TEAM PHOENIX ENTRY: NenyaEntwhistle "Some Notes Exchanged" Title: Some Notes Exchanged Author:nenyaentwhistle Team: Phoenix Genre(s): Romance, Alternate Reality *Hover/Click for Games Definition of Alternate Reality* Prompt(s): Tip Jar Rating/Warnings/Kinks: PG-13 Word Count: ~4,800 Summary: Sometimes all you need for something to start are some little notes. A/N: Thanks to Ziasudra for all her help!
The coffee shop was decidedly homely in name—The Burrow— and appearance, but Severus Snape could deal with such plainness as long as the coffee was decent. He wrinkled his nose as he pushed the door open. He shouldn't even be walking into this shop, and he wouldn't be if the coffee shop that was across his flat hadn't closed down due to some obnoxious buyout. Severus didn't like change and he especially didn't like it when going to that particular shop had been part of his daily morning routine for the last ten years. At least, he sniffed the rich aroma of well-brewed coffee beans, it appeared that this shop might be an all right alternative.
When he looked up at the chalk-scrawled menu perched on a little wooden stand, though, he started having reservations again. This shop seemed to specialize in those fancy type coffees, where even the ones closer to normal had extra junk he wasn't interested in drinking. Severus didn't understand why they had to go about ruining a perfectly good latte by adding green tea additive to it. He liked his coffee black, just the way it was supposed to be. He supposed since he was already here, he might as well go up and order a cup of dark roast coffee with nothing else added to it and see if it would suffice his taste buds.
Severus went up to the counter and was about to order when he looked into the greenest eyes he had ever seen. He stared for a second at the unusual color before he snapped back into focus and said, "Dark roast coffee, nothing else added, none of that nonsense." He looked pointedly up at the menu where all sorts of other ingredients were added to the coffee to supposedly enhance its flavor.
The boy nodded. "Is that all?"
"Yes," Severus said.
"That'll be one pound fifty pence."
Severus resisted the urge to mutter about how expensive everything was, especially when he was on a professor's salary and hence earned almost nothing even though he was probably one of the best-educated men in the city of London. He pulled out exactly what he owed—one pound coin and a fifty pence—and handed it to the boy over the tip jar. He glanced down at it and saw several coins inside and sniffed. He never understood the merit of tipping for a service that was already paid for by the employers.
Everyone always wanted more money, more of everything. The whole fucking world was greedy.
"Your coffee, sir," the boy said, holding it out to him with a smile that definitely reached his vibrant eyes.
Severus took the cup and gingerly brought it up to his mouth and took a small sip. He grimaced slightly, more from the burn of the liquid than the taste. It was all right coffee, but it could be better like a lot of things in this world could be better. But it would suffice, he supposed, since he really had no better option for the time being.
He took his coffee to the back of the shop, finding a dark corner with a small wooden table that was near a window, with his back facing the window so the morning sunlight wouldn't hit his face. He removed a notebook from his briefcase and started to write up some notes for today's lecture later this very morning.
You order the same thing everyday. Why don't you try something new?- H
Something strange had overcome Harry this peculiar morning, where nothing seemed to go right at all, when he had decided to change a loyal customer's typical order with something altogether different. He didn't have an explanation for it at all, just that he'd done it and he hoped that the dark haired man who always sat at the back of the coffee shop with his notebook and papers wasn't going to be ridiculously angry at him for being so presumptuous.
The man hadn't seemed to notice that his order had been changed yet nor that there was a message scrawled on the napkin that Harry had thoughtfully wrapped around the cup so that it wouldn't be as hot to the touch. Instead he sat in the table that he typically sat at everyday and pulled out his notebook, not having even tried to sip at his drink. Harry was busy trying to take orders and make coffee and talk cheerfully to the next customer while keeping an eye on the man in the back corner.
Harry winced inside when he saw the man's eyes directed down at the napkin where he'd written his note. The man then looked over at him and picked up the cup of coffee and took a tiny sip. He placed the cup back on the table and opened his notebook. Harry didn't know whether or not he should be relieved that the man hadn't come up and complained about his order.
"I'd like a pecan latte, extra sweet." She didn't smile at him, but Harry made a point to smile at her.
"Right away and that'll be two pounds."
Harry took the five pound note she handed him and gave her change, not surprised when she didn't drop any of the coins into the tip jar. The man in the back corner never did tip either and Harry definitely didn't expect it. With the rebuke he'd just been given in that woman's unsmiling face, Harry stopped sneaking glances at the man and focused on his job. Harry didn't know how much time had passed when he found himself confronted with the man who did not tip putting something into the tip jar.
At first, Harry thought it was money. But then he realized it was white and had black ink on it. Harry fished the note out and didn't know how he should react, so he didn't react at all.
Your selection was sub-par.- S
Going to get coffee in the morning before class had always been satisfying to Severus, but lately it was becoming something he looked forward to immensely. This would be disturbing to him if he thought about it, especially when he found no real pleasure in anything, not even the job he currently had which he had once coveted to the point of obsession. Of course, when he had later attained it, he found it had lost all of its charm and allure. Such was his life, always wanting something and once getting it, finding it unsatisfactory.
Severus would admit, the reason he liked this particular shop was the boy behind the front counter who took the payments and made the coffee. The boy had pretty eyes and an earnest sweetness about him that was interesting, although Severus knew such innocence would eventually bore him. What kept him interested were the notes the boy wrote on the napkins he'd wrap around the coffee. They were very interesting.
"Good morning," the boy said with a bright smile on his face. He was obviously a morning person, which Severus detested because he definitely was not.
Severus didn't greet him back. Instead he looked up at the menu that he looked at most mornings of most weeks and said his typical order, "Dark roasted coffee, nothing more."
"All right. That'll be one pound fifty pence."
Severus handed him exact change and then waited impatiently for his coffee. It was one of his many character flaws, which of course he wasn't about to own up to having. He resisted the urge to tap his fingers against the wooden counter as he waited, but he did adjust his posture once before the boy got his coffee back to him with a napkin wrapped around it. Severus was always tempted to look at it once he got his order, but he never did look to see what the boy wrote until he got to his table in the far back.
I think it's time you learned my name. It's Harry.- H
On one particularly dreary fall day, when the clouds were a dark gray and when the rains came down hard, it wasn't all that surprising that there weren't any customers in the shop. Harry was standing idly behind the counter, wondering if he was going to like his classes for the upcoming semester. He hoped he did, since he was finally able to choose some classes that weren't graduation requirements. He was actually looking forward to going back to Uni, despite how much he had enjoyed the summer.
Working at the coffee shop had been great and he might actually keep this job on a part-time basis if his classes at Uni weren't too tough. What made it so wonderful were the Weasleys. The shop was their family business and they made working here feel like he was part of their world, even when he wasn't.
Harry leaned against the counter, closing his eyes a bit, letting his mind drift to think about more pleasant things. He wished he could meet someone special, someone he could really talk to and confess everything to. Did such a person really exist?
His eyes snapped open when the door to the shop banged open and he saw the man who always sat in the back. The man had a distinguished, commanding presence about him, even when he didn't wear the elegant suits that businessmen wore. His clothes—black slacks and a dark button-up shirt—were soaked with water. He was intriguing.
Too bad the man hadn't bothered to tell him his name. Harry had thought putting his name on the napkin would be the first step to getting to know this man. The man, though, still left dryly written notes on scrap paper in the tip jar and Harry jotted friendly, silly words in return on napkins. They definitely had something of something, but Harry wasn't even sure if he could call it friendship, or if he would even dare.
"G'morning," Harry said with a smile. "What can I get for you today?"
The man didn't return the smile and didn't say anything. He looked up at the menu, like he had the first day and then gazed back at Harry. "I'll have... coffee."
Harry almost asked what coffee he wanted, but stopped himself before he could say anything. He had the feeling he had a big, shit-face smile plastered on his face. He couldn't help it. His special customer was finally ordering something different and better yet, he was allowing him to choose for him!
He bit the inside of his mouth, wondering what he should get for the man. It needed to be something dark and strong, and yet different at the same time. He knew exactly what blend to choose. It was a new Colombian blend, and it was perhaps a bit heavy, but it was rich and flavorful.
"Two pounds and fifty pence," Harry said, only now thinking that the man might not want to spend more money on his coffee. "If that's okay..."
The man just handed him the money, exact change as usual, and didn't say a word of protest. He just stood there with his arms folded across his chest. Harry turned around and went himself to the back counter to make the coffee instead of letting Ginny or one of the twins brew it. He didn't normally make the coffee, although he had gotten the job at the shop because he was really good at making it. Mrs. Weasley just preferred him working at the cashier, said he was friendly and that the customers liked him. Harry didn't mind much. He got to meet and interact with many different and interesting people, including the one currently waiting for his special coffee.
Harry whistled as he brewed the coffee and took a deep breath of the rich, wonderful scent of a well-brewed cup. He pulled a napkin and wrote something quick: I do hope you enjoy this. He didn't really know what else to say. He wrapped the cup with the napkin and brought it back to where the man was patiently waiting.
"Here you go. Sorry it took so long."
The man gave him the barest of nods and turned away to walked to his table in the back. There wasn't much for Harry to do, since only a few customers popped in for cup of coffee, so Harry ended up staring at the man as inconspicuously as possible. Harry hoped he was doing a good job and he quickly averted his eyes when he felt like he had been looking too long. He glanced out the window, wondering what the man wrote everyday in his notebook and why. Maybe he was writing a book, maybe even a novel. What story would he have to tell?
Sometimes Harry had the feeling he was far too curious for his own good. He always had to know what was going on and sometimes he had the predilection to pester people with questions. He sighed and turned back to greet whoever had come up to the counter only to find that it was the man. Harry watched him drop a folded note with a paperclip attached to it into the jar. The man didn't say anything about the coffee—if he had liked it or not—but his eyes did drift ever so slightly and Harry met his gaze for a moment.
Harry had never noticed that his eyes were so dark and black before.
My name is Severus.- S
The first time they actually spoke to each other in an other than business transaction way, Severus had been in a foul mood and had snapped at Harry for being overly presumptuous about the extent of their association. Simply because they wrote little notes to one another did not mean they were friends. Severus had only decided on impulse to write evaluations notes on Harry's performance, to let him know if he was doing a good job or not. It was not written in a friendly manner whatsoever. The boy had obviously been thinking more into this writing thing than he should.
Severus shook his head at the memory as he walked into the coffee shop in the afternoon, which was awfully unusual for him because he made a point not to consume caffeine once the morning was over. He had difficulty enough sleeping at night that when he happened to intake a substance that made it worse, like caffeine did, he often would take hours to finally fall asleep. And he would only drift off after becoming thoroughly pissed and he would rather not have that happen. So why was he here?
He never did something without a purpose, but he was not willing to admit that perhaps for all that the boy was not as sharp and quick-witted as he would like, he found Harry amusing and wouldn't mind seeing him again today. Severus looked at the counter expecting to see Harry, his green eyes and bright smile, but he wasn't there. Instead a girl with ginger hair was behind the counter. She had a friendly smile on her face, but Severus was hardly interested.
What a waste of time coming here turned out to be. He should have gone straight home after a departmental meeting was canceled. Then he could have relaxed at home with a chance to read a good book rather than end up being disappointed. He wanted to turn around and walk out the shop, except that it would be very odd for someone to walk in and then walk out empty handed.
Severus went to the counter and decided to order a café latte. The ginger hair girl nodded. "That'll be two pounds."
Severus put two one pound coins on the table and specifically avoided touching her outstretched hands. He was about to go stand off to the side since another customer had just walked into the shop, but he didn't. He looked at her directly in the eyes and for some reason asked, "Does Harry not work in the afternoons?"
The girl shook her head. "No, he's got classes."
Severus gave her a curt nod to acknowledge he had heard what she said and moved off to the side to wait patiently for the latte that he hadn't wanted at all.
What do you write everyday?- H
"You look tired," Ginny said as she handed the order she had just made to him. "Maybe you should cut back your hours."
"I should settle into a routine soon enough," Harry responded. "The first week or so of Uni is always rough."
Ginny rolled her eyes. "You keep forgetting that I know exactly what you're going through. Remember, I'm in Uni too."
"I don't know why I keep forgetting." Harry scratched the back of his head. "I think it's because your brothers keep calling you little sister that it makes me think you're younger than you are."
Ginny turned around and stuck out her tongue at the twins, where they were grounding up the fresh coffee beans for tomorrow. "Think about what I said. You know my Mum and Ad wouldn't mind accommodating your class schedule. They're more than use to it. How could they not? They've raised so many pesky and annoying sons."
"We heard that!" George shouted, at least Harry thought it was George. He still couldn't quite tell George from Fred.
"I'll think about it."
Ginny smiled and nudged him in the side with her elbow. "It's that man again."
Harry turned, knowing exactly whom she was talking about. He smiled at Severus. "Good morning."
Ginny sidled up to him, her lips close to his ear, and whispered, "I forgot to say something, but yesterday afternoon he came looking for you..."
Harry swallowed reflexively, suddenly for some strange reason nervous. "What can I get for you?"
Severus looked at him then he glanced at Ginny before returning his gaze to Harry's face. "What do you recommend?"
A tad too sweet for my taste.- S
The morning had not begun well. Severus had woken up late, his alarm not doing its proper job of getting him out of bed on time, and to make things worse when he had gone to his coffee shop—Harry had not been there to greet him with a smile and some new brew of coffee for him to try. It had been the ginger girl that was working in the front and Severus had ordered his normal black coffee, nothing extraneous added and while he had waited for his order, the girl had the gall to tell him that Harry was sick and that was why he wasn't in today.
Why would he care to know where Harry was? Simply because he'd asked one time, once, that didn't mean he always wanted to know where Harry was when he wasn't in the coffee shop or that he visited everyday just to see Harry! The presumption of that girl was intolerable. He ought to give her a piece of his mind, but he hadn't. He had been too irritated that he had been maneuvered into giving a special lecture series where he would go around to different universities and give a talk on his specialty. How bothersome and repulsive, but the head of his department, Albus Dumbledore, always knew how to get him to do exactly what he didn't want to do.
Severus sighed and finished up his coffee and chunked it into a random rubbish bin on the side of the street before he walked down the steps to the tube station.
What do you do?- H
Harry sneezed and rubbed his nose with the back of his hand, wishing he had thought to bring a few tissues with him. He leaned against the side of the door, feeling tired and sick. He wished he didn't need to go to class, but there was this special lecture series that his professor had recommended going to and he hadn't had the heart to say no. He just wished he didn't have to get sick the night before.
He got off at the Euston stop and a few blocks and a visit to the toilet later, he was safely ensconce in the warmth of the lecture hall. Harry leaned back against the seat and closed his eyes. He was early and he had a few minutes before the talk began. And he was so exhausted...
"I do not appreciate students sleeping when I am about to lecture," snapped a somewhat familiar voice, but Harry didn't know why it should sound that way. Where was he, anyway?
Harry opened his eyes and gazed up at the blurry image of a man standing over him and he had to blink twice to make sure he was really seeing what he was seeing. It was Severus, but why was he here? It didn't make any sense. Was he dreaming or something?
Harry licked his lips, wanting to pinch himself to make sure he was awake when Severus straightened up and went to the front of the lecture hall. "I am Professor Snape," Severus began, "and I will be lecturing you on the perfection of sin and justice in Dante's Inferno."
You ask far too many questions.- S
Sitting in the back with another one of Harry's suggested coffees, Severus pulled out his notebook and started jotting out some notes for his class later on. It was slightly awkward to see Harry again after being his professor, no matter if it had been merely for a class. He had still taught Harry and that put them not quite on the same grounds as they had been. It was unfortunate. Severus wouldn't have minded too terribly to be friends with him and that was saying a lot when he found most people too tiresome and annoying to converse with.
It was probably for the best anyways, Severus thought as he glanced out of the corner of his eye and saw Harry and that ginger girl talking again. Harry was unlikely to share his preference and he had probably never meant to lead Severus on. Harry was just friendly. That was a problem with nice people. Severus always misunderstood them and their intentions.
Severus took the cup of coffee and took a delicate sip of it. Fifty percent Kona blend, probably. The taste was rich and lovely. Harry really was beginning to understand exactly what to select for him. Too bad, Severus let out a small sigh, that the boy was not interested and a student, or else he might have had a proposition.
I am curious about everything, especially you.- H
"You should ask him out," Ginny whispered into his ear as she leaned close to him. "I know you're interested."
"Why do you say stuff like that?" Harry hissed softly as he smiled and handed the customer their café mocha. "Didn't I tell you he was my professor?"
"Only for a day," Ginny scoffed. "Besides, he's a lot more into you than that other boy was. What was his name? David?"
"Well, he's a lot more into you than Draco was," Ginny said firmly. "He comes in every morning each weekday to see you specifically and he has popped in on other occasions to see ix
You're around. He always looks disgruntled when you're not here."
"He's older than me!" Harry exclaimed and blushed when he realized how loudly he had said that. Thank goodness Severus sat in the back and couldn't hear him.
"So? Why does that matter if you really like each other?"
He couldn't argue with that. She did have a point. Harry glanced in Severus' direction and wondered if he really could ask him out. That would be something and it wasn't like the thoughts hadn't crossed his mind about such a thing happening. But still, it couldn't be possible, could it? Him and Severus?
"We don't have much in common."
"He's an English professor and you're studying for your English degree," Ginny said. "You have that."
"That's hardly anything."
"There's also the fact you and him have been exchanging notes for the past four months religiously. Is that not something?"
It was indeed. It was most definitely something. Harry smiled at the next customer as his thoughts drifted toward Severus and if he should do something or not.
It would hardly work, the two of us.- S
For some reason, probably because Harry had actually gone up to him on a Friday morning and tried to ask him out on a date for this weekend sometime and which he had suitably rejected the young man, Severus was coming to The Burrow on a weekend afternoon. He didn't regret what he'd done. He was a little disappointed that he hadn't taken up Harry on his offer, but it was for the best. After all, what could he offer to a pretty young man like Harry? Absolutely nothing. It was better that nothing was begun in the first place, since it would only lead them both onto the road of pain and heartache. He had his share of that sort of turmoil to not want to again relive that.
Severus was unsurprised when he didn't see Harry behind the counter. Instead, it was the ginger girl. Severus didn't smile at her, but he didn't hesitate going up to her and ordering a half-shot café latte, considering it was the afternoon and all.
"Can I ask you a question?" the girl said after she took his pound coins.
Severus didn't say anything to encourage her.
Of course, it didn't stop her from asking her question anyway. "Why did you say no?"
"I hardly believe I need to tell you my reasons," he snapped.
"I want to understand," she said persistently. "You like him a lot. Why not say yes?"
"Because he is young and foolish and will change his mind."
The girl had the gall to smile at him. "Everyone changes their mind. It's up to you to make sure he doesn't, if you really do want him."
Severus took the latte from her and didn't sit at his customary table in the back. He walked out of the shop to the nearby park to sit and drink his latte, and also to think. Her words lingered in his mind. It was up to him. So why did he not say yes? Especially since, she was right, he did want Harry.
Let's grab lunch tomorrow.- H
"So..." Ginny said. "What's going on between you two?"
Harry blushed as he watched Severus walk to his table. "We've gone out some."
"We've kissed and stuff."
She had the hugest grin on her face that Harry had ever seen. "Awesome. Are you officially together?"
"What does that mean?"
Harry felt his cheeks get hotter, if that was even possible. "He gave me a copy of his flat key last night."
"Now that's bloody awesome."
It certainly was, although Harry still wasn't quite sure what to make out of the entire situation. After all, it was the first time someone had given him a copy of their flat key. He was terribly flattered and scared at the same time. Who knew what might happen? But it was the unknowingness of that which made Harry hope that this could really be something. Everything was rather incredible, the more that he thought of it, considering how they had met and all.
"Are you in love?" Ginny asked softly and seriously.
Harry looked her into the eye and shrugged. "I might be. I don't really know. This is all new to me."
"I think you'd know if you weren't in love."
"All I know is I want to spend as much time as I can with him."
Ginny smiled. "Nothing wrong with that."
"No," Harry said, smiling back. "He makes me happy."
"Sometimes that's all you really need."
Harry gave her a quick squeeze with his hand, but his eyes were elsewhere, focused on his boyfriend, sitting in the back table, drinking the coffee he had made especially for him and jotting notes for his lecture later this morning. He could watch Severus all day and not get bored. Maybe Ginny was right. Maybe he was in love. He wasn't going to worry about defining the relationship. He was going to enjoy this for however long this lasted and if it did happen to be forever, well, wasn't he lucky then?
We both are.- S
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