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CHAPTER ONE

It’s a need. I don’t know how to describe it. It isn’t something they cover In What Every Young Wizard Should Know. And I think that even if I had parents this isn’t something I could talk about with either of them. I sure as hell can’t tell Ron or Hermione. One would go running for the nearest library the other would just go running.

I’m not sure even how to describe it to myself. I look fine on the outside in control, in charge, capable, dependable. The steady rock of the wizarding world, that’s me. Gods, that’s so not how it feels on the inside. There is no middle ground for me. There never has been. Not self-pity but knowledge. The gap between who they - the ever present ever anonymous they - need me to be and what I feel I need on the inside is deep and getting deeper. Why can’t any of them see that I can’t carry this anymore? I can’t be their savior 24/7. I can’t save myself from drowning how in the hell do they expect me to save them? Why can’t there be a place, a person, a something that will let me lay this burden down? Gods, I promise to pick it back up again but I need to release it, if only briefly.

I want - - I need -- to find someone who is willing to lift this from my shoulders. There has to be someone out there who is willing to take charge, to be responsible. Someone who is able to set me free even briefly from deciding anything. Someone who will tell me what do, what not to do. Someone has to have the opposite of the burning need in me.

Somewhere, in my dreams occasionally, I can see him. I can see that there is some one who knows how to feed this need, how to control these feelings this need to give up control. I feel him binding me, holding me secure with the leather around my arms, the collar around my neck, in the knowledge that he knows what I need. Understands why I need these ropes, these restraints, these commands, and this silence. This precious space to be not a savior, not an icon, not in charge, just to be.

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

I listen. I listen a lot in the dorms, in the locker room, in the Three Broomsticks. The-boy-who-lived more like the boy-who-lived-to-listened. I wonder how they know what they want, who they want. And how do I know that what I want, what I need is not what Parvati sees when she looks at Seamus, what Ron sees when he gazes at Hermione.

And as I’m listening, I feel them watching. Their eyes hungrily following my every move down the corridors, through the streets of Hogsmeade and over the Quidditch pitch need to believe that I know what I’m doing. So I stand tall, walk bravely and prepare to die. Their needs come first they always have from the day of my parents death I have been groomed for this. But do I get what I need? Where do I go to fill this space?

Where did I learn to dream of leather straps and of waiting and of wanting? What does it mean that my dreams are populated by silences and the voice of command? From where did I get these images that haunt my sleep so? While I am listening to tales of stolen hugs and kisses, my mind wanders off into the sound of the whip that Hagrid uses to attract the attention of the thestrals or sudden grip of a hand at the back of my neck. While my dorm mates talk of soft cushions, sweet nothings and things most gentle, my dreams have sharper edges, firm commands and are harsh when they need to be.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

Standing outside of the King’s Cross station I find I have a sort of invisibility out here in the Muggle world. Their eyes see only a badly dressed teenager sitting on a trunk. I am not theirs so their eyes and minds just move right over me. I am very glad of that as I watch them move about their daily business.

As I see the man in the business suit stop and tie his shoe. Concentrating on the placement of the shoelace, tying the knot just so, using just the necessary amount of concentration focused so closely on one small thing. I wonder what it would be like to have that concentration focused on me.

I watch the group across the car park from me. Free to dress as they wish. They are here in the daylight with leather bracelets and what look like dog collars. There, that girl reaching for the head of the boy beside her, pulling him back by his hair without a word spoken aloud. The apology is on his face as his head drops back down to gaze at his feet but he doesn’t seem to have said a word. Are they like me? Do they understand this need I have growing in me? Or is it just a fashion statement?

Shit, the Weasleys are here already. I had hoped for more time. I place the mask of ‘Happy Harry’ firmly back in place and go to meet them on the way to back to Platform 9 3/4s.

CHAPTER FIVE

My mind’s still back in London instead of racing ahead to Hogwarts as it usually does. The aimless random chatter creates an almost soothing background as I look back on that hand digging in to the hair on that boy. I run my fingers through my own tousled hair grabbing at it wondering how it would feel to have someone direct me like that. Reminding me that I do not chose, that coming to …

I need more information. Am I as sick in this world as it seems I am in the Muggle? Where do I find the answers? All I have are more questions. Why? How do I ask for this? How do I let someone know that I need him to be in charge? That showing up is the first and last decision I can make.

If what I need is control and restraint why doesn’t life at the Dursleys fulfill that need? Is there anymore controlled environment than living with Muggles that hate me, that curse my very existence? Or is that where the difference begins living with the restraints of hatred I now look for it everywhere, that it is all I can trust?

And my mind wanders off again to that man tying the laces of his shoes. So focused, so precise, so controlled. And I wonder once again how it would feel to have that much attention focused so directly on me. And a shiver runs down my spine.

CHAPTER SIX

 

“Place your hands above your head and grasp your elbows. Yes just like that. “

I feel the laces binding my arms together, feel slight pull as they are place at the cross bar at the head of the bed, and hear the click of the metal latches as my arms are firmly locked into place. I drop my head back trying to see what my arms look like, arching my neck.

“None of that. No one told you that you could move.”

The slithering feel of something soft slides along my sides and up my neck. Fighting against the shivery feeling I open my eyes, stretched taut in front of them is a blindfold. And it is placed over my eyes with care though not carefully. Just tight enough to remind me that is there even with eyes closed.

A simple touch running down my outstretched arms and across my chest, leaving a trail of cold fire behind. I know that my struggles not arch into the touch are observed, cataloged and will be remembered.

“Lovely, so very lovely, but something is missing” The voice is calm, calming and yet arousing all at the same time. My master’s voice? “Bring your legs together. Yes like that.” A hand reaches down and lift my cock and balls -so heavy so full against the leather glove- lifting them, stretching them placing them just so they rest at the top of thighs, my cock quivering as it points to the ceiling.

 

I feel the binding begin under the arches of my feet, across their tops and around my ankles, the rope crossing front and back over my calves up my legs stopping just short of where my balls are resting. The edge of the knot just where I can feel it unyielding against my sac every time I shudder.

 

Awakening. Spent, I curl around my pillow and sob. Lost and needy and desperate.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

Gods, they are staring again, watching, weighing, waiting. Just the feel of their eyes is enough to make me want to run screaming into the night.

I summon the feelings back. The ones that woke me: safe, exposed, secure, vulnerable, cherished, scared, needing and needed. Complex webs of contradictions like everything else in my life.

‘ Normal Harry’ goes to class.

‘Strong Harry’ practices to defeat the Dark Lord.

‘Sports Harry’ plays Quidditch.

‘Laughing Harry’ plays pranks.

‘Happy Harry’ goes to meals

All the masks have places to go and things to do.

And I am lost in them.

Directionless, floundering, placing my needs in the bottom of what is passing for my soul. Wondering when the needs of the one can become equal with wants of the many. Wondering if they ever can be. Knowing this for the selfish desire that it is. Selfish is wrong. This need is wrong but it is oh so strong. A defiant coal at the bottom of my being. The barest ember of what I feel it could be, of what my dreams tell me it should be - a blazing fire of glorious surrender.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

“Take your place.”

I never thought to hear that voice in the waking world. Calm and controlled, strong and restrained the one that belongs to my dreams the one that knows what I need, what I crave. That voice that calls forth responses I don’t know how to give… yet. That answers the questions I have before I know to ask them.

That voice that speaks to me in a tongue that no one else seems to hear. The one that ignores my ears and plays directly to the dark of the unmet needs that live in hidden corners. Those needs that he is so supremely unaware of.

As dark and bitter as strong coffee, as necessary as air, as measured as a three drop of a dose of Vertiaserum, as cold as chain, as warm as sweaty leather: That Voice.

“I will not repeat myself again, Potter. Take. Your. Place.”

I almost drop to my knees right then and there. That is my proper place, isn’t it? I am rescued by someone who pulls me onto my stool. Shit, I lost track of where I am, of which mask I am wearing now. I dig into my book bag for my quill. I don’t want him to see the blush on my face. Or see a lack of comprehension on his face. Or is it a look of understanding that I fear?

There is that voice. It exists in the waking world. It is real. I wonder why it has taken me so long to recognize the authority in that tone. The measured sound of strict control coating a burning passion, a need unmet like my own? It is that voice and it is real.

“Ten points from Gryffindor.”

Is he speaking to me?

“And Potter, I will see you tonight for detention.”

 

CHAPTER NINE

 

I know what I saw in the laboratory this morning.

I know I saw the Potter boy almost fall to his knees at a very simple command to take his place. Words I have uttered a million times over in the course of his career here. I wonder if the Weasley boy had not grabbed him if he would have finished that move or if he would have come to his senses?

I know what I saw in him this morning.

The question is, does he know? Does he even suspect what such an unthinking response signifies to me? Does he even know there are others like me? Like he appears to be becoming? What a gift this wondrous riddle is. If that is it is at it appears to be.

I know what I saw this morning.

I do not know what I shall see in detention this evening.

A slow smile of anticipation rolls across my face and disappears. I can wait. I can watch. I can test. And I will.

Oh yes, I know what I saw this morning.

 

CHAPTER TEN

I watch and I listen as always. Nothing new to hear here just repeated comments about my unfair detention. Detention? I received a detention? That voice spoke to me and I can’t remember a word it said. I still can’t believe I heard that voice in the waking world and it belongs to Snape.

In a daze I make my way through the halls to my afternoon classes. My mask is seems to be in place now. Harry Potter goes through the motions. Harry Potter walks among them from Potions to Charms to the library.

I need to take time to replace my mask, to fix to it firmly back onto my face. There is no need for anyone to question the direction of my thoughts. No need for anyone to know I look forward to detention tonight with an uneasy fascination. No need for anyone to try and look behind the mask and see the darkness that is lurking there.

I watch and I listen. I appear as myself. I answer questions, attempt today’s Charm and still my mind is there in the laboratory seconds from dropping to my knees. Did he notice? Was my reaction pronounced or was it just Ron being Ron that makes me feel that it was? His grabbing me to pull me on my stool, asking me if I felt all right just evidence of typical Weasley concern.

I watch and I listen. I wonder. I hope. And I fear.

Chapter Text

Ah a day of enjoyable surprises.

It appears that the boy has grown behind my back. These seven years of Quidditch and the extra work he put into learning to defeat Voldemort have made him lithe and graceful. I wonder if he is as limber off of a broomstick as he is on one. I wonder if he shall allow me the chance to find out exactly how flexible he truly is or if I shall have to manufacture my own opportunities?

For today I shall manufacture some opportunities of my own.

Is he following me?

Or is it my imagination working overtime? No, not even my imagination, no matter how feverish, would place him in the library just after Charms. He was bent a bench by the window redoing the lacings of his boots. Pulling the leather up and tight against his legs, exactly, precisely pulling the bootlaces through each hole, keeping each lace taut and crossing them just so as he weaves his way up his own leg. And I shiver with need.

His eyes stray from his roll of parchment and fasten on me. Gazing up from under his lashes as if those lovely dark crescents could shield his thoughts from me. Those expressive eyes are looked on my legs as I re-lace my boots. Yes, I have his attention. Such a fun little test and I have enough time for several more. I have not enjoyed myself this much at work in years

CHAPTER 12

Quidditch practice. Team drills and solo snitch hunting. Gods, I need the freedom of being in the air. In the locker room I adjust my wrist and shin guards, pulling the straps until they bite. Just tight enough to be beyond snug but so tight as to keep me from… Don’t go there, Harry, this is Quidditch. Keep your mind on the snitch, on your broom … SHIT…

I survived. I’m not sure what happened in practice but my absent mindedness was clear only to me I guess. I walk through the steps of the after Quidditch routine, place broom in shed, remove practice gear, shower, dress, go to dinner and then detention. FUCK. I’m skipping dinner.

Curtains pulled and spelled to stay and silencing charm up, I need this time. I’m on edge. I’m confused. I’m scared. I’ve never been scared of a detention before but now I wonder what did he see that I don’t know he saw? I rub absently at the grooves left on my wrists by the arm guards. My own touch is gentler then I want it to be. I’m reaching for something here.

Curled in ball looking at the fading marks I try to remember exactly what I got detention for. I can’t. All I can remember is that voice telling me to take. My. Place. And needing to fall to my knees. And that dream. And that voice. And I’m confused … so very confused.

 

CHAPTER 13

Oh the sight of the boy on his broom, ankles locked behind him, stretched out measuring out its length. The brown leather strapped around his wrists and shins. It is a beautiful sight. I wonder how tightly he has adjusted those straps? Are they as tight as I would apply them, tight enough to leave reminders after practice is over? Is he even aware of the, shall we say, alternative uses for that protective gear?

How in Merlin’s name did I manage to miss the signs of this pliable defiant treasure growing up before my eyes? Was I blinded by the ever-present publicity or are his masks merely that good? Or is he just now awakening to his own needs? Needs I am most able to meet. Oh yes, able and more then willing to fulfill.

Does he realize that I shall know him better even than he shall ever know himself? That I shall take him apart and reduce him to a silently pleading presence, that what I will do him, what we will experience together will follow him. Forever.

Shaking my head to clear the glaze from my eyes I turn from the view of Quidditch practice, which may good for something after all, I have essays to mark before detention begins. It is good to have something to look forward to these days.

CHAPTER 14

Where is the blasted prat? He cannot afford to miss meals. He needs his stamina for his day-to-day life. Not mention tonight. Though I have yet to decide exactly how far to advance the situation tonight.
So much depends on him - his state of mind, emotional health, physical health and what he already knows about his own needs- that my plans cannot be too detailed at this juncture.

Such a situation is a delicate courtship. Delicacy constrained within rituals and trappings that appear anything but delicate. The most carefully choreographed of the Muggle ballets have nothing on this pas-de-Duex, this dance for two. The accompaniment is not the symphonic melodies of the classical composers but muffled moans, trapped tears, silent sighs and punctuated by slap of skin, slithering of ropes against the sheets and that wondrous indescribable sound of struggle. Ah adjusting my seat, I must contain myself. The waiting is not over.

I catalog the things in my office that I might employ tonight. I cannot ignore the fact that it was my voice that caused his initial reaction. I find myself obscurely pleased by that fact. My public persona will also be useful. The toys may wait or not, we shall see.

No, this has just begun. For both of us Potter, for both of us, this is just the first step.

Damn him, for skipping meals.

Damn him, making me look for him.

Damn him.

 

CHAPTER 15

 

They will all be back soon and it’ll time to report for detention.

What if I am reading this all wrong? What if it is just a normal detention for not being in place at the beginning of class? What if I truly am as twisted as in this world as I am in the Dursleys’ home? Gods. Rubbing the fading marks on my wrists, I try to make them fade faster. Just in case. Why am I expecting tonight to be different? My needs’ being met is so not in anyone’s plans. Never have been never will be. I know this. Hope is not something I can afford. Not now. Not ever.

Hope is for them - my faithless, anonymous following. I can give them hope and strength. I can do that just by breathing. If I were to drop dead all anyone would have to do is place a spell on the body and have it seen in public places and they would all be happy and secure in the fact that the boy-who-should-have-died was still there to keep them safe.

Checking the time with my wand, I still have a few minutes before I have to report to Snape. Rubbing at marks from my Quidditch gear hasn’t made them fade any faster. Just made me more aware of them. Just makes me wonder if he’ll notice them.

Damn him for making me hope.

Damn him for having that voice.

Gathering my book bag and adjusting my robes I depart the dorms.

I am damned.

Damn him.

CHAPTER 16

Just this once I wish the damn staircases would work against me.

Late is not ok, early is not ok, on time is just barely ok.

Opening the door I see he is here. He is always here. One of the constants of my life. Detention. In the dungeons. With. Snape.

This is different. This isn’t right. This isn’t normal.

Where are the other students who have detention tonight?
My nervousness begins to grow. I am the only student in the entire school who received detention in Potions today?

He’s looking at … he’s staring at me.

He’s just standing there looking as if I’ve never had detention before, as if I am some potions ingredient he’s never used before, as if he can see right into the darkest corners of my dreams. What if I’m not wrong?

My book bag fall from my shoulder to the ground with the loudest thump I’ve heard. I’m just standing here watching him stare at me. And then I realize that to control the shakiness I feel, my arms are crossed behind my back, grabbing my elbows, mimicking the posture of that dream. And he sees it.

I’m not wrong but I don’t know what to do.

Oh Gods, I’m not wrong.

Take your place, Potter.

I glance at the stool at the desk beside me.

I believe I told You. To. Take. Your. Place.

And my knees hit the floor.

 

CHAPTER 17

 

Just this once it appears the staircases are working with me.

He will not be early; he would not dare to be late.

I must be careful in the early measures of this dance. I know I have his attention and his fear. I require his respect. And he will give it to me. Freely. Willingly. Eventually.

“Take your place.”

He stands statue still only his book bag falling off his arm and the movements of his eyes towards the stool next to him betray his nervousness. Very good, Potter. Let’s try this again.

“I thought I told. You. To take. Your. Place.”

His knees buckle and his arms lash out to catch his balance. And he lands on all fours on the stone floor. That had to hurt. Merlin, but he looks good there his robes pulled tight against his body, braced on his arms. The straight line of his spine emphasizes the curve of his neck looking up at me from under his lashes. I have rarely been so grateful the layers and full cut of traditional wizards’ wear.

“Kneel up, Mr. Potter.”

Oh dear Merlin. He is so fresh, so new to all of this. So natural in his responses to me. And all I can see is him, stretched out, bound and waiting. Waiting for me.

“That’s right. Up on your knees, arms behind your back just like you had them before. Yes. Just like that. Beautiful”

I walk towards him.

And he shivers, beautifully. So expressive, so confused, so afraid.

 

CHAPTER 18

Oh Gods, that voice telling me once again to take my place. I know my eyes went to the stool but before I could even move he repeats his command from earlier. I don’t remember hitting the floor but I find myself on my hands and knees in front of him, looking from under my lashes. What comes next? What does he want from me? What do I have to give him - other than all of the burdens that keep me standing? Will he accept them? What in hell have I gotten myself into? How can I be so sure that he knows what I need? How can I be so sure of Snape? How can he be sure of me? So many questions are running circles in my head.

“Kneel up, Mr. Potter.”

New instructions. In simple words. I can follow those. I rise to my knees and keep my head bowed. I don’t want to look at him not yet.

“Yes. That’s right. Up on your knees, arms behind your back just like you had them before. Yes. Just like that. Beautiful”

Beautiful? Did he just call me beautiful?

He is coming towards me. I can hear the sound of his footsteps on the stone floor and the swish of his robes as they billow around him. They echo almost louder then the pounding of my pulse in my ears. I feel his hand, my Gods, his hand so hot it feels like it’s burning me, marking me. His fingertips raising my face up, tilting my head back so I must look at him, so I must meet those eyes, those shadowed hooded eyes that seem to pierce my very soul. I’m surprised by what I see there.

A question.

The question.

Do you want this?

Do I?

Slowly, deliberately, I lower my head and nod.

Yes.

I want this. I want him.

 

CHAPTER 19

 

I place my fingers under his chin and tilt his head back. Forcing him to meet my eyes. Glazed eyes meet mine. His head drops down and he nods. He understood the question. I have my answer for now. We will have to talk. We need to understand the needs, the wants the requirements of each other. But for now, for now this will do.

He has fallen into place so beautifully, so naturally. I almost wonder if he has received any training before this. But no the fear is too close to the surface, to close to the curiosity, the want, the burning need. I want to bring that need to the surface. I want to see him naked in his need.

“Potter. Let me see your wrists.”

A slight hesitation and he release his grip on his elbows. Almost in slow motion his arms come forward and he pushes up the sleeves of his robes. As I had pictured, the fading marks from his Quidditch gear are still visible. Lovely. They suit him. But he needs to learn that there shall be no more of these random marks. There shall be no marks on his skin that I do not place there.

Tracing the fading red with my fingers, I feel him shiver under my touch.

“Did you do this? Did you do this … deliberately?”

He nods.

“I require a verbal answer. Today at practice, you did this knowing you were coming here tonight. This shall not happen again. No marks that I have not placed there. Do you understand me, Mr. Potter? Do you accept this?”

“Yes, sir” Quietly, softly, musically even.

He can meet my gaze. I am impressed. I wonder how long it will take me to push him past whatever limits he believes he has.

 

CHAPTER 20

I require a verbal answer.

Fuck. Speak. I don’t know that I can.

I hear myself answer knowing that only the truth will do and it’s the wrong answer.

He places my arms back where they were and raises me to my feet. The stone floor down here is absolutely amazing. Lots of pretty patterns. I trace them with my eyes trying to regain my balance, trying to recapture whatever mask fits this situation only to realize I don’t have one for this. Only the need and the want.

How can I feel so lost, so damned and at the same time so safe? Gods am I in over my head?

He circles me as I stand here. The edges of his robes are just there at the corner of my eye. Marking the ends of the patterns in the flagstones. Marking the edges of my world. Marking me and he has yet to touch me beyond the tips of his fingers.

Something hard traces the lines of my face, down my neck and chest. His wand. My robes are falling open. Oh shit. Oh damn. He’s going to see …

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 21

 

I raise him to his feet.

Silence reigns for now. Allowing him this moment to reflect on his answer.

I circle him slowly. Watching the fight he makes to keep his eyes in place. Is he searching for the proper mask for the occasion? He does not have one. And he cannot see through mine as I walk around him studying, cataloging, memorizing. The heat that comes off of him unknowing, unaware.

Merlin, how long has it been since anyone affected me this way? This easily? Is it his innocence? The depth of his need? The strength with which he faces me? Whatever it may be, I must admit I find the silent young man in front of me absolutely captivating.

Bringing out my wand I trace the planes of his face from that curse scar, over his eye, across his cheeks and down his neck. A slight flinch. I bring my wand down the center of his robes parting them as I go.

“Muggle attire, Mr. Potter?”

This will never do. Muggle attire and spectacularly ill-fitting muggle attire at that, this is unacceptable. What is the savior of the wizarding world doing in cast offs?

He is collapsing in upon himself. I recollect myself and bring his attention back where it belongs, on me. Taking back up the string of control he has granted me, the only one he has given freely so far, I use it.

“When you return I shall expect to find you in something … more appropriate.” Yes. He is responding, his attention is utterly caught my voice. The tension in his shoulders lessens minutely. His breathing begins to ease but his eyes do not open. I consider how little I can convince him to wear, how easily it might be done. He has no affection for these clothes, though I hate to dignify them with the title of clothing, that is obvious. I wonder if wearing them is some sort of self-penance. If so this just became so much easier and I can manage any atonement he feels he needs to make.

My wand has shredded the tent that he was using as a shirt, revealing the unmarked skin underneath. The sight of that fair expanse framed by the tatters of cloth that hang from the remains of his collar. Oh my. I continue to trace a random path across this chest and abdomen; a faint line rises in the wake of my wand, as does an equally faint shudder.
We have made such progress here tonight but all good things must come to an end.

Baby steps, Severus, baby steps.

 

CHAPTER 22

I’m falling. Down, down, down. This is it. He is disappointed, unhappy. And it’s my fault. I should have known it was too good to be true. I know better, damn it, then to hope. Damn. Closing my eyes I chase the tears back where they belong and wait for that voice to release me, to tell me to get out, not to return. There is a mask for disappointment. I know I have one but I can’t find it.

Damn. Shit. Fuck.

Damn what is he saying? When I return? I haven’t been dismissed? I’ll be back?

Dudley’s old shirt is hanging in strings from its collar. He moves it aside in random patterns, his wand moving across my skin.

That voice has continued to instruct me. I fight to bring my attention back to him. Something more appropriate? My mind is divided between that voice and the feel of the welt that follows his wand. He is telling me something here, I know it. Making me guess. Making me attempt to read his mind. The welt. No marks he did not place himself. Shuddering slightly I get the point. I hope.

He stops behind me. The pulling of my hair brings my head back, arches my chest as the ribbons that used to be my shirt fall aside, I struggle to keep my balance and he kisses me.

Tomorrow night, Mr. Potter.

A swirling of robes and he is gone. I return to the floor much more slowly then I landed there before. My hand pressed to my lips and my mind empty.

CHAPTER 23

 

Ah, I believe he has grasped my point. There will be no re-appearance of the Muggle shirt. The faint welt left by my wand will be in place until, unless, I remove it.

Oh Merlin, his hair is tangled and caught, soft in my fist, pulling him to me, arching his back and exposing his chest. He deserves some reward for this night, something to convince him to return. Bah, I want to taste those lips. I need make no excuse and he has been most well behaved. And so I grant my own wish.

His mouth is almost as soft as his hair. Tender and hungry against mine. The taste of the remnants of innocence- pumpkin juice, heat, cinnamon and cloves. I could lose myself in this timeless exploration of his mouth. Grasping for the remains of my control, gasping for air I release his mouth.

Releasing his hair from my grasp, I turn and leave my laboratory. As I open the door to my office I see him sink to the floor, an uncontrolled grace to his fall framed by the tattered remnants of shirt and empathized by the black of his robes against the slate of the floor. Lovely.

I give him the time to gather his masks back, watching though he knows it not through the spelled opening my office door. It would be dangerous to leave him completely on his own. This is too new to him; he is so unaware of how vulnerable he truly is. And yet too much kindness can be equally harmful. So I watch him.

I watch.

CHAPTER 24

I watch.

I watch him gather his masks and collect his things. The mask is back in place and he remembers to close his robes. Amazing self-possession in one so young. How long will he hold onto that to self-possession? What will it take to bring tears to his eyes? To coax whimpers from his throat?

I watch.

Ah, his invisibility cloak. I wonder if he carries it with him everywhere. It will at the least get him to his dormitory. I post a reminder on the black board in the laboratory. A reminder he probably does not need but still …

I watch.

I watch him leave the laboratory and head back to his life in the public eye. I wonder if he will return. No, I don’t wonder “ if” I wonder “when.” Will he need more than twenty-four hours to process this? Do I? No. I find this anticipation rather pleasing.

Turning my mind from the memory of him bent over my arm, pliant under my lips, I look ahead to tomorrow. There are things we need to discuss. What does he believe his limits are? And how far is he willing to push them? How will he look stretched and bound across my bed? Or kneeling in front of me?

He has left the laboratory and I erase the message on the blackboard. Yes, indeed, tomorrow night, Mr. Potter.

CHAPTER 25

 

He’s gone.

But …

He’s watching. I know that. Is this a test? How do I pull myself together enough to get back to the dorm? My masks aren’t co-operating. Rummaging through my book bag I pull out my invisibility cloak. Now I can make it back without worrying.

 

Tomorrow night, Mr. Potter. My office

As if I would forget.

As if I could.

My last safe haven. Behind the bed curtains with them spelled shut and silencing charms applied. I knew those nightmares would be good for something, eventually. I remove the tattered remnants of Dudley’s old shirt and study the streamers of cloth that hang from the collar. A tattered shirt to summarize the remains of tattered life.

But I am much more interested in tracing the thin red line that wraps around me. A potent reminder of an unusual night. I remember the hard edge of his wand almost dancing across my skin, calling forth the simplest of responses, and compare it to the bite of my Quidditch gear against my wrists. Rubbing my wrists against the welt, the bite of the strap against the hard edge of the wand both bringing me … something I have no name for yet.

 

Hiding the shirt in the corner of my trunk, I think I can sleep tonight.

 

CHAPTER 26

It’s morning.

Happy Harry goes to breakfast. The mask is in place. The voice chatters aimlessly with tablemates about homework assignments, Quidditch scores and Hogsmeade trips. The brain is only aware of one thing …
.
He’s watching.

The faint red line and the sight of the tattered shirt in my trunk are the only reminders of last night’s detention. Another of Dudley’s shirts is under my school robes. I have no choice. I don’t think he’ll check to see if I’m following instructions during class hours. I hope not ‘cause they are still the only shirts I own. Someday I’ll be able to spend my own money and … well that’s in the future.

He’s watching.

I feel different somehow this morning. Lighter, I think. I don’t have Potions today so how am I going to get detention from him? I won’t worry about it. This is up to him. This is a choice, a decision I do NOT have to make. Yes, lighter is a good word.

Shit.

I have to learn to watch where I am going. But running into him feels so good. So solid, so right, so safe.

Pay attention, Mr. Potter, to where you are going. Detention tonight.

He’s always watching.

And I feel my nervousness increasing just a little.

 

CHAPTER 27

Stepping out of a corridor alcove I make sure he collides with me. Oh the weight of him against me - brief though the contact is - is delightful. And distracting.

Pay attention, Mr. Potter, to where you are going.

And detention is assigned that easily.

I continue to watch. I am studying him even now his responses to his friends, to the students who dislike him, to the teachers who fawn over him. His masks are very good. They all think that they are seeing the real person behind the masks and all of them are wrong. I received a glimpse last night, the briefest of tastes and I want more.

I continue to watch. Every now and again I catch him watching me. Gazing from under his lashes, with a skill I thought only girls and Malfoys had perfected, he watches me from the safety of the crowd. I remove a pair of gloves from the sleeves of my robes and let them fall against my side with an audible pop as I walk behind him. He flinches.

I continue to watch. His nervousness increases as the routine of the day winds to a close. His retreat after the evening meal is not even noticed by his tablemates. After all it is detention with greasy git. Nothing special, merely torment as usual.

I continue to watch. This time though it is the clock in my office that I watch. How close to on time will he be? And what will replace that tent he was wearing last night with? Will the red tracing from my wand be clearly displayed?

A knock at the door.

“Come in, Mr. Potter.”

CHAPTER 28

 

I made it through today.

How? I have no idea but today is over and it’s time to get ready for detention. Everyone else is down in the common room so there’s no one here to bother me about leaving here for detention without my shirt and tie. I am not taking a chance with one of my hand-me-downs. Not that I would miss the damn shirt but … pissing him off deliberately is not something I want to do tonight.

Deep breaths, lots of deep breaths. I can do this. I want to do this. Gods, I need this so why am I shaking like a leaf?

I made to his office door and I’m not late.

I knock.

“Come in Mr. Potter. Remove your robes, shoes and socks. Place them on the stool next to you.”

That voice. A now familiar shiver makes its way down my back.

My feet are bare and the chill air is almost welcome against my skin.

“Over here, if you please.”

And again I am moving. I don’t have control and don’t want it. I haven’t even looked at him.

“Kneel. Arms in front of you. Look up”

This is good. Short words. Easy to follow…

Oh. My. Gods. Who’d’ve thought he’d look like this…

“You need to choose a word, Mr. Potter. One that will tell me to stop that you feel unsafe or are in distress. Once you say the word everything will stop for that night. We will discuss what is causing your distress and we will either work around it or attempt something different.”

I’m trying to restart my brain here. Think, Harry, think. A word. Need a word.

“Uhm. Voldemort?”

CHAPTER 29

 

I carefully do not watch him undress or make his way over to me.

“On you knees, Mr. Potter. Arms in front of you.” Keep your words simple, Severus.

And I look at him.

Oh Merlin. Wide-eyed and pale, lips open. And I have to ask him to think. I have to think.

Voldemort? The prat chooses Voldemort as his safe word? Well it is definitely a mood breaker.

On to more important things, like his mouth. I remove the leather coiled on my desk, taking his wrists in my hands I begin to wind the strap up his arms, leaving his hands free I bring his arms together from wrist to just below his shoulders. Pulling him towards me, towards the ache that is centered in my groin. He overbalances and lands face first right where I want him to be.

“You do know what to do now, don’t you, Mr. Potter?”

His fingers trace the outline of the fly of my trousers, his breath warm and moist against the fabric. His fingers manage the buttons just barely but they manage. And my aching cock lands against his face.

CHAPTER 30

Ok that was probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever said. Voldemort. Works as well as Dumbledore as a mood killer. And this time my shudder has very little to do with the voice.

He’s got my arms in a tight grip, it almost hurts, and then I see the black leather strap. OH yes. He starts the strap at my wrists and winds it, firmly, snugly, around and between my arms in a figure eight. I am entranced at the play of the leather weaving around me holding me, supporting me. My shoulders are pulling me forward and the muscles across my back are beginning to feel stretched as I lose my balance and land right in. His. Lap.

“You do know what to do now, don’t you, Mr. Potter?”

I breathe deeply of the scent of him - unique and overpowering. I may not know exactly what to do but my eager fingers have a mind of their own. Fumbling the buttons I open his trousers and am greeted by his cock in my face so close to my mouth.

I turn my head and drop a kiss - right there on the crown collecting that little drop that waits for me there. I wait for permission to continue. I wait.

I receive the permission I want so badly. I reach forward with my hands to steady him, and trace his length with my eager tongue. Tracing circles around the crown up and down his length learning the taste of him, the feel of him, the pulse of his vein against the flat of tongue. Until I can wait no longer, I lower my head and take him into my mouth.

Gods, he tastes better even better than he smells. The iron hardness wrapped in the silk of his pale skin filling my mouth stretching my lips my jaw.

This is perfect.

This is all there needs to be.

Until I feel the hand in my hair, pulling me away pushing me back from my goal, my reward.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 31

Oh Merlin, yes exactly where I want him. The man shows talent. I feel a vague anger at whoever may have been tutoring him. That will stop. However if it is native skill it will be nurtured and encouraged.

His hands gripping the base of my cock as his tongue explores, tastes and teases. Those lips stretched and wrapped tightly, his head bobbing up and down taking in as much as he can as his hands try to reach the rest of my need.

Watching his hands brings me to the awareness that my own hands are tangled in his hair. The inky strands are banded around my fingers much like the leather around his arms.

Using his hair much like a leash I pull him away from my leaking cock. I am not done with him tonight. He struggles briefly against the nonverbal command but obeys. His entire body shudders as I leave his mouth, sticky strands of saliva linking his mouth with me. Lovely. Mouth stretched and looking bruised, eyes dilated and hungry.

Hungry and wanton, needy and wanting and so totally lost within what he is experiencing. I watch his eyes waiting for him to come back, wait for that spark of awareness to refill his eyes. I run my fingernails down his chest teasing at the welt, flicking briefly over his nipples. Yes, he is here now where I want him to be and the dance may continue. I remember the taste of him from last night and I wonder how it mixes with the taste of myself.

I pull him closer and set him on my lap, bringing his face to mine for a kiss - a deep hungry kiss, punishing his mouth for years worth of insolence. His bound arms have caused his hands to drop into his lap, causing him to shift uncomfortably. His own need straining against the fabric of his trousers. How beautiful he looks suffering like this, waiting watching, needing. Needing me, only me.

I push him back to his knees and retain my grasp on his hair, pushing his face back to his former occupation. He is at my mercy, but I am not merciful. I plunge into his mouth hot and hard and furious, in and out maintaining a fierce rhythm. Mindful, however it may appear of his need for air. Of his need for release that is as great as mine. And I whisper in his ear,

“Come for me, Harry. Come for me now.”

I withdraw from his mouth and watch him. Glorious in release, flushed and shaking, falling back against my legs as I explode across his chest and face.

CHAPTER 32

 

Shaking, shuddering I collapse against his legs. He lifts me from my knees and onto his lap. My bound arms in front of me, my head against his chest and his arms holding me there. Safe. Secure. Wanted.

My arms ache and so do my knees but it’s a good pain. I earned this. I want this. I need this. I lean back against him, wondering what is coming next.

His hands run through my hair and down my back. Centering me, gentling me, settling me. The voice murmurs something and my trousers are dry. Shit. I came in my trousers. He never even touched me. And now I’m blushing. I hate that.

He stands me up and looks at me. Studies me. Did I do well? Was it what he expected? I stare down at my bare feet. Biting my lip, I watch him from under my lashes, what happens next? I don’t care. I wait.

He attaches a lead to the leather wrapped around my arms, we’re going somewhere? I follow. Quietly, nervously, eagerly.

These must be his private quarters but I have no chance to look around. My arms are over my head attached to the bed. Stretched over my head as far as they can go. Just the opposite of the pull from before, my legs are extended and I try to balance on my toes. I am not sure if this is better or worse and then he spins me to face the bedpost with sure hands. And I notice my trousers and pants are missing. All I can see is that bed, his bed.

I am shivering with chill and with need. His hand on my arse is burn, a brand.

And he speaks at last.

“You have done well tonight, Harry, very well. Now, I need you to hold very still and be very quiet.”

 

Holding still isn’t possible neither is being quiet. I’m trying, oh Gods, I am trying. I keep my voice as low as I can but words fall out of it of protest, of pain, of need. Just babbling but I can’t stop it. I can’t stop moving trying to get away from his hands or am I trying to get closer. I can’t tell. I don’t know. But it’s too much. Tears fall down my face and mix with the spunk he left there earlier. I’m crying. I’m moving. I’m falling.

CHAPTER 33

His weight barely registers against my lap. He fits there so rightly. Running my hand through his hair and down his back I feel him begin to gentle, to relax. Carefully avoiding the splatters across his chest and face I murmur a spell to clean and dry his trousers. And for the first time he appears to notice that he had come in trousers without receiving a touch from me. Control, it seems, is something upon which we need to work.

His blush is lovely as it spreads over his face and down his chest. I raise him to feet and attach a lead to the leather bindings on his arms. There is a private passageway from my office to my quarters; I think that we shall adjourn there for the remainder of the evening.

He moves so quietly behind me that if I did not have the lead in my grasp, I would wonder if he was there at all. Shortening the lead I force him closer. Such treasure I am discovering in his compliance, his need, his struggle. Mine.

We have reached my quarters but I give him no time to investigate. We do not have unlimited time this evening. Turning quickly I push him onto his knees, the leash is short, pulling his arms as close to over his head as they can be drawn. His face looks so lovely framed by the slightly tanned skin of his arms and the leather below that. But it isn’t enough. There is more to discover here.

I take the lead and attach it to the bedpost, stretching him onto his toes. Oh Merlin the line of him against the dark of the wood of my bed. A quick spell and his trousers and under things are gone before he notices. All of this unmarked flesh exposed, untouched, almost virginal. Mine.

I turn him to face the bedpost and watch as he fights to keep his balance. He spreads his legs and steadies himself. Oh that arse. I may have found a use for Quidditch after all. Almost with out volition my hand reaches out and cups his arse cheek. Lovely. He is shivering. And I know just how to warm him up.

 

CHAPTER 34

“You have done well tonight, Harry, very well. Now I need to you to be very quiet and very still.” Oh I could watch him shiver like that for an age. But his arse is pale and chill under my hand. I need to remedy that.
And I proceed to do just that.

My arm draws back and swings through the air connecting with an audible smack. Again and again and again and again and again.

“Silence, Harry. You do not want have count these out loud now do you?”

I hear him murmuring vague words of protest, of need. His legs straining to keep his balance, his hips fighting to move from my hand and his arms are quivering with the stress of being bound and stretched. His arse is warming up nicely and such a lovely shade of red. But I think we are reaching the end of his endurance for tonight.

I place my hands on his hips steadying him, wrapping my arms around his waist as I release the bindings on his arms. He drops almost a dead weight into my arms and we settle onto the bed. I can feel the heat from his arse through my trousers and the drops of his tears against my shirt warming me, cooling me, cleansing him.

We sit in silence as he returns to himself. His confusion is evident but he doesn’t ask. He sits in silence and waits. Such a treasure, this man in my arms.

“ You did very well indeed, Harry. I am very proud of you. I wanted you to have something to remember about tonight. Tomorrow may be… difficult for you. ”

I summon a warm washcloth and remove the tears stains - lovely as they are- from his face and the splatters of ejaculate from his chest. I feel his surprise. Has he never known tenderness before?

CHAPTER 35

Oh Gods. My arms are released and I crumple towards the floor. His arm around my waist catches me, brings me with him on the bed. I’m silent now. I’ve got no words, just my tears.

Praise?

From him?

I’ve done well? I couldn’t keep still, couldn’t keep quiet, cried like a baby and he’s telling me I’ve done well.

A warm cloth runs over my face and chest. Cleaning the tears and evidence from earlier. Tenderness? Why? How do I deserve this?

He’s carrying me. I struggle briefly. I can walk. I can. No I can’t. He’s in charge. No choices Harry, remember. I made the last choice when I came here tonight.

Warm water relaxes me, eases the sting of my arse, the pain in my arms, the cramping of my legs.

Focus, Harry, he’s talking. The voice is telling you important things.

Focus.

Damn. Just file it away and remember it later. Drifting. Just here. Is nowhere. Is nothing. Just here. The warmth of the water and the dark silk of his voice wrapping around me, comforting me, praising me. Drifting.

And I hear my voice, “Sir?”

Just one word.

All the meaning in the world.

 

CHAPTER 36

He’s still talking and now I’m hearing him. Thank Gods; he’s still using simple words. Out of the tub and into the towel. The rough cotton against the burn of my arse and marks on my wrists brings the red out against my skin. I like the way they look. I wonder if he does. I hope so.

“Come along, Harry.”

Following, I notice that his shirt is gone and I watch the play of muscles under the skin. I wonder if I will get a chance to see how he feels, what he tastes like, to learn what pleases him. Damn. Keep your mind here, Harry. I wonder if he’ll want to me to return, if I’ve pleased him enough, I’m not good enough for him, I know but …

“Up on the bed.”

“Harry. On the bed. Now”

Damn. I made him repeat himself. Screwed up already, Potter.

Moving quickly, I climb on to the bed and following his gestures arrange myself in the middle of it. Shaking. So exposed, vulnerable again, and this time I’ve made him angry, I think. I close my eyes. I don’t want to see disappointment in his eyes or dismissal. I don’t know which would be worse.

Arms and legs out the sides, I feel like I’m on display. My arms are caught and pulled farther out from my body and my legs follow quickly, slightly raised and now I’m on display from head to arse to feet. I wriggle a bit testing the strength of the bonds. Very little wriggle room. And my eyes are open staring at the ceiling. I don’t want to offend him by staring at him.

And the mattress sinks.

He has joined me?

He has. And he redirects my attention. Holding my complete attention as I realize that he is as naked as I am.

Gods, he is beautiful to me. Whipcord over bone tightly coiled like his houses namesake serpent poised to strike. I think I’m drooling. I don’t care.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 37

 

Watching him climb from the bath and into the towel, I see how he rubs the rough cloth against the strap marks on his arms. He looks almost longingly at them, almost prideful. And yes he has borne up rather well but this night is far from over yet. I still have plans for that fair skin.

“Come along, Harry.” I feel his eyes on my naked back as he follows me to the bedchamber. “Up on the bed.”

Raising an eyebrow, I notice he is not moving. Wherever his mind is it is not here and that needs to be remedied immediately. Snapping my fingers I repeat myself … this time.

“Harry. On the bed. Now.”

He moves with a natural grace to the center of my bed. Without words I direct him to stretch out arms and legs spread, his eyes close and he is shaking again. Merlin, this suits him. Exposed, vulnerable, unsure, hungry, needy. Granting him this brief respite I remove my trousers before instructing him to open his eyes. He doesn’t look at me but gazes sightlessly at the ceiling. A murmured phrase and the cuffs come down from the headboard and encircle his wrists pulling his arms tautly out and up; a second phrase and his legs receive the same treatment. Taut and slightly raised exposing him even more to my hungry eyes.

The fair skin against the darkest green and black leather is a most beautiful sight. The shadows from the fire cast interesting highlights along the straining of his muscles. I watch him squirm as he instinctively tests the strength of the bonds. They will hold. I settle down next to him.

Running my fingers over his chest feeling his breathing speed up and roughen. Watching him fight to keep his eyes focused on the ceiling but I want him focused on me.

Only on me.

CHAPTER 38

His entire attention is back where it belongs, eyes wide and focused. It appears he likes what he sees. I am not a vain man but …

His fingers reach for me but touch only the manacles holding him in place. My fingers however are free to explore. Brushing his hair off of face exposing the scar that marked him long before I did. No hiding here. It is on display as much as his cock or his arse. Mine.

His breath catches as I run my hands up and down his arms the play of muscles against the strain of the binding, revealing the clenching of his fists against the air. The feel of his chest against the palms of my hands as his breathing stutters, as his nipples rise to tempt my questioning fingers, combing through the sparse body hair leading to his navel and his cock standing so proudly, weeping so beautifully and I ignore it for now. The muscles of his legs echo the straining of his arms. Down the front of them and back behind his knees and thighs cupping his arse, parting those cheeks as he squirms as violently as he is able, whether in welcome or fear is yet to be determined. I run my fingers along the crack teasing at the shy little pucker I find there, coming up and brushing against his balls, rolling them in my hand weighing them, squeezing them, not quite gentle tugs as they tighten.

Studying him always but this, this is pure pleasure for me. His struggles, the muffled pleas, the tears leaking from his eyes, the feverish heat to his skin, the weeping need of his cock.

It is almost time to return him to his other life. I would keep him here if I could. A collar around that slender strong neck and ring on that cock ;that proud piece of flesh that begs for attention as prettily as his mouth does.

A plea that I am happy to grant. I lean forward, careful to touch him nowhere until my hair hits his thighs as my mouth reaches his cock. Sliding my lips over his stiffness, down down until the heat of him is engulfed in the heat of my mouth. Feeling the rapid pulse of him, this will not last long, unfortunately but he will enjoy it. Tracing his veins with my tongue, pulling up and exploring the length of him, swirling around the crown gathering those precious droplets that gather there as my fingers cradle his balls rolling them, tugging on them, squeezing them, bringing them forward to the base of his cock.

No he did not last long at all, an explosion of Harry in my mouth, tangy and sweet, and his cries of pleasure in my ears.

He is absolutely glorious in release, shuddering and straining, flushed face, gasping for air. I slide up his body pushing his struggling frame into the mattress, claiming his mouth for hungry kisses, sharing his own taste with him, feasting on his mouth.

His breathing slows and stabilizes, as do his struggles. Reluctantly I leave his mouth. There are things to be said and done before he returns to the dormitories.

“Harry. Focus.”

His eyes fall into place, his mind following.

“You need to return to your dormitory soon.” Fear. “ No I am not sending you away but you have to return there. Tomorrow will be difficult for you. I want you to be aware of that. Do you want a reminder of what has happened here? Do you need something to help keep you centered?”

Fear. Confusion. Stress. Merlin, the play of emotion on his face - so free with his masks left behind on the chair with his robes.

 

CHAPTER 39

He’s sending me away. I did something. Wasn’t strong enough. Was too weak, too needy, too soft.

NOT sending me away? Tomorrow will be difficult? Well, shit, like that’s anything new. It’s always hard out there. He cares?

“Harry. Focus.”

He’s offering me something to remind me that he is there. That this is real. That I am not alone. Yes, yes I want.

“Sir, a reminder?”

“Yes, a reminder. Something to help keep you centered.”

What is that? A snake with teeth?

To go where?

“Yes” a whisper but he hears me. He. Hears. Me.

And the snake bites.

 

CHAPTER 40

 

It is difficult.

He is watching.

Everyone is watching. They always are. But this feels different …

I feel like everyone knows what has happened, that some how it shows. I am marked. Claimed. Taken. My masks feel inadequate, insufficient, thin almost transparent.

He is watching.

And the snake moves. My reminder he called it. I asked for it, agreed to it, want it need it have it. Mine. Marking me as his. It moves against my skin scales rubbing, pinching me, reminding me.

He is watching. Studying me. What does he see? What’s he learning from this? What am I supposed to be learning from this? I know there is a lesson - there is always a lesson. And I will master it …

Eventually it comes to me. They’re watching just like always and they don’t see. They still don’t see. They still see only what they want to, what they need to, what they need to me to be. I can do this.

He is watching.

He sees. He knows. Not my masks, not the fame just me.

He is watching.

And I … I am watching him.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 41

He accepts the snake.

I place the silver snake at the upper edge of his navel. He shivers as the teeth of the snake nip into tender ridge of skin, watching as it curls around his navel framing it. Charmed to remain invisible, not to draw notice from his dorm-mates or team mates. He knows it is there. I know it is there and it will remain there until my hand removes it.

 

A reminder I call it. Indicating he might not need it though I know he will need something. Know that he will need something to keep him grounded, centered. I need to place a claim on him, to mark him as mine. I would much prefer to see him in a collar.

But this it is enough for now.

Double potions.

See how he squirms on the stool, last evening's spanking evident to my eyes in his constant small motions. Almost as beautiful as watching him squirm under my hand was. A delicious torture for us both unnoticed by everyone around us but we are aware. Yes we both are very much of aware each other. The dance continues in front of the entire school and no one sees it, no one sees past his masks or mine. No one cares to truly look.

I am watching.

I will always be watching.

And he is … watching me.

 

CHAPTER 42

 

Watching him at Quidditch practice is a pleasure. Knowing that he wears my snake under his Gryffindor gear, that the tension in his arms and legs are from my ministrations, that the protective gear offers him none from me. Comparing his grace on the broom with his struggles to escape embrace his bonds. There really is no comparison.

His control is wearing thin. It has been too long. He is beginning to question, to doubt, to worry and to fear. My control is better. My need is as great as his though. To control the fear, channel the doubt, to answer the need burning in him. Matching the fire in me.

I need some potions ingredients gathered from the Forbidden Forest. A three-night detention? I wonder what he will do to earn his detention. He is clever when it is required of him. I step behind him in the corridor and touch the back of his neck before fading back into the woodwork. Just a brief touch, long enough to cause him to shiver not long enough for anyone to notice. Not long enough for him to notice the tremor in my hand. Damn him that he affects me like this.

Well, my oh so clever pet, what will you do?

“Detention, Mr. Potter, the next three nights with me.” A Chocolate Frog in a Shrinking Solution, he must have studied something, as the chocolate will not make it explode. He starts to say something else. “Would you care to make it four? Very well then the next four nights.”

The looks on the faces of his friends as he just sits there while they complain, quietly as not to have to join him, about my unfairness.

If only they knew. If only they knew that I know who threw the Frog and it wasn’t you, Harry, was it?

 

CHAPTER 43

 

Damn.

Damn.

Everything is going wrong. People acting up in potions. I can’t seem to get a detention to save my life. This is killing me. I need to see him. Doesn’t he want to see me? Have I been forgotten? Can’t he see that I need him?

And then he’s there. Behind me. Touching me. Reminding me. And the snake will bite harder. And I will know. And I also know it isn’t enough. I want more, need more, need him.

Damn.

Damn him.

Desperate times require desperate measures. And I am desperate. So hungry, so needy, so empty.

And the Chocolate Frog flies in front of him and lands in Malfoy’s shrinking solution.

“Detention, Mr. Potter. The next three nights.”

I can live with that. And the mask for detention objects. Damn it shut up I needthiswantthisneedthis.

“Would you care to make that four nights? Very well, Mr. Potter, the next four nights detention with me.”

Very well, sir, you know what I need.

And the snake moves across my skin pinching me reminding me.

 

CHAPTER 44

Familiar territory. Nervous, anxious, scared. Deep breath, Harry.

The tattered shirt from that first night still lives in my trunk. No Muggle attire. I hope it doesn’t disappoint him. Snake, polished, check. Book bag, check. Invisibility cloak, check. Robes neat and clean, check. Deep breath and we’re off.

Right on time, I push open the door to his office. Closing it behind it me. I stand there waiting. Head bowed and quiet.

Familiar words wash over me. Robes off, folded in my bag, on my knees, head down, arms crossed behind me. Relief.

How does he move so quickly so silently? His fingers tilt my head back to look up at him. Gods, he’s very imposing from this angle, even more than normal. He’s dressed and I’m not. He’s standing and I kneel here at his feet. Where I belong.

But he isn’t saying anything. Am I wrong? Should I have worn the damn trousers anyway even if they are Muggle bought and don’t fit? Shit. I screwed up and now he’s pissed. What if this really was supposed to be a normal detention? Damn it, can’t I do anything right? Shit, now I’m crying. Damn it all to hell.

And the voice breaks the silence.

“Initiative, Mr. Potter?”

“Y-y-y-you said no Muggle attire.” Damn, stuttering again. “I don’t own anything else besides my robes. I didn’t want to make you angry, sir.” Shit, whinging like a spoilt prat. Pull it together, Harry. “Was I wrong then, sir?” OK wasn’t wrong, am ok, he’s not angry.

“Where is your wand, Harry?” Asked as I kneel here naked beside him as he marks papers.

“In my book bag, sir.” Funny, I don’t even consider not answering.

 

“Fetch it.”

CHAPTER 45

 

Right on time.

Why he could not manage this for his classes is beyond me?

“Robes off Mr. Potter and take your place.”

Reminding my self to make it simple, not to expect too much from him too soon. My, Mr. Potter is full of surprises tonight. And Merlin, he looks good. Kneeling there wearing just his snake, head down and arms behind him.

Quickly I cross the room and tilt his head back to look up at me. His eyes stay down cast under those lashes. Saying nothing I watch the emotions run across his face, hope, confusion, fear, regret and there the first tear. Oh but not the last.

“Initiative Mr. Potter?”

The voice is a wonderful tool and I have trained mine well, cool and silky and vaguely threatening. Was it the silence he found so unnerving or the thought that he had displeased me?

Oh his stuttering is as lovely as the fear/confusion/regret/ need in his voice. My mind replays his words…he owns nothing else besides his robes! I need to investigate this but ... not now. No, not just now.

“No, Harry.”

I turn to my desk gesturing for him to follow me. He starts to stand but I don’t assist him to his feet and he follows on his knees. I take my seat and return to marking papers. He kneels their eyes down cast, tear tracks decorating his face.

“Harry where is your wand?” It has been - should have been drilled into him- to always know where his wand is. And I need for him to trust me enough to give me his wand while he is here, to release another piece of his personal power, to give up another choice.

“Fetch it.”

 

CHAPTER 46

 

“Fetch it.”

No hesitation. He moves across the room and returns with his wand, placing it my outstretched hand. Such trust, such submission. So graceful. I know he is watching as I place his wand in my sleeve. Not a word spoken, no sign of complaint, just glorious compliance.

I have plans for tonight. It will be difficult for him. I need these ingredients and they are best collected after dark. That he is nude is merely a bonus. His appearance though it could be enhanced. Gesturing for him to follow I hand him his book bag and we return to my chambers.

Anxious, curious his eyes carry questions as his bare feet carry him to my rooms.

I realize, as I place the manacles on his wrists and ankles, that decorating him could be become a most enjoyable pastime. The chain between his wrists makes an almost musical counter point to the leather straps sliding down his body from collarbone to ankle.

 

I wrap him in a cloak as we head out to the Forbidden Forest. Lovely just lovely. Shadows of light through the dark of the cloak and the darker hint of leather against the full moon night. He hesitates briefly and I wonder if he is about utter the word. A deep breath and he steps out the door and follows me. Silent as ever, the shivers that run down his spine are not caused by cold, a touch on his arm brings his attention back to me.

“You know what to say if this too much. It can wait.” Reminding him as always that the final choice is his, not mine.

 

CHAPTER 47

 

“You know what to say if this too much.”

My word, my choice.

“Do you want say it?”

Shaking my head. No. Don’t want to say it, want to trust him.

“Do you need to say it?”

This is harder. Do I need to stop, to retreat, to step away? Harder to answer. Thinking is difficult with his fingers under my chin, his presence protecting me. He understands the difference between wanting to say it and needing to. No matter how much I don’t want to …

“No, sir, I don’t need to say it.” Hey I got the words out. He is still watching my face, looking for something else, searching for something more.

Suddenly the lead appears in his hand the click as it is attached to the collar over my shoulders settles my nerves. This is better. I can do this now.

My word. My choice. His decision.

The grass is cool under my feet, different from the chill of the dungeon floors. The night breeze under the cloak plays tag with the straps I’m almost wearing; the chiming of the chain between my wrists is a soft counterpoint to the noises of the night as we enter the Forbidden Forest, the moon playing tag with clouds just as my skin flashes and retreats through the straps.

 

CHAPTER 48

 

His word. His choice. His decision. One that is binding on us both.

After that I will make my decision, the one that is final for this night.

Voldemort. Does he want to say it? No. Does he need to say it? No. Does he see the difference between the two questions? Yes. Very well then we go on. Clipping the lead onto the collar we continue.

The night air seems to revive him somewhat. I wonder what the breeze feels like brushing his skin through the straps that run down his body. Stroking him, teasing him, touching him. As I shall touch him. Later.

The tallest of trees ring the clearing where my ingredients grow, I have been here often enough alone that it is a simple thing to thicken the shadows so that any creature out and about tonight will not see him. That
accomplished, I remove the lead, the cloak and he kneels.

He accepts the basket and begins looking for the leaves that match the samples therein. Graceful and somehow cautious as if fearing that this is a test he could fail. He has not realized that by not speaking he has already passed this test. Watching as he makes his way through the shadows, using just enough light to make sure he chooses the best, the same way he makes his way through the corridors of the school. The unrevealing shadow of a man masked and cloaked hidden in plain view.

I wonder if he realizes the description suits us both.

 

CHAPTER 49

 

It’s hard being out here. He’s so quiet tonight. It’s freeing, almost like flying. Gathering these whatever they are for him while he stands there and watches, expecting me to do it right. Trying to be coordinated and quiet, he seems to want quiet right now.

Watching where I go, don’t want to trip and fall, don’t want anyone anything to hear me, don’t want to spill the basket, don’t want - really don’t want- to screw this up. I’m glad they’re all ground level herbs. Somehow I’m pretty sure that standing up is not something I’m capable of doing right now. Don’t know why.

Shit, the carousel has started again. Whirling along in my brain making me wonder, making me doubt, making me question. He hasn’t said anything. Am I doing something wrong? Presuming too much? Asking too much? Wanting too much? Needing too much? Damn, now I’m starting to shake.

A snap of the lead reclaims my attention. Focus, Harry, focus on him, not yourself, focus on what matters.

A second snap.

And I freeze.

Can’t move. Can’t place the basket down. Can’t go to him.

Lost.

Afraid.

Confused.

Falling. Falling. Falling.

Falling.

He is watching.

He has caught me.

Safe.

Confused.

Secure.

Lost.

 

CHAPTER 50

 

I have allowed myself to become distracted by his grace. Not a good thing to have allowed. And I know better. The silence is getting to him. It was too early to bring him here to bring him outside of the security of walls and boundaries.

Yes. But he handled it so very well.

Until now. A snap of the lead begins to reclaim his attention but does not capture it. A second snap and his fear, his confusion plainly writ across his face. Beautiful. But too much for him right now.

I walk over and re-clip the lead; the very sound seems to anchor him.

Audible cues then for now, for a while. Does he realize how much he is giving me without a word spoken? Pulling him back to me, I notice he is still being protective of the basket in hands, very careful not to spill what he has so carefully collected.

“Very well done.”

Running my hands under the straps, my nails scratching down his chest, feeling him gulping for air, trying so very hard to mask his shivers. The painfully blank mask has fallen over his features. Grabbing a fistful of hair I turn his face towards me, trying to bring a response past the practiced isolation.

“Very well done indeed.”

The relief indicates that I have pushed too far; too soon, that this almost broke him completely. Why? What? The silence? The lack of walls? The lack of touch?

Summoning the cloak we make our way back. The lead is much shorter this time. Short enough that he can brush up against the edge of my robes if he so chooses. And he does.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 51

“Very well done.”

It should sound reassuring. I’m sure he means it to be but it isn’t. I almost lost it completely out there. Almost lost him, myself, everything. What if I’ve been wrong about myself, about him about everything? Whatifwhatifwhatif... Gods, someone stop my brain. I can’t cope right now it’s all I can do stand here and feel him against my back, his nails running over my chest, calling me back, grounding me.

“Very well done indeed.”

The sound of the metal ends of the lead reconnecting is helping some. But … whatifwhatifwhatifwhatif.

The mask falls into place. Closing me off, locking me away, hiding me, trapping me. Trapping the fear the confusion the loss of direction. Trapping everything spinning everything out of control. He can’t even manage this. No one can. I can’t ask him to take this on. Have to take it back there’s no relief it’s always here it’s outta control no brakes no way to stop it no way to call it back.

Gods, such a mess. I thought I could give it up even briefly. I thought I could find some solace, some peace, someone. Should’ve known better. Good things don’t happen to me.

The cloak is warm and the lead is much shorter going back then it was on the walk out here. I can feel the edge of his robes. He is still here. But for how long? How long until he realizes how much of a mess I really am? How long before he realizes that there isn’t anyone here? Just the masks. Nothing but a puppet with masks.

 

CHAPTER 52

 

Settling him on the couch before the fire I realize this is more than just pushing boundaries too far too fast. This man is breaking from far more than just tonight. Dear Merlin what has been done to him?

Blankets over the cloak. Leave the lead attached to the collar. Build up the fire even more. He sits and stares at nothing. His hands do not reach for the blanket. He is not even registering my presence. This is more than not good. I place a glass of firewhisky at his mouth.

“Harry, open your mouth. Come on; take a sip; it will help. That’s it.” Coaxing him back to reality, talking to make noise, to give him something, anything to focus on. “One more sip that’s it” Watching the whisky make its way down his throat. Slowly he begins to return to me. Very slowly and the mask is still in place. I know it for a mask even if he does not. No one is this blank this empty. Even the dead show more of themselves then the man in my arms is doing now. Keep talking, Severus. Let him hear you as he returns from wherever he has been. Sub space it is NOT. Questions can wait, will wait. Bringing him back slowly a controlled reentry to the world of the living is the priority here.

“S-s-s-s-s-s-s-sir? Severus?”

Merlin, the pure fear in his voice.

I want to tear, to shred to destroy whoever put it there.

“I am here, Harry. Finish your drink. We can talk after you manage that.”

“I have to go. I have to return to my dorm. It’s past curfew. I’ll get in more trouble. I have to go.”

He tries to stand but his legs will not support him and I will not let him leave. Not in this condition. A whisper I am sure I am not meant to hear.

“I failed again.”

 

CHAPTER 53

 

How did we get back here? Where is here? His rooms? I have to go. Have to get back to the dorms. Can’t let him see that I don’t exist. Don’t want his pity. Don’t want him to see the freak. Can’t break down any further. Must get out of here.

“I failed again.”

Damn I said it out loud. He didn’t hear though. Too quiet. He didn’t hear it. Can’t have heard it. Cause he’s still talking as my legs refuse to hold me up. He’s acting like he gives damn. Like he cares. Nobody cares. Never has never will. He’ll find someone new someone whole someone who is real. No one wants broken toy. Doesn’t matter who broke it, no one wants it. Life with Dudley taught me that. Living with Ron only enforced the lesson.

He’s still talking as I fall back onto the sofa. Placing the glass back into my hand making me drink. Gods it burns going down. His voice rolls over me. I have no idea what he’s saying but that voice is wrapping itself around me like this blanket? Where did it come from? When did we get here?

“You can not go back to the dormitories in the shape you are in right now. Just sit back, finish your drink and watch the fire. I am right here. You are safe here. I am here. This is a safe place for you. Relax and finish your drink. You are safe here.”

Words of comfort in that voice rolling over me like I imagine the waves do on the sea. Safe? There is no safe place for me. Even the bindings and lead are lies. No safety at all. I’ve never seen the sea. I wonder if the waves are as relentless as his voice is in calling me back. I wonder why he seems to care. This isn’t his fault. It’s nobody’s fault. Just the way things are. The way they’ve always been. The way they always will be.

Forever.

 

CHAPTER 54

 

Gods above and below, what has been done to him? This reaction is completely unexpected. Did not Albus keep track of his golden boy? Obviously not or he would not have been allowed near me outside of classes and detentions with other students. How could I have missed this? How did Minerva manage to miss this?

“Finish your drink, Harry. You are safe here. This is a safe place for you.”

“No such thing as a safe place. No safety. It’s all lies. Even pain is a lie. All exposed. I’m a lie. He won’t want me now. Now he knows I’m a fraud. Nobody wants a broken toy. Not worth fixing, not worth keeping. Gotta get outta here. Gotta get out before he realizes it before he sends me away. Forgot that safety is an illusion. Forgot the first rule. Nobody wants you. Nobody cares. Just a toy, just a thing. Use it throw it away. Disposable boy. He deserves better. He deserves someone real. A real person, a strong person to …”

He does not even realize that he is talking. All the keys to him right here in my hand and he is giving them to me without even being aware of it. Merlin, what has he been taught?

And why am I feeling so protective? Why do I care that this man has fallen apart in my arms? Who has done this to him? None of that matters at this moment, I’ll deal with my own doubts later. Reassuring him is paramount, bringing him back to the here and now. This is more than a reaction to being out of doors tonight. This has been building for years. I should feel flattered that he can still trust enough to fall apart. May all the gods forgive me, I still want his trust. I still want him.

 

CHAPTER 55

 

“No such thing as a safe place. No safety. It’s all lies. Even pain is a lie. All exposed. I’m a lie. He won’t want me now. Now he knows I’m a fraud. Nobody wants a broken toy. Not worth fixing, not worth keeping. Gotta get outta here. Gotta get out before he realizes it before he sends me away. Forgot that safety is an illusion. Forgot the first rule. Nobody wants you. Nobody cares. Just a toy, just a thing. Use it throw it away. Disposable boy. He deserves better. He deserves someone real. A real person, a strong person to …”

Aw shit, I’m blabbering like an idiot. Shut up, Harry. Don’t give him any more reason to send you away. Don’t let him see what an idiot you really are. Don’t let him see how much you need him. Don’t let the tears escape.

Shut up. Shut up! Shut up!

Damn what did I say? Did I really tell him how broken I am? Gods, what was I blathering on about? Need to fix the situation, need to leave before he throws me out. I can handle anything but that. Need to go, to disappear, need him. But he doesn’t need me, won’t want me after this. He can have his choice of anyone. But I need him. Need the boundaries the control the comfort and the restraint but he won’t want me. Who wants to play with something they have to fix before they can use?

Pull yourself together, Potter. Find your book bag, undo the lead, put your clothes back on, and get back to your dorm. This is his place not yours. Just one more failure in a life of failures. Big deal.

It’d be so much more convincing if I could stop touching the collar. If I could just let go of it all and let him go. Let go of the first person that I thought wanted me, just me, just Harry.

Focus. Stand up. Unclip the lead. Hand it back to him. Simple steps. Baby steps. You can do this. You have to do this.

“I’ll just get my things and head back to the dorm. Sorry to have caused you so much trouble, Professor.” I can’t call him sir anymore. Practiced phrases. Common politeness. “If you could show me where I left my book bag, I’ll get dressed and get out of your way.”

 

CHAPTER 56

 

“I’ll just get my things and head back to the dorm. Sorry to have caused you so much trouble, Professor. If you could show me where I left my book bag, I’ll get dressed and get out of your way.”

“I thought you heard me before. You are not in any shape to return to the dormitory. And I will not have you wandering the hallways like this. You are not ‘in my way’ as you phrase it. You would not be here if I did not want you here. If you would like to get dressed perhaps a bath first? I am sure that I have something around here that will fit you.”

Trying not to remind him that he brought no clothing with him tonight, trying not to remind of the straps he is almost wearing under the cloak or the collar he stroking, trying not feed what ever has caused this breakdown. Would I find his words be so much more convincing if he was not clutching at that collar like a life line? Probably not.

Placing him into a warm bath before he can realize that the leather is gone but I have left the collar for now. Not the collar I would choose for him to wear. It was just something to attach the straps and the lead to but it appears to be helping him so I will leave it and my snake for now. It is not MY collar but the difference does not matter for now. For now it is enough to allow him to relax. Transfiguring some my own clothing to fit him is done easily enough as was the calming potion in the bath water, I cannot allow him to leave not in this shape. For his own safety as well as my peace of mind, he will stay here for at least the remainder of the night. And longer if I can arrange it.

 

CHAPTER 57

 

Now I’m really confused. I was leaving, going back to my dorm I know I was. So how did I wind up in a warm bath with clean clothes waiting for me? Why is he still treating me like I matter? Like he cares? Hasn’t he heard a word I’ve said? I’m not worth his time or effort. I’m broken beyond repair. There aren’t enough pieces big enough to glue back together or even enough glue in the world. Gods I feel … almost safe here in the water. Almost. I don’t want to leave this bathtub, don’t want to face him, to hear him say he’s sorry this isn’t working, that this isn’t what he wants. If I stay in here I can keep the illusion, pretend that it’s just like the other night before he knew how damaged I really am. I’ll just stay here and let the water close over me. No, can’t do that to him. Can’t drown in his tub. He doesn’t need the added hassle of trying to explain how the boy who drowned came to die in his tub. Betcha Moldieshorts would’ve liked that. He’d have won the war without a battle. Oooops... can’t do that either can’t give up... can’t abandon the whole entire fucking world... Shit. Fuck. Damn.

He left the collar on?

Why?

He made the point it was just a part of the outfit I was almost wearing. That it wasn’t his collar. I just realized I haven’t stopped touching it since we got back here. And some of the words he’s been saying are starting to sink in. Or echo in my head. He wants me to feel safe here? I have a safe place? He wants me here?

He still wants me?

And the snake moves.

He left the collar and my snake? Why? I’m a mess. Couldn’t even handle something as simple as gathering potions ingredients with falling apart at the seams. My snake. My connection. I’ve gotten as attached to it as it is to me. Or maybe he just forgot it was still there?

 

I have to leave the tub sometime. Might as well be now. Or not. I think I’ll wait for some help. My legs don’t seem to want to work.

He’ll be back here soon.

He’s watching.

He’s always watching.

 

CHAPTER 58

A monitoring charm on the bathroom will do as I firecall Albus. I do not want to call him but someone needs to know why Harry has not yet returned from his detention. Bah. The old meddler should have been paying more attention to the boy.

But then again if he had been paying attention I would not have found the treasure that this man has become to me. So, instead, I shall be grateful that he has fallen down on the job again.

“Yes, Severus. I trust that this important?”

No you old fool I am calling you for a check on the weather forecast for tomorrow. Merlin, is it truly that late?

“I only wished to inform you that Mr. Potter will not be returning to his dormitory tonight. We spent more time in the forest than anticipated and he has fallen asleep here. As tomorrow is Saturday, I feel it best to let him sleep himself out if that meets with your approval.” Patented Snape sneer in place, I continue, “After all he does have detention for the next three days.”

“Very well. I’ll let Minerva know. Is there anything else you needed to tell me?”

“No. Good night, Headmaster.” Not a damn thing. Harry has trusted me with his secrets and I will be damned before I give you any of them.

I wonder when he will realize that I have not removed my snake. That he still carries my mark, that I have no intention of removing it unless he makes it very clear that he does not want it or need it.

Time to assist him out of the bath before he manages to think himself back in to the state he was in before. Too much time to think can be as deadly as too little. I do not know if either us could sleep tonight. There is too much unsaid, too much that needs to be said, before we either continue as we have been or return to the patterns of the past.

I find I do not wish to return to the past patterns. I wonder which he shall choose when he realizes he truly has a choice.

But he will find that I will always be watching. No matter what he chooses; it appears I have made my choice.

 

CHAPTER 59

 

So... if I use this time to think maybe I can come up with some thing to tell him that doesn’t make me sound like a blooming idiot. The truth would probably be a good thing but I’m not sure why I fell apart like that. So that’s what I say? Gee, sorry, sir. I don’t know what happened. Guess I’m just as crazy as they say I am in all of those stupid articles. Famous Harry Potter goes insane in Forbidden Forest. Hogwarts finest goes totally mental over potions ingredients.

Pull it together, Harry, ‘cause he’s coming back right now. He doesn’t need another demonstration of your not-so-tight grasp on reality.

Not a word spoken as he helps me from the bath, just the touch of the towel and the comfort of his presence. A nightshirt and robe? I thought …

“I told you, you are not in any shape to return to your dorms. I think we have some things to discuss, do you agree?”

I can only stare at him. Confused. Why is he doing this? Why does he care? It isn’t anything he’s done. It isn’t anything that he can fix, is it? No one else … no one else has ever seen it.

“I have informed the Headmaster of your whereabouts. He believes that you fell asleep after gathering ingredients in the Forbidden Forest and will inform your Head of House of that fact. After all you do have three more detentions to serve. That is all he knows unless you decide to tell him otherwise. I do not betray confidences.”

If my eyes get any wider they are going to roll right out of my head. He’s protecting me? Reassuring me? Doesn’t betray confidences? Is that how he see this disaster? As a confidence? That I’ve trusted him? Gods, now I’m really confused.

I allow myself to be led back into his sitting room, back into the comfort of the seat in front of the fire, wrapped in a blanket with a glass of something. His fingers tracing the collar as mine have been doing almost all night almost as if he wants to touch me but doesn’t want to push, to pry, to demand. But he does ask.

“Why?” I can’t believe interrupted him but I have to know. I have to have this answered first before I can even try to start.

“Why do you care?”

 

CHAPTER 60

 

He is calmer for the bath. His fingers are no longer running quite so rapidly across the collar so perhaps he is ready to tell me what caused him to break down like that. Perhaps I am ready to hear it. Perhaps not, but hear him out I shall.

“Harry, what happened out there tonight? You truly were doing very well and …”

“Why?”

“That is what I am asking you. Do you know …”

“No. Why do you care? What does it matter to you?”

How do I put this into words? How do I tell him he has become important to me? That I feel responsible for his breakdown? That I want to protect him it happening again? How can I ask him to trust if I will not? The honesty, the trust I am asking him for needs must be a two way street. How can I expect him to believe that I know what he needs if I cannot tell him what he needs to know?

“Why does it matter to me? You have come to matter to me. There is something about you that calls to me, makes me want to protect you, keep you safe from whoever has done this to you, made you believe that you do not exist except in other peoples expectations. It angers me that you have come to believe that there is not anything more to you then your various roles and masks when I see so much more there.”

When did I begin babbling? When did my fingers join his in touching the band of metal across his shoulders? In using the thin layer of metal as a way to touch him, make sure he was still here, that I had not lost him, that he IS real?

When did you last have someone to care about?

When was the last time someone needed you, Severus?

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 61

His fingers on the collar entrance me. It’s almost as if his need for me is as great as mine for him. As if he needs to be sure that I’m still here, that I AM real. Focus Harry. You’re getting your answers, what you’re getting is as real as it gets. Focus on Severus, not on Sir, not on Professor Snape, on Severus. Focus and listen.

And what I’m hearing is flooring me. I matter? He cares for me? Not just as a toy, a plaything to be discarded at will or whim? I’m real to him? This strange pull works both ways? He actually truly cares?

If I could I’d spare a moment to wonder what he sees in my face as I still his fingers and with them his voice.

“I matter? You care? What happened tonight didn’t … you aren’t afraid that there really isn’t anymore then the masks? You aren’t disappointed you’re worried? You actually see me?” Wonderment isn’t new to me. I remember feeling it when Hagrid took me to Diagon Alley for the first time, when I first held my wand but this is… is … is beyond my comprehension. Totally outside of my entire life’s experience.

“I think it was the silence. And then I looked up and I couldn’t see you. You weren’t there. Had vanished or gone off and left me there on my own. Was just a convenience for gathering ingredients that you needed but couldn’t be arsed to gather for yourself. Was just another tool another toy. “

Breathe, Harry, breathe. Don‘t think about it don‘t let it come back. Just focus on the floor in front of you, his fingers on the collar and say it.

“It didn’t matter who was doing it. Just another detention. And it was so quiet and you weren’t there. I couldn’t see you, couldn’t hear you. If I couldn’t see you couldn’t hear you then I didn’t exist either. Just the masks. Wasn’t real even to you. I needed - need to be real to you.”

Breathe. Don’t look up. Don’t see the disgust on his face. Don’t concede that you’re a needy prat. Just breathe.

“It’s not you. It’s me. This is all there is. There really isn’t anything here except for the masks and what other people expect. It’s the fact that I don’t exist I’m not real. And the silence. Always the silence. Like being in giant bubble”

 

CHAPTER 62

 

Gods, too far, too fast, too much information. What have I given away? Besides everything. Only what I wanted to give him. Just so soon, too soon. Will he value it?

Merlin, how did we get here? A diversion, a game, at best an intriguing way to alleviate boredom. Honesty, Severus, at least with oneself is necessary. It was ever more then that from the moment you first saw the signs but this … this is … this is all happening much more quickly than is usually desirous but with when has anything every gone according to plan where he is concerned?

I know he can read my thoughts on face but I’m learning that I can read some of what’s going through his mind. And I wonder if he knows that. I wonder if he knows I don’t want this whatever it is between us to end. I don’t want to leave him, to lose him, to be alone again. But when has what I want ever mattered?

What does he want? Does he know what he wants? I know that I want him, that I want to keep him. I could very easily grow to need him but is it wise? And if he chooses otherwise…

He’s thinking. I’m done thinking. I know what I want and the worse thing that can happen is he throws me out. I’ve been thrown away before. Quickly now, Harry, before he can react. I wiggle my way out of the blanket and out of my seat. I’m on my knees again. Resting my head against his thighs, just here.

The next move is yours, Sir.

CHAPTER 63

He is down on his knees next to me. My hands have found their way from his collar to his hair. The silken strands seem to wrap themselves about my fingers. He has made his decision.

Using my hand in his hair as leverage I pull him up, tilting his head back so he meets my eyes. “Is this what you want, Harry? Is this what? You? Need?”

Burning need challenges my gaze. Yes. He is sure.

“This changes nothing out there in the real world, Harry. You still have a role to play for all of them, for Dumbledore. As do I. Take one more night and sleep on it. We will discuss this more when you wake.”
At the very least I shall him in my bed for this one night. I shall have him.

Merlin, I have his attention just exactly where I want it: fixed on me. Standing I bring him up with me. I unbuckle he metal collar from his neck, tossing it aside and tear the nightshirt from his body. This is how he looks his best, naked, vulnerable, tempting.

His mouth is open but I give him no chance to speak. Pulling him, pushing his head backwards I bend over him and seal his mouth with mine. The taste of innocence is assembled of sweet chocolate and bitter tears. His moan as I claim the depths of his mouth is as intoxicating as his sighs. This is where he belongs, molding his body to mine, reaching for me, marking me as his as surely as I will mark him as mine.

His fingers scrabble for purchase in my robes. No they are searching for buttons fighting to find them undo them before I can forbid it. Tonight I shall not forbid; let him touch, explore as much as he needs to reassure himself I am real. That I might be as willing to bear his mark as he might be bear mine. That can wait for morning. Tonight is for far important discoveries.

Swinging him up into my arms I waste no time in heading for the bedroom. I do not even know if he is aware that we are moving until he finds himself on the bed. The dark green of the bedclothes show off his winter pale skin to advantage, as do the ropes wrapping themselves around his arms pulling them over his head empathizing the lean line of his body. I cannot help but stare at him, lying there, gazing at me with a hunger, a need that matches my own.

 

CHAPTER 64

 

I have made my decision. He knows that and yet he still wants me to sleep on it, to consider it carefully. And I’m to stay here with him.

His fingers in my hair are tight against my skull as if they’re going to dig into my brain. I meet his gaze, for the first time tonight. Yes, I’m sure. Yes, this is what I want. And yes, oh yes, this is what I need. He is what I need. He is speaking but I’m not hearing him all I can see is fire in him rising to meet the need in me. Raising me to my feet as he pushes my head backwards, my mouth opens but I have no clue as to what I’m going to say when his mouth reaches mine. Gods, the taste of him, bitter almonds and mint tea. My fingers scratch at his robes searching for the buttons I know are there. Fighting to open them, to move his robes aside and find the skin that lies beneath them. To taste, to touch, to mark him as surely as he intends to mark me. If I’m to be his as I intend to be then surely he is to be mine as well.

The bed is as soft as I recall and the ropes wrap themselves as tightly about my arms stretching them over my head. I realize that all I’m wearing is my snake. I have no recollection of loosing the collar or nightshirt but I don’t care. I want him. I need him. Now.

He stalks towards the bed, there is no other way to describe how he moves and all I can do is stare at him as he makes his way to me. My salvation and my damnation all wrapped up in one package.

 

CHAPTER 65

 

I collapse onto the bed next to him allowing my hands to map him to trace the veins in his arms, the lines of ribcage and abdomen. His skin is hot, feverish, burning me, marking me with his need. And the ropes disappear his hands follow their map learning their way across me. Free for this night to explore and touch. I find I cannot remember when last I wanted to grant anyone the intimacy of simple touch. I cannot remember when last anyone wanted to know what hidden beneath the robes and personae of the horrid potions master.

The taste of his mouth is distracting me. There is more, much more, I plan on learning about the man next to me. Leaving the desperate warmth of his mouth I make my down the column of his neck - sun bronzed where it has been exposed to the elements fading to a true Celtic pale where his robes and Quidditch gear have protected him from the harshness of the sun. Lending an almost ghostly glamour to his wanton sprawl on my bed.

The harsh neediness of his breathing making his chest fall and rise again in a dance of desperation. Has no one taken an interest in the boy? Has no one taken the boy? Merlin, could the boy/ man/Harry be virgin after all of this time? If so it is a state of being that shall soon and thoroughly be remedied.

His nipples are as responsive as to my mouth as his was earlier. The delightful feel of him against me struggling to reach for whatever part of me he can touch, my face, my shoulders, back and arms are being burnt by the pure heat of his need. Writhing, needing, whimpering - the whole of him responding to this, to me - Merlin, how could I have foreseen this?

How could I know that savior of the wizarding world might be my own salvation and damnation also? No matter what his final choice may be in the daylight after this we are saved or damned together.

 

CHAPTER 66

 

Gods, his skin is as winter pale as if it never saw the light of day, iridescent like a serpent’s scales against the green of the bedclothes. Glowing with a light of its very own where he is touching me. Cold flames burning me following where those hands those lips have touched me. What would that skin feel like under my hands, is at soft/firm as it looks?

Straining against the ropes -- hey they’re gone -- my hands are free! Tangled in his hair clutching him to me. Feeding off the inside of his mouth making a meal of bitter almonds and mint and pressure and … oh Gods my mouth is so empty.

So firm under my questioning hands, searching, exploring, translating what I see into a beginner’s map of Severus Snape. Tasting along that marble column of neck, feeling his pulse pounding under my mouth, kissing, nibbling, biting. This is where I belong under him. Arching up to meet his touch like a pet cat. Running my hands along the line of his spine and back up to his shoulders, down his chest. My hands’re suddenly trapped between us, the peaks of his nipples standing under the calluses on my palms. I’d love to taste them but I can’t move. His weight is pressing me back down into the embrace of the mattress as his hands roam across my belly and thighs avoiding my cock which feels like it’s going to explode and I don’t want that. Not now, not yet. And I buck up under him trying for more contact to feel the lines of that body through my cock, to leave burning droplets of Harry across his belly as he has done to me.

I feel like I can’t breath like he’s stealing the very air from my lungs. At the same time I’ve never felt more alive, more here, more aware, more aware of him then I’ve ever been before. A stray thought makes its way across what is left of my mind… I wonder if this is a good time to tell him I’ve never gone this far before? Or will he figure that out on his own? And with that conscious thought flees again …

 

And suddenly it doesn’t matter he is kissing me again. Devouring my mouth as if he were as hungry, as wanting, as needy as I am. Gods, Severus!

He’s turning me over. Dropping kisses and bites in equal measure down the back of my neck. Who knew that the back of my neck was directly connected to my prick?

Vaguely I hear noises, cries and whimpers, moans and things that may have started out as words but never got finished. I can’t tell who’s making them him or me or both of us or some unseen gallery of portraits or Slytherins. I don’t know. I don’t care. Just, oh Gods, don’t stop …

 

CHAPTER 67

Rolling him over a whole new side of him to devour. A slight momentary tightening of his body informs of the answer to my earlier guess. No one has done this with him before. This is virgin territory and I claim it now in the name of Severus Snape.

Merlin, I knew he was responsive to my voice and now to find that my touch causes him to dance under me, uncontrolled, uninhibited, a dance of pure need and want and lust. A dance preformed for me. Only I have done this to him, brought him to this point of need. This is for me. This is a duet for snake and lion, predator and prey and neither knowing nor caring which is which.

Making my way down his back, I find dimples in his arse. Kissing, nipping at one while swatting at the other, he has no idea of which he is responding to, the pleasure or the pain and does it really matter? His hips arching off of the bed trying to complete the connection between us, trying to trap me,

I find my voice again, forming words I know need to be said, need to be answered I will take him either way but if virgin he is in truth then even in this heat in this blaze of need, I will take care. I want nothing to ruin my claim on his body and his soul, no taint to this night when he looks back in memory. He is mine.

His entire body shudders with need as I trace a single finger along his cleft. Running forward to his balls and back teasingly pausing at this entrance before stroking his balls again feeling them tighten in my hand.

“Harry, are you sure you want this?”

His answer is not in English but in the gibberish of pure need. His body language speaks where his mouth cannot. And I find cannot wait. This is what I want, what I need from him. The ropes come back from their nests in the headboard wrapping his arms firmly giving him some thing to wrap his hands around as I prepare him.

Merlin, he is so warm, so tight, so welcoming, so very much like coming home.

 

CHAPTER 68

 

Am I sure I want this? Am I sure I want him? Gods, what more does he need, an engraved invitation?

Well the best I can do at this time is grasping the ropes firmly and push my arse back to meet him. The ropes? I can’t believe I didn’t notice them. But I’m glad they’re here. I need this, need this from him and Gods I want him.

His hands his mouth tracing my spine. I didn’t know that anything could feel like this. Didn’t know I could feel anything this much. The sting of a swat against my arse brings me back to the here and now. Back to Severus and this bed, this night. Should he decide that he doesn’t want me in the morning I will have this night to remember.

His fingers opening me exploring their territory from the inside out watching my reactions for to his touch, making sure I’m ready for him as ready as he seems to be for me.

“Gods can’t wait any longer can’t take this slow steady pressure need this need you oh gods Severus …” Words have never been my best means of getting my point across and now they fail me completely as he takes me fills me completes me.

“Ssssssssssssssssseverus”

With an answering echo “My Harry. MINE”

I have come home.

 

CHAPTER 69

 

It is morning and he is still here. I do not think that he has moved all night though he is moving now. That is what woke me. It is also what keeps my eyes closed and my breathing steady. Giving him this time for uninterrupted exploration.

His hands are work roughened, Quidditch alone cannot account for the calluses on his fingers and palms. Most wizards take pride in doing things with magic; I had almost forgotten he is Muggle raised. One would think that wards on his relative’s home would allow him some leeway to practice over the summers… there is a gentleness, an affirmation in his touch that he wanted to wake here, wanted me to be here when he woke.

There is something else there in his touch, something I had not expected. Hesitancy. His brain is waking up. I can feel the shift in his touch as it moves from cautious exploration to desperation. As long as I remained faking sleep I expected his touch to gain in boldness, in steadiness, in sureness but no, his touch is weakening, pausing more. I shift toward him, tightening my arms and effectively trapping him.

“Awake so early, my Harry?”

 

CHAPTER 70

 

It’s morning. Well, I think it is anyway. Gods, I haven’t slept this well in … ever, now that I think on it. His arms are still around me loosely and I look my fill. My eyes trace the line of him from shoulder to hip and I remember the last line of a joke I heard once. Acres and acres and it’s all mine. Biting my lip I hold back a giggle I really don’t want to wake him.

My hands begin to follow the trail my eyes have mapped out. Soft/strong, firm/resilient under my hands. Please, please let him sleep at little longer. Let me have this time of belonging before…

My eyes, my hands and now my lips I want to know him as well as I can, as much as he will allow me before he sends me back. I can’t trust what he said last night. If you are very lucky, Harry, he’ll let you stay for a bit before trading you in on newer model, one that isn’t broken. I’m sure that there are many more candidates out there for him - of his own house, his age, his experience. I shiver as my body remembers the feel of his experience last night, taking me, claiming me. There goes my brain. I didn’t want it to be morning yet. I want to pretend a little longer. I want to pretend I could have a hope.

 

“Awake already, my Harry?” That voice first thing in the morning right in my ear is there a better way to start the day?