Harry woke up gasping for breath, the blankets a sweaty tangle around his legs and waist. He took a few deep breaths to try and calm himself. Another nightmare, but as usual, he couldn't remember what it was about when he woke up. Looking out of the high windows of the infirmary at the darkness of the sky, he knew it still wasn't anywhere near dawn yet. His eyes were sore and gritty, but he didn't want to go back to sleep and the nightmares again. Madam Pomfrey had already given him a dose of Dreamless Sleep but obviously the effects were wearing off.
A few lanterns were lit along the walls, turned to a low flame so that the most Harry could see were skittering shadows along the stone and glass. Christmas Eve and Harry was stuck in the infirmary instead of at the Burrow where he'd been invited to spend Christmas. Even if he hadn't been in the hospital wing, Harry had the feeling that Dumbledore would not have allowed the visit anyway.
Voldemort's attacks were getting worse by the day. Harry knew deep down he didn't want to put the Weasleys in any danger, and if Voldemort or his Death Eaters found out where Harry was over the Christmas holidays, he would be doing just that. Hogwarts was the only place where Harry was protected. In November, while travelling to a bonfire party, all the Dursleys had died in a car accident. Harry wasn't entirely convinced that it was an accident. It seemed very convenient that Harry now had nowhere outside of Hogwarts to go and the Death Eaters knew it. If they could somehow manage to breach the wards, then Harry was as good as dead.
There may have been Trelawney's prophecy, but it didn't guarantee Harry's victory, just that he had to be the one to battle Voldemort for any chance of victory. As Harry had learned over the years, even having magic was no guarantee of anything going the right way. Harry sighed and lay back down, closing his eyes just to rest them, but eventually he fell asleep again.
When he woke, Madam Pomfrey was striding down the ward towards him, a smile on her face.
"And how are we feeling this morning, Harry?" she asked, reaching for the fob watch on her apron and pressing her fingers against Harry's wrist to take his pulse.
"Much better, thank you."
"Good, good. I had a look at your blood work last night, Harry. No ill effects from the Wizards' Flu and you're no longer contagious. I'll order you some breakfast and then you can go. The headmaster wishes to see you in office as soon as you're out of here."
"Oh? Do you know what it's about?" asked Harry.
"I'm sorry, dear, I don't know. Just that he said he needs to see you urgently."
Urgently? That didn't sound good. Harry had vaguely hoped that Dumbledore might have changed his mind and relented on letting Harry visit the Weasleys, but that wouldn't have been an urgent message, would it? Harry's heart thudded against his ribs. Had something awful happened to the Weasleys or Remus?
When the house-elves appeared with Harry's breakfast, he scarfed down the cereal and toast, gulped down his pumpkin juice, but barely tasted any of it, he was so worried. He dressed in a hurry and almost ran up the moving stairway that took him to Dumbledore's office. Harry rapped three times on the wood of the door.
"Come in," called Dumbledore from the other side. Harry pushed the door open and almost passed out when he saw Professor McGonagall seated in front of Dumbledore's desk. Oh, God! It was the Weasleys, something terrible had happened! Harry grabbed hold of the doorframe to try and stop himself crumpling to the ground.
"Potter! You're as white as a sheet! Are you sure you're well enough to be out of the infirmary?" asked McGonagall, rising from her chair and leading Harry over to another chair in front of Dumbledore's desk. As McGonagall touched his arm, the doorway darkened with another visitor; this time it was Snape, who looked curiously at Harry and then at Dumbledore.
"You wished to see me, Headmaster?"
"Ah, yes, Severus and Harry. Do come in and take a seat. We're just waiting for the representative from Gringotts to arrive."
Snape marched in and took the chair McGonagall had recently vacated, leaving an empty one for Harry. Dumbledore waved his wand in the air and conjured a flowery armchair for McGonagall. Once everyone was settled in their seats, Dumbledore steepled his hands under his chin and fixed his blue-eyed gaze on Harry. "Now, Harry, Professor McGonagall is here in the capacity of your Head of House, the nearest thing you have to a guardian at the moment and she will see that everything will be done with your welfare in mind."
Harry nodded, wondering in what capacity Snape was here. He certainly wasn't any type of guardian to Harry. Snape probably wished that Harry had been in the car with the Dursleys that day so he wouldn't have to put up with the boy he loathed any more.
"Today I have received word from Gringotts Bank that the Potters' will has finally been found." Before Dumbledore had a chance to explain anything else, there was another knock on the office door. McGonagall rose to answer it and returned with a goblin in tow.
The goblin bowed to the room in general. "Ragnor Matthias, at your service. Department of Wills and Probate."
"Pleased to meet you, Master Mattias, please have a seat," said Dumbledore, waving his wand and conjuring another chair, this one small enough to seat a child or goblin comfortably.
"I don't understand," said Harry. "My parents left money in a vault for me, I thought that had already been willed to me."
"Ah, yes," said Ragnor. "That money wasn't willed to you, Mr. Potter. That was a savings account opened in your name when you were born and money was added to it until your parents died. The money in that vault is legally yours, and has been ever since you were born, nothing to do with any legacy left by your parents. A lot of families take out savings accounts for their children and add to it every year until the child turns seventeen and an adult in their own right. But that money, once in the savings account, always belongs to the child and would have no bearing on your parents' will, only your own."
"Forgive me," said Professor McGonagall. "But as I understand these things, shouldn't Harry be seventeen before he is legally allowed any inheritance? And anything would be held in trust for him until he reaches his majority?"
"Normally, that would be the case," said Ragnor; he clicked his fingers and a bundle of scrolls appeared on Dumbledore's desk. "But a parent has the right to decide at what age their child should inherit, if the parents die before the child is seventeen. The magic has only just revealed itself today. The Potters wanted their will read today, as there is a very important matter that must be completed before Harry turns seventeen, or all of their bequests go to the Ministry instead."
"What matter?" asked Snape. "I am unsure why I am required at this meeting. I doubt the Potters bequeathed anything to me."
Ragnor untied the ribbons from the scrolls and hunted through them until he found the one he sought. "In a manner of speaking, they have," said Ragnor. "You see, it's part of the will that Harry Potter be bound in matrimony with Severus Snape before Harry's seventeenth birthday."
"What?" gasped Harry. "There must be some mistake." This was a dream. A nightmare. It had to be. This couldn't be real.
"I concur, what madness is this?" demanded Snape.
"No mistake," said Ragnor, taking up the scroll and reading from it. "It is my dearest wish that if the Dark Lord is not defeated by December of my son Harry's sixteenth year, that he and my dear friend, Severus Snape, are wed before my son turns seventeen and preferably before he returns to school for his seventh year of education. I know this must come as a shock to both of you, but please believe me when I tell you that I am not joking, nor taking this lightly. It is important that you both be bonded, a full magical bond, for it is only then that the Dark Lord might be defeated. Signed, Lily Evans Potter, October 30 1981. Signed and agreed by James Henry Potter. Witnessed and signed by Albus Wulfric Percival Brian Dumbledore."
Harry's heart lurched. The day before she died, before both his parents died. And they wanted him to marry Snape? And what was this about Snape being Lily's dear friend? That may have been true, once, but Harry remembered that memory in Dumbledore's pensieve when Snape had called her a mudblood. How could she still consider him a dear friend after that? And then he remembered who had witnessed the will. "You knew?" Harry rounded on the headmaster. "After all your promises that you would tell me what I needed to know! You knew about this for fifteen years and you never even told me!"
"Yes, Headmaster," said Snape. "You knew all along and didn't deign to tell either of us?"
"Albus, how could you?" asked McGonagall. "To keep this news to yourself. No wonder it was such a shock to hear of it today!"
"It doesn't matter," said Harry. "I don't care about the money. Let the Ministry have it, I'm not going to marry Snape and that's that."
"It's not as simple as that, Mr. Potter," said Ragnor. "If you don't marry Professor Snape, then as you are still under seventeen when the terms of the will were read and rejected, you will become a Ward of the Court."
"What does that mean?" asked Harry.
Snape's face lost all colour. "You can't be serious? That was the stipulation in the will? How could the Potters do that to their own child?"
"Will someone please tell me what is going on?" demanded Harry.
"Harry, dear," said McGonagall. "If you become a Ward of the Court, that basically means that the Minister of Magic has total control over you. Over your assets, over your education, over every facet of your life. The Minister will be able to decide who you marry, vet your friends, decide what career you can enter. They can even take you out of Hogwarts, if that's what they wish."
"I'd been afraid of this," said Dumbledore. "Scrimgeour has been making overtures to me. He has been asking about Harry's friends, if there is anyone special in his life. I fear that our Minister has plans to take Harry to wed himself."
"But why would the Minister want to marry me? Why would anyone?" asked Harry, his voice small. McGonagall leaned over and patted Harry's hand, but the gesture did little to comfort him. He had to marry Snape or Scrimgeour. What a choice! Was his life never to be his own?
"Harry, you remember the prophecy, don't you? He will have power the Dark Lord knows not. You have great power, Harry, as did your ancestors before you. You see, Harry, the Potters are a family of Incubi," said Dumbledore.
"What's an Incubi?" asked Harry, dazed.
"Incubus," said Snape. "The singular is Incubus."
Harry almost smiled at Snape correcting his grammar. At least some things didn't change.
"What is it, then?"
Snape turned to Harry and pinched the bridge of his nose, as if he was trying to stave off a headache. "An Incubus is a very powerful magical creature, whose power is greatly augmented every time it has sexual congress. Willing sexual congress, I hasten to add. As a virgin Incubus, your power has not yet manifested itself; rather, it is stored within you, much as a Muggle water tank will store hot water until it is needed."
Harry gaped at him, blushing at being called a virgin, but how had Snape known? How had Snape known any of it? "How do you know all that?"
"We can sense each other's sexual maturity. You haven't had sex yet or I would know."
"You – you're an Incubus too? So why didn't you tell me I was one?" demanded Harry.
"I thought you already knew. I thought that was why we clashed so often in our dealings with each other. Incubi are fiercely territorial and tend to fight when in close proximity. Incubi do not normally mate with their own kind, it's considered too dangerous. Something the headmaster knew already. Maybe he thought you would be better off marrying the Minister."
"No, no way!" said Harry.
"Then you must marry Severus, Harry," said Dumbledore. "For your own good."
Harry laughed hollowly. "My own good? As if you knew anything about that!" snapped Harry. "You sit here in your ivory tower and move us about like chess pieces, not even caring what happens to us!"
"I do care about you, Harry. I've always cared."
"That's a lie and you know it! If you cared about me you would never have sent me to that house! And what about Professor Snape? Have any of you thought about that? He's expected to just go along with this marriage to someone he hates? How could my mother to that to him? How could any of you?"
McGonagall and Ragnor had the grace to look abashed, but Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling behind his glasses and he was still smiling. "So if you are not going to marry Scrimgeour, does that mean you agree to the terms of the will?"
"Professor Snape?" asked Harry. "Do you want to go through with this?"
"I will agree to it, if you will. Perhaps we should both talk in private and let the bank know later this week?"
"Yes, thank you. We should talk things over." Harry nodded. "No time like the present, eh?"
Snape stood up, and waited while Harry did so. "We will have lunch in my quarters and we can discuss things further."
"Thank you, Professor," said Harry, walking out of the headmaster's study. He didn't look back.
Harry had been in teachers' personal quarters before; Remus, when he'd been teaching in Harry's third year, and more recently he'd been to Professor Slughorn's quarters for meetings of his Slug Club. Thankfully, Harry's bout of Wizard Flu meant that he had avoided Slughorn's Christmas party altogether. Whereas both Remus and Slughorn's quarters gave some hints as to the person who inhabited then, Snape's quarters were bare to the point of sparseness. As if Snape didn't spend much time here, or didn't want to.
There was a well-worn brown leather sofa in front of a large fireplace. Two bookshelves took up most of the back wall, but they only had a scant few books on them. There were no chairs at all, no desk or table, so Harry assumed Snape must do his marking in the office rather then in here. The wall above the fireplace was bare, not even a picture or tapestry to take away the chill of bare stone.
Snape waved Harry to the sofa. "Have a seat."
Harry sat at one end of the sofa, almost perched on the edge of it. "Why would my mother want me to marry you? And why would my father agree? He didn't like you."
"I'm well aware of that," said Snape, turning to face the fire so that his back was to Harry. Snape clasped his hands behind his back; he seemed as nervous as Harry was.
"And now they want you to marry someone you hate," said Harry.
"I never hated you. I hated what you represented," said Snape, turning back round to face him.
"And what was that? How much I looked like my father?"
"No, I always thought you had more of Lily in you than James. And seeing you every day just brought it home to me how much I'd failed my best friend. What do you know about your mother?"
"Not a lot," said Harry. "Only what other people told me. My Aunt Petunia never discussed her, or if she did, it was always something derogatory. The Dursleys hated magic, hated my mother for dying and landing them with me." Harry's voice wobbled on the last words. It sounded so simple when said like that, but the truth was far more complicated. "You still haven't answered me. Why would they want me to marry you? Even make it a condition of their will?"
"I assume it was because I was also an Incubus. Your mother was magical, but she had no creature inheritance. Incubi are quite rare, but James Potter was one, as are you, since the inheritance follows the male line. It was my grandfather who was one, too. Incubi share and exchange power through sexual congress, and as they normally mate with human wizards or witches, the witch or wizard will feel an increase in their power as well. However, two Incubi who mate will increase each other's powers exponentially. Every time they have sex, their power will increase further. Their magic will be a lot stronger than if they'd mated with humans."
"So that's why Scrimgeour wants to marry me? To get this power for himself? But how did he know I was an Incubus when I didn't even know?"
"All those with creature inheritance are magically registered at birth. Anyone would just need to get hold of your records at the Ministry."
"Something the Minister of Magic could do at any time. So my parents thought the two of us together might defeat Voldemort?" Harry asked.
Snape's eyes narrowed. "Do not say his name!" Snape hissed through gritted teeth. "Have you no sense? There is power in names; you've been at a magical school for over five years: how can you not know this?"
"Because like a lot of things, no one bothered to tell me!" Harry ranted. "I didn't know I was an Incubus before today and I didn't know we were supposed to get married, either!"
"Something, I too, didn't know before today," said Snape softly.
Harry's anger deflated somewhat. "Dumbledore should have told us, not have it sprung on us like that."
"And when should he have done that? Tell me, Potter, what would you have done if at age eleven you were told you were meant to marry me?"
"I see your point. And if were are going to get married, isn't it time you called me Harry?"
Snape's eyes widened. "You intend to go through with it, then? I'm surprised you're not ranting and raving about how unfair this is."
"My life has never been fair," said Harry. "Ranting and raving won't change any of that. I know you sometimes have to do things that you might not like. But if being married to you helps me defeat You-Know-Who, then that is a chance I have to take. I don't love you."
"Love is rarely a factor in arranged marriages," said Snape. "But over time it might grow."
"An arranged marriage? Is that what this is?"
"Indeed, a lot of wizarding marriages are still arranged by the parents of the parties involved. My mother's side, the Princes, wanted my mother to have an arranged marriage, but she fell in love with a Muggle and ran off with him. If she'd consented to the arranged match, she might still be alive."
"Prince? Your mother's maiden name was Prince? Eileen Prince?"
"How did you know that? Have you been snooping around in my memories again?" demanded Snape.
"No, sir. When I joined Slughorn's class, I didn't have a Potions book, so he said I could get one from the store cupboard. I have your old textbook, and it was your mother's too. Her name was in it as well as the Half-blood Prince. I often wondered who he was."
"Well, now you do. So, Potter – sorry, Harry. When shall we tell the headmaster the good news of our impending nuptials?"
Harry smirked. "In a few days. Let him stew for a bit longer."
"You know, sometimes I think you have quite the Slytherin streak."
"Ah, there might be a reason for that. Did anyone ever tell you about my Sorting?"
Since Harry was the only student who'd stayed at Hogwarts over the Christmas hols, for the Christmas feast he was seated with the staff. Hagrid sat on one side of Harry, Professor Flitwick on the other. Opposite him Madam Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall were giving him concerned glances over the dishes of trifle and cream. Snape was avoiding looking anybody in the eye, but Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling as usual as he tried to egg every body on with a forced sense of jollity. Harry would have preferred it if no one else knew about the Potters' will and what Harry would have to do to agree to the terms. Marry Snape or Scrimgeour. And now that McGonagall knew that he was an Incubus, she would know what marrying Snape meant, too. He would have to have sex with the man. Harry pushed his dessert aside, his appetite gone.
"May I be excused?" Harry asked of no one in particular. McGonagall nodded, a look of pity in her eyes.
"Potter, if you wish to speak with me, please know that my door is always open."
"Thank you, Professor McGonagall. But I'm fine. I'm just going for a walk, to clear my head and work off some of that dinner." Harry smiled at her in what he hoped was a reassuring manner, but he didn't think any of them were fooled.
He made his way back to his dorm to fetch his cloak and gloves, and found Dobby bouncing on his bed. "Master Harry Potter, sir! Merry Christmas!" said Dobby, clicking his fingers so that a squishy parcel landed on the bed.
"Thanks, Dobby, but you don't need to get me presents," said Harry.
"But it's traditional," Dobby pointed out. "And elves is very traditional."
"I suppose they are," replied Harry. He sat down on his bed and opened the brown paper his gift was wrapped in. Inside was a rather long scarf, created out of different coloured squares of wool. It seemed all the colours of the rainbow were represented, as well as some colours Harry had never even seen before. "Thank you, Dobby. It's very – er – bright," said Harry, winding the scarf round his neck. He had to wrap it a few times so that it wouldn't trail on the floor.
Dobby's eyes widened and his lower lip wobbled, as if he was trying not to cry. "Dobby is so glad you like it!"
"It's great," said Harry. "I'll wear it on my walk."
"I have to get back to the kitchens," said Dobby. "The house-elves are very busy getting ready for the next big feast. Congratulations, Harry Potter. We is hoping you and Professor Snape will be very happy together."
Harry coughed. "What? What about me and Professor Snape?"
"Why, your wedding, of course! Professor Dumbledore was down in the kitchens last night and told the elves that we needed to prepare a wedding feast for you and Professor Snape on New Year's Eve. "
"Did he now?" Harry clenched his fists.
"There's ever such excitement in the kitchens. We has never had a wedding at Hogwarts before! And to think that it is my friend Harry Potter who will be the first! It's an honour, sir, an honour!"
"Dobby, things may have been discussed, but nothing has been planned by Professor Snape or myself. We haven't said we are going to get married, not yet."
"But you is going to say yes, isn't you? Professor Snape has been so lonely for a long time, he is always been pining for his mate. But now you're here."
"His mate? What do you mean?"
Dobby bit his lip, as if afraid he'd said too much. "Harry Potter knows that Harry Potter is being an Incubus, yes?"
"Yes, I know that now. But I only found out yesterday."
"And Professor Snape has never told you that he is being your mate? That was very naughty of him, very naughty!"
"Yes, it was," said Harry. Was there anything else people were keeping from him? "I think I need to go and talk to Professor Snape."
"Yes, sir. That is good. And please be asking him what flavour of wedding cake he would like."
Oh, Harry had plenty to ask Professor Snape, but he didn't think wedding cake flavours were going to be high up on the list.
Severus hadn't expected Harry to turn up again so soon, but from the frenzied knocking on his office door he didn't think his visitor could have been anyone else. He waved his wand at the door so that it swung open and Harry marched into the room, his eyes glittering with an inner jade fire. Harry's hair and the shoulder of his cloak were dusted with flakes of snow, as if he'd only just come straight in from his walk outside.
"How long have you known?" Harry demanded. "How long have you been keeping this from me?"
Severus had the impression he had come in somewhere in the middle of a conversation. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"That you're my mate!" Harry hissed through clenched teeth.
"Don't you 'ah' me! Why did no one tell me this?"
"It's not like that," Severus tried to explain. "Incubi don't have predestined mates, it doesn't work like that. Incubi, contrary to popular belief, are usually monogamous. Once they have chosen someone to be with, and after both of them have sex for the first time, then and only then do they become each other's mate. We are no more predestined to be together than any other couple in love who marry. It's your mother's wishes that have set us on this course, not some mystical soul bond."
"But we don't love each other," said Harry, seeming to have lost some of his righteous indignation. "So why did Dobby say we were mates?"
"A house-elf I released from Lucius Malfoy's employ."
Severus couldn't help it, the chuckle emerged before he'd even given it much thought. "I bet the look on his face was priceless."
"It was." Harry grinned at him, a smile so reminiscent of Lily that Severus felt his throat catch. He had let Lily down all those years ago, he wouldn't make the same mistake with her son.
"I don't think anyone had ever thwarted Lucius' wishes before," said Harry
"I suppose not," said Severus. "Lucius was rich and privileged, and he expected everything to conform to his way of thinking. He has no idea what life is like in the real world and thinks we should all bow down to the Dark Lord, because he wants to keep everything pure. I thought we'd moved past the Dark Ages."
"But that's ridiculous," said Harry. "You-Know-Who isn't even a pureblood himself!"
"What? You must be mistaken," said Severus. He couldn't believe that all this pureblood mania could have come from someone who wasn't a pureblood.
"I'm not. When I saw him in the Chamber of Secrets in second year, his memory told me himself. His father was a Muggle. And Professor Dumbledore's been showing me memories in his Pensieve. The Dark Lord is a half-blood."
"That is very interesting, Potter. A lot of the Dark Lord's followers wouldn't be so keen if they knew the truth of his origins. They have bought into this Pureblood mania nonsense, and it is nonsense. Fewer and fewer magical children are being born to Pureblood parents, a lot of them are turning out Squibs. Families who intermarry with Muggles and Muggleborns have a higher rate of magical birth children. The gene pool needs to be expanded, not keep to the same families intermarrying each other."
"So why did Dobby say you were my mate?" persisted Harry.
"I think he probably meant it in a more general sense, that you would be a suitable match, as we are both Incubi."
"Oh, I see." Harry sat down on the sofa, looking exhausted and wrung out. How strange it must be with all of these recent revelations. "If you thought it was nonsense, why did you join the Dark Lord in the first place?"
"The main reason people do a lot of foolish things. I was young and in love and I was flattered by the attention."
Harry almost choked. "You were in love with the Dark Lord?"
Snape shook his head. "No, it was one of his followers. He groomed me and courted me for the Dark Lord's service. Kept saying how great I was and that the Dark Lord was looking for a competent Potions master. He played to my vanity, even though I had to know deep down in my heart that it was all a lie. I have mirrors, I know how ugly I am and yet he made me feel that I was worth something. I had never belonged anywhere before. The rest of Hogwarts despised me because I was in Slytherin and those in Slytherin despised me because I was a half-blood. He knew just which buttons to press to manipulate me and he's been doing it ever since. But I'm older and wiser now. Sometimes I wish I could go to my seventeen-year-old self and give him some advice, but messing about with time could make things even worse."
Harry's hurt lurched. He had never thought about what life might have been like for the young Severus Snape. All Harry had known was the bitter teacher, but he'd never given much thought to why someone might have turned bitter in the first place. Something had to have happened to make Snape feel like he did. Snape's childhood sounded as miserable as Harry's own.
"Dobby informed me that the headmaster told the elves to prepare a feast for New Year's Eve, that we were going to be getting married then," said Harry. "We haven't even told him the date yet ourselves."
"An annoyance, to be sure," said Snape. "But he may have the right of it. If we are to become more powerful and defeat the Dark Lord together, then our bonding needs to take place at a powerful time. The Winter Solstice would have been ideal, but since that has already passed, the turning of the year is the next most powerful time. We will find that our magics will be easier shared at the time. The consummation would need to take place as close to midnight as possible for the best result."
"Consummation? Erm, you mean sex?" Harry squirmed on the sofa, his face flushing.
"You do know we will have to have sex? It won't just be a marriage in name only?" Snape arched an elegant brow and Harry shifted under the scrutiny. Snape had always been so intense and to have that intensity focused on him alone was a bit unnerving.
"I know, sir. I just don't know much about it. Sex I mean." And how Harry dearly wished he would stop blushing now. "The Dursleys were prudes, they never told me anything. If people were even kissing on television, they would change the channel and say it was disgusting."
"I know you are inexperienced, Harry. Remember, I can sense you. It's a pity we have to do this so soon, as you are not yet a fully mature Incubus, but I'm afraid it can't be helped."
"And how will I know when I'm fully matured? Is it an age thing? Like when you come of age at seventeen?"
"No, it's more a physical manifestation."
"Of what?" asked Harry. "Will I turn green or something?"
Snape laughed and it made him look so much younger. "No, Harry. A fully mature Incubus will get wings. They might indeed be green, though; the colour depends on the wizard."
"Wings?" Harry screeched. "I'm going to get wings? That's – that's just so weird."
"For a human, perhaps, but you aren't human and neither am I. Think of wings like an outward sign of sexual maturity, the way human adolescents grow body hair or the females get breasts."
"So I'm to think of my wings like a giant pair of breasts, then?" Harry sniggered, he couldn't help it. He was still a teenage boy, after all, and sex was sometimes very amusing.
"If that would help," said Snape, rolling his eyes.
"So, you already have wings, then?"
"I do. Would you like to see them?" Snape asked, his eyes glittering. Harry felt his breath catch in his throat. Snape offering to show Harry his wings seemed like such a private thing, he would be privileged to see them.
"Only if you want to, sir," said Harry.
"There's no need to call me sir when we're alone, Harry. You may call me Severus when we're alone."
"Thank you, Severus. It would have felt a bit weird to keep calling you 'sir' when we get married. I still think sometimes that this is all a strange dream. But I would love to see your wings."
"Very well, Harry." Snape stood up and began to unbutton his frock coat. He removed it and placed it over the back of the sofa, blushing as he did so. Harry had never thought that Snape would have blushed about anything. Was he feeling a bit nervous too? Severus' hands trembled as he began to unbutton his white shirt, the cuffs first, then the collar and the rest of the buttons. Harry's breath was coming in ragged gasps as he saw the pale expanse of chest revealed. Like him, Snape had no hair on his chest at all and now that Harry looked closer, he saw that Severus' face wasn't just close-shaven, he was smooth there too. There was no sign of stubble at all. Severus saw him looking at his chin and chest.
"Incubi don't grow body hair, much like the Fae. Only hair and eyebrows."
"Oh, I see," said Harry, still embarrassed in the showers with the other boys, when he was a smooth-skinned as a child, although he wasn't one. He'd wondered if there had been something wrong with him, that he wasn't developing properly due to the malnutrition he'd endured at Privet Drive. But Madam Pomfrey had assured him that there was nothing wrong. So there was nothing wrong with him, he was just different, as per usual. Fate had a grand sense of humour.
And then Harry forgot about anything else as Severus turned around, his back to Harry. There were two vertical ridges along his shoulder blades that looked almost like scars. Severus flexed his shoulder muscles and a few moments later, a black-feathered wing emerged from each shoulder. Once the wings were fully out of their sheath, Severus extended both wings and Harry gaped in awe. The wingspan must have been twelve feet or more. "Wow!" Harry said in awe. "They're so beautiful, Severus. May I touch them?"
"Just briefly," said Severus.
Harry held out a tentative hand and stroked the wing nearest to him, the left one. Severus shuddered and Harry was quick to move his hand away. "Sorry, did I hurt you?"
"No, not hurt," said Severus. "Something far more pleasurable."
"Oh," said Harry, the truth dawning. "So touching your wings is to do with sex?"
"Sometimes. It's another part of our body that feels good when touched and if you do it long enough, sexual arousal will often occur."
"Do you know when I'll get wings?"
"It varies from person to person. Anything from age fifteen to early twenties, sometimes even later than that."
"Your wings are gorgeous, Severus. It's a shame you have to hide them at school. But you won't need to hide them from me."
Severus turned around and nodded. "Thank you, Harry. That means a lot to me."
New Year's Eve saw a small gathering in Dumbledore's office. Harry himself, Severus, Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall, the Minister for Records and Ragnor from Gringotts, to witness that the terms of the Potters' will were fulfilled. Everyone was dressed in their best, as if this was a real wedding, an ordinary celebration. Dumbledore was wearing a long purple robe embroidered with silver stars and crescent moons, along with small slivers of mirrors and silver bells that tinkled when he moved. Harry was getting a headache already. McGonagall was wearing a green and black formal robe, for once her hair not in a tight bun, but hanging loose down her back with small white flowers through it. Madam Pomfrey had exchanged her matron's uniform for a deep sea-green robe, her hair, too, hanging loose. Harry had never seen her out of her uniform before and she seemed so much smaller, more diminished without it. Ragnor and the Minister were both wearing black robes, as if they'd mistaken the wedding for a funeral.
But it was Severus' outfit that had Harry staring the most. Instead of his usual black, the Potions master was wearing a wool robe in a deep charcoal grey, with jade green piping around the neckline, cuffs and hem. He'd tied his hair back in a short pony-tail, making his cheekbones even more prominent than usual. His hair didn't look at all greasy today and Harry wondered if his younger self had just imagined the greasy locks, just another thing to joke about with Ron and the other boys. Hermione had never joined in with disparaging any teacher, except for Umbridge. Even Hermione knew there had been something wrong with that foul woman. Severus smiled at Harry and patted him on the arm, as if to put him at his ease.
Everyone else in the office seemed to think that this was a real wedding. It was real, Harry knew that, he just wished it didn't have to be so secret. These scant few people were the only ones who could know about their bonding. It would have been nice for Ron and Hermione to be here, or Remus. Harry knew why it had to be secret. There would be no 'power the Dark Lord knows not' if everyone knew that Severus and Harry shared an Incubus bond.
"Is everyone ready?" asked the minister. Everyone in the room nodded. "Right, Harry and Severus, you stand here in front of me."
They moved into place, with a bit of extra space between them.
"Dear friends and family of Harry and Severus, we are gathered here today to celebrate Severus and Harry's bonding and marriage ceremony. Who gives Severus to be wed?"
Dumbledore strode forward. "I do."
"And who gives Harry to be wed?"
"I do," said McGonagall, with tears in her eyes.
"Severus, do you take Harry James Potter to be your lawful wedded husband? Do you promise to be faithful to him and no other? Do you agree to share your magic and your life with him?"
"I do," said Severus, almost before the minister had stopped speaking.
"And now you, Harry. Do you take Severus Tobias Snape to be your lawful wedded husband? Do you promise to be faithful to him and no other? Do you agree to share your magic and your life with him?"
"I do," said Harry, surprised how strong his voice sounded. The ceremony didn't make him nervous; no, his nervousness was reserved for later that night, when they had to consummate the bond.
"The rings, please." The minister held out his hands and Poppy Pomfrey placed two plain silver bands in them.
"Severus, you may go first."
Severus lifted one of the rings from the celebrant's palms and placed it on Harry's ring finger. "Wear this ring as a symbol of the promises we make here today. May our bonding be lasting and eternal, just like this ring."
Harry took the other ring and placed it on Severus' finger. "Wear this ring as a symbol of the promises we make here today. May our bonding be lasting and eternal, just like this ring."
The celebrant smiled and nodded at both of them. "Harry and Severus have been bonded according to our laws and customs. What magic has joined no man may sunder. I give you Harry and Severus!"
"Harry and Severus!" The room erupted into cheers and soon their hands were being shaken and their backs slapped as congratulations were offered. Trestle tables had been laid out with platters of finger food and bottles of champagne and jugs of juice. Harry found it rather odd that he could get married to Severus, but was still considered too young to have a glass of champagne to celebrate that fact. The Wizarding world was still weird sometimes.
Harry was surprised when Severus poured out two glasses of pumpkin juice, handing one to Harry and sipping one himself. "Didn't you want champagne?" asked Harry.
"I would prefer to be in possession of all my faculties tonight," said Severus in a sultry tone. "I want to remember forever the first time I take you."
Harry's stomach jolted as if he'd fallen down one of the trick steps. Severus had said that with such relish, as if he was really looking forward to being with Harry. As if he really wanted that. Harry had never felt so desired in his life and it send an echoing chime of desire throughout his whole body, not just in his cock and balls, although they seemed rather interested in getting to that part of the proceedings already. Harry was nervous, yes, it being his first time and all, but he wasn't scared. Not anymore.
"How soon can we leave?" Harry asked.
Severus glanced at the large clock on the wall of Dumbledore's office. "It's almost half past eleven, I think we have tarried long enough. Headmaster, Minister, Harry and I must take our leave."
"Oh? So soon, Severus?" asked McGonagall, looking anxiously at Harry. "Neither of you have eaten anything."
"I will get the elves to send something to our quarters. Harry will never go hungry in my care, I assure you."
"Severus, I didn't mean – I know you would never harm Harry!"
"You all have a funny way of showing it. Come, Harry. Let us depart."
Harry nodded and linked his arm through Severus', his husband. Merlin, he was married to Severus Snape! Severus set a brisk pace down to the dungeons and Harry had to do a sort of little half-jog just to keep up with him. It must be those long legs. Harry's mind was a tumult of questions as Severus pushed open the door to his private quarters, but Harry didn't get a chance to ask any of them.
Severus pushed him roughly up against the closed door, the wood rattling in its frame, and proceeded to kiss Harry breathless, his hands on Harry's shoulders, holding Harry in place, as if afraid Harry was going to run from him. He needn't have worried, Harry wasn't going anywhere. This was no soft press of lips; this was a clash of teeth and tongues, ragged breaths and moans as they sought to devour the soul from each other's mouth. Severus pulled his tongue back and traced the seam of Harry's lips, making Harry moan anew and wrap his arms around Severus' waist.
He'd been half-hard after the wedding but he was plunged head-first into the fires of deep arousal and if Severus kept kissing him like that, Harry was worried he might come in his underwear. His cock was rock-hard, pressing against Severus' thigh, and he could also feel Severus' erection pressing against his midriff, the two of them rocking against each other. Severus stopped kissing him, his breath a harsh rasp against Harry's ear. "Bed. Now," Severus ordered in a low tone and Harry almost came undone there and then. Who knew a voice could be so sexy?
"Yes, fuck!" Harry panted, almost writhing with want. Severus grabbed hold of his hand and dragged Harry through the open doorway of his bedroom. If someone had asked Harry to describe the room right then, he couldn't have done it. All he saw, all he needed to see, was the large four-poster bed, the covers turned down by the elves for the night. A black silk coverlet embroidered with silver stars was in stark contrast to the crisp white pillowcases and sheets. On the sheets was a scattering of red rose petals. Harry glanced at Severus in confusion; Severus had never struck him as a romantic man.
"The elves must have done it," Severus said. "It's traditional for a virgin wedding night. Symbolic of the blood shed when you lose your virginity."
"I won't bleed, will I?" Harry asked.
"Not if I have anything to do with it," growled Severus, kissing Harry again and pushing him down on the bed. Harry widened his legs so Severus could settle between them. They kissed for a while like that, arching and rubbing against each other. Harry thought Severus was going to drive him mad with lust before they got to do anything about it. They had too many clothes on!
"Off, off!" Harry cried, tugging at Severus' robe. "I want to feel you. I need to feel your skin."
Severus knelt up on the bed and began to unbutton his robe, smirking in Harry's direction. "As you wish, Husband." Severus slowly undid each clasp one by one. God, this was taking forever! Harry had no patience left. He sat up, grabbed Severus' head and kissed him soundly, before yanking on the clasps holding Severus' robe closed and pushing it off his husband's shoulders. But underneath there were still so many bloody layers! "Divestio," whispered Harry and both of them were suddenly naked in each other's arms. Oh, this so much better! All that smooth skin to rub and rut against. Harry lost himself for a while, kissing and licking his way down Severus' chest to his belly button. He would have continued on his way to that large, thick cock, but Severus pulled him up. "No, Harry. Another time, perhaps. We need to consummate the bond and if I feel your mouth on me I am lost." Severus closed his eyes and squeezed the base of his cock, a trick Harry himself had used to stave off his own orgasms.
That Severus was so close to coming too was so hot!
Severus pushed Harry down against the pillows and licked his neck and the shell of his ear. "You smell exquisite, Husband," said Severus huskily. Harry never knew it was a kink he had, but he adored Severus calling him Husband in that voice. He could even hear the capital letter in his voice. "I can hardly wait to make you fully mine."
Harry let his legs fall open, his nervousness all but gone now. "Then do it, Severus. I want this. I want you."
"Very well." Severus nodded and rummaged about in his bedside cabinet to retrieve a small glass jar, which he set down on the bed. "Have you ever done anything like this before, Harry? With fingers or toys, perhaps?"
"No, no, nothing like that. Just you know, touching myself. Touching my – my cock."
"Then I will take my time preparing you. Lift your legs and bend your knees a bit. Pass me down a pillow, will you?"
Harry grabbed hold of one of the pillows and handed it to Severus, who placed it underneath Harry's arse and hips. Harry blushed, he felt so wide open, so exposed to Severus' intense gaze. "You may come if you need to Harry; you will be having more than one orgasm tonight, I guarantee it." Then Severus bent down and began to lick from Harry's sac right down to his tailbone. Severus was licking his arse! Harry had never felt anything like it. He'd never even known such a thing existed, that such pleasure in the world existed.
"Fuck!" Harry breathed, placing his arm over his face, unable to watch any longer. He'd been feeling close to coming several times tonight and he didn't want to come yet, he wanted to savour this experience for a while longer. Severus was licking him and making the most wonderful sounds, mewling in pleasure, and Harry could feel the bed moving, as if Severus was humping the bed as he enjoyed Harry's arse like some wonderful dessert! Severus grabbed Harry's legs and pushed them up towards Harry's chest, delving his tongue as deep into Harry's arse as he could, holding tight to Harry's legs. Harry's arse felt so open, so wet, and he met Severus thrust for thrust, his cock bobbing from his groin as he fucked himself on Severus' tongue. "Sev'rus!" Harry cried, clutching the bedclothes in his fist, his stomach jolting and his balls drawing up. "I'm gonna come! I'm gonna come!" Harry shrieked as the first pulses left his cock, jets of white fountaining over his cock to land on his chest and chin, his cock not even needing to be touched. His body twisted this way and that, trying to draw Severus' tongue in deeper. Harry grabbed hold of Severus' head and arched his body, screaming with pleasure as he felt Severus' tongue lick all along his inner walls and keep doing it, not letting up for a second "Ah! Ah! Sev'rus! Oh fuck! I'm gonna come again!" Harry moaned and bucked on the bed, his whole body convulsing with the ecstasy of the second climax in as many minutes. Not as copious this time, but it was just as pleasurable all the same.
"You feel a bit more relaxed now, hmm?" Severus asked as he came back up for air. He kissed the inside of Harry's thigh before coating his fingers in the gel from the jar.
"Relaxed?" Harry laughed and flopped back against the pillows. "I think my bones have melted!"
"That's the idea," said Severus with a smug grin. Harry could hardly blame him; Severus had a right to be smug after reducing Harry to a puddle of goo.
"Tell me if this hurts, all right?" Severus pushed his index finger inside Harry, then when Harry showed no discomfort he added another and then a third. The third finger stung a little, but it also gave Harry a delightful feeling of fullness and he arched back, trying to impale himself on those same fingers. Harry gasped out loud when Severus brushed something inside, making him see stars. "What was that? Do that again!" Harry pleaded.
"Ah, the joys of the prostate," said Severus, smiling down at him. "Feels good, doesn't it? Just imagine how good it will feel when touched directly."
"Yesss!" Harry hissed. "Do it! Oh, God, in me! I want you in me! Fuck me, Severus, please!"
Harry's eager begging was having its effect on Severus' state of arousal, too, and he had to take a few deep breaths to calm himself down. He wasn't as young as Harry and if he came now, before he was inside Harry, they would have to wait even longer to consummate the bond. And as midnight drew nearer, Severus knew they had to be quick. Severus had never had such an ardent lover before, as if Harry was desperate for his touch. Maybe it was something to do with the bond that wanted consummated, or perhaps it was because they were both Incubi and knew they didn't need to hide their true nature from each other. Incubi revelled in sex and tonight was no exception. All Severus' previous lovers had been human and he'd never had this need, this craving to be with them.
"We both need to come when I'm inside you, Harry. That will be the best way for the bond to take."
"I don't think that will be a problem," said Harry, stroking his hardening cock. Ah, the joys of youth!
Severus knelt up on the bed after he'd coated his cock with the lubricant and eased himself between Harry's thighs. He positioned his cock at Harry's entrance and pushed inside. There was a little bit of resistance at first and he saw Harry's face scrunch him in pain or discomfort. "Breathe through it, Harry. It does get easier, I promise."
Harry nodded and took a few deep breaths and as he did so, his muscles also relaxed and Severus' cock was welcomed into a hot, tight channel. "Fuck!" Severus gasped, he hadn't expected Harry to be this tight after the rimming and stretching. Harry grabbed hold of Severus' buttocks and tugged him forward and in a few moments more Severus cock was into the hilt, his balls resting against Harry's arse, both of breathing raggedly.
"It feels so full," Harry said, sounding full of awe and wonder, wriggling his hips and nearly sending Severus into orbit right then and there. "Your wings, Severus. Let me see your wings."
Severus nodded and released his wings from their sheath. His wings shook with desire.
"Any pain?" Severus asked, holding still despite his body's urging to thrust and thrust now. He truly had no wish to hurt his husband and he wanted both of them to enjoy this.
"No, just feel full and strange. But in a good way," Harry was quick to reassure him. "It's just different. You can move, Severus. I'm not made of glass. I won't break."
"Thank Merlin!" Severus gasped and began thrusting in a steady rhythm. Soon, that wasn't enough, not nearly enough. Harry pulled on his buttocks again, letting Severus know without words that he needed it rougher and faster too and Severus was only too happy to oblige.
He wrapped his wings around Harry's shoulders and then he grabbed hold of Harry's hips and thrust for all he was worth. Severus was so rough that the headboard clattered against the wall behind the bed. Harry egged him on, moaning with abandon as he allowed Severus to fuck him through the mattress. Severus had never felt anything like it. He was aware of everything: from the sheets beneath them to the ragged rasps of their breaths. Harry's skin was coated with a thin sheet of sweat, as was Severus' own. Everything seemed so much brighter, as if he had suddenly been gifted with sight after being blind for years. Harry's eyes glowed emerald as he kept his gaze on Severus, no longer a shy, nervous virgin. But a lover now, an equal. Severus' insides twisted as he tried to hold back the tide.
"Harry! I – I can't hold on for much longer! You have to come! You need to come!" Severus hissed through gritted teeth, his wings fluttering.
Harry nodded and grabbed his cock, stroking so fast that it was a blur of colour. The slap of flesh on flesh, the scent of sex and their intertwined moans sent a shock of desire throughout Severus' whole body and he willed Harry to come before he himself gave into the inevitable. It was painful holding on this long, but they needed to do it for the bond.
Severus saw Harry's abdomen quiver and then the clench of Harry's arse around his throbbing cock. "Sev'rus! Fuck! Fuck! Oh! Oh Oh!" Harry howled as he came, coating both of their bodies in streaks of white, his muscles squeezing Severus' cock like a vise. Severus couldn't wait any longer; he grabbed hold of Harry's legs and pushed them up towards Harry's chest so he could penetrate his husband deeper and fucked him as if there was no tomorrow. And there wasn't, not really. There was only now and here and his desperate need for release. Severus pistoned his hips, once more, twice, three times and then he felt the climax start in his toes and travel through his whole body. His balls ached.
"Ungh! Ungh!" Severus grunted wordlessly as he came, spilling himself deep inside Harry, his hands gripping Harry's legs so tight there would probably be bruises. The orgasm seemed to last an eternity as he came and came, his cock releasing so much seed that some dripped back out to coat his cock and Harry's thighs. "Harry," Severus gasped out, his throat hoarse. He began to soften and tried to slip his cock back out, but Harry was having none of that. He wriggled his hips and clenched making Severus groan and his cock to harden once more. That had certainly never happened with any of his human lovers before. Severus had just thought it was his age, but he seemed to have no trouble staying hard for Harry.
"Again," Harry demanded, squeezing his arse around Severus' cock once more. Harry's cock was hard again too, standing almost vertical from his groin.
"You're going to be the death of me, Harry," said Severus.
"Only a little one, Severus. Only a little one," replied Harry with a broad grin.
Harry no longer knew what the time was. It was way past midnight, that was for sure, and the New Year had been well and truly celebrated by both of them. They were lying curled up in Severus' bed, dressed in white fluffy bathrobes after Severus insisted they both have a long soak after all their exertions earlier in the night. Harry certainly had no objections to that and the hot water had eased the aches in his body somewhat. He had aches in muscles he never even knew he had. There was no doubt Harry had loved the sex, but he enjoyed this too, just cuddling with someone. Severus had even bathed him in the bath, being so solicitous of his comfort that Harry had to blink back tears. He hoped Severus just thought it was the steam from their bath that had made his eyes water. Harry absently traced his fingers along Severus' robe.
"A Sickle for them," asked Severus.
"I can almost hear you thinking. Are you still sore? Do you need some pain potion?"
"No, no, it's not that," said Harry. "You said these were our quarters? Does that mean I will live here with you?"
"For the rest of the holidays, yes, but you'll need to go back to your dorm when term resumes. You do know our bonding has to remain secret, don't you, Harry?"
"I know that!" Harry ranted, he wasn't stupid.
"But we will need to arrange extra training for you and we need to have sex at least once a week in order for the bond to settle. Your magic will be erratic and dangerous, wild and uncontrolled. Having sex regularly will help maintain your focus."
"So I get to see you for sex and training, is that it?" Harry felt a pang beneath his breastbone at the thought. Is that all this was then? Sex and training?
"Harry, what's bothering you? And don't tell me it's nothing, I know something is wrong."
"You said before that you thought this was like an arranged marriage, that love can sometimes grow. But if you only want to see me for sex and training and in class, how can it? I want to get to know you, Severus. You, the man. Not the teacher or the spy or a member of the Order."
Severus gaped at him. "I had no idea you felt like this, Harry. I thought you would only want to see me where necessary, since this bonding wasn't really your choice."
"It wasn't really yours either, but my parents seemed to think it was a good idea. Maybe they were right. I'd like us to do things together, not just sex. Go on dates, play chess or something, go out to dinner."
"You – you want to go on a date with me? In public?" asked Severus, sounding so surprised.
Harry's chest hurt. He sat up in the bed and caressed Severus' face. "Who hurt you, Severus? Who told you that they wouldn't be seen in public with you?"
"It was your godfather, Sirius Black."
"Ah," said Harry. "That explains a lot, actually. I thought there must have been something more to your enmity than schoolboy rivalries."
"And the fact that he tried to kill me. He was the first person I'd ever been with. I'd been in love with him for months, but we were always fighting and I never thought anything could happen between us. But when it did, I was happy for the first time in years and those two months were like a dream. I should have realised it was too good to be true. We never went anywhere where other people might see us. Black didn't want anyone to know we were together. I say together, but we weren't, not really. He only came to see me when he wanted sex. We never talked, never did anything else. And then he discovered I was an Incubus." Severus' voice was cracking.
Harry squeezed his hand. "You don't have to tell me, Severus, not if you don't want to."
"I think I need to," replied Severus. "If you want to know me. The bad as well as the good."
Harry nodded, steeling himself for the revelation. "He – he pimped me out to the Gryffindors, boys and girls both. He would be with me at first, get me riled up and when I was too far gone with lust to protest, he brought someone else in. It wasn't in my nature to turn down any sex on offer, but I didn't want the others, I'd only wanted him."
"Oh, Severus," Harry said, kissing his forehead. "They raped you, that's what it was, no matter what your nature. He used your Incubus nature against you, he betrayed your trust."
"You – you believe me?"
"Why wouldn't I? Severus, did you tell someone and they didn't believe you? Who?"
"I told Dumbledore, but he just thought I was making trouble. I didn't think you'd believe me over your godfather."
"I'm not sure I ever really knew Sirius," said Harry. "We spent a bit of time together, but he was always taking about my dad and how much I was like him. I think he thought he had his friend back, but I'm not my dad and never will be. I'm sorry you had to go through that, Severus. But I'm glad you told me. It's not easy, is it, talking about things that happened to you?" Harry could still feel the whip of Vernon's leather belt and wondered if he'd ever be free of those memories.
"No, it's not. You feel ashamed, thinking it's your fault, that you must have done something to deserve it. You didn't deserve what they did to you, Harry, and I didn’t ask for it s Black kept protesting."
"You know what they did?"
"Some," Severus said. "Poppy always came to me for nutrition potions and bruise salve after you returned to school."
"Sometimes I'm glad they're dead; is that awful of me?"
Severus shook his head and kissed him. "No, Harry. You can't help how you feel. Your tormentors are dead, from now on we start a new life. Together."
"Do you really think I can defeat him, Severus?"
"I do, Harry. I do. You'll kick his arse."
Harry chuckled and then yawned. "Maybe I will at that."
"But for now, little Incubi need their sleep if they're not to be cranky in the morning."
"Hey, less of the little if you don't mind! And anyway, it is morning already."
Severus smirked and pulled open Harry's robe and glanced down at his cock. Thankfully Harry was far too tired and spent to get another erection. How many orgasms had he had anyway? Seven? Eight? "Hmm, not so little," said Severus approvingly. "But you are cranky."
Harry giggled and punched him playfully on the arm. "Okay, okay, I'll go to sleep. But tomorrow I am going to suck your cock."
"Promises, promises," said Severus, pulling Harry down against him.
Harry snuggled in close. "I never make a promise I don't intend to keep."
"Neither do I," said Severus, kissing his hair. "I promise we'll be happy, Harry. We'll make our own happiness."