Warning (highlight to view): For break-up sex.
Word Count: 3329
Summary: As it turns out, Harry minds Severus' behaviour more than a bit.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction 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 fan work.
Author's Note: Thank you, arynwy, for beta'ing.
"You said yourself that he couldn't brew his way out of an apothecary, so why worry about all this?" Harry asked, sweeping his arm above the table.
Severus glared at him as he bent forward to stop the pages of various articles on the several piles on front of him from fluttering. "Do you mind?"
"Well, a bit," Harry told him, sitting down and sighing. "I was about to put dinner on the table."
"Don't pout. I don't have time to fuck you."
"Don't smile like that, either," Severus told him, before returning to his article-counting.
Harry's smile faltered, and he shook his head. Damn Pelmore Pritkiss and his Potente Potions Quarterly publication record!
Pritkiss and Severus had a history, apparently, and when Severus' most recent article on the efficacy of . . . well, of some ingredient in some class of potion—Harry didn't always pay attention when Severus talked business—had got bumped in favour of one of Pritkiss' due to Pritkiss' "longer association" with the periodical, it had become clear to Harry that it wasn't a pleasant history.
Poxy competition! Harry rose and plated his meal, not bothering to do the same for Severus; it was obvious to him that Severus wouldn't be in the mood for food, sex, or anything but Pritkiss and "potion-making" for some time.
The Leaky Cauldron was doing brisk, boisterous business when Harry arrived, which meant the presence of non-regulars. Non-regulars meant that he was forced to speak to several people before escorting his bottle of Old Ogden's to the back table that he and Severus usually shared on Thursday nights. He tried not to mind that Severus had forgotten about their standing date as he arranged the paperwork that he'd brought with him and unsuccessfully attempted to put all thoughts of Severus' interest in Pritkiss out of his mind.
Pritkiss was all Severus had talked about for days. It had got to the point that Harry felt it necessary to discover something of the man, so he'd asked Clayton, one of the Aurors in his team with an enthusiasm for Potions, what he knew about Pritkiss. Harry had learnt from Clayton that Pritkiss was rather famous for both his good looks and having invented several potions, and also that he'd worked with "all the great masters." In response to Harry's lack of response to that last piece of information, Clayton had corrected himself by saying, "That is, most of the great masters."
Severus is a great master, but he's never worked with Pritkiss, has he? Could that be why he's so obsessed with him?
Harry wasn't certain. In fact, it had occurred to him that the lack of a professional partnership wasn't what had been bothering Severus so much.
If he'd been investigating Severus for something, he would have had to consider the possibility that Severus, before they'd started seeing each other, of course, might have had a bit of fun with Pritkiss, but he wasn't investigating Severus for anything, and he had no reason to be jealous. All the same, it was odd that Severus had never mentioned knowing Pritkiss personally before, particularly considering that Pritkiss had been in Severus' year at Hogwarts and that they'd been rivals.
They still were, according to Clayton. Severus' six-month version of Wolfsbane had almost not been adopted by the Ministry because of some other brewer's work, and Clayton had told Harry that the brewer in question was Pritkiss. Severus had only his one apothecary; Pritkiss owned a magiceutical concern that did business throughout Europe. The man was apparently still attempting to modify his version of long-lasting Wolfsbane; if he were successful, Severus might lose his Ministry contract—and with it, the largest portion of his business—which wouldn't be good for their relationship.
Severus hates that I've got more money than he does.
Harry took a long, slow sip of his Old Ogden's.
He probably hates the fact that I don't pay much attention to his work, too. He'd like being able to discuss it with—
"Pardon me," someone interrupted, "but is it work?"
Harry looked up to see a striking wizard in purple robes regarding him intently. "'Scuse me?"
"Is it work that has you so down?" the dark-haired, green-eyed, well-built man asked. "Because if it is and that Firewhiskey isn't doing the trick, I've got something that might lift your spirits."
Harry's eyes widened as the man sat down across from him. Right much everyone knew who Harry Potter was, and thanks to the Prophet, it was well-known, if not generally celebrated, that Harry was living with Severus. Because of that, people rarely flirted so openly with him anymore.
Employing his practised, friendly-but-distant smile, Harry said, "I wasn't looking for company."
The man grinned. "Ah, but it's found you anyway. Pelmore Pritkiss," he said, extending his hand.
Harry was too taken aback by Pritkiss' manner and the fact that it was Pritkiss flirting with him to do anything other than shake his hand and stare at his mouth. Made for it.
"Now then, if it isn't work, it must be some ungrateful sod who doesn't appreciate what he has. If you were mine, I'd never leave you alone."
"Yes, but he isn't yours, is he, Pelmore?"
Pritkiss' grin didn't diminish a bit. "Good evening, Lucius. Slumming are we?"
"Not at all. Auror Potter and I were just about to discuss his participation in Narcissa's latest charitable endeavour."
Harry straightened, blushing as he realised that he'd never released Pritkiss' hand.
Pritkiss rose without ever taking his eyes off Harry's and said, "It would be my pleasure, Mr Potter."
Harry swallowed and shifted in his chair as Pritkiss left them, but as soon as he and Malfoy were alone, he demanded, "What the hell was that about?"
"May I join you?"
Annoyed by Malfoy's politeness, Harry nodded.
"I haven't any idea what that was about, Mr Potter," Malfoy said, once he'd arranged himself in the chair that Pritkiss had vacated. "I'm certain that it would be of great interest to Severus, however."
"Hey! Don't you start throwing threats around. I wasn't—"
"I assure you, I wasn't threatening you." Malfoy smiled. "I was doing you a favour, or so I thought."
Damn it. It was impossible to talk to Malfoy; he always twisted everything around. "Thank you. Now what do you want?"
"When I arrived, nothing, but now that I've made oblique mention of the War Orphans' Fund, perhaps I can persuade you to attend the fund-raising ball? Narcissa does take her charitable endeavours seriously."
"Malfoy, just because you caught some idiot flirting with me isn't enough to make me agree to—"
"As I'm sure you're aware, that wasn't just any idiot. How is Severus' relationship with irrational jealousy these days?"
Harry glared at Malfoy, who managed to look even more smug than usual without so much as twitching a facial muscle.
"Just as healthy as ever, I see. Good." Malfoy rose. "I'll tell Mrs Malfoy to expect your acceptance, and thank you for supporting the War Orphans' Fund."
Before Harry could react to having been so neatly manoeuvred, Hermione joined him at the table. "I see that you're as popular as ever. First Pritkiss and then Malfoy—I think it's nice that you'll be attending the ball, by the way, even if the Malfoys are hosting it."
"Does everyone know about Pritkiss but me?"
"Never mind. What are you doing here?"
"It's nice to see you, too. I'm meeting Ginny. Wedding plans."
"I thought you two were getting along now."
"We are, but mostly because we never see each—oh, hi, Gin."
Hermione looked over her shoulder. "I brought the fabric samples!"
"Good!" Ginny replied cheerfully, before kissing Harry's cheek and sitting down. "How's the old horror?"
Harry sighed. "Don't start, Ginny."
"What? I was just being sociable."
Unwilling to argue with either of his friends, especially about Severus, over whom they'd argued enough, Harry elected to take himself off for a walk. "I'll just leave you to it, shall I? Keep the bottle."
When Harry finally got home to Grimmauld Place after taking a long walk, it was to find Severus in the lounge with papers scattered around him and two glasses sitting next to a half-drunk bottle of wine on the table in front of him.
"That's nice. You couldn't remember to meet me after work, but you had company over for once?"
Without looking up from his writing, Severus asked, "What on earth made you decide to attend?"
And there's Malfoy leaving nothing to chance. "Hermione thinks it's a good idea."
"Ah," Severus replied, returning to his work.
Invoking Hermione always had a way of ending conversations between them, but Harry wasn't prepared to be further ignored.
"Did you know that Pritkiss was in town?"
"What?" barked Severus, his quill snapping. "How do you know?"
Harry leant against the door frame. "I saw him at the Leaky. He, er, he introduced himself to me, in fact."
"I see." The two halves of the quill fell from Severus' fingers as he looked back down at whatever it was he'd been writing.
"I don't," Harry snapped, storming off to the kitchen.
Severus followed him. "You don't, what?"
"Know why you've never mentioned your 'relationship' with Pritkiss before," Harry said, beginning to wash the dishes in the sink. "I have it on good authority that—"
"Whatever Lucius has told you is a lie."
"Interesting," Harry said, glancing at Severus, who'd come to stand next to him and was drying the dishes as Harry rinsed them. "Malfoy and I didn't discuss Pritkiss. What 'lie' is he supposed to have told me?" As Severus flushed, Harry thought, He's off his game, isn't he? Because of Pritkiss.
"'On good authority', you said. Just what is it that you have?"
"Don't change the subject." Harry spun around to lean against the counter while crossing his arms.
Severus looked at him. "I believe I'm attending to the subject at hand. You just said—"
"Oh, for Merlin's sake!" Harry exclaimed, storming over to the table and slamming himself down in a chair. "There's a reason that you've never mentioned Pritkiss. What is it?"
Severus dropped the dish he was holding. "You've been discussing me?"
"No! I've just been asking questions about the flirtatious bastard you can't stop obsessing over!"
Harry winced to realise just how far off his own game he was and glared at the floor. He was so preoccupied, in fact, that it was a surprise to find his chin jerked up and Severus shining wand-light into his eyes.
"Did he touch you?"
"Hey!" Harry jerked away, and Severus, looking startled, dropped his hands—but he didn't relent.
"Did. He. Touch. You?"
"I shook his hand. So what?"
"'So what'? So he's a pervert, is what!" Severus exclaimed, abruptly leaving the room.
Harry shook his head, gobsmacked by how badly a simple conversation had gone. In six months of living together, he'd thought that he and Severus were beyond such stupid rowing. Of course, we haven't had much to say to each other for the last three, so what's six months?
"Follow me!" Severus shouted.
"No!" Angrily, Harry rose and went to the sink, gripping its edge. As he was calming down, Severus returned and thrust a phial in his direction.
"What the fuck is that?"
"Don't be ridiculous. Nothing's 'all-purpose'. You taught me that, yourself!"
"Just drink it."
"I said no."
"Drink it. Please."
Harry inhaled deeply and then slowly let out the breath as he took the bottle. "Fine." Uncorking it, he downed its contents in one gulp.
That was a mistake.
Harry gagged and would have spat the disgusting fluid out but for Severus' pushing him into the counter while at the same time pulling him into a rough kiss. By the time their tongues stopped dancing, Harry no longer felt the urge to sick up, nor did he care about how awful the potion had tasted.
"Mmm, that was—where are you going?" he demanded, aroused but cold at once as Severus released him and strode from the kitchen.
"Great, I'll just be a moment."
"Tonight, I sleep alone!"
Fuck that, Harry thought, Disapparating to the stairs just before Severus began to climb them. "Then you sleep on the sofa!"
"I don't have time for this, Harry."
"Make time." Harry crossed his arms. "I'm tired of your never having time for me."
"You know that—"
"No. No, actually, I don't know anything beyond the fact that you won't tell me what's bothering you and have been either ignoring me or behaving like an arse for days—weeks, even. I'm done. I won't be treated like a distraction or an annoyance, not in my own home, and certainly not by my lover."
"Harry," Severus said, reaching out to touch him.
Harry took a step back up the stairs. "None of that. Either you talk to me, or you go home."
Severus started. "Well, isn't that nice? I thought I was home."
"Did you? I'm surprised. You seem to be under the impression that home is a place to make messes and fuck, but not to spend time with your partner. This isn't a home, Severus, not for you."
"Is there a point to this tantrum of yours?"
Harry narrowed his eyes and stilled, taking a deep breath and exhaling it slowly. Oh, fuck this. I'm done. "Yeah," he said, "actually, I do have a point."
"I was wrong."
"Thank you. Now, if you'll just get out of my way—"
"No. I don't mean that I was wrong to fight with you. I meant that I was wrong to leave things so wrong for so long. This," Harry waved an arm, "has to stop."
"I don't know why I even bother with—"
"Me?" Harry asked pointedly.
Severus abruptly looked away.
"Right, there's another thing we don't discuss, but let's remedy that. Look at me, Severus, look at me and tell me you want me. Go on, look at me."
"I . . . I can't."
Harry swallowed. "Is it because I have her eyes and his mouth?"
"You're nothing like Pritkiss!"
"Bollocks. I look a hell of a lot like him," Harry said, turning Severus' head towards him by the chin, "and I know I've Mum's—"
"Stop it," Severus whispered, closing his eyes.
"I'm sorry, but I can't. I don't know why it's taken me so long to accept that, but I can't."
"You're not a substitute for anyone to me, Harry."
"I am, but that doesn't matter." Harry placed his hands on Severus' shoulders and squeezed. "The fact of the matter is that even if I weren't, we don't work."
"We could," Severus insisted, suddenly fisting his hands into Harry's tee shirt and looking at him. "I could try—"
Harry splayed his hands over Severus' chest. "You did try." He moved down again until his mouth was level with Severus'. "I know you did, but we don't work."
Against Harry's mouth, Severus whispered, "I don't . . . I don't . . . ."
"Want me, yeah, I know," Harry said, starting when Severus flicked his tongue over his lips and pushed him into the wall, one knee moving in between his legs.
Buttons clattered over the wooden stairs as Severus ripped Harry's shirt and said, in between ungentle kisses, "Of course I don't . . . want you. . . . You have . . . no conversation other . . . than Quidditch . . . and Auror-related shite."
"Mmm, hmm," Harry murmured, not giving a damn about Severus' insult for the welcome pressure of Severus' thigh rubbing against his prick. "And you're bloody . . . boring, yourself, you arse—"
It became impossible to speak as Severus thrust his hands into Harry's trousers and seized his prick, hard, before setting to stroking it entirely too slowly. Harry whimpered and grabbed Severus' hand, but Severus smacked it away.
"No, you spoilt, selfish brat. If you want my attention, you'll take what I give you." With those words, Severus roughly turned Harry towards the wall and ripped down his trousers.
Harry gasped to feel his arse tingling under a wordless spell, slickening and opening it for Severus, who slid one delicate fingertip around the edge of quivering muscle.
"Do you like that, Harry?"
"You know I do. Fuck me already!"
"Tell me I can stay," Severus hissed, bringing his other hand around to Harry's prick and squeezing it at its base while ceasing the teasing caress of his finger in Harry's arse.
"FUCK YOU!" Harry shouted, making to break away from Severus' hold.
He was able to turn, but not for long; Severus grabbed him around the waist and pressed Harry, back first, into the wall, lifting him as he did so and all but crushing him with his weight. Harry wrapped his legs around Severus' waist without thinking, grabbing fistfuls of Severus' hair and pulling him down into a bruising kiss. Severus growled and shifted before thrusting himself home. The air rushed from Harry's lungs at Severus' first thrust, which was closely followed by his second—and there was no teasing, just fingers digging into his hips and Severus' prick pushing and pulling at a relentless pace until—
"Fuck!" he shouted, as Severus bit down upon his right shoulder.
Harry hated it when he did that. "Would have been . . . nice to . . . hear you."
"Never . . . never will . . . now."
The cold air hit Harry's back as Severus pulled out of him; resting his hands on the wall but looking under one arm, Harry saw Severus leaning against the banister, breathing hard. They remained as they were until the only sound in the hall was that of the clock's ticking, and then as if by some signal, they began readjusting their clothing.
"Well. Packing," Severus said, "unless you have any more revelations for me?"
"No, I'm done with talking—unless you have any other insults?"
Severus, his eyes dark and wet, smirked. "I don't require assistance."
"I didn't offer any," Harry replied without rancour, watching Severus walk slowly upstairs. Fuck, he thought, I want tea.
After brewing it, he took his mug to the coat closet, gently situating himself among the boots and brollies, occasionally shifting as various articles went levitating away while trying to remain awake.
Harry twitched but made no other movement. He was exhausted; he couldn't remember why.
"Go 'way. Sleeping."
"Yes, in a closet. How maudlin of you."
Harry's eyes snapped open. "Fuck you."
"Once was enough, thank you. I'm leaving now."
"Oh," said Harry, blinking. "Er, you want some dinner before you go?"
Severus shook his head. "I don't particularly care for your cooking."
"Right," Harry said, pushing himself up. "So."
"It's not that difficult to say goodbye."
Harry grimaced, not quite sure what he was feeling. "I've got less practice at it than you, I suppose."
"You're a nasty little shite," Severus replied, his tone almost affectionate.
Harry reached up to trace the curve of Severus' smirk. "Yeah, sometimes."
"Stay away from Pritkiss. He's a pervert."
Harry dropped his hand. "Tell Malfoy I'm not going to the ball."
"I already have."
"Ah, I see how it is."
"Good, perception's usually such a problem for you."
Harry's eyes swam a little as he watched Severus leave, but he didn't try to stop him, not even when Severus paused as he was about to cross the threshold. We don't work, he thought, ignoring the snick! of the door as it closed to return to the kitchen.
Kreacher stood in the middle of it, looking, as he usually did, cheerfully cross. "Kreacher will cook for Master Harry now."
"Yeah, all right."
"It will be."
"Why? Because I can't cook?"
"Master Harry has a good appetite. Kreacher knows this. Kreacher is happy to feed him."
Harry rolled his eyes and hoped that Malfoy would have the decency to see Severus fed before taking him to bed.
"Sport," Kreacher said then, placing a copy of Quidditch Quarterly on the table next to Harry.
Thinking about what Severus had said about his conversation, Harry reached for the Prophet instead.