TEAM PHOENIX ENTRY: Shadowess "Effleurage" Title:Effleurage Author:shadowess Team: Phoenix Genre(s): Alternate Reality *Hover/Click for Games Definition of Alternate Reality* and Romance Prompt(s): Flesh Memory Rating/Warnings/Kinks: R Word Count: 6356 Summary: Lucius suggests to Severus that he should go see a Massage Therapist. A/N: Much thanks to my wonderful Team who helped me flesh (harhar) out this story. Kudo to my beloved betas Ketsurui and Alicia Masters, as well as Venivincere who listened to my moaning and provided encouraging words. I'm weeks away from becoming a Registered Massage Therapist in Ontario hence my choice of Massage Therapist!Harry. This fic allowed me to explore a little more into my profession as well as spread the word. Go see your Massage Therapist! Just don't fall in love with them ^_^ Disclaimer: I don't own them, I'm just letting them play in my world
With a sigh, Ron moved his rook to take the computer's bishop. The door to the clinic opened and Ron quickly glanced up though his fringe and groaned. Turning back to his game, he moved a pawn into a better position to guard his king. A shadow fell over Ron, and a leather-gloved hand came to rest on the counter. Leaning closer to the computer, Ron pointedly ignored the throat clearing. The gloved hand lifted and after a moment a pale, long fingered hand was tapping on the counter. A firm, annoyed voice called, "Mr. Weasley." Ron looked up as if coming out of a stupor, an over wide smile on his lips.
"Oh, Mr. Malfoy, I didn't see you there. You're here for your one o'clock?"
"Quite," Mr. Malfoy replied with a sniff. "Please let Harry know that I'm here." Ron bit his lip.
"Yes, of course, Mr. Malfoy. Please have a seat." Ron indicated to the soft chairs in the waiting area. Next to Malfoy was another gentleman who was wearing a sweeping black trench coat and what could only be described a scowl on his face. Malfoy turned back to Ron.
"Mr. Weasley, this is my associate Severus Snape. I would like for him to have an appointment with Harry." Ron frowned and pulled up the daily schedule tracker.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Snape, but Harry doesn't have any openings today." Severus appeared pleased with this news and turned to Malfoy,
"I told you, Lucius, that your massage therapist wouldn't be able to fit me in on such short notice. You may own this building, but I sincerely doubt that appointments open to your whims. Regardless of how wondrous you believe this Harry is, I'll consider your suggestion and possibly book an appointment at a later date." Severus turned to leave but Malfoy placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Now, don't go rushing off, Severus, I'll have you know that Harry will be able to see you today."
Ron piped in, "Umm, Mr. Malfoy, I told you already that Harry is fully booked for today." Malfoy smirked.
"That may be true, but I happen know that my son has a massage booked with Harry at 2:30 and Draco is unable to make his appointment." Severus looked murderous, Malfoy smug and Ron confused.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Malfoy, but your son hasn't called to cancel his-"The phone rang; Ron picked it up. "Hello! Phoenix Massage and Chiropractic Clinic, how may I help you?" Ron's eyes flicked up to glance at Malfoy. "Yes, Mr. Malfoy, your father just informed me that you won't be able to make your appointment today." Ron paused to listen. "Yes, it's alright, normally we would require the courtesy of calling 24 hours in advance, but we have someone who's available to take your appointment." Ron readjusted the phone on his shoulder and took up the mouse. "Yes, you are still scheduled for the same time two weeks from now, alright, thank you, Mr. Malfoy."
Ron hung up the phone and looked up at Malfoy who was wearing a smug expression, and then over to Snape. "Well it appears, Mr. Snape, that we have an opening at 2:30 if you would like to book an appointment."
Snape clenched his teeth and glared at Lucius. "Well, Lucius, I'm sure Draco will enjoy whatever you used to bribe him to cancel."
Lucius feigned being affronted, "Now, Severus, there's no need to be like that. I've been telling you for weeks that you should come and see Harry. It is most fortuitous that Draco happened to be called into an unscheduled meeting last minute. Besides, you just finished with that big case, you deserved today off, and you should enjoy it."
Lucius and Severus stared at each other for a moment and then Severus broke off and sighed, "Very well, Lucius, you get your way, as always. Why I cater to your whims, I cannot fathom. Mr. Weasley, I will take the available appointment." Ron looked between the two men and then nodded.
"Alright, Mr. Snape. Please fill out this health history form and return it to me. I'll set up a folder for you." Severus took the offered clipboard and forms and stormed over to the waiting area and threw himself into a chair. He hunched over the form and scribbled and slashed over the papers. Ron picked up the phone and dialled the inter-office extension. "Hey, Harry, I just wanted to let you know that Mr. Malfoy is here for his one o'clock. Yes, and Draco Malfoy won't be in today; he cancelled last minute." Ron paused for Harry's commentary. " I told him that, but Mr. Malfoy brought a friend in who is willing to take Draco's appointment. Yup, I have him filling out the health history. Okay, I'll let Mr. Malfoy know. See ya."
Ron hung up and looked up at Malfoy. "Right, Harry's just finishing up with his lunch break, he'll be out to get you in a couple minutes. Would you like to pay now?"
Lucius pulled out his MasterCard. "I'll also take care of Severus' appointment." After Lucius finished signing the slip, Harry came around the corner.
"Ah, Mr. Malfoy, how are you today?"
Malfoy shook his hand. "Now, Harry, I've told you to call me Lucius."
Harry smiled. "Of course, Lucius. If you would like to follow me?"
Lucius smiled. "Thank you. Severus, I'll see you in an hour." Severus didn't look up from his mad scribbling and merely waved a hand in dismissal. Lucius chuckled, "I think you will enjoy your next appointment, Harry." Harry looked around Malfoy to the dark man in the waiting room.
The man's dark hair was like a curtain hiding his features aside from the large nose that peeked out as he bent over his clipboard. A long fingered hand came up and tucked the shoulder length strands behind his ear and Harry swallowed thickly. The man's profile was impressive and his skin was so pale seemed as if the man lived in a dungeon. The man wasn't handsome, but his sharp angles pleased Harry on an aesthetic level. Harry smiled to himself. I think I may enjoy this next treatment too, he thought. Malfoy smirked. "Shall we?" Harry shook himself and led the way to the treatment room.
An hour or so later, Malfoy left the room with a calm air; Harry walked him to the reception area. "I'll see you next week, Lucius?"
"Of course, Harry, I do enjoy our time together." Harry gave a half-laugh, and took the file Ron passed him. Lucius spoke with Severus, then bid his farewells and left.
Harry looked up from the file that Ron just passed him to the severe man sitting in the waiting room. "Mr. Snape?" Severus put down the magazine he was flipping through and walked over to Harry. Harry offered his hand. "Hello, Mr. Snape, I'm Harry Potter and I'll be your therapist."
Severus took the offered hand in a firm shake."A pleasure." "If you would like to follow me, sir," Harry said as he indicated the rooms behind him. Once in the treatment room, Harry gestured to the chair at the end of the massage table. "Please have a seat." Harry took a seat on the wheelie stool and flipped through Severus' file. "So, Mr. Snape, tell me what brought you in for a massage today?"
Severus snorted, "Against my better judgement, my college, Lucius Malfoy, insisted I partake in this therapy. He is of the mind that I am high strung."
Harry smiled at Severus. "Well, you are under no pressure here. This is your treatment, so you can take control of it. Have you ever received a massage before?"
"Alright, well I'll outline what you can expect from a treatment in a moment. First, if I may ask you some health questions?"
Harry pulled out a fresh piece of paper and clicked his pen. "I see from your health history form that you are a coroner." Harry chuckled, "That's a profession I don't see everyday."
Harry nervously ran a hand though his hair. "So what sort of things do you do as a coroner?"
Severus sat back and pinned Harry with a hard stare. "Aside from doing autopsies?"
Harry squirmed on his stool. "Err, well, I mean more like what you do in a day. Do you sit at a computer for any length of time or have to carry any heavy loads?"
Severus leaned forward and steepled his fingers. "Well I suppose that when I perform an autopsy I lean over the body and I must have extreme precision when I make the incisions. I also tend to get caught up with a case; I primarily work with the police as well as lawyers like Lucius."
Harry scribbled some notes on his paper. "May I ask how you came to know Mr. Malfoy?"
"Are you a fan of his?" Harry won't meet Severus' gaze and busied himself with moving around Severus' file.
"Err, well... he and his son are both clients of mine. Lucius comes in every week, his son every two." "Yes, Lucius likes to make sure he takes advantage of every acquaintance, business or otherwise; I'm sure that's why he purchased this medical building. I wager Lucius enjoys having a variety of medical people under his thumb. But I digress; Lucius and I met at Oxford while we both pursued our Law degrees."
Harry looked up from Severus' file. "But I thought you were a coroner, not a lawyer?"
"Oh, I was a lawyer for seven years; I worked at a firm that Lucius and To-" Severus broke off abruptly and clenched his jaw. His hand came to rest on his left arm. "I worked at a firm that Lucius and an associate of his owned. I left there three years ago and became a coroner."
Harry flipped through the file again. "I see you put down that you had a skin graft done three years ago. Could you tell me a little more about that?"
Severus' face became closed and his hand unconsciously tightened over his left forearm. "No, I could not. Suffice to say I suffered a major burn to my left arm and skin was grafted from my left upper thigh to help repair the damage."
Harry nodded his understanding and made some more notes. "Alright, how is your sleep, Mr. Snape?" Severus still had a shuttered expression,
"It's well, when I get it. I tend to keep odd hours and I spend plenty of time in the morgue when I'm working on a difficult case."
"Are there any areas of your body that cause you discomfort?"
Severus sat back. "I suppose I often experience pain in my back as well as my shoulders and neck."
"Do you get headaches at all?"
Severus pinched the bridge of his nose. "Yes, often."
"Do you take any medication for them?"
"Usually ibuprofen when one starts up."
"So what would you like the focus of this treatment to be?"
Severus looked taken aback. "I guess my neck is the area that is presently causing me the most discomfort."
"Okay, Mr. Snape, if you could please come and sit on the table here, I'm going to assess your neck. I'm going to check the range of motion you have as well as testing how the muscles work. I'll also be testing the joints of your spine. None of these tests should cause you any serious pain, but some may aggravate some of your symptoms. This testing will help me sort out what might be causing your discomfort. With this we can come up with a treatment plan to help you. I'll also have a look at your posture and do some palpation of surrounding areas. Does that sound alright to you?" Severus nodded as he took a seat on the massage table. "Do you have any questions?"
"Not at the moment." Harry proceeded to perform the assessment and took notes of his findings.
Severus reclaimed his seat on the chair and Harry collected the papers from the file as well as his notes. "Well, Mr. Snape, it's as I suspected: you have some muscles that don't know how to relax. I'm sure that I can bend them to my will."
Severus' eyebrow ascended. "Mr. Potter, I don't believe we are that familiar, yet."
A blush crept up Harry's neck and he laughed nervously while scratching the back of his head. "I didn't mean it like that, I-"
Severus held up a hand to forestall Harry's words. "How about we start with the massage and then go from there, Mr. Potter."
Harry answered with a jerky nod and composed himself. "Alright, I'll outline what you can expect from the treatment. I'm going to go out and wash my hands. While I'm gone, I'll have you disrobe and pop between the sheets on the table. I'll get you to start on your stomach with your head in the cradle. I'll knock at the door before I come back in. Then I'll place this heating blanket on your back and neck to get everything warmed up. I'll undrape your back and work on some of those general sore muscles. Then partway through I'll ask you to flip over; I'll instruct you how when it's time. Then I'll focus on those tight muscles of your neck and shoulders. How does that sound?"
"I believe that sounds acceptable."
"At anytime you have the power to alter or stop the treatment. If you would like more or less pressure or want to change or stop, let me know. Do you have any questions?"
"You expect me to lie on this table naked with nothing but a sheet to maintain my dignity?"
Harry flushed. "Oh no, you can remove your clothing to your comfort level. I can work over clothing if you prefer, though I can better induce change with direct skin contact. Most clients usually leave their undergarments on," Harry leaned forward and whispered, "I personally prefer when they do, it gives me something to tuck the sheet into. It also makes both people more comfortable." Severus ran a calculating eye up and down Harry; he tried not to squirm under the intense scrutiny.
"Very well, that will be a satisfactory arrangement. May I keep my arms under the sheets?"
"Yes, of course, whatever makes you feel most comfortable. Remember, you are in control here, Mr. Snape. Do you have any other questions or concerns?"
"No, I believe you have allied my concerns adequately."
"Great. May I have your consent to treat?" Severus nodded. "I'll pop out and go wash my hands while you get ready." Harry smiled at Severus and left the room.
After the door closed behind Harry, Severus roughly tugged his shirttails from his trousers. He shook his head at himself and inwardly cursed Lucius; this was entirely fault. Lucius has been coming into the morgue every Tuesday afternoon at three o'clock waxing about this boy. Lucius would waltz in and interrupt Severus while he was working and would outline, in explicit detail the massage he just received. He claimed this Harry was a miracle worker with his hands, and if he could improve Lucius' demeanour, then he must be some kind of god.
Not to mention easy on the eyes, an insidious inner voice whispered. Severus made quick work of the buttons of his dress shirt. Lucius would insist that Severus come and see this boy, to relax. Now that Severus had met Harry, he realized his friend's ulterior motive. Lucius was always telling Severus that he needed to get out of the morgue and spend time with people: living people. Frankly, Severus preferred the silence of his morgue, since the dead can't hurt you. Severus knew deep down that Lucius' conniving to get Severus here was out of guilt. Lucius was the person to introduce Severus to Tom Riddle. Severus shuddered and looked down to his scarred arm. The burn still marred his inner forearm from wrist to elbow. The skin graft had lessened the scarring, but the graft and the surrounding skin still pulled and made fully extending his fingers difficult.
Severus touched the scarred flesh with a look of revulsion and whispered, "Damn you, Tom." Severus jumped at the knock at the door.
"Are you ready, Mr. Snape?"
"Not yet, one moment." Severus made quick work of his shoes, socks and trousers and manoeuvred himself onto the table. He made sure to adjust the top sheet to ensure it covered his whole body, and kept his arms at his side. "You may come in now, Mr. Potter." Harry slowly opened the door and entered the room. He turned on a side lamp and flicked off the main light fixture.
"Okay, let's get you all sorted out and comfortable." Harry placed a pillow under Severus' shins and fiddled with the top sheet.
"I'm going to put the heating blanket on. Just let me know if it gets too warm for you." Severus made an agreeable sound. Once the blanket was in place on Severus' back, Harry soothed his hands over it. He slowly moved his hands over the blanket and occasionally applied some broad compressions. Harry's hands moved from shoulder to hips and back again. Moving to stand beside the table, Harry placed a hand on either side of Severus' hips and gently rocked him side to side. Moving his hands up Severus' torso, Harry continued the soft rocking for a couple minutes.
"How's the heat?"
Severus grunted, "Soothing."
"I'm just going to check in and see how your back is feeling." Harry stopped the rocking and pulled back a bit of the heating blanket and sheets. He placed the back of his hand on Severus' shoulder. "Excellent, I think this is good. I'll just move the blanket off and we can get to the focus of the treatment." After the blanket was removed, Harry grabbed his lotion bottle from the side table and placed it by the front leg of the massage table. "I'm going to undrape your back now. Oh wait, I'll just go grab some towels to cover up your arms. You said you didn't want them out from under the sheets, right?"
Severus was surprised at the offer. "Yes, I would much prefer that."
Harry reached under the top sheet and tucked the towels around Severus' arms. "There you go, I'll undrape your back now." Gripping the top sheet, Harry slowly uncovered Severus' back and gently tucked the sheet into the waistband of Severus' underwear. Harry took up the lotion,,applied some into the palm of his hand and rubbed his hands together as he moved to the head of the table. With one long stroke from neck to small of the back, Harry spread the lotion around Severus' back. Harry applied more pressure to his repeating long, even strokes along Severus' back and shoulders. Coming over to the side of the table, Harry transitioned his contact to move horizontally and he began to wring the muscles and flesh on Severus' lower back. Severus let out a soft groan and Harry smiled to himself. Harry continued to wring along Severus' back, moving up to his neck and then slowly returned to his original site. Harry arched his fingers and placed them on one side of Severus' spine and slowly pressed in and dragged his fingers up to Severus' neck. He moved his fingers to the other side of the spine and made the slow descent to his starting point. He repeated this technique a few more times and added some more lotion to Severus' back.
Harry glided his hand up Severus' back to rest between his shoulder blades, where he traced the borders of the blade. His hands slipped up to knead the muscles that ran from neck to shoulder, and Severus appeared to sink into the table.
"This pressure is alright?"
"Yes, it's wonderful." Harry beamed and continued to work the tight muscles and then moved to the other side of the table and repeated the process. Severus' shoulders relaxed and dropped down to the table. Harry moved his hands to the base of Severus' neck.
"I'm just going to move your hair to the side." Harry wiped his hands on a towel on the side table and used his fingers to part the dark hair. He pulled the stands to either side of Severus' head. With the back of his fingers Harry soothed the soft hairs at the nape of Severus' neck to the side as well. Harry applied a small bead of lotion to his fingers and began to knead the back of Severus' neck and the top of his spine where his hair hit. Harry kept squeezing and releasing the muscles as they began to loosen up. Every now and then, Harry had to smooth the soft hairs back into position and for a moment he found himself lingering on the action. He quickly shook himself out of his reverie and placed his warm palms across Severus' neck and at the base of his spine.
"Alright, Mr. Snape, it's time to switch positions. I'll remove the towels over your arms and then I'll have you move down the table so your face is out of the head cradle. Then I'll hold up the sheet and I'll ask you to flip over." Harry walked Severus though the process and then readjusted the knee pillow and the sheets. Harry pulled over the wheelie stool and took a seat. Harry cupped Severus' head and gently combed the black hair away from his neck. Still cradling Severus' neck, Harry applied some lotion to his hand and ran it from Severus' ear to his shoulder and back again. Harry used his knuckles to knead the side of Severus' neck and ease the muscles. He repeated this on the other side and then did some fingertip kneading along Severus' collarbone and pecs. Harry ran his hands under Severus' neck and cupped his skull. Harry angled his fingers to press into the muscles at the base of Severus' neck.
"Now just relax your head into my hands. This is the nice she-she-la-la yum-yum technique."
Severus cracked open one eye. "She-she-la-la yum yum technique?"
Harry grinned down at Severus and winked. "Yeah, it's a trade secret." Then he laughed. The corner of Severus' mouth quirked. "Alright, Mr. Snape, we're finished for today. Please take your time getting off the table; I'll step outside to wash my hands while you get dressed. When I return I'd like to reassess how your neck is feeling."
Once he left the room, Harry quickly moved over to the sink and gripped the sides. What were you thinking? Why were you checking him out? Playing with his hair? Do you want to lose your licence? Harry angrily berated himself as he quickly washed his hands. He would just have to finish this treatment and then go and talk with Hermione. He never had these feelings towards a client before and it concerned him. He could possibly lose his licence to practice if Mr. Snape wanted to report him. He hoped that Mr. Snape wouldn't. I mean, it looked like he was checking me out at one point, thought Harry.. Harry walked back to the treatment room and took a deep breath to steady himself. He knocked on the door. "Are you ready for me to come in, Mr. Snape?"
"Yes, you may come in." Taking another fortifying breath, Harry entered the treatment room. Severus was sitting on the chair; he was wearing the satisfied expression of the freshly massaged. His eyes were half lidded; his cheeks looked flushed... Harry swallowed audibly and forced himself to look away.
"Alright." Harry's voice cracked; he cleared his throat and tried again, "Alright, Mr. Snape, if you could please have a seat on the table, I'll reassess your neck in the same way as before."
Severus' eyes narrowed and he smirked. "Of course, Mr. Potter." Harry composed himself while getting the paper with his previous notes. Harry performed the post assessment and took notes.
"Ok, Mr. Snape, I think that's everything. How do you feel?"
Severus rotated his head around. "Surprisingly limber. Lucius was right; you do work miracles with your hands."
A deep blush stained Harry's face. "Umm, thank you... er... so, I'll see you out?"
Severus motioned for Harry to lead the way. "After you, Mr. Potter." As Harry reached the door, Severus came up behind him and placed his hand on the door before Harry could open it. "May I come see you again, Mr. Potter?" Harry let go of the doorknob and slowly turned, aware of the arm almost resting on his shoulder.
"If you would like."
"How often should I visit?" Harry's eyes flicked up to meet Severus' piercing gaze; he nervously licked his lips. Something twisted in Harry's gut when Severus' eyes snapped down at the movement.
"Ah, you can come every week if you like, Mr. Snape."
Severus leaned closer. "I would like to."
"Ok, let's go talk with Ron and set up a couple appointments." Severus backed off and released the door. Harry turned and opened the door and led the way to the reception area.
"Hermione, I don't know what happened. I never acted that way with a client before. There was just something about him. I felt drawn to him."
"Well, it was most likely just a one off occurrence."
"But what should I do when he comes back next week?"
"Harry, you booked him again?"
"Well, he asked."
"Just use this other appointment as a way to close the book on this. If you start getting all 16-year-old girl over him, then you just tell him that you don't have any other appointments available."
"But what about the three other treatments I already booked him for?"
"Lucius, I don't know what happened. I never acted that way with a stranger before. There was just something about him, I felt drawn to him."
"I had a feeling that you would enjoy Harry."
"Don't be so smug. Anyways, I don't even know if he's interested in me."
"He flirted with you, didn't he? Anyways, I have it on good authority that Harry is of the same persuasion as you."
"How do you know that, Lucius?"
"I do own the building, I make a point to know about the people who work in it. I also saw our dear Harry meeting with a boyfriend after work a while ago."
"Then he is already spoken for. Why do I let you torment me?"
"Ah yes, they had a falling out almost a year ago. Harry is free for the taking if you feel so inclined."
"How do you know that?"
"I asked him during my last treatment."
"How has your neck been feeling since our last treatment, Mr. Snape?"
"Not as painful as it's historically been, Mr. Potter."
"That's wonderful! How about your headaches?"
"They have lessened in severity."
"That's great news; what would you like the focus of today's treatment to be?"
"Well, I greatly enjoyed all of the last treatment, so something similar."
"Alright, we can do that, anything else?"
"Yes, I distinctly enjoyed when you played with, pardon me, when you kneaded the back of my neck."
"Umm, I guess I can do that again, if you'd like. Er, do you tie your hair back when you're working?"
"What does that have to do with a massage, Mr. Potter?"
"Well you see, it's just that if you tie your hair back then it tends to pull on your scalp. It can sometimes cause headaches."
"Ah yes, I see. I do in fact restrain my hair. It is a job necessity Is there something you can do to help me with that?"
"If you like, I could do a scalp massage."
"So, you would like to play with my hair?"
"No, yes, I mean, if you want me to, to help with the headaches."
"Well if it's to help with my headaches, by all means, Mr. Potter."
"So how did you feel after our last treatment, Mr. Snape?"
"I felt a release; I had been pent up for so long, it was relieving to let go."
"Umm, er, well that's great to hear. H-How about your headaches?"
"Almost completely gone. I think we should continue with the scalp massage."
"Yes of course, whatever you would like, Mr. Snape."
"I think I would like you to call me Severus."
"I believe I can do that for you, Severus. You may call me Harry of course."
"Very well, Harry. I would also like it if you could spend some time on my chest and upper arms. I've been helping Lucius reorganize his office this week and I'm realizing that I'm not at young as I used to be."
"You look fine to me, umm, I mean, you're not that old. Oh bollocks, I've just put my foot in it, haven't I?"
"It's alright, Harry, I'll take it as a compliment coming from you."
"So...umm... yeah, we can work your chest and arms into the treatment."
"Hey, Severus, how was work today?"
"Not many changes in the morgue, and it's not as if I need to deal with any bothersome customers."
"Ha, I suppose you wouldn't. No one to cause you headaches?"
"Aside from when Lucius occasionally stops by for tea, no. Besides, you have - how did you phrase it - bent my muscles to your will."
"Well, it's what I do."
"You bend me to your will?"
"Oh, er, Severus, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that. I'm such an idiot."
"I wouldn't mind, you know, though I would prefer things the other way."
"What?" Harry's eyes bugged out.
"Perhaps that was too forward; may I invite you out to have tea someday?"
"Umm, well, I'm not supposed to see clients outside of the clinic."
Severus didn't look deterred. "Then perhaps I will let you know when I'll be at a tea house, and you can bump into me there."
Harry looked unsure. "I don't know, Severus, I could get a discipline hearing, a fine, or even lose my licence if I date a client."
"Well, we shall see. I'll be going out for tea and a bite to eat at 5 p.m. at Adonia's; you know the place?"
"Yeah, it's a couple blocks from here. Severus, I can't promise to be there."
"As I said, Harry, I'm just letting you know that I'll be there."
Harry smiled. "Alright, Severus, so are you ready for your treatment?"
Near the end of the treatment, Harry was focusing on Severus' upper arms and shoulders. He kneaded the muscles and stripped along Severus' biceps. When he reached the fold of Severus' elbow, Harry swept his hands back up to the shoulder joint. On the third pass, Harry's stroke accidentally went past the elbow joint and his hand brushed over the edge of Severus' scar. Severus jerked his arm away. "What do you think you're doing?"
Harry stepped back from the table. "I'm sorry, Severus, it was an accident. If you want, I can take a look at it, I may be able to help." Severus sat up and recoiled back from Harry; he clenched his hand over his left arm.
"You absolutely cannot have a look at it. I won't have you gawking at my disfigurement. I think we are finished here."
"Please, Severus, I'm sorry I-"
"I said we are finished, Mr. Potter. Please leave the room so that I may get clothed and leave." Harry wrung his hands for a moment, but dropped his arms to his sides and solemnly nodded.
"Alright, Sev- Mr. Snape. You can leave whenever you're ready. I'll have Ron ready your receipts." Harry took one last look at Severus and then left the room.
The next day found Severus sitting at Adonia's. It was ten minutes to five and Harry still wasn't there. After Severus left Harry's clinic, he stormed home with the intention to lose himself in a bottle of scotch. As things would have it, Lucius invited himself over and gave Severus a right ass kicking once he heard what happened. Severus, realizing that Harry meant no ill intent by his actions, felt like a fool and resolved to make things right. The door chimed and Severus looked up hopefully, but it was just an elderly woman leaving. Severus cupped his tea and bent his head over it. A shadow fell over him.
Severus' head snapped up. "Harry, I didn't think you would show up." Harry's hands clenched on the back of the chair in front of him.
"I didn't think I wanted to, but I didn't want things to end the way they did. May I sit down?"
"Yes, of course." After Harry sat, the server came over, took an order from him and bustled away.
"Harry, I wanted to apologize for the way I acted yesterday. I'm very self-conscious about my scars. I hate them and I can hardly bear to look at them myself." Severus pulled his left arm to press against his stomach and clenched his right hand over it.
"Severus, could you, would you be willing to tell me how you were burnt?" Severus' expression became shuttered; he looked down at his tea, then up at Harry.
"It was due to my own stupidity, my own youthful naivete." Severus took a fortifying breath. "When I told you how I knew Lucius, I mentioned that I worked for him. Well, Lucius had a partner at his firm, Tom Riddle. Tom was a charismatic man, and I became quite taken with him. We were in a relationship for three years, and we lived together for two of those years. One night after we won a huge case, Lucius and I were at my place preparing a celebratory dinner. It was nothing fancy, just some good fish and chips and some expensive scotch. I had just put the chips into the oil when the front door flew open and in stumbled Tom with another man. They were holding hands and the other man leaned up to kiss Tom. I was furious; the other man made a hasty retreat and Tom and I had a terrible fight. Lucius tried to intervene, but Tom and I unleashed our fury on each other. It started with hurtful words then it became physical; I punched Tom in the jaw, then he shoved me back into the stove. Well, the pan of hot oil fell off the burner and poured all over my left arm. I don't remember much at that point, but Tom ran out of the house and Lucius called an ambulance. I haven't seen Tom since, and every time I look at that arm I am reminded how stupid I was."
"Oh, Severus, you weren't stupid; that Tom was a fool to not realize what a gift he had with you. Your scars aren't a sign of how weak you were, but rather a sign of how strong you are."
"Thank you, Harry. Again, I apologise for the appalling way I acted yesterday."
"Severus, it's ok, I went outside the framework we agreed on. It was an accident, and I'm sorry."
Severus reached across the table and placed his hand over Harry's. "It was all my fault, I overreacted. I still can't believe you showed up here. I was sure that I ruined things between us."
Harry smiled wistfully down at their hands. "Severus, I'm still not sure I should be here. I told you that I could be fined or lose my licence for dating you."
"Harry, how could you lose your licence?"
"Well, there are laws that health practitioners can't be in relationships with their clients. As well, the College of Massage Therapists suggest a one-year waiting period after the termination of the professional relationship. I may have already put my career in jeopardy just by being here, not to mention some of the things I said and did during your massages." Harry looked up at Severus. "I shouldn't be here, I want to be, but ethically I shouldn't. I've already crossed that line and I shouldn't have. I'm sorry, Severus, I can't treat you anymore. I'll find you another massage therapist if you want one, I promise. I'm sorry, I need to go now." Harry tossed some money on the table and quickly left the shop. Severus hastily paid the bill and rushed out after Harry.
He saw Harry running down the sidewalk and he took after him. Harry turned a corner and Severus darted down the alley in pursuit of him. Halfway down the alley, Severus caught up with Harry, grabbed his arm, and pulled him up short. They were both breathing hard and Severus pinned Harry up against the building.
"I don't want another massage therapist, I want you. If I need to trade in your massages for your caresses, then I will gladly do it." Harry shut his eyes.
"But, Severus, even if you aren't my client anymore, we still should wait."
"You expect me to wait a year? I don't want to wait another second." With that, Severus bent down and took Harry's lips in a searing kiss. Harry's hands moved to Severus' shoulders to push him away, but as the kiss deepened, he found his fingers tangling in Severus' hair. Severus pressed the length of his body against Harry and a groan escaped his mouth. Harry's hips canted forward to grind his hardness against the matching one in Severus' trousers. Severus tore his lips away from the burning mouth under his. His breath came in gasps. "I think we should continue this conversation somewhere more private."
Harry tried to catch his breath and smiled. "I agree. I don't think I'm fully convinced yet that we shouldn't wait."
Severus growled and hissed in Harry's ear, "I'll make you see reason, brat."
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