Title: The Ultimate Serendipity

Author: GrapeSmshr

Rated: T

Coupling: HP/SS slashy goodness

Disclaimer: Potter and Snape belong to JKR, but Harry and Sev belong to my heart...

A/N: Dundundun... I'm back! And with a new fic, no less. Don't worry... I'm working on the next chapter of BtBW... I appreciate everyone's support for that fic... So keep an eye out for my update! In the meantime, I hope you like this new little ditty. Read on and enjoy!

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Ah, the joys of summer. While most people would bask in the weather changes and lazy days, Severus Snape was celebrating the fact that he was currently student- and duty-free. After a particularly grueling school year, he finally put his foot down and demanded a vacation which, much to his surprise, he was readily granted.

And thus began his trek across Europe. After visiting a large handful of countries over the span of a month, he was finally on his way home. Currently he was in a little wizarding village in Wales. The friendly, laid-back atmosphere had immediately attracted him, and he had opted to spend the remainder of his vacation there.

He ambled leisurely down the cobblestone street, nodding in greeting to the elderly couple he passed. He was taking in the shops, much preferring the locally owned establishments to the corporate monstrosities. He always enjoyed his purchased wares more when he knew they were crafted with pride.

As he stepped off the curb to cross the drive, a small shop sign caught his eye. It was squeezed in-between two larger shops, very easy to overlook. But Severus was trained to recognize apothecaries, and, after weeks of relaxing, he found himself itching to delve back into one of the few joys in his life.

Entering the shop, he was pleased to see that an expanding charm had been placed on the interior. More room meant more items, which meant more time he could spend browsing.

Perusing the many ingredients, Severus was impressed by the quality and variety of the stock. To be able to keep such a large selection of fresh herbs was the sign of the owner being an extremely skilled herbologist. That, or one was a close friend.

Turning the corner, he paused midstep at the sight of a young man down the aisle. A rather gorgeous young man, who was staring at the shelves with a look of perplexity on his face. Feeling a wave of helpfulness wash over him-or maybe it was something else-Severus decided to offer his expertise. Walking up to the man, he said smoothly, "Excuse me, but I couldn't help but notice that you look confused. Is there any way I could be of assistance?"

The young man had stilled at the voice. He slowly turned and stared at Severus with wide, surprised eyes, recognition of the older man evident.

Severus mirrored his surprise, regarding him curiously. The young man obviously knew him from somewhere. Severus searched his brain for any instance of having met this man-he looked familiar to Severus as well. He would have thought that such a beautiful man would be difficult to forget. "I'm sorry, but have we met before?"

Even more surprised by the second question, the young man blinked before taking a step forward and murmuring, "Yes, professor, we have met before."

At that moment someone called loudly from across the shop, "Oi, Harry, your order of ground saurbeetles is here!"

Using the interruption as an opportunity to escape, he said, "Excuse me," promptly taking his leave.

Completely frozen to the spot, Severus tried to get his mind to wrap around this quite unexpected revelation. Harry Potter. The same Harry Potter whom he had taught for seven long years. The same Harry Potter that had disappeared off the face of the earth almost a decade ago.

Apparently Harry had felt it imperative to take off right after the War, with only a handful of people in actual contact with him-through owling, of course. Every once in a while a colleague would inquire about his well-being, and Minerva-one of the privileged handful-would assure them all that Harry was "more than fine." And it seemed those years had been kind to the man.

Gone was the famous-or infamous-lightning bolt scar, fading along with Riddle's corrupted soul. The round, odd-fitting spectacles were absent, and the dark, unruly hair was, well, still unruly, but a bit longer than it used to be. While still fairly short, he had filled out quite nicely. Severus was not surprised to find himself attracted to the man.

No way was he going to about-face and forget this incidence. He was going to demand answers that he knew he had every right to demand.

Following in the direction that Harry had gone, he spotted the man up at the front counter, hunched over some papers. Walking up directly behind him, Severus said, "Mr. Potter."

Whirling around, Harry hissed, "Gee, pipe down, would you?" He glanced around furtively, then turned a glare in Severus's direction. "The only people around here who know my surname are my business partner and my supplier. You think I want everyone to know that I'm Harry Potter, The Boy Who Finally Defeated Voldemort?" He made air quotations at his last statement.

"Isn't that what I should think?" Severus asked with a smirk.

Giving him a thump on the shoulder, Harry said, "You of all people should know better than that." Shuffling his papers together, he gestured for Severus to follow him into the office. When the door closed behind them, Harry wasted no time in grabbing Severus's face and crushing their lips together fiercely. He pulled away just as abruptly, a self-satisfied smirk on his face.

"Well, wasn't that a pleasant greeting," Severus murmured a bit dazedly, arms wrapping tightly around Harry.

"Did I not say in my last owl to expect such a greeting when we finally got to meet? It has been over nine years, after all."

"And whose bright idea was that?" Severus had been taken aback to receive an owl two years after Harry had disappeared. The message was short-Harry had requested several potions. Alarmed, Severus had sent them, along with a note demanding an explanation. A reply arrived the next week, in which Harry clarified that he was studying different herbs and wanted potions that he knew were made perfectly. Still suspicious, Severus had continued sending owls demanding more information.

Thus began a seven-year correspondence between the two, in which they formed a friendship. Their humorous barbs back and forth had morphed into flirting and eventually into a long-distance romance. They had never rendezvoused in all that time, as Harry was adamant about keeping his whereabouts secret. He mentioned something about possibly being watched. Severus didn't know if it was caution or just paranoia, but he wasn't about to compromise Harry's safety.

To say that he was shocked at stumbling across Harry-by complete chance, the ultimate serendipity-would be the understatement of all understatements. He knew that he would not want to leave Harry now that they had finally met.

"Yes, I know, but it was for a good reason," Harry responded seriously. "In the last two years alone I've discovered at least a dozen rogues trying to off me, two of them damn near close enough to succeed. If it weren't for years of 'constant vigilance' drilled into my head, I wouldn't be standing here right now."

"What? Why didn't you tell me!" Severus demanded, concern and anger battling within him.

"Just for this reason!" Then he softened. "I'm all right. No harm done."

"No harm done!" Severus repeated in disbelief. "You impudent little-" the rest of his words were cut off as he buried his face in Harry's neck, reveling in the fact that he could hold Harry safely in his arms. Sometimes Harry's bravery-or stupidity, as Severus saw it-really was overwhelming. To take on a task of thwarting rogues by oneself was, in fact, extremely stupid. Severus had half a mind to berate the younger man. It was all too tempting to fall back into their routine of bickering professor and student. But this grown-up Harry could take care of himself, quite obviously, even if he did have a ridiculous way to go about it. Severus did want to hear more. Really, there was much to talk about, but he was far too interested in something other than talking at the moment.

Before he could even attempt anything, a voice interrupted, "Hey, Har, I've got those-oh, bugger."

"Hey, Neville, come on in," Harry invited.

"Longbottom!" Severus stared at the man incredulously. He thought he had escaped his former worst pupil years ago. Was there going to be a Gryffindor reunion party later that day?

"Professor Snape, nice to see you again," Neville answered cordially, extending his hand toward the older man.

Eyeing him warily, Severus grasped Neville's hand, blinking at the firm grip. It seemed Longbottom had finally gotten over his timid manner. "Business partner?"

"Supplier," Neville corrected, turning to shake hands with Harry. "For, oh, almost six years now?" He looked to Harry for confirmation.

"Just about," Harry answered, beaming. "Best move I ever made."

"You're just saying that because I give you good discounts," Neville teased.

"That, too," Harry admitted with a sheepish laugh. To Severus he said, "Neville is fairly well-known around the area for his herbology skills. He can make practically anything grow!"

Smirking pointedly at Harry, Severus asked, "Including braincells?"

Harry smacked Severus on the arm playfully. "I'm sure he could if he tried."

"But I'm not going to," Neville interrupted, cheeks faintly pink from the praise. "I do need to be off, though. I'm internationally flooing to Luxembourg for a special delivery." He handed Harry a bound roll of parchment. "Just look these over, and we'll discuss it all next week. Until next time, professor," he gave a small wave to Severus, who nodded in return. "See ya, Harry."

"Next week, then." Harry watched as Neville disappeared into the fireplace in a cloud of floo powder. Then he turned his attention back to Severus. "Now, where were we?"

"I believe you were going to venture into a tale about your new life," Severus supplied as he ducked out of an embrace. Once Harry got within touching distance, he knew that talking would be furthest from his mind. It still was, actually, but at least a respectable distance allowed Severus the willpower to keep from jumping Harry then and there.

Eyebrows furrowing in an unintentional pout, Harry acquiesced and slid into the chair behind his desk, hands crossing behind his head as he leaned back. "Fair enough. What do you want to know?"

"Everything."

And so Harry launched into the tale of how he had stumbled upon the shop by accident and became fast friends with the elderly witch who owned it. When learning of his friend's failing health, Harry had taken it upon himself to find out all he could in the apothecary field so he could try to help. Unfortunately, his efforts were too late, and his friend passed.

Harry was more than surprised to learn that the shop, which had meant everything to his friend, had been willed to Harry. So, in her memory, Harry had put all his time and energy into running the shop.

When business began to overwhelm him, Harry took on a partner, a squib who was nothing short of genius in finance and business strategies. Then Neville, whom Harry had kept in contact with, had offered to help supply the shop. Six years later, they were still going strong.

After listening to his tale, Severus huffed indignantly, "If you had told me, I could have assisted you."

"I know you could have, which is why I kept it to myself. I wanted to do something on my own," Harry explained, standing and crossing over to the other side of the desk.

"It's been nine years..." Shaking his head, Severus took Harry's hands and held them tightly. "Are you quite finished doing something on your own?"

"Oh yes, quite," Harry answered, nodding adamantly. He leaned in close and smiled. "I'm not planning on being alone for a while."

"Or ever," Severus corrected, hand reaching up to brush back Harry's fringe.

"You know I can't leave..."

"But I can."

"What about Hogwarts?" Harry protested. Far be it from him to deprive the school of its world-renowned potions master.

"I have given that school years of attendance and service. It is time to move on. Minerva will understand." Yes, Severus would greatly miss Hogwarts, his sanctuary. Not the teaching bit-he could live without the constant droning incompetence. But if he left Harry to return to teaching, he knew he would regret it with every fiber of his being.

The decision really was a no-brainer.

"So you're completely serious."

"Completely."

Harry was taken aback by Severus's declaration. Not often was he dumbstruck. Or this deliriously happy. In a rare moment of selfishness, he wasn't about to try to persuade the man to continue teaching. No, it had been too many years, and Harry wanted to start a family. With Severus.

And be deliriously happy together.

Pulling Severus into an embrace, Harry murmured, "You do realize that I'm planning on keeping you.

"Oh, I'm banking on it."

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One year later...

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"Here you are, Mrs. Wickham, one week's worth of burn salve." Severus handed a jar to the young woman. "Apply it every six hours to your arm, and it will heal right up."

"Thank you, Mr. Snape. You truly are a dear." She took his hand, squeezing it gratefully.

"Only to you, Mrs. Wickham," he said with a hint of a smile.

With a wave, she left the shop.

Coming up behind him, Harry leaned over and whispered in his ear, "Your people skills are a real turn-on." Reconsidering, he added, "Anything you do is a turn-on, actually."

Smirking, without turning around Severus reached behind him and ghosted a hand over Harry's backside. "Hmm, good to know."

"Sev, no fair," Harry complained. "Now I'll be thinking about your hands the rest of the day."

"Then my work here is done," Severus announced in satisfaction. He did so love to tease and torture Harry. He never admitted that Harry had the same effect on him, but he knew that Harry knew.

Since moving in with Harry, the two had been inseparable. They spent their days working in the shop and their evenings wrapped around each other. It was sheer bliss. Or, as Harry so colorfully put it, delirious happiness. Having never been in such a place in his life, he didn't want the feeling to end.

Harry lightly touched Severus's arm, startling him from his introspection. "All right there?" he asked in concern.

"Never better," he reassured Harry, whose features visibly relaxed at the words. And he meant it. Life couldn't possibly get better.

Hugging the man from behind, Harry whispered, "Bond with me?"

Stilling, Severus's eyes bugged out, his jaw slack. Did Harry just ask... "Did you just..."

"Propose? Yes. Do you accept?"

Without missing a beat, Severus pulled Harry in front of him and kissed him soundly. "What do you think?" he murmured against Harry's lips.

Harry grinned wickedly. "I don't know. I may need a more clear-cut answer."

"Then by all means, let me be more specific." Grasping his hand, Severus led Harry to their office, where Severus proceeded to thoroughly demonstrate just how much he accepted.

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Yay, I finished something! I'm so proud of myself. I had lots of fun writing this... Clueless Sev is sooooooo entertaining! I hope you enjoyed it to pieces. Thanks for reading! Until next fic, then. Peace out!