A Duet for Lovers (R; Snarry; 1530 words): It's not always easy learning how to sing together.
Harry had been on several dates with Severus—if you could call Ministry functions dates—but this was the first one that he was, apparently, meant to spend alone. Severus had, of course, sent a note along with the theatre tickets, explaining that he'd meet Harry at the intermission—but sitting alone through half a night of famous operatic duets hadn't been what Harry had meant when he'd told Severus that he wanted "something more."
Our relationship is going nowhere, he thought, feeling a headache coming on. He removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes, setting the glasses aside as the first singers took the stage. As they began to sing, the smoke rising from the candles lighting his box sent spirals flowing just to the right of his head where he could see them twist the Italian words being sung into English.
Neat spell, Harry thought, reading:
Let's drink, let's drink from this merry chalice
that beauty so truly enhances;
and the brief moment will be happily inebriated
Let's drink for the ecstatic feeling
that love arouses
because this eye aims straight to the almighty heart.
Let's drink, my love, and the love among the chalices
will make the kisses hotter.
Harry shuddered at the power of the tenor's voice and the lyrics, "my love"; hearing that phrase sung by someone with such an amazing voice, when all he wanted was to hear Severus speak of love, was too much for him. Disappointed by Severus' absence and feeling too ill to remain at the opera house alone, Harry hooked his glasses into his collar and carefully made his way to the Apparation platform in the hall below.
If Severus cared for me, he wouldn't just keep meeting me at pseudo-social functions before dragging me back to my place for sex.
In four months, Harry had yet to see Severus' home, and that spoke volumes to him.
He doesn't want a relationship, does he? Perhaps Ron's right. Perhaps Severus is more interested in his reputation—and in what being seen with me can do for it—than he is in me.
A group of ushers waylaid him for autographs then, and Harry pinned his best polite smile in place as he spoke with them and signed their books before stepping onto the platform and sighing.
Behind him, someone called, "Wait!" but Harry knew that whoever it was didn't mean him, and if they did, well, he'd had enough of being "wanted" for one night.
His flat was unusually tidy, but that was only because he'd thought he'd be returning to it with Severus. He set his wards, blocked the Floo, and began stripping off.
Just as he was about to fall onto the sofa, a snatch of song met his ears: "Libiamo, libiamo ne'lieti calici che la bellezza infiora—"
"Merlin, what now?" Harry went to the window and opened it, leaning out to shout, "Leave off the caterwauling and go sober up!"
The singer, whom Harry couldn't properly see having never put his glasses back on, drew himself up. "'Caterwauling'? Is that what you call one of the most famous duets of all time? Is that what you call me singing it?"
His head pounding, Harry demanded, "Who the hell are you?"
"Just the man who's been fucking you for the past several months, no one of importance!"
"Severus?" Harry Summoned his glasses. "Severus, why are you dressed like that?"
"It is customary to wear costumes when performing, you bloody idiot! Now let me in!"
"You . . . that was you?"
"Bugger this," Severus said, levitating himself up and through Harry's window. "Why did you leave?"
Harry rubbed his temples. "Please, no shouting."
"I'm not shouting."
"Seriously, stop it, or leave," Harry said, slowly moving to the sofa. "Gods, this is awful."
"You'd prefer pain to my offer of relief? What, precisely, is it you think I've done to you?"
"I . . . I can't believe it was you, Severus."
Severus sighed and sat down next to him. "Harry, are you ill, or are you angry?"
"A bit of both, perhaps, but mostly, confused," he replied, taking the phial from Severus' hand and downing it. "Crap. Why did I wait?" he muttered.
"Why didn't you wait?" asked Severus.
His head clear, Harry heard the hurt in his tone. "Oh, shit. It was a surprise, and I ruined it. I'm so sorry."
"Didn't you see me? Or did the smoke from the translation charm hold your attention more than I did?"
Harry explained how he'd not known it was Severus on stage, and then he told him, "You were amazing, truly—I can't believe I didn't know it was you singing—but I was just too . . . my head just hurt too much to stay. Why'd you do it?"
"Look at me, Harry."
Sighing, Harry did, only to turn away when he felt the weight of Severus' gaze. "Stop that. We agreed. No Legilimency between us."
"Harry, you said you wanted something more. I was trying to give it to you."
"By performing for me? It was cool, but it wasn't—"
"Did you not actually read the lyrics?"
"Of course I did! It was a drinking song, and—"
"It's the Drinking Song! 'Libiamo ne' lieti calici' from Verdi's, La Traviata, and the lyrics speak of—"
"Oh," Harry thought, his eyes widening as he remembered the phrase which had struck him particularly. "My love."
"Let's drink, my love," Severus sang, "and the love among the chalices will make the kisses hotter."
Harry hid his face in his hands, trying to dash the hope rising inside of him before it could hurt him should Severus not make any declaration. Suddenly, he felt the cushion beneath him spring up as Severus left it.
Harry looked up at Severus, who'd just closed the window and was holding out a hand. "Come with me."
"Er, all right," he said warily, taking Severus' hand and following him to the bedroom. I might have known. He stopped just outside the door. "Look, I appreciate your willingness to forgive me, but hot kisses weren't what I was hoping for."
"I know that," Severus told him, opening the door.
The romantic scene, complete with wine and chalices and roses, was beautiful, but it still indicated a more romantic fuck was on offer rather than any true declaration of love.
"We don't have to shag. We can skip to my real surprise." Severus strode into the room and removed a small box from under Harry's pillow. "Here."
The box levitated towards Harry. He took it and opened it, blinking in surprise. "This is a key."
"Yes," said Severus. "My key. The key to my home on Spinner's End."
"Why are you giving it to me? We can shag here, if—"
"Imbecile! I'm trying to ask you to move in with me!"
"You are? Why didn't you just say so? And why the hell would you want to share house room with me?"
Severus threw himself to his feet, clenching his fists. "Merlin's hairy balls, Harry, because I love you!"
In the face of Severus' obvious anger and frustration, it was ridiculous to laugh, but Harry couldn't help it. He laughed so hard that tears began falling from his eyes and he doubled over—only to be jerked up straight by his shoulders.
"If that isn't happy laughter," Severus hissed into his face, "I shall Side-Along you directly to the stage and Stick you to it naked!"
"Oh, Severus, I'm sorry. I am!" Harry insisted, winding his arms around him. "You must have spent weeks planning this, and I was feeling so sorry for myself that I ruined everything. I'm sorry, truly," he said, kissing him lightly on the mouth, "so very sorry."
"You are very naked is what you are, and I don't know if I'm allowed to touch you. Why were you feeling sorry for yourself?"
"I think you know the answer to that," Harry whispered, before biting his lower lip.
Severus sucked it into his mouth, and then slid his tongue into Harry's as he pulled Harry's body against his. The embrace was so tight that Harry found it hard to breathe and issued a protesting moan.
"Forgive me. That was . . . hard."
"Hell yes, I'm hard," Harry said, breathlessly, "but then, the man I love has a way of making me want him—all the time, not just after—"
"I know, and . . . I apologise for that. I've allowed my schedule to come between us, but I don't want it to anymore."
"Hence the key?"
"Hence the key."
"You're blushing," Harry said, grinning.
"I don't blush."
"You do, and I like it. Perhaps you should take these off," Harry told Severus, tugging at his clothes, "so that we can see how far down it goes."
"Perhaps we should see if I can make you sing," Severus replied hoarsely.
"Yeah, my love of singing is well known. Can't keep me out of the theatre when an opera's on offer—everyone knows that."
Severus snorted—and threw Harry down on the bed. "A duet it is, then."
"Here's to our being 'in key'," said Harry, reaching for him.
Severus groaned at the pun, and then set about teaching Harry to sing.