Since the incident at the pond, Severus hadn't seen Harry. He came home after Severus had left for work and was gone again before he got home the next morning. He'd peeked into the bedroom and the bed looked slept in but as Harry never made the bed more than perfunctorily that wasn't an indication of anything. The only reason Severus knew he'd even been there was that was the teapot was in the dish drainer and the sports section was missing from the newspaper.
Severus never called off work, not even when he was at death's door but he needed to clear the air with Harry. Hopefully, they could get back to where they were before. The worst thing that could happen would be that Harry would leave. That didn't bear thinking about at the moment.
When it was time to leave for work, Severus turned out the lights, walked out the front door and slipped in through the back. He sat down on the sofa, bottle of whisky at his side, and settled in with his thoughts to wait.
Less than an hour later, Severus's head snapped up when he heard the lock turn and the door opened. Harry shut the door and flipped on the light switch….
"Shit!" Harry said, obviously startled. "What are you doing here?"
"I live here," Severus said, taking a fortifying sip of the whisky.
"I don't mean that." Harry ran a hand through his hair, still standing next to the door rather than coming fully into the room. "I thought you were working tonight?"
"I called off."
Harry's eyes widened. "You never call off, even when you're ill," he said softly.
"Have you eaten?" Severus asked, hoping to diffuse the awkward situation.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
They were not quite looking at each other, both breathing heavily and, closing his eyes for a moment, Severus exhaled slowly then opened them again. "I wanted to talk to you."
Harry looked uncomfortable, as if he'd done something wrong, and Severus's heart clenched. The fault didn't lie with Harry.
"Sit down, Harry. Please."
Harry nodded and moved to the chair opposite Severus. He rubbed his hands nervously over his thighs.
"Drink?" Severus said holding up the whisky.
"I'm good, thanks." Harry seemed to be looking everywhere but at Severus. However, when Severus said, "I owe you an apology," Harry looked right at him.
"Don't be ridiculous, Severus," Harry said. "I had no business making assumptions. It won't happen again, you can be sure of that. I'd like to stay here but I understand if you need me to find something else."
Tipping back the rest of his drink, Severus stood and walked over to Harry, sitting down on the table in front of him. Harry leaned back in his chair, as if to put space between them. Severus rubbed his hands over his face before he spoke.
"I owe you an apology, Harry, for leading you on and then pushing you away—"
"Harry, just let me say what I need to say and then you can do and say whatever you'd like." Harry nodded and Severus continued speaking. "My reaction the other day was regrettable and hurtful to you and for that I do apologise." Severus watched Harry, hoping to see something other than the current hurt look on his face.
After several long moments, Harry's lips turned into a frown. "But the answer is still the same."
Severus thought about telling Harry how much he meant to him, how he dreamed of him at night, how Harry was the most perfect thing to come into his sad, pathetic life. Somehow taking care of Harry had given his life a purpose and he couldn't imagine life without him.
There was no way he could say those things, though. He'd never considered himself a coward but now he wasn't so sure because fear had settled in his chest, gripping his heart and making it hard to breathe.
"It's all right, Severus," Harry said softly. "It's not your fault you don't feel the same."
Harry stood and began walking down the corridor to his bedroom. A new fear, even more powerful than the last, made Severus follow. He knew this was the moment that either he got over whatever it was that was holding him back or Harry walked out the door and likely didn't come back. He reached out and grabbed Harry's shoulder, turning him towards him, before leaning in and pressing his mouth to Harry's soft, pink lips.
For a moment Harry didn't respond and Severus was certain he'd ruined everything but then those lips parted and Harry welcomed him into his mouth. His hands reached into Severus's hair, thumbs brushing his cheeks as they kissed. Severus's heart sang, finally free of the icy grip of fear, and his entire body relaxed, the tension slipping away.
When they broke apart, Harry's head fell to Severus's shoulder and he could feel Harry's warm breath through the fabric of his shirt. His hands automatically went to Harry's back, pulling him closer.
"I'm not good with words—" Severus started to say but Harry lifted his head and pressed a finger to his lips.
"Neither am I."
Severus sighed heavily. "I'm not accustomed to… relationships."
"Then we'll become accustomed together." Harry reached down and grasped Severus's hand in his, giving it a squeeze.
"You're going to have an answer for every single one of my objections, aren't you?"
Harry grinned. "Yeah, I'm fairly certain I will." Leaning in, Harry pressed his lips to Severus's again and, walking backward, began pulling him toward the bedroom.
Severus hesitated at threshold, his mind trying to tell him things his body didn't want to hear.
Harry cupped his cheek. "We don't have to do anything you don't want to do."
Unable to stop himself, Severus said the first thing on his mind. "I want to do everything with you."
Harry's eyes brightened and he smiled, then pulled Severus fully into the room and shut the door behind them.
I don't wish to be everything to everyone, but I would like to be something to someone. ~Javan