Draco was discussing his dissertation with Severus the first time he felt attracted to him - well, the first time as an adult. (Twenty was adulthood, whatever Severus said.) Draco had been complaining about the eight-thousand-word limit. It was ridiculous, he said, it was barely enough to even dig into the historic use of sex and fertility charms as protection from evil, and the whole point of his dissertation was the link between fertility as a ward against evil and the -

"No whining about the wordcount," Severus told him, in a voice that instantly catapulted Draco back to the Potions dungeon and trying to explain why he hadn't done his homework. "It's confinement, certainly, but for a purpose. The restriction increases the pleasure."

Lust hit him like a slap in the face, and Draco dropped his eyes from Severus' as he blushed. Flustered by his own sudden arousal, Severus' silken voice still reverberating in his ears - pleasure - he fumbled for words.

"Yes - well - I say - "

Draco kept his mind Occluded at all times. The war, and his wishes for Voldemort to be eaten by his own sodding snake, had necessitated it. Afterwards he'd kept in the habit, feeling too vulnerable in this changed world to leave his mind open. Even with someone he trusted.

But he'd never been any good at all at hiding his emotions, and Severus' life had depended on detecting others' feelings for decades. His dark eyes ran over Draco's face, taking in the blush and the stutter.

Severus smiled.

Draco flushed more darkly at his amusement.

He babbled something about a prior appointment and rushed off, but couldn't outrun his embarrassment or his arousal. Draco emerged from the Floo to his bedroom with his hand over his face, hot with shame at the memory of Severus' knowing smile. He slumped onto his bed. Then he wriggled out of his clothes and came ten minutes later to the fantasy of ropes holding him down as he struggled, and to the memory of Severus' black eyes.

Luckily, neither of them had let things end there.

Nineteen months on, and Draco was still finding pleasure in Severus' restrictions. Severus experimented: cuffs and ropes and restraints. Different positions, different set-ups, playing with Draco's body and testing what he could have Draco do. Even when Draco didn't love a particular kind of binding, Severus' creativity amazed him. He lived for the moment when he entered their bedroom and heard the soft order to strip. He'd obey, listening with all his might for a hitch in Severus' breath as Draco's robes dropped by his feet. And Draco would spend an hour or two balanced on the razor-edge of arousal that lived between the anticipation of what was coming, and the uncertainty about what that might be.

"Draco." The warmth in Severus' voice, subtle but unmistakable, was like a warm hand on the back of his neck.

Draco turned and smiled a welcome. He'd been waiting for Severus to come home; last weekend had included a difficult dinner at the Manor, and this Friday night freedom seemed to have been a long time coming. "I was just thinking about you."

A black eyebrow arched; long fingers twitched. "Really?"

"I'm always thinking about you." Draco gave Severus a filthy grin. He might have had an upper-class upbringing, but faced with Severus' buttoned-up self, there was space for him to flirt and tease.

Just a little. Severus always got his revenge if Draco was too cheeky, and Severus' self-control far outstripped Draco's on his best days. If he wished, Severus could have Draco begging and saying anything Severus wanted, and they both knew it.

"Marvellous. I've brought something new home with me tonight."

Draco felt his whole body lean towards Severus'. "What is it?"

Severus smiled, black eyes cool and wicked as the lash. "You'll find out. Go and get into position."

Draco shivered at the words, excitement tightening his chest.

Severus tilted his head, very slightly.

Draco jumped up and disappeared up the stairs and to their bedroom. He took off his clothes, the obedience arousing him, and lay on their bed. Instinctively he wanted to curl up a little against the chill in the room. But Severus liked to see him vulnerable, and giving Severus what he liked usually worked out well for Draco. He made himself stretch out: wrists facing upwards, thighs parted. He waited, outwardly calm, but with his breath coming faster with every heartbeat.

He knew it would be a minute or two before Severus came. He liked to make Draco wait, knowing he could have Draco lie still and bare and waiting for him. Besides, Severus had never said so, but Draco knew he felt awkward undressing in front of Draco on nights like this. It felt horrible to do it with magic, so Severus liked to do it where the possibility of tripping on his robes couldn't ruin his dominant mystique.

Not that Draco would ever let on that he knew. One of the greatest gifts of this relationship had been the revelation that other people - even the grand, dark Severus Snape - could be hiding insecurity. He liked the idea that for once he was quietly protecting Severus' vanity, rather than the other way round.

Severus entered with long, thin wires drooping from his hands like the stems of flowers. They glimmered gold against Severus' pale body as he crossed the room. Draco frowned a little. The wires were new, and they were very thin. They could well hurt more than rope, leave deep marks on him. He opened his mouth.

"Wrists together above your head, Draco. Legs spread. And scoot down a little."

Draco scowled. "I hate it when you do that. I'm not your student any more, don't use those techniques to stop me questioning you."

Severus froze. His dark eyes were full of sudden anger, like a summer storm. Anger with himself, or with Draco? It likely didn't matter. Draco slid slowly down the bed, sliding his arms above his head, spreading his legs as Severus had told him. I'm not challenging you, you don't have to -

Severus' mouth pinched, and he tied Draco's wrists together with the gold wire, and then wound the wire round their headboard. Draco let him, feeling arousal trickle through him despite the thunderous feeling of magic in the air. Once he had Draco tied down, tension left Severus' thin shoulders. The old dangers he'd been seeing began to leech out of his eyes.

He looked down at Draco, and Draco looked back with a raised eyebrow. Severus shook his head a little, and touched the back of his hand to Draco's cheek. He was smiling, just not with his mouth. He was back.

"Try pulling at the wires," said Severus. "Gently."

Draco tugged, and stopped as he felt the wires strain. They were weak; fragile things that Draco could snap with only a little struggle. He looked up at Severus, a frown between his brows, silently asking for answers.

"You have to hold still," Severus told him. "This time, I'm not going to truss you up so that you can't move. You have your own will to keep you still, and nothing else."

Anxiety thrilled through him. What if he couldn't - what if he disappointed Severus? Draco knew perfectly well that he wasn't what people thought of as a good sub, and Severus had had others, and -

"Don't worry," said Severus, cutting off his train of thought. "You need only obey, and I'll take care of the rest. You only need to prove that you want to be here, even when I'm not forcing you."

Draco caught a shadow in the dark eyes - he recognised the tone. Prove he wanted to be here? More like prove you want me. This request was related to the dinner party last weekend, and Astoria Greengrass.

Astoria was pretty, and wryly witty, and capable of withering anger - as Draco and Severus had seen when an older wizard condescended to her about her grasp of current Wizengamot politics. Draco liked her: she was his sort of person. And his parents liked her too, as had been obvious to all involved. Particularly when she was placed, in a horrendously unsubtle metaphor, between Draco and Severus at dinner.

Draco had strangled the urge to be horrible to her in a show of defiance - well, petulance - against his parents' unsubtle scheming. He'd been rather proud of his maturity; he'd never have managed it as a teenager, certainly. But Severus wasn't pleased the way he usually was when Draco acted like a grown-up. He was too busy behaving like a teenager himself, Draco had thought unkindly.

Severus was thumbing his collarbone, waiting while Draco thought about it. He was being every inch the considerate dominant, but the shadows were still there in his face.

Alarm bells rang. They'd already come close to the edge tonight, Severus' past threatening to overtake their present. And although Severus had stayed locked in his usual tower of silence about it, his old insecurities had flared up at that dinner party. Lucius and Narcissa had made comments, with varying degrees of subtlety, about how dire things had been for them immediately after the war, and how much better things were now.

Severus had nodded along, knuckles white around a glass of brandy. When they got home that night, Draco had tried saying something. Something like I know you've worried that my interested in you was because I felt vulnerable, and I thought sex was my only way of getting necessary protection. Or that I seduced you because I wanted the social capital. But that wasn't it, that was never it - I want your protection but I want you more.

But saying something so directly didn't come naturally to him, and hearing it came even less naturally to Severus. Draco had tried, "about Astoria, tonight - "

"Of course you want to discuss her," Severus snorted. "A fellow blonde with more curls than original thoughts."

Draco caught his breath, and felt it sting his lungs. Guilt flashed briefly in Severus' eyes; then his lips thinned and he headed for their room. Draco glared poisonously at his back, and they both went to bed unhappy: Severus resentful and guilty, Draco silent but spiky.

The next morning Severus had silently brought him the Prophet and a cup of tea, over-sugared as Draco liked it, and asked what he thought of the day's news. It had been the apology Draco needed, but... The memory didn't encourage him to agree to this new way of doing things. What if he couldn't, what would Severus think?

Draco bit his lip.

"You only need to be a good boy," Severus said, so softly that the words didn't seem to break the silence, only become part of it. "To hold still while I do as I wish with you."

Draco swallowed.

He could feel himself flushing, and he couldn't help wriggling a little against his bonds, testing them. To have Severus hurting him, pleasing him, trying to force him to move - because he knew Severus would test his obedience...

Severus smirked, as banked fire blazed up in his eyes. "Well?"

Draco nodded, then managed to find his voice. "Yes. Yes... I want that."

Severus kissed him.

Draco kissed back, and Severus began to touch him: not sweet caresses, but casual, almost curious fingertip brushes of his skin. Along his collarbone, tingling over his chest, hardening his nipples; then lower. Severus' eyes were unreadable, but his gentle exploration seemed explatory: examining Draco's body, learning it once more, inspecting what was his.

Draco gasped a little as Severus reached his navel; then Severus turned back, counting his ribs. He was shifting already under the light touches, twitching and trembling as Severus caressed his hipbone. Severus ran one long finger downwards, and Draco obeyed the wordless command, spreading his legs needily as Severus stroked fingertips up his inner thigh. Severus only smiled, his black eyes alight. He kept touching, working Draco up further and further. Severus just touched, watching as Draco fought to contain his reactions, to pretend he wasn't blinded by desire and desperate to just tear away from his bonds and get some relief. Severus' seemingly casual expression as he quietly, gently worked away at Draco's self-control only made Draco hotter; then he caught Severus' dark eyes, and they were ravenous.

Draco couldn't believe the power in these little touches, piled on each other until he ached with want, almost shaking. Severus' breathing was heavy now - Severus heard it catch as Draco arched his back, seeking more contact. But Severus kept his usual self-control, the faint flush the only sign of his arousal.

Except for his thick cock, of course; but Draco couldn't even look. There was no point in torturing himself with want when Severus was already doing such a sterling job.

Draco shuddered, his chest heaving now, as Severus finally stroked his cock. "Severus, Severus please, just - " he broke off, bucking his hips and choking on indignation, as Severus took his hand away. "You can't - please, I can't, if you keep - "

Severus delivered a stinging slap to Draco's inner thigh. The sound rang out, overlaid by Draco's yelp of shock. Severus gave his other thigh a matching slap, and Draco pressed his legs together instinctively.

Severus waited, his lips curling into the hint of a wicked smile. Draco breathed out, and spread his legs again.

"Good boy."

Severus slapped him on his inner thighs while Draco yelped and tried not to flinch and hoped Severus wouldn't catch his balls and felt his arousal grow. The warm sting of Severus' slaps grew, increasing his arousal and building the pain, until Draco's arms were trembling with the effort of not moving.

"Just remember: if you squirm too much, you'll break the wires."

"I'm trying, I'll do it, Severus - "

Severus pinched his inner thigh. Draco squealed, his whole body jolting, and Severus just kept that sharp grip on soft flesh. It hurt, he always forgot how much this hurt - Severus let go, and Draco had long enough to exhale in relief before Severus pinched him again. He whimpered through his teeth, clenching his fists, his body taut from pain as he tried to remember: don't struggle, don't fight, if you struggle it'll stop.

Severus pinched him again, on his spanked skin, and Draco's breath caught in his throat. Severus' eyes were bright and fixed on his face. Draco knew he was pink and sweating, but he couldn't imagine his own expression; some combination of pleasure and concentration and ow ow ow ow -

Severus let go, and let his hands smooth up Draco's body: that was over. Draco's whole body loosened in relief. Severus leant over, his hair brushing Draco's face, and kissed him. Draco smiled into the kiss, relishing Severus' teasing tongue and the token of approval. His eyes were still closed in bliss when Severus' fingers abruptly pinched his nipples. Draco cried out, feeling his nipples harden against the cruel fingers. He couldn't help it, he thrashed -

Just once. Severus let go and Draco he froze, staring up into Severus' face, barely daring to breathe. Severus raised an eyebrow, watching Draco subside. Draco felt himself flush. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I won't do it again, I don't want to break the wires - "

Heat glowed in Severus' eyes, like the coals in the centre of a fire. "Ssh, Draco. Charming as this apology is, you did move." Draco felt his mouth tremble, and Severus softened enough to kiss him. Draco sank into it, and whined when Severus drew back. "Pinching is clearly not the way to go. So I shall use something else."

Lust and uncertainty twisted in Draco's stomach. His heart jumped and his cock hardened as Severus picked up his wand.

Severus shifted now, leaning over Draco's body on the bed. Despite his slimness, his sinewy muscle and the near-feral lust in his eyes made him look like a predator. Draco was trembling, but he made himself stay in place, waiting for what Severus would do.

Severus spoke two words, and before Draco could understand them, stinging heat hit his stomach. Draco yelped, and looked down to see a small, red mark left there.

"A stinging hex?"

"Carefully controlled," Severus said with a small smile.

And another - and another. He sent them stinging over Draco's skin, small pains hitting without warning. With each hex, Draco twitched and shuddered, trying to control the flinch, trying to stay in place. To prove that Severus didn't need to hold him down to keep him there. It hurt, but each hex was carefully controlled; and the mastery of the magic, and of Draco's body, kept him hovering on the edge of mindless desperation.

Severus was moving faster now, but Draco was holding himself still, he could do it, he knew he could. Blazing pain and desire but he knew -

A hex hit his collarbone. The sting against his sensitive skin made Draco's eyes water. It hurt, it hurt - Severus' wand was still raised, he was going to do it again - Draco cried out in alarm, feeling himself about to break. The sound was wordless, something any stranger would be unable to pick out from his steady stream of cries and moans. But Severus recognised the sharp note of anxiety, of fear that Draco would be unable to help himself and disobey. His dark eyes flashed and the spells stopped. Severus lowered his wand, and kissed him.

Draco kissed back, barely able to keep up; he was caught between recovering from the pain, processing the myriad small hurts glowing on his body, and the pleasure that was sweeping him up. "Good, good boy," Severus murmured, drawing back. Draco made a small, plaintive noise, and then Severus' warmth and weight was back. But now he had a small pot of lubricant, and Draco spread his legs and it was bliss. Pain and now long fingers, contact, Severus carefully making Draco ready to be fucked; Draco gave a low groan, from deep in his throat.

Severus kissed him like he was trying to draw more sounds out, force out Draco's reactions and then swallow them so they were his. Draco felt swept away by it; he was hazy with submission, aching with desire, and Severus seemed determined to consume him.

Draco whined low in his throat, twitching his hips upward, wordlessly pleading for more. Severus obliged him, sliding inside slow and sweet and forcing Draco's eyes closed.

"I want you," Severus muttered, barely seeming to hear himself. He was losing his own control even as he teased at Draco's. "Want to touch you... want to watch you, watch your muscles tense as you cling to control, watch you flinch and then go all big-eyed because you want to be good for me, want to..."

Draco lost the thread, lost the words, caught in a rising tide of desire. He bit his lower lip, trying to focus, to not move too much, to not tug at his bonds and buck his hips and wriggle until he got what he wanted. He had to trust Severus to give it to him, couldn't risk breaking those delicate wires, even if he was as helpless against pleasure as he'd been against pain.

More, even, because Severus was fucking him steady and ferocious, grasping at his hair, stroking his cock, surrounding Draco with the smell of him, breaking him down even as he tried to -

Draco couldn't hold out any more; Severus was talking, his voice breaking from arousal, and Draco came in a mindless rush.

He came out of it still shuddering, alight with the knowledge that he'd won, he was still safe inside Severus' bonds.

Draco didn't know he'd been screaming until he said, "come, please," and realised he was hoarse. Severus groaned, his jaw clenched, his shoulders taut, and let himself go: fucking Draco all through it, ferocious, while Draco mewled, oversensitised, beneath him.

There was a blurry period, while Severus' face was against Draco's shoulder and Draco floated, and then Draco felt Severus' weight leave him.

"You did very well," Severus murmured. Reassured, Draco beamed to himself, aglow with the satisfaction of pleasing Severus. He felt Severus fiddle with the wires. "I thought you would break your bonds, would thrash and fight yourself free. But you stayed for me."

Draco felt his bonds go slack, and then disappear. He stayed stretched out over the bed, his arms still in place, and smiled up at Severus.

"I thought I might break them, too. But you tied me - so I couldn't." He shut his eyes, knowing that in a moment Severus would join him for sleep. "I wouldn't."