Harry put his quill down and cracked his aching fingers. His back was also starting to hurt, but he had a mountain of paperwork to go through, and just couldn’t take the time to stop and work out the kinks.
He picked the quill up with still stiff fingers and hunched over his desk. After gazing up, his eyes were having trouble adapting to the short distance again. He rubbed them, knocking his glasses askew.
“Later,” Harry said absently, putting his glasses right back on.
“I don’t think so.”
Harry whirled to look at the portrait behind him. “Look! I’ve got work to do, and no time for you, sir.” He turned back, moaning in pain when the sudden movement pulled something.
“And you’ll handle your work much more easily and efficiently once you’ve rested.”
Harry bit back a scathing retort, because really... it was true. Slowly, he got up from his desk, massaging his painful side.
“So you can be made to listen to the voice of reason.”
“Apparently even when it’s speaking through your mouth, sir.”
Snape rolled his eyes. “Don’t make me wait.” He left his frame for the empty portrait in Harry’s bedroom, the one none of the other portraits could access.
As Harry closed the Headmaster’s office’s door behind him, he could hear the portraits of his predecessors talking and gossiping animatedly. He knew they were all insanely curious about what Snape and he got up to when they disappeared into the bedroom.
Their official cover story was that Snape was telling Harry bedtime stories, but somehow Harry didn’t get the impression that the portraits believed it.
Not that they were wrong in that.
The portrait in his bedroom didn’t contain much: just an armchair, in which Snape was currently sprawled, his long legs stretched in front of him, an arrogant smirk on his face. Harry swallowed back a wave of arousal and a little bit of fear at the sight.
He stood in front of the portrait and waited, his trepidation rising with each second where Snape said nothing.
After what seemed an eternity, Snape spoke. “Take off your clothes. All of them.”
So it was going to be a long session, then. Harry almost protested, because he really did have a lot of work to go through, but he also realised that Snape knew what he was doing. And Harry needed it very badly. It had been too long since the last time.
Silently, he obeyed. He unbuttoned each garment, slowly but steadily, and folded them on a chair. He had learned early on that Snape didn’t tolerate sloppiness.
Finally, he was naked, already half-hard from anticipation. He didn’t dare open his mouth, even though Snape just watched him, without giving instructions. Harry looked up swiftly at the portrait, then back at his feet, the way he’d been taught. He forced himself not to show how much he wanted it, all of it, even though he knew that Snape knew. And understood, which was a source of both terror and delight to Harry.
Scratchy hemp ropes slithered down his arms, pulling them together and up, until he was forced to stand on tiptoes. Harry’s breathing became shallower.
Again, Snape made him wait. The bastard liked to drag things, to give Harry time to imagine what could happen next, every single scenario. And Harry had a pretty good imagination.
Another almost whispered word. “Flagellusempra.” Harry had no idea how Snape did it, how he managed to do magic even though he was only a portrait, but his spells always worked.
Oh, how they worked! Harry let out a long moan, as much release as pain, when he felt the first lash on the fleshy part of his buttocks. He arched into the next one, welcoming the sting, distantly hearing Snape count in a dispassionate voice.
Several more lashes followed, the rhythm and landing pattern regular. Harry could feel himself slipping under, focusing on the pain in his cramping legs and his backside. He didn’t hear Snape cancel the spell, and whimpered in disappointment when the next stroke never came.
“Harry? Harry? Harry!”
Finally, the words registered in Harry’s sex-addled brain.
Snape muttered something, and the ropes holding Harry descended a few inches, so that he was able to put his feet flat on the floor, his muscles screaming with the release.
“I don’t think you are paying attention properly, Harry.”
Harry hung his head; Snape was right. It had been so easy to let himself get lost in the haze of submission.
In a gentle voice that would have surprised people, Snape continued, “You know you can’t do that. You have to keep grounded, because I can’t do it for you. If I could, I would touch you, but I can’t, and the only thing that I can do is use my voice.”
Harry nodded jerkily, a little ashamed. He did know it.
“I know, sir. I’m sorry.”
“I know you are, Harry.” He paused, and Harry resisted the urge to look at him, to make sure Snape wasn’t too disappointed in him. “Very well. We are going to start again, and you are going to do the counting.”
“If you miscount, it is over.”
Which meant he would have to concentrate on the counting, as he couldn’t afford an error. Bastard. Harry knew Snape was doing it for his own good, but at the moment he really didn’t care for such technicalities.
The ropes holding him tightened and rose again, though not as much as before. Again Snape said, “Flagellusempra,” and again the lash fell.
“One.” Fire spread across his flesh, and Harry closed his eyes the better to appreciate it.
“Two.” Parallel to the first one, crossing some of the earlier marks. Harry pushed against it, even knowing that it would have no effect.
“Three.” Harry shuffled a little, trying to get as stable a position as he could. It wasn’t easy, as the ropes held him high.
“F-four.” He was already a little breathless, already slipping away. He shook his head, trying to clear it, trying to make sure he would get as long as possible before he miscounted.
“Five.” Because he had no doubt that he would end up miscounting. Snape was extremely good with his spells.
“Six.” Which made him regret his death. Who knew how amazing it could have been, in the flesh? Of course, Harry could always go to a club and pick someone suitable, but it wouldn’t be the same thing.
“Seven.” Snape knew him. And he understood him, better than most people — even Ron or Hermione — did.
“Eight.” Harry let out a shuddery breath. That one had hurt, catching on previous strokes. His arse and legs were burning, now, and he welcomed the pain, accepted it and fed on it.
“Nine.” He screamed it, taken by surprise by the lash that landed on his shoulder. He breathed through his nose and concentrated on the numbers again.
“Ten.” It burned, the pain washing away his concerns and replacing it with the bone-deep satisfaction he always got from a good whipping.
“Eleven.” Slowly, all thoughts left his head, leaving only behind his arousal and the need to get the numbers right.
“Twelve. Thirteen. Fourteen. Fifteen...”
Harry’s world shattered on the twenty-third stroke.
His whole body seized up: his fingers curled around the ropes holding his wrists, his feet actually left the floor. His muscles contracted almost painfully. His orgasm rolled inside him in never-ending waves. He was vaguely aware of the ropes lowering until he crumpled down like a puppet whose strings had been cut.
The hardwood floor made Harry wince and roll onto his front. Gradually, he became aware that his name was being called. Shivering from cold now that the euphoria feeling was dying down, he sat up, and gathered his legs against his chest. He dragged the quilt from the bed and wrapped it around himself before looking up at Snape’s portrait.
Snape was leaning forward, watching him intently. “Are you all right, Harry?”
Harry let his head fall against the bed’s footboard behind him. He nodded, aware that he must be sporting a goofy grin, but unable to muster the energy to care.
“Aloud, Harry. I’d like to make sure you aren’t brain-dead.”
“Would you even notice a difference from my usual intellectual state?” Harry joked.
Snape’s mouth twitched up, but he kept on looking at Harry sternly until he relented.
“I’m quite all right. Never been better, in fact. I’ll be catching a quick nap, perhaps half an hour, then I’ll go back to work.”
“I’ll wake you up.” His lips twitched again, and there was a laugh in his voice when he added, “You might want to get inside the bed, for your nap.”
Harry smiled back. “Nah. I’m comfortable here. Speaking of comfortable...” He squinted. It was hard to say, because the portrait wasn’t big, and Snape’s clothes were no more revealing now than they had been when he was alive, but Harry was quite sure that Snape was aroused.
Snape dismissed Harry’s concern. “Nothing you can do about it. Though I intend to catch up once you’ve got your own portrait.”
Harry chuckled, at last standing up and climbing on the bed. “It’ll be my pleasure.”