Sweet Religion

by Reiko Katsura

HP Cross Generation Fest, Prompt Number #27: The Dursleys send Harry to a monastery (middle ages or so) when he's 15/16, as they can't afford to keep him and know they don't want to pay good money for a dowry for him to make a good marriage. Harry is rebellious as he has no desire to become a monk and he is always sent to the abbot, Severus, for punishment. It turns out Harry likes his punishments a bit too much...

Rating: (M) NC-17

Main Pairing: Harry/Severus

Summary: Harry wakes up one day to find himself in an unfamiliar place.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction set in the Harry Potter universe – all recognizable characters and settings are the property of J. K. Rowling and her associates. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit is made from this work. Please observe your local laws with regards to the age-limit and content of this work

Warnings/Kinks: Non-Magic AU, AR, Sexual relations between an adult and a minor, paddling, religious-themes: no insult to any party intended.

Betas: The wonderful Song Quake (Beth) and Tarquin Furie --This fic wouldn't have been nearly as good without their awesome advice, support, and Beta-ing services. Thanks, ladies!

Author's Notes: This is my fic for HP Cross Generation Fest! I'm quite proud of it, to be perfectly honest. It was fun-- and educational!-- to write. Note that Harry is fourteen years old in this fic, since fourteen in the middle ages is the equivalent to a sixteen or seventeen year old in this century. Please enjoy reading this!

Part: 01.

When Harry Potter awoke, he was in an unfamiliar place.

It was the sound of cicadas and water flowing that roused him from his sleep. Harry lived in a busy village, where the inhabitants were up early morning to late night. The only sound he was accustomed to hearing, upon awaking, was the crowing of the roosters, the clucking of the chickens, and his uncle's bellows, yelling at him to get up. He first realized that something was wrong when no rough hands latched themselves onto his shoulders to jerk him awake. Next was when he opened his eyes, and looked up at an unfamiliar ceiling.

Harry sat up quickly and began fumbling around in search of his spectacles. He found them, just aside his bedding, and pushed them onto his face. He looked up again and his eyes widened. It was a different ceiling. A single glance around the room told him that the roof wasn't the only thing that was different.

He was sitting in a small room, dark except for the small beams of light from the slow-rising sun that were peaking through his window, which was the size of his head. The room was bare, even emptier than his own room. To his right was a desk and chair, pushed into a corner neatly. To the left was a large wood chest, which sat atop a thin grass-green rug. Everything else was brown: the wooden floor, the brown-papered walls, the brown pebbled ceiling. The only item of decoration in the room was a painting of Jesus Christ sitting at the table with his disciples.

Harry paused from his assessment, growing worried. He wasn't in his little room at the Dursley's cottage. He wasn't in any room at the his Aunt and Uncle's house. He stood up quickly, letting his thin covers slip from his waist to pool around his feet, and stumbled to the door that was a few strides in front of him. His head felt fuzzy, as if he'd eaten something bad and gone to sleep right after. There was a possibility that he was dreaming, as well. Why else would he find himself in such a place? The last Harry remembered was that he was tending to his Uncle Vernon's single horse, as he was used to doing during the night, and had fallen asleep in the barn. He remembered lying down in the hay, watching the horse—a nicely bred steed with snowy skin and a dull-charcoal mane whom Harry called Hedwig—and drifting off. He would have expected to have woken up at the barn, then, surrounded by the smell of hay and horse and dirt, with the ceiling far too high up for him to see without his glasses. Or in his room, but he couldn't recall waking up and sneaking into the cottage, or his Uncle Vernon finding him and dragging him there. That left Harry with one feasible conclusion, and one he was counting on fully; he was still asleep.

Harry stopped just short of the door and lifted both his arms. With all his strength, he pinched the tender skin under his forearm, and gasped. That had hurt. That had hurt a lot. He looked down at the area he'd pinched, which was quickly turning red, and grew cold. So he wasn't asleep, then... unless there was some new development in which a person could feel pain in a dream state, at least self inflicted. He doubted it, though. And he didn't feel like he was sleepy, despite his fuzzy head.

That only left him with two more options: one, he somehow started sleepwalking and sleepwalked to wherever it was he was now; or two, he'd been kidnapped.

Harry made sure to open the door very quietly.

He poked his head out first, taking in the sight of a narrow space. He was in the middle of the hall, with two ways open to him. Harry swallowed thickly, closed the door silently behind him, and headed towards the right.

It was cold, which made Harry even more worried. It shouldn't be cold. It was mid-harvest season for sweet corn, tomatoes, apricots, and radishes. The weather was always hot during this season; warm in the mornings and night and sweltering during the day. It was never cold, and wouldn't be for another few months. If it was cold… then there was the possibility that Harry wasn't in his village anymore. A particular chilly draft brushed past him, coming from somewhere ahead, and Harry shivered. No, he would not think about things like that. Could not think about it. Pressure was already building in the back of his eyes, but he didn't dare squeeze them shut to expel the forthcoming tears of anxiety. He kept them open and searching, and his ears on alert for any sound to notify him that someone else was with him.

That brought on a whole other series of questions. What if there were other people there? One quick glance at the clean floor told him that no, he was not alone. He… didn't want to run into anybody, though. He'd heard rumors floating around his village when he was younger, stories of people being kidnapped by bad men and wicked women. Then there were the more far-fetched stories, told by elders to the children, of elves and fairies and other mythological creatures that whipped children from their beds and stole them away to eat or enslave, but Harry had never believed in those tales.

The draft picked up again, causing Harry to tense. He'd rather not believe any of the stories, at that point.

There was a light coming from ahead of him. Harry hesitated, but moved forward. His bare feet walked silently over the floor, cold against the hard wood. He glanced behind him, making sure that nothing was hovering at his back, and closed the distance between himself and the source of light, which he soon realized was a door. Slowly, he lifted his hand and placed his palm against the half-open door, and pushed it further ajar. Without another thought, Harry stepped out into the outside world, heart pounding wildly.

An ocean. Harry was standing before an ocean. He watched in shock as waves crashed back and forth, white ripples the size of fields floating above the greenish-blue water; an almighty mass of sea. Something was very wrong with this picture. For starters, he didn't live near an ocean. The nearest body of water to his Uncle's cottage was a small river, and it was located almost five furlongs away from their land. The closest ocean to them was almost four days and nights away by foot. So what on earth was he doing by the sea?

He stared, eyes wide and jaw low, from what he absently noted to be a sort of balcony made of stone. Just a few yards further and his feet would be touching the current. He continued to stare, until a low voice sounded from just below him, causing him to startle.

"I see you're finally awake. Are you done ogling, Young Potter?"

Harry jumped at the abrupt voice and his head snapped low to the side. He shot back as a man peered at him from the floor, an eyebrow quirked.

"W-what?" Harry spluttered, heart pounding wildly.

The man exhaled slowly, and the long black fringe that fell over his face blew out. Instead of answering, he lifted from his cross-legged position on the floor, and batted his robes of dust as soon as he stood.

Harry took another step back, disconcerted as the man's size towered over his small frame.

"Your relatives never mentioned your lack of articulation," the man said snidely, raking his eyes over Harry's stiff form.

"What?" Harry repeated.

The man sighed again, sounding every iota exasperated.

"Your relatives, boy. They brought you here last night."

Harry simply continued to gape.

"Foolish boy," the man snapped, and Harry flinched again. When the man slipped his hand into the pocket of his robe, Harry took another step back, then whirled around when he felt something hard hit his lower back. He glanced down at the wall-like railing of the balcony for a moment before he snapped his head forward.

The man pulled out a wide, slightly crumpled piece of parchment and held it out. Harry glanced between the man and the parchment several times before he took a tentative step forward.

"I won't bite!" he snapped, and Harry jumped again, then quickly rushed to retrieve the paper from the older man's hand. He shot another look at the man, almost suspiciously, then opened the parchment up. He scowled as his eyes went over the words, only recognizing letters and unable to understand the words. Harry bit the inside of his lip, frustrated. The Dursley's had never allowed him an education. Their son, Dudley, had been granted one since a young age, but Harry had never been given the pleasure. He wasn't smart enough anyway, they'd told him, and wouldn't be bothered to waste money they didn't have—or the money they spent feeding Dudley and his Uncle ten meals a day—on the likes of him. Still, Harry had tried his best to learn what he could. He'd nicked his cousin's alphabet sheets when they were younger, and had done a good job at memorizing them. Anything further had been impossible without the help of a tutor, or at least someone to explain how the letters sounded.

The man must have recognized something on Harry's face, for he reached out and pulled the parchment from Harry's hands, somehow managing not to tear the thick, expensive-looking paper—his Aunt Petunia's favorite stationary sheets, he realized—from where he grabbed it.

The man narrowed his eyes at Harry, and between that and the click of his tongue, Harry knew it was his disapproval of Harry not being able to read. That, and Snape's next few words: "Unintelligible boy".

Harry opened his mouth, fully prepared to snap at the older man that it was hardly his fault he'd been deprived of an education when his fat, stupid cousin who didn't know his left hand from his right hadn't been, but then the man folded out the paper, trying fruitlessly to smooth out the soft crinkles, and began to read, and so Harry had shut promptly up.

"Dear Master Severus Snape of Hogwarts Monastery," the man started, his voice a low, steady octave, "Your reputation as abbot has trailed to our ears on coarse winds, and we ask that you take the time to listen to our plea. Our little family does not have the means of providing our youngest—Harry J. Potter— with any sort of future. He is the son of a relative and we've cared for him all his life, but now we can no longer afford him or a dowry to marry him to a respectable woman. He is a respectful, down-sighted boy who would cause you no trouble.

"My wife and I beg you to take him under your wing, despite your desire to no longer take in further students. If you cannot, the lad will die of hunger and disease on the street, a life we did not wish for him, but which at this point has become inevitable.

We look forward to hearing a reply from you.

Most respectfully,

Farmer Vernon Dursley."

Harry stared at the note in the man's hand in disbelief, fear, and anger.

His… his family had sold him. They'd actually sold him to a monastery.

Harry couldn't muster up enough courage to look up.

Severus Snape stared blankly at the young boy whose face had crumpled. Without him intending to, the hand holding the open letter tightened, creating a soft crinkling sound that even the noise of the sea breeze couldn't stifle. Inwardly sighing, he took in the look of disbelief the boy adopted, as if the end of the world had come and no one had told him.

Severus had to stifle a derisive snort. He'd bet an entire month's worth of potatoes that the lad felt exactly that.

Severus had not altogether been surprised when he received the Dursleys' letter, asking him to take their child under his wing. Many families visited him or sent letters requesting the same thing. He wasn't an official abbot, but rather, a clergyman who had long since retired. Severus had spent years dedicating himself to his religion, traveling the country and spreading Practices of the Christian Doctrine to any who needed instruction or redirection. When his hip went out, he had ceased his travels and resorted to a life as a hermit.

All that had ended when his old friends, Lord Lucius Malfoy and his wife Lady Narcissa, had died in a fire, effectively leaving their five year old son without a family or home. Draco had been the first child he'd taken into his him and began to teach. Since then, five more had followed.

Severus hadn't intended to take Harry James Potter in at all. The Dursleys' arrival on his door step had been unexpected, and Severus had been willing to turn them down simply for their sheer disrespectful approach. That, however, had changed when Severus caught a glimpse of the young boy knocked unconscious in his Uncle's arms. The Dursley's had told him that the boy was fourteen, and he'd been skeptical: sleeping soundly, so unaware, the boy looked no older than eleven or twelve. He was small, almost frighteningly so, and seemed fragile in his uncle's massive arms. There were strands of hay stuck in the boy's thick black hair, and smudges of dirt on his cheeks. In comparison to the Dursley elders, who at least resembled persons of mediocre class, the boy looked like a mere city urchin: a street rat.

Without much thought, Severus has pulled the boy into his own arms, disregarding the dull throb in his hip, and had walked away from the Dursley family without so much as a word. The way they scurried off, like mice in a field of horses, made it clear to him that words hadn't been needed. The boy—Harry Potter—was out of their hair, and Severus didn't need to be a philosopher to realize that was all that mattered to them.

He'd taken Harry to the last unoccupied room in his estate, planted him on thick, slightly dusty matting, and had watched the boy sleep for a while. The boy appeared starved; his cheeks were sunken, his limbs too small despite the tiny muscles of labor that firmed them, and his height too short for someone his age, even below average size. His hair—a black monstrosity that highly resembled a bird's nest—was probably the thickest thing on the boy's body, Severus assessed. Even with the slight bronze of his complexion, he still seemed pale, causing Severus to momentarily ponder if the lad was sick. One glance at his attire and Severus dismissed them as rags—not even suitable for a lowly farmer boy.

Condition aside, young Harry Potter was stunning. Severus could only stare at that petite, pretty face long enough for his senses to return, and then he'd rightly hurried away from the room and towards the balcony, fully intending to clear his mind—clear his thoughts—through meditation. As usual, it worked admirably. Now, however, that he was no longer in the midst of cleansing his mind, and the object of his earlier fascination was standing before him…

Severus shook his head, quickly expelling further thoughts, and brought his attention back to Harry Potter.

Sighing, Severus took a step forward. "Young lad," he started, and quirked a dark brow when Harry's head shot up in alarm, and he made another nugatory attempt to push back into the wooden bars. Severus had to refrain from rolling his eyes.

"Cease your stupidity anon, boy! I will not harm you!"

From the weary way green eyes watched him, it was evident that the boy didn't think so.

Severus sighed, already tired. Heavenly Father, he was too ancient to be dealing with adolescents. Most people probably wouldn't consider a man in his mid-forties ancient per se, but then most also hadn't witnessed as much as Severus had, or had done as much as he. If anything, it was his already straining muscles that caused him to feel that way, but that was utterly beside the point.

"I am Master Severus of the house of Snape, retired clergyman and esteemed abbot of Hogwarts Monastery."

Severus paused, allowing young Harry to return the salutation, but the boy remained with his lips tightly lined, and his sparkling green eyes narrowed.

"Are you insisting on behaving rudely to a master and elder, boy?" snapped Severus.

Harry startled, but otherwise remained mute.

"This is ludicrous," said Severus between clenched teeth. Apparently, the Dursley's had forgotten to mention that the boy was slow! "I am accustomed to dealing with mentally ill children all the time, boy, but I do wish your relatives would at least have the decency to tell me—,"

"I am not mentally ill!" Harry suddenly shouted.

Severus stilled for only a moment before he sneered, "Then speak when you are told to, and I will not mistake you for one!"

The boy glared, and a shiver ran down Severus' spine at the flashing, narrowed eyes. Never, in all his years, had he ever seen irises quite so green. They sparkled the color of fresh olives, and the lad's evident anger made them shine brighter, like the sun rising in early dusk.

After moments more of steady silence, the boy finally bit out, "Harry James, youngest and single heir to the expired house of Potter."

Severus nodded curtly. "Follow me, then." He turned around, heading in the direction of the door, when a single word was voiced loudly, causing Severus to pause. He turned around, slowly, and looked down at the young boy who'd crossed his arms over his chest, and glared at him heatedly.

"I'm afraid I didn't quite catch that," Severus said, his obsidian eyes narrowed.

Young Harry glared harder. "I said no."

Severus' nostrils flared at the impertinence. "You dare disrespect me, boy?"

Harry ignored the question entirely. "I won't go. Take me back home," he demanded.

"Obnoxious twit! In case it has failed your notice, you no longer have a home!"

"Don't say that!" Harry shouted, and Severus took note of the slight hysteria that laced his tone. "I have a home!"

Severus snorted before he could restrain himself. "I see. And pray, tell me, where this home of yours is. Not with the Dursley's who have abandoned you on my doorstop, surely?"

Severus had been criticized for being a harsh man with a cutting tongue nearly all his life, but he had never viewed it that way. To him—a man who abhorred being lied to or mislead—honesty was an important aspect of life, a trait he not often came across, and so lived his life refusing to sugarcoat his words or belie his meanings. It was rare that circumstances arose which caused him to doubt the sharpness of his tongue. That instant—when Harry visibly flinched so hard, as if he'd been physically struck—was one such rarity.

Considerable unease at sounding cruel made Severus falter in his ranting. "Harry—," began, but stopped short when the boy sharply shook his head. His eyes grew large, and just before they trailed to the floor, Severus caught sight of the suspicious brightness of them. He inwardly sighed—feeling momentarily disgusted with himself— cleared his throat, and tried again.

"Your current state… is not in the best of conditions, I'm afraid," he said slowly, staring down at the boy who still refused to look up. Severus forgave him that rude gesture. "If you are not accustomed to it, long periods of being brushed by cold sea winds may provide you possible ailments. Why don't we take this conversation inside, where me may discuss current events further in the warmth of my office?"

Severus felt no impatience as the boy took his time to answer. When he finally nodded his consent, he placed his hand—only hesitating a little—on the boy's thin shoulder, and escorted him inside, closing the thick wood door tightly behind them.

Abbot Snape's office was larger and more well furnished than Harry had expected. A grand desk—oak wood, Harry thought—stood at the center of the room, half-buried in books of staggering sizes. The floor was polished, the walls clean of dust, and not a line of cob-web marred the stainless glass of the single large window that looked out into a close-by ocean. Aside from a huge chestnut-colored crucifix that adorned the wall behind the desk, a tall pendulum clock that stood at the corner, and a few paintings scattered along the left-side wall, the room was bare.

Abbot Snape seated himself behind the desk, pushed some of the books to the side so that he had a clear view in front from him, and beckoned Harry closer with a wave of his pale hand. Harry cautiously moved closer, until he stood three steps from the desk. Snape quirked a single dark brow at the distance between Harry and his desk, but otherwise did not pursue the issue.

The abbot did not speak, instead choosing to stare at Harry with dark, intense eyes. Harry fidgeted in his place, unaccustomed to being looked at in such a way, or scrutinized so intensely. When the discomfort had finally become unbearable, he figured Snape must have taken pity on his nervousness—that, or was annoyed by Harry's blatant fumbling and unease—and started to speak.

"Harry," Snape said flatly, "Whilst your anxieties are indeed understandable, I do hope that you will now be able to hold a civil conversation."

Harry found himself blushing, in part embarrassment and in part indignation. He'd been perfectly civil! … at least, he thought so.

"It is never easy being abandoned by your family—,"

"I wasn't abandoned!" Harry blurted, loudly.

Abbot Snape simply quirked his brow again, and waited for Harry to finish.

Blushing, Harry looked down at the floor and murmured his apologies.

"But," Snape continued, as if he hadn't been interrupted in the first place, "you must now think for yourself. I am not your holder or guardian. I will not keep you here if you are unwilling. If you wish to leave this place, all you would need to do is tell me so, and I will direct you to the closest road and point you to the nearest town."

Snape paused, most likely waiting for another outburst, then nodded when he realized it wasn't coming.

"Do know, however, that if you choose to stay, you may consider this place your home."

At Harry's startled glance, Snape elaborated. "You will be fed three full meals a day, usually consisting of bread, cheese, oats, vegetables, and certain meats. You will have bedding to sleep in at night, and water to drink when you are thirsty. The majority of your day will be spent meditating, praying, studying biblical text, and earning your keep through whittling, cleaning, attending the fields, and small tasks that I will assign you. You will be taught to read and write—," he said this pointedly, "—and will be expected to learn subjects such as philosophy, theology, and basic mathematics. When you have done something wrong, you will be chastised and scolded. In repetition, or by offending any of the regulations of this monastery, you will be punished…"

Snape seemed to lose concentration for a moment, Harry realized, before he shook his head and strengthened his gaze.

He coughed into his hand, then persisted, "Punished by paddling, caning, fasting, harder manual labor, or isolation for extended periods of time." The silence that followed was almost dramatic, and Harry would have rolled his eyes if he hadn't been facing the Abbot. Punishment—or daily treatment, rather—at the Dursley's usually consisted of being starved, overworked, locked in a closet, and beaten by a whip, branch, wet cloth, or a fist. If Snape considered those punishments harsh, then the man was softer than he looked.

Harry let Snape's words wash over him. He'd never been overly religious; he prayed when he ate and before bed, and went to church on the Sundays the Dursley's allowed him to go, but aside from that… To put it simply, Harry believed in God irrevocably, loved him like he was supposed to, and sought him out when he was in need of understanding or help. He'd never read the bible, though, and not just for obvious reasons. When his Aunt and Uncle took him to church, the Father's speeches and sermons always made him tired. The way the priest preached and lectured… Harry had always wondered why he couldn't be free to believe and love God the way he wanted to. Always pondered why the Father had supported loving God in one way, but admonished loving him in others. Had questioned why the Father said God would hate those who wouldn't abide by his laws, and finish the discussion off with an encouraging reminder that God loved all his children and would readily forgive their faults with penance.

Harry had never been able to understand it, and so hadn't taken much interest in the overall topic of religion. Abbot Snape had already made it quite clear, however, that Harry would be immersed in all aspects of it, whether he wanted to be or not. That factor wasn't altogether appealing, but being given an education certainly was. For so many years, Harry hated that he wasn't able to read or write or do math like his cousin could. Dudley had always made it worse by openly mocking Harry for it. But now… Harry actually had the chance to learn.

Harry closed his eyes, and inhaled deeply. He couldn't deny it—he'd been abandoned. He felt angry with himself for actually being surprised. The Dursley's had never made it less than obvious that they resented his existence. Abandoning Harry to a Monastary was actually rather pleasant of them, considering what else they could have done to him. He wouldn't put it past his Uncle Vernon to knock him out and toss him in the river to drown. At least this way, Harry had some semblance of a future ahead of him…

He couldn't believe that he'd actually demanded to be brought back to the Dursley's, had called that small cottage in the Village of Little Whinging his "home". He'd never considered that place his home before. Had never considered the Dursley's his "family". And hadn't he always wanted to get away from then, anyways? Always dreamed of escaping one night, running away to town or another village, and finding a job in a field or factory or something? Of course, those illusions had always remained just that—illusions. Dreams. Where would he go, anyways? Who would hire him; a young boy who couldn't read, or write, or do anything but tend horses and feed chickens and plow fields and pull roots and clean houses? Who would want such an unsightly, uneducated boy in their home, or on their farm, or in their business?

No one, and that's why he'd never run away.

Unexpectedly, the Dursley's had given Harry something he'd never been able to give himself: freedom. A means of having a future. Harry would be a fool to reject Abbot Snape's offer. He'd never intended to live any portion of his days in a Monastery, but it must be better than staying with the Dursley's. At least here he wouldn't dehydrate or starve or freeze during the night. At least here he wouldn't be beaten for the sheer reason of being alive. At least here, there would be no one to call him "Freak" or remind him how useless his parents had been, running away from their village to head out to the city, and getting killed on their easily-spooked horse.

Harry brought his hand up to his forehead, and brushed his fingers over the rough, zig-zagged scar above his left eye that marked the night his parent's died, and nodded to Snape.

"Yes, sir," he said as he opened his eyes, and the conviction he heard in his voice made him stand straighter and nod his head, "I would like to stay here."

An entire minute of silence passed, of Snape staring at Harry raptly, until the older man nodded his head and his lips quirked into what Harry could only presume to be a smile.

"Good," Abbot Snape said, then inclined his head, "Harry James of the House of Potter, welcome to Hogwarts Monastary."

Part: 02.

Life at the Monastery was nothing like Harry had initially imagined it to be. For starters, there weren't many rules, and none that cost Harry much to follow. He'd worried, at first, that there wouldn't be much privacy, but even that hadn't been necessary. The only time Harry was around other people was when he worked in the field or the kitchens, ate his meals, or had his lessons. Aside from that, he was pretty much on his own, free to do as he pleased—as long as he made it look like he was doing something. The chores were easy, and while some took longer than others, there was no reason for complaint.

There weren't as many inhabitants as he'd expected, either. The Monastery consisted of eight people: Abbot Severus Snape, who ran it; Mistress Minerva McGonagall who taught Mathematics and cooked; the five orphans he'd taken in, all in their teens; and Abbot Snape's apprentice, Draco Malfoy.

The other boys—Theodore Nott, Blaise Zabini, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, and Marcus Flint—were all a bit older than Harry, and generally kept to themselves. The only one who interacted with Harry on regular basis was Nott, who'd been given the task of teaching Harry to read and write. Nott didn't talk much, so their conversations didn't often stray away from academics. He'd spoken to Zabini a few times, when they whittled or worked in the kitchens. Crabbe and Goyle, Harry had decided, only grunted, and so he never pursued interaction with either of them, and Marcus Flint reminded Harry of his cousin, Dudley, and so he'd stayed clear away from the seventeen-year-old man.

Of all the people in the Monastary, Harry would have to admit that he spoke to Draco Malfoy the most. It wasn't intentional, and if Harry had any say in the matter, he would prefer not talking to Malfoy at all, but somehow they always seemed to throw words. Malfoy had a nasty mouth, and Harry had a nasty temper; to say that they rubbed each other the wrong way would be an understatement in the extreme. Malfoy seemed to have a problem with everything about Harry: his hair, his face, his glasses, the way he walked, the way he talked, the fact that he breathed…

And Harry… well, Harry couldn't deny that the feeling was indeed reciprocated. The git irritated him far worse than his cousin ever had, and it always took Harry much control to refrain from socking the stupid bugger in his stupid face. He'd been doing a good job at restraining himself, too. An entire lunar cycle of it, actually. And then all his work was shot to the dust when Malfoy made a comment about Harry's mother having to be stupid since she birthed such a stupid boy. Harry snapped, launched himself at the unsuspecting boy, and had punched him right in his pale, pointed face. Of course, since Harry could never have it easy, Snape chose just that moment to walk into the balcony and catch Harry throttling his apprentice.

"Harry Potter, unhand Draco at once!" Abbot Snape bellowed.

Harry jumped, startled at the sudden interruption, and quickly craned his head around. He took in Snape's irate expression and paled.

"Abbot Sna—,"

"I won't repeat myself again, Mr. Potter!"

Harry quickly scrambled off of Malfoy, paying no mind to the line of blood that fell from the other boy's face. He stood, glanced up at Snape, and just as hurriedly dropped his gaze to the floor.


"Mr. Potter, violence in this monastery is strictly against the regulations, never mind an act of sin in itself!"

If possible, Harry paled further.


"Do not make excuses!" he snapped, and Harry shut his mouth.

Snape stared at Harry for a long moment, charcoal eyes narrowed, and nodded briskly. "Come with me, Mr. Potter. I will decide on your punishment in my office."

Harry gulped and nodded, though never lifted his eyes from the pavement. Behind him he could hear Malfoy sniggering quietly. Abbot Snape must not have heard him—that, or he was pointedly (and rather cruelly) paying his apprentice no mind. He gestured at Harry to follow, turned on his heels, and stormed back inside.

Harry watched the dark figure retreat before he sighed again and trudged after, dreading the punishment to come…

And trying not to walk faster than was necessary.

"Lift your robes, Harry."

Harry grit his teeth and complied, his face blushing furiously.

Snape had taken him into his office only minutes before. The Abbot hadn't sat. Instead, he stood by his desk and bore his gaze into Harry, who kept his own gaze to his bare feet. After a few moments, he told Harry that as a first offense, he would be lenient with his punishment. "Twenty paddles should suffice," he'd said.

So now here Harry was, arms on the desk and arse in the air, dark brown robes hitched up to his waist, his undergarments the only thing covering his backside.

"Drop your undergarments."

Well, there that went.

Harry clenched his jaw, but nevertheless dropped them, face flushing in humiliation.

He felt, rather than saw, Snape's slow approach, and his heart increased in speed and sound as the man loomed closer.

"Violence is a religious and practical offense, young Harry James of the House of Potter. As punishment, you will receive twenty strikes from a paddle, and I hope that this will be the last time you'll need to visit this office for such a reason."

Harry started to nod, but started abruptly when the first impact against his arse was made. He arched his back and hissed through his teeth, feeling an all-too-familiar sting against his buttocks.

"Ah!" his cry was ripped from his lips in surprise. His breath had already started to become heavier. Harry waited for the next heavy blow, trying to gain control over himself for the next one.

Severus Snape had never seen anything so unbelievably beautiful in all his life. The way young Harry's back arched, how his bare behind lifted in the air, the small cry of surprise that escaped him, the light blush of red forming over the white patch of skin he'd just hit.

He struck the thick, wooden paddle again, and inhaled sharply at the boy's next grunt.

Heavenly Lord, he was getting hard.

Five! Six! Seven! Eight! Nine!

The harder Severus hit, the sorer Harry's bottom became, and the louder his muffled cries were. By the tenth strike, Severus was so painfully aroused he had to bite back a moan.

Harry Potter had fascinated him since the night Farmer Dursley had brought him to the Monastery. The sight of that sleeping boy, so unaware in his Uncle's arms, had stirred something in Severus that he'd tried for so many years to stow away.

Over the past lunar cycle, Severus had tried his hardest to pay the boy no more mind than was normal. During meals, he fought against his wandering eyes. During lessons, he restrained himself from touching. At night, he refrained from slipping into a room that wasn't his. It had been so long—ten years, almost—since something, or someone, so tempting had thrown himself in front of Severus. Aside from the fallout of his hip, he'd stopped wandering the country because he was determined to put distance between himself and all the temptations the outside world had to offer. He figured, running a monastery, the chances of meeting someone desirable would be slim. He thought then, with time, the sinful emotions that burned and coiled inside his stomach would dwindle, like a flame in the winter air.

But they hadn't, even after so long. Meditating could only push his thoughts away for so long. Prayer could only lessen his need for a short time. When he'd least expect it, he'd find himself thinking of nude bodies, glistening with sweat, well-toned with muscles of labor. He would imagine men, slim and lean and tanned, bearing all kinds of faces and hair colors, rubbing their bodies against his, touching his cock with their large hands.

For so long, those had solely been the fantasies of his over-imaginative mind. There'd never been anyone, since the time he first took Draco in, that had made him lust so sinfully. Made him want so wickedly.

Until Harry Potter had appeared before his eyes, his own personal snake in the Garden of Eden.

His own tempting apple.

Harry cried out as Severus struck out, and he licked his overly-dry lips. He stared long and hard at the perfectly bruised arse before him, red and firm and robust, and fought the desire to drop the paddle onto the floor and grab the mounds of flesh with his hands. It would be so easy, so very, very easy… and if the boy wanted to stay in the Monastery, he wouldn't be able to say a thing. No one would ever find out. And if he did decide to speak, who would believe him over an established Abbot and respected clergyman? No one. Harry Potter was only a child, and orphaned one, at that. No one would even consider believing a word he uttered, and any testimony he would try to make would be discarded as a made lie by a naughty child in search of attention.

Or, and Severus' hardness throbbed painfully at the thought, He could make it so enjoyable for the young boy. He would show him such ecstasy—give him such pleasure—that he'd never dream of saying a thing. He'd come to Severus at night on his own, and never again would Severus have to toss and turn in his bedding, burning with insatiable heat and feeling so deprived.

Severus struck—thirteen!—and swallowed heavily. Now would be the perfect time. The most precise moment. Young Harry was vulnerable, hurt, in need of comfort. All Snape had to do was drop the paddle and move in, wrap his arms around the small body, and take him. He could imagine it—his body, his length, moving in and out of the boy, slowly and leisurely and sensuously, until Harry screamed and cried his name and demanded more and faster and harder…

Fourteen! Fifteen!

He was running out of time! This could very well be the last chance he would ever get. Harry stood there before him, half naked, almost offering himself to Severus. All Severus had to do was take.


Severus shook his head, and tried to expel the lust-filled thoughts that muddled his mind. Lord, was he truly considering taking a boy? A man? A child? Why had he become a clergyman? Why had he opened a Monastery? Why had he deprived himself for so many years, refusing to give in to his carnal, base desires? Defying evil in the form of temptation?

Because his feelings were wrong. Because God would never allow him—a boy lover—into his Kingdom if he gave into it.

Severus could still remember, as a child, he and his mother walking into their home and in on his father pressing lips with another man in their small, dingy little kitchen. He could hear his mother shrieking at his father, calling him a man lover, a disgusting creature, a sinful being. He could remember her screaming that God would never allow it, never allow him into his Kingdom. Would never open his gates to heaven. He could remember his father fleeing from their small hut in Spinners End, the other man at his heels, and never returning.

He could remember feeling dread, too, since hadn't he always thought of men romantically? Hadn't he dreamed of kissing men, too? For as long as he could remember, just like his father?

Watching his father leave and his mother break down had caused something inside of Severus to break. He made a vow, then, that he would fight his desire for the same sex. He promised himself that he would immerse himself in the teachings of God, do good for others, lock his sinful feelings in a box, and never open them again. That way, the Lord would reward him for his efforts and take him into heaven when he died.

Only, hadn't Severus already broken his promise? Hadn't he slept with a man before? Fifteen years ago. Ten years ago. Years in between. Faceless men in villages when he could take it no more. Unknown men in stables when his need became too great. He'd stopped only when, once, he'd been caught, and the woman who found them had almost alerted the entire village of their happenings. Severus had fled, then, and made an oath that he would no longer seek the company of another man. To lessen the temptation, he used his worn hip as an excuse to move to a remote area, to his grandfather's old cottage, fully intending to become a hermit. His plans had changed since the death of the Malfoy clan, and he'd taken Draco in. Somehow, over the years, he'd accumulated five other homeless boys. Four years ago, he'd hired Mistress McGonagall to teach Mathematics, and some theology, and cook the more complex meals. Ten years later, and he'd established himself an Abbot of Hogwarts Monastery.

And it still wasn't enough. It was never enough.

Seventeen! Eighteen!

The skin of Harry's buttocks came close to the color of a ripened tomato. Severus himself had only been paddled twice—once by his father and once by his Master—and though it had been many years ago, he could still recall the burning sear of having a mass of wood connect with the tender skin of your arse. He could still remember biting his lip, trying not to cry out in pain. He could remember getting hard when his Master smacked him especially hard, right in the line of his crease—


"Ah!" Harry cried out, the first stifled scream since his second.

Severus froze, inhaled sharply, and took in completely the sight before him: Harry was shaking, almost violently, and if he put to ease his own pounding heart and heavy breathing, he could hear the boy's panting, the soft, secret sniffles.

One more. One more to go. Then, he'd send Harry away and forget he'd ever thought such things about the young boy. Forget that he'd just been considering so deeply committing another sin.

Snape lifted his paddle, slowly, and shuffled on the floor, positioning himself in an angle that would lessen the weariness of his arm. His eyes raked the red bum, and moved lower to the very bottom. They drifted to the side, entirely on their own, and what Snape saw made his breath catch.

The boy was hard.

The boy was hard.

Severus' restraint snapped harder than the twentieth strike against Harry's arse.

His body moved far faster than his mind ever hoped to. The only thought in his mind, as he tossed the paddle to the floor and took a step forward, was that he needed contact. He thought of nothing else as he cupped the boy's bare buttocks with his hands, wasn't thinking as he snaked his arm around the small, skinny waist, his palm brushing against soft, barely developed pubic hair. Severus pulled Harry into him, back to chest, and groaned as his hardness came into full contact with the lad's middle back. When Harry gasped, Severus bent low enough that his face was on par with Harry's shoulders, and sank his teeth softly into the delicate flesh of his neck.

Harry moaned—a sound that caused vibrations of desire to ripple up and down Severus' spine—and Severus almost lost it.

He took a step backward, only far enough to spin Harry's body around without creating too much distance, and pushed Harry onto the desk. The small boy fell onto the surface of wood perfectly, and Severus quickly shoved the piles of books off of it, effectively clearing the desk and sending his belongings onto the floor.

He returned to the boy quickly, and once again latched himself onto that luscious, welcoming neck. Harry moaned and whimpered under his attentive ministrations, each sound making Severus harder than should ever be possible. When Harry opened his legs and wrapped them around Severus' waist, and their cocks—both hard under layers of woolen cloth—crashed together, Severus thought he would die.

Perhaps, Harry reckoned as Abbot Snape lifted his robe over his head and Harry once more wrapped his legs around the older man's waist, Punishment in this Monastery wasn't so bad, after all.

When Snape ran his hot, wet tongue over the dip of Harry's collar bone, he thought that the punishment wasn't that bad at all.

He shouldn't have been thinking, really, not when Snape's hands and tongue were doing wickedly amazing things to his body, but he couldn't help himself. He was sure, somewhere, that this kind of thing wasn't allowed. Not between man and man. Not between adult and child. Not between Abbot and lowly student. Yes, he was quite sure of that. His old Priest would certainly not approve.

Harry wondered, vaguely, what kind of face his Uncle would be making if he knew just how people were disciplined at Hogwarts. He wouldn't be happy about it at all, most probably, but quickly tried to banish those thoughts when an image of his purpled-face Uncle entered his mind and Harry's cock nearly wilted in repulsion. It wasn't a great time to be thinking those things at all.

Snape dropped his hands from Harry's shoulders and ran his warm, calloused fingers over his sides, and Harry shuddered instinctively, fully enjoying the feel of the other man's palms running over his skin. Snape was driving him crazy—absolutely and completely crazy, as he had been for weeks now. Yes, Harry had taken in all of his Abbot's reactions to him. He hadn't been blind to the way Snape's eyes constantly moved in his direction during meals and lectures, and always noticed when Snape's arm would innocently brush against his when they walked the halls or meditated together. Harry had caught sight of the lingering, furtive glances for a while, though had decided long ago not to question his abbot about them. He wasn't naïve enough to think Snape's obvious interest in him decent, though had been naïve enough to think he would do nothing about it.

Snape ran his tongue over Harry's already-taught nipple, scraping the delicate pebble with his teeth slightly, and Harry hissed and arched his back.

He was definitely doing something about it now, though, and Harry found that he didn't mind nearly as much as he should have.

As soon as he became aware of Snape's attention on him, Harry had been quick to imagine some form of liaison between the two of them. He didn't necessarily find Snape to be attractive—he was more interesting, he supposed, with all his sharp features and intense gestures—but he'd fancied thoughts of boys before. He'd imagined kissing his cousin's friend, Geoffrey, in the stable, or the youngest son of the farmer down the road from them, Henry. Harry had discovered long ago that females held no interest for him, though admittedly he hadn't been around many of them to really compare. Still, it had always been boys he'd grown flustered around; the good-looking ones, at least. It had always been about boys that he'd dream of snogging and other things he'd seen his cousin, two years older than him, doing with the local farm girl Millie.

Snape directed his attention to his other heated bud, and Harry grabbed onto his Abbot's shoulders tighter.

The Dursley's priest had once preached the horridness of one man taking liberties another man, but Harry had never thought so. Perhaps it was because he wasn't exactly unbiased, but even so. How could loving someone—any kind of love, for that matter—be wrong? How could a boy loving a boy be any different from a boy loving a girl? What right did the priest have to claim that one love was indecent, yet others weren't?

Harry, smartly, had never brought up his thoughts with his family—and how could he, when he heard his Uncle slandering same-sex love so often?

That had been the start of Harry's suppositions that God's love was, perhaps, different to each individual, all depending on their circumstances and needs. He figured that maybe the priest had never known love outside of God, and so couldn't understand the different types. He considered that Dursleys didn't love anyone that didn't share the same name, and couldn't be arsed to understand other kinds of love, either.

Harry, though, loved all kinds of things, from the parents he could just barely remember, to his horse, Hedwig, to the chickens he tended, to the old lady, Widow Figg, who lived down the Dursleys' lane. In some weird way, he even loved the Dursley's—though he had every right not to. Still, he'd never wished any of them ill. Much ill, anyways. Harry believed that God had to accept anything that made a person happy, as long as they weren't harming anyone.

He wondered if it was because he loved more than some others, that his God was more loving, too.

Harry felt Snape's hand cup his throbbing erection, and he gasped aloud and arched back. He'd been thinking far too much, he decided. With a shake of his head, and another groan when Snape began to rub his length up and down, Harry closed his eyes and pushed his thoughts to the back of his mind, fully intending to feel, rather than think, and enjoy what was to come.

The boy was reciprocating.

Harry was reciprocating.

Truthfully, Severus didn't know what he would have done if the boy had decided to refuse him. That small concern that that plagued his heart died, however, when Harry's hands tightened on his shoulders and he breathed his name, calling "Snape". Under any other circumstance, he would have scolded the boy for addressing him by his family name alone, but…

Harry—a small, fourteen year old boy— was undoing Severus like no one else. It was like a fog had taken host in his head, and Severus was unable to discern exactly how to get rid of it. Every part of him, all his senses, was completely fixated on the boy underneath him. The name "Harry" was repeating itself in his head like a mantra, desperate-sounding and needing even to his own inner ear. Harry called his name again, a soft mix of a cry and a whimper, and Snape found that he really didn't care. The only thing he cared about, at the moment, was that he had on entirely too much clothing for his personal liking.

Quickly, Snape took a step back, inwardly groaning at young Harry's disappointed whine, and hastily pulled his thick robe over his head. He was wearing nothing else underneath aside the thin undergarments that irritatingly restrained his aching cock. Snape wasted no time in removing those.

He stepped forward again and removed Harry's undergarments, which were bunched around his knees, and tossed them to the floor. He lifted his robe completely off, and dropped it on top of the heap of his own clothes. Severus took a moment to savor the wonderful sight of the naked boy before him. All thoughts on the wrongness of their current situation had successfully been driven from Severus' mind. He no longer doubted his intentions. He no longer paid heed to the wrongness of it, the vileness of his own actions. At the moment, all he could care about was getting off—with Harry, on Harry, in Harry. Desperately, because it had been far too long, he wrapped his hand over the younger boy's fully hard length—taking delight in the wanton hiss the contact enacted—took hold of his with his opposite, shaking hand, and brought their erections together.

It had been entirely too long indeed, since Severus nearly came from the first movement alone.

Severus rubbed them together harshly, using the glint of pre-cum surrounding their shafts as lubrication, and panted into Harry's ear. It might have been because it had been so long, but Severus didn't think he'd ever felt so good, simply rubbing off another person. Harry was gripping his arms so tightly he was sure to bruise, moaning Severus' name in his ear, chanting that Severus needed to move harder, stronger, faster.

Harry suddenly shouted, and began convulsing against him. Severus didn't cease. He was too far into it, now. Too close. Even when the young boy began to whimper from his undoubtedly oversensitive prick, he didn't dare stop, not when his first other-person induced orgasm was so close, not when he'd finally been able to come from something other than his right hand, not when Harry—young, beautiful Harry—was a shaking, panting mess underneath him…


Severus froze, then began pulsing as hot liquid began to pour from his throbbing cock, draining him of every ounce of his passion, causing small tremors of heat to pool and simmer around his lower belly, across his spine, and over his chest. He gripped onto Harry, clinging for all he was worth as his orgasm ripped through him, blinding him, blocking his senses from anything that wasn't pleasure.

When finally—finally—the tremors ceased, and the mind-blowing rush of ecstasy began to dwindle, and he was able to open his eyes without seeing white, Snape let out a shaky breath of hair and released his death-grip on Harry.

As soon as his post-orgasm daze began to diminish, Severus' senses returned, feeling a lot like a whip against his face.

He startled backward, eyes wide, gaze fastened to young Harry's startled one.

"Snape?" Harry asked, after a while of silence. "Are you alright?"

Severus continued to stare, self-disgust, fear, and anger moving through his body in waves. He felt sick looking at Harry; naked, ruffled, used, sitting on his desk, looking at him so innocently, so unknowing to the fact that he'd been defiled—been defiled by Severus.

How could I? He thought frantically, his heart pounding in his ears. What have I done?

"Sir?" Harry repeated.

Severus ignored him. He was far too busy wallowing in shame and horror and disbelief. He wished that he were back to being driven by lust. That way, at least, he wouldn't have to think of how unforgivable a thing he'd just done. That way, he wouldn't feel so mortified.

Because he liked it, had enjoyed it, and it was a sin to have done so.

"Snape—," Harry repeated, but Severus interrupted before he could continue.

"Get out," he said, slowly. Hoarsely. His throat felt as if an apple had lodged itself into it. What had he done? What had he done? If God had been considering allowing Severus into his Kingdom before, he certainly wasn't anymore.

How could he?


"Just get out!" Severus suddenly screamed.

He saw, distantly, Harry jump in alarm, and push himself off the desk. From someplace far away, Severus watched as young Harry picked his wrinkled robe from the floor and slipped it back on. Watched as he shoved his damp undergarment into his pocket. Watched as the young boy shot him an almost offended look, and made his way past Severus.

The most ironic part about it, Severus inwardly laughed without humor, was that he didn't want Harry to go at all. As the boy moved past him, and their arms brushed, he wanted nothing more than to twirl on his heel and wrap the boy in his arms, never letting him go again. But he quenched that desire, and allowed the boy to move right on by without further incident.

What have I done?


Severus turned slightly without intending to. He was hunched over, his shoulders down from the invisible weight that had suddenly formed on it, and gazed in the direction of the door. He didn't look at Harry. He wasn't look at anything, really. Before his eyes were the black strands of his loose hair, and further than that was nothing—just shapeless blurs that couldn't be identified.

"It's alright, Abbot Snape."

After a while, the words traveled to Severus' ears, and he twitched. He wondered how long the boy had been speaking. If he'd been speaking at all.

"God won't hate you."

That got Severus' attention quickly. His head snapped up, and if he'd been commanded, his vision cleared, and his eyes zoomed in on Harry, who was still hovering by the door, a look of utter determination on his face.

"What?" Snape asked, hoarsely. Tightly. Disbelieving that those words had come out of the boy's mouth.

"He won't hate you. God. He won't hate me, either. Because we haven't hurt anyone in our pursuit of happiness. In our quest for love."

Severus stopped breathing.

Harry suddenly smiled, and Severus thought he looked much older than fourteen years old.

"God loves us, sir, no matter who or what we love. Don't forget that. Don't ever forget that."

By the time Severus remembered that he wasn't breathing, and let out a gush of air, Harry was gone.

An entire lunar cycle had passed since Harry had been "punished" by Snape. Things seemed to go on exactly as they did before. Harry practiced writing and reading with Nott, studied mathematics with Mistress McGonagall, listened—with everyone else Abbot Snape's lectures on theology and philosophy. He rarely talked to anyone, and mostly kept to himself, as he'd done in the beginning. He argued with Malfoy on an hourly basis. He worked in the kitchens with Zabini, and avoided Marcus Flint like the plague. Work-wise, everything was the same, as well. Snape-wise, it was as if nothing had changed. The man sat with them during meals, prayed with them at certain hours, and continued to meditate on the balcony. It was as if nothing had changed at all—at least, to those who weren't Harry. Harry knew that if he'd asked, none of the other boys would be able to take note of anything different about Snape. They wouldn't be able to tell that Snape's eyes stopped staring at him from across the dining table, or ceased lingering on him as they talked. They wouldn't realize that Snape no longer brushed shoulders with him when they passed each other in the hall, or lowered his tone when he said his name.

They wouldn't notice, but Harry did, and it bothered him to no end.

Harry was on the balcony, doing his best to meditate and not think about tall, pale, greasy-haired Abbots with interesting features running their hands over his body, when a loud coughing interrupted his already-delicate concentration.

"Well, well, Potter; so you can be quiet."

"Bugger off, Malfoy," Harry snapped, and didn't bother opening his eyes.

There was a moment of silence, and Harry thought that Malfoy had finally left, but it was broken by his next words:

"Don't lie to yourself, Potter."

Harry's eyes snapped open, and he craned his head up at Malfoy, who was lingering by the doorway, looking down at him with a smirk that made Harry want to wipe it off his face with his fist. Again.

"Excuse me, Malfoy?" he bit out.

If possible, Malfoy's smirk grew wider.

"Going deaf now, are we? Tsk. I will have to tell Abbot Snape that, then. Can't have a cripple staying at Hogwarts, now, could we?"

Harry glared angrily. "I said to bugger off, you damn prat! For someone who's supposed to be the protégée of an Abbot, you sure don't behave like one!"

Malfoy narrowed his eyes. "Watch yourself, Potter."

"Or what?" Harry sneered.

Malfoy took a step forward, full out glaring, now.

"Or you'll regret the day your stupid mother had you, is what." He said, eyes flashing.

Harry snarled, and shot up from his cross-legged position on the stone pavement. He hadn't even realized he'd moved, after that, until he saw Malfoy sprawled on the floor, hands cupping his bleeding nose, and glaring up at Harry dangerously.

Head still heavy with anger, Harry took a step forward, fully intending to grab Malfoy by his silver-blond hair and drag him off the balcony and into the sea, when the sound of his name being shouted made him freeze.

"Mr. Potter! What do you think you are doing!"

Harry whipped around, eyes wide, and gulped at the sight of Snape stomping over, looking positively angry.

Harry wanted to cry. Didn't he ever get a break?

As Snape approached, Harry opened his mouth and began to plea his case, but a cutting look from Snape shut him promptly up.


"I don't wish to hear an excuse from you, boy! I'm sure I was quite clear in meaning that you were not to manhandle anyone, inhabitant of this monastery or otherwise!" Snape grabbed Harry by the collar of his robe and tugged him out of the balcony and into the hall, completely ignoring his protests.

Dinner had already ended long ago, as had the sun's time in the sky. It was dark, the only visible light emanating from the moon that hovered over a singing ocean. The corridor was empty, most of the inhabitants of the Monastery already in the privacy of their rooms.

Harry allowed himself to be dragged down the hall, past his room and towards Snape's office, the last door to the right in the second corridor.

"Sir?" Harry asked tentatively, going along with the pulling rather than fighting it, as he'd initially done. "Sir, where are you taking me?"

Snape said nothing, and Harry grew irritated.

"Sir!" he snapped, louder than he intended to.

Snape suddenly stopped walking, and Harry nearly bumped into the other man's back as he did so. He took a step back, and looked upward as the taller man craned his head down to look at Harry.

"You broke this monastery's rule, Harry James of the House of Potter. Your need for discipline requires me to conduct suitable punishment on your person. Forty strikes with a paddle should suffice this time, I think."

Harry spluttered, and gaped at Snape. Forty paddles? He could barely take the twenty from last time!

"Sir—," Harry started, fully planning to beg the Abbot for some other means of punishment. Extra labor on the fields, for instance. Or isolation. Or something that didn't lead to him not being able to sit properly for a week!

"—there has to be…"

Something in Snape's eyes made Harry freeze.

Harry stared at Snape, his eyes searching coal-black ones, and when Harry saw Snape's lip slightly twitch, his breath caught.

Dazedly, he nodded. The hand on Harry's shoulder tightened, and Harry had to bite back a groan.

"You understand, don't you?" Snape said stiffly, and the double meaning wasn't lost on Harry.

Harry nodded again, much quicker. "Yes, Abbot Snape. I've broken the rules and have harmed another person. Regardless my reasons, that was not the appropriate way to behave. I apologize, Sir. Please punish me to your heart's content."

Harry watched almost gleefully as obsidian irises darkened.

When Snape turned around again and continued to drag Harry forward, he smiled, and no longer felt any need to complain.

A/N: And that's the end! Review please, and tell me what you think!