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FIC: The Winter Ball [Harry/Severus - PG]

Title: The Winter Ball
Author/Artist: alisanne
Pairing(s): Severus Snape/Harry Potter, Ron Weasley/Hermione Granger.
Prompt: #13: SS/HP - Harry has finally gotten up the courage to ask Severus Snape to the Ministry’s Winter Ball, only to find Draco Malfoy has also asked him. How can Harry convince Severus to go with him?
Word Count/Art Medium: 2550
Rating: PG
Contains (Highlight to view): *Mild UST*
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: Thanks to my beta readers (you know who you are), and to the mods for running this lovely fest once again. Happy Holidays, lilyeyes. I hope you enjoy this!
Summary: See prompt.



***

The Winter Ball

***


Entering the Ministry’s cafeteria, Harry immediately spotted Ron and Hermione at a table. Walking over, he slid in next to Ron. “Hey, guys.”

“Have you asked him yet?” said Hermione without preamble.

“Or, ‘Hello’, as some of us like to say,” replied Harry dryly.

Hermione rolled her eyes. “Hello, Harry. How are you this morning? Now, have you asked Snape to the Ministry’s Winter Ball yet?”

Wincing, Harry looked around them to see who else had heard her. “Care to say that a bit louder?” he hissed. “I think the people over by the window may have missed it.”

Hermione sighed. “Sorry. It’s just...we’re getting a lot of pressure to turn in our final guest list for our table.” She made a face. “It’s a very popular event and I think they’re planning on putting other people at our table if we can’t fill it.”

Ron, his mouth full, waved his fork. “Yeah, and with our luck it’ll be Finch-Fletchley and Vane.”

Harry shuddered. “Yeah, that would be a lethal combination.” He looked at Hermione. “And I know you need to submit the final list, I just--”

Hermione’s eyes softened as she leaned forward. “What seems to the be the problem?” she asked. “You’re friends with Snape now, you spend just about all your free time visiting him down in the Department of Mysteries. Just ask him.”

“It’s not that simple,” said Harry. “Yes, we’re friends now, but, as you know it took a while for that to happen. And I don’t want to ruin that, especially if he’s not interested. Things would get really weird between us if he didn’t like me the way I like him--”

“Things are already weird now,” muttered Ron around some bacon.

Hermione smacked Ron’s arm.

“Ow!” Ron glared at her. “Stop that! And you know it’s true. Now all we do is talk about how Harry needs to get up the courage to ask Snape out.” Turning to Harry, he said, “Are you or are you not a Gryffindor, mate? Just do it.”

Harry sighed, wishing it was that clear cut. “It’s better to be able to see him and talk to him even if we can’t ever be together than to not see him,” he said.

Hermione nodded. “All right. But here’s what you’re missing, Harry. He likes you, too. I’m sure of it. The way he looks at you--” She patted his arm. “Trust me. Go and ask him to the Ball.”

“Yeah,” said Ron, wiping his mouth with a napkin. “And you should do it before Malfoy does.” He nodded over to a table near the centre of the room where both Severus and Malfoy were sitting together.

“I know,” said Harry. He watched carefully as Malfoy leaned in, touching Severus’ hand as they talked together. “Although maybe I’m too late.”

“There’s just one way to find out,” said Hermione.

Harry nodded, his determination firming as he saw Severus and Malfoy stand and leave together. “You’re right. I’ll ask him today.”

That afternoon, Harry made his way down to the Department of Mysteries. Severus’ office was at the end of the hall and Harry debated with himself a full minute before knocking.

“Come in!”

When Harry walked in, Severus was facing away from him, his wand raised as he levitated several orbs in the air. Without looking at him, Severus said, “Close the door, Harry.”

Harry did, waiting until Severus carefully lowered the orbs into some glass containers before he spoke. “Looks interesting.”

Severus turned to face him. “It certainly is to me.” He smirked. “Although, as you know, I cannot discuss my research with you.”

Harry grinned. “I know, I know. Just like I can’t discuss any ongoing Auror investigations with you.”

“Indeed.” Gesturing to the chair in front of his desk, Severus said, “Have a seat.” He glanced at the clock. “You’re a bit earlier than usual. Is something wrong?”

“Not really.” Harry moved toward the chair. “I just wanted to ask you a question.”

“Ask away,” said Severus, taking a seat behind his desk.

Harry took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. “I was wondering it you’d like to--”

The knock at the door took them both by surprise. “Severus, are you there?” asked Malfoy from outside the door.

Severus rose. “Yes, Draco. Come in.”

Malfoy burst in, his face alight. “Guess what! It worked--” He stopped abruptly when he saw Harry. “Oh, am I interrupting something?”

Severus glanced at Harry. “I’m not sure.”

“I’ll be out of here in a second, I just wanted to discuss coordinating our outfits for the Ministry Ball.” Malfoy was beaming. “I was thinking...Do you suppose you could wear silver trimmed robes? That way we’ll match.”

Severus inclined his head. “I’m sure I can manage that.”

Harry could barely hear anything more over the rushing in his ears. He was too late; Malfoy had beat him to the punch. I’m an idiot. Standing, he started for the door. “Sounds like you two have important things to discuss,” he said, hoping his voice wasn’t wavering. “I’ll just be going.”

Severus frowned. “No, wait, Harry--”

Hurrying out into the hallway, Harry practically ran from Severus’ office, ignoring the voices behind him. He was too busy concentrating on getting out of there to stop, and it was only when he reached his own office that he allowed himself a minute to just sit with his face in his hands and collect himself. He hadn’t thought he’d feel so...devastated. Finally, with a sigh, he got up. “I’m not feeling well, Matilda,” he said to the department secretary as he walked past her desk. “I’m going home.”

“All right, Harry.” Matilda looked concerned. “I’ll let Auror Robards know. I hope you feel better soon.”

“Thanks,” said Harry as he walked out. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

***


“I’m sorry, Harry.” Hermione patted his hand. “I truly am. I thought--” She paused, clearly struggling with the right thing to say.

“Yeah, I thought, too.” Harry shrugged, staring into his ale. “Actually, I’m lying. I dunno what I was thinking,” he said, his words only slightly slurred. “Severus’ brilliant. Of course someone would snap him up right away. Why’d it have to be Malfoy, though?”

Ron, returning to the table with more drinks, said, “Because once a git, always a git.” He placed another ale in front of Harry. “Drink up, mate. We’re supposed to be drowning your sorrows, remember? And don’t worry, we’ll find you another date to the Ball.”

“I don’t want another date.” Harry groaned, banging his head against the table. “I had the perfect date until I bolloxed things up by not actually asking him.”

Hermione cleared her throat. “Percy doesn’t have a date yet either,” she said. “And we do still have two seats at our table.”

Raising his head, Harry stared at her. “I am not nearly drunk enough to agree to go to the Ministry Ball with Percy.” He bit his lip. “No offence, Ron.”

Ron waved a hand. “None taken. I wouldn’t want to go with him either.”

Hermione rolled her eyes. “I don’t mean on a date date, I mean you could both just sit at our table next to each other.”

“And save you from Vane and Finch-Fletchley?” Harry sighed. “Sure, why the hell not? It doesn’t matter anyway. Although if I have to watch Severus and Malfoy flirt all night I may sick up.”

Ron grinned, clapping Harry on the back. “On that you and I agree, mate.”

***


The evening of the Ball found Harry at Hermione and Ron’s table watching everyone else dance, flirt, and have a good time. Even Percy, who had arrived with Harry, had managed to find someone to dance with. Some bloke from the accounting department.

Nothing as lonely as a crowded room, Harry thought, sipping bad Ministry champagne.

He’d not seen Severus since that last embarrassing day in his office, so when he walked in with Malfoy, Harry thought his chest would burst. Fuck. I can’t do this.

Knocking back the last of the champagne in his glass, Harry stood, looking around for Hermione and Ron. He finally spied them dancing and, making sure to skirt Severus’ position, intercepted them on the dance floor. “Just wanted to let you know I’m off,” he said.

Hermione drew away from Ron. “What’s wrong?” She glanced around the room and when she saw Severus she sighed. “Oh.” She bit her lip. “Have you spoken to him?”

Harry laughed bitterly. “What would I say?”

“You’re still friends.” Hermione clasped his arm. “And who knows? You may get another chance with him. Things may not work out for him and Malfoy.”

Ron nodded. “She makes a good point! And if you’re waiting in the wings--”

“I can’t.” Harry shook his head. “I can’t watch him be with Malfoy and know that maybe he could have been with me if only I had worked up the courage to ask him out first.”

“Ask who out first?” came a deep voice behind Harry.

Harry closed his eyes. “Severus.”

A hand clasped Harry’s shoulder and when Harry opened his eyes he saw Ron and Hermione scuttling away. Traitors.

“Who were you hoping to ask out, Harry?” Severus repeated, moving around so that he was in front of Harry.

Harry forced a smile. “No one. So where’s Malfoy?”

Severus’ eyes narrowed. “You never could lie very well,” he said. “Tell me what’s going on. You’ve been avoiding me for days, and I saw you skirt me earlier. What have I done?”

Harry stared at him. If he didn’t know better he’d say Severus was hurt, but that was impossible, wasn’t it? “You haven’t done anything,” he said. “This is all on me. I’ve been a fool and now I’m paying the price.”

“What price?” Someone bumped into him and, scowling, Severus guided Harry off the dance floor. “Come, we need somewhere more private to talk.”

“No we don’t--” Harry didn’t want to go anywhere with Severus just then. Not with so many perfect nooks for snogging.

Severus ignored him, however, steering him out some glass doors and onto a secluded balcony. Once they were alone, he spun Harry to face him. “Tell me what this is about,” he said, tone implacable. “Are you in some sort of trouble?”

Harry blinked at him. “In trouble? Why would you think that?”

“Why wouldn’t I?” snapped Severus. “First, you come to my office and something is clearly on your mind, but as soon as Draco shows up, you run off. And then you disappear for days, and now you’re avoiding me at this execrable event. Tell me what’s going on! Is it something to do with Draco?”

“No. Yes! Fuck.” Harry turned away from Severus to stare out over the balcony. The Ministry had charmed the walls to look like a moonlit garden and under different circumstances Harry would have found it romantic. Just then it was wholly annoying, however.

“A singularly unhelpful response,” said Severus behind him. He exhaled. “I thought we were friends, Harry.”

Harry closed his eyes and decided to come clean. “We are friends,” he said softly. “And that’s the problem. I want us to be more than friends. I’d planned to ask you to this Ball with me, but Malfoy beat me to it.”

“You did?” Severus moved up beside Harry, staring at his profile. “Why?”

Harry didn’t look at him. “Because I want to go out with you, to date you, and then, if that goes well, to kiss you, to make love with you. But now that you’re with Malfoy, he gets to have that with you and I don’t know if I can be just friends with you anymore under those circumstances, Severus. If I have to watch you and Malfoy together I may die--”

Sliding an arm around Harry, Severus pulled him close. “That will never happen between me and Draco,” he murmured, his eyes searching Harry’s. “Never.”

“How can you know that?” Harry cried. “You’re here with him. You must have thought there was something between you, some sort of spark--” There was a cheer from inside the ballroom and he paused. “What the hell’s going on in there?”

“That would be Draco proposing to his paramour.”

Harry gaped at him. “Draco doing what to his who?”

Taking Harry’s shoulders, Severus spun him so that he was facing the ballroom. Through the glass doors, Harry could see inside. Malfoy was on one knee before a woman who was clad in a silver gown. She was hugging him and crying, and Malfoy was beaming. All around them people were chatting excitedly.

“Draco has been planning to propose to Astoria for a while now,” murmured Severus in Harry’s ear. “But her family is very traditional. They wouldn’t allow her to attend this ball with Draco without a chaperone being present. That was the capacity in which I accompanied them this evening. And, because of his flair for the dramatic, Draco wanted me to match their attire.”

Harry shook his head. “So Malfoy isn’t interested in you?”

“Not in the capacity you mean, no.” Severus gently turned Harry back around to face him. “Now, you mentioned something about a spark. While I have felt no such thing with Draco, there is someone else with whom I do sense something more.”

Harry swallowed hard. “Oh?” he whispered.

“Indeed.” Pulling him away from the glass door and out of sight of the ball attendees, Severus said, “I should love a chance to see if I’m right.”

“Okay,” Harry said softly just before Severus’ mouth touched his.

The kiss was electric. Harry shivered as sparks shot through him and heat built in his core. Severus’ tongue stroked the inside of Harry’s mouth and all Harry could do was wind his arms around Severus’ neck and press closer. When they pulled apart, they were both panting.

“Wow,” Harry gasped.

Severus tucked a lock of hair behind Harry’s ear. “It’s as I suspected,” he said, his voice low and whiskey smooth.

“What is?” Harry asked.

“Kissing you is addictive.” Severus smiled. “I knew it would be. And I knew that once I started, I wouldn’t want to stop.”

“Then why are we?” said Harry.

Severus laughed. “I assumed you’d want to say goodnight to your friends.”

“They’ll be fine.” Harry coughed. “They’ll figure it out.”

“I see.” Severus hauled Harry close once more. “Then perhaps we should leave and figure this out for ourselves as well.”

Harry grinned. “Brilliant idea.”

And so they did.

***

The End

***

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
felaine
Dec. 24th, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
So sweet, but silly misunderstanding Harry.
Love Draco co-ordinating everyone's robes.
He would.
alisanne
Jan. 12th, 2015 04:26 am (UTC)
Yeah, poor Harry may have jumped to some conclusions. *pets him*
*nods* Draco totally would coordinate his outfit. ;)
Thanks, hon!
flaminia_x
Dec. 26th, 2014 03:17 am (UTC)
Very cute! I do love a good 'misunderstanding' fic. Thank goodness Harry's wrong!
alisanne
Jan. 12th, 2015 04:28 am (UTC)
Thank you!
And yes, Harry was VERY wrong, which worked out quite well for him. ;)
lilyeyes
Dec. 26th, 2014 07:35 am (UTC)
What an utterly delightful fic! Poor Harry, I could feel his devastation when he thought Severus was with Draco! I'm so glad that Severus forced the issue!

Loved it!
alisanne
Jan. 12th, 2015 04:29 am (UTC)
Thank you, bb! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it.
I figured you wanted some H/C so I played it up here. ♥
agneskamilla
Dec. 26th, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
This was such a sweet, fun read! I adored poor jealous Harry, who misunderstood the whole situation:) Lovely story, thank you for sharing.
alisanne
Jan. 12th, 2015 04:30 am (UTC)
Thanks, dear! :)
Poor Harry did have a rough time, bless him, but his evening got a lot better. ;)
torino10154
Dec. 27th, 2014 05:27 am (UTC)
Oh Harry, I just ached for him, longing for Severus like that, thinking he'd lost his chance. Thank goodness Severus cornered him and cleared it all up. Wonderfully done.
alisanne
Jan. 12th, 2015 04:31 am (UTC)
Thanks, hon! :)
Yeah, I made it a bit more hurt/comfort-y than I usually do, so I'm glad you enjoyed it!
(Deleted comment)
alisanne
Jan. 12th, 2015 04:32 am (UTC)
Yay! Thank you, sweetie! <3
suitesamba
Dec. 29th, 2014 02:04 am (UTC)
Awww! Poor Harry - so glad it turned out just how he wanted in the end. Great story - thanks for sharing this. :)
alisanne
Jan. 12th, 2015 04:32 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! :)
shaded_paradox
Jan. 9th, 2015 11:34 pm (UTC)
Ah, this should teach Harry not to jump to conclusions! Thank goodness that Severus came over to talk with him and set things right. ^_^
alisanne
Jan. 12th, 2015 04:33 am (UTC)
It should! Especially since I suspect his evening got a lot better after the Ball. ;)
Thanks, hon!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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