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This was nothing like catching the snitch, Harry thought, shifting nervously to relieve some of the pressure on his aching knees. Nothing like fighting the basilisk, or dueling with Death Eaters. None of the adventures of his adolescence could compare to this in terms of the thrill, the burst of anticipation buzzing in his belly as he knelt, toes curling in the carpet, and waited.

Four weeks had passed since Kingsley had called them all into his office, his handsome face cleaved by a satisfied grin, and announced that the last of the Death Eaters had been captured. Parchment flew and the office rang with cheers as the staff celebrated the culmination of three years' worth of effort. The celebrations that followed the Daily Prophet's gleeful proclamation about the irrevocable end to Voldemort's reign rivaled the intensity of those in the weeks after the Dark Lord's death, and Harry and the rest of the staff in Magical Law Enforcement had spent most of their time dealing with drunkards, looters and pranksters.

Everywhere he went, Harry saw happiness and relief written on every face. He tried to smile when the thanks and praise came his way, but more often than not his numbed lips refused to cooperate. As the days passed it got harder and harder to find the energy to get out of bed, especially on the mornings when Severus wasn't there, and more than once he arrived at work so late that Kingsley raised his eyebrows in a mild rebuke as Harry stumbled by his desk on the way in. He couldn't even summon the strength to apparate to the Burrow for a celebratory dinner with the Weasleys, begging off at the last minute by sending an owl to say he wasn't feeling up to snuff. Hedwig returned with Pigwidgeon in tow, a large crock of Mrs Weasley's chicken soup cradled between them and a letter advising him to get plenty of sleep tied to her leg.

The only time Harry seemed able to dredge up any interest in life was on the weekends, when Severus returned from Hogwarts. And even then he had little to say, and spent the majority of his time either sleeping or shuffling around the house in his dressing gown.

"What's the matter with you?" Severus snapped at breakfast one Sunday morning, as Harry sat with his head resting on his palm, pushing his eggs around the plate.

Harry looked up in surprise. "Nothing," he said, hastily removing his elbow from the table.

"You've been moping around here for weeks."

"Have not."

"Do stop being so childish. You've been quiet as a flobberworm, and not nearly as interesting to be around."

Harry felt the color rising in his cheeks. "Well excuse me if I haven't been sufficiently enter--"

Severus cut him off with an impatient wave. "Spare me the histrionics. I was merely expressing concern over your recent uncharacteristic lack of Gryffindor bravado. I won't make that mistake again."

The stinging words deflated Harry's anger, and he exhaled it with a soft whoosh. "I'm sorry," he mumbled, as Severus flapped the newspaper open and buried his nose in the middle. "It's just... I'm fine. I'm just tired, I think."

Severus slapped the paper down on the table and fixed Harry with a glare. "You've been 'just tired' for almost a month now. Or hadn't you noticed that the start of this funk in which you've mired yourself happened to coincide with Cartwright's arrest?" He leaned in closer, his dark eyes flashing. "Why don't you just admit it? You hate it that you can no longer play the hero, don't you."

A rush of adrenaline sent Harry's heart pounding, and his face flushed crimson again. "I never wanted to play the hero." Severus raised a skeptical eyebrow, and suddenly the dam that had been building in Harry's chest for weeks burst and the words came pouring out. "And so what if I did? I'm a damn good Auror, but what the hell use is that if there are no more Dark wizards out there to chase?"

"So that's what this is all about? You're bored?"

"It's not just boredom," Harry said, running his hand distractedly through his hair. "There's just... there's nothing left to look forward to. Nothing to get excited about. Every damn day is just like the day before."

Harry looked up to find Severus studying him with narrowed eyes, and he felt a pang of regret for having spoken without thinking. "I'm sorry," he said quickly, reaching under the table to put his hand on Severus's knee. "I didn't mean you... er, us."

Severus's expression did not change. He studied Harry for a few long moments, and then got stiffly to his feet. Harry stared down at his eggs and didn't get up from the table until long after the sounds of Severus packing to return to Hogwarts had faded away, and the flat was empty and still.

***

One of the school owls was perched on the front gate when Harry arrived home on Tuesday. The sight of it lifted his spirits a bit, and he untied the small roll of parchment the moment it extended its leg.

Are you still wallowing in self-pity?

Harry crushed the parchment in his fist and swore under his breath. He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting Severus to say, but this certainly wasn't it. "No reply," he said through gritted teeth, throwing the gate open with such force that the owl had to flap its wings madly to keep from overbalancing. It clicked its beak at Harry as he marched up the path. "And I have no payment for you, either." The owl took off with a baleful hoot, and Harry was left spitting feathers as it streaked past his face.

***

Galvanized by anger, Harry spent the next day attacking the mountain of overdue paperwork clogging his in-tray. It felt good to have a purpose again, and by the time he'd scribbled his signature on the bottom of the last piece of parchment he grudgingly admitted to himself that Severus had known exactly what to do. He always did, somehow. His methods may be unorthodox at times, but Harry couldn't deny the fact that they worked.

The scent of flowers was heavy on the evening breeze when Harry returned to the dark flat. He lit his wand and then jumped back, gasping, as a pair of enormous yellow eyes flared up in the darkness. The owl hopped to the next fence post when Harry approached it, apparently unwilling to risk going unpaid a second time, so Harry offered it his arm and carried it into the house. It pecked at a leftover piece of toast as Harry unrolled the scrap of parchment.

I take it by your lack of response that I was correct in my assessment of your mood. Very well, Mr Potter. You leave me no choice but to take more drastic measures.

You are to take tomorrow off from work and prepare yourself according to the instructions I will send along. They are to be followed to the letter. The consequences for disobedience will be dire.

S.

Harry sank into one of the kitchen chairs, a flutter of arousal making his knees tremble, and read the message again. 'Prepare yourself according to the instructions I will send.' Knowing Severus, that could mean anything from shaving his legs to slitting his throat. Blood pulsed through Harry's groin. The last time Severus had taken it into his head to become particularly demanding in bed, Harry had awakened dehydrated and had to spend the rest of the weekend lying flat on his belly, unable to sit or even stand for more than a few minutes at a time. But the discomfort had been worth it; each minute of it had been born of five minutes of pleasure beyond the power of words to describe.

Harry grinned. A surge of energy like he hadn't felt in weeks raced through his veins as he opened the window and watched the owl soar off into the night.

***

The owls began arriving first thing in the morning, each one bearing a short, tersely-worded note.

Shower.

Light the fire in our bedroom.

Strip. And keep your hands off what is mine.

The thought of you there, waiting to be fucked, is driving me to distraction.

If you have anything to say to anyone, say it now. Your throat will soon be far too sore from the screaming to be able to manage speech.

And then, finally, an owl arrived carrying a velvet bag. Inside was a small vial of blue potion and a hood made of soft, buttery leather.

This is the last owl you will receive from me. At exactly 4:30 PM, you are to don the hood and kneel on the floor in front of the fireplace. You will have 15 minutes to stretch yourself for the evening's activities. Be thorough. You must be able to accommodate at least four fingers. The potion will help to relax you.

A house-elf will appear at 4:45 to complete the preparations. You will obey her orders without question.

Stretch yourself open until you feel you will break, Potter, or else you surely shall.


***

Harry started when the mantelpiece clock began to chime. He'd been straining his ears, listening intently for the rattle of the front doorknob, and the sound of the hour being struck took him by surprise. He licked his lips and tried to will away the trembling in his thighs. Over an hour on his knees now. The leather hood was damp inside from his ragged breathing, and every time he moved the tip of the thick dildo over which his arse was poised nudged at his loose, tingling hole.

"Professor Severus says you is not to let that inside of you, Harry Potter," the house elf had squeaked, shoving Harry's ankles far enough apart to accommodate the spreader bar. Harry had nodded, the knot of arousal in his chest too gloriously painful to allow him to choke out an acknowledgement, as the elf locked his wrists and ankles to either end of the bar. The elf busied herself for a few more minutes after that, completely ignoring Harry, whose swollen cock bobbed with each beat of his heart. He could hear the elf humming to herself as she worked, a chink of metal on stone, and then she was gone.

And Harry waited.

He'd never felt so vulnerable, so open and exposed, even though he was alone. Severus was a cruel, cruel man, Harry thought, to leave him this way, his arsehole itching to be filled, drops of pre-come tickling their way along the underside of his cock until they settled in the coarse hair of his scrotum. The prickling shortly became unbearable, and Harry wriggled in an attempt to dislodge them which left him gasping as the tip of the dildo slipped past his sphincter.

The air rushed out of his lungs as though he'd caught a bludger in the stomach. The moment his muscles contracted around it, a flood of heat spewed from the dildo as if it had just reached orgasm. Harry moaned as the lubrication oozed down the shaft, easing away the friction that was the only thing keeping him from sliding down its length. He tried to jerk away from it but he'd been empty too long, and the stretch and burn was too tantalizing to give up. How easy it would be to stop fighting and let gravity do its job, to relax his thighs and let it slither effortlessly into his body until he was ready to burst.

The consequences for disobedience will be dire.

With a strangled cry, Harry clenched around the dripping head. "Goddamn you, Severus," he hissed, his chest heaving with frustration. "Where the fuck are you?"

"Right here."

Harry froze. His heart seemed to sputter to a stop for a moment before picking up its thready rhythm once again. "Severus?"

"I've been watching you since the house elf left. And what a delicious sight, your struggle between hunger and obedience."

Harry's head began to pound. "Please, touch me. Please. I need you."

The chuckle that answered these words was tinged with malice. "And just how am I to manage that, while I'm sitting in my office at Hogwarts?"

A tiny whimper escaped Harry's throat as the reason for Severus's instruction to light the fire in their bedroom became clear with a sudden, awful clarity. No wonder he'd had no warning of Severus's arrival.

"You know I don't have the luxury of returning home during the week. And don't think it doesn't pain me to say it, either. I'd like nothing better right now than to fuck you until your arsehole is so swollen that my every stroke is agonizing, and then fuck you again even harder just to hear you scream." Harry sucked in a breath so quickly that the leather hood slapped wetly against his lips. "But," Severus said, his voice now losing its husky edge and dipping into the intimacy range, "just because I'm not there doesn't mean I can't still make you writhe. Animatus!"

Harry had only a moment to ponder the meaning behind the spell before something cool shimmied its way up his thigh and began to coil itself around his cock. Within seconds he was bound from foreskin to root, his balls separated and individually encased, and he moaned as the cord cinched around the base of his scrotum.

"Hmmm, yes," Severus drawled. "I believe that will do."

Harry held his breath as the cords rippled and tightened around his flesh, not enough to hurt but more than enough to choke off any chance of an easy orgasm. "Severus, please..."

"More?" Severus said, and Harry could picture the twisted smile his lover must be wearing. "Very well. If you insist."

"Oh god," Harry whispered, quivering with anticipatory dread as Severus repeated the spell. His nipples tightened under the sudden onslaught of what felt like two small mouths, tiny wet tongues teasing them to hardness before blunted teeth latched on. Harry arched his back, beads of sweat breaking out on his upper lip, and he felt his tenuous grip on the head of the dildo beginning to slip.

"Perfect," Severus said, and Harry was dimly aware of his quickening breaths. "I wish you could see what I see. You look so wanton dancing on that plastic cock. Savior of the wizarding world, the famous Harry Potter, his arsehole stretched around an enormous dildo and practically begging to be fucked. And best of all, you are completely at my mercy. I could leave you there like that for hours, and you'd take it, wouldn't you. You'd do anything I asked so that I would grant you the privilege of coming."

"Yes," Harry moaned. His thighs were aching now, but he didn't dare move. Even the tiniest tremor and he would lose control and jam his arse down the slick length of the dildo.

"Very well, then. Face down on the carpet, Potter. I want to watch as that thing splits you in two."

Harry hesitated. How was he going to manage that without breaking his nose?

"Bend over!" Severus snapped. "Now! Or I will go back to grading papers and leave you there until tomorrow night."

With a shuddering moan, Harry tensed his abdominal muscles and slowly bent forward at the waist. The floor seemed miles away as he lowered himself, unable to suppress a cry of surprise as the trapped head of his cock brushed against the rough fibers below. The dildo moved with him, the lubricant squelching as his hole contracted around it, and he let himself drop the last few inches until he was balancing his weight on his shoulder, one cheek pressed into the rug.

The moment he made contact the dildo came to life and drove into his arse so hard he felt as though it had knocked the wind out of him. There was no time to adjust, no time to think about anything but the feel of it pounding in and out of him, twisting against his prostate and opening him up wider than he'd ever been in his life.

"Tell me how it feels, Harry."

"I... oh god. It's so huge. It's killing me. I... I can't take it."

"You can. You've no idea how incredible you look."

Harry screwed his eyes shut behind the hood and cried out as the dildo began to vibrate, sending shockwaves through his prostate. An eternity passed as the dildo fucked him without mercy, sliding across the sweet spot deep within him with every thrust. Tension swirled through his abdomen and swept through his entire body like a whirlwind, so powerful he feared it would sweep him away forever, and stronger still for lack of an outlet. "Severus. God, please!"

The only response was the sound of a long, shuddering moan and a string of breathless curses, and Harry knew Severus had been conducting the entire session with his own prick in his hand. The thought of his lover stroking himself, thumbing his slit with one hand and kneading his balls with the other while he watched Harry's arse yielding to the dildo made Harry's sac grow impossibly tight, and his cock pulsated wildly against its bonds. "Please," he whispered again, his throat growing thick with a sob he refused to let loose. "Please."

Severus stuttered something in Latin that Harry could barely hear over the pounding of the blood in his ears, and all of his bonds sprang open at once. "Get up, Harry, and touch yourself. I want to see you come."

But the command was unnecessary. Harry was on his knees again as soon as he felt the cuffs slip away, both hands frantically working his erection, furious pulls that made his entire body jerk as the dildo continued its assault on his prostate. He tossed his head back and arched, screaming, bottoming out on the huge fake prick as the ecstasy roared up the length of his shaft in spasms so intense he could feel them echoing through every nerve.

Harry fell forward again and braced himself on one hand, still stroking his cock, still moaning as the tension in his belly began to uncoil, and didn't stop until his fingers cramped from the exertion. The other hand dropped to the rug and he rocked on all fours as the dildo's thrusts slowed and finally stopped. He hissed as it worked its way out of his arse and dropped to the floor behind him with a dull thud.

"All right?" Severus said. His voice was low and laced with concern.

Harry nodded, unable to speak, and stripped the hood from his face. Cool air rushed across his skin, raising goosebumps on his neck.

Severus's head was floating in the midst of the greenish flames licking the fireplace walls. "Get some sleep now, Harry. For once you've earned it. Shall I send the house elf back to assist you?"

"No," Harry grunted. "I'm fine." He crawled to the edge of the bed and used one of the bedposts to haul himself to his feet. His knees felt like water, and they buckled under him when he tried to take a step.

With a whoosh Severus emerged from the fireplace, and he caught Harry up in his arms. "I thought you couldn't --"

"The essays can wait. I'll stay with you until you fall asleep." He maneuvered Harry into the bed and pulled the duvet up over their shoulders. Harry settled his head on Severus's chest and sighed his content. His arse was throbbing and every muscle ached, but his head was buzzing with pleasure.

"I'll be home early tomorrow," Severus whispered, dropping a kiss on Harry's sweaty fringe. Harry smiled dreamily and drifted off to sleep, thankful to have something to look forward to at last.