A/N: Dear all, I'm back with my third Snarry fic which follows a Harry-and-Severus-are-forced-to-marry-each-other plotline. Does not include the two last Harry Potter books though it borrows a few elements from them. I will not be able to update this story as often as I did with the other two – perhaps twice a week. I hope you will enjoy it :-)
The characters and universe in this story do not belong to me; they belong to J.K. Rowling.
Harry has just finished his seventh year. Voldemort is unfortunately still around, and Severus is called regularly for Death Eater meetings. After reading an article about the "Wizarding World's Most Eligible Bachelor", Voldemort toys with the sinister idea of Severus marrying Harry but mournfully points out that this would be impossible because of Dumbledore. Severus, who is on Dumbledore's side, tells the Headmaster about Voldemort's thoughts. To his horror, Dumbledore thinks that it is a perfect idea. A tense ceremony with a seething Severus and an equally seething Harry takes place. Voldemort, who is delighted at the turn of events, tells Severus that he has one year to torture and abuse Harry in nearly every way he wishes and to prevent Dumbledore from finding out. Simultaneously, he is to find a way for the Death Eaters and Voldemort to invade Hogwarts. After a mutually traumatic consummation of their marriage, things look very dark for both Severus and Harry…Until, against all hope and reason, they realise that they have only each other…
Voldemort's thin fingers scuffed the pages of the Daily Prophet lazily as he perused the article on the front page. It bore the following title:
HARRY POTTER – THE WIZARDING WORLD'S MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELOR GRADUATES.
Voldemort read it out slowly in his high cold voice and followed it up with a derisive sound. He was surrounded by the Death Eaters, all of them masked, cloaked and hooded. Peter Pettigrew was hunched subserviently; Bellatrix Lestrange's stance was proud and arrogant. Severus Snape, standing between Bellatrix and Lucius Malfoy, followed Voldemort's movements closely, black eyes impassive behind his mask.
"Harry Potter has lived to graduate. How disappointing," Voldemort remarked, turning the page to finish the article. After a few minutes of silence, he folded the newspaper and stared at the Death Eaters with his snake-like red eyes.
"Potter enjoys the charms of his own gender… How fascinating. Is it true, Severus? You taught him – I am sure you kept an eye on his activities outside the classroom?"
Small coughs and suppressed laughs could be heard.
"His romantic persuasions were never of any particular interest to me, my Lord," Severus said disinterestedly, "but he seems to appreciate the joys of being unattached."
"It is such a shame, Severus, that you cannot be the one to change his single status."
"I beg your pardon, my Lord?"
"I believe you share his…preferences, Severus."
Snickers echoed around the room in Malfoy Manor.
"Isn't that so, my dear Peter Pettigrew?" Voldemort drawled.
The smallest among the Death Eaters affirmed the question hastily, bowing and bobbing ludicrously as he did so.
"Yes, yes, Peter here once mentioned your lamentable affliction to me, my faithful Severus. I believe it made you very…popular when you studied at Hogwarts. Still, your predicament gave me a few ideas. When I was reading that article, I could not help dreaming a little dream. A dream which would bring about the end of Harry Potter for once and for all. I dreamt that you, Severus, and he were married."
He was interrupted by laughter from several amused throats.
"I think I may choose this time to fine-tune the Cruciatus curse," Voldemort said softy, playing with his wand. Silence fell, and the shapes of the Death Eaters became stiff.
"Just imagine if you and he were married, Severus. You would have your way with him. You could make him your toy, your plaything. Humiliate him. Weaken him and find a way to bring him away from Hogwarts and into my presence. He would be mine to finish off…Or, if he were brainwashed enough, agree to join my ranks. Killing him would be too merciful of me, now that I think of it. Ah well, it is only a dream. I will have to resort to less speculative avenues. You have told me that he is continuing to stay at Hogwarts in the hopes of training to become the Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher, Severus?"
"Indeed, my Lord. For a year. Alastor Moody has agreed to take over the post for one last year."
"A year," Voldemort hissed. "A year is too much. I want the boy within a year, at the most, and not by the end of it. And you, Severus, will have to find a way without attracting attention."
"I shall see what can be done, my Lord," Severus murmured.
"You had better, Severus," Voldemort said, pointing his wand at the tall thin wizard.
Severus fell onto the ground, knife-like pain tearing through his limbs. Voldemort yawned and lifted the curse after a few moments.
Severus rose to his feet slowly, one hand clutching at his side.
"A tiny reminder, my dear Severus," Voldemort said. Bellatrix chortled softly.
A little later, Severus was sitting in Dumbledore's office, telling the Hogwarts Headmaster about Voldemort's appalling fantasies concerning the article in The Daily Prophet. Dumbledore listened quietly, hands neatly folded on the polished desk before him. When Severus had finished, Dumbledore looked into his black eyes thoughtfully.
"You know, Severus, Voldemort sometimes has the knack of witlessly offering us a something like a solution."
"What are you implying, Albus?" Severus asked cautiously. His face was very pale after the Cruciatus curse.
"Why, Severus, I think a marital union between you and Harry would be an excellent idea."
Severus stared at him as if he was seeing him for the very first time.
"You think that it would be…an excellent idea?" he repeated slowly.
"Yes, my dear boy. You are one of the most talented and skilled wizards I know, Severus, and therefore one of the most powerful. If you marry Harry-"
"I SHALL NEVER MARRY HARRY POTTER!" Severus roared, bringing his fist upon Dumbledore's desk with a sickening crash. The portraits in Dumbledore's office gasped collectively, with the exception of Phineas Nigellus Black, who was slyly following the conversation.
"Severus, do calm down and hear me out, please. Marriage would be far more efficient to protect Harry-"
"And I thought Gryffindors loved romance," Severus commented acidly.
"-and you must not forget that the Ministry is corrupt and will try its best to harm Harry in its own way."
"Why marriage?" Severus asked disgustedly.
"Bind Harry to you, Severus, and Harry will be bound to Hogwarts and its protections. In the meantime, Voldemort will think that I arranged your marriage so that you can protect Harry. But actually, you will betray me behind my back and have your way with Harry, torturing and brainwashing him into complete submission. And then, Voldemort will do something worse than kill him: he will make Harry do his bidding and wield him as a swordsman wields a good sword."
"And why me? Why don't you marry him, if you are so concerned for his well-being?" Severus asked contemptuously.
Dumbledore began to laugh.
"You are very flattering, Severus. Voldemort did show a penchant for you as a potential spouse. And it will be so practical, too. I thought it would be an excellent idea if you, besides Alastor Moody, instructed him for his Defense Against The Dark Arts training program. I will call Dobby and ask him to fetch Harry Potter now."
"He will never consent, just as I shall never consent! I cannot believe you are drawing inspiration from the Dark Lord's ravings! Or that I am still supposed to teach that brat!" Severus snarled furiously.
"We shall see, Severus."
"The Headmaster wants to see Harry Potter! The password is Kiwi Popsicle," Dobby squeaked breathlessly, his tea cosy at a rakish angle. Harry Potter jumped up from his four-poster bed. The dormitory was empty. The other students had gone home; he was remaining behind to discuss further steps against Voldemort with Dumbledore, and to start his training as soon as possible.
"Thank you, Dobby," Harry said. The seventeen-year-old wizard had grown but was not very tall. His build was slight, his hair as messy as ever and his eyes were their characteristic emerald green colour. The house-elf disappeared and Harry left Gryffindor Tower, was admitted to Dumbledore's office and stopped at the threshold when he saw Severus Snape sitting opposite Dumbledore.
"Ah, Harry," Dumbledore said cheerfully, "please sit down."
Harry sat down with an ominous feeling. His chair was next to Severus's, and the Potions Master threw him a look of deepest loathing.
"Harry, I have come to the conclusion that you and Severus should marry."
Harry stared at Dumbledore. Then he began to laugh.
"Okay, I know we don't get on well, but may I know why I am here?"
Dumbledore's face remained perfectly cheerful.
"I am serious, my boy," he told Harry and briefly summarised what Severus had learnt during the Death Eaters' meeting.
"THERE IS NO WAY I AM EVER GOING TO MARRY SNAPE!" Harry bellowed, as pale as Severus.
"Professor Snape, Harry, though you may want to address him more familiarly once you are married," Dumbledore corrected him.
"There is no way you can force me to marry him," Harry spat, standing up with clenched fists.
"I told you so, Albus," Severus drawled.
"I really must insist," Dumbledore said, his humour and mildness gone from his voice.
"NO!" both wizards shouted back.
"You can divorce each other after the world has been rid of Voldemort," Dumbledore said crisply.
"I have never heard of such a ridiculous thing before," Snape sneered, "marrying in order to defy both Voldemort and the Ministry-"
"Severus, it is simply what is called a convenient marriage. And, if I am not mistaken, you both prefer men."
"You mean, a most inconvenient marriage," Harry observed sarcastically.
"With most unsuitable, ah, suitors," Snape threw in.
There was a very uncomfortable silence in the room.
"I was also thinking of a bonding ceremony," Dumbledore added, sounding vaguely apologetic.
"WHAT!" Snape yelled, upsetting his chair. Harry, who had no idea what a bonding ceremony was, looked confused.