Title: Appreciating Life's Appetites
Age-Range Category: Five
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Severus Snape/Harry Potter, Minerva McGonagall, Filius Flitwick, Madam Malkin
Beta Reader(s): S and E.
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
Note: Thanks to the mod for the opportunity to participate this year! Nothing recognizable is mine.
Summary: Since the war, Severus has relaxed a bit, to the point where he's no longer his svelte former self. It bothers him since he's never had a weight problem before, but worse, others are starting to notice, including Harry Potter, who's always staring at him. Why is that?
At first, Severus didn't even notice a difference. He'd always been a bit too thin, really. Even when he'd got to Hogwarts, and food had been plentiful, a far cry from his frugal home life, he'd been on the thin side.
War and spycraft did not make people fat either, in his experience. As for almost dying… Severus shook himself out of those painful memories and inspected himself in the mirror. For the first time in ages, his robes needed adjusting out.
"…don't usually have to change your robe measurements, Headmaster Snape," Madam Malkin said as she pinned and tucked fabric around him. "It should be fine, though. I generally build in a little extra just in case, but still, it was a surprise." She smiled at him in the mirror and patted her own ample frame. "It happens to us all as we get older, no? Didn't you just turn fifty this year?"
Severus inclined his head.
"Thought so." She nodded. "That's when we start packing on the pounds. You'll see. These days I can just walk by shortbread biscuits and gain weight."
"Anyway, I definitely need to let out the waist. " She eyed his robes critically. "And perhaps the chest—"
"When shall they be ready?' Severus asked, interrupting what he was sure would have been a catalogue of his portliness.
"Oh, I should have these ready in about a week. I'll put an Expanding Charm on them too, just in case, shall I?"
Severus sniffed and refrained from replying. But when he got back to Hogwarts, he stripped, inspecting himself thoroughly. Pale skin, scars, sallow complexion, all were still there, but he did have a bit more meat on his bones. He turned sideways. He had a bit of a belly, it was true, but surely that wasn't too bad? Nothing his robes couldn't cover up.
He huffed, turning away. What did it matter? It wasn't as if many people were looking at him, after all. He pursed his lips. Although, there was Potter.
Why Potter would elect to return to Hogwarts after a stint in the Auror corps to teach, Severus would never know, but he wasn't about to look a gift Gryffindor in the mouth. He'd needed a Defense professor, and Potter fit the bill.
Plus, with Potter on staff, there was suddenly more funding for projects, and fewer parents seemed worried about their little monsters' well-being. Still, Potter did seem to notice everything, and he always seemed to be watching Severus. It was all a bit unnerving.
At breakfast the next morning, Severus concentrated on the eggs and ham, avoiding his customary toast dripping with butter, and even taking his tea without sugar.
"Is something wrong, Headmaster?"
Severus looked up and over at Potter. "No. Why do you ask, Potter?"
Potter nodded at his plate. "You usually have a few slices of toast in the morning. I was just concerned that you're not feeling well."
"I'm fine," snapped Severus. "I'm just…not in the mood for toast."
"Ah." Potter buttered his own toast, then slathered it with strawberry jam. "Shame," he said, taking a big bite. "The jam is especially good this morning."
Severus scowled. "Since when are you so concerned with my nutritional status anyway?" he asked, tone snide.
Licking butter and jam off his lips, Potter smiled. "Since I saved your life in the war, I guess." He shrugged, his smile fading but amusement dancing in his eyes. "You spent all those years looking after me, I guess I feel I should return the favour."
Severus' throat went dry. Raising his cup to his lips, he sipped his tea, almost making a face at the ghastly taste. Salazar, it needed sugar! "There is no need to be concerned," he said. "I'm an adult. I hardly require looking after."
Potter inclined his head, wordlessly passing him the sugar.
Huffing, Severus nevertheless added a single teaspoonful to his tea. The next sip was better, not perfect, but acceptable.
"Muffin?" Potter asked, gesturing to the basket of blueberry muffins hovering by his shoulder.
It took all Severus' willpower to shake his head.
"Are you sure you're all right, Severus?" Minerva asked from his other side. "Those are your favourite."
"Why is everyone suddenly so concerned with what I eat?" Severus growled.
Minerva smiled. "Because we care about you, of course." She stood up. "If you're not feeling well this morning, perhaps take a muffin for later? You'll be hungry before lunch if all you eat is a spoonful of egg and some ham."
Severus sneered. "Worry about yourself. I'll be fine."
"Very well." Minerva patted him on the shoulder as she walked away.
"I'm off, too," said Potter, standing up. He tucked a couple of muffins into his short, fitted robes. "Have a good day, Headmaster."
Severus scoffed, watching him stride away, unable to take his eyes off the lovely play of muscles in his legs and arse—
Filius cleared his throat, shaking Severus from his daydream. "Potter's turned into a fine young man, hasn't he?"
Severus pushed away from the table. "I hadn't noticed."
"Aren't you going to finish your breakfast, Severus?" Filius called after him.
"I'm not hungry," Severus lied. Striding briskly to his office, he eyed the pile of parchments awaiting his attention and sighed. Surely this would be enough to distract him.
At ten-thirty, however, when his stomach was growling, Severus gave up. He simply couldn't concentrate, not with his hunger gnawing at him. He was about to summon an elf to request a cup of tea when someone knocked.
"Enter." Severus scowled as Potter walked in. "Professor Potter. To what do I owe the…pleasure?"
Potter smiled. "You requested a Defence budget, Headmaster. Here it is." He handed over a sheaf of papers.
Severus raised an eyebrow. "You didn't have to deliver it personally."
"I thought you might have questions about how I came up with the numbers."
"I'm fully capable of reading and comprehending a budget, Potter."
Potter grinned. "I'm sure." He cleared his throat. "And I admit, I do have an ulterior motive for personally delivering this."
Severus raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"
Reaching into his robes, Potter pulled out the two muffins Severus had seen him stash away earlier. "Yes, I was hoping you'd join me in a mid-morning snack."
Severus huffed. "I'm not hung—" His stomach interrupted him with a loud growl.
Conjuring a dish, Potter placed the muffin on it and set it in front of him. "Maybe the elves could bring us some tea?" he suggested, taking a seat uninvited.
"Humph." Well, they were his favourite. Mouth watering, Severus summoned an elf, and within moments a pot and two teacups appeared. They ate their muffins in relatively companionable silence whilst sipping tea. Afterwards, Severus felt much better.
When he was done, Potter rose. "Wasn't that nice? See you at lunch, Headmaster."
It was only after Potter left that Severus realised they hadn't discussed the budget at all. They hadn't discussed anything, Potter had just watched him eat.
At lunch, Severus fashioned himself a salad, conscious of everyone watching him.
"Now I know you're not feeling well," Minerva said, eyeing his plate.
"I enjoy the occasional salad," Severus said. "And what I choose to eat is my own affair."
"Well I for one think it's a good idea," chimed in Hooch. "We could all stand to eat more healthfully around here."
Everyone nodded and several people added extra veg to their plates. Potter, uncharacteristically quiet, just sat there, his expression thoughtful.
And so it continued at every meal that week. Severus made sure to take his normal portion of food, but often he deliberately didn't finish his plate, although that was difficult to do.
When he returned to Madam Malkin's the following week, he waited for her to tell him she would need to take in his robes again.
"Perfect fit," she declared. "There, those should do, Headmaster."
Scowling, Severus studied his reflection. They did fit, which meant his diet hadn't done a bloody thing. "Adequate," he pronounced, turning sideways. He did have a bit of a paunch.
"Do let me know if you need then let out a bit," she said, turning away.
Severus bit back a rude word. "Indeed," he snapped.
When he returned to Hogwarts, Potter was waiting at his office. "Don't you have classes?" Severus sneered.
"All done for the day." Potter followed him into his office. "There is something I'd like to ask, though."
Taking a seat at his desk, Severus waved a hand. "Proceed."
For the first time in ages, Potter seemed hesitant. "Would you like to get a drink with me?"
Severus blinked. "A drink? As in—"
"As in we leave Hogwarts, go someplace together, have a drink, maybe even a meal together." Potter was watching him carefully. "You know, socialise."
"That sounds suspiciously like a date."
Potter smiled. "You've found me out. Yes, I'm asking you out on a date. You do do that, right?"
"I—" Did he? He hadn't in over a decade. Did he even recall how to do that? "It's been a while," Severus admitted.
Potter's expression softened. "I haven't done that much of it myself either. Maybe we can get better at it together."
Severus scowled. "I'm no one's practice partner, Potter."
"No," agreed Potter. "You're not. So? Tomorrow night? Seven?"
Was this what all the infernal watching had been about? "That would be acceptable," Severus said.
"Brilliant." Potter shoved his hands in his pockets. "Have a good day…Severus."
Had that actually happened? Severus wondered once Potter was gone. He hummed. Apparently it had.
When the following day arrived, Severus managed to keep to his self-imposed diet quite well since there were butterflies dancing in his stomach all day. Potter knocked on his door at precisely seven, dressed in a green jumper over a white shirt and black trousers.
Severus, wearing one of his new robes, cleared his throat. "I wasn't sure where we were going, but I can change—"
"There's a place in Muggle London that serves delicious Italian I thought we could try. The family's wizarding, but serve everyone. I didn't make reservations or anything, so if you'd rather go someplace else—"
"Italian is fine," Severus said. "I take it robes are acceptable?"
"Yes." Potter gave him an appreciative once-over. "Definitely."
Severus felt himself flush, and turned away to close his door and set his wards. By the time he turned back towards Potter he was composed once more. "Lead on," he said.
Potter offered his arm, which Severus accepted.
They left from the Floo in the staff office, landing in an alleyway behind the restaurant. The enticing smells wafting from the building made Severus' mouth water.
Early on in the evening it became clear Potter was a regular. As soon as the hostess, a matronly woman who reminded Severus of Molly Weasley, spotted them, she exclaimed something in Italian and ran over, hugging Potter. "Oh, you're here!" She looked up at Severus. "And you bring your boyfriend? Finally!"
Severus blinked. "I'm not—"
"This is Severus," Potter interrupted. "He's my boss, Maria."
"Ah!" Maria winked. "A boss who is also a boyfriend. It's good you get out and have romantic meal outside of work, then. Come, I have perfect table for you."
Severus shot Potter a look over Maria's head. Potter just shrugged.
Once they were seated, Maria turned to Severus. "You like Italian food?"
"I do, yes."
"Good! Is good!" Maria clapped her hands. "No menus for family. We will bring you food and you eat. I know just what you need." And walking away, she called out something loud and incomprehensible to a man standing by the kitchen.
The restaurant was full, but not crowded, and there was enough space between tables to conduct an intimate conversation. When glasses of red wine appeared in front of them, Severus raised an eyebrow. "You bring dates often?"
"Not really." Potter lifted the glass to his lips. "I used to come with Ron and Hermione. We discovered it when I was in Auror training and Hermione was going to uni. Ron and I used to meet her here after classes to get a cheap meal. Once they realised we were magical, well, they sort of adopted us. I've never brought a date here before."
"I see." Severus looked around. The place was cosy, warm. "I see why you like it here."
Potter smiled. "I like that they recognise me, but not because I'm Harry Potter, just because I'm a regular and they adopt just about everyone who's a regular." He chuckled. "Plus, they're always trying to feed me up."
As he spoke, a dish appeared in the table. It had all manner of meats and cheese, some tomatoes, fried bits that looked interesting, shrimp, fish, and olives.
Potter beamed. "Mm, antipasti. You have to try everything."
Severus did, pronouncing the cheese and meats acceptable, the shrimp passable, and the fried bits, which turned out to be calamari, delicious.
As the wine and food flowed, so did the conversation. They discussed how much the world had changed since the war over light-as-air gnocchi covered with a creamy mushroom sauce, and laughed over the antics of the students while sharing cannoli.
By the end of the meal, Potter was repeatedly touching Severus' hands to emphasise his points. Severus didn't mind, too caught up in the way the candlelight made Potter's hair shine. It looked soft, quite touchable.
"It's getting late," Potter finally said. "I'll get the bill."
"I can contribute—"
"I'm paying, I asked you out, remember?" Potter said. "You can pay next time."
Next time? Severus exhaled. "Quite."
But when Maria came to see how they liked the meal, she tutted at Potter for offering her money. "Is my gift to you and your boss boyfriend," she said. "You repay me by inviting me to wedding."
Potter's eyes went wide. "Maria!"
Maria laughed. "Have it soon, yes? I'm not getting any younger."
As she walked away, Potter buried his face in his hands. "I'm so sorry," he said, voice muffled.
"You mean you didn't plan to propose tonight?" Severus deadpanned.
Potter groaned. "Let's get out of here before she embarrasses me any further."
Severus smirked, agreeing, but as they walked away from the restaurant, he murmured, "I have to say, I appreciated one thing she said."
"I like the name boss boyfriend."
Potter laughed. "I'm never living that down, am I?"
"I think not," said Severus, smirking.
Potter shook his head, but from the smile on his face, Severus surmised he wasn't too upset.
Severus offered to Apparate them to Scotland, and Potter accepted. They arrived back at Hogwarts all too soon. The moon was almost full, bathing the grounds in silver light, and as they entered the castle to wend their way to Severus' quarters, they were both silent.
At his door, Severus turned to Potter. "A thoroughly enjoyable evening," he said.
"Enjoyable enough that you'd consider doing it again?" Potter asked.
"I would, yes." Severus hummed. "Perhaps my choice of restaurant next time?"
"Brilliant, I can't wait."
They stared at each other for a moment. Potter smiled. "Do you mind if I—" He paused.
Severus raised an eyebrow. "If you—?" he prompted.
Potter huffed. "Oh, sod it," he muttered, and leaning in, covered Severus' mouth with his.
Ever the Gryffindor, Severus thought, and then all throughs skittered away as Potter's tongue snaked into his mouth to wind around Severus'. He only just had the presence of mind to open the door so they couldn't be seen by any passing student.
As soon as they were inside, Potter pressed closer, his hands pushing Severus' robes off and sliding under Severus' shirt to caress skin and flesh. All that extra flesh he now had.
Potter immediately stopped. "Is this all right?" he asked, pulling back to look into Severus' eyes.
"I am not—" Severus swallowed. "I've gained some weight."
Potter's eyes softened. "I've noticed." He licked his lips. "I like it."
"You do?" Severus scowled. "Is this some sort of fetish for you?"
Potter blinked. "I don't think so?" He shrugged. "I've always had a thing for you, but ever since you're filled out a bit—" He exhaled a ragged breath. "Anyway, I like it a lot." He blushed, but gestured to the bulge in his trousers. "As you can tell."
"I see." Severus licked his lips. "Well, I for one am too old to do this against a door. Perhaps in a bed?" He held out his hand.
Potter's smile lit up his face. "Brilliant."
To Severus' surprise, the sex wasn't awkward. There were a few hiccups, like when they bumped noses because they were trying to undress and kiss at the same time, but for the most part he and Potter fit well together. Marvellously so, in fact.
Potter made the most delicious noises as Severus prepared him, and Severus himself was a bit loud as he came spilling inside Potter, but afterward, when Potter made no move to leave, that was when Severus' doubts returned. "Am I too heavy?" he asked, trying to shift away.
"No." Potter's arms tightened around him. "I like having you on top of me." His hands slid down to grip Severus' bum. "Feels nice."
"As long as I'm not crushing you." Severus buried his face in the curve of Potter's neck.
"No." Potter sighed. "I wish we could just have breakfast here."
"Why can't we?" asked Severus.
"Are you mad?" Potter chuckled. "Everyone's already worried about you. We'd have half the staff in here checking on you." He nuzzled Severus' jaw. "And I dunno about you, but I've no desire for any of them to see me naked."
Severus shuddered. "Point."
The next morning, Potter used Severus' personal Floo to get to his own rooms and change, but not before a quick blow job in the shower they shared. Severus was humming when he got to the Great Hall, and, while shooting Potter intimate looks, filled his plate with his usual favourites.
"I see you're feeling better, Severus," Minerva observed with a smile.
Taking a bite of his crumpet, Severus licked his lips, enjoying the way Potter's eyes darkened with desire. "Indeed I am. I've decided life's short. We should indulge our…appetites while we can."
As everyone nodded, and Filius began talking about arrangements for the upcoming Hogsmeade weekend, Severus sat back and traded lascivious looks with Potter. So what if he was bit plumper? For the first time in his life he was enjoying himself, and someone was enjoying him.