"Potter!" Severus snapped as the door to his flat slammed closed, startling his attention away from his laptop and the blinking cursor on his screen. He turned to glare at Harry for a brief moment, noting the takeaway bag in his hand before he turned his gaze back to his laptop. "Are you incapable of closing the door like a normal person?"
"When I'm trying to catch your attention, yes," Harry answered. In his periphery, Severus saw the corner of his mouth twitch in amusement, and he scowled at the screen. Without another word, Harry moved into the kitchen, and Severus settled back in his chair to reread the paragraph he had been in the middle of before Harry's entrance had distracted him.
Somehow, one night of dinner and chess several months earlier had become one night a week. One had turned into two, and then to three. Then Harry had begun to drop by unannounced even when they had not made plans, for no reason other than a desire to spend time together, until Severus could hardly remember what it was like when Harry was not a regular presence in his flat. There were no words or labels put to what they were doing, and most often, their time together consisted of nothing more than sharing dinner and a few games of chess, or watching a film together, occasionally sitting near enough to be considered cuddling, although they never really touched. Still, Harry continued to arrive at his door several nights a week, now, letting himself in with the spare key Severus had given him during a temporary lapse of sanity, with a takeaway bag in hand and a fresh reprimand for Severus' barren kitchen on his lips.
His attention was pulled away from his work once again by Harry placing a hand on his shoulder. Harry did not speak or prod at him, simply leaving his hand resting on him until Severus looked away from his laptop screen.
"Take a break," Harry said, pulling his hand away and gesturing towards the sofa behind Severus. Turning his chair, Severus saw their takeaway and two glasses of wine sitting on the coffee table, and arched an eyebrow as he turned his gaze to Harry again. Other than a faint quirk of his lips into a sheepish smile in answer, the expression had little effect. "You're overworking again."
"I have a deadline."
"You have six months." Severus' lips pulled into a thin line, but Harry continued to meet his eyes. "How many chapters do you have left on the first draft, Severus, five?"
"Three," Severus answered, and despite the tight tone of his voice, Harry's smile widened a fraction.
"We both know you'll have it done within another week. And then you'll spend the next month editing and grumbling about how much you hate every word while you go through all your editing, before you ship it off with three months to spare. Two if you decide to trash more than two or three chapters during the edits." Harry paused, considering Severus for a moment before he continued, tipping his head in a nod towards the sofa. "Take a break," he repeated. "You've more than earned it, haven't you?"
Severus hesitated for a moment, looking between Harry, his laptop, and the coffee table, the setting of which seemed strangely intimate, before he nodded. "Give me a moment, and then I will come to sit with you." He turned his chair back towards his laptop, but not before he saw Harry's expression brighten considerably, and he bit down on the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling at him in return. After saving his work, Severus moved to simply close the laptop before he stopped himself, glancing over his shoulder quickly to see Harry already seated on the sofa with his glass of wine in one hand and the television remote in the other while he shifted through channels.
Despite himself, Severus's lips twitched, and he turned away again to shut down the laptop entirely, closing the lid and standing from his chair once the screen went black. The moment he took his seat on the sofa, Harry shuffled close against his side, not quite touching, but as near as they ever came.
"Do you know we've been doing this for more than six months, now?" Harry asked as Severus settled against the back of the sofa with his takeaway box in hand. He paused and glanced at Harry, watching him continue to gaze at the television for a moment before he seemed to realize Severus was looking at him, and then his head turned to meet his eyes, flashing a small smile. "Six months, and this is the first time I've managed to properly drag you away from your work without you grousing at me over it."
Severus chuckled softly, reaching for his wine and taking a slow sip. "Do not expect me to make a habit of it. Obviously it was the promise of good wine rather than whisky for once that encouraged me to be polite."
"Oh, I'm sure." In his periphery, he watched Harry's smile widen as he continued to look at him for a moment. And then, Harry moved nearer, closing the small distance that remained between them to lean against his side. Severus paused with his wineglass pressed to his lips and turned to look at Harry properly, their eyes locked as Harry's head tipped against his shoulder. Neither moved nor spoke for a long moment, until Severus shifted, passing his wineglass over to his left hand as he reached over to set it down and tucked his right arm between Harry's back and the sofa, settling his hand on his waist.
Severus scowled at the flashing cursor on his laptop screen. The damn thing had not moved once since he had first sat at his desk in the morning, and after four hours of attempts to make progress, he was all but fed up with it. With a sigh of annoyance, he leaned back in his chair and passed a hand over his eyes. He and Harry had passed the remainder of the previous evening on the sofa, with Harry cuddled against his side while they watched television, and the feel of Harry pressed against him continued to linger in his mind.
Glancing at the clock, Severus straightened his chair and took one last look at his laptop screen before shutting it down in frustration. His attempts to work thus far had been for naught, and with thoughts of Harry and the step forward their relationship took the night before weighing on his mind, there was no hope for that to change within the next few hours. Severus pushed himself up out of his chair with a scowl pulling down the corners of his mouth, pacing in front of the sofa as he attempted to sort out his thoughts before settling on a suitable course of action, and after snatching his wallet from its place in the bedside table drawer, he made his way out of his flat.
He took the Underground to Leicester Square, savouring summer weather as he walked to and from the station, and drinking in the rare break of sunlight through the clouds overhead. The Box Office was less crowded than he'd expected when he arrived, and Severus was able to make quick work of securing tickets before making the trek back to his flat, in much more of a hurry on the return as he began to feel the heat more keenly. No sooner had he locked the door than Severus began unbuttoning his shirt on his way to the bathroom, letting out a sigh of approval to feel the cool air within the flat on his skin after the heat from outside.
The door to his flat opened not long after Severus had finished redressing after his shower. He pulled open the bathroom door with his button-down only half done, and stepped out into the sitting room just as Harry was moving into the kitchen with a takeaway bag in hand.
"There you are," Harry said as he flashed a grin and ducked into the kitchen to place the bag on the counter. "I wondered when you weren't at that ruddy desk of yours." Severus followed him into the kitchen, and when Harry turned away from the counter, he reached out to catch his hand, clasping it in his own. The touch caught Harry off guard, and Severus watched his eyes widen and gaze drop down to their hands before it returned to his face and his lips pulled into a smile. "Severus..."
"Put the takeaway in the refrigerator, if you would. We won't be needing that tonight." Harry's brow furrowed, and, glancing down at their hands, Severus hesitated briefly before turning his own to lace their fingers together. "I thought perhaps we might go out for the evening." He reached into the pocket of his trousers with his free hand and withdrew the pair of tickets he had purchased earlier, offering them to Harry. "Dinner, and a trip to the West End to see The Woman in Black."
For a moment, Harry was silent, looking at the tickets in his hand and then back to Severus. "A date?" he asked, and as Severus inclined his head in a nod, Harry stepped closer and wrapped his arms around his shoulders, pressing close to his chest and resting his head against Severus' shoulder for a brief moment. Severus' arms wrapped around Harry's waist without any hesitation. "This is brilliant," Harry said, tightening his arms around him for a moment before stepping back. "I should probably go change, then?"
Severus chuckled softly and gave another nod, accepting the tickets when Harry handed them back to him. "We should leave within the hour, to allow us ample time to enjoy supper before the show."
"Of course. I'll just need twenty minutes." Harry reached for Severus' hand and clasped it briefly, giving it a squeeze before he released it and made his way towards the door. "Back in a tick," he called over his shoulder, just as the door swung shut behind him. Shaking his head, his lips quirked up at the corners into an amused smile, Severus turned and moved the takeaway into the fridge before settling himself on the sofa to wait for Harry to be ready.
"Christ, that was amazing. Would you believe I've never seen it before?"
"From the way you were clinging to my arm throughout the entirety of the show, it is rather hard not to believe it," Severus answered dryly. Their clasped hands swung gently between them as they walked along the crowded West End street towards the Underground station, taking a longer route than necessary to enjoy the pleasant evening air. Severus glanced at Harry beside him as they went, and watched the corner of his mouth twitch into a smile. "I am pleased you enjoyed it, though. Have you never been to the theatre before this?"
Harry shook his head. "Ron wasn't exactly the theatre sort. I could hardly get him to sit still long enough to go to a film together, let alone get him to the theatre. With his - our - hobby..." he trailed off and Severus inclined his head to show he understood. It had become clear very quickly over the previous six months that Harry did not enjoy discussing his previous drug use, after the accidental overdose that had nearly killed him. With a soft sigh of relief, Harry squeezed his hand in appreciation and continued.
"With all of that, we weren't exactly rolling in funds, so we didn't go out too much, and when we did, he would have much rather gone to a club or something similar than go to a theatre. And it never really seemed right to go alone, so I never bothered... What about you? Unless you slip out on the few nights I don't come over to distract you with takeaway, I'm pretty sure this isn't a regular thing for you, but what about when you were with Sirius?"
Severus let out a soft, brief chuckle and shook his head. "Sirius was not much of a theatre fan. I had managed to drag him out a handful of times, but he was usually too concerned with mocking the performances throughout the show to pay attention. I gave up on taking him along rather quickly, and after he died, I was not terribly inclined to do anything other than bury myself in my work."
"Which, obviously, is a habit you are still trying to break, sixteen years later," Harry said gently.
"Even after coming to terms with what happened to him, it had become such a routine that I was too comfortable to think about breaking it. I've been quite content with my solitude until recently, so there was no need, at any rate."
"And what's changed your mind now?" Harry asked. Severus turned his head to look at him with one eyebrow arched, and Harry laughed. "All right, I'll spare you giving me the cliché answer, then..." He trailed off and a comfortable silence settled between them for several minutes while they stepped into the Underground. The train was crowded, and the two of them sat close together throughout the ride until they reached the station nearest their complex.
As they stepped out onto the street to finish the walk back to their flats, Harry laced their fingers together once again and leaned into Severus' side. "Thank you for tonight, Severus. This has really been brilliant."
"It's been my pleasure, Harry. Thank you for coming with me." Harry nodded, smiling as Severus opened the door to their building for him. "Will I be seeing you tomorrow?" he asked as they ascended the stairs. Harry paused in front of the door to his flat, and Severus came to a stop in front of him, their hands still clasped for the moment.
"Of course. We've got takeaway to reheat, I think," Harry answered, and Severus quirked a smile. After squeezing his hand, Harry released him with a note of reluctance to reach into his pocket for his key. "I'll see you tomorrow, then, Severus? Usual time?" Severus nodded, and Harry hesitated for a long moment, the tension in the air between them palpable, before he unlocked and opened his door, holding it open for another moment as he looked at Severus. "Good night, Severus..."
"Good night, Harry."
There was another hesitation before Harry shut the door, and Severus remained rooted in place for a moment longer before he moved to his own door and let himself into his flat.
Severus's fingers were flying across the keyboard to his laptop when Harry unlocked the door to his flat. Without looking away from the screen, he lifted one hand in a wave of acknowledgement and immediately returned it to the keyboard. He heard Harry's soft chuckle in answer, but he made no attempt to distract him, closing the door and padding off behind Severus into the flat. A moment later, he heard the refrigerator open, followed by a quiet rustling of the takeaway bag being opened. Pursing his lips, Severus did his best to tune out the sound while he typed, finally having hit his stride roughly an hour prior and not wanting to stop until it had run its course.
It took several minutes for him to realize that Harry had not re-entered the room, and although he could smell curry, there was no telltale whir of the microwave running. His brow furrowing, Severus finished out the sentence he was in the middle of typing and then swivelled his chair around to see into the kitchen. Harry's back was turned to him as he fussed over a pan on the range. Shaking his head with a small quirk of his lips in amusement, Severus rose to his feet and strode into the kitchen, peering over Harry's shoulder at the pan.
"The microwave was not slow enough for you?" he asked, and Harry laughed, leaning back until he was pressed against Severus' chest.
"You were busy. Thought this might buy a little more time before I had to try to drag you away from your work for a few minutes." Surprised by the answer, Severus looked at Harry for a moment and then wrapped his arms loosely around his waist.
"Thank you. I appreciate the thought." Harry nodded and turned his attention back to the plan, continuing to lean back against Severus until he pulled back from him. Moving to the cabinets, he pulled out dishes for their supper and set them on the counter while Harry stirred the curry. "We still have wine from the last time, shall we finish it off?" Severus asked after opening the refrigerator.
"Probably should before it goes to waste."
Removing the bottle from the fridge, Severus pulled wine glasses from another cabinet and poured them each a glass. Harry waved for him to go sit when he offered to help any further, and Severus took their glasses with him into the sitting room, taking a seat at one end of the sofa and setting both drinks down on the low table in front of him. A moment later, Harry exited the kitchen with two plates in hand and settled beside him, leaning against his side as he handed him one of the plates.
They turned on the television and shuffled through channels until they found something suitable and settled in to eat in silence until their plates had been cleared. Harry stacked his empty plate on Severus' on the low table and cradled his glass of wine carefully in his hands as he pulled his feet up onto the sofa. He pressed closer to Severus' side, tipping his head against his shoulder when Severus' arm wrapped around him. It was several minutes, after their glasses were emptied and the television program was turned off in favour of a film, before Harry spoke.
"Severus?" Humming in question rather than answer, Severus' gaze remained focussed on the television until Harry gave him a gentle nudge, reaching over to pluck the wineglass out of his hand. Severus watched with an arched eyebrow as Harry leaned forward to place both glasses down and turned towards Severus as he straightened. Harry met his eyes and hesitated for a moment, until Severus began to wonder if he intended to speak again.
Before he could ask what it was that Harry wanted, Harry moved, lifting up to his knees and leaning closer to wrap his arms around Severus' neck. Their lips pressed together, Harry's warm and tentative against his own as Severus slowly moved a hand up to rest against his cheek. The moment he leaned into the kiss, Harry let out a hum of approval and pressed their mouths more firmly together before pulling back, looking at Severus with shining eyes.
"I was hoping you wouldn't mind that I didn't want to wait another six months before we had our first kiss," Harry murmured. Despite himself, Severus chuckled, reaching his hand into Harry's hair to feel the brunet strands between his fingers.
"No," Severus answered, shaking his head and tangling his fingers properly in Harry's hair, tugging him closer to brush their lips together once more. "I cannot say I mind at all."