enter the kitchen.

Bunching his finger in his long hair, Severus tugged, "I'm past the point of caring." He replied shortly, Harry huffed a small breath of laughter and moved closer. "Why are you bothering me?"

Dragging out a chair Harry sat down heavily, sprawling untidily as he usually did. "Maybe I could help?" he offered, Severus lifted his head, Harry's lips were twisted into a lopsided grin and his brows were in his hairline in question. It was true that most Severus's muse had come from Harry in the few weeks he had known the boy, however he couldn't get used to having a source of inspiration when Harry was to be leaving anyway.

"How do you propose to do that?" Severus drawled silkily, he watched Harry's lashes flutter as the boy looked to his lips, a sure sign his little lover wanted kisses. "It's an erotic fiction, something I doubt you'd have much knowledge of." Harry scrunched his nose up in annoyance.

"I'm not useless, tell me what you need inspiration for and I'll see if I can help," Dubiously looking at Harry Severus sighed through his nose. "Tell me, I want to help." Harry whined and Severus shook his head, not allowing the kid to see the smile that his antics brought to Severus's lips.

"I'm up to a sex scene, not a very graphic one," the tickle of a blush that climbed Harry's neck and stained his cheeks was amusing, "I need it to be something like a blowjob. That is where one character sucks –"

"I know what a blowjob is!" Harry snapped and crossed his arms across his chest petulantly, "I'm not an idiot."

Severus smirked. "What a surprise. I'd never have guessed." He got a kick under the table for his words, without missing a beat he kicked Harry back soundly, relishing the startled gasp and narrowed green eyes. "Have you given a blowjob?" teased Severus softly.

"You know damn well I haven't you git. But I am old enough to have heard about it, you know."

Leaning forward and resting his elbows on the table Severus studied Harry, the boy fidgeted under the intense scrutiny. "Has anyone ever given you a blowjob?" it was an abrupt question; Severus was well aware of that, he wasn't the type of man to dance around a subject. It's the reason he wrote erotica and not romance.

Spluttering Harry blanched of colour. "That's personal!" he squeaked out loudly. Severus couldn't contain the chuckle that bubbled in his throat.

"You're my boyfriend; I think I have the right to know. Don't blush, love," Severus reached out and ran his palm down Harry's flushed cheek, the boy's skin was warm and soft and much smoother than most men's. "It does wicked things to my cock." It was obvious that Harry wasn't use to Severus's bluntness just yet. He buried his face in his hands and muttered something unintelligible.

"One girl gave me one last year."

Severus perked up, not having expected an answer. His interest was piqued and so was his possessiveness. Standing up from his chair he walked around the small table and stood next to Harry.

"Who was it?"

Shrugging Harry frowned. "Just some classmate. Cho Chang, it was rather awkward." He admitted. Severus gave a bay of laughter.

"First time always is." He soothed, Harry glared up at him when he ruffled the silky raven hair. "Did you get off?" Harry gave a curt nod in response. "Quickly?"

"Took about four minutes."

Severus smiled. His first blowjob had been quick and messy and all too unsatisfying – most first time sexual encounters were anything but perfect and romantic, let alone fulfilling. It made his chest flutter with pleasure, just knowing Harry hadn't enjoyed the girl's mouth on him.

It was a few moment of content silence before Harry spoke up, his voice hesitant. "What's it like?" he queried, furrowing his brows Severus frowned at the question.

"What is what like?"

Severus could literally hear Harry's thick swallow and watched the boy's throat work around it. "Giving a guy a blowjob. What's it like?" Harry elaborated. It hadn't been the question Severus was ready for; he swallowed thickly himself and took a thoughtful breath.

"It's different at first, somewhat unpleasant, after a few tries it gets better. I find it most rewarding in knowing I'm causing my partners responses, making them a moaning and writhing mess. It's all very satisfying for me."

Harry rested his chin in his palm, "What does it taste like?"

"Semen?"

"Yes."

"Salty and sometimes sweet."

Harry nibbled on his bottom lip. "Do you like it?" he asked after a brief lapse in the conversation. Severus shrugged his shoulders, a gesture he had unwittingly picked up from Harry. In truth he didn't mind it, the taste differed from man to man, sometimes it was pleasant and other times it was gag-worthy.

"I don't mind it." He settled on saying, "I'm not crazy for cum, but I'm also not averse to it either. Why so curious all of a sudden?"

Harry shifted in his seat, shrugging one shoulder and pursing his lips. He wanted to say something; Severus wasn't an author who didn't notice the meaning of body language. Prodding his finger against Harry's temple he pushed the boy's head, purposely being vexing to get a reaction.

"Severus," Harry huffed under his breath and slapped his hand away gently. Severus raised his brows in question. "Can I try it?"

"Try what?"

"You know what." Harry said quickly, his narrowed eyes did nothing to make Severus feel even marginally threatened. The kid's expression was endearing, it made the author want to kiss away the naivety.

Moving to rest the small of his back against the tables edge Severus smirked at Harry, "I don't know what, for all I know you want to try making special brownies or try to spin a cocoon like a butterfly."

"Technically speaking it's the caterpillar that spins the cocoon," Harry stated stiffly and then promptly shook his head, as if the action would help put his mind back on track. "I want to try giving you – a, ah, I want to, you know."

Enjoying his little lovers floundering the older man did nothing to help him find the right words. "Tell me, Harry. Just say it, there's no need to be embarrassed about it. Tell me what you desire."

Green eyes were momentarily hidden when Harry closed his eyes, "I want to suck you off." He said in one breath. Squirmy feelings of lust and something akin to affection wriggled in Severus's stomach.

"You want to give me a blowjob?" he questioned quietly; Harry didn't open his eyes but nodded. "Say it, tell me what you want to do, and open those pretty eyes, love."

Harry did as he was asked. "Can I please give you a blow job, Severus?" it amazed Severus how steady the youth's voice was, it hitched only slightly, sticking to the boy's throat. It was as plain as day that Harry was all jittery nerves and trembling lips, and Severus took pity on him. It would be easier for Harry is Severus took control, this time at least.

"Because you've got such good manners I'll let you."

"Because you're horny you'll let me, I think you mean." Severus's lips quirked at the brazen response he got.

"That too," he conceded, pleased when Harry rolled his eyes but blushed fitfully.

Rubbing absently at his jaw Harry peeked up at Severus. "Where do you want to, you know, do it?" he asked. Severus didn't laugh at the apprehension in his voice; instead he let a wide smile drag at his lips and crouched down on the floor in front of Harry.

"Why not in here, I don't see a problem with it." He said in a whisper, he steadied his balance by holding onto Harry's thighs, something that got him a soft gasp in return. "Let's change positions though," decided Severus, Harry nodded and hurried to comply.

Once their positions had been altered they sat in silence, Harry was kneeling between Severus's thighs, his small hands gripping the man's pants. Severus wasn't pushing for anything, he didn't disrupt the quiet, he just sat back and waited for Harry to make his move.

It was somewhat difficult not to lean down and capture Harry's soft lips with his when the kid licked them, wetting them with a sheen of saliva.

"Will you tell me if I do it wrong?"

"Of course, love. Just go at your own pace, there's no rush. It's your first time, relax and enjoy it." Nodding his agreement Harry worried his lip between his teeth, the gesture reminding Severus of something, "and Harry," said boy looked up expectantly, "no teeth. You use your teeth and I'll have to spank you." It was a threat Severus fully intended to follow through on. Harry knew it and he grinned.

"No teeth, I promise." Without any warning Harry lifted his shaky hands and ran his palms along Severus's denim covered thighs. The warmth of his body causing tingles of want to prickle at the man's skin. "I'm nervous." The admittance was almost inaudible.

Resting one of his hands on top of Harry's unruly hair and the other over one of his exploring hands Severus hummed in his throat, "I know, love. There's no need to be. I won't force you to do anything you don't want to. Would you prefer me to give you a blowjob instead?"

It was a tempting offer even for himself; he had wanted to see Harry's cock for quite some time. Sucking it and tasting it would be a bonus. Harry shook his head however and gently nudged Severus's hand away from his own, he continued to smooth his palms up and down Severus's thighs, squeezing sporadically.

"I want to try it; I want to taste you." Severus resisted a groan of appreciation at the words and touch, he felt like a wanton teenager again, getting hard over a simple caress and a few decidedly innocent words. "I don't know if I'll like it, but, I want to do it."

The pressure of a palm pressing against his crotch was enough to make Severus hummed, pleasure buzzed in his bones, building as Harry's hand squeezed and rubbed his hardening cock through his jeans.

"I've never touched another man's cock before," Harry's voice was soft and awe filled, "I like it." A tugging at the waistband of his jeans was the only warning before the button was popped and zipper undone. "Can I touch you?"

"You don't need to ask, Harry. Just do it."

It was with gentle, soft hands that Harry reached inside his pants and wrapped his fingers around Severus's half-hard length. The touch was a brush of smooth, slightly clammy skin against silky flesh, it was too light and when Harry moved his fist up and down slowly it wasn't quick enough, wasn't firm enough, but gods if it wasn't absolutely perfect.

"How's that?" panted Harry, twisting his wrist and tugging a bit more forcefully at Severus's cock. "Doing it alright?"

"Yes," it was all Severus could manage; he tipped his head back, relaxing it against the chair as he closed his eyes and just felt. Felt the sweaty grip around his hard cock, felt the ghost of Harry's breath against the sliver of exposed belly, felt the pleasure hum in his veins.

He didn't need to warn Harry that if he kept up the sloppy hand-job he'd have cum everywhere within a few minutes for Harry stopped and tugged at Severus's jeans. Trying to drag them off.

"Help me out, Sev," he grunted and Severus nimbly lifted his hips, allowing Harry to effectively remove his pants. The cool air of the kitchen flushed against his exposed erection. "No teeth." Severus heard Harry mutter, he was about to smile and make a witty remark but his words were caught in his throat when a hot wetness engulfed his cock.

Swallowing down his forgotten remark Severus let a guttural moan fall from his lips. Harry's mouth was warm and slick, it didn't matter that the kid couldn't take all of his cock in at once, or that dribbles of saliva were trailing down his shaft and balls, the sensation of Harry's sucking and the knowledge that it was Harry who was lapping hungrily at his cock made Severus's pleasure increase tenfold.

Daring a look down at the boy, Severus risked coming and peeked at the boy between his legs. Harry's eyes were closed, shut so tightly his lashes fluttered, his cheeks were hollowed, sucking forcefully and making Severus's cock twitch pleasantly. Small hands were on either of the author's thighs, gripping at his legs and surely leaving marks.

"You're doing well, love." It was approval, Severus noticed that his voice was husky and thick; Harry apparently understood his words for he hummed happily, an action that had his older lover arching his back and pushing his hips forward. "Sorry," apologised Severus when Harry gagged, he made a mental note to keep his humping to a minimum and threaded his finger into Harry's hair. He didn't guide him or push the boy further onto his cock; he held the silky hair to show Harry he was there if he needed him.

Harry begun to bob his head, it was slow at first, he was getting use to the feeling of the thick, long shaft sliding down his throat. "Oh, that feels good," Severus hissed, clutching the hair in his hand tight, it was a wonder Harry didn't cry out from pain.

The feel of wet and hot was blissful; Severus couldn't deny that Harry had a talented mouth. He was messy when sucking and found it hard to set a steady rhythm but his lips and tongue were wonderfully sinful and done such wicked things to Severus that his cock started leaking pre-cum.

It wasn't a surprise when Harry pulled back, his tongue licking at his swollen lips, "You're close," it was a statement, however, Severus answered regardless.

"Yes and you've stopped."

"Tasted funny," Harry wasn't looking up at him; his attention was focused on the pearly drops dribbling from the head of Severus's cock. Sucking his bottom lip into his mouth Harry collected the sticky fluid on the tip of his finger. "Pre-cum," he stated to himself and then lifted his finger up, placing it against Severus's lips. It was a gesture that confirmed Harry had a bit of a kink. Severus was an obliging man and sucked the tip of Harry's finger clean, tasting himself.

Grinning Harry stuck out his tongue, making a show of licking away the rest of the fluid, cleaning the cock before him. It was a sight that any man would die to experience, Severus's heart raced, beating its melody against his ribs.

"You're a tease," he mumbled to Harry, his fingers dancing across the boy's smooth chin, Harry chortled. "Are you going to finish the job?" Sitting back on his heels Harry revealed the tent in his pants, it made Severus's body rush with lust in knowing Harry was turned on by sucking cock.

"If I finish you off, will you finish me off?"

It was a question that needn't be asked. Severus would jump at the chance to suck Harry off. "My pleasure," he purred, he noticed the shiver that trembled through Harry's body, and he loved how his voice could get a reaction from his boy.

Sitting back up onto his knees Harry sent a rakish glance up at Severus, and then he bent forwards, "I can't deep throat," he whispered against the hard cock, it jumped under the gentle brush of breath.

"It doesn't matter, love. I'll teach you one day."

The promise stilled Harry's nerves and he relaxed his shoulders, taking the erection between his lips and into his mouth. He sucked and licked the entire length, not stopping nor complaining when Severus thrust into him, humping urgently into his mouth.

It was testament to just how wrapped up in the pleasure Severus was that he didn't notice the coiling pleasure that burned in his stomach, his orgasm built up quickly and before he could shout a warning to Harry his cock pulsed and his muscles tightened. It was a forceful jolt of pleasure that racked his bones, taking his breath away and leaving him to cry out hoarsely as he came, shooting warm jets of cum down Harry's throat.

Harry pulled back, coughing and wiping away the cum that had dribbled down his chin. Too hazed and content to apologise Severus smiled down at the pouting boy.

"Mmm?" he hummed a lax sprawl of gratified man. Harry licked his lips and swallowed noticeably.

"I don't know if I liked the taste much," he said after a moment of silence, Severus chuckled quietly, "but it felt good when you came in my mouth." He admitted shyly. Severus lifted his chin from his chest and stared at his boy. Green eyes were shadowed by inky black, lustful and hungry. His pants were tight and skin slick with perspiration.

"Kiss me –?"

The request was unexpected, although Severus thought perhaps it shouldn't have been, Harry had just given pleasure to a man for the first time, it was expected that he seek comfort and praise afterwards. Reaching down and dragging the boy up from the ground Severus smashed their lips together firmly. It was a possessive kiss, full of lust and want.

A moan that could have come for either of them was swallowed and Severus cupped the back of Harry's head. Softening the kiss, he allowed Harry to settle on his lap, an armful of aroused, warm boy was more than welcome after a satisfying blowjob.

"Did I do good?" Harry questioned once they had broken apart with a wet, dirty sound of smacking lips. Severus nodded.

"You did very well, you should be pleased with yourself." It was obvious Harry was extremely pleased with himself, his grin was just that little bit too wide and the cocky tilt to his head made Severus want to laugh. He didn't, however. He wouldn't want Harry to think he was laughing at him – even when he kind of was.

Settling for brushing a kiss across Harry's cheek he wrapped his arms tight around the slim body. "You said she brought you off in four minutes?"

"What?" Harry asked.

"Cho Chang, she made you come in four minutes."

Harry's nose heated in a blush; even after sucking Severus to an orgasm he was bashful about sex. Severus deduced it must just be in his nature to be coy. "Oh, yeah. Yeah she did."

"I bet I could do better than that."

Severus caught the smirk that flittered across Harry's mouth. "Oh really?"

"Yes, I'll bring you off in two minutes flat." Promised the author confidently. If Harry had only received one blow job, and from schoolgirl at that, he'd have no problem bringing the kid off quickly. Severus knew how to give a damn good blowjob.

"And if you can't?"

"I will, there's no question about it." Laughing Harry butted his nose against Severus's and kissed his lips quickly, it was chaste and sweet. "Let's change positions again?"

"Yeah," breathed Harry heavily and he slid down off Severus's lap, managing to rub his body against Severus's in a deliciously seductive manner, whether it was purposely done or not Severus wasn't sure. Probably not, knowing Harry, he had little awareness just how attractive he was or how hot and bothered he made Severus.

Harry looked good sitting in the chair, his legs spread slightly and his hands twisting in his T-shirt. He was nervous. "Relax, this will feel good." Taking a deep breath Harry let his nerves disappear.

It was the first time Severus had been allowed to touch Harry – sure they had groped and made out fervently in the time Harry had spent over at his apartment but they had never gone beyond that. Now, however, he had a gorgeous young man willingly sitting before him, waiting for his touch. Severus didn't make Harry wait long; he set to work opening the boy's jeans, not making any move to pull them off.

Touching his palm to the bulge in the jeans Severus bit the inside of his cheek, his mouth watering with anticipation. He couldn't wait to take Harry's cock deep into his throat.

"Start timing, love." He said.


 

Harry hissed through his teeth as Severus slipped his hand inside his briefs and fisted his erection with sure movements. There was no hesitation in the man's grip, no shake of his hand, just pure talent.

"Oh, that feels really good, Severus…" Harry moaned out his desire, humping his hips forward in time with each pump of his cock. It felt so good, too good. He had never thought a hand-job could be so wonderful or arousing. There was something about Severus's dry, warm palm that made his stomach twist and knot pleasurably with squirmy feelings of lust.

Severus grunted, his hand speeding up, Harry shouted a profanity into the kitchen and helplessly bucked and writhed, pushing his crotch shamelessly against the older man's hand.

"That's a good boy," purred Severus throatily, Harry was dimly aware that his jeans were being removed; he let the author slip them off his legs, the skilful hand still fisting his throbbing shaft. "I'm going to make you scream nice and loud for me." The words were enough incentive for Harry to let loose a groan, his hands sort out the dark hair and he tugged at it.

"Please, please, please." What Harry was begging for he wasn't certain, all he knew was that Severus had one major talent for giving hand-jobs and that he wanted the man to hurry up and suck him already. It wasn't long before his wish was granted and Severus went down on him.

The wetness was a surprise, not that Harry hadn't felt that with Cho, it was just different, it seemed hotter and slippery and so bloody good. Was it because it was a man sucking on his cock? No, it was because it was Severus. Harry was well aware that he didn't want any other guy near his cock.

The kitchen was silent save for the wet noises Severus was making, Harry tried to control his moaning, hoping not to come across slutty, but gods it was hard when he had such a forceful, warm, wet mouth around his erection. "Sev, I'm – I'm so close."

Humming Severus ran his palms up Harry's thighs, firmly holding on to them, it was all the go-ahead Harry needed and he succumbed to the roiling pleasure that spiked his veins and made his head dizzy. His climax claimed his body slowly, wrapping around his cock before shooting up his spine, Harry arched painfully, groaning and panting so loudly he wouldn't have been surprised if the neighbours had heard him.

When the last of his pleasure left his heavy limbs Harry closed his eyes briefly, breathing through his nose and feeling extremely replete and sleepy.

"You taste sweet," Opening his eyes lazily Harry looked down at Severus; the man was licking his lips and swallowing Harry's cum greedily. The sight made him moan under his breath. "Oh, and I believe I got you off in under two minutes." The smugness in the man's voice was thick, but Harry couldn't be bothered to do much about it. He stretched his arms above his head, yawning.

"I think I quite like getting blowjobs from you." Severus chuckled, getting to his feet swiftly.

"Good, I like giving you them to you." Harry happily received the kiss Severus gave him, opening his mouth just a little. Severus mashed their mouths together before licking at Harry's tongue with his own. The faint taste of something sweet, sticky and indistinctly sour made Harry's softening cock twitch interestedly. Pulling away Severus smirked at him.

"Do you like how you taste?" he questioned, running his fingertips down Harry's covered chest, he stopped just before the boy's cock.

Lifting his hips and hoping for some contact Harry shrugged, "You tasted better." And Severus had. At first Harry had been off put by the thick white cum that had rushed into his mouth, it tasted like nothing he had savoured before, but like Severus had said earlier, it wasn't wholly unpleasant and Harry thought he could get use to swallowing cum.

"Mmm," Severus's response was quiet, a hum in his chest that rumbled. Harry forced his lazy body to comply with his want and he sat up straighter, demanding another kiss from his partner. Severus smiled and nipped Harry's bottom lip.

"Did I help you find your muse?" Harry queried, he was dragged up into a cuddle by an insistent Severus. Both were naked from the waist down, it sent pleasure to flutter in Harry's chest when his cock brushed against Severus's.

"You always do, darling."

"Good, are you going to write?"

"No, I think I'll just hold you for a while longer."

Harry was perfectly content with Severus's answer and he rested his head against the man's broad shoulder, nuzzling close and holding his boyfriend near to him. Harry was immensely proud of helping Severus overcome his writing block and was also quietly smug about giving Severus a reasonable blowjob. All in all, Harry thought his evening had turned out rather well.