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A Verges and Variations Cycle ficlet for jadzia7667: Severus gives Harry a gift.

A Happy Anniversary

"What's this?" Harry asked, setting aside her stirring spoon as Snape joined her in the kitchen.

He leaned against the doorjamb casually, holding an object wrapped in brown paper out to her. "Open it and see."

"You're mad at me for arguing with Parkinson today, aren't you?"

"No, but don't do it again or your next detention will be considerably longer than the one I gave you," Snape replied, waving the package.

Harry took it, trying not to smile. No matter what he says, he does go easier on me now. "A book?" she asked, running her right hand up what had to be a spine.

"A book," Snape replied, his face unreadable.

Harry didn't try to read him but pulled the paper from the book to discover its title: A Boke of Magickal Worde Histories.

"Well?" Snape asked, as Harry stared at the volume.

"Thank you, but why—"

"Although vastly improved, your vocabulary—"

"Oh," Harry interrupted, grinning. "You're trying to be nice. It's been a year, hasn't it, since I moved in down here?"

Snape straightened up. "I'm trying to instruct you, which is my job."

"Would you stir, Sir?" Harry asked, gesturing at the pot on the stove. "I'd like to start being instructed right now."

"You just don't want to stir the risotto anymore," Snape replied, though he moved to take up the spoon at once as Harry slipped by him.

He opened his eyes as he heard her leave the room and sighed. Stop it.

Harry, for her part, threw herself into her chair by the fire and began to pore avidly over the book. She wasn't Hermione, but she could tell an old book when she saw one.

This was expensive. Very expensive, she thought, her heart beating hard. Stop it. Just . . . don't.