Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns all public characters, and the world of Harry Potter. There is no intention to violate copyright.

Winter Vacation, Day 5, Part 2

Wednesday, December 23, 1998

Potter went to find Draco, while the Malfoy patriarch and I waited for them in jail. The calming draught no longer affected me, and my anxiety overpowered my emotional control. I sat tensely on the cot and hugged my knees tightly to my chest. My agitation disgusted me, and I buried my face in my knees while I attempted to hide my disgrace from Lucius.

The Malfoy patriarch sat elegantly on his cot, and studied me with his gaze. Would I ever live this down? He seemed overly interested in my current condition, and I suspected he was analyzing the situation for future advantageous possibilities. Perhaps, he thought I feared Potter. Master would never harm me, but it terrified me that I had disappointed him.

We sat quietly, and waited to hear more from the youths. It was nearly ten minutes before the bond alerted me of my Master's presence, and I cherished the calming effect. Anxiety dominated my emotions, but I could mask them. Lucius noticed my changed demeanour, and glanced at me curiously. His brows lifted, as he gazed at me while awaiting an answer to his unasked question. My voice became silky, as I calmly said, "Mr. Potter approaches. Will they release us, I wonder?"

Malfoy folded his hands elegantly on his lap while he enthused, "Finally, some welcomed news. Severus, money is power. They will release us."

The door to the hallway opened, and we rose from our cots in anticipation. The constable nodded at a camera, and a buzz sound announced the opening of our cage. He motioned over his shoulder and glanced at Malfoy while he said, "A blonde kid came to collect you. He claims you are his father." The guard looked skeptical, but Lucius nodded his head in response.

The constable brought us to a larger room. There were chairs beside one wall, and a caged service counter dominated the other. The constable motioned to the secured area, and offered, "You can retrieve your belongings from there." Lucius strode quickly to the counter, and I wondered if he even noticed the guard's departure.

While Malfoy waited for his belongings, the constable returned with the youths. My bond alerted me of Master's presence, and I promptly offered him a low bow. The bond forced me to hold it for a few seconds longer than normal, and I stood soon as I was able. Potter glanced curiously at me, but he did not question the delay. The constable's expression revealed his confusion, as he watched our interactions. The bond required complete submission.

Potter glanced curiously at me and asked, "Severus?" I offered him a nod of acknowledgement. The leash told him of my identity, but I suspected our glamour charms surprised him. Draco stared at Lucius, but he stayed quiet while his father gathered his belongings.

The elder Malfoy grasped his cane, and held it firmly to his chest. He seemed disinterested as he gathered his other belongings, and then he stepped aside for me to claim mine. Lucius turned to Potter and casually mentioned, "Mr. Potter, do go easy on Severus. He did not mean to cause trouble."

My gaze hardened on the elder Malfoy, and I stated through clenched teeth, "No concern of yours is it, Lucius?" Fake names be damned, the police could think what they wanted.

The elder's steely blue eyes shone with mirth as he offered, "Severus, I clearly recall your anxiety." He turned to Draco and calmly explained, "He panicked, and it was all I could do to calm him." Lucius smiled wickedly at me, as he attempted to further my humiliation by telling Potter, "May I suggest, Mr. Potter, that you ease up on..." Malfoy could not finish that comment, because my fist made connection with the side of his face.

Fortunately, for Lucius, my prowess was in the mental fields. Potter was the first to react, as he sharply cried, "SEVERUS!" I suspected his volume was due to shock, rather than anger.

However, the bond took it as my having greatly offended the Master. My legs weakened, and I fell to the ground in a kneeling position. My gaze fell to the floor. I kneeled before Potter with my head bowed, and the bond urged me to say, "Master, I beg forgiveness." Lucius seemed pleased with himself, but I noticed Draco's horrified expression. The muggle constable watched in fascination, and I feared what else the bond had in store.

I could not see the Master's reaction, but I felt his hand rest on my head. With an authoritative voice, Potter mentioned, "Severus, you have my forgiveness." The link told him of my rage towards Lucius, and I suspected that was the reason for what the youth said next. He leaned down to my level, and whispered, "You are to ignore Lucius, until you have settled down. Go to the counter and wait for your stuff. Do not say anything to the elder Malfoy. We will discuss this tonight at Spinner's end."

The promised discussion did nothing to calm my anxiety, and I fretted at having added another infraction to the already long list. The bond allowed me to rise, and I gave Potter a respectful tip of my head before returning to the counter. The constable regained his composure, and sent the others from the room. Once they left, he approached me and quietly asked, "Sir, are you in any danger?"

Occlumency helped me to avoid showing my humiliation at his question. Did he truly believe I feared a child? I glanced dismissively at him as I stated, "It is of no concern, Constable." The man studied me with his gaze, and his brows rose skeptically at my answer. He could not do anything, but I attempted to ease his mind while I explained, "He is my deceased brother's son, and he inherited the responsibilities of the head of my family. It is our custom, and he will not harm me."

Thankfully, the man was equally ignorant of the culture belonging to my fake identity. He accepted my explanation, and I gathered the rest of my belongings. My voice was silky as I calmly said, "Good evening, Constable." He offered me a nod in response, and I went into the dressing area to change my clothes. It pleased me to leave behind the prison jumpsuit.

Potter waited for me in the entryway, and I noticed his worried expression. Was he concerned over my earlier anxiety? This was not the place to discuss it, but I observed his sense of relief when he noticed me. The youth smiled warmly as he asked, "Did you get everything?" I offered him a nod in answer. He motioned me towards the doors, and he explained while we walked, "Mr. Malfoy swore Draco to secrecy, before they returned home."

"Of course he would," I mentioned with annoyance clearly in my voice. Potter grinned impishly at me, and I thought he found amusement in our competition. Lucius always attempted to get me into trouble, but I did nothing to him. However, I thought to explain, "Malfoy feared his wife's reaction, Sir. It is a reasonable request."

Potter's grin became slightly wider, and I realized I had missed something. My left brow rose questioningly at the boy, and he explained, "Draco had me tell his mother before we went to the prison. He hated all the secrets his father forced him to keep." The youth glanced at me, and I offered him a smug grin. Potter's expression became more serious as he mentioned, "Severus, I believe Lucius should step down as the Head of House. His actions continually shamed the family. He went before the Wizengamot at least three times, because of his Death Eater activities. He was an escaped prisoner from Azkaban, and his time in a muggle jail added to his glamorous portfolio. What do you think?" I agreed with the youth. Perhaps, he had the power to see it happen.

Potter acted more Slytherin than Gryffindor. Their teamwork impressed me, and I knew very well that Lucius would spend the night in his study. Perhaps, Narcissa would let him use a guest room. That should end his inane curiosity over my punishment, and I suspect that was the reason for Potter's informing Narcissa. My nervousness increased as we walked towards an isolated area, and it spiked when I apparited home.

Potter motioned me to the winged back chair, and I sat down while he stood before me. The youth received points for intimidation, and I sat quietly while he organized his thoughts. His eyes narrowed at me, and he studied me with his hardened gaze. My stomach fluttered nervously, and then Potter asked, "Severus, the link told me of your fear. You looked terrified, and I felt your anxiety. Did that have anything to do with the bond?"

The cheeky comment escaped before I could squelch it, "Sir, my being in jail was not reason enough?" Potter smirked at my answer, and motioned for me to continue. I suspected he wanted more details, so I calmly admitted, "Indeed, Sir. Your presence calms me."

The youth rubbed his chin as he admitted, "As does yours, Severus. We need to discuss these observations, because I thought it only affected me." Was the boy scared? He seemed fine to me. Potter continued his explanation, "I felt concerned for you, and my worry intensified in your absence. Ginny said I talked about you constantly, and I was anxious. The bond failed to tell me anything, and I fretted for your safety.

My gaze fell to the floor as I asked, "How did you find me in jail, Master?"

"The bond knew you were there. My anxiety spiked, and I grew intensely worried. Mrs. Weasley suggested my checking in, and that was when I found your note. Ron suggested taking my broom into London and searching for you with the leash, but Hermione told me to focus all of my concentration on you. Her idea worked, because I could sense you. I could visualize the nearby area, and I found a safe apparition point. We believe that works both ways." That further reduced my freedom, but at least it had advantages. Weasley's leash comment annoyed me, although his idea would also work.

With a silky voice I admitted, "Indeed, that is a unique ability, Master."

Potter reached the point that I dreaded. His relief at having found me, turned to anger over my behaviour. The youth crossed his arms, and he spoke firmly, "Severus, we have an intense static situation tonight. What did you do to cause it?"

My eyes opened wide, and I stared fearfully at my Master. The prolonged absence greatly increased my anxiety, and I found his voice very intimidating. He seemed confused by my reaction. I attempted to stand from the chair when he motioned for me to stay. The youth learned too many intimidation tactics from me. I inhaled deeply, and I attempted to avoid the conversation as I said, "Master, I do not wish to talk about it."

"Tough," Potter firmly spate. Phlegm swirled in my throat, and I had to swallow. My gaze fell to the floor as he firmly stated, "Severus, you will tell me everything. I accepted that excuse for the past week, but I refuse to do so after having picked you up from jail." He paused for a moment, and I became more nervous. His voice hardened as he commanded, "Start at the beginning."

Potter's tone caused me to squirm, and I felt mortified at my inability to suppress it. My voice faltered as I explained, "Lucius invited me out to gamble." Potter's glare hardened and I knew he would not like the next part. Now was a good time to inject a little caution, "We used disguises, so people would not recognize us."

The youth nodded, and motioned for me to continue. I became more anxious, because I realized my actions would disappoint him. My voice lowered as I admitted, "Lucius and I were a team in our youth. We learned how to count cards, and we used a charm to show them to one another. With that information, we could calculate our chance of getting a desired card, and that increased our winnings."

Potter's mouth opened, and I thought he was going to say something. Instead, he motioned for me to continue. The next part of my confession depleted what remained of my courage, as I quietly gasped, "Security wanted to question us, and several gamblers were angry. The police broke up the fight, and put us in jail." Severus Snape never showed fear, and I blamed my reactions on the bond. I refused to accept that it could be anything else.

Potter cast 'Finite Incantatem', and cancelled the charm which disguised my appearance. He gasped loudly, and gently touched my face. He pulled out his wand, and cast a few spells to heal me. My pain lessened. His voice filled with concern when he stated, "George gave me a yellow paste to help with bruises. After our discussion, I will retrieve it, so we can heal them."

Though I angered the youth, it felt good to know that he easily set it aside. He truly cared for me, and realizing that made me feel worse for my earlier actions. My voice was slightly louder than a whisper, "I appreciate your consideration, Master." Potter smiled at me, and then he turned and walked across the room. He paused for a moment by the window, as if to steel himself. I readied for the worst. Perhaps, my overworked anxiety caused my sudden trepidation?

My earlier apprehension was firmly entrenched, when he turned towards me. Potter looked determined, and I watched in horror as he briskly approached. He placed his hands on the arms of my chair, and his gaze bore into me as he calmly stated, "Severus, you deliberately went out to cheat at gambling." He sounded disappointed, and I felt it to my core. I wished he would scream, as that was easier to handle. Potter's voice sounded eerily calm, as he continued to chastise me, "You were cheating, brawling, and imprisoned. Did I miss anything?"

Normally, I would have little trouble managing my emotions during this conversation. My increased agitation caused me to squirm internally, and I felt my stomach fall to my groin. Anxiety gripped me, and I nearly wet myself. My sudden, fear-induced urgency caused me to panic. A hand moved to my lap, and my cheeks reddened as I childishly clutched myself.

My eyes widened in a silent plea to Potter, and he accurately deduced my need. The youth stepped back and said, "Be quick, Severus." He had no need to worry, because I fled to the loo. It was mortifying, and I had not held myself like that since I was a child. Fortunately, I managed without having caused further disgrace. I suspected that Potter would never again use that particular intimidation strategy.

I returned to the living room, and I humbly sat in the chair as he earlier commanded. I ran a hand through my hair, and brushed it from my face in trying to steer the conversation away from what just happened. Potter gazed at me with concern-filled eyes, as if the earlier situation pained him. That surprised me, and it pleased me that he never addressed it. Instead, he acted as if nothing happened, and he continued where he left off, "Did I miss anything, Severus?"

My head shook quietly, because his description was very thorough. However, I desperately needed him to know that I did not intend to deceive. My voice was hesitant as I spoke, "Master, anybody can count cards. I did nothing to change the outcome of the game. We did not use magic, or hide cards in our sleeves. We used our minds to help us better calculate probabilities."

Potter smirked at my response, and with a shake of his head, he stated, "Counting cards is cheating. It is not something that I understand, in all honesty. Severus, it pleases me that you did not use magic to deceive the muggles, but that charm was pretty close." The youth sighed quietly, as if having an internal debate. I sat in silence while I waited, and then he stated, "Severus, you may not gamble on cards, or in casinos for the period of one year." The tingling sensation lowered slightly, and it surprised me that Potter did not outright deny it.

My gaze never left his, as I waited for him to decide on my punishments. Potter pinched the bridge of his nose, and then stated, "Three days apart was too much, and it created emotional chaos for both of us. Severus, Lucius enjoyed your loss of control. I wanted to pelt him myself, so I did not blame you for having done so at the station house." That made me feel relieved, because Lucius deserved it. Potter ran a hand through his hair, and then he continued, "Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I am returning to the burrow in the afternoon, and spending the night. You are coming with me, and we will return to Spinner's End on the twenty-sixth."

It was exactly what I feared. The tingling sensation should have vanished with that horrid punishment, and given me credit for future infractions. Instead, it failed to have any effect on the intensity. The youth obviously felt my irritation at his sentence, but he said nothing. I suppose, with his marrying a Weasley, it required my getting used to their family. The bond would not allow us to live separately, and two days apart did not give us much freedom for vacation. My voice was barely louder than a whisper, "The Malfoy family invited me tomorrow for their Christmas dinner. Master, may I attend?"

Potter considered my request, and studied me with his gaze while I looked pleadingly at him. It was almost a tradition. "Would it end before nine?" Potter asked curiously. He received a nod in answer, and then he amended his earlier command, "Instead of going to the Burrow tomorrow afternoon, you may attend the Malfoy dinner. Have everything packed for our evening tea, and you will return with me. Severus, you are to complete chapter two of the textbook. There is no time limit, but it is something you can do while staying at the Burrow."

That nicely reduced the tingling sensation, although it was still more powerful than a simple bedtime would handle. My voice was calm as I replied, "Sir, I appreciate your consideration. The second chapter will occupy me." How would I handle Ron Weasley when I am unable to remove points or give detentions? This did not look like a merry Christmas.

The youth yawned, and I realized it was nearly two in the morning. Guilt worked its way into my awareness, because I was the reason he had to stay awake. Potter glanced curiously at me, and then he commanded, "Severus, no magic until sunrise, and I want you ready for bed in ten minutes."

The tingling sensation decreased, but the intensity could still kill me. My eyes widened, as I considered the possibility. Did he intend to let the bond penalize me? The emotional chaos made it nearly impossible for me to control my fear, and Potter easily detected that through the link. He placed a hand on my shoulder and mentioned, "Severus, get ready for bed. I will join you in ten minutes, and we will finish the rest of your punishment."

My relief was obvious, but images raced through my mind. Potter wanted to enter my bedroom when I was in my nightclothes. What did he want? The thoughts brought with them an entirely new fear. Death was preferable than having to submit in that way. Time passed quickly, and the bond alerted me of my Master having left.

Panic made my getting ready all the harder. The last few minutes were a wild dash, as I attempted to finish. The bond alerted me of Potter's return, and my panic dissipated. He knocked on my door, and I moved swiftly to the middle of the room where I stood with my arms folded in challenge. I adopted my classroom voice as I called out, "Sir, it is open."

Potter entered, and I noticed he had soot smudged on his nose. It was absent from his clothing, so I assumed he already used 'scourgify'. The youth approached my nightstand, and I watched curiously while he pulled out phials from his backpack. He set aside several small bottles, and his thoroughness surprised me. Everything I needed to heal my combat wounds was now on my nightstand. Potter retrieved a yellow tube, and I recalled Poppy using that earlier for bruises.

My throat tightened at seeing the last object, and I no longer questioned what he intended for the rest of my punishment. Much to my chagrin, I took an involuntary step away from Potter. In his hand was the dreaded leather slipper. The childish implement had reduced me to tears, and my weakness infuriated me. My gaze bore into the loathsome item, as if it were taunting me for my earlier frailty. Tobias would have beaten me into unconsciousness. I deserved no less.

Potter knitted his brows, and glanced curiously at the slipper. He seemed perplexed by my reaction. Obviously, he sensed my anger and mortification. Did he think I was furious with him? It was a reasonable conclusion, so I humbly offered, "My weakness, Master, Infuriated me." He seemed no less confused. My mouth felt dry, as I further explained, "I failed, Sir, to control myself." My gaze fell to the floor, and I felt the heat in my cheeks as they announced my shame.

The youth seemed surprised by my acknowledgement, and he spoke encouragingly, "Your ability to handle the punishment astonished me. Severus, you are not a weak man. Your restraint shocked me, and I could see your strength. The bond made me feel like a monster, because the intensity was too strong. I should have added something else, because I think that was abusive. Your control was very impressive."

Master spoke in earnest, but his lack of experience reduced his ability to assess the situation. However, I appreciated his gesture. The youth approached my bed, and sat down at the midway point. His gaze met mine, and I watched in horror as he patted his lap. No! He could not intend that! Phlegm forced me to swallow. My voice sounded constrained as I pleaded, "Sir, I beg of you, not like that. Perhaps, I could bend over the bed." The youth slowly shook his head. Panic was clear in my voice when I suggested, "Sir, the trunk would work. I could lean on it."

The youth glanced at me, and he again refused my request. A cold sweat plastered the nightshirt against my back, and I stared at him nervously. Obviously, Potter was more angered at my imprisonment than I realized. Did he truly wish to humiliate me? What purpose would that serve? He spoke with authority while one hand patted his lap, "Severus, it is better this way." For who, I wonder? Did he consider himself an expert in these matters?

Potter never gave me a direct order, so I was not compelled to obey. The bond, however, urged me to adhere. Standing in place tested my resolve, but I stubbornly refused to move. I glared down defiantly at the youth, and I silently challenged his authority. The intensity increase was noticeable, as the bond showed its disapproval. It was a worthwhile risk. My voice became silky as I firmly stated, "Not...like...that."

Potter sighed softly, but he did not move. He spoke calmly, "Severus, you seldom earn the punishment you receive. For that reason, I try to make it easier on you, and I know this slipper does the least amount of damage. It is painful, and only the two of us know when I use it. We are the only ones who see how I apply it. People know I spank you, when I use the cane. Your inability to sit comfortably alerts everyone of your plight."

My eyes squeezed shut at his use of that awful word. That was the last thing I wanted associated with me. I slowly opened them as he continued to explain, "Other methods cause you physical damage, and it is impossible to sit without squirming or drawing attention." My gaze narrowed at him in accusation, and he softly shook his head at me as he added, "Students may have dismissed your difficulties at breakfast, the morning after I used the cane. I observed them, although I failed to realize the connection. Ron ensured students would take note of future incidents, and they would guess the reason." Weasley needed to die.

Potter paused for a few moments, and then he continued, "Severus, it is humiliating now, but we are in private. The other methods are less mortifying to you, but they are more noticeable in public. What do you choose? How many rumours would start if students saw you fidgeting in your chair?" I was hesitant to answer, so Potter added, "Would Ron notice your inability to sit in comfort?"

The youth made valid points, and he nearly convinced me. Potter sat patiently, while he waited for my decision. Was it weakness to consider the easier punishment? Could I trust him? He made dumb mistakes, but his intentions were always good. The youth considered my feelings, even if I did not.

He attempted to spare me from physical pain, and to avoid my discomfort of others discovering my punishment. However, I still felt uneasy. My voice sounded insecure, as I asked, "Sir, do you think me weak, or cowardly?" My gaze never left him, but I waited nervously for his answer.

I hoped his staying tonight would remove my excess anxiety. I hated feeling so fearful. The bond made him worried about me, but I felt terrified without him. How fair was that? Potter rose from the bed, and walked over to me. My gaze fell to the floor, as I could no longer look at him.

Potter placed his hand on my shoulder, and his voice softened while he enthused, "Severus, you are the bravest man I have ever known. This bond did not change that, and you will feel better in the morning. However, you refuse to believe in your strength, and you would rather focus on aspects that you consider weak. I have seen how you take an insane amount of pain without a word. You are a very strong person in so many ways, and I do not think poorly of you for accepting a less painful punishment. It is very Gryffindor of you to place bravery over self-preservation." His atrocious accusation was cruel, but it was undeniably true.

He placed his fingers under my chin, and gently directed me to look at him. Once he had my attention, Potter assured me, "Severus, I promise to never slipper you with others to witness. Those sessions will stay private. Our future wives and children do not need to see these punishments, and I will never use this method for public chastisement."

Potter's promises alleviated several concerns, but I failed to understand the benefit of my going over his lap. He sensed my apprehension, and motioned for me to speak. My gaze lingered on the floor, before I slowly raised it to meet with his. The youth gazed patiently at me, while I struggled to form the needed words, "I fail to understand. You see a benefit in my going over your knee, do you, Master?"

The hand on my shoulder offered reassurance, and that gave me the needed strength to keep my gaze on him. Potter spoke with confidence, "Severus, your wilfulness causes the static. Is this correct?" He received a nod in answer, and then he continued his explanation, "The static does not watch bad behaviour, because it acts as a meter to measure your resistance. The two often go together. Your willingness to bend over my lap will decrease the static, and lessen your punishment."

Potter made a reasonable argument, and for a Gryffindor, that was impressive. The youth stood patiently, as he waited for my response. It was too humiliating to consider, and yet, it was unreasonable to ignore. My voice was little more than a whisper, "Master, I understand." Despite the dread of him perceiving me weak, I swallowed and finished my answer, "I accept your chosen method." A decreased intensity followed my agreement, and we knew Potter spoke the truth.

The youth returned to my bed, and sat patiently while he waited. It was difficult to meet Potter's gaze, because my pride badgered me. My legs felt heavy, as I walked towards the youth. It took longer than I expected, and I stood paralyzed at my Master's side. I could not move, and I heard Potter's voice as he quietly mentioned, "When you are ready, Severus. There is no rush." How much did the bond tell him?

Thoughts of the past six months flowed rapidly through my mind, and I struggled to understand. Childhood agony forced me to suppress my emotions, and I denied their existence. My mask served me well, but the link exposed my feelings to Potter. He sensed emotions that I failed to acknowledge, and that forced me to deal with them. It caused me to lose myself, because the emotionless man was no more. My feelings weakened me, and the link increased my vulnerability.

The loss of control abhorred me. I alone should decide what feelings, if any, I shared with others. The youth sensed my internal struggle, and he felt my panic. The loss of control overwhelmed me. Potter's refusal to acknowledge my emotions gave me the time I needed to work through them.

The past couple of months saw many changes, and I grew accustomed to the link. It still annoyed me, especially when I felt negatively towards Potter. That made for difficult situations, and I suspected it always would. At some point, Potter realized I was ready to accept the link. He began acting on the shared emotions, and always to my benefit. He never used them against me. Could I trust him completely? My mind continued to war, as I attempted to find the strength needed to place myself over his knee.

My gaze never left Potter's lap, and I knew the boy waited for me. My eyes closed, and I attempted to lower myself, but I could not. Did he think me afraid of the punishment? That was a mortifying thought, and yet, it was not enough motivation for me to bend over his knee. The youth stayed true to his word, at least for now. He sat patiently while I struggled with my thoughts.

My exposed emotions gave him the needed insight to understand me. It shocked me when he expressed concern, and I failed to believe anyone could feel that for me. How could he love someone who was cruel to him? Yet, he saw through my bitterness, and he forgave me. It seemed surreal to me, and I refused to accept the notion. Potter never forced the issue, and his patience allowed me to trust in someone other than myself.

Potter made me feel safe, and loved. My pride refused to allow my acknowledgement of those emotions, because Severus Snape did not need anyone. Those feelings were alien to me, at least in my adult life. Fortunately, I learned to accept them. My internal battle ended, as I finally realized that I could trust Harry Potter. Unshed tears pricked at my eyes, and I accepted that he could, and did love me. It was not in the romantic sense, but something even deeper.

The sudden inspiration gave me the strength I needed. I swallowed uneasily, and slowly lowered myself over Potter's lap. The bed allowed me to rest my upper body on the mattress, and I cradled my head into my folded arms. A tear escaped, and I quickly wiped it away. He never said a thing, but I knew he sensed my emotional tension.

Instead of a stinging swat, I felt Potter's hands gently rubbing my back. His thoughtful gesture caused me to lose more of my resistance, and tears leaked from my eyes. What was happening? What did Potter do to me? The tingling sensation vanished.

It did not matter, because Potter should punish me. I disappointed him, and I failed to respect his wishes. However, the youth disagreed. Instead, he helped me into bed while he continued to rub circles on my back. His compassion and forgiveness finished me, and I felt the release of my pent-up emotions.

Tears gushed from my eyes, and soaked my pillow while Potter gently massaged my back. Tobias would have beaten me for crying, but the youth provided comfort. Potter saw me at my weakest, and he still cared. Was it possible? The youth saw through my mask, and he still loved me. Potter gently swept the hair from my face, and I began to sob. He knew the real Severus Snape, and he loved him. My breathing became hitched, because the emotions were overwhelming.

Potter leaned against the headboard and gently lifted me to him. My head rested against his chest, and he wrapped his arms around me in a gesture of comfort and security. The youth's compassionate embrace reminded me of the comforts given by close siblings. Perhaps, Fred and George shared such gestures. The prophecy spoke of twins, and I began to realize what type of love I had for Potter. He was my brother, and the bond wove our magical essences together.

Potter gently rubbed my back, as I worked through my emotions. The youth did not interrupt, because the link shared with him my joy and overwhelming sense of being loved. It was not possible for me to verbally express my feelings. My hair was damp, and I realized the youth too was crying. My sense of relief drained me, and I fell asleep in Potter's arms. I woke the next morning feeling better than I could ever remember. My life felt right. At the age of thirty-eight, I, Severus Snape Potter, experienced an emotional catharsis in the arms of my brother.

A/N: This concludes Book one. Our heroes learned to accept the slave bond, and each other. The next instalment is named, 'Enslavement of a Hero: Part II - Prince Family Prophecy

The second part of the series continues with the Malfoy Christmas dinner. The main goal is for the characters to fulfill the prophecy, but they have a lot of work ahead of them. They must find a balance between light and dark magic. Currently, the light controls the ruling bodies of government. They are at war with the dark, and wizards who practice dark magic are criminals.

Our heroes must help the two magical forces accept one another. They will receive help from many sources, but it is not an easy battle. Only criminals dare partake in the dark arts, so it leans heavily towards evil tendencies. Why would they create beneficent spells? Severus will continue to find new humiliating situations, and Lucius will happily assist. They will discover a few more secrets regarding their slave bond.