Word Count: 2265
Summary: Snape and Harry are too caught up in their arguments to diagnose just why they're fighting—until someone provides them with a cup of cure.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling, and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to: Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by the posting of this fic.
Author's Note: venturous1 prompted me with Severus/Harry: a nose-biting teacup and nosology. Harry makes some errors trying to help Snape with an unfortunate accident, but he only makes things worse.
Moving house was a pain at the best of times, but it was even worse when one's partner wouldn't unpack the sensible things first. Harry would have preferred to see the bathrooms and kitchen sorted before Severus launched into the setting up of his laboratory; that didn't happen.
"The man has no head for nosology!" Severus was shouting, as he placed a beaker over the flame on his worktable. "He's done no testing! He's asked no questions of the patient! He's just ordered a 'remedy' based on his preconceived notions! Is that what passes for Healing these days? And where the hell is my tea?"
"I'm sorry, were you actually directing any of that at me?"
Severus sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I could use a cup of tea."
"Great. That'll be in the kitchen, then," Harry said, his other complaints dying on his lips as he spun about and Summoned his broom.
Severus followed him. "Where are you going? I'm working. Why shouldn't I ask you for tea? You've spent all morning in the kitchen."
His back muscles tightening as he straightened, Harry stopped and turned to glare at Severus. "I've been trying to restore order to it after someone ripped open random boxes to find his favourite frying pan."
"We had to eat."
"Which is why you had a fry up for one."
"You were still sleeping, Harry, and I'm busy."
"You're an arse, is what you are. Get your own damn tea. I'm your boyfriend, not your house-elf!"
"Oh, fine. Little's patient will continue to suffer treatment for a disease he may not even have because I can't think clearly enough to test said patient's blood for want of a simple cuppa, and all because you're going flying?"
"Actually," Harry said, "I'm just going."
"Severus, you had a conference, so I packed us. You came home ill from the conference, so I moved us. And now you've a client—again, too busy—but instead of helping me unpack us in a logical way, you're just making everything more difficult than it needs to be and treating me like shit, so yeah, I'm going flying—over Hogsmeade to see if there are any other cottages to let in the area."
"There's nothing wrong with this one!"
"There is. You're in it."
"Idiot," Severus muttered, rooting around in the kitchen cartons. "What's so hard about tea? I am busy, and—finally!" Severus exclaimed, pulling a dainty-looking cup with a floral pattern out of a box marked, "NOVELTY."
Severus thought it fairly novel; Harry's other drinkware was more masculine, but he gave the disparity no further thought as he took the cup and a container of tea back to his lab.
I'll make my own damn tea!
Harry met up with Ron at the Three Broomsticks after having his fly around and drank a bit more than he'd intended.
"Come on, you don't really mean it. It took you ages to persuade him to move in with you."
"Shouldn't have. First mistake. Should've stayed at Grimmauld."
"Bollocks. No amount of redecorating made you feel at home there."
"Yeah, but the lab was already set up, and—never mind. Not living with him, the selfish prat."
"That's just the drink talking."
"Oh, I say, Mr Potter?" a man approaching their table asked then.
"Hello, Mr Edwards," Harry replied, pleased with himself for still being able to speak so clearly.
"Sorry to disturb you, but I thought you'd want to know that smoke's pouring out of your cottage—and not from the chimney."
"Severus! Severus, where are you!" Harry called, running into a cottage-full of thick black smoke.
He choked until the Bubble-Head Charm appeared over his mouth.
"Thanks, Ron. Severus?"
"Snape, where are you?" Ron called, behind him.
"Gah! Damn, poxy, fucking useless, get it off!" Severus shouted, blindly banging about his darkened lab.
Harry grabbed him and pulled him out of the room. "What the hell did you do?"
Ron's laughter interrupted anything that Severus might have said, but only for a moment. As Severus began swearing more colourfully and Ron continued to laugh, Harry could only stare at the sight of Severus with a teacup attached to his nose under a Bubble-Head Charm—and then he started laughing, as well.
"Merlin's mother's left-most tit! Poxy porcelain demon! Get it off!"
"Stop that. Stop!" Harry ordered, seizing Severus' hands to keep him from batting at the teacup. "How the hell did this happen?"
"It's your fault, Mr 'Labels Clearly'!" Severus snarled, as Ron led them from the house. "Why the hell did you have novelty drinkware in the kitchen?"
"Where else would you keep it?"
"Not in the bloody kitchen, you irresponsible, daft—"
"Shut it!" shouted Ron, as Harry snapped, "Tried the cabinets, did you?"
"Of course, not! You whinged all morning about not having got anything unpacked. Why would I have—"
"I said shut it!" Ron ordered. "Let's have a look at this before the place burns down."
"It won't. It's just smoke."
"Well, all right, but still. It's smelly. You don't want to upset the neighbourhood any more than you already have, right?" Ron asked.
"Stop being so sodding reasonable," Harry said, reaching for the teacup hanging from Severus' nose and yanking.
"Fuck! Do you think I didn't try that?"
Ron stepped in between Harry and Severus and cast a series of spells; nothing worked to remove the teacup.
"How am I supposed to brew with this—"
"You've practically destroyed our new home and brewing's what's upsetting you?"
"Harry, go stop that smoke from billowing," said Ron. "Your neighbours won't thank you for stinking up the neighbourhood."
"No!" snapped Severus. "He's no idea what he's doing. I'll do it."
Severus stormed off, leaving a furious Harry and an amused Ron standing in his wake.
"And that was my second mistake. I should have moved house while he was at the conference."
"As I recall, you were that determined to have him help you."
"Like I said, it was a mistake," Harry replied, as the smoke began to stream back into the house.
Privately, Ron thought that the only mistake Harry and Snape had made was to agree to share the same house. They only got along, so he assumed, while shagging, and they weren't ready to be so serious when they couldn't even talk about what was truly bothering them, but he didn't say anything about that as he left Harry to find Severus inside the cottage and sent a Patronus off to his Mum.
"Oh, dear. You shouldn't have done that, Harry," Molly Weasley said, entering the cottage's kitchen to find Severus clasping a full teacup so that it wouldn't spill all over his face. Vanishing the tea, and why the boys hadn't thought to do that, she didn't know, she said, "Now then, what sort of teacup is this?"
"A nose-biting one, or hadn't you gathered that, you witless—"
"Silencio!" Molly cast, ignoring the bulging of Severus' eyes as he clutched his throat.
"Mum, he might have had his wand!"
"Harry has it. It's sticking out of his back pocket. As I was say—sit down, Severus!" she insisted, before he could leave the kitchen. When he didn't stop, she continued, "Sit down, or I'll take these boys home for a meal and leave you to your own devices."
Severus reluctantly returned to the kitchen and sat down to glower at all of them while Harry muttered something about "not being a boy."
Molly ignored him. "What kind of teacup? It's surely not the standard nose-biting model, or two Aurors would have surely been able to remove it."
"Er, I don't know," Harry replied. "I bought that with Ron when we were in school. I thought it was just the regular model. Did you know that there were others?" he asked Ron.
"No, and it's not like we can ask old Zonko, now is it?"
"Harry, would it be safe to say that you're angry with Severus?"
Harry snorted. "Yeah, it would be quite safe to say that."
A few hours later, after one or two enquiries Molly had asked Ron to make had been answered and she'd removed the Silencing Charm from Snape, Harry and Snape sat in their newly tidied kitchen over bowls of pumpkin soup and tea—well, Harry had tea; Snape still had just the teacup.
Holding it away from his mouth, Snape took a spoonful of soup, swallowed it, and said, "She's wrong."
Harry shook his head. "I don't think so."
"If you'd just brought me a cup when I'd asked—"
"You never did!"
"You still should have brought me the cuppa!"
"Because," Snape retorted.
Harry laughed. "That's not a good enough reason, and you'd better find one or you'll be stuck with that thing."
Snape flushed. "I don't care if this was Zonko's first home. I don't accept Molly's theory."
"Why not? It makes sense. He did do the majority of his product development here, and given what we know about his safety record with experimental magic . . . ."
"Yes, but why would he have cared about . . . civility?"
"Zonko? I doubt he did, but Molly's right: that's not a Nose-Biting Teacup. That's a spare teacup from one of Zonko's enchanted tea services."
"Which means what, precisely?"
"From Arthur's reports, we know that they tended to attack their owners when they felt strong emotions, so we've got to, er, sort out . . . ."
"Our feelings?" Snape sneered.
"I already apologised."
"So did I, Severus."
"Apologising for my being an arse doesn't count."
"It might if you'd apologise for it," Harry retorted.
Snape sighed. Harry sighed after him.
"This is getting us nowhere."
"Agreed," said Snape.
"What are we really upset about?" Harry asked.
"You wanted more help with the move."
"And you didn't want to move at all."
"You say that as though you don't believe that I . . . want to be with you," Snape replied, "but I do."
"Really? Because I haven't seen much evidence of it. All you've done for months is bury yourself in research—ever since you said it."
Snape's eyes flashed. "So because I haven't made any further declarations, you believe that—"
"I don't know what to think."
"I hate it when you interrupt me!"
Snape looked down at his soup. "I can't sleep with this stupid teacup hanging from my nose."
"You know, it's not too late. It's not like we bought the place."
"I told you, I never said I didn't want to live with you. I would simply prefer to . . . oh, all right. I don't want to live with you, not if it means your going off a'Auroring and leaving me to deal with our brats on my own!"
The teacup fell off Snape's nose into his soup bowl. "Damn it!"
"You really think I'd do that?" Harry demanded, wiping soup from his face. "And since when did you want children? You never told me that!"
"Scourgify!" Snape cast, clearing the table and himself. "You never asked, did you? You just assumed—"
"What? I'm supposed to read your mind? You're the Legilimens here, not me. You could have said."
"And you could have told me that you wanted more help instead of moping about in that martyred way of yours!"
"Wait a moment," Harry said, shaking his head. "The teacup's off."
"How bloody observant of you."
"No, I mean, it fell off when you told me—it's the honesty. That's what made it drop."
"How lucky the DMLE is to have you."
"Stop it, Severus. You're missing my point!"
"Have you made one?"
"You want to be with me. You want a family. You don't want to raise a family on your own—and I want your attention, and a family, and not to raise kids on my own!" Harry grinned. "Don't you see? We're both idiots!"
"And why is that reason to rejoice?"
"Because we both want the same things but haven't been able to say so, that's why! The teacup was the unspoken truth between us!"
"Then why did it bite me?"
"'Cause you're the one who found it first!"
"What are you doing?" Snape demanded, as Harry grabbed him by the shoulders.
"I thought I'd kiss you, you know, so that we could have a make-up shag? And then perhaps talk about our future? With each other, for once?"
Embracing Harry, Snape smirked and rolled his eyes.
Before the git could do more than that, Ron crept away from the cottage's open window. Well, that was boring. That didn't matter, of course, seeing how his plan had worked. They're finally talking to each other.
Ron didn't understand how Harry and Snape worked as a couple, and frankly, he didn't want to know. What he did know, however, and had known since long before Harry had announced his and Snape's intention to take a Hogsmeade cottage together, was that he and Hermione would end up with a miserable Harry on their lounge's sofa unless something was done about Harry and Snape's communication problem.
Thank goodness Dad never turned in everything he found during those Ministry raids, thought Ron, who'd figured that Harry wouldn't be able to spot the difference between the Nose-Biting Teacup he'd bought from Zonko's and the one he'd removed from his father's shed. And thank Merlin for Mum's going along with things.
Old Zonko had never owned Harry and Snape's cottage; his place was farther down the lane.
But now that they think otherwise, they won't look into the matter any further, and there can finally be an end to whinging!
And, from the looks of things, godchildren, a prospect which Ron didn't mind at all.