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Esse Quam Videri (To Be Rather Than to Seem)

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Esse Quam Videri (To Be Rather Than to Seem)
Characters: Harry Potter, James and Lily Potter, Severus Snape, Petunia Dursley, Albus Dumbledore plus some name dropping.
Word Count: ~17,000
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Oral sex, slight exhibitionism, mutual masturbation, rimming, anal sex, homophobia, cigarette smoking, and church attendance.
Disclaimer: Anything you recognize from Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. I make no money.
A/N: Non-magical AU: set in North Carolina in the 50's. Beta'd by gryffindorj, persevero, jezebel64, and my friend, Dobby (no journal). Any mistakes that remain are my own. More notes at the end.

 

Harry James Potter sat on the porch swing as he scuffed his sneakers in the dust, listened to the buzz of the mosquitoes, and wished it wasn't so damn hot. If he had any money he'd go to the cinema where they had air conditioning but he didn't want to explain to his father that he'd already spent his entire paycheck, meager as it was. Working for his father had advantages but it also had disadvantages: he knew exactly how much money Harry had made. And he certainly couldn't say he was ill when he just didn't want to go to work.

The voice of his mother, singing along with the radio, drifted through the open window as she peeled peaches for canning. She had to plunge them into boiling water for just a moment to loosen the peels and the entire kitchen smelled of juicy fruit waiting to be eaten. She was a very good cook although he really didn't care for liver and onions no matter what she did to it.

"Harry James," his father said as he pushed the screen door open, "run down to your Uncle Vernon's Hardware store and pick up the paint we need for the garden fence. He'll know what color I want. Then stop by your Granddad Evans' place to leave it for him. You do remember you promised him you'd help, don't you, son?" James said, sitting down on the swing to read the evening post.

"Yes, Dad," Harry replied, wishing he didn't have to go by his uncle's store. It was hot, and although the walk to the Broad Street shop was only a few blocks, he preferred to sit on the porch sipping lemonade and thinking about girls and motorcycles, although not necessarily in that order.

 

When he returned home from his errands the delicious sweet smell was gone, only to be replaced by the savory aroma of pulled pork barbeque, hushpuppies, and corn on the cob, and he thought he'd died and gone to heaven. Suddenly, his stomach rumbled and he realized just how hungry he really was. After washing up in the powder room, he entered the kitchen, and kissed his mother on the cheek.

"Harry James, I was sure you wouldn't make it home in time for supper. Set the table for me, please," Lily said. Harry pulled forks, knives and spoons from the drawer in the hope there might be some cold ice cream for dessert. He got out three identical plates, white with blue stripes around the edges, and as always a beer for his father, sweet tea for his mother, and a nice cold glass of milk for himself. Just as he finished placing the cloth napkins at each setting, his father strode into the room and took a seat at the head of the table.

"Lily, darling, that smells delicious," he said, beaming, as she placed the dishes of garden tomatoes and pole beans on the table.

"You say that every time I cook supper, James Potter," she laughed in reply, serving Harry next, with nearly as big a serving as his father.

"I can't eat all that, Mama, it's just too hot," Harry said.

"You are still a growing boy, Harry James. You have to eat," she replied smiling as she heaped one more spoonful onto his plate.

"I'm twenty years old! I'm not growing anymore," he replied but proceeded to dig into his supper. They ate in relative silence. James was looking rather sated when Lily got up from the table and began speaking as she walked to the sink to wash the dishes.

"James, my father has hired someone to work at the funeral parlor with him," she said quietly. Harry knew immediately he ought to escape by his mother's tone of voice but he was expected to dry the dishes after she washed them, so he sprang up from his chair and grabbed a clean dish towel from the drawer.

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"He has been looking for someone for some time now, so that's great news. I really didn't like you working there," James shuddered slightly.

"I am very familiar with the work my father does but yes, I do prefer not to work there either. So it is very good news indeed that he found someone suitable for the job."

At the word suitable, James turned to face Lily and Harry could tell he was finally putting two and two together. "Just who exactly did your father hire, Lily?" he asked, his eyes set, waiting for hers to meet them.

"Severus Snape," she replied, her voice betraying no emotion.

"What?" he replied harshly.

"James, listen - you know the whole family has been down on their luck since they down-sized the Cotton Mill. His father-" she began but he cut across her.

"His father is a drunk, Lily! An embarrassment to the whole town."

"He couldn't get another job after he was let go; he was already past 60 and no one would hire a man that age. And since he'd been the overseer at the mill, he wasn't exactly popular either," Lily explained as she hurriedly washed dishes and passed them to Harry, who dried them and set them back into the cabinet.

"And how does that explain why he can't hold a job, Lily?" James replied, his voice starting to get heated. Obviously, James was not referring to the father anymore.

"James, not in front of Harry James."

"He has the right to know. He's old enough to hear about how unnatural that man is," he said with a harsh glint in his eye. If only Harry had any idea what on earth his parents were on about now.

"You just don't like him. I know it's not about that," she replied coolly.

James looked at his son, then back at Lily. He stood abruptly and walked out of the kitchen without another word.

What did his father mean by 'unnatural'? Harry wondered to himself as he finished helping his mother with the dishes.

 

Sunday morning came early, as it always did during the summertime. Harry would have much preferred sleeping in to putting on his Sunday best, especially after spending the entire day at his granddad's house painting. But service started promptly at nine and one didn't want to be late. From their home on Albemarle Street, it was only one block and a right turn to arrive at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. The older ladies, Ms. Longbottom, Ms. McGonagall, and Ms. Weasley were fanning themselves in the first row, waiting for the minister, Reverend Dumbledore. The men tended to stay towards the back if they could help it, hoping to discuss the baseball scores of the day before. But James was pulled forward by his wife to the third row so Harry obediently followed. His Granddad and Grandma Evans were already there. She greeted him with a kiss and a squeeze, which he somehow hadn't minded when he was ten, but here in church in front of the whole town it was a bit too much. Soon the minister came in and the service began. Harry's thoughts began to drift immediately.

About ten minutes into the service, he heard the sound of the doors to the sanctuary opening and closing. He turned his head around as much as he could and saw a thin, dark haired man standing in the back of the church, more in than out but only just. He wore a smart black suit, as if he was attending a funeral. Just then his mother pinched his leg and he turned back around to try to listen to the sermon. . . .

"But this rational is flawed, for our desires do not define us...our choices do. In Romans 6:16 Paul teaches that our choices either make us a slave to sin or a slave to Christ. By our willful choices in life we either become more Christlike or less Christlike. What we do, not what we desire, makes us who we are."*

Reverend Dumbledore had a way with words. He could be light and jovial but the sermons held heavy meaning and on occasion he looked over his half-moon spectacles, down his crooked nose at the parishioners and at those times Harry felt the reverend knew exactly the sorts of sins his flock had committed.

The next time Harry turned around, Snape was gone.

 

"Oh, it's so good of you to come today Harry. I haven't seen you in a month of Sundays," Reverend Dumbledore smiled as they shook hands on the way out of the church after the service.

"It hasn't been that long, Reverend," his mother defended instantly.

"I'm only teasing the boy, Ms. Lily, but I would like to see him here more often," he replied with a twinkle in his eye.

"I'll try to be here, sir," Harry lowered his head slightly in deference to the man.

"See that you do, son. See that you do."

 

"Mama, are we eating supper at Granddad's this afternoon?" Harry asked once they were clear of the crowd exiting the church.

"Of course we are. Your Granddad would be so disappointed if we didn't take our Sunday supper with him," she replied, linking her arm through his for the short walk to the Evans's house.

"What did Dad mean about that man Snape?" Harry blurted out before he even realized he'd said it. He looked away from his mother, suddenly ashamed of himself. He felt like a gossip, like his Aunt Petunia: tell her a secret and within the hour all of Edenton knew it.

"Harry James, they just didn't get along very well at school. It was a long time ago. Don't worry about it, ok?" she said, rubbing her hand up and down his arm as they walked. It always relaxed him when she did that – it was so soothing. But he still felt there was something more to his father's words.

 

The long table was spread with fried chicken, potato salad, watermelon, catfish, pitchers of sweet tea, and homemade lemonade: you name it, it was there. Men played horseshoes in the back and smoked. The children played hide-and-seek and swung on the swing hung from the branch of a huge live oak in the yard. All the ladies congregated on the porch - some on the white wicker chairs, others on the pine swing that was a staple on nearly every porch in town.

Harry wanted to hear what the men were discussing, but he knew if they heard him approach his granddad would probably consider him too young to hear, as he continued to treat Harry like a child. He stood near the edge of the house and tried to stay out of sight. His father was talking with his granddad and he suspected he knew what they were talking about.

" . . . I don't want people like him near my family; you understand that, Father Evans . . ."

"He's just working at the parlor, James, we aren't having him for Christmas dinner," his granddad replied, taking a big puff of his cigar.

"Well, if you don't mind hiring people like him, I just don't know what to think of you anymore, sir," his father retorted and threw his last horseshoe, hard. It missed the mark completely. "Damn. I'm sorry," James exhaled. "I just worry about him being a poor influence on the boys in town."

"And it's a valid concern, James. But you don't need to worry about our Harry James," his granddad said, putting a hand on James's shoulder.

Harry closed his eyes tight. He needed some time to think about what he had heard. Rounding the house, he looked for his mother. Seeing her on the porch, he called out to her. "I'm going for a swim in the creek, mama." Not really waiting for a reply, he started walking up Gale Street, then down Oakum, then up Queen before he found himself in front of the cotton mill.

 

A small creek ran behind the mill and shortly met Queen Anne Creek. Harry liked to come here when he needed time alone to think. It was fairly secluded as few people chose to hang around the mill, especially on a Sunday. And as far as swimming went, most people preferred to head to the waterfront and dive off the pier into Edenton Bay.

He started stripping off his clothes and tossed them towards a rock, missing rather spectacularly. Looking around once more, and seeing no one, he removed his briefs as well, and jumped into the water.

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It was so cool and refreshing. The water wasn't clear by any stretch of the imagination, but as far as he was concerned that was fine. He really didn't want to think about what else might be swimming with him in the creek.

But what of this man Snape? If Harry understood his father correctly he was suggesting that Snape was queer. And his father was worried he'd influence the other young men in town to be queer? Harry had no idea how that was possible. Was he really worried about his son being queer? It occurred to him to wonder why his father always allowed him a peek at the magazines he kept at work, away from his mother's prying eyes. All the other men at the body shop leered and commented whenever the monthly arrived, while Harry kept quiet. Certainly the women were attractive enough but he didn't quite understand what all the fuss was about. He'd once heard his mother say he was a 'late-bloomer' and told his father how independent and 'free-thinking' he was. There were a couple of girlfriends in high school but neither were very serious relationships.

He splashed around in the water a bit longer, just enjoying being cool. However, he figured he'd been in long enough when he'd noticed his hands starting to prune. He swam back to shore, again looking to see if anyone was around. He quickly shook himself off and dressed as quickly as he could. He'd never really been comfortable with his slightly scrawny form. And certainly not out in the open, where anyone could see him. Why didn't I change at home before coming for a swim? he thought to himself as he slipped on his dress shoes and he walked back through the shrubs onto King Street.

His feet led him towards the train tracks; he knew the house closest to it belonged to the Snapes. It was smaller, more run-down than the others. If a train was to derail at that point, they wouldn't have a home anymore - it was only about five yards from the tracks. The paint was peeling, they had no swing on the porch, and one of the side windows was broken. He'd never given a thought before to the family; certainly they were known in town as being the wrong sort of people, but he couldn't imagine a more depressing place to live.

Just then, the screen door flew open and Tobias Snape came storming out the door, a high pitched screech at his back. "It's Sunday! The bar isn't open, so I don't know where you think you'll get a drink!"

"Maybe I'll go looking for something else then, you witch!" He climbed unsteadily into his '47 Packard and pulled away, tires squealing and a cloud of dust left behind. Harry was staring at the car when he realized Eileen Snape was glaring at him from behind the screen door. He had the sense to feel ashamed of himself for watching and turned away quickly. He heard the door slam as he walked over the train tracks. At S. Oakum, he turned toward the waterfront. He still had a lot of thinking to do.

 

Work always seemed to drag in the summer. Harry kept thinking about what he could be doing instead of sanding cars that needed paint jobs. It was the simplest job his father could give him. He definitely wasn't interesting in painting them: every mistake cost his father money. He had a little more room for error with the sanding. Although, he certainly was filthy in the end: the fine particles hung in the air, stuck to his clothes, got into his ears and sometimes even his teeth. Fortunately his father insisted he wear goggles over his glasses, his nearsightedness an advantage for once.

Finally payday came and Harry could not wait to head down to the cinema. The Taylor Twin Cinema wasn't as nice as the one he'd been to in Elizabeth City with his godfather when he was eight years old but it had air conditioning, popcorn and a new movie. His father would have gone to see Twelve Angry Men but he didn't feel like seeing something so serious. The Curse of Frankenstein sounded much better to him.

He went home to shower off all the dust and grime and changed into a simple white t-shirt, his favorite blue jeans, and his sneakers. He put a dollop of his father's Vitalis hair oil in his hair. He only used a little because the smell was very strong. His father had stopped using it because it was very perfumed and had decided that Brylcreem was better. Harry infrequently even bothered to do more than comb his hair, so a spot of oil was just enough to tame it.

 

After checking his pockets to be sure he had fifty cents for admission plus money for popcorn, he kissed his mother and headed out the door. He could have ridden his bicycle downtown but it seemed so boyish. It wouldn't be dark yet for a couple more hours but the baking heat diminished. The walk was just over four blocks, straight down Broad Street. He wasn't the only one that decided to head to the cinema that night - more and more people seemed to be heading in that direction as well. Hopefully they wouldn't sell out the theater for the seven o'clock show.

He didn't really expect to run into any of his old school friends however. Many had gone to college and stayed for the summer, working for more money in Chapel Hill, Greensboro, or even Elizabeth City. He stayed in Edenton because he was expected to inherit the family business from his father. The James and Son Body Shop was good enough for his father so it had to be good enough for him. Or that's what his parents believed at any rate. He was even less interested in running his grandfather's funeral home and he prayed his cousin Dudley would take an interest in it.

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As he arrived at the cinema, he could tell there were two distinct sets of movie patrons -the younger ones for the horror film and the older ones for Henry Fonda and company. He handed the cashier his fifty cents and took his ticket. Without looking up, he turned away from the box-office window and proceeded to walk right into someone.

"I'm really sorry. I wasn't-" The rest of his reply catching in his throat as he had walked into Severus Snape. He was dressed in a black button-up shirt with two vertical stripes running down each side of the buttons, a square bulge in his left front pocket where he kept his cigarettes; black trousers, and black leather lace-up shoes. Harry realized Snape was talking only once his eyes reached the face and saw the lips were moving.

"...next time," was all he heard as Snape pushed past him and lit a cigarette. For some reason he couldn't identify, he followed Snape to the entrance.

"Do you have another?" Harry asked, with no idea what he was thinking as he didn't smoke. He'd tried it once, coughed and hacked, and his mother had told him he'd better never come home smelling like cigarettes, even though nearly every other grown man smoked. This was North Carolina, after all.

"I doubt your parents would like to see you bumming a cigarette from me, Harry James Potter," Snape snickered. But nevertheless, he pulled the pack out of his front pocket and handed one to Harry. Then Snape reached into his trouser pocket and fished out his lighter. Harry stood there until he realized Snape was holding the lighter but he hadn't put the cigarette in his mouth. He blushed slightly and leaned in for a light. He tried not to inhale too deeply so he wouldn't cough but he did anyway. Snape chuckled then inhaled deeply. He blew a smoke ring at Harry and walked into the theater.

Harry didn't know whether he ought to follow him. What was he thinking? His father was going to kill him if he knew he'd even spoken to him. I'll just get some popcorn and a soda pop. If I find, him good; if not, that's fine too. And he proceeded to the counter and bought a slightly larger bucket of popcorn than he'd been intending to eat. Thank goodness it was payday.

After he made his way into the theater, he took a quick look around but didn't see anyone he knew, nor Snape. Taking a seat towards the middle of the theater, he moved to the edge near the wall. He preferred being near the end of the row as fewer people got up during the film and blocked his view. He never sat in the front. It was too close and hurt his neck, the way he had to lean back slightly to see properly. The back of the theater, everyone knew, was reserved for ne'er-do-wells or couples making out, depending on the film. Having just run into Snape, he suspected it would be the former this time around.

Harry settled in with his oversized bucket of popcorn, the lights went down in the theater, and a voice said "is this seat taken?" Harry turned to look who it was, although he already knew. He shook his head but realized it was quite dark, so he cleared his throat and said "no." He realized his heart was pounding in his chest. What was happening to him? He was acting like a schoolgirl with a crush; his skin was burning, flushed red. Thank goodness it's dark he thought to himself, mortified by his reactions. The film started and he just stared straight ahead, afraid to turn and look at his silent companion.

"Would you like some popcorn?" Harry asked Snape, still not turning his head. A hand reached over to the bucket that he was holding in his lap. He immediately held it away from him, resting the bucket on the armrest between them.

The movie itself was nothing to write home about. Several times, their hands had brushed as they both reached into the popcorn at the same time. He wasn't sure if Snape was doing it intentionally or not, but each time Harry reacted by pulling his hand away as if burned. He was quite convinced he heard a chuckle the last time but dared not look to see if Snape was looking at him.

"What did you think of the movie?" Harry asked when the lights came up in the theater.

"You were much more entertaining, Harry James Potter," Snape replied as he pulled his cigarettes out of his shirt pocket again. "Care for another or was one enough for you?" Harry blushed tomato red and looked away which made Snape laugh. He whispered, "You look so fetching when you blush." That's when Harry realized he'd better get home, and get home now. Without a word, he started for the door and he could still hear Snape's laughter behind him.

It was a long walk home. Four blocks felt like four miles. He wasn't about to run: there was no reason to do that. But, to his horror, walking was all the more difficult because he had a hard-on. He hoped his ardor would cool by the time he got home. He couldn't imagine the ribbing he would get from either of his parents, who would assume he'd met a girl at the cinema. Lord have mercy on me, he prayed silently. But he knew in his heart, had known for some time that he would not be looking for a wife. It was still shocking to find himself hard and wanting one Severus Snape.

 

Over the next two weeks, Harry tried to focus on his work - he helped his father more at the shop; he helped his mother with her canning and pickling. He even offered to help his Uncle Vernon at the hardware store - anything to keep his mind off Snape. Of course, the nights were the most difficult. In the summertime, the air was already hot and sticky. His dreams only made his sheets hotter and stickier as well. His mother, bless her heart, said nothing about the fact that he was washing them every other morning. And it was only every other morning because he turned the top sheet around and let the sticky mess dry near his feet on the other nights.

It was too good to last however. On a day his father had driven in to Elizabeth City to pick up some supplies, he stayed home from work and his mother cornered him in the kitchen at lunch time. He knew he was doomed when she had fixed all his favorite foods: cold fried chicken and coleslaw, no collard greens in sight, cherry pie and his favorite Coca-cola. He knew she must have run to the store for it that morning because he had finished the last bottle the night before. He sat and began to eat hoping to finish before she worked up the nerve to ask him anything. Once his mouth was sufficiently full, she pounced.

"Are you going to tell me about her, Harry James?" she said smoothly. This caused him to choke on his food. "Lord, son, are you alright?" she said as she jumped up to pat him on the back.

"Wrong hole," he replied, eyes streaming. He took a large gulp of his drink to try to wash down what was left in his throat. He closed his eyes and hoped when he opened them, she'd be gone. No such luck.

"Are you that embarrassed to have a girlfriend?" his mother asked, kindly but with determination in her eyes.

"Mama, I don't have a girlfriend," he said as he started eating again. He picked up the pace to speed the interrogation along. Maybe if he finished quickly enough he wouldn't even have to lie to her.

"Well, you certainly are interested, aren't you?" she said a bit smugly.

"Oh, God!" he cried at her suggestion.

"Don't you take the Lord's name in vain. This isn't His fault," his mother replied sternly but she recovered her calming voice soon enough. "Who is she darling? Maybe we can help you - meet her family, have a nice picnic on Sunday here instead of at your Granddad's house," she said, taking his left hand into both of hers and giving it a squeeze.

"Listen, Mama, I don't think that will work. There really isn't anything going on." He was ready to start eating the pie; just two or three more minutes and he could run from her questions. He knew he could do it. Just a few more bites.

"Is it a girl, Harry James?"Oh, no. Silence. Dead silence. Lying to her was impossible. Anyone else, even his father or granddad he could lie to, but never to her. He took a deep breath and looked up to meet her eyes but he could tell that she already knew.

"It's alright, Harry James, your mama understands," she said as she stood, leaned over him and hugged his head and shoulders. He broke, right then and there. Reaching around her waist, he buried his head in her apron, and shook with silent sobs. She continued to hold him and ran her hands through his hair, smoothing it down over and over.

"For now, we won't mention this to your father, okay?" He nodded his head. "If you need to talk though, you come find me. Promise?" He nodded again. Suddenly he wasn't very hungry anymore and fled.

 

Another fortnight passed before Harry decided he wanted to see another movie at the cinema. This time The Bridge on the River Kwai was playing in one theater while the other showed Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He definitely wanted to see the Western. Maybe he'd even wear his boots instead of sneakers. His favorite jeans were clean, as he never wore them during the week, and he picked out a fitted shirt, plain white. He really liked the buttons on it, so dark green they were almost black.

The summer was winding down; many in town had taken one last trip to the seashore this past week. There weren't near as many folks at the cinema as the last time he'd come here. He approached cautiously, looking around just to see if someone else was here as well, purchased his ticket and went inside. Again he got a large bucket of popcorn and a soda pop. Again he sat halfway down the theater and again he sat next to the wall.
He tried not to be disappointed when the movie started and there was no sign of Snape. What had he been thinking anyway? Snape was a grown man, forty years old. He didn't 'come out to play' like an errant schoolboy. He had certainly moved on - one night's flirtation wasn't a commitment. Harry sighed and watched the movie alone.

When the film had nearly finished he heard a voice behind him say, "I wondered if you might come back again." Harry turned around slowly; he didn't want to give away the happiness that he felt at hearing the soft silky tones in his ear.

"Have you been here the whole time?" he whispered. The light from the film was occasionally lighting Snape's face and at other times making him nearly impossible to see.

"I come here every Friday night. It's a great way to meet people," he said giving Harry just a hint of a smile. I bet it is, Harry thought a bit sullenly. He turned back around to watch the rest of the movie, but his mind was on the man sitting behind him in the dark.

As the credits began to roll, Snape leaned forward and said "Do you want to take a walk to Waterfront Park?" Harry's head said no, but his heart said yes, or maybe his heart said no but his head said yes. Whichever it was, what came out of his mouth was "uh-huh."

"I'll take that as a yes," Snape said, standing up. Harry pulled himself together as best he could and rose to follow Snape out of the theater. They walked down Broad Street past the Confederate Memorial, to the park benches near the dock. Snape pulled out his pack of cigarettes, lit one and offered Harry the pack.

"I think I'd better stay away from those, uh, Snape. Sorry, but what should I call you?" Harry laughed a bit nervously, as Snape slipped the pack into his front left pocket. He was wearing the same outfit Harry had seen him in four weeks before. Snape climbed up on the picnic table and sat with his feet on the bench. He lay back, resting on his elbows.

"You may call me Severus. And you, Harry James - does everyone call you that? Is one name not enough?" Snape asked as he watched the water splash against the dock, inhaling deeply.

"Well, James is my father-"

"I am well aware of that fact," Snape replied sharply.

"Right, well, anyway, everyone has always called me Harry James as long as I can remember." Harry felt his chest constrict as it did when he was nervous. Maybe this had been a bad idea after all.

"I prefer to call you just Harry." Snape said, sitting up again to take another drag of his cigarette.

"Sure, that's fine with me. It's different." I like it, Harry thought to himself with a smile. "So you work for my granddad, right?"

"I do, when he has any work for me. I haven't had much to do as not many people have died lately," Snape said nonchalantly as he got up and put out his cigarette under his heel.

"Oh, that's a terrible thing to say! You aren't hoping someone will pass away, are you?" Harry blurted, a bit shocked at the idea.

"That is not my desire. However, I would appreciate working more than three days a week," Snape said as he started walking toward the pier. "Walk with me down Water Street, Harry." It wasn't a question.

"Okay," Harry replied, still not really sure what he was doing. Or what Snape was doing. They started to head back up Broad Street, when a shout was heard coming from Abe's Bar. Snape immediately walked faster to see what was going on as Harry hurried behind him, practically running to keep up. When they reached the entrance to the bar, there was Tobias Snape arguing with the proprietor, Abe Dumbledore, the Reverend's brother.

"You are done for the night Snape. Go home!" Abe shouted. Mr. Snape started to answer, but Snape strode forward and pulled his father by the arm.

"Let's go home, Father. I'll come get the car tomorrow," he said to his father who was leaning heavily on him for support. Mr. Snape looked like he was about to say something but closed his mouth and allowed his son to lead him down Water St. back towards their house on King. After they had walked some distance Harry could hear Snape hissing while his father occasionally shouted, although not loud enough that Harry could make out what they were saying.

Harry was disappointed, to say the least: Snape hadn't even said good-bye. He understood though - family came first. It was the unwritten rule in these parts. Feeling a bit calmer again, he looked at his wrist watch and realized he was going to have to explain himself. He didn't have a curfew, but he was out a full hour past the time the movie ended. Someone was likely to wonder where he had been. As he walked home, he tried to think of a likely story, not a lie, but not the whole truth. Maybe his mother would already have gone to bed.

As luck would have it, the lights were on in the front parlor, meaning his mother was knitting while his father was listening to his favorite radio serial. Taking a deep breath, he opened the front door.

"Harry James, where have you been?" his mother asked, a hint of worry in her voice. She continued knitting, however, sparing him the agony of her piercing look.

"I just took a bit of a walk down by the waterfront. That's all. It's not nearly so hot at night anymore. And there was a cool breeze blowing in from the bay." Harry looked at his father, who didn't seem concerned.

"That's fine, son. The fresh air is good for you with all the work you do for me. Did you see any of your friends?" his father asked with no real interest but it did cause his mother to look up at him pointedly.

"Yes, Harry James, did you?" she asked.

"Nobody special," he replied holding her gaze. He nodded fractionally and she smiled ever so slightly. "I think I'm going to head up to bed, Mama. Dad, good night." He made for the stairs in no time. She would ask him about it over supper tomorrow it was certain. Saturday night was his father's night out with his old friends from school. He always drove over to Elizabeth City to play cards with Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, as well as his roommate Remus Lupin. They acted just like they had in college when they were together and sometimes his father even had to miss the Sunday Service the next day because he was in no state to drive himself home.

Sure enough, his mother knocked on his door around nine. It was past time to get up, as he did have chores to do, including mowing the lawn before the day got too hot.

"Harry James Potter," his mother whispered as she sat down on the edge of his bed, "I want to hear all about your date last night."

"Mama, it was not a date. I just happened to run into somebody, that's all. It wasn't planned ahead of time," he replied as he tried to snuggle back down into the bed.

"But it was the right someone, wasn't it?" He broke into a broad grin and nodded.

"Honestly, I think you are handling this awfully well," Harry laughed, still smiling from ear to ear.

"I always dreamt of a big family," Lily said as she looked first at her son then out his window. She spoke quietly as if revealing a bit of herself to her son for the first time. "But that wasn't to be.

"Are you disappointed in me, Mama?" Harry felt a sadness pass over him as he listened to her.

"We are blessed to have you, Harry James. I knew for a very long time you were your own person and would go your own way. You've chosen a difficult path. But I will always love you, no matter what. There is nothing a mother wants more than for her children to be happy," she said as she stood up from the edge of his bed. "Besides, we'll let your father be the one to rant and rave. But he'll come around, I know he will. He loves you more than anything in this world," she replied, and Harry couldn't help but believe her. "Are you going to see him again soon?" she asked.

"Probably not until next Friday night - he likes to go to the cinema."

"That sounds lovely, Harry James, but be careful. You need to be discreet. People here are not very kind when it comes down to anyone they feel is different. Besides, I don't want to see my son brokenhearted." She leaned down and kissed his cheek. "Your father probably won't be back until late. Why don't you sleep in a little longer?" and then his mother left, shutting the door behind her.

 

Of course, the next week dragged on without an end in sight. Each day it was a chore to get up and drag himself to work; the only thing driving him was that work meant a paycheck, which meant another trip to the cinema, which meant he'd be able to see Snape again. Call me Severus, his mind supplied in a sinful voice. He had finally managed to find a way to keep his sheets clean and that was to take care of his problem when he showered after work and then again right before bed. He tried only to do it once a day, but he was still washing his sheets every few days. Twice a day reduced his dreams to purely fiction most nights. But he did call on them frequently while he showered, imagining another hand on his cock. The dreams weren't extremely detailed as he didn't know exactly what two men did together, but there was a lot of mutual masturbation. He hadn't yet imagined himself on his knees: it wasn't fear exactly, as he knew what a blowjob felt like to receive but not to give. Severus is going to think I'm so inexperienced, if anything ever comes of this.

It was another hot day on Wednesday and with so much on his mind, Harry decided to sneak out to the creek again after the mill let out at six o'clock. He looked around and saw no one, so he undressed quickly and hurried into the water. How wonderful! Swimming out deep enough that he didn't touch bottom, he closed his eyes and floated on his back, enjoying the peace the quiet water brought to his mind.

During the week, the threat of discovery was real. He ran back to his clothes after coming out of the water and barely shook off before he started getting dressed again. After he got his briefs and jeans on, he heard a sound behind him. He jerked his head around but didn't see anyone. He was starting to pull his t-shirt back on over his head when he heard another sound - a twig cracking. "Who is there?" he called out loudly.

Snape stepped out from behind a large oak. He was dressed in a black t-shirt and black trousers, although not the ones he normally wore on Friday night. Perhaps he intended to go for a swim as well, Harry considered. They stared at one another for a moment when finally Harry broke the ice, "Were you planning on going for a swim?"

"No. Not until I saw you were swimming," Snape replied but he was looking past Harry, out toward the center of the lake where Harry had been floating just a few minutes ago. Harry gulped.

"Were you watching for a long time?" he asked quietly.

Snape turned and looked at Harry, took a step closer and whispered, "Long enough." He knew he had to be blushing yet again. Did everything Snape said or did make him blush? The answer was a resounding yes, apparently.

"Still blushing, Harry? I do so like to see your cheeks flushed red." Snape reached out to brush Harry's cheek with the back of his hand, but Harry turned away slightly at the contact. Snape backed up and pulled a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket. "Well, maybe I misunderstood you, Mr. Potter," he said as he lit the cigarette. "Perhaps I should try my luck elsewhere."

Harry froze. They had barely gotten to know each other and now Snape wanted to end it? Before it even started? Snape began to walk away back towards the mill. Harry didn't know what to say or what to do. He was panicking, everything turned upside down in only a few moments, but he couldn't let Snape just walk away …

"Wait! Please!" Snape stopped but did not turn around. Harry pulled on his sneakers and caught up to Snape. "I'm sorry, Severus. You didn't misunderstand me, not at all." He dared not look into Snape's eyes - he had just made a declaration of sorts to Snape - yes, I want you; yes, I want to be with you; yes, yes, yes. Snape reached out and lifted Harry's chin, searched his face and his eyes. Harry nodded his head and Snape kissed him.

Harry felt like he was on fire - it was a gentle kiss, testing the waters, but to him it burned with the heat of a thousand flames. His heart was pounding in his chest, his hands shaking slightly, his body awash in sensation. Just from a kiss! Snape dropped his hand from Harry's chin and reached around to the small of his back, and pulled him closer. Then the kiss began in earnest, Snape's tongue begging for entry, licking across Harry's swollen lower lip. He moaned and Snape took the opportunity to slip his tongue into Harry's mouth, swirling and licking and nibbling and sucking. Snape pulled him closer again and Harry felt his own erection meet Snape's through the layers of fabric. Oh my God, it's too much and he came right then and there.

Snape slowly softened the kiss as he rubbed circles on Harry's back. He couldn't have been more ashamed that he had come like that, untouched, in his pants. That would surely be a sign Harry was too young for Snape. He refused to lift his head, he was so mortified. Snape rested his forehead against Harry's and said, "I enjoyed that immensely." After a few moments, Harry lifted his head and started laughing, deep and long, his head thrown back.

"What is so amusing?" Snape said, glaring, but without any real malice in his voice.

"Well, I'm sticky and now I have to walk home, hoping I don't run into anyone on the way who might ask me why I have a wet spot on the front of my jeans. If I don't laugh I may start to cry," Harry said as he began to walk up the path towards the mill.

"If you got wet all over, it would hide that little problem," Snape replied with an evil grin and he pushed Harry back into the creek. At that point the creek wasn't very deep but it worked like a charm. No one would question the wet spot, only why Harry was completely soaked and covered in lily pads and algae.

"Are you going to help me get out of here?" Harry asked, extending his hand.

"That depends on whether you intend to pull me in as well," Snape replied while extending his right hand to Harry.

"Do you need me to pull you in?" Harry asked, fishing for information and lowering his eyes to Snape's zipper.

"Brat," Snape laughed as he allowed Harry to pull him in as well.

"How are we going to leave now? We're both soaked," Harry asked once they had finally climbed up the creek bank and onto the path again.

"You leave first. I'll remain here a few more minutes, smoke a cigarette - oh damn, they are all wet!" Snape said as he pulled each cigarette out of the pack, inspecting each one, hoping for a dry one.

"Uh, Severus?" Snape looked up at him, "will you be at the theater Friday night?"

Stepping closer to Harry, Snape breathed, "I wouldn't miss it for the world."

 

Friday evening came and Harry was more nervous than ever before. This time, it really was a date. He pulled out his black leather boots and his 501 jeans but the shirt? He was at a complete loss for which shirt to wear. There was a knock at his bedroom door. He strode over barefoot and bare-chested, but at least he'd gotten the jeans on so he could answer. When he opened the door, he saw the most amazing thing - a yarn-dyed, green, long-sleeved, button-up, ironed shirt.

"What's it made of?" he asked in awe as his mother handed him the garment.

"It's linen, darling. I saw it the last time I was out shopping for your father and knew it would make you look so handsome." She smiled at his astonished face.

"Thank you!" he cried, hugging her tightly.

"Don't wrinkle it now. I don't want to iron it before you go out. You know it's already past six."

"Is it? I'd better hurry then. Thank you again, Mama, it's just beautiful," he said, kissing her on the cheek.

 

Neither of the movies at the cinema was all that appealing to him. The other two occasions he'd been here with Snape, there was a clear winner. He was stumped as to which to choose and scared Snape would think he'd chosen the other. He stared at the marquee for several minutes before he heard footsteps behind him.

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"Perhaps we should see Fire Down Below," Snape purred before walking away again. That got Harry's attention, and fast. He walked mechanically forward in the line, purchased his ticket and made his way inside. He went through his usual routine: the popcorn, the drink, the middle row of seats, all the way at the end. Snape would be able to find him this way. Before the lights went down, however, Snape came up to him and shook his head. Then he looked toward the back of the theater. Harry gulped. He wanted to go sit in the back where the ne'er-do-wells or couples always congregated. This time, Harry suspected it was the latter. He nodded slightly as he got up from his regular seat and followed Snape to the back row of the theater.

 

They started out watching the movie, just as they always did - sharing popcorn, the odd brush of hands, Snape made an odd whispered comment now and then about the film itself. Halfway through, Harry felt a hand on his thigh. Now it begins. He didn't react, which he realized must have been a good thing, because then the hand began to rub up and down his leg, squeezing lightly as it inched higher, closer to his groin. And his groin had taken notice of the proceedings as well. Definitely.

There was something oddly thrilling about being in a public place, dark as it was, having someone touch him intimately. Harry was fully dressed but if anyone saw them, there could be no mistake what Snape's intentions were. And after a few minutes of stroking his thigh, Snape moved his hand across the fly of Harry's jeans - finally! his mind supplied helpfully. He continued his slow movements, up and down, lightly with the occasionally squeeze on the upstroke. Harry laid his head back, with no pretense of watching the movie anymore, and spread his legs wide to give Snape better access to him.

Daring himself to be bold, he undid the top button on his jeans, to see what Snape's reaction would be. The hand stilled momentarily before meeting Harry's and between them they worked open the buttons of Harry's fly. Snape's hand reached into the opening of the jeans then covered the still cloth-covered erection with his hand. Harry thought he was going to die. Even with his two former girlfriend, he had never felt this turned on, this hard. He closed his eyes as Snape worked his erection.

"Harry?" Snape whispered. Harry cocked his head. Snape looked at him, then looked down, then licked his lips. Oh. In the theater? The movie was only two-thirds finished, they were in the far back corner, yet he still couldn't believe he was going to let Snape suck him off. But the temptation was too great. He nodded. Snape smiled, his eyes picking up all the available light and glittering madly.

With no one behind them, he didn't worry that anyone would wonder where Snape had disappeared to as he crouched on the floor in front of Harry. He gently pulled Harry's prick out of his underwear, over the top of the waistband. His cock was already dripping a small amount of pre-come. Snape blew across his heated flesh and he moaned. Snape stopped and took Harry's left hand, balled it into a fist, and pushed it up towards Harry's mouth. Harry took the clue and shoved his knuckle into his mouth to stifle any more sounds he might inadvertently emit. Snape leaned back down and licked across the head of Harry's cock. Harry knew this would probably be the quickest blow-job he'd ever received or that Snape had ever given. Snape took him into his mouth completely, all the way to the root. He licked as he moved his mouth down and sucked as he pulled back again. After several minutes of Snape's wicked mouth on his cock he bit down hard on his knuckle, thrust his hips, once, twice and came.

Snape tucked Harry back into his jeans, buttoned them up and sat back down in his seat. He picked up Harry's soda pop bottle and took a large swig of it. Harry was just staring at the screen but not seeing anything. He felt incredible. Never better. After a few minutes, he realized he wasn't sure if he was expected to return the favor. He wanted to, he really did, but the film was nearly over by now. What if it took too long? What if the lights came up and Harry James Potter was on his knees sucking Severus Snape? He gasped. Snape turned to look at him. He just shook his head and rested his hand on the armrest between them. Snape took his hand, rested it on his own thigh but moved it no higher.

Harry spent the rest of the movie just touching Snape's leg, rubbing, squeezing but never reaching the destination he was sure Snape wanted him to discover. But he just wasn't quite ready for it. When the lights came up, Harry smiled at Snape as he let go of the man's thigh.

"Want to walk down to the water again? I don't think we'll be interrupted again," Snape said a bit darkly, obviously remembering walking his drunken father home instead of walking with Harry.

"That would be nice, Severus," Harry said, looking pointedly into Snape's eyes. He really wanted to convey just how nice it would be; how much he was looking forward to spending time with him.

 

This time, they picked up where they had left off, heading straight down Water Street to Queen Anne Park.

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There were benches around the perimeter and all faced the water. Snape led Harry to what had to be the most secluded one, in spite of the fact they were all in the open. But this one was behind a tree so unless a person was actually walking along the waterfront, Harry and Snape were well hidden.

"Shall we continue what we started?" Snape said, sitting down on the bench and looking at the spot next to him, then back up at Harry. Harry sat down right next to him, so their thighs were touching. Harry wasn't sure if Snape meant literally that he wanted Harry to give him a blow-job or maybe just some more kissing and touching first. Harry took a deep breath and turned to look at Snape.

"Severus, I have to be honest with you. I am not sure I am ready to do what you did in the cinema, especially here in the open. I probably shouldn't have let you, knowing I might not be able to do the same. I understand if you are upset. You have every right to be. I started something I can't finish." Harry knew he was blushing and stammering.

"You look delicious in that shirt," Snape whispered in Harry's ear, as he toyed with a lock of black hair at the nape of Harry's neck. He spoke as if he hadn't heard a single word Harry said to him. He finished sotto voce "and you taste delicious too." The hand on his neck pulled him closer. Not angry then.

This kiss didn't start slowly; Snape dove in to Harry's willing mouth, nipping his lower lip, his tongue exploring every inch of Harry's mouth, sucking on his tongue. Then he began to nibble along his jaw line. Both of Harry's hands were tangling in Snape's hair. Snape licked at Harry's earlobe and then bit it gently, sending shivers up Harry's spine. He heard a chuckle at his ear and a whispered, "So sensitive, so responsive, so delectable." Then Snape moved down Harry's neck, licking the cords, biting the strong muscle. His free hand moved to Harry's chest and brushed over Harry's nipple. Harry had no idea men's nipples were so sensitive. The sensations were overwhelming him; he was panting and moaning as Snape's hands roamed his body.

"Wait, Severus, stop, please," he cried. Snape stopped suddenly and looked at Harry quizzically. "I really don't want to have to jump in the creek again on my way home."

Snape laughed at that. "I suppose you are right. It would be difficult to explain your disheveled appearance a second time." He reached into his shirt pocket for a cigarette, but Harry pulled his hand away.

"We don't have to stop completely. Just slow down a bit," Harry said sheepishly.

"Harry, it's getting late. You should probably return home before your parents wonder where you've gone and with whom." Harry sighed. He blew it, again. "I know what you are thinking. You are like an open book," Snape said, shaking his head a little. "I want to be able to see you again, and if your parents get upset with you or suspicious then that won't happen." Snape held Harry's face in his hands, brushing his thumbs over his cheeks. "Good night, Harry James," he said just before he kissed him.

 

Snape was right, of course. By the time Harry walked home it was nearly eleven o'clock. The lights were out in the parlor but the bedroom light was still on upstairs. Harry quietly opened the screen and then the front door. He closed them both as silently as he could. In the kitchen he found a glass of lemonade and a plate of cherry pie and a note.

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He ate his pie, smiling from ear to ear.

 

Harry woke up the next morning feeling like he'd slept for a week - refreshed and ready to tackle the world. He climbed out of bed and padded downstairs barefoot, dressed only in his pajama bottoms. He went out to the porch to see if the newspaper boy had delivered the paper or thrown it into his mother's hydrangea as usual. After finding it, under the rhododendron, he went back inside and laid it at his father's place at the head of the table.

He made himself some oatmeal, with extra brown sugar. His mother had left a thermos of coffee on the counter. He made coffee on occasion, but hers was much better. Pouring himself a cup, he added a spoonful of sugar and a splash of milk. Perfect. The house was peaceful when everyone was away. Not that his parents were especially loud; they rarely raised their voices, but the lack of doors closing, stairs creaking, his mother singing, made everything so still and quiet.

After he had finished his breakfast and washed and dried the dishes, he went to his father's desk to find the telephone book. Most people in town were friends, friends of friends, or undesirable, so they rarely made any use of it. He looked through several drawers before he found it in the bottom drawer on the left. He sat down in his father's chair and flipped to 'S', then 'Sn' which did immediately lead him to - 'Snape, Tobias 365 E. King St. OL5-1439.' He wrote the number on a scrap of paper and replaced the phone book. His hand shaking slightly, he picked up the receiver …

"Hello?" Must be Mrs. Snape.

"Uh, yes, I was hoping to speak with Severus." Very smooth, he silently chided himself.

"Who is this?" I was hoping she wouldn't ask me that.

"James Potter, ma'am," he lied, "is Severus at home?" Maybe I could still hang up before she asks me something I am unable or unwilling to answer.

"I see. One moment please." One moment felt like a thousand. He could hear voices in the background but the sound was muffled. Surely Mrs. Snape had covered the receiver so Harry wouldn't hear them.

". . . thank you, mother . . ." Finally!

"Hello?" Snape's voice was like music to Harry's ears.

"Severus, I'm so glad you're home. It's me, Harry."

"I knew that immediately. James Potter would not be calling my house under any circumstances," Severus snickered. "It's very unusual to call at 8 am on a Saturday. Is everything alright?" Snape replied, a hint of concern in his voice. Harry hadn't even considered the time, he was so eager to call Snape to invite him over.

"I'm sorry. I didn't even look at the time-"

"Typical," Snape snorted.

"Listen, Severus, my parents are away for the day. I, uh, I wondered if you'd like to come over for lunch, maybe 12:30 or so?" Harry said hopefully.

" . . . "

"Well, if you are busy, that's okay too, I understand," although he didn't really.

"No," Severus replied slowly, "I am somewhat surprised however, that you would invite me to your parents' home." Had Harry once again misunderstood? Snape continued, "For me to eat in your home is more hospitality than I can ever repay, Harry." Ah, so that was it. Snape would not be able to invite Harry to his home to reciprocate.

"Severus, this isn't about tit for tat. I have no expectations. I just wanted to invite you for lunch," Harry fairly pleaded. "I think we could have a very nice afternoon together." At that Snape snorted.

"All right, Harry. I still have reservations; however, I will be at your home at 12:30," he said quietly.

"Wonderful! I can't wait to see you!" Harry was nearly jumping with excitement.

"Keep your pants on, brat. For now, at any rate," Snape said huskily and Harry blushed. "I know you are blushing, you stupid boy."

"Bye, Severus." Harry set the receiver in the cradle and slid down the wall, into a puddle on the floor.

 

Harry changed into cut-off shorts, a sleeveless undershirt and his worn out sneakers so he could cut the grass. Fortunately they had a well landscaped yard with large bushes, trees and flower beds and therefore a lot less grass. He knew he should be able to finish in about an hour if the blades of the push-mower were still sharp. He practically ran through the yard, as he was so very excited to be having Severus over.

His mind wandered as he worked - hoping the brave Leo his mother told him he was, came out on top. He wasn't sure how tolerant Snape really would be if he kept chickening out at the most inopportune moments. They would be away from prying eyes for one thing. And Harry would certainly be more comfortable in his own home, his own bed.

After he finished, he was dripping with sweat, so he got an ice-cold bottle of soda pop and drank it down all at once. He checked to see what there was in the refrigerator - cold fried chicken, left over potpie. They could always make cold cut sandwiches if necessary. He really should have looked to see what they had before he invited Snape over but it was too late to do anything about it now.

He jerked himself off in the shower without finesse. Coming prematurely yet again was a distinct possibility and he wanted to avoid that at all costs. Clothes were always a problem, but just having lunch wasn't a dinner date so he opted for casual shorts, a sleeveless shirt and even went barefoot.

"Only two more hours to go," he groaned as he flopped down on the couch.

 

The table was set at twelve noon. Harry didn't know what to do with himself for the last thirty minutes. He should have gone and run around the block three times just to expend his extra energy. At ten after, he heard a knock on the door. He assumed Snape would be prompt but twenty minutes early was unusual to say the least. Opening the front door, there stood his Aunt Petunia. His heart sank. She could not have chosen a worse time to drop in unannounced.

"Is your mother home, Harry James?" Petunia said as she walked in the house. As usual, she seemed to be surveying the decor, looking for anything new or unusual so she could buy herself one of whatever it was that caught her eye.

"No. She and Dad went to Rocky Mount this morning. They will be home around three. I'll let them know you stopped in, Aunt Petunia," he replied, hoping she'd get the picture and leave.

"Why ever did they need to go to Rocky Mount? Your Uncle has suppliers that could deliver anything your father needs straight to his shop," she replied haughtily as she sat down on the sofa.

"They didn't say why they were going, just that they'd be back at three. Did you need something Aunt?" He was being quite rude but he could hardly stand it any longer.

"Oh, well, just to speak to your mother about some rumors I've heard. Nothing important," she replied, eyes looking anywhere but at him. He got the distinct impression it was intentional. "I must be going. Do tell your mother I need to speak to her - the sooner the better. Alright, Harry James?"

"Yes, Aunt Petunia. As soon as she gets home, I'll tell her," he promised.

"That's a boy." Not really. "Good day, Harry James."

"Bye." He thought she was never going to leave. Ugh. He shut the front door, went back to the kitchen and looked at the clock - five more minutes. Just then there was another knock on the door. If it was her again, he was going to scream. When he pulled the door open, before him Snape stood in his usual black shirt and trousers.

"Severus, please come in," Harry smiled widely. Snape looked slightly uncomfortable. "Relax, I don't bite."

"Remember that later, Harry," he said as he licked his lips. Harry tried not to blush. As Snape made his way toward the kitchen he asked, "What have you prepared for lunch?"

They ate comfortably at the oak table. Snape ate a bit of everything Harry served him. He almost wondered whether Snape had eaten that morning. When they were done, Harry washed and dried the dishes as Severus sat at the kitchen table.

"Would you like to see the house?" Harry asked anxiously. Snape walked up behind him, hooked his fingers through the belt loops and pulled Harry flush with his body.

"Is your room on the tour?" Snape began nibbling at the nape of Harry's neck, rubbing himself against his ass. Oh, OH! Snape's hands reached up and brushed Harry's nipples until they were peaked nubs, then he pinched one and Harry cried out. "Oh, yes, you are wonderful, Harry, just wonderful." And Snape continued licking, stroking, thrusting. Finally, Harry pulled away, out of breath.

"Let's go upstairs. I just can't keep doing this in my mama's kitchen. She would never forgive me," Harry said breathlessly.

"Lead the way," Snape replied with a mock bow in Harry's direction. He wasn't expecting to be led by the hand up the staircase. His heart was hammering in his chest, his hands were sweaty, and his cock was decidedly uncomfortable straining against his zip.

The first door on the left was the bedroom. He slowly opened the door and led Snape inside. Snape kicked the door closed and pushed Harry down onto the bed before there was time to react. Harry just stared wide eyed as Snape removed his shirt - a lean torso was revealed, with a smattering of dark hair across his chest and a black trail leading downward. Harry licked his lips at the sight. "You will be the death of me, with that sweet little mouth," Snape groaned. He kicked off his boots, pulled off his socks but left his trousers on and climbed onto the bed next to Harry and gave him a quick kiss. Harry took off his t-shirt in reply.

"Let me look at you, Harry." Snape pushed him back against the bed and kneeled next to him. His eyes roamed from shoulders to chest to stomach to groin to thighs and back again. When he met Harry's eyes again, Snape's black ones smoldered with desire. Harry shivered under his gaze. He rested his hand on Harry's fly; Harry nodded his reply, and Snape undid the button and zipper. "Lift up," he said, placing his hands at Harry's hips. When Harry did, Snape pulled his shorts down and threw them on the floor. Harry reached out to the fly of Snape's jeans but Snape shook his head.

Then Snape's assault began in earnest - his hands were everywhere. When Snape licked his nipple, Harry arched his back. Snape rolled the other with his thumb and forefinger, tugging and pinching, sending shivers down Harry's spine. Then he switched sides and started all over again, plucking the one he had been sucking one. Snape's tongue continued down to Harry's navel - plunging in over and over again. Harry would never have imagined just how erotic a belly-button could be. His erection was aching, as Snape hadn't touched him there at all. Suddenly, he sat up.

"Severus, let me touch you," Harry said as he crawled toward Snape and reached out to caress the cloth covered erection. Snape rolled over onto his back and scooted up the bed to rest his head on Harry's pillow, hands locked behind his head. Harry took that as an invitation and reached for Snape's fly. He slowly lowered the zipper and when he began to pull at the waist, Snape lifted his hips and wriggled a bit to help Harry with their removal. Once Snape had pulled his legs up and Harry had tossed the trousers aside, he looked at the man in his bed. He gave Snape the same scrutiny he had received when Snape undressed him: lean, firm muscles; angles; sharp edges, nothing soft. He laid his hand against Snape's fabric-covered penis and they both groaned.

Harry kept one hand on Snape and leaned up to kiss him, pulling his head forward with his free hand. Snape brought both his hands to Harry's hair and kissed him, hard. Harry kept up a rhythm on Snape's prick, kneeling to the side of Snape's prone body. Snape forced Harry's mouth open with his tongue, thrusting wildly. The younger man moved his attention along Snape's jaw and licked his neck and collarbone. Snape tasted of aftershave, sweat and something indescribable, uniquely Severus. Harry moved his hand to Snape's left nipple and lowered his mouth to the right. He licked a broad stripe across the pink nub. Severus shivered. Harry began laving at that nipple, while he teased the other.

Suddenly, Snape growled and before Harry knew it, he was the one flat on his back. Severus covered his body with his own, grinding their erections together. Snape paused, panting, then sitting up he hooked his thumbs into his briefs. Harry closed his eyes for a moment unable to process what was happening. He opened them again to see Snape sitting beside him completely naked. Harry looked down at Snape's groin: his cock stood straight out from his body and was slightly thicker and longer than Harry's. He raised his eyes to Severus's.

Harry began to pull off his underwear, lifting off the bed. After he got them over his ass, Snape's hands joined his and pulled them all the way off. Snape lowered his head to Harry's raging hard-on. He was glad he'd thought to bring himself off earlier or he would surely have spent himself by now. Snape bobbed his head, changing the pressure. He took Harry's balls in his hand and rolled them gently. Occasionally brushing behind Harry's balls, he didn't go any further. When Harry began to arch off the bed, Snape lifted his head.

"None of that yet, Harry," he said with a feral smile that promised so much more. He lay down next to Harry and pulled him onto his side, facing each other. Snape raised his leg and wrapped it around Harry's waist, pulling him still closer, then he reached between them and grasped both cocks in his hand. He began slowly stroking up and down the two of them. Harry thrust into Snape's hand, reveling in the feeling of his erection sliding against Snape's. Suddenly inspired, Harry licked his hand as he often did to masturbate and linked his fingers with Snape's. Snape was kissing Harry again anywhere and everywhere his mouth could reach: lips, jaw, earlobes, collarbone, shoulders, and nipples. Harry knew he wouldn't last much longer. They both increased the speed of their thrusts; Harry pulled his hand away as Snape's flew over both of them and he cried out as he pumped thick white ropes over Snape's hand. Three more thrusts and Snape bit down on Harry's shoulder as he came silently. Harry needed to close his eyes, just for a moment …

He woke with a start. Next to him in bed there was a man sleeping. Harry flopped backwards and remembered that it wasn't a dream at all but that he and Severus had, well, had sex. His mind was reeling. A hand reached out and pulled him closer. He leaned down and kissed Severus with all the emotion he could put behind it. Snape's eyes opened and Harry knew he was lost.

"How are you feeling now, brat?" Severus smirked, looking pleased with himself. "Ready for another go?" Harry's cock stirred at the thought but instead he shouted.

"What time is it?!" He jumped off the bed and pulled his shorts on without even thinking of putting anything on underneath. He looked at the clock on his nightstand which read 2:35 then ran to the front window. No sign of his father's car. "I'm sorry Severus, but they will be home any minute. You really need to go."

Severus nodded. "Where is the bathroom?"

"Second door on the right," Harry replied as he gathered his clothing for him. He handed them to Snape and kissed him again. Snape pulled them on fairly quickly then strode out and down the hall. Harry sat at the top of the stairs waiting for Snape to come out so he could walk him to the front door.

Before Snape came out of the bathroom, the front door swung open - there was his mother. Harry leapt to his feet and very loudly called out, "Mama, you're home!" Hopefully his father was pulling the car around to park beside the house. "Aunt Petunia was by earlier. She said it was really important you went to see her as soon as you got home," he blurted out. Calm down!

His mother looked at his face, no doubt flushed and possibly marked - he hadn't even considered that possibility - and then looked over his shoulder towards the stairs.

"I need to go see your Aunt right now, Harry James?" She looked hard into his green eyes.

"Yes, Mama," Harry croaked. She kissed his cheek, turned, and walked out the front door again. Harry could hear her voice faintly as she called out to his father. He nearly collapsed when he heard the car pull away again and turned to run up the stairs, but met Snape coming down.

"You like to live dangerously, don't you Harry?" Snape pulled him into a heated kiss, grabbing his ass as he fucked his mouth with his tongue. "You were right. We had a very nice afternoon together. I look forward to the next one." He bit Harry's bottom lip, turned on his heel, and walked out the front door, closing it behind him.

 

After dinner Harry was drying the dishes as his mother washed as usual. She began speaking to him under her breath, although his father had retired to the parlor.

"Your Aunt Petunia told me some interesting things this afternoon, Harry James."

"Oh?" Harry replied, trying to sound calm, but he was nervous about what his Aunt had said to his mother. "What did she say?"

"Listen carefully – she said you were seen talking to Severus Snape on two occasions at the cinema. I assured her there was nothing to it, as he is an employee of Father's; it's only natural that he might speak to you. I did ask her to keep the information to herself, for once," and she looked at Harry then, with just a bit of a smile before continuing. "I told her not to spread rumors that might hurt your reputation as well as hers, since she's family and would also come under scrutiny. I think she appreciated that point. But Harry James, you must understand discretion. You can not go around speaking with questionable characters, especially late at night, and expect that no one will notice. Do I need to ask you if these rumors are true? Are you seeing him?"

"I don't want to lie to you, Mama -" Harry said quietly.

"Then don't," she replied as she finished washing the last plate and handed it to Harry. "But I think I have my answer. You are going to have to speak to your father at some point."

"What? Why? I can't tell him about Snape!" Harry cried.

"I think we can save the conversation about just who it is that you are seeing for another time. But I think he'd rather hear it from you than from your Aunt or one of the men at work. Don't you agree?" Harry thought about what she was telling him. It would hurt his father more to hear these rumors from strangers than from Harry. And his mother had assured him before that his father loved him and would accept him, eventually. He nodded in reply. That was a conversation he would have preferred to avoid.

 

Over the next few weeks, Harry tried to be more careful about his dates at the cinema. He and Snape sat in the back every week now but they came in separately after the movie had started and Snape usually left before the lights came up again. They rarely even watched any of the film, using their time together wisely. After their experience at the house, Harry's hesitation decreased significantly – Snape hadn't judged him inadequate or lacking in any qualities he desired, which in turn made Harry more comfortable about taking the initiative. That following Friday Harry had finally offered to take Snape in his mouth.

Harry squeezed Snape's thigh which caused the man to turn and raise an eyebrow. Harry replayed the scene from when Snape had offered to blow him in the theater the first time – he looked at Snape, then down at his groin, then licked his lips. Snape gave the barest of smiles and opened his trousers. With a deep breath, Harry reached in and took Snape's cock in his hands. This was not the first time he had touched him but knowing what he planned to do made his heart pound and his palms sweat. He positioned himself in front of Snape and swiped the head of his cock once. A bit salty but not unpleasant. Another lick and Snape slid down in his seat a bit to get closer to Harry's mouth. He took the hint and enveloped the spongy head in his mouth. He heard a faint sigh and began his task in earnest.

He kept one hand on Snape's thigh, the other around the base of his cock. Bobbing his head, he licked along the vein on the underside and occasionally dipped his tongue into the slit as he so enjoyed himself. Snape's hips began to thrust slightly and Harry sucked harder, nuzzling at the hair at the base, inhaling the musky scent of his lover. Snape spread his legs wider and continued thrusting, pulling Harry's head closer with his hand; Harry braced himself for the bitter fluid that filled his mouth as Snape came silently. He kept licking at Snape's cock to clean him as Snape ran his hand through Harry's hair. When Harry finally sat back down, Snape placed his hands on either side of his head and kissed him desperately, possessively, as if he never wanted to let him go.

Harry missed walking along the water afterward but he'd explained that until the rumors were dispelled it was just much safer that way. He wanted to find a way that they could be together for a longer amount of time and maybe take their relationship to the next step.

"Severus, let's skip the movie next week. I thought of a place we can go instead," Harry whispered towards the end of All Mine to Give.

"And why would we do that?" Snape replied coolly. "Are you not enjoying our weekly visits to the cinema?"

"I want to go somewhere private, Severus. Somewhere we can be alone together." Harry hoped his emphasis made it clear just what it was he had in mind. Snape turned to look at him and Harry held his gaze until Snape turned again toward the screen.

"And where is this place? There are very few locations in town that could possibly fit your description and be discreet. Checking into a hotel -"

"No, nothing like that," Harry gasped. "Everyone would know in less than ten minutes. I was thinking of a secluded spot with little chance of being seen. What about the abandoned factory on Church Street? Nobody ever goes in there." Snape didn't reply immediately but Harry suspected he was pondering the suggestion.

Snape was silent until the credits started to roll. As he stood he said, "Friday at seven." Giving Harry a quick but passionate kiss, he turned and left the theater. Harry slumped back into his chair and sighed. This was his idea. He hoped he was ready.

 

Tuesday evening during dinner, Harry got the impression his father was upset; perhaps something at work was the problem, although he hadn't noticed anything unusual. As he ate, he considered that his father had seemed a bit distant the last few weeks. He kept quiet during meals other than the usual small talk.

"Pass the okra please, Dad," Harry asked and as his father handed him the dish he didn't quite meet Harry's eyes. Harry spooned the vegetables onto his plate and contemplated whether he was the source of his father's unhappiness. Maybe he already knows, Harry thought sadly, and now he wants nothing to do with me.

"May I be excused, Mama?" Harry asked. She nodded and he went to the sink and began to wash the dishes as his mother was still finishing her supper. After he had washed and dried the remaining pots and pans, he walked up to his bedroom. He flopped down on his bed and covered his eyes with his arms. His father was disgusted by him and couldn't even stand to look at him anymore. After several minutes, there was a knock at the door.

"Come in," he called out but didn't move.

"Harry James," his mother said, "may I speak with you, please?" Her voice was kind but the tone suggested the topic was a serious one. He sat up to look at her, already dreading whatever it might be she wanted to discuss.

"Your father is hurt, darling," she said, sitting down on the edge of his bed.

"Why? What happened to him?" Harry asked but of course, he knew that there wasn't a simple answer. It was his fault.

"He feels you are shutting him out. You don't talk like you used to; you don't tell him where you go or even about the movies you see. You are going to have to clear the air between the two of you."

"And tell him what, exactly, Mama? 'Dad, I'm queer and I'm seeing Snape.' He will hate me, Mama. I already make him sick. He won't even look at me anymore," Harry huffed, falling back onto the bed.

"He does look at you. He watches you when you aren't looking. He is so worried about you. And he is very sad that you don't trust him enough to confide in him," she said, reaching out to hold his hand.

"I'm such a disappointment to him," Harry sighed.

"Give your father a chance Harry James. I told you before, he loves you. He may seem unapproachable but I know you will both feel so much better if you tell him about this."

"Doesn't he already know? Or he's guessed, anyway," he replied almost to himself.

"No, he doesn't know. He thinks you must be seeing someone because you get all dressed up every Friday," his mother smiled, "looking so handsome. Consider your father's feelings. He only wants what's best for you. But even more, he wants you to be happy."

"Alright, Mama," Harry replied, hoping she was right. There was a wall coming up between them, the silences building it brick by brick.

 

The next evening after dinner, Harry found his father in the parlor reading the evening newspaper.

"May I speak with you, Dad?" he asked, standing in the entrance way. His father looked up and nodded. Harry walked into the room and stood in front of his father on the far side of the coffee table. He clasped his hands behind his back and willed himself to breathe calmly, as he had the tendency to run his words together and run out of breath when he was nervous. Looking briefly at his father's concerned face, he chose a spot over his shoulder to look at while he spoke.

"There is something I'm going to tell you and I want you let me finish before you say anything, please." He saw his father nod his head. Taking a deep breath, Harry began.

"Ever since I was a little boy, I've always known that you and Mama loved me. And that you want me to be happy. I have tried to do my best to make you proud of me, following in your footsteps – preparing to take over the family business. I try to get along with my aunt and uncle, even Dudley. I go to church. I do my chores. I want to be the best son I can be to you, Dad."

"You are -" his father started but Harry interrupted.

"Please, Dad, let me finish." Harry felt a little ashamed of speaking over his father but carried on with his confession. "I try to be everything you want me to be. But there is something I can not change, something that is part of me. This is how I am, Dad. Even if I could wish it away, I would not." Harry faltered – he felt tears welling in his eyes but he would not cry - not now, not in front of his father. He took a deep breath, "I am attracted to men, Dad. I'm queer," he said as he met his father's eyes for the first time. His father looked at him carefully - he would not take his eyes from his father's now. He needed to understand he wouldn't back down; that this wasn't something that could be changed. Buckling under his father's gaze would be disastrous.

"Please sit down, son," James said, indicating the chair opposite him. "May I ask how you reached this conclusion? Did you not have several girlfriends, not long ago?"

"There were two and that was in high school," Harry replied. "They were fine. There was no spark between us."

"And how did you come to discover there might be a so-called 'spark' elsewhere?" His father was boring a hole through him with the intensity of his stare. "Have you looked at the girls in town and found all of them lacking? Not a one that can satisfy your standards?"

"Please, Dad. It isn't like that. I have looked. There are very attractive girls here. But they aren't what I want," Harry replied, feeling that this was not going well at all.

"How much have you done, Harry James? Have you taken any girls to bed?"

"What?" Harry replied, unsure whether he was more shocked or embarrassed.

"Have you had intercourse with a woman? If you had, I can't see how we could be having this conversation. There is nothing more incredible, more satisfying than sleeping with a woman." Now Harry was getting annoyed. Unless his father had experience with a man, how could he know that? Common sense told him not to even suggest that idea.

"That is just it, Dad. I didn't want to have sex with either of my girlfriends. What I felt for them wasn't even close to -"

"To what?" his father interjected. Harry gulped.

"Even the kisses I have received are far better than anything I experienced before. Don't you see? I didn't choose. This is the way I am," Harry replied, praying his father would understand what he was trying to say.

"And what of the gossip? You know very well, your kind are not well tolerated," his father asked.

"What about Old Horace Slughorn and Elphias Doge? Everyone knows about them and nobody pays any attention. 'Bachelor Farmer' is just another name for it when a man never marries and lives with another man," Harry countered, feeling as if he might be making a bit of progress. "No one here gives them any trouble."

Looking again straight into his father's eyes he said, "Honestly, your opinion matters more to me than the entire town put together." His father's eyes widened a little at the admission and Harry nodded.

"Harry James, I am very proud of you for having the courage to speak with me. I can't say that I am entirely accepting of this right now. This is not something I am sure I can understand. I would like it if you would help me try," his father finished, looking at Harry with genuine emotion.

"Anyone care for a lemonade?" his mother called as if on cue.

"We'd both like some, Lily darling," his father replied smiling. "Your mother makes the best lemonade, doesn't she?"

"Yeah, she really does," Harry replied, thinking he owed her a bouquet of flowers for her excellent advice.

 

By Friday night, Harry was a bundle of nerves. He wanted to have sex with Snape - the real thing not just the blowjobs and groping they'd done at the theater. But this would be a night unlike any other. Harry shivered as he imagined Snape entering him. He'd taken to touching himself there in the shower to get used to the intrusion. Two fingers was the most he could manage before he was afraid his mother would bang on the door and ask him just what he was doing so long in the shower. The sensations were incredible. He would probe his opening gently, working his soap slicked finger inside slowly. After he worked two in, he'd finger fuck himself with one hand while he stroked himself to completion with the other.

Harry got dressed as he usually did for the cinema. Dinner was more of a distraction than sustenance. The butterflies in his stomach threatened to reject the meal and he pushed his plate away before he'd even finished eating. His mother eyed him and asked if he was unwell, but he managed to convince her he'd eaten a few too many of her cookies after he got home from work and hadn't saved enough room for dinner.

At twenty to seven, he headed out the door and started out toward the cinema for a block or so. It wasn't really out of the way to do so, but then he turned left up Church Street making his way to the old peanut factory. He arrived a few minutes before seven and looked for Snape. Not seeing him anywhere, Harry sat down facing the train tracks that led just past Snape's house when he looked south from the building. He wondered if Snape would walk along the tracks or take Wood Ave. instead.

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From out of the shadows to his left he heard footsteps. His heart sped in anticipation. Standing up quickly, he saw Snape walk around the corner of the building from behind him. Snape shook his head when Harry made to greet him and walked back the direction he had come from moments ago.

"Where are we going?" Harry whispered at Snape's retreating back. Snape led them to a side entrance to the building. The door creaked open and they slipped inside. Snape shut the door and slid a couple of crates behind the door. Harry guessed it was to alert them if anyone came through, as they certainly weren't heavy enough to keep the door from opening. Snape grasped Harry's hand and led him up a narrow staircase to a corridor on the second floor. Two windows allowed ample natural light to give the room a warm glow. Harry turned to look at Snape, who was watching him closely, his face unreadable.

Leaning in Harry brushed his lips across Snape's and then pulled back to look at him again. But the contact awakened Snape from his thoughts and he pulled Harry to him. One hand on his neck and one at the small of his back, Snape had Harry frozen in place, unable to move. Harry opened his mouth to allow Snape entry – the kiss turned frantic as lips, teeth and tongues fought for dominance. At first Harry allowed Snape to dictate the pace but no longer – he grabbed Snape's ass and thrust his tongue into his mouth simultaneously. Snape moaned and Harry continued to rub his erection against Snape's as they kissed as if they might devour one another. Harry's hands began to roam, caressing up Snape's back and then down to his ass again, kneading the muscle there. Snape had a tight grip on Harry's neck; when he finally let go Harry was sure there would be bruises in the shape of Snape's fingers. Harry pulled away trying to catch his breath but Snape still held their bodies close.

Harry reached for Snape's trousers and lowered the zipper. Kneeling before him, he pulled Snape's pants down to his knees and took his cock in his mouth, swallowing to the root in one go. Harry loved the musky taste of his lover, the weight of his cock on his tongue, the power he felt when Snape lost control. Harry slipped one hand between Snape's legs and gently caressed the ballsack. Snape leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes.

"Severus, look at me," Harry said between licks at the throbbing organ. Snape opened his eyes and looked down at Harry.

"I know just who am I with, you ridiculous boy," he said as he thrust back into Harry's mouth. But he did keep looking down at Harry as his cock slipped in and out of the red lips that enveloped him. He thrust his hips forward then gripped Harry's shoulder and cried, "Enough!" Harry pulled off with a pop and waited. Snape pulled him up and kissed him roughly, starting to unbutton Harry's shirt. Harry returned the favor and worked on Snape's shirt as well, revealing his pale skin. Harry couldn't get enough of it. He leaned in and began licking Snape's collar bone before he'd even finished opening the garment. Leaving their shirts on, Snape reached inside to tease Harry's nipples. Harry moaned at the contact grinding his hips against Snape's form.

"You are wearing entirely too much," Snape smirked as he began to undo Harry's jeans. Harry kept hold of Snape's shoulders as the other man pulled his pants down around his ankles but did not remove them. "Turn around, Harry," Severus said as he slowly turned Harry toward the window, "and place your hands on the window frame." Harry did as he was told, his legs already shaking with anticipation. Snape put his hands on Harry's hips and pulled them back so Harry was bent over but not quite in half. Harry felt his cheeks being spread apart and he swallowed-I can do this. It will hurt but I can do this. I know I can. He repeated to himself, as Snape kneaded his flesh, moving closer and closer to his opening.

A warm wet sensation gripped him and he shouted. That was Snape's tongue! Oh my God! Harry felt his knees give a little. Snape had a thumb on either side of his hole, massaging the puckered skin as he was pushing his tongue slowly into Harry's ass. After several minutes, Severus stood and pulled Harry close to him, rubbing his cock along the saliva-slicked crack. He put his right hand up to Harry's mouth. Harry opened and Snape slid two fingers inside.

"Suck them, Harry. Suck them like you suck my cock. Good and wet. That's it," Snape growled as he plucked Harry's nipple with his free hand and continued sliding against his ass. "I want to hear you tonight, Harry. I want to hear your moans, your cries, your screams as you come," Snape continued nipping Harry's ear. Harry began moaning, grinding back against Snape's hard length. Snape finally pulled his hand from Harry's mouth and brought it between their bodies.

First, just one finger circled, easing in slowly. Harry sighed and tried to relax. Snape worked his finger in one knuckle at a time, probing deeper and deeper with each thrust. Then he pulled the finger out and put two in, again repeating the movements, slowly, tenderly until he crooked his finger just so –

"Severus!" Harry cried as white light danced across his eyes. He found himself leaning hard on his arms, head hanging down, panting. Then Snape touched it again –"Argh!"

"Are you ready, Harry?" Snape said as he licked the back of Harry's neck, which was dripping with sweat.

"Are you trying to kill me, Severus?" Harry groaned.

"Not yet," Snape laughed evilly as he pulled his fingers out of Harry's stretched hole. Harry didn't move a muscle as he felt the blunt head of Snape's cock align with his opening. Snape held him around his waist and worked the head in. Harry felt it slip through the ring of muscle, larger than his fingers by a long shot. Breathe!

"Relax, Harry, push back against me. Good boy. So hot, so tight," Snape groaned as he slid in further, rocking his hips forward as Harry pushed back. Finally he slid all the way in.

"It hurts," Harry cried.

"Shhh. Relax. It will stop burning in a moment," Snape replied as he slid his hand to Harry's cock and began stroking it back to life. As Harry focused on his renewed erection he realized the burn was gone and he felt the overwhelming desire to thrust into Snape's hand.

"Move, please," Harry begged as he rocked back against Snape.

"As you say," he replied and move he did. Snape thrust into Harry in time with his strokes. Harry gripped the dusty window sill as best he could, his nails digging into the flaking paint and rotten wood. He threw his head back and Snape picked up the pace. Harry could feel the sweat run down his back. Looking down he saw two pairs of shoes, two pairs of trousers pooled around two sets of naked legs. His shirt tails brushed his sides as he rocked forward and back. He couldn't think anymore, only feel with every pore of his body. Snape shifted slightly behind him.

"Oh, oh, oh!" Harry screamed as Snape hit his prostate over and over. He sped his thrusts, gripping Harry's hip tightly. With little warning, Harry was coming white hot over Snape's hand. He started to slump, his legs shaking but Snape held him tightly. He felt his muscles clench around Snape's cock, pulling him over the edge as well.

Harry bent over completely to rest his head on his arms, Snape panting loudly behind him. Finally, Harry felt Snape slip out of his ass but Harry didn't move. He didn't think he could. He felt like he'd run a mile in four minutes flat. He could hear Snape moving but he felt like he was a million miles away.

"Harry?" Snape finally broke the silence.

"Yeah?" Harry lifted his head to see Snape holding a handkerchief out to him. He wiped his brow then proceeded to wipe away the come from his spent cock. He leaned down to pull his jeans on, then buttoned his shirt. Harry felt like he should say something but the silence continued and he was at a loss. When he finished dressing, he placed his hands on the window sill again and stared out into the darkness.

An arm slipped around his waist, a kiss placed on his neck, the warmth of Snape's body behind him: in that instant Harry realized just how important Severus was to him. He gasped involuntarily, stunned by the discovery. I love him.

Snape slowly turned Harry around to face him. He rested his head on Snape's shoulder to avoid looking into his eyes. He was a fool falling for this man. They had never talked about the future - this was only sex to Snape he was quite sure. Snape must have felt him tense because he began to rub circles on his back.

"Are you injured?" Snape asked quietly. "I may have become somewhat overenthusiastic." Harry just shook his head. Snape stroked the nape of his neck, whispering "We should spend less time at the cinema from now on. Do you agree?" Confirmation - it's only sex.

"Sure, Severus. That sounds great. See you next week, ok?" Harry muttered turning away.

"Harry, what is wrong? Do not leave here until you tell me!" Snape shouted.

Harry turned on his heel and finally looked at Snape. He looked angry and confused. "I get that this is just sex to you, OK? But I want more than that. I need more."

"Why do you think it's just about sex? Have I pushed you? Didn't you suggest we come here tonight?" Snape replied, crossing his arms over his chest and looking past Harry toward the window, moonlight flooding the room. "Do you think you are the only one entitled to wants and needs - the only one with feelings?"

Harry suddenly felt sick but knew this might his only chance to recover from the accusation he'd just thrown at Snape. He crossed the room and stood in front of Snape, who was still looking away from him. He placed a hand on Snape's arm and gathered his courage.

"You have feelings for me, Severus?" he breathed into the silent room.

"I do. At the moment, they are not pleasant ones, I daresay," Snape replied coolly. But Harry could tell his anger was beginning to dissipate. Harry took Snape's hand and led him to the window. Leaning up against the window frame, he wrapped Snape's arm around himself and pulled the man closer to him.

"You were incredible, you know," Harry smiled and kissed him on the nose.

"I know," Snape smirked.

"Hey!" Harry smacked his arm. "For a beginner, I thought I did well."

"You need much more practice, I'm afraid. Perhaps we ought to schedule weekly lessons," Snape replied with mock sincerity.

"What about next Friday?"

"It's a date."

Fine.

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Author Notes: Apologies to anyone from Edenton, NC. Title is the state motto of North Carolina. Photographs taken by the author (or my husband)–please do not use for any reason.

* Comes from an actual sermon on homosexuality found here. http://www.redlandbaptist.org/sermons/sermon20001001.htm Used without permission. (Can you imagine LOL?)

Twelve Angry Men, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Fire Down Below, and All I Have to Give are all movies that came out in 1957 although not necessarily in the order I used them in.

James and Son Body Shop, Taylor Twin Cinema, Evans Funerals and Cremations, Queen Anne Park, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the Edenton Cotton Mill and all the street names are real places in Edenton.