Touch

Pairing: Hrothbert of Bainbridge (Bob)/Harry Dresden
 
Category: Unresolved Sexual Tension, Teacher-Student Relationship, Slice of Life, POV First Person
 
Rating: PG
 
Summary: There are urges you act upon and there are urges you don't. Then there are the ones you probably never will act upon in your elaborate game of chicken.
 
Notes: Written for Boij.
 
Written in the TV universe. Although I kinda didn't have time to watch after 6th or 7th episode, so I'll stick it in there somewhere. Another reason to write in the TV universe: Semi-corporeal DeadBob! *sniggers* And yeah, yeah, I'll catch up one of these days...
 
Word count: 852

I rub my eyes tiredly before deciding any more tinkering with this potion could quite literally blow up in my face. It's nothing important, but I try to keep a certain number of potions around just for the sake of... well, having them in case I'll need them later.

You can never have too many potions that can strengthen one's stamina or maybe one that would clear the head, boost the thought process. The secret to the latter is a lot of caffeine, by the way.

There's a charging of the air behind me but I finish putting the ingredients aside. This is my lab, the door's closed and no one gets in here without my consent. Well, unless we're talking big, powerful demons or something equally strong. The door's only so impenetrable and magically shielded.

Not that I need to worry tonight, because the tingling feeling at my shoulder is familiar. It grows and I know there's a hand, or at least the spectral image of one on my shoulder. It's kind of hard to explain about Bob. He helps me when he can, whether he wants to or not. The size of the bribe varies by how much he thinks he can gain from it.

I don't really mind. I'll bicker with him, but we always reach an agreement. It only bothers me when I'm in a hurry.

The feeling of low level electricity moves to the base of my neck. It makes the small hairs of my neck stand to attention.

"You're tense, Harry," Bob says, not unkindly. Our relationship is... a little odd. He was my teacher for a long time and when... I shake my head to clear the memories.

Let's just say, that however much he needles me about letting him out to play, about... well, about watching me having sex with someone, he's been a much needed constant in my life since I was a kid.

Even if Bob's touch isn't physical as such, I can feel his spirit energy against my skin. He's making sure his hand doesn't pass through me, so don't come to me saying that he doesn't know where the line is.

He knows damned well that it creeps me out.

"You of all people know that spell casting and potion making requires a clear headed approach," Bob goes on, his voice pleasant and with a hint of fondness. As much as we sometimes bicker, he cares about me. Even if he mostly tries to hide it.

I'd like to think it's not just because I'm his master, but there are some dark days where I have my doubts.

"I know," I reply. "I was going to stop for tonight and go to bed."

Bob's hand slides a little higher, 'touching' me where my neck and skull connect. I've never told him why I think it's creepy that he goes through me, physically. It's not just that having someone, who's been dead for ages, passing through you, the energy also gets my body going in other ways.

You need it spelled out? Let's just say it's not just the hairs on my neck that stand to attention, okay?

I can't explain it. I'm not sure if it's because of the sizzle of magic, of spirit energy or if it's because it's Bob. I used to be a little afraid of contemplating the latter.

These days? I don't know. I think Bob might be on to me. He's not dumb and he's got so many years of knowledge on me, that I refuse to believe he doesn't know what his touch does to me.

As I push the chair back and stand, it takes a moment before Bob steps away. If he had a breath to feel, it would be brushing against the side of my neck, against my ear.

The phantom touch of my imagination sends a shiver through my body.

"It's cold down here," Bob says as he finally steps back, pulling his hand away as well. "Wear another sweater the next time."

Yes, Bob does choose the dumbest times to go paternal on me. He worries, I know. Maybe he's just giving me a way out. I'm not about to tell him that it's not the cold getting to me.

At least not tonight, not yet... maybe it will never happen.

Bob says his goodnight and returns to the skull, the hollow sockets glowing red for a moment before they fade to darkness.

No, I didn't tell him tonight, I probably never will. It's like this elaborate, turned-around game of chicken. We keep doing this odd dance until one of us either leaves or drags it into the harsh light of day.

He can't leave, you know. That eliminates one option, I think to myself, a small smile pulling the corner of my mouth up as I turn out the candles and walk up the stairs from the lab. And I've grown far too accustomed to having him around, so I'm not going anywhere either.

We'll see for how long we can keep that little game going.

The End