Pairing: Harry/OMC, future HP/SS (really, I promise!)
Summary: Some smut, a gift, and bad dreams.
Notes: I did the stupidest thing and wrote a whole bunch of chapters out of order. I'm further along than it looks like I am, but right now I have to fill in the holes between chapters. I'll be spamming you today, most likely.
A Masterpiece of Comic Timing
3 April 1999
Two bottles of wine later, Harry was pleasantly light-headed and lying on the couch with his head in Nick's lap, smiling up at him and making pleased noises at having his hair stroked. It wasn't so strange anymore, he thought. Maybe it was the wine. But uncertainty couldn't touch him right now. Finally he said the hell with it and sat up to kiss Nick, who responded with a small laugh of pleased surprise and pulled him into his arms. Harry's eyes were closed, his head was spinning with liquor and arousal, and dammit, Snape, get out of there! Snape was certainly not something he should be thinking about right now. He should be thinking about Nick, or not thinking at all. Yes, not thinking. That was what he needed.
"Make me stop thinking," Harry breathed when they parted for air.
"About what?" Nick asked, rubbing his back underneath his shirt.
Nick responded with a low, throaty laugh and devoured Harry's mouth again. "You're drunk," he said when they paused again a few minutes later. "I don't want to take advantage of you."
"I know what I'm doing. Erm…well, I don't, but I know what's happening."
"Are you sure?"
Harry nodded, moving his hand up Nick's thigh to the bulge in his stylish trousers. "I'm sure," he said, now nearly overtaken by the thought that his hand was on another man's cock, a man who was hard for him and flushed and panting and doing malicious things to his collarbone with his tongue.
Nick moaned and shifted so that he was lying next to Harry. They stopped coming up for air, breathing and gasping into each other's mouths. He pushed up Harry's t-shirt and lowered his head to tongue the taut pink nipples. Harry whimpered and shivered, unsure for a moment whether to touch Nick or to touch himself. But Nick seemed to know what he was thinking, because he felt a warm, sure hand on the crotch of his jeans. He squeezed his legs together, trapping the hand there, and fumbled blindly with the zip of Nick's trousers. At last he got the top button undone, no small feat of dexterity when his cock was being massaged roughly through his clothes. He finally coaxed the zip down partway, and shoved his hand gleefully into the waistband of a pair of silk boxer shorts.
And Nick's mobile rang. He groaned and moved away from Harry to fish the phone out of the couch cushion. "I'm sorry," he said.
Harry tried to look like he wasn't about to die of sexual frustration.
"He's what?" Nick said into the phone. "No, no, don't tell me, I can't talk about it here. I'll be there in five minutes."
"What happened?" Harry asked.
"Work crisis. I hate to, but I have to go."
Harry just nodded, because if he said anything he was going to sound horribly needy. Nick kissed him goodbye and left.
He tried not to be angry. It wasn't Nick's fault. It bothered him that Nick would snog him and grope him, but wouldn't tell him what he did for a living. Harry wondered idly if Nick was a secret agent or something. He snickered in spite of himself. His very own James Bond. But he didn't want a James Bond, not really, as exciting as the thought was on the surface. He wanted… well, he couldn't quite place a definition on what he wanted, but it was something much more stable, something warmer, safer. He really liked Nick, but…. Just but.
The next morning, a courier showed up on his doorstep with a box and an envelope while Harry was dressing for work. He took them, bewildered. In the box was a small silver mobile phone. It had to be from Nick. Reading the note that came along with it confirmed his suspicions.
Just in case I need a kidney.
Love? Harry certainly wouldn't have used that word. Maybe Nick just signed everything that way. Like 'hugs and kisses' or something, only more manly. Yes, that was it. Anyway, he was going to have to give this back. Nick couldn't just go round buying him expensive presents. Well, it probably wasn't that expensive, especially from Nick's perspective, but still. It felt like he was trying to make up for something.
Harry's workday was hell. He arrived at the restaurant to find out that George, his assistant, hadn't turned up the day before, and no one had bothered to call him. Which meant he had to do an entire weekend's worth of prep work in one morning. He shouted and cursed at the kitchen lads for a few minutes, but there wasn't much else he could do about it. He could, in theory, have sacked every last one of them, but it would only have made things worse for him. It wouldn't have been so bad, had it not been for what time of year it was. In a week, thousands people would be descending on the city for an international film festival. Harry spent most of the day trying to cook and talk on the phone at the same time. Stephen, apparently, had made some sort of deal with a tour company to give reduced party rates to its groups. He spoke to tour directors from all over the world that day, some of whom had terrible English, others of whom had absolutely no concept as to the sort of food served in an Irish pub. One wanted pizzas and hot dogs, and Harry was finally able to compromise with him. But another wanted tacos, and very nearly refused to be reasoned with. "Vy ken you not make ze Irish tacos?" the man kept barking at him. Harry was really going to have to kill Stephen.
It was well after the kitchen had closed that he finally finished everything. He arrived home, exhausted, to find his mobile ringing. It was Nick, of course.
"You know, the whole idea of a cell phone is that you take it with you when you go places," Nick admonished him playfully.
"Sorry, I left in sort of a hurry. And look, thank you for it, but I really can't keep it."
"I can't just let you buy me things."
"What if I want to?"
"If it'll make you feel better, I'll have the bill sent to you instead of me. But keep the phone."
Harry sighed. He somehow felt that even if he chucked the thing into the river right now, a new one would turn up at his door the next morning. "All right. But no more buying me things."
"Not even on your birthday?"
"That's not for almost four months."
"But I can buy you things for your birthday?"
"Do you want to come over?"
"I wish I could, but I'm really knackered and I have to be back at work in eight hours."
"I could come over there. I want to see you."
"You saw me yesterday."
"I want to see you today."
"You can see me tomorrow. Really, I need to get some proper sleep."
"Okay, tomorrow. Sweet dreams."
Harry's dreams weren't sweet, any more than his sleep was restful. They were filled with dark and faceless figures, and a horrible feeling of being trapped. Harry woke up in a cold sweat more than once during the night. He even thought his scar was hurting at one point. But he shook it off, sure he was imagining things. His scar couldn't hurt. Voldemort was gone. There was no one to make it hurt. He'd done without Dreamless Sleep for a long time, but he was starting to feel that the risk he'd be taking by getting it prescribed would be well worth his health and sanity. He resolved to see the doctor tomorrow. There was probably no one looking for him anymore. There wasn't anyone left who'd care enough to.