Fic: Stumbling Upon Release - for curia_regis Title: Stumbling Upon Release Author: Bellatrix Lestrange! Giftee:curia_regis Word Count: ~4100 Rating: R Pairing: Severus/Harry, implied Harry/Ginny Warnings: *Questionable infidelity between canon pairing and sex that could be read as dub-con or non-con (questionable/coerced consent)* Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended. Summary: Harry conveniently finds a Potions supplier who'll help with his Chizpurfle infestation, but will he think to ask about the cost of their assistance? Author's Notes: A huge thank you to my generous and thoughtful last minute betas, any mistakes that remain are mine. Also, a special thank you to bewarethesmirk for her patience and consideration in the midst of last minute madness.
Stumbling Upon Release
Pushing up with his toes to reach the top shelf, Harry pulled down a dusty volume of Defensive Potions for the Wizarding Household. As he opened the book and gently flipped through the pages, he thought he heard a muffled laugh. Casually, he tried to search the area. He needed to know if his imagination had become overactive, or if his presence had attracted an unwelcome companion.
Since Flourish and Blotts was known for their first-rate security, he hadn't bothered to take any extra precautions to protect his identity, but now, he was concerned that he'd made an arrogant lapse of judgement. It'd been a good many years since he'd defeated Voldemort, but he continued to lookout for potential attackers who wished him harm as well as sycophantic witches who wouldn't accept he was happily married.
Looking up and down the aisle, he saw no one about. For an instant, he relaxed, attributing his concerns to a figment of his imagination. Then he became aware of an unknown but oddly familiar magical signature behind him. Feeling his blood begin to race at the thought of potential danger, cautiously he reached his hand into his robe for his wand.
Anticipating the worst, he quickly turned to face the possible threat, but all he found when he spun around was an apparent stranger looking through a hardback. Harry furrowed his brow in confusion. He studied the man with his tawny, brown hair and soft, hazel eyes, but the wizard reminded him of no one in particular.
Shrugging off his apprehensions, he put some space between them. The wizard might not be a danger, but he'd be much more comfortable if he could keep him in his line of sight.
Looking back down at his book, he searched for the potion that he needed. It had to be used within hours of being brewed, which meant that he couldn't acquire one from the handy, readymade section of the local apothecary. He needed to see if this volume had the single-use recipe for eliminating Chizpurfles. Ginny had been complaining for weeks about them, saying they were going to have a full infestation; you'd think they had Bundimuns.
According to Ginny, the Eradication Potion was easy to brew, and calling a wizarding exterminator couldn't be justified because they'd surely get the Ministry involved since he was Harry Potter. He'd have rather called someone to do away the pests, but he understood why Ginny was irrationally frugal. She feared the idea of living in poverty as much as he feared the idea of losing his family, and because of that, he would nearly always concede to her wishes on matters of money.
Focussing back on his task, he found the recipe he needed. It didn't look quite as straightforward as Ginny had implied. He was going to have to buy all fresh supplies as well as a special, bronze-lined cauldron. Sighing, he closed the book and tucked it under his arm. He supposed some things simply had to be done to keep harmony in a marriage.
As he walked past the unknown wizard, he was slightly surprised to hear him mumble, "You're in need of a potion, and you'd rather botch it than acquire one through a reputable dealer, how typical of a Potter."
Harry paused in front of the wizard, slightly affronted. He wanted to bite back that it was actually more typical of a Weasley, but instead, he politely asked, "Do I know you, sir?"
The man glared at him, and for the first time, Harry looked closely enough to determine he was wearing a heavy glamour. "You do not. However, your incompetence in Potions is well known." Turning back to his book, he seemed satisfied to let the encounter end there.
Harry was torn between being baffled by the man's audacity and enquiring exactly who'd been discussing his Potions skills or lack thereof. For over a decade, he'd been a respected Auror, and he'd worked quite hard to make himself an educated, well-rounded wizard. However, it was true that Potion-making remained his most pitiable skill.
Surrendering to his curious nature, Harry decided to continue the conversation. "Excuse me, but if you think I shouldn't make the potion how do you expect me to obtain it? The one I need has to be brewed, and then used within hours, or it turns rancid. How do you propose I get hold of one if I don't brew it myself?"
Snapping his book shut, the wizard met his gaze. "I suggest using a mail service. The Potions maker will be aware of the limited life of your potion and will ensure you receive it in a timely manner."
Harry smirked, suddenly understanding the game. "Hmm, I'm sure that you don't care about the outcome of my Chizpurfle problem, so I don't suppose that you'd happen to offer such a service?"
The wizard slipped his book back onto the shelf and smiled in a charming, devilish way. "Mr. Potter, it seems you can learn. Send an owl to Wulfric's Potions, and you'll have what you need by early next week." Before Harry could reply, he walked out of the store, leaving Harry to wonder what it was about the man he found so intriguing.
Days later in his Auror office, Harry waited impatiently for the owl that would be delivering his promised potion. It'd been quite a battle getting Ginny to accept that he'd found someone competent to do the chore. He grimaced as he thought of how much more upset she'd have been if he'd managed to destroy their basement while attempting to brew the potion.
Even at his best, his Potions skills had been barely acceptable. She should've been grateful that he'd attempted to be proactive without damaging their home. He was drawn from his thoughts by a large, disgruntled looking owl tapping at his office window. He pulled open the paned glass, and after taking the parchment, sat down to read the message.
Your potion will be completed this afternoon as requested. Please come to 30 Ashwinder Lane, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B1 3LD. I wish to explain the proper application in person, as I don't dare trust you to read the instructions. Certainly, someone at the Ministry can assist you in finding the proper Apparition coordinates. I wouldn't assume that you'd have taken the time to acquire that skill, however useful.
Thank you for your patronage, Armand Wulfric
Harry fell back into his chair, shocked. Birmingham! So much for mail service, the deceitful arse wanted him collect the potion. Although thinking back, he wasn't promised delivery of the potion, only that he'd have it by early in the week. Damn, the strange wizard must have been in Slytherin. No other wizards could be that devious without effort.
Harry looked at his appointment book and found it was surprisingly empty. It would be easy enough to leave early and get the potion. There was no way he was going home without it because an irate, righteous Ginny was not a pleasant thing to face.
After giving the address to his supervisor for a verification check, he took a minute to send an owl to Ginny. He thought he might be late getting home; for all he knew, he'd be required to stand in a long queue with all the other unsuspecting patrons.
One of the junior Aurors dropped the location report down onto his desk, and he noticed that the address came back as Wulfric's Potions, proprietor: Armand Wulfric. Harry smiled at the report because standard procedure required that Apparition coordinates automatically be included with each search. He wouldn't have to do the calculations, and it would be nice to share that bit of information with the condescending Mr. Wulfric.
After tidying up his desk for the day, he pulled on his travelling cloak. As he headed for the lift, he thought of a great idea. If he managed to finish this errand early, he'd have time to stop by Diagon Alley. He could buy Ginny a small present, and that would put her in a better mood. Now, all he had to do was go to Birmingham, deal with Wulfric, and be back before nightfall.
Opening his eyes, Harry looked around. The area was urban and nicer than he'd expected. Glancing down the street, he saw there was a footpath to his right that led to a white, self-contained building. That had to be the place; a Potions shop would need more privacy than other wizarding businesses located in a Muggle area.
Walking up the footpath, he felt a wave of magic wash over him. The sensation forced him to break his pace as he relished the welcoming warmth generated from the strong wards. It seemed familiar, yet he couldn't place the wizard who'd woven the magic. Before he left, he needed to find out who was behind the glamour that Wulfric wore. He'd always hated to leave a mystery unsolved.
Ringing the doorbell by the front entrance, he anxiously awaited a response. He was taken aback when the door opened for him, but there was no one present to invite him inside the shop. He heard a voice call to him from one of the inner rooms. "Enter, Potter."
Passing through the entryway, he closed the door, and seeing stairs off to the side, he made a mental note that this was probably Wulfric's residence as well. Following the passageway, he tried to guess the voice's location. He found Mr. Wulfric sitting beside the fire, sipping tea. Without looking up, he gestured to the opposite chair, and said, "Sit, Potter."
Harry marvelled at the authoritative tone in the man's voice. Few attempted to speak to him with such dominance and disregard. Despite his desire to resist out of spite, he obediently took the seat as directed.
Over his cuppa, Wulfric looked at him for the first time, and asked, "Tea?" Instinctively, Harry nodded, and Wulfric smiled at him as he said, "Let me guess how you take it, milk and sugar with just a spot of tea?"
Harry felt his temper beginning to stir, but he wouldn't respond to such blatant baiting. The man wanted to see him behave badly. "Black, thank you. Do you have the potion ready?"
Ignoring the question, Wulfric carefully set down his cup, and poured another for Harry. Offering the steaming cup, he replied to the enquiry only after Harry had taken his first sip. "I see your social skills are as adept as ever. The potion is prepared, as I stated it would be in my letter."
Harry grinned. Wulfric was insufferable, but regardless, he made a good cuppa. The tea was a subtle, herbal medley, probably something original that Wulfric had skilfully blended. He felt warm and relaxed even after only one sip. It was strange, he'd been so focussed on acquiring the potion and getting back to London, but now, he wanted to sit by the fire and get to know the mysterious man sitting across from him. Before he lost his nerve, he had to ask, "Why do you wear such a heavy glamour?"
Wulfric snorted. "Your impertinence has only increased with your age. It should be clear, even to someone as boorish as yourself, why I wear the glamour. Obviously, I don't want my identity known. Were you hoping that I was hiding a hideous scar?"
Harry was too relaxed to get riled. He just shrugged, sipping his tea, and looked into the fire, mesmerised by the flickering flames. "No, I wouldn't hope something so dreadful. Can I see who you are? I feel like I know your magic, but I can't place it."
Wulfric watched him cautiously. He seemed to be trying to gauge whether or not to give in to his request. Harry hoped that he would drop the glamour because he really hated the idea of leaving without any answers. "As it happens, Mr. Potter, I am hiding a rather hideous scar as well as my identity. Are you certain you're prepared for me to part with my persona?"
Without a passing thought, Harry answered, "Of course, I'm prepared. I've seen loads of things in my time."
Wulfric gave him a knowing look and pulled out his wand to undo the charm. "So you have, Mr. Potter." Harry watched as the hazel eyes darkened to near black in colour, and the tawny brown hair lengthened to become black, stringy, and lank.
Harry jerked in shock, spilling some tea on his thigh as he fumbled with his cup. It couldn't be. He struggled to find his voice, and when the words finally came, they sounded desperate and confused. "Snape, but I saw you die! No, it's not possible; you're supposed to be dead. You're alive?"
Snape rolled his eyes and leant back in his chair, appearing to have expected this reaction. "I believe you were told that I could stopper death on your first of many, miserable days in my Potions class. Did you think I was babbling? I'm not you, Potter."
Snape did have a nasty scar on his neck from Nagini's bite, but overall, he looked better than Harry remembered. There were so many questions to ask. "But, why are you hiding? You're a hero! I saw to that after I realised you were on our side." Picking up his tea, and taking a sip, Snape seemed content not answering his question.
Dark eyes met his, sparking some long forgot emotion, and Harry felt his face flush. After what felt like a lengthy silence, Snape spoke, "You're still an idiot. You may have some semblance of articulation, but you're still the arrogant, reckless child that I knew."
"I'm not reckless! I verified your address, and then I notified my superiors where I'd be this afternoon. I don't go rushing off on adventures anymore without thinking. Snape, you're a mean bastard." He tugged at his collar as he spoke, wondering when it'd got so hot by the fire? Pulling at his tie and slipping off his cloak, he asked Snape, "How do you put up with all those frilly layers? It's smouldering in here."
Snape raised an eyebrow in amusement. "Do you wish for me to take off some of the layers, Mr. Potter?"
He looked up at Snape. A feeling akin to horror muddled his thoughts, knowing his desires and not wanting to answer, Harry looked away, hoping to hide the truth from Snape. Still, he couldn't stop his traitorous mouth from releasing the words his mind had conjured. "Yes, I want to see you."
Snape smirked as he unbuttoned his jacket and waistcoat, slipping them off to expose a prim, white dress shirt underneath. "Is that enough, Mr. Potter, or do I need to shed more of my layers?"
Harry swallowed hard as he stared at the tiny row of buttons. "More, I want to see your skin. I want to see that you're real."
Unconcerned by the demand, Snape unbuttoned his shirt exposing a sparsely haired but nicely toned chest and a surprisingly flat stomach. Harry felt his mouth water, and he longed to reach out and touch Snape. He couldn't explain the urge, but he wanted to feel him and taste him.
Falling to his knees, grateful for Snape's lush hearthrug, he closed the space between them. He ran his fingertips over Snape's chest, delighting in the strong, steady heartbeat he found. Snape was real, he was alive, and Harry had him in his grasp.
He didn't want to stop his exploration. Snape's skin was warm and inviting. Tugging at the white shirt and pulling it open, he uncovered bony shoulders and thin arms. He leant forward to breathe in the smell of Snape, spicy and harsh, just as he remembered him as a professor.
Looking up into Snape's eyes, he saw that they'd softened. Snape wasn't angry. He was going to get away with this and maybe more. Lowering his hands, he caressed Snape's slender thighs through his woollen trousers, running his thumbs daringly low. Snape sighed, and he knew; Snape wanted this too.
Taking a chance, he pulled at Snape's belt and button while lowering his zip. Harry was delighted to find a hardening length waiting for him. He knew better than to touch Snape's cock without permission. He hoped he hadn't pushed his luck too far, and looking up, he asked, "May I?"
Snape seemed to be rather startled by the question, but quickly recovered. "Do as you wish, Potter."
Eyeing the prize before him, Harry slipped the firming cock out of Snape's pants. Stroking him to full hardness, Harry savoured the sight of Snape stiff only for him. Pulling back the foreskin to expose the darkening head, Harry gripped the cock and licked from root to tip, circling around the top with his tongue. He sucked the firm shaft into his mouth, trying to take it all in, dipping slowly up and down. He enjoyed the thickness against his lips. It'd been too long since he'd had the pleasure of sucking a cock, and he intended to show Snape all his tricks.
As he bobbed his head in a slow, steady rhythm, he caught Snape watching. He popped the cock out of his mouth and let it slide across his cheek. Tilting his head, Harry slapped it against his jaw as he met Snape's stare. Snape's eyes filled with lust, and when he tightened his grip on his chair, Harry knew he had him. Snaking his tongue out to the side, Harry ran his tongue up the thick cock, never breaking eye contact. When he reached the tip, he swallowed it back down, grinning around the base when he felt Snape tremble.
He sucked hard, and then pulled back, before sliding down with a constant, sweeping motion from his tongue. He kept repeating the action until he had Snape gasping. Pumping him, with his hand below his mouth, he kept a fast, firm pace. He knew Snape wouldn't be able to hold off long; cradling his balls, Harry held them, waiting for them to get tight. He could feel Snape's orgasm building, causing him to slip his fingers away so he could go down deeper.
Sensing Snape was reaching his completion, he slipped a finger behind Snape's balls and pushed up, rubbing in a soft, circular movement. Snape groaned, and Harry's mouth was flooded with bitter, salty liquid. Fuelled by a passion he didn't question, Harry continued to suck and lick with enthusiasm, gently massaging the softening cock with his tongue. Certain that he'd finally licked him clean; Harry tucked Snape's cock away, and only then, did he register his own arousal.
Reaching down, he shifted his trousers, and smiled at Snape. "Any chance you'd like to return the favour?"
Snape snorted as he buttoned up his clothes. "I think not. Do it yourself, or find someone willing. You'll soon discover that my interest in you doesn't extend to your pleasure."
"There's no need to be an arse. It was a fair question. Besides, I've no idea why I wanted to do it to you." Like tumblers inside a lock, pieces started falling into place. Harry felt like an idiot. "Oh Merlin, the tea was laced with a potion. You did this to me! Why would you do that?"
Raising an eyebrow, Snape responded with a bored tone, "The sexual servicing was an unanticipated surprise. An Auror should be able to recognise a common, mood-altering agent. I'd love to say you disappointed me, Potter, but that would require some amount of expectation on my part, which I'm not foolish enough to have where you're concerned."
Harry felt a bit violated. He hadn't minded the blowjob but to have Snape influence him with a drug was off-putting. Rising up off his knees, he grumbled, "I already know that you don't like me." If he wanted to be honest, he was more hurt than offended. He started to wonder how far Snape had taken his deception. "Did you arrange to meet me in the bookshop, then? You did, didn't you? Did you plant the Chizpurfles too?"
Snape chuckled, and tightly pinched the flesh between his eyes, seemingly torn between being amused and irritated. "You're correct, at least in part. You've overestimated my ability to gain access into your life, Potter. The Chizpurfles arrived without my assistance. As for why I did this, aside from the pleasure of seeing you disgrace yourself, which I will confess does have its own exceptional value. The Ministry is about to offer a very lucrative Potions contract to the lowest bidder, and I'd intended to submit the winning proposal."
Harry's breath caught in his throat, as he took in Snape's words, and the man's motives became apparent. He felt more misused than before. "You drugged me, humiliated me, so that I would help you? Are you mad? Why would I help you now? Before I might have felt obliged because of all the things you did during the war, but now, why would I bother?"
Snape smirked; the arsehole actually smirked! With the dark, silky tone that had tormented Harry's youth, Snape asked, "Have you forgot then about your lovely, redheaded wife? How do you think she will respond to finding out you've just sucked the cock of your former Potions master? You know that you couldn't lie if she asked. Had you taken the time to think of that?"
He hadn't. Ginny, oh Merlin, this could destroy everything. His entire life and all his dreams might be lost because Snape wouldn't stay dead. He struggled to keep control of his anger, that wouldn't help him with this wizard. Snape would love to see him lose his temper. Damn him to hell, he'd have to help the bastard to keep him quiet.
Snape seemed to realise when he'd accepted the inevitable outcome. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the Eradication Potion. "Here's your potion, Potter, the one that any competent second year is capable of brewing." He tossed the vial toward him with a look of disgust.
Reflexively, Harry caught the vial. He didn't want to ask, but he didn't want to come back if he made a mistake either. "You didn't tell me how to use the potion."
Snape rolled his eyes and mumbled, "Potter, when I think my opinion of you can't go lower."
"Well, you said in your letter that you'd have to tell me how to use it."
Rubbing his hand over his face in obvious exasperation, Snape answered, "I'd suggest looking for their nests around magical objects you've left strewn about your house. Perhaps in some cauldrons you left unwashed, not that you wouldn't be an expert at scrubbing cauldrons. I doubt that you'd bother to do anything properly. Now, Potter, please go away. This wretched reunion has gone on too long."
He knew that he was blushing, everything Snape had said was logical. He wanted to flee, to leave and never look back, and simply hate Snape for what he'd done. Still, Snape was alive, and that had to be worth something. "I'll send you the numbers, Snape." Seeing that he wasn't going to get any further response, he walked out without risking a look back.
As he followed the footpath back to the Apparition point, he realised; Snape had been a complete prick, but he'd actually gained nothing, well, aside from the blowjob. He would've helped him without the extortion and not simply out of some sense of duty. Snape must be a lonely, miserable, old snake to go to so much effort just to manipulate a Ministry bid. Besides, there was no way Snape was going to give up his secret life just to create trouble with Ginny.
Evidently, Snape didn't know as much about him as he'd implied. He'd really been counting on that blowjob to be a bargaining factor. He hated the idea of hurting Ginny and didn't want to lose her, but she'd known he was bisexual for years. All she'd asked was that he be discreet if he ever needed a man's companionship, so that he wouldn't be caught up in a scandal that would embarrass the children. Never before had he given in to his desires, but it had felt good to have that release after so long.
Harry smiled when he saw the sun was just beginning to set. He still had time to make it to Diagon Alley before going home. He'd let Snape carry on with his threats, no need to ruin his fun. The man was obviously in need of a friend. He probably hadn't had one since Dumbledore. Maybe after Snape won the Ministry contract, he'd come around again for some of that special tea. It'd be funny to see the surprised look on the bastard's face.