Author Notes: This OS is the latest part of my "Ultimate" series. So, I suggest everyone, who hasn`t read the other parts to go to read them first, otherwise this OS might not make much sense.^^

Appreciation: Special thanks to YenGirl, the best beta an author could wish for.^^ If I look at the first draft of this OS and then at this final version, I clearly see a huge improvement and for that I have to thank YenGirl. Thank you, dear!*hugs*

Ultimate Bond

Salty.

The air tasted of the sea, but Harry inhaled it deep into his lungs. He had never been to the ocean before, or even seen a beach from afar, until today.

The Dursleys had often gone to the beach during hot summer days, but Harry had never been allowed to accompany them. He was usually given a long list of chores to complete while they enjoyed themselves.

Harry grimaced and dug his naked toes into the soft sand, remembering how Dudley would return from each trip, boasting about the sandcastles he had built and the long hours he spent in the water. Even as a small child, Harry knew that his cousin wanted to make him envious… and he was always successful.

The grimace smoothed away a moment later when a chuckle emerged. Yes, Harry had been envious of Dudley in the past, but no longer.

He looked around him now, taking in the surroundings and the vastness of the beach. Even with his new glasses, he couldn't tell where the beach ended. As far as the eye could see, there were dunes of pure, white sand glistening in the silvery moonlight. The sound of the waves rushing to shore echoed through the night air. Harry stood close enough to the water to feel the warm spray touch his face as the sand whispered under the bare soles of his feet.

Dudley might have had everything a boy his age could want, but he would never be able to enjoy such a quiet, magical and perfect night… although Harry was quite sure that his cousin would have enjoyed the party.

The young Gryffindor smiled when the distant sounds of music and laughter reached his ears. His friends were still celebrating his birthday, although it was almost midnight and they had already celebrated the whole day.

Chuckling again, Harry let his feet lead him farther away from the party, enjoying the quiet solitude of the night. It was a surprise party, on the occasion of his seventeenth birthday. He hadn't had a clue as to what his friends had planned when they gave him a book this morning, which turned out to be an activated portkey. The next thing he knew, he had landed in France. Brittany to be exact, where Fleur and Bill were already waiting for him.

Harry smiled again, thinking back to the wonderful day he had spent with his friends. He was especially glad that Severus and Sirius managed to endure each other's company without throwing curses.

A fresh, salty breeze carried Harry's sigh away. He was certain that many of his friends were wondering why the snarky Potions Master had attended his birthday party and he knew that he would face an inquisition from the Weasleys very soon.

So far, only five people knew of Harry's relationship with Severus; namely Dumbledore, Ron, Hermione, Sirius and Remus.

Harry was always glad to return to Hogwarts, but this was the first time that he wished his last year to be over already. Although he was of age now, he was still a student and that meant that Severus and he still had to hide their relationship.

The cliffs loomed up in the sand and ranged into the sea. They were only black silhouettes against the night sky and seemed to form a natural border between one part of the beach and another one.

Harry decided to investigate the closest one and then go back to the party before anyone could get worried over his whereabouts. What seemed like a compact formation of cliffs, proved to be single rocks, between which someone could walk without fear of getting stuck between them.

There was a slight movement between the rocks and Harry stopped abruptly. He froze on the spot, only a few meters away from a dark silhouette, his fingers already closing around the solid wood of his wand.

No one should be here.

Wards had been placed all around this area of the beach, preventing trespassers apart from Harry's friends and godfather.

Harry's heart suddenly skipped a beat. When Severus left the party a couple of hours ago, he assumed that the Potions Master had had enough of the noise and merriment and gone home.

It looked like he hadn't.

Without thinking twice, Harry rushed towards the dark silhouette leaning against one of the rocks. The figure's clothes were as dark as the shadow of the cliffs, the raven hair highlighted only by a single stray of moonlight, but Harry would even have recognized him even if he had performed an illusion charm.

"Severus."

The name echoed between the massive rocks. Dark eyes looked up to meet green ones when the young man stood in front of the Potions Master.

"Harry. Shouldn't you be at your surprise party?" The deep voice was soft.

Harry shrugged and took a step closer, until their bodies were almost touching. They didn't dare standing so close together while they were around others, so this was Harry's first chance to let his eyes wander over Severus' form today, without fearing of being caught in the act.

Everyone who came to the party was required to wear Muggle clothing to avoid suspicion when they wandered the beach earlier. Harry hadn't noticed until now how well they fitted Severus.

Naturally, Severus wore black, but instead of long, dark robes with far too many buttons, he was dressed in a long sleeved, button down shirt combined with dark jeans and…

Harry's eyes almost dropped out of his head when he realised that his lover was barefoot. He stared at the man as if he was seeing him for the first time.

It wasn't enough that the shirt hugged Severus' body like a second skin or that the tight jeans outlined his perfect ass, but his naked toes were also digging in the sand… like his own. Harry didn't know why that fascinated him that much, but it just seemed like the most erotic image to him. He couldn't help but stare until a single cough got his attention.

Blinking, Harry looked up just in time to see Severus squirm under his examination.

"Severus…?"

Harry reached out and laid a hand on Severus' shoulder. Normally, he was able to analyze his lover's actions without much effort, but sometimes even he didn't know what was going through Severus' mind.

They remained like that for several minutes without speaking, their bodies close and Harry's hand warm on Severus' shoulder. His impatience fought with his inner voice that told him that the man would tell him what was wrong if only given time and space.

Just when Harry couldn't stand it anymore, Severus spoke, his voice a soft whisper against the rushing of the sea.

"I would have preferred to wear my robes, but the Headmaster thought it a great idea to have everyone wear Muggle clothes today."

A wry apology resonated in his words, making Harry frown.

Why should Severus apologize for wearing such hot and sexy clothes?They looked perfect on him and…

Harry almost gasped aloud right then. Memories of Severus who didn't want to let Harry see him naked, of being unsure of his own appearance, rushed to the forefront of his mind. Now he understood why his lover was avoiding his eyes now and why he was hiding between the shadows of the cliffs.

The bodyhugging clothes looked fantastic on Severus, but he probably felt exposed wearing them. Harry cursed himself inwardly. He should have complimented Severus on his appearance at once, instead of staring at him like he had never seen him before.

Well, words wouldn't help matters anymore, but Harry wasn't going to allow Severus to think that he was lacking in any way. Without warning, he closed his arms around the man and drew him closer until their bodies were tightly pressed together.

"You're right, I should have stayed at the party and by now… I've certainly missed the dessert," Harry's voice was a husky whisper. "But don't worry, I think I've found something that's even tastier than Mrs. Weasley's gateau au chocolat."

With those words, Harry's lips met Severus'.

OOO

Severus gasped in surprise.

He didn't expect Harry to find him here after he left the party in order to escape his lover's tempting appearance and he also didn't expect the kiss.

Sweet Merlin!

Severus couldn't pretend that he hadn't longed for those tender and eager lips all day long. Oh yes, he had fantasized about them for hours, even to the point of almost grabbing Harry in the kitchen earlier, while everyone else was outside the little cottage. It was only the happy screams of the Weasley's offspring outside that brought him to his senses.

It was too risky to be near each other during the party.

And while Severus envied everyone else that chattered, played and danced freely with Harry, he was also glad that it gave him an excuse to stay away from the young man so Harry wouldn't be able to focus on how ridiculous Severus looked in Muggle clothing.

No wonder that Molly wanted him to eat triple helpings of everything tonight!

While his teaching robes hid his scrawny body, the shirt and the jeans did not. Severus thought it was probably only thanks to Lupin's influence that Black didn't make any insulting comments.

Of course, Harry had already seen him naked and seemed to enjoy touching him everywhere, but somehow Severus still feared that his lover would be put off by his appearance.

Obviously not, if the eager body that pressed against his was any proof. It wasn't only Harry's lips that pressed against his while that hot tongue teased his, but also the lower part of Harry's body that ground against him.

A low groan of need vibrated in Severus' throat. His back hit the rough surface of a rock, but he didn't care. What did it matter if the rock surface was rough, wet with saltwater and cold, when Harry's nimble fingers were unbuttoning his shirt and roaming over his chest?

"Much better… less buttons…" Harry murmured against Severus' lips.

A shudder ran through the Potions Master when those tender lips wandered over his jaw to his collarbone and farther downwards, kissing every part of exposed skin they could reach. Dark orbs closed of their own accord.

It seemed like an eternity to Severus since he had been together with Harry like this. Indeed, two weeks had passed since they last had the opportunity to be intimate with each other like this.

An eternity, Severus thought in a daze. He didn't know how he had survived so long without Harry's touch. A low moan escaped his lips when eager fingers fumbled with the zipper of his jeans and he shivered when cold air brushed against the heated skin of his half-hard member.

Severus' eyes flew open. The protest on his lips died unheard the moment his gaze fell on the beautiful man who knelt in front of him. A playful breeze teased Harry's dark hair, blowing it into his face, while his luminous, emerald eyes met Severus' searching gaze.

Merlin help him, the Potions Master normally possessed a strong will, but it left him every time, when it came to his young lover.

"Harry…" Severus rasped, but the young man only smiled at him, before – oh, dear God!

Severus threw his head back, eyes closing and a hoarse scream escaping his throat when those tempting lips closed around the head of his throbbing erection. It wasn't the first blowjob he had ever experienced, but it was by far the most satisfying.

Every thought of where they were right now, how risky it was, and how nervous he felt when he thought of the gift he still hadn't presented Harry with, flew out of Severus' head.

For several long and thrilling minutes, the only thing that mattered to him was the feeling of Harry's rough tongue on his tender, heated flesh, the talented mouth that sucked on him and the skillful fingers that kneaded his balls.

Beads of perspiration formed on Severus' forehead and chest, soaking into the fabric of his opened shirt and making him shudder, whenever a cold breeze from the sea brushed over his exposed skin.

He was lost!

Severus suppressed another groan. He opened his eyes again and looked down, taking in the picture of his young lover on his knees, sucking him in and…

"H… Harry…" Severus tried to warn him. He couldn't hold on much longer, but he didn't want to force Harry to swallow his semen, if he didn't want to.

Green orbs twinkling with mischief glanced up at him before Harry got back to his work. The look in those loving eyes combining with those intense ministrations were enough to push Severus over the edge.

More blood rushed into his crown, the heat building up until Severus couldn't hold back anymore. He ejaculated into Harry's mouth with a hoarse cry. His legs buckled and it was only thanks to the massive rock he was leaning against that he was able to keep himself upright.

Merlin, that had been mind-blowing!

Severus was still trying to regain his breath, when he felt a wave of magic washing over him and knew that Harry had vanished the sticky mess on his legs.

Severus gave a small grin. It would have been a wonder if Harry had been able to swallow all of him, without spilling a bit.

Rough material brushed over Severus' bare thighs, when Harry drew his jeans up again and stood up.

"See, now I'll always remember the first spell I used after turning seventeen."

Harry's voice was a husky, barely heard whisper and Severus gave a rueful smile.

"Thank you, but I'm capable of cleaning myself."

Their gazes met, Harry's face only inches away from Severus'.

"Who said that you're the only one who needed to be cleaned?"

Severus gaped at him. "You…"

The smirk on Harry's lips was a huge contrast to the innocent look he gave Severus. "How could I not, when you made such a sexy display?"

That did it.

Before Harry could say anything else, Severus closed his arms around him and kissed him passionately. He tasted himself on Harry's lips, his tongue, his mouth…

Severus groaned and deepened the kiss, not willing to let go of his lover anytime soon.

OOO

"I wonder how late it is."

Severus glanced down at the young man who was leaning against his chest.

"Probably past midnight," he murmured, tightening the hold on the slender frame in his arms.

"Mhm."

Lazily, Harry looked up at him.

"Do you think we should go back to the party?"

The tone of his voice gave away the fact that Harry didn't want to go back. It warmed Severus' heart to know that his young lover preferred his company to that of his friends.

"We should go back before they start looking for you," he answered nonetheless, making Harry sigh.

"But before we do that," Severus took a deep breath. "I have something I want to give to you."

Harry's surprise was obvious when he took a step back to look at him.

"But you already presented me with this." He lifted his wrist where an elegant leather wristband encircled it. While the others seemed surprised at this rather personal gift from the Potions Master, they didn't say anything.

Severus held up his hand to stop Harry, noting to his embarrassment that it trembled ever so slightly. He was nervous enough as it was, he couldn't debate with Harry now or he would lose the courage to proceed with his gift.

"This isn't something that I want to give you in front of everyone else."

Severus watched Harry closely and saw the moment the startled look left those green eyes and was replaced with excitement. It went without saying that his lover now expected something great… something special… and Severus only prayed that he wouldn't be disappointed by the gift.

It was special to Severus, but he wasn't sure how Harry would react to it. What if he laughed at him or… didn't say anything… or just nodded coldly at him before leaving?

Severus swallowed hard. It had seemed like a good idea when he first thought of the perfect gift for Harry, but suddenly he didn't know if he made the right decision, if Harry would really…

"Severus, I love you. You know that, right?"

Black eyes met green. The smile that Harry gave Severus was a beautiful one, full of love and reassurance. It eased the tight knot in Severus' chest, allowing him to breath freely again.

"Yes… and I love you, too, Harry, and so," Severus summoned a small glass bottle with a dark, shimmering liquid and two champagne glasses from a hole in the rock, where the liquid had stayed cool until now. "I have brewed this for you. For us."

When Harry stared hard at the bottle, Severus's lips twitched in a knowing smile. Harry was obviously trying to guess what the potion was, but even if he were the best student in Potions, he wouldn't know this one.

For one thing, it wasn't a formula found in any school textbook. For another, it was very complicated and not many Potions Masters would attempt to try it.

Severus was certain however, that he had brewed it correctly.

"What is it?" Harry asked at last, having given up on trying to recognize the liquid. Up close, he could see it was of a deep red color.

Severus swallowed again. He was glad that he had placed the glasses and the bottle on a flat ledge of the rock surface, since his hands had started shaking again.

"It's… a bonding potion."

Harry raised an eyebrow.

"We'll both have to drink it."

Severus closed his eyes for a moment, imagining that he was speaking to a class of students, in order to calm his galloping heartbeat. "Each person adds a part of their magic to the bonding potion and when they drink it, they'll be able to feel the magical signature of their partner inside of them. Always."

Severus opened his eyes and gazed into Harry's wide eyes. The potion," he added, his voice a mere trembling whisper, "is normally used during a wedding ceremony."

Harry's mouth fell open right then and Severus cringed at the utter bewilderment on the beloved features of his lover. He had overdone it. He quickly dropped his gaze, staring down at his bare feet, toes digging deep into the wet sand.

He should have known.

Harry might love him, might desire him and even care for him… but that didn't mean he wanted to feel Severus' magical signature in him for the rest of his life.

Severus clenched his shaking hands into fists, berating himself for being an idiot. Why had he brewed this potion and presented it to Harry?

He should have just enjoyed whatever time he had with this young man instead of taking such a bold step forward and destroying everything in the process. The biggest mistake, of course, was telling Harry that this potion was used during a wedding ceremony.

Why had he said that?

After all, who would want to marry him, Severus Snape, ex-Death Eater, murderer, scum of Wizarding Society?

Severus bit his lower lip hard, not even tasting the blood that welled up. Hot tears burned in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall. He wouldn't cry now.

Perhaps later, when he was alone in his quarters in Hogwarts, he could mourn his loss, but not now. He didn't want Harry to feel obligated to bond with him, he didn't want to force the young man into anything he didn't want to do.

"I… It was just an idea. Never mind! Just forget it and…"

"No, don't do that!"

Startled, Severus glanced up at Harry, who shook his head furiously at him.

OOO

Harry was startled. No, more than startled, he was shocked and he didn't mind admitting that.

When Severus told him that he had a gift for him, he didn't expect something like this marvelous potion!

All Harry could think of were dinner vouchers or perhaps a weekend stay for two in a nice hotel somewhere, but nothing so… magical and special. A potion that would let him have a part of Severus' magical signature within him – it was like his most secret dream come true!

Harry was thrilled when Severus presented him with the wristband of soft, high quality leather earlier, spelled with sweat and water repelling charms. On the inside was a hidden message that made him Harry smile each time he thought of it. He had already promised himself to wear it all the time, but this…!

To feel a part of Severus within him all the time was a thousand times better. He stared at the innocent looking bottle, lost in his thoughts, until he heard Severus' words and realized that he probably should have said something sooner. Much sooner.

"Severus, don't always think the worst, at least not when you're with me, please!"

Dark orbs continued to gaze at him, open, fearful and vulnerable, with only the slightest sparkle of hope in their depths.

Harry gulped. He hated it when Severus looked like he expected rejection. It proved how little reason the Potions Master had to trust people in his life.

But he could trust Harry… Severus only needed to be reminded of that fact every so often.

"I want to bond with you, Severus." Harry choked a little on his own words, happy tears threatening to spill over at any moment. "I just… I was only surprised that you would present me with something as special and wonderful as this potion."

The fear in the dark eyes started to ease.

"So, you… think it's special?"

Harry smiled at him through joyful tears that ran down his cheeks.

"Yes… Yes, I do."

OOO

Perhaps one day… a few years from now, Harry would feel embarrassment at the way he and Severus held onto each other, shedding silent tears for several long minutes until they finally remembered the waiting potion.

Perhaps, but Harry didn't think he would.

How could he be embarrassed when he was bursting with happiness after receiving such a momentous gift from his lover?

"You have to touch the bottle with the potion in it with the tip of your wand and incant a spell," Severus explained to him once they were both calm again. "It doesn't matter which spell you use, the potion will register your magical signature and then…"

"Can we do it together?"

For a moment, Severus only stared at him. He was still overwhelmed at the fact that Harry really wanted to bond with him. Then he nodded.

"Yes, of course."

Severus held the uncorked bottle with one hand and his wand with other.

"Ready?"

Harry nodded. His wand hand trembled a little from nerves, but he already knew which charm he wanted to use. He couldn't think of a more fitting one.

"On a count of three, then," Severus told him. "One… two… three."

"Expecto patronum!"

A moment later, the ruby red liquid in the bottle flashed a beautiful argent color, but Harry didn't notice. His attention was caught by a silver stag and a silver doe who appeared and galloped around them in a circle before vanishing off into the night.

Harry blinked.

Severus had cast his own spell non-verbally, but it was also the Patronus charm! His patronus… was a doe.

Harry couldn't help grinning at that.

"Don't say a word, Harry!" Severus growled at him.

In the dim light, Harry could see that the Potions Master looked embarrassed. Oh, he would be sure to remind Severus of the beautiful form of his Patronus every so often, but now, it was time for something much more important.

Severus poured the liquid into the two glasses. He handed one to Harry who felt the long fingers tremble against his.

"I still want this, Severus. You know that, don't you?"

Severus nodded, a hopeful smile playing around the corner of his lips.

"Yes, Harry and… I do, too."

One last long look passed between them. Then, slowly, still watching each other, they raised their glasses to their lips and drank the now silvery potion.

Harry didn't know what he had expected. He had tasted many potions during his time in Hogwarts and most of them tasted awful.

Not this one. This one tasted rich and sweet, reminding him of a summer wine made of sun kissed berries that warmed his insides on its way down.

Then Harry trembled, his eyes squeezed shut. He felt breathless and lightheaded. He could feel his magic surging out of his core, answering to the insistent call of the potion. He felt it flowing wildly inside his body as if pursuing a warm and pulsing throb of energy.

For a brief moment, Harry felt like fainting from the powerful reaction before it died down. He took a deep breath and concentrated. He could still feel his magic pulsing through his veins, settling down… but there was something else.

A small flicker of another magical signature that was all at once, foreign and yet so very familiar to him.

Opening his eyes, Harry smiled up at Severus who was watching him with glittering, intense eyes. He didn't know what to say, didn't know if he was even able to use his voice right now, so he did the only thing that seemed right to him at the moment.

Harry placed his glass on the ledge and embraced Severus, tugging him closer until their bodies were pressed together.

Severus gasped aloud. A dull thud was heard when the glass slipped from his fingers, but neither man spared it a single thought.

"Harry!"

"Severus!"

With new tears burning in their eyes, their lips met in a kiss that was deep, passionate and sweeter than any of their past kisses.

Somewhere not too far, fireworks had started, probably created by the Weasley twins. The explosions and whistles cut through the quiet of the night, a thousand red and green sparkles lighting up the night sky.

How fitting, Harry thought as he peeped up at the fiery display, before closing his eyes and deepening the kiss even more.

Right now, he didn't care that he couldn't tell the whole world of their newly created bond. As long as Severus and he knew how much they loved each other, everything else just didn't matter.