"Begin, please. I do not have all night to sit here while you fiddle with your strings."
Harry sighed and glanced over his shoulder. "They're not strings. They're wires."
Severus shrugged. "Call them what you wish." He ignored Harry's frustrated mumbling and grinned at the young wizard while his back was turned. But when Harry swung around abruptly, suspicious of the quiet, his lover's scowl was in its usual place.
Severus raised one eyebrow. "Problem with the…wires?"
Harry's eyes narrowed at the question. "Are you laughing at me?"
"I hope that's a rhetorical question because otherwise you require new glasses."
Harry shook his head. "I mean," he said, and Severus didn't bother hiding the grin anymore, "do you think this," he waved at the computer he was setting up, "is another stupid idea."
Severus bit the inside of his cheek. Maintaining a straight face at this point was more difficult that lying to the Dark Lord. "I…withhold judgment. Until I see what it does."
Harry beamed. "More like what it doesn't do."
Harry rolled his eyes and waved him off. "You'll see," he said as he turned back to the many wires snaking from the device.
"One hopes…and before the spring."
Harry mumbled something from underneath the table.
"I bed your pardon?"
Harry groaned. He crawled from beneath the table and summoned another chair. Plopping down, he turned to his lover with sparkling eyes. "You're gonna love this."
Really? Whatever. It had been worth it just to watch Harry squirm around underneath the table for the past hour. "If you insist."
Severus regarded the device suspiciously as it clicked and whirred. Discreetly, he moved his chair back a few inches. "Is it safe?" he sneered.
"Actually, that's a subject of much debate among Muggles. But most agree it's a priceless tool for all manner of tasks." Harry's tongue peeked between his teeth while he punched tiny lettered keys. Severus was entranced.
By the tongue, that is.
The noisy machine he could do without. He thought it best to act interested, however. Harry had gone to a lot of trouble setting it up.
"You say you keep one of these in your classroom?"
Harry nodded. "The students love it."
Severus snorted. "Anything to get out of practical work, I'm sure."
Harry laughed and shook his head. "This is practical work, Sev." He scooted his chair closer to Severus. "Let me show you."
"Very well," Severus murmured. Gods, Harry's hair smelled good. He leaned closer to enjoy the scent again, but Harry grinned and moved further away, obviously believing his lover wanted to see the screen. Severus scowled.
And lost his patience.
"Well? What does it do?" he boomed.
"Well, what do you want it to do?"
Severus adopted an evil expression. Let's put this foolishness to bed once and for all, he thought. And then maybe they could go to bed. "I want to know how many cups of tea are consumed each year in this country." He couldn't help a self-satisfied smirk.
"Okay. But I would have thought with your intellect…well, never mind." Severus watched while Harry punched a few keys.
"There. One hundred and fifty billion. Approximately." Harry shrugged and smiled at his lover. "I'm sure they don't know exactly down to the last cup."
Severus felt his focus shift. The string machine may have some promise after all.
"You discovered that fact by punching a few buttons?" Harry just nodded and grinned.
Severus shifted forward. "What else can it do?"
"Just about anything, really. Some people use it to play games, others to gather and distribute information. But most use it to communicate, in one way or another."
Severus had completely forgotten about Harry's perfumed hair. He pushed impatiently at his young lover. "Let me try."
Harry laughed and moved aside. "Go ahead. Have fun."
Severus scowled over his shoulder at Harry. "I do not plan on having fun. I plan on investigating this device's uses. Perhaps its more beneficial qualities can be adapted to our world." He glanced back again when no response seemed forthcoming. Why, that little brat! Harry was laughing at him.
"Whatever, Sev. Do you want me to show you how to surf the Internet?"
Severus waved him off. "Perhaps some other time. But don't let me hold you back. Feel free to go surfing. I will stay and analyze this mechanism."
Once again, Severus's concentration was broken by his lover's hearty laughter. But before he could rise to true anger, Harry leaned forward and kissed him. For a moment, Severus forgot about the machine. For a moment.
When Harry pulled back, his cheeks were flushed. "I've changed my mind. Let's go to bed."
Harry blinked. "What?"
"You must return this to your class tomorrow, correct? Well, then tonight is the only time for me to conduct my research."
Harry's eyes narrowed. "I see." He shrugged. "Right, then. I'm going to grade some papers. Call me if you need anything."
"Mmmm." Severus had already turned back to the monitor and was gingerly pushing the mouse back and forth. Harry made sure he chose a seat close by to do his grading. Strictly for the entertainment value, of course.
"What is an email address?"
"You don't have one."
Severus frowned. "It says I need one."
Harry peeked over his book. "What are you doing?"
The mouse scurried across its pad. "Nothing. Never mind."
Strong arms circles his neck and warm breath tickled his face. "Are you done? It's getting late."
"Yes, yes. In a moment." Severus turned from his perusal of the article. "Did you know Elvis Presley is alive?" he asked. He shook his head in wonder and turned back to the screen. "All these years he's been in hiding in Africa."
Harry muffled his bark of laughter against Severus's neck. His lover shot him an annoyed glance. "What?"
"Nothing." It would be worth a lot, quite a lot, if he could get Severus to announce that little tidbit at the next staff meeting.
Harry stood and stretched. "I'm going to bed." He leaned down again to nip at his lover's ear. "Don't stay up to late."
"Harry, are you asleep yet?"
Harry struggled back to wakefulness from his near unconscious state. "Um…yes."
Severus sat down on the edge of the bed. Still fully dressed, to Harry's annoyance. He reached up to finger the collar of his lover's robe. "Need some help with this?" he asked.
"No, thank you. What is fan fiction?"
Harry sighed and dropped his hand back to the bed. "Stories based on Muggle television shows, movies and books."
Severus cocked his head, eyes blazing with curiosity. "Why would anyone write or read such things?"
Harry grinned and snuggled back into the blankets. "Why not try it and see. But, do yourself a favor. Stick to the stories that say 'slash'."
Harry shot up in bed. "What? What's wrong?" He shook his head, hoping to dispel the cobwebs. After a moment, his vision cleared and he saw Severus standing by the bed. The man was still dressed, damn it!
"What is a blog?" His very overdressed lover asked.
"Forget it. I'll Google it. Go back to sleep."
Harry woke to a dark room – and a cold bed. Clenching his teeth, he threw the blankets back, got up and stalked to the sitting room. With no warning, he reached around his hunched lover and shut down the computer.
"Time for bed."
"How dare you? I was right in the middle of that."
Harry switched tactics. He slid into his lover's lap, letting his sleep pants drag even lower over his hips as he did so. "You can use it whenever you like, just come to my classroom. IT is not going anywhere."
Severus stiffened. "Are you indicating that you are?"
Without the light from the computer screen, only the dying embers in the fireplace lighted the room. Shadow Harry took Severus's face in his hands. "I could no sooner walk away from you than cut out my own heart."
The words had been whispered, but the power behind them shook Severus to the deepest corner of his soul.
He swiveled in the chair, catching Harry in his arms and pulling him into his lap. He matched Harry's whisper. "Not even to save yourself from my cruel insensitivity, my disregard for your intelligence and talent, and my inability to demonstrate the affection I know you crave?"
Harry smiled. He carded his hands slowly through his lover's black hair. "Even with all that. I don't doubt your love for me."
"You will never have a need to." Scooping Harry up, he carried him through the door into the bedroom. "And now, I shall prove it to you."
Later, they lay tangled together, too tired and sated to even murmur a cleansing spell. Finally, Severus shifted and murmured Harry's name.
"Hmmm?" Harry responded.
"When are your classes finished tomorrow?"
Harry smiled into Severus's chest. "Want to go out?
"No," he snorted. "I need to know what happens to Aragorn and Legolas."
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