Keeping Secrets by alisanne Title: Keeping Secrets Author:alisanne Pairing: Severus/Harry Rating: PG Word Count: ~2900 Warnings: None Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. The characters and their worlds belong to their original writers and no copyright infringement or offense is intended. No money was made from this story. Summary: Potter is acting suspiciously and Severus is determined to get to the bottom of it. Or, perhaps just to his bottom... A/N: Thank you to my darling lilyseyes for looking this over, and to the Sighs mods for the inspiring prompts.
Prompt #10: As part of a dare, ______ agrees to make a pass at every professor at Hogwarts. She/He leaves Snape until last.
Severus watched with hooded eyed as Potter sidled up to Minerva and sat down beside her. Potter had joined the staff after Christmas as Mediwizard, and ever since Severus had been watching him for immature behaviour. Not to mention his arse.
Tamping down on that thought, Severus buttered his toast and tried to bring his mind back to the issue at hand. Potter was a circumspect staff member for the most part and frequently went out of his way to be pleasant to Severus, but Severus knew better than to trust that. Potter was a young man, after all. At some point he’d be starting a family. Severus was just trying to prepare himself for that disappointment.
Potter and Minerva were engaged in a hushed conversation and, curious, Severus’ eyes narrowed. He smirked. He’d have been a poor spy indeed if he couldn’t read lips.
Unfortunately, Potter kept turning away and, frustrated, Severus finally gave up. Looking down at his plate, he pondered his options. If he cast an eavesdropping spell Minerva would undoubtedly know (she always knew) and be unamused. He pursed his lips. I confiscated one of those Weasley eavesdropping devices last week. I can use that--
Before he could work out how to retrieve it in time to return and hear their conversation, however, Potter rose. “I’ll see you this evening for dinner then, Minerva,” he said before shooting a hesitant smile at Severus and walking away.
Even more suspicious, Severus glared after him. Just what was Potter up to? Whatever it was, Severus would uncover his secret.
The next morning, Potter went to sit with Binns, who, though he was a ghost, still took meals in the Great Hall with the rest of the staff. He never ate of course, but he was very social. Unfortunately, very few people usually sat by him, mainly because of the chill, so they garnered no few stares as they settled in for a whispered conversation.
Severus was prepared, however. Fingering the Extendible Ear in his pocket, he edged it out of his pocket. With a whispered spell he Disillusioned it and sent it snaking across the floor toward Potter and Binns.
Discreetly placing the other, non-visible, end on the table next to him, Severus then settled in to listen. It was early, so very few other staff were present, fortunately. Severus doubted Minerva would have missed what Severus was doing.
“...wager?” asked Cuthbert. “Because that would be--”
“Not at all!” Potter sounded anxious. “It’s just as I said. My intentions are honourable. So, can we discuss it over dinner?”
Cuthbert chuckled. “I don’t really eat, my boy, but I will gladly watch you do so.”
Potter rose and as he did so his foot nudged the invisible Extendible Ear. He looked down, clearly puzzled, before glancing towards Severus.
For his part, Severus made a show of pouring himself some tea, ostentatiously ignoring everyone in the room.
“Great. My quarters at seven?” Potter said.
“I’ll be there.” Cuthbert drifted towards the ceiling. “Although I can be absent minded, so perhaps send an elf to remind me?”
“Of course,” Potter said. He stepped on the Extendible Ear and the rest of what he said was muffled. “...suggestions...ideas...a bet...thanks--”
Cuthbert laughed, disappearing through the ceiling as Potter turned away, finally taking his foot off the Extendible Ear.
Frustrated, Severus waited until Potter was gone to collect the mutilated eavesdropping device. Stuffing it back in his pocket, he pondered the part of the conversation he’d overheard. Potter said his intentions were honourable. I wonder what he meant? Severus stiffened as a horrible thought occurred to him. He can’t intend to court Cuthbert. He’s a ghost. Dear Merlin--
Severus didn’t sleep well that night, tossing and turning as he imagined Potter trying to court a ghost. Or anyone.
When, the next day, Potter approached Hooch, Severus began to get concerned. Is he so desperate that he’s working his way through the staff? he thought. That’s three dates in three days. What could possibly be so special about February, anyway?
Hooch laughed, distracting him. She batted her eyelashes, flirting with Potter. Severus shook his head. I always thought she was gay.
Two Hufflepuff girls walked by. “...asked me to Madam Puddifoot’s for Valentine’s Day--”
Struck, Severus’ eyes widened. Valentine’s Day! That’s it! Merlin, Potter is looking for a valentine. That idiot.
Being aware of Potter’s goal didn’t make it any easier to watch it happen, however. Severus stood by, feeling impotent as he saw Potter arrange and presumably enjoy dinners with Flitwick, Pince, Sinistra, Sprout and even Vector.
As the fateful day approached, Severus began to wonder who Potter would choose. He seemed indiscriminate about dating men or women and was clearly charming since no one seemed upset when he moved on to invite someone else out.
“Potter’s certainly cutting a swath through the staff,” Severus remarked to Minerva on February twelfth. “Perhaps you should counsel him.”
Minerva glanced at him. “About what?”
Severus scowled. “About...the possible consequences to his reputation. As a new staff member, he may be unaware of the rules, and the Board of governors can be...inflexible.”
Minerva smiled. “The Board loves him. And he’s breaking no rules. He’s not a professor, after all.”
“Indeed.” Severus huffed. “Not even being Harry Potter will save him from an impropriety charge.”
Minerva shook her head and rose from the table. “Impropriety? Harry?” She laughed. “Dear me, Severus. You’ve developed a sense of humour. And I wasn’t aware you were so concerned about Harry’s reputation.”
“Haven’t you noticed he’s dating the entire staff?” Severus’ voice got a bit strident as his agitation grew. “He’s going to get a reputation as a slut!” Several students turned to stare at them. Severus scowled at them and they all blanched, turning away.
Minerva raised an eyebrow. “Don’t de ridiculous, Severus. I happen to know for a fact that Potter’s only interested in one person.” She pursed her lips. “Though if you’re that worried, perhaps you should discuss it with him yourself.”
Severus snorted as she walked away. “And how would I fit myself into his busy social calendar?” he muttered, startling a house-elf that was clearing away some dishes.
Disgusted, Severus pushed away from the table. It’s not my business. I’ll just stay away from the Great Hall until Potter makes his decision.
And yet Severus couldn’t resist showing up for breakfast on February fourteenth. It was simple curiosity he told himself. It would be best to know who Potter’s choice had turned out to be rather than to imagine it.
Severus was staring into his tea cup when a familiar voice said, “Good morning, Snape.”
“Potter?” Startled, Severus looked up and into Potter’s face. “Yes. Of course. Good morning.”
To his shock, Potter sat beside him and began helping himself to breakfast. “So, do you have plans for today?” he asked as he buttered some toast.
Severus swallowed, distracted by Potter’s hands, his strong fingers. “The usual,” he said after clearing his throat. “Class in the morning, during which I shall endeavour to not be incinerated, followed by detention supervision.” He paused, considering whether to reciprocate. Did he really want to know? Salazar. Why not? “And you? Have you any...special plans?”
“Actually, I’m not sure yet,” Potter said, helping himself to some eggs. “It rather depends on how the next few minutes go.”
Severus’ hand, wrapped around a teacup, fisted involuntarily, and the cup shattered, spilling hot tea over his hand and arm.
“Shit!” Potter exclaimed. A moment later the cup and tea were Banished and Potter had Severus’ hand in his. “Looks like you got a slight burn,” he said. “That’s probably smarting. Come on, let me look at you in the infirmary.”
“I’m fine,” Severus gritted out, trying to retrieve his hand.
“You’re not,” insisted Potter. Still clasping Severus’ hand, he stood up. “And in case you forgot, I can insist. Medical personnel can cancel classes if doing so will benefit a professor’s health.”
Grumbling, Severus allowed himself to be led away. “You can release my hand,” he muttered as they passed some Slytherin students who eyed them speculatively.
“I can but I’m not going to,” was Potter’s implacable reply. “Now come on. The sooner I look at your hand the sooner you can get on with your day.”
After settling Severus on a cot, Potter began rummaging through a cabinet, returning with a salve. “This should help,” he said, smoothing the sticky stuff over Severus’ skin in slow, soothing movements.
The burn, which had been uncomfortable, disappeared immediately and Severus sighed.
“Better?” asked Potter, his thumb tracing lightly over Severus wrist.
“Evidently,” Severus choked out. His recalcitrant cock, which seemed to have a mind of its own just then, was pulsing in a bid to get his attention. Snatching his hand away from Potter, he stood up, ignoring the brief flash of hurt on Potter’s face. “Am I released to teach now?”
Potter cleared his throat and turned away, cleaning up his supplies. “Yes. Although I want you to return this evening so I can check your skin one more time.”
Severus frowned. “This evening. I thought you had plans?”
“Looks like my plans now include you.”
Severus nodded. Then, feeling guilty, he said, “Thank you, Potter. That salve was...helpful.”
When Potter faced him once more his face was unreadable. “All in a days work. See you at seven.”
The day seemed to crawl but finally it was seven and Severus was standing before the infirmary doors. Part of him was dreading encountering Potter’s date for the evening. Would it be a staff member or someone from outside Hogwarts?
Squaring his shoulder he pushed open the door and blinked at the scene that confronted him.
The cots had been cleared away and instead there was a table set for two, with flowers and a candle centrepiece, and floating candles hovering above it.
“Am I late?” Severus asked, tearing his eyes away from the table to look at Potter.
Potter smiled. “No. You’re right on time. Have a seat.”
Confused, Severus stayed where he was. “Clearly you’re expecting someone else so--”
“Just sit down so I can look at your hand, Severus.” Potter pointed to one of the chairs.
Huffing, Severus obeyed. “I suppose it’s not too awkward as long as we’re done by the time your real guest arrives,” he said as Potter gently clasped his hand, inspecting it carefully.
“Looks good,” Potter finally said, his fingers stroking over Severus’ palm. “No evidence of permanent damage.”
“I told you,” Severus said. He knew he should reclaim his hand but it felt so good to have Potter touching him, caressing him...
After one last caress, Potter let go and, to Severus’ surprise, took the seat across from him. A moment later some wine appeared on the table. “I hope you like red,” Potter said, pouring two glasses.
“What are you doing?” Severus asked as Potter raised his glass and took a sip. “Shouldn’t you wait for your date?”
Potter smiled. “No need.”
It took Severus a moment. “You mean--?”
Potter’s smile turned shy. “I hope you don’t mind. I didn’t think you’d have believed I’d meant it if I’d just come out and asked you to a Valentine’s Day dinner.”
Severus’ heart leapt in his chest but he ignored it, narrowing his eyes instead. “And your other beaus? What about them?”
Potter sipped his wine, licking some off his bottom lip. “I don’t have any other beaus.”
“I saw you!” Severus snapped. “You’ve had dinner with every other staff member over the past two weeks. Was I the last on your list? Are we all just notches on a bedpost to you?”
“I did have dinner with all the other members of staff,” Potter admitted. “Do you know why?”
“Presumably because you were horny?”
Potter coughed. “Well, I can’t deny that seeing as I invited you to dinner,” he said, eyes holding Severus’. “But that’s not why I asked them out.”
Potter exhaled. “Well, for advice.”
Potter smiled tentatively. “They’ve all worked with you for years, so they know you. Minerva advised me to be cautious and to move slowly. She told me you’d put up a fight and that I should be very sure of what I wanted before pursuing you.”
Minerva always had been perceptive. Hand shaking, Severus reached for his glass of wine. “Indeed.”
“Yes.” Potter leaned forward, his expression intent. “Binns told me you value sincerity and honour before all else and that I should be sure my intentions were honourable.”
Severus inhaled sharply. “That’s why you said that to him.”
Potter frowned, then his face cleared. “You were eavesdropping! I thought I’d stepped on something but I couldn’t see what.”
“An Extendable Ear under a Disillusionment Charm,” Severus murmured. Against his best intentions, he was allowing himself to hope. “Stepping on it did not improve its functioning.”
Potter grinned. “Sorry.”
“Humph.” Severus unbent enough to take a sip of wine. “What about the others?” he asked.
“Hooch said that you’re passionate.”
Severus’ mouth fell open. “What?”
Potter shrugged. “She figures anyone who flies like you do has to be.” He winked. “And I have to say I agree.”
I will not blush, I will not blush-- Severus looked away. “Ah.”
“Irma said you’re brilliant and you appreciate a fine mind.” Potter coughed. “Not sure there’s much I have to offer you on that front.”
Severus snorted and, embarrassment forgotten, glared at him. “Oh please. You’re a Mediwizard. You clearly have a brain.”
Potter straightened up, clearly pleased. “Thanks.”
“Indeed.” Severus sipped more wine, beginning to feel more relaxed. “Continue.”
“Sinistra said you’re very principled and that she’s never seen anyone so determined to make up for past mistakes. Sprout said you’re good with plants and because of that she’s always trusted you, even when no one else did.” Harry refilled their glasses.
Potter sighed. “She mumbled something about a niece of hers I might like to meet.”
“Meet her niece?” Potter shuddered. “No thanks.” He looked up at Severus from under his lashes. “I already have my eye on someone.” His face went serious. “And I’m glad you came.”
“If I hadn’t burnt myself at breakfast I wouldn’t have,” Severus admitted.
“Yes you would,” Potter murmured. Reaching out, he clasped Severus’ hand. “I’d have found a way to get you here.”
“And now that you do have me here and you know all my secrets, what now?” asked Severus.
“All your secrets? Hardly.” Potter smiled. “And I hoped we could eat, talk...Maybe go for a walk.”
“Sod that,” Severus said. Tossing back his wine, he rose, pulling Potter towards him. “After all, you’re not the only one who’s been horny.”
It wasn’t the first kiss with Potter that Severus had fantasised about. It was better since it was solid, real. Potter tasted of wine, with an underlying subtle flavour that was addictive. Severus’ hand came up and he cupped Potter’s jaw, curling his thumb along Potter’s jaw and caressing his cheek.
Potter melted against him, arms wrapping about Severus’ waist as their tongues entwined. The kiss, which had started tentatively, deepened.
Severus tried to keep the kiss slow, languid, but as heat built between them it became impossible. With a smothered moan, Potter backed him against the wall, leaning into him, rocking against him. They continued to attack each other’s mouths, Severus’ fingers sliding under Potter’s robes to caress warm skin.
Tearing his mouth from Severus’, Harry tucked his face into Severus’ neck. “Severus,” he breathed.
Hearing his name in that tone from Potter’s lips made Severus shudder. “I should go--”
“What? No!” Potter drew back long enough to stare into Severus’ eyes. “Please.”
Severus swallowed hard. “You should know,” he said, voice low. “I don’t do casual. So if this is some sort of game or the result of a dare, you should let me walk away right now.”
“It’s not,” Potter said, pressing closer. “And for the record I don’t do casual either.” Reaching up, he cupped Severus’ cheek in his palm. “I knew who I wanted when I returned to Hogwarts. I also knew I’d have to take my time. As for letting you walk away--” He arched against Severus, letting him feel his arousal. “Does that show you how much I want you?”
Severus smirked. “Indeed.” Bending his head, he captured Potter’s mouth once more, taking some time to explore. By the time they broke the kiss again they were both panting.
“My quarters are through that door,” Potter whispered. “The elves can bring us dinner in bed after.” His voice deepened. “I’m looking forward to feeding you by hand.”
It sounded like Heaven to Severus. Allowing himself to be led towards the door, he murmured, “Just promise me one thing, Potter.”
“Of course.” Potter paused to look at him. “What?”
“Never tell anyone that we started whatever this is on Valentine’s Day.”
Potter grinned, tugging him through into what would likely be paradise. “It’ll be our secret.”