Harry pounded his pillows, leaned back, paused, and then turned to pummel them some more. Severus, comfortably situated upon his own perfectly plumped pillows, looked over his reading glasses at his partner of more than forty years.
"Have you subdued them sufficiently?"
"Not quite." Harry pushed his shoulders back into the pillows, squirming, albeit a bit stiffly, Severus noticed: Harry's arthritis had a tendency to flare when the weather turned cold.
After a last wriggle, Harry paused contemplatively. "There. Yes. That'll do." He pointed his wand at a huge tome. "AccioShakespeare!"
Severus's mouth twitched as the book nearly smacked Harry in the face. Potter's magic was as strong as ever, but his reflexes were no longer as precise as they had been when he was young and the snitches were bright. "Shakespeare?"
"Hermione says no one should die without reading Shakespeare." Harry opened the huge book, trying to hold it out at arm's length.
Severus sighed. "Accio Harry's reading glasses." He captured them, handing them to Harry as he continued. "Am I to infer that Death is looking over your shoulder?"
"Not that I know of," Harry said, distracted. "Why anyone would subject themselves to this is beyond me." Even with his glasses, he seemed to be squinting at the words as he flipped through the pages.
"Which begs the query: why do you put such store in Mrs Weasley's opinion?"
"Hermione," he corrected. "It's been decades, Severus. Surely you can find it in yourself to call her by her given name. Besides, she's right. No Englishman should go to his grave without having read Shakespeare. She said the shortest one is 'The Comedy of Errors.'" His face cleared. "Right. Found it." He shifted his shoulders again. "Act One. Scene One. A hall in the Duke's palace." He paused. "Merlin's nose! Who would name a child 'Aegeon'?"
"Aegeon's parents, apparently. Am I to be treated to commentary? If so, I may retire to the guest room for the duration."
"Belt up now. I'm trying to read."
After a few minutes, Harry's frown deepened. Severus paged through the Potions journal he was trying to read, but Harry's frustration, as always, seemed nearly physical in its intensity. Finally, Severus marked his place in the journal and set it aside.
"Harry. Really, is it necessary? Will you somehow be denied an afterlife if you don't read Shakespeare?"
"You give me one reason why an eternity of Hermione nagging me for not having read Shakespeare is preferable to a few hours of torture while alive, and I'll gladly put this aside. Damn, this is dull."
"It's an early work, derived primarily from the works of a Roman playwright."
Harry ignored Severus's comment, struggling on stubbornly. An irritating habit, Severus reflected. However, it seemed that once again, he was required to save Harry from his own folly. "Did you know that Shakespeare wrote sonnets as well?"
Harry lowered the book. "No." He looked stricken. "Those are shorter than plays, right?"
"Much." He slid his hands under Harry's pyjamas, caressing the rounded stomach with its fine parchment wrinkles and coarse grey hairs. He knew that stomach better than the back of his own hand, though no torture would ever drag from his lips how much that knowledge meant to him. "Perhaps you will find this one instructional, though altered a bit.
"Love is too young to know what conscience is;
Yet who knows not conscience is born of love?
Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss,
Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove:
For, thou betraying me, I do betray
My nobler part to my gross body's treason;
My soul doth tell my body that he may
Triumph in love; flesh stays no father reason;
But, rising at thy name, doth point out thee
As his triumphant prize. Proud of this pride,
He is contented thy poor drudge to be,
To stand in thy affairs, fall by thy side.
No want of conscience hold it that I call
His 'love' for whose dear love I rise and fall."
Severus pulled on Harry's hardening cock for emphasis, rubbing his own erection against Harry's leg.
"It's about…? No!" Harry grinned. "Don't tell me Shakespeare wrote about pricks?"
"He did." Severus brushed Harry's grey hair to one side and nuzzled at his neck. "Aroused pricks." He bit Harry's earlobe, pleased with Harry's shivered response. He felt the prick in his hand reach acceptable proportions and draped his leg over Harry's. "Pricks so aroused by even the name of the beloved one that they cannot be controlled by the conscience, but react according to animal nature."
Harry was breathing hard. "Right. If Hermione nags me in the afterlife, I'm sending her to you." He pushed his hips upward, eager for Severus's hand, and groaned.
"Do so," Severus said, carefully thrusting against Harry. "I'll simply ask her if she's read the works of the Marquis de Sade and explain to her that I believed knowledge of those took precedent over knowledge of Shakespeare when it came to your education."
"A connoisseur," Severus whispered, Conjuring a blindfold and slipping it over his lover's eyes. "He once said, 'In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.'"
Harry shivered, his arousal evidence of his eagerness to continue his education with the classics.