Length: 700 words
Warnings: Drag mouse over space if you wish to know: * Fluff... pre-slash *
Summary/Type: Harry and Severus meet at the Annual Ministry Birthday Ball.
Note: It's drabble-ish but I'm entering it in the "ficlet" category for snarry_games
Severus turned to the voice. "Potter."
A taller, older -- good looking -- Harry Potter was behind him. Harry laughed. "Damn. I missed the way you could say my name like that."
"Pardon me?" Severus was confused.
Harry blushed as he replied. "Like... you’ve caught me doing something wrong, but frustrated that you couldn't do anything about it."
"I..." Severus stopped before he found himself explaining. And, perhaps, it was too close to the truth. "How are you?"
A shrug, a flash of a grimace. "Okay, I guess."
Ah! There's a story there! "And your family?" Severus found himself persisting.
Harry's face lit up. "The kids are wonderful. You'll have to come around when you’re available and meet them. They'd love to meet you."
"I seriously doubt that," Severus frowned.
"No, really," Harry grinned. "I've told them all about you."
"I would think that would make me even less welcome," Severus replied dryly.
"No, no, no..." Harry hastened to reply. "I've told them the truth. You're something of a hero to them."
Severus was taken aback. A hero? "I will consider it," he temporized.
"How have you been?" Harry asked. "It's been... oh, my god, it's been almost ten years!"
"I am fine," Severus admitted. "I went... traveling for a number of years. Europe, South America, and even North America. At first to recuperate, but... it was better for me to not be in England."
"Glad you were doing something you wanted to do," Harry replied. "What brings you here today?" He waved a hand at the Annual Ministry Birthday Ball they were both ignoring.
"Draco... insisted," Severus admitted wryly. "When the Minister insists, it's hard to refuse."
"Ha!" Harry snorted. "I got the same request."
The silence settled awkwardly for a moment.
"And Ginevra?" Severus forced himself to ask.
A smaller shrug. "We're... taking a break," Harry admitted softly. "That's not really public but, well, the family knows we aren't doing well."
"How are the children taking that?" Severus asked.
"So-so. Good days. Bad days," he replied. "Lily misses Ginny more than the boys at the moment. I have them most of the time, but Ginny sees them regularly. They're at Andromeda's tonight, since Molly and Arthur are here somewhere. They love their cousin Teddy." He looked around casually. "Molly's taking... our problems... harder than Ginny, to be honest."
“Are you working at all, then?" Severus asked, honestly curious.
Harry hesitated and moved closer. Severus felt Harry’s warmth, and a wash of a spell -- wandless and wordless, the brat has grown into his powers, he mused.
"Sorry, need some privacy for this," Harry said softly.
Something more private than his personal life? Interesting! Severus thought.
"I bought The Daily Prophet five years ago," Harry admitted. "I got tired of the stories they were printing about me... and when I took the time to read the rest of the paper, it was even worse."
"Ah! That explains the change," Severus murmured. "I'll admit to actually reading it regularly now."
Harry grinned. "That's exactly what I was hoping for. Everyone read it because it was really the only daily paper. Now it's the only daily paper with proper news in it."
"You're doing a good thing," Severus admitted.
“But no one knows,” Harry replied. “I stay out of the day to day business.”
The privacy spell washed away. "Come and visit me?" Harry asked. “I’d love to see you, catch up.”
"I won't subject you to the kids, if you don't want," Harry bargained. "They can be a bit much until you know them. Meet me for lunch."
Severus thought for a moment. Nine years, seven months and 13 days was a very long time. "Actually, I will meet your children -- briefly -- at lunch. Saturday. I will meet you alone for lunch when you've settled your marital affairs... one way or the other."
"Professor?" Harry frowned.
"I think you may use my name, since I am no longer your Professor.” Severus lay a hand, briefly, on Harry’s arm. “I may be... friends with a married man," Severus said softly. "I may… consider a completely different relationship with a single man."
Harry's brilliant smile was his answer.