When he tickled the pear and stepped through the portrait into the Hogwarts kitchens the last person he expected to see was Snape.
A house elf or two? Absolutely.
A group of Hufflepuff out for a midnight snack? No question.
His most surly co-worker dressed in what looked to be cozy pajama bottoms, a soft sweater, and house shoes? Not so much.
Snape and his monochrome wardrobe belonged in the dungeons, but not in the warmly lit kitchen spooning whipped cream into a mug of hot cocoa. It didn’t matter to Harry that the kitchens were in the dungeons. All that mattered was that Snape was there, in the kitchen, and he was practically naked.
“Are you going to stand there gawking or do you plan to come in?”
Snape didn’t look up when he spoke but Harry recognized the tone. It was Snape’s “Potter, you’re a fucking idiot and you make me question the life choices that led me to this moment” tone. Harry was used to that tone. It was almost a comfort to hear it in that moment when things were outside his normal expectations.
“Well...erm. Is it alright if I come in? You look busy and - .”
Harry knew it shouldn’t possible for a face to sigh but still, somehow, Snape’s face did just that.
“These are communal kitchens. I know you’re not the most intelligent person to grace these hallowed halls but even you should be aware of what communal means.
Harry nodded, the rudeness putting him back on more even footing, “I just meant that I would hate to interrupt you and your hot cocoa.”
He didn’t smirk at the works ‘hot cocoa’ but it was close. There was, in all seriousness, nothing wrong with sipping cocoa. Especially not on a cold night in a drafty old castle. But when the person drinking said cocoa was a cozy looking Severus Snape...well. It was strange. Like apples and peppermint together. Sure, it could happen; but no one expected it to.
Harry’s reply had Snape turning to look at him, one brow arched as he lifted his mug and took a sip.
Something inside Harry- something that he’d ignored since coming back to Hogwarts - demanded that his kiss the whipped cream away. He ignored the urge and summoned a mug from a cupboard instead.
“Can I join you?”
“You did walk down here all on your own. Anyone capable of that must surely possess the ability to sit on a stool at a counter.”
It was Harry’s turn to sigh, “may I join you, Professor?”
Old habits die hard, that’s what Harry’d been telling himself since he came back to Hogwarts. It was odd to call his former teachers anything but ‘Professor’. Everyone but Snape insisted he use their first name. Snape had made it clear that Harry was more than welcome to not use his name at all.
Not that Harry had expected anything different.
“Contrary to popular belief, Potter, you are not the center of the universe. I do not actually care what you do with your time.”
Harry poured himself some hot cocoa and grinned at the fact that some things never changed.