Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling and I do not own Harry Potter or his universe.
Warning(s): HBP and DH happened and yet somehow Dumbledore, Snape and Lupin are still alive. How is this possible? I really have no idea. Slash sex obviously, and also slave!Snape. D/s just to be safe.
Summary: As a creature, Severus has long known he will need to bond with his mate or face being made a slave to the whole of wizardkind. For Harry, however, the news is a shock made more difficult by the awakening of uncomfortable sexual desires.
A/N: Written for the Snarry-a-thon over at Snape_Potter. Eternal glory to Accioslash for putting together such a wonderful Snarry fest.
Thanks to thesewarmstars who helped me quite a bit with this fic and who did an excellent beta job. Thanks also to WhiteCotton for writing my summary and for a lovely beta job, as always.
"Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other." --Carl Jung
"So it's started then?"
Snape's hands were already tightened into fists but when he heard the headmaster utter that question, he clasped them so forcefully he nearly drew blood with his nails.
"Yes," he said, through gritted teeth.
"Are you certain?" the headmaster asked. "Perhaps you are being overly suspicious of your actions? It is in your character to be weary, even of yourself."
Snape shook his head, not trusting himself to speak. There was silence for a moment as he replayed the incident that occurred during dinner in the Great Hall again in his mind. "No, I am certain. That arrogant bastard you hired to teach Defense barked rudely at me to pass the salt and I obeyed before I could stop myself."
The look Dumbledore gave him was nothing short of pity and Snape found he could not take it. He rose abruptly from his seat and began to pace the office.
"I sympathize of course, Severus. I can't even begin to understand what you must be feeling right now. Only..." Dumbledore paused and seemed to weigh what he would say to the disturbed man pacing in front of him. "Only you have had twenty six years to adjust yourself to the idea. You're acting as though you've only just found out."
Snape stopped his pacing and whirled around to face the headmaster. "Adjust myself to the idea? You make it sound as if I've been sacked or asked to be the key note speaker at some Ministry gala." The dark man quickly approached Dumbledore's desk and said in a voice close to panic, "No, after those first few miserable years of knowing I never even entertained the idea that I would reach forty. Not after the Dark Lord and certainly not after going into your service."
Dumbledore sighed and rubbed his eyes behind his glasses. "I know, Severus. As awful as this could be, surely you realize how fortunate you are among your kind. I can't imagine you looking forward to your fortieth birthday but surely you can imagine it, if only to sooth your troubles."
"Fortunate?" Snape asked, glaring.
The headmaster looked apologetic. "Perhaps I misspoke. Not fortunate, no, but, my friend," he paused for effect, as though Snape would truly find some solace from his words, "Do you realize how truly lucky you are? It could have been anyone, anyone in the entire world. You could have never even met them and then where would you be now? Trotting the planet in an attempt to find that one person?"
Snape scoffed. "I would have done what most of my kind do and put myself out of my misery." Snape looked directly into the headmaster's eyes and said, "Of course I would not have had to if certain heroic measures had not been taken."
Dumbledore looked angry for a moment before raising a hand and with a dismissive gesture said, "It was he who found you, Severus. Perhaps you were calling to him even then."
Snape scoffed again. That was not the way of these things and the headmaster knew it.
"And I would not take it back if I had to do it over again." Dumbledore's voice cut through his morose line of thinking. "You are a good man, Severus. You deserve some happiness."
"Happiness?" Snape spat. "You think I will find happiness as an unwilling slave? As some mindless creature?"
Dumbledore looked at him with a thunderous expression. "That will not happen, Severus. As much as I know you fear it, you also know that is not how it will come to pass. And yes, I think you can expect to find some happiness. You've been alone for far too long, my dear boy."
Snape sneered at the endearment. "He will have complete power over me, Albus." The Potions Master sunk gracelessly into his chair, not caring for once that he looked as lost as he felt. "Do you recall an old saying about absolute power?"
"He does not have it in him. Even when in possession of the Deathly Hallows, he did not abuse the power. He gave it up, as you well know."
"Perhaps he will make an attempt to be a kind master, but it will corrupt him. Of that I have no doubt." Snape looked down to the floor and said in a fierce whisper, "And then I will be lost."
Dumbledore rose from his seat behind the desk and came to stand in front of Snape. Sky blue robes with golden snitches flitting about invaded his vision and he looked up to his old friend. "Take heart, Severus. You don't know Harry Potter as I do."
It was mid-November when Harry found himself back at Hogwarts. The castle looked much different than how he had left it. A good deal of the walls that had fallen had been rebuilt and he could see the students walking the grounds, going to and from their classes.
The castle looked alive and Harry smiled as he approached it.
Quickly walking the halls, he thought again on the curious missive that the headmaster had sent him, humbly asking for his presence. The war was over, Voldemort was dead, and yet Harry had the distinct feeling that Dumbledore was calling on him to ask for something he would not like doing.
He approached the gargoyle, which quickly moved for him and ascended the stairs. Upon reaching the door to the headmaster's office, he could hear the voice of a man saying, "He will not do it, Albus."
The headmaster answered, "I believe you may be surprised, Severus." Not wanting to eavesdrop any further, Harry knocked and pushed the door open.
The headmaster rose in greeting, but Snape did not. "Come in, Harry." Harry walked the few steps to an empty chair sitting close to Snape. "Please sit. Tea?"
Harry nodded and offered his own greeting as he sat down. "Hello, Headmaster. Yes, thank you." Not wanting to be rude, he nodded to Snape. "Professor."
The tension in the room was thick and Harry felt it invade him as his stomach began to churn. What had he been called here for and what was about to be asked of him? Snape's presence made the situation all the more nerve-wracking. The situation must be dire for the Potions Master to be in the same room with him willingly. They may have settled their differences after the final battle but that didn't mean they got along any better than they did before.
"How have you been, Harry?" the headmaster asked cheerfully.
Harry sipped his tea and stole a quick glance at Snape. The man was sitting stiffly in his chair and his hands were grasping the armrests to the point that his knuckles had gone white.
No, definitely not a social call, Harry thought.
"I'm fine, Professor. I've been working on making Grimmauld a more inhabitable place to live, thinking about what career I want to try my hand at," Harry answered, determined to keep up the social niceties for as long as possible before whatever was about to happen presented itself.
Dumbledore nodded and smiled but seemed to be only half-listening to what Harry was saying. His attention was primarily focused on Snape, who was looking uneasy and nervous while sitting motionless in his seat.
"I have always thought you would make an excellent Auror, Harry, but I can understand if you would like to try some different profession."
Harry grimaced and sipped his tea again, nodding. "Yeah, no more dark wizard chasing for me. Think I've had enough of that for a lifetime, sir."
Snape scoffed but said nothing. Harry turned towards the older man, waiting for some scathing remark about how out of character it was for famous Harry Potter to shun the limelight but the retort never came. Snape wasn't even looking in his direction, his eyes appearing to be set on some point beyond the headmaster's head.
"Yes, and I do have every hope that you'll find something you enjoy doing, Harry. In the meantime, you're still a young man. You have a great deal of time to decide what you'd like to do with your life."
Harry opened his mouth to thank the headmaster but stopped when he heard a sound come from the general direction of the Potions Master that he had never heard before. It sounded almost like some sort of pained grunt, and not at all like his usual snide self.
Harry grew even more nervous now. If Snape was worried about whatever the headmaster had called him in for then he may actually be in trouble. He briefly recalled being present when the headmaster had asked the Potions Master if he would be willing to return to Voldemort, and let his mind drift over the vision of the sallow face paling for a moment before nodding with determination.
If Snape was worried...
"Headmaster," Harry said, not wanting to wait through more pleasantries before getting to the point, "may I ask why you've called me here? Has something happened?"
The headmaster's eyes dropped and his smiled faded. Harry could hear as Snape's breathing accelerated for a moment before returning to normal.
Harry's stomach was tying itself in knots.
"Harry," the headmaster said in a more grim tone, "I've called you here to ask you a favor." Snape scoffed again but there seemed be less malice in it this time. "A very large favor."
Harry turned again to look at Snape and was horrified to see the man's face pale and his eyes unfocused, still gazing at some spot behind the headmaster.
"Before I ask you this favor I must ask-" He cut himself off and started again. "Harry... How much do you know about the High Elves?"
Harry blinked and placed his half-empty tea cup on Dumbledore's desk. He had been expecting questions about rogue Death Eaters and inquiries on how sure he was that Voldemort was dead. The possibility of this conversation dealing with elves never once entered his imagination.
"High Elves? Is that something like house-elves, sir?"
Snape laughed bitterly next to him.
"No, Harry, not like House Elves. Not at all, really." Dumbledore interlaced his fingers and sat back in his chair. "The High Elves are almost extinct now, but there was a time when they were a very strong, very powerful race of magical creatures."
"Creatures?" Harry asked.
"Yes, Harry. Physically, High Elves look very similar to humans. The only physical difference manifests at the age of maturity, forty, at which point they develop pointed ears."
Harry gave an inquisitive look. "I think I may have read about that at some point but nothing about them almost being extinct."
Dumbledore nodded sadly. "Yes, I don't think wizards are incredibly proud of what they did to the elf race in general."
Harry looked over to Snape, who was still uncharacteristically quiet.
"What did they do to them?"
"Well, you have to understand, Harry, first that High Elves are very long-lived creatures. They are also very powerful and use wands much as wizards do. For centuries they lived among Muggles and wizards alike in peace."
Harry was confused now. What did all of this have to do with why he was called here? "So what happened to them? I don't think I've ever seen a High Elf in my life."
"Genocide," was uttered in a soft, dark voice to Harry's right. He looked towards Snape who was now turning to glare at Harry. "Genocide happened to them, Potter."
Dumbledore put up a hand. "Not exactly genocide, Harry, no. Though Severus is not very far off."
Snape scoffed brashly. "How can you not call that genocide, Albus, when an entire race of creatures is now nearly extinct? They ceased to procreate! The one thing caused the other!"
"Severus, calm yourself please."
Snape leaned back in his chair again, but he seemed disoriented and upset in a way Harry had not seen in a long while.
"As I was saying, Harry," Dumbledore said, though he was still looking at Snape. "High Elves lived among us for a very long time. When the statute of secrecy was first signed in 1689, elves were looked upon as a close brother of human wizards." He looked back at Harry now. "They worked together to create a wizarding government which would stand the test of time."
Dumbledore looked over to Snape again and appeared to be apprehensive of proceeding. Snape was once again staring down one of the books on the shelf and so the headmaster continued.
"But as I said before, High Elves are long-lived and very powerful. A few of the wizards who were organizing what would become the Wizengamot decided they were too powerful and had too much potential to wreak havoc on the wizarding world. So by 1692, all elves were considered magical creatures and slaves to wizardkind."
Harry blinked. "Slaves?"
"The most powerful wizards of the day conferred together and cursed the elves. Those we now know as house-elves were cursed to enter forced servitude from the time they were able to walk. They were only slightly more... generous with the High Elves."
Snape stopped looking into vacant space and stared at the headmaster.
He carried on despite the daggers Snape was glaring at him. "High Elves only reach the age of maturity on their fortieth birthday. And so the wizards placed a curse upon them, a very strong curse that would be carried on through the bloodlines- which would affect them upon reaching the age of forty."
Harry felt his throat go dry. He was no closer to understanding why he was here but he was beginning to understand that something important was about to happen.
"Every elf over the age of forty immediately fell to the effects of the curse. Where they had once been strong, they became weak and fearful. Where they were a highly intelligent race, they became mindless and easily swayed. Where they were magically powerful, they were only able to perform magic if a wizard bid them to do it. It was a travesty and one of wizardkind's greatest sins."
There was silence in the room for a minute, some unspoken agreement between the men to think about the utter horror of that situation. Harry's mind was reeling. He thought it would be awful to lose his powers suddenly, but he would survive. But to have his will taken from him, to become some mindless thing...
It was unthinkable.
"The younger elves fled the wizarding world while they still could and the most intelligent and powerful among them met to try to undo the curse."
Dumbledore sighed and looked to Severus fondly but sadly.
"They tried for generations to remove it, but it could not be done. Perhaps if they had had more time-" He cut himself off and removed his glasses, cleaning them with the sleeve of his robe.
"Eventually, the elves realized that they could not undo the curse. So instead they decided to work around it."
Now the headmaster was leaning forward in his chair, looking Harry directly in the eye.
"They worked very strong magic and placed another spell on themselves, one that would also be passed through the bloodlines. This spell could not break the curse but would instead cause an elf to be enslaved to one person, one wizard or witch.
"It's a protection spell, Harry. A very strong spell that would allow an elf to find the one wizard or witch to whom they were most suited. That one person would be the elf's master and he or she would decide their fate."
Harry's heart was racing as his mind began to piece together what was being told to him. His parents would have turned forty this year...
Harry's mouth was dry and so with a shaking hand he reached out and gulped the tepid tea sitting on the headmaster's desk. He took a deep, calming breath and asked, "So the elves weren't slaves anymore then? They found their one person and could just live their life after that?"
The dark, mirthless laughter began to filter from the man seated next to him sounded incredibly ominous in the silence of the room.
Snape turned to him again. "No, Potter. They did not 'find their one person' and live happily ever after. That would mean that the heart of man was not as dark as you and I know it to be."
"Please," Snape said, quietly. Harry had never heard him sound so desperate. "You have had your opportunity to tell your fairy tales, Albus." Snape looked over to Dumbledore who nodded his head sadly and waved a hand to say that he could continue. Snape crossed one leg over the other in some attempt at relaxation when his body and voice denied it.
"Men are evil, Potter, and above all things they seek power." Snape's dark eyes were penetrating Harry's green and the younger man quickly steeled himself in attempt not to shudder.
"It was always the same," Snape said in a dark whisper. "In the months prior to an elf's fortieth birthday, the identity of their bond-mate would become obvious, and-"
Dumbledore cut him off. "High Elves call their human protectors bond-mates, Harry."
Snape glared at the headmaster for interrupting him, but surprisingly said nothing.
Dumbledore looked remorseful. "I am sorry, Severus. Please continue."
"Thank you," Snape said mock-graciously before turning back to Harry. "As I was saying, the identity of their bond-mate would become obvious. It always began in the same manner. In the months prior to the bonding, human and elf would become acquainted with each other. The High Elves' magic would always find a complimentary and kind soul for the elf to bond with."
Snape's face was straight, his voice soft and unwavering, but Harry could see a hint of fear in his eyes.
"And so they would be happy for a short time, but any happiness ended at the time of bonding."
Harry forced himself to ask, "Time of bonding?"
Snape rolled his eyes. "Usually in the week prior to the elf's birthday."
"If you wouldn't mind, Severus, perhaps I should explain the actual bonding?"
Snape looked to the headmaster and begrudgingly nodded his head.
"The relationship between an elf and their bond-mate is always sexual, Harry."
Harry tried very hard to keep a look of growing panic from overtaking his face but had no doubt that he failed.
"The bond would solidify with intercourse, usually after a few months of courtship. Elves and their bond-mates were encouraged to view the bond between them as a relationship, to make the most of the situation. Remember that the spell always found a wizard or witch who was well suited for the elf, to enable a strong and lasting relationship."
"Strong and lasting meaning until the bonding, of course," Snape interrupted. Dumbledore stopped speaking and Snape clenched his hand into a fist. "I apologize for interrupting, Headmaster," the Potions Master said reluctantly and through gritted teeth.
"Not at all, Severus, not at all."
"Oh, God," Harry uttered under his breath, beginning to understand. The horrified statement went unheard by the other two men who seemed lost in their own minds for a moment.
Snape seemed to gain control of himself and continued where the headmaster had left off. "In the months prior to the time of maturity, High Elves become more... submissive, more docile and easily controlled. Where a wizard first finds himself wanting an equal, a companion, he begins to enjoy the submissive, fearful nature of the elf."
Harry was beyond speech now. He tried to utter the question 'why' but his voice croaked as it came out.
"Why, Potter? Imagine seeing a very powerful creature bend his will for yours. Imagine a lover who wants only to please you and cares nothing for himself. Imagine a creature who is more than happy to be your servant, companion, or sexual plaything anytime you desire it."
Harry was looking directly into Snape's eyes now, and was no longer startled by the anger and fear there.
If Harry was in Snape's position, he realized, he would be angry and afraid as well.
"Harry," Dumbledore spoke again, "An elf's bond-mate may give his elf as much or as little freedom as his wishes. The elf may retain his full personality, if the wizard so willed it. There have been documented cases of bond-mates living well together as any ordinary couple would."
Snape waited until Dumbledore finished speaking before he said, "For every such case there have been twenty more that end in slavery. The human always attempts kindness in the beginning, but they all end the same way- the elf is still a slave. Perhaps he is slightly more fortunate because he is a slave only to one wizard and not the entire community in general, but that does not change the fact that he is no longer his own person."
Harry's face was pale and his hands were shaking. He didn't think he could speak if he needed to. He knew what was coming but no amount of preparation could ease himself into the reality of the situation.
"Harry, I'm sure you've guessed by now that Severus is a High Elf and that you are his bond-mate."
Harry had seen it coming. He knew that Snape was the same age as his parents, and that his behavior meant something terrible was happening to him. He wasn't the mental incompetent Snape always thought he was, but that didn't mean the news was any easier to take.
"How-" he croaked and cleared his throat. "Are you sure?" he asked Snape.
Snape scoffed and looked away, sitting back in his chair again. "Yes."
"Harry, please," Dumbledore spoke again. "I know it is asking a great deal from you when you have already given so much-"
The headmaster broke off again at the sight of Snape lowering his hand into his hands.
Harry had never seen a more sorrowful sight than the one he was witnessing right now. He had seen friends die, had witnessed Voldemort's resurrection, and yet nothing was comparable to the sight of the proudest man he knew breaking before him.
"I- I'm sorry," he said in a fierce whisper. "Is- Is there nothing you can do?" He pleaded to the headmaster. "Have you tried, sir? You're the most powerful wizard alive. Surely you could do something?"
Snape said nothing but removed his face from his hands, his expression stoic and unwavering again.
"I have met three elves in my time, Harry. The first was a classmate of mine who confided his plight to me. You see, even in my schooldays we were not taught this... dark part of our history."
Snape scoffed almost hysterically.
"I tried then to go about undoing the curse. It was something I researched in my spare time for years but I finally gave up hope as the elves did."
Dumbledore glanced at Snape again. "I did not know at the time that Eileen Prince was an elf. There is no census of High Elves. There is no reason for there to be since the curse is still in effect. I only learned of her heritage when Severus was thirteen and his mother took her own life."
Snape looked over to him looking incredibly lost. It was obvious that he wanted to speak and so the headmaster paused and allowed the man to collect himself.
"That was when I learned of my illustrious heritage, Potter. That was when I learned that someday I would be a slave to some... human wizard."
"But you won't," Harry quickly retorted.
Snape sneered at him but said nothing.
"Look, I-" Harry broke off and ran a hand through his unkempt hair. "This is a lot to take in but- what happens if I don't bond with you?"
"If you do not bond with me by the night before my fortieth birthday then the curse will take effect and I will be enslaved to the general wizarding population."
"Oh, God," Harry whispered. Suddenly unable to do anything else, he rose from his seat and began pacing the office.
"Not quite so noble now, are you Potter?" Snape said snidely.
Harry barely heard him. All he could think of was how his life was about to change completely. He had only just figured out he was gay and now he was about to enter into a binding relationship with his old teacher.
It was too much to comprehend in such a short amount of time. A part of his life was about to be over. Not only was Snape not being given the option to choose his partner, Harry wasn't either. He'd never get a chance to date, to see what kind of men he liked. The normal life he thought was finally in his reach had just been yanked away yet again.
"Harry," the headmaster said, "I realize this is a great deal to take in but it is not as dire a situation as you think. Remember that the High Elves sought to match souls that would compliment each other perfectly. Perhaps you would not have chosen each other in different circumstances but the fact remains that you are compatible."
Harry tried to listen to the headmaster, tried to take comfort in the words, but all he could think of was that his life would never be his own. He would always be called upon to save someone. He would never find the peace he so desired.
"Harry," the headmaster tried again, and this time Harry looked over towards him. "This does not have to be a terrible thing, my boy. You can find happiness with Severus if you desire it."
Snape sneered. "Happiness? Look at the boy, Albus. He's shaking in his boots at the very thought of being bonded to his evil, ugly old teacher."
Harry looked over at Snape who was still sitting in his chair and not looking at him.
"It's not that, Snape," he said. "It's just- It's a lot to take in, alright? I didn't plan on getting married today or anytime soon, for that matter."
"Married?" Snape spat. "No one here is getting married, I assure you, Potter. Not unless you plan on forcing that trite title on me after the bonding."
Harry frowned. "But the bonding... It's like being married, right? I mean, it's a sexual relationship so we'll only be with each other." A part of Harry's mind was forcing him to be mature and objective about the situation while he attempted to calm the part that was panicking. "So how does all that end up with us not being married?"
"If you'll allow me, Severus-" the headmaster said, before Snape could open his mouth in anger. "What Severus means, Harry, is that he will be bound to you while you will not be bound to him."
Harry ran a hand through his hair and shook his head, trying to understand what the headmaster was saying.
"What I mean, Harry is that you would be able to have other partners, go about your regular life regardless of your relationship with Severus. It would not be so for him. He would be bound to you and only you and could not seek another."
Oh, Harry thought. "Yeah, but that hardly matters. I mean, if he's bound to me then I would be bound to him as well. It's not as if I'd go 'round with other guys when I have someone at home, now would I?"
Dumbledore smiled his first genuine smile since the meeting began and Snape looked at Harry with wide eyes.
"No, Harry. I did not think you would."
Snape snorted his contempt. "He says that now," he said in a whisper.
Harry glared at the Potions Master and walked around to the side of his chair to face him. "I wouldn't. I just- I couldn't do that to another person, not even to you. I don't think I have it in me to be that cruel."
Dumbledore's smile widened and he looked at Snape as though all the man's problems had been answered. Harry, however, knew the fight was only truly beginning.
"And you have had the chance to think of this for... what, Potter? An entire ten minutes? And already you're promising monogamy to a man you hate?"
"I don't hate you," Harry said, his voice growing louder. "How could I hate you after all you've done? Maybe you're not the nicest person, but that doesn't mean you deserve-" Harry cut himself off before he could utter the phrase 'to be enslaved,' but it was heard by them all anyway.
"I know exactly what will happen, Potter." The dark man drew himself up. "You will attempt the right thing, of course. Your Gryffindor sense of honor and justice will make it impossible not to attempt it. Unfortunately for both of us, the bond does not read what you tell it. It reads your innermost desires, your most basic wants."
Harry frowned as he continued looking into black eyes. "I don't want you to be a mindless slave. You have to believe that. Even if you think I'm stupid and love attention, you can't think that I would want you to lose yourself. I wouldn't wish that on anyone."
Snape shook his head. "You will understand very soon, Potter. It has already begun. In a few days I will no longer be able to belittle you or interrupt you. You will enjoy that and that is only the beginning. I will wish to serve you, to make you happy. And I will be happy to do so. You will tell yourself that you are only allowing me to fulfill my nature, that you are causing me no harm."
Harry's heart was pounding. The idea of Snape not being able to belittle did sound tempting and he cursed himself for thinking it.
"Then there is the sex, Potter. Will you be able to resist when I beg to suck your cock? Hmm?" Snape's raised an eyebrow and Harry's eyes went wide at the question. "Will you tell me to stop when I get on my knees and beg you to take me? Will you not enjoy seeing me, your cruelest teacher, in your bed begging you to fuck me harder-"
"Shut up!" Harry yelled in stark contrast to Snape's smooth whisper.
As soon as he screamed the words, Snape's mouth and eyes closed and he lowered his head. He seemed to be attempting to make himself as small as possible as he leaned into his chair, no doubt attempting to disappear into the fabric.
"Harry," Dumbledore said in a warning tone.
"Oh, God," Harry said, cursing himself for what had happened. "Snape," Harry said as he got on his knees in front of the professor's chair. "Snape, please look at me." Snape immediately looked up, looking completely lost, his body shaking. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to say it like that. I just wanted you to be quiet, I didn't mean to order you to-" Harry broke off and grabbed the Potions Master's forearms. "I wouldn't do that. Not intentionally. Please believe me."
Harry waited patiently on bended knee while Snape's body stopped its shuddering and he began to look more like himself.
"Believe you?" he uttered softly. "Do I have a choice?"
Harry released the man's forearms and stood up, turning away from him. "Yeah," he said. "Do what you want."
Harry returned to his chair and met the headmaster's curious gaze.
A few minutes later, Dumbledore asked to speak with Harry alone. Snape answered the headmaster with a dead stare. Dumbledore sought to assure him that he only wanted to give Harry a bit of advice, but received only a dull nod of the head.
The Potions Master left, his limp robes a sad commentary on his state of mind.
Harry and Dumbledore sat in silence for a few minutes, both attempting to gather his wits about him. Dumbledore spoke first.
"Harry, I do not want you to think you have to do this."
Harry scoffed. What was the man thinking? "Of course I have to do this! I mean," he broke off and looked curiously at the headmaster, "what will happen to Snape if I don't? He'll be enslaved, yeah, but what will happen to him?"
Dumbledore sat back in his chair deflated, his eyes fixed on some point beyond Harry's head. "Oh," he said softly. "I suppose I can finally open up one of the family rooms that come with the headmaster's suite. I'm not entirely sure if the curse will allow him to keep his brewing talents, but if it does I will probably ask him to brew for several hours a day. Perhaps I'll have him read to me as well."
Harry looked horrified.
"He would stay with me, of course, until the end of my life, at which point I would ask Minerva or perhaps Hagrid to look after him." The headmaster turned minutely to look Harry in the eye. "But that's how his life would be, Harry. He would need to be looked after constantly. He would not be able to speak with anyone, lest they take advantage of him. He would not have a life, Harry. At least not a life as we know it to be."
Harry put his head in his hands, the full force of his lack of choice in the matter hitting him.
"And he would be long-lived, Harry. High Elves live longer than wizards. I worry for what will happen to him decades down the road, when his caretakers no longer remember the man he used to be."
Harry's hands were shaking. No, he couldn't curse any person to such a fate, not a war hero and especially not Severus Snape.
"I'm surprised he hasn't tried to kill himself," he found himself uttering.
Dumbledore's eyebrows shot up. "After you rescued him from the Shack, I made him swear he would not. Severus is a very proud man. Though I trust you, Harry, I do fear for him."
Harry ran a hand through his disheveled hair and said, "You don't believe what Snape was saying do you? That I'll want him to be my... slave?"
Dumbledore sighed. "No, though I do understand his concern. There is more in your hands than just his life, Harry. As Severus said, the bond will read your innermost desires."
The headmaster sat back in his chair and gave Harry a discerning look. "The man you knew will disappear in the next two months. Whether or not he reappears after the bonding is completely up to you. If you wanted to punish him for any perceived wrong-doings, you would have perfect opportunity to do so at the time of bonding. The bond will literally read your most basic wants. If you have even the slightest desire for revenge, it would be disastrous for Severus."
Blue eyes met green and the headmaster said firmly, "If you are going to do this, you must do it correctly. Begin the way you intend to go on."
Harry shook his head. "I won't... I can't hurt him. I couldn't hurt anyone like that."
Dumbledore shook his head. "Take a week, Harry. Go home. Sort out your true feelings on this matter. See if it's possible to accept this life."
Harry was confused. The headmaster was making it seem as though he had a choice. "Of course I'm going to accept this. There's probably a special layer of hell for wizards who refuse."
Dumbledore voice turned grave as he said, "If you are unable to embrace this union completely then it would be better not to attempt it at all. I would rather lock Severus in the highest tower than allow him to have yet another master."
Harry looked at the headmaster in shock. Surely he didn't think-
"Take a week, Harry. I will expect to hear from you on the seventh day. If you are willing, you will meet Severus here in his chambers on the eighth. You will have to get to know each other for this to work and I expect he will begin to need you by then."
"Need me, sir?" Harry's voice sounded small and desperate. He was silently horrified at the idea of Snape needing anyone.
"Go, Harry." The headmaster waved him off. "Seven days."
As it turned out, the headmaster had been right. Harry really had needed those seven days.
He had spent the first day at home in Grimmauld Place staring at the wall.
The first half of the second was spent sitting Ron and Hermione down and explaining the situation to them. The latter half was spent listening to Hermione talk about what an evil thing the curse was and Ron rant about how awful it would be to be practically married to the giant bat.
The third was spent getting completely and stupidly drunk. He spent the evening of that day talking up a guy in the Leaky Cauldron and taking him home. As he fucked him, Harry felt guilty that he liked how the man looked nothing like Snape.
The first half of the fourth day was spent ranting and raving to Ron and Hermione about how he would never have a normal life, never be able to meet some man who would suit him nicely, never be able to have happiness others had. The latter half was spent drinking and crying angry tears at the same people for the same reasons.
The fifth day was spent in utter solitude. He sat in a chair in one of the darker rooms of his house, cursing God. If there was a God.
On the morning of the sixth day, he was awoken by a knock on the door. Remus Lupin had received an owl from Hermione and thought Harry could do with a visit. Luckily he'd already been fully briefed so Harry didn't have to go through the explanations again. As he'd let his friend in, he'd inwardly rolled his eyes in preparation for the stoic advice he knew he was about to be given.
Then Remus had surprised him.
"Harry, you don't have to do this," he had said.
Harry scoffed for perhaps the fiftieth time that week. "Yeah, I do, Remus. If I don't-"
"No, you don't. If you're not going to do this correctly then it would be better not to do it at all."
Harry had actually rolled his eyes this time. Remus had responded kindly. "You need to make a decision very soon, Harry. You can't do this half-way. Not with a man like Severus. You can make a decision to make this work... or not. The choice seems to be yours more than his. Either way, I hope you're finished with your brooding. It's unbecoming, to say the least."
Then he had left, the entire visit lasting no more than five minutes.
And so the remainder of the sixth day was spent sitting and considering Remus' words. He would think he could do it, that he was ready, only to imagine facing Snape in a two days and wanting to retreat into Sirius' old room.
At midnight, he received a letter by owl from the headmaster. The letter contained only one sentence. 'Remember- it is our choices that show what we truly are.'
Harry laid down in his bed, thinking on the headmaster's words and the rest of his life.
At dawn on the seventh day, Harry sat up in his bed, summoned a quill and parchment and wrote a letter to Dumbledore.
"Tell Snape I'll be there after his last class of the day."
Harry rolled up the parchment and called one of the house's owls.
He knew there was no way out of this. He could choose to either embrace his fate, or be dragged towards it kicking and screaming.
He spent the rest of the day out with Ron and Hermione, taking in a muggle show and eating Indian take-out. He could feel the knots tying themselves in his stomach, but pushed them away. When his friends asked what he had decided, he told them he was choosing to be happy.
Harry approached the gates of Hogwarts with a confidence he did not truly feel. This time there was no sentimental sighing, no fond reminiscing as he took in the repairs or the children who went to and from their classes.
He was tempted to report to the headmaster first, but realized he would only be delaying the inevitable. Also, he knew if he were to see his old mentor he'd be too tempted to hide in his robes, decision made or not.
And so, with great hesitation he walked through the doors and approached the staircase leading down to the dungeons.
Snape's quarters were a bit difficult to find, but the headmaster had given him decent directions. He approached the last door past the Slytherin common room and stood there for a moment, trying very hard to gather his strength.
He steeled himself, preparing for the new life that awaited him on the other side of the door.
Snape sighed and looked around his quarters for the tenth time that day.
Nothing in his tumultuous, miserable life had prepared him for the absolute terror that had been stalking him this week. He had thought returning to the Dark Lord's service had been terrible. But in that situation, it had only been his life on the line.
This past week had been spent in terror for his very soul.
When he had first discovered that Potter was to be his bond-mate, Snape immediately thought to refuse him. He thought slavery would be a better option than being tied to a boy half his age who he still rather disliked, bravery aside.
But when the first signs of his heritage began to rear their ugly head, he felt a terror unlike anything he had ever known.
After the first incident, when that idiot Defense professor had so rudely ordered him about at the head table, he resigned himself to the inevitable. He would be Harry Potter's bonded slave. The most he could hope for was that the boy would not refuse and perhaps allow him the slightest amount of freedom. He doubted very much that the boy would abuse him, but it was too much to hope for more.
That day in Albus' office had been the most nerve-wracking of his life. And he was including the final battle in that estimation.
What if Potter had said no? Then where would he find himself? Locked in a tower, no doubt. Protected from the wizarding world by Albus, but a mindless slave nonetheless.
He could not describe the relief he felt when Potter had acquiesced, even if it was done on the spur of the moment. Snape knew that the boy's streak of heroism and his desire to rescue the... Potions Master in distress would not allow him to shirk his responsibilities.
However, that did not mean he slept well that week. Or at all.
And so eight days after that awful meeting, Snape went to his quarters after his last class of the day and looked over the state of his rooms.
Not only had he been a walking bundle of nerves, he had also been showing signs of being affected by the curse.
Albus had tried to help. At dinner on the third day, he addressed the school and told the students their Potions professor was suffering from severe migraines and until the situation was resolved people should not attempt to address him in direct conversation.
That helped him to steer clear of his colleagues and charges, but did not help his growing need to see his... master.
He missed Potter. In his few moments of sleep, he found himself dreaming of him. In regards to his students, he found he could no longer gleefully take points from Gryffindor. Some inward awareness that his master would not appreciate it prevented him.
The prospect of already being so affected by the curse frightened him.
And so after his last class of the day, eight days after the meeting, Snape found himself looking around his quarters attempting to determine whether his master would feel welcome here.
He begrudgingly took down the small Slytherin banner that hung near the door. He plumped the throw pillows that he had never before bothered with. He rooted through a box he kept shrunken under his bed and put up a few photos on the mantel in attempt to give the place a more lived-in feel.
Not that it helped, he thought. It was still the dungeons; still dark and moist and cold. Only now he had a muggle photograph of himself and Lily to stare him in the face, as well as a picture of the headmaster at his graduation and a photo of his mother taken shortly before she killed herself.
It was no wonder his mantle was normally bare.
Still, he felt a small piece of him unwind at the thought that Potter might appreciate the gesture, and so on the mantle they stayed.
Snape scratched his ears, which were no doubt beginning to change. He hoped that his hair might be able to hide the evidence of his creature status at least until the bonding. He noted the hour and called a house-elf, kindly asking him for a pot of tea when there was a knock on the door.
His heart began to beat at a ridiculous pace.
He ran a hand through his hair in some odd attempt at making himself seem more suitable and patted down his robes. He cursed himself for acting akin to a teenage girl, primping for her suitor who was awaiting her attentions.
With an unsteady hand, he opened the door revealing a pale-faced but confident-looking Harry Potter.
The bundle of nerves that had been residing in his stomach for the entire week immediately began to relax just at the sight of the young man.
He allowed his eyes to look their fill at his master, as though he needed visual confirmation of him. He was still smaller than Snape, but no longer a skinny little runt. In fact, he had actually filled out quite a bit. Potter was wearing black trousers and a green jumper with open black robes.
Snape quickly found himself staring, half in appreciation and half in relief at the sight of his salvation.
"Um..." Potter said, looking at him with uncertainty. "Hi. May I come in?"
Snape snapped out of whatever trance he had been in and took a step away from the door. "Yes, please," he said, his head slightly bowed as Harry walked over the threshold.
Potter walked inside the room, unabashedly taking it in with wide eyes. Snape could not qualify his desire that his master find the room pleasing.
"This is really nice, Snape. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but certainly nothing this... homey."
Snape nodded and hummed noncommittally, but inside he was rejoicing. His efforts had been successful! Potter turned around the room a few more times, with a pleased look on his face, before turning towards the mantel.
"Oh," he said quietly. "Is that you and my mum?"
Snape walked towards Potter, standing silently behind him. The young man's posture was rigid.
"Yes," Snape admitted, thinking that his efforts had been in vain. "I thought it would please you to see her. I can remove it if you wish."
Potter spun around, almost bumping into Snape in the process. "No!" he said quickly. "I mean," he said, running a hand through his hair. "I mean, I like it. It was just a bit of a shock. I know you were friends, but I didn't think you kept a picture of her on your mantel."
Snape remained silent and weighed his options carefully. He felt compelled to tell his master the truth. "I don't usually," he admitted. "I found the pictures in an old box where I keep a few tokens and thought they would make the room seem more... human."
He saw something like sadness flash in Potter's eyes before he turned away.
"Thank you," said the voice behind him. He turned to look Potter in the eye once again. "For doing that, I mean. You didn't have to. That was really... kind of you to think of me. But you don't have to, you know. These are your rooms; you should feel comfortable in them."
Snape shook his head. Potter did not understand. "I did have to, Potter. It's part of the curse. I felt an overwhelming desire to please you. This," he said, waving a hand over the mantel, "was the result."
"Oh," was the only response he received. "Do you like having them up there?"
Snape wanted to answer in the affirmative, wanted to tell Potter that he enjoyed seeing Lily's face after all these years, but that would be a lie. "No, I do not. I have very few pictures of Lily. This one in particular was taken right before the... disagreement that ended our friendship."
Potter looked down and put his hands in his pockets. "You can take it down, you know. What about the other ones? Is that your mum? She looks... er... nice."
"It was taken shortly before she killed herself."
Potter winced. "Right, so maybe take that one down as well." He smiled sadly and gestured towards the photo of the headmaster. "Hey, this one's good, right? The headmaster looks exactly the same. Isn't that something?"
Snape cleared his throat and attempted to give a nod as an answer. He felt an uncomfortable chill spread through his body, and knew the curse was again prompting him to tell the truth. "It was taken the day before I was marked by the Dark Lord."
Potter turned his head and hissed. He gave an almost hysterical laugh and said, "Alright, so no pictures. Would you like to put them away?"
"What would you prefer?"
"I'd prefer you to be honest with me."
Snape nodded and then banished the photos to the box under his bed. He watched as Potter slowly began examining the room in greater detail.
"Were there any other changes you made just for me?" he asked.
Snape nodded and gestured towards his empty wall by the door. "I took down my Slytherin banner. I thought you may not appreciate something so... obtrusive."
Potter looked alarmed. "That wouldn't be obtrusive, and I wouldn't mind a Slytherin banner hanging anywhere. But, Snape," he paused and looked around him, "this is your home."
Snape nodded, but lowered his head, distressed he had caused his master upset. He removed his wand from his pocket. "Yes, of course. Accio banner." The small green and silver banner came flying into his hand. He walked over to the wall and hung it back in its place.
Potter gave him a small smile and the two of them simply stood in silence for a moment before Snape walked slowly over to his sofa, using a hand to offer his master a seat. "Please make yourself comfortable."
They sat on opposite sides of the sofa, an awkward silence growing between them.
Potter sighed. "This isn't going well at all. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be fun, but I honestly thought you'd start snarking at me the moment I walked through the door."
Snape sighed and put his hand over his face. Through his fingers he said, "I believe I told you my behavior would be effected by this point in time. This is only the beginning. It will soon become far worse."
He could hear Harry's sigh even from this distance.
"Well..." the young man said. "We're here to talk right? So... er-" he broke off, sounding understandably nervous. "How have you been?"
Snape blinked at the question, then thought how in the hell Potter expected him to answer that. He had every desire to say he was fine, that his classes has been as mediocre and banal as usual, and that nothing of import had happened all week.
But that would be a lie and, once again, Snape found himself compelled to speak the truth.
"Miserable," he said, barely recognizing the sound of his own voice. "Yourself?" he added, remembering his manners.
Harry laughed nervously. "Pretty much the same."
Snape's head snapped up at this and a wretched feeling of failure shot through him.
He was making his master miserable.
Harry began to stutter. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. But hey, we're both miserable, right? Maybe we can... not be miserable together?"
He had to hand it to Potter. It was an admirable attempt at removing the foot from his mouth. "Hardly, seeing as how you are only miserable because of me whereas I am miserable because of my own situation."
Potter looked at him sadly. Excellent. Now he was inspiring pity from the one person he truly needed.
"Snape-" he broke off whatever he was going to say and ran a hand through his hair. It seemed to be a nervous gesture. "Look, I did a lot of thinking this week and I- I think that I'd really like to try to make the best of this."
Snape frowned. What exactly did Potter mean? "The best of this?" he repeated.
"This, us. Look, it's not you that I was objecting to." Snape highly doubted that and feared the thought showed on his face.
That troubled him. Before this, he had been a master at deceiving people.
"No, really," Potter said, objecting. "It's not you that I had a problem with. It's the whole idea of forever. I mean, I'm only eighteen. I've only dated a handful of guys and I really wasn't looking to settle down with anyone. That's what I had a problem with. Not you."
Snape subconsciously held his breath. Though he highly doubted that Potter had no qualms with the idea of bedding him, the phrase ringing in his ears at the moment was the concept of settling down.
Was Potter actually going to attempt to remain loyal to him? The thought made the knot that had been in his chest for weeks now fade ever so slightly, but he chastised himself in the next moment. He could not allow himself to hope.
"I believe you misunderstand your role in this situation, Potter." He cleared his throat, which had become somewhat dry and continued. "You will not be bound to me. If you would like, you may see as many other wizards as you would like. I will have no claim to your fidelity."
A look of horror and disgust crossed that lovely young face and Snape shuddered and shrank a bit into the sofa. What had he done to upset his master?
Potter stuttered yet again, his mouth gaping like a dying fish. Then he did something that surprised Snape.
He quickly stood up and took the seat next to him.
Potter quickly grabbed a hand that Snape had not realized was clutching a pillow for dear life and embraced it. Then he asked, "Do you really think I would do that to you? Do you really think me capable of treating anyone like some... thing?"
Snape looked away from the intense gaze. It was as though Potter was looking directly inside him, seeing every fear that he held for himself and laying all bare.
He spoke into his chest, "No, Master."
It was a reflex born out of the desire to please, not truly an answer and somehow Potter knew that.
A hand smaller than his own grabbed his chin and drew his face up. Green eyes shone with an intensity Snape had never before had cast on him.
"You don't have to call me that."
Snape shook his head.
"Do you feel the need to call me that? Already?"
Snape tried to remove himself from Harry's grip but found he could not. Though he was sure he could physically overpower the smaller wizard, the curse seemed to remove his will to fight. He averted his eyes.
"Snape? Please look at me."
The request could not be denied. Snape looked up, terrified of what he would see.
Potter looked miserable. He was silent for a moment, seeming to consider his next words carefully.
"I know you don't really believe me, but I would never do that to you. I-" his voice broke off in a small sob. "I won't do that to you. I really would like to make a go at this. I thought about it all week and- If you're in this then so am I. I won't leave you alone. I won't have you as my bonded and then just abandon you, and I don't want to be miserable for the rest of my life. If you're willing," he said, softly, "I'd really like to make something of this."
What defense did Snape have to such an offer?
He did not dare to hope that it would come to pass, but it warmed his heart that Potter would even try. Snape's ears began to itch again and he raised a hand to scratch them before he could stop himself.
"They have not changed yet," he said. "But they will soon."
"Do they hurt?" Potter asked, inquisitively.
"They... itch," he answered, somewhat begrudgingly.
Potter must have realized that he had Snape's other hand held captive so he brought up his own to scratch Snape's other ear.
The sensation of the callous fingers gently stimulating such a sensitive part of his body went straight to Snape's cock and he moaned lightly. Did Potter have any idea what he was going?
"Am I hurting- Oh," he said softly, no doubt recognizing Snape's labored breathing and parted lips for what they were.
Snape moved his head back, lamenting the loss of hands. Appalled by his behavior, he lowered his head and issued a quick, "I apologize."
Potter moved quickly to pull him back into the close embrace they had been sharing. "No, don't be. See, this is what I mean. I want... this with you. I'd like to make you feel good."
Then to his great surprise, Potter released his hand, moving his own to rub the top of Snape's ears gently.
A gasp and then a moan of pleasure was ripped from his throat before he could contain himself. His master wanted him! Oh, how fortunate he was to have such a giving, caring master! His eyes closed of their own volition and he basked in the attention.
He needed more. This was no longer a want, some itch to be scratched that could be ignored with no great inconvenience. Every part of him was issuing a silent scream to bring his master as much pleasure as he was giving him.
"Master," he said softly.
"Please call me Harry, Severus," came the soft reply.
Oh, how he wanted to obey, but quickly found he could not. "Master, please kiss me."
A small hesitation, and then soft, full lips met his in a kiss as innocent as any he had ever felt. His master did not open his mouth to take what was on offer, but that made the sensation no less sweet. Whatever his master gave him, he would accept gratefully.
The fingers had not stopped caressing his ears.
Snape felt compelled to give as much pleasure as he was receiving. His hands moved to open the front of Harry's trousers. He had almost had his belt unbuckled when Harry pulled away quickly.
"You- you don't have to do that," he stammered.
He raised an eyebrow. "Do you not want me-"
"No!" Harry said, a little too forcefully. "I mean, it's not that I don't want you to. It's just- you don't have to yet, do you? I know you said there would be a time when you felt... er... compelled to um... please me, but not yet, right? Do you feel the absolute need to do this?"
Snape thought about it for a moment. He did feel a desire to please Harry, but not a compelling one. His wish to touch Harry, to handle his cock, was the natural result of his state of arousal, plus a strong inclination to please the young man.
But how much of that was the curse and how much came from him?
"No, I do not feel compelled," he answered truthfully.
Harry deflated and sat back onto the sofa. "Then why did you do that?"
Snape frowned and tilted his head, trying to give Harry an honest answer. The terrifying truth was, he did not know.
"I am unsure. I am actually... quite disturbed. I do not know how much of my desire to please you is from me and how much is a result of the curse. It would appear I am no longer able to distinguish between the two."
Harry smiled sadly at him and ran a hand across his cheek. Snape leaned into the touch.
"I'm sorry. But it's only until the bonding. You'll be your old, snarky self again after that, I'm sure."
Snape flinched and Harry felt it. "Snape? Er- may I call you Severus? You can call me Harry, if- if you can."
Snape nodded. Harry could probably call him anything he wanted right now.
"Listen to me, please," the younger man pleaded. Green eyes penetrated black as Snape met a gaze so intense it left him breathless. "I have no desire to trap you, or make you something... less than yourself. I realize we don't truly know each other but... I'd like to get to know you. If you'll let me."
Snape shook his head and Harry frowned. "That is the problem, Harry." Harry smiled at the use of his name. "This is not who I was. The curse is... changing me already. I fear you will become comfortable with who I will become and at the time of bonding wish to keep me this way."
Harry shook his head. "No, that won't happen. I want a partner, an equal. I promise."
Snape looked into Harry's eyes, seeing the truth there. As much as Snape wanted to hope Harry would not succumb to human nature, he did not dare to dream it.
Even good men could be warped by power.
Long-fingered hands were pulling down his trousers. "Master," a dark voice whispered in the darkness. An eager mouth quickly enveloped him and began sucking in earnest.
Harry wrapped his fingers through long strands of dark hair, bidding the mouth to take more of him.
"Severus, " he whispered, thrusting.
Harry opened his eyes and shot straight up in bed, sweating and panting.
That had been the third dream this week. It was always the same, always beginning with Severus' deep voice calling him 'Master,' seeking to please him.
The thought ran a chill through Harry and he shuddered. He had been terrified for the man during their meeting last week, but now that he'd had a few days to think about the encounter, he found himself growing more and more aroused by it.
The realization that he enjoyed the submissive side of Severus was only drowned out by the invading sense of guilt welling up in his chest at that very moment.
Suddenly, he heard a rhythmic sound and saw the thing that must have woken him up. An owl was tapping on his window. He walked over and let the bird in, taking the note from the offered leg and watching as it quickly flew away.
He unrolled the parchment and read:
Your presence is required at Hogwarts immediately.
A feeling of fear shot through him and he quickly dressed and ran towards his floo, calling out the address for the headmaster's office.
Upon his arrival, he found the headmaster behind his desk, waiting for him.
"Headmaster?" Harry questioned, a bit out of breath from his exertions. "What's happened? Is Severus alright?"
Dumbledore stood up from his chair and waved him into a seat. "He's fine, Harry, but I had to speak with you. Something has happened."
Harry could not express the terror that ran through him. A feeling of protectiveness he had never felt before surged inside him and he tried to understand what Dumbledore was saying. Severus was alright, but...
"Please sit, Harry," the headmaster said as he gestured to a chair again. "He is fine at the moment, but he desperately needs your attention."
Harry ran a hand through his hair and willed himself to calm down. He was surprised that he was this upset at the idea that something had happened to Severus. He knew he had begun to care for the older wizard, but not to this extent. He expected that fact to disturb him, but it did not. Although terrified, he knew he had wanted this, wanted to care.
"Please tell me what's happened," he said a bit desperately, finally taking his seat.
Dumbledore paused and sat back in his chair, avoiding looking Harry directly in the eye. He cleared his throat and Harry felt his stomach clench.
"The curse has begun to affect the way Severus interacts with... people." Harry heard what the headmaster had been about to say. Severus was being affected by the humans around him.
"Last night Severus had a rather unpleasant encounter with one of his Slytherins. Apparently the young man disagreed with the grade he received on his recent potions assignment.
"He went to Severus to speak with him about it. Severus explained that the work the student had turned in was of poor quality and deserved the grade that was assigned."
Dumbledore paused again, and seemed unwilling to continue. "And so," he said, sadly, "the young man became angry and told Severus to take a jump off the Astronomy Tower."
Harry went completely still.
Dumbledore put up a hand. "Severus is fine, Harry, I assure you."
"Then what happened?"
"It was by a stroke of luck that Professor Sinistra happened to be conducting her astronomy class at the time. Apparently, Severus walked up to the tower, over to the ledge, and climbed up onto it. The only reason he did not jump was that Marian cried out for him to stop."
"Oh, God," Harry whispered.
"Indeed," the headmaster said. "I've confined him to his quarters, Harry. He's not to speak to another person besides you, Minerva, and myself until the bonding."
Harry frowned. "But that's still more than a month away. What about his classes? And what is he going to do locked in his rooms all that time?"
Dumbledore sighed. "I am aware that it is not the ideal situation, but I fear for him. Until the bond is completed he is susceptible to any order a human gives him."
The headmaster removed his glasses and cleaned them with the sleeve of his robe. He considered Harry for a moment before speaking. "He needs you, Harry. In most instances, an elf would be in constant contact with their bond-mate for the duration of the courtship. That has not been the case with the two of you."
Harry opened his mouth to protest. He wanted to tell Dumbledore he wanted to give Severus time to himself, time to adjust to the idea of being with him, but he knew that wasn't the whole truth. For the past week he had become alarmed by his feelings for Severus. He wanted him, that much was certain. But he was afraid of the way he wanted him; afraid of the desire he felt when he recalled how Severus had called him 'Master,' how he had seemed so open and pliant before him. It aroused Harry in the worst of ways and he was horrified Snape's fears may have become legitimate.
"Harry," the headmaster uttered quietly. He looked up to meet the man's eyes. "Is there something you wish to tell me?"
Harry felt a familiar fear stir within him. He had not been afraid of himself since his fifth year, when he had been terrified that Voldemort was possessing him. Only this time he couldn't blame his thoughts and feelings on a madman. What he wanted from Severus came from his own desires, his own want.
Harry wanted to tell his concerns to the headmaster, but was too ashamed to voice them. Deciding it would be better to solve the matter himself, he quietly said, "No."
Harry had quickly left the headmaster's office and descended the steps to the dungeons shortly thereafter. He found himself almost running to Severus' door. He didn't even think to knock, he simply spoke the password the headmaster had given him and opened the door, desperate to see that Severus was alright.
He found the man sitting on his sofa, staring into the fire. He was wearing black cotton pants and a plain white buttoned shirt. Black eyes looked towards the door for only a moment before recognition crossed his face.
Harry was relieved to see that Severus seemed to be alright, and he gave an audible sigh at the sight of him. He closed the door and walked over to the sofa, only to watch as Severus sank to his knees and embraced Harry's waist.
"Master," he cried, his voice somewhat stifled by Harry's shirt. "Master, I have been so afraid. Please do not leave me again."
"Severus?" Harry dropped to his knees to meet the man's eyes. He was alarmed at the state of him. He appeared to be in a panic, his eyes darting over Harry's form as if needing confirmation that he was indeed here. Long-fingered hands that had invaded Harry's dreams ran all over his body and Harry had to stop himself from groaning.
"You've returned," Severus whispered.
Harry nodded sadly. He pulled Severus close to him, wrapping him in a firm embrace. He felt more than heard the sigh of relief that came from the gesture.
"I told you I wouldn't leave you. Why didn't you call me if you needed me so badly?"
Severus shook his head. "I did not want to burden you."
Harry scoffed gently. "You're not a burden. I told you we're in this together, right?"
Severus nodded. Harry pulled away to look into familiar dark eyes, but was stunned by what he saw there.
This was no longer the professor he knew in his youth. There wasn't even a trace of the old hatred and vitriol in Severus' eyes. This wasn't even the man whom he had spoken with a week ago, afraid of his own actions and unsure whether his desires were inspired by the curse or himself.
Severus looked terrified. His gaze kept traveling downwards towards the floor, his posture submissive and humble. Harry hated it, and he picked the man up by his arms and brought him to sit next to Harry on the sofa. They sat side by side, Harry's arm in close contact with Severus'.
"Alright now?" he asked. Severus lowered his gaze and looked into the fire. He nodded.
The man shook his head and dropped his gaze even further.
"Severus is something wrong?"
He gave a small nod, but did not turn to Harry.
He ran a hand through long, lank hair and quietly asked, "Please tell me."
Severus looked up and turned to him, then buried his face in Harry's chest.
"Master, please do not leave me. I am so afraid. I no longer have any control over my actions, and I-"
Severus broke off as he buried his face further into Harry, who held him closer.
Harry was completely bewildered. The headmaster and Snape had told him how the curse would affect him. Harry had seen the beginning of it last week, but he realized that until now he hadn't completely believed it would happen. Some small part of him had been sure that a man such as Snape would be more than powerful enough to throw off any curse. Now it was obvious he had been very wrong.
His heart broke for Severus and he held him closer and kissed his cheek.
"Is there anything I can do, Severus? Anything I can do to help you?"
Severus grew quiet but did not release Harry from his desperate grasp. He began to nuzzle Harry's chest with his nose, kissing his flesh through the fabric of his shirt.
"Please, Master," the dark voice said softly. "Let me please you. You do not need to take your pleasure elsewhere. I will do anything-"
Harry pulled Severus up and silenced him with a kiss. Severus moaned and opened his mouth to Harry, who marveled at how welcoming Severus was; how his entire mouth seemed to draw him in, making him feel a surge of confidence he had never felt before. Severus' entire body seemed pliant before him, begging Harry to do with it what he would.
He stopped himself.
Of course he felt welcome from Severus; the man was in no shape to refuse him. He recalled Snape's words during their conversation with Dumbledore. How he would want to please him, beg to please him.
Harry shuddered as he felt his cock stirring and hated himself for it. He pulled Severus' face away from him, simply so he could ascertain the state of the man. Harry ran his fingers through the dark, lank hair encountering Severus' ears, astonished by what he found.
Harry leaned Severus back onto the sofa cushions and pushed his hair back, revealing pointed ears.
"Your ears have changed," Harry said, his voice thick with desire. Severus nodded.
Quite suddenly, Harry realized how those other good, kind wizards fell into the trap of wanting to keep their elves submissive. Severus' ears were the most sensual, erotic thing he had ever seen. The difference in them was only in the pointed tips, and yet somehow they looked almost obscene.
Harry traced them lightly with his fingers, then felt his cock swell at the moan that came from Severus. Harry smiled at the sounds the elf was making. He felt his cock throb at the knowledge that he was giving Severus pleasure.
"Your ears are beautiful, Severus."
Severus shook his head, evidentially not believing what Harry was telling him.
Well, that wouldn't do. Severus was the sexiest thing Harry had ever seen and he wanted the other man to know that. He leaned over, pushing Severus gently onto his back and ran his lips over his ears.
Severus moaned lightly, and Harry could feel his awakening erection thrust lightly against his thigh. Harry traced the shell of his ear with his tongue, lightly sucking on the tip. His hands began caressing Severus' side until they reached his arse and began gently massaging the flesh there.
Harry diverted his attention to Severus' other ear and smiled at the soft pleading tone. "Master, yes. Please, Master."
Harry groaned at hearing Severus utter the word 'Master' over and over again. "What do you want, Severus?"
Severus moaned and stilled the thrusting against Harry's leg. "Only to please you, Master."
A flash of dread coursed over Harry like a bucket of cold water, snapping him out his distracting arousal and forcing him to back away from Severus.
Oh, God, he thought, running a hand through his hair. Snape's fears were coming true. Harry truly was enjoying the submissive nature of the elf before him, paying no mind to the fear that the man had spoken of only weeks ago.
"Master?" Severus uttered from between his knees. Harry looked down. When had Severus moved there?
"Master, have I done something to displease you?"
Harry shook his head and tried to smile to reassure the man, but failed miserably. "No, Severus, you didn't displease me. I- I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking of you at all, and I just- I'm sorry." He said the last in a whisper, too ashamed to look the man in the eye.
He heard his belt being unbuckled, then felt the button to his trousers unbuttoned. He looked down and opened his mouth to ask Severus what he doing when suddenly he felt soft hair tickling his groin and a warm, wet mouth engulf his cock.
Harry threw his head back and moaned. He attempted to remove Severus' head from his lap, but the man began to work his tongue on the underside of his shaft and Harry lost all will to stop what was happening. Instead he ran his hands over Severus' hair and began to massage the tips of his ears gently.
Severus' groan sent vibrations through his cock, and Harry did it again, for Severus' pleasure as well as his own. The pleasant hum coming from Severus' throat, combined with the wonders the man was working with his mouth caused Harry's balls to tighten. Harry had been fully aroused by the dream he'd had of Severus doing this very act, and only now realized he'd never brought himself to orgasm. He belatedly realized that this was going to be embarrassingly short. Knowing his orgasm was quickly approaching, he moved his hands so that Severus could back away if he wished to.
"Severus-" was all the effort Harry made to warn him before he came into his mouth, Severus swallowing the salty bitterness like a desperate man.
When the waves of after-glow lessened, Harry continued to pet the long, dark hair as Severus licked his softening cock clean. Then the man looked up and gave Harry a look of intense satisfaction and pleasure. Harry ran his hands through Severus' hair, but inwardly he was screaming, mortified by what he had allowed to happen.
Severus bunted his head against Harry's hand the way a cat would. "Did I please you, Master?"
Righteous anger against his own thoughtlessness raged through Harry and he tried to calm himself, lest Severus notice his guilt. He petted the man's hair and hated himself for enjoying the serene look on Severus' face that replaced the terrified one that had been there previously.
"Yes, Severus, you did. Thank you. Can I- um..."
Harry's offer of reciprocation died as Severus simply continued kneeling, enjoying Harry's petting, and saying nothing. He rubbed his large nose against Harry's palm and Harry felt himself shudder. After a moment of silence, Harry picked the man up by his arms and led him to lean against him on the sofa. He buttoned his trousers and wrapped an arm around his lover.
"Would you like to go into the bedroom? I'd like to show you how much I enjoyed what you just did."
Severus looked up at Harry and smiled the first genuine smile he had ever seen from him. "No, Master. It is enough simply to please you."
Severus yawned and curled up against Harry, closing his eyes.
Harry cursed himself again and stared into the fire.
"Master," the voice whispered before the mouth that uttered it wrapped itself around his cock and began sucking with enthusiasm. Harry looked down once again into long, dark hair and ears that peaked out from the black curtain.
Harry thrust into the waiting mouth, allowing himself to enjoy what the lovely elf below him was offering. He dug his heels into the mattress under him in an effort to restrain himself, but Severus seemed to be attempting to suck his very life's blood from his cock.
His calloused fingers reached down to tug the black hair, enjoying what Severus was offering when suddenly Harry opened his eyes.
This wasn't a dream.
"Severus-" Harry said, voice thick with sleep and passion. "Wait-" he broke off what he had been trying to say as his orgasm was pulled from him and he once again found himself thrusting into Severus' warm and welcoming mouth, the elf swallowing every drop to the last.
Harry fell back into the bed, panting, and he could feel Severus rubbing his head against the soft flesh of his abdomen. Harry lay back in the bed, destroyed by what his selfish desire had allowed to happen again. It didn't matter that Severus seemed to enjoy doing it. Snape had told Harry that he would enjoy it, that he would beg to please him. Harry needed to find out how much Severus remembered of his original fears.
"Severus, come here please," he said, still utterly spent.
Severus hovered over him, a warm smile gracing his face and a drop of come on the side of his mouth. Harry wiped it off with his finger. Severus noticed this and immediately took the digit into his mouth, eager to get every last taste of Harry.
The younger man bit back a moan at how eager Severus was in bed, but Harry restrained himself. He owed it to the man Snape had been to help him keep as much of his dignity as possible.
"Severus, please," he pleaded. "I really want to talk to you."
The smile that had looked so beautiful on the sharp features faded somewhat, and Harry lamented its loss. "Did I displease you, Master?"
Harry shook his head. "No, that was wonderful, Severus, really. I liked it. Obviously," he said as he waved his hand over his still exposed groin.
Severus smiled again, and Harry made an honest attempt to smile back.
He failed miserably, and recalled how he came to be in Severus' bed in the first place.
After spending the evening talking and reading with Severus, his lover had begged him not to leave him that night. Harry had not planned on staying, but told Severus that he would remain with him, if only to keep the terror from returning to his lover's face.
To say Harry was nervous about what Severus would want from him in the bedroom was an understatement.
But he had been surprised. As soon as they reached the bed, Severus curled around Harry and immediately began to doze. Harry smiled a genuine smile, and quickly found that he loved simply holding the man in his arms. He nuzzled his neck and kissed his face and tried to show Severus that he truly did care for him. Severus had given him a sleepy smile and commented on how he thought he might actually be able to sleep tonight, in his master's arms.
Harry had been disturbed at that and asked Severus what he meant. He then informed Harry that he had not slept more than a few hours a night since their initial meeting with Dumbledore and that he was so grateful to have his master with him because now he could rest.
Harry resolved never to spend another night without Severus again.
Thoughts of the tender caresses of last night faded in the wake of his selfishness this morning. While he had no qualms about being woken up by such eager oral sex, he had never considered himself such a selfish lover. The fact that the curse was doing this to Severus didn't matter. Harry wanted Severus' personality to remain intact for as long as possible.
He snapped his mind back to the present, returning Severus' lovely shy smile.
"Do you remember the conversation we had last week when I came to visit you?" he asked, pulling Severus to lay his head on his chest.
Long-fingered hands danced across his flesh and the dark voice answered, "Yes. You were very kind to me and allowed me put my banner back on the wall."
Harry winced. He hadn't allowed Severus to do anything. It was his wall in the first place.
"No, Severus, remember it's your wall. You can hang anything you like there."
The fingers stopped their dancing. The body casually draped across his stilled.
"But... you allowed me to put it back, and you didn't make me keep the horrible pictures on the mantel. You were kind to me."
"No, Severus," Harry pushed the older man onto his own pillow so he could lean over him. "Those were your pictures and your mantel. Not mine. Don't you remember the talk we had? About how you were no longer able to distinguish your wants from the curse's? Don't you remember?"
Severus furrowed his brow, seeming to attempt to remember what Harry was talking about. "Yes, I remember, Master."
Harry sighed. If Severus remembered their conversation then maybe things would be okay.
"Yes, well, remember when I told you that you didn't have to call me Master? That you didn't have to... to please me until you absolutely had to? Remember?"
Severus closed his eyes and shuddered. He curled in on himself and turned away from Harry.
"Severus? Severus, what's wrong?"
The other man was shaking like a leaf and Harry had to put both arms around him to turn him around. He looked terrified.
"Severus, please tell me what's wrong?"
He opened his mouth and then shut it again. His eyes darted around the room, then back to Harry as he seemed unwilling to say what he needed.
Severus sobbed, "Master, please do not turn me away. I will try harder to please you. I will do anything you ask, anything you desire, only please do not reject me. The curse-"
Harry grabbed the shaking man in front of him and held him close.
"What about the curse?"
Severus wept into Harry's neck. "If you turn me away then I will be cursed, and every wizard would be my master. Please, Master, I want only you."
Harry closed his eyes and gripped the man tighter. This is not what he'd had in mind when he started this conversation. He truly thought he could simply remind Severus of his fears and the man could use his immense power of will to overcome the curse, at least somewhat.
He hadn't expected this.
"You are such a kind master. You held me and let me sleep. You allowed me to please you. You kept me warm in your bed and let me stay in your rooms. Please do not turn me away. I will do anything."
Harry felt tears flowing down his cheeks. These were Severus' rooms, not his. But it seemed the curse was already taking things away from Severus.
"I'm not going to leave you," he whispered against Severus' ears. Severus sobbed anew and held onto Harry desperately, clawing his back like a terrified animal. "I swear, I'm not going to leave you. It's you and me, remember?"
Severus nodded, but Harry knew it was a reflex born out of the desire to please him. Severus may remember events, but could no longer recall the emotion behind it. He no longer remembered his fears of losing himself to the curse.
He was already lost.
After their morning ablutions were taken care of, Harry was at a loss with what to do next. Severus was confined to his quarters. There was no way Harry could allow him to face the school in the Great Hall, not like this.
So he sat down on the sofa with Severus, the man nearly melding himself to his body in some effort to touch as much of him as possible.
"Um... May I speak to a house-elf please?" Harry said into the air, hoping he could still call house-elves this way.
A small elf wearing a fastidiously clean tea towel popped into the room. "Oh, good." Harry heaved a sigh of relief to know he wasn't going to have to leave to fetch food for them both. "Um... Severus, what do you want for breakf- " Harry broke off to take in the odd sight in front of him.
He had only ever seen one house-elf truly angry before and that was when Dobby confronted Lucius Malfoy on his behalf. As far as he knew, Severus had done nothing to warrant being looked at the way the little elf was staring at him.
The tiny thing was glaring daggers at Severus who lowered his eyes and turned into Harry even more.
"Um... Is something wrong?" Harry asked.
Severus shook his head, but the elf continued its silent glare.
"Uh," Harry stuttered, "can we have breakfast for two, please? And a pot of tea?" He looked over to Severus, who now looked as though he wanted to retreat into the sofa cushions and never come out. "Was there anything else you wanted?"
Severus shook his head. The small house-elf continued its silent glare for a moment longer before popping out of the room. For a moment Harry thought their requests were going to be denied, but then a table with everything he had asked for popped into existence a moment later.
"Severus... did you do something to that elf?" Harry asked, not truly wanting to know the answer.
"No, Master," Severus answered. "Ever since I learned of my heritage, I have always made it a point to be kind to the elves. I do not know why Willy behaved in such a way towards me. He never has before."
Oh, Harry thought. "Maybe he was just confused because of your ears," Harry said, taking a hand to pet said ears. He smiled as Severus leaned into the touch and relaxed a fraction.
"Hmm," Severus hummed. "What are you plans for the day, Master?"
Harry stilled his hand. "I'm not sure, actually. Why don't we eat breakfast and then I'll go speak to the headmaster."
Severus removed himself from Harry's touch, looking him directly in the eye. "You are leaving?"
Harry grabbed the man in a one-armed embrace. "Just to speak to the headmaster. I'll be right back, though."
Severus continued to look wary, but said nothing as Harry poured his tea.
"It's like Snape has ceased to exist, and in his place there's some-" Harry broke off his speech as he waved a hand through the air.
Dumbledore only nodded sadly. "I know, Harry. It was difficult for me to see him that way as well. If it makes it any easier to bear, try to remember that it's only until the first week of January. On January third, you're free to perform the bonding and then we'll have our Severus back." The headmaster allowed himself to smile a bit. "I will be so very happy to hear him call me a foolish old man again."
Harry did not return the smile. "About the bonding... You're sure he'll be himself again, right? He'll go back to being Snape?"
Dumbledore frowned at Harry and said, "I thought I made it perfectly clear, Harry, that however much of his personality returns is completely up to you. That was what had him so concerned. He thought you would begin to enjoy the... submission that High Elves begin to demonstrate. Such as he is right now."
Harry shuddered and shrank a little in his chair. The harsh truth of the matter was that Snape had been right to be concerned. Harry didn't like that Severus was so fearful and cared nothing about his own needs, but there was a part of Harry that was beginning to enjoy the way Severus looked at him, the way he seemed to cherish every touch Harry gave him. The way he could bring Severus such pleasure just by rubbing his ears or allowing him to...
Allowing him? Harry snapped himself out of his thoughts, cursing himself for the tenth time that day for his weakness.
This was not something he should be enjoying. Any good man would pity Severus and help him keep as much dignity as possible. They wouldn't be in the headmaster's office dreaming about how enthusiastic Severus was in bed, or how happy he was just to be held by Harry...
He snapped himself out of those thoughts again and forced himself to look up at the headmaster, who was giving him a very odd look.
"Are you alright, Harry?"
Harry ran a hand through his hair and gave a false smile. "Yeah, I'm fine. Listen, headmaster," he said, changing topics. "Would you mind if I stayed here with Severus? At least until the bonding? I really don't think I can leave him right now. Apparently he hasn't slept in weeks, and you should have seen the way he looked at me when I told him I was coming up here to see you."
Dumbledore nodded. "You may stay here as long as you like, Harry. If all goes as well as I hope it will, perhaps you'll be sharing the dungeons with our Severus permanently."
Harry smiled softly and nodded. Just a week ago he had been dreading the idea of settling down with someone. Now the idea of being with Severus made him happy and content.
Then he belatedly realized that the elf he was living with now was nothing like the man he'd be living with in just over a month. Severus had been right again. It would be very tempting for Harry to grow accustomed to the elf's submissive nature and try to keep him that way.
And if the bond read his desires...
No, Harry thought. It would not happen. There was no way he could do that to Severus.
Harry and Dumbledore walked through the door of Severus' quarters not ten minutes later only to be greeted by a terrified and distressed Severus Snape in what looked like the throes of a panic attack.
"Severus?" Harry was horrified at how frightened Severus appeared to be. He had only been gone half an hour, but the state of the man suggested he'd been left alone for days.
"Master," Severus cried out, sinking to his knees and grabbing Harry's waist and burying his head in his abdomen. "Where did you go? You promised you wouldn't leave."
"Severus," Harry cried out, trying to loosen the man's hold, if only so he could sink to his own knees to embrace him. "I told you I had to speak to the headmaster. He's here, look," Harry said, as he pointed out Dumbledore. He turned to the older wizard in some plea for help only to be met by a shocked gaze. Had Dumbledore not seen the state Severus was in before?
"I took the banner down," Severus said, face now nestled on Harry's shoulder. "Please don't go away again. I'll put the pictures back up. Accio pictures." The pictures that had been put back in their box a week ago came flying out of Severus' bedroom. Dumbledore caught them before they could smash against the stone walls of the dungeon.
Harry looked over to the older man who was looking intently at the pictures in his hands. Harry moved to address the shaking elf in his arms.
"Severus, I'm not going to leave you. I told you I'd be right back." He kissed his head, glad that Severus seemed to be coming to his senses. "I'm not leaving you, remember? And why'd you take your banner down again? Come on," he said, getting to his feet, bringing Severus with him. "Let's put it back up." Harry gave Severus the most enthusiastic and cheerful smile he could conjure in light of the situation he found himself in. Severus stood up with him, but did not move.
Severus seemed wary of doing so himself, so Harry summoned the banner from its hiding place and hung it back on the wall. Perhaps the fact that he was the one to put it up this time would keep Severus from removing it again.
"Harry, did you make him put up these pictures?" Dumbledore said, reminding the other men he was still in the room.
"No," Harry answered. "Last week when I visited Severus for the first time, he told me he felt... compelled to make the room look more inviting to me. He put those pictures up, but I told him he could take them down." Harry shuddered. "So many bad memories."
"Is that true, Severus?" the headmaster asked. "Would you like to take these down?"
Severus looked to Harry, and did not answer. When Harry gently nudged him, he finally said, "Yes," in a small voice. "Please," he added, almost whispering.
Dumbledore waved his wand and banished the pictures once again. His face looked grave as he took in the sight of Severus clinging to Harry. Harry felt incredibly guilty standing there under the headmaster's severe glare. He knew Severus' current behavior wasn't his fault, but he couldn't help but feel like he was partially to blame. While he hated that Severus was so afraid, he was quickly discovering that he loved the way Severus was clinging to him, loved that the elf needed him so much.
He grasped Severus harder and tried to get a hold on his emotions. He could not allow himself to feel this way...
"Well, it's no wonder you didn't like those pictures, Severus," the headmaster said, interrupting Harry's morose line of thinking. He and Severus both looked over to the headmaster, who was giving Severus a look one might give to a frightened child.
"Now, I have a photo album that you may enjoy. Of course, it involves an old relative of mine and a very curious niffler, but I'd love to show you if you'd like."
Severus was confused and looked to Harry, who was well used to the headmaster's odd antics by now. But while Harry thought this might be something a child would enjoy, Severus was no child and he doubted he'd appreciate being treated like one.
"Headmaster-" Harry tried to stop what Dumbledore was going to do, but the older wizard pressed on.
"Harry, I have some time to sit with Severus. Why don't you collect what you'll need for the next month at Grimmauld Place? I'm sure we'll be fine here."
Harry frowned. "He's not a child, sir. Pictures of nifflers aren't going to stupefy him or lull him to sleep. He's a man, and he's fright-" the end of Harry's statement was cut off by a cold stare.
"I am well aware that Severus is a grown man. But how else would you have me pacify him? I don't think he's in a proper state of mind to brew potions. He can, however, hear stories," the headmaster said. He turned to Severus and smiled again. "He also hates when people talk about him as if he were not there. I am sorry, old friend. Come sit with me and let me tell you all about my cousin Archibald and his wife Mimsy. It was an arranged marriage and to this day I'm convinced that the match-maker was having us on. You see, Archie had a niffler habitat and Mimsy had a great affinity for golden baubles..."
Harry walked Severus over to the sofa, and sat him down, kissing his cheek, promising that the headmaster would be taking good care of him, and that he would be back soon. Severus looked alarmed, but then the headmaster summoned his old photo album and began to leaf through the pages. Harry was delighted to hear Severus snort at a few pictures and laugh openly at others.
After watching a few moments, Harry decided to take his leave, and went quickly to Grimmauld Place to pack for the next month.
Harry made quick work of gathering his things. He pulled his trunk out from under his bed and gathered a week's worth of clothing, feeling guilty when he realized that it was the house-elves would be doing his laundry.
As quickly as he could he gathered a few books and personal items, trying to keep his time away from Severus as short as possible.
It was only thirty minutes later that he arrived back at Severus' quarters. Coming through the Floo, he found himself dreading what he would find. He smiled to himself when he found Severus and the headmaster lightly conversing over the old photo album.
"Do you know that nifflers are one of the few magical creatures that yield no significant potions ingredients?" Harry heard his lover say in the soft tone of voice he had been using lately.
Dumbledore looked up and noticed Harry. "No, I did not know that, Severus. Did you know that, Harry?"
Severus jerked his head away from the headmaster, only now noticing that Harry had returned. He gave a broad smile, and Harry thought it lit up the room. He returned it gladly, grateful to be greeted in such an affectionate manner.
"No, I didn't know that. Isn't that odd? I thought most magical creatures could be chopped up for... something." Harry inwardly groaned as he realized that this was the first normal conversation Severus had been engaged in in at least the last day and was mortified that his limited potions knowledge was mucking it up. He made a mental note to read a few potions books, simply so he could keep up with Severus.
Severus chuckled. "Yes, most creatures can be 'chopped up' for something, Master. The niffler is an oddity among its kind."
Harry just smiled and let himself relax for the moment. Severus seemed more like himself right now. Whatever the headmaster had done had worked.
"I think I'll take my leave now, gentlemen. Harry, a word," he said over his shoulder, walking towards the door. "Good day, Severus."
"Good day, headmaster."
Harry walked the headmaster to the door, feeling odd to be walking someone out of a home that was not his. He looked back and found Severus looking back at them peacefully.
"Harry," Dumbledore said, pulling Harry once again from his own mind. "I think it would be good for Severus to spend time outside his rooms, particularly outdoors."
Harry balked and opened his mouth to protest. "But the students and teachers-"
"I suggest you change your sleeping patterns. Try to take a nap in the afternoon so you can walk the grounds at night. The castle is safe enough for you, and you shouldn't encounter anyone so late at night."
Harry nodded. If it would have Severus looking so peaceful, then he'd do it.
Dumbledore lowered his voice further and put a hand on Harry's shoulder. "I think he will be a little less fearful now that you are here, Harry. As I said, most High Elves are with their bond-mates constantly during the courtship." The headmaster looked back at Severus over Harry's shoulder. "He was very anxious when you left. Despite what it sounded like, we actually talked about you the entire time. As soon as I mentioned your name, he grew a little less frightened."
Dumbledore opened the door and stood in its frame. "He needs you, Harry. Just be kind to him. That will get him through this next month and then you'll never have to worry about this kind of thing again."
Harry smiled and nodded, hoping with all his might that the headmaster was correct.
Dumbledore appeared to be right about Severus' state of mind. Now that Harry was in his presence on a constant basis, Severus had lost that awful fear that had been present in his eyes. He no longer cowered in front of Harry nor did he beg that he stay with him. Harry was very glad to see that Severus was beginning to trust him.
They became almost nocturnal.
It took a few days for Harry to adjust to their new sleeping pattern- getting out of bed just as the sun was about to set and climbing back in just after everyone else went to breakfast. But truth was he enjoyed the silence of the castle. After midnight, Harry would take Severus for a walk around the ancient halls, making sure to steer clear of areas he knew students would be prone to visit in their nocturnal wanderings.
So while that meant that the Astronomy Tower was off-limits, that didn't stop Harry from taking Severus for walks around the Quidditch Pitch. Though Severus was always more than eager to let Harry touch him, the younger man was pleasantly surprised when he allowed him to hold his hand as they walked through the grassy field.
Though Harry seemed outwardly happy, he was beginning to grow more and more fearful of his desires. Now that Severus had lost that horrible fear that had been present when he first began to suffer the effects of the curse, Harry was disgusted to find himself enjoying his other more submissive traits.
Harry had never had a proper lover before. It was like heaven being able to touch Severus any time he wanted. And Severus didn't just allow him to touch him. No, he actively enjoyed it. Harry would always be running his fingers through the black hair, not as greasy as it had been since Severus had been out of his lab for so long. They would sit together on the sofa, talking, and Harry would lean Severus into him, touching his shoulders and hands, or those wonderful ears of his.
Severus adored it, and leaned into any touch Harry would give him. Harry loved every sigh the elf made, every movement to get more of his touch.
That was terrifying to him. He grew more and more fearful each day that the bond would read his desires to have a constantly happy and submissive elf as his bond-mate. And then Snape's fears would come true, and he would have another master. A kind one, yes, but he would still be a slave to his master's will.
These thoughts were with him nearly every waking moment, and Harry told himself repeatedly that wasn't what he wanted. That above all things he wanted a partner, an equal. But then Severus would smile at him and moan prettily when he touched his ears, and Harry was lost again.
Soon the students left, and they truly were alone. It would have been easy enough to return to a normal sleeping pattern, but Harry told Severus that they might as well continue as they had been until the bonding. This way, they wouldn't have to worry about bumping into any students or professors who had stayed at the castle for the holiday. The truth, however, was much darker.
Harry didn't want to share Severus with anyone.
It was only on Christmas Eve that Harry realized he hadn't bought a gift for Severus. He told the elf so apologetically, embarrassed by his lack of foresight, but Severus just smiled and told him that having such a loving master was all the gift he could have wanted.
Harry inwardly winced and put up his now well-rehearsed false smile. It was very early Christmas morning when Harry finally realized that not all gifts have to be bought.
"Severus?" he asked while they were sitting on the sofa, talking quietly with Severus' head in Harry's lap.
"Do you own a broom?"
Severus lifted his head. "I do. It's in the closet in the bedroom," he said, pointing in the room's general direction. "Why do you ask, Master?"
Harry smiled and nudged Severus to get up. "I have an idea. Come with me?"
Severus smiled and followed Harry out of his rooms.
The Quidditch Pitch was brightly lit by an almost full moon. Harry walked with Severus hand in hand towards the center of the field.
"Did you ever play for your House team in school?" he asked.
Severus shook his head. "No, I never enjoyed Quidditch as much as the other boys seemed to."
Harry was forcefully reminded of his father and how he, and the other Marauders, had treated Severus so cruelly. He grabbed Severus' hand tighter, then pulled him close. Severus returned the embrace gratefully, sighing against Harry's hair and holding onto him as though he were the most precious thing in his world.
Harry reminded himself that until the bonding, he truly was.
"Yes, well," Harry said, pulling away from Severus and adjusting his glasses. Every time he held Severus, he was always the one to pull away first. It seemed that Severus would have had no issue simply staying in Harry's arms constantly. "Mount up then," he said, gesturing to his broom.
Severus raised an eyebrow, and looked at Harry inquisitively.
"I'm going to take you for a ride," Harry said, then began laughing at the unintended double entendre. When Severus lifted an eyebrow, Harry just laughed harder.
"I didn't mean to say it like that," Harry said through his laughter. "The way I said it sounded like we were going to have sex on a broom."
Severus smiled and turned his head from Harry, chuckling. Harry stopped laughing and ran his fingers over Severus' cheekbones, the other man leaning into them.
Harry tore his fingers away once he realized that he was once again enjoying Severus' submissive behavior a bit too much. No doubt the man would not be as timid after the bonding. Or at least, Harry thought, he hoped he wouldn't be.
"Let's go," Harry said, seating himself at the back end of the broom and gesturing for Severus to sit in front of him. Once on the broom, Harry wrapped one arm around Severus' waist, pushed off the ground and took to the sky.
For a moment Severus seemed afraid, and leaned into Harry, gripping his arm with both hands.
"It's alright," Harry yelled into the night. He steered with one arm and used the other to grip Severus harder. "I've got you."
They made lazy circles around the Pitch, and Severus seemed to relax. For half an hour they glided gracefully through the air, Severus relaxing into Harry's embrace and occasionally looking back with a warm smile on his face.
"Alright, I know you know how to ride a broom, Severus," Harry said into the elf's ear. "Let's have a bit of fun before we turn in." And with that Harry whispered, 'hold on,' before pulling the broom up higher than the castle itself, taking them above even the highest turret. Harry let the broom hover for a moment, using both arms to hold his lover close to him, and simply admiring the view of the castle from this height.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" he asked.
Severus turned around a bit to face him. He ran his eyes over Harry's face, as though scrutinizing and savoring every inch of him. Harry couldn't help but be amazed at the emotion that Severus was radiating in his every gesture. It was the complete opposite of everything he had learned of the man over the years, and Harry couldn't help being in awe of it. Finally, Severus met his eyes, and Harry's smile dropped from his face at the look of raw intensity.
"Yes, it is," Severus said, his eyes seeing nothing but Harry. Harry moved the few inches that separated their faces and met Severus' mouth in a kiss. As always, the thin lips spread open for him, welcome and accommodating to him as no other had ever been before. Harry slid his tongue into Severus' mouth, enjoying the moan that greeted him. He pulled away a moment later, rubbing his nose against Severus'.
"You're wonderful, you know," Harry said, a bit breathless.
Severus gave a half-smile and hummed.
Harry kissed his lips again, then turned him around. "Alright, let's do this then go back inside."
"Do what, Master?" Severus asked.
"Hold on," Harry said with a laugh, then aimed the broom handle to the ground, taking them in a sharp nosedive.
The wind was all around them, screaming in their ears, and Harry laughed at the sheer joy of it. The ground grew closer and closer, and he waited until the very last second before pulling up. He laughed and whooped at his own antics, making sure Severus was still sitting firmly in front of him.
He circled the pitch once more before touching down, their feet firmly settled on the ground.
"Oh, God! I had missed that. It's been ages since I was on a broom. Did you like that?"
Severus said nothing, just continued sitting where Harry had left him. Harry got down and moved to stand in front of Severus, for the first time noticing how his lover was no longer smiling and laughing.
"Oh, dear. Severus?"
The elf in front of him was shaking in terror.
Harry was immediately ashamed of his behavior. Sure, he was used to using the broom like that, he had been a Quidditch player. The only times he had ever seen Severus on a broom, he was either flying in a straight line or hovering to referee a game. Of course he wouldn't react the same way to a nosedive.
"Severus, I'm so sorry. I thought you would like it. Are you alright?" Harry gathered the elf close to him, helping him off the broom and attempting to alleviate his fears.
Severus grabbed hold of him firmly. "Master... Why did you do that? You could have been injured."
Harry frowned. Severus had been afraid for him? "No, Severus. I'm fine. I'm worried about you."
Severus shook his head. "I am unimportant. But what if you had been hurt?" Severus buried his head in Harry's neck and held him tighter.
"I'm sorry. I didn't think," was all he said. Harry wished he could turn back time to hurt every wizard who had been involved with cursing the elves. Severus wasn't even concerned for his own life, thinking only of his master's safety.
"Well, we're alright now," Harry said, with a false smile. "Do you want to go in?"
"Whatever you would like, Master." Harry sighed at the docile response, but knew that Severus must be freezing by now, and probably exhausted both from the flying and terror after that last dive.
"I don't know about you, but I'm tired. Let's go inside. I'll warm you up," Harry said.
"Fuck... Yes! Master!" Severus cried, coming with a moan and gently bucking his cock into Harry's mouth.
Harry ran his tongue once more over the thick shaft, loving the texture of the veiny flesh as he swallowed Severus' come. The salty bitterness was a welcome absolution, and made Harry feel slightly less guilty for the situation in which he found himself.
He released Severus' spent cock from his mouth, making sure the elf had been licked clean, and returned to his side of the bed.
Harry ran his hand down his still panting lover's chest, waiting for Severus to open his eyes and give Harry the guilty-looking smile he had begun to give him following these occasions.
It had only been at Harry's insistence that Severus accepted any physical pleasure from him. After two days of one-sided blow jobs, Harry told Severus very firmly that he was not pleased at the situation and that he wanted to show Severus how much he cared for him. Severus had looked at him nervously and acquiesced, the curse forcing him to want only his master's pleasure.
But Harry had said that it pleased him to please Severus, and so the elf allowed himself to enjoy Harry's ministration.
Severus opened his eyes and gave Harry that same guilty expression he always gave him after their coupling. The look made Severus' thoughts on their situation apparent. He truly thought he shouldn't enjoy the pleasure Harry gave him, as though it was some gift that he wasn't worthy of.
Harry hated that.
He ran his fingers over his lover's body. It was rare that he wasn't touching some part of Severus. Harry sighed and wondered how different things were going to be in ten days.
He stilled his hand.
Or would they be exactly the same?
Harry willed himself to continue the light caresses on Severus' body, trying to prove through touch that he did care for Severus, did want the best for him. He did this while simultaneously praying to whatever gods were listening that the bond ignored Harry's enjoyment of Severus' submission.
"I wonder if you'll let me touch you after the bonding," Harry said, wistfully.
Severus looked over to him, and touched the fingers that were dancing across his flesh. "After the bonding, I will truly belong to you, Master. You could do anything to me you wish." Severus seemed genuinely happy at that, and Harry shivered. "But why would I not want you to touch me? You've given me something I have never felt before."
Harry's ears perked up at that. He had been trying to get to know Severus over the past month, but found it difficult to distinguish between the elf and the man. They could hardly talk about potions, and Harry was not inclined to discuss the war. So Harry had spoken a great deal about his life while trying not to pry too much into Severus'.
But he was genuinely curious now.
"No one's ever touched you before?"
"Not like this," Severus admitted, and laced his long fingers through Harry's in an attempt to display the touch he meant. "I have had relations with several wizards, but I have never had a lover before."
Harry frowned. "Never? Not even one?"
Severus frowned, but opened his mouth to speak. Harry interrupted him. "You don't have to answer. I'm sorry. It's none of my business."
Severus turned on his side and gave Harry an inquisitive look, as though he truly had no idea what Harry was talking about. "Of course it is your business." Black eyes met green and Severus seemed to have no issue telling Harry anything. "I thought I was in love once, in school. It lasted about a month, but ended... disastrously."
"What was his name?"
"Her name was Elizabeth."
"Oh," said Harry, knowingly. "So you hadn't figured out..."
Severus sighed. "No, I only figured out my orientation after school. With Regulus Black."
Harry snorted, and held back dark laughter. He seriously doubted Snape would have ever admitted that prior to this month.
Severus stilled in his arms. "Did I displease you, Master?"
Harry looked over to Severus who didn't look half as relaxed as he had a moment ago. "No, Severus. I just thought it was funny that you were... er... with Regulus when you hated Sirius so much."
Severus didn't seem to take any comfort at Harry's words at all. Instead, he seemed to shrink in on himself as he hadn't in weeks.
Severus began to shake. "Forgive me," he whispered.
"What?" Harry asked, alarmed now. Severus hadn't been so terrified since November. "Forgive you for what?"
"Your godfather... he and I-"
Harry cut Severus off by pulling him close and wrapping himself around the elf. He kissed him and held him close. "My godfather was a bastard to you. You have every right to hate him still, even if I don't."
"No buts, Severus. I want you to feel... whatever it is you're feeling."
"I do not wish to hate those whom you love," Severus softly admitted.
"You'll feel differently after the bonding," Harry said, hoping as he said it that it was the truth.
Harry was nervously pacing the room at eleven thirty on the evening of January the second.
He couldn't do this. There was no way. He looked at Severus, who was looking just as frantic as Harry, just watching him pace from the sofa.
"Master, are you well?"
Harry shook his head. He ran his hands through his hair, his mind in torment. He had become too close to the elf in their courtship. He had wanted to grow close to Severus, he had wanted to get to know him so they could actually have a real relationship. He truly had wanted that.
But Harry was afraid that Snape's fears had ultimately come true. He looked at the elf on the sofa, his heart beating with desire and affection and love.
He had fallen in love with Severus. But was he in love with the man or the submissive, tender creature he had become?
He had hated the fear that had been present when he first came to stay with him. But that fear had long since gone. In its wake was a sensual and loving elf who was as starved for affection as Harry was.
It was a good match, Harry realized. The High Elves' magic had done its job well. They truly had found two souls that were compatible in every way.
Only now Harry was here, seven days from Severus' birthday, and faced with the bonding at last.
And he was terrified.
What if the bond read Harry's love of Severus' submissive elf nature? What if he truly did become Severus' new master?
Harry looked again at the worried elf sitting on the sofa, his expression so open where the Potions Master's had always been closed.
Harry quickly found himself running to the sofa, startling Severus by grabbing his face and running his fingers over the sharp cheekbones.
"Do you think you'll still let me touch you after the bonding?" Harry asked, holding Severus' face tightly in his hands.
Severus looked confused. "You may do whatever you wish to me after the bonding, Master. I will be yours." Severus leaned into Harry's touch. "I would like to be yours."
"Yes, but... Would you want me to touch you? Or would you just be letting me because I can?"
Severus moved his mouth to lick Harry's finger. Harry stifled a gasp, but felt his cock begin to stir at the sight before him.
"I believe I have told you, Master... No other has ever touched me as you do. I adore your touch," Severus said, his lowered voice arousing Harry further.
"Severus... I want to bond with you, but-"
Severus immediately stilled at that and a look of pure terror came over his face.
Harry looked at the elf in front of him. Harry truly had Severus' entire being in his hands. He could refuse to bond with him and Severus would be lost. He'd be locked in the highest tower, living a life Harry couldn't contemplate.
Harry would not let that happen. No, even if the bond read his... desires it would still be preferable to have Severus as a happy and submissive elf than a slave to the entire wizarding world.
The idea of just anyone being able to order Severus around sent a feeling of intense possessiveness through Harry. No, he'd known from the beginning that there was no way he would allow that.
His newfound love for Severus only cemented the fact that there was no way Harry would allow Severus to be cursed.
Severus was his.
"But, nothing," Harry said, kissing Severus and pushing his fears away. He heard Severus breath a sigh of relief as he gave himself over to be kissed.
Harry pushed him back onto the pillows on the sofa, and climbed on top of him. Severus moaned and wrapped his longer legs around Harry's.
"Master," he breathed when Harry pulled away to toss a few pillows on the floor.
"Yes. You're mine, Severus."
Severus grabbed hold of Harry, moaning as Harry started to lick the tips of his ears. "Yes, yours. Only yours."
"Who do you belong to?" Harry wanted to hear Severus say it.
"You, Master. I belong to you." Severus cried out as Harry grabbed hold of his ear with his mouth and sucked hard. "Yes, please, Master! Please fuck me."
"Will you tell me to stop when I get on my knees and beg you to take me? Will you not enjoy seeing me, your cruelest teacher, in your bed begging you to fuck me harder-"
Snape's words from over a month ago rang through Harry's thoughts. He looked down on the man below him.
Severus didn't even seem to be the shadow of Severus Snape.
His erection wilted, and Harry climbed off Severus and began to pace the room again.
"Master?" Severus asked timidly, still out of breath. "Have I done something to upset you?"
Harry shook his head, his mind lost in his own thoughts. "No, Severus. You're perfect. I'm just... really tired. Why don't you go in the bedroom, and I'll meet you there in a few minutes?"
Severus looked extremely uneasy. "Master, I- Master, will we complete the bonding tonight?"
Harry gave Severus a sad half-smile. "Not tonight, I don't think. I'm sorry, I'm not feeling very well right now."
Severus' tenseness did not abate. He ran a long-fingered hand over his face, and got up from the sofa, his head bent submissively towards the ground.
Harry hated that he had inspired such fear in Severus, but knew he could not complete the bond tonight. Not with all of these feelings of possessiveness running through him.
He cursed himself again, and went into the bedroom...
Only to find Severus kneeling on the floor.
Oh, Gods. What had he done?
"Master... I do want to please you. If I have done something-"
Harry immediately lifted Severus by his arms and maneuvered him onto the bed, rolling on top of him and kissing his face.
"No, Severus. I meant what I said." Harry ran his fingers over Severus' face, loving the feel of the smooth skin. "You really are perfect. I'm a very lucky man. I don't deserve someone as perfect as you."
Severus looked shocked and confused. "I- I don't understand. You will not bond with me?"
Harry kissed Severus again. "Do you actually think that I would share you? That I'd let the rest of the world know how wonderful you are?" Harry hugged the elf possessively, and he sighed when he felt a responding embrace. "No, you're mine, Severus. I'm just not feeling well right now. We'll complete the bonding later, alright?"
Severus nodded against Harry's head, relaxing a bit into the embrace.
Harry kissed his face, and told him to sleep now. Severus smiled a bit sadly and rolled over onto Harry, who eagerly accepted the warm weight into his arms.
Harry laid there for hours just watching him sleep. The terror had returned now, and Harry found himself torn about what he truly feared more.
Would the bond read only Harry's love of Severus' submission and force the elf to remain that way after the bonding? Or would the opposite happen with Harry actually proving to be a decent human being, wanting Severus to regain his full personality only to drive Harry away the morning after the bonding with disgust at what Harry had done to him?
Harry felt his fears mounting and it was hours before he fell into an uneasy sleep.
His guilt only mounted the next afternoon when he awoke to what was easily the most fantastic blow job he had ever received. Severus seemed to be trying to seduce him, and Harry would have found that very endearing any other day.
But when Severus timidly questioned, "Would you like to come inside my mouth, Master?" Harry knew that Severus was still in terror over the bonding, making it very difficult to enjoy the elf's ministrations.
After, they sat side by side on the sofa, Harry holding Severus close to him as he read from a novel they had been reading together. Severus usually seemed to enjoy being read to and cherished in this way. Harry sighed and hated the way the elf was laying stiffly across him, his tension palpable.
Harry wanted nothing more than to claim Severus as his own, but there was nothing for it. He needed more time before the bonding.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Harry looked to Severus who said nothing, no longer seeming to recognize that these were his own rooms. Finally, Harry said, "Enter."
"Good afternoon, Severus, Harry," the headmaster said as he entered. He had a broad smile across his face and his eyes were alight with happiness. "Severus, how are you feeling today? Glad to be back to your old self, I imagine?"
Severus let his eyes drift over the headmaster's ridiculous purple robes, before burying his head in Harry's shoulder. Ashamed, Harry held the other man tight and wrapped his arm around him.
"Severus?" the headmaster questioned. "Are you alright, my boy?"
Severus said nothing and seemed to burrow into Harry further.
There was silence for a few moments that seemed to stretch across an eternity. Harry kept his gaze on Severus, frightened by what he would see when he faced the headmaster.
He summoned his bravery and turned to look at the older wizard who was looking at him with such disdain that Harry felt himself cower before him. Quite suddenly, he understood why Voldemort was afraid to face Albus Dumbledore.
"Harry... I'd like to speak with you a moment."
Severus shook in his arms. "Master, please do not go," he whispered.
Harry gripped him tighter. "I think I should stay with Severus. I know what you're thinking..." Harry let his voice trail off, Dumbledore's stare becoming unnerving. He lowered his gaze, ashamed. "Whatever you want to say... just say it."
The headmaster's face looked furious. With a thunderous voice that made both men on the sofa jump, he said, "Tell me that you have not completed the bond, Harry."
Harry blinked and shook his head. "I haven't completed the bond."
Part of the rage that was on Dumbledore's face faded, and he sighed with relief. "Thank Merlin for that." He looked at Harry again, anger still etched on his features. "Why not, Harry?"
Harry's shame increased at the headmaster's question. He couldn't exactly say, 'Sorry, headmaster. I couldn't complete the bond because I'm a terrible human being and am probably going to hell because I've fallen in love with my elf and am terrified that I might actually enjoy his submission.'
No, Harry thought. It was probably best not to say that.
"I-" he opened his mouth to say something, anything, but the headmaster silenced him with his hand.
"Stop. I can imagine why you have not." He looked at Harry in anger and said, "The ability to control our desires is what makes us human, Harry."
Harry shook his head, and looked down at Severus who was still shaking in his arms.
He heard Dumbledore sigh and looked up. "I take back what I said before. I would rather Severus be enslaved to another master than to have him look at me in this manner ever again." Harry opened his mouth to protest. He didn't want Severus to be enslaved to him!
"I don't want to hear it," the headmaster snapped. "Complete the bond, Harry. Now." And with that he left the room, slamming the door behind him.
Severus and Harry sat silently for a moment after he left. When Severus had finally stopped shaking, Harry pulled him up to meet his eyes.
"I do want you to be yourself, you know. You believe me, right?"
Severus didn't seem to be listening. "I will be whatever you desire me to be, only please, Master. Please bond with me."
Harry smiled sadly and felt a tear leak from his eye, his heart breaking once again at misery present in Severus' voice.
"Let's go to the bedroom, Severus."
Harry slowly undressed Severus, his apprehension growing with every button that was unbuttoned. He stopped when Severus' shirt was off, his lover standing before him only half dressed.
Severus picked up on Harry's nervousness and seemed to be just as discomfited.
Well that wouldn't do, Harry thought. He might be suffering from his own guilt but that didn't mean Severus shouldn't enjoy what was about to happen.
He summoned a smile and traced Severus' collar bone, his fingers lightly skimming the smooth, pale skin, grazing the pink nipples just enough to pull a soft gasp from the elf before him.
"You're beautiful, Severus. Do you know how lucky I am?" he asked.
Severus shook his head, but smiled all the same. Harry undid his trousers, pulling his pants off with them and tossing them onto a nearby chair.
"Lie down on your back," he softly commanded.
Severus got into the bed and watched as Harry quickly undressed, letting his clothes fall to the floor. He took in the sight of Severus' half-hard cock, and knew that his lover was puzzled that Harry was completely soft.
"Shh," Harry said, kissing his lips. "I'm just a bit nervous. It's not every day that I'm bonded to such a beautiful creature."
Severus took heart at Harry's words and smiled. That was all Harry needed to begin what needed to be done.
He had never suffered performance anxiety before, but then he had never been in such a dire situation as this. Harry pushed away all his fears, and set about trying to make this first time with Severus as good an experience as possible.
He kissed him lightly at first, then increased the pressure when he felt Severus' cock harden against his hip. Harry moaned and felt his own cock begin to stir with the first signs of desire.
He attempted to exist only in the moment, running his hands down Severus' sides, moving his head so he could suck lightly at his pointed ears. His cock throbbed at the sound of Severus' pleasured moans, and Harry let his hand drift down to take the elf's cock in his hand.
He rubbed his thumb over the head, pleased at the amount of pre-come he found there. He let his mouth drift downward, taking a nipple into his mouth and sucking on it gently, enjoying the frantic sounds from Severus' mouth.
"Master, please. You do not have- gah- You do not have to go to such-" he broke off in a moan. "Go to such lengths for me. I am ready. Please finish the bonding." He spread his legs and held his hips higher, tempting Harry to skip any foreplay and preparation and just see to the bonding already.
Harry realized that this was his own fault. He had put this fear in Severus, this fear that he would not bond with him. He wanted nothing more than to tell his lover that all would be well, that the bonding would soon be complete, and Severus would be saved.
Harry crushed down the guilt that welled up in him after that last thought. This night was about Severus, not Harry.
"I love hearing the sounds you make, Severus. Every little moan-" Harry sucked on his nipple, again earning the moan he so loved. "Every gasp I pull from you-" he let his mouth travel down and opened it to lick Severus' cock from root to head. The man gasped and bucked his hips. "I love all of it, Severus. Just relax. You'll have my cock in your arse shortly, I promise."
The vulgarity did as Harry had planned, and Severus seemed to forget his earlier worry. He relaxed his legs again, and let Harry do with him what he would.
Harry leaned over and collected some lubricant from Severus' bedside table, then took Severus' cock into his mouth again as he began to lightly circle his entrance.
"Yes, please," Severus cried softly.
Harry began sucking in earnest, loving the taste of Severus, loving the moans the man was making. He rubbed Severus' opening until the elf was a panting mess, begging Harry to please fuck him.
Harry thought that in any other circumstance he would have been glad to see the usually stoic man enjoying himself in the throes of passion. Instead, he was again reminded of what Snape had said, how he would beg to be fucked.
Harry pushed those thoughts away. No matter what the consequences, he had to complete this bond. Severus would belong to no other wizard, only Harry.
Slowly he inserted a finger, smiling a bit around the cock in his mouth as Severus moaned wantonly. Harry eased it inside, little by little coaxing the tight hole open. He continued his ministrations on Severus' cock, wanting his lover to enjoy the double stimulation.
After another moment, he inserted another finger, surprised that Severus' body seemed so pliant before him. Harry didn't know if Severus had ever engaged in anal sex before, but his body seemed spread open for Harry, begging him to take him.
"Master, I'm ready. Please, please fuck me."
"Not yet, Severus," Harry whispered and inserted another finger. He moved them inside Severus' body, looking in earnest for his prostate wanting only to give his lover as much pleasure possible.
Suddenly, Severus bucked into Harry's mouth. "Yes, Master! There!"
Harry rubbed over the small nub inside Severus' body, making the wanton man throw his head back and moan deeply.
"Master, please fuck me! Please-"
Harry reveled in the sight of Severus in complete abandon, and gave one last kiss to the head of Severus' cock, removing the fingers from his arse.
Harry moved to kiss Severus, still amazed at how eager his lover was to receive Harry's tongue in his mouth. Severus grunted when Harry released him and sat up on his knees.
Severus immediately turned over and got on his own.
Harry felt at once a powerful surge of arousal as well as a wave of guilt at how perfect Severus looked on his knees before him. He reminded himself that he loved Severus, that he only wanted the best for him, and that as soon as this was done he'd be himself again.
"Master, I- Master, please," Severus whimpered, his head turning to address Harry.
Harry spread some of the lubricant over his cock and positioned himself behind Severus, who shivered in anticipation. He placed the head of his cock against Severus' opening, slowly pushing inside. Severus grunted and whimpered, though whether it was in pain or pleasure, Harry was unsure. Still, he pushed himself inside slowly, not wanting to hurt his lover.
Harry rubbed Severus' hips and eased himself inside, Severus body taking him in to the root. He felt as well as heard the sigh of completion Severus gave at finally having Harry inside him.
Harry leaned over and kissed Severus' neck, a hand moving from his hip to trail his body until he reached his nipple. Harry began to litter Severus' neck and back with kisses, and finally began to rock his hips slowly.
Severus whimpered and rocked back, their bodies finding a steady rhythm. Harry used one hand to steady himself and the other to caress his lover's chest, attempting to feel all of the elf below him. Severus moaned and buckled his elbows, beginning to clench his muscles around Harry's cock.
Harry didn't think he was going to last long. He could feel his orgasm approaching and was amazed to sense an almost tangible magic beginning to stir the air, and was nearly overcome at the phenomenon. Never before had he ever felt so connected to someone, Severus' body welcoming him as though they were truly one. He began to babble, no longer completely aware of what he was saying. He was only aware of Severus and the magic that seemed to be penetrating them, connecting them to each other in ways that went beyond the physical. Harry pumped his cock into Severus finally crying out, "God, Severus! I love you!" The air seemed almost charged as he took Severus' cock in hand, stroking in time with his thrusts.
Harry felt his balls tighten, and tried to summon every feeling of love he had for Severus, silently pleading for the magic swirling around them to hear him.
Please, please, please.
The magic swirled in the air, and Harry stroked Severus' cock until he felt the other man coming, Harry slamming his cock hard into Severus' arse, following his lover into orgasm.
A blinding flash lit up for room for an instant, and Harry knew the bond was complete. He stroked Severus' cock, taking care of his lover's needs and gently removing himself from his body. Suddenly exhausted, he crashed down on Severus' back.
The magically charged sex had been magnificent and Harry was truly spent, his strength gone. He didn't think he could move if he was forced to, glad that Severus made such a comfortable pillow.
"Despite what I have said in the past, you are actually not a skinny runt, Harry," said a voice muffled by a pillow.
Oh, Harry thought and rolled over.
"Severus? Oh, God! Severus," Harry turned the other man over to face him, running his hands along his face, desperate for some confirmation that Severus was himself again.
"Yes?" Severus said, lifting an eyebrow while nestling his head into his pillow. "Did you think you were fucking some other elf?"
"Oh, God," Harry said, his smile crossing his entire face. "Is it really you?"
Severus looked confused. "I don't know what you mean, Harry. I have been here the entire time."
"No, it's just- you're yourself again. You're back. Or are you?" Harry knew appearances could be deceiving. Just because Severus wasn't calling him 'Master' didn't mean he was his old self again.
"Say something Snape-ish," Harry said.
Severus' eyebrow raised itself higher. "I beg your pardon?"
"Say something witty and sarcastic. Say something insulting! Say anything that you couldn't have said for the past month. Please. I just- I need to know that you're you again."
Severus looked concerned, but responded. "Your father was a bastard and I'm glad he's dead."
Harry gave a tremendous whooping sound and fell onto Severus, embracing him tightly with hysterical tears of joy springing from his eyes.
"Oh, thank God! And Merlin! And anyone who was listening! Oh, thank you so much," he cried, tears flowing down his face now, embracing his lover firmly.
"Harry?" Severus held Harry tight, embracing him just as tightly as he had an hour ago. "Are you well? Is something the matter?"
Harry was still grinning like a fool when he realized that Severus might not want him holding him like he was any longer. He backed away, embarrassed now that he was crying in front of his former professor.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he said, wiping the tears from his eyes. "I'm just so relieved that you're yourself again. You're calling me Harry." Harry smiled, but noticed Severus was frowning and pulling the sheets up to cover himself.
"Yes, you gave me leave to do so. You are calling me Severus, after all. And now that the bonding is complete, I no longer have to address you as 'Master.' You are pleased by this, I assume?"
"Oh, you have no idea."
Severus nodded. "Then why-" he broke off what he was going to say and looked down. "Is there some particular reason why you are now lying two feet away from me?"
Harry looked at the space he had given Severus. He had thought that was what the elf would have wanted. "Er, I thought maybe you wouldn't want me holding on to you like I was... now that you're yourself again."
Severus scoffed and crossed the distance between them. "Foolish little imp. Why would you assume that when I have only ever welcomed your touch?"
Harry sighed and released a breath he had been holding. He smiled as Severus wrapped himself around his body, their legs entwined. "I thought that was because of the curse. That you only wanted me because of the curse."
Severus sighed. "Harry, I very much doubt we would have entered a relationship if the curse had not existed." Harry opened his mouth to protest... something, but Severus stopped him. "But it does exist, and here we are. I would not have chosen you, but I am very glad that you are in my life now."
Harry laid back into the pillows and gave another sigh of relief. "I was so terrified. I was afraid you would be angry for what I did to you for the past month."
Severus raised an eyebrow. "What you did to me? What exactly did you do?"
"Well... I mean, maybe I didn't do anything to you exactly..."
"But you did." Severus leaned over Harry and kissed his face. "Harry, you made what could have been a humiliating and painful experience something very... liberating." Severus shut his mouth with an audible click at his admission and turned away from Harry, his face red from embarrassment. The younger man ran his hand through the long hair, happy to let Severus speak when he was ready.
"I admit to being somewhat... embarrassed at my behavior over the last month, but I regret nothing that transpired between us. Actually, the only thing I regret is listening to that idiot Stevenson who will surely be suffering my wrath as soon as school is back in session."
"Stevenson?" Harry questioned.
"The cretin who told me to jump off the Astronomy Tower," Severus answered.
"Oh," Harry said softly, touching Severus' face to remind him that the worst had not happened.
"Harry-" Severus said, and he grabbed one of Harry's hands, holding it up and kissing it tenderly. "Harry, the High Elves' magic is very powerful and only put us together because we were truly compatible. This... time with you has been the only time anyone has ever shown me such patience and care. The only time anyone has ever shown that they... care for me."
Harry thought that maybe Severus had wanted to say something else, but pressed on. "How could I not? I mean you were so scared and so beautiful and I had never seen you look so... open before." He traced the lines of the elf's face in front of him, his fingers again lightly skimming the tips of his ears. Harry was very happy to hear the soft pleasured moan that came from Severus' throat was still forthcoming.
"I was really afraid you'd hate me... for this last month. That you'd never let me touch you again."
Severus held Harry close, kissing his neck and audibly inhaling the scent of him. Harry smiled and savored the emotion Severus was showing even now after the bonding.
"That creature was me, Harry. Perhaps you thought I was somewhere inside my own head, screaming at myself to stop being such a fool, cowering before you, calling you 'Master?'" Harry nodded. "That could not be further from the truth."
At Harry's inquisitive look, Severus pressed onward. "It's a curse, Harry. I was not trapped somewhere inside myself, plotting my revenge. That was all me. I remember everything." He kissed Harry's face again. "You took excellent care of me, Harry. I- I must thank you."
"Thank me?" Harry said in disbelief.
"Yes, thank you." Severus looked down towards the pillows, looking anxious in a way he never had before. Harry belatedly realized that while he was no longer behaving so submissively towards him, Severus was still just as open. Harry smiled, rubbing his thumb over Severus' palm.
"You did not have to bond with me. But as you said in our first private meeting, you truly did set out to make the best of it. And you did, Harry. This is more than I ever could have hoped for. I fully expected to find myself a mindless slave by my fortieth birthday. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision being bonded to a... a man such as yourself."
Harry was looking at Severus as if he was insane. Severus was thanking him? The guilt that had abated after the bonding returned in full force, and Harry's gaze dropped to the bed.
"Um- There's something I should probably tell you, Severus."
Harry could feel his lover's body immediately stiffen, but he held onto him and tried to will him to listen.
"Listen to me, please. I- I'm sorry."
Severus looked confused again. "You're sorry?"
"Yeah, I'm so very, very sorry. I- I-"
"Out with it, Potter! What have you to be so sorry about?"
Harry tried to take heart that Severus was even capable of getting angry with him, but was too ashamed to enjoy it.
"I liked it," he said flatly.
"You 'liked it?' You liked what, exactly?"
Harry looked up to meet Severus' dark gaze. "The way you were so... tender with me. The way you leaned into my touch, like it was something you wanted. The way you were so... submissive. I- I'm so sorry. I didn't want to like it. I hated myself for it, but I just- I've never had something like that before."
"Well, you have never had a slave before."
Harry became alarmed. "I don't have a slave. I don't want a slave. I have a bond-mate and I'm very happy not having a slave, thank you."
Severus rolled his eyes. "You do have a slave. If you recall the nature of the curse, the bond means that I have only one master instead of hundreds. Just because you wish it wasn't so does not make it any less true."
Harry began to protest, but Severus lifted a hand. "Harry... Something is obviously bothering you. We can discuss the details of our relationship at a later time. Now tell me what has you so troubled."
Harry wanted to protest more, but also wanted to please Severus. "I hated myself, Severus. I hated that I liked your behavior."
Severus lifted an eyeybrow. "When you say my behavior..."
"I mean after I came to stay with you and you stopped being so afraid all the time. When you seemed happy and we were having so much fun just being with each other. You just- It was like I was your entire world and that was more than enough for you. I'm sorry, okay? I'm a horrible person." He said this last part mostly to himself, and laid his head back down on the bed, covering his face with his arm.
Suddenly, Severus began to laugh. It started as a dark chuckle, but immediately swelled to full laughter.
"What's so funny?" Harry asked. When Severus continued laughing, Harry took offense. "I'm glad my guilt is so amusing to you. Would you like me to cut myself as an encore?"
Severus immediately stilled at this. "No, I would not like you to cut yourself as an encore. Harry," he said, gathering the young man in his arms. "You should not feel guilty for enjoying this time we've had together. It is human nature to want to be desired. If what I have learned of you is true, then you have been as starved for affection as myself."
Harry shook his head. "No, it was wrong. I- that was why I didn't bond with you last night. You were just begging me so prettily, and you sounded so... fucking hot when you were asking me to fuck you, and-" He stopped himself, ashamed at his actions. "I was terrified that the bond would read all of that and force you to be submissive... keep you that way."
Severus was quiet and silence invaded the room.
Suddenly, Harry felt his chin being drawn up and black eyes met green. "Many men have fallen into that trap, you know."
"You did not."
"I almost did," Harry protested.
Severus shook his head. "The headmaster was correct in his assessment of you. You have no true desire for power, Harry. Trapping me into a submissive position through the bond and enjoying what you view as submissive behavior are two different things entirely."
"There's a difference?"
Severus laughed. "Indeed. There is a large difference between wanting a mindless slave and enjoying a relationship with a creative lover who truly does adore your touch." He said this, taking Harry's hand and leading it down his abdomen.
Harry blinked. "But-"
Severus nodded, not understanding why Harry seemed to be so upset. "I have never been able to enjoy... a lover's touch before. I was never popular in school, and by the time I was thirteen I thought I was doomed to a life of slavery. Why would I ever hope to be cared for by one such as you?"
"But then how-"
"Harry," Severus said, lacing their fingers together again. "You said that you enjoyed my submissive behavior? The way I would lean into your touch, the way I allowed you to do what you wished with me?"
Harry balked. His mouth open and shut like a dying fish. "Did you-" Harry realized what Severus was trying to say. "But- I thought that was just the curse!"
Severus chuckled. "It was, for the most part. And if you have any desire to dominate me outside of the bedroom you can put those ideas to rest this instant. But Harry," he said, no longer laughing. "The elves' magic put us together for a reason. Did it never cross your mind that our desires compliment each other?"
Harry shook his head. "I just never imagined you could... want something like that."
Severus leaned over to kiss Harry's neck. "You couldn't imagine me wanting my very attractive and giving lover to suck my ears while fucking me into the mattress?"
"No!" Harry exclaimed.
"Harry," Severus said, pulling Harry's body on top of his own. "Please do not feel guilt over this."
Harry felt some of the anguish that had been weighing him down leave his body at Severus' request. He leaned down and kissed him, eager to see if he was as well received as he had been before the bonding.
Severus welcomed Harry into his mouth, whimpering and running his hands through the shorter hair as though he hadn't been kissed for weeks. And just as before, Harry was the first one to pull away. Although this time it was out of necessity for air more than desire to leave Severus. He looked down at his lover and smiled, his relief evident to the elf before him.
"You should probably go visit the headmaster soon. He'll be relieved to see you. God!" Harry exclaimed. "He was so angry with me. I'd seen him mad before but never at me."
Severus chuckled. "Yes, it was rather frightening. At the time, I had no idea why he was so angry. I thought it was something I had done."
"I felt horrible. It was like he had trusted me with something precious to him and I had broken it. I thought he knew why I was afraid to complete the bonding. I can't believe he thought I'd want you to be my slave."
"I am your slave, Harry."
Harry drew himself up over Severus. "No, you're not. You're my bond-mate, and-"
"Harry, listen to me. You cannot lie to yourself about this." Severus pulled Harry back down to rest on top of him, no longer seeming to care about the added weight. "The curse was never broken, it was simply focused upon a single wizard. I know you dislike the notion-"
Severus hummed. "But that does not change the fact that I am now your bonded slave. The Ministry will have been informed of the bonding by now and other magical creatures will be able to sense my status."
Harry hated the idea that Severus would be registered as a magical creature, especially knowing the Ministry's prejudice against any creatures they deemed to be below humans. Again, the desire to destroy the wizards who had cursed the elves in the first place caused a surge of anger to flow through him. Suddenly, something that had confused him days ago seemed to make sense.
"Is that why that house-elf was looking at you so strangely?"
Severus nodded. "I cannot imagine any of the house-elves will be happy with me now that they know my status. The cruelty that was shown to them was unforgivable, and I do not blame them for being envious. I think now that those wizards were only more... generous with my kind because we so closely resemble humans."
Harry softly kissed Severus' cheek until the elf turned his face to meet Harry's lips, kissing slowly this time as Harry tried to tell Severus without words exactly how he felt about him.
When they parted, Severus looked entirely relaxed and sated, running a hand over Harry's face with appreciation.
"Not feeling guilt any longer?"
Harry shrugged. "I think I will for a while until things go back to normal, or you know... as normal as things will ever be for us. Plus, I just can't shake what could have happened."
Severus fidgeted below him and opened and closed his mouth looking uncharacteristically flustered. Harry frowned and said, "Severus, are you well? Is something wrong?"
Severus cleared his throat and evaded Harry's gaze. "I realize that in the throes of passion one can say something one does not exactly mean. However, if you actually did mean... what you said during our bonding, then I cannot help but wonder why you are so surprised at its conclusion."
Harry looked down on Severus, confused. He knew he had been babbling incoherently while he had been making love to Severus, the magic swirling around them and joining them together. But for the life of him he couldn't remember...
"Um, that. I- "
Severus' expression darkened and he turned away from Harry, his entire body stiffening. To Harry it was like he was again looking at his once feared Potions Master, the man looking closed off as he hadn't in over a month.
"Wait! I- I did mean it. I mean, I do. I just didn't think you'd want to hear that right now... or ever. But I... love you. I've been falling in love with you since our first meeting. How could I not-" Harry was silenced as Severus' lips rushed up to meet his own, his arms embracing him forcefully as though he were afraid Harry would leave. Harry returned the kiss with equal passion, relieved that his bond-mate welcomed his love, and perhaps...
Harry pulled away. "Severus, I love you. Do you- I mean, do you think you could ever-"
Severus kissed Harry again, pulling away before either became too breathless. "Harry," he said, his face once again open and beautiful. "You truly are a witless imbecile."
Harry frowned, but Severus said nothing, just continued to look at him with the same intensity he had shown throughout their courtship.
Finally, the shoe dropped, and Harry realized what Severus was trying to say. "Oh," was Harry's response. The smile that response brought from Severus was broad, the adoration in the elf's eyes truly humbling. "Do you? Really?" he said, his voice a whisper, afraid of the response.
"How could I not?" was all Severus said.
Harry whimpered and embraced Severus, kissing him fervidly, his tongue lightly massaging Severus' own. He felt Severus' hardening cock rubbing against his abdomen, his own answering Severus' arousal. He broke the kiss only to turn Severus' head and give attention to the sensitive ears of his beloved, loving the feel of the pointed tips in his mouth.
Severus moaned softly then panted, "Harder." Harry smiled and began sucking on them in earnest, enjoying the sounds Severus was making and letting his hand travel down to begin handling his weeping cock.
"Severus," Harry whispered against his ears. "Do you-"
Severus spread his legs in response to Harry's unspoken question, and Harry made quick work of lubricating himself after checking that Severus was still stretched. His lover bucked when he lightly touched his opening, and Harry, not wanting to hurt Severus, stopped kissing his ears to ask if he was sure he truly wanted this.
"Are you sure-"
"Did I say you could stop your aural attentions? I realize there is something of a height issue here, but until your cock is in my arse, I-" Severus' frustrated tirade was cut short as Harry entered him with one sharp motion, his entire length buried in Severus' tight heat. He quickly found that he actually was a bit too short to reach Severus' ears in this position, so made quick work to bend Severus' body, reaching as far as possible until his mouth was next to the pointed ears.
"Were you saying something, Severus?" He rolled his hips and Severus gave a desperate moan. "What was that? I would have sworn you were saying something about your- " Harry's tongue darted out to lightly flick the points "-ears."
Severus groaned in frustration and flexed his muscles around Harry's cock causing the other man to gasp, wanting nothing more than to pound into the elf below him.
But Harry was beginning to understand what Severus meant about the difference between a mindless slave and a tender, creative lover who truly adored his touch.
"Please, Harry. Please don't-" Harry took Severus' ear into his mouth and began sucking as his hips finally began to move. Severus gasped and once again their bodies began to move in tandem, Harry newly amazed at how eager Severus was to accept him, how pliant his body was before him. Harry had never felt so welcome before. His guilt and worry now gone, he was able to appreciate fully how open Severus was to him, how lucky he was to have a lover who adored his touch so much.
Who loved him so much.
"Harry, please... Harder!"
Harry responded and finally had to release the pointed ears from his mouth in order to give in to his lover's demands. He slammed into Severus like a man possessed, his hand gripping the weeping cock laying firmly against his lover's stomach.
"Harry, yes! Merlin... "
Harry could feel his orgasm approaching, and pumped his lover's cock harder, wanting Severus to reach climax first. Harry looked down on his lover, Severus wantonly spread below him, eyes closed and enjoying every touch Harry bestowed upon him. Suddenly, black eyes met green and Harry could again hear the unspoken declaration coming from Severus as he came, Harry swiftly following his lover.
Harry pumped himself to completion, loving how Severus not only allowed him but seemed to welcome the sensation.
After the last drop of come was spurted into Severus' arse, he stilled to regain his breath. He pulled out carefully and sat back on his heels, not wanting to collapse on his lover again. He ran his hands over Severus' chest, watching as he caught his own breath. After another moment, he lay down next to him, bringing the elf to cradle his head on his shoulder, lying with each other as they had for the last month.
"Are you alright?" he asked quietly.
Severus laughed. "As I never have been before."
"I wasn't too rough with you?"
"Mmm, no. That was perfect, Harry. You seem to have overcome your guilt at last," Severus said, smirking against Harry's skin.
He scoffed in response. "Well, you were snarking at me. I had to do something."
Severus chuckled. "Yes, I imagine that is the only way you will be able to silence me. You understand what I mean, Harry? Submission does not have to be constant nor the ominous thing that you were fearing. It could be this way between us."
Harry held Severus tighter and answered, "Whatever you want, I'll give you." He felt more than heard Severus' shudder on top of him.
"So do you still think the hearts of men are dark? That all humans desire power?"
Severus raised his head from Harry's chest, his hair ruffled and his face flushed. He looked at Harry and smiled, his eyes revealing his happiness and amazement.
"Not my human."