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M u s e

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The busy café was humming with noise. The many dwellers were chattering avidly to one another about pointless issues. The noise bothered the man who sat huddled in a corner booth of the café, his elbows resting on the polished surface of the table and dark curtains of hair falling into his face. It was to be expected, he supposed, it was often that schools from around the world would visit his home. France was considered a place of beauty and education. The man snorted sarcastic laughter and looked down at his notebook in front of him. It was empty, completely devoid of any ink. The page glared back at him and he sighed. His publisher was expecting another book soon, one to kick off the New Year. It was currently November and he had yet to even outline a plot.

"Alright there, Severus?" Looking up from his mocking piece of paper the man nodded curtly at the balding man who stood beside his table. He was dressed smartly in black slacks and a crisp white button down shirt. He was a waiter; one Severus had begrudgingly come to like. "Looks like you could do with a refill? On the house." The man said and motioned to the empty coffee cup by Severus' wrist. He nodded his thanks and watched as black, steaming coffee was poured into his cup, right up to the brim.

"Got to keep your wits about you with so many teenagers running about." The man joked, his small eyes flicked to the many tables taken up by a class of adolescents. Severus sniffed disdainfully and took a sip of the rich brew; it was hot against his tongue and flavoursome.

"They always seem to be drawn to this café. Perhaps I should find myself a quieter dwelling." He said lowly as a young girl burst into laughter and slapped her hands against the tabletop; the waiter next to Severus gave a chuckle and shook his head.

Juggling the coffee pot and a small pad he gave Severus a grin. "This place is apparently the most awesome-est ever," he said dryly, clearly copying a teenager's statement, Severus resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Teens these days were all the same. A stupid gathering of idiots trying to stand out and fit in all at once. "Have a good one, Severus. Don't work too hard." The waiter laughed and flashed a look at the empty paper. Severus sneered. He hated his muse when it got slack on him.

His table was bumped suddenly and his coffee spilled over the cup, running trails of dark liquid onto his notebook. Severus pinched the bridge of his nose to quell the oncoming headache, slowly he looked up. Bright green eyes were wide with apprehension and full lips were open in a silent gasp. Severus appraised the boy in front of him with a sweeping gaze. Messy black hair, slim hips and a slender frame met his eyes and a smirk twisted the man's mouth.

"I am so sorry, sir – I didn't mean to run into your table, it's just that I was knocked by someone and then I sort of lost my balance and – well, I'm sorry, I'll buy you another coffee." The boy said in a rush of breath, Severus watched the flush that climbed the teen's cheeks, decorating the boy's straight nose prettily in a blush.

"I think I'm more inclined towards a new notebook," he replied silkily and watched as the boy realized he had just ruined the man's property.

Grabbing a napkin, the boy started dabbing at the paper fervently. "Fuck, sorry, sorry…" he said under his breath, the curse word deliciously hissed. Severus raised his eyebrows and watched the boy's small hands try to clean up the mess. He only succeeded in smearing the dark stain further over the page. Severus reached out and stopped the cleaning by grabbing the boy's wrists, they were thin and he easily closed his fingers around the soft skin.

"I hadn't written anything, it's not a matter," he stated and pushed the hands away. "And you shouldn't swear, it's unbecoming."

The reprimanded boy blushed once more and nibbled on his lower lip, the pink flesh was wet and shiny and despite his best efforts Severus couldn't keep his groin from stirring awake. His mind ticked over and a plot started to form. The beautiful boy stammered out another quiet apology and Severus's fingers twitched with the need to write.

"Well, are you going to continue to stare at me like a paralysed guppy or are you going to be off?" Severus snapped crisply and watched in satisfaction when the boy straightened up, mumbled yet another 'sorry' and scuttled away to a table not far off. It really was too easy to play with little adolescent boys.

Severus smirked to himself and stood up, making sure to leave a small tip for his coffee, despite it being hardly touched. With hurried strides the man made for the nearest office supply store, he needed fresh paper – his muse was back and crowded his head with sinful images of green eyes and ebony hair. It wasn't strange for the author to get inspiration from everyday life or people, however, this inspiration burned at his stomach. He just had to write about such a gorgeous creature.

Leaving the busy café Severus didn't see the wide emerald green eyes fixed on him, nor the worried furrow of brows.


The following morning Severus was back at the little café. A fresh notebook laid over the surface of the table and elegant scrawl was covering the lined paper. His eyes were narrowed and his neck bent downwards as he hurried to get every piece of inspiration onto the paper. His pen worked back and forth rhythmically and a smirk played at the corners of his lips. This idea would be his best yet and it was all thanks to –

"Harry Potter," Severus stopped writing and looked up sharply at the light voice, his pen was poised over the paper, its tip making a mark. The boy from yesterday stood at the table and was holding his hand outstretched towards Severus, "I'm Harry," he elaborated when all the author did was gawk at him. Severus mentally shook himself and placed his pen down.

"Severus Snape," he replied shortly and took the proffered hand. Harry's skin was warm and soft, so unlike many men's and his palm was slightly sweaty, a sure sign he wasn't half as confident as he made out to be. "What brings you back here?" Severus questioned and Harry took it as an invitation to sit down opposite him. The older man watched as the boy slumped in his seat, the picture of youth.

"I ruined your book," Harry said simply and shame threatened to turn his pale cheeks pink, "I felt bad so I brought you another one," Severus studied Harry as he dug through his satchel and pulled out a thick notebook. "It's nothing special but – well, here." He finished quietly and shoved the book across the table.

"Cute and a sense of respect," Severus mused under his breath. He took the book and ran his fingers over the simple opaque blue cover; it was a hard-covered notebook and must have cost a bit. Especially for a student who was with his school visiting. "You're holidaying here?" asked Severus abruptly and the boy shrugged. Severus frowned at that.

"It's not really a holiday when you're stuck with your teachers and studying the history of France and such. It sucks." Harry replied, his lips pouted and Severus had to look away, the sight really was attractive. "It's a cool place though, even if it's huge. I swear I'd be lost if I was left alone here." A small, quiet chuckle escaped from the boy's lips and Severus smiled, before quickly frowning. Since when did he smile at adolescent boys who he hardly knew?

Shifting in his seat and tucking his notebook artfully under his arm to hide his scribbles Severus leaned forward, debating whether to continue the conversation or dismiss the boy. One look at the round, green eyes and slim body had Severus's mind made up. He could always use a bit of information to flesh out his character, and since his character was based on the boy it seemed only fitting that he used him for it.

"What do you study in school?" he questioned and the boy's form perked up, a bright smile on his lips.

"I study English and History, it's fun. I'm here with my history class to learn more about France's history. I always thought learning about the past would be boring but really it's quite fascinating." Harry said ardently and leant closer over the tabletop. Severus caught sight of golden specks amongst the emerald green and caught his breath in his chest. The boy's eyes were damn sexy. Of course he was only noticing this because he would be writing a character based on the kid, not because he felt anything – least of all sexual – towards Harry.

"You write?" Harry asked and fiddled with the salt and pepper shakers that were on the table. His eyes peeked up through his messy fringe.

Severus tucked his own hair behind his ears. "Do I write," he corrected absently. "And yes I do, I'm an author." The boy's mouth dropped open and he gawked at Severus, the expression was comical and Severus smirked wryly at Harry.

"You're an author?" said Harry breathily. "Oh, wow, I've always wanted to meet an author. Have you got any books published?" Severus nodded and the boy wriggled in his seat in excitement. "What kind? Horror? You seem like the gory type." Severus snorted at this before regaining his composure.

"Do I now?" he drawled, "I have written a few horror pieces however my main genre is erotica." He didn't see any shame in it and very rarely hid his desire to write such novels. To his astonishment Harry bounced up and down in his seat, if possible he appeared more excited than before. Well, he supposed he should have expected such a reaction from a teenage boy whose only thoughts were centered on the thing between his legs.

"That's awesome, I've never written erotica. I write romance though – although it's different in many aspects." He conceded softly. Severus nodded.

The boy was right. Erotica was more primal, raw and gratifying. It didn't sugar-coat anything and left nothing to the reader's imagination. It was dirty and fulfilling. Romance wasn't a genre Severus had delved into often, it was too tacky and artsy for his liking. He enjoyed being blunt and forward with his readers, and really showing them what erotica meant.

Harry shifted in his seat and flicked his eyes nervously at the large café front window, Severus noticed the few kids out on the sidewalk, and it appeared his class was hanging around. The boy seemed to shrug off a thought and turned back to the older man.

"So what kind of erotica do you write?" he asked casually and leaned over the table, his untidy hair was falling into his eyes and Severus had the whim to push it aside. He mentally shook himself and let the thought slip.

Wondering towards the reaction he would receive when he told the boy Severus leaned back in his seat, resting casually with a slow grin tugging his lips, "I write male erotica." The boy blanched and then blushed furiously before opening his mouth to speak, he closed it a moment later and squeaked out a small sound. Severus watched stoically.

"Oh," Harry finally managed and ducked his head to study the tabletop. "Like gay stuff? Boy's and boy's?" he questioned quietly. The reaction was amusing and Severus nodded his head.

"Man and man, Harry." He corrected and crossed his legs. Harry nodded but the colour still staining his skin told Severus all he needed to know. "I take it you're straight." It was a prompt and blunt question. Severus saw no reason not to get to the point.

"Well, yeah – I guess so. I mean, I never really thought about it," Harry said and smoothed his hand over the tabletop, he was uncomfortable and Severus couldn't help but watch the thick swallow that rippled the boy's throat. "How'd you get into writing – ah, male erotica?"

"A run of terrible, unsatisfying relationships got me wanting to write something that was fulfilling." In truth Severus had been involved in many boring relationships. Perhaps it was his desire for constant vivaciousness. That combined with his insatiable sexual appetite. He left this part out of course; he didn't really want to scare the boy. "That and I love to write rough, lustful sex." This statement made another rippling swallow in Harry throat and Severus licked his lips. He had a weak spot for necks and collarbones.

"I see." Harry was quiet for a minute and then looked up shyly from underneath his long lashes. "So you're practically writing porn then?" he said quietly with a lopsided smile. The kid was joking with Severus. It was something the man wasn't use to. Not many people could get passed his cold exterior, let alone try and joke with him.

"I write relationships around a delicate plot, Mr. Potter. I assure you it is not porn." He snipped and lifted his chin. The cheeky smile he received made his lips twitch, but he didn't smile.

Harry stretched luxuriously in his seat, his hands ruffling through his hair, messing it thoroughly. "Sure, sure," he said and his eyes were bright with jest, "I'm sure the sex stuff is secondary to the plot." Severus made to reply but was cut short when a young female waitress swayed over, rolling her hips seductively. Harry noticed the older man's adverted attention and twisted in his seat to watch the woman's approach.

"Hi, anything I can get you two?" she said pleasantly enough and flicked her long golden hair over her shoulder. Severus was about to dismiss her when his companion spoke up.

"A hot chocolate, please," Harry gave a rakish wink towards Severus and the man realized he was going to be stuck with his little beauty for a while longer. Not that he minded much. "And a coffee – no sugar or milk, thanks." Severus looked up sharply at the order just as the waitress smiled and swayed away.

"I never said I wanted anything." He stated somewhat unnecessarily. Harry shrugged his slim shoulders and brushed his fringe aside, the glossy bangs just fell back into his eyes.

"If it's any consolidation I'm paying." Severus grunted and nodded, about to mutter a begrudging 'thank you' before the sharp, caustic sound of glass breaking sounded throughout the small café. On impulse the man reached over to Harry and dragged the boy to the ground, the few other morning café goers mimicked the action and dropped from their seats to the ground. The front window of the café was shattered and gaped like the angry mouth of a monster. It'd been shot out.


"What the fuck –?" Harry whispered breathlessly and clung to the strong arms that were around his shoulders. Dark hair fell into his face and he realized it was Severus's not his own. A scream from a few of the people caught Harry's awareness and he looked to the doorway where two masked men were striding into the café. In their hands were held silver handguns. It was a hoist.

Scuttling and trying to disentangle himself from Severus, Harry tried to reach for his bag, he needed his mobile to call for help. A sharp, low voice growled in his ear and he was forcefully pulled back into the man's embrace and dragged closer to the small table.

The men walked confidently towards the counter and pointed their weapons at the shaking middle-aged woman who was holding her hands unsteadily in the air. Her chin quivered from fear and her large eyes were over bright. Wispy strands of grey hair fell about her cheeks, coming loose from the bun on top of her head. Harry turned and faced Severus, nose to nose with the older man.

"We have to call someone, the police!" Harry whispered fervently and strong hands came up to grip at his biceps, squeezing tightly in caveat. "Severus…" a rough palm covered his mouth and the man's dark eyes flashed. Harry meekly appealed to the man with his eyes.

"This café has an alarm system, now hush and stay down."

"Everyone SHUT UP." Harry flinched at the yelled command and pressed his body closer to the bigger man. Severus allowed him his frightened gesture and wrapped his arms around Harry's middle, holding him securely. If the situation hadn't been so extensive Harry doubted he would have been so comfortable to curl up in another man's arms. The chinking sound of the till being opened was loud within the muted café. Harry wondered absently when the police would arrive.

A gun cocked and the sound sent shivers to dance down Harry's spine, "No one move." A deep voice ordered and Harry saw out of the corner of his eyes a young mother cradling her infant close to her chest, the woman looked to be in her late teens. Her bright eyes caught his and she sent an appealing look at Harry. What she was pleading for Harry didn't know. But he did know he had to do something before things got out of hand.

"Give me your bag." The tallest man grunted at an elderly gentleman and he hurriedly passed over his bag with shaking fingers, Harry's eyes widened in fear when he realized they were going around the café and taking things from people.

Shifting he made a grab for his bag, ripping it open he dived his hand in for his phone, a cold press of metal to his temple and Severus's hitched breath made him freeze. "Drop it and give me the bag, kid." Harry's bottle green eyes opened wider and he looked up at the gun that was touching his skin, causing his flesh to prickle with goose bumps. The masked man nudged the mouth of the gun harder against Harry's temple in warning.

Summoning up his courage and hoping his voice didn't break or depart him he held tightly to his mobile, "Fuck off." It was the wrong two words and the worst possible thing he could have said, however, he had said it loudly and was thankful when all he received was a sharp backhand to his cheek. It stung like a bitch but at least he didn't have a bullet lodged in his brain. Severus sprang into action and grabbed at the man's wrist, a scuffle insured and then a gun shot rang out. Harry gasped along with many other people as plaster and debris fell from the ceiling – thankfully the man had only shot the roof.

"Back off," he growled at Severus and then turned his attention and the gun back to Harry. The boy stifled the desire to tremble and glared up at the bandit. "Give me the bag and everything will work out fine."

"I have my school work and personal things in here, so no." Again, Harry wasn't sure why he was being so brazen when all he wanted to do was curl up into the foetal position and cry. A large hand on his shoulder made him jump and then Severus was trying to take his bag from his hands. Having none of it Harry ripped to bag closer to his chest and shook his head. "Don't." he warned and Severus' eyes flashed dangerously, Harry noticed it wasn't at him and turned when the sing of the gun deafened him. He screamed as the metal bullet shot straight into his leg, tearing through the skin and muscle until blood spurted from the wound.

He'd been shot.

"You bloody bastard!" Harry yelled and it was only the adrenalin that made him jump to his feet and throw a fist at the man. Consequences be damned.

"You are a fucking arsehole…" Harry's breathing was choppy and his lungs burned with the amount of air it took for him to continue hitting at the man. To his credit the man was a head taller and bulky so when the large fist came out of nowhere and knocked him to the ground it was no wonder the small teenager groaned once before falling unconscious. His blood began forming a puddle on the shiny café flooring.


The boy was a complete idiot Severus denounced and hurriedly wrapped his arms around Harry's slim waist, tugging the boy closer to his chest and holding him secure. The man in the mask was breathing heavily and the gun was unwaveringly pointed at Harry's limp figure. "Give me his bag." The bandit said lowly and motioned to the satchel. Severus picked it up, ignoring the blood that was seeping across the floor, dark crimson against the white titles. It was vivid and made Severus's heart leap into his throat.

"Come on man, we need to flee, you fucking shot the kid." This time it was the short, stumpy one and Severus sneered at him, hearing the faint wail of police sirens. The other dwellers in the café were silent and staring either at the hurt Harry or the men as they argued in fierce whispers. Finally, with a bag full of cash and jewellery the men made for the door. Reaching for the handle until –

"Bloody weak pieces of shit, can't even stand up to the police, what are you running away now?" Severus squeezed the boy in his arms tight in hopes of shutting him up. It would seem that indignant anger and blood loss was not a good combination and Harry spoke up once again, panting deeply with the effort. "Pair of fuckers, the pair of you." The tallest man growled out a curse word and advanced on Severus and the rather incoherent Harry.

"He's not with it, you shot him, he's in shock and possibly delirious." Severus exclaimed firmly, ignoring how his stomach roiled with dread when the bandit's gun hand twitched. Harry groaned and shook his head.

"Not – not delisors – selirious, just think they're jackasses." He mumbled. The sloppy taunt was enough to set off the bandit's short fuse and he kicked out at Harry, right in the boy's shot leg. Severus hissed in annoyance and made for the man, dropping Harry's top half to the floor in his haste to protect the clearly dazed kid. Fisting handfuls of the man's black jacket Severus bared his teeth, the sounds of sirens were getting louder and it was only a matter of minutes until the police arrived.

"You've got what you wanted, now leave and be done here."

A shuffling to his right made him snap his attention to a young woman. She was holding a small baby in her arms, her lips were open and she was mouthing something. It was Harry who caught on and whisper-shouted it to Severus. "Hold him, 'til they come." Only just realizing his current position and power Severus held tighter to the man's jacket and rammed him backwards into the display cabinet, the glass cracked from the force but didn't break. Brown eyes narrowed and the bandit fought against Severus, kicking out at the taller man's legs.

"Someone get the other," a crotchety voice spoke up and Severus was startled when the old man jumped in to assist him and hold the struggling thief immobile. He silently thanked the elderly man with a quick glance. Shouts and loud thuds could be heard from the café but Severus held tight to the man in his grip and refused to be distracted. Even if the other café goers didn't get the short one it wouldn't matter, the scoundrel he held would probably rat him out anyway.

Grunting with the effort of restraining the writhing man Severus looked around, hoping to see the flash of red and blue. He saw a group of middle aged men holding the second bandit down on the ground. "Severus," he looked around to Harry who was still on the ground, blood was everywhere and it made the older man's stomach twist unpleasantly. "His gun…" Harry's eyes were drooping closed and he pointed weakly at the gun that the bandit was holding. How hadn't Severus seen that?

Twisting the man's arm up awkwardly and battling for the gun Severus gnashed his teeth. The old man by his side tried to help but was knocked aside as the two younger men tangled for the weapon. A few women were shouting for him to kick below the belt but Severus couldn't untangle himself enough to do so. Instead he stood, locked against the man, holding the bottom half of the gun and tugging for its possession.

The trigger snapped and locked and Severus snarled, the barrel of the gun was touching his neck. Far be it from him to be shot in the blasted neck. Growling and throwing his weight against the shorter man he made one last effort the get the gun.

Hasty breaths.

Hands slick with sweat.

The sound of the door opening.

"Police, put the weapon on the ground and hands above your head."

A shared look of rage with the bandit and a moment of scuffling and then –


"Officer down – requesting back up. Two gun men, one masked the other dark haired and Caucasian. Another male restrained and in custody."

"No, he was helping…" a slurred, faint voice.

Oh shit.