|Torina Archelda (torina_archelda) wrote in severus_sighs,|
@ 2010-03-14 00:10:00
|Entry tags:||fic, member: torina_archelda, pairing: severus/harry, rating: pg-13|
Rebirth by Torina Archelda
Word Count: 2.3k
Summary: I realize the “write about them doing their taxes” prompt was a joke, but I was instantly struck by a non-crack bunny. So contemplate how I could have turned that into a serious fic as you read this. : )
A/N: For the wonderful atypicalsnowman on her birthday. I hope you have a wonderful one, darling.
Harry looked up from the overflowing pile of parchment in front of him and glared at Severus. “I hate you,” he said mulishly, watching Severus set down his quill and twist the cap onto the bottle of ink he’d been using.
Severus smirked, then leaned over and caught Harry’s lips in a kiss he grudgingly returned. “You don’t have to be so smug about it,” Harry muttered.
Severus laughed and stood, taking his cloak from the hook on the wall and putting it on. “I’m in board meetings all morning and afternoon, but I’ll be home this evening.” He kissed Harry again, this one lingering, and Harry allowed himself to enjoy it this time. “We could have dinner together?”
Harry snorted. “If I’m done with these, we can,” he said, and Severus laughed again.
“You’ll do spectacularly, I’m sure,” he replied dryly, but there was a note of affection in his voice that Harry knew meant he was loved. Severus might not speak the words often, but all the same… Harry knew.
“Have a good day,” he conceded, tilting his head up for one last kiss. “Don’t let them wind you up too much. You know how you get when you do.”
“They’re trying to sully the art of potion-making with their bureaucracy and pettiness,” Severus glared. “Someone has got to put an end to it.”
“That’s my Severus,” Harry grinned, standing and following Severus to the door. “On a crusade for the rights of apothecaries, brewers, and puppies.”
Severus shot him a look. “I think you’re projecting.”
Harry’s laugh followed him out the door.
Severus let out a heavy sigh as the lock clicked open, incredibly glad to be home. He enjoyed his job, truly—as he often had to remind Harry when he came home exhausted like this. The interminable meetings were a hassle, and days like this bordered on torturous, but it was all well worth it to finally be able to something he loved.
Voices traveled from the next room and into the foyer, and Severus paused mid-stride to listen in. After a day like this one, a moment to relax and listen to Harry’s voice was exactly what he needed.
“It took him twenty minutes, Hermione. Twenty minutes! To get all of it done. I’ve been working all day and I’ve barely made a dent in it. It’s all this legal mumbo-jumbo—I don’t even know what half of it means.”
A soft smile lit Severus’ face at that, and he thought back to the adorably frustrated look Harry had given him that morning.
“It’s just the sort of thing that will take a bit of practice, Harry,” he heard Granger chide. “It took Ron and I an hour or two, but we got it sorted. You’ve a bit more to go through what with Grimmauld Place and your inheritances to sort, but I’m sure you’ll work it out.”
Mm, yes. Granger would stay a bit longer, he and Harry would have a nice dinner together, and then he’d help Harry sort through his papers this evening in front of the fire. Harry did have a bit more to go through, but he’d catch on quickly. They could pour a few glasses of wine and—
His musing was interrupted by Harry’s sigh. “S’alright,” he told Granger, and Severus could hear him shuffling around on the couch as he often did. Harry never could keep still for long, he thought affectionately. “If things go the way I think they will, I won’t have to worry about taxes this time next year anyway.”
Severus’ breath caught. What on earth was Harry—
“Harry,” Granger began softly, an odd quality in her voice, but Harry interrupted her before she could continue.
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Harry said. “I’ve heard your opinion a thousand times. But it’s been six months, Hermione. This isn’t going to go away.”
Severus’ heart was pounding in his chest. Six months? He and Harry had been together for nearly that long. Harry was ill—had been for months now—and hadn’t said anything to him? Merlin, what was wrong with him? Had he been to a healer? Was he undergoing treatment? What could be wrong with him that Severus wouldn’t have noticed? No, he—he’d had that odd taste in his mouth one morning when they’d kissed, but he’d just ignored it, he hadn’t thought... Why hadn’t Harry said anything, damn it—Severus was a potions master, maybe he could have brewed something—
“I just think you should be careful, Harry,” Granger replied, breaking Severus out of his thoughts. “I don’t want you to—”
The door closed loudly behind Severus, abruptly bringing it to his attention that his knees had gone weak and he’d fallen to lean against it. He quickly scrambled to stand, commanding his racing heart to calm, and made an effort to walk into the sitting room as if nothing out of the ordinary had just happened.
“Harry,” he said, only able to withstand his gaze for a moment before he had to look away. His Harry. Dying. “Granger,” he acknowledged with a nod, turning away from them both and making his way toward his liquor cabinet. If his steps were more hurried than usual along the way, if he poured himself slightly more than he would have any other day—well. No one save himself would notice.
“Rough day, Severus?” Harry asked, concern in his voice. “I know those meetings can be trying…”
Severus seized the opportunity Harry had handed him. “A bit difficult to handle, yes,” he replied, proud that his voice remained steady as he spoke. “I was hoping we could spend the evening alone?” He kept his back to them, resisting the urge to pour himself another as a moment of awkward silence passed.
“I should go,” Granger said, and Severus heard her stand. “You’re coming by for lunch next week?”
“Of course,” Harry replied, guiding her to the door. “Wouldn’t miss it.”
Severus heard the telltale crack of Granger apparating away and the click of Harry locking the door, but still he kept his back to him. The alcohol was beginning to buzz through him, but he hadn’t quite built up the courage to confront Harry.
“Are you ready for dinner?” Harry asked, coming up behind him and sliding his arms around his waist. His body was warm, comforting and alive, and Severus couldn’t handle it. He twisted out of Harry’s arms and strode toward the dining room.
After a moment of silence, Harry followed.
They ate in silence for nearly twenty minutes before Severus couldn’t take it anymore. He set his fork down with more force than strictly necessary, and Harry’s startled gaze snapped to his.
“Is there something you'd like to tell me?” he asked tightly, his body tense and his mouth pressed into a thin line.
Harry frowned, and Severus ground his teeth together. “No?” he replied after a moment, and Severus’ temper flared. “Nothing I can think of…”
“Really?” Severus snapped, pushing his chair back from the table and standing. It was bad enough that Harry would keep this from him, but to point-blank lie to him when asked—that was inexcusable. “Nothing at all? Nothing important going on in your life, Harry?” Severus was almost startled to realize he was shaking. “Nothing you think ought to be shared with your lover?”
“I—no! Severus, what’s gotten into you?” Harry stood as well, coming around the table and trying to grab a hold of Severus’ arms, but Severus pushed him away. He didn’t know which emotion he felt more fiercely—the fear or the anger or worry or agony or hurt or betrayal or—
“You bastard,” he raged, grabbing Harry by the shoulders and shoving him up against the wall, his entire body shaking. “I give you my heart, my life, and
you—” his voice broke and he sagged against Harry, his tight grip on his shoulders a lifeline now instead of a punishment. He shook with soundless sobs, his breath ragged in Harry’s ear as he pleaded for a life he knew he couldn’t have. “How could you do this to me, how could you put me through this, why didn’t you say anything—” He shuddered, pressing hard, desperate kisses to Harry’s face, affirming to himself that Harry was here, he was alive, he wasn’t gone yet, he still— “I can’t lose you,” he begged, tightening his grip and digging his nails into Harry’s shoulder blades. I’d be so lost without you. “I can’t…”
All at once the rage returned, and he pushed away from Harry—away from his soft words and gentle tone, away from his feeble attempt at reconciliation. “No!” he shouted, and his hands weren’t shaking and those weren’t tears prickling at his eyes, and his Harry didn’t look absolutely miserable and he didn’t want to hold him and pet his hair and wash all his pain away. “You don’t get to—you can’t just apologize, tell me you’re sorry, and expect to smooth all of this over. I want—I need—I need answers, damn you! Did you—have you been to a healer? Do they know what’s wrong with you? Do you know how—how long—” His voice cracked over the impossibility of the question, and he gave up trying to control his shaking or determine if it was born of fear or rage. He reached down and grabbed onto one of their dining chairs to maintain his balance, willing his knees not to give out on him. “How long do you have?”
At long last Harry’s eyes widened with realization, and Severus wanted desperately to punch him in the nose. How dare he, how dare he—
“Severus, I—I’m not sick.”
Severus let out an inarticulate snarl. “Answer me, damn you, tell me what—”
“Severus!” Harry’s raised voice cut through Severus’ anger, and the look on his face struck him immobile—Harry came closer and took his face in his hands, and Severus was powerless to stop him. “I’m not sick,” Harry whispered, warm, living breath leaving his mouth and flowing into Severus’ lungs. “I’m not dying. I’m—I’m here. I’m right here. I promise.”
Severus took two more deep breaths of Harry’s air before the words sunk in, and his knees collapsed abruptly underneath him. The adrenaline fled his body in an instant, leaving him feeling exhausted and bereft. Harry straddled his lap and wrapped his arms around his neck, burying his face in his shoulder and pressing his face against his neck. Severus raised weak arms to embrace him, holding him close and reveling in the feeling of Harry’s heartbeat thumping against his chest.
Alive. His Harry was alive.
They sat there for a long time, just holding each other, until Severus finally felt a semblance of a hold on reality. He raised a hand to Harry’s head and carded his fingers through his hair, and felt a hole in his heart fill when Harry leaned into the gesture. He ran the fingers of his other hand along the back of Harry’s shoulders, pausing where he knew he had left marks. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, his throat closing with shame. “I’m so sorry.”
Harry shook his head, his nose rubbing against Severus’ neck with every motion. “No,” he said softly, breathing in deeply. “No. God, if I had thought you were dying…” He shook his head again. “No. No apologies.” He kissed the vein at the base of Severus’ neck, brushing his lips against it gently, lingeringly. “I love you,” he said softly. It was both an affirmation and a supplication, and Severus swallowed thickly.
“When I came home…” Severus began hoarsely, then cleared his throat and tried again. “When I came home,” he continued more strongly, “you were talking to Granger. You said—you said you wouldn’t have to worry about your taxes next year, that you wouldn’t be around, that you’d been ill for months—”
Harry let out a strangled laugh, and Severus clutched at him more tightly. “Is that what started all this?” Harry asked sadly, leaning his cheek against Severus’. “Me talking to Hermione? Merlin, Severus, I only meant…”
Severus’ mind signaled his body to tense, but he simply didn’t have the energy for it. His eyes slid closed and he continued petting Harry’s hair, unable to fathom what he would say now.
Harry drew in a deep, steadying breath before he spoke again. “I was hoping we’d be married by then, Severus.” Severus froze in shock, and Harry kept speaking. “I love you, very much, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Hermione keeps telling me she thinks it’s too soon and too fast, but these last six months feel like forever and it’s just so right when I’m with you and I want—”
Severus interrupted Harry’s monologue with a bruising kiss, his heart lighter than it had felt since he’d walked through the door what seemed like a lifetime ago. He’d certainly lived and died and been born again in the past several hours, his Harry the instrument of his rebirth. They broke apart for a breath and Severus brought their mouths together again, sure Harry’s lips had never tasted so sweet.
“Merlin, Harry, and what?” he spoke at last, peppering kisses across his face between words. “Pass our joint taxes off to me?”
Harry smiled cheekily, only a hint of their shared sadness remaining in his eyes. “Well, you are so sickeningly good at them.”
Severus laughed and pressed a kiss to Harry’s scar, then bent him down to the ground and laid on top of him, their lips meeting once more.
Harry Snape. He liked the sound of that.