|auctasinistra (auctasinistra) wrote in wip_rip,|
@ 2008-10-28 17:11:00
The Broken Wand
(not DH, HBP or OP compliant)
“You’re an ass,” Harry said.
Tony chuckled. “But a nice one.”
Harry knelt down and started hauling at the cord. It was good and stuck.
Tony whistled, low, and Harry glanced up.
Tony was staring across the bar. “Now that is a nice ass.”
Harry peered around the amplifier to see a man standing at the bar, facing the other way, in a little cleared space as if people were wary of getting too close, even in this crowded place. A bit above medium height. Black jeans and what looked like a black sweater. Though the former weren’t tight, they nicely outlined a well-shaped derriere and legs. Harry had never in his life had so many opportunities to freely examine men as here in the bar, and he found he was enjoying it in a mildly wicked way.
Tony looked down at him. “What does that mean?”
Harry nodded, mouth pursed as if considering. “Yeah, it’s a nice arse. Nice legs too. Pretty decent shoulders...” He grinned. “I like the ponytail too.”
Tony elbowed him. “Back off, pal. He’s mine!”
They laughed. Tony looked up again and the laugh turned into a groan.
Harry glanced up again to see the big blonde cut through the crowd toward the newcomer at the bar. “Guess you’re out of luck, then.”
“It’s not fair,” Tony moaned. “He comes on to every guy in the place, and they all fall for it.”
“Even the straight ones?” Harry teased. He found Hounddog amusing as well as inexplicable. How was it that the man’s ham-handed come-ons always ended in success (if one could call a quick shag over the sink, or a blow job in the lav stalls, success)? He was handsome, yes, with a muscular body and a friendly manner, but ... was that all it took? He watched as Hounddog leaned close to the newcomer, said something and smiled. The newcomer turned and Harry saw his profile.
Tony sighed. “Maybe I should just ... Harry?”
Harry stood up, staring, as Hounddog, a sultry smile on his lips, smoothly invaded the personal space of –
Either thinking very fast or not thinking at all (later, he wasn’t sure which), he launched himself across the bar, darting through the crowd, and flung himself bodily against Severus Snape.
The force of his embrace knocked the potions master back against the bar. Hounddog stepped back, startled.
“God, am I glad to see you!” Harry whispered fiercely in his ear, feeling hands wrap around his arms to push him back – rather gently, all things considered. Snape stared at him in blank astonishment, his mouth slightly open.
“Sorry, Harry,” Hounddog said, hands upraised in the universal “no offense” gesture. “I didn’t know you two were together.”
“We–” Snape began, clearly a little ruffled.
“That’s okay,” Harry said forcefully, giving Hounddog a smile. “You had no way of knowing.”
Snape let him go, smoothing his sweater. “I am not–”
Harry cut in again, still speaking to Hounddog. “I don’t blame you. He is delicious, isn’t he?” He wrapped himself around Snape again, pretending to nuzzle the professor’s ear. The mad thought god he smells great distracted him briefly, then he hissed, “Play along, professor, for your own sake!”
He drew back enough that Snape could see the pleading in his eyes. Then – to his surprise – Snape slid an arm around his waist and looked at Hounddog.
“Is this a friend of yours ... Harry?” Snape asked.
Harry, trying hard to swallow down the spangling fire of arousal Snape’s arm sparked in his stomach, said, “A customer. A good bartender knows all his regulars.” Snape’s surprise, and his absorption of the odd information, were almost palpable against Harry’s skin. Or maybe that’s just Snape. Oh, Harry, you have lost it. You’re just glad to see someone from home, that’s all. That’s all ... oh my god his fingers are on my hip ...
Friendly, Hounddog said, “I’ve never seen you in here before. I would have noticed.” A little too friendly, Harry thought.
“I’ve been out of town,” Snape said.
“Harry!” Tony’s call came from behind the bar.
“Excuse us,” Harry said to Hounddog, turning himself and Snape around to face Tony.
“Can I get you and your ... friend a drink?” Tony said, his expression demanding an explanation in return for his rescue.
“Thanks,” Harry said, sliding onto a barstool. Snape released him – probably gratefully, Harry thought – and sat beside him. Glancing back, Harry saw Hounddog fade into the crowd, and heaved a sigh of relief.
“Tony, this is ...” He turned to Snape, who’d raised a brow at him in classic form. Professor Snape seemed too formal, Snape too cold, Severus ... simply impossible.
Tony, putting a Beck’s on the counter for Harry, arched both his own eyebrows, a gesture less elegant but no less expressive than Snape’s. “Your dear friend whatsisname?” To Snape, Tony said, “What’ll you have, dear friend whatsisname?”
“It is Severus, and I’ll have your best single malt.”
“Aha.” Tony looked at Harry as he pulled the Laphroaig from under the counter. “I see you don’t always frequent the slums, Harry.”
Harry took a sip of beer, feeling his face heat. “Um ... uh ... S-Severus is an ... unexpected visitor.”
“And a welcome one, I’d guess, considering the way you greeted him.” Tony poured the scotch and slid it to Snape, holding up a hand. “On the house for Harry’s dear friend.”
“We need to talk. Outside.”
Harry said to Tony, “I’ve gotta go for a little bit. Is that OK?”
Tony said, “I guess it’ll have to be. I expect the whole story later, man.”
“You’ll get it,” Harry promised. “Thanks.”
More than one set of eyes watched him walk out with Snape; he wondered exactly what made the view so enthralling. Delighted as he was to see anyone from Hogwarts, it wasn’t as if Snape was male model material. True, his muggle clothes suited him, showing just enough of a decent build to be appealing but not graphic; the pony-tail gave his hard features a rakish yet still elegant air...in all he was pretty striking – what in hell are you thinking, Potter?
He also felt warm inside that Snape had instinctively, immediately, trusted him enough to play along. That was something that went both ways; how many times had he unquestioningly drunk the most noxious potions Snape handed him, knowing they were for his own good?
On the street Snape immediately turned left, walking swiftly away from the crowds toward the open fields between the bar and town. The waves were wild tonight, drowning out the noise from the bar within a few steps.
“Were you planning to explain that appalling display?”
“I was glad to see you,” Harry said. “Also, I had just an inkling you didn’t want Hounddog bending you over the sink in the men’s lav ... which believe me, I’ve seen happen more than once.”
Distaste crinkled Snape’s face. “I’m perfectly capable of defending myself from ... unwanted advances, Mr. Potter.”
“Then why didn’t you kill me?” Harry said, genuinely surprised.
“I was willing to overlook your ... enthusiasm in light of your very natural desire to return home.” Then, “Ah...Hounddog?”
“Well, that’s not his real name. It’s what they call him here. And there’s a reason for it. God, professor...” Harry grabbed his arm, held on. “I’m so glad to see you I could kiss you.”
“Kindly restrain yourself,” Snape said, though he didn’t pull his wrist free – as if he couldn’t be bothered; Harry felt oddly like a small, annoying dog. “Our first task is to send word to the headmaster that you are safe and sound. Then...”
Snape stopped, looked at Harry. “Not safe, or not sound?”
“Um ... my wand is gone, for a start. It was gone when I woke up here. Unless I left it behind...”
Snape shook his head. “It went with you.”
“Then it’s gone. So is ... I can’t do any magic.”
Snape’s head tilted slightly, eyes narrowed. “None?”
“Nothing. Not even the little wandless things I could do as a child. There is a reason I haven’t come back, or contacted anyone, you know,” he added. “I expect some people were concerned. Present company excepted, of course.”
“Of course.” Snape looked around the rolling fields, then toward the lights of town about a mile down the highway. “I suppose your condition also means you are unaware that that building is magically warded.”
Harry glanced back at the three storey brick building. “No, I didn’t know that.”
Harry laid a cold damp cloth across Snape’s brow, then sat and stared at him, worried. He didn’t want to call a doctor or ambulance; he guessed Snape had no more muggle identification on his person than Harry did. The bump didn’t seem too big, and Snape’s pupils had reacted to light. That was the extent of Harry’s medical training.
Snape sat up. “What happened?”
“You were attacked. Mugged.” Harry almost giggled in relief. “How do you feel?”
Snape swung his legs over the side of the bed and promptly rested his head in his hands. “Precisely as though I had been punched in the back, struck in the head, then kicked in the ribs.”
Harry nodded, impressed. “You’re good. They also got your wallet and your wand. At least, I couldn’t find your wand when I came up.”
Snape clutched at his neck. “Fuck.”
Harry tried to remember if he’d ever heard him curse before. It sounded appealingly ... non-professor-ish.
“I am warded against magical attack,” Snape said, his tone acknowledging his stupidity in not being more cautious about mundane assaults.
“I’m very glad you’re awake,” Harry said, his tone so heartfelt Snape peered narrowly at him.
“You aren’t going to threaten to kiss me again, are you?”
“If it will make you feel better,” Harry said.
Snape sighed, lifted his head, eyes closed. “No money, no wand, and you have no power.”
“How were we going to get home before?”
“A portkey. Spelled by Dumbledore.” He fished a chain out from under his sweater – a necklace – at its end was ... nothing.
“How did they know to take it?” Harry said.
“How did they know to take my wand? Clearly someone knows there are wizards in the vicinity and doesn’t like it.”
Harry shook his head. “The Broken Wand.”
“Yes. It is beyond the realm of coincidence, is it not?”
“You probably shouldn’t–” Harry began as Snape got to his feet. The potions master swayed and Harry caught his arm, remembering how unsteady he’d been when he’d first recovered consciousness here.
I can’t believe this is Snape I’m helping.
Then again, Tony, a complete stranger, had helped him in the same situation. How could he do less for someone he knew and respected? Even if it was someone who hated him. Who he hated.
Whose arm felt solid and muscular under his fingers. Whose scent perfumed his brain with wicked, unheard of ideas...
He eased Snape onto the hard chair by the bed. “C-can I get you a glass of water? Something stronger from downstairs?”
“Don’t fuss, Potter.” Snape let his face fall into his hands, elbows braced on his knees.
“How’s your head?” Harry ran his hand over the back of Snape’s skull, feeling the lump – also feeling how silky that lank black hair really was. He was tempted to let it trail through his fingers, but Snape winced and pulled away.
“Better for your leaving it alone. When did you become an expert on head injuries?”
Harry grinned. “I’ve taken a few bludgers to the teakettle, professor. Does it still hurt?”
“It hurt when you touched it,” Snape muttered, petulant. “Otherwise no.”
“Dizziness?” Harry pressed. “Blurred vision?”
Snape sighed sharply. “I haven’t sustained a concussion. Merely a headache – which your incessant questions are doing nothing to mitigate, I can promise you. Come here.”
Harry stood straight, wondering if Snape was going to yell at him or something. He felt like a third year back in potions class as he stepped in front of Snape’s chair.
Snape snapped, “Down here,” and pointed at the floor directly in front of his knees. Harry hesitated, resisting the urge to giggle. I know this isn’t what it looks like, but...oh, what it looks like!
Snape said impatiently, “I’m not going to hurt you.”
Then Harry did giggle. “That’s not what I was thinking, professor,” he said, kneeling at Snape’s feet and sitting back on his heels.
Snape leaned forward and laid both hands around Harry’s head. They were warm and Harry had to resist the urge to relax into them and let Snape hold him up. He did let his eyes shut – Snape’s palms had covered them anyway – as he listened to the potions master hum speculatively.
When Snape released him Harry blinked up at him. Snape set his elbows to his knees, apparently comfortable, in his distraction, with their proximity, so Harry didn’t move, testing the feeling himself with curiosity and surprise. He didn’t exactly feel comfortable, but it was a pleasurable discomfort, a kind of mild tickling along his skin.
“Someone’s cast a damping spell on you,” Snape said, his chin in one hand as he looked Harry over. “Evidently it wasn’t enough that they took away your wand. Someone didn’t want you practicing magic at all.”
“So there is a wizard or witch around,” Harry said. “That explains the wards too.”
“A reasonably capable one as well,” Snape said. “This is an advanced spell.”
“Reversible?” Harry asked. Snape nodded. That concern put aside, Harry said, “But ... if whoever it is doesn’t want me around, why not send me away or kill me? And if they do want me around, what for? All I’ve been doing is cleaning glasses and serving beer –” and ogling men – “and trying to save up money for plane fare. If I’d had my wand I’d’ve been gone long ago.”
“When did you learn to apparate, Mr. Potter?” Snape asked, sarcasm muted for once.
“I haven’t yet,” Harry admitted, refusing to be sidetracked. “But I could have contacted home. Something. So what kind of game is this wizard or witch playing?”
Snape rested his forehead in his hands and shook his head, not looking up.
Harry reached out, stroking Snape’s temple with the backs of his fingers. Snape froze. Harry did too, realizing what he’d done. You. Just. Caressed. Severus. Snape.
Snape turned to peer narrow-eyed at him. Harry took the offensive.
“You do have a headache, don’t you?” He scrambled to his feet and went into the bathroom, returning with a glass of tap water and a bottle of aspirin.
“This will help,” he said, holding them out.
“Why did the headmaster send you?”
“To punish me for my sins, no doubt.”
“Coming to sunny California isn’t very much punishment,” Harry said. “Sir.”
“Evidently I was the only one sufficiently familiar with the Muggle world to be trusted with the task.”
“Sorry,” Harry lied. “I still don’t really understand how this happened.”
“I have a feeling Albus does.”
“What do you mean?”
Snape shook his head. “I’m not sure. I ...” He shook his head again. “It’s pointless to speculate. We have enough concrete tasks to deal with.”
“Is it even possible to apparate without a wand?” Harry asked. Snape’s look clearly said that if it were not he wouldn’t have suggested it.
“Okay.” Harry took a deep, preparatory breath. “Let’s do it.”