Title: A Life More Ordinary

Author: Lexin

Archive: The Snapeslash, SnapexHarry and MPREG lists for now. My own site, the MPREG archive and Walking the Plank when finished. All others please ask.

Spoilers: All four books or none, take your pick.

Summary: Snape is told some bad news, and it goes downhill from there. MPREG.

Rating: R

Disclaimer: I don't own anything and no money is being made. Anyone who sues me is going to just end up poorer, because when I say I don't own anything, I mean it.

Notes: Alternate universe. People also reading "Their Destiny" by Marie J may notice a remarkable similarity between the two plots. I therefore remind everyone that an idea can be rewritten in any number of different ways. Personally, I can't wait to see how "Their Destiny" turns out. There is a quote from Life of Brian in one of the parts, don't write to me to tell me you've spotted it.

Warnings: MPREG. If you don't like it, you won't like this story. Slash likewise.

Feedback: leave review or privately to pmrommel@hotmail.com Happy to take comments, advice for the future and brickbats.

My heartfelt thanks to Gloria Lancaster, Predatrix, my other betas, and my commentators on livejournal. Without all of these, my work would be crap.

[Oh, and in the subsequent chapters where it says 'see separate section', this is the section it means. Ff.net and their peculiar rules give me hives.]

******

A Life More Ordinary

by Lexin

******

Snape looked down at his seventh year students with dislike. Right under his nose - he'd put them there years before - were Granger and Longbottom, his brightest student and the dullest boy he'd ever had the displeasure of teaching. He hoped he'd been thoroughly successful in putting Longbottom off creating any kind of potion for as long as he lived. There were more than enough charlatans in the wizarding world, and potion making tended to attract those with little power and no talent. Longbottom had yet to get through a term without a poisoning, an explosion or a destroyed cauldron. In a good term he could manage all three. He must most assuredly be put off creating anything which might escape into the water supply. Snape's eye moved on.

Granger. Too clever for her own good, that one.

Next to them, Potter and Weasley. This Weasley was without his twin brothers' casual malice, but was content to slide through school just getting by. What a waste of a mind. Potter he dragged down with him.

Potter. Dumbledore's golden boy. Everything bounced off Potter from Voldemort's curse to threats to punishments. He lacked his dead father's effortless brilliance, but could make a fine wizard if he worked. Which he didn't.

Not a boy any longer of course; over the last summer he'd grown and was on the edge of turning into a man. He'd never be tall, and Snape wondered if he regretted it. Weasley was tall - he even topped Snape by an inch - but Potter was only a little better than small.

They all looked at him nervously as he started the lesson. He had one more year to teach them something worthwhile. It wasn't long. Not nearly long enough.

**

"Thank you for agreeing to see me, Severus."

"I had a choice? It's a little late to tell me that now." Snape stirred his tea - black China tea, which was what Dumbledore always gave him. He'd never asked whether Snape liked it or not.

Dumbledore leaned back, uncharacteristically quiet. Then he said, "I have something to tell you."

"Oh? I take it this is bad news or you wouldn't have dragged me here."

"Bad? Well, I suppose it depends on how you look at it. I think you will see it as bad news, which is why I wanted to talk to you alone."

"Go on." Snape was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"You are aware of course of Merlin's Curse?"

Snape searched his memory. "That strange prophecy about the birth of the Protector? A sort of wizarding Arthur who acts as lock and ward, protects the country from invasion, Dark magic and other nasties?"

"That's the one." Dumbledore stretched his long legs out.

"Oh." Snape waited.

"You're not making this any easier, Severus."

"It might help if I could see where this was leading, Headmaster." Snape knew he was using his silkiest and most dangerous tone, something he rarely did with Dumbledore.

"The protector-" Dumbledore stopped. "It's a tricky thing to fulfil the prophecy exactly, hasn't been done for at least six hundred years. But there is an opportunity soon, and with the Dark rising we must try."

"We? In what way am I to be included in your machinations? My life as a faux Death Eater is quite exciting enough, without taking part in prophecy fulfilment."

"I am afraid this can't be done without you, Severus." Dumbledore poured more tea. "You will not be aware of it, but I am the keeper of the Orb of Light. The Orb exists to choose the parents of the Protector. I am afraid that you are one of them."

"Me? Headmaster, you are mad!" Snape choked on his tea. "And I warn you, if the other parent is either Bulstrode or Granger I categorically refuse to lay a hand on either of them. Bulstrode is far too ugly and Granger enough to make the bravest man turn tail and run."

"No, it's not Miss Granger or Miss Bulstrode, though I'm sure Miss Bulstrode has many fine qualities."

"Professor McGonagall seems rather old to be taking on motherhood."

"Or Professor McGonagall."

Snape sighed. "I could sit here all evening and guess through every woman and girl in the school, but that would waste even more of my time. At least give me one good laugh - who is it?"

"It's Potter."

Silence. Snape cursed all magical objects to the lowest region of hell. He fell back on lying. "Headmaster. Potter is a boy. Where's the foetus going to gestate? Are you going to keep it in a box?"

Dumbledore ignored the tone, and the words. "Inside you."

That man knew more than was good for him - entirely too much, in fact. "Me? You mean I'm going to be this unfortunate brat's mother? You are joking. I've had entirely too much of being used." He hadn't meant to add that last bit, he must be angrier than he thought.

"You..."

Snape said, "If this is some kind of obscure joke at my expense, it's not funny. If it's not a joke, then I hope you find someone to help you, because I won't." He put his cup down. "Thank you for the tea, Headmaster. I have things I must be doing."

**

There was a knock at the workroom door, and Snape looked up. "What do you want, Potter?"

"A...well, to talk to you."

"About what?"

"May I come in?"

"You are in, but shut the door." Snape had more than an idea what this might be about.

Potter looked around, but by now knew better than to touch any ingredients. Snape stared at him. Finally, Potter spoke. "The Headmaster... He told me about Merlin's Curse. I just wanted to say, I'm prepared to go along with it if you are."

Snape looked him up and down. "But I'm not."

"I knew you hated me. I just didn't think you hated me that much. To risk everything we've worked for."

"Did Dumbledore tell you to use that line?" Snape was curious. "Believe me, Potter, there are thousands of wizards in the world, and I don't want to carry a child for any of them. From that aspect, my objections to this idea are not personal to you."

"Is there someone else?" Potter asked.

Snape almost smiled. "In a manner of speaking."

"Then...why didn't you tell the Headmaster? I'm sure he'd understand."

"It's not that simple. Now, Potter. Go."

**

Snape looked up from clearing the mess left by his third years to find the Headmaster looking down at him from a vantage point by the door. He wondered how the Headmaster did that, because he was actually shorter than Snape, if not by much. The Headmaster said, "Harry told me he'd talked to you."

"Yes."

"He told me what you'd said. You are not involved with anyone else."

"No. I also told him it wasn't that simple."

Dumbledore sighed. "Do you want to tell me about it?"

"Not particularly. It's not a very pleasant thing to talk about and I would prefer to forget it as far as possible. And if you are about to suggest that talking about it might help, I will tell you that my experience has been otherwise."

"I see." Dumbledore moved over to him. "Severus?"

"Yes?" Wary, quiet.

"About the prophecy. I am afraid refusal may not be an option."

"I was afraid of that. Does Potter know?"

"I haven't told him. At least, not yet."

Snape sighed, hoping Dumbledore wouldn't hear it. "I was hoping it was all over."

"What?"

He shook his head. "Never mind. It doesn't matter."

"You'll go along with it?"

"I'd rather not."

"You know what's at stake?"

"The free world? Or, at least, a world to be free in? Of course." He tried not to sigh again. "I just wonder what you're going to do to force me, because it will take force."

Dumbledore looked hurt; Snape was surprised that anything he said had the power to hurt Dumbledore. "I would never... I would like to persuade you."

"To sacrifice myself for others? Again? I did that once before and got precious little thanks for it. I think once is enough per lifetime, don't you, Albus?"

"You were a Death Eater, but turned back to the Light. It was a fine, brave thing you did."

Snape dried his hands on a towel he kept there for the purpose. He said, "Do you know why my information was so good? It was the best you had."

"Yes it was. You were in Voldemort's inner circle, close to him."

"Not exactly. I was Voldemort's...well, I suppose he would say lover, though precious little love was involved. I was a body he used to satisfy himself when he felt that kind of need. He gave me the Mark to be sure he could trust me - which is something of a joke, I'm sure you'll agree." Snape saw Dumbledore's face. "No, I would imagine it's very difficult to believe that Voldemort felt anything as straightforward as lust, and you'd be right. He didn't."

"I- I had no idea."

"Because I didn't want you to know. You see now the risk I am running posing a Death Eater. And you see the cosmic joke in your Orb choosing me for anything."

"You cannot continue-"

"If I'm prepared to take the risk I don't see-"

"That isn't what I meant. Voldemort doesn't - didn't - want you, surely-"

"No, any handy receptacle would have done. He just preferred the one he was used to, whose reactions he could predict."

Dumbledore took a deep breath, "Listen to me, Severus, please." Snape waited, tense. Dumbledore went on, "He didn't want you because you attracted him."

Snape said, "Oh, please! Don't spare my feelings. I'm well aware I've never been beautiful." He spat the word out as if it was the foulest epithet, and even Dumbledore took a step backwards.

"He wanted you because of what you represent, he wanted to make you useless to us. You cannot let him succeed."

Snape swallowed the first words which came to mind and thought for a moment. He said, "You really are a manipulative bastard, Albus."

**

Potter again, waiting at the door of the dungeon as his class left. Snape merely looked enquiring, he couldn't think of anything he might wish to say. What he wanted to do, whenever he saw Potter or Dumbledore was scream and throw things, but he held on to his dignity as tightly as he could - he might as well, he might not have it much longer.

Potter came in. "Professor Snape?"

Snape carried on looking what he hoped was enquiring, while he stirred the cauldron holding the one potion that had worked. Snape detested waste. "Professor Dumbledore tells me you've agreed."

"Has he?" Snape didn't remember doing that exactly. The best he could say was that he wouldn't fight it.

"That's what he said." Potter waited, possibly for him to say something. When he didn't, Potter went on, "What happens next?"

"It's Dumbledore's game. No doubt he'll let us know." Snape looked up at Potter from the cauldron; the boy seemed worried. "It won't be straightforward," Snape said. Nothing to do with that man ever is, he thought, "but I expect we'll manage." He realised it wouldn't do to alienate Potter, they'd have to do this together. He just didn't have to like it.

**

Dumbledore supplied them both with tea and biscuits, he seemed to take an extraordinary amount of time over it. This was going to be embarrassing, Snape realised. He knew why Dumbledore had arranged to have Potter there, but felt he'd rather he wasn't. Dumbledore's eyes twinkled over the teacups - and why not? He was getting what he wanted from both of them.

"I'm sure you both have a lot of questions," Dumbledore said.

"How..." Potter started, then seemed to think better of it, then changed his mind again. "How is Professor Snape going to..."

"That's up to the Professor," Dumbledore's eyes twinkled even more, if that were possible. "I would suggest the Charm of the Valyard, but-"

Snape broke in, "That won't be necessary."

"Severus?"

"You can take it up with Poppy, but you can forget your wand waving. I can do what is necessary myself, I don't need your help."

"There is one other thing," said Dumbledore, taking another biscuit.

"What?" Snape was suddenly wary.

"You must marry. The full binding ritual."

"What?" Snape stood. "You have no integrity at all, do you? Ruin my life if you must, there wasn't much left of it anyway, but he's seventeen!"

Dumbledore waved Snape back to his seat, "If there was any other way you know I wouldn't insist. But there isn't."

**

It was...hard...to continue teaching as if nothing had happened with that hanging over him. Potter didn't seek him out this time, but stayed behind after the seventh years' Potions class. Entirely without preamble he said, "What did you mean?"

"About what?"

"What you said in Dumbledore's office."

"Professor Dumbledore," Snape corrected automatically.

"I don't give a stuff! I want to know what you meant."

Snape looked across the room, he could see a face looking in, curious. "Not here and not now. Come to my office after my last class. It's at four, should be over by five."

"Very well." Potter turned on his heel with an impressive swirl of his cloak. Which left Snape with one problem. What to tell him.

**

Potter said, "Look, I know you don't love me...just the opposite...but we could divorce. Afterwards, I mean."

"That's just it." Snape sat on the edge of the desk, feeling obscurely that it gave him an advantage to look down. He could see he'd have to explain in more detail - curse Potter for being brought up by Muggles. "The origins of marriage in the wizarding world lie in the Roman tradition where there were two forms: one which allowed couples legal divorce and one which didn't. Binding doesn't - it's the 'strict form' of marriage. Whatever either of us does, whatever we come to think of each other, we remain married until one of us dies. It's the marital equivalent of a wizards' bond, an unbreakable magical contract. Though," he added with a ghost of gallows humour, "I suppose a death could be arranged."

"No. Apart from anything else, Dumbledore told me that the child will need both parents at least until it's twelve."

"I see. I wonder what else he's told only one of us?" Snape thought for a moment. "Have you ever had the feeling you're caught in a long dark tunnel and there's no way out?" He winced - he hadn't meant to say anything so personal to Potter of all people.

"Yes. The whole year of the Triwizard Tournament. I know how it feels." There was a moment of curiously peaceful, black silence. "We'll manage," said Potter, finally.

"Ever the optimist." Snape had meant to sound sarcastic, but that wasn't how it came out.

Another of those long silences, while Snape considered what it would be like being stuck with Potter for the rest of his life. Then Potter asked, "What did you mean when you said that a spell wouldn't be necessary? Are you going to take a potion?"

"I...yes. But that's not quite what I meant." Snape felt his throat constrict, and waited for it to pass. "I was hoping no-one need ever know - who doesn't already, that is. But you will have to. Did Dumbledore-?"

"Professor Dumbledore."

"Don't be insolent, Potter. It's very irritating. Do you want to hear this or not?"

"Go on."

"Did he tell you about me and Voldemort?" Snape found his past hard to put into words.

"He said Voldemort raped you."

"In a sense that is true. I was given to him as a toy...and that was how he treated me. Voldemort liked to make full use of his toys, so he had certain adjustments made."

"That's weird. Such as?"

Snape swallowed, "He had the sexual organs of a Muggle girl transferred into me. Or most of them. I hear her screams still - I don't know what they did with the rest of the body. Dropped it down a pit, probably."

"That's..." Potter had paled. Snape couldn't tell if it was the prospect of touching him, what had happened to the girl or the revelation of his past association with Voldemort. Perhaps it would have been better to keep these things separate, but it was hard enough to tell anyone about it, without dragging it out.

"Sick. I thought so." Snape took a deep breath. "Her name was Valerie Jamieson. That's what she was screaming as they cut into her. I swore I wouldn't forget her. I never have."

"Oh. Oh...that's really- I am so sorry."

"I am telling you because you need to know, not so that you can pity me."

"I realise that. But I am sorry."

"You'll tell Dumbledore," said Snape. Another secret he couldn't keep.

Potter looked at him levelly. "Not if you don't want me to." Potter stood and took a turn round the room to return finally to stand beside Snape. He reached out and before Snape could stop him had taken hold of one of his hands. "I like your hands," he said casually. "I always have." Snape tried to pull away, but Potter held on. "I need to ask you something."

"What?"

"Will you bind to me?"

"I thought we didn't have an alternative?"

"We haven't. But I thought I should ask anyway."

"In that case, I accept your proposal."

Potter kissed the hand he was holding, "I am honoured," he said. "Thank you." He smiled into Snape's eyes but didn't attempt to kiss him again. Snape watched him go with a mixture of fear and relief.

**

"It will have to be soon," Dumbledore said.

Snape exchanged glances with Potter. "We thought you wouldn't want to wait," said Snape. He had to ask though he wasn't sure he wanted to know, "When?"

"Day after tomorrow."

"That soon?" said Snape. "I'll forgo the trousseau, then." He looked at Potter. Strangely, Snape felt as if he ought to apologise, though for what he couldn't have said. The mere fact of his existence, perhaps?

He heard Potter mutter, "What am I going to tell Sirius?" It was as if he'd stepped into a cold bath. In-laws. Sirius Black, a man he'd loathed at school and whom he still hated as an adult. Potter's godfather. It was a reminder that he was bonding with a boy young enough to be his son, whose father was an exact contemporary. It was enough to make a cat laugh.

"You must tell him what you think best," Dumbledore gave Potter that fatherly look, but it didn't seem to comfort him.

**

Sirius Black stood in the doorway and scowled, and Snape restrained his irritation with difficulty. Black said, "This is an obscene idea." His voice still had that strange rasping quality it had acquired in Azkaban. Snape thought him surprisingly calm, and wondered if for once Dumbledore had been on the receiving end of Black's famous temper. It would make a change if he had.

"For once we are agreed," Snape said. He pushed aside the fifth year's excuses for essays on Ocularis potions. "I don't want Potter any more than he wants me, but I don't think Dumbledore's joking."

"It'll ruin Harry's life."

"It's not going to do a lot for mine."

"You really don't want to." A statement, not a question.

"No." Snape saw Black's look and sighed. "Despite what you might think, my sexual interest in my students is nil. My interest in that particular student is less than nil - I don't even like him, let alone want to have sex with him. If you can think of a way to get Potter - and me - out of this stupid mess I suggest you produce it and quickly. I'm sure Potter will be extremely grateful." He paused. "I know I will."

**

The room actually contained only four people, but Snape's initial impression had been of a crowd. He was revolted to see that Black had brought his pet werewolf. He looked around at them. Of all the people in the room, Lupin looked the most welcoming - Black clearly wished him dead, Potter looked more panic-stricken than he did before Quidditch matches and Dumbledore was concentrating on something else, probably the details of the binding spell.

Nobody spoke.

Finally, Dumbledore came back from cloud-cuckoo land and noticed him. He smiled. Snape didn't smile back. "Severus," he said. "Please stand here."

Snape moved across the room to stand where he was told.

"And Harry here."

Potter came over and stood, facing him. Snape could see his eyes, wide and green behind the awful glasses he always wore. He looked even more scared close up.

It was surprisingly easy to let his mind drift as Dumbledore performed the Binding. All he was expected to do was allow him to bind their arms with the rope made of new hemp from the elbow to the fingers, hands splayed palm to palm. To his slight surprise, Potter's wasn't that much smaller than his own.

He had hoped the spell wouldn't work. While a perfect match was not required, it couldn't be fully completed if the couple were totally wrong for each other, but he could feel the forces swirl around him, and knew it had been successful. He came out of the spell-induced haze to see Black's eyes on him again. Couldn't the man leave it alone? It wasn't as if he'd chosen this, consent notwithstanding. He wanted, desperately, to be alone.

Potter, he noticed, looked as if he'd received a sudden blow to the head. He remembered the boy didn't have that much experience with mind spells. He wished he could say the same.

"Congratulations to you both," Dumbledore said. Snape stared at him as if he were mad.

"Oh, er...thank you," he heard Potter say, and Black gave a snort of derision. Lupin looked poker faced. They all stood around for a few moments; it seemed that nobody wanted to be first to break the silence which followed.

In the end he did - he had to get away. "I have a potion to prepare. If you will excuse me?" It wasn't even a lie.

Dumbledore nodded, "Of course, Severus."

He left, closed the door and then leaned against it in relief. He heard Potter say, "He's not taking it well."

Lupin's voice replied, "You can't expect him to."

"It's a lot to expect of Harry, too." Black of course, quick to protect his godson.

"How are you feeling, Harry?" Dumbledore, doing his kindly old grandfather act.

"I- I don't know. OK, I suppose."

Snape pulled himself away from the door and made himself walk down to the dungeon. He wanted to run, wanted to shut himself away and never see anyone again.

**

Mixing the Yvladis potion was a complex discipline for the mind, and it calmed him. The purpose of it receded from his consciousness, and it became simply an intellectual exercise like Arithmancy in its purest form.

Snape wasn't a teacher whom many students would seek out, but there was one: of course there would have to be. Draco Malfoy.

"Professor Snape?"

"Is it urgent?" Snape was careful to sound no more than politely interested. He was sure he knew what the problem was - Dumbledore had insisted that he ignore the last summons from Voldemort, and someone was bound to check up on him.

"A message from my father." Malfoy put the parchment on the nearest desk. He looked curiously at the ingredients around Snape's worktable. "He thought sending it through me would attract less attention." Malfoy's eyes were narrowed.

"Thank him for me, he's very considerate." Snape continued to stir the potion with an unhurried movement. "If that's all, Malfoy, you can go." He didn't want Malfoy to see Potter anywhere near the dungeon - not with this brewing. He doubted he'd put two and two together, but one never knew. Malfoy looked annoyed - such an abrupt dismissal was unusual, but he went. Snape returned to his contemplation of the strange pinkish Yvladis.

**

"I thought you would be here." Potter of course. "Was that Malfoy I saw leaving?"

"Did he see you?"

"No."

Snape looked up from the cauldron. "Invisible or merely hiding?"

"Hiding. Contrary to some people's opinion, I don't carry the cloak around on the off chance I might meet Malfoy." Potter stopped. "I don't like him, though."

"Contrary to some people's opinion, I don't like him either."

"You could have fooled me."

Snape stirred the potion, watching the darker pink swirl through it. Almost ready. "I did," he said.

Potter came over and put an arm round Snape's shoulders. Snape moved away.

Potter said, "How are we going to..." what they were going to do he couldn't articulate, "...if you won't let me touch you?"

"I'll let you touch me when I'm ready. Until then, don't."

"Because of what happened to you?"

"You could say that." Damned perceptive boy.

Potter turned his attention to the potion. "What's this?" he asked.

"It will make certain that tonight will be successful." Snape tried to keep his voice steady.

"Oh."

It was actually quite pleasant, a light fruit taste but not quite any known fruit. He drank it slowly, aware of a strange sensation, neither heat nor cold but somehow composed of both, travelling through him.

Potter put an arm around him, and this time he didn't shake it off. Potter waited for a moment or two, then put the other one around him so that they were face to face. Potter said, "You'll have to tell me if I do this wrong. I don't have much experience."

Snape opened his mouth and endured Potter's slow exploration almost unmoving. They must start somewhere after all. It wasn't as unpleasant as he had expected, either. Odd, perhaps. But not unpleasant. Voldemort had never kissed him, not that Snape had wanted him to.

Potter said, "I think this will be possible."

"Good. I'd hate to have wasted everybody's time."

"You are a bastard, sometimes."

Not resisting took all the strength Snape had. Potter was careful; clearly he was nervous but Snape wasn't sure if that was because he was a man - well, maleish - or because he was a teacher. Likely it was both. He pulled away, and led Potter to the bedroom.

He allowed Potter to undress him, feeling the desire to run and hide grow worse. He wasn't used to being seen by anyone, his clothes carefully chosen to keep people away. Potter continued to kiss him, which was strange. He noticed Potter had his eyes closed, and wondered what the boy was thinking of. Probably some girl.

Feeling vaguely light-headed, he helped Potter undress, he was slimmer than he'd expected and Snape wondered about the huge clothes. Most strange.

Snape saw that Potter was looking at him and braced himself for some stupid remark, but Potter merely smiled, and led him towards the bed. His nervousness increased, instantly. He felt Potter's arms go round him; he was pulled into a close embrace, and wondered, as he occasionally had before, if the boy was borderline empathic.

He lay back on the bed, and took a couple of deep breaths. He could feel Potter lying beside him and knew he was watching. Snape wanted to hide his fear, was ashamed that he couldn't. Unlike Voldemort, Potter seemed content to wait; Snape could hear his soft breathing, feel just his hand on Snape's arm.

Potter leaned forward and Snape felt his breathing hitch, but all he did was kiss his shoulder, lightly. A lesson learned from one of Voldemort's other toys came back to him: 'If you can, pretend not to hate it.' Snape forced himself to calm as much as he could, and turned his head to meet Potter's mouth. Once again, kissing reminded him that this was not Voldemort.

He felt Potter's erection poking into his thigh, and the slow descent of the hand down his body. He didn't want to be touched, not there. He rarely touched his penis for any reason not concerned with hygiene. He covered the hand with his own before it could make contact. Potter accepted this, though his brow creased.

Despite himself, Snape was curious. Potter had said that he didn't have much experience and Snape had assumed that meant he was a virgin. It seemed not; he'd very obviously kissed before, and the way he touched Snape's body wasn't clumsy or rushed, more hesitant.

Snape let go of Potter's hand, hoping he wouldn't try that particular touch again. He didn't, he ran his hand down Snape's side to the top of his thigh, but no further. He made no comment, either, on the lack of an erection.

Snape reached out to the bedside table, where he'd left the phial. He managed not to knock it to the floor, which was a minor victory. Potter gave a nod of understanding and held his hand out. Snape would have preferred to do it himself, but if Potter wanted to... Snape handed it to him.

Potter's wet fingers touching him felt very strange, but even he couldn't associate it with Voldemort. Voldemort had never bothered with such petty considerations as whether his partner was ready for him, or even interested, and he supposed he should be grateful for the change.

The fingers were replaced at last with a penis. Snape had felt it rather than seen it and it had felt larger than his memories. He'd therefore expected entry to hurt. It didn't. It wasn't a pleasant intrusion, and it was impossible to ignore, but nor was it the agony he remembered. And neither did Potter lean his dead weight on Snape. He partially supported himself so that Snape didn't feel suffocated.

As his thrusts grew faster and deeper, Potter leaned down and kissed his chest, and neck and then his mouth. Snape allowed it; he hoped it would be over soon.

**

Afterwards he lay silent, wondering if Potter was asleep yet. One thing he had forgotten which now came back to him full force: if spunk dried in the crevices it itched like fury. He was desperate to wash it off, but he didn't want to wake the boy.

Then he felt it; a strange almost-tingle deep inside him, as if someone with a wand had cast Lumos. If he hadn't been lying so still he probably wouldn't have noticed it, so he was grateful for that at least. He'd never believed the tales he'd read of women feeling the moment of conception, and was rather surprised it had happened to him. Perhaps it was the potion.

The room was quite black so he couldn't look, but he could hear Potter's quiet, deep breathing. At least the boy didn't snore, though that would have had the advantage of signalling when he was properly asleep. Snape slid out of bed and made for the bathroom.

When he returned Potter was still asleep, but as he slid under the covers Potter moved towards him and murmured, "Missed you," quite distinctly. Snape waited for a moment. He wondered if he'd find out the name of Potter's dream girl, but he said nothing more.

Snape lay awake, staring up into the darkness.

**