The Paradox of Existence
by DragonLight


Chapter Six:  After effects

*The Past*

When the door slammed open, Severus looked up from the book he was reading.  It seemed that Harry had already reverted back to his undesirable habits in the two months he hadn't seen him.  Making a note to have a word with Harry about pounding around like a herd of hippogriffs, he set the book down, but Harry stormed past him, waving his hand at the door and slamming it.

Without a word, Severus stood up and followed Harry through the sitting room, stopping in the doorway to the bedroom.

Harry was there ripping at the buttons of his robe and tearing his shirt over the top of his head, all the while grumbling something so softly that Severus couldn't make it out.

He hadn't seen Harry this upset since he'd worked at the Ministry and came home cursing Fudge every night.

Something must have been gone terribly wrong.

Never a better time for a bit of humour, in Severus's opinion.

"Professor Tyler?"

Harry stiffened.  "Mr Snape, I believe I requested that you vacate my classroom, not follow me to my private chambers.  Get out, or I will tell your Head of House."

Eyes narrowed, Severus paused, trying to figure out when exactly he had shown up.  The only conclusion he could come to was the evening of one of his detentions with Tyler.  Most likely the pink-coloured chalk detention, if Harry's discomfiture was anything to go by.

Severus had hated that chalk.

Toeing off his shoes, Severus walked across the floor, and went to stand behind Harry.  He settled one hand on his hip and with his other traced the snake and watched as it calmed down from its previous agitation.  

His head bent close to Harry's ear, Severus breathed, "but, Professor Tyler--"

"I said go awa--" Harry spun around.  "Severus, you arse!"  Rubbing his forehead, he glared and stepped back.

Severus let him have the small measure of space.  "What, no welcoming kiss?"  He smirked as Harry's eyes narrowed further.

"I'm in no mood to deal with your sadistic sense of humour."

Running his thumb along his fingertips, Severus stood quietly and watched Harry.  Part of him was pleased that he'd had some sort of effect on his professor while he'd been at school.  Another part of him was quite annoyed by that same fact.  Harry should be beyond the point of being flustered because of schoolboy crushes.

But he hadn't been beyond them either when Harry had approached him, Severus reminded himself.  Coming to a decision, Severus spun on his heel and retreated back to where he had been sitting.  He could sense Harry following him, the air almost crackling with Harry's confused emotions as he wondered what Severus was doing.

The look of shock he received when he turned, hand outstretched offering a snifter of brandy, was smothered and replaced with one of understanding as Harry took a sip.

"Trying to placate my temper, Severus?  I thought you knew by now alcohol has the opposite effect."

Severus lifted one shoulder in a small shrug and took a swallow of his own.  "You deserve something decent after dealing with complete dunderheads day after day."

Harry raised an eyebrow.  "Including yourself?"

"I assure you that on this particular evening, my sixteen year old self was indeed a dunderhead.  However, should you repeat that to anyone, this time or ours, I shall have to…"  Harry's shoulders were shaking as he tried to keep signs of his mirth from bubbling over.  "Mr Potter."

Harry snickered and quickly turned and walked back to the bedroom, shucking the last of his clothing as he went.

"Impertinent brat.  Do not walk away from me while I am--"

"Scolding me?"  Harry tossed the words over his shoulder as he rooted through a drawer.

Folding his arms over his chest, Severus refused to agree and scowled as he watched Harry's search.  The brat still had no idea of which drawer anything was in and probably wouldn't until shortly before he had to leave.  It was no wonder Harry hated moving, though he had done enough of it in the past.

Severus let his eyes wander over the planes of Harry's body, pausing to admire the curve of spine and backside, the innocent tilt of his head (even though innocent was not a term Severus would apply to Harry any longer if, in fact, he had ever used such a term in regards to Harry), and even the mess of hair on top of his head.  "Do you even know what you are looking for?"  Severus went to stand behind him and smoothed a hand down his back before letting it rest on Harry's hip where his fingers clenched.  Harry was his.

"No."  Harry slammed the drawer shut and tugged at Severus's hand until it was resting flat against his stomach.  Harry leaned his head back against Severus's shoulder.

Running his chin along the top of Harry's head, Severus breathed in deeply.  Lately his rooms had started smelling more of potion ingredients and less of Harry.  Granted, it hadn't been as long as he was missing from Harry's life, but for someone who relied on his sense of smell, the change had been a disturbing one.

"You're in a right snit.  Perhaps I should just go?"  A truly idle threat and Severus was sure Harry knew that.

"You could."  But even as the words left his mouth Harry entwined their fingers.  "Or you could stay."  He sighed, shifting back and pressing closer.  The hand not caught in Severus's reached up and back to settle on his shoulder, his fingers brushing his neck.  "I'd rather you stay, Sev."

"Hm."  Severus lifted his hand to pull the fingers that had tangled in the stands of hair at his neck away.  Keeping a grip on Harry's wrist Severus moved to stand in front if him.  "I didn't think you appreciated intelligent conversation."

"I can.  On occasion.  If I try really hard."  Tilting his head back, Harry looked up at him, smirking.  Severus had always distinctly liked the height advantage he had over his Harry.  Reaching out, he ran a thumb over Harry's bottom lip and watched as Harry closed his eyes.  His.

"I suppose I could take pity on you and devise something else to occupy our time."

"Mm.  I wouldn't mind that."  And then Harry flinched, twisting his head away and drawing Severus's attention away from his lips, and to the tense muscles in his neck and shoulders.

Severus took a step forward, forcing Harry to take one back.  He continued pushing Harry until the back of Harry's knees hit the bed and Harry fell onto it, sitting.

"First things first.  Turn over."

Harry snickered.  "Sounds out of order to me."

"Do not be impertinent."

"Yes, Sev.  I do try not to be impertinent.  Sometimes."  But Harry rolled over onto his stomach without further comment.  Severus pulled some small vials out of one pocket and set them aside before he rolled up his sleeves and settled on the bed next to Harry.  Harry, for his part, had turned his head to look at Severus through hooded eyes as he took off his boots and set them against the frame of the bed.  "Ever neat, Severus.  How do you live with me?"

"With great difficulty, I assure you."  Kneeling on the bed, he moved to straddle Harry's hips.  Pouring a measure of oil from one of the vials onto his hands, he rubbed them briskly to warm it before setting his hands on Harry's shoulders.  He lowered his head until he could whisper in Harry's ear, "Not, however, because of your slovenly habits.  You can be quite orderly when you attempt to be, Harry."

Harry's response was a low groan as Severus's fingers dug into the taut muscles, urging them to loosen with firm pressure and soft strokes.  "Mm.  To the right, just a bit, plea-- ah!"

Severus could hear the grimace in Harry's voice as he hit the knot of tension and pressed down, but he continued his self-appointed task, and eventually could feel Harry's muscles relax under his ministrations.  His hands moved lower, rubbing oil into Harry's middle and lower back, working on the muscles that hadn't been quite as tense as the ones in Harry's upper back.  A soft snuffling sound drew Severus's attention and he leaned over. Harry's eyes were closed and his breathing had evened even out.

With a quick slap against one round buttock, Severus managed to wake Harry from his light doze.  Harry jerked up under him and mumbled that he was not asleep and that there was no excuse for Severus to do that.

"There is always an excuse for punishment in your case.  I just don't always need to find the reason prior to administering it."  Severus smirked and traced his finger down Harry's back and down the cleft of Harry's arse.  The sharp intake of breath was hard to miss, as was Harry pushing up against his finger.

Severus's stomach clenched and he moved off Harry to stretch out next to him.  He hadn't received a proper welcoming and had no intention of carrying things further without one.

Rolling over onto his side, Harry looked at Severus, the question obvious in his eyes, but quickly answered as Severus lowered his head to claim Harry's lips.  They were his along with the rest of him, Severus reminded himself with pleasure.  He loved every nuance of taste, from the intoxicating flavour of the brandy they'd share, to the chocolate that Harry must have snuck from somewhere, to the hint of berries covered by all the rest.  And under all that was the taste of Harry.  He'd never had succeeded in getting enough of it since that first taste years ago.  Severus's tongue toyed with Harry's, drawing it into his own mouth, and the kiss deepened further.  He caught Harry's sigh and held it in the timeless space that was their kiss.

Severus pressed him back into the mattress, never breaking the kiss.   Harry's hands were clenching in the fabric of his shirt threatening to rend the material, but Severus ignored it and cradled Harry's face in his hands, wayward strands of hair teasing his fingers with ghostlike brushes as his mouth moved over Harry's.

Breaking the kiss with a groan of his own, Severus rested his forehead against Harry's for a moment regaining any composure he had left, which he was sure wasn't much at all.

"That is how you properly greet a lover you haven't seen for some time, Harry."

"Ah.  Suppose I should file that information away somewhere so I don't forget it."

"These lessons aren't for my own edification."

"Course not," Harry chuckled.

As usual Harry's hands couldn't stay idle, and Severus felt them sliding under the fabric of his shirt, running along his sides and chest, pressing harder in some spots and sliding softly over others.  Knowing his body as no one else ever had.  The sign of a treasured lover, in Severus's opinion.

He saw the dilemma in Harry's eyes.  No way to undo the buttons that lined the front of his shirt without removing his hands.  Severus, not feeling rushed, felt no need to help him.  "Trouble, Harry?"

"Care to lend a hand?"

Severus shook his head and brushed his lips against Harry's.  "Since when do I go out of my way to help you?"

"Miserly bastard."  Harry bit his bottom lip, one hand shifting over to pinch and twist Severus's nipples.  

Severus growled.

"Serves you right."  But Harry was smiling, and with a quick movement had lifted his head and taken the first button between his teeth, working it loose from its hole.  Then the next and the one after that, until Harry must have felt that he could manage to get Severus's shirt over his head, and manage it Harry did.

His arms threatening to collapse as Harry's lips went to work on his skin, Severus stared down at the self-satisfied smirk on Harry's face.  He really should be used to the way those lips worked a type of magic all their own, but he wasn't.  Nor would he ever be.  Closing his eyes, Severus sighed as Harry licked and sucked at all the spots where his fingers had been moments before, drawing invisible lines across his body.

If he missed this after only a week, how much more must Harry have missed it?

Severus rolled until he was on his side, and now it was his hands moving over Harry's body and his lips nipping and licking and sucking Harry's salty skin, leaving of trail of small marks, some more red than others, but all marks that only he could leave.

Possessing Harry had never seemed so important to Severus before.  Normally deft fingers fumbled as they groped for the other vial.  The smell of herbs and oils escaped when Severus pulled the cork out of the top.  Letting some drip out across Harry's lower abdomen, he traced the path of it down through the coarse, springy hair that surrounded Harry's cock, wrapping his fingers around Harry's prick and stroked the oil into the flesh with firm pressure that made Harry suck in a breath between his teeth.

Squeezing, pulling, running a thumb along the head, Severus watched each small reaction of Harry's, his gut twisting with arousal and his cock growing hard and heavy.  Leaning down, he kissed the spot right behind Harry's ear that always dragged shivers and groans from Harry.

"Are you sure you'd rather me stay?  You don't seem very relaxed with my presence," Severus breathed.

Harry wrapped his hand around Severus's and pushed it down in a long stroke.  "Don't wanna relax, Sev.  Want you."  Harry turned his head and caught Severus's lips, drawing him into a long kiss until both of their hands stilled on Harry's prick, and when Harry broke the kiss it was only to roll over onto his knees.

Severus smoothed his hands down Harry's back and sides, only taking them off Harry long enough to undo a clasp and slide them under the waistband of his trousers and pants, pushing them down.  Severus could hear Harry's quiet bubbling laughter as he made a right twit of himself twisting and turning on the bed, trying to kick off the rest of his clothes.

"Loathsome spawn," Severus muttered, but affection tinged his voice, and when his hands returned to glide along Harry's skin, there wasn't a bit of angry tension in them.

"Love you too, Sev."  Harry was smirking at him over his shoulder.

Severus ignored the endearment and picked up the vial, tilting it and letting the thick, slick, oily stuff dribble down Harry's cleft.

Parting Harry's cheeks, Severus slid a well coated finger between them. Pressing against the tight ring of muscle until the digit slid in and then another, he relaxed Harry's muscles as much as he could, knowing that he was driving Harry mad with each thrust and turn.

"Severus… stop.  No, don't… but stop."

His lips curled up as he slid his fingers out of Harry.  He was well aware exactly what Harry meant.  Slipping one arm around Harry's waist, he pressed his chest against Harry's back and his lips against the curve of Harry's neck as he stroked lube onto his own cock and positioned himself.

Harry tensed with the first thrust, but relaxed into the drawn out rhythm Severus started.  Severus breathed in the scent of his Harry, revelled in each contraction and relaxation of muscle he could feel wherever their bodies touched, swallowed at the groans and grunts from Harry as he pushed him higher and closer to his own release, sucked in a breath at the sight of Harry's down-turned head and his fingers bunching the duvet with white-knuckled strength.  Severus's senses swam with each little sign of pleasure, his own rippling along his skin like electricity, setting the small hairs covering his arms and legs on end and sending shivers along his spine.

He moved faster, feeling as if he was almost out of breath, his lungs clenching for air that he kept sucking in, but it all smelled of Harry.  His Harry.  It was as if was starved for it.  Grunting, he thrust deeper and harder, moving his hand down to wrap around Harry's prick and pull until even the unintelligible grunts and groans turned into a soft keening sound, and Severus knew that Harry was close.

"Severus, God, please, Sev."

With a last hard thrust, Severus lost himself, his hand still moving frantically on Harry even as he came.  In the haze covering his senses, he heard Harry's shout and felt the hot, sticky strands shoot out and cover his hand and Harry's chest and the bed.  Severus collapsed against Harry's back.  Harry's hand came up; he threaded his fingers through Severus's hair, holding him there.  Breathing heavily for a moment, Severus rolled to his side, taking Harry with him and holding him against his chest.

"Missed this," Harry mumbled.  "This.  Missed the other too, but this more."

Severus nodded, knowing that Harry couldn't see his agreement, and kissed the top of Harry's head.

"I know you missed it too.  Don't have to tell me."  Harry shifted until he had tangled their legs.  Severus would have a problem getting out of this, but he couldn't bring himself to care much at all at the moment.

Arching his back, Harry twisted so he could catch Severus's lips in a quick kiss.  "Mm.  Tired?"

With a nod, Severus agreed.  Harry relaxed against him; soon soft snuffling snores reached his ears, and Severus closed his eyes to sleep.

***

Harry curled into the warm body next to him, breathing in deeply.  Severus.  Home.  Drifting awake slowly, Harry opened one eye to make sure he wasn't dreaming.  He hated it when his unconscious mind played games on him making him think he was home with Severus when he wasn't.

But Severus was there, sitting up in the bed and reading a book.  His favourite potions text, actually.  The one that Harry had taken from the library in a fit of homesickness and then hidden on the shelf of his bookcase when he realised what a dolt he'd been for doing so.  It figured that Severus would find it.

"'Mornin'.  Goo ook?"  Harry asked while he yawned.

Severus looked down at him with a pained expression, but Harry didn't pay it any attention.  Severus could translate his early morning mumblings without any help from him.  He'd been doing it for years and would continue to do it for years to come.

Severus was stuck with him.

"You're only asking to be polite.  You know perfectly well my opinions on this text."

"Rather me be impolite?  Can do that too."  Harry grinned and shifted until he was sitting and could lean his head on Severus's shoulder.  And annoy him by reading over his shoulder.  Or at least appear to.

Severus snapped the book shut.  "Stop that."

"Yes, Sev."

"Brat."

Harry's grin widened, but he didn't move or make any response.

"I brought a supply of headache potions.  Your little experiment didn't work, it seems?"

Harry shook his head.  "I think Poppy's current brews are even weaker than the ones she has now."  Harry paused.  "That makes no sense.  I meant…"  Harry groaned.  "God, I can't make sense of time at this hour of the morning."

"You rarely make sense.  This is not a new fact; however, I did understand.  It's not surprising as you've been taking this potion for too long.  It would take some time for you to be able to achieve any effect with a smaller dose.  I didn't think that this experiment of yours would work while you still had to teach."  A pause.  "I suppose we were awful as students.  Much as you were as a student."

Harry closed his eyes as a vision of last night's detention appeared in his head.  Severus had sent all thoughts of the horrible experience out of his head last night, but now they'd returned full force.  "God awful."  Not that his handling of the situation had been any better, running away as he'd done.

"Harry?"

"Hm?"  Shaking himself, Harry tilted his head to look at Severus.  "Oh.  I was thinking about last night's detention."

"Did it involve a ridiculous amount of pink chalk?"

"Unfortunately."  Harry propped his chin on Severus's shoulder.  "Severus…"  He didn't know what he wanted to ask.  Knew that even if he had known what to ask Severus would probably refuse to answer him.  And he'd be well in his rights to do so for many reasons.

"I was a hormone ridden fool at sixteen.  Quite incapable of controlling my emotions.  I threw quite the fit after you stalked off furious with me that night."  Severus blinked and then a choked laugh escaped his lips.  "Such a bloody little fool."

"Severus--"

"I suppose you're going to tell me not to be so hard on my younger self?"

"I was going to say that you're too hard on yourself, but I suppose… but then--"

Severus placed a finger over Harry's lips.  "Enough.  I do not wish to talk about this.  We shall have some tea and toast, talk, and then I shall be off to give my report to Albus.  Satisfactory?"

"Your schedules are always satisfactory to me, just don't expect me to follow them."  Harry chuckled as he moved to snatch a kiss.  He pushed Severus against the headboard and waited for the protest.  When Severus opened his mouth to do so, Harry silenced him. ♦

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