The Last Battlefield
Severus licked his finger delicately and turned the page. Yet again, he pushed his reading glasses up his nose.
"Why don't you just get some new ones?"
"Eh?" He glanced over the top of the book. Harry was sitting cross-legged on the floor, robe yanked up so that it pooled around him and he could wiggle his insolent young arse against the very new, very soft green carpeting. In one hand he held an old Hogwarts flannel and in the other his Firebolt. A tin of broomstick polish sat open on his knee. The motions Harry made with the flannel over the broomstick triggered something deep in Severus' brain that hadn't been triggered in a long time. Severus blinked it off.
Harry pushed his own glasses up his nose. "Why don't you just get some new ones? Those things have been falling off your face for as long as I can remember."
"Hmph." Severus lifted his eyebrows and went back to Fahrenheit 451. "I see how it is. As soon as something becomes the slightest bother, just toss it away and--"
A raspberry broke his rant. "If that were the case, I'd have left you back at the flat."
"You think they'd have kept you after you blew up half the castle?"
"At least I didn't tip over the Herbology stacks."
"Oi! You know that wasn't my fault."
"Irma certainly seemed to think it was." Severus stifled a smirk, ducking just in time to keep the Firebolt's handle from thumping him in the head. He bit the inside of his lip to keep from sniggering like a first year and snapped, "Brilliant way to treat your broom, Mister Potter. I shan't think you'll be getting anything for Christmas this year."
"Hush." Harry glanced up; his hooded eyes weren't enough to disguise the smile trying to form on his pink lips. "Christmas is ages away."
"Three months isn't 'ages.' Certainly not long enough for you to rectify your behaviour."
Harry sniffed. "Reckon that means you don't want me to get you anything, then?"
"I never said that. My behaviour is perfectly pleasant."
"Oh, okay. You wanted that poster-sized autographed print of Gilderoy Lockhart, right?"
Severus shuddered. "It's going up over your side of the bed."
The flannel hit him in the face; he tossed it back. It draped over the rat's nest of Harry's hair. "Speaking of which, aren't you supposed to be in bed, Mister Potter? Or are you determined to let the better team win tomorrow?"
"You're supposed to be on my side, you know."
"The Falcons have beaten the Cannons in the running longer than either one of us has been alive."
"That's only a couple of centuries. We'll catch up."
Severus growled under his breath. "If that's how you're going to be, I shan't speak to you anymore tonight."
"Lucky--" Harry yawned, "--me." He rubbed one eye, yawned again, and slipped the lid back on his broomstick polish. The flannel and tin went into his broom servicing kit - the one Miss Granger had given him back when she was still Miss Granger - and he stretched like a cat. "Any idea how long you'll be up?"
"Oh, am I speaking to you again?"
Harry gave him a look.
"I promise. I'll be in bed in plenty of time to see your team make a collective prat of itself on the pitch tomorrow."
"Obnoxious brat. Get to bed."
"Yes, Professor." Harry pushed himself up, letting his bottle green robe fall around his legs. He stretched again, twisting a bit so his back popped. Severus winced.
"Do you have to do that?"
He sighed. "I really don't understand why I put up with you, Mister Potter."
"Oh, shut up."
Severus smirked to himself from behind the safety of his book while Harry stowed his broom in its rack over the mantel and tucked the servicing kit into a drawer. Severus shifted a little to accept his regular goodnight kiss on the cheek.
Instead, there was a brief pause. He glanced up out the corner of his eye to see Harry standing there, eyes closed, a look of supreme concentration twisting his face. Hesitating every few inches, Harry lifted a stiff finger, placed it under Severus' chin, and turned his maritus' face towards him. Severus heard a weak, mouthy sound and didn't have time to react before Harry's lips pressed against his own.
He froze. The soft kiss only lasted a second or three, but it was long enough for him to taste the peppermint humbug Harry had been sucking, to smell the smudge of broomstick polish on his nose, to feel the warmth of his skin and the strength of his lips, and to see his eyes with their dense ridge of short lashes flutter open for an instant.
Harry broke away. Severus could only stare at him, jaw loose. Harry smiled.
"Um, g'night," he whispered.
"Good night," Severus whispered back, a note of awe heavy in his voice. He received one more brief, shy smile before Harry trudged out of the sitting room and towards the stairs.
It was at least a minute before Severus realised that the bit of hair tickling his cheek was a tear. It dripped onto his book, greying the page and making a circle of the newsprint swell and wrinkle. Quietly, he closed the book and followed Harry to bed.
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