Author: Lillian
Title: Slytherin Bond
Rating: R for slashy themes and language
Pairing: Severus/Harry
Warnings: AU, Angst, sap, some Gryffindor bashing.
Feedback: Lillian02025@yahoo.com
Disclaimer: Not owned by me. No infringement intended.
Summary: A spell gone wrong brings Harry and Severus together.
Category: Romance
Pairing: Harry/Severus
Series/Sequel: First in the series
Challenge: Part of the Severus/Harry Fuh-Q-Fest at http://www.kardasi.com/HPSS/index.htm
Combo challenge featuring: Harry finds a spell which will bind him and his beloved together forever. He casts it, but by accident it ends up binding him and Snape. (Anonymous) Harry finds out that Severus Snape is gay. It gives him ideas. (Kira) Severus finds Harry crying. Why is Harry crying, and what does Sev do? (Kira)
Authors Notes: Please note that my wizards world is not a perfect place, it mirrors our own which sadly also includes prejudice. I am also fascinated by the fact that Harry was *almost* sorted into Slytherin House. Could it be that the Slytherins are more than just untrustworthy dark wizards? I certainly like to think so. Also, be warned in my fic Dumbledore isn't the usual jolly (albeit powerful) father figure as he's been portrayed as in the books. I regard him as being ruthless by necessity in order to achieve the ultimate victory. Somehow I don't think Voldemort would fear him as much as he does if he was a typical dyed in the wool Gryffindor. By the way thoughts are indicated by // //. And finally a tremendous thanks has to go out to my beta Walterwatcher who took on this monster and with his usual patience and good humor helped me me make this a better story. Any remaining mistakes are clearly my own.

Slytherin Bond

The Problem
************************************************************************

"I'm sorry Harry, but it just won't work," the look on Cho's face said it all. She was trying to let him down easily but it still hurt. Seated together in the windowsill, holding hands, they gave the appearance of closeness that their words belied.

"Cho, you're wrong I *do* love you," he said earnestly. "You're everything I've always dreamed about. You're good, kind, smart and pretty. Just the kind of girl I've been looking for."

"Harry, I don't think you know just *what* you're looking for right now. There's just no fire, no passion between us."

"I really don't know what you're talking about Cho," he said shifting uncomfortably.

Cho looked around the Astronomy Tower and sighed. "Harry, you do know that the Astronomy Tower is one of the prime make-out spots in Hogwarts, don't you?"

"Of course," he huffed.

"Then why despite all the times we've been here haven't we snogged?"

"We did!"

"Yes, Harry," she said gently. "We did once and never again. You treat me like a sister or a good friend."

"But we are..."

"Of course, we are Harry, and always will be just not...lovers. Don't you see? You're not attracted to me...sexually speaking...maybe not to girls at all."

"Of course I'm attracted to girls...err...you," he said firmly. "You're wrong about this. Please give me a second chance. I'll do better."

"Harry, it's not a matter of "doing better". It's a matter of preference. I think you should think this over for a few days. It's probably best we don't see each other for a little while, until you've sorted yourself out."

"Cho, no!"

"Believe me Harry when I say it's for the best."

Cho softly kissed him on the cheek, and quietly left the Tower.

Harry immediately felt queasy and more than a little shaky. Cho was leaving him! Cho, who was the best thing in his troubled, complicated life someone who had managed to bring him a sense of peace and contentment. He had only just started his sixth year and things had been looking up. They had kept up a correspondence over the summer by owl, and the prospects for romance this term looked good. He and Cho had been dating for a month since term started. Now this.

//Of course he was attracted to girls! Those dreams over the last few weeks meant nothing. They were *just* dreams. He nervously twitched, as a flash of hard muscle and strong arms came back to him from one of his recent wet dreams. He shook his head to erase the image. No! He wouldn't think about that. All boys experimented and fantasized. The fact that he and that Hufflepuff boy had given each other hand jobs last year didn't mean anything either. All teenagers did stuff like that. Ron had said so, and he had scads of that kind of information from his brothers.//


"I've got to make her understand," he murmured. " I can show her that we belong together," the words echoed with a hollow sound against the walls of the tower.

Harry ran out the door and lightly down the steps headed towards the Gryffindor Tower.

Professor Binns
************************************************************************

"Today, ladies and gentlemen we will continue to explore the underpinnings of our most fundamental spells in use today," came the wispy voice from the ghost.

Harry was slumped in his chair, with only half an ear lent to the lecture, while Ron doodled away in his textbook. Hermione, as usual was taking voluminous notes. Harry looked directly across the room and noticed that even Draco Malfoy's bored expression seemed genuine.

The droning continued. "And we are honored to have in our Restricted Section one of the oldest tomes of spells and charms in existence, Olde and Forgotten Bewitchments and Charmes," he said as his body gently drifted from one part of the classroom to the other.

"It is, of course, a general volume of..."

"Yes, Mr. Potter. You have a question?" Professor Binns was pleased; he almost never had students raise their hands in his class.

Harry glanced around. Twenty pairs of combined Slytherin and Gryffindor eyes were now trained on him in various stages of both disbelief and annoyance. Why on earth would he prolong their agony? Even Ron looked aghast.

Harry blushed a bit but pushed forward with his question. "Professor, does that mean that it contains *all* spells, I mean even the illegal ones?"

"Are we discussing dark magic Harry?"

Harry nodded his head slowly.

"Well yes, indeed, it does have some spells that could be construed as dark. Remember ladies and gentlemen that in the early days of the wizarding world, dark magic was only labeled by intent. Everything was taught in the curriculum. There was, in point of fact, no restricted section."

As it looked like Professor Binns was off on another tangent, it was up to the sleepy students to get him back on track.

"Sir, if you please we'll be late for double potions," Hermione piped up.

"Oh yes, yes. Class is dismissed," said the professor in his vague way.

As they exited the classroom Hermione trained her best "I am not fooled look" on Harry.

"Harry, why did you want to know about that book in particular? It's not part of any curriculum that you have."

"I was just interested Mione, that's all," he said evasively.

"Harry, it's just that you have this habit of looking for trouble sometimes..."

"Bollocks! If Harry says it was a simple question then it is. Leave it Mione," said Ron.

"But..."

"Look Hermione if we don't leg it we'll be late for potions," Ron left the possibility hanging.

Immediately, Hermione shot ahead of them she didn't want to anger Professor Snape. Her second best marks to Draco Malfoy might fall even further if she wasn't careful. Everyone knew Snape had it in for the Gryffindors.

The lanky redhead looked sideways at Harry. "So, what's really going on Harry?"

"I'm not sure Ron," Harry said quietly. "But you'll be the first to know."

Professor Snape
************************************************************************

A minute after the last of the stragglers made it into their seats, Professor Snape flowed into the room, robes flying.

Harry had to admire his sense of drama.

"After the debacle witnessed yesterday in this classroom, we shall once again attempt to create the healing salve sans explosions," he said directing his glower at Neville.

Neville shrank back further in his chair. //It hadn't been *his* fault. He'd been paired with Goyle, and the Slytherin had deliberately sabotaged the potion.// Unfortunately, given Neville's history Snape had not believed him.

Under his breath Seamus whispered to his fellow Gryffindors. "Listen to Lord Muck."

"Ten points from Gryffindor for uninspired insolence," said Snape in a bored tone without changing his expression.

A general murmur of discontent arose among the members of Gryffindor House.

"Silence! Unless Mr. Thomas you would like to attain further demerits?"

The class sat still and quiet, even the Slytherins.

Snape continued to cast his imperious glare over the class. Harry had to admit that he was a expert at intimidation techniques. A small smile began to cross his face.

Harry himself was no longer frightened of Snape. Since the events of Tri-Wizard Tournament, and the death of Cedric, very little did. With an enemy like Lord Voldemort on his heels, he could pay scant attention to anyone else.

As Snape's eyes continued to range over the classroom, his glance fell on the now smiling Harry.

Snape stopped and fixed his glare on Harry. A look worthy of Medusa.

Harry raised his chin in defiance and met Snape's hard look, green eyes meeting black.

Deep, dark eyes locked on him, assessing, weighing, and judging him, but Harry did not flinch. //So the boy...no young man had the temerity to challenge him. Interesting.//.

As the moments drew out, the air seemed to be slowly sucked out of the room. They were alone, despite the restless sounds of the other students. There seemed to be something else in those dark pools besides enmity for him, something primitive, something feral. It drew Harry like a magnet. He could feel his own heartbeat beating in a strange rhythm. A full body shiver came over Harry. Not fear...something else.

Snape arched his back straighter as though preening for Harry. //That's it Potter. Take a good look.//

"Well, what are you waiting for? Get your equipment and supplies," Snape barked out.

The strange testing moment was broken.

Loosed from their paralysis the students began to get their mortars, pestles and scales out from the storage bins.

Harry shook his head slightly, and slowly got to his feet. It had been a strange and disturbing moment caught in Snape's crosshairs. He was certainly a unique man. Head of Slytherin House, Potions Master, former death eater as well as spy for the Order of the Phoenix, he wasn't easily labeled.

An hour later as Harry and his Gryffindor classmates filed out of the classroom, Ron continued the general grousing.

"Just one time I'd like to be able to tell him to piss off," said the irascible redhead.

"Don't let Hermione hear you," chuckled Seamus. "She'll be reading you the riot act for that little remark."

Ron checked the corridor out to make sure Hermione was far enough ahead so she couldn't overhear.

"What do you expect from a arse-bandit," snorted Dean.

Harry, Ron and Seamus all turned their heads towards him in shock.

"Didn't you know? Snape's an arse-bandit. My Dad says so."

"What would your Dad know about it," chuckled Ron.

Harry eyes were wide with astonishment but he said nothing and listened intently.

"My Dad saw him one time with another guy in Knockturn Alley...there was no mistaking *that* activity," Dean said with a small smirk.

"Hang about!" Seamus broke into the conversation. "Was your Dad pissed at the time? He might have been mistaken you know. Besides, what was he doing in a dodgy spot like that?"

Dean look embarrassed at the reference to his father's drinking habits but pressed on.

"Well, have you ever seen Snape with a woman?"

Harry finally couldn't stand it any longer.

"Dean, I haven't seen Professor Snape with *anyone*!"

Both Ron and Seamus broke into laughter.

"Well he isn't very shaggable is he? Can you imagine?" Seamus kept giggling over the idea of Snape with a lover.

Harry pondered for a moment lost in thought. //They were wrong Snape had a lot going for him if only he chose to use it.// The tall professor with the shoulder length hair, dark eyes and imposing Roman nose might indeed be different if he chose to make an effort. His body was lean, but seemed to be muscular, his hands were long and elegant like a pianists'...his voice, well his voice was one of his most *attractive* qualities. It was deep, smoky and sexy.

*Sexy* thought Harry in panic. //Did I just say Snape was sexy? Gods, I must be really losing it//


"Harry! Ruddy-hell Harry is anybody there? We'll be late for Herbology, let's move it," said Ron

Harry was startled out of his unsettling thoughts, and ran to catch up with Ron.

Gryffindor Tower at Midnight
************************************************************************

Harry tossed and turned as the day's events washed over him. The early morning encounter with Cho in the Astronomy Tower, his thoughts about Snape. He was definitely confused.

He wanted to be loved. Needed it really, and the person best for him didn't seem to realize it. Maybe a spell or charm was the answer. He could then show Cho that they were meant to be together. But it couldn't be anything that smacked of coercion; it had to be a "true love" spell. A magical casting that would bring his true love to him.

Harry sat up and threw the covers back. It was chilly in the dormitory, but he ignored it as he stood up and started to look for his clothes, invisibility cloak, and wand.

That book Professor Binns had mentioned...the Olde and Forgotten Bewitchments and Charmes that might contain the spell or charm he needed. His excitement rose as he imagined Cho running to him the next day, overcome by her love for him.

Yes, it was definitely worth the risk of being caught by Filch and Mrs. Norris. With a determined expression, he quickly pulled on his clothes and slipped quietly out of his room

The Library
************************************************************************

Harry reached the library without incident, but now he needed to find the correct book in the restricted section. He had to chance a light spell and hope that Filch wasn't in the area. "Lumos," Harry said quietly.

Quickly and quietly, he scanned row after row of books. Ten minutes later he was no closer to finding it. He let out a soft hiss. Time was of the essence; he couldn't afford to be caught here. What reasonable explanation could he give? The headmaster would be so terribly disappointed in him.

Just then he saw it. It was very old and very thick, about the size of an encyclopedia. It was just a row above his head. Harry started to reach up but his hand stopped just before he touched it.

Madam Pince was sure to have a library spell on it, especially in the restricted section. His teeth gnawed at his bottom lip for a moment as he considered the safest way to handle the book. It couldn't be taken from the library or the Thief's Curse would be enacted. Still, he might be able to offset any hexes with a Shield Charm. Professor's Flitwick's classes were good for something after all he thought ruefully.

He pulled out his wand and intoned the charm, pointing his wand at the book. A slight bluish cast appeared around it. Harry then carefully pulled it down off the shelving, going to the nearest study table to do his research.

After fifteen minutes Harry was a study in frustration. The book was so old it was very fragile and had to be handled carefully. It was also handwritten in old English script and to top it off it wasn't divided up into anything like sections. A healing charm could easily follow a cleaning spell, and that made it very confusing.

Just as he was about to give up for the night, three quarters of the way through the book was a spell to find "true love" but it didn't read like an ordinary love spell.

The writing was old and very faint. Harry could just make out the ingredients. Dragon's blood, mandrake root (ground), a silver unicorn horn (ground) and the last ingredient was blood from the wizard casting the spell.

Ewww...Harry thought, blood magic was very old and powerful but it hung on a rather fine line that was the border of dark and light magic. Still the spell information seemed to indicate this would "bring him" his true love.

He grabbed a pen and notepaper from Madam Pince's desk and started to write down the instructions. He had to hurry, Filch might be making his way down to the library even now on his rounds.

Most of the cautionary section of the spell had been obliterated by age and Harry could barely make out one word out of every three. //Beetle dung. I can always get Ron or Hermione to break the spell if something does goes wrong.//

//What harm could there be in a love spell? It'll just show Cho how much I really do love her.// An inner voice tried to push forward screaming something about flawed and faulty reasoning, sounding very much like Snape in one of his classic snits. He purposefully ignored it and then quickly put away the book and extinguished his light.

He'd pick up the needed ingredients for the spell from Diagon Alley. He'd have Hagrid go with him on the next weekend to pick up the galleons needed from Gringotts. He'd have to ask Dumbledore for special permission to go, but so long as an adult was supervising he should be okay.

Harry felt a twinge of guilt for using his good friend Hagrid but he knew Hagrid would forgive him. It was all in the name of love after all.

Diagon Alley - Slug & Jiggers Apothecary
************************************************************************

"Twenty one galleons," Harry's voice rose in disbelief.

"Well, my young sir you can't expect ground unicorn horn to be anything but dear these days," said the elderly clerk.

Harry frowned at the apothecary but slowly pulled out the money from his pockets. Thank goodness he'd taken out as much as he had at Gringotts. He hadn't realized how costly all the ingredients for the spell would be.

His now completed list of ingredients were quickly wrapped up and put into a plain parcel. Harry departed quickly out the front door and back out on to Diagon Alley.

He had promised to meet Hagrid within the half hour. Harry was already running about ten minutes late. He had left Hagrid looking at the purple toads in the Magical Menagerie Store. Harry had hoped to keep his friend happily occupied and oblivious whilst he procured the spell ingredients.

Harry felt a twinge of conscience niggling at him. //It wasn't that he was lying to Hagrid, exactly. He was just not *telling* him everything. Harry loved Hagrid dearly but the half-giant was well known for his unruly tongue. Hagrid was just *not* a good secret keeper.// Harry couldn't risk exposure at this point.

"Finished Arry," rumbled Hagrid.

"Yes, just now," he said. "Let's go to Fortescue's for some ice cream before we floo back, I'm buying," Harry said brightly.

With a smile, Hagrid joined Harry in moving down the street looking forward to enjoying the best pumpkin ice cream in England.

Charms Classroom
************************************************************************

In the deserted charms classroom on the third floor, at five minutes to midnight, Harry mixed the ingredients from the apothecary and drew out the "virgin" knife he had purchased in Hogsmeade for his part in blood drawing ritual. The knife had to be new and unused for any other purpose otherwise it would contaminate the spell.

Once the wizard's blood was added to the mixture it had to be spread on the end of the wand and the incantation chanted just as the midnight chimes started to strike in the school.

Harry wasn't sure *exactly* what would happen afterwards, his feverish imaginings though had his "true love" Cho flying to him and, in the end, everything falling into place for them.

Harry hadn't spoken to Ron yet about what he was doing, and certainly not to Hermione. Knowing Hermione, she would probably violently object to use of any "love" spell. She knew as well as Ron that this kind of spell *was* strictly against the rules of Hogwarts.

Many a student had tried over the years to concoct a love potion in Professor's Snape's class on the sly, but had found himself or herself on the wrong end of a long detention with either Snape or Filch.

A love potion was pretty much self-limiting to a period of time but a spell or enchantment ran higher risks but with greater rewards.

Taking a deep breath, Harry sliced the index finger of his left hand with the knife and dropped the required seven drops of blood into the mixture. He then took his pestle and mixed it thoroughly in with the rest.

Harry looked at the clock in the deserted classroom he was using. Two minutes to midnight, he just had enough time to coat his wand.

Carefully applying the sticky mixture to the end of his wand he waited breathlessly for the clock to start striking in the main tower of Hogwarts. It could easily be heard in every corner of Hogwarts and was so much a part of the life of a student; most heard it only as background noise.

To Harry, however, the precise tower clock meant either the successful completion of the spell or the ruin of it.

As the clock began to strike the midnight hour, Harry began to chant.

As the chanting finished a golden mist issued out of the end of Harry's wand. It grew in size until it was about six by six feet. Half of the mist broke off and enveloped Harry and he felt an enormous wave of sensation filling him. An almost painful feeling of burning enveloped his body. He felt paralyzed, almost unable to breathe.

The other half of the mist shot forward through the wall still connected to Harry's bubble through a ropelike connection.

Harry's mind was whirling. He felt drunk, out of control, his mind awash with ideas, thoughts and feelings. Suddenly the "pain" grew more intense as if the *power* in the spell had been turned up a notch.

Harry screamed, arching his back and fell to the ground, unconscious, still clutching his wand.

The Infirmary
************************************************************************

Harry slowly regained consciousness, hearing low voices in an intense argument.

"Whatever the foolish boy has done it has to be corrected Albus," a hoarse voice said. "The tie has to be broken soon or else it won't be able to be broken at all."

Harry could feel a hand entwined with his where it rested on the coverlet. The smell of disinfectants was strong. //Ah, he was in the infirmary then. He had botched the spell after all.//

"I'm not entirely certain there's anything I can do Severus," Dumbledore said slowly. "Harry is a powerful wizard even at sixteen. Much will depend upon the type of spell he used to create the bond."

//Bond? What bond? Cho wasn't here was she? Maybe she was outside.// Harry cracked his eyelids open and looked at Professor Snape and Headmaster Dumbledore. Snape looked awful. Well worse than usual. He was exceedingly pale, his hair was flying around his face and he had only a nightshirt on. What on earth was going on?

"Ah, Harry I'm very happy to see you re-joining us," Dumbledore said with a small smile.

Harry shifted a little uncomfortably in the bed. He was in for it now he knew. There was no excuse for what he'd done. He was also a little unnerved by the feeling that Dumbledore had known he had been awake and listening to their conversation.

He eyes shifted to Snape and received a grimace in return. He looked down and saw that the Professor was, in fact, the one who was holding his hand. Harry was astonished but in no way felt uncomfortable.

"Mr. Potter," came Snape's chilliest voice. "Can you give us some explanation for your idiotic behavior or should we just turf you out of Hogwarts now for the use of *dark* magic within the grounds?"

"Dark magic!" Harry squeaked.

"Now Severus I'm sure the questioning can wait until such time as Harry and yourself are a little more...prepared for the meeting," Dumbledore said in a soothing tone.

"Why don't you and Harry get fully dressed and meet me down in my office, say in about twenty minutes?"

Professor Snape looked like he wanted to argue but closed his mouth with a snap when he saw Dumbledore's expression.

"As you wish, Albus."//As usual.//

"Fine, I'll have Dobby bring your clothes along. Harry I'm sure you'll want to change also into something a little less wrinkled. I'll let Poppy know on my way out that her two patients are leaving."

Harry looked carefully at Professor Snape. He looked more resigned than angry. And why was the Professor changing clothes here instead of the dungeons? And more importantly why was he still in his nightclothes?

"You heard the Headmaster Potter," Snape said sharply as he pulled his hand out of Harry's and closed the curtains surrounding Harry's bed//Impertinent child don't look at me like that. You're the one who started this.//

Dobby popped in seconds later with Harry's clothes and his school robe to replace the wrinkled ones he was wearing. Harry's teeth worried at his bottom lip. He was in a very dicey situation here and had no one to blame but himself.

In truth, he hadn't been aware that the spell was in the dark magic category because he hadn't done sufficient research. Like a true Gryffindor he leapt first without studying the possible consequences in advance. He hoped he wouldn't be expelled.

Suddenly, a wave of longing overcame him for comfort. He wanted Ron or Mione here with him for support. Instead, as he finished pulling on the last of his clothing his thoughts turned to Snape.

"Professor," he tentatively called.

"Not now Potter," came the growled reply.

The curtain was sharply pulled back and Harry jumped slightly in response. Snape was standing there red-faced. He stalked towards him mechanically and his arm slowly rose up almost as if against his will.//I need him. I want to be near him.//

Harry backed away, until he bumped up against the bed. Snape's hand touched his hair in a caress. Harry was agog, frozen in place. He started to tremble, uncertain as to how to react to this strange turn of events. His thoughts were confused but he found his body leaning into the petting.//That feels so good...//

Snape's eyes glinted with something almost possessive, as he began to reach out with his other arm to encircle Harry's waist, drawing him towards the tall, dark-haired man.

"Professor! Harry!" Poppy Pomfrey bustled into the room interrupting the tension filled moment. "Headmaster Dumbledore is awaiting you," she said with a slight frown in the direction of the Professor.

Dumbledore's Office
************************************************************************
"Gingerbread men," growled Snape.

The gargoyle guarding the entrance moved aside and Harry and Snape followed the staircase up into Dumbledore's office. For once Harry wasn't looking forward to a heart-to-heart with the Headmaster.

"Come in and sit down both of you," Dumbledore said in a serious voice.

Harry and Severus made themselves as comfortable as they could in the two chairs set up to face the Headmaster.

"Harry, I must ask you now to be totally honest with me," he paused as Harry squirmed in his seat.

"The dark magic detectors went off last night and the entire staff was alarmed. Our first thought was that Voldemort had possibly breached Hogwart's wards."

Harry gulped and his throat began to tighten. He hadn't meant to worry or frighten anyone.

Dumbledore continued. " If Severus hadn't found you and identified the general type of spell used...well that is neither here nor there at the moment. You do realize that what you did is grounds for expulsion from Hogwart's?"

Harry nodded miserably. It was no more than he deserved for the betrayal of Dumbledore's trust. "Yes sir." He said very quietly.

"However," he continued. "We must now take into consideration the fact that you are not the only one involved, as I'm sure you're aware," Dumbledore stroked his beard as he continued.

Harry just looked bewildered. "Cho?" he said. "Has she been affected by the spell," he voice rose with hope.

"Bugger!" came from Snape.

"Ahem, language Severus," Dumbledore's voice was placid but his twinkling eyes agreed with Snape's assessment of the situation.

"No Harry not Cho," and Dumbledore's gaze moved to Professor Snape.

Harry looked at Professor Snape then at Dumbledore then back to Snape.

"No you can't mean...," Harry started nervously, now gripping the sides of his chair.

"Harry, what spell did you use?" Dumbledore took another lemon drop and looked slightly discomfited.

//This is bad, this is very bad. Only Voldemort has *ever* made Dumbledore uncomfortable. He can't mean Snape and I...//

Harry started to explain in a small voice how his relationship with Cho had gone downhill.

"Albus, do we have to listen to *all* the sordid little details of Mr. Potter's nonexistent love life?" Snape said with a sneer. //God, he didn't even mean to ensnare me he meant to capture that little nitwit. I wonder if he even knows he's gay?//

"Severus please, this is a difficult time for all of us. Let Harry continue at his own pace. Go ahead Harry."

Harry recalled his desperation and his foolish solution. His face started to redden as he felt Snape's glare increase.

Harry wanted nothing more than to run away, only that wouldn't be a Gryffindor solution. He had to face the consequences of his actions. He described his exploration of the library, the acquisition of the spell and it's ingredients.

"Blood! You used blood magic? Are you insane?" hissed Snape.//No wonder why I feel like grabbing him and shagging him right here and now. He's used the most powerful love spell ever created. I ought to strangle the boy.//

"Severus, enough!" Dumbledore's expression brooked no argument.//Hmm...this might not come out badly in the end. Harry needs a particularly strong mate. Someone both magically powerful and mentally tough enough to withstand attacks from Voldemort. Severus certainly has shown that in the past. He's cunning, intelligent, pragmatic and has just a dash of ruthlessness. Yes, a Slytherin match might be *just* the ticket. Sometimes Harry is *too* much of a Gryffindor for his own good. It looks like I'll be losing one of my best spies soon. *sigh * Still it's a small price to pay to ensure Harry's safety.//

"I'll have Irma pull the offending volume from the stacks so that we may investigate the possibilities of breaking the spell. Both of you please remain here in the meantime. If you get hungry call one of the house elves for some breakfast."//I'll make sure that even if there is a solution it won't be found. Yes, this is turning out quite well. I wish I could have taken credit for it.//

With that the Headmaster swept out of the office, leaving an uncomfortable silence behind.

Harry risked a look at Professor Snape from under his lashes. Snape stared moodily off into space. Harry noticed that his hair was long and dark falling to his shoulders but wasn't greasy at all, just a lustrous black.//He's rather noble looking. Why did I never notice that before?//

Ron had always referred to him as "that greasy git" but he wasn't. In fact, Snape took pride in his appearance, when he wasn't slaving over a cauldron in classes or in his workroom.

Harry worked himself up to give Snape the apology he was due.//Maybe he won't be too angry. I mean the spell did backfire. Well sort of. We'll get out of this somehow.//

"Sir, I..."

Snape turned and looked directly into Harry's eyes cold black meeting warm green.

Snape's chair was only a few feet away from his, and yet it seemed like Snape was right on top of him. He shook off his fear and strengthened his resolve.

"Sir, I'm sorry that the spell misfired and involved you. It was supposed to affect Cho...not that I'm not sorry that I did it to begin with but..." Harry continued to babble.

"Mr. Potter. The spell did not "misfire" as you so quaintly put it," Snape's voice dripped with sarcasm. "It has worked only too well," and with that uttered, Snape's hand snaked out and grabbed Harry's chin.//You are a foolish boy. But you are so beautiful.//

Harry froze. Snape was about to hex him...he was sure of it.

Snape stood never letting go of Harry's face. His other hand reached out and touched Harry's shoulder, running down his arm and then touching his thigh. Harry jumped in surprise.//Blimey! He's lost his mind.//

Snape's free arm then circled Harry's waist and pulled him up into a standing position, a hairsbreadth away from Snape's body.

"Do you know what you've done you foolish boy?"//I'm your husband for the rest of time.//

Harry was forced to look up as Snape's grip on his face continued to tighten, bordering on pain. //Oh God, he's going to kill me for involving him.//

"No one forces a Slytherin...not even the Gryffindor Golden Boy," Snape's voice lowered to a growl. //You will be mine. Soon. No one else shall have you.//

"I didn't mean to..."// I can't breathe. He's too close. He smells so good like...//

Harry had barely issued the breathy denial before Snape's lips crushed his own. Harry started to fight to get away but Snape was stronger than he looked. His arms became steel bands as he forced his way into Harry's mouth.//Don't fight me Harry. I want this and so do you.//

Snape tasted of smoke and hints of mint. His tongue explored Harry's mouth, inspecting every crevice and finally stroking the roof of Harry's mouth. //Oh Merlin! That feels so good. Wait what am I saying?//

Harry gasped and tried to pull away once again. Snape sucked Harry's tongue into his mouth and Harry stilled in his arms.//Why am I fighting. I want him. I...//

Snape's leg forced its way between Harry's and to his shame he felt his cock hardening in response to what the potion master was doing to him. //That's it Harry. Let go.//

Harry stopped breathing entirely when he felt the answering hardness against his belly. He whimpered both in pain and arousal.//Snape's hard too.//

"SEVERUS!"

Harry and Snape sprang apart. Harry was dazed and he felt blood rising from a small cut on his lower lip. His tongue reached out and licked it clean.

Dumbledore assessed the situation in a split second.//Things are progressing nicely.//

"Severus, I cannot say that I'm surprised given the spell but I thought you of all people would have somewhat more self-control than this..."//Severus won't fight this binding. There's a real spark between them.//

Snape sneered. "And just why is self-control required Albus? Harry as I'm sure you're aware is my bond-mate. I am entirely within my rights."//You old reprobate you're up to something. I know it. My Slytherin instincts are seldom wrong.//

//Bond-mate? What was Snape talking about? The kiss had been about punishment nothing more. Snape was angry with him about the botched spell. Then why had he responded to Snape's advances? Shite! This is all too confusing.//

"Harry I think it best that you go back to your dormitory for now. You are not to go into Hogsmeade today with your friends. You will stay there until you are called for," Dumbledore was as stern as Harry had ever seen him.

"Yes sir but..."

"Yes Harry?"

"Nothing," he said with a sigh and with one last look at Snape's cold face left them to their discussion. Why was it everyone discussed his future without him? He knew however he was in no position right now to demand anything, explanations or otherwise. With a sinking heart he realized that he'd find only too soon the ramifications of his actions.

Gryffindor Tower
************************************************************************

Harry walked slowly into the Gryffindor Common Room and spotted both his friends.

"Harry, where have you been?" Ron said as he rushed over followed closely by Hermione.

"With the Headmaster."

"Were you caught by Filch last night? I woke up several times and you weren't in your bed. What were you doing anyway and why didn't you invite me?" Ron said in a rush.

"Really Ron, don't encourage him," said Hermione with a frown. "I'm sure Harry's going to do detention for wandering Hogwarts last night."

"Was it another nightmare Harry," she said more kindly. "You could have spoken to Ron or myself if you were having trouble sleeping."

Harry felt guilty for worrying his friends.//If only you knew Hermione. I committed the ultimate wrongdoing, a dark spell performed within the confines of Hogwarts. And oh by the way did I tell you it was a love spell and Snape was involved?//

"No Hermione it has nothing to do with the nightmares about Voldemort...I just couldn't sleep and well, I got caught by Filch," he said in a soothing manner.

"But Harry! Why didn't you take your invisibility cloak then? Filch never would have caught you."

"I just didn't think of it Ron," Harry lied smoothly. Harry reflected that it was all too easy for him to lie to his friends. Maybe the sorting hat had been right. Maybe he had a lot of Slytherin in him. He shivered at the thought.

Ron just shook his head at Harry's lack of forethought.

"Are you coming to Hogsmeade today or..."

"I'm afraid there's no chance of that Ron," Harry said ruefully. "I'm to meet with Dumbledore later."

"Oh Harry, I'm so sorry," Hermione said.

Ron looked depressed as well.

"Never mind it's my own fault. Have a good time. Really. I mean it," Harry smiled at his friends in genuine fondness.

Dumbledore's Office
************************************************************************

Harry re-entered Dumbledore's office with a sense of impending doom. Both Snape and the Headmaster were there, each looking very grave.

"Please sit down Harry," Dumbledore said gently.//Hah! There is no breaking this spell my boy. The bonding will stand. You'll see it will all come out right in the end. It's for your own good you know. A Ravenclaw might not have been too bad a match but I shudder to think of you involved with another Gryffindor. You'd be dead before the year was out. No a Slytherin is the best possible match.//

"As you are now of age I'm afraid you will have to take fully responsibility for your actions."//If you'd been underage all this would have been much more difficult.//

"Yes sir," Harry said. //Oh Merlin, I'm going to be expelled.//

"The spell you cast has been researched thoroughly by Professor's Flitwick and myself and I'm afraid there is no possibility of breaking it," he paused and looked down at his hands.

Harry felt alarmed. Dumbledore was *never* at a loss for words.

Dumbledore looked back up again and with a sigh continued. "Harry, do you know *exactly* what type of spell it was that you used?"

"A love spell sir, to find my true love. But it didn't work," he said nervously.

"Harry, I'm very much afraid it did work, but not I suspect, in the way you intended it too," he said.

Seeing Harry's confused look, Snape mentally heaved another sigh.//God this boy is being dense. Or maybe the Nile isn't just a river in Egypt//

"Let me see if I can explain this "situation" we find ourselves in..." Dumbledore began.

A loud snort came from Snape but otherwise he remained silent.//You want this match you doddering old fool don't you? Well, I'm agreeable.//

Dumbledore gave Snape a hard look before continuing.//He knows.//

"Harry, you didn't cast an ordinary love spell. You cast, for want of a better explanation a find and bind love spell," at Harry's dumbstruck look he pushed on.

"Let me see if I can simplify this a little," Dumbledore said soothingly.

Harry started to sweat. //Find and bind. Does this mean Snape???//

"In magical terms Harry, you used one of the most potent magical items a wizard can ever use...your own blood. Your blood *is* your magical signature and as such is tied into your power. The magic produced wasn't a simple love spell that might be terminated by a simple spell breaking charm," as Dumbledore continued Harry began to shiver as the implications of what the Headmaster was saying began to sink in.//OH MY GOD. IT IS SNAPE AND ME!/ /The startling thought began finally to take root in Harry's consciousness. But, but, but, Snape was a man. Harry didn't fancy men. Harry didn't want to "marry" anyone, least of all Snape.

"The spell you created had some dark magic components to it. It was meant to find you the perfect mate, to meet all of your magical, emotional and physical needs. Once the magic found that individual, it was to bind both of you to each other, both in the magical and legal sense of the word," Dumbledore slowed down and checked Harry's reaction to the news.//Come on Harry snap out of it. You just landed yourself quite a catch. His family is powerful, rich and influential among the Slytherins. It will cause no end of speculation among those purebloods about *why * one of the canniest members of a Slytherin family has thrown his lot in with Harry. Of course, they don't need to know he didn't have a choice.//

"But Headmaster," he said in a desperate tone. "There has to be a mistake. It was Cho I wanted, Cho I love," he sputtered out.

"There's no mistake Harry," he said gently. "The spell wasn't, unlike some, directed at a particular individual. Ms. Cho for example. This is a very old spell that was used by powerful wizards or witches to find their magical match. It borders on dark magic because once it finds the individual there is no longer any choice involved on either side. The magic binds the two together and it is irrevocable," he finished in a solemn voice.
//If you try to escape this Harry, you and Severus will eventually go mad. There can be no other partners for you or Severus.//

"Now Albus, may I carry on," Snape stood and looked down at Harry.//Leave me the boy Albus. I'll soon make him see that he wants me in *every* sense of the word.//

"What?" Harry said. "What is he talking about Headmaster?"

Harry began to panic. It looked like Dumbledore was about to leave the office. Leaving him alone with Professor Snape.//Don't go! Don't go! I'm afraid.//

"Harry, I'm going to leave and let Severus explain some things to you," he said gently. "It's for the best. The compulsion of the spell will only grow stronger and to fight it would only do irreparable damage to the both of you. I will, of course, owl your godfather immediately and inform him of your change of status."//Of course I'll wait until they've consummated the bond. I wouldn't want Sirius barging in here and trying to talk Harry out of it.//

"But, but," Harry sputtered out.//I don't trust myself with him, don't leave me.//

Then Dumbledore was gone and he and Snape were alone again.

"Come Potter," he said in a voice that brooked no argument. "We need to talk in private. We'll go down to my rooms."//You are mine Potter. No one and nothing will ever get in my way. Not even your thrice-damned dog of a godfather of yours. I'm sure Albus agrees.//

Snape held out his hand and Harry slowly reached up to take it. His heart was pounding as if it wanted to jump out of his chest but somehow he knew he could trust Snape.//I want to touch him. I want him to touch me. Is this a part of the spell?//

Snape's grip tightened around Harry's hand as he led the way down into the Dungeons.

Snape's Quarters
************************************************************************

Harry had never seen Professor Snape's quarters before; only the Slytherin House students had ever been allowed entry at Snape's behest. He was surprised to see that the quarters were actually quite comfortable. Snape had a sitting room with two large chairs by the fire with a desk behind them, against the wall where he graded his papers. Beyond that lay the bedroom. The fireplace crackled and threw light into the otherwise darkened rooms.

Harry turned his head towards Snape and blushed at what he saw in his eyes. Open lust shone through as well as anger.//He looks like he wants to *eat* me. Never mind! Erase that thought.//

"Come here," Snape ordered.//I'd bet my life you're untouched. And so you shall be to all others. No one will ever have that *right* but myself. You're mine Harry.//

Harry was only three feet away but it felt like he walked miles to get to him.//He's only doing this because he has no choice. *I* gave him no choice.//

Snape pushed back Harry's robes on his left arm and held it upright, while he pulled his wand out of his robes using the other hand.

"Accio bracelets," Snape called.//Now for the public declaration. Once these are on, they will stay on until one or the other of us dies.//

A pair of silver bracelets flew though the air and Snape snagged both with his wand. He then slid them off his wand and put the wand back into his robes.

The bracelets were silver and green, Slytherin colors. Harry wasn't sure what metals were combined in their creation but they were beautifully crafted. They represented the Slytherin House snake on their herald. Tiny green jewels winked in the "eyes" of the snakes.

Snape took one of the bracelets and slipped it over Harry's left hand and on to his wrist.

Suddenly, Harry felt the cold bracelet turn warm and the snake seemed to come to life on his arm. It twisted and turned of it's own volition and Harry gasped.

The snake appeared to be looking directly at him and a little forked tongue flickered out to taste the air. Contented seemingly by its brief taste, it settled down into its former appearance but remained warm.

Snape took the other bracelet and slipped it on to his own left wrist eliciting the same performance from the other "snake".

"These are very old and have been in my family for thirteen generations," Snape began in a soft voice.

"Just as there are Snape rings for a betrothal between a man and a woman, these were kept for the equivalent relationship between two men," Snape continued in a low voice.

"But Professor..."

"My name is Severus," he said in stronger tones. "You are my bond-mate now and I wish you to use it when we are in our private chambers."

"Sev...Severus, I'm not sure what you mean by bond-mates," Harry said nervously.

Severus looked strangely at his young lover and bit back the sarcastic retort that automatically sprang to his tongue.

"It means Harry that you are my bond-mate, my consort, my pledged or my husband, whichever frame of reference you choose it all means the same thing," Snape said in a low voice.

"You are mine and I am yours from this day forward. I will protect you, provide for you and remain faithful to you and you alone. The same holds true for you. We will complete the bonding ceremony tonight and tomorrow the announcement will be essentially made by the public wearing of the bracelets," said Severus seriously.

"You are now both a Gryffindor and a Slytherin, and will be acknowledged by my House as such," Snape continued.

Harry's emotions were in turmoil. His body was crying out for Severus' but his mind was screaming, "escape".

"I can't be a Slytherin. I'm not your bond-mate! We don't have to do *this*. Dumbledore will think of a way around the spell. I know he can," Harry began to hyperventilate in his distress.

Harry found his eyes filling up despite a fierce desire not to. He would not cry in front of Severus. He was a Gryffindor after all he had that strength. But his heart was in agony. All of his ties that he'd come to depend upon would be gone. How would his House, his friends, and Sirius react to the fact that not only was Harry probably gay, but also was about to become a Slytherin? They would hate him!

"Harry, slow down your breathing. You're only making it worse," Snape said as he began to pull him into his arms.

"NO!" Harry screamed. "Leave me alone! I'd rather be dead first!" And with that he tore out of Snape's arms and ran for the door.

"Harry! Stop..."

But Harry was beyond listening and beyond thought. He raced through the dungeons and up the stairs eventually running out of the main doors of Hogwarts heading west towards the Forbidden Forest. Snape flew behind him trying to catch up but he was no match for the Quidditch hardened muscles of a frantic sixteen year old.

The Forbidden Forest
************************************************************************

Harry had run until he was near exhaustion. Sweat ran down his back and the branches had torn his robes as the path had narrowed down. He had come to a smallish clearing in which a brook ran through and he sat down beside it. He plucked a handkerchief out of his robe pockets, dipped it into the chilly water and then ran it over his face wiping away his tear stains.

He was not lost to all reason though, as upset as he'd been he'd stayed on the path. Eventually, Snape or Dumbledore would find him here. Straying from the path led to the opportunity to run into some of the Forest's more dangerous denizens, and even Harry, brave as he was, wasn't about to test his luck still further.

Taking deep breaths he contemplated the mess he'd made out of his life in less than three days time. He'd lost Cho. He'd cast an enormously dangerous and illegal spell. He'd found out that maybe he did indeed *like* men that way. And to top it all off he'd ended up bonded to a man who *hated* him.

"Brilliant Harry, just brilliant," he muttered.

"Just one more set of oddities to add to my life," Harry said speaking to himself. "Now I'm going to be a bond mate to a man who probably despises me. I've taken away his choice and mine," Harry sighed and threw away his handkerchief into the stream and watched it float away.

He heard someone coming but didn't turn around.

"Mr. Potter the next time you decide to take some exercise, please stay on the school grounds. Even your noted ability to avoid disaster by sheer luck might be over tested here," came the dark tones of Severus.

"I had to get away. I couldn't breathe," Harry said a little sullenly.

"Potter, you are of age. You are a wizard. You have made a conscious decision as foolhardy as it was to cast a spell. Now you and I must live with the consequences. Acting like a drama queen will not noticeably help the situation," Snape continued.

"I'm *not* gay," Harry began.

"Well, you are certainly not completely *straight* Potter, otherwise my as yet limited advances would have been repulsed, nor would the spell have allowed such a mismatch."

"I don't understand," Harry began.

"Potter have you received no sex education at all?" Snape hissed. "It's perfectly possible, no probable that you are bisexual."

"Oh good, now I don't know which side of the road I should be driving on is that it?" Harry was completely peeved now.

To Harry's startlement Snape began to laugh.

Something relaxed in Harry as he gazed in wonder at his bond-mate laughing. Harry had never even seen Snape smile let alone laugh. It was a revelation.

Snape stopped laughing and looked down at Harry.

"Now Harry are you ready to go back to Hogwarts?"

"I'm not sure, I'm a little afraid."

"Afraid of what? Of me? Or of what people will say?"

"Of everything," Harry said with a sigh.

"Harry," Snape said in a softer voice. "Being bisexual or gay will not lose you your true friends. I won't lie to you, it is still not an easy life to live considering wizarding societal prejudices that linger, but advances are being made."

"It's just that a lot of my friends..."

"Ah, yes. I'm sure." Snape's look became distant. "I never thought you were wanting in courage Harry, no matter what else I may have thought."

Harry peeked at his mate. "Well umm...I just thought that you'd hate me, after what I've done. I wouldn't want that, couldn't live with it," Harry said slowly. " I just wanted someone to love me," he said in wistful tones.

Snape looked down at the tear stained face of the boy and his heart ached for him. He knew what it was to be alone. At the heart of the matter, both he and Harry had more in common than not. Without families, they were both bound in a life or death struggle with Voldemort and his death eaters. Now, with this bonding they were completely tied to each other's destiny.

"You'll never be alone again Harry. I will be there for you that I swear to you. I can't promise you it will be an easy road between you and I, but I want this Harry. I've been alone too long.//Listen to me Harry. I need this too.//

Harry looked curiously at Severus, seeking confirmation of the promises he'd made. He saw the truth in Severus' eyes. He wasn't lying, he had no cause or reason to lie.//He'll be there for me. He may not love me right now but I'll show him I'm worthy of that love even if it takes the rest of our lives.//

Harry stood and walked over to Severus. He reached out and touched his arm.

"Yes please. I'd like to try. I'm sorry it had to happen this way but I'm not sorry that you were the one chosen," he said in firm tones.

Severus' heart lifted but he only briskly nodded. "Alright then. Whatever comes we'll face it together."

Great Hall of Hogwarts
************************************************************************

Severus Snape, Professor and Potions Master walked in through the back door behind the staff table to the Grand Hall with Harry in hand. Dinner was just beginning and Professor's Sprout and McGonagall turned their heads to see who the latecomer was. Hagrid stared openly as the couple passed him. Dumbledore never moved but continued to eat his meal with relish.

Harry didn't know what to expect but decided it was best to follow Severus' example//Its so easy to call him that now. I wonder what will happen when I have to go back to classes. Will I stay with Severus? What will Ron and Hermione think? Will they understand? *sigh *//

Severus saw Minerva frowning at him as she spied him positioning Harry in front of the staff's table.//Suspicious old bat.//

He raised Harry's left arm with his own left so that both the bracelets showed.

Minerva McGonagall gasped and Professor Flitwick dropped his roll. Professor Binns floated over the table and was the only one to speak.

"Oh well done Severus."

Harry looked a little lost as Severus walked him to the Slytherin table. For once the students had little to say for themselves as their head of house approached. He stopped directly in front of Draco Malfoy and as before showed the bracelets. Several gasps issued from Blaise Zambini and Pansy Parkinson before being quickly silenced. Draco Malfoy looked furious but said nothing. Crabbe and Goyle just look confused.

Harry's legs were starting to feel like lead and his mouth was dry. What was the point in all this? He assumed Severus knew what he was doing, but Harry was more than a little put off by the total silence in which it was done.

The next stop was the Gryffindor table. Again Severus showed the bracelets and this time the reaction was volatile.

"Harry are you barmy!!" Ron shouted as he stood up.

Hermione tried to grab her erstwhile redheaded boyfriend before he flew at Snape. "Harry what is going on?"

Dean Thomas promptly flung down his napkin. "What kind of a sick joke is this?"

Seamus looked like he was about to be sick and Ginny kept asking everyone what the fuss was all about. The older students looked upset but the first and second years just looked unsettled.

The babble of voices hadn't died down before Snape moved them along on their silent tour. Harry turned his head back, looking at his friends lingeringly as they moved on. He wanted to help explain to his friends, but Severus' grip on his upper arm tightened indicating he wasn't being given that option at the moment.

In a dream state Harry followed Snape to the Ravenclaw table where the students looked the least surprised and then to the Hufflepuff table where some shy congratulations were issued.

Back at the staff table Professor McGonagall was arguing with Dumbledore.

"I have never seen such a mistake in judgment. To put Harry into Severus' hands. What does his Godfather say about all this?"

"Well, ahem," Dumbledore began.

Minerva gave Albus a hard look.

"You haven't told him yet have you? Albus what are you up to? You cannot sanction this..this mismatch can you?

"Minerva, calm down and believe me when I say it's for the best, both for Harry and Severus," Dumbledore said soothingly. "You know I have always had Harry's best interests at heart."

Dumbledore stood. He hated to upset his lover but in these matters she tended to think with her heart instead of her head. He couldn't afford to do that.//Sometimes my love the only path is the rockiest one.//

Dumbledore cleared his throat just as Severus and Harry were finishing with the Hufflepuff table. The babble of voices continued unabated. Dumbledore brought the blunt end of his knife down on to the table. A loud *crack * like thunder made the students jump and turn their heads towards the staff table.

"May I have your attention please? Thank you."//Yes, that's better look at me not at the departing couple.//

"We are pleased to announce the bonding of Severus Edmund Snape, son of Alistair and Eliza Snape to Harry James Potter, son of James and Lily Potter," Dumbledore paused dramatically. "As there are no extended families members for either of the bridegrooms, there shall be a small gathering in their honor for six and seventh year students as well staff tonight in the Great Hall. I'm sure you'll all join me in wishing them happiness."//There I've said my piece. Dear Hufflepuffs they genuinely look happy for the couple. Goodness the Gryffindors look apoplectic. Hmmm...the Ravenclaws are, as usual, engaged in lofty debate while the Slytherins...oh my I see we've disrupted their plotting...good for us.//

Snape's Quarters
************************************************************************

Severus and Harry had collapsed into the two armchairs in front of the fireplace. Severus wouldn't admit it but he was exhausted. Both of them sat silently, happy for the moment to maintain the brief peace that had settled over them.

Harry was too weary to care if Lord Voldemort chose this moment to engage the final battle, he just couldn't be bothered getting up. He yawned, his jaw cracked as the fire started to put him to sleep where he sat.

With a crackle and pop Dobby appeared beside Severus.

"Dobby is sent by master Dumbledore. There is a joining feast tonight in the Great Hall for Harry and Professor Snape. Dobby will come for you then." In a shy voice Dobby continued. "Dobby is happy for Harry and Professor Snape," and with that Dobby popped out of the rooms.

"I can see Albus' fine hand in this," Severus said sourly.

Half asleep, Harry mumbled. "Why would there be a feast? Do we have to go?"

"It's traditionally the responsibility of the families of the bridegrooms. But as neither you nor I have any immediate family left, and as your godfather is still in hiding, Albus has seen fit to stand in their stead."

Harry slowly stretched and leaned forward a bit in the chair.

"I don't know if I can. I'm so tired and I'm sure Ron and Hermione are ready to interrogate me the minute I get there. I'm not sure what I can say."

Harry's eyes popped open wide as Dumbledore's face appeared in the flames.

"Severus, Harry we seemed to have started a small conflagration," he began with a smile.

Snape frowned. //Trust you Albus to start with a bad pun.//

Severus glared at the Headmaster's face while Harry steeled himself to question Dumbledore.

"Sir, what are we going to say? Will we tell everyone about the spell?"

Snape's mouth twitched into the beginnings of a smile. //He's actually adorable when he's perplexed. Did I just say *adorable *? Kill me now.//

"No Harry that would be the last thing we'd want to do. It would make a mockery of the binding and embarrass Severus. For the public to know that this was unintended would make all concerned look bad," Dumbledore said in grave tones.

Snape's eyes narrowed. //Not the least of whom would be the Headmaster who let his "golden boy" get so far out of hand *snort *//

"No Harry, you and Severus will tell all concerned that this binding was planned for the last six months and that you were both agreeable to it."

"I'm sorry sir but Hermione and Ron will never believe it. They know how much I ha..., well disliked the Professor, well you know, before," Harry said flushing.

"Harry, they will believe me if I tell them it was a necessary and a *planned* step by the Order. I will talk with them before the feast."

"What about Sirius? He'll want to know what's happening. Can I owl him now? I've got to explain before he finds out from someone else, he will be so hurt otherwise," Harry continued greatly relieved that Hermione and Ron would be taken in hand by Dumbledore.

"Well Harry, as to that we're not really sure where Sirius is right now, being in the field at the moment for the order, but I have dispatched my personal owl to find him with all due haste," Dumbledore coughed.

Severus' eyes lit up with mischief. //And I'll bet that owl won't find him for weeks. Dumbledore you old fraud, you're a terrible liar. You'd never have succeeded as a Slytherin. You want Harry and I to have our "honeymoon" undisturbed.//

"Very well Albus, Harry is tired and needs a rest, we'll await your word when we are expected at the Feast," Snape looked narrowly at Dumbledore's image.

"Yes, well," Dumbledore continued ignoring Snape's look. "Harry I'll have your things brought down by Dobby. You will, of course, continue to attend all your classes and extracurricular activities with the exception of potions. I will arrange for some private tutoring for you in that particular class. We don't want to be accused of nepotism do we?"

Dumbledore smiled benignly.

Snape frowned. //Here it comes.//

"I have heard too Severus that there has been a flurry of owls from the students to their parents, especially from Slytherin House."

Severus tried to keep a bland fa├žade at the news. //Fuck. Voldemort will know before the sun is down.//

Harry looked over at Severus and saw his overly blank expression. His heart sank. //Of course, how stupid of me, I'm worrying about what my friends and Sirius will think when I should be worried about what Voldemort will do. He'll be furious of course. Severus will be at further risk because of me.//

"Well gentleman, I'll leave you to your *cough* nap. I will see at the feast," smiled Dumbledore as his face disappeared from the flames.

Harry, fully awake now glanced nervously at his husband. Would Severus expect him to...

Severus turned away from the flames and noticed Harry's anxious expression.

"Harry," he began //Start as you mean to go on Severus.// He cleared his throat and started again. "Harry, I know we are strangers. I won't be expecting any "intimacy" until it is clear we are both ready for it.//Which means a lot of wanking for me in the shower.//

Harry looked so relieved that Severus almost took offence until Harry smiled.

"Thank you Sev...Severus," Harry started. "You been very good about all of this. I do want to get to know you better," he said shyly.

Severus felt his mouth twitch, not a smile but close to it.//No, I shan't let you go Harry. Slow it is, but you will be mine.//

The Wedding Feast
************************************************************************

"I don't care what Dumbledore said. Harry would have to be barking mad to marry that git," Ron said indignantly.

"Hush Ron. You don't want anyone to overhear you do you? The Headmaster explained it all. Voldemort is plotting against Harry and he needs *more* protection and that's the reason it was done. He didn't force either of them into it Ron," she said more gently.

"But Harry, Harry deserves so much more Mione. He should have married for love. He should have had the chance..."

"Ron, listen to me. Harry shouldn't have been orphaned as a baby, shouldn't have been forced to live with those awful muggles, shouldn't have been forced to face down you-know-who but he has," Hermione paused fighting back a tightness in her throat that threatened to overwhelm her.

"Harry has never had a choice Ron. Not really. His life could never be like yours or mine. All we can do is to love him and stand by him," she finished her eyes now bright with tears.

"You're right as usual, Mione," Ron said gruffly.

"Well, well, well the happy cheering section is here I see," Draco Malfoy drawled.

"Sod off Malfoy," Ron started to redden in anger.

"Not happy to be celebrating the nuptials?" he smirked.

"Of course we are," Hermione began with a smile. "Imagine, Slytherin and Gryffindor Houses united in their bonding. It's very romantic don't you think?"

Draco grimaced and moved off with his two bullyboys shadowing him.

Ron laughed. "Well done Hermione. Malfoy looked like he'd bit into a lemon."

Hermione giggled softly. "Well Ron, Snape is *his* head of House and well, with Snape's background and power, he is well respected by the rest of the Slytherin families. It must be causing no end of speculation among them wondering if they've backed the wrong horse," she said sagely.

"Mione, you could have been a Slytherin yourself," Ron said in awe.

Hermione blushed at the compliment.

Ron rolled his eyes. "I just can't believe I didn't know Harry was gay. I feel like a right git."

Blaise Zambini one of the more "moderate" Slytherin students stopped to greet Hermione and Ron.

"Quite a shock eh? Must have been a while in the planning."

"What," said Ron playing innocent.

"Come off it Weasley," Blaise was openly smiling now. "It's quite a accomplishment surprising Lucius Malfoy. I'll bet that won't go down well in certain quarters," he said winking.

Meanwhile a conversation behind them was increasing in volume.

"No Gryffindor would voluntarily *align* themselves with a Slytherin. They're all into *dark* magic, everyone knows that," came in ringing tones from Lavender Brown. She, Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan were standing a short distance away and making no effort to remain unheard.

"No true Gryffindor would be a pillow-biter either," snorted Dean.

Ron stiffened and started towards Dean. Hermione grabbed Ron's arm and hissed at him.

"Ron, no! Not here and not now. Harry will need our support," she said anxiously.

The handsome, sandy-haired Blaise stepped into volatile situation with great aplomb. He strolled over to the now nervous looking group and looked at them from head to foot in a slow, dismissive manner.

"And I had heard that Gryffindors made the most loyal friends. Listening to you lot I'm happy to have been sorted into Slytherin," and with that strolled off leaving an embarrassed looking trio of friends.

"I'm gay too does that make me a bad person as well?" came quietly from Neville Longbottom who'd been standing by silently waiting his chance to talk to Hermione and Ron.

Seamus had the good grace to mutter an apology and Lavender pinkened up but Dean just stalked away.

"I'm sorry too," Lavender began. "We just got carried away. We shouldn't have said those things."

"No," Hermione said coldly. "None of you should have. Harry is ready to give his life for you lot, and this is the thanks he receives? You all should be ashamed."

Ron looked at Hermione with great respect. She was a *true* Gryffindor.

As Seamus and Lavender melted back into the crowd, Neville came shyly forward.

"That was very brave of you Neville, coming out like that to defend Harry," Hermione said to him warmly.

Neville blushed and looked at his scuffed shoes. "Never really wanted to tell anyone. Would have made a fuss. Well you see how some people are."

Ron threw his arm around the chubby boy.

"Not with us Neville, not ever. If anyone gives you trouble, you just come to me. I'll set them to rights."

Neville smiled and Hermione impulsively gave him a kiss. "Neville we'll always be your friends."

The crowd's noise level rose as the newly bonded couple entered the room.

Snape led Harry directly over to Dumbledore and silence fell.

Dumbledore began. "In the manner of wizard bondings, Severus and Harry now wear the bond bracelets as the sign of their total and complete commitment to one another. All that is now required is the pledging of their troth before witnesses and...".

A large barn owl flew into the Hall at that moment and dropped down on the table nearest to the Headmaster. There was a large group of papers attached to his leg. The owl irritably stuck out his leg and Dumbledore carefully removed the papers. One of the students gave the bird a snack as a reward and it silently flew away back to the owlery.

"Ah, and here is the paperwork from the ministry," Dumbledore beamed. "Harry, Severus if you please? I will need both of your signatures in the appropriate spots."

Professor McGonagall helped Harry and Severus fill out the forms as the Headmaster continued.

"Professor Flitwick do you have the bonding ribbon?" Dumbledore asked.

The tiny professor standing next to the Headmaster jumped at the mention of his name and began to root around in his robe pockets.

Some snickers broke out in the crowd when Flitwick started to empty his pockets but were quickly suppressed when Professor McGonagall glared at the offending students.

"Ah here! Here it is," said Flitwick with some relief. He withdrew a sky blue ribbon approximately seven feet long.

"For those of you not aware this betrothal ribbon has been bespelled by three wizards in our school to bring the new couple health and happiness."

"Safety would be better," came a voice from deep in the crowd.

Snape's head snapped around as he searched the crowd fruitlessly for the offender. //So it begins.//

Harry moved closer to Severus and leaned against him as though both seeking and giving comfort.

Dumbledore's gaze swept over the crowd intently but his pleasant voice continued.

"Severus if you and Harry will step forward please," Dumbledore made a shooing motion to the rest of the professors and they moved into position around the couple.

"Severus I think you know the vows. Harry you'll repeat them after Severus."

Severus cleared his throat.

"I Severus Edmund Snape do take Harry James Potter as my lawful husband under the laws of both magic and wizards. I do so freely and without duress and will to the best of my ability love, protect and care for Harry until death.

Harry glanced at Severus and drew a deep breath.

I Harry James Potter do take Severus Edmund Snape as my lawful husband under the laws of both magic and wizards. I do so freely and without duress and will to the best of my ability love, protect and care for Severus until death.

Both men looked at Dumbledore as he then reached for the ribbon from Professor Flitwick.

Dumbledore drew out his wand and began to intone a magical spell. The hairs on Harry's arms started to rise in reaction to the power being raised by the will and the words. At times like this he belatedly remembered that Dumbledore was probably the most powerful wizard in the land with the exception of Voldemort.

Snape turned his head and looked at Harry.//You feel it too boy? That's not an ordinary marriage charm he's chanting for us.//

Dumbledore finished and began to tie Severus and Harry's arms together in an intricate binding done with the ribbon.

Again Dumbledore began a slow chant, too soft to be heard clearly. After a few minutes he stopped and then touched his wand to the ribbon binding Harry and Severus together. It proceeded to dissolve in multicolored sparks which spread throughout the crowd drawing oohs and ahhs of appreciation.

Dumbledore now addressed the gathering again.

"It is my pleasure to welcome the newly bonded Potter-Snapes," he said with a wide smile.

Ron hissed into Hermione's ear. "Why does Snape's name come last huh? Why not Harry's?"

"Oh do shut up Ron," Hermione said with a sniffle.

Snape's Quarters
************************************************************************
It was almost three a.m. and Harry was stumbling over his own feet he was so tired. Snape had let him use the bathroom first to change into his nightclothes. He didn't even feel nervous even though he felt he ought.

This was the first time he would spend the night with his husband. He'd never been with *anyone* before male or female. He wondered if he should bring that up. Best not unless he was asked. //No pressure. Severus said so. We can take this at our own pace.//

When he left the bathroom he saw his husband was already in the king-sized bed with the dark canopy. Severus was wearing a black nightshirt. //He looks so handsome.//

"I won't bite boy. Come to bed. We're both tired."//I won't have you afraid of me. I feel this ridiculous urge to comfort you. *humph * must be the spell.//

Harry jumped quickly under the covers and scooted as far away to his own side as possible.

"Harry."

"What?"

"You'll fall out of bed if hang off the edge like that. Don't be a fool boy I'm not going to hurt you."

"I didn't think you were."

"Good."

Suddenly Harry felt wide-awake. He started to slip out of bed again.

"Where are you going?"

"To read. I don't feel the least bit sleepy, I'll just go into the sitting room. I'll be very quiet I promise..." Harry started to babble.

A lean muscular arm reached out and grabbed him by the waist hauling him back into bed.

"Harry," Severus began.

"Yes sir?"

"Go to sleep you foolish boy. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow. We'll have to go to Diagon Alley to the Ministry building to fill out some additional forms on our bonding."

"Then...we'll be a family after that?"

"We're a family now Harry," Snape hesitated but then decided to put all his cards on the table.

"Harry, I know we didn't start off on the best foot possible but we can make a go of this you know."

Harry looked up at Severus and realized this was what he had wanted. Someone to be there for him, to talk to him, to care for him and to allow Harry to give that love and care back.

He smiled. "Severus, you've always said I was more lucky than talented. Well maybe that luck has brought us together. I'd like to think that I could make you happy," he said quietly. "I know I'll try."

"Good enough." Severus tightened his arms around Harry and pulled the boy to him. He started to gently kiss him but the kiss soon turned passionate.

Harry felt Severus' tongue enticing him, arousing him.

Harry started to climb on top of Severus but accidentally ended up kneeing him in the groin.

"GAWDS!" squawked Snape.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, did I hurt you?" little rifts of laughter started to escape Harry.

"You find that *funny* do you," growled Snape with his best death-glare.

A snicker escaped Harry. "I'll solemnly promise I'll make it up to you."

"You'd better. You're a lot of trouble you know."

"I know," Harry said with a jaw-cracking yawn.

Severus kissed him once more on the forehead and Harry snuggled down into his arms.

"Sleep Harry. We'll worry about tomorrow when it comes."

As Harry's breathing evened out into sleep, Snape stared into the darkness. The dark mark on his arm had begun to burn. //Just a little reminder from Voldemort that all is not forgiven and forgotten.//

Severus felt comforted by the warm body lying in his arms. How long had it been since he'd had a lover, someone of consequence to him? Not since his days with Lucius, and look at how badly that had turned out. Well he'd do everything in his power to make sure that he and Harry survived the many enemies who surrounded them. Albus would help to be sure, but as with everything else in his life it would come down to his ability to survive and Slytherins, if nothing else were taught that from the cradle.

He looked at the beautiful boy who had entrusted his mind and heart to him. Harry's tousled dark hair fell over the scar on his forehead and without his glasses he looked so young. Despite everything he'd been through, his innocence had yet to be stripped from him. It was up to Severus to make sure it never was.

With another gentle kiss to the sleeping boy, Severus too slipped into sleep. His heart lightened by the knowledge that now matter how dark a road they both had to go down, they'd be together.

End