Warnings: Contains sadistic and cold Harry, a confused and useless Severus, and a Lord Voldemort that rules over Great Britain.
Disclaimer: I own none of this except whatever original stuff I can imbue into it.
Un'beta'd. Anyone want to offer?
Stockholm Syndrome: A phenomenon in which a hostage begins to identify with and grow sympathetic to his or her captor.
THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME
by Nenya Entwhistle
Kindness is Cruel
He was casually kind. He was never too nice, but neither was he unjustly cruel like the others. There were worse Death Eaters to call Master. But still… he would have never thought… and who would have? It was so bizarre and strange to be held captive by a person so changed. It was like living a nightmare of reality.
He didn't know how to react to Harry Potter, the Golden Boy of Gryffindor turning dark and utterly cold. While Harry was never deliberate harsh to him, he was never lacking in his duties as a Death Eater. If anything, Harry was the most vicious Death Eater Severus had ever seen. It made him cringe to think of what had turned Harry Potter into Voldemort's most favored and most trusted Death Eater. Where had they gone so wrong?
"Snape," he heard Potter's cold detached voice calling for him, "where are you?"
"I am in the Library, Master," Severus murmured obediently, well aware that if he pushed Potter would punish him as he saw fit. It was never too malicious, but it was never light. It was always just enough to remind him that Potter was his Master and if he disobeyed--- he would receive the necessary consequences. Yet… because it was never unfair, he did not break and he was grateful for that.
"Reading?" Potter inquired as he entered into the Library with a swishing of his dark green robes that fitted his body with an elegance that had to be Draco's touch. Who else could dress the fashion incompetent Harry Potter that Severus Snape had known all too well at Hogwarts with such finesse other than the narcissistic younger Malfoy?
"Yes," Severus answered, "I'm reading."
"What are you reading?" Potter asked, politely always unfailingly courteous whereas the other Death Eaters Severus had encountered were quite the opposite. Severus didn't understand why Harry was considerate to him when he had been nothing but unduly vindictive to him in his 7 years at Hogwarts. He couldn't comprehend it and it bugged the heck out of him. "Anything interesting?"
Severus itched to ask, to scream, to--- just find out why Harry was being so utterly kind when he could exact his due revenge. Yet, in a way his kindness was far worse than his cruelty would have been. It was far more torturous to his mental capabilities and that was the way to get to him. Physical pain he could withstand better than a far great number of wizards, the mental anguish was something that he was vulnerable at--- especially as Harry practiced his legilimens on him.
It was horrible how good Harry had become at breaking into his mind. Harry was far more intrusive, far more instinctive in his meanderings into the dark recess of his mind for Severus's own comfort. Harry was better than Voldemort at it and he was on par with Dumbledore. It frightened Severus to think of how good Harry would become as he grew older. The ability only increased with age, and to think he had once considered Harry an impossible incompetent at mind shielding. He didn't think he could even dent the wall Harry had built around him unless Harry allowed it.
"A text on Potions theory by a Potions Master in the 17th century," he answered.
Potter looked faintly amused, strange for him to even show a glimmer of emotion nowadays that Severus almost that he was dreaming to see his Master's mouth tilt slightly upwards. "You will never tire of the subject, will you Snape?"
"You never tire of something you are passionate in."
"Well answered," Potter commended. "Very well answered."
And while Harry was never deliberately malicious, he never gave compliments either. In fact this was the first time Harry had been given one since he'd brought Severus back to his mansion. The first compliment had been forcefully taken out of Harry as he had demanded to know why Harry would want his greasy git of a Potions professor. When he had heard the truth, Severus knew that he would never forget what had been said.
"It is because you are the best Potions Master in the world. Why would I not want you?"
True, the omission had made him feel like a possession--- a thing, but still… for Harry Potter, the bane of his existence to admit that he was the best Potions Master in the world was not a light compliment. If anything, he thought that Harry would have said the exact opposite, that he had brought Severus back to the Potter Mansion to torture him within an inch of his life like he did to his victims in front of Voldemort for being a horrible Potions professor. But he hadn't, Severus's only punishments so far had been deserved for infractions. There had been no injustice at all.
"I will leave you to your reading then," Potter declared. "Don't stay up too late, Snape."
"I won't, Master," he promised.
With that, Harry left him alone in the Library where Severus felt more comfortable than in any other room in the immense mansion. It still perplexed Severus why Harry kept him, even if Harry had wanted to acquire the best Potions Master as a pet. But most pets were kept as toys for torture if not, in additionally, as sexual playthings. He was neither of those. It was terribly confusing.
Unlike the other pets, he was not kept chained or handcuffed, though he very well knew that he did not have the ability to break through Harry's protective wards that kept intruders out and himself in. He didn't even dare to try. It wouldn't be like Harry to leave anything to chance. And what was quite strange was that he was treated like a guest, an honored guest, albeit when in the presence of Voldemort--- Harry did exert his dominance, but that seemed only for show.
The dynamic relationship between them as Master and as pet was perplexing the heck out of Severus. He didn't know what to make out of it, much like he didn't know what to make out of the dramatic changes in Harry. How Harry had turned from a brave, courageous and exuberant Gryffindor to a cold, intense and cruel Death Eater still shocked Severus to his core. He didn't understand how a person could change that much in such a short amount of time like Harry could. It was like Harry was a completely different person.
Severus wanted to believe that there was still some of the old Harry inside of Potter. That not all of his goodness had been sucked dry and exhausted by the evilness that was Lord Voldemort. It seemed like a vain hope when he'd witnessed Harry's cruelty firsthand. It still sickened him to see Harry rape Hermione and then banish her to the hellish existence that she must exist under as Draco Malfoy's pet. How Harry could do that to his former best friend when… he was so utterly respectful to his hated Potions professor… the irony of the world. The cruel irony.
"I don't understand you, Harry," Severus whispered hoarsely to himself alone as he was. Why was Harry keeping him? If it was about breaking him, Harry hadn't even tried to. True, he had gotten Severus to be subservient to him without exerting that much physical brutality other than the punishments that he deserved for his infractions, but still… there had to be more of a reason. "I don't understand you at all."
What was in it for Harry to keep him? He was nothing attractive, thin and bony and twice Harry's age, yet he wasn't unattractive either. But it couldn't be for the sexual release that most pets gave to their Masters in reluctance or voluntary because Harry never once looked at him in anything other than cold indifference. And what annoyed Severus even more than Harry not taking advantage of the available body to slake his lust, it positively infuriated Severus that Harry had not made use of his potions skills.
It wasn't like Harry never used potions, but when he did--- he made them himself. It was more than a trust issue because if it was Harry would have never given him free rein over the Library to read what he wanted when he wanted nor would he have allowed him to brew potions in the laboratory Harry had specially created for it. It was that Harry deliberately didn't make use of his skills even though he was there and available. It irritated Severus more than he even wanted to begin to admit. He felt so utterly useless. He despised that feeling.
He was allowed to brew whatever he wanted, and he still derived great joy from mixing potions--- but some of the pleasure was taken from him when he wasn't making them for a purpose. It felt like his entire existence was a terrible waste now. Despite the fact he felt disgusted at the utter waste, he didn't stop brewing potions even if no one ever used them. It gave him something to do when his mind was too tired to try to comprehend anymore Potions theories from past Potions Masters.
Severus glanced toward the clock that indicated the time as well as the status of the individual. It was a weird type of clock to have in the Library he thought, but infinitely useful to him as it allowed him to know the state Harry was in when Harry was not with him as he often was not. Very convenient for Severus too since he was almost always in the Library when he wasn't in his personal laboratory. The clock read 9:00 pm. It was still quite early. And the clock already said he was bored stiff. What interested him was Harry's state and as usual it said that Harry was reading.
When Harry was at home he was always doing one of three things: one… reading, two… resting, or three… researching. Severus didn't know what he was researching but it had to be different from mere reading if the clock distinguished between the two. It had to be as the clock made set differences between when Severus was reading a Potions text or reading for the pure enjoyment of reading. While he did enjoy reading a Potions text, that was for an academic purpose as well that his other readings did not have. So there was a key difference to Harry's reading and his researching, the question was what?
And he could think all the night through and he still wouldn't receive answer, Severus thought, unless he went up and asked Harry about it. Not that he would dare to do that, much like how he would never dare to call his Master, Harry in person, even if he had begun to think about his Master as Harry a few months back when Harry had made a painfully special gesture by gifting him with an ancient Potions tome for his 45th birthday. It was rare and it had infinitely touched him. It was certainly not the sort of gift a Master gave to a mere pet. It was almost as if Harry considered him a friend, but that couldn't be right. It couldn't be.
How could Harry even think of him as a friend or even treat him like one when he had done what he had done to Hermione? God, he treated his best friend like that and yet he was unfailing kind to the Professor that had hated his guts. However, Severus didn't any longer. It was hard, hating someone that was actually very good to him in the circumstances that he was in. If he had been given to any other Death Eater, he would have long ago wished himself the release of death. But here, he was strangely content with his existence.
Of course, it wasn't the best of existences but it was neither one of the worse. What did one philosopher said? It can only get worse, and for Severus, it could have been a lot worse. Harry had saved him by choosing him as his pet, and Severus was grateful for that. Confused but thankful. Maybe there was still some of good Harry inside because why would the dark and menacing Harry that he now saw on a daily basis want to have anything to do with being nice to someone that had always been mean to him? He was thankful for the existence he'd been bestowed.
It didn't make any sense, but since when did life ever make sense?
Author's Note: This pop into me when I was reading a het story mentioning the Stockholm Syndrome, and I brought this plot bunny. I don't think Severus being held captive has been as done as Harry being held captive and I thought it'd be a nice change of pace. The Underground is my main series, but if I get good response on this I will continue this one as well. I think I should warn you that this will contain squicky stuff, like non-consent, violence, BDMS, etc (and obviously will not be posted on FF.net), if that happens I'll post it on Glasses Reflect ^_^. So w/o much ado, I hope you enjoyed this.
TBC… in a week or so?