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A Bedtime Story

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"And so you would have preferred it had Shakespeare pulled God out of a machine and sent Ophelia's ghost to Hamlet to warn him of the blade's poisoning?" Severus asked Harry, one lip curling in derision at the notion.

The Auror hopped on his haunches a bit closer to the small fire he had kindled and stretched out his hands, palms up, to warm them as he retorted, "I just don't think it's fair."

Attempting not to notice how Potter's thigh muscles flexed under his trousers, or the surprisingly thick burden those trousers held close, the Potions master said, "Things are rotten in more places than Denmark if that is all you have to say on the matter."

"Hey, you're the one who wanted to discuss my opinions on literature."

"That is putting it rather strongly. I merely thought to relieve the tedium of the evening by discussing literature."

Harry bent and cocked his head, which caused his increasingly long fringe to fall into his eyes. Surreptitiously examining the way the shadows played over Snape's features, he wondered when they had begun to intrigue him.

Don't be so obvious, he thought, asking, "What do you call a discussion without opinions?"

"You tell me. We've been at it for over an hour."

Nose fetish or no, that's the outside of enough. "I didn't have to come here with you, you know. You could at least try to be civil."

"I am always civil," Severus replied unperturbedly, enjoying the delicious-looking moue Potter's lips had formed in his pout. "And if you think I would have permitted Auror Longbottom to accompany me on this mission, you are—"

"Tell me a story," Harry interrupted, unwilling to hear anything against Neville—especially from a man who owed the other one his life. "Give me the benefit of your vast experience," he continued, trying not to smile cheekily.

Severus disliked the way the younger man's mouth had curved into a smirk as if he were thinking up some private joke. "You want a story? a bedtime story?" Where's the fun in giving you a story when I want to give you the benefit of my co—

"Yeah, I do. I'm going to stretch out and watch the stars, and you are going to . . . to tuck me in," Harry instructed, moving to arrange himself on his pallet of blankets.

Severus gaped, and only years of training himself not to betray his thoughts or emotions allowed him to keep his countenance impassive as the boy—no, very definitely the man—bucked his hips up while getting himself into a comfortable position. He felt a bit down as it occurred to him that there was no way Potter was doing it on purpose, and then irritated when it occurred to him that perhaps the boy was purposefully teasing him.

Well, if the little tease wants a story, I'll give him one. "What do you know of the true history of Oedipus Rex?"

"That's your idea of a proper bedtime story?"

"We were discussing literature, were we not? I am hardly going to unfold of tale of moggies playing with house mice for you."

Harry sighed. "I know that he married with his mother, and that she killed herself over it."

Severus smirked. "Iocasta was a witch."

"Was she?"

"Indeed, and Oedipus Rex is a pale account of her deeds, particularly in the matter of her son," Severus replied.

An hour later, Harry was sorry he had asked for a story. "You mean she knew? She knew that Oedipus was her own son and still she married him?"

"Prophesies, as you are well aware," Severus remarked, having unfolded the missing prophesy concerning Iocasta's doomed lover-son with a deep appreciation for how Potter's growing horror had caused him to squirm, "are seldom so simple—especially for wizards, or witches, as it was in this case. The woman was a pervert and thought that she could control her own fate."

"And Sophocles got it wrong!"

And so have I. I should never have arranged this . . . mission. "Passion is a cheat, Potter."

"What does that," Harry said, pushing himself up so that he could sit cross-legged, "have to do with literature?"

"If you need to ask that question than you have not been listening," Severus told him, lying down on his own pallet and turning his back on Potter as if in disgust.

This is going well. "Obviously, I was listening. Why'd you pick that story?"

"I am fond of tragedy."

"What a load of blue bollocks that is! Really Snape, the . . . the Byronic affectations are a bit much from you—you're already working the nosferatu angle harder than most of Hermione's ‘poet' friends."

"An insult referencing ‘literary' personages—I'm impressed. I expect you would have preferred poetry?" Severus asked, sitting up and glaring at Harry. "And you've known since your sixth year that I am not a vampire."

Snape looked so indignantly ruffled—his hair had gotten stuck to the side of his face upon which he had lain—that Harry had to laugh. "Oh, you are funny. Who knew?"

"You'll pardon me if I do not take that as a compliment. Now, if you're quite finished mocking me, I'd like to wait for our contact in peace."

"I know very well that there's no 'contact'."

Severus froze. What? How?

Harry's eyes crinkled at their corners as he responded Legilimentically, You were thinking pretty loudly there for awhile about shagging me at the meeting the other day. "How did you get Albus to go along with this scheme of yours, anyhow?"

Damn! "Damn!" Severus exclaimed, slamming shut his mental defenses and throwing himself up off the ground and beginning to pace. "When did you become so adept at Leg—"

Harry's presence in his path startled him into silence.

Reaching out to smooth the Potions master's hair down, he answered, "When I decided that it was the only way I'd ever figure out why you were staring at me all the time."

"I see."

"No, apparently not," Harry told him, leaning up to trace the wizard's lips with his own before sliding his tongue decidedly against the warm silk of Severus' own.

Without thinking, Severus found his arms wrapping around Potter's body and drawing him nearer, gasping into the younger man's mouth as Harry's arousal pressed enthusiastically against his thigh, and his own erection sought much-needed friction.

"What . . . was that?" he panted long moments later, when Harry broke their embrace.

Harry's eyes flashed with mirth and heat as he said, "That, Severus, was a goodnight kiss. It usually occurs at the end of a date, which is often before one gets tucked in."

"I've been wanting to tuck you in for the better part of two years."

"A certain friend of mine would say it's closer to three."

"Do not speak to me of Granger at such a time," Severus replied emphatically, grinding his hips into Harry's body.

"Oh, that's—take me home, take me to bed, take me—I've been waiting for this story to end for a long time, myself," Harry breathed against Severus' neck.

"Funny, that."

"What?"

"I've been waiting for our story to begin."